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Friday, April 30, 2010

National Infertility Awareness Week

This week is almost over, and I didn't want to let it pass without saying something. The problem is, I'm just not sure what to say.

There are so many women, so many families who have something to say, who can offer support, encouragement, empathy. If you are suffering from infertility, I suggest you tap into that incredible network. You can meet many of those strong infertility warriors this week over at Mrs. R's. Place.

For me, infertility looks different. I do suffer from infertility. I will never carry another child in my womb. There is no hope for that, as there is no treatment (and no hope for a future treatment) to the disease that my body carries.

My knowledge of basal thermometers, Clomid, and IVF are not first hand. None of them are options for me. In fact, I must take very careful measures to insure that I do not get pregnant, as a pregnancy would almost surely end in death for both myself and the baby, but only after weeks or months of intense suffering.

That is a lonely place to be sometimes. Rarely do we face situations where there is no hope. Rarely do we face situations in forced solitude. (Chorea Gravidarum is so rare that it is almost certain I will never meet another woman who has suffered from it.) Rarely are we forced to look elsewhere for solutions to our hearts' deepest desires.

I did mourn my fertility. In fact, I still do mourn my fertility in the occasional quiet moment. I still feel pangs of jealousy that I will never feel that first kick in the womb again. I occasionally desire to experience the miracle of birth (I was under general anesthesia for JH's birth.) Most poignantly I long to nurse my second son, and any possible future children.

Most of the time, however, I am incredibly grateful that adoption was our only option to grow our family. I am a better person because of it. In the 18 months that we traveled on our adoption journey we experienced intense highs and lows. We met dozens of amazing people. We witnessed, and were even a part of, miracles.

And we met our son and his incredible birth mother.


You see, there is a secret that those of us who have faced infertility keep; something that I will share with you, (but don't tell those women who come by babies easily.) While all babies are miracles, those of us who have waded through heartbreak and despair on behalf of our babies rejoice in, celebrate, and cherish our little ones just a little bit more because we know what it is to live without them and to long for them.

When it is hard, when it is overwhelming. . . no matter where you find yourself in your quest to build your family, you can cling to this one piece of light. However it happens, eventually. . . eventually you will hold your miracle in your arms, and every tear you shed, every prayer you offered, every step you took will have been worth it. And, you would willingly do it all over again.

*My dear friend Sonya knit the sweater that Leo is wearing. This photo is to remind her that eventually another sweet miracle will also wear it.