It's been a few days since my last update or real post, but Jack and I have been going through a lot of pretty huge and heavy things lately. That is one of the things that we deal with almost daily that isn't part of normal every day life.
Last week, I went to the doctor again to try to control my bleeding. (TMI, if you don't want to hear about all the gory details about reproduction and infertility, you, my friend, are reading the wrong blog!) I have had a lot of bleeding problems in the past that started about a year after we got married. Very odd timing. We had been not using birth control for about 8 or 9 months at the time and had only used birth control for 3 short months before that. I was not on birth control before we were married, so my body didn't have to wean off of long term use of birth control at all.
My first bleeding problems came in October of 2008, where I had my period and it just sort of never stopped. I bled for over 3 weeks and finally made it to the doctor and the doctor literally patted me on the head and told me to not worry because I was young and go on home. Well, yes, I was young, 22 years old... but isn't that all the MORE reason why I shouldn't be concerned with excessive bleeding? Especially because I wasn't dealing with any affects from long term birth control use? I didn't like this doctor immediately.
I still had issues over the next few years with this on and off. And recently, after almost a year with no issues, my bleeding issues arose again. One of the first things that they look for when you are bleeding out of control is miscarriage. It's obviously a possibility because we are not preventing pregnancy in any way.
Over the last month or so Jack and I have been on a rollercoaster ride trying to figure out the cause of my bleeding problems. Do we need to see a specialist? Is this our worst nightmare confirmed? Is this even worse than what we could have ever possibly imagined? What does this mean for the rest of our life? Why are we going through this? How do we go through this? And why are we going through all of this again and again? This was the absolute last thing that we could have expected. Is this a miracle that we have been praying for?
Those are a lot of the main questions that we have been asking ourselves in the last week or so. This is Resolve's National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) and I've been trying to come up with some way to gain awareness about infertility and the different facets of it. What I have really experienced is that most people do not want to hear about it. They don't want to know the horrible details, they only want the Guilianna and Bill version, or the John and Kate plus 8 version, something very simplified, something very glamorized and not 100% real.
I have always had a heart for other people who are hurting, and my dad pointed something out a long time ago that has always stuck with me... "You never know what someone else is going through." How true. How completely true is that. I am a walking example of this situation. No one in my life besides my husband, and sometimes not even that if I can hide it for a few hours while he's at work, knows what goes on every day in my head or in our life. Some things can't even begin to be imagined. Jack and I are the only ones who know what has been going on in the last few weeks of our life, and, for the most part, that's how we are going to keep it. Some parts of life just really don't need to be shared.
So think about it next time you are at the grocery store, and the cashier doesn't smile or even make eye contact with you the entire time she is scanning your items and taking your money and you get offended and angry... You don't know if her sister just passed away the day before and she couldn't get the day off work to go to her funeral... You don't know if her Dad is sick and is past the point of hope and waiting to die. You don't know if she has a sick baby at home. You don't know if her husband just left her. You don't know if she just peed on a pregnancy test that morning for the 48th month in a row with the exact same negative result. You. Have. No. Idea. What. That. Person. Is. Going. Through. You really don't.
Infertility awareness to me isn't just about infertility. To me it's about learning to have compassion for your fellow humans. There are an infinite number of ways that you will suffer in your lifetime. The human condition, since the fall of Sin, is about suffering and includes suffering. Our Earthly life will NO QUESTION and with NO EXCEPTIONS will include suffering and pain of some sort. To me infertility awareness is about learning to have compassion towards other humans who are going through pain. Not just infertility, any kind of heart ache.
Call this a calling to my fellow humans. How can you just look the other way when so many are calling out and are hurting? How do you just drive by the guy holding the sign asking for food? How are we so conditioned to only care about #1 and only worry about #1?? How do you fall asleep at night knowing that you were presented an opportunity to show that you care and that you have been moved by someone else's suffering and you let that moment pass you by? You just flat out ignored it. You don't want to be embarrassed or you don't want to say the wrong thing, or you just don't know them well enough to say something.
Matthew 22: 36-40 says:
"Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
After loving God, you are to LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF. Look out for #1, sure. But if you treat EVERYONE as #1, think of how the world would be different.
I know people get annoyed with infertility awareness stuff. I know that infertility and people talking about infertility sometimes makes people who have never experienced it really angry. I don't know why, but I have experienced this anger and the lash outs that follow it first hand. Infertility sucks, there's no way to sugar coat it. Infertility changes every aspect of your life; it changes your marriage, sometimes making it stronger, sometimes tearing it apart completely; what's supposed to be the happiest time in your life and the most hopeful time in your life as you and your spouse start trying to make the family of your dreams... turns into the most painful and biggest nightmare of your life. Infertility changes your friendships. Some friends get angry with you about the choices that you make on your journey. I have lost friends that I have had for most of my life over them getting upset and angry over what choices Jack and I have made on our infertility journey. Some people don't understand seeking treatment. Others don't understand not seeking treatment. Everyone has an opinion, and while the majority are uneducated opinions, they share them none-the-less.
Infertility can pull apart your extended family also. One of the biggest heartaches that Jack and I have gone through as a side effect of infertility is family members not agreeing with or understanding what is going on, or what we feel called to do. I have been told that I should understand if Jack wants to go out and find a fertile wife. This of course was before we found out that we had BOTH female factor and male factor infertility. We have been argued with about what avenues of treatment we have sought. We have been condemned for not seeking additional treatments. Some family members refuse to accept our situation and refuse to accept that infertility is something that is between Jack and I and that decisions regarding it are ours and only ours to make. Some family members refuse to accept no for an answer, and in their own hurting about not gaining new family members through us, through blood, they shove every "fertility" related tid-bit that they can find down our throats and then get angry when we explain to them how they are not factual or do not apply to us. Infertility affects everything.
Many people take their fertility for granted. Many people don't understand what a miracle conception is. Many people don't understand that every life is a gift from God. Many people complain constantly about their gifts, and while I'm not saying that I can't appreciate that parenthood is very difficult, I think there is a difference between having a hard time and really and truly not being grateful for the gifts that some take for granted.
National Infertility Awareness Week has been made a mockery of by PETA. The millions of couples dealing with daily heartbreak are minimized and forgotten about.
So take some time out of your busy life and think about the things that you are struggling with and try to imagine if you could feel the compassion of your fellow humans and imagine how much easier it would be to put one foot in front of the other, or roll out of bed in the morning knowing that you aren't being targeted for your situation. Knowing that you have support from your fellow humankind.
We are all in this together... Let's try to show some true LOVE to one another. Remember, you have no idea what is going on in someone's life... So try to show some humanity and for once, put someone else in the #1 in your life. Take some time to show someone in your life who is struggling, whether it be with infertility, or with anything else, that you care. Don't be shy or embarrassed or lazy... Actually DO something instead of waiting for someone else to do it.