I’ve mentioned before that I don’t quite know how to write about infertility. I’ve tried a million times, but it always comes across super bitter, angry, or way too medical. It’s a difficult thing to wrap your head around, let alone invite others into the process with you. I’ve stayed away from the topic because honestly, I feel like an imposter in the infertility circle. I have several close friends who have been told they will never bear a child of their own and so comparatively, my struggles to get pregnant seem insignificant when placed next to theirs. But then there is the myriad of friends I have who are fertile AF. And when my story is placed next to theirs, I feel nothing but dead inside. So with those two comparisons made, what I can offer is this: my story. My struggle through the devastation of hopes getting high and crashing down two weeks later. The pain of packing up baby gear I left out before we miscarried. The tears of frustration and devastation every 28 days. The knife through my heart every time I pass the maternity section. The waiting. The breaking. The hoping. The fighting.
I’ve never walked through something that makes me feel more out of control than infertility. Especially because our first daughter was a total surprise. Not an accident, because Jesus planned her life from the beginning of time, and knew exactly who we needed to be parents to first, but a surprise to us. We definitely weren’t trying, and I freaked the heck out. I wasn’t ready for a baby, I wanted to wait longer, blah blah blah. What I wouldn’t give for another “surprise” like that one now.
I had a lot of health scares shortly after Ella was born, including one that almost took my life. The healing was slow, but I had no idea it would affect our desire to grow our family like it did. With everything I know now, I think, “Well, duh. Of course you couldn’t get pregnant while fighting off a super bug.” But not even the doctors I saw could figure out what was going on, so I’m giving myself some grace there. It wasn’t until I saw a Natural Doctor, that he explained to me how impactful gut health was on fertility, and after following his suggestions, we conceived our miracle Emmy girl. I was so thankful, and so hopeful to be done with that season.
Em was a hard baby. Before we met her, we thought about just knocking out the rest of our kids- getting it done and then leaving the baby season behind forever. But three nights after she was born, we changed our tune from “more!” to “JUST SURVIVE”. And once we felt like we were surviving, we started trying again. Four months after that, we were pregnant, and we both breathed a huge sigh of relief. Two and a half months later, we lost that sweet baby, and nothing could have prepared us for the depth of that grief. That was almost a year ago, and I haven’t been pregnant since. Not from lack of trying all the things, but just because we’ve found ourselves here in this place again- this place we never wanted to be in once, let alone twice.
Control is strange illusion, isn’t it? Thinking that we have control over our lives- longing for it, even. When in reality, though we plan our path, the Lord directs our steps, and sometimes I just really wish that I was the director so I could know what to expect. Don’t get me wrong here- we can control our actions, responses, etc. But occasionally, there are events that happen in life that remind us of this simple truth: We are not God. And we need Him.
My would-have-been-due-date was March 5th, 2019. I dreaded every day leading up to it, knowing that I wouldn’t have a baby in my arms when that time rolled around. I had hoped to be pregnant again before March, hoping that it might numb the sting a bit, but I wasn’t. And the sting was real.
A few weeks before March 5th, I bought a ton of seeds. If you read my post on my miscarriage, you’ll remember that we buried our sweet boy’s memory under our sunflowers in the backyard. We loved the idea of the sunnies shining down on him year after year. So of course all the seeds I bought were sunflowers. Hundreds of sunflowers, potentially. I felt like I needed to plant them on his due date, as a prophetic act, declaring that we were planting seeds of hope. Throwing dirt in the face of infertility, proclaiming our hope in Jesus’s promises to us, and putting a stake in the ground to trust Jesus for more babies. I sobbed deep, heavy sobs as Nathan held me up in our back yard. I squeaked out the best prayer I could: “Lord, we trust You,” as I buried the seeds, like we had buried Judah before. We watered them, took a deep breath, and kept on.
A month or so later, our little seedlings began to appear. I had planted others: morning glories, zinnias, marigolds, and more. They all sprouted up around the same time that we found a dead rat in our almost-pond. It freaked me out when I first saw it- rats are not small! Our garden has brought us an annoying mouse problem before, but this sucker was a RAT, and I went into full on panic mode. Las Cruces has a definite rat problem, but we live in the middle of the city, not the outskirts where I thought the rats lived. We figured it was a pet rat that got out, and moved on.
The next day, some of my seedlings were missing.
The day after that, every last seedling was gone.
There were more rats. Rats we hadn’t seen. And the rats ate every last seed of hope I had planted.
If that isn’t a perfect picture of miscarriage and infertility, I don’t know what is.
Then the rats came after my vegetables– that was the beginning of the war. We set out traps, caught mostly mice, and a couple more rats. Today, as I write this, I have plans to meet my father in law to borrow his rat poison “hotel”, so I can stop being haunted by these thieves. I can hear them every time I’m outside. They scurry and dart away quickly, avoiding being seen. Our dogs are constantly hunting for them, sniffing out their home and digging to find them. These little, gross jerks have taken over our backyard, and for a while, I let them. I let them because I didn’t know what to do. I let them because rats are scary and gross, and I didn’t want to admit that we had “a rat problem”. I let them because we had plans and I didn’t have time to deal with them. But today is the day of reckoning for my backyard and my heart.
Too long have I let the rats of doubt and fear run rampant in my mind. Too long have I stood idly by as circumstances stole my hope. And today, as I set out to rid our yard of these rude thieves, I will do another prophetic act. I will trap the rats of fear and hopelessness, as I trap the rats in my yard. I will rebelliously hope in Jesus, even when the rats of infertility have stolen my strength. Today, I take back my heart and my yard. Today, I place my hope in Him alone. And today, I will poison the thoughts that have poisoned me. I will poison them with His Word: my strength and my fortress, for my hope is in Him alone.
I have Isaiah 61:3 in my head this morning:
To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for his own glory.
That’s the part of that chapter that most people have memorized. Rightly so, because it’s beautiful and instills so much hope. After reading the whole chapter this morning, I was floored by its last verse:
The Sovereign Lord will show his justice to the nations of the world.
Everyone will praise him!
His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring,
with plants springing up everywhere.
It’s summertime now, and the heat has already set in. My hopes for any plants springing up had definitely dwindled. And yet, last night I saw new seedlings in my yard. Not many, just 3 or 4, but somehow that was enough to speak to my heart. Enough to remind me that He can bring a spring anytime. Enough to remind me that He hasn’t forgotten about me yet. And enough to remind me that He will offer new hope after new hope after new hope to me, again and again. In every season, in every storm, in every desert, in every valley.
He will make a way for those seeds of hope. Somehow, someway. So again I utter the only prayer I have left in my bones, “Lord, we trust You.”