‘We felt left out of the parents’ club. It was comical how easily everybody else could have a baby. You’d look around the zoo, the grocery store, the mall. EVERY.SINGLE. PERSON has 1, 2, 3 kids.’

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“I wanted to share how thankful and lucky I am for my infertility journey, because those deep in the trenches may need that extra encouragement to realize that although frustrated and sad today…. I promise you will be thankful tomorrow!

There are all different layers, severities, and stories to infertility and pregnancy loss, but they are all real and equally as devastating to the couples and women that are experiencing it in their real lives.

While infertility is heartbreaking, despite the sadness I felt going through it, I did always remind myself that things could be soooo much worse. There is sadness and tragedy all around us. After losing my dad to a 2 year battle with cancer at 20 years old…. I learned early on how precious life is, so even on my darkest days I always told myself, how lucky I was to have the blessings I did have in my life. This is very important to remember because although frustrating being grateful for what you do have can really change your outlook on disappointments.

Rewind several years ago to when I felt broken, left out; confused, helpless, angry, frustrated, jealous and just downright sad… I would not have wished this upon my worst enemy. The early years of ‘trying on your own’ I try to block out of my mind…. talk about challenging!!!! Getting negative pregnancy tests after every procedure that went perfectly was so mindboggling (Especially being a labor and delivery nurse where it seemed the whole world was birthing babies at the drop of a hat!) Then getting the few positive tests, and taking at least 15 more, every day, sometimes twice a day (no joke) just to make sure the line was getting darker…. only to have it all end. As if it was all just a dream. It was soul crushing. The endless doctor appointments, tests, blood work, and consults were exhausting and left me feeling like I was on autopilot. I felt as if I would jump through fire to have a family of my own and so I just kept pushing forward like a robot despite every disappointment, road block, or outcome. And the financial aspects were just flat out ridiculous and unfair, as our insurance covered nothing! I often said we were using all of our money for the future just to have a future, and that our possible child’s college fund was spent conceiving them. It is EXPENSIVE and that added burden added so much more stress to the battle! You literally throw thousands of dollars down the toilet with every unsuccessful attempt.

Courtesy Krista Groeniger

Not everyone wants to have a family, but when you do want one, and no matter what you do, or how hard you try, you still can’t …..It sucks the life out of you! You find yourself looking around at the zoo, the grocery store, the mall, or on TV, and it feels as if EVERY.SINGLE. PERSON has one, two, three kids, and it feels as if you are living a cruel joke. It fills your heart with jealousy and envy and leaves you sick to your stomach at every single pregnancy announcement on social media. Every holiday suddenly became a reminder at what my life lacked, and what I was trying so hard to have. My husband and I started to be excluded from social events, and conversations. We felt left out of the parents’ club, and we started to feel like the life we wanted was something we had to look at on an observation deck. It seemed comical at how easily everybody else seemed to be able to have a baby. On accident, on birth control, unplanned, or planned perfectly, first try, or even last try! Holding back tears with a forced smile, you had to congratulate yet another miracle….

And it is a miracle. It is an absolute miracle. Working as a labor and delivery nurse you see not just the good. You see the very ugly and devastating side to pregnancy and childbirth. I know several amazingly strong women that have lost their babies at an unimaginable time. It is a miracle to conceive a baby, and it is a miracle to deliver a healthy baby. It is not a guarantee and to have one is an absolute blessing.

Others in the throes of infertility have asked for my advice, or how to get through it emotionally. I know that while I was in a dark, dark place, my husband and I tried to find every sad opportunity as an opportunity to dance in the rain (Which became one of our mantras.) We used these challenges to grow as a couple, take a trip, plan a date, meet new people or learn something new. We listened to Bob Marley’s Three little birds (‘don’t worry about a thing, because every little thing is going to be all right’) on repeat constantly. Talking to other couples that experienced this left us feeling not so alone. We held onto other mantras such as hold onto hope to inspire us. We tried to turn our disappointments into purpose by planting flowers for our losses or sharing on social media to help others. We took pictures and documented our entire journey to be able to look back at how far we came. Celebrating the simple joys in life are what kept us remembering how lucky we already were.

Courtesy Krista Groeniger

And even when that voice inside started to creep in telling me I may never have children, had me questioning if I was meant to be a mom, or had me reevaluating my entire life…. I still held onto hope that it would happen to us. But I did always ask myself, why. Why is this taking so long? Why me? Why us? Why do I keep miscarrying? They told us nothing was medically wrong with my husband and I, but what was wrong with us then???It was all so hard to wrap my head around.

Well on November 9th, 2017…. I learned the answer to my questions. After 5plus years, countless procedures, hundreds of shots, dozens of negative tests, 4miscarriages, 10 IUI’s, and 2 rounds of IVF, I had my daughter Emma Hope…. our miracle, and our rainbow after the storm.

Courtesy Krista Groeniger

The answer to my questions…. was that I was waiting for her. Her and only her. Throughout my journey my mom always told me that someday things would all make sense. If I had not had all of my struggles, I would not have her. Yes, this concept is easy to see on the other side, but it really could not be truer. When you have the baby or family you are meant to have, the waiting and heartbreak suddenly all make sense.

Courtesy Krista Groeniger

Emma was who was meant to be here, meant to be our first, meant to make me a mom, and meant to be in our family. She was why I had to wait so long to have a baby. And she is the reason I am thankful for infertility.

So, thank you infertility, for teaching me to have more patience, forcing me to dig deeper than ever and to stay strong; for persevering despite the odds, heartbreaks, roadblocks, and delays. Thank you for giving me a purpose to fight for and to be able to choose hope every day.

Thank you for allowing us to strengthen our marriage and have 8 wonderful years as a couple to travel, sleep in, and be ‘just us’.

Thank you for enabling us to help others and to work with wonderful organizations to help raise awareness. I am so thankful I was able see the amazing kindness and support that was shown to my husband and I from family, friends, coworkers, and strangers.

Thank you infertility, for allowing me to appreciate every single second of my pregnancy. Although I was too scared to enjoy it in fear, I would jinx it, and felt like a frozen zombie, I loved and felt grateful every day even when feeling sick, or uncomfortable.

Thank you for allowing me to truly understand that such a basic, normal thing, such as having a family is truly one of the greatest miracle’s life has to offer. I feel lucky to have been given such a unique view of being a mom, because when you think you may never be one, every day feels like a dream come true.

Thank you for allowing me to see a car seat in the car, or toys on the floor as the most beautiful site, and to appreciate even the most difficult days.

Thank you infertility for not letting me take one second for granted, for holding her while she napped for an entire year, for rocking her to sleep every single night, for going without sleep just to spend more time with her, for taking 10,000 pictures and 900 videos her first year and for celebrating every insignificant first milestone. I am thankful that I had six years to plan for her and be able to make years of Pinterest boards finally come to life. Thank you, infertility, for letting me have the very best view, after the hardest climb.

Infertility is just flat out sad. It feels like you are stuck in a dark hole, where you helplessly sit and just wait, until hopefully it is your turn. But don’t give up. If you want a family, it will happen. Whether it is to have a baby of your own, via donor, surrogacy, or an adoption, it will happen, and you will look back and be truly thankful for your journey. And it will all make sense. It is the most worth it thing! But in the meantime, hold onto hope, dance in the rain and enjoy the ride!”

Courtesy Krista Groeniger

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Krista Groeniger, 37, of Columbus, Ohio.  Follow her journey on Instagram hereDo you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

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