The journey to #2
was not easy. Not by any means. In fact, for various reasons, it was one of the most difficult seasons of life we have ever walked through. Part of our journey involved a brief fling with infertility and while I hardly feel qualified to write on the subject (seeing as how many women tolerate a great deal more than we did), I have felt from the beginning that this is a story that needed to be shared. Even just weeks after we were pregnant with Mayby and I began reflecting on our journey, I thought, “all things considered, that really wasn’t so bad.” And I felt embarrassed that I had felt it so deeply when we were in that season. But still, I felt God reminding me that He had written this story for us.
Maybe your story is very similar or very different than mine. Regardless, we’ve all had to wait patiently for something. Whether it is 3 months or 3 years, it is a challenge to do it with joy and patience. I hope that if you are reading this story that you will in some way be able to relate to my journey of wait and find some amount of hope, encouragement, and peace in it. We know by now how this chapter in the story of our lives ends. But as we read through the details and the steps it took to arrive here, it is impossible not to see God’s provision coursing its way through the smallest of details.
So without further ado…..
At the time I have decided,
my words will come true.
You can trust what I say about the future.
It may take a long time
but keep on waiting.
It will happen!
This story begins about a year and a half ago, oddly enough, in July/August of 2011, when I began to feel God calling us to join a small group at our church. I wasn’t sure how to bring it up with N since we we had been happily settled into a Sunday School class at a different church for a few years. There had been a few times in the past when we had been invited to join various small groups but each time the timing never felt quite right and the desire just wasn’t there. But of course God, in His perfection, led us both to this conclusion at exactly the same time. We even similarly felt called and encouraged to lead one and we began praying what that would look like.
I only knew of one other small group at our church that was made up of couples our age and I began praying that our future small group would look like theirs. They were closely-knit, but in a familiar way, not in a members-only way. We had been invited on several of their outings and had always enjoyed the individual relationships formed. On top of that, they all lived within 10 minutes of each other so they were able to have a real sense of community as they watched each others’ kids and loaned things to each other at a moment’s notice. Plus, several of the families had been through some really trying situations and I admired how the group pulled together and really loved them through those times.
In my heart I began to hear that little voice saying, “That’s going to be you soon. You are going to need that.” But I didn’t want to hear that. And I didn’t want to believe that. I wanted to believe that it was my worry-wart nature believing the worst again.
But it wasn’t.
And I felt myself prepare to begin battle with whatever fight was coming our way.
In August, we told the church that we wanted to lead a group and they enthusiastically agreed with our calling. But after the initial encouragement, we heard nothing. We waited. We read that there was a need for leaders so we thought surely we’d hear news soon. But none came.
On September 11, I received a message from one of the girls in the familiar small group. Out of the blue, she was inviting us to join their group! I was surprised because it was not what I originally had expected would happen, but after meeting with them once, N and I agreed it just felt right. We joined their group and began to form relationships with them. It was an unexpected answer to our prayers and it would be the first of many.
As the fall wore on, I began to feel a different little tug on my heart. One that involved teeny, tiny onesies, and sleepy newborn snuggles. I had committed to the LORD a long time ago that the timing and amount of children that we had was up to Him. And I felt Him gently preparing my heart for another one. This was welcome news to N’s ears, as he had been ready for #2 pretty much since MG began sleeping through the night. Not really. But in his perfect world, our children would be two grade levels apart, allowing them access to maximum friendship experience. Plus, he wants like a Duggar amount of children, so the sooner I agreed to have another one, the better the odds of that happening :).
We prayed and felt like we would begin trying in December of that year, giving us a September baby at the earliest, meaning MG and #2 would be no less than 22 months apart.
As December neared, I started to become very excited about the possibility of another pregnancy. The miscarriage and the long wait for MG seemed very much in the past and I was anxious for a fresh start to try it again. I was not, however, too keen on laboring or on first trimester illness. So much so, that the thought of either of the two of these entering my life again would keep me awake at night.
However, as soon as I began to feel the first flutters of early pregnancy symptoms, I put those thoughts to rest. I was surprised that things seemed to be progressing smoothly and that we possibly had become pregnant on the first try! I kept these thoughts to myself so that N would be surprised as well and began brainstorming ways to tell him. This was especially fun to think about since last time it wasn’t really all that thrilling of a moment.
I bought a card for him that had a very sweet poem about a baby entering your world and even went so far as to embroider “Big Sis” on one of MG’s long-sleeve tees. She’d need something to show the grandparents after all! I felt like us getting pregnant on the first try was a welcome gift from God after our struggle and subsequent wait for MG.
It was just about the time for me to start taking pregnancy tests (to be honest–I’m a chronically early tester) and finally confirm what I had been feeling, when I woke up to another surprise instead. The start of a new cycle. I also had the addition of some weird spotting with this cycle that I, at the time, had assumed was a common pregnancy symptom called implantation bleeding.
So I packed away the congratulations card and shirt and mourned a little and then moved on. It was still early in the game. Surely January would be our month!
In the meantime, pregnancy announcements began pouring in for September. I was disappointed to not be joining the lucky ones, but thought “at least our pregnancies will be close!”.
But January was a repeat of December. And worse actually. My cycle started even earlier and the spotting was more intense.
Meanwhile, February held the same fate. More announcements poured in and at least one for each month was on the exact day that we would have been due. It felt a little unfair, but to ease the pain, I began searching for reasons as to why my body had suddenly gone awry.
One theory was that my body still had not bounced back from breastfeeding/childbirth. A legitimate reason presented online, but amongst my circle of friends, no one else seemed to be having this problem. A lot of sources also pointed to a low level of progesterone as being the cause of my strange, new symptoms. Progesterone is the hormone that helps you become and then stay pregnant so this theory made a lot of sense. The months that I had felt sure that I’d been having pregnancy symptoms I actually could have been pregnant but my body lacked the sufficient funds to support it. The only problem with this theory is that it mostly seemed to plague childless women and specifically those that had been on the birth control pill for many, many years or had PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). Three things that didn’t necessarily apply to me.
The most frustrating thing during this time was all of the confusing signals. On one hand, we were well within our time frame of having children about 2-3 years apart. We still had many months to go before that dream was threatened. On the other hand, each month I grew increasingly more attached to the idea of being pregnant as my body was sending me early signals and I felt as though being pregnant was very much a God-given desire.
The month of March we took some time off and continued to search for answers and pray. We weren’t super keen on the idea of a Christmas baby afterall as we already had one near-holiday baby! But we thought maybe another month to purge my body of upsetting hormones and let it regulate, plus take some stress off might be good for us.
Towards the end of that cycle, I called my OB/GYN and explained what was going on. Together we concluded that I had a short luteal phase (the time between when you ovulate and when you start your next cycle needs to be a specific length of time in order to support a pregnancy) and he agreed with my low-progesterone self-diagnosis. He wanted me to come in and have my blood drawn at a specific time in my cycle in order to determine if everything checked out as we thought.
Unfortunately, we were out of the state when this very specific time occurred, so another month passed us by.
During this time of wait, I vividly remember having to mourn dreams. Little dreams, but dreams nonetheless. Dreams about having another fall baby. Dreams about re-wearing my maternity clothes due to the seasons matching up. Dreams about reusing all of my baby clothes. Dreams about having a 2012 baby (silly, but I hate the number 13). Dreams about being able to tell my family in person at this specific date or that specific function. Dreams about surprising N: In a Christmas present, in a Valentine’s day card, in an Easter basket. I fully believe that God uses timing of events to communicate His love to me as He knows they are very important to me. So it was during all of this day-dreaming that I felt sure that He was sending me a sign that every month was the month our circumstances would miraculously turn around. When they didn’t, I felt frustrated that I had disillusioned myself.
In the meantime, I had my thyroid tested (for the second time) as thyroid issues can often cause low progesterone (and traumatic events like pregnancy can throw them out of whack, even if they’ve tested okay in the past), went to a prayer service at church and asked for healing, and still truly believed in my heart that each month was the one that we would become miraculously pregnant. I began a supplement of B6 and B12 which helped my body to ovulate earlier in my cycle and increased my luteal phase from 9 days to 12. This was an encouraging turn of events, but it still did not lead to our greatest desire. While I became discouraged at each turn, I do not think I ever lost my faith that God would heal me, that we would have another child, and that He had given us this desire for a reason.
I did, however, become tired of living like a pregnant woman when I wasn’t actually pregnant: avoiding certain foods and rigorous exercise, skipping caffeine, not getting x-rays at the dentist, forgoing another teeth whitening, turning down certain teas, going low maintenance on the hair, not licking the batter, etc, etc, etc. Each month I set myself up for failure by thinking: I’m sure I’m pregnant. I better not indulge in this or that.
But month after disappointing month it just wasn’t so.
To be continued…..