Spring of 2006 was tough fertility wise. One day I was considering adoption, the other discounting it completely. Although Adam and I had talked adoption before our marriage, it was a very different thing to expend the little strength I had in researching and contemplating what my family would be like if we went down that road. On the other hand, the fertility clinic seemed so far away from the experience I imagined that I vacillated on how committed I would be to the many poking and prodding sessions my body would undergo. Neither option seemed anything close to ideal. But expecting a magical bundle from Mr. Stork wasn’t happening. Besides, 80% of my anxiety for both options was calmed by gaining knowledge and experience with each. So in typical Rachel fashion, I rolled up my sleeves, dug in my heals, and went to work. Knowledge truly is power. Things seemed less and less scary as Adam and I researched, pondered, and prayed about our options. And as I gained knowledge I trusted my spirit more to make a decision because I knew the decision would be made in peace…not fear.

Adam and I attended a fertility seminar and went to a consult with a specialist. At the same time, we approached LDS Family Services about our adoption options. At first, I thought we would probably exhaust our options at the fertility clinic before “turning” to adoption, but after thinking about it for a couple of weeks, we decided that we would rather pay for an adoption than for fertility treatments. It was a very pragmatic decision for us at the outset. We figured our chances of getting our money’s worth–or rather a guarantee of a baby in our arms–was higher, even if it took a little longer, with adoption. I was fairly open to both options, and I was still trying naturally too. But we made the decision to start going to the monthly seminars that were required for adoption.

A couple of months into the seminars Adam came to me with something completely unexpected. I remember it like it was yesterday. We were driving on the 95 out to the sign yard. We had just finished our second or third seminar and we were talking about all of our baby options when Adam told me he wasn’t ready to consider adoption as a viable option–it didn’t feel right to him. I was a little shocked, but surprisingly relieved. He was not on-board 100% and there was no way I was going to push a life-changing decision such as adoption without both of us unconditionally committed to it. I guess the fact that I was relieved speaks volumes. We weren’t ready. Man, was this ever going to be “over?”

Toward the end of summer I was actually excited for school to begin. I had been exercising all summer, and felt stronger. I was in a really good place. Adam and I didn’t seem to be in a desperate hurry any longer to “find the answer,” and it felt good. Adoption was tabled for a bit, I hadn’t been pregnant for almost a year, and Doctor said he could do some more in-depth testing without sending me to the specialist. We were enjoying our time together and used this time to just think!

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Well, that lasted for a few months. It was good while it lasted! As soon as I resumed testing with Doctor, I felt myself start to wear down again. The invasive poking and prodding is exhausting, truly! It is especially exhausting when there is no pregnancy to show for it, and no answer as to why I lose my babies. We found a couple of “issues” that should make it more difficult for me to get pregnant, but not to necessarily carry a pregnancy to term! That was very frustrating, and I hadn’t been pregnant for 10 months–it would actually take me two full years to get pregnant again.

I was full of grace on the outside and I carried myself well in front of others–even my husband, but I was slowly dying inside. I’ll be honest–I didn’t answer my phone, I didn’t answer my door, and I didn’t care!!! I felt as though I was drowning, and catching my breath was utterly impossible.  

the winter here’s cold, and bitter
it’s chilled us to the bone
we haven’t seen the sun for weeks
to long too far from home
I feel just like I’m sinking
and I claw for solid ground
I’m pulled down by the undertow
I never thought I could feel so low
oh darkness I feel like letting go

if all of the strength and all of the courage
come and lift me from this place
I know I could love you much better than this
full of grace
full of grace
my love

so it’s better this way, I said
having seen this place before
where everything we said and did
hurts us all the more
its just that we stayed, too long
in the same old sickly skin
I’m pulled down by the undertow
I never thought I could feel so low
oh darkness I feel like letting go

if all of the strength
and all of the courage
come and lift me from this place
I know I could love you much better than this
full of grace
full of grace
my love
(Sara McLachlan, Surfacing)

If I had a quarter for every time I played this song…but this powerful music is actually one of the tools I used to pull myself up. I still listen to it today with fond memories of fall 2006. What better words than these to describe the desperation I felt. And I know I am not alone. At the time, I thought I was, but a few friends have taught me through their infertility experiences that what I felt, and what I still feel on rare occasion is totally and completely normal. They think I’m the only one that does the teaching, but they are wrong. I can look back through clear eyes now because of their sharing now. Thank you, friends!

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