Proverbs 13:12 - Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Hope deferred has been the story of our lives for the last four years (we're still waiting on that "desire fulfilled" part). In July of 2007 we decided that we were ready to start our family. Neither of us were in a big hurry so when things didn't happen immediately, we weren't too concerned. About a year and a half into it, we followed up with my gynecologist who ordered some tests but didn't seem too concerned.
We began to really feel the effects of infertility in 2009. Everyone around us seemed to have no trouble starting or growing their families. Friends, family, people at work... the list just kept growing, but our names weren't on it. Every time someone else made an announcement, the obvious question followed... "when are you guys going to have kids?" While meant innocently, it was salt in a wound for us. Those emotions flood in every time the pregnancy announcement is for someone other than you. It's happened more times than I care to count in the last four years. We waited and prayed, thinking that it was bound to happen eventually.
2010 followed in that same pattern and we realized that we had to do what we could. During that year, we asked our doctor to refer us to an infertility specialist. We were given three names but quickly realized that we were at the right place with the first one we visited. In a world where we had no idea what to expect or even what to ask, these people were angels! Once we got the ball rolling there we both felt we were on the right track. It took a while to come to grips with the fact that this is where life led us, but with a slight delay during the summer due to a car accident Fourth of July weekend, we continued moving forward towards IVF. We had been through so much and waited so long, we were ready to move forward.
This time last year we were starting the process and things progressed along quite well. At the same time every evening DH would faithfully give me shots (I was too wimpy to do it myself); we were so excited at the thoughts of what this could bring! Doctor's appointments followed, typically 1-2 times a week, to make sure everything was going as planned. A week before Christmas we had our transfer and that started the longest two weeks of our lives. Two healthy embryos were transferred back to us and the rest was out of our hands. It would be two weeks before we knew if the transfer was successful but those fourteen days, while scary, were some of the best days we'd had in a long time... this might be our long time dream fulfilled!
On January 3 we went for bloodwork for our pregnancy test and within a few hours received the best news we'd ever heard... the words, "You're pregnant!!!" Words cannot describe the pure joy that came over us in that moment. The nurse on the other end of the phone kept talking but neither of us could remember much of what she said because we were both crying and laughing by then. We quickly started making phone calls to the few people who knew so we could share our news with them. While we wanted to shout it from the rooftops, we waited until our first ultrasound to start telling other people. Our entire life was turned upside down as we started looking at nursery decor, paint colors, etc. and were finally able to walk into Babies-R-Us with a smile instead of avoiding it like the plague as we had for so long.
After several appointments with the specialist, everything looked great and we had been released to go back to our regular doctor. Of course, I scheduled that appointment for the end of February and couldn't wait for it to get here. Sadly, we never made it to that appointment. On February 21st, I started to have some pain and cramping and immediately called the doctor. They advised me to take it easy and stay off my feet but to call if I didn't get any better. By the next day I was worse so they got me in for an ultrasound where our worst fears were confirmed. I don't remember much of what the doctor said that day except the haunting words, "I can't find a heartbeat." The next days and weeks were just a blur as reality began to sink in. After everything we'd been through already, I never imagined that this would happen to us. It wasn't a thought that had even entered my mind. We had come so far!
I know some of you reading this may have different emotions and opinions about our choices. Maybe you've faced similar things in your life and you can relate to us. Maybe you haven't and you question the choices we made and think, "I would never do that." Let me share one thing I've learned in the last few years, you don't know what you'd do in someone else's situation because you've never been in their shoes.
There are some of you that know us but had no idea about any of this. It's been a long hard struggle for us and a very personal one as I'm sure you can imagine. We made the decision early on to only tell a very few people that were closest to us. It was the safest thing to do. And while we don't regret that decision, we both feel that moving forward we'll approach it a little differently. People struggling with infertility need a voice. They need an advocate. They need a shoulder to lean on. What if that awareness starts with us?
I'm sure that this post will get some people talking, and maybe that's a good thing. Educating and making people aware is the first step towards changing things and bringing this disease out of the shadows. I guess that's the whole point of this post and hopefully this blog. If our story can help a few other people, create awareness, open minds and plant a seed of hope then we've succeeded.
Here's hoping for better things ahead...