We had our 20 week ultrasound today and are ecstatic to know Beanie is growing normally and is perfectly healthy.
We know anything could still happen at any time but were super happy to get a little glimpse of our little one. And no, we didn’t find out if Beanie is a boy or girl. We’re waiting until he or she is born! You can get a peak at the plans and mood board for our Gender Neutral Nursery, though, here.
Today, I’m sharing our story of waiting for our baby.
Every baby comes with a perfectly unique story. This is ours.
Our journey with infertility was short when we consider the many, many painful years some couples struggle. We’ve had an exceptionally happy ending so far and know we have been greatly blessed in this pregnancy. In no way do we want to seem insensitive to those still waiting for their own babies. I know our year of bad news isn’t comparable to the couple who has prayed and waited ten long years, enduring long, countless cycles of treatment and still left waiting for baby.
But, I think it’s important, for my own heart, for all our hearts, to tell the story. I don’t want to take away from those whose suffering has been longer or “bigger,” I simply want to reach out and say, “Yes, I know this heartache is real. I haven’t walked your road, nor you mine, but we each have a story, and hearts that seek understanding and healing through telling those stories.”
Since beginning this phase of life, I struggled with feeling alone while we searched for answers that never came. Wyatt was strong and confident in the future, but frustrated and looking for facts, figuring out statistics with each new development. I was emotional and sensitive, trying to be brave and sure, but coming to God every morning and night with questions. As a community of friends and family, we don’t often talk about this ache from the soul, this longing for a child that may never come. Too often, we wait in silence, wearing happy faces while defending our privacy and pain.
While I prayed for our own baby, I struggled with the contrasting emotions of joy and jealousy seeing friends and family sharing their happy news. Every well-meaning question of “when are you guys going to have a baby” brought a lump to my throat as we wondered when, and if, this would happen for us. And now, I try to be sensitive to those who are still waiting. Know that I’m praying for you, for your future children.
If nothing else, this journey has given me a new understanding with those who have waited for baby, no matter for how many months or years. It’s given me a renewed belief in miracles, the tiniest speck of wonderful new life deep inside a mother’s womb. I know when we were waiting, I was desperate to find others’ stories who might give me a little sense that someone knew what I was feeling.
The journey to motherhood, to fatherhood, is beautiful and wonderful and strange in so many ways, and is one all parents travel, whether for one month, 12 months, or 15 years. We are not alone.
I stopped taking birth control after my cycle near the end of September 2013. I had what seemed like regular cycles for several months and we started actively trying to conceive in December. In January, my period was late, and I was ecstatic to think we’d conceived so quickly. But the test was negative and several days later, my period came.
It quickly became clear my cycles were not truly regular; with each month my cycle lasted longer and longer. Each delayed period brought a new surge of hope and anticipation only to reveal a negative pregnancy test and more questions. In May, I visited my doctor for my yearly exam and explained my concerns. She said everything was likely still fine but ordered some tests to begin trying to figure out why I wasn’t ovulating normally.
The tests came back with no abnormal results but left me wondering even more. If there was no reason I wasn’t ovulating, why wasn’t my body working like it should? I began monitoring my body temperature to help predict ovulation. No luck. I just wasn’t ovulating.
The summer brought more frustration as I eventually had to take medication to regulate my cycle. One round of that was supposed to be enough to “jump start” my body and we had renewed hope entering August. Still, my cycles lasted too long and each month brought a negative pregnancy test as I hoped there was a happy reason for my delayed period. Each time, I found only disappointment and more questions with each single line.
At the doctor’s request, I began using ovulation tests. There were no clear indications I was ovulating at all. So, my doctor ordered more blood work which determined I might be ovulating, but also might not be. More frustration with the medical tests. With my body. The numbers were borderline, and my doctor concluded I was likely “just not ovulating most months,” and she couldn’t give me a reason why. With no determined reason for this, it meant pregnancy was less likely, but not impossible. We just had to wait. So we waited, and we prayed every night for a baby.
Finally, in October, since my cycle wasn’t self-regulating after a year of monitoring, and we still didn’t have any indication of ovulation, my doctor said I would likely need to begin hormones to trick my body into “hyper-ovulation.” This came with a higher chance for pregnancy, as well as a higher risk for multiples. Before we could begin, or even decide if we wanted to proceed with infertility treatment on my end, my doctor ordered a round of tests for Wyatt as well. On October 27, Wyatt visited the fertility specialist for semen analysis.
We were confident this would come back normal as it was much less likely we were both experiencing problems and we already knew my body wasn’t ovulating properly. What were the odds neither of us was fertile?
Unfortunately, it was more bad news. Every test revealed reduced conditions for pregnancy. More questions that needed to be answered. We were unsure of what any of this meant for our long term plans.
With this new information, I had another consult with both my doctor and the fertility specialist. Natural pregnancy wasn’t necessarily impossible, but was highly unlikely since we both had issues. It could take years, and might not happen at all. I pulled off the road and spent a few minutes weeping in a parking lot as I heard the news over the phone.
Each doctor separately recommended we stop trying for natural pregnancy and begin preparations for intrauterine insemination. According to the research we had, most couples who turn to IUI have a 5-20% chance of becoming pregnant. It can cost $1,500 to $4,000. If that was unsuccessful, the next step would be in vitro fertilization. Success rates for IVF are around 41-43% and the procedure can cost $10,000 to $15,000.
We were both devastated and spent many days and nights discussing our options and praying for answers. Those costs were not a truly viable financial option for us right now. We’d need to seriously consider how to handle those in the long term. Finally, we decided we just didn’t have peace about moving forward with treatment. We would continue to try and conceive naturally as long as we felt God telling us to wait. We didn’t feel God was telling us that medical procedures were the right path, at least for now. Adoption was discussed as an option for the future as well.
In November, my period was significantly late, again, which meant I would likely need another round of hormone treatment to jumpstart the next month’s cycle so we could start fresh for January. Before that could happen, the doctor would need to rule out pregnancy. I waited as long as possible to take a pregnancy test, dreading another negative result.
Finally, on November 18 (cycle day 42), I took the test early in the morning and was shocked to see a double line as I glanced at it side-eyed in an attempt to shield my heart from more disappointment. After a call to my doctor and initial blood work that day, it was confirmed, I was pregnant!
We had an ultrasound one week later to determine an accurate age of the baby since my cycles had been so irregular. Turns out, I likely ovulated, and conceived, on the same day Wyatt had his tests done. Our baby was already forming deep inside me as we received the news natural pregnancy was unlikely or impossible. In the days we felt most hopeless, most alone, we were already and unknowingly blessed with the miracle of our baby, a tiny, wonderful secret deep inside me, the answer to our desperate prayers.
We’ve never felt so miraculously blessed, and are counting down the days to meet our precious son or daughter. Again, we know this story might seem insignificant to those who waited years and years, or who are still waiting. I also don’t know the pain of the parents who are able to conceive again and again only to lose their precious baby several months later each time. My heart aches for those who are hurting, who’ve known the deepest and truest form of hurt I can only imagine.
My only hope is that in sharing our story, all our hearts can find compassion. I pray you may be encouraged in the peace we’ve found through trusting God on this journey, knowing He cares for our concerns and we can go to Him with our questions and tears, ultimately finding grace in His sovereignty and the way He pours out His Love to us.
I recently received and read “Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet,” crying through Sara Hagerty’s story of finding that God is truly good in all things, in all seasons. The generous folks at Harper Collins found my comment on a blog post by Jen Hatmaker and offered to send me a copy. I wasn’t asked to review or promote the book in any way but found it to be so wonderful that I feel led to pass on the kindness and share her story with one of you. If you’re struggling with heartache and questions of any kind, (infertility, broken relationships, loss of a loved one, illness…) I’d love to send a copy to you. Feel free to leave a comment below and I will choose one reader at random to mail a book to. Her story touched me, and I would love to encourage you in your journey as well.
I can’t even tell you how I was touched by the following lines as tears ran down my cheeks.
“I often pictured the future from the perspective of fear, as in imagining the worst case scenario might allow me to prepare myself. But God comes kindly to prepare, and with a grace He’ll release only in that moment, not in advance.”
-Every Bitter Thing is Sweet, Sara Hagerty, page 72
How often had I pictured the worst case scenario as we received bad news, crying to Wyatt that I wasn’t sure this would ever happen for us, admitting I didn’t yet feel God’s reassuring voice saying we would one day conceive? How often did I wonder if I had only mistaken the overwhelming desire I had felt in my soul to carry a child? How much did I despair in the very days He was creating a tiny miracle in my womb? How often have I barely dared to pray for big things and yet God has continued to prove he is able and willing to heal, to remove cancer, to offer us another miracle?
You guys, God is Good!
Thanks for reading. Love to you all.
*Edited: I’ve already sent out the book, but feel free to continue to leave comments of encouragement and share your stories if you’d like. If our budget allows, I’ll try to continue to send books to anyone I can. Or, feel free to send a book to someone you, know, instead!