Monday, October 11, 2010

Kicking the Habit

August 21, 2010- Tonight, while I cooked dinner and gagged on the smells infiltrating my nose, I almost told Troy that I was starting to suspect pregnancy. Almost told him that I was late--really late. Even though I knew that I also ovulated late--really late--this time. I almost told him about the heartburn. Three nights in a row and just as bad as it was when I was pregnant with The Rock Star. In the end something stopped me from telling him about the emotions I was trying (read: failing) to suppress when I climbed into bed at night. Something stopped me from sharing the other symptoms I was experiencing--symptoms of pregnancy--because they could just as easily be explained as the fun facts of PMS. Something stopped me.

But let me back up. Some of you may remember that back in June I was trying to make a decision. The truth of it is that The Husband and I just didn't know what God's plan was for our family. We weren't sure if we were supposed to try to have more children or call it at two. Or, well, that is to say that I wasn't sure. Adoption, in the future, is not beyond the realm of possibility but at the moment, for reasons I won't go into now, it's not an option. We always said, from the time we first started to talk about kids, that our family would be complete by the time Troy turned 40. And though we've spent considerable time in prayer and in Scripture, we haven't come to any new revelation that we were mistaken in our original decision.

So we had three months to conceive. To try. To not prevent. What have you. That way a potential little tiny human could sneak in just before Troy's birthday. I struggled. I fought mightily to decide what to do. Give these three months a chance or declare our family finished. In the end, after prayerful consideration, I decided that the only sure way to let God be in control of the decision was to throw caution to the wind and see what happened. But I was very afraid of where that would leave me come the autumn and very concerned about my state of mind if (read: when) nothing happened.

Like I've said, "I'm always going to be that infertile girl." Defined by it. Recovering from it. Relapsed into it. "Infertility" defined as a disease. A mental illness, more than anything. Something that eats away at your sanity like a parasitic worm. You tell yourself, "Not this time." This time I won't be affected. Infected. This time I don't even know what I want--and truly you don't. Still you count the days that go by and the momentarily queasy stomach gives you so much more pause than it should. And you pretend your chest is sore for a reason so much bigger than your impending monthly visitor. And even while you promised yourself that you wouldn't do this you knew you would because, even though you not only know God is in control, you want Him to be, you still just want to be normal for an hour or two--just long enough to create. Just long enough to say, "Whoa! I didn't think that was gonna happen!" You look at the months gone by and think them unfair even when you know, realize and confess how lucky and how blessed you truly are. Because infertility is a disease...and a drug. A catalyst for sin where there shouldn't be any. Because God is in control which is right where you want Him to be. You just wish you could kick the habit, kill the disease and move on. But for some reason you just keep going back there. You keep walking the streets looking for your dealer. You comb the sidewalk, in search of hope. You wish that you could just stop wishing.

Three months came and went. Somewhere in the middle of it all I realized that we'd tried to conceive a child for 39 months of our life together. I'd spent more than three years of our marriage eagerly waiting for the chance to whiz on a stick, waiting for signs, reeling in disappointment when an answer came. I know some people who I honestly think would have 39 children if they'd spent that amount of time trying to get pregnant. We have our one miracle son to show for those months. And in his smiling face all of my senses scream that God is good. And, of course, without our struggles through the pits of infertility, we might never have been led to our second miracle, our son who grew in our hearts and is not flesh of our flesh. I believe with everything that I am that our God is infinitely good and wise. I know it.

But I wanted September.

I wanted to throw September in for good measure. We might as well make it an even 40 months, I reasoned. All the while knowing that I just wasn't ready to shut this chapter of our lives.

I'm not consumed with the green demon of jealousy anymore. I don't begrudge unwed mothers their children. I see the hand of Providence gliding over our family in undeniable ways. So to question the hand that blesses us is sinful, ungrateful, unacceptable. But the feeling of failure and inadequacy still permeates my heart. Still, I am plagued by the feeling of disappointment in my own reproductive system. In my husband's. In the way they are completely incompatible with each other. Still, I wish we could joke about brushing up against one another, fully clothed, in public, and turning up pregnant.

September came.

And September went.

The baby that my oldest son begs for, the one he insists we would name "Dog", is not coming. I had a moment at our women's retreat two weeks ago where I lost it. I'd walked out of the house on Friday about a half hour after discovering that there would be no baby. Gripped with the resolve that it wouldn't ruin my weekend--after all, I didn't even know that I wanted a third--I headed into a life changing few days. But on Saturday it caught up with me. For a few minutes. Not wanting to share it with the world--you know, not until I could blog about it--I disappeared into a room with a couple of new friends. They ministered to me in ways that I will not soon forget.

And I came home on Sunday feeling ready. Ready to watch my sons grow up. Ready to stop thinking about getting pregnant every month. Ready to move on. Whether our family grows or remains the same is not really for me to know. God can do what He wants when He wants.

But as for me, I'm ready to try to kick the habit. I'm tired of being addicted to infertility.


  1. Reading this made me cry. I was diagnosed with PCOS at 18 and totally identify with everything you have said in this post. I can't even begin to explain how much I understand the heartache that comes with each failed pregnancy test, and the hope that comes before each and every one. But it is so true, we are blessed and to realize that this life is not our own, but belongs solely to God is such a comfort and it is important to take what little comfort we can. Thanks for your honesty and candidness!

  2. I also get it, all too personally. I've soooo BTDT. Our route took us to IVF and a miracle son. Then a 'free' miracle son and daughter appeared, outta no where, it seemed. But even with three miracles to chase and raise I can remember those days of longing so easily. I'm sorry these decisions are so painful. It is such an unfair card to be dealt.

  3. This post resonates with me. Thank you for writing exactly what I think and feel on a daily basis. I have an "adopted" step daughter and a miracle son who took years to conceive and then came 12 weeks early. I joke about my uninhabital uterus but's not funny, you know? Well, I guess you do know. Thank you for this post.

  4. Lori - What a beautiful post. I sit and choke back tears as I read through your struggles. While I do not know you personally, I have read about you for some time and I admire your strength. My best friend has these struggles as well but most of her struggles were before we met so you help me to understand her better as well. Please know that prayers are being lifted on your behalf as you "recover".