Have you every had a moment when you were graced with a chance to see why you were called to something? That happened for me with Tina.
We were acquaintances who attended the same church, but different campuses. We ran in the same circle of friends, but were not close friends ourselves. After publishing my final post during a series on infertility, I invited women who wanted to connect and talk about their experiences to get together one evening. I remember Tina so brokenly telling us that only a few hours prior to our meeting, she had learned the gender of the baby she would never get to meet.
What a heart-wrenching, yet beautiful, moment that was. We wrapped our arms around Tina and prayed with her. And that’s when I knew. All this writing about infertility, a topic I knew little about, was all worth it so that she could have support from these women who could relate.
And now, it is with such great pleasure, that I let Tina tell the details.
Infertility: Tina’s Story
I guess my story really began before I even knew I had a story. Early pain and suffering associated with my menses during adolescence was my first indication of the more difficult road that lay ahead. At 25, I was diagnosed with Endometriosis which could indeed impact my fertility, but could also be treated with surgery. I underwent my first laparoscopy and my symptoms improved significantly. Over the years, the birth-control pill disguised my symptoms so well that when I began considering marriage in my early-mid 30s, I felt the chance of infertility was minute for me. However, I was wrong. While engaged, we sought the advice of experts; in order to know what challenges, if any, we may face trying to conceive once married. Indeed, we learned my AMH levels were still very low, much like those of a woman 10+ years older than me. We stayed prayerful and hoped for a miracle as we began our married life together.
Approximately 5 months after marrying, I discontinued the birth-control pill and our conception journey began. Many months of trying on our own, months of trying with the help of oral hormones, and months of trying after having a 2nd laparoscopy ensued. By this time, I was over 35 years old and knew my chance of conceiving was decreasing rapidly. I cried a lot. I’ve always been the type who remained in control, but THIS was a game changer. I found my reliance truly could no longer be on myself and instead would have to fall into the hands of the Most Capable.
In January of 2016, we decided to proceed with IVF. By February, I was given the highest dose of hormones possible because the outlook of conception was bleak. The doctor was quite surprised to retrieve 10 eggs, 9 of which were considered usable. Of those, we had 4 to fertilize! After 17 months of seeing negative pregnancy tests with no response from other forms of treatment/procedures, this was truly a welcomed surprise. About a week later, following the incubation period and some testing, we were told our 4 fertilized embryos would not be suitable for transfer. Just like that, our IVF journey ended and my hopes were dashed.
Over that next month, my husband and I had deep discussion about what to do next. We shed lots of tears together, but remained prayerful. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed in God, though. Why? Well, ironically, at the end of 2015 during Open Enrollment, my company announced that for the first time, they would be introducing a fertility program with limited coverage for eligible employees to receive a financial benefit for IVF. After investigating further, I found that I qualified for this coverage. We were ecstatic! We felt God was on the move on our behalf. We believed this window of opportunity to receive financial assistance for this extremely expensive procedure was an answer to prayer. To know that over half the cost would be covered was a huge relief and we were very thankful for this opportunity. Therefore, when IVF failed, we were left confused, and wondered if we had misinterpreted this window of opportunity. Personally, my faith was at a low.
In March, I missed my period for the very first time ever. I was scheduled for my annual gynecology visit and it was there that I found out I was PREGNANT!! I was beyond emotional; overjoyed, flabbergasted, and most of all thankful. I passionately, with my whole heart, thanked the Lord for our miracle. To me, this baby was a sign that my body was capable and this was God’s timing. At my 9 week visit, our 2nd ultrasound revealed no heartbeat. Our baby had stopped growing over a week before. Following my D&C, one day after our wedding anniversary, I entered into a whirlwind of emotions that would continue for months. Moments of thrashing anger, constant questioning of God as to “Why” he took our little girl (Ivy) haunted me. Yes, we chose to have genetic testing of the fetus to see if we could identify the cause of my miscarriage and in the process learned we lost a baby girl. I had days of true sorrow, some of sheer discontent, and others of deep depression. I found it hard to pray during that time; after all, I had little gratitude in the midst of my pain. My husband would quote scripture, pray for us, and research sermons about infertility and miscarriage to pass my way. He was, and still is, my Hero. We sought the help of our Pastor, a Christian counselor, and an Infertility group for me, as we knew we could not go at this alone. I also began to learn more about environmental toxins, even in our skincare/beauty products, that expose us to greater risk for infertility and hormone disruption. Because of this, I decided to make some positive changes in my regime, while becoming an advocate for safer products. The support of close friends, even new friends from my infertility group, family, coworkers, and my newfound endeavor brought light to this dark journey and made the healing process bearable.
The summer of 2016 brought forth several attempts at IUI. It was our final attempt in August, with a switch to a new doctor and new medicine that we conceived our precious son that I’m carrying today! With each kick and flip he does, I’m reminded of when John leapt in his mother Elizabeth’s womb! This journey has taught me that I never was alone. God was with me, had gone before me, had placed special people on my path, and anticipated all my needs. He allowed me to feel ALL of the emotions for myself for a very important reason. He knows my story will bring hope to someone and is a testament to His power and provision. He is still in the business of performing miracles and I’m devoted to glorifying Him with our little miracle!