Our love story is like that straight out of a sappy, lovey dovey Hallmark movie if I do say so myself. While living in Florida during my younger and much cuter years, I met my future husband in the fifth grade and immediately thought he was dorky. He waved his hands to classical music after lunch, wore turtle necks almost every day, and kept his hair swooped to the side. But by the sixth grade, cupid hit me with his arrow and his solid colored turtle necks and dorky personality made him the boy of my dreams. We never had the chance to become high school or college sweet hearts because after my eighth grade year, my Dad and Mom moved me and older my brother to Illinois in order to be closer to family. However despite the miles between us, we still kept in touch occasionally by chatting on Yahoo Messenger (old school) or sending the occasional letter (seriously old school). As years passed, I always thought he was cute. I always thought he was sweet and I always knew he would make an amazing husband to a very lucky lady; I just never thought that lucky lady would be me.
On August 17th, 2006, after only six short months of long distance dating in college, my sixth grade boyfriend and I said our “I do’s” on the beautiful sandy beaches of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Money was tight but we made our first home in a cramped 475 square foot apartment. We were packed in like sardines and there was little room to be adding babies, but my free six month supply of birth control had run out and I decided to take my chances. But you know, instead of a pregnancy or even the scare of pregnancy, I received irregular menstrual cycles, 15 extra pounds, profuse sweating, excessive hair growth on my face (and well, all over), and crazy hormonal mood swings! And did I mention this all happened within three short months? I felt like a one woman freak show at the circus! I realize looking back that I should have visited a doctor or at the very least Dr. Google, but I didn’t. And I told no one. Instead, I made every excuse–too many helpings of Hamburger helper-…too much stress…ust getting older…yada, yada, yada…
However, three years later, in the spring of 2010, while sitting on the couch, I watched an episode of Oprah featuring Dr. Oz (I miss her shows!) and he was discussing the symptoms of a disease called Polyscysitc Ovarian Syndrome and as I sat there on the couch, I realized that I had every. single. symptom.
And I realized at that point that I couldn’t shove my symptoms underneath the rug any longer, especially since the dream of having babies was now on my brain and birthed in my heart.
I remember the moment I sat in my ob/gyn’s office. I was scared. I remember my palms sweating and my voice shaking as I described to her my symptoms. She was so sweet and listened to every concern before immediately ordering an ultrasound (which I later found out was not going to be jelly on the belly…awkward) and blood work in order to see if PCOS was indeed the culprit for my star performance at the circus. Unfortunately, the tests revealed that not only did I have PCOS, but it was severe. I will never forget sitting in her cozy office with the calmness of the dim lighting and beautiful decor all around me. And I will never forget going in out of a daze as I heard her count the number of cysts on each ovary….1…2….4….8….12…
I have never felt so alone as tears streamed down my face. And I never felt so hopeless as she put her hand over mine and talked about the very real possibility that I may never conceive naturally. Or that there was the likelihood I might need to have my ovaries removed in the near future. I can still feel the heartache of that day like it was yesterday. And I can still remember driving home from her office thinking about how I had always dreamed of having a family. And how that dream? Well, it might always be just that…a dream.
As I got home with red eyes and a puffy face, I threw the fertility specialist pamphlets she had kindly given me in a dresser drawer and decided I would give myself five months before pursing that route. Hoping to not need the number on the beautifully printed pamphlet, I did everything I could in order to create a ‘mini me’ on my own. I ate healthy, peed on expensive ovulation predication sticks, shoved pillows underneath my tush and kicked my legs up after ‘whoopie’. But as May, June, July, August and September whizzed by and all I had to show for it was a tear soaked pillow, I decided it was time to call the number on the pamphlet I had secretly kept hidden in a drawer.
In October of 2011, after meeting with the doctor whom I was convinced would give me my miracle, my husband was also tested. I hated it for him. I was scared of what might be. Could we both have a problem? Could it not just be me, but also him? But according to the nurse, all was well as he had a “very strong army of soldiers.” I remember getting off the phone with her that afternoon and while thinking I should be relieved and thankful everything with him looked great, I wasn’t. Instead, I found myself depressed as I realized all of the problems were a result of me. And all of the weight of those problems? They rested firmly on my shoulders. Because to me, it was completely my fault we couldn’t say “three” while waiting for a table at a restaurant. It was my fault we still had empty bedrooms. It was my fault he had no one to call him “Daddy.” It was my fault…
And so what does anyone do when they have faults? They try to fix them. Which is what I did. And I did so in the form of fertility treatments. The ones that included thousands of dollars worth of daily shots, blood work several times a week, and vaginal ultrasounds that made me feel shameful and embarrassed. However despite all of my valiant efforts, I was not pregnant after our first treatment cycle of using “timed intercourse”; nor was I lucky on our second. I had never been more frustrated because I thought the medicine I had been injecting each afternoon into my stomach had “fixed” the issue. Thousands of dollars had been wasted and time was ticking louder than ever as my doctor suggested it was time for the big guns. It was time for In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). I wasn’t ready for the big guns. I wasn’t ready to pursue this avenue. At least not yet. But while sitting at his consultation table, he was able to sell it to me like a good used car salesman. He had me convinced the only way I would conceive a child was through this expensive and emotionally costly procedure.
When I prayed, I would ask God to bless me with a child, but my confidence rested in the doctors ability, not God’s ability.
Within a couple of weeks of buying into his sales pitch, I found myself acting like a drug addict as I injected myself with five different shots a day in order to create as many mature follicles as possible. And on May 3rd, 2012, my pain and suffering of infertility only increased as I went into surgery. I had 24 eggs removed. Which is a great number! But because of the high number of eggs that matured, I developed the dreaded and all fearing Ovarian Hyper-stimulation. Let me say, it was awful! I literally gained over nine pounds of fluid in less than 48 hours. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t roll over. I couldn’t eat. And can we just be real for a sec? I
couldn’t didn’t want to poop. Or pee. I.Was.Miserable.
As a result, the doctors put me on a strict fluid only diet that consisted of nasty V8 juice, Gatorade, and chicken broth. The idea was to get as much sodium as possible into my system in order to flush out the fluid leaking from my ovaries. It was the worst experience of my life and to this day I cannot even look at a can of V8 juice or swallow even a tablespoon of Gatorade without gagging.
But on Thursday May 17th, all the pain and suffering was a distant memory as I sat in the parking lot of Taco Tierra listening to the nurse tell me over the phone, “Congratulations! You’re a Mom!”. I will never forget that moment. I will never forget the first tear that fell from my face and hit my legs. Or the second I instinctively rubbed my belly. I will never forget her voice calling me “mom.” Or when I whispered to my lil duckling(s) that I loved them more than they would ever know. I will never forget making the promise that I would do everything and anything in my power to protect them as they journeyed through life.
And I will never forget how I then dashed to Wal-Mart, Hobby Lobby, and Micheal’s.. Because the surprise pregnancy announcement I had pinned on pinterest just months earlier was finally being executed. And that “Daddy Doody Kit” I thought was adorable? I now needed to make. I will never forget rushing from store to store. And then rushing home. And then watching my hands shake as I frantically put together his gift. I was so anxious and excited to surprise him with the news that I was finally expecting…we were finally going to be parents.
The moments leading up to him pulling in the driveway were some of the worst! The anticipation almost sent me into a hard attack. And the excitement I had almost gave it away. But after a few deep breaths, I calmly met him in the front yard with an oven rack in my hand. He looked puzzled and asked what I broke. I giggled before telling him that I had been cleaning and that I couldn’t get the rack back in the oven…(I know cheesy! But it’s all I could think of) And so feeling like superman, he took the rack from my hands, walked inside like a boss, opened the oven door…
Do you see that smile? Look at those eyes! Man, what I wouldn’t give to go back to that moment in time. We hugged for what seemed like forever. And that evening we discussed nursery ideas,. We talked about due dates and names. And we rubbed my belly as we made bets on whether there were one or two wiggling inside of me. I can’t even type this story without tears streaming down my face. Because it truly was one of the happiest days of my life. And a day I never want to forget.
But the day I do want to forget? The one I can’t seem to erase no matter how hard I try? Is the one that occurred two short days later. Because just three hours after having my second beta drawn, I received the phone call that would change my life forever. It would be the one that afterwards, would have me stuck in bed for days. And rendered hopeless. Have you ever had one of those? The kind that you can still hear ring in your head? You can still hear the voice on the other end? Or the exact place you were when you answered? I can.
We were crossing the Wabash Bridge when it rang and I heard the nurse say, “I’m sorry but your numbers have actually dropped.” I was looking over into the waters when I responded with,“Oh they have…?” And we were getting off the bridge when she asked that I come back on Monday for another blood test. I don’t remember much else of our conversation other than hearing her use the words, “miscarriage” and “heavy bleeding in the coming days.” Because from the moment I heard her voice, everything, including the days after, became a blur.
But I do remember that in my heartache, I came home, threw away the “Daddy Doody Kit“, tossed the positive pregnancy tests in the trash, quit talking about nursery ideas, and crawled into bed and wept. My spirit and soul was crushed as I was unable to keep my promise to always protect.
The following day I managed to get up, get dressed and go to church; but I cried all the way there, all the way through worship, and all the way home. My mind couldn’t stop racing as I planned out my next steps and when I could start the process of IVF again; but as the wheels were turning in my head, I heard God’s still small voice whisper in my heart. He said to stop treatments and quit taking medications because He would give me a son and I was to name him Josiah.
At that moment, I realized my emotions had gotten the best of me and I was officially nuts. Was it really God’s voice giving me a direct promise with an attached name? What kind of name was Josiah anyway?! Once home, I immediately rushed through our front door, sat down at the computer and asked Google for the meaning of the name “Josiah”. I had decided that if the meaning was less than significant, I would chalk this “whisper” that I heard in my heart, as nothing more than just my imagination running wild. But as I anxiously awaited, the results began appearing on my browser and I learned the name Josiah means “Jehovah healed.” I began sobbing uncontrollably as I realized it wasn’t my imagination and I wasn’t (totally) crazy…
Later that week and still on cloud nine from hearing such a significant promise from God, I decided go ahead to my doctor’s “follow-up” appointment. I didn’t go because I wanted to start the IVF process again, but rather because I was curious as a cat and wanted to know what went wrong. Was it me? Was it the hubs? Was it bad luck? I will never forget sitting in the small room with tears welling up inside my eyes as he told me my eggs were that of a 60-year-old woman and because of their AARP status, they had too many chromosome abnormalities. He ended our meeting giving me less than a three percent chance of ever conceiving on my own, but despite the devastating news, I held onto God’s promise as I shook his hand and walked out of his office door. I knew that God is bigger than PCOS and through Jesus, I have a 100 percent chance of conceiving on my own.
However despite my faith, this journey has made me question myself and God more times than I can count. I don’t go hours, but sometimes days thinking I must have made up the name “Josiah.” But thankfully God doesn’t let me sit in my doubtful thoughts long. Because He has always been faithful to send me someone with a word of encouragement to help me press on. And to help me trust in Him. And to never lose faith that He is not only a promise maker, but a promise keeper.
For instance in April 2013, while sitting in an all women’s church service, another lady (who did not know me) came over and began praying for my womb. She didn’t know I was infertile. She didn’t know about my miscarriage. And she didn’t know about Josiah. But in the middle of her prayer, she stopped. And with such authority and enthusiasm, she blurted, “God said you will have a son!” As you can imagine, the tears began to flow. And the strength to keep hoping, to keep believing, and to keep waiting was restored.
Friends, it has been roughly 35 months l since I originally heard the Lord speak to me about Josiah. It’s been 35 months since I felt the strong nudge by the Holy Spirit to not seek further fertility treatments. It’s been 35 long months. Because even despite the reassuring words He has spoken through others? And my faith in Him? It still hasn’t been easy keeping a joyful, and confident expectation. It hasn’t been easy forgoing my plans for His. It hasn’t been easy watching everyone around me announce their pregnancy news using methods and medications doctors recommend I should try. It hasn’t been easy sitting and waiting. But I will continue to wait. And I will do so patiently. Because He who promised is faithful.
“The LORD will grant you abundant prosperity–in the fruit of your womb…” ~Deuteronomy 28:11
I hope that through this blog you find hope, encouragement, inspiration, faith, and laughter as I share with you my journey. In this teeny tiny ol’ space of mine, you will not only find the roses, but also the thorns as I try to be transparent in sharing not just the happy and hopeful moments, but also the ones filled with despair. I understand that not everyone’s journey towards parenthood will look the same, but this is my story of a tale of two love birds trusting in God and waiting for our baby bird.
I would love to get connected with you on a more personal level, so if you liked this post, pass it on and then click here to find waiting for baby bird on Facebook. But don’t stop there! Because you can also find me on instagram at @waitingforbabybird. I seriously can’t wait to “meet” you!