I often wondered if our infertility was God’s punishment for what I’ve done in my past. Did God see me as damaged goods as well?
Jefferey and I were married nearly three years before trying to have children. When I didn’t get pregnant, we had my gynecologist run tests on both of us. The tests showed that everything was normal. We went to a gynecologist in my home town who did IUIs-intrauterine inseminations. We just knew it would work! After 3 unsuccessful IUIs, we opted to take a break from the roller coaster of emotions one feels when dealing with infertility.
Everyone we knew was having kids. We began to feel like “the odd man out,” especially at church. Eventually we stopped going; we just didn’t feel like we fit in. We were too old to go to the young marrieds group and we couldn’t go to the parenting class. There was a Sunday school that “older” people went to, but we just grew tired of answering people’s questions. And, we were both starting to feel abandoned by God. We both had a past and lots of guilt. We knew that we had asked for forgiveness, but we felt we were “sowing what we had reaped.”
One day I mentioned to Jefferey that I wanted to begin pursuing treatments again-it was time to be more “proactive.” We took a 2nd mortgage on our home, and jumped in with both of our feet-the world of IVF (in-vitro fertilization). I had been praying that if God wanted us to go to this level of treatment, He would allow us to be approved for the loan.
When we were approved, it was our “green light,” and again we just knew that we would have success. We began attending church again, praying together, doing all the things we needed to “ensure” that we were making God happy so that He would grant us our request. Obviously flawed thinking. I even started an infertility
support group. We went through 2 unsuccessful IVFs cycles, before our doctor sat us down.
She shared that she was starting to wonder if I had an autoimmune disorder that was keeping the embryos from implanting-over active natural killer cell condition. One of the tests she had run, seemed a little out of range. She suggested that I be treated for the condition, prior to transferring our embryos. The treatment, called IVIG, was an additional $8,000, and we managed to gather the funds.
After doing the IVIG treatment and IVF, we were shocked to discover that the cycle was a success-I was pregnant! But, within a few weeks, I began having bleeding, and eventually miscarried. That was our lowest low! We couldn’t believe that God would allow that to happen. We decided to take another break from treatment.
About three years later, we heard that our old fertility clinic had hired a new doctor, who happened to be the doctor who had done our IUI’s years ago. Once again we gathered up the funds to do another IVF cycle. This time we didn’t even tell my parents what we were doing in hopes of surprising them. Prior to the cycle, we met with our doctor. He wasn’t convinced that I had the natural killer cell
condition, but agreed that he would order a new, less expensive treatment for
it if I wanted it. We opted for me to go through the lipid therapy and then
Once again two weeks later, we received a positive test result! We drove
to my parents’ house and surprised them with the news-way too prematurely.
Within a couple of days, my beta numbers began to drop, and I miscarried again.
We were devastated, and at a new emotional and spiritual low. It would take
months for us to process everything we had gone through. We weren’t getting any
younger-Jeffrey was in his late 30’s and I was a couple years behind him. I
decided to bring up an option that we had discussed a couple years prior-one
that Jefferey wasn’t quite ready for then.
I told Jefferey that I was wondering if this was God’s way of re-directing us to adoption. I had always wanted to adopt after we had biological children. He said he wasn’t completely opposed to adoption but wasn’t sure if that was what we should do. One Sunday, as we were watching a televised sermon about finding purpose for our lives, Jefferey told me that he felt God’s plan was for us to adopt. I was thrilled that we were finally on the same page, and we applied for a local adoption program last summer.
After 6 months in the program, we were getting so discouraged. We hadn’t received one “bite” on our profile-no interest from a birthmother. Then, on March 16th , my grandmother’s birthday, we received a call that we had been selected by a birthmother! Jefferey spoke with our adoption facilitator first, and then I called her. I was amazed to hear that the birthmother was due in a month! Since the birthmother had health issues and was on medication during her pregnancy, we were very concerned. The meds were not high risk to the baby, but could cause withdrawal symptoms.
We actually wrestled with the idea of not moving forward. However, after talking to a good, Christian friend, she told us that she felt strongly that this was God’s answer to our payer, and that we should trust His plan. Through lots of prayer, we began to feel comfortable with moving forward. As a teacher, I began to prepare for going out on leave in April-an ideal time with the summer around the corner.
Many other details began to fall into place. And, in April, our son L.J. was born-perfectly healthy!
After three months with L.J., I can’t imagine him not being in our life. He is absolutely perfect for us, and I know that I couldn’t have loved a biological child anymore than I love him. Jefferey feels the same way. He was definitely worth our 9 year journey.
Though I regret many decisions from my past, I no longer feel that our infertility is a punishment. I look at it more as the means God used to draw us to the adoption of L.J. I’ve learned so much from this, and I have a much deeper understanding of the importance of trusting God’s plan, which is best for us. I know we desire to have more children, hopefully not too long from now.
I hold to a memory I have: years ago while on a break from treatment, we were shopping and Jefferey ran into an old coworker, an elderly man. They were not good friends, so it was interesting when the man began to, out of the blue mind you, tell us about his daughter’s and son in law’s struggle to have children. He explained that they had gone through unsuccessful IVF cycles, and then adopted from China. Shortly after the adoption, his daughter found out she was pregnant, which she carried to term.
I always wondered why this man chose to share this personal, family story with us. I wonder if God intended for this to be an encouragement to us, knowing that we wanted to have more children after L.J. For now, I will try not to “lean on my own understanding” (Prov. 3:5-6), and trust that God will work out the details when it is the right time, just as he did with L.J. I’m excited to see what He has in store for us!