Monday, March 1, 2010

Infertility: Climbing Mt. Everest

To wrap up the mini-series on Infertility I have asked two guest bloggers with completely different experiences to share their stories.

First...Denise is my cousin-in-law and an amazing woman! A wonderful cook with a great sense of humor and a serious work ethic. Not only is she a mama to four beautiful children, but the woman behind Vinyl Me This.

Barbara contacted me a few weeks ago and asked if I would share our story of infertility. I was honored that she felt our story might benefit those who read her blog. I hope that my efforts will do so.

Let me start from the beginning…..more than 18 years ago. When my husband and I got married infertility was as much a foreign word to me as if someone were speaking Russian to me. I hadn’t heard much about it nor did I even understand what it was.

My mother, grandmother and aunts had no problems getting pregnant and delivering healthy babies. In fact the term “Fertile Myrtle” often was used to describe their reproductive abilities. So when my husband and I decided to postpone pregnancy for the first 2 years of our marriage due to school and work I “knew” that once we decided to start “trying" to get pregnant I would get pregnant very quickly.

The day came, we threw the birth control away and anxiously awaited the next few months just knowing we would be pregnant and having the first grandchild on both sides of the family within a year. After about 6 months we started to wonder what might be going on.

One fact that didn’t help in all of this is that extended family members, friends and neighbors would quiz us regularly on when were we going to start having children. I remember one particularly painful experience when a loving, well-meaning grandmother pulled us aside at a family gathering and said “if you two would just spend more time in bed you would get pregnant”. I wish it was truly that simple; it wasn’t.

At the year mark we started to talk to doctors and investigate medical possibilities of what might be happening—what was preventing us from getting pregnant.

Thus, began the on-slot of a year’s worth of tests and doctor’s visits. One of the first tests done was a hysterosalpingogram; in short, a very painful test to see if my fallopian tubes were clear and open and that my uterus looked healthy and a proper shape for conception.

Hormone tests were run, tests were run on my husband (the results weren’t ideal for conceiving naturally) and eventually a laparoscopy was performed on me to discover a belly full of endometriosis. Basically we were quite the fertility mess!!

One problem could probably be dealt with but with everything involved we were looking at the infertility equivalent of Mt. Everest. The odds just weren’t on our side without spending thousands and thousands of dollars with really not much of a chance of any of the things working.

The point was really driven home one day as we sat across the table from one rather heartless doctor as he told us, with very little compassion included, “you will never conceive a child. You should just move on”.

Moving on….if we didn’t get a desired car or our first job option or the home of our dreams, those things you “move on” from. Being told that you will never have the greatest desire of your heart, the thing you have dreamed about since a little girl, the thing that society seems to define women by for their worth and abilities….really? How DO you MOVE ON?!

I entered a very difficult time in my life. I built a lot of walls and clung tightly to my broken heart trying to protect it. I am a member of a very family-oriented religion. Attending Sunday meetings was painful and attending church on Mother’s Day was excruciating torture. Watching women I loved and admired having babies, listening to women announce they “accidently got pregnant” was almost more than I could bear.

I often found excuses to not attend the baby showers or other such events. I truly didn’t feel strong enough to endure the social hour of agony. I know my Heavenly Father mourned with me and patiently waited for my pain to ease a bit so that my eyes could be opened to the other possibilities and ways for me to become a mother.

Family influence was a huge blessing in our lives. My husband has an aunt and uncle who have adopted children. It’s funny I never really knew this until our view of parenthood needed to be expanded. I adored this aunt and uncle and loved their children. It is because of them that I became open to the idea of adoption.

I won’t delve into the whole world of adoption because that in and of itself is a full-length blog entry, I think one that Barbara one day will venture into, but I will say this…adoption changed everything for me!

At times I worried about whether or not creating a family this way would fill the holes in my heart, whether I could love another mother’s child as though I had created them myself, whether I could be up to any possible challenges an adopted child might face (this question was more pertinent to the last two we adopted because it is a transracial adoption), and was this the path that God intended for our family?

I can say without reservation or hesitation this was EXACTLY the way our family was to be created! The children we have as members in our family are suppose to be our children. I realize I know nothing different but I can’t imagine loving them any more if I would have given birth to them myself.

Some days I still feel twinges of pain at the loss of the experience of finally seeing the “plus” sign on the pregnancy test, carrying and feeling a child grow inside of me and eventually giving birth/life to that child. There is a loss, a death of a dream. There was a grieving process, a time of mourning that I had to experience and go through.

I personally believe that anyone who experiences any degree of infertility will go through these feelings. How can you not? The “ideal” has been changed and NOT with our permission.

But I am a firm believer that all of life’s experiences are for our good and benefit. There are things to learn, wisdom to gain, the need to grow. I have a compassion for couples in our situation that I would not know any other way. I have a love, an admiration for birth mothers and the sacrifice that they experience as they put all of their trust into another couple to raise their child in ways they hope and desire.

I love that we can tell our children that we answered volumes of questions, exposed every facet of our lives, and worked for months on end to have them be a part of our family. Our decision to include them was purposeful and one we would never change.

Infertility changed our lives forever and we have four beautiful children who are the result of that change! I wouldn’t have it any other way!

See, I told you she was amazing. =) Thank you so much Denise for sharing your experience with infertility.

Other posts in this series:


  1. that's so sad! but so happy at the same time!

  2. What an amazing story. Denise is an incredible woman!! Thank you so much for sharing. =)

  3. That is a beautiful story! As an 'infertility survior' myself, I love seeing all the different ways people find to become parents against all odds. I believe there is a path for anyone who wants it badly enough and is willing to open their hearts and mind to all the options.

    I'm glad you recieved the desire of your heart. We found a path for ourselves as well and have exactly 3 more kids than the Doctor's told us we'd ever have.

  4. Denise is amazing -- and so is my brother :) Their kids were meant to be part of our family and I can't imagine life without them!!


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