2 days from hugs and kisses, originally written February 16th, 2012

See the disclaimer here.

February 16, 2013 (exactly 2 years ago to the day)

I've put it off for a long time now. I'm not quite sure why. Maybe I've exhausted so much time thinking about it that spending any more effort typing it all out just seems that much more tiresome. Our first appointment went well. When I say we love our doctor, I truly mean it. He was quick to clarify that he was not treating infertility but recurrent loss. My husband and I walked away from that first meeting with such a huge sigh of relief. And I consider myself lucky, because I didn't research fertility specialists in the area. I didn't stress over our decision. I let my gynecologist make the recommendation and followed it with an open heart. Sometimes it's simplest to let the road before you pave it's own way forward. 

There were tests. One which amusingly confirmed what psychic Valerie had to say, and one which gave me a glimpse into what might be the problem. It appears that genetically I have an issue metabolizing folic acid, which can also increase the risk of blood clots, a symptom you don't want to occur when an embryo embeds into your uterus. It's called MTHFR deficiency. I felt fine receiving the diagnosis. Relief in fact, at the realization that we now had a culprit to blame and recommendations to help combat it. What I didn't count on was weeks later, when I broke down crying at the thought that maybe God didn't want me to have children. Why would he have created me with this genetic mutation? If survival of the fittest is a fact than am I not meant to procreate? Does the world not want my genes? 

It seemed like for awhile there, about once a month, I had some type of breakdown. I never really knew when it was going to strike or what would make me feel the way I did. One day it was as simple as logging onto Facebook, like all of the other days I did the same thing, and seeing a picture of an ultrasound. That day, I mourned the death of a normal pregnancy, because with the realization that there is indeed an issue, came the reality that I really am at a higher risk of miscarriage. I really will have to do things that other people don't. I'll worry more than some people will even ever have to experience. There will be a multitude of extra vitamins and daily injections. And of course, I realize even as I type this, that it's all so unfair. I should consider myself lucky that I've experienced pregnancy. I should consider myself lucky that there's even a possibility that I'm able to carry a child to term, because that's more than some individuals will ever experience. And it makes my heart so heavy. 

My husband told me about one of his co-workers right after the holidays. In his early 30's, not so much older than ourselves. Oh and what they must have gone through already. His co-worker was taking time off because he and his wife were expecting to adopt and the birth mother was due any day. This soon-to-be Dad hadn't taken any vacation during the holidays in an attempt to save it all for the special moment when he and his wife would be welcoming that child into their hearts and home. One evening my husband shared how he saw his co-worker's car in the parking lot and noticed a car seat in the back, all strapped and ready to go. Any day now.  I was so overcome with a sense of joy for this couple I'd never met. I swear, if I didn't have these issues, I would sign up to be a surrogate just for the sake of this story. Not but a few days later did my husband come home and tell me about a confidential email which had circulated at work. At the last minute, the birth mother had decided to keep the baby. Unfortunately, not an altogether uncommon scenario. And how quickly I felt so angry, once again, for this couple I didn't know and had never met. To picture that man, having to take out the car seat. To picture the nursery they undoubtedly prepared for the baby's arrival. To picture their time off from work, filled with tears and embraces instead of a baby to kiss and cuddle. It was so heartbreaking. I share this story because I want it to be known that although I'm struggling with my own issues, I still realize how comparatively "lucky" it is to have them. I know what the two week roller-coaster feels like for those experiencing infertility. I know how devastating miscarriages can feel. I live in fear of still births and other complications. I know how hurtful it can feel for people to say things like, "think positive" and "I must be a fertile myrtle!", even though they're said with the best of intentions. My heart hurts for people experiencing any type of difficulty, because I know how hard it can be. How lonely and dark it can get. All of that doubt and the questions. Wondering how much harder it has to get before it gets any brighter. 

For anyone, experiencing any difficulty, I feel for you. Please know that you're not alone. There are a lot of people out there just like you. Some people choose to fight their battles in solitude. To keep their troubles close. And others, like myself, are willing to share, in the hope that just one other person feels less alone. I always thought that saying sounded so silly, but I know I've appreciated, beyond measure, those who have been bold enough to share their own stories of trouble and loss. 

Here's to hoping it helps you too.

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