Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Lent of My Life - My Infertility Story (Chapter 1)

Tom and I have been through a lot of ups and downs in our marriage but probably nothing has challenged our relationship with each other, with our families, and with God more than our struggle with infertility and miscarriages.   So, I wanted to share our story with others who may be facing this same struggle.    I will be posting a chapter each Wednesday during Lent.  Maybe it can give someone a little hope.  

Before we married, we knew we wanted kids “eventually” but not right away.  I was working at the time and Tom was looking for work.  We knew that we would likely be re-locating to another state once Tom found employment, and I wanted to get settled somewhere before trying to have a baby.   There was admittedly also a part of us that wanted to “enjoy being married” for a while before becoming parents.  We’d had a very long-distant relationship during our period of courtship and after getting married, we wanted to have “fun” for a while and do things as a couple that we hadn’t been able to do while we’d lived so far apart.   We also had no shortage of people telling us to wait to have children because, as they would say, “once you have a kid, the fun’s over.”  So, we decided that we’d wait a year before trying to have a baby.  At the time, it all seemed very prudent and unselfish.  However, in hindsight, we regret that decision to wait before trying for a baby and as time went on, we began to wish we could have those first months of marriage back.

After being married about eight months, Tom found employment and we moved to Missouri, where I also had a new job.  Soon after that, I was diagnosed with interstitial cystitis (IC).   My doctor recommended I spend a year on medication to manage the IC and this medication was not something to be taken while pregnant.  So, we decided to postpone pregnancy one more year while I was on the IC medication.  

I also had reservations about getting pregnant because I had just started a new job and “wanted to make a good impression” in my new workplace; another decision that, in hindsight, I regret.   And truthfully, my desire to please my employer and co-workers had more to do with deciding to avoid pregnancy than being on the IC medication.   My doctor had told me I could stop the medication anytime and that my IC may even go into remission or improve if I became pregnant (hormones played a big part in my IC).     However, I let my fear of not being able to please my employer overshadow my desire to be a mother.  I was afraid that if I became pregnant soon after starting a new job, it would appear that I didn’t take the job seriously, or worse, wouldn't be able to perform the job (there was a lot of physical activity involved).  I felt like I needed to “prove” myself first.

Time passed quickly.  Tom and I put all our energy into our careers and spent our spare time traveling and fixing up our new home.   Before we knew it, we’d already been married for almost 3 years.   Things were going well, my IC was improving, we were happy in our new home, and we were getting established in our jobs.   We finally felt like it was a good time to have a baby. 

We always had used Natural Family Planning (NFP) during our entire marriage, first to avoid pregnancy, and now we were ready to use it to achieve pregnancy.   We were both in our early thirties and knew lots of people in their thirties who were having babies with no problem.  We were finally ready to join them and we got excited as we talked about what month would be best for having our first baby, how far apart we wanted to space our babies, what we would name our babies, and how many children we would likely have in the coming decade (we assumed we’d have four, maybe five).   In our minds, we had it all planned out and were in control of everything.  Little did we realize just how out-of-control things were about to become.

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