Monday, March 24, 2014

To those in the thick of it

I found myself searching my blog for something the other night and couldn't help but skim several old posts. Wow. I came away with one feeling. And it wasn't what you may be thinking, that so many amazing things were on the horizon for me back then. Just hold on! Good things are coming your way!

No, it wasn't that at all. It was something quite different. My thoughts were more along the lines of, Woah, girl. This is some serious stuff you're dealing with. Emotionally, spiritually, physically. My head is spinning just thinking about it. I give you loads of credit. I don't think I have it in me.

Of course, funny thing, it was me. But I can't even imagine being that person now. And it's not because I'm a mom. Heck no. It's because she was strong and driven and motivated and tireless (even though I was tired all the time, at least according to my old posts).

Cuddling with my baby, circa 2009

Now I think I've got it bad if I haven't gotten out of the house in a few days or if I don't get to sit down by lunch time. Those things have got nothing on the feeling of your heart being crushed right inside of you as you mourn the loss of babies who have never existed, all while trying to keep straight your myriad medical problems as you recover from a surgery or two or three.

My mom and I, venturing out for the first time after my third surgery, annoying abdominal-wrap-thing under my dress.
Infertility is some serious business.

I thought it was fresh in my memory. I could have sworn it was never far off, that it was like a muscle memory my body will always know. It's been four years this month since I conceived Luke, so secondary infertility (and now pregnancy loss) has brought up similar, albeit much more muted, emotions.

But I was wrong. Yes, the pain is memorable - that feeling like I couldn't breathe, the jealousy that I could feel eating away at my insides, the despair that I wondered if anyone could ever pull me out of. That, I remember.

It's the day-to-day effort, the sheer strength that was required, that I have forgotten. What went into taking that next breath, driving to doctor appointment after doctor appointment, keeping track of all my medications and levels and what needs to be tested next, charting, temping, researching adoption agencies, avoiding baby showers, attending baby showers, crying in bed, attempting to make sense of it all every second of every day, begging God endlessly to have mercy on me and make my husband a father; that's the stuff that I don't find myself thinking about anymore.

Those parts of infertility are like the labor - painful and necessary to reach the desired end (whether it be children or health, or both) but so overwhelming that my mind neatly tucks it away in its far recesses, like old blog posts that are forgotten until you search for them.

Some much-needed respite from the throes of infertility, with those who understood

And that's why I must say this: Infertility is incredibly hard. To those who are in the thick of it right now, I'm not going to tell you it'll all be okay because you very well know that no one can tell you that. But I can tell you that you are courageous simply because you are hanging on and living and breathing through every single moment, whether it hurts or not. And some of you, unlike myself on most days back then, are even managing to be joyful and hopeful through it all. And living your lives to the fullest. But if you struggle to do that too, don't worry. You are doing the very best you can. You are fighting the good fight for your family, no matter how that family ends up looking. I have to believe you are pleasing God.

Maybe you won't even see this (I know I didn't read blogs filled with smiling toddlers when I was suffering through infertility). And maybe you don't care what this mom-of-three who has "crossed over" has to say about it in the first place. But I know you. I was you. And I know you could probably use a pick-me-up. So please accept this virtual hug and high-five. Keep carrying that cross and inspiring those around you (because you are, even though you probably have no idea). I'm praying for you always.


  1. Thanks for this post, and for all of your posts. My name is Emily, and I am a mother of two babies in heaven, struggling with repeated pregnancy loss and praying to become a mother here on Earth. I am also a devout Catholic clinging to faith in this difficult time. I have never commented on your blog before, but your words have inspired me many times over this last year +. In fact, I started a blog to share with others because the blogs of faithful women were so therapeutic to me during my lowest times. I was so sorry to hear about your loss, but so encouraged by your strength and perseverance. You are doing God's work! Thanks very much for the comfort you provide, and may God bless you. By the way, your children are GORGEOUS :)

  2. This may sound weird as someone who never suffered with infertility, but it was the infertile Catholic bloggers who affected me to my soul. I thought of all of you as so holy, so faithful. You didn't go the route of IVF and ART and any immoral procedures that the world just expects of you (how foolish! You want a baby, right??), and you also risked being judged by devout Catholics who secretly wondered why you never had children (are they contracepting??). It was a lonely place to be, and you all carried this cross with such honesty, such humility, such grace (even in the dark moments). I was completely blown away. I was in awe (still am). And my whole "ministry" of my blog would not have happened without the inspiration and encouragement from you holy women. I will be forever grateful. So, you are right that women who suffer from this cross have no idea how this witness affects the people around them, and how many graces are being won for the salvation of souls and the world. xoxoxoxo

    1. Leila, thank you! What a beautiful and encouraging post! You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers! XO

  3. Reading that paragraph where you end it with, "that's the stuff that I don't find myself thinking about anymore," was like a breath of fresh air to me. Hearing you say those thoughts (the haunting/soul-shattering/despairing ones) are more or less gone from your life now...praise God! I know he will bring redemption, although it couldn't seem father away (I just got back from an U/S post HCG trigger shot...2 HUGE LUF'S!) Thanks for allowing your story to be visible to those of us in the thick of it. Seeing you and others whom God has brought concrete redemption to is so good for my heart and soul and I am sure many others. Can you imagine if we were all left IF and despairing for a lifetime? I shutter at the thought. You're story is vital to the IF blog world and I thank you for sharing it and being so open about your thoughts and feelings on the long journey you've been on to this point. God bless!

  4. Oh yes. I completely agree! But it learning to suffer well that will help your future.

  5. Thank you for the virtual hug, one (((hug))) right back at you! This almost brought me to tears, which is saying a lot because I don't cry very often. It is so tough to deal with infertility and miscarriage, the unknowns are what's most haunting. I love reading your blog and the other mamas who have crossed over because it gives me hope that it is possible to get out of this. Like you said whether it's children or health or both (hopefully) there is an end goal. Please continue to pray for us as we pray for y'all.

  6. Well said! So much of this I can relate too!

  7. Thank you, Karey. So well said. And such a hopeful reflection. It's good to know that all the day-to-day suffering will long be forgotten once babies come along. And it's good to know I'll still have my blog around to remind me of my current pain, so I can continue to be compassionate to others still going through it. Hugs!

  8. Infertility isn't even my struggle, but I found lots of inspiration in this for my own struggles. Thank you.

  9. Thank you so much for this. Sometimes it feels like no one understands what I am going through (mom, sister, friends, sometimes even my husband), so it's comforting to hear that someone really does know what it's like and has come through it amazingly well. And thank you for praying for those of us still struggling.

  10. Thank you for this validation. 4.5 years and counting, not sure if we can adopt, it's still soooooooo hard. Trying to keep smiling. BTW, you look super cute post surgery in your dress.

  11. Hello, thanks so much for this post. I found you through another blog, and this was exactly what I needed to hear on that day. You've inspired me to finally start sharing my journey. There are a lot of NaPro gals out there, and more stories need to be shared. Thanks for giving me the courage to share my journey and for sharing yours.

  12. I just stumbled across your blog, and wanted to say how sorry I am about your loss. When I started reading your recent posts, I cried. I also found out I was pregnant on Thanksgiving day. We had been trying for 9 months, and I was starting to think baby # 4 was never going to happen. But then I was pregnant, and we were soooo unbelievably happy. I seen the baby on ultrasound at 6 weeks and then again at almost 10 weeks. Each time I seen a tiny little heartbeat pounding away. At 13 weeks 5 days, I went into for a routine check-up. They couldn't find the heartbeat with the doppler, so they took me back for an ultrasound. My baby died at 12 weeks 5 days - exactly one week before. I was devastated. I am still devastated. I am so sad that I'll never hold my baby in my arms.

    I hope you are doing well, and are recovering from the physical and emotional turmoil. Take care...

  13. I haven't been reading blogs much lately so I've been catching up on yours. I am a 1976 kid and here it seems that all the people with kids Jackson's age are younger than Charlie and me. By 8 or 9 years or so. We didn't get married until I was 27 and he was 29, and he wanted to wait 5 years to start trying. I convinced him to compromise at 4 years and then it took almost 4 years to adopt Jackson. At 37, with only one child I feel like I'm behind in child-rearing and parenting. I feel like I should be where you are, with three kids. We want another child, but we're trying to wait until Jackson is paid-off (that sounds really bad, doesn't it, but his adoption was way more than we expected.) Anyway, all that to say that I understand what you mean! Where are all the people from our generation???

  14. Your posts often bring me to tears. This one was so beautiful, and I really related to "You were real." I find them all to be therapeutic. Thank you for writing!

  15. Hello,
    I am a psychologist and a blogger ( I am currently conducting a survey of bloggers who post about pregnancy, fertility, adoption, pregnancy loss, and parenting. I would like to extend an invitation for you to complete the brief survey found here:
    (I am very sorry to leave this in a comment like a spammer!)
    Thank you so much!
    Dr. Grumbles

  16. Missed reading your posts. I hope everything is ok.