The List

Before I dive into the next chapter of our story- getting pregnant with our daughter- there is something else I feel like I need to write about first. Now that it has been more than two years since we have been trying for baby number three, I have noticed a recurrence of something that I received a lot of in the four years we were trying to get pregnant with Malachi. Unsolicited advise. I guess you could say that this post is not really for anyone dealing with infertility, but really for anyone those who do not.

As a society we are feel strangely free to just ask people fairly intimate questions. You know what I mean. The moment you’ve been dating someone longer than a year- so are you guys going to get engaged anytime soon? You get engaged and the first question is- so when’s the wedding? (Hey, no real judgement here- I do this all the time). But then something happens the second you get back from your honeymoon- When are you guys going to start having kids? And if you already have 1 it’s- are you going to have another? And after baby number 2- are you done having kids?

Really when you think about it- how is this anyones business?? This is not really subject manner for small talk and if you are really friends with someone it is a subject they will probably bring up on their own.

The problem with asking these questions is that you have zero idea what may be going on. You see a couple who has been happily married for 4 years with no kids and think – I wonder if they’re going to get going and have kids anytime soon? I should probably ask them about it (seriously- why do you need to know?). But what you don’t know is they have been trying for years. Or maybe they have had 3 miscarriages by this point and your question is going to be extremely painful for them to answer. Whatever the case may be, once the awkward question is asked, it must be answered.  I usually gave the answer- Well, we have been trying, for several years.

And this is where it happens. I think people genuinely feel bad and just want to make the other person feel better. But when they flippantly offer advice without knowing the details or the person that well it just causes hurt or even anger. I would like to help you avoid making this mistake. And before you get too offended or discouraged while reading these- please read until the end. I have a couple of things you can say instead.

So here are my top 5 things never to say to someone struggling with infertility. Also, please know these are not just based off of what I have encountered but I have compiled this list after talking with many women who have struggled with infertility.

  1. Just Relax/Stop thinking about it. 
    • This was by far the piece of “advice” I received the most. I literally had to hold myself back from yelling at people when they have told me this. I have had anyone from church members to the medical professionals that I work with tell me this. Here’s the thing- you have no idea why I can’t get pregnant so why would you assume that “relaxing” would help? Relaxing isn’t going to change the fact that I have PCOS and don’t ovulate. It won’t change my husbands sperm count. It won’t change anything for the woman with the clotting disorder that is causing her to have miscarriages. And to tell someone who is literally devastated every month her period starts to “not think about it” is really insensitive. It is literally all you can think about. Every time you see a baby or a friend announces they are pregnant and you have to track your ovulation- you think about it. PLEASE! Stop saying this to people.
  2. Have you tried…xyz…
    • The answer is yes. I guarantee that you are not going to come up with a brilliant idea that I haven’t already discussed with my fertility doctor and researched on my own. Yes, I have seen a naturopath. Yes I have done acupuncture. Yes I have tried that medication. No I don’t want to try that supplement. Unless I ask for your advice, please keep your suggestions to yourself.
  3. Let me tell you about my friend/sister/cousin..
    • I’m sure you know someone who struggled to get pregnant and then was finally able to. But I probably don’t want to hear about it. That is their story and not mine. I know you just want to be encouraging and are trying to find a way to say- don’t worry it will happen. But, it may not happen. I you, yourself, have personally gone through infertility then you should hopefully know how to say in the right moment, “I know what you are going through. We really struggled to conceive. If you ever want to talk, I am available.” But that’s really the only time I really want to hear about it. On so many occasions I had someone say, “Oh can I tell you a story about someone I knew”. I really didn’t want to hear it. That wasn’t encouraging to me but I felt like I couldn’t say no. And at the end all I could say was “That’s great for them.” I especially did not appreciate it when this was said in conjunction with #1. “My sister tried to get pregnant and as soon as they “stopped trying” they got pregnant.”
  4. Are you pregnant? Anytime they mention any ailment.
    • Just because I am trying to get pregnant and have a headache doesn’t mean I’m pregnant. Or if my stomach is upset, or I’m tired, or I had a weird dream. Truthfully- you shouldn’t ask anyone if they are pregnant. This is their news to share when they are ready. But when you are struggling to get pregnant this just grates on your nerves. It feels like you can’t make a move without being questioned. Again, I know it is probably well intentioned. People just hoping you are pregnant,  but it doesn’t feel good to be questioned and then to have to say no.
  5. Just adopt
    • This is probably the one that sets me off the most. Lets get a few things cleared up. First, adoption is a wonderful thing. But it is not for everyone. It is not a decision that one comes to lightly. It also has to be something that both partners are comfortable with. Second, it is not easy. There is not “just” adopting. Adoption comes with all kinds of risks. It can be expensive, the birth mother can change her mind even after the baby has been born. And if you do foster to adopt, that comes with a whole other set of obstacles. It can be a very long process. Third, sometimes it’s not just about “getting a baby”. I knew that I wanted to be a mother. And if after everything we couldn’t get pregnant I know we would have explored adoption as an option. But I desperately wanted to get pregnant and have a child that way. It’s really hard to explain how much mentally and emotionally I needed that. And until I had explored all of my options to try and get pregnant I knew I couldn’t move onto adoption.

Lets call these next two “honorable mentions”

  1. You’re still young/Have plenty of time
    • Because I was 23 when my struggle with infertility started I got this one a lot. Now that I’m 35 I get this one a lot less (ok never- no one says this to me anymore. haha). Please don’t assume that because someone is young that their infertility is less difficult to endure or that it will be easier to “fix”. It is just as painful to in your 20s as it is in your 30s. There may be a sense that once a woman has hit a certain age that the struggle to get pregnant is harder because you don’t have “as much time.” But that still doesn’t lessen the pain or difficulty of dealing with infertility when you are 25.
  2. Be thankful you at least have 1…or 2…
    • This is one for all those women struggling with secondary infertility. I always wanted lots of kids. After some negotiations my husband and I settled on having 3. Just because I struggled to get pregnant does not mean all of a sudden I only wanted 1 kid. Those who easily get pregnant don’t have to think about this at all. It’s just- I want to have another kid- ok lets do this. And no one thinks twice about it. If a woman who struggles with infertility wants to have a second or third child, all of a sudden they aren’t grateful for what they have? It’s somehow selfish for them to want multiple children? This may not be the intent of the initial comment but it is definitely how it is perceived.

 

If you have ever said any of these things- please know that my intention is not to leave you feeling terrible.  The fact that you are reading this probably means you know and care about someone who has or is struggling with infertility.  I have a couple of suggestions about what to say instead. And they are surprisingly simple. If you do ask someone when they are planning on having kids and get the answer– we’ve been trying for a while- here is what you can say:

  1. I’m sorry. I didn’t know. I’ll be praying for/thinking about you. (but please only say this if you actually mean it).
  2. If you want to talk about it, I’m available. (This is only appropriate if you have a good friendship with this person).

That’s it. As someone who was going through infertility I knew in my head that most of these comments were always made from a place of good intentions. But sometimes when your heart is hurting, it doesn’t matter how good the intentions are. So the next time someone mentions they are having a hard time getting pregnant, take a moment before answering and keep your response simple and sincere. That will mean more to them than you know.

 

Knowledge flows like spring water from the wise; fools are leaky faucets, dripping nonsense. Proverbs 15:2 (msg)

 

 

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The Now

It’s been several months since my last blog post. And there is a very specific reason for the silence. My plan when I started my blog was to start at the beginning and tell our story. I would start with our struggle to conceive Malachi and then move on to Emmie and then now. 

My last post ended with us having Malachi. So why haven’t I started with the next chapter in our story? A couple reasons. The next chapter was really painful, more painful maybe then even the years of struggling to have our first. And I may be a little scared to put into words what that struggle was like. 

The other reason is because it’s hard to write about the past when presently we are in the middle of another uphill battle to get pregnant. After my last post we went back to the doctor to start the IUI process again. Up until then we had been on medications to try and get pregnant but after a year and a half we still hadn’t gotten pregnant. So it was time to take that next step. 

Oh how I hoped we would go in and do one IUI and be pregnant. How I hoped I could share on this blog the joy of being pregnant again. Unfortunately that is not the case. The first IUI didn’t work. The next month our numbers were so low that the doctor recommended we didn’t even do the procedure. I was crushed. And definitely not mentally prepared for that news. 

We had to take a month off after that because of a really amazing family vacation that we went on. There’s nothing like some time away to relax and be with family to refresh you- even if it was a trip to Disneyworld which is slightly exhausting- it was what we needed. 

So here we are. Back for round three. I’m literally writing this while I wait to go in for our next procedure. I have no idea if we are going to even be able to do it based on numbers and the recommendation of the doctor. I am nervous and worried and trying to cast those cares on God and trust hat He has a plan and that it is better than mine. But it’s hard.  

I guess I put off writing for a while because I wanted to share good news or something more encouraging but the truth is I chose to start this blog to share what it’s really like to go through the struggle of infertility. Here it is. It’s hard. The procedures don’t always work. Even if they’ve worked in the past. There is sadness and disappointment. This is where we are. In limbo. Waiting to see if it will work. Waiting to see if we can get pregnant. I pray I can. Will you pray with me?

I promise that I will revisit the chapter of our story when we got pregnant with Emmie. It is a story of pain and restoration and one I am sure others need to hear. And I promise to follow up with what is happening now.

The Next Step

59B3271D-94D5-4A55-94A7-6C00E7EE3721Spring time. Spring always brings that sense of new beginnings and the spring of 2010 was really a representation of that to me. It was at that time when I began to read through the book of Psalms. I started coming out of the sadness and depression that I was trapped in and started remembering who I was in Christ. Every Psalm I read was a reminder of how much God loved and understood me.

At this point in our journey to get pregnant Jeremy and I had taken a break from all treatments. No more meds, no more doctors, or alternative treatments. We had tried everything from seeing a natropath, to acupuncture, to supplements. I had stopped everything because I needed time to heal. Every month that we were trying all these things and I didn’t get pregnant was such a huge blow to my spirit. There was a sense of loss each month. A loss of hope. When I stopped all of that, then there was no expectation to get pregnant so it was easier. There was still an emptiness and a longing for a child, but I had to have this time to get back to being me.

In December that year my good friend, Kristin, called me to let me know about a job opportunity at her hospital. We had previously worked together at my current hospital but she had started working at Evergreen because it was closer to home. The reason this was such a big deal was because Evergreen’s insurance plan covered fertility treatments and my current job did not. Actually, most jobs did not. Many insurance comapnies look at fertility treatments similarly to a cosmetic procedure. A perk- not a medical neccessity. Evergreen had been on a hiring freeze for a couple of years so this was pretty big.

I had so many questions running through my head. Should I change jobs? The commute would be double and I’d have to be new- I hate being new! Plus, I loved my co-workers and didn’t want to leave them. But the biggest question was- are you ready to jump back in? Are you ready to take that next step in your journey to have a baby?

This was going to be a huge season of change for us. Jeremy had just stepped down from his position as a youth pastor at our church. He knew God was calling him out of youth ministry and that he really wanted to be a Business Pastor but he didn’t have a job lined up. That was a huge leap of faith there. And now I’m going to change jobs and we’re going to ramp up our fertility treatments!?!?

I was so scared. So I started praying about it. That Christmas we were at my cousin Starlene’s house and she was asking me how it was going? She knew we had been trying for years to have a baby and had been praying for us. I mentioned the opportunity to change jobs and the benefits that would come with it and I can’t completely remember what she said to me but I so remember they had impact.  She said- Marissa this is what you have been waiting for! You need to apply this week!

She was right- this is what I had been praying for! This was the next step I needed to take. It was a step of faith for me, to say- Ok God, I’m going to try again. I’m believing this is your plan for me. I’m scared but I don’t want to let fear hold me back.

So I did it. I changed jobs. Deep breath. I started my new job in January of 2011 and in March we had our first appointment at Seattle Reproductive Medicine. This meant going back on the medication- even more meds this time. There was ultrasounds and shots and lots of appointments but I knew it would be worth it.

After 3 months of trying with just new medications and no pregnancies, the decision was made to take it to the next step. We would be doing and IUI, or intrauterine insemination. This was more invasive and clinical but it was going to increase our chances to conceive by a lot. We couldn’t do it right away because I was going on my second medical mission trip to Africa in August. So by the time I could do it, it was now October. It was now fall.

Another new season. The way spring always makes me think of new beginnings, autumn alway brings me sense of peacefulness. A settling in of sorts. I can’t really explain it, except to say that there was a peace that surpasses all understanding after we did the IUI. It was a peace that only God could give me. Yes, we had a medical procedure done, but He was still ultimately in control and this baby would be His miracle.

A week after the procedure (and a week before I could take a pregnancy test to see if it had worked) I was on my break at work and of course only thinking about whether I was pregnant or not and I just didn’t want to be anxious about it. So I opened the Bible app on  my phone and opened it to the book of Psalms- this was were I had found my peace before. And what happened next still leaves me in awe.

This is what I read:

He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord. Psalm 113:9

I had read through that entire book when I was desperate to conceive. How had I not seen this before? It would’ve jumped out of the page at me! I honestly believe God was waiting to reveal it to me at that time as a promise. It may sound crazy, but I knew. I knew I was pregnant. I wouldn’t find out for another week whether that was true or not but in that moment I had complete peace in knowing that my prayers would be answered.

A week later, after years of negative, heart breaking tests, I would take my first positive pregnancy test and be filled with a kind of joy that bubbled up from deep within my soul.

It’s spring again. A time for new beginnigs. A time to take the next step.

The Turning Point

I cannot believe that we are already rolling into February. It has been a couple months since my last post, which is no surprise with all the business that comes with the holidays. With the new year, usually comes new resolutions or goals. I’ve never really been one for making a new year’s resolution but this year I really did want to set some goals to work on my spiritual and physical health. I’ve been eating healthier, exercising more regularly, and really been trying to spend time reading my Bible every day. I’ve really been looking at 2018 with great expectations and have been excited for what is to come.

It took all of three weeks for my excitement to wain. Honestly there have been several things that have come up that just make me want to say- why God? How is this your plan? Why do these people I care about, who love you, have to go through such difficult times?

I have been doing really good reading in my Bible every day, but as soon as these things started happening I started feeling angry and hurt and my first go to was to say to myself- “I don’t want to read in my Bible today.” It’s completely opposite of what I should have been saying. If I have questions about what is happening in the world around me- the Bible is the first place I need to go. I know all this. How, you may ask? I know all this because I’ve learned this lesson before.

When I was at my lowest point in my fertility journey I had been trying to get pregnant for a couple of years.  Jeremy was on staff at the church so I was at church regularly, I was on worship team, leading the youth girls. I was highly involved. And though I did spend many hours praying and calling out to God, I just couldn’t bring myself to pick up my Bible. I would look at it. Chastise myself for not reading it- I mean, I knew better- but I just couldn’t do it. And because of this my faith was slowly dying. My spirit was dying, I was just losing my sense of who and whom I was.

What didn’t make sense was if I was spending all this time in prayer talking to God, how was he supposed to answer me? The most obvious answer is- through His Word.  So even though I was talking to God a lot, I wasn’t giving Him the opportunity to answer back.

Then a moment came that was a turning point for me when Jeremy and I were at a leadership conference. During one of the worship services, the leader mentioned something about someone dealing with infertility and that God was listening. I started crying because I had been praying for over 2 years for a baby and really didn’t feel like God was listening at all.

Through my tears, I grabbed my Bible and opened it to the book of Psalms, chapter 13. I couldn’t really believe the words I was reading. It was like the author had been inside my head. This was the desperate plea of my heart.

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

The author of the psalm, David, is described as a man after God’s own heart. And even he at this time was crying out to God- where are you? Why aren’t you helping me? People were literally trying to kill him. He was in fear for his life.

But what struck me the most when I read it was how it ended.  Yes, David felt alone, and afraid, and confused. But even so, he chose to praise the Lord.

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lords’s praise, for he has been good to me. 

I will trust in you God. In your timing, in your plan because of your unfailing love for me. He has been good to me. He had. I had a wonderful husband, amazing friends. A great job. A lovely home. I had more than I needed in so many ways. Yes, what my heart desired the most was still something I had to wait on but reading this one Psalm changed the rest of the wait. Here it was- God’s answer to me. I hear you Marissa. I see you. I weep with you. And when the time is right I will bless you with a beautiful little boy.

After that day I started reading in the Psalms everyday. It slowly brought me out of the deep darkness I had slipped into. God’s Word brought light and life into my life again. I chose to use this time without children to take 2 trips to Africa and invest deeper into the girls in our youth group. Things I wouldn’t have been able to do with a baby at home. Things that would have lasting effects on those I invested my time into and also on me.

Years later, I find myself reading through the Psalms again. I may be discouraged or confused by some of the things happening in my life and in the lives of those I care about but instead of shutting myself out of communication with God I will be leaning in, continuing to read every day.

Whenever I speak with someone who has been struggling with infertility for any length of time I also recommend reading through the Psalms. Just reading one a day will get you through 150 days. Really no matter what struggle you may be going through, I encourage you to take a look at the Pslams. You may be surprised at how much they resonate with you.

 

The Lie

Isn’t it amazing how music can pierce straight into your soul and express exactly how you feel? There has been so many times over the past ten years of struggling to conceive that a specific song has resonated with me. Songs that have brought me joy or comfort, and songs that have brought me to my knees in tears. There are just those times when I have no words and suddenly a song comes on and it’s like I wrote it myself.

I’m on my church’s worship team and this past weekend we sang a new song. And there was a line in the bridge that really spoke to me. The song is Reckless Love by Cory Ashbury. It talks about the love of God and his continued pursuit of us and what He will do to have a relationship with us. The bridge goes like this:

“There’s no shadow you won’t light up, There’s no mountain you won’t climb up, There’s no wall you won’t kick down, There’s no lie You won’t tear down coming after me”

-There’s no lie you won’t tear down-

When I think back on the beginning years of my struggle to conceive I think about the terrible lie that I believed about myself during that time. A lie that took me deeper into depression, further away from God, and the people that I loved and cared about.

What could this non truth be? What could cause such harm to someone emotionally?

It’s simple- I am unworthy. I am not good enough. I have no worth. I mean, God is in control right? So he must not think I’m worth it. Which this of course leads to a whole slough of other questions like- What kind of God is he anyways? Why would he with hold a child from me and cause me so much pain? Isn’t he kind and loving? And how come I’m not worthy of a child but the drug addict I just took care of the other night just had her fourth?

Oh the hurt and the pain this lie spurred within me.

It seems ridiculous that having a biological/physical problem getting pregnant would have anything to do with my worth. And the very logical scientific part of my brain tried to hold onto that. Unfortunately, the emotional, vulnerable part of who I am just didn’t buy it. Since the beginning of time, having children is where a woman’s value came from. It was horrific if she couldn’t conceive. Throughout time women were shunned, even killed sometimes, if they couldn’t produce a child. So if I lived 1000 years ago then my emotional response would make sense. But this was the 21st century. I was a strong woman with an education and a career. If I was a mom or not didn’t make me valuable. And thank God, that is true. But that didn’t take away from the hurt and pain that I felt every month that I didn’t get pregnant. I mean, this is the one thing that a woman can do that a man will never be able to. And I could’t do it.

Every month that went by I started to believe more and more that I was a failure. There’s this sick cycle that happens during a month, of taking meds and trying to conceive, all while telling yourself it probably won’t work. Followed by the few days before your period of hope that maybe you won’t get it and you’ll be pregnant (but also telling yourself not to get your hopes up). Then maybe the hope gets the better of you and you take a home pregnancy test or maybe you just wait it out. It’s negative or you start and now you are crushed. Crushed.

My spirit was crushed. Every month. You can only endure this for so long before it starts to effect who you are. You can only be a bubbly optimistic person for so long before you start to feel depressed.

I don’t think I’m being overly presumptuous when I say that most women struggling with infertility feel similarly. It’s almost strange how alike most women feel that have struggled to conceive. I have talked with many women who have walked this path in life and pretty much all of them have felt similarly.

So what did I do? What did I do when this pervasive lie that I wasn’t worthy had seeped deep within my soul, so much so that it effected who I was. It had started to eat away at my identity.

I can’t say that I did very much at first. I had kind of checked out spiritually. But thankfully God had not. He was continually pursuing me. Trying to remind me of who He was and who I was in Him. He was not going to let this lie define me anymore. He was going to knock down the walls and tear down the lie until my indenting was in him again. Thank you Lord for your relentless love.

In my next post I’ll lay out what I did to bring myself out of this deep rut that I had gotten into. I’d love to go into it now but I don’t want to just skim over what was really a turning point for me in my faith and in my journey to get pregnant.

I struggle with ending this post like this because it’s pretty heavy. It’s raw but it’s real. Infertility is hard and painful. But there can be joy found in the midst of it and that is what I cannot wait to share with you next time.

The Waiting

“…Because His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great and beyond measure is Your faithfulness…Therefore I have hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him.” Lamentations 3:22-24

 

Waiting. The pain of infertility is often found in the waiting. I waited 4 years to get pregnant with my first. I waited a year before I was pregnant with my second. And now, I’m at 15 months. Almost a year and a half of waiting to get pregnant with our third and last child. And every month, as I wait, I go through a rollercoaster of emotions. One of which is most definitely pain.

When Jeremy and I were dating we used to have long conversations about what our lives would look like: where would we live, how many kids would we have, what would their names be? Of course we didn’t know the answers to these questions but as two young people in love it was always fun to dream about it. When it came to the question as to how many kids we wanted, it turns out two people in love will lie to each other to make the other one happy.  I laugh to myself as I can clearly remember the conversation we had when Jeremy told me he wanted 3 kids and I said I wanted 3 as well. The truth was, he really only wanted 2 and I really wanted 4. The compromise has stuck and we’ve been trying for a third child for a while.

I was that girl growing up that planned out her life. I would make floor plans of the kind of house I wanted to fit my family with 4 kids. I would write down all their names (because of course I had an ever-changing list of my favorite baby names). I knew what age I wanted to be when I had each of them. Of course I had no control over that last one and having my first child at 28 definitely threw off my plan to have all 4 of my kids by 30. Again I laugh to/at myself.

I may have not really known what my family would look like, but one thing I did know was that I wanted a big family. I had one sibling growing up and I always wanted more. I absolutely loved the holidays when I got to be with all my cousins. It was loud and crazy and wonderful. The desire for a large family is rooted deep inside of me.

It’s hard to explain but most women can tell you if they feel like they are done having kids or not. And i just know I’m not done. For some people, they look at me and think (or say directly to my face-which is oh so appreciated) – well you have 2 kids. A boy and a girl. It’s perfect. Why keep trying if it’s so hard. I know comments like this are well-meaning but that doesn’t make them any less hurtful. I cannot tell you how thankful I am for the 2 miracles I have already been blessed with. I am constantly amazed by God’s faithfulness when I look at them. But there is still a desire, a need, a longing in my heart for another child. To see that childhood dream come true.

So because we wanted a third child we did what we had done after we had Malachi. When Emmie turned 1 we went to the doctor and got on the fertility medication that I had been on to get pregnant with her. I really had only been on this combination for a few months when I got pregnant with her (and also the pregnancy before her that we lost). So my expectations were pretty high that it wouldn’t take very long to get pregnant this time. I was wrong.

As every month has passed by, I’m not going to lie, I get discouraged. I have days of intense sadness and disappointment. Why? Why does this have to be so hard for me? Why can’t I just get pregnant easy this time? Why do I have to feel the pain of infertility every month?

The thing is, as frustrating as its been to have to work so hard to have our family, I have been blessed with the ability to see how God has used each pregnancy journey to reveal His love for me. I mentioned in my first post that I have felt that I was supposed to start this blog a long time ago but I kept making excuses not to. I’m not saying God had kept me from getting pregnant until I started this blog. But what I do know is that if I had gotten pregnant sometime in the last year I would NEVER had started it. I am trying to walk in obedience and share what I have learned and gone through. I don’t know how, but I am confident that God will use this time of waiting for another child to show His goodness.

His goodness, his compassion, his mercy is new every morning. Every morning I may wake up with an ache in my heart for another child, but every morning I have his promises, his faithful example of blessing in my life to look at when I see my 2 beautiful children. And in that I have hope and will wait expectantly.

 

The Introductions

I thought for my second post I should take some time to actually introduce myself. Although I know most people who are reading this right now know who I am, already some people have started to check it out that were drawn to a blog about infertility. So for those who know me and those who don’t, here’s my story:

My husband Jeremy and I have been married for 12 years, have been together for 16, and known each other for almost 20! Wow that’s a good way to make a girl feel old.  We met when Jeremy’s dad became the pastor of my church when I was 14. When I was 17 we started dating (the pic associated with this post is from the mo the we started dating) and 4 years later we got married. Yes- I was Jeremy’s one and only girlfriend. Isn’t he lucky?!

I am a Labor and Delivery nurse and have been for over 12 years. I truly love what I do and where I work. Even so, there are days that I so wish I didn’t have to work outside the home. Jeremy is a Business Pastor and we love our church, newhope Church. We moved to our current city almost 4 years ago to help plant this church. It was a crazy leap of faith and I am so happy we took it. Eventually I’ll get to that part of our story.

We have two beautiful children (no seriously they are super cute). Our oldest, Malachi, is 5. He is so fun and sweet- he loves trains and plains, gardening, and legos. He is most definitely a mamas boy. Our youngest, Emmie, is 2. She is so sweet and ridiculously sassy. She loves princesses and baby dolls, animals and paw patrol. She really wants to steal her brothers legos. They are my greatest joy and also exhaust me to the core. Until I was a mom I really couldn’t imagine how much energy it would take to raise children.

Our journey to having children started 10 years ago in 2007. A decade. Sometimes it’s hard for me to fathom that we have been on this journey for that long. And to be honest, I am so ready for this chapter of our story to be over. But it isn’t. We are still trying to have one more child. I plan on talking about that more in a future post.

So back to our story…

When I was in high school I knew that I wanted to be a nurse. I wasn’t sure what kind but I had clear direction of what I wanted to pursue in college. Jeremy wasn’t quite as sure- he was thinking something in business- until he was in his freshman year at Community College.  I can still remember when he called me one afternoon to tell me that he felt like he was being called into ministry. We had been dating for almost 3 years.

This was a big deal for us. Even though Jeremy’s dad was a pastor, he never really had the desire to be a pastor as well. I never wanted to marry a pastor (and let’s be honest I was planning on marrying Jeremy at this point) because it takes a lot of sacrifice to be a pastors wife and there always seems to be a lot of moving. I didn’t want to move a lot. I liked to find my place, make my friends and stay there forever. But, if this is what Jeremy was supposed to do with his life, then I was going to support him.

I graduated in 2005 and went directly into OB nursing. When I was in nursing school it became clear to me that this was the perfect fit for me. I couldn’t wait to be a labor and delivery nurse. This would become such an interesting and sometimes trying career choice once our struggle to get pregnant began.

When we got married in 2005, Jeremy still had 2 years of school left so we knew that we didn’t want to grow our family until he had graduated and had his first job.

2007 came, Jeremy graduated, he got his first job as a youth pastor, we bought our first house. It was time to get pregnant. So I went off birth control in June. By September I just knew something was wrong. I was having really irregular cycles and I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t actually pregnant and just getting a negative test at home. I mean how bad would that look if the L&D nurse didn’t know she was pregnant.

But deep down, I knew I wasn’t pregnant. The blood test confirmed this. The doctor I saw was really great and referred me to get an ultrasound to see what was up. His exact words were “Well if you’re trying to get pregnant there’s no sense in making you wait until a year to see what’s going on.”  I will always appreciate that proactive attitude he had.

October 2007 I had an ultrasound of my ovaries and I remember looking at them and thinking- well that’s not right. Of course the ultrasound tech can’t tell me anything and tells me that a doctor will call me to discuss the results. I went home and googled what I saw and my symptoms and there was one thing that kept popping up over and over.

PCOS. Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. Even before the doctor called, I knew this is what I had and I knew it would be a struggle to get pregnant.

So I waited for the call from my doctor. Instead, I received a call from my mom.  My mom and I are pretty close. She had been having some weird health issues- nothing I was too worried about- and was having some tests done. My mom called and spoke the words that no one wants to hear.

“I have cancer.”

Even now, writing this, I get teared up thinking about that moment. I felt like the floor had come out from underneath me.

October 2007 would go down as one of the worst months of my life. My mom was sick. Really, really sick. And all I’ve ever wanted was to have children- have my mom be able to have a relationship with those children and now both those things were in jeopardy.

I’ve been telling you my story, but really this is where my story begins because this is where my faith truly began. Up until this point it had been easy to believe what I believed. My faith in God was easy. It was true but it was easy. It had never really been challenged. These next few years would take everything I knew and believed and put them through the fire and make me who I am today.