Can I be honest with you all? I don’t want to write this part. It’s not because I haven’t talked about it before. And it’s not because I don’t want to share my story with you all. It’s because I am fearful of being misunderstood. I’ve read that this is a core fear of Enneagram Fours, and I relate to that. But, I am going to continue to be honest and vulnerable with you, even though I am scared. Thanks for entering into our story with me.
My husband and I have known each other since sixth grade. We met at church and were friends ever since. We began dating our junior year of high school and got married almost six years later, just two weeks after graduating from college. Because we had waited so long to get married and because we felt we had a good, established relationship, we decided that we were okay having children as soon as I was able to become pregnant. Ultimately, we wanted to trust in the Giver of life, and so we chose to allow Him to decide whether or not we would have children. Writing those words now seems painfully ironic.
A couple months into marriage, I began to have irregular cycles. My period had always been completely normal, so I wasn’t sure what was going on. I made an appointment with an OB who told me that I was just stressed about our recent move and transition. She scheduled an ultrasound to make sure everything was okay. It was. And honestly, I was too. I didn’t feel stressed. In fact, entering into marriage, I felt like I was entering into something life-giving and joyful. I felt free to be newly married, set-up my new home, and do the things I loved doing. Her diagnosis didn’t offer me a lot of options: be less stressed. So I sought answers with another OB after nothing changed.
A couple more months passed, and things were still not consistent with my cycles. I saw my new OB just before Christmas and she asked if I’d be willing to go on birth control for one month to regulate my cycles. I told her that I would try it. So I took the birth control for a month, stopped when I was supposed to, and then a few weeks later at the end of January, I was pregnant! I was so excited! I couldn’t believe that one regular cycle made it possible for me to become pregnant. I was referred to a pregnancy clinic in our town so that I could have a free ultrasound. I nervously called and scheduled the appointment for the following day. Eric went with me to the appointment, but because of the nature of the clinic, he couldn’t go back with me. As they squeezed cold jelly on my abdomen, I was nervous about what I might see. They pointed to the sac that was carrying the little baby. They told me that I was too early to know anything yet or to even hear a heartbeat, but that the sac was the right size for how many weeks I was. They told me to come back in one week so that they would look for a heartbeat. I returned to the waiting room where Eric was sitting. When we got to the car, I told him the news and showed him the picture they gave me of the baby. Although we were timid, we were also excited.
From my perspective, I was experiencing a normal pregnancy. I was starting to feel sick unexpectedly, I had other pregnancy symptoms, and I had no bleeding or disturbing symptoms. We shared the news with a few friends and family because I couldn’t keep in my excitement any longer. I told them that I had a picture of the ultrasound and that it was just too early to hear a heartbeat. A week later, we went back to the clinic. I was nervous and excited. Again, I went back to the room alone. This time, there was more silence and whispers. Again, no heartbeat. Yet, the sac was growing. The nurse told me that she couldn’t say for sure, but she thought I was miscarrying. She said that I needed to schedule an appointment with my OB to confirm this. They gave me some reading material and I walked back to Eric in the waiting room. Again, we sat in the car. This time we were quieter and more timid, less excited. I called and scheduled an appointment with my OB.
Over the next few days, we prayed a lot. We prayed for the baby. We prayed for our hearts. And we prayed in silence when we didn’t have words. On March 16, Eric read to me from the Psalms and prayed over me. The next morning was Sunday, and Eric had to be at church early for rehearsal. I wasn’t feeling well, so I stayed home and about a half an hour after he left, I miscarried our first baby. The pain—both physically and emotionally—was great. I was alone, sitting in silence. I called Eric right away, and he knew. He came home, missed rehearsal and church and just sat with me. I’ll never forget the unspoken words that he spoke to me when he looked in my eyes when he got home. And then he just held me. He took such good care of me in those moments, just like he always had and has since.
The days after are a blur. Phone calls, texts, meals, rest, pain, sadness, grief, shame, disappointment, misunderstandings, and more. The hurtful comments started right away. I was questioned as to why I didn’t name the baby or have a service for him/her. I was told that I could die if I didn’t go to the hospital right away. I was told that I’ll get pregnant again and not to worry. I was told that this happens to a lot of people. But none of those things made me feel better. In fact, they made me feel much worse. It was hard to stay quiet about what had happened. Eric had visibly been absent from church on Sunday. We had nowhere to hide, which meant we had nowhere to process properly.
The next few weeks were filled with doctor’s appointments and blood tests. Everything looked fine and I was healing well; my HCG was high to start, but was steadily going back down. I had minimal bleeding as the weeks went on and my cramps lessened over time. I was told that we could try again when we felt ready and that I had no reason to fear becoming pregnant again and that most people have at least one miscarriage and it’s not that uncommon. I was hopeful. Although my miscarriage was painful, it also brought Eric and I closer together, which made trying again seem less daunting. And so we did. And this is where our story takes a turn. Because the “and so we did” is still happening. We are still trying again. And again. And again.
Years of trying, tracking periods and ovulation. Blood tests, ultrasounds, medicine, more birth control, diets, food restrictions, negative pregnancy tests, positive ovulation tests, missed periods, the list goes on and on. This is the part that I am most scared to share, but I want to tell you the things in my heart, even in the deepest parts.
After a few years of following each order I was given by the doctors that were treating me and still not having answers or becoming pregnant again, I decided to let go. It is not that I gave up. Or that I didn’t want to get pregnant anymore. Instead, I began to realize that I was putting all of my time, thoughts, prayers, energy, and money into getting pregnant. It was the only thing I wanted. It was what I thought I needed. And so, after years of being consumed by my will to get pregnant, I decided to stop. To stop obsessing. To stop testing. To stop seeing pregnancy as the answer to my pain. After I finished my last recent round of medicine, I started to feel so much better. I hadn’t realized that I was sick for months because of this medication. I felt like a weight was lifted—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
I began to study infertility. Why did it seem like such a taboo subject? Why hadn’t I heard anything about it until I had a miscarriage and other people started to share their stories with me? It was like I had been given the secret code to an invisible society. I began to share bits and pieces of my story, but I mostly tried to listen to the hearts of others. Everyone’s story was different, and I started to notice that there were many stories that started like mine, but ended up very different from mine. Other people had continued to pursue IVF, adoption, surrogacy, or other procedures that I didn’t feel led to pursue. Or, they had just become pregnant again
on their own. My story looked different. After looking around and seeing my own obsession to become pregnant through any means necessary, I decided to just sit with my circumstances.
And I have been sitting ever since. Here I am today, almost six years to the date past my first due date. Empty womb. Still wondering if it will ever happen. There have been times where I have fallen back into obsessing. Where I think what I am doing is crazy or stupid. With each birthday comes a wave of tears that I am getting older and my window to conceive is getting smaller. I don’t have the commercial happy ending. And I long for more. Because I know there is more to this story.
In all of this, I have learned that God is kind. Kind to give me friends, encouragement from near and far, and to give me my best friend and husband. And God is also kind to listen to my cries, my cursing, my questions, and my heart’s desires. He receives the worst that I throw at him. He carries my burdens on his strong shoulders. And he welcomes me to come take shelter in his pasture that is filled with good things, where I don’t have to question my worth or my status in society. He honors me, even though I bring an empty womb.
He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Psalm 113:9