Today will be a rough one to post and after a lot of back and forth and a little bit of liquid courage, it's time to put myself out there and I hope at least one of you can find strength from what I'm about to say. As some of you know and many of you don't, my husband and I have been through a lot in the last few years from an HCC cancer diagnosis for my husband at 26 to a full liver transplant at 28. From there, we found a knot in my throat that lead to a diagnosis of a thyroid disorder called Hashimoto's disease that can lead to thyroid cancer. This is a form of hypothyroidism that unfortunately has no cure, but can be managed throughout one's life with the help of medication, diet and exercise and a healthy dose of good juju. (If you're like me, you may be hearing the "Juju on that beat" song run through your mind right now. And if you weren't before, you certainly are now. You are welcome.)
So, back to the main reason for this post. One of the common issues that accompanies Hashimoto's has to do with infertility. Last year, my husband and I decided to start trying for a family. We had gotten settled in our beautiful home, the business was doing great, and we felt it was time. We were ready! To tell you I was excited doesn't even come close to how I felt. I've always wanted children and to finally be in a place that we could have one was a feeling of such bliss and happiness that I finally felt the sweet relief of the depression that had haunted me for years finally start to ebb away. We met with the doctors and they all said that there was nothing to worry about. Everything should be fine. So, we began trying.
The first month passed with no luck. "That's okay. It takes time. Try again next month." So, we did. The second month went by, and the third, and then the fourth. The fourth month, the symptoms began fairly early. First, it was the lightheadedness, then the super smell, and then the tell-tale sign of being 3 weeks late. Finally! It took a few months, but we were finally there! I immediately signed up for all the maternity websites, and pinned the maternity boards on pinterest, joined the mommy FB groups, everything. I started planning on what would be the baby's room and referred to it as so. And then came the bleeding and the heartache truly began.
At 7 weeks, I miscarried. To say I was devastated doesn't even come close to the pain I felt. We both just kept thinking, "We've been through so much already. This HAS to be the easy thing for us; right? THIS will be the one easy thing we get. This child would be our reward for all the suffering we had already endured."
But, no. The universe had other plans for us. As the months continued, each one marked with another negative test, the pain increased and grew until I started distancing myself from my family, from my friends, and even my husband. I felt like a dark cloud just existing from one day to another. I hid it as best as I could when I couldn't get out of an event or other shindig and I did my best to keep it together. Last week marked another negative and it's time to bring in another specialist. I've heard everything from "Just relax and it will happen," to "Everything happens for a reason," and of course the age-old, "You know, if you lost a little weight, then you might have better luck." (That's my favorite so far.)
Why am I telling all of you this? Well, I wanted to share my story. Two weeks ago, I was in a business meeting and one of the women (and a friend of mine) made her "announcement". I immediately felt sick and I could feel the emotions bubbling and the tears starting to pool before I remembered I needed to breathe in order to stay conscious. (You know, breathing being one of those required actions to live and all.) People started to notice and I had to leave the meeting altogether. I was mortified, heartbroken, and happy for my friend all at the same time. Over the last 2 weeks, I have seen 4 announcements and 3 births in my "inner circle" and while I am so happy for all of them and I support them all 100%, I just can't get myself to go to the "baby" things. Right now, it's just simply too painful and I don't want to be the weird lady crying in the other room and making everyone feel awkward. I just want you all to understand what I'm going through and know that if you are going through the struggles of infertility as well, you are not alone, which brings me to reason #2.
Talking about infertility and miscarriage in general seems to have become taboo. People avoid the subject like it's the creepy uncle in the family that no one talks about. Infertility is not a disease that you can "catch" and women should not be afraid to talk about it openly. Miscarriage is also common and while there are some couples that can sneeze in the same room and get pregnant, there are so many more that do not have it that easily.
Will we ever be able to conceive naturally? Who knows?
Will we be able to conceive medically? Maybe.
If not, then what? We'll foster. We'll adopt. We will be parents in some way or another, but we will get there and so will you.
The saying "Life is never easy" is 100% absolutely true, but what I've come to realize is that for every deep pain you feel, there will be an incredible joy to counter it. As humans, we go through life's roller coaster of ups and downs, joys and sufferings, blessings and losses, but in order to feel the soul-filling happiness that life can bring, we must also suffer through the heart-wrenching ache that comes with living our lives. Be strong my friends. No matter where you are in life, there will always be more great things to come. Just hold on and keep fighting for hope when it's all but lost. You are wonderful. You are beautiful. You are loved.