|Our Dream Board|
These last couple of days have caused me to look back on my life and the times I’ve experienced trauma. Psychological trauma is defined as “a very difficult or unpleasant experience that causes someone to have mental or emotional problems usually for a long time.” I have faced trauma in my life on a few occasions. I have had to understand death from an early age, and many, many times since. I found out at 12 years of age that I was “infertile.” I lost my dad (to cancer), my first marriage, my brother (to prison), and my "second dad" (to suicide)…in the course of 6 months. I shortly after found my incredible husband only to have him deploy to Iraq just months later-and return a different person because of PTSD. Trauma has impacted my life on more than one occasion. I know the feeling, I know the pain, and I sincerely know the sensation of the “unpleasant experience”.
Just two weeks ago we walked into a doctor’s office to be told that of our 14 embryo, we had two that survived. We transferred those two, weak, tired, falling-apart embryo just 12 days ago. Thursday (April 2, 2015), Lucas and I woke up early as we waited for the phone call that could change our lives, it was BETA day, the day we found out the results of our pregnancy test. We paced, tried watching Netflix, and called the doctor’s office several times… I couldn’t take it anymore so we went over to my sister’s house to wait for the call there. We played with her kids, ate breakfast and tried doing anything we could to keep our minds occupied. Lucas finally decided to call the doctor around 11:00 a.m., this time he got through to our IVF coordinator T. This poor lady has the best/hardest job in the world giving patients the answer to the most important pregnancy test of their lives.
Lucas had us all on speaker phone when T told us that our pregnancy test came back negative.
I collapsed on my sister’s stairs in the most intense heartache; I felt like I was dying. Lucas finished the conversation and I heard T say, “From the bottom of my heart, I am so, so sorry.” I believe her, and her words have stuck with me, even in my darkest moments.
The moment we learned we had nothing left, no embryo, no growing baby, no more money…our world stopped spinning. Anyone who has faced a trauma knows that it is that moment you feel the most helpless, lifeless, excruciating pain you’ll ever feel. You forget how to breathe, it suddenly feels as though your heart forgot how to beat, you suddenly feel empty and hopeless, and standing up seems impossible. It feels as though you forgot how to put one foot in front of the other, how to come up with words, how to exist…it’s oh so surreal and so painful.
I have been going through a wide array of emotions these last few days, some come and go, some linger, and some come in hard-crashing waves. At some point, you have to figure out how to climb out of your safe zone (my bed), walk out into the world, and face a planet that has already moved forward without you. The heartache is crippling at times, you find it hard to hold your head up. I have been walking around for days with bags under my eyes, acne all over my face, tear-stained cheeks, no sign of make-up or hair-doing attempts…the few visible signs of my utter heartache.
There have been moments I’ve confessed to the Lord that I would do ANYTHING for Him to take away my heartache just long enough for me to function. I have pleaded for some kind of understanding as to why!?! I have longed to feel some kind of peace, and in some moments I have, in others I have crumbled to my knees and succumbed to pure sorrow.
Since our transfer day, I have had the picture of our two little embryos hanging on my “dream board” above my desk. I didn’t take them down when we got the news, but I did cover them with a sweet yellow sunshine a friend of mine sent me. Last night, Lucas and I had a conversation that went something like this…
Lucas: So Dej, what did you do with the picture of our embryos?
Me: They’re still there I just covered them with the sunshine picture.
Lucas: Oh, well I don’t like it that you covered them up. Can you hang them up so we can see them again?
Me: Sure, it was just too painful for me to stare at them. Why do you want to see them?
Lucas: Well they make me happy, they are ours! I love them and I want to see them.
This conversation touched my heart deeply. I also love our little embryos but felt sort of strange loving something that never made it past the stage of being an embryo. Lucas reminded me that they were ours, they were our two lone survivors, they hung on long enough so we could see them, and grow to love them, and get a picture of them, and most importantly, they were a combination of the two of us. This is one of the many reasons I love my husband, he isn’t afraid to feel whatever he feels, he isn’t ashamed of who he is or what he loves, he’s a beacon of hope for me when I can’t find it myself.
We lost our little embryos, they were the only two to survive. We have no more stored up for us to use at another day. We have exhausted all of our personal financial resources. My eggs are contaminated and therefor may never be viable or able to sustain an embryo. We have no second chance (this round) to try again. There have been many times these last few days our options for parenthood have seemed bleak and unattainable. I have read comments like “everything happens for a reason,” and “it’s just not the right time…” and honestly, I’ve wanted to punch these people in the face, HARD. I’ve screamed and yelled and told the world, myself and my body…how much I hate them and how they have failed me. I have had moments of rage and frustration that are hard to explain.
Many have asked, “What’s next?” and truthfully, we don’t know. I told Lucas before we found out the results of our pregnancy test that I’m not sure I could do this again emotionally, mentally or physically…I’m exhausted.
I’ve realized, from the moment we got our negative pregnancy test that I am not done. I cannot give up on being a mom. I cannot stop going after something I want THIS much. I cannot walk away empty handed. I also cannot let bitterness and anger take over me. I cannot let my faith in my Savior Jesus Christ slip through my fingertips because I truly don’t understand his plan right now. I cannot stop believing that my day will come. I cannot walk away and pretend that other great accomplishments in my life are equal to my desire to be a mom. I cannot pretend that I get the plan for me, but I also cannot forget that there is one. I cannot quit. I cannot let this be how our story ends.
Of all the array of emotions I’ve felt this week, I have come to an over-whelming conclusion.
We are loved. Oh. My. Goodness…are we loved. I’ve received hundreds of messages, texts, letters, phone calls, emails, gifts, flowers…the list goes on. I’ve had so many kind messages that I have not been able to reply to them all, but I hope you will know, they’ve saved my life this week.
In my darkest moments I tend to shut down and shut out the world, it’s been hard for me to do this. My phone tells me I have a new message every other minute, my inbox is full, I have no more storage on my phone, Facebook tells me I’ve seen more hits than ever before…you’re love, kindness and support has been a tool that God has used to get to my broken-down heart. You have saved me.
Trauma happens in each of our lives, it strikes us like a heavy axe and yet we must find a way to recover. I pray for those of you dealing with trauma, and myself, that we can find hope in our hopelessness, faith when we have zero of it to build on, love for ourselves when we feel weak and broken and joy in the littlest of things. I hope we can notice the love others have for us, when we have none for ourselves. I hope that we can find something to sustain us, when we feel we are done and that we can find some kind of calm in the waves when we’re drowning and feel like we cannot swim anymore.
I don’t know what’s next, it’s something I’m not very patient with. I don’t have a plan—but I know the Lord does. I don’t know what the next steps of our journey will be but I want you to know there will be more to this journey, and I hope you’ll continue on it with us.
P.S. I hope you will take the next step with us and join our group on Facebook: An Army of Hope. Here you will be taken along with us through whatever steps are next, will get information on how you can help, and you will be able to continue to help us find solace in our trials.