I always knew I wanted to be a mommy. As a little girl, I loved playing with my baby dolls and I would take my imaginary children wherever I went, pretending to shop for their clothes in department stores and feed them at restaurants. I woke up almost as excited as if it were Christmas morning when my parents were scheduled for nursery duty at church. I just loved babies. In fact, I wanted one so bad as a young girl that I prayed for almost two years for God to give me a baby brother or sister. I was eight years old at the time and my parents had one boy and one girl and thought our happy little family of four was complete. You can imagine the surprise to my parents when they heard what I was praying for at our church’s alter every single Sunday. I’ll never forget the sheer excitement and almost disbelief when my brother and I unwrapped a pacifier as my mom told us we were getting another sibling. My brother was confused by the gift. I knew what it meant right away. Yes! A baby of my very own! I had been asking God for a long time for this baby! That baby was a girl and was born when I was soon to be ten years old and she really did feel like my very own. I thought I was her mom and I loved her with everything in me. Little did I know I would pray the same prayer years later as I prayed as an eight-year-old girl.
I met my cute husband, Rodger, in college and we were married with one more year of school left. It didn’t take long for me to get bit by the baby bug. I loved lying in bed next to my new husband dreaming of our someday family and sharing our ideas and goals of what our lives would look like. We were blessed with great jobs after we graduated, moved back close to our families, and we were happy. I loved my new job working as a Nutrition Educator and soon became very passionate about helping breastfeeding moms. However, it made me want a baby of my own even more. Once we officially started trying to conceive I stocked up on ovulation kits, pregnancy tests, and even bought a onesie to give to Rodger as a way to tell him we were pregnant. People told me I would get pregnant the month after I came off the pill. I believed them. I began to wonder what was taking so long as several months passed. Unless you have experienced this waiting game for yourself, you cannot fully understand the heavy disappointment as each month passed and your womb was still empty. The months soon turned into a year, and I stopped taking pregnancy tests because I didn’t want to experience the hurt of a negative test yet again. My heart became heavier with each pregnancy announcement from a friend, and the guilt of not being able to fully rejoice with them was burdensome. I felt a literal sting to my heart whenever people told me I needed to “get the show on the road” or told me that I “was getting behind” when other people were announcing their pregnancies. Their words didn’t intend harm, but they stung nonetheless.
The job that I had loved soon became depressing. I always strived to be positive and uplifting to the patients that walked in my office because since day one I saw my job as a mission field more than anything else. Some days were long and tiring, yes. Some days were hectic and frustrating, sure. But more than anything I wanted people to see Jesus in me as they walked in my office, and feel encouraged as they walked out, even if it were a simple smile and friendly demeanor. It became hard to hide behind a friendly smile because I wanted to be them. I wanted it to be my turn to struggle carrying a baby and diaper bag while recovering from delivery. I wanted it to be my turn to be concerned that my baby wasn’t pooping everyday. I wanted it to be my turn to have plans to go to the park or swimming pool after their appointment. I was never angry at God. But I did wonder why some women could keep popping out babies that were born addicted to drugs and unable to care for them, when I was desperate to have my own but couldn’t. Some days I cried in the bathroom. Some days I cried on my coworkers. I was pretty low.
Once well over a year had passed with no signs of fertility, I decided to seek help. Even though I knew something wasn’t right, it was somewhat difficult in admitting that my body wasn’t working properly and that it needed help. I had the best Reproductive Endocrinologist around and His office felt like a refreshing safe haven where they understood me, encouraged me, and were committed to figuring out what was wrong with my body. This office was over an hour away from home and I would drive the distance sometimes twice per week for blood work. After being diagnosed with hypothyroidism, finding the right dosage of medication, ruling out several factors that could be contributing to us not getting pregnant, my doctor began suspecting an anatomy issue and suggested an exploratory surgery. I was upset. Surgery!? I am 24 years old, how could I need surgery? I wrestled with the decision to follow through with it, but after praying and the support of my husband we decided to go through with it. My husband and my mom went with me to the hospital and I was a big ball of anxious nerves. It turns out my doctor found and removed Stage One endometriosis, clusters of cysts on both of my tubes, and dilated my cervical stenosis, all of which could have been interfering with our ability to conceive. I was hopeful after that surgery. I was then put on a medication that would help me release an egg and keep my progesterone levels stable. I remember going to an appointment to have a particular test done where I was told that the medication was causing a hostile environment for sperm to survive and was recommended a procedure that bypassed the natural way to conceive. I was completely broken. After some hope being restored after the surgery I felt like it was all for nothing and I was ready to throw in the towel. While there is nothing wrong with this procedure and many people successfully conceive this way, I knew I wasn’t comfortable with it and at the time, it felt like we were at the end of our rope. I cried the whole hour and seven minutes home from that appointment and cried some more into the arms of my husband when I told him about the recommendations for what to do next. Rodger is often a man of few words. Sometimes it irritates me to no end. Other times, such as this instance, having him hold me while I cried is all I really needed from him.
Something changed in me after that day. I let go. I stopped obsessing and stopped trying to control my situation. I was still sad, but I was trying to crawl out of a hole of self-pity that I had dug for myself over the past nearly two years. It was also during this time that I realized a truth that could have changed the way I dealt with our infertility. God did not owe me a baby. I was not entitled to a baby just because I thought I would be a good mom or because I just assumed I would have babies because it’s what I had always wanted as a little girl. God is good and He gives good gifts to His children. But His primary purpose is not to coddle us with the things we think we deserve. Even something as intrinsically desired to a woman as a baby.
It was only a couple of weeks later that I started to feel sick. My breasts hurt and my stomach cramped and I just assumed I was about to start my next cycle. My doctor’s office told me to take a pregnancy test if I hadn’t started by a certain day but I didn’t test. I kept waiting to start my period because I thought that cycle of trying was out the window. After several more days passed and I started to feel increasingly more nauseous I decided to just pee on the stick to rule it out so I would stop playing “what if” games in my head. Two lines lit up bright blue as soon as I laid it on the counter. I had no reaction. I just stared at it. Is this some sort of bad joke? Could this really be true? I went to the top of our stairs and calmly asked Rodger if he could come look at something. We walked into our bathroom and I pointed at the stick not saying a word, mainly because I didn’t know what to say. Rodger was a bit confused at first, thinking he was about to get lucky, he asked, “What? Are you ovulating!?” He then realized the test said pregnant and was So. Excited. Once I felt like I could speak I just kept saying, “I need to go to the Doctor. I need to make sure it’s real.” We prayed together over our baby there in our bathroom floor. It was a Saturday so I took three more tests and they were all positive. I began to let myself get excited. If you do the math, I had either just conceived the day of that depressing appointment or the day after. The same time that I decided to just let go. My friends, God is good! He is faithful and He does want His children to experience good gifts. Not because he only wants us to be happy, but because He is the only One who got the glory from giving us our baby.
If you are currently playing the waiting game as we were, whatever you are waiting on, hold on tight. It’s tough. I remember those days all too well. But there is purpose in our trials. There is a plan behind our pain. He is a good God, and He can be trusted with our desires. The outcome may look different for everyone as every story is different. But friends, if there is anything I would go back and tell myself as we waited is that He is faithful, He is faithful, He is faithful. Trust in Him with your waiting.
“I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live…..The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.”