Babies. Or Lack Thereof.
I don't really know where to start. This is one of those "lots of people go through it, nobody talks about it" things. So, instead of making it awkward, I'm just going to get to it.
It's weird to talk about because at some point in the conversation you end up talking about how often you're "doing it." And, let's be honest, that's sort of weird. And yet, there it is. Infertility. I'm pretty open about it and yet it's still something that's tough to bring up (like where exactly does infertility fit into the conversation?). But this isn't something uncommon, like at all. 1 in 8 couples have trouble getting pregnant, but it's something that's not talked about. Well, y'all, I'm done. I'm done not talking about it.
Why? Well, as we established, it's pretty stinkin' common. And, it's a daily life issue for us. So, here I am, telling our story, unashamed.
At 16 I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). I was told then that I might, one day, maybe have trouble getting pregnant but, clearly, at 16, that wasn't an issue for me, and nothing was for certain those 11 years ago. But, even then, and long before then, I knew I had a longing in my heart to be a mother.
Fast forward 3 years (I was 19) and I started dating my then-boyfriend-now-husband. We'd known each other for 11 years at that point so things got serious pretty fast. We talked about getting married and having a family. I was honest about my PCOS and that it could cause us to have difficulty getting pregnant, but it never crossed my mind (or Neal's, I'm pretty sure) that it might actually cause difficulties. We sort of had the "that'll never happen to us" mentality.
Fast forward another 4 years (I was 23) and we got married. Had things gone Neal's way, we would've gotten pregnant immediately and started a family. I wasn't ready emotionally for that. (Marriage and a cross-country move were hard enough to handle for this girl!) So, after a year-ish of marriage (2013 sometime) we started more seriously discussing starting a family. That longing in my heart to be a mother grew but we didn't really go out of our way to try to make it happen.
I'd never in my life had a regular cycle so I figured the likelihood of us getting pregnant was slim to none at that time, but we just agreed, if it happens, great, if not, no big deal. So 2013 came and went. No babies. And then 2014 came and went. No babies.
I don't know about y'all, maybe I'm crazy, but I had always had in my mind that 25 was a good age to become a Mom. So, when 25 came and went, and there were no babies it started to get really real for me. So then 2015 came and we decided to get a little more serious. I started tracking my cycles more closely. I know it seems like it would've made sense to do this sooner, but because of my PCOS, NOTHING IS NORMAL. Not hormones, not cycles. Nothing. So even trying to track my cycles in 2015 was futile. Another year, no babies, and no answers. We both agreed at this point that going into 2016 we were going to see a specialist and get to the bottom of this.
So see a specialist we did, right at the beginning of the year. I was told I wasn't ovulating. Duh. But that otherwise everything looked normal (as far as a woman with PCOS goes). So we made a plan. We were going to try "timed intercourse" for 3-4 cycles with assistance to make me ovulate. But even with assistance, our chance of getting pregnant every month was still only at 15-20% It seems low, right? Then I found out a normal couple only has like a 30% chance every cycle (CRAZY, RIGHT?!) and I felt better. I was just relieved we had a plan and I seemed to be healthy.
We were told we could start these cycles of timed intercourse as soon as Neal got back in town (we were co-locating for about 6 months) and a new cycle started. So he finally came home and my cycle just went on and on and onnnnnn. Like 80 days. Yep, FOREVER. (Thank you, PCOS.) FINALLY a new cycle started. We did 4 rounds of timed intercourse. And, well, no babies.
So, that's where we sit. This is our life. And yeah, that could be the end of our story. But it's not. I really feel like this is hardly even the beginning. Honestly, until those 4 cycles didn't work, I still didn't really feel like infertility was a battle we were facing. But here we are. We are the 1 in 8. Infertility IS a battle we're facing and this IS the road we're walking down.
Real life. Top level of the parking garage at Neal's job.
Giving me a shot to make me ovulate.
But you wanna know something? We have hope. Yes, we're hopeful that as we do more testing we'll get more answers and the doctors will give us good news. But more than that, we have hope because we both know that there's already a plan. There's already a child. And this story God is writing is already far more beautiful than anything we ever could've dreamed up.
There are few men I've encountered in my life who long to be fathers like my husband does. And I've longed to be a mother as far back as I can remember. I don't believe those things are by chance. I believe that the Lord placed those desires on our hearts and I believe that He will fulfill them. Clearly not in our timing or in the way we thought He would. If that were the case we'd already have our child home with us. Maybe it'll be 10 years from now and through adoption. Or maybe it'll be a year from now with a biological child we conceived naturally. We have absolutely no idea. But what we do know is that the Lord has given us inexplicable peace about all of this. Yes, some days there are tears. And some days it feels unbearable and we're impatient. And some days a pregnancy announcement stings. But even more than all of the pain, is peace.
The Lord has granted us peace in the waiting. Whether we're waiting for a child who is already dwelling on this earth somewhere, or is dwelling in another woman's womb, or is still being formed in heaven, we're not sure. But there's peace in the waiting. I have a hard time explaining it in words. Those of you who have experienced that sort of peace, the "peace of God, which surpasses all understanding" know what I'm talking about. It's this sense of calm in which I know that even if we get news we can't ever conceive, I just know the Lord has a plan for us. HE HAS A PLAN FOR US. We have not a clue what that plan looks like, but we're prayerful and we're hopeful.
"I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope."
And please know that if you are 1 in 8, you're not alone. Keep waiting, keep praying.