Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be writing this. When I was a little girl I used to be the one playing house and taking care of all of the babies. I was always the “Mom” of the group. Sure I had dreams of being a lawyer or a therapist, but those paled in comparison to being a mommy. Mom is such a beautiful word. It has so much meaning and depth behind it. Women you love, women you hope to be, a piece of your identity. It’s something beautiful and to be so proud of. Mom… Something I someday dream of being.
My post isn’t meant to make you feel sorry for me. I don’t feel sorry anymore and that’s why I’m here – to tell you a little (A LOT) about my struggle and how I’ve found myself again.
My husband and I got hitched in Vegas at 18 years old. No, not by Elvis. Against all odds, we stayed together through our early 20’s with many trials and tribulations along the way. We made the decision to stop birth control our wedding day. Well at 18 you don’t think much of anything. I never even realized it was an issue that I still had irregular periods. I didn’t see things then, that I now realize were pointing directly at a big red flashing sign that says “YOU ARE INFERTILE.”
My Body is Kind of Toxic
I think of my body like the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident, a toxic area. You know it’s uninhabitable because of what happened but you are truly shocked when you find out how long it will be until people can live there again. So, my body is kind of toxic right now because of my weight and my health condition. Life could happen and I could get pregnant but it wouldn’t be healthy for anyone involved.
I deal with a condition called binocular visual dysfunction. Basically, my eyes make me dizzy and off balance because of a nerve injury. They are misaligned and it is the cause of motion sickness. It also causes headaches, dizziness, loss of balance, spatial awareness issues, facial pain, anxiety, depression, double vision and a whole list of problems. So I’m not 100% healed and may never be. It’s been an uphill battle in the snow, rain, fog, Black ice, hurricane, tornado, flash flood, up Everest… ok I’m being dramatic but it wasn’t pleasant LOL. Let’s say I’ve been through a lot.
Our First Pregnancy
Prior to my condition, we did four rounds of Letrozole. We were getting ready for our first IUI when I woke up really dizzy and off on the day after I took my last Letrozole pill. We canceled the cycle because I felt sick; it’s stuck around since. On February 25th, 2016 to our surprise we found out we were naturally expecting. I was very early on and my beta was low but it was positive. My father was in the hospital fighting for his life from a gangrenous appendix, my mother was stretched thin obviously and I was dizzy and operating their stressful business. I had zero help from my siblings. My dad beat the battle and survived septic shock. Once he came home all was well.
There was a nasty storm one night, while we were at my in-laws for dinner. Due to the extreme weather and my pregnancy we decided to stay the night. I went down to the dollar store with my sister in law and picked up a pregnancy test just for fun to show my in-laws. The lines were getting stronger and I was getting more confident. I got back to their house and took the pregnancy test. It was negative. So I went back to the store and got a First Response pregnancy test. Again negative. We slept and waited the storm out until the morning. I cried myself to sleep that night.
We woke up and went to the ER. It was the longest and hardest 8 hours of my life. After waiting what felt like an eternity they came in and told me that my HCG dropped all the way down to 11, but because it wasn’t 0, they wanted to do an ultrasound. I was still really early pregnant at this point. My first ultrasound was scheduled for the next week. They wheeled me off alone in a wheelchair into a cold dark room. What was supposed to be the happiest moment of my life was turned into the worst experience I’ve ever faced. I heard the words “no sign of conception.”
When they told us the baby was gone my husband lost it. To see the man I love break so hard was something I never wish to see again. He kissed my belly every 5 minutes and had whisper conversations with the baby so secret I wasn’t allowed in on them. He had such a bond with something so small already. We’d waited 8 years for this. I spent the following three days in bed crying. I would barely move or speak. I just laid there weeping on tear soaked towels. Life went on and time healed the wounds over. I grieved a lot through the process for myself and my husband. When you go through something like this you grieve every inch of your future. No first steps, no little giggles under the blankets late at night, no bedtime stories or bath routine, no prom or graduation. No wedding and grandkids. Just a future full of emptiness is all you can see ahead of you. It’s hard to move past it.
Let’s Try to Adopt
We began the process of foster to adopt but the system is so broken, it broke us along the way. We met with an agency in Stockton, California who basically told us because we didn’t have a second car they wouldn’t approve us. We’d taken every measure needed to keep the car with me at all times. It’s not uncommon for people to get approved with just a bus pass and a good sense of direction. We prepared so well that our house instantly met requirements the first try. They hadn’t even checked our backgrounds or really gotten to know us. All they knew was I’m not healthy. The county approved us but we couldn’t make the classes with my husband’s work schedule and they offered no alternatives.
I built an entire nursery, had an adoption party to celebrate since we were soooo close to being approved (and should have been right before the party, no real presents just celebration for our families to ask questions and so we could educate them on attachment and what happens next). That nursery sat empty for a year in my house serving as a reminder that every door was slammed shut in our faces. My dream of being a mother was ripped out from under me over and over again. I began to seek God harder than I ever had before. I believe He is the only thing that carried me internally through these times in my life because I had no feet. He carried me on His back like He always does for us.
I couldn’t breathe 90% of the time. I spent an entire year where I didn’t truly smile once. I didn’t have a single moment of true happiness. I got so low I didn’t want to live anymore. My husband was calling my friends telling them he was scared that I was gonna do something while he was at work. I loved myself too much to harm myself but being him scared like that made me realize just how deep I got.
“I Was Brought Back to Life”
One day I just snapped back. It felt like I had woken up from a terrible nightmare and I was reborn into the world. I found the right treatment for my eyes; during this entire time, my dizziness was undiagnosed. I found a doctor who fixed me. I found a friend suffering with the same issues who not only identified with my illness but validated me as a person and we became each other’s flashlights through the darkness. I joined support groups. I still had my support from my beautiful Instasisters who held me up when I was drowning. With the love and support from the people around me, some I hadn’t even met in person, and God, I was brought back to life.
We moved out of the apartment and took down the nursery. We moved to this beautiful estate with my parents with a pool, the hills as my backyard, and a vineyard/winery right next door. Because I couldn’t drive I felt trapped so we moved in with my parents to bring some light into my dark. I lived in the pool and spent time in the sun all summer. I fell in love with my husband for the 1000th time and truly thanked God for giving me the strength to breathe again. I continued to adjust glasses until I found a pair that did just what I needed. I found a Bride willing to take a chance on me and it gave me the drive to study my butt off and get my Photography game to the next level. I found a passion I had never had in my life. A thirst for life I can’t even describe. I found an online school that was willing to accommodate my eye condition. I am now studying to get my bachelors in psychology, moving onto my masters to become a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I want to specialize in IVF/infertility and chronic illness.
I’m here now because I lost myself so hard I didn’t realize how deep I got. I was so blind and so strong in the thick of it that I couldn’t see past what I was facing. I had no idea just how big I had let everything get and I completely fell apart. With God I healed and have become whole again.
“You Will Never Be Less of A Woman”
If you can identify with the ‘warrior’ me and you feel so deep you are in over your head don’t be afraid to step back from the scene and breathe. There is no shame in talking to a professional and getting help. No one will hate you for taking time to find you again. Your spouse won’t be mad. You are not a disappointment just because you can’t take anymore. You will never be less of a person because you said “It’s time to love myself.” It’s OKAY to be selfish and say enough is enough for now, I’ll put a pin in it and get back to it. THERE IS NOTHING LESS VALUABLE ABOUT YOU BECAUSE YOU PUT INFERTILITY DOWN ON THE TABLE AND SAID NOT TODAY. Or tomorrow. Or this year. Or the next several years. Or forever. There is nothing wrong with moving on with your life or trying different alternatives like adoption or foster care.
You WILL NEVER be less of a woman because you decided that you’ve had enough with your body. You will never be less of a mother because your child doesn’t share DNA with you. Your spouse will never hate you for needing to be you again. The only person putting pressure on you is yourself. Please don’t feel the need to be anything other than who you are because society tells you that you need to birth babies. Some people just can’t and thats ok.
Infertility is not a dirty word, it’s a fact of life. Yes, it’s hard to get past but once you realize that this is only a chapter in your book, you can see so much clearer. The view is great over here ladies. Allow yourself the time to heal each wound fully. Self-love and self-care is everything. I challenge you to find your love and light again. Find yourself a boudoir photographer and go to town on some pictures for yourself and your spouse, find your sexy again. Take that trip you’ve been putting off in fear you would be pregnant. Take a hot bath. Eat all of the dairy you need. Stop focusing so hard that you lose your sanity. Infertility will be there where you left it. Come at it with a different expression and watch yourself make progress you never thought possible.
I am living my dream and creating images I was too scared to be bold enough to make, because I pinned my self-doubt to the wall and beat it with a hammer. Make peace with the mirror and watch your reflection change. If I can survive this all and thrive then you can just by changing angles and finding the light again.
Love & Light
If you or someone you love feel like harming yourself please don’t be afraid to seek help. Please call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
You are not alone.