Real Women. Real Stories. Part 2: Never Lose Hope
Intro by Liz Kent: We are back...back to share another personal story from an amazing woman and friend. If you missed last month's 'Real Women' story, don't worry-you can still check it out here. This month I am honored to help share my dear friend, Lauren's story. I remember meeting Lauren at church back in 2009 and thinking, "there is no way anyone can actually be that nice". But sure enough, as I got to know this sweet, kind, compassionate woman, I found out that Lauren is genuinely that nice. Lauren is a speech and language pathologist, with a passion for helping kids with special needs. She is a wife and a mom to 14 month old Grace. This is her story.
In 2015 my husband and I decided we were ready to expand our family. We were so excited! I remember thinking that if we started trying in the summer, I would have the most adorable pregnancy announcement for Christmas. If only life went the way we planned, right? Well, weeks of trying quickly turned into months and before I knew it Christmas was long gone. Casually trying to get pregnant became a stressful and heartbreaking event after each failed month.
On top of the heartbreak, I’m starting to realize something’s not right with me. My body is acting crazy and irregular. My diet hasn’t changed, but I’m starting to put on weight and I don’t even recognize myself anymore. I decide to make an appointment with my OB to figure out what is going on. My doctor does an ultrasound and everything is perfect. The ultrasound tech told me she expects to see me back pregnant in a few weeks. The OB does a hormone blood test to be safe, but she tells me she’s not worried.
A week later I’m sitting in a fertility clinic. I found out from my OB that my hormone levels were abnormal. I have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Given my age, the doctor at the fertility clinic thinks I’ll be pregnant with just a few pills and monitoring. We try that four times and each time my body fails. And the emotional toll? I felt like I was the one failing. I remember once sitting in the office with my face in my hands sobbing, while the sweet fertility nurse handed me tissue after tissue.
Unfortunately, the “magical pills” the fertility doctor prescribed did not work for me. We decided to move towards more aggressive treatment which was promised to be more effective. I started to do injections almost every other night and blood work about every 2-3 days for monitoring. My sweet husband would pray over me every night before the injections and apologize as he prepared the needle. I reminded myself every shot was one day closer to meeting a future miracle baby. We did three rounds of injections before we decided to move towards in vitro fertilization (IVF). To be honest, IVF felt like the last straw. If this didn’t work, then what? We spent thousands and thousands of dollars on our dream of having a baby.
On February 17, 2017 our prayers were answered. We found out that day that our first round of IVF worked and I was pregnant! I laughed when the nurse told me the news on the phone. I was overcome with joy and shock. On October 3, 2017, our sweet miracle IVF baby, Grace, was born. Our hearts were overcome with such intense gratitude and love.
Fast forward to present day. We are loving every minute with our sweet, hilarious, silly 14 month-old girl. We are starting to think about hopefully giving Grace a sibling in 2019 and we begin to save for another round of IVF. Last month I felt a little off, almost like I was coming down with a stomach bug. I grabbed a pregnancy test to just SEE if there’s a chance. I almost threw it away without looking at the results because it’s always negative. I quickly glance at the test and it’s POSITIVE. I am completely and totally shocked, in the absolute best way. I call my doctor immediately and leave a rambling message about how this is a miracle and I’m pregnant. I go in for blood work to make sure everything is progressing as it should, but after my third round of blood work I get the phone call no one wants to receive. I’m miscarrying. We are crushed.
And now, here we are. We are so thankful for our sweet miracle girl, Grace. We continue to grieve the loss of our second baby, but we cling onto hope. Hope that this is a season. Hope that it WILL get better. We’re believing that Grace will have a sibling on this side of Heaven.
Friend, if you are struggling with infertility or heartbreaking loss, can I encourage you for a minute? You are NOT alone in your struggle. Please seek help and allow others to encourage and support you in this time. Family, friends, a counselor, support groups. There’s even online support groups for infertility and loss! No one should go through this alone and I encourage you to reach out. You are NOT broken. Can I say that again, please? You are NOT broken. You are fearfully and
Never lose hope. Give yourself time and permission to be angry, upset, sad, heartbroken, etc. But never stop dreaming and hoping.
All the best, Lauren