Monday, June 22, 2015

#MicroblogMonday: Aunt's Intuition

Yesterday, we celebrated Valex's 5th Birthday. First off, who gave him permission to keep growing?! I love each new stage, but I was looking through old pictures and I miss those boys being little babies.

Of course, I took my role as aunt seriously and spoiled him rotten. I seem to have developed two seperate birthday budgets. The first one is the presents I buy and wrap for them. I think I gave him 2 outfits and 5 shirts. Including a Superman Shirt with a cape.

The 2nd budget is the the toys that go on the cake.
Last night, my sister told me the Superman shirt was his favorite present and he couldn't wait to wear it to school (aka, daycare) today. She went on to say that I always find the coolest gifts. I told her it was my "aunt's intuition."

I had planned to get Daxsen a matching cape with shirt for his birthday in August. But last night, I felt bad that he had to wait so long. So this morning, I decided to just order it now. When its his birthday, I'll get them both a Batman shirt with cape. Call it my "aunt's guilt."


You can find more of this weeks #MicroblogMondays posts HERE.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Positive vs Negative People

Today I am feeling bitter and angry.

Last week, I had a friend leave her abusive husband. I have spent months praying for her safety. When she came home, I was overwhelmed with joy. I dove in head first and did what ever I could to help her out. Miracles pour out and things started to fall into place. (You can read more about that HERE.)

Not once, did I question the what if? I'm not even going to spell it out here, because that thought NEVER crossed my mind. I refuse to believe the worst when something amazing is happening.

So when others started to question it, I became angry. I wanted to tell them, that was none of their business. If they couldn't be happy, they could take their attitude some where else, because I wanted no part of it. I was mad because I wanted these people to be happy for her. I wanted them to surround her in love so she wouldn't question her own decision.

But I was also mad because it stirred up old feelings. When we were chosen, very few people responded in a happy "congratulations."  Instead, we were bombarded with "what if she changed her mind?"

I was so hurt that people couldn't just be happy for me, not even for a minute. But that was one of those moments when you learn your true friends. Those who were genuinely happy for us, were also the ones that were there for us later to help us pick up the pieces. Those were the ones who called and cried with me. Those are the ones that helped me realize I needed counseling.

Why is it people get to choose when they think its okay to be positive about a situation or when they can be negative about a situation? Why can't people dive in with pure joy and never question the what if's? Why would they try to tear down a good situation with their negativity?

I would never question a pregnant woman, "What if you miscarry?" Or a cancer patient, "What if you die?" So how are these situations different that they would warrant negativity instead of happiness?

I do realize that this all boils down to a person and their individual attitude towards life and there really isn't anything I can do about it except to try and educate people. But like I said, I am bitter right now and just need to vent. I'm worried that if another person tells me "I told you so," I might punch them.

Again, I am learning my true friends. Those who cried tears of joy with me last week are holding me as I cry tear of sorrow this week.

Also, I'd like to ask a favor. Please pay for my friend. Pray that God will keep her and her child safe. Pray that she will find the strength to put her and her child first and be able to cut herself off from a bad situation. Please pray for her family that they can find peace and comfort right now. Please pray for her husband. I won't lie, he's not on my list of favorite people. But, even now, God has reminded that HE is in control. God loves even him. So pray that God can soften his heart and change him. Jesus didn't come to save the sinless, he came to save the sinner.

Monday, June 8, 2015

#MicroblogMonday: Spidey Sense

My spidey sense started tingly a month ago. It started right before Mother's Day. I saw a random post on Facebook and I thought "they're pregnant." It was just a few ordinary posts, links, memes, etc. NONE of them mentioned pregnancy. But I knew better. It wasn't even a person I know well, but still, I just KNEW.

I remember the last announcement I realized, before it was made. Again, there weren't any clues, but I just KNEW.  

It made me wonder if, as an infertile, your pregnancy detection monitor becomes better fine tuned. Maybe its because we want to become pregnant so badly, that we start to notice those little signs in others. Maybe its because those announcements can be so hard on us, that we tune in early, so we can better prepare, emotionally and mentally, for the big announcement.

Today, the official announcement was made. I was right.


You can find more of this weeks #MicroblogMondays posts HERE.

Monday, May 25, 2015

#MicroblogMonday: What to say?


Some days, I stare at the screen and wonder what I should write. I have dozens of unfinished posts in draft because I can't get them to come out the right way. Others, sit on a private journal because they feel to raw to share.

But then I remember how lost I felt during our infertility struggle. How I just wanted to find people who understood my pain. I cry when I think of those who are still in the dark days of infertility. Please know you aren't alone. Some of your journeys will end with a baby. Others, will not. But hopefully, you will all find peace.


You can find more of this weeks #MicroblogMondays posts HERE.

Monday, May 18, 2015

#MicroblogMonday: Turmoil & Grief

Over the last few months, my heart has been in turmoil. Its as if all of my infertility issues have come back to haunt me. My heart has been in constant turmoil for weeks now.

I'd go back and forth. "Maybe we should try again?" "But we're happy" "I just started school." At the end of the day, the logical part of my brain would say no. But then, a day or two later, I'd find myself in tears once again.

A few weeks ago, we had a guest speaker at church. Something she said really stuck with me. She was talking about how after she found Christ, she was overcome with grief about her marriage, which had ended several years previously. (I think she said 12 years, but I can't remember for sure.) She told us how, once she found Christ, it was like she could suddenly grieve her marriage.

That was just what I needed to hear.

By the time we had decided to pull our adoption profile, we didn't go to church much. And even when we did go, our hearts weren't into it. That's not to say I didn't pray about closing our profile, because I did. We had been talking about it for months and it just reached the point where it was time to decide one way or the other. In the end, we felt ok about closing our profile and moving on.

After listening to this lady, I realized, I don't think I ever fully grieved my infertility in full. We grieved when we realized we couldn't conceive on our own, but we moved on to adoption. At that point, I still believed I would be a mother someday. After we were unchosen, we grieved, but it was over the loss of the baby girl.

I don't think I've ever fully acknowledged my infertility as a whole. At each stage, there was still some hope. Then, when we were unchosen, I was too deep into the grief of that loss, that I couldn't acknowledge the loss of my dream of motherhood as a whole.

Since realizing this, I have done much better. I still have days where it gets to me, but its seems manageable now. I think I have a better understanding of what my heart is going through and I can hopefully find peace again.

You can find more of this weeks #MicroblogMondays posts HERE.

Monday, May 11, 2015

#MicroblogMonday: Post Mother's Day


Can I just say, I think yesterday was the most peaceful Mother's Day I've ever had? As the weekend started, I kept expecting to get anxious, but I never did.

I think several factors helped.

1) We always turn that day into a celebration of the other spouse. So its not Mother's Day, but Savannah's Day. In June, we will have Josh's Day. We buy each other a gift and then that person gets to decide what they want to do that day. This year, Josh gave me some charms for my Pandora bracelet and a new necklace. Then he picked out two cards. A sappy romantic one from him, and then a cute humorous one from him and the fur-babies, which included an iTunes gift card from the fur-babies.

2) Maybe I'm selfish, but I find it hard to celebrate Mother's on that day. I was talking with a friend this weekend, and told her, "I love my mom every day. But when it comes to Mother's Day, I have a hard time focusing on that love because I'm too caught up in my own grief of what never was." That day always makes it harder on me. So I choose to avoid mother's on that day. Its nothing against them, I just am usually in such a horrid state of mind that I can't be around others.

3) Church was amazing this year. Its probably been 8 years since I've been to church on that dreaded day. I just couldn't handle it. But over the past few months, I've developed a much deeper relationship with God. I always considered myself a religious person, but I'm not starting to realize, I was never a spiritual person. I've had some amazing changes take place in my heart and soul. I have a deeper love for my Savior than ever before. I think that is one of the biggest reasons this year was so much easier. Our pastor did a beautiful job of acknowledging mothers in all walks of life.

You can find more of this weeks #MicroblogMondays posts HERE.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Weirdest Advice Ever

Over the years, I have received a lot of advice on how to get pregnant. But yesterday, I think I received the most strange advice ever.

I was helping some customers in my office. While I was doing entering stuff into the computer, they noticed the pictures of my nephews. He asked, "Is that your baby?" I told him no, it was my nephew. This is the conversation that followed.

Him: "Which one is your baby?"

Me: "None of them. I have 5 nephews."

Him: "You don't have any babies! Are you married?"

Me: "Yes, I've been married 14 years."

Him: "14 years and no baby! You need to eat horse meat."

Me: (stammering for a response) "Uh, well, I eat elk meat."

Him: "No, you eat horse meat, you have baby."

Add that to the list of weirdest conversations ever.

Monday, May 4, 2015

#MicroblogMonday: Mother's Day

For the past several years, we have been out of town for Mother's Day. I'm not sure when it happened, but it somehow turned into a tradition.

This year, we aren't going anywhere. Josh asked me where I wanted to go this year, but I looked at the calendar and already had plans for the day before. We talked about leaving that night, but I decided I'm okay to try staying home this year.

Its been nice to escape every year. Mother's Day is one of the hardest days for me. Years ago, we decided to make it a special day for me and Father's Day a special day for him. But even then, it still stung a little bit.

I've also decided to go to church that day. I've been so much happier with this congregation that I think I'll be okay. They all are such sweet spirits so I don't think it will be as overwhelming and unbearable as it was in the past. Just another reason I'm so happy I found this church. But more importantly, because of them and their example, I've been able to develop a much better relationship with Christ.

If all else fails, I know I'll still be getting a gift that day from my wonderful husband. I picked out a few charms for my Pandora bracelet and a new necklace. I've also dropped hints that flowers would be nice too.

You can find more of this weeks #MicroblogMondays posts HERE.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fertility Shaming

When I was deep in the trenches of infertility, there was nothing I hated more than Mother's Day. I dreaded that holiday more than any other. Partly because it was a reminder that I was not a mother, so I had no reason to celebrate. But also because I hated how I would be treated on that day. If I went to church, they would hand me a flower and say it was because I was a women who had the potential to be a good mother. But after the first time that happened, I avoided church like the plague on that Sunday each year.

Each year, it was hard to honor my own mother and mother in-law because the pain was too much. Because not only was it Mother's Day, but also seemed to be a day to honor grandparents also. So not only was I reminded I wasn't a mother, but also that because of me, they weren't grandmother's. (Realistically, I knew that wasn't my fault. But as the oldest child of each family, I had put that extra pressure on myself.)

With all of that being said, this post may come as a shock to most. But I'm noticing a growing trend, fertility shaming. Maybe this is only my opinion, but I feel like I must speak out.

Maybe its because I'm in such a healthy place now. But I don't remember ever being so hateful to motherhood in general. I would find myself trying to justify some mother's over others and I would baffled at how some could be mother's when I couldn't. But I never felt like I was at war with all mothers in general.

I noticed this trend slowly. Someone would post a meme about being a grandmother. Or about how the greatest gems around a neck were those of your child. (You know the ones that make you think, blah, blah, blah. Big deal) Sure, it would sting a little bit, but I would just scroll by. And I don't think I ever saw a person attacked publicly over it. But I've seen rants on private groups and they make me sad.

But now that Mother's Day is approaching, I feel like the haters are coming out. I almost feel like they want the day cancelled in honor of their grief. I no longer hate Mother's Day, but still have very mixed feelings over it. I wish there was a way it could be a day to honor mom's, and yet those in the infertile community could have no idea it was that day and therefore it would be just another day to them. But I know that's not even possible in our over commercialized world we live in.

At first, I just tried to ignore this fertility shaming. I remember the pain. It feels like it will never end. But yesterday, I found myself trying to leave a comment on a blog post a mother had written. It was your basic, "the house is filthy; its mac n cheese for dinner. But I wouldn't change it for anything." I wrote a long comment about how I used to wish that was my life. I would trade my clean house for not clean. But I wasn't given that opportunity. Then I realized I couldn't comment as anonymous, so I didn't want to post the comment.

I'm not against anonymous comments; I allow them on my blog. But I also feel like if you can't say something and attach your name to it, maybe you shouldn't say it at all. I allow anonymous comments because I want someone to feel like they can freely express themselves without reviling too much about themselves. But if its a rude comment, I delete it. Anonymous should be for someone scared, not angry.

I keep going back and forth on my feelings here. In reality, most of these hateful things I have seen are on private groups; groups for childless people only. So mom's and grandma's probably have no idea. Which is the way it should be. As an infertile, we need a safe place to vent and cry and curse.

Still, I can't help but wonder if these feelings help a person find peace and healing, or if they actually slow down the process. I believe its the latter reason. If you cling to hate and bitterness, it becomes a part of you.

That's the point I'm trying to get to. Infertility sucks. It hurts. Sometimes you think you are going to die from the pain. Sometimes you wish you would. But don't stay in that moment. I believe, that if all you do is curse mother's and grandmother's for their happiness, you will never find your own happiness. Its not their fault they aren't living in the same nightmare you are; don't hold it against them. I can't walk around and always expect my family and friends to pretend they don't have kids & grand kids. I wouldn't want my misery to rain on their parade.

Could they be more supportive? I think that is a mixed question. Honestly, most people are pretty sensitive to my situation. Its only every now and then when I want to choke someone until they understand. But I can't be that way to everyone, because not everyone is that way to me.

I think there can be a better balance. Don't ignore your feelings. Doing so will only let them pressure and build up until they explode in an ugly fashion. But don't stew on them forever. Acknowledge the pain, but then count your other blessing. I hate not being a mother. But right now, I'm extremely grateful that I'm able to go back to school. I wouldn't have done it if I had kids. I hate that I'm not a mother, but I'm not going to lie, I love sleeping in on the weekends and having a quite house.


If you are still pursing treatment or adoption, my prayers are with you. I hope it works out. But whether it works out or not, I wish you happiness. Don't wait around waiting for it to happen. Find those moments now.

Monday, April 27, 2015

#MicroblogMondays: Infertility Tattoo

I would like to get a tattoo to represent my infertility. The problem is, I'm not sure what I want. I've considered something that represents just the two of us. Or something to symbolize our loss. But I'm still not sure what I want. I do know I want something unique. I don't want to just Google the infertility symbol and do that.

I already have one tattoo and love it. It really doesn't have any symbolism behind it, except that it was my first tattoo. I had to think on it for two years before I decided what I wanted. But I have loved it so much, I've decided I want a 2nd one, but this time with some meaning behind it, hence the infertility.

I want something to remind me that infertility didn't beat me. I was bruised, but never completely broken. Or something that shows how Josh & I are our own family. That we can be complete without a child.

You can find more of this weeks #MicroblogMondays posts HERE.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Finding My Voice


I actually had a different post started for today, but then I read Feeling Alone over on Mel's blog, Stiffup Queen. I started to post a comment there, but it was quite long, so I decided to just do a blog post instead.

Earlier this year, I met someone who was going through a similar experience to my own.
The first time I tried to offer advise, I felt like they brushed me off. But I understood. Infertility is hard to go through. You don't think anyone understands your pain.

Somehow that ignited something in me and I wanted to share more, not only with her, but with the world. For 10+ years, I have felt like no one understood me. But I had to place part of that blame on myself. I had never been brave enough to share my entire story. I had never been brave to bare my soul and tell ALL the ugly details.

I started by blogging a lot more frequently on this blog. Some of those posts were easy to write. Others, I really struggled with wanting to expose that much. And still some, remain in draft mode until I am ready to share them.

Each post, I put a link on my Facebook page and then in an infertility group I am part of. I always encourage everyone to share my link. I'm not looking for attention for myself. I'm trying to help fertile people understand what its like. And I'm trying to let other infertile people know they aren't alone.

I have been amazed at the people who have reached out to me. Some of them, I knew they were facing a struggle of their own. But others, I had no idea. Its hard to share a story that is so personal and heartbreaking. I remember the fear. I didn't want to speak up for myself, only to be told, "Oh, it'll happen, when its time."

I hate to admit it, but it hasn't made the impact on the fertile world I had hoped it would. (Actually, deep down I think I knew it never would, but I still hoped differently.) I still feel like most of them won't get it. But there have been a few that I have felt like I have reached. I believe, that because of my blog, they have had their eyes opened and now have a better understanding. They'll never completely get it, because it will never be their own reality. But I think it has helped them to be kinder to those they know that are infertile. 

If you are feeling alone, please know that you are not. Even though each infertility struggle is different form the next, we all still share the same pain. The longing to feel your baby grow in your belly. The ache of wanting to hold YOUR baby in your arms. If you can't find your own voice to share your story, please let me be your voice.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sometimes There Isn't a Miracle Baby

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week.

I'm part of a Facebook group for childless couples. They are a group for those who are no longer trying to grow their family, but instead, trying to make peace with their situation of a childless life. Everyone is in a different part of their healing, so its a pretty diverse group.

Yesterday, one of them mentioned how they kept reading infertility posts, but they all seemed to have the same theme. "Hang on, it'll happen. See our miracle baby. We are living proof it ends." This started a great online conversation. I said my two cents worth, but now I have to do a soap box post.

My short response was:

"I think they are trying to keep hope alive. Once their dream comes true, I don't think it means they forget the pain. They just think it's going to end. They no longer can comprehend that for some, it never happens. I don't see them as being malicious, their just hoping your story ends like theirs, with a happy ending. They can't see past that."

But after posting it, I kept thing about it. Then I stumbled onto several posts that were similar. Suddenly, I better understood why the original poster had been upset. It seems like every story you read ends with the same results. "Keep trying, your time will come. It took us "X" amount of years, but look at our happy family now."

I know people in that situation. They tried for years and years and finally got their happy ending. But this post isn't about those people. Its about the ones who never get the fairy tale ending.

I use to try compare my situation to others, but I've learned that each couple is different. Each couple faces their own unique medical issues. Each couple must go through a deep soul search to decide what they are open to. IVF? Sperm/Egg donation? Surrogacy? Adoption? Foster care? There is no clear cut answer and it is different for each couple. Only they can decide what they want to try. Only they can decide what is best for them.

Only they can decide when they are done. I think we all reach a breaking point where we just can't try anymore. Even when you decide to stop treatment and move on with life, it still kills you. Its hard to give up on a dream. After all the years, all the money, all the treatments, all the waiting, its hard to walk away with nothing. Especially when its something that you have chased for so long.

Not every case of infertility ends with a miracle baby. 1 out of 8 couples are infertile. But not everyone one of them eventually has a baby and/or adopts. I tried a Google search to see how many couples never resolve their infertility, but if those numbers are out there, I couldn't find them. But there are several couples out there who will remain childless for life.

Not every case of infertility ends with a baby. But just because a couple choose to move on, doesn't mean their infertility is over. It will always be a part of us. We will always be reminded of what we are missing. That doesn't mean we can jump back in and try again. Somethings can never be resolved. That's a part of life. Its not fair, but that's how it is.

This week I not only want to promote infertility awareness, but that there is also a community of childless for life people out there. They seem to be the ones that are forgotten. I want to show the world that even when you don't get your miracle baby, life can still be happy. I don't want to be the story of a miracle. I want to be the story about survival. A story of an alternate happy ending.

Monday, April 20, 2015

#MicroblogMonday: Hormones


I often wonder why my body was cursed, just enough, that it couldn't have a baby, but not so much that I still get my monthly visitor, Aunt Flo. Well, almost monthly. My periods can be pretty sporadic. I never know if I'm going to go 2-3 months with no period, or just the normal 28 days.

That is where the problem lies. The days leading up to my period, I get emotional. Super emotional. Cry over spilled milk emotional. But it never dawns on me why I am that way until my period actually starts. Then the light bulbs goes on and its like "oh, no wonder I've been so moody lately."

Last week was bad. Once I realized, there would be no baby #2, I lost it. I spent all of last Sunday in tears. Monday, was only slightly better because I was trying to keep on a happy face while at work. But inside, I was a wreck.

Finally, on Tuesday night, I realized Aunt Flo was upon me. As much as I hate her, it was almost a relief to place the blame on her for my recent emotional turmoil. Because now that she is gone, I've returned to my normal self.

You can find more of this weeks #MicroblogMondays posts HERE.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Good Mom

Do you ever meet a stranger and wish you could go back and say something to them? Several months ago, I met a lady. She admitted that she was struggling as a mom; she felt like she wasn't good enough. I have thought about her a lot since then. I wish I could go back, wrap my arms around her, and tell her that I could see she was a good mom. But since I'll probably never get that opportunity, I decided to write a blog post instead.

I have yet to meet someone who suffers from infertility that isn't quick to pass judgement. We see news stories of babies found in dumpsters and wonder why God would give that baby to someone else and not us, when clearly we want one so much. Or we know someone who is on drugs. Why does God bless them with babies, but not us? We will even question why someone can have 5, 6, 7 (or more kids) and wonder why they couldn't just have one less and we could have just one? Just one? Is that too much to ask?

But with this lady, I felt like I could see her sweet spirit. Not only could I tell that she wasn't one of the above, but I could just tell that she tries her hardest. Maybe its because of the guilt she was feeling that helped me understand she is a good mom. She cared that her child was suffering in school. She felt bad for loosing her temper one night. She just wanted energy to be able to be the best mom for her kids. I think those thoughts and feelings she shared with me are what pointed towards her being a good mom. She cared so much that it hurt.

I know I don't have first hand experience, but I still can appreciate that raising kids is a LOT of work and it can be exhausting. I don't look at mom's and think I could do better. Personally, I wonder how you do it all. Parenting is hard. But you make it look beautiful.

Keep up the good work. You are a good mom.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Road Goes Both Ways

This is one of those posts that I have worked on for months now. Its one that I'm worried will hurt feelings. But I remind myself I have feeling too. Sometimes the only way I can express those feelings is by writing them out. That being said, I am ready to talk about one of the sore points of our infertility.

My husband and I joke that we are the least favorite in our families. I don't mean that literally, but let's face it, when you don't have kids, you get left out.

A lot of the time, if we don't make an effort to keep in contact with family, we can go weeks and weeks without talking to them. Seriously, once the holiday's are over, we won't have much contact with our families until usually the summer months when everyone is doing family reunions and picnics.

I can't speak for all infertile couples on this topic, but a lot of them that I do I know, this fact bothers them. Like I stated, we don't have much contact. But I've noticed a trend. A lot of the time when I contact my sister in-law about something, she'll mention her mom being there in the last day or two.

Here's the thing. We live literally a mile from his sister. We have lived in our home for almost 2 years now. In those 2 years, we have gone to his parent's house several times. I won't lie; sometimes a month (or two) passes between those visits, but we do go occasionally. There are members of my husband's family that haven't even seen the inside of our house.

Let me clarify, this post is not an attack against those people. I just want to make a point. Remember, the purpose of these posts are to bridge the gap between infertile people and fertile people. I'm just trying to show the other side of the coin.

To quote a dear friend, "I wish family would realize that the road goes both ways." Sure, we can come there and visit. But they could do the same.

Another friend pointed out, "Well, if you're hostile or grumpy towards them, maybe they don't feel welcome." To which I responded "Well, if they would make more of an effort, maybe we wouldn't feel grumpy about being forgotten."

I couldn't tell you what the turning point for me was, but lately, I have noticed I have become more  brash about this issue. I no longer ignore the fact that family gets weekly visits, while we, only 1 mile away, never see anyone.

My husband claims he likes our quite life. And I couldn't agree more. But its just one of those things that bother me and I can't seem to be quite about it any longer. I don't need weekly visits, I just want to know we aren't forgotten.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hope Poem

Hope.
I thought I let go of you.
But recently,
I feel it stirring within me.
I feel it growing.

I don't want it to.
I keep telling it I am okay
with the way things were.
I moved on.
But still, I can feel it inside me.

There are others more deserving than me.
Others who are still trying.
I pray for peace. Is that too much to ask?
I'm not asking for a miracle, just peace.

But still, it burns inside of me.
I don't want to go down that road again.
I'm not willing to risk my heart again.
Hope whispers, "but it could be different this time."

I don't want to hope.
I put it to rest.
Please let me rest too.
Just peace is all I want.
Peace.

(This poem is property of Savannah Christensen. Written on 4/14/15.)
 

Monday, April 13, 2015

#MicroblogMonday's: Baby #2


Josh and I never wanted a large family. Most days, we just planned on 2 kids. (Maybe a third, but we could never agree on that.) Since we only planned to have two, I wanted them to be several years apart. If I was only going to do the baby stage twice, I wanted to savor every moment. So we decided that when the 1st child started school, we would start trying to have baby #2.

This weekend, it hit me. If things had gone as planned, we'd be trying for baby #2 about now. Our little girl would have started Kindergarten this year.

Realizing this opened the wounds back up this weekend. I spent most of yesterday in tears. I could write more about it, but I'm still pondering several things in my heart, so I will save that for another day.

 You can find more of this weeks #MicroblogMondays posts HERE.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Draw Your Infertility

Years ago, we attended an adoption conference. Most of the classes focused on the many aspects of adoption, but they also had a few infertility classes, one of which we decided to attend.

During the session, we were each given a piece of paper and told to draw our infertility. I drew a woman holding a baby, surrounded by family and friends. Then I drew myself in the far corner, standing alone with a tear on my face. (Really, it was just stick figures, but that was the image I was going for.)

I finished and looked at Josh's paper, only to find it was blank. I asked him why he didn't draw anything and he said, "because there's nothing to draw, there's no sperm."

After everyone was finished drawing their pictures, we hung them up on the wall. The instructors gave us wadded up, wet paper towels and told us to throw them at the picture, as hard as we could, while telling our infertility how it made us feel.

As I threw mine I yelled, "I hate you." Those 3 words held so much meaning. I hated our bodies. I hated those who had what I couldn't. I hated the waiting. I hated the world.

For me, that was one of those moments where the flood gates open. I bawled and bawled. Normally, I would never open up like that in a public setting, but everyone in there was having the same experience, so it felt safe. Also, I was so caught up in my own grief, I couldn't have told you what everyone else was doing. When we started, I thought it was a dumb idea. But by the end of class, it had helped me to confront my grief.

Many times since, I've heard others say they are so mad over their situation, they just want to smash something against the wall. One woman even said she wanted to buy a box of glass jars to smash, but it seemed so wasteful in the end, and she didn't want to have a mess to clean up.

As weird as it sounds, try this out. Maybe you'll just end up with a wet wad of paper on the floor. But maybe it will help release some of the feelings you are having a hard time expressing.



Monday, April 6, 2015

#MicroblogMondays: Easter


This year, I actually found myself grateful I didn't have kids for the Easter holiday. Friday, I spent most of the day cramming for a test in my math class. To say I am stressed over this class is an understatement.

Saturday, Josh asked me why I didn't do any egg hunts with the nephews this year. I told him that no one invited me, and since I was so busy with school, I didn't make the effort to invite myself.

Most of the time, I have to make myself the 3rd wheel. But I'm with my nephews, so I don't mind. But this year, with all of the extra stress from school, I was actually glad to be able to skip some of the holiday madness.

I still made a small gift for each nephew. This year, I found a way to turn a beach towel into a basket, which I filled with a few small toys.

Josh and I also exchanged baskets. I think that's my favorite tradition. Its our way of saying we are a family all on our own. We also decided to stay home and have a quite dinner by ourselves.

You can find more of this weeks #MicroblogMondays posts HERE.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

April Fool's Day

I believe I am the kind of person that can laugh at a joke. That being said, for the most part, I enjoy April Fool's Day.

A few years ago, I brought Brown-E's to work.

This year, I am bringing a big bowl of M&M's, Reese's Pieces, and Skittles.

But I also believe that some things simply aren't joking matters.

(Stepping onto soapbox..)

Pregnancy Announcements.

Here's the thing, I'm guilty of doing just that. Many, MANY years ago, before we realized we were infertile. This was before Facebook, but we thought it would be funny to tell some family members that "the rabbit died". Then we didn't correct them until later that day.

That is one of those times I wish I could go back and slap myself.

Here's the thing, pregnancy isn't a laughing matter, especially to those who are trying so hard to get pregnant. Some have been trying for years and YEARS. Others have been waiting on an adoption list for just as long. Or some have had to accept that parenthood will never happen for them and try to move on with life. To each of these couples, a pregnancy announcement is like a knife stab in the heart. (Please refer to my blog post about pregnancy announcements.)

So when we later find out it was just a "joke," it hurts even more. When you've been trying to get pregnant for years and years, its hard to understand how anyone could make light of such a serious matter.

A joke should be something that is funny for all, not something that is harmful to some. So please, keep it light and funny tomorrow and find something else to joke about. Most people don't share their infertility struggle, so you may not know just how many people may be hurt by a fake pregnancy announcement.

And if you don't have time to make Brown-E's, send them to Google Maps.

Monday, March 30, 2015

#MicroblogMondays: Easter

Going back to school has cut into my aunt time. Easter is this weekend and I have yet to buy anything for my nephews. I am aware that most aunts don't buy or make a gift for every little holiday, but I usually do. It gives me joy. I also find it a great way to be part of a holiday that I would normally be forgotten on.

I'm double bummed because I missed Valentine's also. I did do something for St. Patrick's Day, but I still feel like I'm slacking. Granted, they are all still young enough that they probably don't even notice. But I do.

Luckily, I have Amazon Prime. All I need to do is decide what I want to order and it should be here in time. I'm thinking of maybe a slip 'n' slide for the older nephews and a small wading pool for the younger ones.

Its about spoiling the ones I love. And making sure I keep my position as best aunt ever.

You can find more of this weeks #MicroblogMondays posts HERE.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Grief

Josh's grandpa passed away this weekend. Through it, I have learned that both he and I handle grief very differently from the most of the world. Each time we go through something hard, we just want to be in each others arms.

This realization started earlier last month when my brother was in the hospital. I tried to be there with my family, but really, I just wanted to be alone with my husband. He is my safe place. In his arms, I could cry.

Its been the same way the past few days. I kept telling him it was okay to go be with his family. He told me that I was all he needed.

Maybe its because of our infertility struggle that we seek comfort only from each other. At first, when we were trying to get pregnant, we kept that to ourselves. We didn't open up about our struggles to anyone, not even family. Through that, we learned to lean on and support each other.

Then, when we were unchosen, each other was all we had. I think because of that, we have created our own grief bubble. Infertility has been a rocky journey, but I'm so grateful that I had Josh by my side through all of it. It has brought us closer.

His grandparents were amazing people. I'm glad they are together again. Eight years ago, when grandma passed away, I was devastated she would never get to hold my children. It felt like I was mourning more than just her death, but also, the loss of what could have been.

The grief process has been very different for me with grandpa. It has been easier to focus on the happy memories. I don't feel like the world is going to end because he didn't get to hold my babies.

Its also served as a great reminder that Josh is all I have. When I think about grandma and grandpa, I think about how much they loved each other, even after 67 years. I hope that will be us someday.

Monday, March 16, 2015

#MicroblogMonday's: What the...


I realize that kids are kids, but I think parents need to be parents.

Last week, I had a little girl (about age 2) chew on my desk. Chew.On.My.Desk!!!! She literally walked up to the edge of my desk and latched on with her teeth and started chewing.

I was horrified! Who does that?! What did the parents do? Nothing!

I know I don't know how to raise a kid, but seriously, it would seem logical that if your kids starts chewing on something in a public setting, you would at least tell them to stop.

I just bit my tongue and hurried up their paperwork so I could get them out of my office quickly. When they were gone, I thoroughly Clorox-ed my desk. There are no bite marks, but I still fee like my desk was violated.

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.



Thursday, March 12, 2015

I Know Your Pain


This is one of those gut wrenching, do I even dare publish this, posts. How can I express my thoughts, without hurting others? Can I bring myself to be honest about my feelings, without exposing too much about someone else?

But this thing haunts me and I'm ready to face my demons. My thoughts have focused on it daily for nearly a year now. I'm ready to make peace with it and move on. So here it goes, one of my deepest, darkest secrets.


I know someone suffering from secondary infertility and my thoughts have not always been kind towards them. Secondary infertility means that they have children already, but they have decided to have more, but now are having problems. I'm not going to specify if they have 1 child or 6, just that they are currently trying to have more.

But here is what gets me. At one point, they said they were done having children. They were happy and content with the children they had. They took steps and did procedures to make that decision final.

But then they changed their mind.

This is where the bitterness comes in. Josh and I were never given that option. Our infertility was something out of our control. We were never given the opportunity to undo the circumstances that were forced upon us. It blows my mind that some people can. I have had a hard time coming to terms with this fact. How someone can choose to turn their fertility off and then back on.

For months, I have dreaded the big announcement. I have shed a lot of tears trying to come to terms with it all. I've lost a lot of sleep wondering when it will happen. I have pleaded with God to give me peace. As much as I dislike pregnancy announcements, its the pregnancies that are hard. But that is another post for another day.

Over the last few months, I have fought a battle in my heart. It would seem that they are struggling to get pregnant. I know how heart breaking that is. I know how you randomly place your hand on your belly, hoping there is a baby in there. I know how you cry after each negative pregnancy test. I know what it is like to dry those tears and hope that next month will be different.

I won't lie. I have felt some satisfaction out of this. Finally, they can get a glimpse of what it was like for us. I've even noticed how they have gone through similar circumstances like we did having to deal with another family member having an unplanned pregnancy. On the outside, they handled it well. But I'm familiar to the ache that you try to hide in your heart. The voice that cries, "its not fair."

The topic never comes up. Maybe they are afraid I'll rub it in. I won't deny wanting to declare, "See, this is why I was the way I was! This is why I was bitter and unhappy all of the time. Now you can know just exactly what it was like."

But I can't, because I have been there. I know how much your heart hurts. I know what it is like to hope and pray that this month the test is positive. To have every thought, of every day, center around the hope that you might be pregnant. I know what it is like to have others talk about ultra sounds and wish it was you. I know how your arms ache to hold not just any baby, but YOUR baby. I know how hard it is to pretend that all is okay, even though you are dying inside.

I have spent a lot of time asking God to give me peace. Not just about a pregnancy that may happen, but also peace to help me help you. Honestly, I don't know what to do. I have gone back and forth a million times. Do I just ignore the circumstances? Do I offer an olive branch and tell you I feel your pain? Can I separate my pain so that it doesn't interfere with yours?

Every time I decide to just ignore it, I remember how much I hated that. I wanted someone to tell me they understood my pain. Or even if they didn't understand it, they still felt something for me. Even just a hug would have said a thousand words of comfort.

While we were trying to get pregnant, and later adopt, I hated the waiting most. But right below that, I hated feeling like no one cared about me. And I don't have it in me to do that to someone else. Not when I know how much it hurts.

I'm still working on saying the words out loud, but until then, they are in my heart. I know your pain. I feel your heartache. Please know that you are not alone.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Unchosen, Part 3


On Saturday, June 12th, I logged onto Facebook and learned the baby had been born. Once again, I cried for my loss. There was no turning back. The baby we had loved was gone forever.

During all of our infertility struggles, I had so worked hard to keep a calm face on the outside. I had become a master at pretending nothing was wrong, even when I felt like I was dying inside.

The next day was Sunday. We went to church because we felt like we had to. Like everyone would look down at us if we didn't. (At point in my life, we went to church out of guilt, not because we wanted to.) I remember sitting in the Primary room, behind the piano, crying. That is when I decided: the piano player is just a piece of furniture. Not one soul approached me to ask what was wrong. All I could think was, "Today is my first day as not the mom."

That night, my mom called to say my sister would most likely have her baby the next day. I didn't know how to express what I was going through, so I didn't say anything. I had been trying so hard to not ruin my mom's joy with my misery.

My sister had her baby the next morning. I went to the hospital on my lunch break, but refused to hold my nephew. It was just too much. I shouldn't have been there. If things had gone as planned, I would have been at a different hospital getting ready to bring my own baby home.

If things had gone as planned, we would have had the first granddaughter in both of our families, and I would have been the first to give my parents a grandchild. The first year was the hardest. I avoided my family a lot. I knew each milestone would be too much. I should have been experiencing those firsthand. First tooth, first steps. Each one just drove the dagger further into my heart.

The smallest things would set me off into uncontrollable sobs. The hardest part was knowing that the little baby girl was still out there. I kept thinking, if only our loss was a death, it would seem more final.

My all time favorite show is Desperate Housewives. A few seasons in, Carlos and Gaby adopt a little baby girl. But after a while, the birth parents come and take the baby. The scene ends with Carlos holding her wife and she cries, "but we love her!" That is how I felt.

One way I tried to distract myself was to let our cat, Ally, get pregnant. Just as her belly started to swell, she miscarried. I remember crying to God, "Why must even my pets suffer from infertility?"

On the 1st birthday of the little girl, I decorated a birthday cake for my nephew. It felt so wrong. I should be decorating a pink cake.

I worked so hard to hide my grief, and yet  I was so mad that no one acknowledged it. I had gotten flowers when my sister announced her pregnancy. But when I lost my baby, it felt like there was nothing. To most people, our baby never existed, so why should they mourn?

One of my dearest friends urged me to get counseling, but I kept telling her I was fine. But I wasn't fine. As the holiday's loomed, I got worse. The previous year, we had been chosen. We had celebrated that Christmas like it would be our last as just the two of us.

One day, I was standing in the kitchen doing dishes when suddenly, I was on the floor in a heap, bawling. Life just wasn't worth living anymore. My grief was slowly killing me, and I was ready for it to end. I looked outside and saw my husband in the field, helping our neighbor. At that moment, I realized I wanted to be happy again. I wanted to be better for my husband. I was ready to accept I needed help. Even then, I had to schedule three appointments with a counselor because I kept chickening out. I kept telling myself only weak people need professional help.

Counseling did help. But really, time seemed to be the biggest factor. I needed time to grieve. Time to accept what had happened. Time to realize my life was going to be different than what I had planned.

It is said time heals all wounds. I agree and disagree. Looking back, I have healed. But that doesn't mean I will ever forget. This loss will always be a part of my life, no matter how many years pass by. But over time, I have been able to find peace with it. I have learned life doesn't go as planned. It may knock you down, but only you have the strength to get back up and continue on.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Unchosen, Part 2

In all the classes we had attended, they try to prepare you for the possibility a birthmom may change her mind. Adoption is HER decision. She can change her mind at any second. It is always a possibility. Love as much as you can, but be careful because it can end at any moment. The thing they never mentioned was that the birthmom might decide to choose another couple. That is what caught us off guard.

We had no idea how to deal with what had happened. We had only been prepared for her to decide to parent on our own. She would have been an awesome mom and her mom was willing to help her. We were prepared for that. Having her choose someone else came out of no where.

I remember feeling like my baby had died. But she hadn't; now she was just going to someone else. I tried to express this thought online and ended up in a fight with random strangers in a chat forum. They argued she was never my baby to begin with. On the one hand, they were right. But once we were chosen, we feel in love with a little girl that wasn't even born yet. We had a name picked out. We were making plans. In our hearts, she was our baby.

When we were unchosen, all of those plans and dreams died. I even became jealous of those who miscarry during a pregnancy. At least they were still able to consider that baby their own. I didn't even have that. The best way I can describe it was our baby died, but there was no body, so there was no way to find closure for what happened.

I'm not sure if the internet is a blessing or a curse. Within a few days, I knew who the new parents were. While trying to analyze what was wrong with us, I remember thinking things like, "maybe I'm too fat?" "Maybe we don't live close enough?" "Maybe its because we will both continue work after the baby is born?"

When I found the new couple, they really weren't that different from us. They looked just like the other countless couples who were looking to adopt. Seeing a picture of them just left me with more questions.

The next several months dragged by. Each day was a struggle. At times, I would have to remind myself to just breathe in and breathe out. I could barely function past that.

To complicate things, my sister was pregnant at the same time. Her baby's due date was a week after our almost baby. It was impossible to forget about our loss, because something so similar was right before me.

I remember my mom would call and say something about my sister's pregnancy and I would bawl afterwards. I really didn't care if she might have to go on bed rest; she was still going to have her baby. My baby was gone, I couldn't make myself care about anyone else, especially if they were having a baby. It was like driving a dagger further into my wounds.

When they started planning the baby shower, I couldn't let myself be a part of it. It was just too much. I couldn't sit in a room full of people and answer questions about why my younger sister was having a baby while we were still childless.  I knew I couldn't trust myself to stay calm. I had once attended a baby shower when I wasn't in the right state of mind and it was a disaster. I was not doing that again, not with our loss still being so fresh. A few days before, I took my sister to lunch and told her I couldn't come. I was trying to be happy for her, but it was just too hard. I was still grieving for my loss.

As the due date loomed nearer, my online stalking intensified. I was obsessed with knowing what was going on. I'm not sure what I was hoping to find, or what would happened. But I just kept watch on the situation.

A few weeks before the due date, I saw a Facebook post. The adoptive couple had received a phone call the baby might be coming, so they started their long drive, only to get half way there and get another phone call it was a false alarm.

At that point, I almost wished the baby would come. I couldn't move on until the baby was born and placed. I knew the chances were impossible that she would change her mind, but I needed it to be final before I could move on.

At the end of May, a friend invited me on a girl's weekend. She too was dealing with grief. She had a foster care placement and had received word they would be going home soon. So we went to Idaho to escape. I prayed and prayed the baby would come that weekend while I away. But she didn't.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Unchosen, Part 1

I was going to start this post by saying it will most likely be the hardest post I will ever write. But then I remembered the original post that I wrote 5 years ago, the day after we were Unchosen. So I guess this will be the 2nd hardest post I have ever written. And because of its length, I will be breaking it up into a few posts, which I will post over the next few days.

Five years ago was the worst day of my life. It didn't start that way, it was just a normal Tuesday. Work had slowed down for the day, so I decided to check my email.

That is when my world stopped.

I no longer have the email, so I can't remember exactly what it said. At first, I thought I had read it wrong. Things had felt so right, how could this be happening? But there were the words: "I have changed my mind. I'm going to choose someone else."

I remember just staring at my computer in shock. How could this be? I didn't know what to do. I wanted to leave, but I had ridden with a coworker that day, so I had no way to get home. Also, the work day was almost over, so I decided to try and finish the day out in silence. I asked someone to cover my desk for a minute, so I could step away.

I found an empty office and called Josh. By the time he answered, I was hysterical. Through the sobs, all I could do was tell him was to check our email. I asked him to come get me, but he pointed out that before he could get to town, my coworker and I would already be on our way home. I tried to dry the tears and clean up my face and I went back to work. It was the longest 30 minutes of my life.

That night, we cried and wondered what had gone wrong. All of our hopes and dreams were suddenly gone and we didn't understand why. What could we have done different? What made this new couple better than us?

The previous months had been some of the best of our lives. We had been on cloud 9 since November. Our grief caused us to rapidly spiral downwards.

We couldn't find it in our hearts to tell people the news. We hadn't had much support through the entire adoption process. When we had told people we had been chosen, nearly every one made the comment "What if she changes her mind?" I always wanted to scream at them to be happy for me. Because of all of this, I couldn't face someone saying "See, I told you so." They hadn't supported us during the happy part, I knew they wouldn't be there for the hard part either.  In the end, all I did was a small blog post, Unchosen.

We had no idea how to deal with our grief. The next morning, we were like zombies, but we decided to pretend like nothing was wrong and we both went to work. That is one of the biggest regrets. We needed time to grieve; we should have started that immediately.

One of my dear friends at work saw my blog post that morning. I'm eternally grateful that she was there for me. She gave me her love and support. She helped spread the news, so I wouldn't have to. By the end of the day, I realized, I couldn't do the same thing again tomorrow. That is when we decided to disappear for the weekend.

We went to a small hotel out in the middle of nowhere. We locked ourselves in the room and just tried to forget the world outside. We cried. We loved. And we cried some more. I remember at one point, we were laughing about something and then suddenly I was bawling again. How could I laugh during such a horrible time?

 

Our Adoption Story


I started a post about the day we were Unchosen, but then I realized, I need to tell the beginning of the story, before I tell the ending. Besides, the beginning is my favorite part.

In January 2008, we were approved to adopt. I'll skip over all of the boring details and just skip to the best part. In October, 2009, we had a birthmom contact us through our profile on Parent Profiles.

We spent a few weeks just visiting back and forth through email. She was still considering all of her options, and we supported her taking her time. We tried to get to know each other and I spent a lot of time talking about adoption and what it means to me. We were excited, but we didn't dare get our hopes up to high until a decision was made. So we kept the secret to ourselves. I still get tingly just remembering the feeling of joy.

Near the end of November, she suggested a phone call. We were so nervous. We'd start to dial her number, and then hang up. I think we did that a few times. But once we made the phone call, it felt like we clicked. We visited for awhile and agreed it was time to meet. We set something up for the following weekend.

It was about a 2-1/2 hour drive to her house, but being the over planner that I am, we left 4 hours early so we could have time to find her home. Which really worked well because we got lost a few times. I had butterflies in my stomach the whole time. We arrived early, so we decided to just hang out in a parking lot until it was the time we had set up arrived.

When she opened the door, it felt like home. We had taken some treats with us for her family. We sat and visited with her family for a while. Then we headed out to take her to dinner.

We had decided to go to the Olive Garden, which was just up the road from her home. But because of road construction, we had to take a detour to get there. About half way there, a car started honking and pointing at us. We had a flat tire. I was so embarrassed! When we got to the restaurant, Josh had to hurry and change the tire. I just knew the night was ruined and she wouldn't like us anymore.

After dinner, we dropped her off and headed home. We were in love. She was (and still is) one of the most beautiful people I have ever met. I kept hoping she would have a little girl that looked just like her. And her soul was just as sweet. To this day, she still holds a piece of my heart.

We arrived home near midnight. We had decided we wanted to send her an email to thank her for letting us come visit, but when we logged on, we saw we already had an email from her. She loved us and wanted to choose us. There was literally no way to express our joy at that moment.

The next few months were the best months of my life. We tried to go out and see her each month. We went to see the Temple Square lights and went to various movies. One time, she had been excited for a particular dish, but when we went to order, we learned it was no longer on their menu. Josh begged the waitress to make an excpetion, just this once.

Once, when we were coming out of a movie, my mom was there. (I still find that very suspicious.) We hadn't talked about introducing her to our families yet, so it felt like we had been thrown into the fire. (Let's just say that some family members had a hard time with the boundaries we had set.)

In all the months of bliss, that was the only one that gave me bad feeling. I felt like we had thrown a surprise at her without telling her about it, but the problem was, we were just as surprised. It is defiantly the one thing I wish I could change. I still resent what happened that day and have always wondered if that is what led up to the ending.

But the emails continued and we set up plans to go visit again. We were even trying to work it so I could go to an ultrasound and learn the sex of the baby. In the end, she had to get one a little early, so they just did it then.

She was having a girl. We planned on naming her Ashlynn Celeste.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Why Don't You Try to Adopt Again?


Klara, over at The Next 15000 Days, has hinted that she will soon share her story of why they chose to not adopt. I decided to join in on the conversation and share ours also. I think she will be sharing her's the first part of March, but I already have a different story I want to share then, so I have decided to share this post now.

Our story starts differently, because we did try to adopt. When Josh learned about his zero sperm count, literally the first words out of his mouth were, "Well, let's look into adoption."

From that point forward, we jumped in with both feet. The approval process was long, but I feel like we tackled it in a timely manner. We handed out tons of contact cards. Towards the end, I made books to hand out also. We attended several conferences and classes to better educate ourselves. We even paid to have our profile on extra websites.

We also encouraged family members to hand out our information. At that time, one set of my grandparents were living in Arizona. I sent my grandma several contact cards to hand out. It still touches my heart that she feels so badly that her efforts didn't result in a baby. I've told her its okay. Even if our cards didn't lead to us finding a baby, I like to think that they still somehow touched a young women's heart and led her to think about the possibility of adoption if she was faced with an unplanned pregnancy.

The only part of the adoption process that didn't fly smoothly was the wait. We were on the list for nearly two years before we had any contact. After being unchosen, we stayed on the list (although we didn't have the heart to promote ourselves as much) for another year. In 3 years, we had one birthmom contact. We were ready to get out of the adoption game.

So my post isn't about "Why don't you just adopt?" Its more about "Why don't you try again?"


Adoption is not cheap. When we tried to adopt the first time, we had to pay a non refundable deposit. If our journey had ended in adoption, it would have went towards our total costs.  But when we decided to close our profile, that was money we did not get back. We also had to pay a fee each year to keep our profile active.

When we did try to adopt, at that time, we went through the church that we were currently attending. They offered a subsidized program so the cost was a lot less. (I've since learned that program is no longer available. It breaks my heart to think of all the couples who wanted to be parents and now may not be able to because of the cost.) I don't know what the costs are today, but back then, to use a private agency, the starting price was around $15,000. And it just went up from there.

"But what about foster care? Its basically free." I have my own reasons for not doing foster care. The biggest reason is, I'm not willing to risk falling in love with a child, only to return them to their family. That is the #1 goal of foster care, to reunite families. As it should be. But I'm selfish, I want a baby I can keep. I could go on about foster care, but it can be a post on its own someday. But let me say, its not free, there is still costs involved, along with many other risk factors.

Even though adoption is costly, I no longer can say we can't afford it. Now, we are more established in our lives and our jobs. We do have some extra money (not a lot, but some). So I can't really say we can't afford it. After being married 14 years, I have become much better at organizing our finances. I now understand, that when money is needed, it can be found. Also, and this is not common knowledge, we have had a few extended family members offer to help pay for it. One in form of a loan, another in form of just helping with the finances. So to say we choose not to try again because of money would not be the full truth.

I've never had anyone say it outright to my face, but sometimes I feel like they are implying, "just because you were hurt once, doesn't mean you should quit." To which I reply, I am longer hurt. We went to the wedding when our almost birthmom was married. There are NO bitter feelings. I know that a broken heart can heal. Yes, I used to be scared of being hurt again. But not anymore. Because I have learned one thing...

Life goes on.

That is what it all sums up to for us. Life goes on and so must we. The first morning after being unchosen, I cursed the sun for rising. Life, as I knew it, was over. Each day was hard. Each breath was a struggle. But slowly, each day got easier. As time went on, we found that life wasn't just about becoming parents. We were so busy chasing that dream, that we were missing what was going on around us.

I must also admit to one more thought. While I will always be a strong supporter of adoption, it just isn't in my heart anymore. I briefly mentioned that family has offered to help with the cost of adoption. But when the last offer was made, it just wasn't in my heart anymore. At this point, if I were to try and become a mom again, I would want to try and conceive on my own. I would want my baby to have my husband's eyes and my brown hair. I've decided that if a baby were to join our family, I would want to feel it grow in my belly. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Pregnancy Announcements

This post is hard to write. Mostly because I'm afraid to offend those on the other side. But that is not my intent. I just want to give a better understanding of what it's like on the infertile side. Some of these feelings and experiences I will share here have never been told to some family and friends. Please don't overact and get the wrong idea. I'm just trying to tell a story to help bridge the gap between infertility and fertile people.

Pregnancy Announcements.

Let's be honest. I have yet to meet an infertile person who's first reaction is anything but anger or sadness. That does not mean we aren't happy for you. It does not mean that we suddenly hate you. The truth of the matter is, pregnancy announcements are HARD.

We had been trying to have a baby for a few years when I had my first experience. We had gone to a family dinner. While sitting there, an ultrasound was dropped on the table and the announcement was "Here is baby." My heart literally stopped and I couldn't breathe. Suddenly, the room felt like it was closing in and crushing me. I did the only thing I knew how to do. I ran.

We had been married for 5 years, and have been trying for about 3 of those to have our own baby. Jealousy doesn't even begin to describe it. We had been living month to month hoping our dream would come true at any moment.

I was not even slightly prepared for that announcement. Maybe its like that for every infertile couple. The very 1st announcement is the hardest. I was having feelings and emotions I had never had before. And those were just piled on top of the emotional roller coaster I was already on.

Could I have handled it differently? I'm sure I could have. But they could have too. The thing is, its hard when everyone is over the moon excited, and all you can feel is your heart breaking. They can't understand why you aren't happy and you just want them to understand how it has crushed you.

If you have someone in your life that you think is struggling with infertility, here are my personal thoughts. I can't speak for all infertile couples, but I hope my thoughts are similar so that I can help.

1) Don't hide your pregnancy from us. We will find out no matter what. It hurts even more when we have to hear it from someone else. Please respect our friendship/family relationship enough to tell us yourselves.

2) Its okay if you want to have a big announcement. But please run it by us first. Call us or suggest a lunch date and tell us the news. For myself, I find it so much easier to handle when it's a quite affair, instead of a loud celebration. Its easier to keep my emotions in check if there is only one other person around, instead of the whole family. This way, when you do make the big announcement, it can be all about you. We can choose to be there, or choose to conveniently be somewhere else.

Most of the pregnancy announcements I've received have been in a private setting. When my sister was pregnant with her second, she came to tell me herself. It was just a quick, "hey, I need to tell you I'm pregnant" conversation. Her first baby was only a few months old, so its not like I was expecting her to be pregnant again. It was how she handled it that made it so much easier. One of my dearest friends always makes sure to tell me in person before they tell everyone else. This makes a world of difference to me. It shows that you care about our feelings too.

3) Leave it up to us if we want to discuss it out, but don't pressure us. I remember one pregnancy announcement, I just needed space to  think. A family member called numerous times and I just let it go to voice mail. But they wouldn't stop. When I didn't answer, they called Josh at work. He had to get a little forceful with them to just give me space. I needed to sort it out in my heart before I could be around them.


Pregnant friends, you will have plenty of people who will be happy for you. Give us time and hopefully we can be too. I think it will vary from person to person, based on what part of their infertility journey they are currently on. If we don't jump for joy like everyone else, please don't hold it against us. Most of the time, we will come around; but it needs to be on our terms. We don't hate you, we are just trying to work though our own struggle first.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Facebook

Social media. Its like a blessing and a curse, all at the same time. I love how easy it is to keep up with people on Facebook. I've reconnected with old friends and made new friends.

But then, there is the other side of the coin.

Sometimes the pictures haunt those who suffer from infertility. A friend posts the CUTEST pregnancy announcement, and all you think is "Really? Why can't it be me?" It can hurt to see those kind of things.

That is why I get so mad on April Fool's Day when people posts that kind of a thing as a joke. They may find it funny, but to someone fighting infertility, it can be depressing. I know people who avoid Facebook on that day just for that reason.

Then, there are the people who share the bazillion baby pictures on Facebook. I realize, they are just on cloud nine over their little baby and they feel like every little thing they do is the cutest thing ever.

But as an infertile person, all you see is what you may never have.  When your news feed explodes with pregnancy and baby stuff, it can feel like the end of the world.

Here is where I probably differ from a lot of infertile people. It doesn't really bother me. I figure a person should be free to put whatever they want on their Facebook page. If I'm not in the right frame of mind, no one is stopping me from scrolling right past the stuff I don't want to see. If I see something that interest me, I will stop and look. If not, I scroll on by without a second thought.

A few months ago, I decided if people can post so many pictures about their kids, then I can do the same with my pets. They can look at it, or they can scroll right past it. I don't care. I put stuff on there because its important to me.

But despite my mostly positive attitude towards Facebook, I must admit there is one thing I despise.

I hate learning about things on there that I feel could have been told to me personally, either through a visit or a phone call. Or even a text. Because if I see it on Facebook first, it hurts my feelings. At least when it involves family or the closest of friends.

When one of my nephews was born, I learned about it on Facebook. Granted, I knew she was in labor. But it was on Facebook where I first learned he was here. It was almost an hour later before anyone called to tell me. I was crushed. I couldn't figure out why I was so unimportant I couldn't even get a phone call before the news was posted to the rest of the world.

I also had to learn that one of my nephews was a boy over Facebook. That one hurt also. The spiteful person inside of me wanted to bring pink stuff to the baby shower to try and prove a point. I didn't, but I was tempted.

I'm not saying I expect everyone who is pregnant to call me first. My point is, when its family (or a close friend), I think it could be handled a little better.

Pregnant family/friends, I can see how it can be scary. You're afraid to hurt their feelings because you are posting about something that they may never experience. But trust me, the knife cuts much deeper when we learn about it on Facebook, instead of in person. Even a text will do if you are too scared to tell them in person.

Remember, we want to be happy for you. We just have to mourn for a minute. But it hurts even more if you can't tell us personally. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Church

Being childless, going to church was hard. I reached the point where I dreaded having to go. To me, it was no longer a place a worship, but a parade of families. I felt like I was in a place where I didn't fit in. So where did I end up? Playing piano in the primary room. It was like a dagger in my heart.

It reached a point, where I only went because I felt pressured to. We lived in the same congregation as family, so if we weren't there, they would question us why. Most weeks, it was easier to go and bear through it instead of just stay home, even though that is where we wanted to be.

I dreaded each Sunday. For me, there were two straws that broke the camel's back.

The first was the Sunday after the baby was born that we had hoped to adopt. The baby had been born the day before. I kept thinking, "I shouldn't be here right now. I should be at the hospital." But instead, I was sitting behind the piano. I cried silent tears through all of church. Not one person approached me to ask what was wrong or offer comfort. Not.One.Person. A few weeks later, I told them I couldn't handle that job anymore and I was relieved of my duty. I will always feel that as a piano player, I was just an extension of the piano; just a piece of furniture.

One of the last times we went to church, during our struggle, the lesson focused around life after death. In that congregation, their faith focuses on families being together, forever. On their terms. They are a wonderful group of people and my intent is not to attack their beliefs. But as I sat there, I realized, the baby we had hoped for would not be a part of our eternal family. That chance was gone forever. I had tried my entire life to live by their standards. Suddenly, I found myself in a loop hole. My child was considered dead, but at the same time was now a part of a different eternal family.

Shortly after that, I told my husband I didn't want to go to church anymore. I couldn't stand the pressure there. I wasn't happy there.

For years, I did all I could to avoid God. I felt like he had abandoned me. For a while, that seemed to work for me. I loved not feeling the pressure each Sunday to be in a place I didn't want to be. We used it as a day to spend extra time together.

But over time, I realized I missed having that spiritual connection. I mentioned this to a friend, and she suggested checking out other denominations and finding one where I was comfortable.  Last fall, I did just that.

The last few months have been amazing. I have learned that God never stopped loving me. I have developed a relationship with Him that I never had before. In all those years, my faith was based solely on the hope He would bless me with what I wanted, a baby. When that didn't happen, I felt betrayed.

I have learned that there is more to God than the answer I am looking for. He is loving and kind and He wants me to keep Him in my heart, no matter what. Life didn't turn out how I wanted it to. But I have the feeling, it is going just as He planned.

Making peace with God has brought so much peace to my heart and soul. For about a year now, I have felt at peace with our childlessness... for the most part. But there was always still a hole in my heart. A broken piece that only He could mend.

I thought I was healed. But since opening my heart back up to Christ, I have found that I was still a little broken. He has healed me in a way I couldn't. Its because of this extra peace that I am able to share my story so openly. With Him, I am able to handle my infertility even better. I feel stronger and more confident about my situation. I have tried for years to seek peace over certain things. I had finally given up. But because of Him, I am able to mend relationships that I thought were broken forever.

I'm not one to preach; I don't like when others do it to me. But my point is, if you have tried to cut Christ out of your life, please know He is still there, waiting for you. If you want to have Him in your life, open your heart back up to Him. If it means finding a different denomination, open your heart and He will lead you. Don't go to church because you feel guilted into it. You'll just sit there miserable. Go where you are comfortable. Don't go to be seen. Go because you want to be there to be closer to Christ. I have learned that through Him, you can find the peace you need to move on with life.

That is my wish for all of you.