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Triumphing over infertility

Before the testimonial, some stats regarding infertility:

  • Infertility affects 6.7 million women in the U.S. — about 11% of the reproductive-age population
  • In a survey of married women, the CDC found that 1.5 million women in the US (6%) are infertile
  • Infertility affects men and women equally
  • Irregular/abnormal ovulation accounts for approximately 25 % of all female infertility problems
  • 25% of infertile couples have more than one factor that contributes to their infertility
  • In about 40 % of infertile couples, the male partner is either the sole cause or a contributing cause of infertility
  • Most infertility cases — 85% to 90% — are treated with conventional medical therapies such as medication or surgery
  • 12% of all infertility cases are a result of the woman either weighing too little or too much
  • Men and Women who smoke have decreased fertility
  • The risk of miscarriage is higher for pregnant women who smoke
  • Up to 13 % of female infertility is caused by cigarette smoking

Treatments for fertility problems in women depend on what may be keeping the woman from getting pregnant. Sometimes the cause isn’t known.

Treatment may include taking medicine, such as:

  • Clomid {It stimulates your ovaries to release eggs.}
  • Metformin {It’s used to treat PCOS}

Unexplained infertility. If your doctor can’t find out why you and your partner haven’t been able to get pregnant, treatment may include:

  • Clomid
  • Hormone injections
  • Insemination
  • Blocked or damaged tubes. If your tubes are blocked, treatment may include surgery to unblock them

Endometriosis treatment may include surgery to remove endometrial tissue growth. This treatment may not be an option if you have severe endometriosis.

Treatment for the man:

  • Your doctor might recommend that you try insemination first.  (WebMD)

Not a one of those treatments are without risks, not a one.

The following testimonial is incredibly personal to me, as it comes from my daughter and son-in-love.  They have been married just over 5 years and we’ve known since she was very little that her biggest desire in life has been to become a mother.  She loves children and is very good with them.  Infertility is also something I have had no clue how to be supportive of as her mother having had 10 children and never struggling in this area.  We have watched them agonize over “when, when, when, when………. which started giving way to IF”… so very hard.  Following is the announcement she shared on Facebook and subsequently allowed me to share here.

Photo credit:  Wise Capture

Photo credit: Wise Capture

 

Jonathan and I are stunned, humbled, and exceedingly grateful to be able to announce that we are expecting a baby in January of 2015. Thank you all so much for your support. I have been terrified to share this, as it is so raw and very, very personal. But how will people know, if you don’t tell them? How can they share your joy, if you won’t share how you’ve suffered?

We have been dealing rather privately with infertility issues for a number of years now. The reason for keeping things quiet has been simple: to avoid unsolicited, unwanted, often ignorantly wounding comments and advice. We have encountered our fair share, and it quickly became apparent that it was far less painful to keep our struggles to ourselves. Infertility and the emotions that go along with it are not easily understood.

If our story can get one person to research, “What not to say to infertile couples” and actually change how they interact with people, then it is now worth sharing. I won’t go into all this myself, because the vast selection of articles, blogs, and books that you can find on the subject are all more or less the same. And they’re all right. Please, take the time to find out how you can show compassion to someone around you who is suffering this way. I guarantee you, you know someone struggling with infertility.

Another reason to share some of our story now is that I want you to know that I don’t judge you. I don’t judge you for your situation that I have not lived. I don’t pretend to understand, or know the answers, or have a right to tell you how to cope or feel. I have never been more acutely aware of this than now.

All this time, I have felt so alone. The irony is that I never was.

We have received beautiful, loving support from various family members and close friends. This has helped me to understand that there are probably others out there struggling with something that no one else understands, perhaps feeling that they have no one to talk to. No safe place to vent without fear of being criticized. I want to commit to be that safe place. That’s who I want to be as a person, a safe friendship, no matter what.

My primary reason for opening up about infertility is to share with someone who may not know that there is another way to deal with this. There are things you can try besides drugs, chemicals, and hormones. (If you are choosing something different than I did, I am not sitting in judgment of you. I just want to share what worked for me.)

The medical community has been failing me for years by refusing to address my problems, blowing off my concerns, and treating me like an idiot. I allowed it. Until one day, I didn’t.

I knew I was never going to do any traditional fertility treatments. They scared me too much. One day a friend shared with me that she was seeing a naturopath for her health issues (not fertility related). Finally it clicked. This is what I was looking for! I started seeing Dr. Robert Powell in North Canton. I made significant dietary changes, started exercising a minimum of four times a week, and began taking all natural plant based supplements. I could hardly believe the changes I experienced. It was immediate. Until this point, I had not had normal periods for years. Having three cycles a year was my normal. I was not ovulating or producing any progesterone on my own. In one month, I started having a regular period. By three months, I was producing my own progesterone. In about nine month’s time, I had achieved a textbook perfect menstrual cycle, with zero PMS side effects. (Did you know it is not normal to experience any symptoms during your period?!). I lost weight (and gained muscle!). I eliminated my back pain. I stopped getting cavities. For the first time in 10+ years, I was able to quit my allergy steroid. Now I have very minimal seasonal allergies that are managed solely with local, raw honey. For crying out loud, my vision improved.

Even if I had never conceived, I completely changed my life. The difference in how I felt physically couldn’t have been more startling.

Once I had my physical problems in line, I started using Young Living essential oils to deal with my emotional and spiritual angst.

My mother thought it was hilarious but I would sit at the kitchen table smelling the “Believe” oil repeating out loud (like the girl from the original Miracle on 34th Street),

“I believe. I believe. I feel silly, but I believe.”

6 weeks later, I was pregnant.

Through the years, people would try to encourage me with platitudes such as “Just keep praying for your miracle” and “When the time is right, God will answer your prayers” also “If your faith was great enough, God would hear you and grant you your heart’s desire.” Allow me to respond with a platitude of my own. God helps those who help themselves. Snarky? Perhaps. But I have been praying. For a long, long time. I am so tired of platitudes. God wasn’t giving me my miracle, because He wanted action from me. He wanted me to step up, take responsibility for myself, and make changes in my life. Some people do just need to keep praying for their miracle. But God’s answer for me wasn’t a miracle. It was hard work. It was time to take control of my life and be responsible for how I was living.

People always want to look for the good in bad situations, the beauty that comes from the suffering. I’m sorry, but there is no beauty in infertility. Not for me.

For me there has been:

  • Pain
  • Shame
  • Heart ache
  • Broken dreams
  • Shattered lives
  • Jealousy
  • Rage
  • Bitterness
  • Faltering faith
  • Loss
  • Brokenness
  • Emptiness

I did see something though. Something I had never seen before. I don’t care what anyone says about feminism or being politically correct. My whole life, I knew what I wanted in a man. I wanted a hero. You’ve heard the song?

“I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero ’til the end of the night
He’s gotta be strong
And he’s gotta be fast
And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight
I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero ’til the morning light
He’s gotta be sure
And it’s gotta be soon
And he’s gotta be larger than life.”

When I met Jonathan, I knew right away I could trust him. He was honest and kind, strong and steady, constant and fearless. I never doubted him. He was gentle, loving, tender-hearted to his very core.

But now, when our world fell apart and everything shattered, I saw him differently.   He was my hero. He was hard. He was steel.

  • He was: I will get up and go to work every single day, and I will make enough money so that you don’t have to. You can stay home and cry every day if you want to, because I will provide for us.
  • He was: I will stop every phone call, every inquiry, and every personal interaction that you don’t want. If people want to ask something, they have to go through me first.
  • He was: Don’t want to see them? I will get rid of them. Don’t want to go there? I will go. Don’t want to do anything? I will do everything.
  • He was: I will sit here, and hold you, and listen to you scream for our baby until your lungs give out and your voice is gone because the poison has to go somewhere. And I can take it.

He didn’t look the way I imagined it. He didn’t ride on a beautiful horse, with glinting armor and shining hair. He was weary. He was battered. He was bleeding. He had tears running down his face because his heart was broken too. But he never stopped fighting. He never stopped carrying me. He is my hero, and the champion of this family.

Jonathan, you are God’s greatest blessing to me. I would follow you anywhere. As always, you have my heart.

Photo credit:  Wise Capture

Photo credit: Wise Capture

****My comments:

As a mother, midwife and fully-vested-in Young Living member and believer, I so much wanted to help her address her fertility myself.  I am so proud of how she chose to address it herself, together as a couple.  She didn’t do what I wanted, she did what she needed.  Much of the dietary issues she dealt with came from a life-long history of a traditional American diet.  My fault, some of it ignorance, much of it laziness, some of it disagreement with my husband over the importance of organic/hormone-free foods versus GMO/hormone laden foods available in most grocery stores.

She completely changed her life in almost every way and transformed her body, her mind and her outlook, even in the face of direct attack and bullying from individuals in the medical community.  She was told by a medical doctor that her lifestyle choices, “will NOT MATTER, will NOT make any difference and furthermore, will NOT last.”  Can you even imagine how that would feel?  On the other hand, I was so excited and happy to hear about the way the naturopathic provider addressed her issues.  It helps that he uses a zyto, even though his is programmed for Standard Process vitamins instead of Young Living products like mine is.  🙂    Maybe one day I’ll get to meet and thank him.

 This is a very good blog post that a friend of mine posted a link to on Facebook several months ago.  It vastly changed the way I personally interact with people regarding this issue.  I very ignorantly would have thought nothing of asking someone without children if they were planning to have any.  I never even considered that they may be struggling with infertility or how that direct question would be felt.

The post suggests any number of issues that could be responsible for couples not having children:

  • health problems
  • bad timing
  • an unstable financial situation

The main thing that slapped me in the face is that “These aren’t issues they wish to discuss with strangers. And why should they?”

HELLO…. It’s intensely intimate.  Would you ask someone if they had had sex that morning?  NO, (well, I hope not anyway) and neither should you delve into someone’s intimate personal details without being directly invited.  In other words, if the other person doesn’t bring it up, DON’T YOU PRY!!  If someone invites you into the conversation, don’t offer advice unless asked.  

It is always appropriate to express your love for them, your promise of prayer and loving thoughts.  Don’t share the latest article, don’t give advise as to what positions during intercourse will accomplish pregnancy easier, don’t say you know how they feel, don’t compare your Aunt Susie’s fertility story.

Believe Essential oil from Young Living is a blend that was reformulated in time for the 2013 Convention, which had the name as the theme.  The blend has the oils: Idaho Balsam Fir, Coriander, Bergamot, Frankincense, Idaho Blue Spruce, Ylang Ylang, and Geranium.  The Essential Oils Pocket Reference describes the blend in this manner,

“Believe helps release the unlimited potential everyone possesses.  It restores feelings of hope, making it possible to more fully experience health, happiness and vitality.”

Staci and Big J…. I love you so much!  Congratulations! I am so happy for you and cannot wait to be a “Lolli” again  🙂   Thanks for allowing me to share you personal story.

Staci and myself on her wedding day, May 2009 Photo credit:  Heart and Light Photography

Staci and myself on her wedding day, May 2009
Photo credit: Heart and Light Photography

If you struggle with infertility, please know you are not alone, and drugs and surgery are not the only answers.  Much love & blessing to you all….as always,

3 John 2  “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may PROSPER and be in GOOD HEALTH, just as your SOUL PROSPERS.”

Some Sources:

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