This is the post where I come clean. “Keep it real” if you will. This post is a heavy one. A really heavy one. So, only read it if you’re ready for some weight.
All of this was brought to the surface a few weeks ago at my first MOPS meeting of the year.
Nothing malicious was said AT ALL. It was perfectly kind and acceptable.
Basically, my new table was going around introducing themselves. Name, kids, ages, blah blah blah. Then, as the conversation ALWAYS does, the topic came up of more children. I tried to just shrink back and not answer. And it worked for a little while. Until one of the ladies noticed that I hadn’t answered. Then I was singled out. “So, Courtney. Are you guys going to have any more kids?” I said something to the affect of, “I’m infertile and we can’t have any more”. Then, naturally, that led into my telling the entire story of our past year of infertility treatments.
As I was telling the story of our IVF, I said, “We had 8 embryo’s growing, and they were doing so great!” And then, one of the women said, “Wait. wait. wait! What?! You mean. Eight. Babies?”
Honestly, I felt like I could audibly hear brakes squealing on the conversation. Like, *Squeeeel* EIGHT BABIES? And it just slapped me across the face. It hit me in a new way that it had never hit me before. It almost felt like I’d woken up from a dream. Because instantly, I broke down. Because I know how the story ends.
Yes. They were my 8 babies. And they all died.
Ever since that day, I’ve been in a funk/stupor/fog/depression that has been impossible to shake. Recently, my mother in law gave me a really awesome little booklet from Focus On The Family called “Permission to Grieve”. In it, it lists the 5 stages of grief. The first being Shock/Denial. I didn’t realize I was in this stage, but it makes sense to me now. But, that one simple comment in the middle of a MOPS meeting snapped me out of it and thrust me into an entirely new stage.
One that I don’t feel equipped to deal with by myself.
So, that brings me to the next stage of “keepin it real”. Jim and I are going through the process of trying to find me a counselor.
I share this because I want people to know that it’s okay to need to talk to someone. And not only talk to someone, but have a person who can pour life and truth back into you. I feel like this blog has been an amazing outlet for me to pour out my feelings and my hurts, but it doesn’t particularly fill me back up. I read my Bible and pray(when I can muster up the strength and courage to do so) but I feel like I need someone to help me do it. I can talk to my husband and both of our Mom’s, but sometimes I feel like I need a 3rd party who is removed from the situation to listen and talk to me.
We haven’t found anyone yet. I want to talk to a woman. I’d prefer to be in person. The topic is so, so sensitive that we need to make sure their theology and beliefs line up with ours completely. It hasn’t been easy to find. We’re just praying and asking others to pray for us that we can find someone perfect for the task. And soon.
People always ask me, “How are you doing, Courtney?” Even my husband asks me this. And I always feel like I stare blankly back at them trying to decipher what they could possibly mean. Do they mean, like, physically? Emotionally? Spiritually? Is that just a small talk question? Do they know everything going on with me? Do they care? Do they want to know?
I didn’t realize “How are you doing” could turn into such a loaded question, but it has. And I typically just respond to those people, with “I’m doing fine.” To Jim I respond, “What do you mean with that question?” To myself I think, “I’m not doing okay at all.”
This summer has been the hardest of my life. For obvious reasons. But, in some ways, it almost feels like none of it ever happened. When I think back on going through IVF, OHSS, and miscarriage, it feels like it was a dream. Like, a mist or vapor that I almost can’t seem to recall because it went by so fast.
But then other times, it strikes me that it has just now only been 3 months. 3 months? That isn’t any time at all. Of course I’m not doing okay. 3 months since finding out ALL of the babies we made didn’t live. 3 months since having to come to terms that I will never have more biological children. 3 months since having to hormonally adjust to “normal” after a year of pumping my body full of fertility treatments and chemicals. 3 months since having to call and tell my husband what happened and the repurcussions of the change in our relationship because of it(they aren’t all bad, but they’re there and it’s different and it’s HARD). 3 months since having to tell everyone that I love and know that we had come to the end of the road. And also, as stupid as it sounds as we are dealing with all of this, but 2 more months of the “possibility” of getting pregnant on our own, with the “increased” chances that come from elevated hormones after a miscarriage, that have come and gone with no positive results either.
It’s so much bigger than me. So impossible to grasp or comprehend. I feel relief at knowing that someone we are praying for now will be able to help me at some point in the future. But, they’re not here yet. So until then, I’ll be busy reflecting, clinging, and holding onto this:
“The child(children) we had but never had. And yet, will have forever”