Infertile Mertle

Posted by  | Thursday, April 10, 2008  at 9:00 AM  
At some point in high school I started to believe again, as I did when I was younger, that you got pregnant by kissing a boy. I thought this because everyone was getting pregnant. My mother told me that she got pregnant the first month she tried with both me and my sister. Due to all of this information, and of course the bible, I kept my virtue to myself until marriage because I was NOT ready to be a mom. I knew that I wanted kids and always answered the question of, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” with “A wife and a mother”. Obviously marriage came easy for me; it was the mother part that took a little more work.
My husband and I decided to get off of birth control after Rusty took an Ethics class at the seminary. (Whole other topic) I was thrilled and terrified by the decision, but ultimately got on board and began to prepare for pregnancy and motherhood. The first few months past without any real emotional trauma, it was the few after that that got me a little concerned. I was 20 years old, I couldn’t possibly be infertile, why wasn’t I pregnant yet? My struggle with fertility was a short one compared to some, but it felt like a lifetime to me. After two years of trying and crying I am now 37 weeks pregnant with a little boy that will join our family any day.

I will jump ahead to the one year mark of trying. This is when a doctor will take you seriously in your struggle to get pregnant. I had finally invested in a Clearblue Easy Fertility monitor that showed me that I wasn’t ovulating at all. After a year of trying I finally realized that no eggs were being released to be fertilized. I always knew that my periods were CRAZY, I just didn’t realize that this was why. When I went to the doctor they ran all the blood tests to confirm that I was in fact not doing my part required for baby making. I started on a drug called Clomid, which started the ovulation for the first time in who knows how long. I used this for 6 months with no avail. After 6 months they had me stop taking it because it can actually start thinning out your uterus’ lining after prolonged use. I was unwilling to do any of the other fertility treatments because of more ethical issues so the doctors told me to come back in another 6 months and we could try it again. They told me not to expect to get pregnant without the clomid because my body just wasn’t releasing the hormones necessary for ovulation. I was crushed.
At this point in my struggle it really felt like everyone I knew was pregnant. Most of them had gotten pregnant on birth control, or as soon as they started trying. I reached the point where I couldn’t go to baby showers without crying my eyes out. I couldn’t go to women’s get-togethers because all that they talked about was their kids and how fulfilling it is to be a mother. I wanted so badly to be a mother that being around mothers made my insides throb. I would stand in the shower and push my stomach out to make it look as pregnant as I could, and then I would cry. I cried a lot during these years. I discovered the dollar store’s pregnancy tests and took one every month. I would make myself have pregnancy symptoms of nausea and headaches before my period would come; I was convinced every month that I was finally pregnant. I stopped telling my husband that I was taking the pregnancy tests because he just seemed mad that I would keep hoping. One Sunday in church my girlfriend pulled me into the back of the church to tell me that she was pregnant. She apologized and cried while telling me that she was expecting another child. I wanted to throw up. I had reached the point of being so pathetic that people apologized for their news of being pregnant. I both resented her sensitivity and appreciated not finding out in the public announcement. That same day a woman at my church, who I’d never had a real conversation with, approached me about my fertility struggles. Her name is Laura; she does a lot of homeopathic remedies and alternative medicine. She said that if I was willing, that she would work with me until I got that baby I desired so much. I figured that since I was off the Clomid train for another few months I might as well give this a try. Our first visit took hours. She found out that I had a lot more health issues to work through than just the female reproductive stuff. So we started there. At the same time as treating me for the fertility, I started to get healthy. I went on a strict diet, called the Maker’s Diet, for several weeks of detox, I decreased the amount of processed food that I was eating, and I did treatments from Laura. Strangely enough my periods began to be regular. About five months into this new treatment plan I finally got a positive pregnancy test! I wasn’t even late yet, I just was regularly taking tests on the day that I expected my period (don’t do that by the way, it’s depressing). But, I was ecstatic. I got a gift bag together with a onesie, a pacifier, and the pregnancy test. I left it on our doorstep for when my husband got home. He came bursting through the door and said, “ARE YOU SERIOUS!” It was wonderful, it was finally our turn. Two years of trying and we were finally going to be parents. 37 weeks later, here I am, still crying occasionally when I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror. I don’t want to wake up from this dream, I’m so afraid it’s a dream.
I don’t want to just leave it at that, I want to give a few words of advice to those of you struggling with this issue. First, I want you to hear and believe me when I say this, God is in control. I heard that a hundred times and wanted to slap everyone who said it to me, but looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. I needed this time to get my marriage straight. I needed that time to get my health on track. I needed that time to get my relationship with the Lord closer to where it should be (still not there). But really, God knows what He’s doing. Second, pray for the child that you are longing for. I didn’t pray for my son until I got him, what wasted time! I had two years to bathe my son with prayer before he was even conceived, but instead I cried out in anger and resented the children that my friends were being blessed with. Third, allow yourself to hurt. There is nothing wrong with the sadness that you feel when you think about your empty womb. Don’t let people make you feel like you haven’t struggled long enough to be sad, or that you are somehow less holy for hurting. Fourth, spend the time becoming the parents you hope to be. Solidify your marriage, knowing that a healthy marriage is the best gift that you can give a child. Establish time with God so that it’s already a habit.
Finally, I want to give some words of advice to those of you who know someone struggling with fertility. First, if you didn’t struggle yourself, don’t give her advice. I know this seems ridiculous, but you just aren’t the person she needs counsel from. Listen and love your friend, but keep your mouth shut. No matter how sanctified your friend is, she just needs you to let her cry and be mad. Let the Holy Spirit and the other infertile women be her counsel. Second, don’t let your feelings be hurt if your friend can’t seem happy for you if you are pregnant or have children. Believe it or not we do know that you didn’t take our babies. We are sad not because you are pregnant, but because we aren’t. We at the same time feel thrilled for you, and crushed for ourselves. Because we are selfish humans the sadness for ourselves often takes the front seat. Third, be sensitive to what you say about being a mother. Be sensitive to the fact that we’re not all mothers. Save your talks about potty-training for when you are in a group of all mothers. Sometimes you don’t even know that there is someone around who is having to fake the smile while bleeding inside from the sadness of not having a child who’s still in diapers at the age of five. Also, be really careful about complaining. One of my best friends came back from her first ultrasound and said, “Thank goodness it’s not twins!” This comment is not a big deal, she would have been fine if it had been twins or quintuplets, she just wasn’t thinking. Hearing women complain about being too hot, being due in summer instead of spring, or having a boy instead of a girl, it made me crazy. I would have killed to be pregnant with twins, a boy or a girl, on the sun in a snowsuit… anything. Lastly, praise the Lord that you didn’t have to go through this struggle. Thank God for your children and your healthy womb. Remind yourself that there are tons of families out there who will never get to experience parenthood. Hug your baby and tell them that you know what a miracle they are. If you think about it, the fact that anyone gets pregnant, grows a child, and then births them successfully is pretty amazing. God is good, children are a blessing, live like both of these are incontrovertible facts.


Hollie said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I appreciate the advice that you gave concerning how to help mothers who are struggling with infertility. I'm so happy for you--you are beautiful pregnant!!!

Shannon said...

Thank you so much for sharing; your post was so well-written. Congratulations on your soon-to-be-born little one! I pray you will have an amazing delivery, and a happy, healthy baby!

Hollie said...

Comment emailed to me from a friend named Courtney. She wanted me to post this comment.

The Lord just used you to encourage me more than you know! I just had an ultrasound done yesterday on my ovaries because I too have been struggling to get pregnant. I found out that I essentially have a "dud" ovary on my left side and my right one does not regularly release eggs. I was just prescribed Clomid to hopefully trigger ovulation. Please pray for me because the ultrasound showed I WILL ovulate in the next week! Praise the Lord! Thank you for your honesty, I have struggled not having anyone to relate to or understand what I am going through. Congratulations on your PRECIOUS baby boy! Our Father is so faithful, even when we are faithless! -Courtney

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