Sunday, July 31, 2011

How I Survived Those Waiting Years

When I started this blog I had no idea what to expect. I just knew I needed to finally follow my heart and obey the impressions to just write and share my testimony of Jesus Christ and how He has helped me through this life. I have felt a little reluctant to post some of my feelings. One such post was a very brief portrayal of my ordeal with infertility. That was a little scary to share. But guess what? Several times a day, someone, somewhere in the world, reads that post. (Empty Arms On Mother's Day) I had no idea. I mean, I know it is a common problem but I had no idea anyone would care about what I had to say on the subject.

I guess I'll share more...

Here are the facts: My husband and I married in 1996. We wanted to start having children almost immediately. But it didn't happen. We went to doctors. I took medicine. We spent lots of money. We tried adoption. Nothing worked. In the spring of 2004,  we finally agreed to try In Vitro. 4 embryos were implanted - 1 resulted in a pregnancy and in January of 2005, our beautiful daughter was born. 18 months later, I was shocked and surprised to discover that I was pregnant again! Wowsers! In February of 2007, our wonderful son was born. But we had 4 remaining embryos left over from our first try with In Vitro. We had wanted a big family with lots of children so we prayed and prayed and decided to give those embryos a chance. They were not the healthiest embryos so we knew there was a huge chance that I would not become pregnant but we felt very strongly the need to give them a try... I did not become pregnant.

Below is a post I wrote on my family blog in December of 2008 after that 2nd failed in vitro attempt:

This last August (2008), we tried in vitro again. We had four remaining embryos to use after trying for our daughter. These embryos were our responsibility and we didn't feel right about turning them over to science or donating them to someone else. After all of the hormones, appointments, and money, we finally went through with the procedure. Three embryos were implanted (one did not survive the thawing process) but I did not become pregnant. My body thought it was pregnant because of the drugs and so I had to go through a natural process of balancing my hormones out again and getting back to normal. 

For those who have never tried this, it just sounds like we didn't get pregnant, oh well, just keep trying right? Wrong. It's not that way with in vitro - I felt as if I had miscarried 3 babies. I know some of you who have never been through this have a hard time understanding how this could have felt like a miscarriage - but it does.  I have no idea when the spirit enters the body, but I am still grieving the loss of those little lives. I am not sad as much about not getting pregnant, I'm sadder at the loss of those three little ones - they were very much alive to us and already felt like a part of our family. We had prayed for them, fasted for them and spent so much time and energy on their behalf - of course, we would feel great sorrow at their loss. We will not be trying in vitro again as it is very expensive and I'm getting "old" according to fertility docs. Our son did come naturally but it took 11 years of trying the "normal" way for that to happen and so I cannot let my hopes get too high that it will happen again.

I have not wanted to share this info with many people because it is a very private matter and it hurts, to be completely honest. When someone doesn't understand how badly it hurts they tend to make comments that just make it worse (I know the comments are made innocently and so I am never angry at the person but my heart aches just a little more than it did.) I also don't know how to verbally relay that I have complete faith in the Lord's plan, but I still feel pain. I usually come off sounding like I don't feel sadness at all and then people think I don't care and then they don't care - at least that is how I feel. So, I just keep my mouth shut and don't say a word.

But here I am making a public announcement on our blog for the whole world to read. I have not been able to stop thinking about the need to let this be known. Since August, (2008) the Lord has put in my path so many women who are dealing with infertility, whether it be initial infertility or secondary infertility - it still hurts and it is still a very lonely problem. 
I know many couples have tried in vitro several times and have not even had the success we have had. I know some women only have to wait for 6 months and others their whole lives. I know some women have miscarriage after miscarriage and some find themselves needing to adopt in order to have children. Some women probably don't think I have any right to write this post because I did give birth to two children. But the Lord has taught me over the years to never discount the pain of others just because you think it is not as hard as it could have been. Everyone's pain is legitimate because we do not know all of the dynamics involved and so we can never compare one person's pain to another.

During the long years before children came to our home, I grew to love and feel very close to some of the women in the bible - Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, Elisabeth. Did you know that each of these women had to wait a very long time for children to come and then when they finally did have children, they only had one or maybe two? The Lord pointed that out to me - I think He knew their powerful, righteous examples would help me survive. He was right. He always is.

As I'm writing this it occurs to me that I would love to be able to correspond with Sarah. If I could write a letter to her, what would I write? Hmmm...

Dear Sarah,
Several years ago I got to know you as I was waiting for children to come to my home. I read about you in the bible. I read about the others who waited too - Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, and Elisabeth. You seemed like a group of sisters to me. Sisters in suffering. Sisters in faith and righteousness. The Lord pointed each of you out to me and told me to learn from you. He pointed out how valuable you were to Him in the building up of His kingdom and that the number of children a woman has doesn't make her of any more worth than another. In fact, He taught me that even if I never had a child in this life, I would still be able to perform an amazing work on this earth. I just want you to know how grateful I am for your willingness to trust the Lord, especially when you thought your chance was long gone. Because of your example, I have also tried to place my trust in Him and let Him be in control. He sees what I do not see. He knows what I do not know. He has a plan for my little family and I know it will be greater than any plan I could devise on my own.

I will share more of my survival techniques later...those two babies I longed for, are longing for me right now and they come first. I know you understand. (You can read the follow-up to this post by clicking here "I Will Stand Still For You.")

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