I have been putting off writing about this for a while now, mainly because I haven't wanted to offend anyone or make someone feel bad for their situation because that is not my intention whatsoever. But I feel led to write this out probably more for me just so I can share my sorrow with others and get it off my chest because it's the number one thing I think about on a constant basis. I'm also writing because I know others may be in a similar situation and I want them to know I feel their pain, sadness and disappointment and I am sorry because to put it bluntly, it sucks.
Before I really get into my story of struggling with infertility, I want to put a disclaimer out that this is NOT directed towards any of my friends who have children, recently had babies or are pregnant now. It's funny because every time I am about to post something like this, another one of my friends gets pregnant and I withhold because I don't want them thinking I am talking about them. When I see that announcement with the little baby bump, the sonogram or the words, "We're Pregnant!", I am genuinely happy for my friends but simultaneously discouragement and sadness instantly overtakes me. Sometimes it's momentarily or sometimes it puts me in a funk for several days. The fact of the matter is that your friend who just announced they are pregnant, just got engaged or married, bought a house, got a new job or started their own business, etc. is not at fault for why you don't have A, B, or C. They have nothing to do with your situation. The jealousy you feel is completely unfair to them. I am reminding myself this as I type because it's so hard to not fall into the envy trap. I have felt these feelings towards others on my fertility journey and I realize that I just need to stop. When Ryan and I bought our house two and a half years ago, I remember being on the receiving end of these feelings from friends who were not in the same place financially and could not buy a house at the time. It seemed like they were mad at us because we had a house and they didn't. This same thing happened when I started my business. I actually lost some friends because of all of this. Some friendships have mended since then, praise God, but some have not unfortunately. So when I start falling into the envy trap, I remember how I felt on the other side and ask Jesus to help me to stop. Can't we all just be happy for each other's accomplishments, blessings and miracles, please!?
April 12, 2008 (10 years ago) is when I met Ryan (a week away!), and this coming September will be our 10th Anniversary when we started dating. We were one of the first couples to get married within our friend group back in 2011, and the past almost 7 years of marriage have been absolutely incredible. It's funny when I look back on high school and college and how I felt like my life would go. I didn't know Ryan until my 2nd semester of my junior year in college but I always felt like I was going to get married pretty quickly out of college and start a family soon after. My friends in high school would joke about who would get married first and who would have kids first. Ironically things are almost exact opposite of what we all thought they would be. Most all of my friends that I graduated with from high school and college are now pregnant, just had babies or have multiple kids and growing families of their own. It's so weird and sad to think I am not in the same phase of life with them anymore.
When Ryan and I got married, we thought we would wait a few years to focus on just us and then start trying. But in Fall of 2014, I started running and eating right and lost 50 lbs. I have struggled with being overweight all of my life so this was the first time EVER as an adult that I didn't feel shameful in my own skin and I loved how I looked. I'll be the first to admit that I put off trying because I wanted to be able to wear a bathing suit proudly for once in my life plus Ryan was far from his career path then and felt like the timing wasn't right either. Soon after this I began my business in summer of 2015 and then we bought a house at the end of that same year. And on top of it Ryan and I felt called to launch Anchor, an evening church service in early 2016. So a lot happened right around the time we thought we would start trying which made us put it off even more. Life was insane. I was working my full time job plus my business and helping lead in our church. Ryan was working his full time job plus being a college pastor and now the pastor of Anchor, preaching every single week. By the end of 2016 I was getting baby fever big time even though life was insane. Thankfully I was able go part time at my job so I could focus more on my business and not pull 70 hour work weeks anymore. This insane way I lived for a while ended up causing me to gain all the weight back I had once lost. At this point we just realized that life is always going to be crazy and I was having an even harder time losing the weight again so we officially started trying January of 2017 despite it all. I'm sure everyone feels like at first it's going to happen right away. I mean, I sure did. Have you seen my mama bearing hips!?! I always felt like I was born to be a mom and bear children. But months went by and still nothing. Women who have experienced infertility know exactly what I am talking about when I talk of the giant let down and huge disappointment getting your period is month after month. You have high hopes again the next month and you do everything you possibly can to ensure you get pregnant and I mean everything. You name it, we've done it, haha. For goodness sake I even have a tea that I drink that's suppose to support fertility called Fertilitea which makes me laugh every time. But without avail, good 'Ol Aunt Flow shows up yet again and it's just so heartbreaking. Not to mention the hormones and PMS that go with it. I definitely punched a couple walls throughout 2017 and irrationally yelled at Ryan over nonsense. It was and is such a frustrating time.
SOB SESH (Skip this paragraph if you don't want to hear me complain)
I have heard all the stories of the mom who waited 5 months, a year or two or even 5 or more but it still doesn't really make it easier knowing this can be common. Especially when your emotions are heightened and you have been wanting it for so long, you just become so sensitive to it and feel like everyone is getting pregnant and having babies. You start seeing families and babies and kids everywhere - the grocery store, at a restaurant and of course on the internet. I stopped scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed a while back and recently haven't been on Instagram as much because it almost seems like every other picture is a baby or a pregnant mama or a family. I mean, it is what life is about quite literally and everyone should share about their greatest joys for sure but it's hard for me to always see it, so I know taking a step back helps a little sometimes. One of the kickers though was when I turned 30. I always imagined I would at least be pregnant if not have a kid or two by the time I turned 30 but that wasn't the case. And because of my age, the things that sting the most is when I start seeing women I use to babysit or campers I had when I was a summer counselor or friends who are several years younger get pregnant and have babies before me. Other instances like friends who have unplanned pregnancies or friends who already have a child or 2 or 3 and get pregnant again just make it all feel so unfair. I just cry out to God and scream, "Can't I just have a turn?!" I know I sound like such a whiney baby but it's the truth of how I feel sometimes and I know I am not alone. I think of David in the Bible and how he would write these Psalms where he would be complaining and crying out to God so much but by the end of it, he is thanking God and praising Him for all His blessings. And that's the key. You can't stay in the wallowing. There is a time and a place for it but at some point you have to stop and realize all that you have to be grateful for.
Recently I was thinking about all this and thought about how single women or men feel who want to be in a relationship so badly. They don't have someone by their side, let alone a way to have a biological child that can have two loving parents. It breaks my heart thinking about this and I well up with tears because I have Ryan. I have one of the the most gentle, loving, supportive, caring and nurturing human beings on the planet right by my side through all of this- experiencing it with me. He is there to console me while I cry every time I get my period again or I see another friend pregnant or a woman pushing her baby in a cart at the store. I start to think, who the heck am I to even complain for my situation!? I have it SO GOOD! I have a loving family, awesome and supportive friends who text me and check on me after every single doctor's visit and test that I do. I have an incredible church community and the coolest college students that we get to lead. My part time job rocks and my business has been doing well despite the lack of time I have been devoting to it over the past 3 months. I am overall a healthy person with an awesome house and provisions, and really when I think about it, I could have it so much worse. While I have never experienced the incredible joy you get when you see the two little lines or the plus sign saying you're pregnant, I cannot even imagine having it being ripped away due to a miscarriage or even worse, a still birth. Those women who go through that are the real super heroes. But most importantly what I am grateful about is that I have a relationship with my King and Creator, Jesus! He has chosen me and called me out of my sin and death and gave me new life! I mean seriously- even if all of those other things that I am so grateful for were taken away from me, just having Jesus alone is enough! After really thinking about all of this, I asked Ryan if every day we could start listing three things we are grateful for that day. I'll admit we don't do it every single day because of busy lives, but it's been a really great exercise for us that helps us put our crappy situations back into perspective.
I want to jump back into the despair just for a moment here. I feel as though at least in the Christian community, sometimes these emotions of sadness can be dismissed easily. You know when you reach out to someone about the pain you are going through and they respond with a quintessential Scripture verse or the response "God has a plan and it's all going to work out - just trust in God's timing", etc.? I'm not necessarily saying that's a wrong response and I certainly have given that response my fair share, but sometimes all people need is a "I'm sorry, that really sucks." you know? Sometimes you just want to linger in the sadness for a bit and not instantly try to find the bright side. It's okay to be sad. I think of the Scripture verse Romans 12:15 "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep." Sometimes we just need friends to weep with and I am grateful that God has given me some of the best friends, family and husband to do just that.
Since January of this year, I have had more doctors appointments than I have in my whole life combined. It feels like I am there getting another test done every other week and still with no real answers. Once we hit the one year mark of trying back in January, my gyno began the tests and it's been nice ruling things out, but still not knowing what is going wrong makes things difficult. All of the tests I have done so far have come back normal. Ryan has been tested and is normal too. One of my doctor's think that maybe it's simply stress that's keeping me from getting pregnant. Have you ever been in a situation where you are stressing about not being stressed? I'm sure those who deal with anxiety know this feeling all too well. It really is not a fun place to be. Back in February I had to get a baseline mammogram done since my sister Amy got breast cancer (and survived it- glory to God!) at the age of 33. It was just a precautionary mammo for me since I had turned 30 in October. My test came back abnormal and they wanted me to do a second mammo for further testing, but unfortunately there was a small chance I could be pregnant since every month we are trying exactly when we should be. So I had to wait 2 weeks until I got my period to make sure I wasn't pregnant before I got the mammo. Talk about stressful. Those 2 weeks were the worst. It was the first time in a year that I was praying I wasn't pregnant because if I was then they wouldn't be able to do the second mammo until after I had the baby. But Praise Jesus I got my period, had the mammo and all was normal! I remember when they told me I just broke down crying with tears of joy. Since then my stress levels have gone down somewhat but other things in life with church stuff plus everyday life have been rough, so I am leaning on Jesus and learning how to not be stressed through it all and saying no to a lot more. It's not easy.
I have one last and final test to do that will hopefully give answers. The long and very frustrating story made short is that it was supposed to be done yesterday but there were complications during the test so it couldn't be completed and I had to go back today. Unfortunately the doctor (the only one in our whole area who can perform this test) ended up calling in sick today so now I have to wait until next month before I can do this test again since there is a tiny window in a female's cycle in which it can be completed. Sadly due to the prep and manner for this test, Ryan and I cannot try this month or next because of it. However there is a tiny glimpse of hope because the doctor thinks that from yesterday's complications, maybe this test is what will be the fix and that it's not stress related. But now we are just waiting again. The waiting really is the worst too especially when you don't know why and have absolutely no control. But I guess that's actually the best place to be because it forces you to rely on God because there is nothing else you can do. Believe me, this is hard for a Type A - serious planner like myself who wants to try every possible solution ever and fix all the problems. It's coming to the end of yourself and letting God do His thing. And I am feeling hopeful as I write to you because really when it comes down to it, I know God does have a plan for Ryan and myself and that someday we will be blessed with a family of our own in some shape or form. I know that He has a reason for the delay for us to have a family and that the timing just isn't right currently. So as of now, I am going to just trust and wait on the Lord (with of course intermittent sobs of sadness- let's be real) but I will continue to base my ultimate joy and hope in what Jesus has done for me. I will focus on really getting my health back in order, trying to lose all that weight I gained (story of my life) before putting more on with pregnancy and bring my stress levels down, be hopeful for the future and think about all the blessings in my life that I already have!
If any of you are also in a season of waiting for whatever it may be, all I want to say is that I am sorry. Life doesn't seem fair sometimes and know that I am weeping with you too. The longing never seems to go away. It's always in the back of our minds and our hearts ache for that which we don't have. But know you are loved. Try to think about the good things in your life and the things that you are grateful for even if it's the smallest thing in the world like a Netflix show that makes you laugh or good books, delicious food, fun hangouts with friends or even your hobbies, passions and talents that God has given you. I am willing to bet you have some really amazing things to be thankful for too even today! And if you are also struggling to get pregnant, feel free to reach out to me. It's something I love to talk and learn more about. It's really nice having people going through the same season. We all need each other for sure!
So, I love you all and maybe hopefully someday soon-ish you and I will be able to announce to the world the big news we always have wanted to make!
XOXO - Kimmy