When I am left alone with my thoughts, it is very rarely a good thing... Sure I have my moments of clarity and quiet reflection, but often it gives me too much time to dwell on things. The truth is, I feel broken. And what's worse is that I feel that it is my own fault that I am. I worry that my past has made me unable to plan my family. I think about those reckless days of my youth, fraught with eating disorders, no sleep, bad nutrition, OTC drug abuse, and artificial hormones in the form of birth control. Have I destroyed my body?
But really, what use is it to worry about it? I mean, I can't change it, now can I? What is done is done. I have changed a lot. I no longer go out of my way to do things that are bad for me. I mean, yes of course I still eat the wrong things and don't exercise enough, but I don't try to hurt myself. The only thing I can do now is move forward, right? Just set my mind to refusing to make the same mistakes again and again.
In April, I had a secret. I started fertility treatments. (I didn't tell anyone for fear of having to answer a LOT of questions that I didn't want to answer. Namely, having to break the news a thousand times that if it didn't work... That is always so hard on me). I began seeing a specialist up in Salt Lake City who wanted to start me on an aggressive amount of clomid and a steroid. I had let what I wanted, (a baby) decide for me to go against all that I feared about that drug and trust the doctor. I began taking my medication, and I suffered through the side effects, and went in for my ultrasound, only to find out that the clomid had been tremendously successful and I had TWO eggs that would ovulate that month. My chances looked very very good, the doctor told me. He was so happy that it had worked so well for me. He was very hopeful... and so was I. I left the doctor's office so elated and excited. I knew it would work... and what about TWINS?! What if we got twins? Wouldn't that be amazing?! (And scary)... Honestly, this was the first time I ovulated in over 5 years and I really thought it would just be that easy... I mean, the first time I ovulated when we were trying the first time to get pregnant was when we conceived.
So Mr. Darling and I were sure this was our answer. We were sure I would get pregnant. And then, I started getting symptoms that I was. I was nauseated, I was so tired, I had heartburn (which I never really get except when I am pregnant) and a few other things that I won't mention... We were so excited. And then, I decided to take a test. I took it early, confident that it would be positive. My husband was out of town and I wanted to do something for when he came home... Like make a t-shirt for Z to wear that said "Big Brother" or something. Negative. I was crushed. But I told myself that it was still too early, and I had jumped the gun.
The time came for me to take it (for real this time), but this time I was sure that the negative test had been correct. I took one anyway, this time with my sweetheart right there with me. Negative. I sat and watched my husband (who never really seems too affected by this sort of thing), openly cry, and say "I was so sure you were" and I lost it. I lost it for a while. I felt cheated and robbed, and well, quite stupid.
I also didn't like how I felt on the medication. I decided that we would give it one more try and if it didn't work then we would stop.
So this month I took it again. But this month, I felt different. I felt much less hopeful... In fact, I felt the opposite of hopeful. I felt like it wasn't going to work at all. Back up to SLC I drove for another ultrasound only to find out that the clomid had stopped working all together. My body wasn't responding to it anymore. I had not produced a single viable egg this month. I was devastated. Again.
I took both of these much harder than I thought I would. I honestly thought I was stronger. I honestly believed that I could remain unaffected if it didn't work. I thought that I had reached a point where I would be okay if it didn't work. And both times I felt like I would break in half it hurt so badly.
Even now, after 4 days have gone by since the ultrasound, I have my moments where I just burst in to tears. It just feels so final.
This morning, I woke up sick. I didn't make it to church, though I think I really could have benefited from it. I looked at the June issue of the Ensign (which is an LDS church distributed magazine) still in the plastic that it was delivered in. I decided to sift through the pages to try and find something to help ease my broken soul. I flipped through the pages and landed on this:
I was sitting on the couch next to Mr. Darling, and he must have heard me gasp because he looked over at me just as I started weeping. He put his hand on my back, and I sobbed, "I was not expecting that." It was an answer to the ache I felt. Just seeing those words on the page brought me more comfort than I can even express. It was as though the Savior himself grabbed my face between his hands and said, "I know very well what you want. I know very well how you hurt. And I AM HERE."
The article was beautifully written by a woman who suffered with infertility... She eventually went on to have three sons with her husband... It focused mainly on accepting the Lord's time frame in all things. Here is a link to read the article online... Learning to Cope with Infertility By Carolynn R. Spencer
She says some things that really hit close to home, like,
"...I cringed when I listened to women complain about their pregnancies or their children or the responsibilities of mothering. Didn't they realize how blessed they were? Didn't they realize that others longed to be in their shoes? Month after month, and then year after year, Tim and I rode waves of hope, only to feel them come crashing down when our dreams failed to materialize."
Oh how I relate to that statement...
She quoted Elder Neal A. Maxwell (who was an apostle in the LDS church until his death in 2004)
"The issue for us is trusting God enough to trust also His timing. If we can truly believe He has our welfare at heart, may we not let His plans unfold as He thinks best?"
That touched me so deeply. Of course I've known this. I know it's His time, and not mine, but for some reason those words really opened my eyes today.
She also referenced many women from the bible who suffered with infertility, and man did that help me tremendously... She said:
"...From Abraham's wife, Sarah, I learned that miracles do happen, that nothing is 'too hard for the Lord...From Isaac's wife, Rebekah, I learned that if my prayers weren't answered right away, I still needed to keep praying... From Zacharias's wife, Elisabeth, I learned that infertility was not God's punishment for imperfections, weaknesses, or unworthiness to be a mother...I learned from Hannah's despair that it makes no sense to let gratitude for the blessings we do have be crowded out by sorrow over the one thing we lack...From all of these women in the scriptures, I learned that I was not alone in my heartache; other women who had gone before knew just how I felt, and surely there were others surrounding me who knew as well. Most of all, the Savior knew; not only could He comfort me in my burden of sorrow, but He could ease it for me as Isaiah promised: 'Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.'..."
Talk about a brick to the face.
This article wasn't written by a prophet, or an apostle. This article was written by a woman who knows the pain of infertility. But this was no less prophetic to me... This was a true answer to the desires of my heart. The Lord heard and answered me through this woman's words.
The truth is, I don't know what the future holds for me. What I do know is that I have it in me to be okay with whatever it is. I have the ability in me to enjoy the ride and hope for the best. I also know that I am done with fertility treatments for a while. I don't want to do anything else to my body like that for a long time.
You know what else? I know I'm NOT broken. I might be a little damaged. I have some scars, (emotional, physical and spiritual) but I remain unbroken.
I remain unbroken.