On Faith and Fertility: My Very Own Christmas Miracle

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

“I was so glad the day I found pregnancy tests could be purchased in bulk online, since store-bought ones were costing a fortune. I literally ordered a hundred at a time. I think I felt that if I took enough tests, I could somehow stop my period from coming.”

[From our Archives]

Every Christmas I believe for a miracle. Sometimes it’s silly, like the year we got an espresso machine. The miracle was the guy working at Starbucks offering me his staff discount, because we could not have afforded it otherwise. It brought years of joy.

Another year it was a Wii when they were a hot item. Two years ago Disneyland. (That was truly magical). I try to create memories for my family–each Christmas a special memory, so as time passes, it won’t be forgotten.

Two years ago I received a miracle that changed my family forever. We welcomed Oliver. The biggest Christmas miracle ever.

My story:

A women’s cycle is, on average, 28 day. Here’s my CliffsNotes version of how this generally plays out:

Day One: Your period.

Day 7-14: Sanity Days. No PMS, cramping, bloating or irrational demands.

Day 14: Ovulation

Day 15 – 28: Varying degrees of craziness, moodiness, overheating, overeating and slow gradual transformation to your fat clothes; a.k.a. comfy pants and your husband’s old T-shirt with the grease stain from last month’s chips ‘n dip.

This is the natural course of a woman. OK, I’m speaking for myself. Then there comes a time when you decide to do something productive with these cycles, liiiike … for example, make a baby. When Ryan and I were first married we decided to try for Owen and two weeks later, the bun was in the oven.

Two years after Owen, we decided to add one more child to the mix. I decided I would get pregnant in August, so the baby could be born in the spring, I’d then have time to de-fat for summer and BAM I’d be lounging on the beach, my babe napping beside me–Ryan and Owen chasing each other around in the distance.

August passed. Negative. Oh, well, late spring is good too. Negative. Summer? Negative. Fall? Winter? Negative.

Two years passed.

Here ‘s what the cycle of a women with infertility looks like:

Day 25: Obsessing over every twinge your body makes. Am I nauseous? I feel sick, yes! I am going to throw up! Oh joy, could this be it? My boobs? Definitely sore. And tired? Yes, exhausted. Thank God for those early response tests. Negative. OK, it’s too early.

Day 26: Negative. Still too early. Definitely feeling something, though.

Day 26 evening: Negative. Darn it. I should have waited til the morning; that’s when there are the most hormones.

Day 27: Racing back to the house with pregnancy test still holding first morning urine. Negative. It’s OK. Tomorrow it will show up.

Day 28: I’m holding the pregnancy test up to the light. Maybe the line is so faint I can’t see it? (I did that a lot.)

Day 1: Oh.

Day 15: Cleansing breath. Maybe …

I was so glad the day I found pregnancy tests could be purchased in bulk online, since store-bought ones were costing a fortune. I literally ordered a hundred at a time. I think I felt that if I took enough tests, I could somehow stop my period from coming.

At year three we sought help at a fertility clinic. Tests, tests and more tests. Only to discover that Ryan and I had unexplained infertility. Factoring our age and the time we had gone without conceiving, without medical intervention, our chances were five percent. Awesome. We began to discuss treatments and decided to try IUIs and drugs. Night sweats, hormone-induced rages, awkward fertility treatment with a nurse (shouldn’t Ryan be here?) produced a Negative.

My twin sister became pregnant. My best friend became pregnant. I went for another IUI. Negative.

There was a moment when I was standing with my sister and friend in my kitchen one day, trying not to stare at their swollen bellies and I felt my uterus physically RECOIL. It took my breath away and I wanted to lie down and go to sleep forever.

Let’s pause here for a moment. Please don’t think that for one moment I wasn’t grateful for my Owen. I treasure that boy. This was something I was dealing with on the sidelines of being his mom.

We stopped our fertility treatments. We went back once to explore in vitro,  but because we had Owen already,  we decided we would use the money to adopt eventually. At that visit we discovered that due to time and increasing age, our chances were now 1.7 percent.

It had been 3.5 years. Every time I sat in church, I cried. Every time someone near to me conceived, I’d smile, shut down my heart so I could get through the next five minutes without screaming, WHY???? WHY???? And then say, I’m so happy for you. (If you are one those friends, I’m sorry.)

What changed?

We had been back to church for about a year, mostly to have Owen there. I had a wall around me, because I felt so fragile and broken in my disappointment and hurt. One month, my very close girlfriend told me she was expecting. For some reason I got it in my head, This is it. This is God’s timing for me. We were meant to have babies together and, to boot, it’s Christmas! God knows how much I love Christmas. It is His perfect timing. I had been praying for this. I was smug in my confidence of knowing God’s will for my life.

Day 1: I felt the color leave my face. Ryan must have taken Owen to school that day. I was home by myself getting ready for work  and listening to music. Numb. “A Bridge Over Trouble Water” came on. It was being sung by a Christian singer. These words stopped me:

“Your time has come to shine

All your dreams are on their way.”

God speaks to us in so many different ways. In that moment I knew God knew my heart. There were a lot of tears that day. I gave my burden to Him (although for the next year and half, I tried to take it back a few times.)

I turned my heart back to God that day. I took my eyes off what I didn’t have and put them on Him.

I went on birth control eventually to help my hormones. They were a mess from the fertility treatments and it felt good to close the door, to know that I did not have to have Day 1 that month. When a close friend (let’s call her Linda) approached me one day and asked if I would go off the pill and try again, I looked at her like she was insane. If she knew what she was asking me, she would not be asking me this. I was doing well, and I did not want to reopen that door.  She committed to praying for me for three months. I loved and trusted her, so I committed to having unprotected whoopy with my husband for three months.

Negative.

Negative.

Negative.

I did not hop back on the pill once the three months had passed. Partly because I did not get to my doctor; partly because I knew Linda was still believing. At month four my hormones were raging and I told her I was done. I was turning into a hormonal lunatic. She was disappointed, but understood.

Day 29. No Day 1? Weird. I went to Walmart and bought the cheapest test possible. Peed on it and walked straight to the trash to chuck it. Hold the phone. What’s that? I took a picture and sent it to my friend.

“Is that two lines?”

I called Ryan and he said: “Why did you buy the cheapest test?” (To date, Ryan has NO idea just how many tests I took over the years and how much it cost.)

“Please don’t be an illusion,” I prayed. “Please don’t let this be a mental break down.” I drove straight from Walmart to my girlfriend’s. I needed an extra set of eyes. I went straight to her toilet. Instantly there were two bright pink lines. I flew out of the bathroom: *JOY*  “It’s positive! It’s positive!!!” My friend, her friend who I had never met and I started jumping up and down, hugging and shouting like lunatics.

I called my husband. Speechless.

Then I called Linda.

Me: “You don’t have to pray for me to get pregnant any more.”

Linda: “Why?”

Me (giant lump in my throat):  “’Cause I’m pregnant.”

Linda cried for two days.

Dec. 18, 2010

I’m in labour, and Oh-Martha-Something-Stewart it hurts. We are driving to the hospital and it starts to snow. In between the waves of contractions I know this is a gift from God. He knows how much I love the snow. This is God’s perfect timing. I soak in the sereneness of the star-kissed night, soft white flakes covering the earth in a blanket of white brilliance.

One week before Christmas we welcomed Oliver. When I saw him, he took my breath away. When I saw his big brother holding him, it stopped my heart.

“Your time has come to shine

All your dreams are on their way.”

When God told me He knew my dreams, He did not answer MY dreams right away. He worked in my life, fixing things that needed fixing; healing where healing was needed. When I gave Him back my life, God transformed it and then He topped it off with Oliver.

He never forgot.

Linda and Oliver.

For those of you who have a friend walking through infertility, here are four things never to say to her. EVER:

  1. Stop trying so hard.
  2. Stop thinking about it so much.
  3. When you stop trying, it will happen. It happened to my friend.
  4. If you decide to adopt, you’ll get pregnant. That happened to so and so.

[Insert applause from infertile women.]

Here’s what you can say to her:

I am sorry you are here. It sucks. Big time.  You are doing everything right. Have faith and if you don’t right now, I have enough for you.

[Insert tears and hugs.]

“God answers in three ways: He says yes and gives you what you want, He says no and gives you something better and He says wait and gives you the best.”

____________________________

My dear SheLoves sisters, I’d love to hear your thoughts:

  • Do you have a Christmas miracle?
  • How has God met you in a special way at Christmas?
  • Do you have an experience with infertility?
  • Or a friend who has believed for you when you stopped having faith?
FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail