5 Things 2015 Taught Me

New Years Eve has always been a day where I think back on the year I just lived – usually with a lot of happy memories. Today feels a little different. This past year has been a doozy for me. The physical and emotional pain I felt as I experienced infertility made this honestly the hardest year of my life thus far.

They said what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger, and this year is the perfect example of that for me. Although I was brought to my knees several times, I also was stretched and grew by leaps and bounds in many areas of my life. In my experience, tough times have a way of helping you learn about yourself and life in a way happy times just cannot.

With that in mind, here are five things 2015 taught me:

1. It’s better to struggle together, than alone. I’d be lying if I said it was easy to share here on my blog that we had fertility issues. It was a huge ego blow for both Luke and me to admit this to ourselves and to my readers. We consider ourselves very healthy, so to have our fertility fail us was devastating.

BUT, by sharing so openly, we were surprised and comforted by the number of you who reached out to say “me too.” Hearing fertility stories from so many women and men I know made us feel less alone. It also made me realize that this wasn’t something I needed to feel shame or embarrassment about. So, thank you!

2. It’s possible to be happy for others, while sad for yourself. When you’re dealing with infertility, each new pregnancy announcement can feel like a stab in the heart. One skill I perfected this year was the ability to compartmentalize my hurt from the joy I felt for my friends and family for their good news. It wasn’t an act or show either. I really learned how to feel both emotions at the same time in an honest way. I guess you can say I learned to see outside myself more.

3. The best way to get support, is to ask for it. It’s difficult for me to let people help me or pick up my slack when I’m down, but this year taught me that it’s okay to ask for the support I needed. Whether that be emotional support, childcare or even just a hug. Our friends and family showed up in big and little ways once I got over myself and started asking for help in specific, tangible ways. They were there all along, but needed guidance on how best to support us.

4. I am stronger than I realized. I used to think I wasn’t strong enough to deal with life’s struggles that I had seen other people go through. I thought it would break me and used to joke I would be put “in an insane asylum” if it happened to me. Then something hard DID happen to me, and I surprised myself by dealing with it in a healthy way. Sure there were times I felt broken inside, but I always picked myself back up and moved ahead. I now know I can handle much more than I thought, which makes life’s unpredictable nature less scary.

5. Hope is a powerful thing. Through all the negative pregnancy tests, doctor’s appointments, unanswered questions and physical tolls put on my body, one thing kept me going – hope. It would have been easier to stop trying and live life as a family of three, but the burning optimism in my heart kept me going through it all.

I learned many more things this year, but these five stand out. I also am holding on to the many, many wonderful moments 2015 brought me with Luke, Lila, our families and friends.

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for lifting us up this year in your words, prayers and actions. Part of me wants to say good riddance to 2015, but the other part knows this year’s struggles are part of what makes life beautiful, and hard, and a journey worth living.




No News is Not Good News – Fertility Update

I’ve been really hoping I would be able to share with you guys good news this summer regarding my fertility struggles, but it still just hasn’t happened for us. We thought that the surgery I had in April was the answer to our problems, but it’s been five cycles since surgery with no luck.

I told myself that I was going to enjoy the summer and try not to think about getting pregnant too much, but in all honesty I have not done a very good job with that. It’s literally impossible for me to stop thinking about how badly I want another baby and the cloud of infertility is weighing heavier  than ever.

Our official diagnosis is “unexplained secondary infertility” AKA “we have no clue why you can’t get pregnant again.” We’ve been through all the tests and everything comes back normal. The maddening part of this diagnosis is that treatment consists of doing nothing or doing EVERYTHING. There isn’t an effective in-between.

The emotional roller coaster of infertility is exhausting and taxing. Each month starts out with hope (doctor says there’s nothing wrong – this is our month!), then anxiety about whether or not you are timing things “right,” then frustration and worry during the TWW (two wait week) and finally overwhelming sadness, confusion and depression when it doesn’t work. Again.

I want off this roller coaster so desperately.

The hard part about having secondary infertility is that you don’t have the same help open to you if didn’t already have one child. Doctors are very hands off because they just assume you are still fertile because you’ve had one. You don’t get the same emotional support. I tried to join a local infertility support group, but was told it was insensitive for me to be a member since I already had a child. Finally there’s no way to escape the baby scene since you’re already entrenched in the mom life. It seems like all my friends are pregnant or have newborns. I am SO happy for them, but it’s also hard to see pregnant bellies on a daily basis.

I know I shouldn’t complain. Many women have it way worse. I really am so thankful to have Lila. It’s still painful though.

I’m not going to be writing here much about our treatment plan. I have been told by several people that I shouldn’t share that part of this journey because people have very strong opinions about fertility treatment. It makes me sad that there’s still shame and judgement around infertility. This is a medical issue, not a personal failing or a sign of my character. At the end of the day, we need to make decisions based on what’s best for our family and I can’t let myself be swayed by outside opinions.

Speaking of opinions…. If you want to help support me or any other friend/family member going through infertility, the best thing to do is just to check in regularly to see how things are going and offer your love, support and prayers. Let us talk about the details of our cycle or treatment (we don’t have anyone else to talk to usually and our husband’s are tapped out by this point).

Check in on big days (like a doctor’s appointment) to offer support. I have a wonderful friend who brought me flowers last month when I got another negative. She hugged me and cried with me, and she herself is pregnant. That meant the world.

Things NOT to say include:

– Just stop trying and it will happen. (The worst! That’s basically saying because I want a baby so badly I am in fact preventing myself from getting pregnant. Nope.)

– Maybe this is God’s plan for you. You should just pray more. (I pray A LOT about this and I’m pretty sure that God doesn’t want me to just give up and be miserable. I’ve asked him to remove my desire for more children if that’s his plan for me, and that desire is burning stronger than ever.)

– Just be patient and it will happen. (How do you know? Do you read the future? Have I not already been patient? So many questions with this one…)

– Have you tried XYZ? (Yes, I’ve tried it all. There is nothing you could recommend I try that I haven’t already.)

– You want one of mine? My husband literally looks at me and I get pregnant! (Congratulations.)

– Why don’t you just adopt? (There’s no “just” in adopting. It’s a very long and expensive process if you want a healthy infant (avg 2 years and $40k), and it has to be the right thing for each family.)

– Lila really could benefit from having a sibling. There’s going to be so much space between her and a sibling now. (Literally what I cry about at night. Thank you for bringing it up.)

Saying nothing at all. (If you think avoiding the topic with me will protect me, please know that is actually worse. I would rather you say all of the above to me than just pretend it’s not happening. This is consuming for me and it is a huge disconnect when you don’t acknowledge it. And please don’t hide your happy baby news from me. I appreciate you trying to protect me, but it hurts more to realize infertility is now also affecting my relationships.)

If you’ve said one of the above to me, please don’t take this blog as a dig. I know you are just doing your best and it’s hard to know what to say when you haven’t experienced something first hand. See, we’re all growing and learning together! :)

I’m sorry if this post is a bit snarky. It’s not me, it’s the infertility talking, I swear! I’m still holding out hope that soon I will have positive news to share with you and this nightmare will be over.

Until then, I’m doing my best to handle it.

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