It’s Fri-yay!! Let me just say that I am doing the happy dance because I am so glad this week is about over. If you are a regular around here, you are probably wondering what the heck happened to me yesterday, as I typically post on Tuesday & Thursdays.
Well friends, all I can say is that has been “one of those weeks.” You know what I’m talking about right? Those weeks when you have to travel for work and are rushing back to get your son to his baseball game on time. Then you get a last minute text from the coach saying that their game has been moved to a completely different city. 30 minutes away!
Then the next day you go to an Orthopedist because your hands and wrists have been bothering you and they unexpectedly give you steroid injections in both of your wrists that hurt like heck so you are unable to type your blog post. Then you can’t sleep because the steroid has you all jittery and hot flashing, oh and you have to wear braces on both of your hands at night now. Yeah, that’s the kind of week I had. I know we all have them at times, right. This too shall pass.
My Story of Infertility
As we have been nearing Mother’s Day, I have been giving a lot of thought to what it means to me to be a mother and thinking back on my journey to motherhood. My journey to motherhood was not an easy one. I went through several agonizing years of infertility and loss. There was never a time in my life that I felt so desperate. So alone. So scared. I wanted to share my journey through infertility and God’s faithfulness with you all today.
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If you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was a Mom. It didn’t matter what else went along with that, as long as that was my primary role. Being a mother was my greatest desire.
Before becoming a mom, I went to nursing school, then worked as a pediatric acute care nurse. I cared for countless abused and neglected children. More than I would ever like to admit. It was by far the most difficult part of my job. I was well in to my journey of infertility during this time. I would plead with God and ask “why?” Why would He give children to people who had no regard for their life, but not me? It didn’t seem fair. I trusted His plan, but I didn’t like it.
I remember Mother’s Day being painfully empty for many years. It was a raw reminder that I didn’t have the honor of being called “mom.” I remember sitting in church on Mother’s Day morning as they asked all moms to stand and the congregation honored them with gifts and praises. It was times like this that made me feel that I had no purpose. Life felt empty.
I started seeing a fertility doctor after a few years of not being able to conceive on my own. I remember sitting in his office scared to death. Scared of the answers I may get. He did lots of testing and everything came back “normal.” He classified it as “unexplained infertility.” Hearing that everything was “normal” was bittersweet. Yes, I was grateful that nothing was wrong, but I wanted answers. I wanted to know what was causing my infertility.
I tried Clomid to no avail. Then I went on to injectables and an intrauterine insemination. Two weeks later, I went in for my pregnancy test and couldn’t believe when the nurse called me a few hours later to tell me it was positive. I was pregnant! I fell to my knees in tears and thanked God! And I announced it to the world.
I went back two days later to have my levels drawn again, then went on to work at the hospital as usual. A few hours later, I received a call from the nurse that the numbers didn’t double like they should have. How could this be? What did this mean? I had so many questions and no answers. I hung up the phone and pleaded with God to please not let this happen.
A few days later, I went back for testing and the numbers continued to drop. It was confirmed. I was losing this pregnancy. I was devastated and in disbelief. And I was angry at God. How could He give me the one thing that I desperately wanted more than anything in this life, and then take it away so fast. “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21. Again, I trusted His plan.
When I was going through this difficult time, my pastor gave me a book to read called “The Prisoner in the Third Cell” by Gene Edwards. This book had a profound impact on my perspective and I would highly encourage it for anyone walking through a difficult season. The theme throughout the book is “and blessed are you if you are not offended with me.”
I remember going home and crying out in prayer to God, “God, I don’t understand this and I don’t like it. You know the desire of my heart is to be a mom. But I trust you. I trust your plan and your purpose for my life and I know that it is good. I lay my plans at your feet and give you complete control. If it’s not in your will for me have a biological child of my own, then I will accept that and trust that your plans are greater.”
After this prayer, an overwhelming peace came over me that I have never known before. There is nothing in this world that compares to the peace of Jesus. I realized at that moment that my struggle with infertility had drawn me into a relationship with Jesus that I had never known before. It was a sweet, tender relationship. He knew my hurts, my struggles, my fears, and the number of every tear that fell from my eyes. I knew without a doubt that His love for me was so great and if I went through all of this to draw me into a closer relationship with Him, His great love was worth all the pain.
I decided to take a little break from fertility treatments for a while. The hormones do quite a number on your emotions and mine were already raw. I also had to save up more money for treatments. The injectables were quite costly and my insurance didn’t cover any fertility treatment.
A few months later, it “just so happened” that my fertility doctor was hiring a nurse. I saw the ad in the newspaper and felt a glimpse of hope in my spirit as soon as I spotted it. Deep within, I knew that this was what I was meant to do. I applied and prayed. I had such a passion for helping others going through the heartbreak of infertility and knew that I wanted to work in this field. Even though I knew absolutely nothing about this field, other than my own story, I knew I could help these women.
By the grace of God, I was offered the position. Of course, working for a fertility specialist had it’s perks. I gained a wealth of knowledge on infertility. I had an insurance policy that now covered fertility treatments. And I ministered to and comforted countless women that came through that clinic. Both in the good times and bad. I knew what it was like to be on the other end of the phone when I had to make those difficult calls and I had so much compassion for those ladies. I was able to truly empathize with what they were feeling. Looking back, I know without a doubt that this was all a part of God’s greater plan.
After working there for a few months, I decided to give the injectables another try. This time I’d be the first one to see the results of the pregnancy test. It came back positive! But this time I was so guarded. I didn’t tell anyone. I was so afraid of losing the pregnancy again. But I had hope that at least I was able to conceive twice.
I had the levels drawn again 2 days later. And while they went up, they did not double as is expected in a healthy pregnancy. I could not fathom another loss. I prayed desperately and I trusted while waiting another week to have my labs drawn again. They continued to slowly rise, but my heart was still guarded.
At 6 weeks, I had my first ultrasound. It was on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2003. I will never forget the moment I saw that little flicker on the screen. It was complete joy! I knew there were still risks during my pregnancy, but I had learned that your risk for having a miscarriage drastically decreases after seeing the heartbeat.
That was my first of many ultrasounds (another perk of working for a fertility doctor). I went thorough the rest of my pregnancy without any complications. I couldn’t have asked for a healthier pregnancy or delivery. I was due on my birthday, October 11. But went into labor on the night of October 4, and delivered a healthy baby boy in the early morning hours of October 5th.
I was completely content with being a mom to this beautiful baby boy. If God decided to bless me with another child, I would be completely elated. If not, I was okay with that also.
A few years later, without any fertility treatments, I conceived on my own. I was overjoyed. But then it happened again. Another miscarriage. Again, I trusted God’s plan.
Fast forward two more years, and again another natural conception. But this time it ended with another healthy baby boy. All praise to God!
A few years later I went through another one of my most difficult times. A divorce.
I have walked some difficult roads in this lifetime, but I have not walked them alone. God has always been with me and for me through it all. He is a God of faithfulness and redemption.
Fast forward another year and God began writing a story of redeeming love. A story that reminds me a lot Ruth & Boaz in the Bible. Just as God sent Boaz to Ruth, He sent a “Boaz” to me. It has been more than a story of two people in love, it has been a story of God’s amazing love for us.
I shared my story of infertility with my “Boaz.” And he shared his with me. He had also walked the difficult road of infertility in his first marriage, with the diagnosis of male factor infertility. He desperately wanted a child of his own, but the doctor’s told him that would be next to impossible with his diagnosis. So he was thrilled to know that he would be inheriting my two boys to love as his own.
Even before we were married, we starting praying for God to bless us with a child. We had full faith that our God was a God of miracles. What the doctors said was impossible was completely possible with God. We were blessed with a 3rd healthy boy shortly after we were married. We named him Ian “a gift from God” Samuel “God answers prayers.”
I share this story to give others hope and encouragement. Our stories may not have the same ending, but I can assure you that they have the same God who is so good and so faithful! Trust Him to write your story, even if it’s not your plan. It will likely turn out better than you ever thought possible.
My Greatest Gifts
I don’t share personal photos often, but I wanted to share my 3 precious gifts; ages 14, 10, and 4. I’m trying desperately to cherish each age, each milestone, each moment with my precious babies. Even though it’s not always easy, motherhood is the greatest gift I’ve ever been given.
The funny thing is, I thought I had this mommin’ thing all figured out… before I had kids. Lord knows I had plenty of time to prepare. I read all the books and had all the “perfect mom” plans laid out. Then my boys came along and all my “perfect mother” skills fell apart.
Even so, I believe that we are all “perfect moms” in our own unique way. God placed these children in my care on purpose, for His purpose. I may not always get it right every time, but they will always know my unconditional love, as well as the love of Jesus.
This beautiful wooden letterboard is from Emmerie Lane. She is graciously offering a discount to the first 50 people that order using the code ASHES10 at checkout. She has many other colors and sizes to choose from.
I know that Mother’s Day can be a very difficult day for so many. Not only for those walking through infertility, but also for those such as my aunt who has recently lost her only child; and for my late cousin’s young children who lost their mom way too soon. Also for 2 of my dear friends who lost their mothers this past year. I will leave you with one of my favorite scriptures. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and we will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6.
Whether you are a mother or not, my heart and prayers are with all of you and I’d like to wish you all a beautifully blessed Mother’s Day!
I’d also like to say Happy Nurses’ Week to my fellow nurses! Thank you for what you do and the sacrifices that you make to care for others.
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