Wednesday, April 22, 2015

NIAW "You Are Not Alone" - Katie's Story

***April 19-25, 2015 is National Infertility Awareness Week and the theme this year is "You Are Not Alone". I am taking part by sharing stories from women that I personally know who have experienced infertility first hand. Did you know that 1 in 6 couples experience some form of infertility? Someone you know is probably struggling with infertility and you may or may not even know, since it is often a taboo subject. Help break the silence and raise awareness by sharing these posts on social media or with friends and family. For more information about NIAW, please click here. This post is the third in my 2015 NIAW "You Are Not Alone" series. To see more stories, scroll to the bottom of this page for links.*** 

October 8th, 2011 was the best day of my life! It was a beautiful sunny fall day. It was memorable and special, marking the beginning of a new journey. October 8th, 2011 was the day I married my best friend, Rick! We were happy and excited to start our lives together and had no clue where life would take us. This photo is exactly how we have walked through everything - side by side and hand in hand. This is our story.

About 2 and half years ago I was experiencing some pretty strange symptoms. I’ll spare you the details! It was August 2012 and some weird things were going on with my body which I ignored out of fear (bad idea) until November. I finally went to see my doctor which began a 4 month period of tests and appointments but worst of all, uncertainty. Long story short, in February 2013 I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome – also known as PCOS.

{PCOS is a hormonal and metabolic imbalance causing many unpleasant symptoms – You can read more about it here:

There is no real cure, and is often “treated” with Birth Control. It can however be controlled through strict diet and exercise. You can become pregnant with PCOS, though most times, very difficult.}

Now, I could bore you with all the details, tests and appointments from the last 2 and half years but I’ve decided not to. While they’re important to me, they are likely not to anyone else! All I can say is that the last 2 and half years have been incredibly difficult. They have been filled with depression, anxiety, fear, uncertainty, jealousy, frustration, pain, tears, sweat, confusion, heartache, grief and hope. Yes. Hope. Let me explain.

See, I grew up in a home which was also a day care which my mother owned, so I was surrounded by children since a very young age. I then went on to be a neighbourhood babysitter, working in camps every summer and teaching Sunday school. I LOVED children and it didn’t take me long to realize that I really could not wait to be a wife and mother.  I honestly never cared much about becoming a business woman, or travelling all over the world, or having a big house, not that there is anything wrong with those things, my heart just yearned for a family and the rest didn’t really matter. October 8th got me the wife part, but I honestly had no idea that we would walk through infertility. And It hit me hard.  How could this be happening to us? What did I do wrong?  Is this some sort of punishment? Why us? I know the “why me” road is a dangerous one, but I think we’ve all experienced it at some point. I knew that with PCOS I could still possibly become pregnant one day, but even the thought of it taking a long time, or not happening at all, felt like my dreams were being crushed. 

I never expected to experience the pain of infertility. It is a harsh reality that I do not wish on anyone. Infertility drags you through deep dark valleys which are suffocating. There is a grief that keeps on giving. There is an unexplainable void and heartache. Pregnancy announcements become dreadful. Desperately wanting to be happy, but filled with sadness. When will it be my turn? Will it ever my turn? You become bitter. Envious. Jealous. Baby bump photos are quickly hidden from your Facebook newsfeed. You are reminded of how your body is failing you. You suddenly feel like everyone around you is becoming pregnant, and you feel alone. Completely and utterly alone. The yearning for a child can become unbearable. The single pink lines month after month are a punch in the gut. You wonder if you will ever see your husband be a father. It just plain sucks. So how on earth do you get through this? I am not expert, but I’ll share what has helped me.  

First of all, my husband. Oh my sweet husband! He has come to every single blood test with me because I’m a big wimp. He has come to every single appointment with me. He has changed his diet for me, he has exercised with me. He has encouraged and supported me all. Of. The. Way. He has put up with my wacky moods and emotional roller coasters. He has shown patience and gentleness to me in times where I most certainly did not deserve it. He has put up with my whining. He has put up with my constant complaining, rants and venting sessions. He has comforted me. He has held me and let me cry. He has held my hand through panic attacks. He has prayed for me and he has loved me. He’s my rock! I have absolutely no clue how I would even get through all of this without him and through all of this, we have only grown closer. Somehow through this, we have found a way to continue to laugh and enjoy life together. I am so thankful.  I love you Rick!

Secondly. Support from friends who are going through infertility is huge. I am so thankful for so many friends, like Jennie, who have been there for me. I’m so thankful for friends who know exactly what it feels like and who are able to just listen without offering any unwarranted, cliché advice. Friends who say, “I’m sorry”, “This sucks”, “I know exactly how you feel”. Those people mean the world to me. The validation of your emotions through this is crucial. To know you’re not alone, and not crazy! So thank you Jennie, and everyone else who has been there for me! So if you have not found a support group, or some good friends through this, get on that! You won’t regret it, trust me. 

Last but not least. Hope. My hope in Christ somehow gets me through. I know not everyone reading this is of Christian faith and that is totally fine, but I encourage you to find something that gives you hope and hang on to it for dear life because hope is what gets us through. Hope that one day; somehow there will be an end to all of this. That there is light at the end of the tunnel - however it happens. My hope in Christ gives me peace that regardless of the turnout, things will be ok. Don’t get me wrong, most days I don’t feel like this, but I always come back to this hope and it’s what gives me fuel to keep on. I don’t really know how, but it just does. So I encourage you, if you haven’t already, to search for that something that gives you hope, hang on tight and take it one day at a time!

Whatever happens, whoever it is walking with you, whatever hope you’re holding on to – know you’re not alone! This is a brutal journey! Please know that however you’re coping, whatever you’re feeling & thinking is totally valid. Just keep on hanging on, and make sure to enjoy the little things in life!  


2015 NIAW "You Are Not Alone" Series

Katie's Story
J's Story

1 comment:

  1. My best friend has PCOS and struggled with infertility. And she is a day care worker and spends 8 hours a day with little kids!! I just cant imagine