Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The past few months have been a struggle.

I have a condition that makes it difficult for me to get pregnant, so I’ve been seeing a fertility specialist since August. It’s not very fun—lots of invasive, uncomfortable, and discouraging procedures.

After several months of tests and treatments, I got pregnant in January. I was very excited for a couple of weeks, until I found out that the pregnancy was ectopic. It was a huge bummer and very painful—emotionally and physically.

My body is finally back to normal after the ectopic pregnancy, so later this month they are going to give me a laporoscopy to either fix or remove my fallopian tube. It’s not a major procedure, but I am nervous about it anyway. After my body heals from the surgery, I can start fertility treatments again. On the one hand, I can't wait to get started with the treatments again (because I really want a baby), but on the other hand, I am dreading it. You really can't imagine (or maybe you can) how uncomfortable these procedures are--not to mention emotionally exhausting. Think annual OBGYN exam x 100. Think five doctors appointments in the span of a few weeks, every single month. Think pills that make you crazy and chubby and tired. SIGH.

I am not a very patient person. Throughout my life, whenever I’ve really wanted something, I could just work really hard to make it happen. Not so for a baby. I can’t explain all of the emotions that I have felt (from anger to sadness to acceptance to worry to peace to depression), but I’ll just say that it has been very difficult for me.

Currently, I am in San Diego visiting my little sister. We went to the Mormon Battalion Visitor Center tonight, and we watched a video about their journey across the desert. At the time, the hardships that they were enduring seemed very pointless; but in the subsequent decades, it became obvious to them that their experiences while crossing the desert were a blessing from God and prepared them for the rest of their lives.

As I watched the film, I couldn’t help but hope that one day, I will look back on my own frustrating journey and realize how much good came out of it.

In addition to the fertility treatments, Ryan and I have also started the adoption process. We figure that if we are doing treatments and adoption at the same time, one of the two is bound to get us a little Nielson! Both options may take many months (and maybe years but let’s pray not), so we figured we better start now. The nice thing about starting the adoption process is that it has given me something proactive to do about this trial in my life. I am excited about it.

I know much of this (perhaps all of it) is news to a lot of you; I haven’t felt ready to share and still feel somewhat weird talking about my most private and personal life on a blog. But it was time to acknowledge what has been consuming me for the past few months.

A wise friend recently told me, “It will all work out in the end—and if it doesn’t, it’s not the end."  I like that sentiment, and I do know it's true.

It will all work out in the end--but for now, it is hard.  


  1. Taking the struggle public. Very brave. But I think it will help and people will be more sensitive about whining about their kids and pregnancies in front of you. I am always careful around people who don't have kids now JUST IN CASE. You can never be TOO sensitive to stuff like that.

    I have been thinking a lot lately about what you said about patience and how you've been able to get almost everything in life that you wanted with hard work but not this. Maybe you just need to learn to let go and not be in control and then the babies will come. I have no doubt that you and Ry will have a big, happy family, and BELIEVE ME, once kids come you can not control them all of the time. Period. You have to let them be who they are, even when they are making bad choices or choosing a life you don't approve of, or so all of the wise older women that I know keep telling me. :) But this is a sucky way to learn the "let go and be patient" lesson!

    I love you.

  2. sending you our love and prayers. The Lord loves your family so much! It will work out alright! Thanks so much for sharing! xoxoxo

  3. I agree with Sarah - it is very brave to talk about your struggle publicly, but I applaud you for it! I believe you will find great strength as you share your experience with others. When we were trying to get pregnant with Mason (18 months) it was astounding how many fellow women "came out of the woodwork" with similar challenges. You are not alone! Our thoughts & prayers are with you & the knowledge that Heavenly Father knows exactly what is going on and has a plan. Keep pressing on!

  4. I am so sorry. This has to be so hard to wait and wait and continue to be dissapointed. I obviously can't imagine because it was always very easy for me and I always knew I was extremely lucky.

    I wish you the very best. I promise you that whatever you have to go through for this to happen. . .totally worth it. This is such a righteous thing to desire and I know that you will be able to have all the blessings of family someday. You are going to make such a good momma. I am SOOO impressed with you in every way. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I don't know why I always get so emotional when I read your blog. Maybe signs of a good writer? Or maybe I just know what a genuinely good person you are and I hate when I hear you are having struggles. Probably both. I didn't know you had started the adoption process though. I think that's wonderful.

    Your story reminded me a little of my cousin. He got married and moved to San Diego to go to law school and the whole time they were there, his wife couldn't get pregnant. It was hard for them being nearly the only couple that was childless, when they wanted to start a family so badly. They had been married for about 6 years, I think, when they finally were able to adopt. When their little boy was a couple years old, she miraculously got pregnant. After doctors had told her she never would be able to. I remember when she told me she was pregnant and I couldn't help but cry. I was soooo happy for them. It's interesting how things work out because obviously if they had been able to get pregnant, they would have never adopted their son, and he needed to be a part of their family. I'm not saying this is how your story will end up, but it's just comforting to know that Heavenly Father really does have a plan for you. And even if you don't know the reasons now, it WILL work out the way it's supposed to. And in the meantime, your influence on those high school students is immeasurable.

  6. Sorry to hear about the ectopic pregnancy Rachel...that has to be so frustrating. I think about you guys and your struggle a lot, as my brother and sister in law are going through the same thing right now. I know you have Ryan, great sisters and an awesome family to support you...but if you ever need anyone else to talk to, cry to, eat whole pans of browines with, etc...know that I am here for you if you ever need me.

  7. Wow! I am so sorry! You are brave to share all this with the world, but it probably is a sort of therapy too. We all have our own struggles, and I am still trying to convince myself, like you, that this will help us in the long run! And my us grateful for what we have and to be stronger people! I wish you all the best with the adoption process and everything else!

  8. I'm amazed at how much doctors know about the (terribly complicated) reproductive process.
    And just think, if the adoption and fertility processes work out at the same time, it would be like having twins-- except with only half the stretch marks.
    Sorry I don't have anything helpful to say. ;) Loves and prayers-- Chelsea

  9. You wonderful woman, it will work out!

    One of Dave's brothers is adopted. He is the baby of the family, though, 8 years after the last pregnancy my mother-in-law had. But he just fits into their family, belongs with them. Every year they celebrate his birthday AND his adoption day (because of some complications, it's a couple months apart), and I've been able to participate in that twice now. If you can adopt a baby, I am sure that it will bring you and Ryan some much deserved joy.

  10. Rach! I found your blog recently and have been loper-ish-ly reading it for a week or so. Rach, you have a mother heart (a la Gen. Relief Society Presidency). Your example has taught me more than you'd probably ever know and I am certain the Lord is putting you in positions where your mother heart can touch and bless others. I will hope and pray for you that your body will recover quickly and that either through treatments or adoption that your mother heart will be a blessing to your own children sometime very soon. You're a brave, strong woman and God always reimburses us 100 fold for every sadness or sorrow we endure (a la Elder Wirthlin). Thoughts, love and prayers are with you!

  11. Rach, I am so so sorry to hear that you are going through this. I can only imagine how hard it is. I think that by sharing this on the blog you'll have a lot more prayers coming your way! Things will work out, but it really stinks to have to wait when you are so ready and to have to go through so much heartache before you get there. I love you and like you am excited for the day you get your little Nielson! I will be thinking of you and praying for you often.

  12. rachel, you have influenced so many kids lives already. countless kids lives, if you ask me. the friends we had growing up that struggled with their health all along the way, the kids at handicamp, the kids in el salvador, the kids in your classes, and your nephew, no doubt.
    one might say you were put on this earth to influence kids positively and believe in them. at the very least is an overwhelming strength of yours.
    because of this, i have no doubt that your needs to be a mother will be met in one way or another. sometimes it is hard to see how huge this life is when something seems so huge in your heart. you know? like how mothering a child is so huge in your heart which makes it hard to see how it fits in with the big picture (for lack of better term).
    i hope for you that you can take care of yourself during this time. like stretching, massage, lots of veggies, going on runs, steamy baths, sleep (you are better at that now? right?), cuddling, chocolate, and drink so much water! whatever it is that you need to relax. you may already be doing this but i know of a bunch of herbs that can help, like teas and stuff if you want. let me know and i can send you a long list of natural stress and anxiety relievers.
    YOU ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT part of this process right now. so please take the time to get your needs met. you deserve it so much! i love you!

  13. can i first say that you are my hero.
    really Rachel.
    my HERO.
    i don't know and other person SO wonderful and SO full of love.
    just PURE love.
    i try each day to be more like you honey.
    my saying goes. . . What would Rachel do? ;)
    your amazing.

    NOW. . .
    no one in this world deserves to be parents more than you and Ryan.
    it WILL happen for you guys. . . one way or another.

    i think adoption is down right fantastic!
    {personally, i have always wanted to adopt a child}
    think of all the little wonderful spirits that come here to the Earth and have no one?
    you could be their someone.
    you could be their momma.
    and you would be perfect at it. . . i KNOW it.

    i love you Rachel. . . let me know if i can help in any way.
    i may not have much to give. . . but we could make cards? just talk?
    or possibly see a movie and eat Doritos?
    or make brownies and then eat them all?
    or roll around on the floor laughing? ;)

    and hey!
    thank you for sharing this with us out here in the world.
    these life stories is what inspires me to do better and BE better :)
    love you dear!

  14. Oh Rachel, I love you. I hope I've told you many times how much I look up to you. I'm sorry to hear of your struggle. I know and have known many people who've gone through the same thing. I know it will all work out in the end! For two amazing people like you guys it certainly will. It is hard what trials life will deal us, isn't it? They, of course, have to be trials that are very difficult for us individually to deal with. I'm excited for you guys! And will pray for you.

  15. Sorry for your heartache, Rachel. I seriously could have written this post two years ago... in fact I think I did. Matt and I struggled with primary and secondary infertility. We decided to become licensed for foster/adoptive care in our state. We knew that we would have our family somehow, just like you and Ryan will. We wanted to do everything we could to increase our chances.

    My husband went ahead and had surgery to correct his varicocele (causing the infertility) and we kept trying for a baby. We also completed the 10 weeks of classes to become adoptive parents, did background checks, home inspection, etc. The same week we got our license to adopt I found out I was pregnant! It's bizarre that it happened that way. It was definitely a miracle and we acknowledge that every day. Our little guy is now two years old and we couldn't have planned it any better than the way it happened.

    It will happen for you. Whether by pregnancy or adoption you will have your own little family to love! If there's a will, there's a way. Hugs and prayers to you two.


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