Three years ago...

Lately, I've had this thought in my head over and over about the importance of authenticity. About how being who you are means being brave with your story. About how struggles and trials that remain hidden can never see full redemption because we find the most peace and comfort in community. So, tonight I wanted to try to share a little of my story, our story.

Three years ago, we decided to have a baby. I'm sure that you can guess how well that's worked out.

Two years, six months ago, I decided that I would get serious about this babymaking thing. If you know me, you know that meant research (otherwise known as copious amounts of time spent on google). It meant alarms and thermometers, charts and calendars, and a number of other things that you have no business knowing about my personal life. Life was strict and regimented, and I still wonder how Joe survived it. I'm militant in my pursuit of success.

Two years ago, I was pretty sure there was a problem. My anxiety was intense. My google research amped up to previously unseen levels. I contemplated making doctor's appointments at least 30 times a day. It affected every aspect of our lives including my work where my boss finally had to pull me aside for a serious talk because I simply wasn't getting anything done.

18 months ago, I went to my annual appointment with my OB. She ran tests. They weren't good. I was basically standard. Joe was not.

16 months ago, I redirected all of my energy into licensing our home for foster care. I quit my job (on the date that Joe and I had previously agreed would be the longest I would work after our baby came). I painted and cleaned and bought furniture. I waited impatiently for social workers and systems.

14 months ago, we were licensed as foster parents. And three weeks later, a beautiful, wild three-year-old boy came to live with us.

1 year ago, Joe re-did his testing. Results were a lesser version of bad. I returned to my research and emerged with a list of supplements and a pill box with the days of the week on it.

8 months ago, a 15-month old little boy with sad eyes and a determined spirit walked into our home. We didn't sleep for a week.

5 months ago, I had another annual OB visit. She referred us to a specialist for a diagnosis.

4 months ago, the specialist called to say that something was wrong and that there could be a tumor in Joe's brain. I now cringe whenever doctors call.

3 months ago, we retested and the specialist sent us to another specialist.

2 months ago, we took a month off, playing at home and hiding in SLC for a week.

4 weeks ago, we saw the new specialist for more tests. "No tumor," he said, but also no diagnosis.

This week, the new specialist sent us back to the old specialist and the merry-go-round began again.

Today, we have two beautiful boys, four chickens, a dog, two cats, and one very large garden full of plants depending on us to get up in the morning and feed them. They also all bring immense joy and adventure to every day. We have very few answers as to what exactly is going on with Joe's health. It's very possible that we'll never get an official diagnosis. It's also entirely possible that one day we might spontaneously find ourselves pregnant. We're trying to stay open to all possibilities and not dwell too deeply on any of them. We can't know the future and our present is a pretty awesome place to live even with it's uncertainties. 

The bottom line: infertility is an awful, awful disease that isn't well-understood or easily curable. Right now, that's the reality that we're dealing with and your thoughts and prayers and well-wishes are so welcome. We feel blessed to be surrounded by such amazing friends and family who have supported us through every adventure and battle and so thankful to know that you will all be with us in this one too.

Finally, for anyone uncomfortable about what to say/not to say regarding infertility, I wanted to share a few links that I've loved:

Your Infertility is Safe Here, from The R House
I won’t try to fix your infertility. Or offer advice. I can’t explain it away. I hope you always know that you can come to us if you have questions or would like recommendations, but I won’t ever pry. I’ve been where you are before and it’s no bueno. 

The reason I won’t say those things is not because I don’t care. I do care. I care enough to let you come to me. With a disease that robs you of your power and your timing, it’s the least I can do to show you love. Let me empower you with your own story, your own timing, your own words.

Baby makin' in the light, from Adding a Burden
Adoption doesn't solve infertility; it solves childlessness. Infertility brings with it a host of emotions. Shock, despair, sadness, anger... all the emotions of grief. There is no sidestepping that grief and no way to just "get over it." It is something each person needs to work through and learn how to live with. Adopting a child will fill the childless void after infertility, but it can't fill the void of pregnancy or the feelings of bodily brokenness a person experiences in infertility. The experience of infertility and the act of adoption are often related but still distinct and each person will work through the related emotions on their own time and in their own way.
Infertility Etiquette, RESOLVE