Infertile: a hard-to-hear label that can quickly change lives; that word changed ours. Nearly three years ago I was diagnosed as “infertile” because of my “non-traditional case of PCOS” and our world and dream of having a family suddenly changed.
Treatment began; we tried the pills, shots, IUIs, and getting several “second” opinions. There was a lot of waiting, and each time more disappointment. Finally, last May, we pulled out the big guns, IVF, and like most people, we had a rollercoaster of a ride. When they retrieved 29 eggs we were thrilled, but we received a voicemail from the nurse that said only ONE embryo was healthy and ready to implant. WHAT? ONE? I thought at that time the biggest fear in IVF was TWINS! But now, just one embryo? Our dream of a big family continued to slip away.
We decided to hit our knees. Our families joined us in constant prayer over that precious embryo, Azaliah, a prayer name we gave her meaning “set aside by God.” A few weeks later, we were over the moon to find out with a blood pregnancy test that our sweet baby girl had implanted. After two sonograms, the dr. congratulated us on “graduating” from the infertility clinic and told us that our chances of anything happening to this pregnancy were less than 3%! You heard me, LESS than 3%, so you can imagine our shock 9.5 weeks later when the doctor couldn’t find Azaliah’s heartbeat.
Again we fell to our knees, but this time we were mad. We cried out to God, but felt like there was no real answer. I started writing off my newly pregnant friends, tossing baby shower invites in the trash without even looking at them, and walking around bitter. The daily trudge through that grief was the worst pain I’ve ever experienced, as JJ and I started to consider other ways of forming a family, or even – hard swallow – maybe not having kids at all.
As we begged God to answer our question of “Why?” I was introduced to the Waiting in Hope group. Some amazing women encouraged me to change this question to “for what purpose?”
I watched these women at WiH group meetings and heard their stories, and wow, they’d been through the same pain! I was fascinated by the way they continued to love and trust the Lord. I was blown away! I wanted that: that peace, that faith, that hope!
A friend on staff at my church proposed that I help her look into starting a support group like Waiting in Hope at our church. I immediately got excited, but was also hesitant when she mentioned that the group would have to be approved by our church, receive a budget and get a place on the schedule. It sounded like a lot had to happen before this would be real. But no more than a WEEK went by when she told me everything was set up, ready to go, and all I needed to do was say yes.
And there it was. A chance to physically and emotionally harness this pain. An answer. Not only did it feel amazing to give this pain a purpose, but I realized this would glorify God as well! Wow, now that’s a good plan. I definitely wouldn’t have thought of that.
And after saying yes to Him and to the wonderful ladies at Waiting in Hope, we received an even more shocking surprise. A positive pregnancy test.
NOW, before you stop reading because you think this is just going to be another “I got what I wanted in life, so God is good” declaration, I pray that you hear it’s really a “I just walked through the worst season of my life and I KNOW God is good, because he walked every awful second with me.”
I hear people often saying they’re “blessed” when they receive good things, but I recently heard the actual definition of blessed is “being with or close to God.” He sustained us through the darkest valley we’ve experienced yet, and we were so blessed because He there with us each moment, even when we couldn't possibly understand the “why.”
I realize now my circumstances didn’t change what He’d already done for us. I see now He’s the only thing that can truly satisfy and the only one who can make remarkable beauty from mere ashes. And now, He’s given the pain a purpose.
January 23 would have been Azaliah’s due date, but instead the Waiting in Hope Central Houston group will be born that day. And on June 23, which just happens to be the day we found out we lost Azaliah, we’ve been told we’ll be welcoming a new love into the world. Coincidental? I don’t think so.
I’m ready to let go of those labels, because neither “infertility patient” nor “pregnant lady” are accurate. I’m a child of God, and so are you.