Please note: The intention of the blog is not be a "Woe is me, my life is tough, please tell me things are going to be alright" type of blog. It is coming from a place that is pure and honest. I know that it will help me continue to heal and have hope.
"Hi. My name is Ashley and I want nothing more than to be a mother to a healthy child."
The crowd responds: "Hello Ashley."
Although I am fully aware this is not an AA meeting or anything of the sort, I feel like I need to introduce myself to this new communication outlet. I think the best way is to start by admitting the number one desire of my heart and the reason I'm putting my fingers to work on this blog. As my heart races and my fingers shake, I know this weight I've been carrying around is best shared with the hope that I'll be able to help, counsel, heal, learn, and connect with others who have the same added weight.
Let's get a few things out in the open:
1. I am a Christian. I believe in God and His awesome ability to change my perspective and heal me through interactions with others, while still being present in those intimate moments of prayer. I'm a firm believer that Craig from Life Church delivers specific sermons during the most trying of times because of how awesome and loving our God is. Note: The title of my entry is from Craig and is now a mantra in my life.
2. I've got a ridiculously awesome life. I have the MOST amazing husband who is truly my rock, my strong foundation when I feel like my world is crumbling. Yes, it happens about once a month where I'm all Mopey McMoperson. (All the emotional women in the world raise your hand.)
3. I have a 72 pound, 2 year old, cuddly, golden retriever named Sierra who is spoiled and bossy, yet I wouldn't change a thing about her.
4. My family....sigh.....my family is beautiful, supportive, encouraging, accepting, loving...the list goes on and on.
5. Friends. Let's smoosh them in with my family. Anyone who knows me as a friend knows I love big and hard. It's not always the easiest to be close to me because I'm such an open book, and I use my friends as free counselors at times. I'm grateful for the friends who help protect my heart.
6. Teaching. I get to impact lives of children EVERY SINGLE DAY. (Well during the work week!) There is not a bone in my body that doesn't think that is probably one of the coolest things ever. I have high expectations for my "babies" to be successful, but I keep high standards for myself too. I'm not a great teacher, but I try hard. I don't do the coolest lessons, say all the right things, always react perfectly, or teach everything so well that my students will all get straight As. But I care a ton about my students and I take my job very seriously.
7. I'm so super proud of the place I work. The community that my bosses and coworkers have established is such a close knit group of people who seriously care about the well being of each other.
8. I'm honest and open to a fault.
The trying times of ... well....trying.
December of 2010 I was at Franchesca's shopping with Matt for an outfit to wear to my school Christmas party. Matt tells me then and there that he has been thinking about having a baby and wants to start trying that next September. OMGEEEE I got so excited. I want a big family and was just waiting for Matt to get to the point where little Ashley and Matt's running around the house sounded good to him.
We knew we didn't want to start trying right away so we put September 2011 as a date to get preggers. We listed baby names, talked about parenthood, planned some vacations to do before our family grew, went car shopping, discussed potential moving plans, spent time sleeping in, enjoyed being playful and silly..... and we dreamed....
October 2011 was the first month we made an effort to get pregnant. I seriously thought getting pregnant would be easy. After a few months with no results, I bought some ovulation kits to pee on every day. Romantic right? Those things didn't help. All they did was make me start obsessing about getting pregnant. With obsession came depression and questioning "why me?". I started to worry. I kept things inside. Times may have been tough internally but I kept a happy face, for the most part.
6 months in I got serious about finding out what we were doing wrong. Matt and I saw my regular OBGYN. She assured me I was fine but we would start running some tests to be sure there wasn't a problem. We started opening up to close friends and family about how surprised we were that it hadn't clicked yet. Everyone had an opinion. Try this, do that, just relax. We tried it, did that, relaxed.... nada.
Multiple tests later and lots of positive thoughts, everything came back normal. Each time we had a test, I expected to hear a result that would be an explanation for why we hadn't got pregnant yet. With an explanation would come a solution, right? Feelings of relief when the doctors told us everything checked out okay was the first flood of emotion, followed by anger. Yikes. Not good.
While Matt was encouraging me and helping me focus on how lucky we are to have the love we have, I didn't realize the spiritual war that was happening inside myself. Maybe I did realize it but I didn't want to go to battle. I started to shut out God, thinking "I've got this. I'll be in control of this. I say when." I still prayed about other things, just not the whole baby situation. It was mine.
June of 2012 I opened up to a good friend about how mad I was at God and how "I didn't even care". Talk about breaking His heart. Talking about it made me feel better so I mentioned it to Matt. It hurt him to hear that. Talk about breaking HIS heart. Two of the most important things in my life, were hurt by my negativity. Matt asked me to try and change my perspective. Man I love him so much. I told him I'd try....
That next weekend we went to a sermon that made an impact on my life. It was about putting things in a "God Box". Craig was talking straight to me. In a packed room via a television screen, He was trying to get me to wake up and prepare for battle. Much of my heart had been taken over with frustration, anger, resentment towards the happiness in others lives, and I didn't even care. Now Matt and God wanted me to change. WAKE UP ASHLEY!
I changed my perspective. I gave it to God. I let Him take it from me. I connected with people who struggled with infertility.
It's taken some time, some tears, some ups, some downs. I feel like I've been through the 5 stages of grief. I had to accept the problem and realize the problem didn't define me. I'm not ashamed. I'm not embarrased. Not anymore. Satan will not have that opportunity to get at me like that again.
Reading blogs from people who have been through infertility taught me that people often battle this alone. In silence. I don't feel like that is my story. I don't want it to be. It shouldn't be a silent group of people. We didn't do anything wrong! I would have NEVER chosen this path for myself. But, none-the-less it is. So I'm working on embracing it. I'm going to learn all I can so I can continue to heal and hopefully help someone some day.
I'm my own advocate. We recently saw a fertility specialist after a few rounds of Clomid proved ineffective. He is amazing and he gave me hope. I'm sure the road we are on will still have some twists and turns, but I have HOPE. I plan on using this as a source to document our journey to parenthood.
If you would have told me a year ago that I was in for a huge change, I would have told you "Duh, I'm going to have a baby in a year." No. But still my life has been changed. It's not all roses and puppies. There are bad days and good days. Who doesn't have those?
I've accepted that this story....is OUR journey. And you know what???? I'm not alone. Not in the slightest.