It seems fitting to me to kick off this blog during Memorial Day weekend. Memorial Day itself has nothing to do with what I am going to talk about, really, rather this weekend on the calendar is starting to stand out in my life, all in ways relating to my infertility journey.
This first post will be about a portion our story and how it lead to the creation of this support group. I want to share this first post in this way because I know many people have felt the way I did. I want you to know, you are not alone...And it does get better. Never perfect...but it does get better.
2009 In March of 2009, my husband and I moved back to Iowa and were still near the start of our journey and were actually pre-official diagnosis. We had been trying for a few years, but I worked a crazy schedule and my job was pretty stressful, so we weren't really worried. I had also spent around a decade on the birth control pill, so in the back of my mind, I figured that was getting in our way. When I finally told my great doctor, Sarah, she told me she thought I should go get checked out when we got back to Iowa, just to make sure everything was ok. We consciously put this off about 6 months because moving was very stressful, a new job was very stressful and I felt like if we were going to be delivered any bad news, I wasn't in the frame of mind for more stress.
Memorial Day weekend that year, my nephews came to spend a weekend of fun with us. They were one of the reasons I was excited about moving back. However, no matter how hard I tried to have fun, the entire weekend, I felt like I was walking through quicksand. I was tired, depressed, achy and felt like every ounce of energy had been sucked out of me. It took all I had to do anything other than lay down and sleep. It was the first time, I felt something might actually be wrong. I should have had some energy & the ability to have fun those days, but I remember it being a truckload of mental & physcial work to do so.
It turns out when I did go get that check up, my thyroid was horridly out of whack. They had been checking my thyroid for a few years and it was never abnormal so this was a surprise. I didn't get that check up until December, so I spent 6.5 months just miserable. During that year, music was a saving grace for me. Which leads me to this weekend in 2014.
2014 It is difficult for me to find words for what music means to me and how it has helped me through the most difficult times of my life. One of my favorite bands is Alice In Chains and one of their songs would be on the soundtrack of my infertility journey.
I have listened to the song Nutshell probably hundreds of times. On Friday night, my husband and I went to see the band live and were fortunate to be watching from the front row. I have been a fan for nearly 20 years and because of what their music means to me, I knew this would not be just another show; it was going to be emotional. Plus, two members of their band have died, both succumbing to the demons that haunted them. So I pretty much planned to be a hot mess during many parts of this show.
They are not a flashy band. They don't care if they are famous. They have always written music from their heart. Jerry Cantrell writes a lot of their music and I was filled with anticipation to watch him sing this song live. When I heard him start playing the song, I was overcome with emotion. It was hard to sing along with all of memories the heartache, loneliness, sadness, and despair coming back all at once.
*We chase misprinted lies We face the path of time And yet I fight And yet I fight This battle all alone No one to cry to No place to call home*
These lyrics from the song I played over and over during that year I spent the most miserable, with my thyroid out of whack & learning my official "unexplained infertility" diagnosis. All of my friends were pregnant or getting pregnant and I knew of one other person (I thought) who used one round of drugs to get pregnant. I felt like everything everyone told me about having a family was a lie. I was chasing a lie. I seemed that maybe this wasn't meant to be for us and I had never, ever even considered this before. I felt like I was following the path of time, I was fighting to have a family, that I was doing this all "the way I supposed to" and yet here I was. I was fighting a battle I never, ever expected. My husband was my rock, but there was no way he could truly understand how I felt, what it felt like to feel broken or feel incapable. I was fighting this battle internally and felt so alone. I felt there was truly no one to cry to and even though I was back in my home state, surrounded by family and friends, I really had no place to feel like home. I felt like there was absolutely no one around me that knew how it felt to feel what I was going through. So I did what I have always done, I found music to help me process all the feelings I had. It's how I get through. It's how my soul functions, cleanses, renews, and restores.
Now on Friday night, during another Memorial Day weekend, here I was standing in front of three of the people who wrote this song. The 4th noticeably absent, having died in 2002 from an addiction that undoubtedly drove him to the feelings in these lyrics. I sang along and I cried. In addition to remembering all the feelings of all these years of struggle, my heart was grateful. It was grateful that this band wrote this song in their times of despair. Grateful that after all the years they took a break after their friend died, they began writing music and touring again, so that I could see them face to face and have this moment.
It was this music that helped me walk through my feelings, helped me reach out to my new doctor & ask if there was a support group. And when there wasn't, I found RESOLVE and knew I had to start a group. I knew I wanted to create a community where other people who felt my heartache & my despair could know they aren't alone. I wanted people to know that they had a place to turn, with hands willing to help hold their hand while they walk this painful journey.
Now, I promised you it gets better. In 2012 when my now adopted son came to live with us and I learned his birthdate, I got the chills. Two days after that painful Memorial Day in 2009 his birth mom delivered him into this world. It was during the same exact weekend, the start of the most painful chapter of my infertility journey, a piece of my future was born. And I wouldn't have a clue for three more years.