Sunday, October 11, 2015

A Sprinkle of Lessons Followed by a Downpour of Blessings: Infertility, Loss, and Overwhelming Love

I've been through a lot. Each of us have our struggles, and not all of us talk about them openly. There are several people out there who have been through far more than I, and I struggle through each storm understanding that. It helps me march on.

For two years, the husband and I tried for a baby. It seemed that people who didn't seem to even want a child could just snap their fingers and get pregnant anytime they wanted. In silence, I was wondering what was wrong with me, or why I was being punished. I stopped serving at the church nursery because I would be so envious that everyone else could have their babies and I couldn't have one myself. I blocked people on Facebook every time they announced a pregnancy because I was sick of hearing about it. It didn't make sense why something so natural was not happening for us. I went to the doctor, and found out it was the years of undiagnosed Celiac on top of PCOS that was keeping me from ovulating. I started medication- Metformin.

Then I had my moment. I had a positive pregnancy test. It was the single most exciting event in my entire life. I was going to have a baby. Or so I thought. At nearly 2 months pregnant, we had just told my in-laws and my parents. The very next day, I woke up covered in blood and in excruciating pain. The baby was gone.

A couple of months later, I had my next positive test. The thing about having lost one baby, on top of all the other things, is that your excitement for your following pregnancies are always muted. I was happy I had a positive, but I couldn't get excited about it. I did everything I could... maintained a very low sugar diet, didn't participate in high intensity exercise, and tried to be as healthy as possible. 18 weeks along, again I started bleeding. I remember my thought not even being devastation. I remember looking at Jake and saying, "this is it." Thankfully, it stopped, and Kai was fine.

My water broke at 41 weeks along. Not informed as I thought I was, I had an "emergency c-section" 25 hours after my water broke. That experience led me to have postpartum psychosis. It doesn't look anything like postpartum depression, so no one questioned how I was. I looked fine. On the inside, I was constantly fearing for Kai's life, jumping at every cry and having nightmares about him being ripped out of me. I cried in desperation anytime I would shower. Breastfeeding was another nightmare. No one ever says anything about the role Celiac plays in breastfeeding. No one mentions how low your fat content is unless you stuff yourself with a very high fat diet. Everyone simply makes fun of you for wanting to lose weight so quickly and not worrying enough about how healthy the baby is.

I followed my low sugar, whole foods diet, and took metformin when I got pregnant with Luca. Again, I couldn't get too excited. The pregnancy seemed too easy, until I found that no care provider would attend my birth and would only give me a c-section. At 28 weeks along, I found a wonderful midwife who shouldn't have attended my birth according to laws, but did because she believed I was right. She understood that I had the right to give birth and she wanted to be there to be my support. Luca finally came at 42 weeks + 5 days. He was wonderful and we all bonded in the vicinity of our own home. No one took him from me... In fact, no one held him other than me for the first few days when I finally realized I was hogging him. But, that was my first chance at holding MY baby I ever got. I took full advantage. At 15 months old, he is still MY baby and I know it has to do with his birth. And breastfeeding... he was tongue and lip-tied. I still managed to nurse him until he was 8 months old when regardless of my diet, my milk just couldn't maintain the fat. But that was a total success for me. I was happy. I am happy.

Then I got pregnant again. All these pregnancies... you would think I'm way more fertile than I say I ever was. Well, that's partially true. I have actually become what I would call an expert when it comes to fertility in women with PCOS and/or Celiac. I was on my way to an acupuncture treatment for fertility when I got my positive pregnancy test. I had been following a totally alkaline diet, low sugar, high in healthy fats, exercising normally, and taking my metformin, vitex, and dong quai. I was doing everything right. It just took a while, but then again, not really since I had just stopped breastfeeding. Maybe I could have gotten pregnant sooner?!

I understand infertility and how it feels to be that woman. I understand loss and how it feels to be that woman. I understand the hurt when I see everyone else getting pregnant and holding their children. However, I also understand how much excitement I have been denied in the process. I experience joy daily that I could never put into words. I love my children more than I ever thought possible. My children taught me what love truly means. They made me realize how much more I love my husband. They're amazing, and I will never ever suppress that joy. I deserve this joy, and this is my time to shine. I didn't just "fall pregnant". I worked hard. I gained weight ( I found that 17% body fat would never let me get pregnant, but at 19% percent I ovulated). I ate a very low sugar, low refined-foods diet. I took metformin (low dose), and vitex. I made sure my diet was around 90% alkaline. I eat very healthy throughout my pregnancies regardless of my unhealthy cravings. Some of us do have to work... but with all that effort and prayer, things will happen. I'd love to have another baby after this, but if I can't after all of my trying, I will adopt. Things don't always happen the way we plan, but they do happen the way they should. And we deserve to persevere as well as dance in our happiness. God gives us what may seem to be too much at the time, but he knows how much we can handle.