The next day, two days after our world was rocked, was more of the same. Nature again. It was the only place big enough for my soul’s cries.
I stumbled through the week, my lab redraw that Thursday. I went over to the office on my lunch break.
Held out my arm again. Gave my blood.
I requested to see my doctor, so I sat in his office and said, “Shoot me straight. Tell me what this really means. I’ve been all over the place the past couple days. I’m a nurse. I can take it. Just tell me.”
“I would be surprised if you could get pregnant even with medication. You will likely need IVF and donor eggs.”
I held it together for the most part. I walked out of his office. Bawled to my sister on the phone, and went back to work (laboring moms and birthing babies). And then that night, Stephen and I were going to bed, we’d made it through Wednesday night, our ministry night - biggest night of the week for us. And work the next day.
And I just couldn’t hold it in any longer.
I let it all out. The sobs, the dark thoughts.
“This is really what God had in store all these years and didn’t tell me? Why would this be what God has for us? For you? After all you’ve been through, THIS is what He has for you? A wife that can’t give you children?! God knew all along this is the way it would be? How? How can He be a good Father and have me work for 11 years in a hospital caring for everyone else as they have their babies and I can’t have my own?! Really?”
That seemed like cruelty to me.
These thoughts, all verbalized to my stone-faced husband.
My numbness had seeped into him.
All my tears. The snot. The pained, twisted face. He saw it all. And just soaked it in.
We prayed. Somehow in our mess of questions and heart ache.
And I drifted off to sleep wrapped in his arms, tears falling down my face and soaking my pillow.
I went to work the next morning, as Stephen hit bottom.
It was his turn to wrestle. The deep dark wrestle of a soul unsettled.
Thank You, Lord, for not letting us hit this place at the same time.
Oh, His grace. Even in the dark.
At work that day, I talked with an obstetrician I work with. She talked me down off the ledge, medically speaking. IVF and donor eggs was all I could see. She cleared that air and said there’s no way I should jump to that. There are things to try first. A low AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone) level cannot diagnose diminished ovarian reserve.
One end of the spectrum to the other. It was confusing, but these words sounded better than those of the previous day.
I immediately called Stephen and told him. But the damage was done. Our faith had been hit with a mighty blow.
And so began the days of telling our families. Sharing with some friends. We needed...I needed people to be with us in this.
Easter came the Sunday after this hit. Stephen and I were serving in the nursery together (Again, really, Lord?! Obviously, we signed up for this prior to the week of darkness). It was also my birthday...me, my ovaries, my eggs - however many were left - another year older.
It was a hard day for sure. All of it kind of surreal. The sweetest husband bringing breakfast in bed. Precious moments shared before a full day ahead. Then holding babies in the nursery...those soft hands, little baby noises, fuzzy heads - a miracle neither of us broke down.
And easter eggs everywhere. The pharmacy down the street had eggs for sale.
Eggs! $2.99 a dozen!
If only it were that easy.
We shared a sweet lunch with family, then dinner and cheesecake celebrating with friends that night.
God gave us the most beautiful sunset on the way to dinner. His reminder again:
I am with you. I am in you. I see you. The hurt. I am with you in it. I know. Oh, child, how I know.
|A lot of people wake up for the Easter sunrise to celebrate our risen Savior, Jesus Christ. |
But this year, for us, God spoke through the sunset.
In all the joy of the day, we were in pain.
This was our reminder of His everlasting love.
In May, we began medication to help my body mature more eggs for ovulation, hopefully increasing our chances of conception. We began praying for twins.
If we only got the chance to do this once, if there were barely any eggs left, let’s just shoot for twins, knock out two for one.
God, you gave me a desire for four children. And now maybe none? Could you give us two at a time? Since we don’t have time?
It’s one thing to say “I’m scared” to someone. It’s another thing all together to look up at the sky and cry out “I’m scared” to the One who created you, the One who fashioned those clouds you see.
He is so big! So great. So mighty.
And God holds us when our strength fails. It’s like in the Footprints poem “it was then that I held you.” This would be a time where I could look back and see only one set of footprints. He is holding me.
As He says in His Word:
He is our refuge and strength.
A very present help in trouble.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ For it is He who delivers you...He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark...For you have made the Lord, my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place.
Psalm 91: 1-2, 4, 9
Oh sweet Lord, we need to dwell in You. Oh to rest in Your dwelling place. A place of peace. A place of rest. The place you protect, Lord. The place you restore.
Forgive us for our unbelief. Help us to stand. Help us to stay offensively walking in Your Kingdom, here on earth and not begin to walk defensively in our own worlds. Nothing in all this changes who we are or Whose we are. Give us wisdom as we walk to choose Kingdom of Heaven thoughts, Kingdom of Heaven actions. Help us to discern enemy attacks and fight covered in your armor.
That was my prayer.
And as the months and days went by, being with Stephen became a thing of great comfort. He was the only one who really got it and was in it with me. He was sort of like a shield. If someone asked a question about starting our family, he was there too. He was there to help deflect. To help absorb the pain. He was steadiness when I wanted to die inside. He would know the pain without me having to explain.
Thank You, Jesus, for this man. For his faith when mine is weak.
Work was, well, hell for awhile. We prayed and prayed for me to be tender, not cynical. For God to give me strength to take care of laboring patients, whether they be teenager, adult, first baby or fifth. Can’t say I am proud of every moment, my actions, or my thoughts.
But God never left me, never let me down.
Even when I had to turn my head toward the computer and pretend to be charting to hide the tears. So far, we’ve made it through every shift without a complete breakdown or walking out.
I’ve been close.
And then there are the “socials.”
Social situations = Introductions often including “Oh great to meet you! So excited for you guys! When are you gonna start popping out babies?!”
Social invitations = An event where someone inevitably asks “How are you?” “I’m good!” [lie]
Social media = birth announcement...cute baby pic...another birth announcement...cute baby bump pic...daddy dates...mommy dates...first day of school pictures...another cute birth announcement.
It was like an assault and I never knew when or where it might come from. I felt exposed and vulnerable. The end of a day meant I could finally collapse in bed, battle-weary and bruised. Rest for a bit, wake up, and enter battle again.
Ready or not.
So I backed up. I withdrew as much as was possible without seeming odd. Without anyone noticing.
But inevitably people notice.
If I didn’t attend your gathering, I’m sorry.
If I took forever responding to your text, I’m sorry.
If I seemed distant in our conversation, I’m sorry.
If I looked the other way as you walked by, I’m sorry.
If I didn’t ooh and aah over your baby like you thought I would, I’m sorry.
If I missed your birthday, first day, last day, big day...it’s not because I wanted to.
It’s been a time of just trying to hold on.
Hold on to Who God is. Who we know Him to be.
Trying to answer the whys and walk through the pain.
And doing that on display is exhausting. So I backed up. It was way easier than being fake. I’ve never been good at that. This journey is no different.
As the battles increased, the feeling of being overwhelmed set in.
How long would it last? How long could I last?
Up next Part 5: The Clouds Begin to Part. Finally, right?! Don't worry, I'm with you. I think we've been through the darkest part of our journey in these posts (whew!), but God has so much more to reveal. I'd love for you to keep reading and sharing! Please feel free to comment below!