Pictures Speak a Thousand Words

Tracie’s Story

Sometimes pictures speak a thousand words..

Check out more of her story:

Breathe. Smile. Congratulate.

My next guest have taught me to watch my words… How many times have I told moms “You should have another!”, ” When will you try again?” I have said these things all in good faith but for some women these things said cause pain and hurt more than we will ever know.

Natalie’s Story

Breathe. Smile. Congratulate. Try to be as genuine as possible, as strong as possible, as excited as possible and then when alone, cry. For those that don’t struggle with fertility, where they can “accidentally” get pregnant, or get pregnant every time they plan it, it’s hard for them to understand the anguish of wanting a child, but not being able to make one, no matter how hard one tries. Infertility is different than being jealous of someone’s job promotion, or their beautiful house. It’s something that no matter how hard I work, no matter how well I try, it just won’t happen. That thought, that reality is crushing. I’ve been told numerous times to “keep trying”, “don’t give up”, and “keep hoping”. I know these are well wishes, said in an awkward situation as I stare with envy and tears lining my eyes at their pregnant figure, or their squishy newborn nursing at the breast. And I, for a moment, for a heartbeat, do continue to hope, to wish, to desire for a child. And that’s the worst part. Where logic, science and the past 2 years of trying tell me, it’s not going to happen, the quiet, resilient part of me is still hoping it will. Month after month, when I fail to bleed, I let myself think, well, maybe this is finally it. Oh yes, that headache I had, or that unexplained food craving. I must be pregnant. And I’ll test. And it will be negative. But for those 3 minutes of waiting, I feel so hopeful, that this time, this time my body will finally grace me with what I desire most…another child.
Wait. I have a child. So why am I complaining? Because infertility isn’t just about those that can’t have any biloigcal children. Infertility is not being able to give my son a sibling. Not being able to fill the void in my heart that only babies can fill. I love my son, without limits. He is my everything. I’m not one of those parents who ever complains about him being difficult or how I just need a “break”. In fact, I’ve never left him other than when I have to work. I haven’t been on a date with my husband since before my son was born. I don’t feel the need to. I’m too busy memorizing the way the silk of his curly long hair feels on my face when he snuggles with me. I’m busy photographing every messy face and art project. I’m busy looking at him at 2 and 29 and 86 and 41 and 17. I see his whole life, who he will be and who he will love and how he will change the world. In every moment I look at him, because I love him beyond description. But that doesn’t take away the heart ache, the emptiness, the longing, the hurt of wanting another baby. And actually, I want more than another. I want 3 or 4 more babies. That’s my desire. A large family that borders on crazy because 6 people under one roof is a lot of work and a lot of fun, and a lot of love. People will say I should be happy with what I have. And I am. But it doesn’t take away the pain of a dying dream. It doesn’t lessen the sting of wanting what I can’t have…while I watch others around me having their 3rd, 4thor 5th child. It makes me want to scream out “WHY CAN’T THAT BE MY LIFE?” And then in the middle of feeling like I’m breaking, my son will come up and wrap his delicious chubby toddler arms around me and breathe his milky breath on my face and say “Oh Mama” and I’m brought back to the present.

People say shitty things. When faced with a tough situation, what can one offer but the standard fare of, “If it’s meant to be, it will happen”. “The timing isn’t right, but it will be soon”. “You should just be grateful for what you do have”. And the ones that make me the most upset are the words spoken with religious authority, such as “God only gives you what you can handle”, “It must not be in God’s plans for you” and “God doesn’t make mistakes”. I don’t believe in any of those things. I see babies that are born to mothers and fathers that don’t want them, that are burdened by the idea of another child. I see children born to drug users and children that are abused. So why can’t I, on my terms, have a child when I desire one? Why was my first child born at an inopportune time? Because these are the things divined by a God that lets children be born into hate filled homes, or in poverty where running water doesn’t exist, but I can’t have more easily(or maybe even ever) and I’m supposed to find comfort in this “plan”? I do not mean to dismiss those that find comfort in statements like that, or who are religious. I just feel that instead of using your God, or your blanket cover statements, just tell the person who is struggling with infertility, with great sincerity, “I’m sorry, this must be really hard for you. I can’t imagine how that must make you feel.” But I think one of the worst parts of being infertile, is watching people try to hide their fertility from me. I have friends who wait until they can no longer physically hide their new life growing inside them. With remorse and tears, they explain that they know how much I want a baby and they didn’t want to hurt my feelings. It’s a very bittersweet when this happens. I understand the desire to protect my tender heart, but fearing telling me, makes me feel horrible.
Infertility makes it so I can’t look at my son’s baby pictures with joy. It’s bittersweet. I may never have another baby again. I don’t look forward to his “milestones” because to me, it’s a marking of time gone of his childhood, just a reminder that his time being small is fleeting and that I may never again enjoy those things with another child. I think about the fun I had, the frustrations I had, the love I had growing up with a brother. I want that for my son. For him to be challenged and mad and best friends and worst enemies with his brother(s) or sisters(s). I ache for that for him, for me, for my husband. I want to go to bed at night, tired but with a full house of family. I don’t feel complete. I don’t get to choose when I get pregnant again. I don’t get to choose when I’m done. I’m at the mercy of my body or fate or God or whatever label you apply. I don’t get to choose and I’m not okay with it. I try to ground myself in what good I do have. In the way my son’s curly hair blows in the wind, the sound of his laughter, the way the split in his front teeth look just like my dad’s…all the things that just make him timeless and precious to me. But it’s somehow not enough. And I feel horrible for saying that. I have so much love and I ache to feel a baby inside me, growing and evolving into a spirit, an essence, a life force. To birth that baby and hold him or her to my breast and looking at them for the first time, to fall in endless love with the person I grew.

But these thoughts and more are all the things I’m not allowed to talk about. People ask me all the time “Is it time for another one?” and “Are you trying for another baby” or “You should really give that boy a sibling”. I could cry, I could scream, I could fake a smile, or I can tell the truth. None of the options are appealing, but when I tell the truth, “We’ve been trying for a long time, it’s not working”, it makes people uncomfortable. They will ask or think about what’s wrong with you, or your husband. They’ll offer advice like, “Maybe if you lose some weight” or “My girlfriend went through the EXACT same thing” and you have to endure their well-meaning but ill-gotten words. Then you get the label of “having trouble” and people will start to not want to tell you about their pregnancies or hesitate to tell you to try and make it easier. There isn’t anything easy about this. But talking about it openly, it the first step to making it at least tolerable.

So I’m going to go “snug” my baby, as he likes to call snuggling. I’m going to memorize the curve of his nose and marvel over his sweet smile, as I daydream about the man I’m raising. He is more wonderful that sunshine, and it’s my hope that he grows up knowing how very loved and very wanted he is and how I couldn’t have dreamed a better son. And I will tell my body to accept the love I have for her, that she was fertile once before and we can do it again. And maybe with some luck and some baby dust, we will have another love or loves growing someday.

 

Learn more about Infertility here

Hope

When it came to having my boys I never realized how blessed I was… Me living in my very naive world truly thought when you get married you have kids…. I thought getting pregnant was as simple as it sounded. Cadden  was conceived very fast and Lyam after even suffering from an ectopic pregnancy and loosing a tube was conceived right in that same months time.  Yet for 1 in 8 couples is not that easy to conceive those couples are dealing with infertility. Dealing with sounds so shallow as if I had a band aid to put on the problem it would be fixed. Yet to say suffering a fellow mom pointed out that suffering may not be the correct word after she shared she has went thru 13 pregnancies.  Her words:

I could not put a word to those 4+ years of hell if I tried. I think the only reason I came through alive was believing in the HOPE that it would all be worth it. ……….”   Tracie.

This week I will be sharing the stories of moms and families (that I know) that infertility has affected. All in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week.

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Josie’s Story

All I’ve ever wanted to be was a Mom. I babysat, I was a nanny, I worked with preschoolers, I loved it all. I had no idea that my dream would be so hard to turn into a reality.

I met my husband in the fall of 2001, and he had the most adorable toddler I had ever seen. One of the things that attracted me to him was the fact that he was such a great Dad. It was evident how much he loved his son, he did everything with him. It took no time at all to fall in love with both of them.

We got married on April 22, 2006 and we couldn’t wait to get started on building our family. We were young, I was only 26, he was 30, but it just wasn’t happening. I worked up the courage to discuss my concerns with my OB/GYN and she agreed there were some things worth looking in to. It started with some blood work, an ultrasound, and some clomid. She ordered a semen analysis for my husband. It only took 2 rounds of clomid for her to tell me that she thought we should see a Reproductive Endocrinologist. We went straight to the doctor she recommended, he had an opening that was just a few weeks out.
The day came and I was a mess the whole drive to the appointment, I even had to stop in the bathroom before we got to the floor the RE was on because I thought I was going to throw up. He was kind and spent a lot of time going over our charts and asking us questions about everything from our family history to our sex life. It was embarrassing, but I didn’t care as long as it meant we were working toward our goal of being parents. He started us on some new drugs and we did a few cycles of Intrauterine insemination (IUI). Shockingly, the first cycle of IUI worked and we were thrilled! After all that time, we were finally going to be parents. The elation didn’t last very long, just a few short weeks after, I started bleeding and it was confirmed that I had miscarried. My sweet OB never had me wait in the waiting room with all the other pregnant women, she just let me go straight back to a room. She cried with me and held my hand. I was so sad, but something had finally worked and I wasn’t about to give up now. Back to the RE we went. We outgrew him and went to a new one. New doctor means new ideas, new procedures, new protocols. We did everything we could, until I just couldn’t do it anymore.

We kept at it a long time, and I’ve gotta say, it never ever gets easier. You learn about the nurses, the lab techs, the doctors, their families, what coffee they like, what they do in their free time. You drive to 6 am lab appointments, inject yourself with hormones regardless of where you are at the time, you fake smile through everyone else’s pregnancy announcements just trying to hold it in long enough to get out of there so you can sob. It gets harder by the day, you change course, but you never give up. You can’t, because every day you’re one day closer to your baby.

We had failed cycles, we lost babies, I stayed in bed every single year on Mothers Day and cried until I couldn’t breathe. I blamed myself for not making my husband a father again, like he deserved. My heart broke over and over again.

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Infertility changes who you are.

When we decided to stop treatments for a little bit to give me some time to get some strength back, we reevaluated what we were trying to accomplish and decided to look into adoption. I had a new fire in me and spent a lot of time researching agencies and types of adoption and trying to decide what was right for me. We talked to adoptees, birth parents, adoptive parents, and agencies and decided to move ahead with domestic infant adoption.

We were matched with an expectant mom in October of 2009 and our son was born in December of that same year. We have an open adoption with his birthparents and numerous members of his biological family and wouldn’t have it any other way. He has been the biggest blessing and we would go through every single heartbreak and failure again if it meant being his parents. It’s not how we thought we would get here, but we can’t imagine it any other way now.

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