Our genetic counselor called with the results from my last blood test. And I'm the carrier of the balanced translocation.
The same chromosomal balanced translocation that they discovered in Max was found in tissue from the last pregnancy we lost, and in my own genes.
There is relief in knowing, at last, what caused the loss of our little babies during the first trimester and had some part in Max's problems, but there is also an ache in my heart, knowing that my own genetic makeup is at fault.
Over the last 5 years, it was hard accepting that my own stupid ovaries weren't doing their job and, therefore, keeping us from conceiving. And now, finding out that my own genetic makeup is actually the cause of losing our children... That's a lot to feel responsible for.
Before we agreed to test further to find out who was the gene abnormality carrier, Tyler was quite adamant about one thing. He held my face in his hands and looked deeply into my eyes, "Promise me, no matter the results of the test, that you will not blame yourself. Otherwise, I don't want us to get tested at all." So, I'm really trying hard not to feel the blame. Now, I know what you're going to say, "It's not your fault." And, logically, I do know that. However, logic hardly ever rules my emotions, and it certainly has difficulty ruling on this.
So, what if/when you come to discover that the cause of your infertility, miscarriages and even the loss of your infant son can all be traced back to your very own genes? How do you cope with finding out that you are probably genetically incapable of creating healthy, life-compatible children? How do you find peace within a body that's own genetic flaw is preventing all your dreams from coming true?
These questions and more have plagued my mind the last 10 days while I waited for the results of my blood test and for the last 7 hours since I received those results.
Here are some of the answers I've come up with:
Here are some of the answers I've come up with:
You cannot blame yourself.
Trust me. I know! Easier said than done. It is in our human nature to place blame with something or someone when things go wrong. We feel like if we can find the fault then it will make it easier to cope with the misfortune. But that is not what this is about. Our bodies are imperfect; from asymmetrical faces to balanced chromosome translocation. No good can come from blaming unfulfilled "perfect" expectations on our own imperfections. Blaming yourself, will only lead to hating yourself. And hate is powerful, and destructive. YOU did not cause this to happen. YOU cannot control the imperfections of your body. YOU can only choose to accept this and move forward.
You have to believe your partner loves you.
Worse than the pain of losing my babies, is knowing that my husband lost his babies. Tyler is my world. He my definition of happiness. Anything that causes him heartache breaks my heart even more. Fighting not to blame myself, and fighting to believe that he could still love me despite the faults of my body is difficult. I have often wondered how he could still love me, even though I cannot give him the children he so deserves. And after confirming that my own genetic abnormalities are causing miscarriages, I wondered how he could still love me or my body. But, ya know what? He does. He loves me. He loves me and he loves this broken body. He loves me when I'm hyperventilating during a panic attack. He loves me when I'm too depressed to get out of bed. He loves me when I wake him up in the night sobbing that I miss Max. He loves me when I feel unlovable. He loves the scar on my belly from which Max was born. He loves all the stretch marks left by 7 months of pregnancy. I cannot deny what I feel when he looks at me and when he says those words to me, so I have to believe it is true. I have to believe he loves me and that he won't stop loving me just because my body is causing our infertility. You have to believe it, too. Marriage is hard enough as it is, adding the pain of infertility and miscarriage can add terrible strain to that. If you refuse to believe your partner loves you, despite the problems, then it will make it harder for them to love you.
You have to have Faith.
Are you sick of me preaching about faith, yet? Too bad, cause I'll never stop pounding the pulpit on that principle. By definition, faith is complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Complete trust. Not a little trust. Not sort of trust. Complete trust. You have to trust God's divine, great plan of happiness. I'm confident that the Lord's plans are greater than my own, and that in His infinite wisdom He has designed a unique path for my life that will bring me unspeakable joy. I have faith that I will learn and grow through experience, and be lead to the right opportunities. I have faith in miracles. I have been blessed with so many, yet I have faith that there are many more to come. If I didn't have my faith, if you don't have some faith, then it all becomes hopeless. You have to have faith.
You have to understand the power of the Atonement.
The Atonement of Christ was so much more than suffering for our sins. The healing power of the Atonement reaches far beyond repentance. In the Garden of Gethsemane the Savior bore all of our burdens, all our grief, all of our pains. That means He felt the sting of every negative pregnancy test, the heart-shattering ache each time the ultrasound revealed a still and silent fetus, and the indescribable anguish at the graveside. He felt mine. He felt yours. He bore those griefs, with all their miserable weight just so we wouldn't have to hold on to them. See, because of His Atonement, we don't have to hold on to them. We can release ourselves from the chains of sorrow. We are relieved of carrying those burdens. You have to understand that, because then you'll be free.
So, that's what I've come up with. And, I think, it's all I really need right now.
I don't know how or when Tyler and I will be able to have more children. But I don't need to know that right now. I have Tyler, we have our families and we have God. This life of ours is an adventure in faith. This is still a good life! The miracles haven't stopped and they won't stop, if we just keep believing.