Infertility has been an experience that has unfolded not only the tragedies but also the miracles that happen in life. My journey started before I even realized it. As a teen, my cycles were never regular. I figured I was lucky because I didn’t have to deal with it every month. I didn’t understand that this irregularity was only the first sign of a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS. This is an insulin resistance condition that can significantly affect not only metabolism but also fertility. I am a classic case of PCOS. I have struggled with my weight, facial hair and in my early 20’s, I found out I would also face infertility.
When I married my husband, I really believed that we would have a few kids and make a great life. Yet month after month passed with no change in our situation. I would go to my GYN, and they would tell me I really needed to lose weight but that everything looked fine and I would get pregnant.
Doctor after doctor, month after month, test after test. Nothing was changing. I started to do some research and learned about PCOS. I had never heard of it. However, I fit most of the symptoms. Why had I never heard of this before? Could this answer questions and help us to get the dreams we had always wanted. I went to my doctor again with the information on PCOS, and she had to look it up. She came back saying ‘I guess this would explain what is happening.’ And with an ultrasound on my ovaries, the diagnosis was confirmed. I believed that this would mean that our goal of a family would be just around the corner, but we had more to learn.
My Purpose and Perspective
I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and family is a big deal. I had always been taught at church and at home that family is a blessing, a blessing I desperately wanted. I felt like more and more of a failure every month that I wasn’t becoming pregnant. I was letting down not only my sweet loving husband but also my parents and siblings. I was lost, hurt, broken. I couldn’t do the one thing I felt I was most meant for. However, as I have progressed on this journey, I have come to understand that it was my understanding of my purpose and my perspective that was flawed. It was so painful to see so many other women becoming pregnant without any seeming difficulty and I could not.
The choice came down to this- Do I trust my Father in Heaven and his son Jesus Christ? If I did not, I could walk away even though I knew this was the truth. But if did, then that meant I had to trust in all of him- his promises, his doctrines, and his timing. I would have to really let go of all of my issues and give them to him and move forward, even though I didn’t know what that would look like. It was that simple (not easy- but simple) – did I trust or not?
When I looked at my life through that lens, I knew what my choice had to be. I had had too many experiences that taught me that I could always trust my Father and my Savior. They would never let me down.
I came across an article in the Ensign, a church magazine, at this time. It was about, of all things, infertility. I was expecting the feel good story of those who had struggles which ultimately had their prayers answered and babies came. But none of that happened. All of the families had to adopt to move their family forward. But their prayers were still answered! Just not in the way they had expected.
The thing I remember most was the understanding one of the women had when she understood her trial to be one given to her because she was strong and loved. It pricked my heart. I began to see that I was given the things I was given because God knew and loved me. He trusted me to do hard things with the promise he would give me the strength and power to endure and thrive. I was not being punished for something, I was being refined because I was worthy of refinement. After this epiphany, I could not look at infertility the same way.
Twelve Years Later
It is now almost 12 years since the adoption of our son and the experience that lead to choosing to trust God and Christ even when I didn’t know how things would turn out. I have had miracles happen that will always help me know God hears me and He wants the best for me. That story, the story of my son, is one that still makes me cry. The journey still causes pain. I still have not had a baby.
A few months ago, we found ourselves pregnant. Yes, you read that right, pregnant. Without medical intervention or anything else. We really thought our time had come. It was not to be, however. After a month of shock and shortly after telling a few people, I had an ultrasound, and there was no heartbeat. This was our 4th miscarriage.
It was so heartbreaking to go back and explain what had happened to those few we had told only days before. It was also the week that my sweet sister was coming into town with her miracle baby born after her own 12 years of infertility, and my youngest brother shared their news of expecting their third baby. I cried. A LOT! It was a beautiful, painful weekend. I hurt. I also had the understanding that my family and I would be alright.
What I Have Learned
I have learned from the trial of infertility and have been blessed by it as well. I have gained empathy for other’s trials as I have gone through my own. I have learned to open up and share my experience with others and find that though our circumstances and specific trials may be different, what we learn is frequently very similar. I have a better understanding of the blessing that children are that I might not have known if this trial hadn’t been in my path. I have had amazing people come into my life that has lifted, strengthened, and helped me. I still don’t know if I will ever have the experience of having a baby. It may not happen. Then again, it just might. Either way, I will be ok.