I've been tossing this idea around for about a week. I decided to go through with this post to give those of you out there struggling a new found hope that I was blessed to receive last summer. During the ups and downs of infertility you feel isolated, alone, a bit freakish and completely broken sometimes all at the same time! Going through all of my IUI cycles in the fall of 2009 I noticed myself getting more and more defeated. Not depressed, but defeated. Seeing everyone else get pregnant was really hard for me. Sure I was happy for them, but mad that I had to be the "broken" one. I felt anxious to get to the next attempt between cycles and overall just because I wanted to give my husband and myself a family. After the fourth failed IUI, I banked all hope on the first round of IVF in March of last year. During those three months leading up to it, I had all the hope in the world that this was the answer we had been waiting for. Why wouldn't I? You're supposed to remain positive, right? Of course, but that can't be the only thing you lean on during a time such as this. So when the news came that the IVF had failed, I was devastated. At a loss for words, angry, bitter and again defeated. What do we do now?
We had depleted our bank account to pay for all that and had nothing left to try again. The only answer was to take some time off to save up the money to try again. In our heads that needed to be at least a year to also help pay off some of the debt we had accumulated as well. My body, mind and soul needed a break and so did my husband. We were emotionally spent and somewhat lost. Okay, we will enjoy another year of marriage just the two of us, sure, but something's missing in our eyes. I decided to get rid of the 35lbs I put on during the attempts as the first step back to "normalcy" in my mind. I had to get the dead weight of the reminder off of me and fast! I joined a weight loss program and dropped the weight in no time. I decided I was going to do all the things I have always wanted to do in the next year leading up to our next attempt. On our vacation in June I sat there looking out at the ocean compiling a list of exactly what those things would be.
My "bucket list" for the year started off with delving back into the Bible to read and learn from it as much as I could. Number two was starting a blog about my struggle of infertility. Number three was to learn about a new topic each month to keep myself learning every day, something that has always been a fascination of mine. I like to be informed so I can feel more confident in everyday conversation and validated in my opinions. Something I've always struggled with. I thought I had low self-esteem before! Not being able to conceive a child drops it off the radar! So I had to do something to build myself back up. Number four: run a half marathon to prove that I can and to stay in shape. Number five, which I continually struggle with, is to be as selfless as possible. Don't buy any unnecessary items/wants for myself (didn't last long!). See that's a hard one when you're the type of person that goes shopping to lift your spirits! The last few on the list consisted of different things around Ohio I would like to see, cleaning out clutter around the house and simplifying my life. The absolute last one on the list was to STRESS LESS. Yeah, right, but a good thing to strive for!
Out of all those, I have done most, but was never able to run the half marathon due to an injury. That unfortunately is not in the cards for me. One of the other things on the list was to read more, a hobby I love! The first book I chose was Eat, Pray, Love. Somehow that book changed my life. Since I read that book last summer I have become a completely different person. Reading that book helped me realize a lot about others and most importantly a lot about myself. I needed this year off to fix myself before I could mother any child. I had to learn to stand up for myself, not get pushed around by others, do what I want to do in life and that meant first changing jobs. I did all of that finally and it felt great. I lived life on my terms this past year and it has been phenomenal. I have learned how to be a better friend and recognized true friends that will always be there for me and my husband. I have learned to say no when I need to and to take on leadership roles as I feel called to do. For the better half of the year off I thought it was through this liberating piece of literature that I was able to "find myself" if you will. However, at about half way through I realized it wasn't that at all. Sure, that was a great help and the push I needed to start changing how I live my life, but it wasn't the answer behind everything.
I realized it was God. During one of the weakest moments in life, I felt called to turn to Him for help. It was almost one of those fall down on your knees and pray for help kind of moments. What else could I do? Who else could I turn to? No one was going through the same struggle and I felt completely isolated. I find it funny that delving back into the Bible was the first thing on my bucket list. How ironic to me. I have always had faith and never really lost it, just placed it on a back burner when things weren't going my way. But I realize now, it's not how I want it to go, it's all in God's plan. God meant for me to have this year off for myself. God meant for me to go through all those struggles and pain to learn to rely on Him. He is always there, he will never leave me alone. I never have to feel isolated or defeated with him by my side. How many of you out there felt like turning your back on your faith because "your plan" isn't coming to fruition? That was almost me. I know in my heart that God wants me to be a mother. I know that's in his plan, I just don't know when or how. I had to learn this past year to TRUST HIM to get me through this diagnosis and difficult time in my life. Doing so has made me a more positive person, happier, easier to get along with (most of the time!) and able to stress just a little bit less.
I realized on Friday just how much I rely on him now to get me through tough times. I had my MRI to check the size of my benign pituitary tumor. That tumor is the only thing in the way of starting IVF in a few weeks. If it has grown, we have to do something. If it hasn't we are free and clear to move forward. For the first time in my life during the whole 45 minutes of my MRI all I could think to do was pray. I prayed, sang worship songs and just plain talked to God to get me through. Never have I done that before. Sure, I would pray during a tough time or ask for help, please get us through this, Lord. But NEVER have I completely relied on Him when I was struggling. During my MRI I was the most calm I've been throughout all of the 5 I have ever had. I kept patient, still and in good spirits. I know he was right there with me. Now, I can pray all day long that this tumor remain small, but that's not the point. The point is that if it is to be, it will be because of God. He already has my entire life mapped out before me. I just have to reach out and follow him willingly each and every day, trusting in his plan. So if it is to remain small, I know God wants us to try again. If not, then it was in God's plan that this tumor was found when it was. I was meant for this year off to give the doctors time to find this brain tumor that hadn't existed until January. Ironic again, huh? No matter what life throws at me, I will never waiver on my faith again because I know he has a plan. I just have to be open enough to receive the wisdom of it all in his time.
Whatever you are struggling with or waiting for, know that it is up to you to follow Him to find the answer. I now thank God every day for this year off as hard as it was to wait. Psalm 62:5 "Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him."
I am no longer bitter, defeated or alone. I hope you won't be either after reading this. Yes, there are times when I falter, but I get back up. If you fall down 7 times, you must get back up 8. To have everything I want in the previous post I know I can trust God to give it to me on his time. I find that you also have to go through life looking at things as God's humor. All those shows on TLC or Bravo or MTV about pregnant people, teens or rich women is just God's humor at work. I have to rely on him and still be light-hearted about it all, even if it is one of the most difficult things to do in life. You could even say those are tests of faith. Don't get caught up in the negative or everyone else's life. That's not your life. Your life is mapped out for you, remember? Just reach out and follow the path that's only made for you. I have to tell myself that every day. Holly, you are not the pregnant teen on TV, Kate Gosselin or a pregnant lady in heels, but you are Holly and you will be a mother someday, somehow, in God's time.