A number of things have prompted this post, but there are three big ones: I can't sleep despite my exhaustion (to get on a normal schedule), it's National Infertility awareness week (it exists. done.), and I promised I would talk more about my infertility (and I always keep my promises. Yeah, I'm reliable like that).
So I'll just come out with it, and like Fräulein Maria said, the beginning is "a very good place to start."
September 16, 2000: I missed school on my 14th birthday because I was bleeding out in my nether region. I had been taking birth-control for a while to help regulate Aunt Flow's monthly visits as she was unpredictable in her arrival and always varied her intensities and lengths of stay. At the time the doctors said it wasn't a big deal since medically I was healthy and relatively happy. I still got to have a couple friends over that night, so I was good.
Sometime in December 2005: I was to be married in April and had a pre-marital-relations check-up. "Yes doctor, I have been on birth control since I was 13. No, I am not sexually active now. Yes, I do have plans on having a family. Yes, I realize this annoying little problem may cause difficulties getting pregnant" (although they said it wouldn't be too big of a deal, we may just need some meds...I wish.)
Between January and April 2006: I told Nicholas about my "addiction" to birth control, showed him my pills, and told him everything I knew about my issue. We discussed having 5-6 kids and a dog.
August 2006: We had been married 4 months-ish, and I decided to ask Heavenly Father about this whole "starting a family" thing. I didn't want to begin right after we were married because I was only 19, just a child myself I thought. Beginning the process in August meant a baby would come (if all happened quickly) about the same time I would graduate and after I moved beyond teenage-hood.
December 2006: I told my friend Virginia that we were having a hard time getting pregnant. I told her I was scared and disheartened. That was when I first realized that maybe the doctors underestimated the hardship that comes along with difficulties in getting pregnant. This was the first time I admitted to myself that I may never be pregnant.
September 2007: No baby. Just frustration and jealousy at this point. But since we'd been "trying" for a year we could visit a fertility specialist. We should have visited one prior to that, but we had heard no one would see us until that year mark. Not true, just FYI. I also got a real job with real health insurance; it didn't cover everything, but it helped and made getting things started possible. Early on there was a lot of bloodwork and tests to diagnose the problem. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which means I have a bunch of little pustules on my ovaries that keep them from doing what they're supposed to do. To learn more about it and the side effects click here, because I don't really want to go into the boring details.
***Just know that for me Aunt Flow visits on average every 4-6 months, I have acne all the time, weight gain and loss is very sporadic, and I am susceptible to having diabetes when I'm older because I am insensitive to insulin. Hopefully that wasn't TMI, but shoot any questions to me via my Formspring account. I maybe doing a post in the future about my specifics with the infirmity if there is interest.***
October 2007: A talk by Spencer J. Condie was given at General Conference. My lifeline then and now. It gave me hope and reminded me that God is not slack concerning His promises. We had been promised children, and He will deliver on those promises.
December 2007: My grandmother passed away. Driving to and from her funeral (about 35 hours) we spent talking about our infertility process. The hardships, what we want to do, what we have learned, and how it has blessed our life. This discussion really allowed me to voice out loud that even though I would prefer not to have this trial, I have been more able to feel "encircled about eternally in the arms of His love."
September 2008: At this point we had been working with the doctors for about a year, gone through all the varying pill treatments available that we were willing to try (Clomid, Metformin, etc.), and probably done a couple IUI's. Nothing worked and the doctor kept telling us "there's no reason to push too hard; you're still so young." Every time he said that I would think "Doc, I was supposed to be a mom already, and Nick should have been a dad a long time ago. It's just not fair." The inside of my head made me sound like a whiny kid, but that's truly how I felt. If I wasn't in control of my body, who was? (Later I wrapped my head around that God always has things under control, even if we don't see it.)
January 2009: I found out I would be losing my health insurance at the end of February. Rockin' news, I know. That's about the same time we decided that maybe we should look into the adoption option to build our family. Initially I didn't like the idea at all. I thought of it as a consultation prize: "Congratulations, your fertility treatments didn't work and you can't afford continuing without good health insurance. Johnny, show them what they've won!" I didn't want to have to explain to our child someday in the future that they came to our family because Mommy and Daddy couldn't get the baby they really wanted. How could I look myself in the mirror and call myself a Mother if I had that attitude?
April 2009: We extended my health insurance coverage for a couple months to continue fertility treatments. Our last attempt before canceling insurance and moving to my school insurance was canceled because my ovaries were inflamed and the doc was worried about giving us sextuplets. So we called LDS Family Services and setup an appointment to talk to a social worker. I wrote a post about it, but I still wasn't convinced adoption was what I wanted. I still thought it was a second choice, otherwise why didn't we look into it before?
Sometime between April and June 2009: We were apart of a sealing team at the temple. I heard the prayer for sealing a child to their parents and I was completely sold on adoption. It could work, I could love our child as if they had been born directly from me. Because of adoption I could be a mom and sing my babies to sleep. I've been completely on board the adoption roller coaster since then.
The pain of infertility is not gone because I feel the hope of children through adoption, and I still believe we will get pregnant eventually. God promised. But I also believe that there is a reason that a fairly simple/common infertility problem did not respond to over a year of medical treatment and planning. I am not totally comfortable with calling myself infertile, not because I am in denial, but because I believe God will deliver on His promises more fully than I could possibly imagine. I also know that no matter how a child comes to our family we will love them better than any other parents in the past, present, or future. Because they will be completely ours.
Let me just say also: God bless our birthmother, wherever she is in her life. She is amazing, and I have this strong feeling that we are going to be very close. Some things you just know.