We all have had experiences in our lives that have left us downtrodden. Unfortunately, part of being human is feeling pain, whether it be physical or emotional. We all have difficult roads in our life journey that we need to survive and hopefully, ultimately rise above.
Infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss have been a huge and rather difficult part of my journey these past four years. Infertility has left me feeling powerless, weak and helplessly unable to control my physical or emotional self. I have had surgeries and gone through multiple IVFs that have put me on bed rest and have made me physically weak and in pain. The many different hormones I have been on and the overall stress of infertility has put me on an emotional roller coaster that has left me feeling overwhelmed and sad. I have been starting to feel that I am no longer in control of my own well being.
I have also done a lot of waiting these past four years that has left me feeling inadequate. I have been waiting in doctor’s offices, waiting on the phone to fight with my insurance company, waiting for my medications to come, waiting for my procedures to happen and waiting to see if all of this waiting was worth it. The problem with waiting is that you don’t go anywhere. When you wait, life is put on hold and you can’t move forward. There are many situations where you know your waiting will pay off, and the object of desire is right around the corner, but with many things in life, including bringing life into the world, nothing is guaranteed, and your waiting may not pay off.
So what do you do when you can’t wait any longer? What do you do when you come to terms with the fact that what you desire most is not around the corner? How do you heal from such a deep sense of loss? How do you move on without losing all hope? How do you find yourself again, or perhaps redefine yourself?
These are the questions I have been wrestling with since the failure of our final IVF last fall. My husband and I started our journey with infertility in February of 2006. We were so lucky to conceive our daughter through IUI two years later. She was born prematurely in January of 2008, but she is, thank goodness, a happy and healthy little girl today. Six months after her birth we started trying to conceive again. We have spent four years--almost half our marriage trying to conceive--undergoing many procedures, suffering many pregnancy losses, climbing this uphill battle, waiting for another miracle. But it seems, in the world of fertility procedures, there is nothing positive waiting for us anymore. This reality has left me feeling sad, powerless and empty.
I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out something to make me feel strong again, something to make me feel powerful. I need to feel in control again and physically healthy. I recently saw online an advertisement for the March of Dimes, “March For Babies 10k,” an event that will “raise money for research and programs that help moms have full-term pregnancies and babies begin healthy lives…bring comfort and information to families with a baby in newborn intensive care.” My husband, my daughter and I were all preemies and all spent time in the NICU. This organization is very meaningful to me.
I have decided to participate in the 10k, despite the fact that I have zero running experience and have never done a race. But I have been training using a, “Couch to 10k” program, and I am proud to say I ran 3 miles non-stop on the tread mill the other day. I never thought I would be able to accomplish something like this. With all my body has been through the past four years, I didn’t even think I could walk two miles, never mind run three. Training has left me feeling physically strong and powerful. The running seems like a literal, as well as a symbolic, “moving forward.” It is refreshing to have a big goal that I can accomplish through hard work. I feel in control again.
When we struggle through the tough roads of our journey, there is always a time of healing that must follow. I am hoping that crossing the finish line, hand and hand with my husband, who is also running the 10k, will help us move past the challenges and the losses we have faced these past four years. I am hoping to feel like I can “kick butt” again, for who knows what challenges may come next!
Go Team Annie Grace!
For more information on how to support March Of Dimes, visit their website, www.marchofdimes.com.