Experts say that the average couple will take 6 months to conceive a baby once they start trying. But, knowing this doesn’t prepare you for the sinking feeling when the pregnancy test comes back negative month after month. And it really doesn’t prepare you for a diagnosis of infertility. However, one in eight couples will end up with this determination! For us, the diagnosis was “unexplained infertility,” which is what about 20% of all couples with infertility are told. We were given 2 options: IVF (in vitro fertilization), which seemed too extreme for us to start with; and IUI (in utero insemination). Although pregnancy success rates are much lower with IUI than with IVF, we decided that this was a much less scary and less invasive starting point for us. Thankfully (and against odds) this treatment worked for us in our first month trying!
Chris and Laura, friends of ours from church also struggled for many years with infertility – but with a different story altogether. Here’s Laura to tell you their saga before you see some of their answered prayers 🙂 And, if you want to capture your own family’s blessings be sure to contact me 🙂
Our son, Tucker, was almost 1 when we decided to start trying to have a second child. I had images in my mind of kids close in age, running around and playing in the back yard together. Plus, I wanted to be able to get back to work when both kids were in school all day to ease the financial strain on my family that was created by having me at home with the kids. Part of that financial strain was also due to my husband working a seasonal job that required him to be laid off every winter. We did plan for it, but it was never easy and we had been praying for a better job for him for years.
The first 6 months or so of trying we really didn’t think about how long it would take, but after that I started putting more effort into it and using daily ovulation predictor test strips and buying pregnancy tests in bulk. That daily reminder that it wasn’t working started to take its toll. I’d tell myself that it was ok that I wasn’t pregnant yet because I already had my son and he is awesome. But laying in his bed at night, he would tell me that he wished he had a brother or sister to play with and it would real my heart. He started crying at the end of every play date because he didn’t want his friends to go home. As time went by, I realized that a close-in-age sibling was not going to happen and my heart broke a little for our shared dream being over. I would tell Tucker to pray and ask God for that sibling and I would lay in his bed silently begging God to hear our prayers.
About a year in, I finally got that second line on the pregnancy test! I excitedly planned how to tell Chris and surprised him with a book for us to read to Tucker about being a big a brother. A week later, the morning of Tucker’s second birthday party, I found out I had miscarried.
After that I started seeing a reproductive endocrinologist and after months of testing and bloodwork, I finally was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and anovulation (when you don’t release an egg every cylce) and we were able to start trying medical interventions. The disappointment was sinking in hard and I found myself crying in the bathroom at church during baby dedications and struggling to understand God’s love for me in the fog of my discouragment and frustration. I was hopeful, however, that my first month on clomid would work and when I was asked to be a bridesmaid by a friend in her wedding 8 months away, I ordered 5 sizes up so it could have it altered to be a maternity dress. That first month trying clomid was such a disappointment because the medicine didn’t work at all to even cause ovulation. After 4 more tries, they switched me to letrozole and even though I was not pregnant, it finally caused ovulation! Months later, that wedding finally came up and the day before we left for the wedding, Chris had an interview at WPI for a year-round grounds crew position with great pay and benefits. We were excited for the possibility and had a nice long weekend away in Hershey, Pennsylvania while Tucker stayed with my parents. I had a perfectly tailored non-maternity dress for the wedding.
Two weeks after our return, Chris got a call offering him the job at WPI! We were so relieved and excited for the answer to our long time prayer to be answered! Two days after that, God answered our other long time prayer… I found out we were pregnant! There was no cutesy plan in place to tell Chris… just screaming, crying, hugging and praying thanks to God. The timing of the two prayers we had prayed for over the past three and a half years being answered within two days of each other felt like God’s way of saying “I had a plan in place, I love you, this is a gift from me.” God is the best at making Himself the star of our stories! There is no coincidence there, He came through for us!
However, I still felt anxious about another miscarriage and while praying my worries, I started hearing a verse in my mind that I had never memorized (so I know it came from the Holy Spirit) Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” After that, I (mostly) stopped worrying about miscarriage and trusted that whatever happened, I would have hope, joy, and peace in Him! Now, I am committed to praying that verse whenever I worry. Things won’t always go the way I want them to, but I have hope and joy and peace because I am reminded that I am loved by the God of the universe.