Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Hidden Truth

Get ready for an emotional post. What can I say? That's my life. Sometimes.

Sometimes, I physically ache for all the women facing infertility, pregnancy loss, infant loss, or the overwhelming obstacles of adoption.

Sometimes, I ache for myself...My first, my one-year-old. And my second, my little baby, due this fall. I think of them this way, maybe because I've had a while to think about them. It probably seems strange to other people, but it's natural for me.
It brings me peace.

Sometimes it seems like everything I do every day reminds me that I've lost them. I can't help but think how different life would be if they were here now.

A stranger, Katie, who shared her story on www.facesofloss.com, wrote, "Miscarriage is death, yet there are no funerals, no sympathy cards, no bereavement time. Instead couples grieve in silence. You’ve just got to pick up the pieces, hold your head high, and go on with life as usual.

Source: Pinterest
I've observed that some people believe that infertility or pregnancy loss is mostly longing for a baby, something like dreaming of a car or new furniture, only perhaps more intense. 

They believe that you just have to be patient, because eventually you'll have a baby (when it's somehow magically "the right time"), and everything will be alright. And that you shouldn't worry so much, and try to be happy with what you already have. It's a matter of faith and patience.

This is true, because happiness is a choice, but it's only half of the truth, which makes it half a lie. The whole truth is that it's much more than waiting. It's more than what it seems.

It's a part-time job that you don't get paid for.

It's weekly doctor's visits, daily phone calls, and constantly waiting on hold for the nurse.

It's getting the run-around over and over from your insurance company.

It's follow-up, follow-up, and more follow-up.

It's getting nowhere.

It's feeling like you have to keep trying, even when you want to give up.

It's freezing cold exam rooms with nothing on but a paper shield.

It's complicated explanations and half-smiles from the medical staff.

It's feeling completely out of place in a building with pictures of babies all over the wall and a waiting room full of pregnant women.

It's piles of paperwork and a whole drawer full of files at home labeled "Infertility/Miscarriages."

It's trying something new and hoping that it works.

It's trying again, then again, and again, and hoping that it works.

It's bad news.

It's rarely ever good news. 

It's a 4-hour drive to see the specialist.

It's a night stand covered in prescription bottles.

It's taking medication that turns you into a person that you hate.

It's paying $80 every month for a bunch of plastic sticks.

It's complex calendaring, counting, charting, and analyzing (and over-analyzing).

It's blood tests, and poking and prodding.

It's physical pain and emotional stress.

It's failure.

It's the loss of privacy.

It's the loss of someone so small, yet that you love so much.

It's birthdays that only you remember.

It's starting over.

It's "just life" to everyone else, but it's not
their life.

It's money.

And more money.

It's running out of options.

It's tough decisions.

It's praying.

It's crying.

It's hope.

It's dreading church every Sunday, and hating that you feel that way.

It's waterproof mascara.

It's being misunderstood and judged.

It's trying to figure out the best answers to awkward questions and well-meaning "advice."

It's trying to pretend that life is normal, when it's not.

It's growing closer to your spouse.

It's growing apart from friends who avoid you.

It's being lifted up by encouraging words from people who care about you.

It's feeling the love of God.

It's seeing His hand in your life.

It's spending hours reading strangers' blogs to remind yourself that you're not alone.

It's a club you don't want to be a member of.

It's scouring the Internet for answers that aren't there.

It's constantly battling feelings of discouragement, despair, anger, bitterness, jealousy, and self-loathing.

It's being physically exhausted from that constant battle. 

It's trying to be the very best person you can be in some of the very worst situations.

It's "temporary." (...Right?)

It's (seemingly) never-ending.

It's so much more than even this, and it's different for everyone. There are so many stories, some with happy endings and some with very, very sad ones. I'd like to believe that everyone will have their happy ending eventually, even if it's not in this life. But until then, it's much, much more than waiting.

If you've been there, tell me, what is it for you?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Quarter Century

It's been kind of quiet around the blog lately (not many comments, either...hmm), but I've been busier than ever. Our 17 adorable nieces and nephews were visiting during the month of July (= 4+ weeks of partying and babysitting), and I recently celebrated my 25th birthday.  That's right, I've been around for a whole quarter century. 

Me, circa '89 (Photo by Phil Jenkins)
It's a little hard to know where I stand now at age 25. Am I where I want to be in life? Well, no, not really. I look around and see plenty of women my age with kindergartners, their own beautiful homes, successful side businesses, PhD's, etc...Part of me wishes I was one of those women, and I know I could've been, but life took a different direction for me, and although it might not have been what I had in mind, it's a direction that I'm mostly very pleased with. 

I took some time to record some of my experiences over the past 25 years, and to put in writing a few of my aspirations for the next 25. 

In looking back, I feel blessed. And in looking forward, I feel hopeful. I'm grateful for the support, love, friendship, and encouragement from so many of you, and the constant love of God through both pain and joy.

25 things I've done in 25 years (not necessarily in this order):

1. Lived in 6 different states
2. Moved 12 times
3. Read the Holy Bible (multiple times)
4. Read the Book of Mormon (multiple times)
5. Came to know Jesus Christ as my Redeemer
6. Left home and moved to the other side of the country
7. Got a scholarship and paid my own way through college

8. Graduated from college at age 20
9. Made life-long friends
10. Fell in love (twice)
11. Married the love of my life (once)
12. Made it to the holy temple
13. Made my first million
14. Spent my first million (mostly on education, including mine and my husband's)
15. Held 9 different jobs in marketing and public relations
16. Started freelancing as a publicist and independent consultant
17. Bought a car

18. Drove across the country (ocean to ocean, and border to border)
19. Built my full family pedigree 6 generations back
20. Taught Sunday School for 7 years
21. Got pregnant (twice)
22. Had not-so-minor surgery (twice)
23. Saw 6 different doctors for infertility
24. Overcame(/coming) recurrent pregnancy loss
25. Started a blog

25 Things to Do in the Next 25 Years (not necessarily in this order):

1. Become home owners
2. Buy a family vehicle
3. Pay off pharmacy school loans
4. Give birth (multiple times?)
5. Move again (multiple times?)
6. Own a dog
7. Settle down
8. Become a full-time mom
9. Watch my kids grow up (teenagers...I can't wait!)
10. Start a business with Ben
11. Go back to school and get at least a master's degree (I could've had a PhD already if I'd kept going...)
12. Plant a garden
13. Store a year's supply of food
14. Put away a million in savings
15. Visit Ukraine with Ben
16. Tour Europe
17. Go on a cruise
18. Adopt or become a foster parent
19. Invest in a few acres of land
20. Build up an extensive personal library
21. Plan for retirement
22. Prepare to serve a mission with Ben
23. Get wrinkly
24. Become a grandma (maybe?)
25. Stay as active and healthy as possible