Our Infertility Story, Part 1

I have debated writing a post like this for some time now, but I knew it was necessary. It’s hard to be able to write about your struggles and emotions, especially in a day and age where we only put our best on social media. It’s hard to be truly transparent when you are dealing with something and facing a trial. I’ve been MIA on my blog for a little while because it’s been hard to not write about this topic, and I wasn’t ready to. This isn’t just my story to tell, it’s also Ryan’s.

As most of you know, Ryan and I met in the fall of 2007, got married the fall of 2010, bought our house summer of 2014…and that’s probably the last you’ve heard about our lives. Everyone has been waiting for it, asking about it and wondering when we are going to have a little child of our own.

We started trying to expand our family at the very end of 2013 and the very beginning of 2014. I was so excited that I started numerous boards on Pinterest of what clothing our new babe was going to wear, and what beautiful gender neutral nurseries are out there and how could I forget? We needed to look for ideas on how to announce our pregnancy, the gender, the arrival of our newborn and all of our baby’s milestones. Fast forward three years, and here we are. With empty bedrooms in our new home with no babies. The photo in this post is actually a sign we bought at the beginning of this year along with a set of baby onesies I bought last year. If you open one of our guest bedrooms in our home, you will see these same exact items, leaned up against the wall, waiting to be put to use.

Three years has seemed like an eternity, and I hesitate to say that because I know many couples have been on this road for far longer than us. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions, tests, charts, temping, etc, etc. The first few months I knew I was pregnant. I had all of the “symptoms”. I could feel every little ache and twitch in my body and knew, “wow it really was that easy!”. A pregnancy test confirmed that it wasn’t really that easy. Month after month we learned that it was negative again. Then we stopped buying tests altogether. No need to see the words “not pregnant” written out perfectly clear month after month.

For those of you that do not know, when you are under the age of 35 and have been trying to conceive for more than one year you should seek medical help. At the end of last year, we did undergo some very basic testing which is called a reproductive health screening and were told to take supplements and make an appointment if no success. We took supplements for a little while with again, no results. We haven’t been given an ultimatum, like “you will only get pregnant if x, y and z” but we plan on seeking a specialist at the beginning of next year. It’s sort of bittersweet for me. Part of me wants answers, but I know regardless of what the doctors tell me, I am still putting my hope and trust in God, not what the specialists tell us. The other part of me doesn’t want to go because ultimately IVF might be one of our only options. I’ll be honest, I haven’t paid much attention to IVF until being in this situation and after doing more research on it I feel as though getting rid of embryos at the chance of having one healthy baby that might be able to be carried until term, is still not worth it. The intent is good because you are wanting to create life, but at what cost? As a believer who believes that life begins at conception, this has really challenged my philosophy. As of right now, this is my personal stance and whenever we do see a specialist we will need just as much prayer as we do now for God to guide our next steps. I do not condemn anyone who has undergone IVF or plans to, this is just where I am at personally. Aside from any moral stance, financially, treatments like IVF are very much out of our price range. We both went to a four-year private Christian college for goodness sakes!

It’s been hard these past few years mainly because we feel like we have just been waiting with no answers. We’ve both had our strong moments, and not so strong moments. There are times I feel like, “okay God, if you never give me a biological child, that’s okay, I’m still going to follow you no matter what” and then there are times when I can’t go a full week without crying every single day because the pain is unbearable. This process has taught us to bring all of our emotions to God and to really hold true to the promise that He has this all under control.
Because I work from home, my schedule overlaps with many stay at home moms. The fun Target run on my lunch break soon turns into retail therapy when I walk right into the store entrance and I see newborns and toddlers everywhere with their moms. I can’t look at the baby section anymore because part of me thinks that if I don’t acknowledge it, then I won’t feel the pain.
The same goes with talking about it with other people. We’ve told very close family members at first and then started what felt like confessing to our close friends. And that’s what it’s felt like for me at least. Something about infertility throughout time has felt shameful and embarrassing.

Biblically, infertility has been followed by many great men and women in the bible.
Sarah and Abraham (Issac’s parents)
Rebekah and Issac (Jacob & Esau’s parents)
Rachel and Jacob (Joseph and Benjamin’s parents)
Manoah and his wife (Samson’s parents)
Hannah and Elkanah (Samuel’s parents)
Elizabeth and Zecharias (John the Baptist’s parents)

Reading some of these scriptures such as Hannah’s story comforts me and others put our situation in perspective. It could be worse. I could be in my nineties after menopause like Sarah and Elizabeth. We could wait for twenty-five years. Or we could be actually in need of a miraculous life-or-death healing. We are both healthy, and for that I am beyond thankful. One thing I have learned is that children aren’t a need. They are a want. As heartless as that sounds, think of it this way. I am not on my death bed because of my lack of children. I want children. It’s in my nature to want them. My life doesn’t end because I do not have them.

At first, this revelation was challenging to accept. It’s very difficult to bind my flesh’s wants. Especially when I know without a doubt that we would bring up our children in church. I’ve learned that getting what you want in life, no matter how “right” it is or may feel, doesn’t mean it will automatically be given to you, or that it should.
Waiting is sometimes viewed as a negative thing. It’s painful because we are in a society where we constantly want things as soon as we can have them. However, the bible shows us that waiting is an integral part of being a Christian. Waiting builds our faith, and if are wise, we allow this opportunity to allow us to grow in the process. One of my reasons for waiting so long to see a doctor (I can’t necessarily speak to Ryan’s) is because I didn’t want to idolize having a child. I am by no means saying that if you decide to seek help immediately that it becomes an idol. Every situation is different, and we felt after much prayer to wait. I’m sure I will get some eye rolls from this, but throughout this process we have been wanting God to teach us what we need to be taught and lean on him for all understanding. Sure if we went and saw a specialist that doesn’t mean we would conceive right away, but seeking a doctor’s advice over God’s in this situation is borderline risky. I think there are some moments in our lives where God tells us we just need to be still and take comfort in knowing who is in control.

I titled this post as “Part 1” even though we haven’t experienced the “Part 2” yet because I know God is going to bless us. Whether we are blessed with a biological child, whether we are led to adopt, or if we are childless and are in the will of God, I would still call that a blessing.

I’m trusting God for a part 2 where I can tell you that it gets better. That a blessing comes because God works in impossible situations.

I can’t live life circling around a question just because it hurts. I’m tired of pretending that I am okay, especially on Mother’s Day. It’s hard to celebrate on that day when your mother has already passed, but it is even more of a heartbreaker when you question whether you will ever become one. What used to be a sad day reflecting on the fact that my mother would never be able to see my future children, has evolved into a feeling of wonder if I will ever have children.

Please continue to pray for us. Pray that we would continue to grow in Christ throughout this process. We would like to have a formal sit down with specialists but are also praying that God continues to lead us throughout this process and our thoughts on adoption.
We wanted to bring awareness to those who have not been touched by infertility and bring encouragement to those who have. Many couples do not tell many people, sometimes not even their close friends or family because they feel as though no one will understand. I want other couples to know that they are not alone, which is a feeling we’ve had throughout this journey.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

The Faith to Follow

When we brought our dog Maximus home with us from the shelter, I’m sure he didn’t know what to think. He was only five months old, and he shook in my lap the entire drive home. We weren’t sure if he had previous owners that didn’t want him anymore, or if he was found on the streets, (aka the hills and fields of good ‘ol Harlan County, Kentucky). It was the week of Christmas and we were pretty certain we would be getting a dog within the next few weeks, so we had already bought the essentials for our soon-to-be pup.

Once we brought him home, he quickly learned and observed that he had his own food and water bowl, crate, and toys all to himself. I still remember showing him his crate and pouring him food all while he was staring at me, tail wagging, trying to process what was happening. Fast forward just a few short weeks and he was crate trained, potty trained and comprehended that his name was Maximus. It was safe to say that he had developed a sense of, “hey these people feed me, play with me and give me belly rubs all of the time, I like them!”. Our frightened puppy was now a confident one who followed us wherever we went.

It has now been a year and a half since we have had Max and through my experiences of becoming a pet parent, I soon realized that I could learn a thing or two from him.

Sometimes I wish I had faith like Max. I wish I had so much faith in my Master that I didn’t ever hesitate or get worried about where exactly He is leading me. Now I know that concept may sound silly to some people, (that I wish my faith mimicked my dog’s faith in me), but my dog follows me almost everywhere I go without hesitation.

How much more do I owe that to God? To follow Him without hesitation, even when circumstances arise?

An obstacle Max had to overcome when we first brought him home was learning how to climb flights of stairs. Our house has many steps: stairs to walk into the house, stairs to walk up or down a level, and stairs to walk down to the back patio. At first, he would sit and cry as he glanced down and saw the obstacle before him. Eventually, we had to lead him with a leash up and down the stairs. Once he mastered one set of stairs we had to lead him up and down the others, because no two sets of stairs are the same ‘ya know!

A passage in the Bible that comes to mind when thinking of this story is when Peter tries to walk on water but because he started to focus on what was going on around him, it caused him to lose faith and he started to sink.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
Matthew 14:29-31 (NIV)

Maybe we aren’t called to necessarily walk on water and we’ve already mastered the stairs, but there have been many times in my life when things come up and I start to worry and try to solve things myself. Suddenly I leave God out as if He doesn’t already know what is going on in my life and that He doesn’t know how the situation is going to turn around. However, God does know everything about our situation, and He already knows what the outcome is going to be.
I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes it is scary to sit back, pray and trust that God has everything under control. Worry can suddenly become an attempt to solve and cope with a problem. In a weird way, it can feel like we have control over the situation if we worry.

Having the faith to follow God requires trusting in Him. Even if it means we are going to have to do something we don’t want to do or it’s going to cost us something. Worry does not come from God, but instead the enemy. The bible tells us the following about worry:

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
Matthew 6:25-27

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Matthew 6:34

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.“
Matthew 11:28-30

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
Luke 12:25

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
John 14:27

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

If you are a believer reading this you probably already know there is so much more we are commanded to do than just have faith. We are told we must follow, and how can we do that if we don’t have faith in where He is leading us?

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
Luke 9:23 (NIV)

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
John 8:12 (NIV)


Jesus doesn’t say follow your friends, follow celebrities, not even follow your heart. Instead, He instructs us to follow Him.

If we as Christians haven’t completely surrendered our hearts, lives, and will to Christ, it’s probably because of fear and a lack of faith. We tend to follow what we have faith in, and sometimes that can be someone we look up to other than Jesus, or sometimes ourselves.
So what does following Christ truly look like?
It’s often easier said than done, but we need to have faith that God’s will and plan for our lives is better than what we could ever do with our lives on our own. If you aren’t sure if you are truly following Christ, then maybe ask yourself if you have been seeking His will and have been seeking the Holy Spirit to guide you throughout your day.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Psalm 119:105

I pray that as we continue to live this life, that we truly seek God through it all. In the good times it is always easy to praise and follow Him, but what does it say about our faith when we encounter trials in this life and put God on the back burner?