Well, this blog post has been in the works in my brain for almost two years. And even now as I start to actually type it out, my heart is racing and I’m starting to sweat a little bit. I’m putting myself out there. I’m letting you know what’s been going on. And it’s scary. Because I know that this is making myself vulnerable. But I also feel that God has placed it on my heart to finally let you know how He has been working in our lives. So, here goes!
Back in March 2015, Josh and I decided that we would start trying to have children. We were ecstatic! We just knew that it would happen right away for us! I had all the “symptoms” all the time, a few late night runs to RiteAid to buy pregnancy tests, and all the usual “baby-name-planning” and “nursery-decor-dreaming-up” (for me, at least ;)).
Well, a little time went by, and nothing seemed to be happening. I was following my calendar so closely, and every time that “time of the month” came, it was heartbreak all over again. So, after some time, we decided to go see our doctors.
We’ve been told that our chances of conceiving naturally are less than 1 in 1 million. That was hard to hear. Lots of tears. Lots of prayers. Lots of bitter, angry thoughts counteracted by reminding ourselves that God is good ALL THE TIME.
My doctor recommended that we go to the Infertility Clinic at Penn Med in Philadelphia. So we did. Those doctor visits were cruel days, because it seemed that every pregnant woman in Philly was sitting in the waiting room with us. And then there was me. Little old barren me.
We had several tests done and consultations with doctors. One false hope after another. During one of our last doctor appointments we were told that this would happen, no problem. But then when they started explaining the IVF process to us, the “discarding of the embryos you don’t want” sounded an awful lot like abortion. As Christ followers, we were looking at things from a different perspective than the doctors. Not to mention, the price for the IVF process is ridiculously expensive.
So…here we are. Waiting. And waiting. And waiting. And unsure of what the future holds for us. This has been the hardest thing we have ever had to go through. But also the best time of growth in our walks with the Lord and with each other. It’s this crazy emotional roller coaster. One minute I’m screaming that this doesn’t make any sense and I can’t bear this pain any longer, and the next minute I’m reminded that my God is in control and I’m thankful that He has given us this burden to bear. Because He is showing us more of Who He is. As He draws us closer in His embrace while walking through this with us.
Infertility is like grief. We sorrow for the children that we will never be able to know and love and hold. We sorrow that we will never know how many there would have been or what their names would have been or what their genders would have been. Would they have had my green eyes or his blue?
I will never feel those sweet kicks in my tummy that every fertile woman talks about. I will never be able to tuck a sweet little blonde head into bed after nursing them and laying them down for the night. And this is hard. And so painful.
But I’m also learning that this is good. Because it is the path God has chosen for us and His plan is always, always, always, better than my own. I may not understand what He is doing, but I know that anything that draws me closer to Himself and conforms me more into His image is the best thing. And so that is what I want. And that is what Josh wants. Even though many days that is not what we feel like we want or need.
This past summer, Josh and I both started a study through the Psalms. We were struggling to see that “God is for us” and needed to remind ourselves of the truth that He is for us. David’s emotional roller coasters have been such an encouragement to my own “up-and-down” heart.
God reminds me throughout the Psalms that He is my Refuge, He is for me because I am His child, He makes me wait and trust sometimes, He is my loving Father, He is the Lifter of my head (my Encourager), He hears my prayers, He is my sustainer, He is my Joy and my Peace. (And these truths are found in just the first five chapters!)
These have been the loneliest, darkest days, in which I cry on a daily basis, want to shield myself from all the precious baby pictures and pregnancy announcements everywhere I turn, and all the innocent comments of “Don’t you want one of these?” (while cradling her sweet baby in her arms) and the questions of, “When are you going to have children? I mean, you are almost thirty years old and have been married for five and a half years. What’s the hold up?” I have my days where I just want to barricade myself in the house and never have to face another human, because interaction with other human beings is potential for getting asked a painful question. But I can’t live like that anymore. I need to tell my family and friends what is going on. And I know, even though sometimes it seems that I am all alone in this, that I am not. There are other girls out there in the same boat. And I don’t want them to feel that they are walking alone.
Josh and I could have never known when we received our degrees in Biblical Counseling, the painful road that lie ahead. But, I have witnessed time and time again that the people who God uses are usually the ones who have walked a hard road. Of pain and tears and heartache, but have been able to proclaim through it all, “My God is always good and loving and gracious.” That is our prayer through this journey. That God would use us to be an encouragement to others.
We may still try IVF one day. The kind where you don’t freeze any embryos. Which makes our chances of it actually working very, very slim. So we are trying not to get our hopes up. I also dream of having a house full of adopted children from every race. But I don’t know what God has in store. My prayer is that God will give me grace to accept the life that He has given me. Even if that means I never hear the words, “Mommy, I love you”.
Through this infertility journey, God is teaching us more than ever, that He is the ONLY source of true joy and satisfaction. Psalm 16:11 has been one of my favorite verses for a long time: “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” I cannot seek my joy in anything other than Christ. Being a mommy, as much as that feels like my calling as a woman, will not bring me the joy of the Lord. He alone can provide that.
So we are resting in that truth. Seeking to embrace this life that He has chosen for us. On our little chalkboard hanging in our kitchen, I have written these words from Corrie Ten Boom:
“There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.”
Some days are harder than others, but we have found this to be true. Thank you for reading my rambling, jumbled thoughts. Please pray for us. But don’t pray for healing for our bodies. Pray that God will use this in our lives to allow us to know Him in the deepest, sweetest way. And know that if you are walking this road of infertility also, that I am praying the same thing for you.