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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Nikki's Infertility Journey

My dear friend Nikki gave me permission to share this post with you today. She and Mike waited a long time for their daughter to join them, and they're currently experiencing secondary-infertility as she and Mike hope to bring another child into their family. I cannot think of their struggle without tearing up. They are a family very near to my heart and I wish nothing but the best for them.

October 2, 2012
The "i" word

For the past several months, we have had hard days coping with our challenge of secondary infertility. I feel like we have many friends and family who pray hard and want to help, but they don't always know what to say, or how to be helpful.

It can be such a private, embarrassing subject for both parties. And it's so easy to say something that will be taken the wrong way. I can see where the trepidation comes from. Some people with infertility problems don't want to talk about it. Some people are more open about it. For me, I am usually open, but it depends on the day. Mike is more quiet. Personally, I have hard days, and I have days where I have great perspective. I am never hurt by someone who says, "I have been thinking about you guys and praying for you." or "do you want to talk about it?"

I was recently listening to a Reproductive Endocrinologist at a conference. He stated that the emotional effects of infertility have been studied and found to be as stressful as a cancer diagnosis. These are his words, not mine. I have never experienced cancer personally, and I don't like to compare one trial to another. However, I stopped downplaying what we are going through as much.
One truth that I treasure is this: Eva is our miracle. She is amazing! I breathe this every day. She makes me so happy! I appreciate her. I tell her, "Thank you for being my daughter" every day. I ADORE her. I live for her and Mike.

One of the most hurtful things someone said to me was, "You already have a child. Why are you so upset?" I felt guilt because she made me feel like I didn't appreciate my child. I also face feelings of guilt for not providing a sibling for Eva. I worry about too much spacing in between them. I have anxiety about how quickly she grows. Though it fills me with joy, am a squeezing as much joy as possible out of each moment? What if she is my only one? Doctors initially waved off my concerns, and said, "You had one, you'll get pregnant again." However, 60% of infertility cases are secondary infertility. Utah is a difficult place to endure infertility. Beyond the prying questions, there is awkwardness. I try to make friends with parents who have children Eva's age. However, I struggle to fit in with their busy schedules. Because ALL of them have multiple children, they are more occupied than us, and don't necessarily think their children need play time with a non-family member. I have felt somewhat isolated in my neighborhood. I cling to good friends and family because I have just a few people who I feel comfortable around nearby. Luckily, I think I have the strength to improve this. I have learned that I have to reach out to others. I've have done much to socialize, short of saying, "Hey, I need someone to be our friend!"

I have been told, "Just be happy! You have so many blessings!" I have thought about this long and hard. I have gone back and forth and read the undertones of this statement. I can say with sincerity: I am happy. I laugh every day! I don't wallow in this trial. But we can't turn a switch and avoid the suffering that comes with it. There is no way to get out of it. I can't convince myself that nothing is wrong when there is something wrong. I do know this will get resolved at some point and we will feel the huge weight lift. But I am happy.

I know you all are acquainted with several families who suffer from infertility. I found two wonderful articles that you might want to read, or share with someone you know(Infertility Etiquette and When Infertility Strikes). My aim in this post isn't to correct any of you, or hint that we need a week's worth of dinners. It's to help break down the walls I have felt when I try to talk about what I'm going through. It's to make us all more aware how to help each other bear one another's burdens. It's to remind you that everyone needs to ask for help sometimes. I feel so good when a friend texts or calls saying, "I just want to talk to you. I need your friendship right now."

This post is also to say THANK YOU for being there for us. We have absolutely felt your prayers. One recent month, I had just discovered, yet again, that we weren't pregnant. But, that particular day, I felt fine. Happy even. I texted my mom, because she knew about my day. "Thank you for praying for me, Mom. I could feel it."
She said, "That's because I put your name in the temple."

I recently read something of great truth:
"When someone has an ailment or an illness and they are healed as the result of a blessing, their faith is being strengthened. But for those who aren't healed but continue faithful, their faith is being perfected. The first is a faith-promoting experience. The second is faith-perfecting."

If you have an experience you'd like to share, please email me! (livytay[at]gmail[dot]com).

5 comments:

  1. I sure love you , Nikki!

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  2. It is so hard to make friends at church for me, because their world is their children and I don't have any. It is so hard for me and I can only imagine how hard it must be to be half way in the door. What a beautiful way to thank people for prayers. I will have to try to start doing that too. Thank you so much.

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  3. I can only imagine. The LDS culture in Utah can be difficult for so many reasons. We too often confuse doctrine with culture and that leads to a lot of tender hearts.

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  4. Thank you for sharing. I have a friend who is dealing with this very same thing. Unfortunately she lives in Utah county... it's just such a cultural thing that everyone else seems to expect it. I wish you the best of luck, and again--thank you for being open about your experience :)

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  5. Thank you so much for posting this (and Jess for sending it to me!!!) I could have written this post word for word! We live in Utah with our 3 year old daughter Ava and it is a huge struggle to deal with secondary infertility here, and most days it feels even harder being where we are. We try to get together with friends but anyone with a child remotely close to Ava's age have 2 more kids younger and its impossible to arrange. Some days I just want a friend 'like me' Anyway big hug from another mom who knows how you feel and it brings me great peace to know there are others out there who understand (even though I wish none of us had to go through this!)

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