Tag Archives: baby

A poem for National Infertility Awareness Week

April 23-29, 2017 is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). The CDC tells us that 15% of couples, more than 1 in 8, struggle to conceive. This seems like a surprisingly​ high number. But as I count those of my closest friends who have struggled with infertility, and run out of fingers on both hands, I know this is sadly a problem that all too many have faced.

I write this post today in honor of NIAW and to add my voice to the voices of many women and men experiencing the difficulties of infertility, who have shared their stories this week.

This is not the first time I have posted about my fertility struggles. You can read my previous posts by clicking the ‘INFERTILITY’ tab above or here: Our Journey to Parenthood, We Are Ready For You, Thankful for those little thingsOur baby journey continues, and Strength and Faith.

As I sit down to write a new post, I ponder what facet of infertility I should write about this time. In my previous posts I have shared our fertility story to date. I have wanted to be open and honest about our journey, and it is cathartic for me to write. I hope my posts might help to dispel some of the taboo surrounding infertility, to help people to understand, to support others who might be experiencing infertility themselves or know someone who is, and to be real about one of numerous struggles we can face as humans. In addition to sharing the details of our experience, and the emotions we have felt, the over-riding theme that kept coming to me was of the lessons I’ve learned that I can share with others.  Lessons on how we can deal with this messy, beautiful thing called ‘life’ – patience, perseverance, gratitude, connectedness, love, and faith, to name a few.

What should I share today? I sit. I close my eyes. I think. I feel. Words start coming into my head. Then the sound of my heart beat, loud and strong. A poem is stirring inside of me. I wait for it to come. The words pour onto the page. This is my poem:

My womb is empty, But my heart is strong.

My womb is empty,
A hollow void,
An empty chamber,
My deepest thoughts and fears,
Echoing against it’s “barren” walls.
Wanting, hoping, waiting.

But my heart is strong.
Thump, thump … thump, thump …
My blood moves through my body,
Like I move through life –

I hear the sound of one heartbeat,
But there is room for two.
I wait,
For the faster beat of another’s,
To join mine,
Creating a symphony.

These compositions* are beautiful,  (* life with children)
Messy, but beautiful,
Louder and faster,
They can make your head spin,
Other times peaceful and soft,
Filling your heart with immense joy.

Sometimes however,
The composer writes a different song.
Choosing His timing carefully,
Waiting longer* to reveal the crescendo, (*infertility)
Some of His pieces wildly different, unexpected*  (*surrogacy, adoption, life without children)
Each vital and brilliant in their own way.

Thump, thump … thump, thump …
My womb is empty,
But my heart is strong.
I feel it in my chest,
Vibrant, healthy
Letting me know that I am ALIVE!

Lydia Kluge 4/29/17

My womb is empty but my heart is strong

We Are Ready For You

Two years ago I wrote about ‘Our Journey to Parenthood‘.  Now two years later, and four years of trying to conceive, our journey continues.  It is a journey of highs and lows, and incredible insights.  I believe sharing our raw emotions and lessons we’ve learned is how we connect as humans.  It can be hard to stay strong and positive in our faith and relationships during these challenges, but through love and support we can. These are my latest thoughts on our journey….


To Our Dearest Child,

There is scarcely a day in recent past where I have not thought of you – your long eyelashes resting angelically on your cheeks as you sleep, the movement of your lips gently suckling as you think of your next feed, the soft downy hair on your head catching the sunlight, the tiny pads of your fingers and toes. Your image is in my mind and heart, a constant companion and reminder you are not yet with us. Some days the void is more apparent. We dearly want you here – to hear the sweet sound of a child within our home, to feel you in our arms – to fill us with your presence. We are ready for you.

Why are you not yet here? Is there something more we can do? You are in our thoughts and decisions. We anticipate you being here. A small smile spreads on my face as my eyes scan our living room. We chose our furniture with you in mind, our side and coffee tables with rounded edges, “So, when we have a child they won’t hurt themselves on sharp corners” we told the salesperson. I look out of the window and see the area we leveled for a swing set, just as we did in our last house. I worry about the tree blocking my view to keep an eye on you and check you are safe as you play, but I imagine I will be outside playing with you much of the time. I raise my eyes to our second floor and see your bedroom door. We have painted your room for you and had the carpet repaired. We received a crib that our niece and nephews used, and your Dad and I built it together last year. “Build it and they will come!” your Dad always says. We are ready for you.

Is there a lesson we must learn before you arrive? Your Dad and I have learned so much over the last few years. It was hard when we were first married – each of us adjusting to putting the other person before ourselves, being thoughtful, communicating clearly, and making decisions as a team. We are both stubborn and headstrong. There was anger and tears at times, but there is also so much fun and joy. Oh, how your Dad makes me laugh – his smile, his energy and enthusiasm. We have come such a long way and grown so much. We are a better team now. We appreciate each other more. We have a deeper love and respect for each other. I am thankful we have had this time to learn and grow before you arrived. There will be more learning and growing to do, I know, but we are ready for you.

The last four years have been an unforgettable journey. The day we decided we wanted to bring you into the world, and all that has passed since. I picture your Dad and I on a boat, riding the waves of hope and disappointment, up and down, joy and pain. Sometimes your Dad is the captain and sometimes I am, taking it in turns to row or bail out water, keeping us afloat. We see our destination. We move towards it. We are ready for you.

This is not a journey of sadness though. We have so much to be grateful for and have experienced great joy on the way. We must remember this. So often it can feel like we are in limbo, waiting for something to happen, waiting for you to arrive. I used to cringe when people told me several years into our fertility journey, “Enjoy life while you can, before you have children” – thinking they had no idea how we felt. Now I realize we must enjoy life now, we must remember to be in the present, not in a constant state of waiting. I look around me and my heart is glad. We are so fortunate. Our lives are rich with the blessings of amazing family and friends, of travel and adventure, of professional and personal success and fulfilment. I look out the window at the beauty that surrounds me, of all that God has given us, and I am so very grateful. We appreciate each day and each blessing. But, as I bring my attention back inside I notice once more you are not here to enjoy life with us. We are ready for you.

Life without children can be hard (as it surely is with them – I have no disillusions of that). Our society often seems designed for families. It is expected of us. We tend to define a female in her role as a wife and mother, for women who choose not to bear children, or those of us who struggle with it, that brings immense pressure and judgement.  Childless couples can be met with surprise and suspicion. We feel the need to explain ourselves. There is upset and shame involved in not being able to deliver a baby.  You can feel responsible, even though there is nothing you have done or can do to change it. Your Dad and I are so thankful for the overwhelming support we have had – the wonderful family and friends who have sustained us on this journey. They make a great effort to include us in activities, even if we are the only ones without a baby strapped to us on a hike or without a toddler at the park. They identify with us in other ways, as they did before. Sweet child, you are lucky to have the best support network of children and adults, who are all ready to love you, as they do us. We are ready for you.

Our family, friends, and God have kept us strong during our fertility treatments over the last two years – four IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) procedures in 2014 and two IVFs (In Vitro Fertilization) in 2015. We focus on the power of prayer and positive thinking through these. Your Dad was, and continues to be, the best husband throughout. He will be an amazing Dad too. I cannot wait to be a family with the two of you. During IVFs we had to drive to the clinic nearly every day for ultrasounds and blood tests. We did injections each night too. I found it almost impossible to stick a needle in myself, especially the 1.5” ones. Luckily, your Dad did them for me. He is very caring and patient towards me; he held my hand, rubbed my injection sites in small circles, spoke in soft whispers, encouraged me, and calmed me. At the appointments, we monitored the follicles growing, hoping that one of them would contain you. We are ready for you.

When they retrieved the eggs for IVF, I went under general anesthetic. They retrieved fourteen the first time and nine the second. The doctor told us we make excellent quality embryos so we are very hopeful. Both times after several days, they implanted two embryos. I was awake for this. We watched the process on a screen. I could not stop smiling and exclaiming my amazement to see the embryos transferred, dancing their way up the catheter where they would be placed in my womb, their new home. Throughout this journey, we are increasingly awed by the miracle that is conception and life, and bringing you into this world. The embryologist gave us photos of the beautiful perfect little cells. We prayed every day for them to take and implant or “Throw down their anchor!” as your Dad said fondly. We had hoped they would become you. We are ready for you.

We prayed about and visualized the embryos strong and healthy. I pictured myself with you, a baby, in my womb, growing each month, imagining myself looking in the mirror at my rounded figured and smiling. I pictured holding you in my arms. I created a vision board, I sketched myself with two babies, our two embryos, and I said positive statements every day. We were calm and optimistic. I imagined all of my loved ones sitting in a circle alongside us, smiling, supporting us. We are ready for you.

I was so sure that we had conceived you, that when people who knew we were in the process of IVF would say, “If it doesn’t happen this time, it will be ok, it will happen next time.” I would get angry. I did not want that to enter my psyche. I did not want to consider any possibility except that you were already growing in my womb. It upset me. However, unbeknownst to me at the time, I needed to hear their words, as sadly these two attempts at IVF did not work. We were devastated. It was worse than failing to conceive on regular cycles, as we were more physically, spiritually, and emotionally involved than ever. I told your Dad that I knew we both had a great inner strength, and that tenacity and perseverance were strong character traits of us both, but why were they being tested? It seemed unfair. We felt that this process had brought us so close to each other and that we had learned to support and balance each other better than ever. We had more to learn, but we are nearly there. We are ready for you.

If we could bring you into this world through trying, you would be with us already. In other areas of life when there is a goal you are after you can control it somewhat, through energy and effort to succeed. We have tried so hard, but bringing you into this world is not an area in which we have power. I get confused sometimes about how much is in our hands and how much is in God’s. Many people believe it is all in God’s timing and control. There is also the idea that God wants us to work at things too and not just wait for things to happen. We will continue to do what we can, and continue to learn the power of patience, trust, and prayer. Waiting is part of the process of what God wants us to be. We feel we are getting closer. We are ready for you.

We are getting ready to start our third IVF treatment at the end of the month, unless by some miracle we have conceived this month. We are optimistic and hopeful it will happen, and we will bring you into this world. We both dearly want to be parents. We have learned so much on this journey. We have learned to enjoy and be grateful for where we are at in our lives, without feeling in a state of waiting. Your Dad and I have learned to love, appreciate, support, and respect each other in new ways. We have gained a greater appreciation of God, and our family and friends, whose love and support upholds us on this journey. We have learned to be patient, trust, and have faith. We know when you enter our lives you will teach us new lessons too. We cannot wait to meet you our darling child. We are ready for you.

Your loving Mum

Images in my mind of of a sweet baby - their fingers, toes, eyelashes, lips.

Images in my mind of of a sweet baby – their fingers, toes, eyelashes, lips.

Ovulation stick - I get excited to see my ovulation peak (based on LH surge). I cannot wait to see the positive sign on a pregnancy test too :)

Ovulation stick – I get excited to see my ovulation peak (based on LH surge). I cannot wait to see the positive sign on a pregnancy test too :)

Some of my IVF drugs arrive in the post.

Some of my IVF drugs arrive in the post.

Injection time - one evening's supply of injections for IVF

Injection time – one evening’s supply of injections for IVF

We have ultrasounds every other day or daily to monitor the size of the follicles. The follicles look like large dark spheres on the ovaries.

We have ultrasounds every other day or daily to monitor the size of the follicles. The follicles look like large dark spheres on the ovaries.

Getting ready for the embryo transfer. Jeff is such a supportive husband and is going to be a great Dad.

Getting ready for the embryo transfer. Jeff is such a supportive husband and is going to be a great Dad.

I looked pretty excited and happy as they are about to transfer the embryos to my womb.

I looked pretty excited and happy as they are about to transfer the embryos to my womb.

The embryos are transferred from a dish into a catheter to be put in my womb. It was amazing to see them dancing up the fluid ready for their new home.

The embryos are transferred from a dish into a catheter to be put in my womb. It was amazing to see them dancing up the fluid ready for their new home.

My body feels like a pincushion. Targets are drawn on either hip for the nightly progesterone injections.

My body feels like a pincushion. Targets are drawn on either hip for the nightly progesterone injections.

The vision board I created with daily positive mantras and pictures.

The vision board I created with daily positive mantras and pictures. I wrote a post on visualization here.

Making a wish by the statue of St. John of Nepomuk on Charles Bridge, Prague. It is said to come true within a year and a day. I imagine you can guess what I wished for!

Making a wish by the statue of St. John of Nepomuk on Charles Bridge, Prague. It is said to be a very sacred place and your wish will come true within a year and a day. I imagine you can guess what I wished for!

An inspirational quote a friend shared recently - something great is about to happen...

An inspirational quote a friend shared recently – something great is about to happen…

Our Journey to Parenthood…

I stand in front of the mirror and look at my reflection, turning this way and that, imagining a soft swell in my belly.   I gently press my hand there and move it in small circles, willing our baby into existence.  Rubbing and wishing, like one would for a genie in a lamp.  Could it have happened this month?   Have we conceived?  I think I feel more tired than usual, and I felt dizzy this week, and the nose bleed earlier…they must be signs.  I chart my temperature, pee on a stick, and swallow half a dozen prenatal tablets.  This is how every morning begins.

I have held off for a while on writing about this topic – our journey to parenthood.  I am nervous to.  There seems to be enough pressure on a couple trying to conceive without letting the whole world know about it.  However, after nearly two years, most of our worlds do know about it.  So, I feel ok with sharing my emotions, that it will be therapeutic, and if it helps or resonates with someone going through the same thing, then all the better for it.

At first, it is exciting, fun – making the momentous decision to bring another being into the world, then going about making that happen.  You think of the child-filled lives stretched out before you – the baby’s sweet smile, their laughter, their first steps – of holding onto your spouse, as you look into their awed, loved-filled face, which mirrors yours.  You imagine the books you will read your child, the skills you will teach, the lessons you will guide them through.  You and your spouse try with abandon.  You laugh in excitement as you imagine the sperm making its way towards the egg, cheering it on.  Each month you fill with anticipation.  You cannot wait for this to be a part of your lives.

After time it becomes harder.  The anticipation becomes uncertainty, worry, pressure.  Disappointment sinks in.  Why isn’t this working?  Is there something wrong with me?  Or with my spouse?  You do not want to find anything wrong with either of you.  That would be hard – one or the other could feel guilty or to blame.  Although you tell yourselves if that did happen, it would not matter – you are in this together, you are a team.  They run tests.  You have numbers and terms assigned to you – excellent, good, normal/average, or the dreaded terms fair or poor.  You feel labelled and categorized. None of our results appeared abnormal, low, or reduced.  It was a relief, but seemed almost as hard as finding something wrong.  We had nothing specific to work with or fix.

That led me to thinking – is it psychological rather than physical?  Are we too stressed?  Do we need to relax more?  There it is, that key term R-E-L-A-X, which everyone tells you to do.  It is easier said than done.  I cannot help but to gather as much information as possible.  I read copious books, I search endless blogs, we see chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage therapists.  We take herbs and vitamins, I stay warm, we get more sleep, drink less caffeine and alcohol, eat more fruits and vegetables, good fats, and less sugar.  The more time it takes, the more willing you are to try anything.  I think, I analyze, I stress.  I try not to stress!  I relax, I do yoga, and I work out – but not too much.  I decide to skip on strenuous workouts, even though the sun is shining and my bike is calling, and I would love to.  I read a book or take a walk instead, and assure myself that this is best for me and for making our baby.

Sometimes I go on that ride, but make it a gentle one.  Once, as I returned home, I saw a father and son side-by-side on their bikes, silhouetted against the sun.  The father’s hand on his son’s back, gently encouraging him along.  My heart ached.  It aches in happiness for them and their bond, but also aches for the child I want and the relationship we will have, and for more than my own needs, for wanting this so badly for my spouse too, that it hurts.

If it is not this father and son, I see others – mothers pushing their babies on the swings, singing to them; infants peering over their father’s shoulders at church, smiling at me; parents and children looking together at the brightly colored fruits in the grocery store; friends with their toddlers, or swollen bellies carrying their child.  Several friends who also had difficulty conceiving, have told me they felt jealousy towards others and the ‘why them and not me’ mindset.  I totally understand that.  I feel for them and their pain.  However, I have honestly never felt that feeling towards anyone else who has children.  The emotion has never entered my psyche.  I feel fortunate for that.  While there is pain at the hole in our lives we want filled, l have happiness and gladness in my heart for people with children.  I especially love to see my husband, parents, siblings, and in-laws interact with my nephews and nieces.  The smile on their faces and glow in their hearts is tangible.  Children are a gift.

I say ‘gift’, realizing parenting is not all easy.  I am under no illusion that rearing children will bring only joy.  I have not built it up to be something unrealistic.  I have spent time with children – as an aunt, a friend, a teacher.  I know there will be times of frustration, tiredness, and tediousness; there will disagreements, tantrums, and tears (from all parties involved)!  When people think about the freedom and flexibility before children and say lightheartedly to us “Enjoy it while you can!”  I wince.  We do appreciate it now, but we dearly want the next step.  (I was going to say we are ready for the next step, but I realize – are you ever truly ready for something you do not know?)  We may not be ready in all senses of the word, but we want it, we are excited for it, we are willing, we will try.  This gift, the whole package, the ups and the downs, the joy and the tears – we welcome it.  We expect this in parenthood (as with marriage too).  When you love someone and have them in your lives, you face emotions on all ends of the spectrum; you are in it for it all.

I anticipate the love for my children being different than that towards my spouse – not loving them more than him, but not in the same way.  Children are more vulnerable than adults are; they need us, especially as babies.  It inspires a different type of love, a protectiveness.  I hear most parents saying they would lay down their lives for their children – their own needs and indeed their very being, no longer coming first.  I believe many people would do the same for their spouse too.  It may be easier to claim such sacrifices for your child, your own flesh and blood, than it would for your spouse.  But, in wanting to be a selfless, loving, giving parent, it inspires me to want to be a better spouse as well.  Planning to give my all to our children, reminds me to do that for my spouse.  I know there will be hard times, and our marriage will be tested, but overall I hope it will enhance my love towards my spouse.

Over the last few years, I have shed very few tears over this.  I think most of the time I try to push my emotions deep inside and cover them up.  I know this is not healthy and I am getting better at talking about it.  I have some very dear family and friends who are great listeners, advisers, confidants.  Some who have been through this and some who have not -those who understand and those who try their best to understand.  All of them I appreciate greatly.  I have had one or two meltdowns.  I have stood in the bedrooms we have planned for our children, and cried, and cried, with my head in my hands, until I thought I could cry no more.  I have let a single tear slide down my cheek as my period begins, and another month goes by with no success.  I wipe it away with the back of my hand.  I hug my spouse, and we hope.  We hope, we pray, we love each other, and we carry on.  We know this journey is different for everyone.  As our journey unfolds, it is all we can do.  When it does happen, we cannot wait to meet you our sweet child…


Faith, Hope, and Love.

Faith, Hope, and Love.

The gift of life.

My friend bearing the gift of life.

Father and son on their bikes.

Father and son silhouetted on their bikes.

With my sister and her sweet son.

With my sister and her sweet son. I love the joy he brings to all our lives.

My husband and nephew.

My husband and nephew.

My mum and nephew.

My mum and nephew.

My dad and nephew.

My dad and nephew.

My brother and nephew.

My brother and nephew.

My brother and nephew.

My brother and nephew.

Me with my adorable nephew.

Me with my adorable nephew. One day I hope my husband and I have a child of our own.