Our journey isn’t like many others. It starts with a pregnancy surprise a month after marriage. That little surprise is now an almost 6-year-old girl. For four years after her birth, we continued under the guise of not an issue in the world. We surprisingly got pregnant with her, so why should we think there would be a problem with number two?
I laid on a cold, gray examination table, feet up and exposed. I held my breath as the monitor tech and doctor searched my insides. My eyes were fixed on the big screen on the wall. I had no idea what she was searching for, but whatever it was I didn’t want it.
She began to count, “1… 5… 7…” She kept going until she said, “Yep, there it is—PCOS.” I vaguely remember her saying I needed so many cysts to have PCOS, but in the midst of the fog, I can’t recall what number she threw out. Whatever the number was, I had more than it. My heart sunk. On the one hand, I was glad to have an answer to the last 9 months of nothing working, and on the other hand, I didn’t want to hear it. She told me this was the better of the diagnoses, this was treatable, and she could work with it. I didn’t think she’d be wrong or consider she meant “with enough money.”
After everyone left the room, I took a deep sigh and prepared myself for the next step and every step after that. They took blood. We laid out a plan. She told us all the options. I soaked it all in; whereas, it all overwhelmed my husband Dan. I was “Yes, yes, and, eh, hopefully not that,” and Dan was, “When? How? How much? I don’t know…” Finally, I had a sense of “we can make this work.” We’ll have a baby this time next year. We got this!
A few weeks later, I went back to the office for another blood draw. The tech left me sitting for about 30 minutes in the lab. I knew something had to be wrong, and I was right. They brought me into the financial counselor’s office. They told me I had to pay our $700 bill or they wouldn’t continue with treatment. No one told me this before. No one explained the financial process. I was given my hopes and dreams on a platter and then it was yanked away just as I was about to take from it. I just needed my $5 prescription to get the ball rolling, and they wouldn’t even do that much for me.
I was not happy. I was angry. I was in tears—lots of angry tears. The financial counselor tried to understand. She felt bad and even hugged me, but she couldn’t make my bill go away. I ugly cried the whole way home. We didn’t even have that in our bank account. But, I’m a fixer. My general OB/GYN called in my $5 prescription and kept me on it for 3 months. Around Christmas time, our church small group graciously helped us pay off our whole bill. We were finally able to make this happen and jump into the whole treatment process.
Every month was filled with pills on days 3-7, an ultrasound around day 15-18, ovulation tests, shots, and timed intercourse the following 3 days. Next, came the two-week wait that felt like 56,000 days, and after that was the, “Don’t get your hopes up but can’t help it. Maybe I’m pregnant!” phase that lasted for 3 days. Then every month ended with the stage of grief. The grief of what we hoped for. Some months the grief came and went. Other months it lasts for several days. The cycle continued for 6 months until our money for treatment ran dry. At that point, we put a stop to the trigger shots and ultrasounds. We were worn out emotionally, physically, and financially.
More than the physical and financial strain, the emotional roller coaster was worst of all. Of course, everyone and my best friend was pregnant, fostering babies, or adopting. I was absolutely happy for them and celebrated with them, but the pain of what I didn’t have stung. Every announcement made, I wish I could make one too. And, hopefully, in naivete, many people said some unkind words to me, which caused me to question my pain and grief. On top of being painful, it was a lonely time. I didn’t want to live up to being a therapist that helps everyone else but herself, so I gave my good ol’ therapist, Susan, a call. I have the best cry sessions with her.
God brought me to a beautiful place in those months—a sanctifying place. I stumbled across this video, and forever my view of hope changed. You can learn more about that here.
The short version: We must not place our hope in our temporal circumstances but in God’s eternal plan. Instead of hoping for a positive every month, I chose to hope in God, His plan, and His purpose. This was not an easy mind shift. It did not happen overnight. I would say I am still growing and learning daily how to grasp His eternal hope rather than my circumstances. But, when our hope is in Him, we trust Him with our problems and future, which brings an overwhelming peace. With a heart that was changing, those blood stains and negative tests got a little easier to swallow every month.
My heart change prepared me for what came next in our journey. I trusted my husband’s leading to take a step back from treatment for the summer. We prayed for guidance as to how to move forward. August finally rolled around, and I was ready to reevaluate treatment with him. Let’s get this ball moving again! Let’s get me pregnant. Dan had other answers though. Someone had to be the wise one in our marriage with me on an emotional and hormonal roller coaster, after all.
One Sunday, early in August after church, Dan was sitting on the edge of the bed and took a deep breath, “You won’t like what God told me.” Of course, I jump to the worst-case scenario, “God doesn’t want us to have any more kids,” but I refrained from allowing my fear to seep out even though I had my reply all ready, “You’re dead wrong!” I held my breath and waited for his revelation.
“God said treatment won’t work.”
I let out a sigh of relief. “Then we might as well stop wasting our money on it,” I replied. And that’s exactly what we did—stopped wasting our money and turned our eyes to Him alone.
It hasn’t just impacted me and my husband though, but also our precious daughter. It breaks my heart when she reminds me, “Mommy, I don’t have a BFF.” Or when all she wants is someone to play with. Or when she asks “What if you had a baby?” When your child hurts because of something you can’t fix, it’s a whole other kind of pain. The compassion in this little girl though. She has two dollies named what we would name any additional little girls. I just had to let those names slip out one day. In her compassion, she proclaimed her dolls were now her sisters and my babies, so I didn’t need to be sad anymore. You better never call them dolls either. She’ll set you straight.
It hasn’t been a fun journey, but what growth ever is easy? Just as muscles rip and tear in order to strengthen, so we must be broken in order to be made stronger. Ten months since giving up treatment and placing our future in the Father’s hands. Two years and three months of trying for #2. And, five and a half years of no birth control. I don’t know how many more years and months it will be until God grows our family one way or another—birth, foster care, or adoption—but the Father knows. Daily I give my trust over to Him and put my hope at His feet. We claim He’s going to grow our family. He isn’t finished with us yet. Our hope rests in Him alone and His eternal promises rather than our circumstances.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on lovethecrazylife.com.
Featured Image by Marina Shatskih