Monday, April 25, 2011

A part of me...

I'm not quite sure what I even want to say. I've been on the fence for months about blogging on this particular subject, for multiple reasons. I don't want it to come out the wrong way. I don't want a pity party. I don't want to seem ungrateful. I do, however, want to let it out. I do want to help and support others. I do want to use my voice for good, and I cannot do that without opening myself up and sharing, which we are repeatedly encouraged to do.

This week is "National Infertility Awareness Week." Did you know it had it's own designated week? Neither did I. It's a little funny to me. I know it's good to educate others and to become educated ourselves and this is what it does. And it did prompt me to post...seemed fitting. But I also don't want to put a stamp on my forehead that says, "Hey...look at me. I'm sad because my ovaries are a little confused, which makes it difficult to have babies." I don't want that label. I don't want it to define me, but it is a part of my life. It is a little (sometimes feeling like a large) part of me. It is there...always in the back of my mind. No matter how hard I try to push it away and pretend that it's not, it is still there.

I know I'm not alone. FAR from it. It affects 1 in 6 American couples. That's a lot. And I know many of you who have also experienced this is some way or another. For me, it's something that I became aware of quite awhile ago. It's not something new. I knew as a junior in high school that this was something that would be in my future. The issue reappeared during my first year of college and then again when I was newly married. Even though it's not a recently discovered struggle for me, 7 years later it still feels fresh. And that is what is so hard about it.

Just a little more history. After 4 years of working with doctors, I got pregnant with my twins through the means of InVitro Fertilization (IVF). IVF was a last resort and came only after multiple failed attempts through various other means.

But it wasn't all doom and gloom during those years. SO many great things also happened. Shane and I both finished our education, part of which was the opportunity that came to me to study with an amazing piano teacher at BSU, Del Parkinson. That, in and of itself made those years wonderful for me. We then both started great jobs, got ourselves well-established in a wonderful ward, and spent our time enjoying our simple and gratifying marriage. That time for Shane and me is sacred. Time that we would never give back, and the blessings we received were numerous.

During my pregnancy and for a small period of time after the boys were born, I felt like the issue, naturally, went away. Of course it did. We were busy celebrating our two babies and busy trying to feed two babies! Those babies are now working their way to becoming the cutest preschool-going 4-year-olds ever!!! We are still celebrating our two babies and will for forever.

We thought that after having our boys that the issue might resolve itself, but we are still waiting. At the beginning of the year, after months of preparation and due to the miraculous prayers and help from loved ones, we were able to attempt IVF once again. We couldn't have felt better about it. In our eyes, the stars aligned. Valentine's Day was our celebration day...the day that the blood work would be confirmed. I got the much anticipated phone call to be informed that it had been unsuccessful. That day is still so fresh. My heart is still aching. Will that ever go away? I'm not so sure that it will. I know that the Lord loves me and that He is aware of my struggles. I know that I am not alone or left without comfort. My testimony and faith are not shaken. But we are still allowed to feel pain and disappointment. That knowledge doesn't stop those feelings from coming...in any trial that we experience in this mortal life. And I don't believe that we should push those feelings aside, feeling guilty that we feel hurt, anger and disappointment. I believe that the Lord wants us to own those feelings and then turn them over to Him and allow ourselves to be comforted and healed. That is the beauty of the Atonement.

I wish I could just see the big picture NOW! Life is hard that way. Shane and I are faced with some difficult decisions right now and I feel like I struggle in receiving answers. I've been thinking a lot about Elder Bednar's talk given in General Conference about receiving personal revelation and am trying to do better in that regard. How grateful I am for inspired leaders. I am still blown away by the words spoken in General Conference that seemed to be prepared only for me. I cannot imagine facing this mortal experience without the knowledge of a loving Heavenly Father. I am grateful for my faith and my testimony.

I have so much to be grateful for. I know that things could be so much worse. So much harder. That so many have suffered in such greater ways. That is why I can also work to comfort those around me and mourn with those who are mourning. To look beyond myself and strive to serve others. I know the power of this because of the love and service that have been given in my behalf. The Lord has surrounded me with His love through the love of amazing individuals.

Despite the hurt that still lingers, the love of the Lord is felt.

14 comments:

Laura said...

Amy, you said it beautifully. No one suffering through infertility wants a pity party but it's true that it is a HUGE part of your life and you face major obstacles because of it. I am so, so sorry the IVF didn't work. My heart is hurting right now for you. You'll be in my thoughts and prayers. Hang in there.

Dixie said...

I can't even imagine what you must be going through. There was a great article about infertility in the April Ensign. You prob saw it. Life is full of ups and downs, and you know what, I think you DO see a great deal of the big picture. You have an eternal perspective on life and a great desire to serve others around you, that is the big picture.

*LaUrA* said...

You said it perfectly. And Dixie also said it perfectly...that you do see a great deal of the big picture. You are an amazing example to me of strength and of faith and what a righteous woman looks like. Because of your trials and experience you will be able to help others you meet and who read this. I love where you said that you are allowed to feel the emotions, the raw feelings...and then turn them over to Christ. Most people think of sin when they think of the atonement. But you illustrated perfectly the gift that the atonement is in other aspects of our lives. It gives hope, healing, and understanding in those things we did not choose for ourselves and need help navigating through.

Thanks for sharing. I really appreciate your words and your feelings and I know other do too.

Kara said...

Well, I am so glad I read your post right now. I wish I could write like you! I appreciate your thoughts and testimony. Some times it's so easy to feel alone in trials. Right now is not an easy time for us. But then it just hit me (or was reminded :)) that that is life. Is it really supposed to be easy? No, the Lord has a purpose and a plan with everything. Trials and hard times are a part of life and everyone experiences them at varying levels and dirrerent times throughout life. It's hard going through them and remembering to stay strong and to have faith that all is good. To remember that these trials are shaping us to be who the Lord wants us to be! Anyways, so much on my mind but thanks for sharing and we will pray for you and all that you are going through. I know you don't want pity, but I still want you to know I am thinking and praying for you guys at this time!! We hope the best for you two!! You are inspiring to me!

Marie Photographie said...

Oh Amy, thanks for sharing that. Your attitude and faith in the atonement strengthens my testimony. You are one incredible gal and I miss and love you!

JoLyn Stevens said...

You have a gift with words--and that was both honest and beautiful. I loved what you said about feeling pain, so that you must rely on the Lord. I think I need to enlarge that quote and make it my wall paper! :) Sure love you!

Cheri said...

It's amazing to me just how many people I know with fertility issues. I feel so much compassion for you and how hard it must be. It's really too bad that the women I know who are fantastic mothers have such a difficult time getting their babies here. I pray that things will work out for you at some point. And I loved Elder Bednar's talk as well. I even quoted a bit of the same part that you were talking about because I felt it had so much personal meaning for me, too. The church is such a blessing and a comfort and I'm so glad that we have that influence in our lives!

Janelle Dobson said...

Thank you for your beautiful words sharing this very personal part of yourself. Your testimony inspires us all. Our prayers are with you.

Claire said...

Amy-
I have been thinking about you lately, in this regard. I enjoyed reading that and hearing your perspective on this difficult struggle that seems to be pretty common. It's so hard to think it's not fair. I am so sorry this round of in vitro didn't work. What a tough thing. I am so sorry! YOu have such a strong testimony and I know Heavenly Father is helping you through this, just from reading your thoughts and feelings on it all. Anytime you'd like to chat I'd love to. Plus I'd love to hear all your knowledge and what you've learned from all this too. I really am so sorry though. My heart goes out to you guys! You are such a great mom and your boys are so lucky to have you, I know you feel lucky to have them too. Love you!

Amber said...

i love you amy! I can't imagine what it must be like to deal with infertility. Such a hard trial. You are amazing and strong!

Williams Tale Overture said...

I never knew that you had those problems, I didnt even know that you had your twins with IVF. I sometimes feel guilty because I get pregnant so easily and my sister has tried for 6 years and just found out she will never get pregnant, so they are trying to adopt. I am sorry and know how hard that is I have seen my sister go through all the ups and downs and my heart goes out to you.

Katy said...

Ugh- so sorry for this heart ache in your life.
My brother David is amazing, he writes the most fabulous letters ever and has been such a strength to me as he has been serving. He often writes about the Atonement and how it has strengthed him and what it really means to rely on the Lord. I guess it doesn't really matter what your trial is- the atonement works the same way. He left home for Japan- and then lost his home all together- his stability- no more siblings to anchor him somewhere- and he had to face it. I remember him writing once about how the atonement is there not for IF and WHEN we have pain or loss make a mistake but because we will ALWAYS have pain and loss and make mistakes. That being ok in realizing that -yes, I just always need the atonement in my life because life is just hard every day- is more than half the battle. It made so much sense to me- and so did what you said about perspective. Heavenly Father is so loving- the older I get the more loving I think he is and so I realize that all that I experience is because He loves me, and sometimes that feels so backwards- and it still hurts. I don't think he expects us not to feel the pain of it- I think it is all part of the process.
You are so amazing and I admire the kind of mother you are. Keep smiling!
(sorry if none of this made sense)

Stephanie said...

I think it's great that you posted all this. It really is such a huge part of who you are, and what makes you so amazing.

Cara said...

Dang trials and unknowns. Who likes them but all have them and like you said they make up who we are. Thoughts and prayers your way.

ps - i liked your wicked performance. Good job. I loved wicked 'the play' too.