Infertility: Tina’s Story

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

Tina 1

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!

Tina 2

Infertility: Marcy’s Story

I first met Marcy through church. We attended the same campus and would often see each other at a midweek small group for mommies and littles called “Baby Praise”. This was a chance for parents and kiddos to chat together while learning songs and lessons that were being taught in the preschool age on Sunday mornings.

Not knowing her story, I admired Marcy greatly. She had a set of very young triplets who were all potty training, and another little baby boy to boot. Watching her mother her little ones motivated me in the mothering of my own. I knew I could learn a great deal from her!

When I first posted about infertility, I learned the miracles behind all four of those precious babies. It is a great honor and privilege to be able to share her story with you today.

Infertility: Marcy’s Story

Marcy's Wedding

Our breakthrough came at a time of surrender. After my 5th loss, we decided to go on a mission trip to Colombia, South America. My husband, Allen and I thought it would be a great chance for both of us to get away, change our focus, and do something we’d felt called to do.

Our introduction into infertility had begun  three years prior. We had decided we were ready to start having children and were surprised when that didn’t happen right away.

After trying a few rounds of Clomid, we still didn’t get pregnant and we were officially referred to a fertility specialist, where we learned I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). The doctor was confident that with intervention, I should be able to get pregnant quickly. A few weeks later we were thrilled to learn the treatment had worked – I was pregnant! We told our families and a few close friends; eagerly looking forward to our ultrasound. When the day finally arrived we were nervous but excited. Our excitement quickly faded when the ultrasound began. We immediately knew something was wrong. The doctor explained that even though I was 8 weeks pregnant, they couldn’t find a baby. Testing determined I had an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy. We were crushed.

Despite our devastation, we were eager to have a baby. As soon as we were cleared to try again, we did. Two months later, we found out we were expecting, only to lose this baby too. This pattern of pregnancy and loss continued. In total, we got pregnant five times and lost all five babies. Our hope was wearing thin. During this time, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to join an infertility support group. It was such a gift to be able to share and talk with women who knew my hurts and hopes. They were a pillar of strength for me throughout our  journey.

It was after our 5th loss that we decided to take our mission trip. The trip was life changing. We went with a wonderful group of people, met many others and experienced so much. Our faith grew exponentially. I began to realize how much bigger the world was outside of me and my trials. I began learning how to focus less on me and more on others.

Marcy's Mission Trip

Shortly after our trip, a few of us had the opportunity to share our experience with others in our community. At the end of the night, I also shared my infertility story with some of the ladies. Before I left, these women prayed over me. Something changed that night. I left feeling hopeful and sure that I was going to be a mother, somehow, some way.

Just before our trip,  we had  met with a new doctor, who’d diagnosed me with endometriosis. He set us up with a new plan and with our renewed hope  we were eager to try it.

As we went through the “two week wait” of not knowing if this attempt had worked, we would pray daily for the child that we hoped was growing in my body. Allen would jokingly pray for the “babies” and even went as far as to pray for 4 babies. I remember telling him, “I don’t think I could handle four. Three, maybe, but four at one time? No way!” Little did we know, just a few weeks later, we would find out we were expecting…TRIPLETS! We were excited, nervous, scared, hopeful, fearful, you name it – we felt it. Again, we turned to our team of prayer warriors and asked for prayer over our sweet babies.

Marcy Triplet Announcement

Seven months later, at 30 weeks and 3 days, we welcomed Hallie, Hannah, and Caleb into the world. I was so overwhelmed and in awe of what God had done. Never in my dreams could I have imagined this would be our story. Just a year prior, we were questioning if we would ever have a child at all. Our hearts were so full.

Marcy's Triplets

Despite having been given so much, Allen and I would often talk about having one more child, “Bennett”. It was a name we loved and we both felt our family wasn’t quite complete. We would mention it from time to time, but we had no desire to go through fertility treatments again. If we were supposed to have another child we trusted God would open the door. This wasn’t something we were ready to pursue, but merely a thought in the back of our minds for “someday”. Much to our surprise, when the triplets were 18 months old we learned we were once again pregnant. Due to our history, we were overwhelmed with a mixture of emotions. We reached out to our closest friends and family for prayer and support. 9 months later, we welcomed our baby boy, our “cherry on top”, our Bennett!

Marcy's Family

When I am asked what I want other women battling with infertility to know, so many thoughts come to mind. I remember being in the thick of it, hearing other women’s stories, appreciating them, but knowing they weren’t my own, questioning if, how, and when I would get my happy ending. What I want women in this battle to know, is that yes, every story is different. No, I can’t promise how yours will end, but what I have learned through my story and the stories of others, is that God is writing a perfect story for YOU. Despite how it may feel and look right now, God works all things for good and he can do abundantly and exceedingly more than we can ever hope for or imagine. My best advice is to find a group of women who can understand and support you. Lean on them, share with them, pray with them. Above all, hold on and trust God.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; Do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5-6