Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Struggle with Infertility--Part 3

038.JPGTo a stranger, my family appears perfect: Daddy, Mommy, 3.5yr old Princess, and Newborn Prince. We even have a 13 yr old dog, and a 12 yr old cat.  In fact, people have said that to me since I gave birth to our son: "Now your family is perfect". 

They mean well. They aren't trying to offend, but every time I hear that, I cringe inside, bite my tongue, smile, and say, "Thank You". All I really want to do is yell, "MY FAMILY WAS PERFECT 5 YEARS AGO!!!!" 

Before you nod your head, and whisper, "hormones", let me explain myself. You see, I suffer from infertility (IF). Yes, you read that right: I am INFERTILE!! Yes, we are blessed with 2 beautiful children here on earth that are 100% ours. I carried my babies in my womb, a little piece of me, and a little piece of my husband, combined perfectly, by God, into the unique little people they are. I will, however, be forever haunted by my diagnosis. 

I have an official diagnosis of Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). This basically means my ovaries mature eggs correctly, but 'forget' to release the eggs (I don't ovulate), and the result is that each egg, trapped in my ovaries, turns into a cyst. This causes my testosterone to rise, my progesterone to fall, and all sorts of lovely hormonal imbalances to occur. I also have insulin resistance caused by the hormone imbalances. Basically, my body produces enough insulin, but it doesn't absorb enough to keep my blood sugar within a "normal" range. because of this, I have type 2 diabetes also.

We began trying to start our family in August 2006, and found out we were pregnant in November 2006. We lost that baby on Thanksgiving Day. It took us trying another year until we were transferred to an OB/GYN specializing in IF. After all of the testing, and blood work, I was given my diagnosis of PCOS. We were assured by the Dr that most women respond to medication and that it was possible for me to have a baby. 

I began taking Clomid, a drug that was supposed to help me ovulate. I was given the smallest dose to begin in October 2007, but it did not work. So, in November, the dose was doubled, and it worked: I ovulated. We kept trying, and I kept taking Clomid. Nothing. I began losing hope. I felt broken. I told my husband he needed to leave me, and find someone who could give him a family. You see, Clomid is a nasty little drug that messes with your hormones. I ran the spectrum of anger, depression, optimism, and hopefulness while on it. I am ashamed to admit that I don't remember much of the 8 months I was on Clomid. It is all a hormonal, fuzzy blur to me. My husband will be quick to point out that he still loved me, even though I was acting like a foolish crazy lady...ha-ha! 

In June 2008 we decided to take the next step medically. Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). This is a procedure where the Dr takes sperm, washes it, and inserts it directly into the uterus where, hopefully, a mature egg is waiting for it. This procedure failed. We tried again in July... also a failure. 

The Dr told us that the next step would be In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Without this procedure, the odds were not in our favor for us to have biological children. We were devastated. We could barely afford what we had done so far, there was no way we would be able to afford IVF! 

It was around this time that we had began going to church. We had both been raised in church, but had not been in church regularly since becoming adults, and hadn't been at all since we had been married. I truly believe that we went through IF to bring us back to God.  I believe that, because we found 'our' church in June of 2008, and became members in August 2008. We finished membership classes the week we found out we were pregnant. 

I know our daughter was a true miracle, because she was conceived without any external medical assistance. We had chosen not to proceed any further in our IF treatments. We had started discussing adoption. And, I had finally given everything to God. All along I had been praying and saying I had faith. I still wanted to be in charge of my IF though. I wanted that control, I wanted to be the one to decide when it would happen. It was only after I finally, completely, and wholeheartedly gave it to God that HE allowed us to conceive. I say we 'gave up' and people perceive that as we had lost hope, but truly, I mean I gave my IF up TO GOD! I clung to the verse in Psalms: He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother to children. Praise ye the Lord. (Ps 113:9) 

We have since been blessed with our son. After trying for 18 months with no medical intervention, we conceived our 3rd baby, but that pregnancy also ended in a loss. After that, I decided that we were done trying. God had other plans, and in December 2011, we found out we were expecting again! Our Little Man was born in August 2012, and he is such a blessing! God provided us with the desires of our heart X 2. 

Just because I have my babies, doesn't mean I still don't have the infertile mindset. I still struggle with hearing about someone else being pregnant. Don't get me wrong, I view all babies as blessings, and I rejoice with each announcement, but a little part inside of me still has that feeling of sadness. Sounds silly, especially because I read the last announcement while I was feeding our son. Here I was with the greatest gift, IN MY ARMS, and I still had that twinge of JEALOUSY!! How silly is that? I also have a feeling of guilt. Here I am with 2 babies, and some of my 'infertile sisters' have none! 

It is very difficult, even for me, to know what to say, and how to say it. I will say this though: Sometimes what means the most is a hug, and a sincere, "I've been praying for you". Well meaning advice is usually not appreciated. I have heard, "Just relax, and it will happen", and "Maybe God has other plans", and "Just adopt, then you will get pregnant! I know someones cousins neighbor who had that happen to them!" so many times! These things do not help! When you are going through the journey, it isn't helpful to hear those things from people who just don't get it! I hope that I can be an encouragement to others going through the IF journey, and that God will allow what I say, and my actions to be a comfort to those going through this struggle. May God give all who struggle the desires of their hearts: For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of Him (1Sam 1:27)

Written by: Rebecca Miller Long

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Struggle with Infertility--Part 2

undefinedMy husband and I had been married for seven years, and we had been praying for a baby. After several trips to the doctor’s, we were referred to see a specialist.   After several different tests were done, the doctor called and wanted to see us at his office.  During the ride in the car on the way over we were both very quiet – praying for a miracle.  Before going in to see the doctor, we prayed together that we would be willing to accept whatever the results would be.  

The doctor that we saw was an older gentleman and was very kind. He also claimed to be a Christian.  He said, “After looking over the test results it looks as if you will never be able to have a child of our own. If you were my children, I would advise you to adopt a child.” 

Our hearts were broken.  We walked out his office, went to our car, and cried.  We cried for the loss of a hope of having a baby of our own.  I felt as if we were being punished by God. I can say that if ever there was a time I felt like I was in the depths of despair, it was then.   

I began to question God foolishly, “Why us Lord?” 

In the days and weeks that followed, every time I would see a baby or hear of someone else having a baby I would instantly begin to cry.  I must have driven my husband crazy. There were several times when I would be out shopping and I would see a young child or a pregnant mother and I would have to walk away with tears rolling down my face.  It seemed to me at this time that everyone that I knew was having a baby.  My heart ached for a baby.  

One day after reading Psalms 37:4, “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of  thine heart.”  I knew that my desire was for a baby, and it seemed as if God had said no, yet my heart still had a strong desire.  It was then that I prayed, “God if it is not your will for us to have a child please change my desire.”
I prayed this prayer every time I felt overwhelmed or defeated.  I was doing my best to accept the fact that, for whatever reason, God in Heaven had said, “No”. I would sometimes think of the verse in Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.”  

I think one of the things that surprises me the most is how unkind people can be.  Many time people speak without thinking of how their words can really hurt someone.  Well-meaning people say really stupid things.  It was during this time that I had a pastor’s wife say to me, “When are you going to get right with God and give your husband a child?” When this was said to me, I could hardly contain myself. I excused myself and went outside to cry. I begin to pray again, “Lord if it is not your will, please change my desires.” I just hurt all over.  When my husband came and found me. I remember I told him what was said, then we both began to cry. I know it was just one person that said that to us but we felt so alone.  It seemed to us that everyone we know had children. What was wrong with us?!   

In the days and weeks that followed, I really had to fight against becoming bitter: bitter towards God, and bitter towards others who had children. It seemed that when I would be feeling sorry for myself these hurtful words would be ringing in my ears.

Just thinking about that time in our life makes me want to cry again. I think this woman thought that because I worked I had chosen a career over a baby. 

I had a couple of different couples say to us that until we had children our marriage was not blessed of God. I cannot count how many people have asked, “Why don’t you have a child? Are you the problem or is it your husband?” 

How does one respond to mean and cruel statements that people make? I tried to respond with grace.  I would try to put a smile on my face and find a nice way to tell them it was none of their business. 

It is only natural to want to talk about babies and motherhood. However sometimes the best thing you can do is keep your mouth shut, and say a prayer for those who do not have children. 

The most encouraging words I heard while going through this time in my life were, “I am praying for you.”  I remember there was a woman in our church who, every time she saw me,  would say, “I’m still praying for you and your husband to have a baby.”  Just knowing that she was praying for me lifted my spirits!  I knew my friends were praying for me.

The author of this blog post wishes to remain anonymous. 

The Lord has blessed them with a daughter, but not in the way they would have imagined. Instead, He allowed them to adopt a beautiful and precious little girl. Please be in prayer for their family as they continue to serve God.