I still remember the day I first started my cycle. I normally can’t remember what I did yesterday so I’m not sure why my brain feels the need to store this useless memory that I’d prefer to erase. I suppose it’s what I call PTPD (post traumatic period disorder) that engraves those not so fun cycle memories into my brain for life. I’ve experienced several abnormal symptoms and severe pain since middle school. Here’s a quick summary diagram of some honorable mentions since that day.
I prayed in 2018 that God would use our journey in a powerful way to help others as well as show His grace and mercy. He answered that prayer and then some. But like me, not everyone walks away from infertility with a baby.
In 2017, I had a severe change in bowel habits. Nothing was moving y’all. I used to always dread the thought of the day when I would be much older having to drink the disgusting bowel prep called GoLytely for a colonoscopy. Then I would giggle wondering why they didn’t call it GoHeavily. So, at the ripe old age of 31 I found myself begging for the test and couldn’t wait to drink up to get relief. Turns out, my colon was fine. I had a laparotomy where stage 4 endometriosis was found guilty of the 17+ years of my suffering. I mean what even happened to stages 1-3!? I was advised that if I wanted to have children, I needed to get involved with a fertility specialist as soon as possible as my left fallopian tube was already destroyed.
We’re all promised to face trials of many kinds in our lives. As I’m sure you have experienced, trials can become a detour that’s tremendously hard to walk through and may even bring you to your knees as times. However, I find it extremely important to search for the positive in each trial. God has a way of leading you to beautiful destinations by way of those detours that often exceed your expectations if you’re willing to join Him. I know it doesn’t always feel like it, but I promise it’s there. Keep your focus on the many blessings in your life that you do have instead of the ones you don’t. Invest your time and energy into the activities and people that bring joy into your life. It’s okay to give yourself permission to feel emotions and experience grief during certain events.
The key is to not let yourself stay there to where it consumes your life and sucks all happiness from your life. It’s so easy to fall into depression if all you think and talk about is your misfortunes. Although it looks different, everyone is suffering from something. There’s no need to compare hardships to see who’s had it worse. You don’t have to feel guilty for choosing to pull yourself out of that dark pit to experience joy again. Some of you may think others won’t know how bad you’ve been hurt if you let them see you smile. Don’t worry about getting pity from others. The hurt from the bad times will always be a part of you but that part doesn’t have to control your life forever. I didn’t stop living my life while I was traveling down the path of infertility. I still went fishing, hunting, camping, riding 4-wheelers, etc. I even delayed my hysterectomy surgery so that I could use my 2 weeks of paid vacation instead of wasting 4-8 weeks for the fourth year in a row recovering at home after another surgery that lasted over 4 hours. I spent one week deer hunting and the other on an actual vacation in the breathtaking Montana mountains. Oh my heart exploded at the sights of God’s creation.
My trials have brought me closer to God by growing my faith and trust in His plans and His timing. So often, I found myself so thankful I didn’t get what I thought I wanted at the time. I’ve been able to look back years later and see how God orchestrated parts of my journey. I’ve seen the preparation for what came later that I didn’t know yet. Although it looks different than I imagined, I soak up the opportunities God gives me to play the role my heart desires so bad (through pregnant friends, friend’s kids, sponsored kids, fur-babies, etc.). He always gives me just what I need to get through and fills my heart tank back up when infertility drains it, every single time. It’s always been worth it once I’ve reached the other side. I wouldn’t go back to change anything if I could. My trials allow me to sympathize and connect with others in ways I wouldn’t be able to if I hadn’t experienced them myself.
I’d like to share a few of my many favorite scriptures that have given me so much peace regarding the trials we face:
- “Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever your fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace].” James 1:2-3, AMP.
- “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver”. Malachi 3:3. Do yourself a favor and read the Girlfriend’s in God devotional by Mary Southerland. Its so eye opening.
Knowing it’s not a cure, I chose to have a total hysterectomy hopeful I would get some relief from continuing the yearly trend of clean up surgeries. If nothing else, it will stop the mess it makes every month and that alone is enough. My story will not end with me giving birth to my own biological baby like I once hoped. Turns out these big hips weren’t for carrying babies. They give me a place to prop my patient’s legs while I wrap their legs in wound care. However, I believe with all my heart God has bigger plans that I can’t yet comprehend. I pray that God created my 3 embabies to help a couple experiencing infertility complete their family. It’s still possible for prince charming to fertilize my eggs and have a surrogate carry but I haven’t felt this is in God’s plan or timing and it may not ever be. In the meantime, I can still choose joy, focus my eyes on God’s beautiful creation, be content and thank God for my blessings that are as numerous as the stars.
Each trial is just a chapter, it’s not the end. Because of Jesus, one day we’ll no longer have to walk through valleys. I have a horrible memory (except those bad cycle memories I mentioned) either from early dementia or more likely, anesthesia brain. Seriously when I learn something new, something falls out the back. So, I’ve used my Instagram page as a type of journal to help me with dates, events findings & thoughts of my journey. Then I discovered the wonderful community of others dealing with similar issues. I plan to share some of my favorite things that helped me along my journey and hope that my story helps you in some way. You are not alone my strong fellow infertilians.
With all my love, Ashley Wimberly