You are not alone.

They say “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes that baby in the baby carriage”.

YEAH RIGHT! If only it were that easy.

Many women (including myself) have or have had fertility issues and have gone through extreme measures to have a child.

But I am getting a little ahead of myself. This is an open letter to all women out there who have gone through and are going through fertility issues, just remember this: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

When deciding to write about my fertility issues, I wondered how personal I should get. Then I realized, there is nothing to be ashamed about. I am not the only person who’s gone through something like this and I want women in similar situations to know that they aren’t alone. And hopefully this letter might ease the pain of anyone who is going through the fertility process.

To some women, this is a secret and personal issue. And that’s fine. At the same time, I feel that we need to be each other’s strength because only we know the struggles first hand.  I have always been open about my infertility and I just hope this letter helps to comfort at least a few readers.

When my husband and I decided it was time to start a family, we knew that it might take a while. We were hoping that within a year we would hear the pitter patter of little feet in our house.

We could not have been more wrong.

Our journey started less than a year into our marriage. I am sure all couples are asked at some point “when are you going to have children?” I hated that question. After a year of trying on our own, we went to see my doctor here in Quincy and started taking medication to help the process along. I read that some women had success after acupuncture, so I gave that a shot. Why not, right? However, it was a process that did not work for me. Disappointment again. After six months of trying everything we could think of on our own, we had a decision to make: continue on the path we are on or go to a specialist.

I will say this. You can control anything in your life—the job you want, the clothes your wear, the color of your hair—but when it comes to getting pregnant, you can’t control your body.

So after much discussion, my husband and I decided to head to St. Louis to see a specialist. After a few visits and a different dosage of medicine I WAS PREGNANT. My husband and I were the most excited two people on earth. I had it all planned out. My ultrasound was right before Christmas of 2007, so I planned to get several pictures printed and give them as presents to our family.

The ultrasound day was here and we were so nervous. We were so excited to find out everything—how far along I was, when I was due, and we were going to see our peanut.

Unfortunately, none of that happened.

I remember it like it was yesterday. The look of devastation on the ultrasound technician’s face said it all. Miscarriage.

The doctor came in and started talking and all I heard was miscarriage. She keep talking but I just toned out. I couldn’t believe it. All that time and money for nothing. I was heartbroken and just trying to hold it together until I got to my car.

Then I lost it. I have never cried that much in my life. I was broken. We tried to enjoy our holiday and figure out our next move. It wasn’t easy. Nothing about this was easy. We faced yet another impossible choice: continue or give up.

We decided to see another specialist. But if we knew what we know now, we might have decided something different.

Our real journey began in 2008. For six months we drove every day back and forth to St. Louis. Two hours there. Two hours back. After all, anyone who is trying or going through fertility problems knows it’s all about timing. Blood test, medicine costs, gas, mileage, all of it. And after almost spending over $12,000 in treatments, the doctor finally said the sentence a women NEVER wants to hear…

“It looks like you may never be able to conceive.”

I was crushed, depressed, sad, mad, frustrated with my body, I never knew a person could feel so many emotions all at once. As a woman, having a child was what I was supposed to be able to do and my body wouldn’t let me. I lost my faith, I lost hope, and I lost a little part of me that day.

That drive home was the longest, quietest two hour drive of my life.  People kept telling us “have faith”, “don’t try so hard”, “it will happen when the time is right”, “don’t give up”. And I know that they all meant well, but if someone would come up to me and say that I just smiled and would say “yeah I know”. Most of them already had kids. They didn’t know. I think it’s just one of those things that people in that situation don’t know what to say so that’s the go to thing to say. To make matters worse, I saw pregnant women everywhere; the grocery store, shopping, on vacation. It was like I was being teased or something. And everyone around me was pregnant; friends, family, co-workers. I couldn’t get away from it. And as much as I wanted to be happy for each and every one of them, I was dying inside. By the way, whenever I was invited to a baby shower, I would always think (selfishly, mind you), “when is it going to be my turn?”

We were again at a crossroads, now what? A few months turned into a five years before we decided what would come next. It’s 2010 and we made the decision to adopt. There are children out there that need loving parents. We started that process in the summer of 2010 and right after we started we went on vacation to the Gulf Shores we some friends to relax and have some fun. But with all that was going on, we forgot to have fun.

That trip would be a trip to remember. Years of trying, money spent, going on an emotional roller coasters, I found out I was pregnant.

I was shocked. No medicine, no injections in my stomach, no doctors. A few weeks after that, during the dreaded ultrasound, I promised myself I would be strong no matter what, the doctor came in and did an internal ultrasound. What we heard was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard in my life: my baby’s heartbeat.

We were finally going to be parents.

I was monitored throughout my pregnancy and 8 months later Ava Catherine was born (3 ½ weeks early and on my birthday). She was perfect. Ten fingers and ten toes, weighing in at 5 lbs. 2 oz. she was here and she was healthy. Twenty five months later her baby sister was here Alexis Lydia (my mini me) 6 lbs. 3 oz. perfect just like her big sister.

Photo Courtesy of Brittany Welker of BW Photgraphy

We did lose another child between Ava and Lexi, and that loss hurt just as the first one did. But I know I will see my babies again. I know so many friends who have lost children due to miscarriages, having fertility issues, losing one if not both fallopian tubes and even their uterus at an early age. My heart breaks for each and every one of them because I KNOW what pain and loss they are going through. I do miss my babies that I never got to meet and on every due date I celebrate them. I often think what they would be like if they were here with me and my husband.

I am one of the lucky ones, and I am extremely blessed to have been able to get pregnant four times, when I was told I wouldn’t be able to have any children. And for those who are going through fertility issues, don’t be ashamed. Find support in a friend, family member, your significant other, don’t hide your emotions. And it is okay to scream and yell and cry and get angry (Lord knows I did). Slowly after time I did get my hope back and my faith, and after everything my husband and I went through I thought there has to be a lesson here. After Ava and Lexi (almost seven years) I think I may have learned what that lesson is. I truly believe I had to go through my fertility issues to help those who are going through the same thing, to help them, to understand them, to be a shoulder for them to cry on, to be yelled at cause they are at their wits end. As I said in the beginning remember…

You are not alone.