I can’t say enough how important it is. I have been blessed with friends, family, co-workers, Bible study leaders, my pastor and his wife, other ministers at our church, and near strangers who have offered support. And all of this happened in the last 24 hours.
I must have the best in-laws ever. Husband’s parents, siblings, and their spouses have all been amazing during this journey. His extended family has been pretty great too. Throughout the last few years I have received countless texts, messages on social media, phone calls, and hugs from many in his family. It has been so reassuring.
Rewind to yesterday. I am beyond excited for Husband’s sister and her husband who recently announced their pregnancy. Yesterday they had planned for a gender reveal. Now, I have never been to one of these before, so I was looking forward to it. My guess was a girl and husband’s was a boy. One of us was right and, of course, it was me. The smoke bomb was lit and pink smoke filled their backyard. Everyone was excited and we are looking forward to this sweet addition to our family.
But first, I had to work through some feelings. Don’t worry. I’ve already warned my sister in law this was coming. I got up and enjoyed a few cups of coffee. I lingered around the living room watching Dateline on demand and more time passed than I realized. As I was getting ready, I caught my reflection in the mirror. The four small scars across my waist from the incisions after the laparoscopic surgery in August jumped out at me as well as a few bruises around my belly button from the recent injections.
I told myself it was fine. That I would be fine. I drove the 45 minutes to their house, all the while contemplating this journey. I walked into the house and was quickly greeted by my family. I focused on my sweet nephew because smiling kiddos always help me feel better. My other sister in law has been a God-send, as she has faced and overcome her own struggle with infertility, while also coping with the devastating loss of her mother.
I feel like I may have been acting awkward or out of place, which is not especially out of the ordinary for me in a social setting. It was my sister in law who knew before I even did that although this is a happy day, it was also kind of sad for me. She pulled me aside, telling me there was alcohol in the kitchen and I followed her there. We were the only ones and she looked right at me and asked how I was doing. I think I tried to tell her I was fine, but mid-way through my explanation of telling her that I was okay, the tears came.
She asked if I needed a hug, but then said she was afraid a hug might make it worse so she informed me that we were going to take a shot. It has been years since I took a shot. She was right though…within a few minutes, I was relaxed and more comfortable about being there. I think I am afraid of myself at these things because I never know what to expect from my emotions. Also the fact that I injected an abhorrent amount of hormones into myself over the course of 18 days. May it was 19. I lost count. The rest of the day was good. I met up with a friend for some retail therapy and then out to dinner.
This morning I picked up breakfast for my Bible study group. When it came time for prayer requests, I teared up as I asked for prayers regarding my heart. I struggle with this very ugly feeling of bitterness. My current reality is infertility. And it sucks. I am resistant when people try to encourage me to keep looking forward to what will be, but I’m scared to be hopeful. I struggle to pray for peace because I’m terrified that God’s idea of peace is for me to accept infertility.
So many of the amazing ladies in Bible study came up to me at the end to offer kind words of support this morning. They let me know that they are praying for me, which is huge. While I am still getting to know many of them better, their support has been incredible. I held my cousin’s 6 day old daughter the entire church service. There is nothing better than to spend some quality time with a baby. The miracle of life is absolutely amazing. After the service, I was approached by others who offered their continued support and prayers. As I was getting ready to leave, my pastor’s wife approached me to ask how things were going. I was touched that she remembered a bit of my story I shared with her at an event in April. And not that it was just the general idea of infertility, but details I couldn’t even remember sharing with her.
This afternoon I called my friend and headed to her house to spend the afternoon and evening with them and their neighbors. These are our best friends and though we have been around each other lately, we’ve never really had the opportunity to catch up. I failed to mention much to her about this current IVF cycle and just sent her a quick text the morning of the retrieval. Life is busy, but it shouldn’t be so busy that I’m not even updating my closest friends.
I guess what it all comes down to is how grateful I am for my tribe. For all those around me who are standing by our side and supporting us in so many ways: emotionally and spiritually.
People tell me I’m strong, which is flattering, but I also feel like I’m lying to everyone. That I’m just fooling them all. There is nothing easy about this. I’ve heard the comment that others aren’t sure how I do this. I’m not really sure either.
But I do know that infertility is not the end of my story.