“First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage.”
I knew this rhyme from my classy elementary days. So naturally when I met my husband this rhyme sang clear in my head. I was nervous because I wasn’t ready to be a mom just yet. I had “so much” to do still! I was 24 and somewhat naive. I was that woman who got irritated at people for asking when Justin and I were going to start a family. I told everyone I wouldn’t even consider having children until I was 30. We were going to travel the world first (with what money, I’m not sure). Plus I had my career to think about (There was no career in site… I hadn’t even completed college yet). Fast forward 2 years, I decided a career was not for me so I might as well get this mom thing going. So we began the process of not preventing pregnancy.
Fast forward one year, no pregnancy. I was 27 and felt that I was too young to have any fertility problems so I didn’t believe I needed to go to a fertility doctor. Clearly some sort of denial. Eventually my husband convinced me to start taking some tests. I did a few months on the fertility drug called clomid and went a little crazy. Admittedly I should have been on some anti-depressants prior to any of this starting, so taking hormones on top of my already altered mental state makes for a fun marriage. After a few months on clomid, no pregnancy. So both Justin and I were tested again. Nothing was found to be abnormal.
Fast forward another year. It’s 2010 – I remember this year clearly. I was deep into depression and training for a half ironman to boot. I needed to control something in my life so I chose the half ironman. Not my best decision. Throughout my training I was diagnosed with Mono and anemia. My body was fighting back my sense of control HARD. I got the flu 2 weeks before my race, but ended up finishing 70.3 miles in 7 hours and 45 minutes. Pure Hell.
Fighting depression with exercise is not something my body was into.
Late into 2010 I agreed to try one fertility treatment (IUI). Our IUI failed and we got into a HUGE fight about anything and everything. Our marriage was now in trouble. We didn’t know why we couldn’t get pregnant and we were at each other’s throat. Shortly after our failed fertility treatment I found out my cousin was pregnant. My relationship with her waned as well. People were afraid of my reaction to anything involving pregnancy which pained me then and still pains me now. In their shoes, I’m not sure how I would handle it either. I was highly reactional in an uncontrollable situation and really in a bad place emotionally. I’m not sure there was anything anyone could say to make me feel better or to lessen the blow of another pregnancy announcement. It was this year that I began taking my anti-depressants and sleep medication. Thank GOD.
The next year was 2011 – it was equally as hard. My husband and I weren’t sure our marriage would survive infertility. He was traveling a ton with his job and I was miserable at mine. We went to several different counselors that didn’t seem to help much. I started researching divorce lawyers and coming up with contingency plans for living on my own. This year was exhausting. We didn’t even talk about babies… in fact, we rarely talked at all. There was secret blame toward each other as to why our lives weren’t moving forward. In the fall of 2012 we had several conversations that went like this, “what are we going to do?”, “how are we going to survive this?”, “Is it worth saving?”. Another round of therapy sessions for us was the answer.
This therapist was a little cooky – but I clearly remember her advice, “divorce is not an option, so lets start acting like it.” Our attitudes changed from that point forward. You’d think that if such a simple phrase could have really changed our attitudes, why didn’t it happen sooner. Who knows. All I know is, we both started working harder to love each other from that point on. One evening we were having the conversation about kids… again. We went through our options again, IVF (no), Adoption (maybe). After several of these conversations well fell solidly on Adoption. For some reason we had to go through the crappy motions of infertility to finally come to this decision. It seems so ridiculous looking back at it now but I honestly think we HAD to go through that insanity to get to where our family is now.
We signed adoption papers in May of 2012 and our son was born in May of 2013. It wasn’t an easy process and I will go into that later, but I am 100% certain this little guy was meant to be our son. He has changed our lives in a way that I can’t even describe. During the adoption wait, we spent a lot of time really working on our marriage. We started dating again, and doing sweet things for each other again. We were on the same team again. We had to go through that rough patch to prove the extent that we needed each other in this life. I can only pray that we went through infertility to bring our marriage strength – which is needed as parents.
The lesson I took from this experience is that no matter the struggle, there is no room for blame. There is only room for love. So every day I focus on love and forgiveness. I don’t succeed always, I’m only human afterall. The only thing I remember in those 4 years of infertility is anger and self pity. It is really unfortunate that four years of my life were defined by such selfishness. I’m not willing to represent myself as that person any more.
Thank God I went through infertility. Without it I wouldn’t have my son, I wouldn’t have my strong marriage, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny…