Monday, December 31, 2012

Here is to 2013. Here is to Hope.

Happy New Year!

2012 was a heck of a year. I can't say it was my favorite year ever. In fact, most of it sucked. But you have to go through the sucky things in life to get to the good and I plan on 2013 being amazing.

What happened this year? A lot. I've learned a lot through the pain and I'm thankful for what I've learned. Now I'm ready for the good part, the moving on part, the "happily ever after" part. I realize I may not find that part this year, but I can hope. I HAVE to hope. It's all I've got to keep me going.

So here is to 2013. Here is to hope.

Friday, December 21, 2012

What Makes a Woman? - Part 2

Here is the second installation of my series that I'm doing for Bloggers For Hope!

What Makes a Woman? - Part 2

This post dives into what it means to be nurturing and compassionate and the many ways that you can express that part of yourself even through infertility.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

What Makes a Woman?

Hey everyone! I'm doing a series on Bloggers for Hope called "What Makes a Woman."

All too frequently infertility can leave us feeling robbed of feeling like a "real" woman. This series tackles what really does make a woman and why infertility can't rob us of our womanhood.

You can read this series here: What Makes a Woman? Part 1

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I Dreamed a Dream

I am super excited about the movie version of Les Miserables that is coming out on Christmas day. My husband and I love Les Miserables. I've always loved it, but now it has a whole new meaning to me. I feel like I can relate to several of the characters, two in particular: Fantine and Eponine.

The song, I Dreamed a Dream, is my song. It is about a woman who dreamed that life would hold nothing but the best for her and then she learns the cruel truth that life will beat you up and leave you broken.

I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I'm living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.

Who of us going through infertility can't relate to these words? Anyone going through any kind of heartache can relate. Fantine is a character without hope. Her dreams have been killed, her future destroyed. I have days that I feel that way. Sometimes this fight feels so hopeless. Sometimes it feels like this storm simply cannot be weathered.

Then there is Eponine. Eponine is in love with a man who loves someone else. She doesn't give up on her hope that he will one day love her in the way that she loves him. Finally, some of that love is she dies.

Don't you fret, M'sieur Marius
I don't feel any pain
A little fall of rain
Can hardly hurt me now
You're here, that's all I need to know
And you will keep me safe
And you will keep me close
And rain will make the flowers grow.

I can relate to her words as well, even though they are meant for the man she loves. Some days it feels like nothing could possibly hurt me after knowing the intense pain of not having the child that I long for. Holding that child close and keeping them safe is all that I dream of. 

Then there is the line, "And rain will make the flowers grow." Through this hell flowers have grown and I have to believe that more will bloom. I've found myself through this. I'll be a better mother for that. I'll appreciate my child in a way that many parents can't even imagine. I won't take a single breath or heartbeat for granted. But the most beautiful flower that I can see growing out of this horrible storm is my child. Through this pain I will get my precious child. I don't know if I'll give birth to them or if they will be brought to me through adoption, but they will be my treasured child.

This is why my husband and I have decided that if we have a daughter her name will be Eponine (nicknamed Nina to avoid confusion with teachers and some family members). And above her crib will be stenciled the beautiful words that I cling to...

...And rain will make the flowers grow. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Where I've Been

I haven't blogged in quite a while. I've had a lot going on. Let me catch you up.

On October 1st I was admitted to the hospital to have my gallbladder removed after about four days of very severe pain. I had the surgery on October 2nd and was sent home the same day even though my pain was still very severe. I went back to into the hospital on October 5th because I had a bile duct leak from the gallbladder surgery. I had a procedure called an ERCP on October 6th to place a stent in my stomach so that the bile could drain. This was supposed to take care of the pain that I was in. It didn't. I woke up from the procedure in even more pain. I was sent home hours after the procedure even though I was in horrible pain and had a fever.

The next night, my husband drove me up to another hospital's ER with a very high fever and pain. I was admitted after a CT scan that showed what the ER doctor thought was a Crohn's flare. Thankfully it wasn't Crohn's. It was a post-op infection. I was treated for the infection by a really good group of doctors at that hospital and was sent home. I was still in pain, but it wasn't as bad.

After five weeks I was still in pain. It had actually gotten so severe that we went back to the ER but they couldn't figure out what was causing the pain to be so much worse. My new doctor did another ERCP on November 10th and removed the stent that had been placed. He also cleaned out sludge that was left around the stent and cut a muscle in my stomach that had been contracting and causing that really severe pain. I woke up in significantly less pain but I was kept overnight at the hospital anyway.

Since then I have been slowly getting better. My pain is minimal now, but I am still having a lot of problems eating. I'm having a CT scan next week to check my small intestines for any sign of active Crohn's disease. If it isn't Crohn's it is probably just my stomach getting use to not having a gallbladder anymore. I've lost 15 pounds since this whole nightmare started.

I'm finally able to work again, drive again and sit up for more than 30 minutes without wanting to cry in pain. I should be happy that I am so much better now, and I am. But I'm mad. I was supposed to have my first round of IVF in November. I very well could have been pregnant right now. Now we have a deductible to pay and no clue of when I'm going to be healthy enough or when we are going to have the money to proceed with treatment. I'm so mad. This didn't have to happen. If the first surgery had been done carefully I would probably be fine right now. I'm the kind of mad that makes me want to punch things and smash glass things to pieces.

I try to keep it together during the day but I have times that I just break out in tears from anger at all of this. November marked our second year of trying to get pregnant and now I'm going to spend another Christmas with no hope in sight of being a mom.

I'm tired and angry. I hate infertility. I hate the guy who removed my gallbladder. I want to smash things.

That is all I've got for today.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Finding Myself and My Voice Through Infertility

For those of you who missed it I did a guest post for Bloggers for Hope. I talked a little about how I've found myself and my voice through this really hard time in my life. I want to expand on that a bit more.

Here is my post at Bloggers for Hope: Finding Your Voice

So how has something that has broken me into pieces help me find out who I really am? When the pieces are all on the floor you have to put them back together. I am choosing to make my pieces into a mosaic. Yes, I'm still walking on a lot of that broken glass. But at least my glass veneer has been broken

I have learned that I cannot live my life based on the expectations that the world or individual people think that I should. Once you don't meet one big expectation that the world puts on you - the ability to reproduce easily and become part of the mommy club - you start realizing that you don't have to adhere to the other irrational expectations put on you.

I have spent my whole life trying to fit in to a certain degree. Infertility has left me completely out, and from the outside I am able to find who I really am, what I really feel, what I think and that it is okay if they don't line up with what the people around me feel or think.

So who am I?

I'm an activist. I have made it one of my life goals to try and take the stigma out of infertility. I won't back down and I won't stop talking about it, even if that makes others uncomfortable because they've never had to experience it. I've actually taken up several causes, but I won't go into all of them here.

I am a friend. When you have experienced an unspeakable pain you learn to be sensitive to the pain of others. Learning to not try to "fix" people who are in pain takes walking through hell yourself. That is when you learn to just hold their hand and stand with them and to be the shoulder they can cry on when they cannot stand anymore.

I'm funny. In kind of a dark, weird way. Hey, sometimes you just need to laugh at the insanity of life. It makes it so much more fun!

I don't need the approval of others. I've had to cut some people out of my life through all of this, and that is okay. I'm going through enough right now. I owe it to myself to distance myself from the negativity and judgment of other people. This is MY life.

I am freaking strong. Anyone who can walk through hell, acknowledge it for what it is, and then pick themselves back up over and over again deserves a medal in my book. I know so many women and men who do it, and they are amazing. Getting through it this far is a victory for me.

All of these things have made me a better friend, a better daughter, a better wife, a better person. And all of these things will someday make me an amazing mother. My someday child deserves a mom who knows herself. Most importantly, I deserve to know myself.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

That Cruel One Line

This cycle is a bust. Our last-ditch effort at avoiding IVF didn't work.

That one line on a pregnancy test has to be one of the cruelest sights on the planet. At least, it is for me right now.

I can't even describe what it's like to feel as though you've lost something that was never there to begin with. It's a cruel reality that steals your right to feel grief. How do you grieve something that never was?

How do you keep it together when seemingly everyone around you is getting exactly what you want but cannot have?

How do keep faith that God is really there when you feel like you've been completely overlooked?

How do you come up with all of this money to "buy" a baby when you're a young couple? How many women in their 20s have to pay for what should come naturally?

This post has been really depressing, so I'll end on a joke. Anyone know where I can get $1,000 in the next two months? I've been watching Breaking Bad and it's giving me some ideas ;-)

P.S. The Thirty-One party is still open. It will be closed at midnight tonight. If you don't like purses but still want to contribute, see the donations button in the top right.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Champagne Room is Open

Gotta love that title. It reminds me of a song from when I was a teenager. Computers don't give out champagne (unfortunately we haven't created such a brilliant technology yet) but the party is open!

The Thirty-One part to help my husband and I raise the funds needed for our first IVF cycle is now open!

Please take a look, browse through the catalog, and see if you find something you like. If you don't find anything you'd like to purchase (and even if you do), prayers are greatly needed and appreciated!

I am still just in awe of all the love and support that has been shown to my husband and I during this very stressful and emotionally trying time.

You guys have reminded me that there IS still good in this world, and God has used your love and kindness to remind me that He hasn't forgotten us. Those two things are priceless.

Now lets have a virtual toast to hope. I'm drinking lemonade. So yeah, here, here!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Some Cool News

I have some really cool news!

I have an really awesome friend who has generously offered to help my husband and I raise money for IVF by throwing an online Thirty-One party! 20% of all sales will go to help us build our family.

The online party will start this Friday, August 17th, at 6:00am an will end on the night of Thursday, August 30th at midnight.

Please, take a look at the catalog and see if here is anything you'd like. If you have any friends who love Thirty-One products, please let them know about this party as well.

If you are wondering what Thirty-One is, thy are a company that sells handbags, totes, organizational products, gifts, insulated lunch bags and much, much more. The best part? You can customize your product. You pick the print and can have a name, word or monogram added to it!

Here is the link to my party!

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Battle That Never Ends

I don't want to write this post. It makes me sad. But I haven't written much in a while, so I figure I have to write something.

We are going to have to put off our IVF cycle for a couple of months. While we have had some wonderful people step up help us, we still don't have all the funds and we do not want to go into debt for this. Going into debt for it wouldn't be fair to any child that results from it, in our opinion. 

For those of you that don't know, I've started my own business and it has been harder than I thought it would be to find clients. I have much less money coming in from my job than I expected at this point, which also makes me sad. I know it takes time, but I feel like a failure.

We are really hoping that we won't have to wait past November to start IVF.

In the mean time we are trying one last cycle of clomid. So you can imagine what a joy I have been to be around. I really didn't have many side effects with my first five rounds. This one has been very different. I don't sleep well. When I do sleep I have the most horrible nightmares. My nerves are shattered and just about everything is making me irritable.

Infertile Confession: Today at the grocery store I parked in the expectant mother's parking spot and in my mind I was just daring anyone to say I didn't look pregnant. My response would've gone something like this, "It says expectant mother's, right? Well guess what!? I'm infertile and I've been expecting a baby for two years!"

So yeah, I'm a joy to be around at the moment. Haha... Oh, it's sad but it is so true! 

And on top of all of that I have had about fifty other VERY stressful things happen in the past three weeks. 

I'm so tired of this fight. I need a break, but there is no break in sight. Unfortunately, there are no breaks from the pain of wanting something with every fiber of your being, yet having to fight like hell to try to get it. You just have to keep fighting.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Human beings cannot thrive if they feel powerless. We need the strength within ourselves to prop ourselves up and make it through the tough times.

Over the past seven years more and more of my strength and power has been chipped away by people and by situations. Crohn's disease took a big chunk out of me. Of course, if you have read this blog at all you know that infertility has taken away a huge amount of my strength, power and self-worth. There have been plenty of other things that have happened in there that have slowly chipped away even more. There is one more thing that has taken a lot away from me that I have been very quiet about. 

Until now.

I once read a quote that says that everything that happens to you is your story to tell. I'm taking back my power on this one event. It happened to me and it is my story to tell. 

I am a sexual assault survivor.

On Thanksgiving day in 2005 I was raped by a guy that I went out on a date with. 

I will admit it because I am tired of hiding so much: Yes. I went to a hotel with him. Yes. I consented to some of what happened.

I did not consent to everything. He was stronger and I was unable to make him stop. I was called a bitch and held down. When he was done he spat at me, "Now that wasn't so bad, was it?" I have never seen a look of such pure hatred in anyone's eyes as I did in his when he looked at me afterward. I hope to never see that kind of evil again. I don't want to go into anymore detail than that.

Until recently I tried to pretend like the assault never happened. I tried to push it to the back of my mind. I told myself that it was my fault and that it wouldn't have happened if I hadn't gone to that hotel with him.

I've recently started to realize just how much the assault affected me. My self-esteem took a nose dive afterward. It still hasn't fully recovered. My self-worth was shattered. 

The damage that was done lay dormant for a long time. I was able to ignore it. Infertility has brought it to the surface. Infertility has brought out the same emotions in me that the assault did. I feel worthless, deserving of bad things, and completely out of control of my own body.

I am hoping that telling my story will help heal some of these wounds. I honestly don't know how to even begin "dealing" with what happened. I do know that I don't want to have to hide it anymore. I don't want to have to pretend that Thanksgiving day isn't a really hard day for me anymore. I don't want him to have any power over me anymore.

That's all I've got for this post. I have no answers. Just my story.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pain, Infertility, and The Church

There is a problem in the Church that needs to be addressed. It's a problem with the way the Church handles pain and the people who are going through it.

This post can apply to any type of suffering or pain, but because I am going through infertility, that is the example I'm going to use. 

Like I've said before, I usually don't like to get into my faith much on this blog, but I really think this is something that needs to be addressed.

We are supposed to bring all of our burdens to Christ (Psalms 55:22). Shouldn't we be able to bring them to the Body of Christ, the Church, as well? We should, but unfortunately, many church members just don't want to deal with someone who is going through hardship.  Churches are handling infertility the same way that the world does. They want to sweep it under the rug, not talk about it, and ignore it. As Christians, aren't we called to be different?

After my husband and I had been diagnosed with infertility and were going through all the various tests that come along with that diagnosis we turned to our fellow believers for support. I was quite vocal about my feelings about what we were going through. I thought it was a safe place to do so. It wasn't.

I encountered an attitude of, "Just pray about it and then get yourself together." I was told that voicing my unhappiness with my situation was sinful and that I was bitter. Many people told me that my infertility (a medical condition) was all part of God's plan. I've never had anyone tell me that me being diagnosed with Crohn's disease was part of God's plan, so why do people think it's okay to say that about infertility?

I felt very much shut out and unwanted because I wasn't pretending that my life was just great. When did the idea that you have to be happy all the time to be a Christian come along? Read the book of Job, Lamentations, or the Psalms. Those guys were struggling and they were VERY open with their feelings.

The sense of, "you don't belong here, just go away," that I got from my brothers and sisters in Christ  during that time period has made me very hesitant to go to church. I feel the need to protect and insulate myself. Infertility has already made me feel like an outsider. I didn't need that to be reinforced by other believers.

I know that I am not alone in these feelings. I've heard them echoed by SO many women who are Christian and are infertile. They are told that they need to be patient, trust God, and just pray. The end. Not many people want to hear about what they are really feeling or how hard what they are going through is. 

It's true, I have changed. Pain has changed me. If you can believe this, I used to be one of those bubbly people who was an eternal optimist and loved being around people almost all the time. That has obviously changed. The parts of myself that were so hopeful had to be deadened to protect myself. Imagine what hope followed by horrible disappointment every month would do to the mind of an optimist. I also don't like being around large groups of people anymore. It's hard for me because I'm just not myself anymore. I hope that I get those parts of myself back someday, but they just aren't here right now.

There is a quote I pinned on Pinterest. It says, "Love me until I'm me again." That is what I need from those around me. That is how the Church needs to approach people who are suffering. Understand that when someone has been going through something awful long enough it changes them. Love them until they are themselves again.

Jesus called the suffering to come to Him. Shouldn't we, the Church, be doing the same? There is an astounding lack of compassion in a faith whose greatest commandment is Love. Let's bring some of that back.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Good News, Renewed Hope

I met with the new reproductive endocrinologist yesterday. From now on he shall be referred to as Dr. Wonderful.

He looked me in the eye and said, "You ARE going to have a baby." I almost cried right there.

His clinic is much smaller than some of the others that I've been to, and I like that. It feels more personal and less...well...clinical. Dr. Wonderful has the best bedside manner of any RE I've met. The nurses there are great too. But I'll get to the point.


My husband and I are so happy and excited that we now have a chance at being parents. This just feels so right. We know that this is where God has led us. We don't really understand why we're going through all of this, but if there is a child for us at the end of the tunnel we don't care what journey we had to take to get to them.

We have hope now. For someone with infertility, hope is priceless.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

We All Build Walls

I've recently noticed just how much I have isolated myself from the rest of the world. This has probably been apparent to everyone around me for quite some time, but it is news to me.

I've built walls. Walls of ice. Walls meant to keep others who might hurt me out. To a certain degree these walls are necessary. But they have also caused me to shut out some people and some situations that would probably be a source of comfort. But I don't know who or what will and won't hurt me deeply.

I've experienced pain at the hands of people that should have been supportive. I guess that my pain was just too big of a burden for them, or maybe they just didn't want to think about anything outside of their pleasant bubble. Everyone builds walls. We have all experienced pain. Maybe those who have hurt me with their carelessness are simply showing me their walls. 

So I built walls. Tall and strong walls. I'm not so sure that I want them there anymore. I'm lonely and I'm tired of feeling isolated. I'm not sure how to melt these walls I've put around my heart and my life. I'm also afraid that if I let my walls of ice melt I will be hurt beyond repair.

When something has changed you at the very core of your being how do you repair the damage that the pain it's caused has done? I'm at a loss on this one.

Monday, June 4, 2012


I'm twenty-five today. Of course, I'm pretending that I'm twenty-two. Twenty-five just seems Twenty-five really is the end of childhood. I can rent a car now. I'm REALLY an adult. I have been trying desperately to clutch to youth as I have approached this birthday and I think I've figured out why. 

I am twenty-five, but I feel fifty. In the past year of my life I have had to do a whole lot of growing up in a small amount of time. This year I've had to come to terms with the fact that life isn't always what I thought it would or should be. I have experienced the bitter pain of monthly disappointments. That is a pain that no one should ever have to experience. I've had to change my plans over and over again in the pursuit of motherhood. I'm exhausted. I am sure that my fellow fertility fighters know this feeling.

I have also learned who I am this year. I have learned that I am more than my ability to produce a child. I am talented. I've become a web developer! That's a big difference from what I went to college for (paralegal studies). I've learned to love and hurt with others who are experiencing pain, even if I've never met them. I've found my inner advocate. I have been very vocal about the struggle that my husband and I are going through and often times I am sure that it has been to the annoyance of others. I've learned that I don't care if my choices or my opinions don't meet the approval of others. There are only three people that I need the approval of: God, my husband, and myself.

The thing is, I am Rachel. I am not just a childless woman. I am a woman with many layers. I am talented, loving, creative, caring, funny, and unique. Most of all, I am strong. I have more strength than I ever thought possible. If you had told me one year ago that my husband and I would be where we are now I would have told you that it was impossible, that I couldn't do it. Guess what? I've done it and I'm still standing tall. 

I have my frequent moments of intense sadness and sorrow, but for those of you who don't know me well that is a huge showing of strength too. Until recently I have always pushed my feelings down and tried to never let them show. That was my way of trying to controlling life. I'm showing those emotions now and I know that life cannot be controlled. I am experiencing pain, but I am getting through it.

Thinking back over all that I have learned through this painful year has shown me something. I am going to be a much better mother than I would've been had it come easy. If it had come easily I would have child and my entire identity would be wrapped up in that child. I wouldn't know who Rachel really is. My child will benefit from having a mother who is strong in her sense of self and doesn't rely on the expectations of society to define her worth. More importantly, I am benefiting from that knowledge. 

Yes, I'm exhausted. Yes, infertility sucks. But wow, what a year. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

On to IVF

I was really hoping that this month would give us a miracle and that we wouldn't have to move forward with the IVF plan. It didn't. It doesn't matter how many times I've gotten my hopes up only to be disappointed, it still hurts like hell every time it happens. I'm having a hard time focusing on anything today. I'm just so upset. It's so hard how some people just don't understand how hard this is for infertile couples. They say, "It's not the end of the world." To me, it kind of is. Every month a little more of my optimism dies and that part of my heart that was so hopeful about the future grows colder.

I've sent a new patient appointment request to the Reproductive Endocrinologist that we want to do IVF with. I hope to be seeing him in late June. I'm also hoping beyond all hope that we can maybe do an IVF cycle by September, but that all depends on finances. The idea of waiting until September sucks. That's what infertility is, "hurry up and wait."

Thursday, May 17, 2012

My Birthday

Very soon I am turning 25. I know that may seem extremely young to a lot of you, but I'm sort of freaked out by it. I'm not freaked out because I'm getting older. I'm disappointed that my life looks much different at 25 than I thought that it would. I expected to have a bouncing baby in my lap by this point in my life.

We recently found out that we are most likely going to have to do IVF to have a child. We are seeking a second opinion, but I'm very doubtful that the second opinion will be any different. The IVF program that we found costs around $10,000 for one cycle. I can't even describe how it makes me feel to have to pay $10,000 to have something that should come so naturally. It's heartbreaking. I feel like I'm having to 'buy' my baby and that hurts so deeply that I can feel it in my heart. We, like most people of childbearing age, don't have $10,000 laying around. It feels so unfair that the bigger financial struggle for us is going to be getting pregnant instead of the cost of caring for a child. Unfortunately, fair has nothing to do with this.

Many people have asked us why we don't adopt. My husband and I have both prayed and thought a lot about what the right path is for us. At this time, it is not adoption. The thing about adoption that most people don't understand is that it isn't an easy process or a simple fix. The cost of domestic infant adoption ranges from $10,000-$30,000, with it usually being closer to the $30,000 mark. The other thing about domestic infant adoption is that you can be on a waiting list for years and years. You can also finally find a birth mother only to have her change her mind once the child is born. The average cost for international adoption is between $25,000-$40,000 and many countries require at least one parent to travel to the country and stay there for two to three weeks before they can bring their child home. This adds to the cost of the adoption. Don't get me wrong, I think that adoption is a wonderful thing, but it isn't right for us right now.

All that said, I have one wish this year for my birthday. I just want a fighting chance at the opportunity to be someone's mom. I don't care about shiny things or pretty packages. I just want a chance at what comes so easily for most people. I know it's silly, but I've spent time writing to the child that I one day hope to hold. I've promised them and God that I will do my best to raise them to love God and to be a wonderful, loving person. I've promised my child that I will wait for them if they promise to come for me. I want nothing more intensely than to hold them in my arms. I've promised God that I will be grateful for them every day, every hour, every minute for the rest of my life.

I've added a donations button to my blog. It is in the upper right section of the blog. If you feel led to help us build our family, it's there. Also, please pray with us for a miracle. All I ever wanted as a little girl was to be a wife and a mommy. I have an amazing husband, but that little girl never imagined that this is what the road to motherhood would look like.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Today. Mother's Day.

This is the second most dreaded day of the year for me. The first is November 1st (the anniversary of when we started trying to get pregnant). I don't know, this one might be the most painful. I've spent today trying to pretend that today was just any other Sunday. I've stayed off of Facebook and even Twitter, but even the TV gives me no break.

There are no amount of tears I could shed today that could even come close to pouring out the pain that is in my heart tonight. I would give anything to hear a little voice calling me mommy today. I would give anything for today not to be a source of pain for me and all of my friends who are in the same boat as me.

Remember my friends, tomorrow will be kinder.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mother's Day

As someone who desperately wants to be a mother, Mother's Day is a very hard day for me. I read an article the other day that got me thinking. No, I'm not a mother yet, but I have nurtured and shown love to many children in my life. Whether these children are family members, children that I was paid to care for, or children that captured my heart while on mission trips in Jamaica, I have and still do truly love all of them. To all the women out there that aren't mothers: You've made a difference in the life of some child at some point. You should be very proud of that. Happy Mother's Day.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

2012 Advocacy Day

Today I made my first phone call to someone on Capital Hill. I made three calls actually, one to Senator Saxby Chambliss, one to Senator Johnny Isaacson, and one to Representative Lynn Westmoreland. I don't know why, but I was really nervous about it. I called to express my desire to see the Family Act passed and to see the Adoption Tax Credit extended. I was sent to a voicemail by Senator Chambliss' office but I was able to speak to actual people from Senator Isaacson's and Representative Westmoreland's offices. 

I shared with both of the men that I spoke to that my husband and I were one of the many couples that wanted desperately to have a family but do not have coverage for infertility through our insurance company and, like most couples of child bearing age, we aren't rich. I expressed how much these tax credits would mean to families like mine in that they would make our dream of having children a little bit closer in reach.

The man that I spoke to from Senator Isaacson's office had just gotten out of a meeting with Resolve when I called. I didn't get a definite answer on whether or not I could count on the Senator to support the Family Act (he said they wanted to look at the nuts and bolts of the bill before making a decision) but he did sound very positive towards it.

The man that I spoke to from Representative Westmoreland's office said that they supported both the Family Act and the Adoption Tax Credit. He told me that not only would these bills help build families, but they would also help stimulate the economy. If I have a baby I go to Babies'R'Us and buy products, I take my child to the doctor, and pay for child care. All of these things are good for the economy. I was so thrilled to hear this argument for the tax credits. I hadn't thought of it that way, but it's a darn good argument.

I felt so empowered after making those calls. Standing up for myself, my husband, and people like us felt amazing. We need to be our own advocates. We are many, and if we stand together we CAN make things happen. This is meaningful to me because infertility has made me feel so out of control of my life and my own body. It felt good to take even a little of that power back.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Don't Ignore My Grief Over The Child I Long For

This is my first post this week in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). This year's theme is: Don't Ignore...

Don't Ignore My Grief Over The Child I Long For

This may not make sense to someone who hasn't experienced infertility, but I grieve for a child that has never existed. I cry over the holidays that I am not celebrating with my child, over the memories that we aren't making together, and I grieve the feeling that it is my fault that the child in my heart doesn't already have a heartbeat of their own. I also grieve the fact that my best friend's child and my niece and nephew won't be close enough in age to my child to become close friends. I grieve the dream of what I thought my life would look like right now. 

Let me give you a few examples of what my life looks like right now vs. what I thought it would when I started trying to conceive. 

1) Every day I pass an empty room. Its walls are a very pale yellow and there are cream colored curtains that help keep it dark. This is my child's room, but my child isn't in it. There is no crib, no changing table, no toys, no crying, and no laughter. Every time I pass this room it is a painful reminder of the child that I long for.

2) When I go to the grocery store I see moms with their little children searching for the best grocery deals so that they can feed their growing family. I search for the best deals so that I can save as much money as possible for the treatments it could take just to get me pregnant.

3) I see beautiful pictures of children and babies every day on Facebook. These pictures are bittersweet. I am happy for the families in them, but I cry wishing that I could post pictures like those of me, my husband, and our child.

Those are just a few examples of what I go through daily. I grieve for my child. I need you to understand how painful this missing piece is for me. I need you to acknowledge that this grief exists and to ask me how I'm doing. I may or may not want to talk about it, but it will mean the world to me just to know that you cared enough to ask.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Faith and Infertility - Part Three. My Story.

Now it's my turn to talk about my continuing spiritual journey through infertility. This is a hard one to write because it is so deeply personal. What is true for me may not be true for you. My journey will not be the same as yours. That doesn't make either of us wrong.

My Faith

I'm going to start this out by telling you about my faith. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died on the cross to atone for the things that all of us have done and will do wrong. 

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)

The word love is mentioned in the Bible approximately 64,015 times. I believe that God wants us to love others in the same way that Jesus does. Jesus gave us a perfect example of how to love others.

This is my command: Love each other. (John 15:17 NIV)

That is what I believe and how I try to live my life. I don't always succeed, but I try. I am not a stereotypical Christian. I don't and would never hold up a sign telling anyone that they are going to hell outside of an abortion clinic, a gay bar, or anywhere else. I have a tattoo (and want another). I don't arrange ladies teas  or bake sales at my church (and I probably never will). I am hugely imperfect. I curse. I occasionally over-indulge in adult beverages. There are people I despise. I don't always show the love to others that I know I should. Trust me, there is more, but I'd rather not share all of  it on my blog. Point is, I'm human and I know it.

So there it is. That is me.

My Faith Through Infertility

When I first started to realize that it wasn't going to be as easy for me and my husband to have a child as it was for other people I wasn't hugely surprised. I always had this strange fear and feeling that this would happen. I assumed that once my doctor put me on clomid I would get pregnant quickly. That didn't happen.

When that didn't happen I got angry. Angry at God, at my own body, and at those who conceive children easily. I am still angry a lot of the time. I have (and still do) screamed at God. 
"Why are you doing this to me?" 
"If you can do something as difficult as sending your own Son to die for the sin of others why won't you do something as easy as giving me a baby?" 
"If you love me, prove it." 
Thankfully, God can handle my anger. It doesn't shock Him. He knows all my feelings already anyway. 

I also doubt. I sometimes question if there is any rhyme or reason to anything that happens in life. I have questioned if God has anything to do with what happens in our lives and if He even cares. Thankfully, He cares and is right next to me even when I doubt His presence.

If I have sinned, what have I done to you,
you who sees everything we do?
Why have you made me your target?
Have I become a burden to you? (Job 7:20 NIV)

Even if I summoned him and he responded,
I do not believe he would give me a hearing. He would crush me with a storm
and multiply my wounds for no reason. (Job 9:16, 17 NIV)

Feelings of anger and doubt are normal and okay. Job had them too. He was a good guy and a Godly guy. You probably won't hear this from anyone at your church or temple, so let me say it. It is okay to be angry and to doubt. God can handle it and His grace is sufficient for you.

I have hope too. I'm lucky to have a really awesome and supportive family. My great-aunt (who is an evangelist) sent me this verse:

He settles the childless woman in her home
as a happy mother of children.
Praise the Lord. (Psalm 113:9 NIV)

She told me to memorize it and believe it. I've got it memorized, and now I'm working on believing it.

I'm still working on trusting God. Not just with my fertility, but with everything. It's not something I ever expect to master, but I hope to improve it. Life is one step and one breath at a time. To a control freak (me) that is a hard realization. As I state continuously in my life and in this blog, I'm getting there.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

2012 Atlanta Walk of Hope

I started a team for the 2012 Atlanta Walk of Hope! We are doing really well with fundraising but we need more team members. Please join us if you are in the Atlanta area on the 28th of April. It is only a one mile walk and it is free to register.

All donations benefit RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. RESOLVE provides important resources and support for the infertility community. The Walk of Hope is a really great cause.

You don't have to be infertile to join us! It is open to anyone and everyone who wants to help raise awareness about infertility and spread hope to those suffering from it. This is a cause that is very near and dear to my heart. No one should have to feel alone in this journey.

If you would like to donate to or join our team, The One in Eight, please visit the link below.

2012 Atlanta Walk of Hope: The One in Eight

Monday, February 6, 2012

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Breaking up is hard to do. Especially when you are "breaking up" with infertility. My husband and I are currently on a break from trying to get pregnant. The months of dashed hopes and broken dreams are exhausting and we need a break from it. On one hand, taking this break has been a huge relief. On the other hand, I feel like I've broken up with my hopes and dreams. I know it's only a temporary break, but it still feels that way.

I think of my infertility every time I see my basal body thermometer, or my OPK strips, or a pregnancy test. When I hear songs on the radio like Gavin DeGraw's "Not Over You," I think of the baby that I don't have. I realize how pathetic this all sounds, but keep in mind that this has been a huge part of my daily life for the past 15 months.

So how do I get infertility off of my mind? I haven't figured it out yet.

***My apologies to all of my friends and relatives if I nearly gave you a heart attack with this title. Mr. Rach and I are not breaking up!***

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Stupid Things Fertiles Say & Why We Should Cut Them Some Slack

I, like almost every other infertile woman in the world, have heard all varieties of stupid comments from people when they find out that I am infertile.

"You just need to relax!"

"All my husband has to do is look at me and I get pregnant!"

"Just stop trying and it will happen."

"Why don't you just adopt?"

And, like almost every other infertile woman in the world, these comments piss me off and frequently get an equally offensive response. All that said, I have had a revelation over the last week. The people who say those things aren't stupid. The statements themselves aren't stupid. They are just uninformed. Every person that has ever made a comment like the ones above to me really meant well. They were all extremely nice people who never intended to be hurtful. They just didn't know what to say because they have never experienced infertility. I need to cut them some slack.

Let me explain how I came to this personal revelation. About a week ago some of the women that I follow on Twitter were having a conversation about adoption. One of them stated that the term, "giving a child up," is an offensive one. I had no clue. I asked her about it and she explained that it had a negative connotation and made adopted children feel unwanted and unloved by their birth mothers. Adopted children (or their parents) shouldn't be made to feel that way. In my opinion, a woman who places her child for adoption because she knows that she cannot give them the life that they need to thrive is the most loving thing that any woman could ever do. I have said that someone, "gave their child up for adoption," many times in the past. I had NO CLUE that I was saying something that was hurtful because I have never gone through the adoption process. I was uniformed.

Just a few days after that I was talking to a friend who adopted two beautiful children after years of dealing with infertility. We were talking about where my husband and I intended on going from here as far as our treatments go and I said, "I just really feel like I am going to have a child of my own." My friend very nicely informed me that her children were her own. I felt HORRIBLE. I never meant to imply that her children weren't hers. I just didn't think about what I said before I said it. I apologized profusely. She laughed and said it was okay, that she was just trying to change people's vocabulary regarding adoption. She did it with much more grace and understanding than I have with comments regarding my infertility. 

That's when it hit me. I don't know the right things to say to a family going through the adoption process because I have never been through it myself. I am uninformed. I have said offensive things without ever realizing it. People who haven't experienced infertility also don't know the right things to say. They haven't walked in my shoes. How can I expect someone to know the right things to say if they have never been there? I can't because, like me when it comes to adoption, they just don't know. 

Think of all the other situations that you may have said insensitive things without ever knowing it: the death of a loved one, being fired or laid off from a job, receiving a cancer diagnosis, etc. The list could go on and on. This is why we need to cut fertiles some slack. Chances are, you have said something hurtful to someone without ever knowing it too. Let's show people the same understanding that we would want them to show us. That doesn't mean you can't kindly correct them. It just means that you need to keep in mind that at some point you were, "that person," too.

FYI: The blog now has it's own Facebook page! Like me at

Friday, January 27, 2012


As I stated in a previous post, the stress of dealing with infertility has put me into a deep depression. Through therapy and some soul searching I have realized some of the reasons that dealing with infertility has been such a challenge for me, and some of the negative feelings that infertility has instilled in me. In is post I want to talk about self esteem in general, and the effect that infertility has had on my self esteem. 

I already had a shaky grip on my self esteem. I think most young women do. Infertility sent my poor self image over the edge. I once said to my therapist that I truly feel like I have failed at everything. About a week ago I said out-loud to myself all  the things that I feel I have failed at. This is what I came up with: 

1)  I am not the skinny, perfect version of myself that the media tells me I should be. 

2)  I am not a successful business woman. In fact, I'm still not sure what career path I want for my life. 

3) I have failed my parents and my husband by letting this depression get the best of me.

4)  I don't have a family.

Then I asked myself, "Are these beliefs true?"

True, I am not physically perfect, but I am okay with that as long as I am healthy and happy. I also think that it is okay for a twenty-four year old to still question what they want for their future. I am still very young. How many people do I know who had it all figured out at my age? I can't name any.

As for the statement that I've failed my family, it is just that. A statement. It is an untrue belief that I have about myself. The fact that I believe it doesn't make it true. I can believe that the sky is green all that I want to, but that doesn't make it true. If you asked my parents or my husband to describe me I think some of these words would pop up: loving, compassionate, honest, smart, funny, and even strong. THAT is how I should view myself. Those who know me best probably have a much more clear view of who I am than I do in my current depressed state. 

I stopped on that last statement and said it again to myself, "I don't have a family." Then it came to me, YES I DO! I may not be a mother, but I DO have a family. My husband and I are a family. We are not a couple waiting to become a family. We already are a family. We also have our two darling fur babies that complete our happy family. While we do long for a child, we are still a happy family. I am now working on redefining my definition of the word family.

Realizing these things have taken a huge load off of my shoulders. I don't have to be perfect. I don't have to have everything figured out. I need to redefine my idea of success as well as family.

How is your self esteem? The view that you have of yourself may not be true. How would those closest to you describe you? Does your idea of success and what makes a family need a rewrite?

P.S. I do intend on writing Faith and Infertility - Part 3 (My Story). I just need the time to be right. It will be a deeply personal post and I'm not ready yet.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Faith and Infertility - Part Two

The biggest question that I have asked through infertility has been, "Why me?" Why can a crackhead get pregnant over and over again and I can't? Why do teenagers have babies all the time but not me? Have I done something wrong? Am I not good enough to deserve a child? 

I think all infertile women and men ask themselves these questions. I can't even begin to answer the question, "Why me?" I honestly have no clue. I also do not understand why crackheads and teenagers have babies all the time that they have no means of caring for (and instead of lovingly placing them for adoption they keep them anyway). As for the questions of, "Have I done something wrong?" or, "Am I not good enough to deserve a child?" I have come to some conclusions.

"Have I done something wrong to deserve this?" In my opinion, the Bible says no. Let's look at a couple women from the Bible who struggled with infertility.

Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. 

Elizabeth was righteous in the sight God and was infertile. Her infertility had nothing to do with her lack of goodness. I venture to guess that maybe her infertility was for a bigger purpose. If Elizabeth and Zechariah had been successful in conceiving earlier in life maybe they would never have had John the Baptist. John was meant to be born at a very specific time and to a very specific set of parents. John prepared people for the coming of Jesus. He baptized Jesus. Perhaps the pain that Elizabeth suffered all those years of childlessness prepared her to love John in the way that he needed to become the amazing man that he was.

In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old. (Luke 1:5-7 NIV)

As for the question, "Am I not good enough to deserve a child?" let's look at Sarah.

Sarah, the mother of Isaac.

Oh, how I love Sarah! She is a prime example that God does not withhold fertility because of the mistakes that we have made. God told Abraham that he would give him a son. Sarah didn't believe that it would come from her so she tried to solve the problem her way. She gave her slave, Hagar, to her husband to conceive a child with her. It worked, and of course created a whole host of issues within the family. Sarah screwed up. Still, God told Abraham that Sarah would bear him a son. This was her response:

So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, "After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?" (Genesis 18:12 NIV)

Sarah laughed at God. Still, God blessed her.

Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. (Genesis 21:1, 2 NIV)

Sarah made some mistakes. She didn't trust God, she laughed at him, and she prompted her husband to commit adultery. It didn't matter. God wanted her to have Isaac, and she did. God was gracious to Sarah. He loved her. He loves you too, and His love for you has nothing to do with how 'good' you are.

Now I want to present a Biblical story of adoption. The story of Esther.

Esther, adopted by Mordecai.

Esther (Hadassah)  was an orphan. Her uncle took her as his own daughter. He adopted her.

Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This young woman, who was also known as Esther, had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died. (Esther 2:7 NIV)

Esther was chosen by king Xerxes of Persia to be his queen. Haman was an advisor to the king. The king gave him way too much power. Using the king's seal, he sent out an edict that named a day of the year in which the Jewish people were to be slaughtered and their goods plundered. 

Mordecai learned of this and got news to Esther. He begged Esther to go to king. The problem with this was that if she went before the king without him beckoning her and he was displeased by it she would be executed. She was scared. When Mordecai heard of her fear he said this:

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14 NIV)

Esther went to the king. He was pleased. She invite him and Haman to a banquet. At the banquet she informed King Xerxes of the plot to have her people killed. The king was furious with Haman for issuing this law. He had Haman killed and gave his estate and position to Mordecai. Mordecai sent out an edict informing the Jewish people of what was to happen and giving them permission to assemble, arm, and protect themselves. The Jewish people were saved from genocide. If Mordecai had not adopted Esther the Jewish people might have been ruthlessly slaughtered. Esther was certainly where she was for "such a time as this." She also needed Mordecai, her adoptive father, to help give her the courage to do it

Maybe you have decided that adoption is the right path for you. If so, look closely at the story of Esther. Your child may have been destined to come into your love and care for "such a time as this."


Infertility is not a punishment. You are not infertile because you 'aren't good enough.' Perhaps the child that God has for you needs to be born or adopted at a very specific time so that they an fulfill their God-given destiny. Maybe the painful longing that you feel will give you a love so strong for the child you are given that you will help them become the person that they are meant to be. 

I try my hardest to believe that God is preparing my husband and I to love and treasure our child and give them what they need to become the person that He created them to be. Maybe that is why we are experiencing infertility.

Part Three - My Story, will come soon!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Faith and Infertility - Part One

I have not been super vocal on my blog about my faith for a reason. I want people of all beliefs to be able to read it and relate to it. Today I am going to do something a bit different. I'm going to write about faith and infertility.

I am a Christian, but I hope that most of what I am writing can be encouraging to anyone. Everything I am writing is based on my own personal journey. I do not claim that anything I say is the indisputable word of God or anything like that. 

This is the first part of a three part series. This post is focused on the emotions that accompany infertility. The next will explore the question, "Why?" In the final post of the series I will talk about my own spiritual journey through infertility

I was really hesitant to write a post about my faith. Mainly, because I have questioned so much through my infertility journey. I felt like that made me a 'bad' Christian or thought that God would be angry with me. Quite the opposite is true. John the Baptist doubted. He baptized Jesus and he still doubted. Jesus did not get angry when he questioned him. He calmly reassured him.

When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, "Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?" Jesus replied, "Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me." (Matthew 11:2-6 NIV)

What about anger and bitterness? Are those feelings sinful? Let's look at Hannah. She was infertile. She wept bitterly begging God to give her a child. God did not chastise her for this. He gave her the son that she prayed for.

In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. (1 Samuel 1:10 NIV)
Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. (1 Samuel 1:19 NIV)

Anger? Look at Mary, the sister of Lazarus. When Lazarus died she ran to Jesus saying, "If you had been here this wouldn't have happened!" Call me crazy, but I very much doubt that she said this calmly. She probably yelled and maybe even screamed it in her grief. Jesus did not chastise her for this, He was deeply troubled by her sadness and He wept.

When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. "Where have you laid him?" he asked. "Come and see, Lord," they replied. Jesus wept. (John 11:32-35 NIV)

Anger, doubt, and bitterness. God takes pity on all of it. He also offers comfort.

Though you have made me see troubles,
many and bitter,
you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor
and comfort me once more. (Psalm 71:20, 21 NIV)

More to come...