When you are part of an infertility support group, it is only natural the women around you progress in their fertility journey, whether commencing fertility treatments, adopting a sweet little one or the ultimate gift of a pregnancy. Each success story gives me so much hope that one day it will be me. While I feel hope, there is always a small part of me that desires to be in their shoes and not my own. I remind myself to be patient and to understand our story isn’t going to be the same as someone else’s or at the same time as everyone else. That’s because it is our story and specifically designed by God for us.
Though I tell myself God’s design is the best design, I will admit feeling sure of the doctor’s design for having a child. I even wrote a blog post about weighing the option of an IUI or IVF. During our hiatus, Andrew continued his Clomid prescription and completed a follow-up analysis. The results weren’t what we hoped for and an IUI is no longer an option for us. When we received the news that IVF (in vitro fertilization) with ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection) was the only recommendation, it was as if we took 10 steps backward even though this was on the table from the beginning. Why was it such a blow? Well, we had a tiny bit of hope we could attempt an IUI, a less invasive procedure and one without conception in a lab. The sun seemed to come out for us, giving us hope that our path may be different than we initially thought. To later learn IVF with ICSI was the only recommendation brought all the hard emotions back in full swing.
We went through a grieving process following the news and still struggle at times. We are grieving the loss of our desired family, the loss of an easy conception plan and battling fear that I may never carry our child in my womb. This isn’t how it was supposed to be for us. I am realizing our dream of a family isn’t going as planned. I long to surprise my husband with a positive pregnancy test in the kitchen of our farmhouse. I want my Mom who is battling metastatic breast cancer to hold her first grandchild before she leaves this earth. I dream of raising our child with my big blue eyes and Andrew’s beautiful curly dirty blonde hair. I find myself crying in the emptiness of our room holding baby clothes I have collected over the years, wondering if we will ever use them. Heartache doesn’t quite cover what we’re experiencing. The word just isn’t big enough. The deep sadness can be all encompassing and sometimes I fear the hole in my soul may never heal. I watch my husband try and remain strong while secretly blaming himself for our pain. Men want to “fix” things and find solutions to the problems we face but in this case, he can’t fix it. In the end, we know it is all out of our control and in God’s hands.
Along the way, I lost sight of God’s capacity to make things possible that seem impossible. I saw myself trying to hold the reigns. I was always praying for God to bless us with natural conception but not truly believing God had the power to do so. I was looking at things from a scientific perspective of statistics and doctor’s opinions. As much as I hate to confess this, I would pray for the miracle just to cover my bases but I didn’t truly believe in my heart God’s ability to bless us through natural conception. I was studying different reports, reading forums, looking at the data and not trusting my Savior’s power. I didn’t believe we would be the couple God would choose. I didn’t believe our story would be the one that would change people’s vision of God’s reach on this earth. Plain and simple, I wasn’t believing. I wasn’t remembering God doesn’t use statistics, data or forums.
I also wasn’t listening to my own internal feelings about fertility treatments. I talked myself into IVF after seeing the specialist because the desire for a child became stronger than my moral beliefs. I was setting aside my internal turmoil about conception in a lab, freezing leftover embryos, and possibly donating them later on, because Andrew wanted to pursue every possible avenue we could to conceive a biological child before looking into adoption. I didn’t want to deprive him of that. I thought I could travel down the IVF road. I do believe God is part of every single miracle that is conceived through IVF but I don’t see that path for us. Even though I want to carry a child with every fiber of my being, it is not worth compromising my beliefs and what I feel in my heart. I do not have peace about it right now for whatever reason and I’m not sure I ever will. And Andrew isn’t at peace about adoption. Not in agreement we stood, trying to figure out what step to take next.
I then received some clarity during my morning talk with God while commuting to work. I felt Him place something on my heart. The words literally fell out of my mouth before my brain could stop them.
You have the power Lord.
You are big enough.
You are strong enough.
You can make the impossible chance of natural conception possible for us.
Our story will be a testament to your glory and will reach far and wide.
At that moment, the Lord spoke to me: “Wait. Don’t rush my plan for you. Just wait.”
It sent chills down my spine. It was then during that intimate conversation with my confidant, my best friend, my Lord, I felt the Spirit move me to tears. I’ve never been so sure of anything in my life. As I continued my morning, I didn’t mention it to Andrew until I received my Susie Larson Daily Blessing in my inbox that read:
May you ponder what God is saying to you in this place of not-yets and what-ifs. Do you hear His whisper to be still and trust Him? May you dream big dreams in the face of your fears. May you courageously hold your ground when you’d rather run and hide. And may you entrust your heart’s desires to a God who is very much involved, very much in control, and very much invested in your life. Remember who you are. Remember Whose you are. Keep perspective. Lay hold of faith. Take the next step.
I kept rereading certain parts of the devotion. “Do you hear His whisper to be still and trust Him?… May you courageously hold your ground when you’d rather run and hide.”
It’s pretty amazing when God shows up in your inbox. I heard his whisper in my ear that morning. And I heard Him tell me to wait. I thought about what that entails. Wait? What are we waiting for?
“May you dream big dreams in the face of your fears.”
All this time I’ve tried to keep God neatly tucked into a pretty package that I created, forgetting that God is too big to be kept boxed up. He is the king of the world and the creator of life. Why wouldn’t we dream big when it comes to our desire for a family? I feel it in my heart that God has HUGE plans for our life and it may not be in the form of fertility treatments right now. For whatever reason, God has placed it on both of our hearts to wait and hold firm to His promises for us.
After sharing with Andrew what was on my heart, he reiterated that he believes 100% we will conceive naturally and we shouldn’t even consider IVF if we are firm in our belief for a miracle. I reread those words over and over in his text. Just a month ago, he wanted to move forward with IVF because it was our best chance, statistically speaking. Only God could have changed his heart on this subject because it wasn’t anything I said or did. I sat dumbfounded at my desk, tears rolling down my face. I know when Andrew says he believes in our miracle, his faith won’t waver one bit.
In this period of waiting, a part of my heart has healed that was once torn wide open. Do I still have hard days? Do I still struggle each time my period shows up and reminds me there is no life growing inside? Do I still struggle at the thought of a baby shower? Do I still experience sadness at the thought of another birthday, another year without a child? Yes, yes and yes. But there’s something different stirring inside me. I recognize my sadness, embrace it, and allow myself to grow as God reminds me of His blessings for my life if I only trust Him and follow Him. The waiting is hard and there’s pain in the enduring but God always rewards our endurance. I’m reminded of our dreams to own property for all the animals we desire and recognize that is now our reality at Cypress Bayou Farm. I’m reminded of our faithfulness and determination in our marriage which is now healed. I know our infertility is yet another season of waiting that will one day end.
Since moving to the farm, there has been a strong call on our life that seems bigger than us. The animal rescues and the spiritual journey farm life represents for us has become a focal point, one that we feel hasn’t happened by chance. Our work through rescue, a passion we both share, brings happiness to our life and the comfort we need during this time. The Lord knew we would need the love of these animals to help us on the journey. He made a way for this farm life because He loves us and knows what is best for us at just the right time. Only God knows what’s right around the bend and that sits well in my soul.
As we embark on a new year and another season of waiting for the beautiful family of our dreams, we remind ourselves this darkness has its teachings. It may not make sense right now but it is in the waiting that our Lord works on our healing. It’s in that darkness that I meet my creator and I find my strength in Him.