Over the last 2 years, Kristen and I have been battling with infertility. We love children and have wanted a big family since we had talked about getting married. It’s been incredibly tough. My wife has been recording her thoughts and wanted to share them on the blog. It’s a long read, but it covers almost everything our family is going through from her perspective. It’s raw, it’s real and it’s our story. Our hope is that by sharing our story others will find a way to be brave and share their struggle.
So without further ado, Here’s Kristen’s story in her own words:
This is when my journey began. Little did I know what was beginning. At the time, our son was 14 months old and I had that sweet desire to hold another tiny baby in my arms again. Of course the fear of having an almost 2 year old and a newborn were starting to creep in my mind, but more than fear, was a feeling of excitement and “baby fever”. So my husband and I decided to “just wing it”. Whatever happened happened is the philosophy we had. How funny that my idea of “whatever happening” was really “God please let me get pregnant this month!” One month went by, then two, and then three. Maybe something is wrong with me, I began to wonder. Satan started planting doubts in my mind. Will I ever get pregnant again… The first time it happened so fast, I blinked and I was pregnant. Come on God, what is taking so long this time?! This is not the plan, God. Maybe you’re not ready to be a mom again. You don’t deserve to be a mom again, you can barely take care of the one you have. All of these thoughts jumbled around in my head, Satan stealing my joy and trying to bring me down. And it worked. Month 4, 5, and 6 went by. Still no “positive” test. Month after month drug on, all while clinging to the hope that maybe this month it will happen. After month 6 our plan of “Winging it” became a plan of “I gotta get pregnant this month” We began tracking my cycle, constantly looking at the calendar to see if it was “the right time to get pregnant” , praying fervently for God to “please bless us with another child” “Please let this be the month our waiting ends.”, reading up on all the current things to do or not do to get pregnant. Friends who hadn’t been trying nearly as long as us were getting pregnant. Satan whispering lies in my ear again, they are just better parents than you. God is answering their prayers, why isn’t he answering yours? Anger, doubt, fear, sadness were the emotions. Of course I was happy for all of my friends around me, literally EVERYONE was pregnant. “Don’t drink the water” they joked… If I could only get a sip of whatever everyone is drinking. Month 7, 8, 9 roll by. Almost to my breaking point. Tired of seeing everyone around me get what they want so quickly. And me left with nothing. In the quiet of my soul I knew God would grant us another child. I knew someday I would be mommy again. There were occasional feelings of hope; there were moments that I knew God was with me. I had actually never felt closer to him before. Praying, trusting, believing was all I could do. In this world you will have troubles, but take heart because I have overcome the world! I clung to this verse. I had never felt more alone in my life but at the same time I had never experienced a closeness to Jesus as I had in those days.
I have my yearly appointment with my OB today. Maybe she will tell me what is wrong with me. Or maybe she will tell me I am perfectly normal. Whatever she says, I really don’t care. I just want to so badly to be pregnant. Can’t you just give me that one more time, God. I promise I won’t take it for granted like I did the first time. I know it happened right away the first time, why can’t it be like that again? So many Why’s, so many questions. I go through all the Q&A’s with my OB, all the answers are normal, everything checks out fine. “Sometimes it just takes longer” she says. Oh, thanks! What a glimmer of hope, I think sarcastically. Because of your age (young) and your health (great) you really need to be trying for a whole year before we do further testing. Ok, See you next month, I scoff (only in my head, of course). I have no hope left. I’ve been let down too many times. I know I’ll be back. Everyone around me has the “pregnancy glow” Why can’t I experience what they are?! Why are you doing this to me God?! It’s a daily struggle to be happy for my friends. I really want to and deep, deep down I am but why can’t I experience this with them? Oh, the lengths God goes to have his children near. Jesus chasing me, pursuing me, running after me. Of course I needed him before this, but NOW, now I need him more than ever. With out him I wouldn’t be able to move, to feel. He is my hope, he is my joy. Still wrestling with the “Why’s” but also resting in God’s perfect peace. Trusting his plan instead of mine. I was supposed to have another child by now. This isn’t the plan, God. How quickly I am learning that this is the plan! It is Gods good, pleasing and perfect plan for my life. If I would just rest in it and enjoy the journey instead of trying to control every piece of it. Sometimes I think that’s why God put me on this journey of infertility, I would still be clinging to MY plan, MY life, MY way of doing things. But how sweet it is to know that God’s plan is far better than any plan I will ever have for myself. In the midst of the darkness, the sadness, the broken-ness Jesus is near. He feels my pain, he’s walking down this journey of infertility with me, and thank goodness I have him.
Still not pregnant. At this point most of our family and some close friends know. But who really wants to hear about all of our problems?? (lie #1 from Satan) How can we request our friends pray for us to have a baby when they are requesting for sleep because of their newborn, they don’t have time to pray for us (Lie #2). No one else is going through this, I’m so embarrassed, I’m probably the only person who has ever gone through this (Lie #3) You’re just broken. (Lie #4) The lies keep coming. Why do I have to sift through lies and truth all day? Why am I traveling this journey? Will it ever end? Questions racing in my mind, Questions being thrown up to God with no time for him to respond. He probably doesn’t even have time for me. (Lie #5) JC and I decide to make the call to my OB, it has been 13 months now since trying to conceive, might as well say we’ve been trying forever; at least that’s what it has felt like. All of the websites and books say something is definitely wrong with me since I’m not pregnant by now. Why do I even read those things? All they do is tell me that I’m not normal.. The “normal” time span a couple tries is 3-6 months before conceiving. Guess I’m not “normal”. On the phone with the doctor, Okay your OB has an opening in…. October. October?! My mind shrieks. But that’s TWO months away, you do realize we’ve been trying to get pregnant for over a year, waiting two more months is going to feel like eternity! You are crazy, lady! Okay, sounds good I politely say over the phone, see you in October. Tears stream down my face the moment I hang up. OK, God you’ve helped me wait 13 months now just help me wait two more. All the while I know he’s there, I know he’s got my best interest in mind.
Finally the day has come; maybe we will get some answers! Maybe my OB will find the answer right away, give me some meds and I’ll be able to get pregnant ASAP! How funny my thought process- ME, ME, ME. It’s all about what I want, its all about Kristen’s plan, who cares about anyone else anyways! The appointment didn’t go as I had planned. After doing some blood work and being given some ovulation tests, I was sent on my way. We’ll call you soon with the results. In the mean time your husband needs to get a semen analysis. One week goes by; two weeks go by, two and a half. Finally, the call from the doctor! Please, Lord, let this be the light at the end of the tunnel. We got the results back from your blood work and it looks like you are not ovulating. And your husband’s semen analysis came back abnormal so we are going to refer you to PREG (Piedmont Reproductive Endocrinology Group) No answers and more waiting. They will call you to set up an appointment soon. Okay thank you so much, I try to sound as upbeat and normal as possible but on the inside I’m dying. “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”
Our first appointment at PREG. A place I never thought I would step foot in. This isn’t in the plan, God. This is not how my life is supposed to play out. I’m not supposed to be here, I’m supposed to be at home with a new baby.. not sitting at an infertility clinic, God. I was not very nice at times. God knew what he was doing, why did I have to be so doubtful. He’s always been there; he’s always given me everything I have ever needed, maybe not everything in my timing. “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Thank you Jesus for beginning a good work in me, and for not leaving me. Thank you for continuing to shape, mold, and make me whole even in the midst of infertility. In the midst of being so broken, so sad, so doubtful you are completing the work in me that you began. Plans to make me a better person, plans to make me more like you. I am being made perfect. Nothing more I can ask for.
As we talked to the doctor he seemed so chill, so at ease. Probably like the 100th time he’s had this talk. At this point JC had already done another semen analysis, just to double check. Everything came back clear for JC. Great, now its just me with the problem. As if I wasn’t the only one of my friends to not be pregnant by now, its all my fault that we aren’t pregnant. So, Kristen, seems like we can just put you on some meds that will make you ovulate and that should do the trick. We’ll track your progress each month, have you come in at the beginning of your cycle for blood work, come in right before you ovulate and we’ll do a follicle scan to make sure there are eggs, we’ll do an ovulation test here in the office, if its positive you can go home and have sex for three consecutive days to try and conceive or if the test is negative you can take this shot home with you to give to yourself at night to make sure you ovulate then Blah, blah, blah. YIPPEE. Sounds like sooooo much fun. NOT! Talk about a way to make sex less appealing. Is having a baby really this hard?! Keep going, keep preserving, I heard God’s still small voice. The lies began to creep in. Maybe we shouldn’t do this, maybe this is too much. Maybe I’ll just have one kid. But this was the light at the end of the tunnel, right? I mean we found the problem AND here is the solution, it wouldn’t be that much longer ‘til I’m preggo, right?! So with that information we left , got the RX for Clomid and I started day 1 that day. Came back the next week for blood work, Progesterone levels look great! Came back the next week for follicle scan, looks great. Took the ovulation test, look you’re ovulating! Call us if you get a positive pregnancy test.
The next two weeks went by soooo slooowwwww. Surely I was going to be pregnant. The doctor said EVERYTHING looked great. Everything lined up perfectly, we did exactly as the doctor said, surely I am pregnant this month. I couldn’t wait, I had to take an early test. 5 days before, negative. 4 days before, negative. 3 days before, negative. Hmmm maybe I should just wait until I’m a day late, these tests are starting to get pricy. I have to be pregnant this month. Sure enough IT came; along with the doubt, sadness, fear, cramps, anger, so much anger. I was even scared to tell my husband I had started. Is he still going to want me?? I can’t even get pregnant with all the pills and timing and doing everything the doctor says. He held me that night; we cried together, prayed together and were just in the moment together. We thanked God for the blessings we had and knew that everything was in His timing. He was making us strong, he was carrying our burdens. Thank you Jesus for carrying our burdens. I couldn’t carry this heavy burden of being barren alone any longer. Casting all my anxiety on him, I finally gave in to whatever God’s plan was for me. No more controlling, no more constantly asking Why, no more believing Satan’s lies, no more comparison game, no more discontentment. Just me and Jesus and whatever his plan for my life.
The next morning, I made the call to the doctor. Not sure what to say or how to say it. I was even afraid to tell the nurse because I didn’t want to disappoint her (She doesn’t even know me! How crazy am I to think I would disappoint her?!) Are you sure you started, the voice on the other end asked. Ummm yes?? How could I not know if I started, I mean isn’t it pretty obvious?! Like you’re sure its not just spotting? She prodded. “Yes, I’m SURE!” Does she want me to go into any more detail, geez. My emotions on edge, making the call was hard enough, I don’t want to go through a million questions too. So the nurse called in another round of Clomid and we set an appointment to check progesterone levels.
Progesterone levels look great! See you next week for the follicle scan. YIPPEE! Not..
“Now, just want to warn you if we ever see more than one follicle that means you have the chance of having multiples.” Multiples would be great; I pretty much could have had two babies by now if everything had gone according to my plan. “And since you have 3 follicles this month, you have a good chance.” False hope. Why do I have to cling to the words of this doctor so much? Why can’t I cling to the words of my savior? He knows me far better; he knows what I need to hear more than this doctor. Yet, like a sheep being led to the slaughter I am being led astray, hanging on every word of the doctor; my hope in his words. Yes, I trust Jesus. Yes, I know he is in control. BUT the doctor said I have a REALLY good chance this month. Rest in me, says Jesus. Come to me all who are weary and have heavy burdens. So here I am, with all my burdens and here I am, resting.
“Since we aren’t getting a positive from the ovulation test in the office, here’s a shot to give yourself at home tonight to ensure ovulation.” This will be fun, I thought. So we did the shot, followed doctors orders and yet again prayed for a baby this month.
Well, three more months went by and nothing happened. Three more months of medicines, doctor appointments, tracking my cycle and timing everything. After 3 rounds of Clomid, we were advised to see the doctor again to re-evaluate our plan. We decided to have a HSG test done. The doctor explained it was simply a test in which they will run dye through my tubes to make sure they are open. “ I can’t imagine that anything would cause any blockages but maybe we should double check” he says. JC and I agreed that would be the best thing to do. We were expecting a quick, easy procedure. Everything to come back fine. I’ve never had any major health issues, no major surgeries, I just had just gotten pregnant 2 years ago, what could possibly be causing blockages in my tubes? But just for precautionary measures we decided to have the test done. It was one of the most painful things that I have ever had done! After a few minutes of poking, prodding, and sheer torture the procedure was finally over. Something isn’t right. I knew it. I could tell. The doctor was also taken off guard. He wasn’t even expecting this kind of result. The doctor shows us on a screen what is going on. “There are definitely some blockages.” He says. I don’t hear much more after that. Just disappointment. The questions start to fill my mind again, the Why’s, why me, how, this isn’t the plan. I quickly shake them out of my head. The only voice I want to hear is that of my savior. Tell me its going to be okay. Tell me its all going to work out. Tell me I am not worthless. His loving arms wrap around me and all I feel in that moment is Gods grace, his love, his peace. I feel accepted and loved. We can’t tell what is causing the blockages from the HSG but the doctor tells us that surgery would be advised to find out what exactly is causing the blockages and try and clean them up. He tells us to think about it and give them a call back when we are ready. We leave the doctors office feeling hopeless but hopeful. Another problem, but at least there is a solution. We’re not sure what we are going to do. Should we just give up now? Call it the end? That would be the easy thing to do, definitely the less expensive route. We decide to take a week to pray about it, then make the decision. The week crept by. My mind wondering in a million different directions. Wondering what we were going to do next, what would happen if I had the surgery, what would happen if I didn’t have the surgery? Wishing this could all just go away and everything could go back to normal. Normal, that’s all I want, God. Can you please just make my body work like a normal person? Why am I broken? “But we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character and character hope. Through this suffering, through the “not normal”, the chapter of my life I am trying to write away; Jesus is developing in me perseverance and character and HOPE. There is HOPE. Hope that Jesus will not leave me the way I am; self-centered, controlling, discontent, lacking. Hope for a baby, hope to be healed from this sickness, from being broken, and hope for a brighter day.
The day of surgery has arrived. Fear, excitement, hope, stress. So many emotions all bottled up. I just want to throw them all to sea, never to return again. I give them up to my Savior and rest in his grace for the moment. Remembering that he has me in the palm of his hand, and nothing can pluck me from it. We were unsure what to expect, we knew there were some sort of blockages but were unsure exactly what or the extent to which they were.
I wake up from surgery to find JC, a nurse and the doctor by my side. Most of everything they are saying is a blur, but I feel good. The doctor holds up the pictures from surgery and explains what he found– scar tissue and adhesions covering my tubes and uterus. As he talks the words all jumble together. I couldn’t comprehend. I just wanted to go back to sleep. My left tube was pushed against my uterus, all tangled up, useless. They removed it due to the amount of damage. The right side was in a little better condition. He was able to clean it up and open up the tube a little. Not the best of news but not the worst. Would it ever work again? We weren’t sure. We were told to go home and rest. And rest we did.
So here we are 4 months post surgery. Still no pregnancy, but a peace from God that surpasses all understanding. I can say with confidence and truth I am content with where I am today. No more battling truth and lies, no more comparing my story to everyone else’s, no more wondering “Why?” all the time. Is my journey with infertility difficult? YES. Do I wish I could get pregnant as easily as I would like? YES. Are there days when I doubt and want to give up? YES. But on those days I have to give it all up to God and rely on his strength. I have to recognize that he is in control, not me. I never ever would have gotten to a place of complete contentment with my life if Jesus had not pursued me like he did. He is the only reason I am even writing this now. Without him beside me on this journey I wouldn’t be sharing any of this, I don’t like to open myself up to others. I don’t like to be vulnerable. I don’t like being out of control. But he cares enough about me to bring me to a place of utter dependence on him. And today, September 24 the only thing I have left to depend on is Him. Today we have a very important appointment with my infertility doctor. Today I will have another HSG done. This will determine if the surgery I had back in May was successful, if I will be able to get pregnant again. Quite honestly, I’m not sure I want to know the answer. I don’t want to be crippled by fear but I am SCARED. (A feeling that I am very good at hiding, by the way) But in this moment I can’t hide it, I can’t run from it, and I have to be open about it. I know that God is going to heal, restore and mend what is broken inside me. When? I have no clue. But I have heard him say countless times in countless ways, I am going to build up that which was broken, I am going to fix and restore. In what way? I don’t know. BUT I know that His way is perfect. His way is better than I could ever imagine. His plan far outweighs the plan I have for myself. No matter the outcome of our test today, I know that Jesus will be beside me. He will never leave me or forsake me. The Lord showed me this verse about my journey with infertility; “I will lead [Kristen and JC] down a new path, guiding them along an unfamiliar way. I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth out the road ahead of them. Yes, I will indeed do these things; I will not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16. How amazing is our God that He goes to such lengths to show His children His love for them.
Hillsong sums it up pretty well with lyrics from their song ‘The Greatness of Our God’… “Give me grace to see beyond this moment here. To believe that there is nothing left to fear. That You alone are high above it all. For You my God, are greater still. And no words can say, or song convey, all you are the greatness of our God. Spent my life to know and I’m far from close to all You are, the greatness of our God.”