Category Archives: Infertility

Building a Family the Non-Traditional Way– A Guest Post from Katie Ganshert

puzzle 2

I don’t remember the exact details of how Jennifer and I met, I just know that writing brought us together. We started emailing back and forth and soon discovered we had many things in common.

One being that we both struggled with secondary infertility.

Like Jenny, I was able to get pregnant with our son, who is now four, without any problems. My husband and I took for granted that we’d be able to have another. But after a year and a half of trying, we started to realize that maybe it wasn’t going to happen.

With every negative pregnancy test and every day Brogan got older and every time well-intentioned people asked, “When are you going to give that son or yours a little brother or sister?”, the vision I had for our family began to fade. I won’t lie. The fading was painful.

At the time, I didn’t understand why we couldn’t conceive. There was no medical explanation for it. On paper, we should have been able to get pregnant. So why wasn’t it happening?

Here’s what I’m learning about God:

He doesn’t just close a door to close a door. He closes a door in order to open another.

For us, that other was adoption.

It wasn’t a coincidence that as we struggled with infertility, God kept bringing people into our lives who were adopting. It wasn’t a coincidence that eight years before, for no apparent reason, I wanted to move to Africa so I could love on kids in orphanages all day. It wasn’t a coincidence that God gave me a husband with a tender, tender heart for the helpless and the hurting.

He’d been preparing me to say Yes long before I ever knew adoption was on the table.

So we did. We said yes.

I’ve been paper pregnant for 17 months now, with at least six months left to go.

It hasn’t been easy. In fact, it’s been incredibly hard.

But I’ve experienced first-hand how very much God meets us in the hard. He’s present through it and He has a purpose for it.

He has used the agonizing waits and the endless paperwork and the strain of finances and the ups and downs that inevitably come with adoption to bring forth a fierce, uncompromising love for a child who’s not even mine yet.

He has used this crazy journey to infuse an emotional intimacy in my marriage that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.

He has used the heartache and the unknown to draw me closer and closer to Him.

And I can honestly say, no matter how hard it’s been, that there is no other path I’d rather be on than this one.

If you’d like to join us on this path, you can! We are in the process of raising the rest of the funds we need to bring this precious child home from DR Congo. All that’s involved is a puzzle, a sharpie, and 500 willing hearts. 385 have stepped up so far. Might you considering being one of the 115 remaining? For $10, you can sponsor a piece of our little one’s adoption puzzle (see photo above!!). We will write your name on the back and when the puzzle is complete, we will frame it in double-sided glass and hang it in our child’s room—a beautiful testimony to just how loved and wanted this little one was.

We have 115 pieces left to go! All donations are tax-deductible.

Please shoot me an email (ganshertadoption@gmail.com) if you’d like to donate!

Let’s Talk: What unexpected doors has God opened in your life?

headshot-1-e1332716813182Katie Ganshert was born and raised in the Midwest, where she writes stories about finding faith and falling in love. When she’s not busy plotting her next novel, she enjoys watching movies with her husband, playing make-believe with her wild-child of a son, and chatting with her girlfriends over bagels. She and her husband are in the process of adopting from the Congo. You can find her online at her blog and on Facebook.

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The Question that Disturbs Me the Most This Pregnancy

No, this is not my belly. I don't do pregnancy belly photos. :)

No, this is not my belly. I don’t do pregnancy belly photos. 🙂

Not too long ago I posted about what NOT to say to a pregnant woman. You know, just some friendly advice for people who mean well but really have no concept of a filter on their mouths.

This is a little addendum to that, if you will.

— Last Sunday after church we had lunch with my husband’s family. As soon as his grandmother saw me it was, “Wow, you’re getting huge! Sure you aren’t having twins?”

This is the first time during this pregnancy that someone has asked me this question, and it’s a question that women all over the world never, ever want to be asked, because the real translation of this question is : “You are gigantic.”

I know she meant well and I’ll cut her some slack because she’s family, but… still. Don’t ask a woman if she’s having twins, especially when you know she’s not.

Pregnant women are hormonal. You take your life in your hands. 🙂

When people ask if I’m having a boy or girl and I tell them we’re expecting our third boy, the follow-up question is almost always about the ages of my other children. When I reply that my sons are six and three and will be almost seven and four when the baby comes, it almost never fails that one of the following is the response– “Why did you wait so long?” “Wow. That’s a lot of years between kids.” And my personal favorite (and this came from a woman who is also currently expecting), “Oh my gosh. I could never have my kids that far apart.”

Here’s my go-to response, “Well, it wasn’t our choice to wait so long in between children, but God knows so much better than we do and I wouldn’t change a thing.”

I mean, honestly, do I have to go into my entire medical history and our fertility issues with complete strangers?

Sometimes I want to punch people right in the face. I do. I blame hormones. (But there’s part of me that wants to punch even when I’m not pregnant.) Again, I know they mean well, but c’mon folks. It’s nun-ya business how many years people wait between having children. Whether they want that age gap (some do) or they wait on God’s timing (like us), you should have nothing to say about it, k?

If you feel the words bubbling up and you absolutely have to say something, then may I suggest, “It’s great that your kids are older. They’ll be wonderful helpers when the baby comes.”

Caucasian Baby Boy In A Blue Stroller Carriage, Looking Over The Side Clipart Illustration

And now for the question that has gotten under my skin more than any other during this pregnancy. I have been asked countless (literally) times, sometimes by friends, most of the time by complete strangers… “So, are you going to try for a girl?”

The answer to that question, ladies and gents, is NO. No no no no no no no.

We have never tried for a girl or a boy. With each of our three children, we’ve prayed for a beautiful child.

I’ll tell you why I really, really, really hate that question.

1. Most of all, it implies that this precious baby boy that I’m carrying isn’t special. It implies that he’s just a number among the other boys and that he doesn’t matter. It implies that he wasn’t created specifically for our family by God as one of His greatest blessings, which I believe this little man was. He is special. He is a miracle. He is one of a kind. He is being knit together in my womb by the Creator, who already knows everything about him. And his mommy, daddy and two big brothers cannot wait to meet him.

2. It implies that my husband and I can’t feel happy and blessed without a daughter. God has designed our family specifically in his timing, with his perfection. I’m blessed beyond what I can imagine, and I would never, ever change it.

3. “Trying” for a specific gender is insane. I know that people do it. I know that there are those who want to design their families themselves, but I’m not one of them. I learned a long time ago to leave it up to God.

— May I suggest a better question, if you really must get into personal business? How about asking whether or not we plan to have more children in the future?

I can tell you now that that question remains unanswered. While we are fairly certain that this will be our last biological child, we’ve had many conversations already about our desire to love more kids. How God will bring that about is, once again, up to Him.

Just a bit of friendly advice to help you along in conversation with a woman who is expecting.

I know people mean well. I know they have good intentions. And I’ve put my foot in my mouth plenty of times, too.

Share with me: Have you ever put your foot in your mouth? Want to tell me about it?

Real Signature

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Filed under Family, Infertility, Parenting

Infertility– Blessing a Stranger

Infertility is such a heart-wrenching issue.

It’s something I’ve been both praised and admonished for talking about here on my blog.

Some tell me that I’m brave to share our story– that it must be helping others. Yet I’ve also been told that infertility is such a personal issue that I should keep it to myself; that it doesn’t do anyone any good to put it out on the world wide web.

But I’ll tell ya what– When I was at my lowest of lows, it was this very same world wide web and the stories of hope, prayer, conviction, and love that I found here that helped me to regain focus and develop a positive outlook on what we faced.

I never imagined we’d face it more than once.

If you haven’t read any of my posts on infertility, here’s the 4-1-1. Getting pregnant with our first child = piece of cake. Getting pregnant with our second child = difficult, gutting, shocking, and seemingly impossible. I was diagnosed with “unexplained secondary infertility.” After 15 months of trying, 4 rounds of fertility drugs, ultrasounds, trips to the doc and lots and lots and lots of prayer, I finally got pregnant and gave birth to our second son in 2009.

We’ve always wanted 3 children. Both my husband and I come from families of 5, and since we both have 2 siblings each, it was just kind of an automatic– we want three kids.

There was a time when we accepted we’d have one. Then we were able to get two. We thought we’d try for our ideal three.

But our ideal is not always God’s— a lesson I should have learned years ago– one I have been trying to learn.

After our second son was born, I was what I would call “regularly irregular.” My body wasn’t on a perfect 28 day cycle like many women, but I was able to pretty much predict my cycles most of the time.

This was a vast improvement to what my body was doing before my second child came along, so I was certain I must be ovulating. After all, my cycles were within the realm of normal.

I thought for sure that our days of infertility were behind us. I thought for sure it would be a piece of cake to get pregnant a third time, just like it was the first time. I thought.

2 months. 4 months. 6 months. Nothing.

I finally bit the bullet and went to the doctor.

“You’re not ovulating regularly.”

What is it about those words that’s so devastating?

I’d been through this already. I had faced and slayed this giant. Yet here he was again, and although I should have been brave, ready, and spiritually strong, I fell apart. Again.

All those lessons I thought I had learned with our first go round of infertility– they all went out the window.

I thought that God had been teaching me about control. I thought that he had been teaching me about trust and peace and living in his will.

I thought I had learned. I thought that there’d be no reason for me to learn those lessons again.

But He saw differently.

My doctor put me straight back on Clomid at the max dose.

I was heartbroken. The drugs aren’t covered by our insurance and neither are any of the other treatments, ie., the ultrasounds, shots, etc.

Doc said he wanted to do 1 month on the Clomid without doing the ultrasounds, shots, etc, in order to save us some money. I was appreciative of this, but nervous. Without those ultrasounds, how would I know if the Clomid was working?

I allowed myself moments of crying and being angry that God was putting me through this again. And then I thought about what I had written on this blog about the lessons I had “supposedly” learned the first time.

How could I write those things if I wasn’t willing to believe it this time– and with every trial in life?

I went straight back to praying the prayer of Hannah from 1 Samuel. I prayed and prayed and prayed.

I sent my husband to the drug store to pick up my prescription for the fertility drugs.

The lady behind the counter looked at him, looked at the prescription and said, “You know this isn’t covered by insurance, right?”

“Yes,” he said. “We know.”

“But I guess you need it, huh?” She smiled.

He shrugged. “We do, I’m afraid.”

“Well then…” She reached into her pocket and pulled out her employee card and scanned it, giving us her discount. “Let me help.”

We paid 1/4 of the actual price of the drugs.

When my husband got home and told me this story, I sobbed. I wanted to run all the way to the pharmacy, throw my arms around that woman and offer to bake her cookies, build her a house, buy her a new car– anything I could do to show her how grateful I was. I still haven’t been able to thank her — we haven’t seen her at the pharmacy again.

Someday I will pay it forward and do something so miraculous for someone else.

Because, you see, the drugs worked. This one round, without the ultrasound, without other shots, without anything else– the drugs worked the first time.

I still can’t wrap my mind around it.

Until the morning sickness kicks in and then I’m reminded– this is a miracle.

We are abundantly grateful for this blessing and have no one to thank but our Lord and Savior. And the pharmacy lady who saved us a ton.

We are so grateful.

And we would very much appreciate your prayers for a healthy pregnancy.

Share with me: How were you able to pay forward a blessing you once received? Have you ever done something that “blesses” a stranger?

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Filed under Infertility