Literally. You blinked and your entire world just changed.
You are numb. Shocked. Breathless. In denial.
It’s not supposed to be this way.
But it is.
How do you survive? Why do you even want to? If you even want to?
Infertility defines you.
I spent ten and a half years throwing and attending shower after shower, always smiling on the outside, but admittedly, often crying on the inside. Attempting treatment after treatment. Pursuing adoption after adoption. Crying and begging God to be a mother.
Who are you when you beat it?
In March of 2009, we got pregnant as a result of our first IVF cycle. We were elated! We finally made it! The hard part was over! The road had been long, but we were almost at the end! Bring on the baby!
Motherhood defines you.
Our first son Matthew was born on November 28, 2009. He died the next day. I had a very rare condition called Vasa Previa, which was sadly undiagnosed, and Matthew died as a result of complications. We were devastated and felt as if we’d been hit with a ton of bricks.
Who are you when you are an infertile woman, yet you mother a grave?
Pregnancy defines you.
Though our worlds were inexplicably changed forever, the taste of parenthood was simply too sweet for us to not step out in faith and attempt another IVF cycle a few months later. Miraculously, we were blessed with a pregnancy and spent ten months cautiously optimistic but ever aware that heartbreak could come again. To grieve the loss of one precious child while forging a loving bond with one growing inside of me demanded a strength and level of sufficiency that truly was only given to me by the grace of God.
Who are you when you are an infertile woman who mothers a grave and one in the womb?
The last fifteen months we have shared with our second son have been nothing short of evidence of God’s mercy and His grace. Luke is proof of restoration and healing and hope. Our love for him gave us the courage to attempt another IVF cycle this January and again, miraculously, we were honored to call ourselves pregnant.
Who are you when you are an infertile woman who mothers a grave, a living child, and another in the womb?
When I began this article, my third child was 11 weeks in utero.
Today, I am four days into recovery from a D&C.
Five days ago, we learned our third child’s heartbeat had stopped and we were again, heartbroken.
Who are you when you suffer loss again? When infertility again mocks you? When you have more children in Heaven than in your arms?
Welcome to this very special group of women.
Women who have chosen to brave the hurts and suffering in this life with strength and hope. Those of us who embrace all of life’s bittersweet offerings knowing that the level of our sorrows is only so great because our ability to love is even greater.
Those who understand that survival is not just a choice, but also a privilege we embrace and to which we cling.
Those of us who support and encourage each other in a way that only we who can relate can.
Those of us who are Still Standing.
I am so honored to be with you.
I’m small, but scrappy! I have a fierce passion for my family, friends and life in general…I’m a military spouse who has battled infertility for over 13 years, as well as the loss of two babies gone too soon. I love to laugh, and am grateful for every second I celebrate with the ones I love. You can find me at my blog Lori Does Maryland or on Facebook Lori Mullins Ennis or on The Twitter here Lori M. Ennis