OUR GREATEST ADVENTURE
When Bryan and I got married, I had just turned 21 and couldn't wait to just enjoy married life. With a year and a half left of school, the idea of having a honeymoon baby, or a baby before at least 3 years of marriage, was terrifying and completely out of my plans; I hurried to get on the pill before our wedding to ensure this. But here's the thing...sometimes there are bigger plans in place for us and God has his ways of making them known.
We had only been married for about 3 months when I started to feel that pull. You know, the one where you look at babies around you and just want to steal them away and eat them up (figuratively, of course). I started having dreams of our own babies and with a lot of prayer and trips to the temple, I decided to get off birth control and let whatever was supposed to happen, happen. I felt so strongly that this was the right choice for us and trusted in my instincts.
But we didn't get pregnant.
I was impatient and kept feeling that pull, stronger and stronger. I believe that families are the most important things we can have on this Earth and I wanted so badly to experience that joy. I wanted to watch Bryan become a father, something I know he had been wanting for a very long time. We were told by a doctor in Hawai'i and by many of our friends that it could take about 6 months to a year for my body to regulate after getting off the pill. So we trusted and waited.
Bryan and I lived a very active lifestyle. We were at the gym every morning, eating clean with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, swimming, diving, and playing in the ocean, and hiking as much as we could. But within six months of our efforts, I found myself gaining weight; the change was subtle but it was everywhere and in places that I normally didn't gain. I looked at pictures of myself and didn't even recognize me. I tried not to let it bother me. I tried to focus on my health and how I felt so I wouldn't become fixated on my body, but even after switching to a whole food, mostly plant-based diet and doing hours of the activities that I loved, I found myself constantly exhausted and unable to stop the weight gain.
And we still didn't get pregnant.
We continued to pray, read our scriptures, fast, and attend the temple regularly. It became one of the only ways that I could find peace. Month after month, I felt so alone as so many of our friends and peers were having babies with what appeared to be no effort at all. We were so happy for them, but with each announcement, it brought the painful thought that maybe it would never happen for us. I had known a few couples who struggled with infertility and had to use treatments like IVF in order to finally have their babies. I started to think that this might be our trial as well. But we continued to pray and I never stopped receiving the peace I was seeking, even at my lowest points.
Time passed and before we knew it, we had been trying for well over a year with no luck. Most conversations with new people started with "so how long have you been married?" and when we replied that it had been over a year, the next question was almost always "so are you guys going to have kids soon?". It was an innocent question that brought an awkward choice - simply tell them "nope, not yet!" and leave it at that or open up and explain our struggle. As much as others tried to help when I chose the latter, their comfort was often in vain. "It'll happen when the time is right". "Just enjoy being married". "Just enjoy the practice"- that one was the creepiest. "Don't worry about it, God's timing is best". I knew all these things to be true, but they did little to bring support and comfort. I didn't blame any of our well-wishers, I knew they were genuine sentiments. But it weren't for Bryan and some of our closest friends, I would have been very alone.
About 18 months into our journey, I graduated college, we prepared to leave our beautiful island home, and I still had not gotten pregnant.
Leaving Hawai'i was one of the most difficult decisions we had to make. Whenever we talked about what we looked forward to the most with our family, it was watching our children grow a love for the ocean and tiny naked baby buns in the sand (even now, that's what I imagine). But Heavenly Father had another plan for us and we decided to follow. First, I went to California to stay with my parents and visit a doctor there who would hopefully have answers for me. I met with her and, after running some blood tests on my hormones, she told me that there was no answer as to why I wasn't pregnant and I just needed to be patient. As you can imagine, that wasn't the answer I was hoping for from her.
When we finally got to Utah, all of our most fervent prayers for answers came in the form of Dr. Hans Raynor at Mt. Timpanogos Infertility and Endocrinology. Within minutes of getting into his office and merely telling him our story - the thirty pounds I had gained, how disconnected I felt from my body, my thinning hair and fatigue, our efforts for two years with no results, the pain and suffering that had gone unacknowledged by my other doctors - he was able to diagnose me with hyperprolactinemia. This condition started when I got off birth control; the change in hormones triggered my pituitary gland to secrete a hormone known as prolactin, which is found in breastfeeding mothers. This hormone in particular was not only telling my body that I had just had a baby, but that I needed to have enough energy to feed it. This was the cause of my weight gain and infertility, as the prolactin was also telling my body that I didn't need to ovulate for the last two years. Oh the irony. Within a week, Dr. Raynor had me on medication to suppress my prolactin levels.
And within another 4 months, we finally got pregnant.
We want to thank all of our friends and family that prayed for us in our time of need and want you to know that your prayers, and ours, did not go unheard. The most important thing with infertility is to remember that you are not alone! If you have any questions or need a friend who understands, know that I am here, waiting to help.