The Waiting Game: Part 1
In July 2009, my husband and I decided that we were ready to have kids. We had been together for four years, and married for almost 3. The first few months of trying to get pregnant were exciting! I looked forward to the day when I would see the two lines on the pregnancy test telling me it was positive. What an amazing day that would be! I thought about how I would tell my husband in a fun and special way. I thought about how we would tell my parents and how we would tell his mom. I thought about how we would announce it to our friends and how we would share it on Facebook and social media. Well… Spoiler alert… I never saw those two lines. Ever.
The first few months, we weren’t really “trying” to get pregnant, but we weren’t trying not to either. After 6 months, my doctor suggested we try Chlomid- because of my history of irregular periods, he thought I might not be ovulating every month. The Chlomid would make me ovulate, and we would get pregnant. Yay! We were also given a chart for which days of the month we were supposed to have sex and how I was supposed to lie in bed as long as possible afterwards. After we had a good chuckle about that, we followed it to the letter. So much of your intimate, private life becomes public through infertility- that’s part of what makes it so awful and so unfair. Sometimes, you just have to laugh about it so you don’t explode. Well, the Chlomid did make me ovulate, every month. I had never been so regular in my life, and it was so fun to see the little smiley face appear on the home ovulation tests! But, after ovulating regularly and following our “sex chart” for another 6 months, there was still no pregnancy.
To say those 12 months were painful would be an understatement. Each month when discovered I wasn’t pregnant was a huge loss. The beginning of my cycle was the beginning of the grieving process. Because it was a loss- it was the loss of the baby I had been longing for for so long. And each month it felt like I had lost a baby again. I had lost the opportunity to become a mother once again. I had lost the dream of my husband and I becoming a family one more time. I would go through the stages of grief each month once more. There was denial- maybe that was implantation bleeding and not my period. There was anger- why would God allow teenagers and drug addicts to get pregnant and not me? There was bargaining- I made so many deals with God if he would only give me this one desire. And wasn’t it a good desire? A God-given desire? It was biological for me to want to become pregnant! And there was depression. Deep, deep depression. The curled-up-in-a-ball-on-the-bathroom-floor kind of depression. The life-could-not-go-on-like-this-anymore kind of depression. The grief was real. So very real.
One year. It felt like doomsday. I was told that no fertility doctor would see me until we had been trying at least a year. Well that day came, and I made an appointment for us to see a fertility specialist as soon as I could. I guess there was a glimmer of hope in the reaching the year mark. At least we could be seen by a fertility specialist. At least we could figure out what was going on and find a solution. I think part of me wanted to find out what was wrong with me so we could fix it, and another part of me wanted to find out that it wasn’t me. Maybe there was something wrong with my husband and that was the problem all along. Either way, I was certain the fertility doctors would figure it out, and this would be the answer we had been looking for! If you’re reading this and you’ve been through fertility testing, you know it’s pretty brutal. It’s intrusive. And painful. And time-consuming. And expensive. There are a lot of appointments and procedures and co-pays (thankfully, our testing was covered by insurance at the time, but it isn’t always). It’s physically and emotionally draining. But it was going to be so worth it!!!
I was actually a little bit excited when my husband and I went in to meet with the doctor to go over all of the results. I know it sounds weird, but it felt like the start of something! The whole appointment I kept waiting for the problem, the answer, the reason we were unable to conceive. Two things happened during this appointment, and neither of them was that. Firstly, we were given the diagnosis of “unexplained infertility.” Which means nothing. It means that there is obviously a reason you aren’t getting pregnant, but that the doctors in all of their infinite wisdom (and after all you’ve been put through) don’t know what it is. Secondly, we were told that we would be great candidates for IVF. In Vitro Fertilization. Which happens to be the most expensive (like tens of thousands of dollars expensive) and exhaustive fertility treatment option there is. Needless to say, this was not the answer I had been hoping for.
Meanwhile it seemed as though everyone we knew was getting pregnant or having babies. But not us. Over the next few months, I began to realize that something had to change. I realized that I had to start praying differently. It was a sad realization at first, but, even though I didn’t feel it in my heart, I knew in my head that I trusted God and that He was faithful. I believed that He had given me this desire to become pregnant and to be a mother. I couldn’t understand why He was not fulfilling this desire. So, I knew the prayer I needed to pray… “God, take this desire away from me.” It was like a knife in my heart, but I knew it was what I was supposed to do. I had to trust that, if God had not given me this desire, that He would take it away so that I could be at peace.
I knew that prayer was the beginning of my healing and of our obedience to God’s calling on our life. You see, infertility brings us to a place of desperation. If you’ve been through it, you know. Dictionary.com defines desperation as “a state of despair, typically one that results in rash or extreme behavior.” Webster’s defines it as “a loss of hope or surrender to despair, a state of hopelessness.” Infertility IS desperation, and God does want us to be desperate. But not desperate for anything this world can offer us, not even motherhood, not even the love of a child. At some point in life, each of us has been desperate for something, and if you haven’t been yet, you will be. God allows these circumstances in our lives because He wants us to be desperate for Him, to depend on Him, to surrender to Him. He wants to provide for us what we cannot provide for ourselves.
After many months, God did a miracle and answered my prayer- He took away my desire to become pregnant. I can’t explain it any other way. I believe this was the first in a series of miracles because this happening was supernatural. This desire was so deep and this longing had been a part of me for so very long, that I almost couldn’t imagine what life was like without it. This desire was biological- so many women know what it feels like when their “biological clock starts ticking!” But God is not bound by our desires, no matter how deep, and God is not limited by our biology. And God took away the desire I had to become pregnant; He completely removed it. BUT… He did not remove the desire I had to become a mother. THIS was the God-given desire, the longing God had put on my heart. And I knew that God would fulfill that promise. In His way and in His timing, not mine.
My husband and I sure had a lot to think about, to talk about, and to pray about. When we sat down to talk together after some time thinking and praying on our own, we had both come to the same conclusion. We had each decided that if we were going to spend tens of thousands of dollars to grow our family that it should be on an adoption and not on IVF. What??? Wow. That was a “God thing” for sure… We had always talked about adoption and knew we wanted to adopt a child or children at some point, but we always thought we would have “our own” children first and then adopt later. Now it seemed that maybe God had a different plan for us. On our own, we had each decided to be open to that plan. How amazing, right????
Only we were not on the same timeline whatsoever here. My husband had really decided he wanted a baby in the last 6-12 months or so, and I had had this deep longing for 3 years! I was ready to jump right in, and he was not ready for that at all. It was like I was hitting the gas and he was hitting the brakes. And so a new waiting game began for me. And that, friends, is another story for another day… Stay tuned for “The Waiting Game: Part 2” coming soon!