I survived infertility. I hesitated to write that title. Infertility is not deadly. My life was not at stake and I don’t want to lessen what many people go through when they do receive a fatal diagnosis. But in many ways, it was survival. Infertility consumed my life in more ways than one. My relationships suffered, I would cry at the littlest things in the most awkward places, depression took a hold of my life. I felt as if infertility was swallowing me whole. I could see what it was doing and I wanted to break free. I wanted to move on. I wanted to be happy with my life as it was. But it wasn’t that simple.
For years, infertility stole my joy. It emptied my bank account. It tested my marriage. It cost me friendships. Infertility took a hold of my life and wouldn’t let go.
There was a time when I thought it was over. A successful pregnancy and the most perfect little boy entered my life. I had won. That sweet miracle of a baby brought me so much joy and happiness. I was so in love and so happy. I finally had what I had always wanted. Ten tiny toes. Ten little fingers. The most beautiful blue eyes. I was exhausted, but had never been happier. This life is what I had always dreamed of. Watching him grow those first few years happened way too fast. Suddenly, he wasn’t a baby anymore. And just like that infertility entered my life again.
Don’t be confused. I was always infertile, even during the happy times. And nothing made me realize how much of a miracle that pregancy was than in the years that followed. Doctor appointments, shots, pills, ultrasounds, blood work, and so many tears. It was a monthly roller coaster full of prayer, hope, and excitement, followed by disappointment, depression, nights of sobbing, and anger. Up and down, up and down.
Meanwhile, life continued. My son continued to grow. My husband continued to hold me while I cried. Friends continued to have baby after baby. Time was passing and this beautiful world around me was continuing on without me. I couldn’t even enjoy a visit to the park with my family. There were pregnant women everywhere I went. The one thing I couldn’t have was always in my face. Always a reminder.
I prayed. A lot. I was hurt and angry. As much as I wanted to be pregnant, I also wanted to be content. I didn’t want to be this sad, bitter woman. I wanted to see my sweet little family for the beautiful thing that it was. I wanted to let go of my need for another baby. I wanted to break free from the chains of infertility. I wanted off of the ride. And then one day, the prayers worked.
We cancelled our next cycle of treatments. We cleaned out the storage shed of baby items, donating and selling them all. I felt joy again. I was free! I was happy! The tears were gone and life began all over again.
Once I was able to step away from infertility, I was able to open my heart to adoption. We moved quickly, finding an agency, staying up all night filling out paperwork. Within a few months our home study was approved and in just over a year we were matched with a beautiful little boy. Ten tiny toes. Ten little fingers. The most beautiful blue eyes. It was just like the first time, but through a different path. I didn’t carry this baby in my womb, but instead was trusted to love and raise someone else’s son, to make him my own.
Infertility will always be a part of who I am. My heart will still sink when a friend announces a pregnancy. Some days I wonder if I will be 80 years old, well past childbearing years, and still jealous of pregnancy announcements. But I am done seeking out ways to get pregnant. I’m going to enjoy my husband and my two boys. I’m going to love this amazing life that I have been given. It may not be the life I had planned for myself, but it is the more beautiful than I ever could have imagined. I’m going praise God for bringing me out of infertility, for saving my family and myself from the destruction it tried to cause.
I survived infertility and you will too.