Friday, April 25, 2014

Faces of Infertility: "Tina's" story

In celebration of "National Infertility Awareness Week", I am featuring stories of infertility this week. These are all guest posts that I hope will put a real face on this devastating disease. Please spread the word and share these stories!

After celebrating one year of marriage we decided to try for a baby. It was exciting thinking about how our lives might change so soon. However, after a few months we realized it was taking a bit longer than we’d thought. I had been diagnosed with endometriosis, so I wasn’t too surprised, and we remained hopeful. After 6 months of trying feelings of frustration started surfacing. Resentment snuck into my heart upon hearing stories of friends becoming pregnant the first time they tried or when they weren’t even trying. As the months ticked by my monthly cramps, painful already, seem to ache much more now that they were coupled with the emotional pain of realizing, no, I was not pregnant that month either.

After one year of trying to become pregnant it became very difficult when friends or even well meaning strangers asked when we were having kids. Comments like I should just relax, it always happens when you don’t think about it, or perhaps God doesn’t plan for you to have a baby, stung bitterly. Knowing that for people our age one year of trying usually indicates an issue, we made an appointment with the local fertility clinic. The results from the diagnostic tests were shocking. We were told we would not be able to become pregnant, at least not without very invasive, advanced intervention, IVF with ICSI. We were devastated. We were in the very fortunate position to have our health insurance cover half of the expense, and we planned to move forward with IVF around Christmas-time when I would have a bit of time off to undergo the procedures.

During this time I felt alone and filled with deep despair. For all intents and purposes, I shut down, not wanting to discuss something so personal and painful, wanting to keep conversations with family and friends upbeat and unrelated to our struggle – I didn’t want anyone asking me “if I had any news.” We were not ready to open up to people's "advice" and sometimes judgment. Dear friends said hurtful things without knowing. So we went through the injections and medications, made awkward excuses for missing work, and prayed for a miracle…pretty much on our own. I felt that God put the desire in my heart to be a mom, and prayed that He would realize that dream.

Our attempt at IVF yielded only three little embryos, and two were transferred. Our two-week wait ended the day after Christmas when we learned we were, shockingly and amazingly, pregnant. Our elation quickly faded at our second blood test…the baby’s HCG numbers were not doubling as they should. Follow up monitoring indicated a new concern every week, and at the 8 week ultrasound we learned our miracle baby’s heart had stopped beating. We had experienced a missed miscarriage- my body did not recognize the baby's death. We were devastated, as well as physically and emotionally exhausted. I had many conversations with God – I drew comfort from knowing that He had our little baby and could take my pain and outbursts of anger, even though I knew I didn’t really have a right to be angry. Something that helped was remembering the Lord's Prayer - it says "give us this day our daily bread," meaning that God doesn't give us bread (to me, the ability to handle my life and our infertility) for a week or for a month, but each day. So every day I reminded myself God was walking with us in our pain and even in our doubt.

We planned to transfer our one remaining frozen embryo two cycles after the D&C, but my period had not yet returned several months later. I left a message with the nurse at the clinic to call me to discuss how my hormones might still be unbalanced. After experiencing an upset stomach at work, my husband suggested I take a pregnancy test, to my great irritation – I thought he was joking. Only to spite him I took a test about 5 minutes before our small group arrived for a Passover dinner that we were hosting. It took a few minute of staring at the test, to realize it was positive. I remember kneeling right where I stood and thanking the Lord, but still not believing that a second miracle was occurring. The following day we learned we were 6 weeks pregnant.

A month later, on my way out the door for work, I felt something strange. I began to bleed profusely, for hours. In tears I called my husband and our parents to tell them we were losing the baby – a second time. Seven hours later in the emergency room we finally had our ultrasound and I could not even look at the monitor. But the baby’s heart was still beating. I had experienced a sub-chorionic hemorrhage, a threatened miscarriage, and only time would tell if we would lose the pregnancy. I bled for 6 weeks and then all of a sudden it stopped. Months later we delivered our little son, a miracle. He is 5 months old now. God had been working though the entire journey to bring His name glory. He can do the impossible.

After going through infertility we know that even in hard times we should take nothing for granted. Many people walk this journey, suffering in silence, and we remain deeply indebted to Wendi, our family and close friends who knew for their prayers, support and encouragement even in our darkest hour. Thank you for reminding us that we were loved and we were never alone.

(Please note that all parts of this article are the opinion of the guest writer and not necessarily viewpoints that I personally share)

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