Thursday, June 6, 2013

Broken promises and candybars

I commit to the same thing every month. And if my math is correct, I’ve made that same promise 12 times in a row.

And yet I fail every time.

You see, on about day 27 or 28 of every month, I wake up early in the morning and drive to the Dollar General. Usually I’m still in my pajamas, but today I wore jean shorts and actually put on a bra. The odds of us taking pictures and a video were high because I was convinced this month would be different.

I left the door open to the bathroom as I completed my routine pee, excitedly chatting with Jake who was on the couch. But within a few seconds, I knew this would not be the month. Sounds of crinkling plastic caught Jake’s attention and he asked what else I bought at the store.

“Well, they’re mini Snickers bars. They’re celebratory or condolences. And I guess today they’re condolences.”

And then came memorized-promise No. 13: “I refuse to do this to myself in July. I will not subject myself to this disappointment. I will not take a pregnancy test unless I have missed my period by more than a week.”

I’m amazed at the human heart — the ability to be so incredibly discouraged one day and 100 percent hopeful a few weeks later. It’s quite the vicious cycle, actually. The promise to avoid the test is usually made during full-fledged vulnerability — pants down on the toilet, negative test in hand with tears on my cheeks. But somehow, against all odds, I find myself in that same (hopeful) position every month.

My promise today feels firm — I can’t handle this emotional setback next month. (But if we’re going to be realistic, I know over the course of the next 30 days, my spirit will revive itself and my mind will do a little convincing. “This is it! This is your month.”)

“Just don’t think about it. If you don’t think about it, it will work,” they say. Why don’t you give it a try: Don’t picture a pink elephant. Avoid it at all costs. Ignore the fact that the women in your family have pink elephants, that your friends have them, that social media news feeds flood your thoughts with ultrasounds and videos of pink elephants, and that you're Primary president over 120 of them. Oh, and avoid talking about it, too, even though your husband is a doctor for pink elephants.

Now stop focusing on it ... and you’ll get one of your own!


Unless you’ve struggled with infertility, it's hard to relate. How can you not think about it? And why does "not thinking about" mean you'll get one? (Hate to break it to you — thinking about it doesn't affect the rate sperm swim or eggs drop, nor the timing they connect.) 

Sure, I apply the Atonement. I have a solid understanding of trials and faith. I’m not ignoring the fact that Doc. P and I have had sacred spiritual experiences and answers from Heavenly Father. I hold those moments very dear and we both know children will eventually come.

We just don’t know when. Until then, I suspect many more broken promises, trips to Dollar General and binge eating.

Four down and two to go. Err — make that five. 


  1. Brook... I'm really sorry you're hurting. I felt like a donkey after I emailed you last year about dispatch. I didn't know but I should have figured it out. I haven't known what to say .. and I still don't but I can say I'm so sorry you are hurting. I do admire your humor. Waiting for a baby is really hard. I remember one day we were at sacrament and I had a total melt down mud sacrament and left for the day and cried for hours because I was so angry and jealous that I didn't have a baby. I imagine that is how you feel often.. I know that's how I felt for a very long time before my melt down.. and a year and a half after that incident I got my happy snickers. I doubt this helps.... I just thought I'd share it. Also.. I want to add.. it is so good that your mind forgets and wants to try again .. having hope is always better than constant doubt.

    1. Ugh, those melt downs are the worst. I'd say my official big one was last month, and it was horrible. Every range of emotion, seriously. Don't even worry about that message — you had no idea and ironically, we'd lost the baby like a week after I told you about it. So there's no proof on FB or way you could've figured it out because we'd barely told anyone. Church is kind of the worst with this trial, isn't it? All those happy Mormons and their babies. Haha. And now I'm serving in Primary. Talk about morbid, huh? Haha. I'm happy you finally got your sweet Penny. Thanks for your message and for thinking of us. It means a lot.

  2. You're amazing Brooke. This is not an easy road, but from my experiences, I know that babies come on the Lord's time table sometimes and we don't understand. And we're scared. And confused. And angry and upset. But what I do know, is that when it finally happens for you, you'll look back and realize that you were prepared, tested, and now overwhelmingly blessed for your faith throughout this difficult trial. It will all be worth it. And this waiting is not in vain. The Lord recognizes this waiting period and is blessing you more than you know. I know you're probably like ya ya I've heard all this blah blah blah, but I'm praying for you and rooting for your eggs all the way from florida. Xoxo

    1. Thanks for reminding me the waiting isn't in vain. Sometimes I feel like a total failure because I cry or complain. In my head successful "endurers" are positive and full of faith. And sometimes I have really bad days. Hahaha!! Thanks for rooting for those eggs of mine. We're going to a specialist in a few weeks and I'm eager to hear what he says. I mean I got pregnant once, and quickly, so my hopes are high that everything's "all right." Who knows. (well, besides God.) Thanks for your encouraging message.

  3. Oh this breaks my so hard to understand. After struggling to get pregnant early on in our marriage and also having 3 miscarriages myself, it's a pain that is hard to even grasp. You are incredible...really, truly! I could attempt at many encouraging words, advice and a bazillion stories....none of which would probably bring much comfort. Just know you are not alone, I feel your pain as I know so many others do too. It's funny when you realize that people look at you and long for your life (I know many do you) and you just wish you could grab their shoulders and shake them and scream, "Do you have any idea what I've been through, how hard it has been!?". Don't give up, allow yourself to feel it all....sadness, anger, regret.....just DON'T give up! I don't know what the Lord has in store for you, but I know it's something amazing!!! Thinking of you!

    1. Wow. How did you know I was quietly longing for your life the last few weeks?? Haha. You read my mind. I had NO idea what you'd been through. (Is that bad it makes me feel better? That you can understand?) I really appreciate your words. Honestly, they really touched me. It took me a whole year to talk about this at all and I wasn't expecting the outpour of support — should've done it sooner! Ha. I wish you the best of lucky with baby #6!! I'm sure another beautiful one indeed. Hope all is well — miss you guys!!

  4. I know you've probably heard and researched everything, but, I'll just add this idea anyways, it's a book that has helped me recently a lot. It covers fertility, though that's not what I've been struggling with personally. Mine has more to do with my health, relating to depression and OCD, which I learned from this book that there are specific parts of the brain these issues are related to, and how it affects my body, and different ways to treat that. Anyways, I know when I'm struggling I get sick of advice, yet at the same time I'm always looking for answers. So, just thought I'd suggest this, just in case. They have it at most libraries as well. :)

  5. Brooke- I got pregnant right away with Austin. First month. Then it took a year of trying, and charting and checking and praying and crying and disappointment and Snickers and fasting and praying some more before we finally saw a dr. who said, You don't ovulate on your own. Here's a pill and 22 days later, Savannah was on her way!

    After the infertility year and the miscarriage, I remember being so disappointed in my body, hating it kind of. It let me down. The ONE thing a woman's body is made to do and it failed me. Living in my body and in my mind wasn't a pretty place for a while. But you don't appreciate the light without the dark. People who don't understand have their own light and dark moments and I"m sure we wouldn't trade ours for theirs.

  6. thank you for sharing about your experiences. im so sorry for yours and your hubbys heartache. im hoping for some happy news for you soon. hang in there. and dont feel bad about hoping. its always better to have hope.

  7. Brooke,
    I know this feeling. I don't know it as deeply as you but I know the monthly trip to the store, and the excitement and then let down of seeing a no on those stupid little pee sticks. It took so long, so many months of trying and trying. So much trying & let down. Even though you know the Lord has a plan for you, and you have a strong faith in the plan of Salvation and promised blessings it doesn't mean it is painless. It is in fact very painful. I am so sorry you are going through this process, and I wish I could just put a little babe in your arms and call it good. Aaron tells me when I say things like that, that I am trying to enact satans plan. haha. I will continue to send love and prayers, and I hope that this blessing comes sooner rather than later- you are going to be a fantastic mommy. I love you, and you are so great for writing this. I love your posts- you have a talent for expression. When I miscarried I didn't tell anyone for months and months- and most people who know me still are not aware. I am proud of you, for being brave to share your stories- you have helped many people, I am sure of it.
    Lots and lots of love

  8. Plain and simple infertility sucks. (Too blunt?) and I think those who were asked to carry this trial are some of the strongest women I know. So eat the candy bar, have a good cry, and I'll virtual fist bump you from here :) also, you might like this.

  9. We suffered infertility for years (I guess we still do, post-hysterectomy). It's lousy. On the tail end of our child-procuring journey (three adopted children; two imports, one domestic), we get to know and see more clearly God's plan for our family, which is awesome. But those years sucked and there's no way past them except through them. The unanswered questions, obnoxious advice, and pain can't be taken away by others, but hopefully the knowledge that others experience it too gives the modest comfort of shared pain. Good luck finding and waiting for God's plan for you.

  10. Hi Brook, Stumbled upon your blog through a Facebook post and something made me read your prior posts. I am a mother of two boys- age 6 and 3.5. It took us 3 years to get our first son here. Six miscarriages in three years. Lots of pregnancy test disappointments and several pregnancy test celebrations. Our roller coaster was one I wouldn't wish upon anyone. We visited several reproductive endocrinologists in the Denver area, and all had very little to say about recurrent miscarriage- apparently all the infertility research is in IVF for people unable to conceive. I was empirically treated on my 7th positive pregnancy test with progesterone (through week 14) and heparin the entire pregnancy (blood thinner- incase I had some unknown blood clotting disorder). Maybe it was the drugs, or maybe it was just our time, but whatever the case- it worked. I have met a lot of people who have been put on progesterone after miscarriage. Just and FYI. Number two was a cake walk with no blood thinners and progesterone through week 14 (just incase).
    Also, I know the pressure of timing it all can be a nightmare for your intimacy. After 6 loses, I couldn't bear to wait for my period to come and time it all perfectly- so we ended up using clomid and doing insemination bc I just couldn't stand one more month of not knowing if we timed it all right. The clomid was super easy, an ultrasound to see if how many eggs would be released, an appt for your husband, then one quick one for you, and $350 later you have a very good window for it all to happen. I know it isn't as romantic and natural- but at this point it is so much more about sanity and keeping the mind as non-obsessed as possible.
    You are in my thoughts and I hope it happens soon for you. Happy to answer anymore questions if you have any.


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