The Word I Never Thought I'd Have to Use In My List of Struggles
I’m not naturally an open book. So when it comes to my struggles, my natural tendency is to slam my book shut and not even think about opening it back up to anyone until it has been edited through to its final copy. I think this is because I like to give people hope and I feel like the finished product is the best way to give that hope. You see, I know the process is messy and doesn’t always make us look the best, but I’m learning that sharing my struggle in the midst of the mud and the war can give others hope on how to best handle our hearts in the process.
When I wrote this blog post exactly one year ago today, I never dreamt in a million years that I would be writing it to my future self. Honestly, I never thought I’d be writing another blog post about infertility, especially not my infertility.
Sometimes I choke on my words as I say it. It’s still fairly new since I’ve put those two words together… “my” and “infertility.” I think for a woman to finally admit that the thing her body was designed to do isn’t working properly is hard. Because of this, for months I just brushed off the absence of a baby as we tried. I wouldn’t admit that we were seeing signs of infertility. I felt like since we didn’t have a diagnosis that I couldn’t say that I was struggling with this. But as I researched more, I began to realize that we don’t need a diagnosis for us to be struggling with infertility. The diagnosis just gives the reason for the struggle…
If you don’t fully understand what all infertility entails, here are a few great sources:
For as long as I can remember, I’d always been told I needed to be careful because my family is full of “Fertile Myrtle’s”. My mom got pregnant with me on birth control, and then a few years after me when she decided she wanted another kid, she got pregnant with my brother right away.
I also married a man whose family is full of fertility. Nathan was a surprise for his momma (Just like I was for mine. They got some good surprises if you ask me!) and just like my mom, my MIL got pregnant quickly with his two sisters after him as well. Both of our families are full of cousins, meaning, you guessed it, our aunts and uncles can pop em’ out just as easily as our parents can. So when Nathan and I felt the Lord telling us to try and get pregnant we honestly expected to be pregnant within a few months.
You see I’m a planner (this isn’t new to any of you who actually know me) and we’d been telling everyone we knew that we weren’t going to start trying until after our third wedding anniversary, June 28, 2018. So when we felt God telling us to start trying in September of 2017, we chose to not tell anyone because we wanted it to be a surprise when we got pregnant.
From day one, I did everything by the book. We felt the Lord telling us to start trying on a Sunday and by Tuesday my pack of ovulation and pregnancy tests arrived in the mail. That same week, I went out and bought the top of the line prenatal vitamins. I started tracking my ovulation. I started reading articles on how to increase our fertility. I started working out more consistently and went on Whole30 to try to cleanse my body of the birth control I’d been on. I started reading every label on my beauty products and began buying more natural things.
I began praying for my baby. I started imagining what it would be like to feel my baby flutter in my stomach as I sat cross-legged on my couch. I started imagining what our nursery would look like. (Here’s a secret, I didn’t even decorate our guest room because I knew soon it’d be a nursery.) I even started teaching Finn to not jump on me when I came home from work because I wanted to prepare so he wouldn’t hurt baby. I started researching the best carseat, stroller, breast pump, monitor, etc.
I was prepared.
Month after month I would take my ovulation test and see it was positive. I’d get my hopes up that this was the time, then two weeks later would have my hopes shattered as I lay in bed with a heating pad on my stomach as tears rolled down my cheeks because I knew this meant I had to wait another month before I could possibly have a tiny human inside me. All the while everyone around me was getting pregnant. Within the first 3 months of me trying 8 women announced they were pregnant at my church (that only has about 150 people!). These were women I loved and I was so excited for them, but as their bellies grew, so did the deep pain in my heart.
The questions started piling up in my head.
“Is there something wrong with me, medically?”
“My body is doing everything it should, so why am I not getting pregnant?”
“I was only on birth control for a few years. Does it really take this long to get out of my system?”
“God I know you can heal, so why aren’t You healing me?”
“I know babies are a blessing, so why am I not getting mine?”
I started to feel forgotten as all my soon-to-be momma friend’s bellies grew and mine remained empty. My feeling of being overlooked by God only intensified as the months began to pile up…
Around month six we decided to finally tell our small group that we lead that we were trying and it was the most vulnerable and reassuring thing we could have done. The more people we told, the more free I felt; the less grip the enemy had on my emotions. My sadness diminished as my joy rose up. The more I questioned Jesus’ remembrance of me, the more He reassured me that I am seen and known by Him. The more my heart broke, the quicker He swooped in to guard it and put every piece back together. In this season I haven’t been sure about much, but what I am sure of is that I am seen and known by a God who loves me and loves my future baby more than I ever could.
Though this past year has been heartbreaking and full of questions, in this season Jesus has also surrounded me with the best people a girl could ask for.
Amazing women who check in on me and pray for me constantly. He has also placed two specific women strategically in my life. Both go to my church. Both were trying when the baby boom hit Overflow Church. Both know the pain, the questions, the hurt of not having a baby yet while we watch some of our best friends get to move so beautifully into that role. We have gotten to cry together, be real about our deep emotional pains, and rejoice at each other’s victories.
My husband. There have been days where I just can’t stop crying because my heart literally aches and he hasn’t once told me to snap out of it. Instead he has opened his arms wide, held me, and let me cry it out. When I scheduled the doctors appointment to begin moving forward in our infertility journey I came home upset. Our conversation went something like this, “Hey babe, I scheduled my appointment with my OBGYN.” He responded with, “That’s great then they can tell you there is nothing wrong with you!” I quickly barked back, “But what if I have something wrong with me?” Then he said something I will never forget, “Brooke, that’s good because then we will know what to pray against.” (I mean, how did I get so lucky?!)
Our pastors. About a year and a half ago, my pastor felt the Lord telling him that Overflow Church would be “the house of the open womb”. Obviously he heard correctly because four months later we had eight women pregnant! And now a new wave has hit and we have four other ladies pregnant! My pastor’s know that this word is also for me, so every opportunity they get they pray over me. Every night when they pray with their kids before bed, they pray for me. They don’t jut say they’ll pray for me, they do it!
Our small group. Since the day we announced our prayer request at our group, they haven’t stopped praying for us. Each week they lay hands on me and pray over my womb and my baby. As I type this I am moved to tears thinking of how incredibly loved my baby already is.
Our parents. We waited until the one year mark of trying to get pregnant to tell our parents (which was SO hard), but more than anyone else, we wanted to surprise them the most if we did get pregnant. However, once we started scheduling things with doctors and the reality that this wasn’t just my birth control taking longer than expected to get out of my system or my stress hindering us from getting pregnant, I knew we needed to tell them. I was honestly a little worried because this was something neither of them had ever been through, but they were amazing about it. They were so excited we were trying (our baby would be the first grandchild on both sides!) and all they said was that they would be praying, which honestly was all we we wanted of them.
Not a moment in this journey have I felt that I’m doing this alone. There have been times I’ve felt misunderstood, but never have I felt alone because I have the most amazing tribe.
So here I am after 402 days.
That’s how many days I’ve been praying for my miracle baby. That’s how many days I’ve imagined waking up and taking a pregnancy test and seeing it is finally positive. That’s how many days my heart has longed to hear my baby’s heartbeat on the sonogram. That’s how many days I’ve walked past our spare bedroom dreaming of the day it is a nursery. But I’ll wait 402 more and then 402 more after that and 402 more if I need to. Because I know my baby is coming, I just don’t know when.
* I’m sure there are some of you who have been waiting way longer than we have, and know my heart is breaking for you. I’ve cried more tears than I can count as I’ve written this blog post each day praying for you and your heart. If you are dealing with infertility, I’d love to meet up with you and talk, but if we can’t do that, I’d love to text you and be a voice of reassurance and encouragement or a listening ear when you’re having a day where your heart is literally aching too. I’d love to add you to my list of women who are longing for babies but don’t have them yet, and I’d love to rejoice when your prayers are finally answered and your miracle baby finally comes.
**I have wrestled with writing this post for three reasons 1) honestly I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me because I many times take that as permission to sulk & 2) as I mentioned above, I know there are many women who have been waiting longer than me and who have had terrible diagnoses where as I have none yet. 3) Infertility isn’t really talked about until after the miracle baby comes. But I know that there are others out there who need to hear that whether you’ve been waiting a year or ten or whether you’ve had a diagnosis yet or not, you are not alone. We are stronger together! I’ve decided if I’m going to have to wait I might a well work on waiting well. I’m declaring that over myself every day and I would love to help you do the same! I’ll be discussing our infertility journey more on the blog now under the tab “Waiting Well”, so be looking out for some resources that have really helped me walk through this season of waiting.
*** If you want to pray for Nate and I here are a few points to pray about:
That our bodies will line up with the Word of God that says, “By His stripes we are healed.”
That my heart will stay soft in the waiting & I won’t allow bitterness to creep in.
That we will overflow in thankfulness in this season.
That God will bring others into my path who are dealing with infertility & I can be a comfort and encouragement to them.
Pray that we would find the right insurance for us to move forward in all of this medically. We are currently at a standstill because both of our insurances just ended… 3 days before my doctor’s appointment… (I see you teaching me to wait and trust, God!) & we want to find an insurance that will cover infertility doctors, which is surprisingly/sadly rare.