THIS IS US: Introducing MARISSA

My early childhood

I suffered as a child from my parent's broken marriage.

 My mother, my brother, Stephen, and me. 

My mother, my brother, Stephen, and me. 

 My father and me. 

My father and me. 

My mother became pregnant at a young age and was pushed into marrying my father. My parents went on to have three more children. I was the youngest. My mother had me at twenty-six years old. She was probably ready to be a mother by that time; however, my parent's marriage was failing. When I was just starting middle school, my father moved out. After less than a year of being on her own with four children to raise, my mother decided she no longer wanted to be a mother. 

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She left for another man.

At that time, my father moved back in. Barely making it through middle school, I moved to Ontario, Canada to live with an aunt and uncle. I was just fourteen years old. 

 Aunt Mary and Uncle David.

Aunt Mary and Uncle David.

At this time my mother’s boyfriend spent all of my mom’s money and she resorted to living in a van. I knew at that age I was going to be a better person.

Meeting Walter

My husband’s name is James, but he has always gone by Walter. We have known each other most of our lives. Before my parents split up, we moved into a town house in Bloomfield Hills, MI. My brother, Stephen, became fast friends with Walter. I was probably ten years old at the time. As I became older, everyone knew Walter had a crush on me that continued for years.

 My brother Stephen and I are two years apart.  We share a special sibling bond.

My brother Stephen and I are two years apart.  We share a special sibling bond.

However, Walter and I had very different lives growing up.

Fast forward to 2012. I moved back to Michigan after living in South Florida for 2 years. (Yes… I have moved a lot in my life.) I was twenty-four years at that time and back living with my dad, having yet another "start over" in my life. On my 25th birthday, I decided to go out for a few drinks with some friends. We were talking about how I had tried to text Walter over the past several years, but had never heard back from him.  Just for the fun of it, I decided to try to message him again on my birthday,

 “Walter, it’s Marissa Putnick. How are you?”

He responded right away and explained he thought I was another Marissa this whole time.

He was living in Bay City with his parents and was having a "start over" as well. We decided to meet on June 9th at Michigan's largest indoor outlet mall, Great Lakes Crossing. I was excited, but knew that I was just going to see a friend... my brother’s best friend, that is.  However, Walter felt much differently.  What I thought was just a fun time reconnecting with an old friend, Walter called our "first date." We've been together ever since.

 Our wedding day. 

Our wedding day. 

Trying To Conceive

When I was still with my OB-GYN, I attempted three cycles of femara and 1 cycle of clomid with timed intercourse. I was in "Hormone Hell!"  My OB  recommended that I see an RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) as I wasn’t getting pregnant.

Soon I found an RE who explained to me that stress was most likely the cause of my infertility.  I call that "BS!"  I understand that stress does cause major issues on your body, but I have been dealing with stress my whole life. I scheduled laparoscopic surgery in February 2017 to talk a look inside.  I had two large cysts on my left ovary, which were blocking my left tube. But once the cysts were removed, the dye flowed through my tubes and they were clear! My RE also discovered that I had stage 2 endometriosis, which he removed during the surgery.  I was told that neither the cysts nor my endometriosis were the cause of my infertility. After learning that I am a healthy thirty year old woman and should be getting pregnant, I was given the much-feared diagnosis of “unexplained infertility.”

My RE suggested that I was a good candidate for IUI. I already knew my husband’s semen was just fine.  I had a nagging feeling the issue had to be with me. After three more cycles on femara and menopur ovidrel injections, along with a nurse inserting a catheter into my uterus and injecting my husband’s semen while I stared blankly at a wall, I hit rock bottom.  My doctor said that there was no point in doing a fourth IUI and suggested IVF was my best bet. So, had to walk away because I was in desperate need of some healing time.

The Lowest Part of My Journey

Since I now have had a few months post fertility treatments, it is easy for me to see the lowest part of my journey. I’m still not a mother yet. I felt so all alone in my terrible year of TTC. Walter and I wanted babies right away. We tried for four years, but nothing was happening. I told myself that if I wasn't pregnant by the time I was 29 years old, I would go to a doctor. As soon as we left the years of timed intercourse behind us, Walter checked out. He couldn’t cope with my pain or his. My family was of no help, and neither was Walter’s. Even though our sister-in-law went through infertility treatments, she still didn't seem to "get it."  I suffer from severe depression. No one seemed to understand the pain infertility was causing and so I kept everything inside and just stayed in my bed.  I hit a wall at the thought of my whole life.  At the time, Walter and I were living under the same roof, but that was about it. Two times I came close to suicide.

Turning Pain into Power

It’s hard to carry on when you don’t have the outcome you want. My last IUI was in November 2017, which was the worst time of the year with the holidays fast approaching. I couldn’t see past the fog of infertility. I am not happy to say I’m childless, but I’m okay. With the passage of these years, I feel like I have been given a chance to mature. I learned all about a woman’s reproductive system. Everyone needs to be educated in that department. Watching family and friends become parents, I still  know how I want to mother my own children. I'm convinced I can be a better parent than the ones I was given. 

The absolute best high of my journey has been truly finding yoga and meditations from the Yoga Yin website. From November until now, I have dedicated 2 times a day to going to my yoga mat. I could talk about the benefits of yoga all day.  Yoga helped me to be able to break down twenty-five painful years of life, and helped me to start healing.

 The lotus flower has come to mean a lot to me. 

The lotus flower has come to mean a lot to me. 

I have high hopes for my future. I have learned to love myself. That’s something that didn’t come until post-fertility treatments and took me thirty years to learn to do. During yoga or meditation, I repeat to myself,

 Spending quality time on my yoga mat. 

Spending quality time on my yoga mat. 

I’m Marissa. I am loved. I love myself. I am fertile. Namaste”

Some Thoughts I'd Like to Share

First and foremost, you don’t have to go through infertility alone. The devastating disease can break apart friend and family relationships. I wish more people would understand how difficult infertility can be. I had to disconnect from my family because they were causing me so much pain. It ripped my heart apart to sever those ties, but I had to do it so that I could heal.  Now it’s just Walter and me. I am feeling a bit better and stronger. It is important to speak up and let people know that you are hurting. YOU have a voice... use it!  People can’t help you if they don’t know what you're going through. If you don’t have anyone to talk to or the money for a therapist, find a support group like RESOLVE. The people I met through RESOLVE saved my life when I needed them the most.

As for Walter and I, we have always had this amazing love for each other.  Our love got us through, and shines even brighter now.

 Walter and I have an amazing love for each other. 

Walter and I have an amazing love for each other. 

I wish you all the best!

Namaste, 

Marissa