Infertility and Loss, the never-ending, life-changing beast

I’m up late on a mid-April Monday night. Easter week. It’s odd that this is the month I was pregnant, three years ago now.

I have all these thoughts going on in my head and I’m grasping at them trying to put them in some sort of sensible order. The plans that might never be. The dream that was taken from me in one excruciatingly painful and lonely early Monday morning. “There is a hole in my heart that fits your shape exactly.” Claire Fraser in Outlander, Diana Gabaldon.

Our Campsite at Lone Eagle Peak, Indian Peaks Wilderness, Colorado.

I spoke something out loud to a dear friend yesterday. I almost hadn’t realized I was thinking it. Two years ago in Duluth for New Years Kyle and I were driving around and I asked him, “are you ok with it just being this, just being us, traveling the world, exploring together?” “yes” he said without pausing, looking straight into my eyes, my soul. But yesterday I. . . I just have been starting to recognize that even though we are OK with it, I might actually start believing that is God’s path for us. Maybe God doesn’t plan on us ever having children.

My heart aches as I type that, my throat is starting to close up as I fight the tears so I can keep typing out what is on my heart.

But when I said it out in the fresh air of our walk on that beautiful Sabbath afternoon, it felt good. Not good like “Yes! That’s it! My problems are solved!” But good like, ok that’s off my chest.

Hiking behind Lake Sylvan, Black Hills, South Dakota

However, the more I thought about it the more my whole being rebelled. At first I was like ok, this is it. God doesn’t plan on giving me a miracle. I don’t DESERVE a miracle like some of the other wonderful women I know that have gotten theirs. But then I remembered Saturday night when Kyle chased our friend’s daughters around the house like a bear. They kept coming back and he kept scaring them just like they wanted. All these images started flooding my mind. Kyle with all of his sister’s kids. Holding his new nieces, Malia and Grace,throwing his nephew Logan into the air, playing with the digger he INSISTED on getting for Peyton. (Not that I didn’t want to, I just had a different present in mind and he was right, the digger was WAY better). And it’s just not right. Kyle deserves to be blessed with children. He deserves to be able to hold his own baby girl or boy and look at them the way he looks at his Nieces and Nephews. I want us to be old, and be able to sit around a Christmas tree with our children and our children’s children. I don’t want to have to search for somewhere to go during Christmas to cover up for the fact that it would bring me so much pain.

The top of La Plata – One of Colorado’s Majestic 14ers

Infertility issues are

I watched the curser move there minute after minute. I wish I could just leave a blinking curser as a part of that sentence. I can’t finish that sentence with any word, none of them really describe it without missing everything that infertility is. Sometimes I feel like I’m doing this to Kyle. If only he chose wiser in a partner he could be a dad and grow a family. But man, you guys, we are so good. I look at him and I hold his face and I think wow, God knows me so well. This man was made to be with me and I with him.

God has amazing plans for us. I just don’t know what they are yet. We have a lot of really dark days. Sometimes (not often) the meds make me want to throw my computer across the room and smash all the photos on my walls, throw our record player through the window. But most of our days are EXTRAORDINARY. We see the world. We drive across the country at the drop of a hat because we feel like it. We hike, we camp, we sleep in a room with 20 other strangers just so we can see some of the most beautiful places in the world. We are about to spend Easter hiking in God’s beautiful Zion and Arches National Park with some fantastic friends.

Y’all. God is Good.

I sit here re-reading and trying to find a way to finish my thoughts when my thoughts never feel like they have a clear ending. I don’t have a miracle to tell you about. I don’t have a happy ending. But there is no light without the dark. I worry that people will read sections of this and wonder “well, they could always adopt” which makes me cringe. One thing this journey has taught me is God leads people’s hearts to adoption. It is NOT a plan B. It is a different plan A. Adoption is not a bandaid for a hole in my heart caused by my own inability to grow a baby in my womb. Adoption is this beautiful thing that shouldn’t be muddied by “well if you can’t get pregnant, why don’t you just adopt?” Not that the simple fact of that is bad, but my heart does not feel led to adopt. Maybe someday God will whisper to my soul and make it a passion for me. For us. But no matter how hard I try, I know it is not currently what He has planned for us. And I am definitely not going to try and trick God by signing up for adoption just to see if that will suddenly make us pregnant like so many people tell me I should do. They’re probably joking.

Our Cabin in Blue Bell Campground, Custer State Park, South Dakota

Dealing with all of this and my 21 friends who will give or have given birth in 2017 (one of them December of 2016, wow he’s so beautiful) brings on this whole new struggle. Dear friends, don’t hide your joy from me for fear of hurting me. I’m already missing out on this big part in my own life, I don’t want to be missing out on these huge moments of your life, too. Sure they might be hard for me, but I want to experience joy WITH you. I may not be able to go to a baby shower, but I sure as ever want to be invited. I want to talk freely with you about the aches and pains of your pregnancy. I want to get a call or a text when your baby is born!!! I don’t want to be left in the dark because of fear. Let me be a part of your whole life, let me choose if I need to step away for a selfish moment to myself. I love you all so much, and so many of you have been doing such a fantastic job of keeping me updated, included, and involved in all of those tiny moments that you totally would involve me in if I wasn’t struggling.

All I know is I don’t have much more in me for MY struggles. I am not as strong as people keep saying. I know that I am 4+ years into this and I will not be able to continue past my 5th year. My heart is fragile and at a breaking point. And I keep reminding myself the words of my wise friend and Creighton Model teacher: “and He knows that”. He knows this is it for me. He isn’t going to keep giving me more because He knows how much I can take, He is going to do something to make the pain stop. Or subside. He knows this is all I can take.

One of the hard parts is how expensive the medical treatment has become. I kept thinking of getting a second job to try and bridge the gap between my income and Kyle’s income. But everything came up short. Mainly because I see myself working at a coffee shop, or waitressing, or anything on top of my Photography job and worry that those that want to hire me for my photography will waiver. Worry that they might think I’m not doing good enough as a photographer and business owner and maybe they shouldn’t hire me. But finally I was presented with the option of Rodan and Fields and feel so blessed to have something that will hopefully help with these medical bills and work hand in hand with the business I already run. Not a shameless plug, I really just feel blessed. Something that doesn’t mean burning myself out on photography, the job I love so very much. It’s simply an opportunity, yet another thing to be so very passionate about.

The Milky Way showing up above Lone Eagle Peak, Indian Peaks Wilderness, Colorado. This hike may have taken me (and therefor both of us) 8 hours just to get to this place.

Sharing this all in an even more public forum, for all my photography clients to see, not just my Facebook friends, opens up this new vulnerability. I appreciate everyone putting away their pity. Holding me in their prayers. Talking to me with Empathy and not Sympathy. And remember. Most of my days are good. I am so blessed to document these breathtaking, amazing, awe inspiring moments in peoples lives. I feel honored that this is my life.

I’ll leave you with the verse that always on my heart:

Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him.” Psalm 37:5-7a, NIV

xoxo- Jenni O

and Kyle

and Coach

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  • Joanna

    Hugs to you and Kyle! God has a plan. Such great big things planned for you both.    I love what you shared about adoption. You’re right it is a beautiful thing and should definitely be a calling. I think that’s a perspective not many think about. xo ReplyCancel

  • Nicki

    My heart aches for you, but also rejoices in your ability to trust the Lord. My prayers are with you and your husband. Not sure if you’ve ever heard of or tried doTERRA essential oils for fertility, but I’ve heard some excellent stories from some others.ReplyCancel