Infertility: "I Can't Do My Job"
I don't share this part of my life very often unless led; however, with it being International Women's Day I want to encourage any women who desperately want a baby and are on the rough road of having challenges with infertility.
After two years of marriage we began thinking and praying about starting a family. We were not exactly "trying" to have a baby but we also were not preventing. So not getting pregnant after two years raised some red flags.
I went to the doctor and they ran a bunch of tests and sure enough I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (more commonly known as PCOS). Essentially, I never ovulate and my eggs are absorbed into my ovaries thus the reason why I was not getting pregnant. The day my doctor told me I would have to go through infertility treatments in order to get pregnant I remember being stunned.
I went home that day and cried my eyes out. You know those times in your life where you know exactly where you were standing when something was said or something happens? This was one of those moments. I was standing in our bedroom looking out the back window with tears streaming down my face as I said to my husband these exact words: "I am woman. This is my job. To have children. This is one of the main reasons why we exist, to birth life....and I can't do my job." I couldn't understand why my husband was so casual and confident. He began reassuring me that he was not worried because God had already promised him that he was going to have children and I needed to have faith.
What if I never got to experience being pregnant? If I went to the doctor to start infertility treatments, was I not trusting that God could supernaturally open my womb? Was I "playing God" by taking matters into my own hands? Was going through infertility treatments ethical and did it align with our Biblical convictions? What if we tried and tried through infertility and never got pregnant...could I handle that disappointment? What if we did get pregnant just to lose the baby...could I handle that loss after such excitement? These thoughts and more were rushing my mind, spiraling out of control, and I suddenly felt powerless and hopeless. All these thoughts were brought on just by being told by my PCP that I needed to go through infertility treatments. We hadn't even met with the specialist to determine what it all entailed yet.
In retrospect, this difficult season where I felt hopeless was one of the greatest periods in my Christian walk where I learned how to "captivate every thought to the obedience of Christ." This season as well as when I took the bar exam to become an attorney--that's a different blog for a different day. I felt inadequate, insecure, unsure, desperate and once I started treatments... hormonal. God truly graced my poor husband during that time.
I prayed a ton, consulted with accountability, and researched a lot of things. I remember my best friend speaking into me that God could use medicine and the doctors and going to hear what the doctors had to say did not mean I did not trust God. So we went to the specialist and he laid out an entire plan with graduated steps, starting with the least invasive (oral treatments) and ending with artificial insemination. He described how they would fertilize eggs outside the womb and then implant more than would make it to full term, knowing that some of the embryos would not make it.
I asked what happened if I did get pregnant and didn't need the other embryos they fertilized and preserved. We were told they would discard the unneeded embryos and I immediately panicked. There was no way we would ever do that, knowing that life begins at conception. The doctor also talked about how we would have to do a larger amount of fertilization and could not just do one or two because the procedure was so expensive and insurance may not cover the procedure if we just implanted one.
BUT WAIT....we had not even started with the first level of treatment which consisted of taking a pill orally (cholmid) to help me ovulate and then taking a shot a few days before the ovulation took place (ovidrel injection). But my mind was already 5 steps ahead in not wanting to discard embryos. Thank God for those people all around that helped me focus on what was right in front of me and make that decision because I may not have to even make those "down the road" decisions. Again, as a woman a very difficult but critical lesson and discipline to learn. It spares so much turmoil to just stay focused on what is currently in front of you and not what may be down the road. You know you are in control of your thoughts!
So, I started taking the chlomid pills. At the end of the pill cycle I remember going to the doctor before work started and waiting in a long line of other women to get my shot. While waiting in line, some women had tears streaming down their face as they talked about trying for years and not successfully getting pregnant. The one in front of me shared how she and her husband had been trying for years, finally got pregnant and then had a miscarriage. "God!!! I can't do this" is what I left saying. The story of Hannah in the bible was my life story...crying so hard that the prophet thought she was drunk. There is no other cry like a wailing woman either wanting to have a baby and unable, or a mother wailing for her child who is sick or has passed away. I have heard all these cries. It is a deep groaning beyond anything I have ever experienced.
To the glory God we got pregnant that first month and carried to term. We named our first born Noah, which means "comforter." He truly brought comfort to our family after the infertility battle we faced. Then around 8 months after he was born, I ended up in the emergency room with a massive amount of bleeding. We discovered after testing that there were "signs of pregnancy." I now found myself grieving the loss of a baby I did not even know I was pregnant with.
After nursing Noah for a year we decided to talk about having another baby because we started late in life. I went back to my OBGYN and she said, despite the miscarriage, I would have to go through infertility again. Pow....a blow to me. She explained that sometimes after going through infertility treatments your body knows what to do, but in my case I would need to go back.
We scheduled the appointment and went back to the specialist. They did an internal ultrasound and told me to take a pill the next day that would "clean me out" internally and then the following month we would start infertility treatments again. In all honesty I was disappointed to have to wait another month, but any woman who has been through this will know exactly what I mean. I again learned to be still in His presence. They told me to take a pregnancy test before taking that pill. To my surprise, when I took the pregnancy test the next day, I was already pregnant!!!
I called the infertility doctor and told them, super elated, however they were hesitant. Because they did not see the baby when they did the internal ultrasound, they informed me the baby may be an ectopic pregnancy, meaning the baby could be planted in my fallopian tubes. I asked what that meant for the pregnancy and was told I would have to take a pill to abort the baby. If I didn't abort the baby, my fallopian tube would burst and I would lose it (reducing the chances of getting pregnant again) or it could be fatal. Again, I am panicking thinking I have to make this decision to chose my life over a baby that I would have to abort. But they wanted to do more testing to check my bloodwork and levels. I went multiple times for testing and at the end of a week and a half they conducted another internal ultrasound and there was my daughter KAILAH! As it turns out, the first time I went for the internal ultrasound I was too early on in the pregnancy and so they couldn't see her. I was ecstatic that I wouldn't have to go through infertility treatments again!
So I had a boy and a girl and we thought those were the quivers God allotted for our family. Then I do the Daniel fast one year at my church, loose 10 pounds and got pregnant with my youngest, David. What a miracle that God blessed us with three healthy children. But it didn't come without a price. There were so many lessons and rough roads (like this signs depicts) that I had to endure.
To all my sisters who are struggling with not being able to get pregnant...I pray today that God will comfort you with His peace. It used to pain me to hear of others' testimonies of successfully having children while I couldn't. Not that I was not happy for them. I just wanted it for our family as well. Let me encourage you to war through the feelings of inadequacy, fight through the hormonal craziness that infertility treatments bring, and trust in an all powerful God who can open your womb. Focus on what is right now in front of you and learn how to not think about the decisions that you have to make if this time around doesn't work. I know we know the verses of how God knit us together in our mother's womb and we were predestined and He is a God of the impossible. It is one thing to know them and another thing to find rest in them. May they be your portion today. You will inevitably have good and bad days but find people to surround yourself with who help make the road not as rough.
To all the husbands out there warring through this with your wives. The best advice I can say after going through it with my husband is be the best listener you can. Don't fall into trying to "fix" things or pacify your wife's feelings. Pray and travail fervently for your wife. That is what sustained me. There we many tear stained pillows that had worship all over them.
So today on International Women's Day, March 8, 2018, I want to honor all the women out there who have had to battle with infertility. I honor you women who want to me a mother and for whatever reason it is not happening. I honor you women who have experienced the great loss of miscarriages. I honor all you women who are going through infertility treatments right now. I honor the women who God chose to keep your womb closed and you suffer with a void. All of you women are heroes!
While you may feel like I did, that you "can't do your job," I know someone whose job is knitting life together in your womb. May He visit you supernaturally tonight and give you a peace that only He can give that whether He opens your womb or not, you will still praise Him! While the road was rough, I wouldn't change it. It shaped and made me into the woman and mother I am today.