Monday, April 20, 2015

Infertility :: The Emotional Roller Coaster

We started praying for a baby in the fall of 2012, but actually trying to have a baby in the spring of 2013 {you can read our story here and here}. The excitement of growing our family quickly turned to frustration and anxiety. I had no idea how long and difficult the months of trying to conceive would be; how crazy I would feel sometimes, how heartbroken I would feel so often.

Like with any struggle, the roller coaster of emotions seemed almost too much to bear at times. I certainly have experienced a full range of emotions, and I am constantly on my knees before the Lord about it. There are still lingering questions, and so many continued prayers...


Before we had our official diagnosis, every month was an emotional roller coaster. We had another chance to try and see if it was our month. We did everything we possibly could to plan and time, and then we entered the "two week wait," when all we could do was pray and hope that that month would be the month.

I promise to spare you details, but I know way more about my body's processes than I ever thought I would {or ever really wanted to}. Because it didn't "just happen" for us, there was a diligence in trying to conceive that was downright exhausting. Every day, I tracked my temperature and cycle signs, and we used ovulation tests. But that seemed to only reinforce the frustration, because we were doing everything "right." {I use the "quotes" because we recognize that God is the One who knits a baby together and creates life. No amount of our efforts, no matter how "right" they are, will result in a pregnancy if it is outside of God's will...which is ultimately why we are still waiting}.

So because of our diligence, the disappointment came like a swift kick to the gut when we realized it wasn't our turn {again}. It's hard enough for a woman when a new cycle starts {especially a woman with endometriosis, though I didn't know it at the time}, but it's especially difficult for a woman trying to conceive. It's like your body is purposefully being cruel to you, reminding you every. single. day. for. several. days that you are in fact not pregnant {again} this month.

So I would cry and grieve the loss of yet another month, pull myself together, and start the process all over again. Rinse and repeat. And then rinse and repeat again. And again...

I have come to realize that I too often live in fear. Fear of the struggle, fear of the future, and fear of the unknown. It can be debilitating, and it certainly is not honoring to the Lord. It drives a wedge between me and my Savior, because ultimately it causes me to doubt Him and His goodness.

My struggle with infertility has not been immune from fear. Fear that there was something very wrong. Fear that my Crohn's was causing the problem; or worse- the medicine for my Crohn's was causing the problem. Fear that it was something else...yet another health issue to face {which it ended up being, which only reinforced the fear}. Fear that we wouldn't be able to fix it {for financial or ethical reasons...and then we learned for medical reasons}. Fear that I wouldn't be able to give my husband the family he wanted. Fear that I wouldn't get to experience the "rights" of passage into motherhood through pregnancy/birth/nursing. And ultimately, fear that our prayers would go unanswered and that my heart would not be able to heal from it...

I am constantly bringing my fears before the Lord. And I am thankful that He reminds me that He knows what's best for us, even if it's not what we want. He knows the desires of my heart and offers comfort through the dark days. 

The Crazy
There is a part of me that just felt outside-my-mind crazy at times with the whole process. With all the planning, the hoping, the emotions, the crying, the praying, the trying, the heartbreak that goes into trying to made me feel like I was going nuts. It wasn't like that in the beginning, but over time, I seemed to unlock a crazy person I never wanted to admit knew was there.

Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Welcome to the world of trying to conceive :) It's a constant cycle {remember "rinse and repeat" from above?}, and every month you hope for a different result.

I discovered there is an entire infertility community with websites, blogs, and message boards filled with women who so desperately want to have a child {and have reached the point of unlocking the crazy} that they are willing to share every. single. intimate. detail of their bodily functions with the world. Every month. Over and over. I don't know if I can put it into words, but trying to conceive {and for so long} does something to your brain and emotions. And that's before any fertility treatments that delve into hormonal changes.

Did you know there is an entire "trying to conceive" code?
TTC for more than a year without BC, by definition, makes you IF. You unfortunately know what an RE is, and you dread ENDO and PCOS. Every month you try to TCOYF; you track your BBT and CM, use OPKs to pinpoint your LH and OV, and you and DH BD as much as you can. You know the date of your LMP and the exact CD and DPO it is. You constantly have BOTB while you endure HSG, SA, and BW. You wade through your ART options, trying to figure out if IUI and IVF are right for you. You watch for anything and everything that could be a sign of PG: you check BBs, IB, and MS. You defy logic and POAS way too early, hoping for your BFP. When the HPT shows BFN, you do it again the next day. And the next, until AF shows her ugly face.
If you understood the above references, you may have an idea of what I'm talking about. And it thus proves my point about "the crazy." I personally did not actively interact with this online community {though my knowledge of the code may suggest otherwise haha}, but I absolutely, without judgment, understand why it exists. 

While I have chosen not to deal with my struggle in this way, I have had my own fair share of crazy coping strategies. I have consumed more cookies, ice cream, and dark chocolate peanut butter cups than should probably be allowed. I bought an espresso machine the first Christmas we didn't get pregnant, and a Silhouette Machine the second Christmas we were still not pregnant. I gave in to my flesh and said "screw it...if I don't get a baby for Christmas, then I'm going to get some fun toys. These things will make me feel better." Of course, they didn't, and the Lord had to convict me of that "coping strategy." But it was hard not to feel crazy sometimes. Especially since trying to conceive seems to fit the very definition of insanity...

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