For those of you newer to the site, I explained here how I decided on the name for those that want to share their story but prefer to stay anonymous. This story here is so wonderful, and one of the things I really love about it is the way she explains how her health played a role in her infertility. All of our stories are so different and beautiful, and I think that's what makes them all so special. Never a dull or boring moment with the Lord - he keeps us on our toes! Enjoy sweet Hannah's story, friends!
Several months after getting married, we found out I was pregnant, and were thrilled. Then, at 12 weeks, I miscarried. As anyone who has been through miscarriage knows, it was a terrible, terrible time. And I kept thinking "soon, I'll start to feel better". But I didn't. For 2 years, I simply didn't feel good. I was exhausted constantly, had blood sugar sensitivities, aches and pains, vision changes. I was tested several times for thyroid issues at my insistence, but nothing was conclusive. And worst of all, I wasn't getting pregnant again. Two years of trying, testing, and feeling sick, was taking its toll. Thank God that he had blessed me with an amazing husband - he was my rock throughout this time. I finally ended up at the Pope Paul VI Clinic in Omaha, home of NaPro technology.
At Pope Paul Clinic, I was finally diagnosed with a rare thyroid disorder and put on medication that made an immediate difference. Like, 2 hours after I took the first pill, I felt a jolt of electricity run through my body, and for the first time in years, felt like I had energy. It was spectacular. Then, through a lot of reading (Dr. Susan Blum, Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. David Perlmutter are my favorites), education, meeting with naturopaths, diet changes (primarily no gluten and sugar - as these are huge inflammatory agents), acupuncture and body work, I kept working through my problems. I have an autoimmune deficiency which was causing widespread inflammation throughout my body. The massive wave of symptoms were triggered by my miscarriage, but I can look back as far as junior high and see the starting signs of things amiss. Anyway, the inflammation was making for an "inhospitable environment" in my uterus. During my testing at Pope Paul Clinic, they knew this was happening, but couldn't pinpoint the exact cause. It took me years after that to work through the whole picture. And I certainly wasn't doing it with just my fertility in mind. I just wanted to feel great.
At this point, we decided to pursue adoption. My husband has several cousins who were adopted, and it was always something he felt drawn to. So it wasn't a difficult decision to shift our focus to adoption. We adopted through our local Catholic Social Services, who had an infant adoption program for newborns born in-state, adopted by local families. We were at the hospital for our daughter's birth, and have had a truly blessed open adoption with her birth mother.
Fast forward some years, and we were wanting to adopt again. Our daughter was praying every night for "a baby brother and a baby sister" (completely unprovoked by us!). I told my husband that God probably had twins waiting for us, so get ready. Then, through the same program, we were able to adopt our son, again bringing him home from the hospital at 4 days old, and again with a spectacular open adoption with his birth parents. We were feeling so very, very blessed (although I was, admittedly, a little surprised that it wasn't twins). After facing years of not knowing if we would ever have children here on earth, to have 2 beautiful, healthy kids was beyond our wildest dreams.
When our son was 4 weeks old, I was starting to be quite concerned for my health again. The exhaustion was back, and I literally spent all day on the couch. Luckily, our son just slept all day anyway, and our daughter spent a lot of time at her grandparents - they were way more fun than her boring mom who just wanted to sleep all the time. On a strange whim, I took a pregnancy test - the first time I'd thought about it in almost 5 years! Once we adopted, I simply let it go. Anyway - surprise!! I was pregnant!! Hahaha - God has such a funny sense of humor! Our younger daughter was born 9 months to the day from our son's birthday. God gave us "Irish Twins" - and our older daughter got exactly what she had been praying for! And life has been absolutely insane ever since. But the stress is good stress, and I regularly just stop in my tracks and marvel at God's plans. For I simply can't imagine our lives without our older daughter and son. And without our fertility struggles, they never would have joined our family.
I also credit my infertility with leading me down a path to general health and wellness. I still have struggles, but my awareness of my body and what affects it is so much improved. And I'm convinced that I finally was able to get pregnant because of the changes I made - even though it was the furthest thing from my mind! Honestly, at that point, I had completely made peace with never being pregnant again, and was in no way doing things thinking "maybe this will be the thing that works and I'll get pregnant!" I was just happy to be feeling better and better.
I realize it's easy to look back, now that things are so, so good, and say "it was all for a reason". But that's really true. I had always been a type A control freak and even back in college knew that it would take something big to make me work through that, and just give my life truly to God. And what's bigger (and more out of our control) than fertility? And yes, it absolutely tore me apart dealing with infertility. But it made my marriage stronger, my faith deeper and actually made me like myself more, made me a better person. And for that I am grateful. Add on top of that our older 2 kids, and I wouldn't trade our journey for anything.
So now I'm a busy mom with a 6 year old, 19 month old and 10 month old. Life is good, and God is spectacular. To all the women out there with infertility weighing on their hearts, know that you are in my prayers. It's such a burden, and at times a very lonely burden. I pray for comfort for you, and a baby to sleep, heavy in your arms, very soon. Thanks for letting me share my story.