Sunday, September 23, 2012

Infertility by Steve Dalton

When Jocelyn first asked me if I would like to guest post for the annual celebration of the family, I immediately began to brainstorm what I could write about. Due to the name of my blog (mormonwookiee.com), at first I thought I would write something clever about Star Wars families, such as "The Skywalkers: An Example of Dysfunctional Love", "Stormtroopers Need Moms Too", or "How to Accept a Droid as a Member of the Family". But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I could instead use this opportunity to talk about something far more important (no offense to the Skywalkers) and far more close to home: The challenge of infertility. I would like to share our story.

I have been married to my wife, Diane, for five years, two months, and four days (happy 5.2.4th anniversary, sweetie!). Diane is such a wonderful wife, and she is my best friend. We serve together, we play together, we watch "Cake Boss" together, and we generally just love being together. Being married to such a good person is a dream come true, and I count Diane as the greatest blessing in my life.
Diane Dalton: Best. Wife. Ever!
Although Diane and I recognize that we have so many blessings, we have also had a few challenges along the way. Perhaps the biggest has been our struggle with infertility. When Diane and I first got married, we planned on waiting a year before we got pregnant since we were still fairly young (as a single man at age 24, I wasn't quite a "menace to society" yet). However, once that first year came and went, we decided to start our family and get pregnant. Piece of cake, right? After a few months of no success, we didn't really worry (plus, practice makes perfect). However, after a year of trying, we thought that there might be something preventing us from getting pregnant.

At that point, Diane and I decided to meet with her OB-GYN to see what the problem might be. Fortunately, the doctor was able to identify some problems (endometriosis and ovarian cysts) that surgery would help to clear up. Diane's surgery was painful, but we remained optimistic and hopeful. After Diane's recovery, we began trying again to get pregnant. Unfortunately, after more months of trying, we still hadn't had any luck. We went back to the doctor who put Diane on some rigorous medication that put her into temporary early menopause, in an effort to kill any lingering endometriosis. Once the medication treatment was completed, we just KNEW that we were on the right track!

However, after another full year of trying to get pregnant on our own, we still had no success. Everywhere we went, it seemed like people were having babies (or eight babies in the case of Octomom). It seemed that all of our friends were pregnant or already had two or three kids of their own. We were always excited when someone we care about got pregnant, but as time continued on, it was hard to not feel some level of heartache or frustration at our own inability to conceive. Perhaps more difficult was the ever-present questions from well-meaning fellow church members: "How long have you guys been married now? Three years?" Then, whether they actually asked the next question or not, we knew they were thinking it: "How come you don't have any kids?" We knew that people didn't mean to be rude, and we always tried to laugh it off, but it wasn't always easy. Somehow, Diane managed to keep a positive attitude and remain optimistic that each month, the next month would be the one! We bought a crib, a changing table, a car seat, and "Diaper Genie" (you have three wishes!). We even logged on to a photo-morphing website called makemebabies.com to see what our future kid would look like:
Future kid: I like to call him "Gunther".
We made another appointment with the OB-GYN who suggested that we try a fertility medicine called Clomid to help increase our chances of getting pregnant. We had family members and friends who got pregnant using Clomid, so again we thought our odds were good. Unfortunately, after six more months of trying, we were still unsuccessful--we had not so much as one positive pregnancy test. After Clomid, we even tried another drug called Femara for a few months. By this point, we felt like drug-dealers due to all of the different medications that Diane had taken. We decided to seek the help of a fertility specialist.

We instantly felt at home at the fertility clinic, and we were so grateful to have doctors who dealt specifically with infertility and knew how to help people get pregnant. In the summer of 2011, the clinic hosted a barbecue for all former and current patients (no babies were barbecued at the event) at "This is the Place" State Park in Salt Lake City. It was funny to hear some of the conversations between patients: "You have twins too? Were yours fresh or frozen?" (meaning, "Were your embryos stored in the freezer?"). At the barbecue, there was a drawing in which the grand prize was $5,000 off of one round of in-vitro fertilization, an expensive but frequently successful treatment for many infertile couples (if I remember correctly, second prize was $25 prenatal vitamins. Sweet!). We put our names in the drawing, hoping that out of the 300+ couples there, we might have a shot at the big prize. Well, you can imagine our sheer joy when the doctor pulled out that last slip of paper and said, "The grand prize winner is.....Diane and Steve Dalton!" Diane immediately jumped out of her seat and began screaming/crying. She ran up on stage and gave the doctor a huge hug. To be able to do in-vitro at almost half price was such a blessing! We were so excited and knew that our chance to be parents was finally here.

After meeting with the doctor, we began the in-vitro process a few months later and were ready to retrieve Diane's eggs in early January 2012. The retrieval was a success and the doctor was able to retrieve 12 healthy eggs. Two days later, we learned that nine of the eggs had fertilized! The next day, seven of the embryos were still growing, and everything was looking up.

However, suddenly, Diane began to feel intense pain in her abdomen. She tried to ignore it, but in her own words, "it was like I had giant balloons swelling inside of me". The pain became excruciating and Diane hurried to the fertility doctor. To our dismay, the in-vitro medication had caused Diane's ovaries to "hyperstimulate" and it would simply not be possible or safe for the doctor to implant the embryos at that time. We were crushed. As three more days past, seven more of our embryos died, and we were only able to save two embryos for the freezing process. All hope was not yet lost; we would just need to be patient for a few months until Diane's system returned to normal.

Six months later, in June 2012, we were ready to once again attempt implementation of our two surviving embryos. Since we were still relatively young, we were very confident that at least one of the embryos would  turn into a healthy, happy baby. On the morning of the surgery, we were full of excitement. Our miracle was finally going to occur!

But then we received a call from the doctor. In the thawing process, both of the embryos were damaged and appeared to be dying. This couldn't be happening!!! Those embryos were our one chance! We still did not want to give up, and we asked if I could come to the lab and give the embryos a Priesthood blessing. The lab said that no one had ever done that before, but they said that we could certainly give it a try. As I sought the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, I blessed those little embryos to survive if it be God's will. I then asked that Diane and I would have the faith and courage to continue onward if things did not work out. Unfortunately, the embryos did not survive and both died a short time later. Our hearts were broken.

And now, here we are today. Do we know exactly why we have to go through this trial? No. Do we wonder why other people seem to be able to get pregnant just by looking at each other? Yup. Is having children the greatest desire of our hearts? You bet it is. But have we lost our faith? Absolutely not. A couple of years ago, Diane was up at Stake Girl's Camp. While there, she remembers vividly a phone call from her older brother, saying that he and his wonderful wife were pregnant with their second child. Diane was SO happy for them. But at the same time, she felt heartache that she could not get pregnant too. She went off alone and as she looked up at the stars, she wondered in her heart when it would be her turn to be the mom she had prepared her whole life to be. As she pondered and prayed, at that moment she felt an overwhelming feeling of peace that Heavenly Father knew exactly where she was and that He loved her so much.  She felt reassurance that someday the righteous desires of her heart would come to pass.

I'm not going to lie--waiting for kids is hard. But, we are so grateful to have each other and to have our faith in the Lord. We recognize that everyone has trials--whether illness, financial pressures, loneliness, or even the death of a loved one. BUT, each of us are also children of a loving Heavenly Father who wants more than anything to give us joy and happiness. As it says in The Family: A Proclamation to the World, "ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny." Our Heavenly Father, and his beloved Son Jesus Christ, love us more than we can imagine. They weep when we weep. They feel pain when we feel pain. But they also cheer when we cheer and feel joy when we feel joy.

Diane and I know that we will be able to have children someday, whether through other fertility treatments, adoption, or even just in the next life. Until that time, we will continue to trust in the Lord, be patient, and grow closer together as a family. After all, nothing matters more than that.




Be sure to check out today's other insightful posts about the Family Proclamation on the following blogs:


  Middle-agedMormonMan  diapersanddivinity


And please link-up your own blog posts about your personal thoughts or testimonies of The Family Proclamation for others to read below:







25 comments:

  1. What a beautiful post. My heartaches with you. I'm grateful for your expression of faith and hope!

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  2. I love this so much. I'm sure you have helped people better understand what is an intensely personal struggle. I hope you and Diane get all 3 of your diaper genie wishes to come true!

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  3. Wow! Sending prayers your way. THanks for sharing this story.

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  4. Thank you so much for this post. My husband and I too have struggled with infirtility. We have been married for 7 years and 20 days. So I know the struggle you guys are going through. It is nice to hear the guys perspective of it.

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  5. I admire your faith and positive attitude. You are a great example. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  6. Best.post.ever! Our trials are all so intensely personal. So very difficult! Thank you for honestly sharing your struggle publicly with us. But I am grateful that your trials are bringing you closer to God and closer to each other. Keep holding onto each other!

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  7. Thank you soo much for sharing your story with us! Life is full of trials and sometimes it seems we can focus so much on ours and forget the blessings we have in areas others struggle- thank you so much for that reminder and your wonderful post! I hope that your righteous desires come to pass!

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  8. on a day when all I have felt is weepy, this gives me pause.

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  9. My son Daniel and his wife struggled with this problem too.They tried invitro and were given a blessing by their bishop that they would have twin girls but no luck. Later they turned to adoption center of choice in Utah Valley and almost immediately were able to adopt twins 9 months old girls who are now 14. Since then they adopted two baby boys and finally have their family of four complete now...patience and faith in the God's time is what it's all about...

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  10. I love this post and know how hard it must have been for you to share all that but I feel constantly blessed to have you and Diane as friends and have been amazed at your continual faith through the 3+ years I've been blessed to know you. I am so grateful for your example when we go through our own personal struggles. You guys are awesome!

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  11. Thank you for posting on this subject. I too struggle with this and it feels like a topic that is often tossed aside among church members.

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  12. I am so sorry for your loss, but I am also so impressed with your faith and strength. I hope you guys are able to adopt if that is what you want to do - my aunt and uncle have adopted 3 children and it has made a difference in so many lives. Good luck and may the Lord bless you.

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  13. I am a frequenter of this blog but a not-frequent-comment-poster. I cried a little when I read this beautiful post. My brother and sister-in-law have faced similar circumstances. After 9 years of marriage, they were chosen as adoptive parents, only to have the birth father come in and stop the adoption 5 days before it was to become effective. Last year they tried IVF and only got 3 embryos. They implanted all 3, and 1 "took." The baby was born 4 months early and lived about 15 minutes. I will never forget as long as I live watching my brother walk down the aisle in the full chapel as the sole pallbearer for his son. Although this was an indescribably difficult time, our family felt the love of God SO strongly. I'm so grateful that Diane had a similar experience at Girls Camp. I think knowing so intimately how much God loves you (us) is the only thing that can possibly see us through. Thank you for sharing your experience and testimony!

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  14. Thank you for such a tender post. You have so much love and have such an eternal perspective on things! I know the Lord answers our prayers:)

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  15. This is so beautiful. Going through something like this is not easy, but I know that the Lord knows us and blesses us.

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  16. Thank you all for your comments! Diane and I are overwhelmed by your kind words, support, and prayers. And thank you Jocelyn for giving us the opportunity to share our story on your blog. There are some wonderful people in this world of ours.

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  17. Thank you for sharing such a tender part of your lives.

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  18. What a beautiful eternal perspective. I truly respect and admire you two.

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  19. Thank you for sharing your struggle. Keep trusting in the Lord and it will happen in one way or another. I feel your pain as we(my husband and I) tried to conceive for 10 years...after 7 years we adopted a little girl and then a baby boy months after we adopted our daughter. Righteous desires are always fulfilled in the Lord's time. Thank you for sharing and know you are not alone.

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  20. The mysteries of God always baffle me. His timing, ways, and plan for me aren't always my own. And when the two plans meet there are fireworks!!!! I hope that you may find peace, joy, and pure pleasure in your current family and future family's journey. Some times there aren't the right words to share especially when it is so close to your heart!

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  21. My SIL shared this blog with me. I have to admit, I cried. It felt like deja vu. I can't even begin to tell you how much my husband & I can relate. Thank you SO much for sharing. I really appreciate it. If you're interested, you're welcome to check out my blog.
    www.infertilityguidance.com

    Wish you both the best! :)

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  22. My SIL shared this blog with me. I have to admit, I cried. It was like deja vu. I can't even explain how much my husband & I can relate. Thank you for sharing, I really appreciate it! If you're interested, you're welcome to check out my blog.
    www.infertilityguidance.com

    Wish you both the best! :)

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  23. 1 Nephi 3:7 was a favorite when I was going through my infertility trial. I guess in a way I'm facing it again because we're ready for number two, but second time round is much easier.

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  24. My brother shared this blog with me, thank you for sharing your your trial. My husband and I have been going through this for the past 7 1/2 years, and it can be really hard to talk with others about it who can't relate. As you continue to have faith the Lord will you bless you.... I wish you all the best!!!

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  25. I don't know how much of Franklin, NC that Diane remembers, but I remember her and her entire family while they lived here. I counted the elder Ben and Diane among some of my best friends.
    I want to tell you that our family is also struggling with the issue of trying to have a child. Eric (our younger son & middle child) and his wife are wanting a child also, however, she has not been able to carry beyond the 4th month or so. We have lost 5 precious angels to miscarriage. One a boy we know for sure.
    They are going through the process of adoption themselves. They are still going to try conceiving and carrying to term, but they are going to try and adopt too.
    You and Diane will be wonderful parents to a child or children that you will be blessed with, however they come into your family, just as will Eric and Gaby.
    Faith and prayers for your future.
    Sincerely, Janet G Burch

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