Infertility: The Road More Traveled Than You May Think

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7 weeks ago: We left the ultrasound room in disbelief and walked straight to the car. Smiles turned into tears. I just sat there in the passenger seat and let the tears of utter relief and joy pour down my cheeks. How could we possibly be 10 weeks and 2 days pregnant?!

You see, I have a history of miscarriage. 6 in a row, to be exact. I really really thought that I would never get to bring a life into this world, and I was becoming more okay with and resigned to that as the months passed and we continued to experience loss.

I am sure many of you have experienced pain in this so very common part of womanhood: infertility.

Some infertility leads to depression.

                Heartbreak.

Some infertility leads to adoption.

               Beauty from ashes.

Some infertility leads to broken marriages. Some to stronger marriages.

                  Some journeys through infertility include unexpected chances to carry life into the world.

And some infertility journeys lead to finding faith and hope deeper than you knew existed.

I, for one, have found myself in almost all of these categories. Medical doctors, even specialists, often have no explanation for infertility so they try their best to help you until either you decide you can’t handle trying anymore, or you end up miraculously carrying life.

In light of October being National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, I thought it appropriate to share my story with all of you, my greatest desire being to offer you hope that you may so desperately need at this moment.

3 years ago: After a wonderful first chapter of marriage filled with many adventures, excitement, and birth control, my husband (Kev) and I decided we wanted to start trying for the first of what would hopefully be MANY children! We have always wanted a full house, and we thought we were ready to take the plunge and join lots of our friends who had already started their journeys into parenthood.

Boy, did we ever face a shock. When we went in for our first prenatal appointment at 11 weeks, the nurse couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat. This led to a scheduled ultrasound, where the technician informed us that “more people miscarry than you know.” This was the first devastating day in a series of days that would become a painful but routine part of our lives over the next 3 years. Loss and grief overwhelmed me.

The ultrasound room continued to be a terrifying place, as we often got the bad news that our baby’s heart was no longer beating in that dreaded, dark room. Too many times, it wasn’t the first but rather the second or third ultrasound that confirmed our greatest fear: that we had lost another baby.

Positive pregnancy tests would never again bring innocent JOY and ELATION, but instead, FEAR and maybe a tiny bit of hope. (The doctor says 66% of people with recurring pregnancy loss go on to have a healthy baby.)

We had never made it past a 9-week ultrasound without receiving bad news in some form or another. I became somewhat immune to the pain, as many of you may well know the feeling.

In that broken time filled with losses, Kevin and I started to feel our hearts soften toward something we felt like God had placed in there long before: the desire to adopt a child.

Months of waiting and one heartbreaking failed adoption later, I found myself asking,

Will I EVER become a mom?! THE ONE THING I HAVE DREAMED OF DOING SINCE I WAS A TINY GIRL…why isn’t it happening?!”

The ups and downs of infertility I KNOW that many of you know and know too well. The months that pass with negative tests. Invasive treatments. The months that you are supposed to “wait” to try again after a miscarriage. Being late for your period and thinking this might be the month…then the heartbreak when you realize it was false hope. The terrifying cramps in the first trimester. The (envy of or aversion to) preggo bellies everywhere you look. The feeling of not being “woman” enough to bring babies into the world. The helplessness and loneliness in these months…these years. You may feel lonely, but you are not alone.

I don’t have all the answers, and I’m not here to tell you that you will absolutely have or adopt a baby someday. I just want to remind you that you are not alone. And your pain is not invalid, nor should it go unnoticed.

Someone once told me, “Tell your story and then tell it 10 times more. It will bring healing.” So my encouragement for you today is to tell someone your story, however unique, painful, or insignificant it may seem…you need to tell your story.

I will admit, that I never hit an infertility nirvana of feeling 100% peaceful or satisfied with the lot I had been dealt during the waiting time. But through the journey down this treacherous road, Kev and I experienced an increasing trust and knowing that God’s timing was best. I never lost the deep-down assurance that I would someday hold babies in my arms and call them “my own.”

Now: I have a beautiful 8-month-old baby boy who I snuggle and get silly with every morning, noon, and night and absolutely call my own. He was adopted, and his adoption story is quite beautiful too. Maybe someday I’ll get to share it with you.

And as you read at the beginning…by the grace of God, I am carrying a life in my belly. Am I struggling with fear? Of course. But I am taking it a day at a time, and thanking God all the while that the plan of the whole world is not in my hands.

I don’t know why now, I don’t know how (insert joke about how one might get pregnant), but seriously, it’s a miracle that there is a 17-week-old baby in there. And I beg you to believe me when I say:

There is hope.


 

A version of this story was published on Oct. 27, 2012, by author Olivia Ryan; it has since been updated.

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18 COMMENTS

  1. I am so glad you shared your story Olivia. So beautiful!! Infertility is a topic so many women don’t want to talk about or can’t because they have no clue what you are going through. You have put your feelings so perfectly into words.
    Love your disclaimer on how people say it always happens when someone adopts they get pregnant. I have heard that 1,000 times. Just because I didn’t give birth to all my children does not make them any less mine or part of our family. 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing your story. Even with the heartache you have experienced, it is a beautiful story of faith and hope. I am so glad that I get to walk alongside you, my friend 🙂

  3. Thanks for sharing your journey – my husband and I experienced infertility for 2 years, month after month of heartache. After 5 IUI’s and just as we were beginning the adoption process we were shocked to find out that we were finally pregnant and 3 months ago I gave birth to a perfect baby girl. Having gone through this emotional experience we are very excited to adopt in the future… each child is such a miracle and blessing from God. Thank you SO much for sharing your story!

  4. Love this post, Olivia. Thank you for sharing. We have been lucky not to have struggled infertility in our own experience, but we have so many friends and family members who have endured this journey. I will be sharing this post with them today! And I love the way you ended the post. There is always hope, we can’t give up on that. (Side note: hope is my middle name! Can’t help but think that I was given that name for a reaaon–to share it!)

  5. Oliva,
    Thank you for sharing your story. I can sympathize and empathize on so many levels of your your experience of God creating your forever family. The only two things I know to be true are that God is good and God is sovereign Always! And it is not my job to figure out the reasons why. Praying for the life God has created inside you that he/she would grow healthy and know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

    God bless your sweet family!

  6. Olivia,
    I want to reach out & give you a big hug!! Thank you so much for sharing your story!! After experiencing recurrent pregnancy loss followed by an extremely difficult pregnancy, I always wonder if I’d be able to even enjoy another pregnancy. Then I remember that God is in control, and He brought our precious miracle baby girl into our lives when the doctors gave us less than 1% chance that we would be able to have a take home baby. I will keep you and your family in my prayers for a smooth road ahead. God Bless!
    Elizabeth

  7. I don’t know if you remember me from the Harvest Tuesday morning greeting, but just wanted to say thanks for sharing your story. It was beautiful and double congratulations on Coleton and the new baby!!! So exciting!

  8. I love this! As a woman who’s always tried to be healthy and fit (the very reason I have a blog called FitnessWhore), it’s been VERY frustrating not getting pregnant, not having control of this process, and knowing that so much of it is not up to me! Our fertility journey has just begun and I’m so glad to hear those words: there is hope. Thank you for sharing!

  9. I love hearing stories like this! So few too many women share their struggle stories and when you are experiencing infertility issues you are so aware of so many women who are pregnant. When you want to be happy for them, it is so difficult to do so. I too share your struggles after having one child with no issues and getting pregnant the first month trying we thought having a second would be easy. We waited a few years and then was shocked when it wasn’t just happening. After the monthly up and downs for 3 1/2 years, the many infertility drugs, 6 IUI’s, and 1 miscarriage, I decided to surrender to God the fact that I maybe wasn’t going to have another child and to count my many blessings. I think doing this is so hard for women facing infertility because when you are dealing with infertility everything is about timing and controlling every part of your cycle. It is really hard to let go! I cancelled our appt for our 7th IUI and to our surprise a few weeks later we found out we were pregnant with a beautiful baby boy who will be 2 next week. We are often reminded that it’s all about God’s plan. To those of you who are facing this struggle, you are not alone and as hard as it is, keep the faith. He often presents himself in ways that are very surprising…

  10. What brought me to tears was “postitive pregnancy tests would no longer bring JOY and ELATION but fear”…I know it so well. I had a 13 yr battle with infertility and miscarriage. Two years trying to have our first child, scared to death when I started to bleed at 11 weeks when I finally got that postive test. We had a baby girl. Having the first child, makes the longing to have another, to hold another newborn in your arms, even more intense. I miscarried 2 times; once at 9 weeks, once at 8 weeks. Five years later we were blessed with another beautiful daughter of our own. Three years later, I miscarried our son at 20 weeks. I got to hold his perfect little body. Heard his heart beating just a few hours before my body pushed him out too soon for him to live on this earth. Our losses sent us to the foster care system, first as foster parents, then adopting a sibling group of three children; the youngest, a boy, who was 2 days old.

  11. Love this. Thanks for publicly sharing your story, Olivia! When you lead worship at church, it is so encouraging to me because I know your faith and your worship is real. It inspires me to give God all my pain and hurt and questions. Thanks for leading by example.

  12. My heart has been so broken since learning that I miscarried after tearing my hair out and convincing everyone at 9 weeks (just after having seen a healthy heartbeat at 7 weeks) that “something wasn’t right.” We ended up having a D&C because my body was not indicating the miscarriage very well and I was in so much grief as I carried my beloved passed child around in me.

    My husband and I were incredibly excited and ready to be parents even though we conceived almost right away and had been sorta thrown off by how fast it happened. This was our first baby. And now I am trying so hard to accept that things will be alright.

    I have been digging and digging online because I am at such a loss for answers. I have so many questions, and so little hope.
    I just want to hold a healthy baby in my arms but I finally now know that it will be alright.

    Your blog entry here is the first non-statistical hopeful bit I have read. And you so beautifully really do give me hope that we will be happy parents one day no matter what.

    Thank you. As I finally begin to accept what has happened, I am realizing that perhaps I have not been able to find forsaken depressing stories about women who wanted a child as badly as I do reporting to the online world that they NEVER actually became a mom because it simply isn’t true…

    May God Bless you, so much, for writing this for women like me.

    • Oh Lauren, I am so sorry for the loss of your precious baby. Nothing can prepare you for that, and no one can completely take away the pain that you’re feeling right now. I’m praying for you and your husband as you guys walk through this season…praying that it’s a short season and that before you know it you’ll be holding that healthy baby in your arms. I am writing a book right now so that I hope can take this encouragement and hope to the women of the world who need it most!! You also might enjoy another post I wrote on the topic of hope: https://qcmoms.com/2013/08/16/not-a-mom-yet/#comment-6033 Don’t forget to remember your little one through this upcoming holiday season: light a candle. Buy a Christmas ornament to represent the presence that baby will have in your family forever….whatever it is that represents that baby for you…do that proudly. That’s what my next post for the QCMB is going to be on next Friday. 🙂 Much love…and hope girl!

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