Tag Archives: infertility

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?


Filed under Infertility

The Guilt of Being Pregnant

When I found out that I was pregnant with this new baby, I was in a state of disbelief for the first few days.

I just couldn’t believe that the fertility drugs had worked– in the first round.

Then I had a whole bunch of other emotions, the same ones other women feel when they find out they are pregnant: excitement, happiness, nervousness, thrill, and anticipation. I had ’em all.

And then came the strongest emotion of all– GUILT.

“How can you feel guilty?” you might ask.

Because infertility is an epidemic in this generation— one that affects more women than you realize. And for me personally, it has touched not only my life, but the lives of several women I know.

Many of them have been trying for a long, long time to get pregnant.

So I feel guilt. Guilt because it happened for me. Guilt because this is my third child and many of my friends don’t even have one– and they are desperate to have one.

Some of my friends have gone the route of adoption and are now waiting. Some of them are still going through fertility treatments. Some of them are just starting on this road of infertility, realizing that after two or three years of trying, they just can’t get pregnant without medical help.

And while I understand all of these issues and have been through many of them myself, I am blessed that God has answered this prayer for me.

But I don’t understand– why me and not them?

Please understand, readers, that I am thrilled beyond all measure that God has chosen to answer our prayer, and I pray for a healthy pregnancy and a beautiful, perfect little person to join our family. I can’t wait, actually. I’m giddy about it.

But I know exactly what it feels like when you’re trying to get pregnant and can’t, but it seems like everyone around you can.

What a punch in the gut it is.

I remember when a friend at church announced her pregnancy right when I was in the middle of our infertility struggle before our second child. I wanted to walk out of Sunday school that day. I wanted to punch her in the face. She already had a kid. In fact, she had just had a kid and now her second was on the way?? How was this fair?

And then another friend got pregnant. And another. And another. Until it seemed like everyone was pregnant. But not me.

At the time I thought, “why not me?”

I know that anger, frustration, and jealousy. None of it’s right, but knowing it’s not right to feel that way doesn’t stop the feelings from coming. They come. Like a raging typhoon, they come.

At that time, it was a real struggle for me to overcome those feelings. I had to overcome. If I didn’t, I risked letting those negative emotions overwhelm me.

What I eventually had to do was train myself– whenever I felt that anger or frustration, I would stop whatever I was doing and pray for those women who were pregnant. I’d pray for their healthy pregnancies and babies, and that they’d be godly parents and raise their children to follow the Lord. I’d pray even if I didn’t feel like praying.

Sometimes I prayed a little like this:

“God, I’m angry. I want to be pregnant. I don’t understand why I’m not or what your plan is, but God, I’m going to trust. So bless those other women and their babies. Bless them and give them the eyes to see just what a miracle they have.”

After a few weeks of doing this, my chest was a little lighter, my soul a little more relieved, my joy for others more abundant. I still fought those negative emotions, but the fight was a little easier. I was getting stronger.

And now I face the monster of guilt because God has answered my prayer but so many of my friends are still waiting.

But guilt isn’t right either. So I’m going to replace it.

Every time I feel guilty, it’s going to be a reminder to stop whatever I’m doing and pray specifically for those women I know who are struggling. I’m going to pray for them, encourage them, and do whatever I can to help them through this time.

Because I’ve been there. And it’s not a fun place to be.

Share with me: How can I pray for you this week?


Filed under Infertility

Secondary Infertility: The Spiritual Sojourn

**This post was originally published some months ago, but in support of the release of Katie Ganshert’s story of hope through heartache, Wildflowers from Winter, I’m re-posting my beauty from ashes story. I hope you’ll indulge me and reply with your own “beauty from ashes” story.

When I was struggling with secondary infertility (backstory here), I was at the lowest point that I had ever been in my life.

Never before had I faced an obstacle that seemed so overwhelming. Never before had I ever felt so lost and out of control.

Although my husband and I had welcomed a beautiful, perfect baby boy in the spring of 2006, my heart yearned to give him a sibling.

And as months passed without my ability to conceive, I began to obsess about all things ovulation and pregnancy. I read every book. I searched the web for every single tidbit of information, hoping that someone somewhere would give me the answer to my “problem.” And I prayed.

And when my doctor confirmed that I did have a medical issue, I felt even more despair.

When you tell a control-freak that there’s an issue with her body that she can do absolutely nothing about, it tends to sit as well as lava in an active volcano.
I simply would not accept that I would not have more children. And even though I have been a follower of Christ for as long as I can remember, at that point in my life, I was not willing to submit myself completely to the will of the Lord.
See, my life had been easy. I came from a good family. My parents had been married forever and raised my siblings and me in a loving, Christian home. I’d had a great childhood, and a pretty easy, straight path for most of my life.
I had never been challenged. I had never been really low. And although I had relied on God and known Jesus Christ as my savior for most of my life, I had never been broken.
I was a problem-fixer. I liked to be in control because I had solutions; I had answers. I always had a better plan.
I figured that I could live my life relying on God as long as his plan was my plan. I was pretty arrogant and I didn’t even realize it.
So when the fourth and final month of the fertility medication rolled around, I was desperate. And depressed. And obsessive. And more than anything, I wanted to fix the problem. I was also very, very sick as a result of the Clomid I was taking. I had trouble with every wacky side effect that medication could throw at me.

God was breaking me in a merciful way. For me, it was ALL about control. I had to learn to submit (something I was definitely not good at) and accept who was really in control of my life. I couldn’t go through life “depending” on God only when I needed to. I couldn’t lean on God only when times were tough. I had to be broken to come to an understanding that my dependence on God was to be a daily, hourly, moment-by-moment relationship with my heavenly father. And above all, His will wasn’t always going to be mine. What a major blessing it was.

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9

I look back on it now and I am so grateful for the struggle. I am so grateful that heaven seemed silent to my prayers. I needed to get to the point where I was completely dependent on God, on making his will my own, no matter what that meant.

But hindsight doesn’t make the memory of the struggle any less painful.
No one seemed to understand what I was going through. When I was open with people, I got such responses as, “just relax and it will happen” or “I don’t have to pray for you because God has already given me peace about it.”

Responses like these came from family members and were equal with knives straight in my heart. (And I’m not gonna lie, I wanted to hug choke stabpunch people who said things like that.) No one seemed to get that the loss of control, even over my own body, was making me nuts. I wanted support and sympathy, not their dismissal that I need to “relax.”Relax? Really? Oh, gee, why didn’t I think of that???

**Relaxing was not an option. When any woman is struggling with infertility for any reason, relaxing is impossible. So, for the sake of every woman out there struggling with this issue, please do not tell her to relax.
One person even went so far as to say, “you already have a child. You should learn to be happy.” Ouch.
**Whether you have one child, ten children, or no children at all, a woman’s desire to have a child is the same.  The longing, heart-aching need to mother is built into our DNA. It’s God’s design for us, and being denied that design for reasons beyond our understanding is overwhelming. Especially when we follow a Creator we believe holds plans to “prosper and not to harm.”
Friends simply stopped talking to me about it. I noticed when announcements about someone being pregnant were…delayed… in reaching me. I noticed when people began to get uncomfortable, even when I asked for prayer for an “unspoken.” Some of my friends stopped looking me in the eye if the topic of babies or children came up.
And I can’t blame them. No one understood because no one I knew had ever been through such a thing as secondary infertility.
**I would much rather had my friends say, “Hey, what you’re going through stinks,” instead of ignore it. Even “I’ll pray for you,” was appreciated.
The part that hurt the most is that they thought that because of my struggle I was incapable of sharing joy. Sure, I had some momentary internal jealousy when several of my friends got pregnant, but I wanted to celebrate with them. I wanted to rejoice in their blessings. I wanted to celebrate with them because I was learning that God’s will for others was not his will for me, and I had an awful lot to celebrate. I had a wonderful husband and a beautiful, precious, train-loving son.
**Another thought– just because a woman is having infertility issues doesn’t mean you should leave her off a guest list to a baby shower or not tell her about someone’s pregnancy. Those actions are even more hurtful than her situation.
Once again I turned to the internet to seek companionship from those who were suffering in the same condition. And I found it. I found hope and despair, anger and understanding. And on one page, I found a young woman who had written her story and talked about how her refuge came in praying the prayer of Hannah from 1 Samuel 1:10-11.
  In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the LORD, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, “LORD Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”
So I began praying this prayer. I prayed it constantly. Aloud. I remember reciting these words over and over, begging God to give me one more child so that my son might have a sibling. I remember weeping as I drove down the road, these words pouring from my mouth.
When my fourth and final round of Clomid came, my doctor saw some problems on the ultrasound and I missed my chance for ovulation that month. I hit rock-bottom.
I sobbed all the way home from his office. I sobbed for the next week. And I screamed at God. I was furious. Lost. Frustrated. Confused. And I wanted answers. Now.
But never once did I say to myself, “He has left me.”
It took awhile, but I was eventually able to come to terms with the idea that we’d be a family of three. I decided that no matter what happened, God had not left me. He had given me an amazing, supportive husband and a beautiful son, and together, we were a complete family.
**One last side note. I want to give props to my husband who was amazingly supportive through all of those months. Even though it wasn’t his body that was causing the problems, he was just as frustrated as I was. But he never blamed me for our inability to conceive. He never pushed me away or refused to talk about it. He held me when I cried, hugged me, and listened when I wanted to talk. He was incredible.
We can’t forget the husband, even when it’s the wife’s biology causing the problem. Father’s desire to father, too. Men want the joy of children and they want to see their wives happy. 🙂
I would be a mother of one. The pain was raw, but I accepted that this was God’s will for me, and His will is always perfect. And although the prayer of Hannah had not “worked” for me, I began to pray a verse that had been important to me for years.
    Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

And my heart began to understand acceptance. Very quickly, I saw the lessons in what God was teaching me.

During all of these months, my relationship with God completely changed. I learned lessons on control and patience. For the first time in my life, I felt God’s comforting arms supporting me, guiding me away from the path I had chosen to the one He’d laid down for me. For most of my life I had been living in my will, masking it as God’s. But now I saw the importance of making God’s will my own.

I had an intense desire to seek God–to really know Him and not be satisfied with what I knew of Him. My relationship with God has never been the same. And above all, I am so grateful for that.

Another amazing “side-effect” of my struggle with secondary infertility is that during all those months God laid an intense desire on my heart to write stories. I had written a little before, and seeking an outlet for my frustration, I turned to writing. It is because of those months, because of my desire to focus on something else, that I label myself as a writer today. A passion was born out of struggle, and it’s something else I am immensely grateful for.

God doesn’t always answer our prayers the way we want Him to, but He always answers.

When I finally did get pregnant, the words thank you just weren’t powerful enough. God answered my prayers, but in His time, teaching me many things along the way. He always knows best.

And just because it seems I got what I wanted by adding to our family, I have not forgotten the lessons, nor would I trade that time of struggle for an easy road. Those months molded and shaped me, bringing spiritual maturity. They changed my marriage, brought us closer, and made me appreciate God’s design with fresh eyes.

I wanted my kids two years apart, but God made them a little over three. And His timing is perfect. Hindsight tells me that my family is also perfect, just the way He designed it.

As I said in the previous post, I don’t know if tertiary infertility exists, and I hope and pray that I don’t have to find out. Should we decide to try to grow our family, I pray that whatever happens, I’ll be able to recognize God’s plans in all of it.
Share with me:
What other advice would you give to someone who is friends with a woman struggling with infertility? What life lessons has God used to teach you about His will and timing?


Filed under Infertility