|Nathan, Ashton and Diane Elder|
I always knew I wanted to be a mom. When I was younger, I would constantly carry around a baby doll. I even had a legit diaper bag...if I was going to do it, I was going to do it right. My neighbor was constantly over at our house playing with me, and about a year ago, she told me that she thought something was wrong with her because she DIDN'T want to play babies as much as I did.
My husband and I tried for months to get pregnant before we had our son Ashton. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would have fertility issues. Nobody I knew really did. So when we struggled, I didn't know what to do. I went to the doctor and found out after some testing that I had something called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS. It is where your ovaries produce little cysts instead of follicles, or in my case, they just shut down entirely. We did one round of medication called clomid and it was unsuccessful. They bumped up the dosage for the 2nd round, and Voila! I was pregnant. Easy enough! It made me think that when we were ready to have another one it would be just as simple.
After Ashton was born, I was in a very dark place. Post-partum depression hit me very hard. I looked at this baby that I just gave birth to, and didn't feel all warm and fuzzy like I thought I would. All I could think were things like, "What did I just get myself into?" Why in the world did I want this baby so badly?" "I am never going to sleep EVER AGAIN." I thought I was a terrible mom and an even worse person for thinking these things instead of being so excited that I just had this perfect little boy. I was numb all over. I felt totally alone and abandoned because the day we got home from the hospital, my husband rushed back to work, and my mom left a few days later. I ended up having a c-section (I will spare you all the details!) and my recovery was AWFUL to say the least. It wasn't until Ashton was about 8 or 9 months old before I decided that I needed some help. So with much prayer, counseling and anti-depressants (ha!), a few months later I was feeling more like myself. I actually wanted to talk to my husband again. It was so much better!
When Ashton turned 2, we decided maybe we should give it a shot for another baby. Nathan was kind of skeptical because he was afraid that I would slip away again, but I assured him that I was much better now and I would be fine. So I went to the doctor and got a prescription for clomid again. I got pregnant right away, which was something I didn't really expect! About a week after we found out I was pregnant, I began spot bleeding. I read in my books that it was a pretty common thing in the beginning of pregnancies, so I tried not to freak out and just took it easy. A few days later, I began having some pains on my right side. So I kind of panicked and we went to the ER just to make sure it wasn't ectopic. They did all sorts of blood work and ultrasounds, and said that my numbers were a little low and it was too early to see anything on the screen. So I just went home and waited. The following Sunday I was walking into Bailey road for church, and I physically felt something go wrong. I went straight to the bathroom and saw that I was beginning to miscarry. I was so confused. Why would God give us a baby just to take it away again? And I slipped right back into my dark place. I didn't get out of bed for an entire week, crying the whole time. I didn't think I would ever recover from this. About 4 months later, I had accepted that my sweet baby was with God, and I couldn't be upset about Him rocking him or her to sleep instead of me. So we decided to try again. Again, first round of clomid, I got pregnant. Everything seemed to be going pretty good with this one. And again, about a week after we found out, something went terribly wrong. It was a Thursday night. I had just gotten home from work, and Ashton and I were outside watering the garden. I suddenly felt very strange, so I decided to go inside. All of a sudden I was in so much pain that I couldn't even stand up straight. I couldn't walk. I was so scared. Thursday nights Nathan has rehearsal for worship team, so I called him to see if he could get someone to come over to help with Ashton since I physically couldn't move. He rushed home to make sure I was okay. He somehow got me to bed and if I laid still enough, I felt ok. I called the doctor and they said to come into the office in the morning just to check and see if everything was okay. I didn't sleep at all that night because of the pain. We went to the doctor's office the next day and she did an exam. She found out that there was blood in my urine and diagnosed a UTI. She also said that she couldn't feel that there was a mass in my abdomen so there was no chance that it could be ectopic. She said that it was probably a cyst that had ruptured, and that if the pain gets too bad over the weekend, to head to the ER. Otherwise we were going to do an ultrasound on Monday. So I went home. I spent the day in bed, trying to tell myself that everything was going to be fine. That night, Nathan went out with a bunch of his buddies to celebrate him finishing his CD album. I went to bed that night, but the pain just intensified. I called Nathan and asked him to come home because I couldn't take it anymore, that we needed to go to the hospital. He did, but we weren't exactly sure what to do with Ashton since it was the middle of the night. So we waited until the next morning. It was agonizing. We finally headed to the hospital on Saturday morning and when we got there, they immediately took me back. More blood work, more ultrasounds. They told me my numbers were great and Nathan said he could see the baby on the screen, so I was thinking I was in the clear, that I just needed some relief from the pain and I could go home. Boy were we wrong. They came into the patient waiting room where I was at and pulled me into a private ER room. They asked me to put on a hospital gown and undress so they could put heart monitors on my chest. Nobody would tell me what was going on. Finally, a physicians assistant came in and said, "Did they tell you?" Um, no. So he proceeded to tell me that my pregnancy was ectopic and my tube was ruptured. I was bleeding internally and I was going into emergency surgery to remove the tube and possibly the ovary. My baby was gone. I wasn't sure how to process all of this information since it all happened so fast. All I remember was trying to tell my mom to fly down here. That we needed her help, but I couldn't form the words. All I could do was cry. For days. For weeks. I had lost so much in such a short period of time. It took me almost a full year to mostly recover from that. Not physically. Within a month I was cleared to do all the normal things I was supposed to be able to do. But mentally and emotionally, I was broken.
Fast-forward. 7 months later we decided to see a fertility specialist since I was sort of "handicapped" from having only 1 tube, but 2 ovaries. We did several tests and multiple rounds of clomid, but nothing worked. Again, I was so confused why the medication had worked so well and so quickly the first 3 times that we had used it, but since then nothing was happening. After about 6 rounds and another hospitalization from an infection, we have now decided to take a break. And that is where we are right now. Some days I think that we are done. That Ashton is all we need. But other days I long to be pregnant and hold another baby so badly that it hurts. I don't know what God's plan is for our family, but I know that it is perfect, whatever it is. I have grown so much closer to God through all of this. I have felt His arms wrap around me so tight and that has been so comforting. Through all of this, I knew I wanted something good to come out of the pain. There had to be something positive come out of this, if not for me, for other people.
About a month ago, I talked with a few of my friends about maybe starting an infertility support group through our church. They were very receptive to the idea, so we had a planning meeting. After our brainstorming, I met with the women's ministry at Crosspoint. This idea has grown and blossomed into something I am so very excited about. Hopeful Hearts is the new ministry, and we are starting in October! It is going to be a place for women who have suffered infertility, miscarriages, infant death, or even abortion. I LONG for people to come and feel blessed by this, to cry with other women who have gone through the exact same thing. I know I needed it when I was in that place. I want women to come and find their identity in CHRIST and not in their fertility problems. He is the healer. He is our comforter. He has the perfect plan, even when we think our plan is better.