I’ve been wanting to write this post for a long time but I was always afraid to do just that. I didn’t know what feelings I would be unearthing (btw, its lots of tears) or how all of you would react. But a big part of my change of heart was wanting to share more of myself and wanting to be less afraid of what I share. So here I go. Be gentle with my heart, friends.
My desire to write this post started out with me wanting to share with all of you my journey to become gluten free. But as I began thinking about my decision to become gluten free, I realized that my story wasn’t simply about food. It was more about my journey of infertility. And as terrifying as it is to write this post, I know I am not alone. Though often, I feel very, very alone. Infertility is not something that people talk about. I guarantee that at least one couple you know is struggling with infertility. But you might not know it. The culture of shame and pain behind infertility is what keeps most of us quiet. But we have no reason to be ashamed. One of the things that has helped me the most is wonderful, dear friends who have opened up to me to let me know that they have or are going through the beast of infertility right beside me. In case you don’t have those friends, I’ll be that friend for you. That is what made me truly decide to write this post. For all of us who feel alone. And more importantly, that is why I will hit that terrifying “publish” button.
I’ve always wanted to be a mother. Always. When I was 5 years old I would volunteer in the nursery at our church so I could hold the babies. At 10 years old I became the child that parents would bring their infant to during church so they would sleep. I was told I had “that special touch”. I would play house with friends and I would always be the mom. I helped my mom take care of the children at our at-home-daycare. When I went to college, I wanted to be a pediatrician. Later, when I changed my major to nursing, I dove headfirst into my love of motherhood – labor and delivery. All this to say that I’m what most people would call a “baby person”. I love kids. I can’t get enough of my nieces and nephews.
When I was 16, I started seeing an OBGYN to help us figure out why my periods were so irregular. They had always been. 28 days one time, 90 another. After many blood tests and ultrasounds their response was, “We have no clue. She will probably outgrow it.” But my instincts kicked in. I had a gut fear that I would have difficulty having kids when the time came.
Fast forward to 2011 when I was 25 years old and newly married. I was on the pill and we had just decided to start trying to conceive. Coincidentally, the day I went off the pill was the 1 year anniversary of my dad’s death. Man, I was a wreck that day. Anywho. After trying and trying and trying some more for 5 months, I worried that something was wrong. After all, everyone in my family got pregnant after only trying for 3 months or so. We decided that it was time for me to go to the doctor and get my lady business checked out. Just to be sure. So that’s just what I did. One cold exam table, stirrups, and a blood test later, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Woo. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it basically means that my thyroid was not functioning as it should be. Why is that a problem? Well, let’s just say that your thyroid basically runs the show. It tells your body when and how much hormones to release. And guess what! If there is one thing your body needs to have a regular period and to get pregnant, it’s hormones! My thyroid was on vacation. I didn’t have nearly as much hormones as I should. But I was relieved to have a diagnosis and felt like we were finally on our way to having children. Besides putting me on thyroid meds, my doctor refused to do anything more saying that it wasn’t technically “infertility” until we had been trying for one full year.
The following months included regular thyroid checks, medication adjustments, ovulation kits, and charting my basal body temperature. None of which helped. But in August 2012, nine months after we had begun trying and only 4 months after being diagnosed with hypothyroidism, we got our first positive pregnancy test. As you can imagine, we were thrilled. But after so many negative tests, it was hard to believe and really scary. I took another test the next day to be sure. It was positive also, but that line was fainter. I called my doctor and went in for a blood test. Two agonizing days later I got the heartbreaking phone call that told me that that we had lost our “little bug” at only 5 weeks. At that point, I knew it was coming but my heart still broke. My worst nightmare was coming true. The fear I had for years was becoming real life.
The tears pours for days and weeks. It wasn’t just the loss of our baby, it was the loss of a future we had already envisioned with our sweet little one. It was fear that we would never have children. It was the physical pain of “passing” our baby. We called and told our families to ask for prayer. They hadn’t even been aware we were trying to conceive. My mom and sister flew out to stay with us for 5 days. It was a great distraction. I always had a feeling that our sweet little bug was a boy even though we don’t know the gender. I still miss him and the life we would have had everyday.
But life continued on… Part 2 coming next week.