I began this blog when I was 23 years old and my husband, Jesse was only 21. That was in December of 2007 when we decided that we wanted to bring a baby into our family. We had no idea all that decision entailed. Back then I had a false assumption that I was super-fertile and would get pregnant even while on birth control. Well, I was off of birth control for over a year, went through all of the fertility testing, and then was diagnosed with "unexplained infertility".

This past year has been one of the most difficult I have ever been through. I ran the emotional gauntlet on this issue, ranging from intense sadness and heartache to anger towards God to total peace about what He is doing. God began to show me how He was using my infertility as a ministry. It is my hope to share my testimony with others so that they may either be encouraged as they face their own infertility or educated as they learn what infertility entails. More than that, though, I hope that the things I share point others to God regardless of what they are going through.

When I first began this blog, the entries were kept private. But I have decided to open everything up in order to let people see the raw truth of the struggle. I strive to find the fine line between sharing the truth and sharing too much information. However, it is my desire to share my heart, regardless. And I have learned that there is never "too much information" in the world of infertility.

After being diagnosed with unexplained infertility on November 17, 2008, I was put on a round of 50mg of Clomid to strengthen the quality and quantity of my eggs. I suppose it was how God chose to work because I became pregnant that very cycle.

In order to be sensitive to those who are still going through infertility, I have opened up a new blog about my pregnancy. I am maintaining this one, though, hoping that it serves as a testimony to anyone who may be going through infertility at the time they come across my site. If you want to follow my life's journey, check out my other blogs. And if you would like, please don't hesitate to email me:
mrs_peterson07@yahoo.com

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tug-O-War

I’ve been really struggling to write these past few days because I feel this intense tug-o-war within me. I feel it deep within my heart. A battle between anticipation and anxiety, each gaining or losing ground depending on which team I choose to be a part of. As I sit here at my computer, I’m not even sure where to begin to explain this battle, for it’s come about by a onslaught of sources. To be honest, I feel like I’m PMSing although I’m not anywhere close to that point in my cycle. I feel like my emotions are a mess. My anticipation has dwindled down to hope. But even more of a struggle, my anxiety has been turning into anger and sadness stewing within me, constantly on the brink of boiling over. But I want so badly to not express it. I don’t want to be that person.

I don’t want to get on here and spew a whole list of complaints. I want to share the joy that God has given me despite my struggles. I want to praise Him even in the heartache of infertility. And yet, I’m fighting every step of the way to maintain that attitude.

I noticed it beginning on Tuesday. Jesse called the doctor’s office to ask about the results of his semen analysis. I knew that I had gotten the results of all of my blood tests 3 days after taking them. I also knew that Jesse had taken his test Saturday morning and that the dr.’s office is open 7 days a week, making this the 3rd day. I also knew that they had to test the semen immediately (within 30 minutes of the sample) so I didn’t see what would make it take very long. I would’ve called myself, but since it was his test, I wasn’t sure that they’d even tell me over the phone. So, Jesse agreed to give them a call during his lunch break after I sent him a text message this morning and requested it.

Around noon, I began to get really anxious about the results. With all of my blood tests, I was most certain that the results would come back as normal. I would’ve been shocked at anything else. But there’s been this lingering question of Jesse’s sperm quality since his father was diagnosed with such a problem. I found myself feeling quite anxious awaiting Jesse’s call to the dr.’s office about the results. When Jesse hadn’t called by 12:30, I began fearing the worst, wondering if he was too distraught by the results to call me, not wanting to have to face me with them. And after sending 3 unanswered text messages, I finally called only to find out that he had just gone on break and hadn’t called yet. So, I gave him another half hour before the fear arose again and I called again. He said that the dr.’s office said that the results weren’t in yet and he should know by maybe Friday or next week!!! AAAGGHH! I looked it up online and found that most semen analysis results are told within a few days, some even as early as that day or the one following the initial test. Why in the world are they making us wait a week?

I think the reason it got me all uptight was because this was the most unanswered question we’ve had in this whole process. Jesse’s had this fear looming over his head that our whole trial may somehow be his fault. He’s wondered if he does suffer the same diagnosis his dad did, and we both wonder if we’ll end up on the same path as well. To get the results of this particular test would explain A LOT. A good result would mean that there was nothing to fear and that we could rest assured. A bad result would finally give us an answer as to what the problem might actually be and allow us to address it knowing at least a piece of the path that lay before us. I guess the test results will still get to me within a matter of days. What difference does Thursday make rather than Friday? And regardless of the results, there’s nothing we can or will do THIS week that will change anything. It’s just my nerves all in a knot.

In the midst of these knotted nerves, I have encountered some more new blogs of people going through the same process I am. They are all at various phases along the way. Some have already received their answers to prayers. Some are still praying after years of God’s answer to “Wait.” Some are moving on, acknowledging that God must have some other plan for their life, either through adoption or accepting their status of a “family of 2”. I’m so encouraged by their blogs, each and every one of them. I treasure them, spending the better part of my days waiting for an update from anybody. Their stories give me hope as they persevere in their faith through infertility. They serve as reminders to me that God’s grace is sufficient for me. But they also bring up a lot of other issues that I haven’t quite faced. And, in these issues, I find myself torn between my hope and my fears:

~Years Later

Issue: Many of them have suffered diagnoses that denote a slim chance of ever having biological kids. Some of them are still trying after 2-5 years of trying to conceive.

Fear: These ones leave me wondering if I will suffer the same fate. Now that I am just entering into the realm of diagnoses, I wonder if I may receive the same news they have. Today, as I go into my ultrasound, I’m a little nervous of what they may discover. Will I have a mis-shapen uterus? Will I have cysts? Will my ovaries be the wrong size or out of place? And I’m hoping so much to know the results of Jesse’s test today, but I’m kinda nervous about what it might reveal. Is his sperm count too low? Does he have poor motility or morphology? How bad are our chances of conceiving if these are the results? And, if everything is fine with both of us, I fear even more what the next step is going to be. Are we on the brink of the most invasive procedures? The ones that are painful or accompanied by a regiment of medications? It’s these things that make me wonder why God chose this path for me and why I can’t just conceive like a normal person.

Hope: I still find comfort in their ability to maintain faith after so many years. I know that God brought us to this place. He opened the doors for insurance and doctors and tests, and I need to focus on the blessing it is to discover what might be holding up our conception. At least knowing our diagnosis allows us to address it, whereas we’ve been blindly running around before, not knowing if there was an issue we were unaware of. And, even the worst diagnosis allows us to move on and determine our next step in the process.

~Pregnancy & Children

Issue: Others, as I mentioned, are celebrating the gift of a child brought to them after infertility. Probably the biggest issue faced by those who conceived after infertility is, “Once an infertile, always an infertile?” This is a common saying among those who are labeled as such. The idea is that after you’ve spent years trying to conceive and even undergoing fertility treatments, once you get pregnant you find yourself not knowing where to belong. You feel like you don’t fit in with your infertility friends because you’re now one of “them”. In fact, often you feel guilty revealing the news to your infertile friends that you are pregnant because you know that it breaks their hearts. I know several people who have mentioned ending their blogs about infertility once they receive a child because they don’t want it to end up being a blog about parenting that alienates their infertile friends. You feel like you are almost betraying them. And yet, you don’t feel like you fit in with those who have conceived easily. You’re definitely not one of the “Fertile Myrtles”! In addition to not knowing where you belong, many people who struggle through infertility obsess through their pregnancies, fearing that they may miscarry any step along the way. Even week 39 of pregnancy does not ensure a safe, healthy baby. Their battles to get pregnant leave them fighting to feel secure in their pregnancies.

Fear: I wonder how long it’ll take me to get to this point. How much more will I have to go through to receive this gift? Will I suffer the same agonizing displacement- not knowing where I fit in anymore? Will I fear everything that happens throughout my pregnancy- constantly worrying that I may lose my little baby? I don’t want to live that way!

Hope: I rejoice with these people, praising God that He is just to give blessings after someone struggled. I wrestle with the idea of “Once an infertile, always an infertile.” I don’t want to lose the ministry I have towards my infertile friends. I want to always maintain the soft spot I have in my heart for them. I don’t ever want to forget what I have been through to receive the gift of a child! And yet, once I get pregnant, I don’t want to live in fear of losing that baby. I want to celebrate every bit of it. I want to rest assured in God’s grace.

~ Adoption

Issue: Since I don’t really consider a life without children an option for Jesse and me, adoption would be the next place we go after we exhaust our treatment options. I read two blogs yesterday that got this idea stirred up in my head. The first was an entry from a lady who was venting her frustration with her husband when talking to him about beginning the adoption process after 2+ years of infertility. She said that he was willing to wait to have biological kids while she was wanting to pursue the possibility of adoption. She was hurt by his response and didn’t know how to approach the subject with him anymore. Alongside that, I was reading an entire blogsite about a couple who has dealt with infertility for nearly 5 years and decided to pursue adoption at the beginning of this year after an awful diagnosis. They received their baby 4 months ago and he is absolutely adorable. As I read their accounts, I wondered how long Jesse and I would continue this path before pursuing adoption. I wasn’t asking for an exact timeline for us to adhere to, and I most certainly don’t feel that we’re close to that point yet, but I wanted to see if Jesse had any ideas about when he might consider adoption. I was shocked by his response. He, first of all, struggles with putting a timeline to most things. He just doesn’t think this way and it’s something that I am very aware of, although I don’t understand it in the least bit. He can’t even tell me what time he’ll be home from hanging out with his friends when all I want to know is if it’ll be closer to 30 minutes or 3 hours. The shortened answer I got from him was that he doesn’t ever want to get to that point (probably because it means we’ve exhausted all other treatment options and cannot have kids of our own) and so he is unwilling/unable to even guestimate a possible timeframe. I explained that I don’t want to get to that point either, but I also didn’t want to be where we are now and yet WE’RE HERE! So, stuff happens and I just want to have a plan for it. I also explained that he could tell me he wanted to wait for a year before trying to have kids or can think about a timeframe of how long we’d live in our house before moving or how long he’d stay at his job. So I don’t understand why this issue is any different. What really upset me, though, was that he got mad at me for not supporting him because I didn’t understand how he thinks about things. What also hurt a lot was that Jesse said that an adopted kid would make him feel like it’s not really his kid. I understand how a person can want a child of their own before adopting. I feel the same way. I’d love to actually be pregnant and feel my child move around inside me. And I want to be able to look at them and see how their features mimic mine or his, which isn’t possible with adoption. But when I think about how I’d feel holding a newly adopted child in my arms, I have a wave of emotions that run over me equal to the emotions I have when I think of holding my newborn biological baby in my arms. Either way, that’s my child. And I think of how much adoption mirrors our relationship with God. To think that He CHOSE us to be a part of his family. Our adopted kid should never feel that they were our second choice. Instead, they should know that we chose them of all kids to be a part of our family! I even asked Jesse how he feels about his 2 cousins that are adopted. Does he see them as any less his cousins? While I know that he loves his cousins, he said that he can't help but think, “Well, technically, they aren’t blood-related to me.” So maybe they would be considered like anyone else who was only related by marriage or something. I was astounded. After marrying into that family, I feel that they are as much my cousins and anyone in my biological family. In fact, all of my cousins’ wives, I consider my cousin without any distinction attached like “my cousin by marriage” or “my cousin’s spouse”. In fact, to further prove my point, I have a cousin who has been with his girlfriend for several years. They have two kids together, but are still not married. When I refer to this girlfriend, I STILL call her my cousin even though they aren’t married!!!

Fear: That we may someday have to cross this bridge which means we’ve been through a lot of stuff that I really don’t want to ever have to go through. That Jesse wouldn’t be open to adoption because he wouldn’t see that child as being our’s. That his hesitancy to talk about it only provokes anger and a lack of support to me as I try to cope with my options through infertility.

Hope: That God changes Jesse’s heart if this ever becomes a road we have to walk. That God prepares us for the places He may take us, regardless of how hard it is to get there. That He helps Jesse know how to support me along this difficult journey. That He also teaches me how to support Jesse as I’m not the only one of us going through this.

Anyways, this blog is becoming longer than I intended it, which is why I’ve struggled to even begin to write it. Therefore, I want to stress what I’ve been attempting to do while wrestling with all of these thoughts. I want to CHOOSE to find God in it all. I want to CHOOSE to be joyful even when things are tough. I want to CHOOSE to be blessed despite how my heart feels. I want to CHOOSE hope rather than fear. And I want to CHOOSE which side of the tug-o-war I’m going to be a part of.

So, here are the things that I have been blessed by lately, to name a few:

1) J wrote me a note of encouragement Tuesday, reminding me to not get overwhelmed by the circumstances. He was where I am once before, and has just seen God’s answer revealed as he celebrates the birth of his new baby boy just 10 days ago.

2) I found in Glenna’s blog the blessing of a beautiful baby boy through adoption in the midst of 4 years of infertility mixed with the hope of a biological child to come someday.

3) I read all the way through Abe’s Oddyssey the other day and found a man pour out his heart to praise God in the midst of in-vitro fertilization.

4) And Elaine reminded me in her blog Tuesday to remember that God gives us the grace we need to encounter each step we come to and allows us to only see a piece of the puzzle because the whole picture would be too overwhelming for us. She says this as she approaches her 15th month of trying to conceive and having 4 failed IUI’s. Today she goes in for surgery and I am reminded to pray that she still sees God’s grace in the surgery today.

5) Melanie has been a great friend. I so much appreciate her emails and just having someone that I can connect with personally despite being thousands of miles apart.

6) On Sunday, I was able to talk to Michelle at church about everything that God is doing through this process. I wanted to give her a copy of Angie’s blog hoping that it would encourage her as it’s encouraged me. It turns out that Michelle had the same diagnosis for one of her pregnancies and lost her baby as well. She shared with me the resentment she had towards God as she went through 8 miscarriages/still births. And yet, now years later, God has given her a beautiful and healthy daughter who’s like 6 or so years old, and Michelle can now see the testimony that she has. I cherish the ability to cry with and hug a woman who understands what I am going through, because she’s been through so much worse and come out on the other side. She even offered for me to call her even when I’m feeling down about things if I just need an ear to listen to me. I appreciate that more than she will ever know.

7) Shelley has been a huge encouragement to me at church as well. It took her a year to have her 2nd daughter, so she understands the pains of waiting, and she also lost her last child to miscarriage. She displays a strength and trust in God through her difficulties (ones not related to pregnancy) that give me hope. I can’t imagine what she has endured and goes through in a daily basis, but I appreciate her soft voice and gentle smile, offering me words of encouragement when I need them.

8) My mom just listened to me as I cried last night and offered a few words of encouragement. Thanks for being there with me when I needed to let it all off of my chest. Thanks for loving me all of the time.

9) After the results of the election were announced (which did not go the way Jesse and I wanted them to), Jesse’s response was to lift up our country in prayer to God. I am so blessed to have a husband who seeks God. Often he offers to pray about something when it never occurred to me to ask God about it. I love that about him. I also felt a warmth in my heart when he mentioned seeking God for guidance for “our family”. It’s hard to think of yourself as a “family” when there are just two of you (normally just called a “couple”). It’s one of those things that I struggle with infertility- that I’m missing out on a family unit because I don’t have kids. So, I loved that he used that word.

10) Dinner with an old friend just to catch up.

11) Lunch dates with a new co-worker just to get to know each other.

12) And the peace that comes over me when I choose hope instead of fear, anticipation instead of anxiety.

If you are still reading, thank you for taking the time to listen to my rambling. Hopefully, you took a bathroom break or something if you needed to. I’ll end with these 2 quotes and the lyrics of a song that came on the radio while I was typing this (it’s actually my current ringtone). And I’ll be back to update everyone with the results of my ultrasound and, hopefully, Jesse’s semen analysis later. I promise it won’t be such a long post!

Perhaps it takes a purer faith to praise God for unrealized blessings than for those we once enjoyed or those we enjoy now. ~A.W. Tozer

We give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way. ~Author Unknown


Whatever You're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but somehow there's peace
It's hard to surrender to what I can't see
but I'm giving in to something Heavenly
“Whatever You’re Doing” by Sanctus Real

1 comment:

Kevin and Beth Tanner said...

You write so beautifully and I appreciate so much your words, thanks for allowing us to be apart of your journey!