Saturday, September 19, 2015

Looking Pregnant, But Not

#InvisibleFight #MyInvisibleFight #IIWK #IIWK15 What #Infertility can look like!#IF 

I faced "female problems" from my early teen years. Thirty years later, this picture was taken last week, a few days before my final hysterectomy, which will hopefully lay the consequences of a diseased reproductive system to rest once and for all!

You see, this was actually my second hysterectomy, going back to take my cervix, remaining ovary, and once again (as has been surgically required so many times over the past 20 years) clean out the mess and pain created by Endometriosis. I am 43 years old and dramatically entered menopause in full force last week.

There had been absolutely NO CHANCE of that belly hosting the life of a baby for nearly seven years since I had surgically said farewell to the body of my uterus and first ovary, yet to look at me, all bloated and inflamed, it would have been a common presumption to think I was well-along into pregnancy!

This got me thinking and reflecting on our decade of active infertility. My tummy HAS looked like this before, sometimes, at least six in fact, from the hard-fought blessing of carrying a child within! For all those stretch marks, I am rewarded far beyond anything I had ever dared hope during our infertility years, with three living children in my home today, ages 15, 12 and 9. I do not take them for granted. I so wish I could have worn a t-shirt (or neon sign on my forehead) that read something like, "Don't hate me infertile friend. This baby has been 7 years in the making!" Just because I was finally pregnant, the feelings of infertility were not magically erased! I readily still related much more with the infertile word than the fertile one!

Our living miracles' known siblings who never got to come home would be 20, a likely twin of the 15-year-old, 14, and 13. I am ever so blessed that my womb was their entire earthly home, yet they are still missed! Pregnant tummy mis-speaking about the state of my fertility once again, in each of their cases.

More strangely, my tummy has looked like this before because of the very reality of not being able to conceive! Illness and swelling such as I just pictured , from Endometriosis or other reproductive illness, but also sometimes from PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), in response to fertility drugs, and/or due ovarian hyper-stimulation! What insult, added to injury, to "look pregnant" simply because of whatever condition(s) is causing sub fertility in the first place!

So next time you see a "pregnant" woman, don't presume! Maybe she is. Maybe she isn't. Either way, there may be much more to her story than meets the eye. And to the lady I naively asked how far along you were, 20-some years ago, before I knew better, I'm still so very sorry for the tears I brought to your eyes that day. Please forgive me! - Hannah's Hope by Jennifer Saake (on Facebook)

Picture and article also posted at - please share!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Infertility Is...

Kristi Bother, of This Side of Heaven and Naomi's Circle, posted a fantastic article on Infertility: What It Really Is for a motherhood blog this week. Here are my memories her list stirred:

Infertility is hormones so far out of whack that your ovulation predictor test (measuring the surge in hormones that should only happen to bring about ovulation, but when chronically elevated actually prevents ovulation at all) tells you that you are “ovulating” when you are just starting your period and know it to be a medical impossibility.
Infertility is extra pounds that will not be shed, deep painful acne and intense sugar cravings.
Infertility is squirming under the teasing of friends who ask, “You guys know how this is supposed to work, right?”
Infertility is going to someone’s baby shower on Day 2 of another negative cycle and making a blubbering fool of yourself.
Infertility is taking your cat to the vet to get “fixed” the same week you are taking fertility shots to try to get your own ovaries to actually work!
Infertility is driving to the lab with your husband’s sperm sample tucked safely into your bra (gotta keep it body temperature you know) and praying you don’t get in a car accident where you will have to explain the contents to an EMT.
Infertility is being the only woman in your row who doesn’t stand for a flower at church on Mother’s Day, then having a “pity flower” gently placed in your lap during prayer because the usher saw your tears.
Infertility is attending a loved ones funeral and realizing you will never get to tell this person if you ever are blessed to have a child joining your family.
Infertility is grieving another wedding anniversary, not because it marks years of marriage, but because it is a firm reminder of how long you have been trying to conceive and/or adopt.
Infertility is celebrating months of severe morning sickness because you never thought you would get the chance!
Infertility is being 7 months pregnant and feeling like you don’t belong at your own baby shower because this world has been so foreign to you for so long.
Infertility is answering your two-year-old’s questions and confusion when he tells you he wants a baby sister and you tell him you want that too, but know it took years to have him.
Infertility is trying to help your toddler grasp that their baby who was in your tummy just yesterday now lives in Heaven and will not be coming home to us.
Infertility is when your preschooler would rather watch the adoption agency welcome video for the millionth time rather than a new episode of Blue’s Clues or Thomas the Tank.
Infertility is hearing people tell you how perfectly you “planned” and spaced your children over a six-year-window and rolling your eyes inside because you know that the three living miracles they see are totally God’s doing and not your plan at all, part of 13 sibling (biological and adoption attempts) who touched your lives over more than a decade.
Infertility is realizing that now you are the “mother with the most children” but still don’t qualify to claim the title in this Mother’s Day contest because the number in your home doesn’t match the number carried in your heart.
Infertility is getting to claim some kind of title in the contest but not wanting to take the prize because you know the whole affair is hurting someone else’s heart and there is no chance to tell your story and let her know how you got here.
Infertility is learning that I am not God.

Thursday, February 26, 2015