Infertility and a bag of chips…

When I was in High School,  I was taught a lesson that I often think about in my journey with infertility.

In my class, the teacher held a small bag of chips.  He didn’t allow us to touch it, he just wanted us to look at it.  He asked if the bag was full.  From looking at it, it looked like a typical filled bag of unopened chips, so the whole class agreed it was full.  He questioned us again, “are you sure, how can you tell by just looking at it?”

This follow up question led to a discussion comparing the bag of chips to us personally or individuals around us.  From a simple glance, most people look happy, content, confident, they may even look like they have the perfect life.  But most times, there is something going on you can’t see from the surface.  Sometimes people feel empty inside, even though from the outside they look completely fine.

Joy

Now I’m not saying everyone is going through terrible trials, but quite often we don’t see the back story of different challenges someone is going through, it may not take up there whole life, but everyone goes through different levels of trials in life.

Growing up, I never thought of infertility as a reason why couples weren’t having kids.  I just figured they were waiting for the “right time.”  It wasn’t something that seemed hard for my Mother and Dad, as they were able to start having kids right away.  My brother and his wife never really struggled, and my sister and her husband were just fine in starting their family.  But then again, I never really saw or heard the back story, perhaps they did struggle to have kids, I just never knew it.

There were times I remember asking my married co-workers if they were going to start having kids soon.  They had been married for sometime, why wouldn’t they start a family?

I wish I had known then what I fully understand and know now.

Assume

One of my struggles with PCOS and infertility is sometimes having the “symptoms” of being pregnant, without actually being pregnant.  I’ve put on weight in my lower abdomen, making me look pregnant when wearing a fitted shirt, I regularly feel nauseated in the morning, and I haven’t had a regular cycle in years.

I’ve had multiple times when sweet older ladies in my church will come up and ask when my baby is due.  Or they’ll say, you’ve put on some weight, are you expecting?  Each time feeling like a knife is stabbing my heart.

It’s hard for me to be angry in situations like this, because I know they are doing it with the kindest of hearts, but that doesn’t keep the painful ache and strongest desire to want to say yes, I am expecting! Or my baby is due in (fill in the blank) months.  But right now, I can’t.

That simple lesson of a bag of chips has taught me, 10 years later, not to judge or assume I know what someone is going through, because most likely I have no idea.

Timing

I’ve learned to approach them with the attitude that will help them feel like I’m not judging and making assumptions about what they are going through.  I’ve had many surprising experiences talking to people, realizing that they share similar trials, but are going through a different journey than I am in their trials.

I know that people I’ve known my whole life, who have seen that I’ve put on weight and haven’t had kids yet make their silent assumptions about me, but most don’t know fully what I struggle with, and that’s okay.  The people closest to me know, understand, love and support me through it all.

But I also know that individuals who may not struggle with infertility have their own set of trials they are challenged with and they may look at me thinking I live such a great happy life (which I most definitely do) but they don’t see where I’m challenged as well.

Rather than figure the grass is always greener on the other side, get the watering pot and start taking care of your side and make it just as green, and don’t always assume their bag of chips is full!

Thanks for reading, go eat a bag of chips (like Ruffles Sour Cream and Cheddar, best chips ever!) and have a great weekend! 🙂

love, hannah jane

 

Comparison

 

Baby Making Journey: Newly Weds, PCOS and Perseverance

**Warning: Long-ish Post!  I tried to keep it brief, but the thought kept flowing! I think that’s why it took so long to post this.

I was blessed to find a husband who for one, came from a very large family (he’s #3 of 12!!!!!…Tradition Polynesian Family), and two shared the same dream of wanting a large family (myself coming from a family of 7 kids, me being #5). When we were dating and engaged we would regularly talk about our dreams in having a large family (10+ kids)!

 

We thought starting a family would be a breeze (hence coming from highly populated families) and we would start growing our family right away.

Throughout our 1st year of marriage, as we were hoping to get pregnant, I noticed that my body wasn’t cycling the way it should, which led to multiple times throughout the year thinking I was pregnant sadly later finding out I wasn’t.

I was told that sometimes our bodies will change after getting married and dealing with new stress and experiences,so I just figured my body was going through the “newly wed” changes and I didn’t think anything of it.

August 2015
August 2015: Almost a year married

Within a year of getting married, I had gained 75 pounds.  It came on slowly yet came out of no where.  I had recently started a desk job, but I was still exercising regularly.  So I was a little confused and frustrated that I had put on weight so quickly, when my body had never acted this way.

I was discouraged we hadn’t started our family, however I always felt that everything would be fine because we were so passionate about having a large family and eventually things would work out our way.

My sister mentioned that I might have PCOS.  I had never heard of it before, and after doing a little research, I related to majority of the symptoms: weight gain, irregular periods, hair loss, oily skin, difficulty getting pregnant.  I was a little in denial that I could possibly have it, but at the same time, deep down, I knew that I had it.

NewZealand
New Zealand Nov 2016: One month after being diagnosed with PCOS

I found a local OBGYN, and set up an appointment.  I remember sitting in the waiting room for my first appointment, next to multiple young pregnant mothers, with that glow and excitement about them.  I ached to be in their position, a little envious seeing that most of them were a lot younger than myself.

I’m thankful for the Physician’s Assistant that I met with, Dawn.  She was an answer to my prayers.  After a couple of tests it was confirmed to her and reconfirmed to me that I most definitely had PCOS, but the way she approached it helped me change my attitude about the diagnosis.

She immediately started providing resources to me that would help me learn more about PCOS,  her attitude was very calming and reassuring to me that PCOS was not going to keep us from starting our family, just a speed bump we would have to work through with patience.

Since then all the way up until meeting with the Utah Fertility Center (UFC), Dawn has been such a great support, listening ear when I needed a good venting, always encouraging and suggest I meet with the UFC.

Time and time again, my gratitude for Doctors and Physician Assistants is very abundant and overflowing as I continue to persevere through this journey.

love, hannah jane

“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.”–Walter Elliot