Few things cause such an intense ache in the soul as infertility. I can think of only two pains that compare: unrequited love and death of a loved one. In some ways these three are tied together. Infertility is the unrequited hope of a baby to love, it is the death of a dream, and sometimes the loss of a pregnancy. I have been there. I have felt that pain. But I have also been on the other side, the side of overwhelming blessing, the side of completeness in Christ regardless of my circumstances.
Ever since I was a little girl I dreamed about having babies. I imagined myself surrounded by seven children. I don’t know why, but seven was always the perfect number. So, when I got married and my husband wasn’t as zealous about having children right away, I had to bite my lip. We tried birth control for six months, but the pill I was on was horrible. I was so lethargic, friends at work were worrying about me and I was crazy emotional. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and we decided to use more natural methods of birth control. The harm was already done though, and the birth control completely messed up my cycle. Periods were all over the place, I was weepy, my breasts hurt, I felt bloated and nauseous all the time! The horrible thing was that all these symptoms felt like pregnancy symptoms. Every month, my period would be late and everything my body did said, “Hey, you’re pregnant.” But every month, all those negative pregnancy tests came rolling in telling me that I couldn’t trust myself to understand my body.
Finally, I went to see an OBGYN, and she determined that I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is a hormonal imbalance that, among other things, causes cysts to grow on the ovaries. An egg begins to develop, but never releases and so turns into a cyst. It was such a relief to have a name for my problem. At least all these crazy symptoms weren’t just in my head. The doctor started me on some medication called Metformin to help regulate my hormones. I would find out later that Metformin had some nasty effects, such as inhibiting the body’s ability to absorb B vitamin.
Shortly after my diagnosis, my husband and I moved to a new duty station and into a new house. This is the year I call my Job year, as in Job from the Bible. Everything went wrong: Our house was broken into within a month of moving in, our new puppy got parvo and almost died, my husband was almost deployed, and then the real blow, I had two miscarriages back to back. How can I begin to describe the despair I felt? It had taken over two years for me to finally see those double lines appear on the pregnancy test and for a full week I was in a state of euphoria. We were going to have a baby! But then the bleeding started, and there was absolutely nothing I could do to save that baby. Then the next month it happened again the exact same way. It felt as though God were dangling a carrot in front of my face and snatching it away as soon I got close enough to reach it. I was angry at God and I felt so guilty for being angry! I don’t think I have ever cried out to God so loudly and for so long as in these times. My despair was so great that I developed Shingles, incredibly painful blisters all over my back. My doctor gave me Percocet to manage the pain, and I slept through a whole month. I don’t even remember getting up to eat the whole time. By the end of that month I was down ten pounds.
My emotions were so raw and I was in such a low state. My husband was traveling out of state multiple times a month with work and I felt like I didn’t have anyone to talk to. My thoughts began to turn suicidal and I felt out of control. I talked to my doctor, but he couldn’t set up an appointment with a psychologist for another month. In the meantime, I flew home to visit my family in Texas. It didn’t take long for them to see how bad of a state I was in and they brought me to the hospital where I was held in a psych ward for ten days. The psych ward was a terrifying place, but I am so thankful I was able to get some effective medicine. Every moment was a battle of the mind, and I found that there in that lowest place, God was drawing nearer than ever. He spoke scripture to me and comforted me. He reminded me of who He was and who I was in Him. As I came out of my depression, I came into a fullness of being. As much as I still longed for a baby, I was beginning to feel satisfied with where God had me in the time. I was beginning to trust God with my future, whether it held children in it or not, and I began to redeem the time I had been given. My husband and I connected to a wonderful small group from church and I began to volunteer and get to know people in my community. By the time my Job year ended I was feeling something I had not felt in a long time: peace.
God’s plan did include children for me. A midwife friend of mine suggested trying a Paleo diet along with some herbal supplements: Chaste Tree, FemCo, B Complex, and Adrenal Complex…and a month after my Job year concluded, I found out I was pregnant with my son. Thirteen months after my son was born, I was pregnant with my daughter. These babies are the love of my life! The wait and the struggle I went through only caused me to treasure them more. God is so faithful!
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