Test-Tube Faithfulness Pt. 1

My own wife had been told for years that it would be very difficult for her to have children. It is a topic that we discussed quite a bit while we were dating and into our engagement and first year or so of marriage. Infertility is a topic that isn't discussed much in the church, far less the options when dealing with it. 

Some dear friends of ours have been struggling for years, and their story is filled with ups, downs, and everything in between. They have generously agreed to share their journey in the hopes of encouraging others in a similar position. It is our hope that this piece (which will come to you in four parts) will function as a jumping off point for church leaders, believers, and even couples facing this challenge as well. This is a painful topic for many and for many reasons. Our prayer is that this conversation is helpful to you.

INFERTILITY: THE PAST

Hi! I was asked if I would be interested in sharing about my infertility journey. I agreed right away, because this is an issue that has affected far too many women who suffer silently. I personally have tried to be as open as possible. Mostly to help deal with my thoughts and feelings, but also in the hopes that my journey would be of some help to someone else someday.

So here goes.

My husband, Bill, and I got married in June of 2006. A little over a year later, in November of 2007 we decided we wanted to start trying for a baby. He had just been hired as a youth pastor at a church, and we felt like we were in a good place to start building our family. Of course, we both knew very little about the trying to conceive process, but I assumed it would happen in the next few months, and we would soon be soon-to-be parents. 

Boy was I wrong.

After a number of months had gone by without success, we decided to look for help. We learned from our doctor that you can’t even be seen by a fertility specialist until after one year of trying, because 80% of women get pregnant in the first year. Ok, so we learned something new, and eventually we hit that year mark. We were then referred to SOFT in London, ON. That stands for Southern Ontario Fertility Technologies. We were told our infertility was unexplained. This means that there was no obvious reason why we couldn't conceive. You can imagine our frustration with this lack of diagnosis. We were recommended, and tried, different medications with no results. We did an IUI in November of 2009, 2 years after the start of our journey. IUI stands for Intrauterine Insemination. They take the sperm, wash it in a special process, and put it back into the uterine cavity, in the hopes that the best sperm will meet the egg at the right time during ovulation. Although it was an out of pocket treatment, it wasn’t too expensive and wasn’t too invasive.

Unfortunately that too was unsuccessful. We were feeling discouraged and decided to take a break from trying with the fertility clinic. 

That was December 2009.

To clarify the setting, around June 2008 we had moved to Cambridge, Ontario after the youth contract was finished so Bill could pursue his Master’s degree. We were both working multiple jobs trying to stay ahead, and got more and more frustrated as the months turned into years. All our friends were starting families and we were feeling discouraged, forgotten by God, extremely jealous, and just all around miserable.

Around September 2010 as Bill was entering his final year of school, we decided to pick ourselves up and try again. We did an IUI in October - unsuccessful. We did another in November, and on December 16th, 2010, I finally saw what I had been waiting so long to see: that faint pink line. 

I nearly fainted. 

Bill and I cried, we were so overjoyed. Exactly 3 years (or 36 months if you are an avid tracker of conception) after we had started our journey, we were finally pregnant. And my beautiful baby boy was born August 29th, 2011. Jonny.

God had answered our prayers at just the right time. While I was pregnant, my husband graduated, and got an Associate Pastor’s job in Sarnia where he could provide for us. We were not forgotten, we just didn’t know that God’s timing is the best timing. His plans far exceed anything we could have planned for ourselves. I learned a lot about myself, my husband, my body, and my faith in Christ during those dark times. No matter how angry I got at God, I never wanted anything outside of His perfect will for my life. I’m so grateful for all He has done for me, and continues to do for me.

For many people who struggle with infertility, this is where the story ends, but we wanted our little family to grow, and so we embarked on the journey once again when our son was 10 months old. We thought we had been through the worst, that the "pressure was off" but once again, we were wrong…

Remember how I mentioned 36 months earlier? Well would you guess that I’m up to 51 months trying for #2? That I thought all of this would be behind me once I had a baby? I was wrong for the second time. And you will hear about this journey in the next part.

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