Not every story ends with the miracle.
I wish I could look everyone in the eye and say with 100% confidence, “God is going to answer your prayers with a fulfillment of your dreams.” But the truth is, that isn’t always the case. For reasons far beyond our knowledge, and with a love far surpassing our imagination, there are times when God chooses to respond to our plea with a simple, “No.”
In this series on infertility, I wanted to make sure I included a different kind of story. I believe it would be easy for Satan to speak lies and convince women that her baby had not come because she was not worthy, or loved, or righteous enough. This is so far from the truth.
If nothing else, please hear this: God loves you and he cares for you. He sees you in your pain and he has not left you to fend for yourself. The Jesus Storybook Bible says it best, God loves you with a “never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love.”
I am forever grateful to Ashley for her willingness to share her story.
Ashley and her husband, Mark, had been married for three years when she discovered she was pregnant. This was surprising, yet exciting, because even though they were not attempting to prevent a pregnancy, they had not planned for one at that time.
Ashley grabbed some literature to read up on pregnancy and the accompanying symptoms. She remembers having read the term “ectopic pregnancy” but not giving it too much thought.
A few weeks later, Ashley began to complain of some stomach pain. In just a short amount of time, she went from feeling a little gassy and crampy, to being doubled over by a severe amount of pain. She and her husband rushed to the emergency room.
It was quickly determined that Ashley’s baby had not attached to her uterine wall, but had instead become implanted in a fallopian tube. Her baby had continued to grow so much, that the tube burst and she had to have emergency surgery to remove the tube.
The situation was a shock for Ashley and Mark. Yet, during the healing process, her body seemed to have prepped itself for carrying a baby. Three months later, Ashley was pregnant again.
Once an ectopic pregnancy has occurred, the body is at risk for it happening again. This time, due to the life-threatening nature of this type of pregnancy, Ashley was under heavy monitoring and had to take weekly blood tests to identify whether her baby was growing. The results were positive, so they set up an ultrasound to determine where the baby had attached.
It would be Ashley’s second ectopic pregnancy. Her baby had attached in her remaining fallopian tube. It is impossible for a baby to survive more than a few weeks in this exact situation, and ultimately, it would be her second loss.
At the time of passing the fluids and tissue that come along with pregnancy, Ashley’s senses were flooded with emotion. Though unrecognizable, the idea of her baby being in a toilet was surreal and unnerving.
Only a few months prior, starting a family had not yet entered Ashley and Mark’s minds. However, after their two losses, they began to be determined to have a family. Her first two pregnancies had come quickly, and were lost tragically. The next 17 years would be a fight for a third pregnancy; each month bringing hope and then disappointment.
They considered medical interventions, but decided against IVF due to cost and the possibility of moral questions should the process result in numerous healthy embryos. There was also the chance of failure, and that felt unbearable.
Adoption was also a consideration, but cost was a significant factor. They toiled with becoming foster parents and then adopting, but what if they were not allowed to keep the child? At one point, Ashley’s dreams of becoming a mom seemed to be coming true. They had been contacted to potentially adopt what would have been the fifth child of a single mom who simply could not feed an additional mouth. About five weeks after the conversation began, Ashley was informed that the mother had chosen abortion and had already gone through the procedure.
It seemed every road would lead to heartbreak.
Only a few months ago, Ashley had to undergo a hysterectomy due to a large fibroid growing on her uterus. It would bring finality to their story.
Why did their miracle never come to fruition? This question may never be answered.
Ashley and Mark were both very committed to the Lord and to their church throughout the entire process. There were some dark days, but Ashley is thankful for their strong marriage. She says her husband was her rock and was able to pull her out of darkness and lead her back to the Lord.
Sometimes, the hardest moments came when reading of all the miracles in the Bible. The words that were intended to bring life, were being used by the enemy to bring devastation. While Satan may try to convince us otherwise, God’s words are still true and his purpose is good.
Throughout their experience, Ashley found healing by surrounding herself with babies. She served in the infant room at her church. She celebrated new life through baby showers. Even now, she is in the process of becoming a doula. Ashley may not have been able to carry a baby of her own, but this fact does not discount her from being able to take care of others. She loves being as close to the miracle of life as possible.
Ashley’s prayer is that her story and circumstances are used for a greater purpose. For anyone currently facing the obstacle of infertility, Ashley suggests giving yourself permission to grieve and acknowledge any feelings of guilt. But then, turn to the Lord. Upon doing so, He will give you the hope to get through the day, and provide the strength that carries you in your weakest hour.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” (Jeremiah 29:11; NLT)