Monday, August 1, 2016

Bittersweet Good-bye

I began this blog in 2008 right in the middle of my infertility struggles. It began as a place for me to vent and work through the tough emotions I was going through. Infertility really puts you through the ringer, and it was nice to have somewhere that I could be honest and just throw it all out there. Well, after six years of infertility, countless years on various fertility drugs, and three failed rounds of invitro, in 2009, we experienced our first miracle--a beautiful, healthy baby boy. In 2011 we had another miracle; in 2012, yet another unexpected miracle, and then, most recently, in 2014, we had a beautiful, baby girl. My life has been beyond blessed.

Now I've found myself needing to turn back to this blog, my old friend, good ol' Infertile Myrtle. For health reasons, I'm scheduled to get a hysterectomy tomorrow. As we've made the decision to do this and as I've been preparing for the surgery, I've found myself overcome with a lot of emotions from long ago. First of all, I recognize that I am so very blessed in my life. I have severe endometriosis, and it truly is a miracle that I've been able to even have one baby, let alone four. I've been able to carry all four babies to full term and deliver these four healthy babies. I know there are many of my infertility sisters who haven't been so lucky, and I know that I'm not any more deserving than the next woman. But the Lord's plan for me has included these four wonderful children, and I will be forever grateful for that.

So here I am--grateful yet sad. The idea of going back to that place where I can't have babies is hitting me like a ton of bricks. I feel like our family is complete. I don't know that my body could handle another pregnancy anyway. Each pregnancy has been harder, and I'm still recovering from the last one. During my last pregnancy I had gestational diabetes, severe anemia, and PUPPS (an allergic reaction to pregnancy that had me covered with an itchy rash the last month of my pregnancy). I had my second c-section, and doctors generally aren't big fans of multiple c-sections. And I turn 40 next year. I know all of the facts, but then the emotional stuff kicks in--thoughts of never again feeling a baby moving within me, of  never again cuddling with a newborn baby just after birth, of never again nursing a baby close to my's hard to end this chapter of my life (though the idea of no more diapers and  no more countless nights of no sleep is a plus!).

I'm really feeling those infertility scars on my heart. If I could go back in time, I wouldn't change what we went through. It was a really difficult time that did leave a lot of emotional scars, but those struggles have made me who I am today, and I've been able to help others going through similar struggles. I came across this quote the other day that says it much better than I can: "No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God...and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire,"(Elder Orson F. Whitney, apostle for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). I don't know that I was a very good person as I struggled through infertility, but it has made me a better person today.

But, now, as I'm facing this surgery, I can feel that heartache again. My heart is feeling a little tender. (This would probably explain to some people who have been around me lately why I'm always crying for no apparent reason!) But the neat thing is that I can really feel my Heavenly Father's love too. One of the greatest lessons I learned from my infertility struggles was that God loves me and that I never have to go through anything alone. And so, while this is tough, it's been good to have that little reminder that Heavenly Father is mindful of me and that He loves His children no matter what. And with His divine help, I can do hard things. I can do this.

And so, I bid adieu to my uterus. We've had a love-hate relationship most of my life, but it's a bittersweet good-bye. Thank you for sheltering each of my children for nine months. I'll be sure to remember the good and forget the bad times. (Sheesh, it wasn't half this hard to say good-bye to my appendix!) Good-bye!