Faith, Hope, & Love

Do you ever read scripture and feel like God taught you His word in a situation who’ve walked through? I know I do…constantly. I was reading in 1 Corinthians 13, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:13‬ ‭NIV), and it hit me that God has used the last three years to teach me this verse. 


Faith

The first year we tried to get pregnant we were faithful to try, try, and try again. We prayed and read God’s word and had faith that He would send a baby to us in His perfect timing. My faith was stretched and molded into something greater with each month that passed. I’m not saying I belong in the Faith Hall of Fame but I learned about Hebrews 11 first hand. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”(‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬). I couldn’t see my future children, a positive pregnancy test, or the Lord who said he was with me, but I knew that God was with me and that He would either give me the desires of my heart or change my desires (which I prayed many times as my heart was aching). Faith was where it all began for me as I began my journey to becoming a parent.


Hope

The second year we were trying to get pregnant we had so much hope for what God was going to do in our lives. We hoped for a positive pregnancy test each month. We hoped for a baby to be sent to us. We hoped for our marriage to be strengthened through this trial. We hoped for our relationships with the Lord to be deepened. We had hope. I meditated daily on Romans 12:12; “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” I can now see that hoping for a child deepened my prayer life. I say this because I expressed my hope through prayer continuously. Those prayers were what helped me hang on to the Lord. 


Love

Since Hannah has been born (I can’t believe she is a month old already), God has been teaching me, and continues to teach me, about love. I knew God loved me, but I didn’t understand the extent to which he loved me. Until you have a child I don’t know that you can fully understand God giving his son to die for our sins. I would do, and will do, anything to guard, shield, and protect Hannah. I do not want any harm to come to her. I cannot imagine giving her up for someone else’s life to be spared, but that is exactly what God did for me and for you. That kind of love is beyond my ability to understand. Each day I pray that God would teach me to love him as fiercely as I love Hannah. 

So here I am, at the end of a three year journey, realizing why the greatest of these is love. 

Finding Out

From the time we started trying to have a baby, Kyle and I would look at each other around the holidays and say This time next year we could have a baby! The first year it was thrilling to dream about. The second year was beyond difficult to even think about it. In the third year, as Thanksgiving approached and we were in the middle of a treatment I read an article posted by a friend from high school. The article was called It’s Okay to Not Be Okay This Thanksgiving. I wanted to share a portion of it with you:

It’s okay if you are unable to fight back the tears as you gather around the table to give thanks.

It’s okay if you can’t see how your miscarriage could ever be woven into some master plan of good.

It’s okay to be sad…even outraged…that your life isn’t going according to plan.

It’s okay if you need to lock yourself in the bathroom and cry when the emotions become too overwhelming, the thoughts become too painful, and the heartache you have becomes too strong.

It’s okay to be angry and confused at the unfairness infertility brings.

It’s okay if you don’t sweep your emotions underneath the kitchen rug you are standing on while you peel the potatoes, but rather open up and tell your family how your womb aches. Your heart hurts. And the hope you have is fading.

And it’s okay to shake your fist to the heavens and tell God exactly how you feel. Not holding anything back.

It’s okay to question why your plans are not good enough or the timing isn’t right.

It’s okay to be mad that you have spent thousands of dollars and countless hours at the doctor’s office just to be given a chance to have what seems to come so naturally and easily to others.

And it’s okay to hurt, to cry, and to still feel disappointed even though others think you should have moved on by now.

It’s okay to tell your Aunt Judy with grace that it’s not really her place to ask when you are going to have children.

It’s okay if while grocery shopping for thanksgiving dinner you see a pregnant woman in the same aisle as you and you need to turn your head. Even move to another part of the store.  Or wipe away a tear.

It’s okay if you decline the invitation to hold your cousins baby or walk away from a conversation about motherhood.

It’s okay if you decide to cook a meal for just you and your spouse…forgoing the traditional family affair.

Friend, basically I want you to know it’s okay to not be okay this Thanksgiving.  

I needed to read this as we were approaching the day we would find out if the procedure worked. I needed to know that I wasn’t alone and that someone else out their in the world knew how I was feeling.

The morning before Thanksgiving Day (2015) was the first day the specialist wanted me to take an at home pregnancy test. I had taken so many of these at this point that it hurt to even purchase them. I carefully read the directions for the thousandth time. These results were going to be accurate. My heart could not handle a mess up because I didn’t follow the directions.

I waited the 3 minutes I was supposed to wait. My heart was pounding. I was sweating. I thought I was going to be sick. What if its negative? Will I be able to pick myself up off of the floor? Can I do this again? I managed to look down at the test on the bathroom counter. I leaned closer. Was that a second pink line? I turned on the lights. Am I seeing this correctly? I double checked the directions to decipher the meaning of the two little pink lines on the test.

WE’RE PREGNANT! I ran into the bedroom where my sweet husband was asleep, screaming the entire way! I jumped on the bed, holding the pregnancy test, begging him to sit up and look at it.  He immediately wanted me to take another one, but I crumbled. I began to cry, but this time they were happy tears. They were tears of joy! He held me as we prayed, thanking God for the blessing of a positive pregnancy test.

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We had waited more than 27 months to see those two pink lines. I had wanted to be pregnant for nearly 36 months as this point and could not believe that what I had desired, prayed for, begged to have, cried over, and craved was finally here.

Please read this next part carefully. I want to be very clear when I write this.

God is the reason that we are pregnant. God gave us this baby. Yes, this was our first infertility procedure, but God allowed it to work. God gave the doctors and nurses the ability to help us and God sent this sweet baby to us.

I also understand that there are still so many people out there who are dealing with infertility currently. I know that the first, second, and third procedures do not always work. I am not trying to add salt to the wound, but instead trying to share our story to encourage you. I want to shed some light onto what we have walked (more like been carried by God) through. There is hope. You are not alone. Please do not sit in dark rooms (like I did) and feel as if no one can understand.

I did take another pregnancy test and it confirmed the results of the first test. This Thanksgiving we sat with family, knowing in our hearts that we were pregnant. We waited to tell people until the blood work confirmed the pregnancy a few days later. But that’s another story for another day. 

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What I Didn’t Realize

After our first meeting I felt relief to know we still has options. I was immediately ready to commit to trying an IUI. What I didn’t realize is that Kyle felt blindsided. He thought we would have other options before needing to try a full procedure. 
TV makes trying to have a baby look like a magic formula. We have to be together between 10 am and 2 pm on November 7th to get pregnant. Kyle thought the doctors might give us a calendar to follow in order to try on our own a little longer. Kyle didn’t know I had been using an app to do just that for more than two years. I wasn’t trying to be sneaky or mislead him, I just didn’t want to burden him with one more thing. 

After our appointment, we had many tearful conversations that revealed all of the burdens I had carried by myself for years. It was one of the most painful things I have ever walked through. Not just because I wanted a baby and still didn’t have one, but because I realized I had caused my husband pain. The worst part was that we would need to make a decision quickly. My next cycle was scheduled to start within 10 days of our appointment. 

After some time of prayer, crying, seeking council, and discussion we decided we didn’t want to give up on having our own biological children yet. We also didn’t want to sit and do nothing. God allowed someone to come up with the medicines and procedures to help families have babies. If it was God’s will, it would work. If it wasn’t God’s will, then it wouldn’t work. We decided to move forward with an IUI. 

A new problem occurred though. My next cycle never started. We took so many pregnancy tests during this time of my body being “late” and they were all negative. I called my OB/GYN’s office and they didn’t want to touch me. The nurse there tried to tell me over the phone that I wasn’t pregnant, but I informed her that my God was bigger than a pregnancy test and I would believe it when more tests had been run. They told me to call the specialist. After this 45 day long cycle, they confirmed through blood work and an ultrasound that we were not pregnant. 

What a lot of people who do not suffer from infertility do not realize is that in each cycle there are moments of extreme hope and happiness at the thought of possibly being pregnant followed by moments of deep sorrow, loneliness, and loss. Right at the moments of sadness, you must call your doctors to get the next round of medicines, make appointments, and get ready to try again. There is no time to grieve. We were hurting so badly but knew we needed to try this next cycle with an IUI. 

After Two Years

Once we tried everything my doctor wanted to and still weren’t pregnant she referred us to two different specialists (May 2015). I decided to call the specialist where Kyle had done a medical test. When I called there was no answer. I left a voicemail but never heard back from them. I thought this was odd, but took it as a sign to not use a specialist yet. We spent the next three cycles doing no medicine, blood work, or tests. 

When we passed the two year point I called the specialist again (August 2015). Still no answer or return call. Instead of waiting or trying them again, I called the other specialist recommended by my doctor. This office answered the first time and set up an appointment immediately. 

I think the month leading up to our appointment might have been the hardest for me. I cried constantly. The thought that we needed help was devastating. Writing this now and reliving this experience has me bawling like a baby. My pride was bruised, battered, and broken. I was officially admitting that something was wrong with us and we couldn’t make a baby the way most people do. 

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Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing instant in prayer. Romans 12:12 This verse became my constant focus. I meditated on it daily. Prayed through it continually. We had so much hope that these doctors would be able to help us start our family. We were trying to be patient during this trying time. We focused our hearts on God and prayed constantly. He was the only way I made it through most days. After 32 months of wanting a baby and 24 months of trying to have one, we were finally ready to take the next step…we needed to seek more help than we ever thought we would have to. 

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