Ashley Reed | Tyler, Texas Local Leader
I started dating my now husband, Jimmy when I was 17, during my last two years of high school and then through all of college. Once Jimmy and I were married, we knew we wanted to wait a few years before having kids. We vacationed every six months or so, and just enjoyed being married. About three and a half years in, I started getting the itch...let's have a baby! Friends were getting pregnant and having babies. I loved it and loved seeing Jimmy hold a tiny pink baby: I was ready! So, six months later, after meeting a few goals, we both decided it was time. But what we planned was not to be. The reality of loss and infertility hit us.
The last five years of our nine-year marriage have been the most loving, growing, scary and stressful years so far. We started trying for children in the fall of 2011. Since then we have had three ectopic pregnancies, three surgeries, both fallopian tubes removed, one miscarriage, one round of IVF, two transfers and also lost our triplets in January 2015.
Jimmy and I have faced loss many times throughout our journey of infertility. This road has been the worst and best thing that has happened to us. We have grown closer as husband and wife. How? Only through the Lord, who has loved us beyond our realm of thinking. The love we've seen as we have had people come into our lives and walk with us, pray for us and love on us through this long and hard journey has ultimately brought us closer to the Lord, Jesus Christ. Within that community, we saw the hands and feet of Jesus.
We knew the desire of our hearts was to have children and even though we didn’t know what that looked like we knew could trust a God that was powerful, loving and had a plan for us.
After the loss of our triplets, we took a break for a short time, and then we began to gear up for another transfer. We set the calendars and I sat down to order the medication I needed, which they were out of? How? The main goal of this pharmacy was to supply fertility drugs. How were they out?
Previously, during the IVF process, Jimmy and I prayed over and over, asking if this is what we needed to do, or should do, and never felt like we were being led in one direction or another; but this day I felt the Lord telling me to wait.
I didn’t feel at peace to continue. Friends, it's in those moments we must stop, be still and listen. We know what to do, He is telling us if we are asking.
While going through the process of loss, infertility, and IVF, we always talked about adoption and before pursuing IVF the first time we attended an orientation with a local adoption agency to learn more about the process and what was involved. So once we felt like the Lord was leading us away from another round of IVF, we started pursuing adoption.
We joyfully turned in all of our paperwork, aced the homestudy, worked on our lifebook. Lifebooks are basically a photo album visual book of information of who you are for the birth moms to pick from, which sounds fun but took forever mainly because I am a graphic designer and a perfectionist. Yet, after finishing we were then eligible to adopt in September 2015. We waited for a total of 5 months (which is super short and not a typical timeframe) before we got the call... A birthmom had chosen us! Six weeks later our daughter, Celia was born and her birth mom placed her in our arms and gave us a gift only the Lord could plan and complete.
The journey through infertility, again, was the best and worst thing we faced during our marriage, but we always knew the Lord was faithful. We were certain He had a plan for us and our story. Jimmy and I have been very open about our struggles in hope that other couples wouldn’t face this journey alone or feel ashamed. I am thankful we were strong enough to share our story, to be supported and support others. It was within that safe space we found more hope within a community.
Every woman’s and couple’s story is different and those I have had the honor of knowing and walk beside are dear to my heart, we are forever connected by this journey. My infertility journey is one I would have never chosen for myself but as odd as it may sound to some of you I have become overwhelmingly thankful for.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Please comment and share with those who may need to hear Ashley's story. Our stories are meant to bring others closer together and re-assured that we are not alone in our "waiting." If you live in Tyler, Texas (or surrounding East Texas areas) please join Ashley Tonight. Thursday, March 9th @ 6:30 for Ladies Support Group. Email Tyler@waitinginhopeinfertility.com for more info.
>> Thank you, Ashley for sharing your story with us, Waiting in Hope Ministries is lucky to have women like you serving from their suffering.