Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Testimony from a Reader (pregnancy mentioned)

Carla recently shared this story and has graciously allowed me to pass it along to you:
I have hestitated sharing my story with you for fear of causing somebody more pain. But I need to give glory to God, and I long to bring other IFer's some hope and comfort. I want to say to all those out there who are still waiting and longing, I don’t know what God has in mind for you. I believe that we often suffer because we live in a bad, sinful, fallen world, not because God has willed this misfortune on us. And He doesn't always choose to reverse our losses in the way we hope or ask. But I DO know that He cares when we hurt and that He IS involved in our lives. And when He decides to intervene in human affairs, nothing can stop Him. So don’t lose your hope. Keep holding on!

My infertility and miracle-baby story:
“If I could just get rid of this terrible desire to have a baby…It overwhelms me, suffocating my joy and sucking the lifeblood from my heart. The music is gone. My soul is BARREN. Only a few lone cacti dare survive in this harsh desert I call my soul.” – Journal, Dec. 2005

What had naively begun as an expectedly simple process had turned into more than a 6½ year struggle with infertility. Now, after several years of intensive medical treatments, I was physically and emotionally drained. Even God was silent. I didn’t hear or feel anything from Him and sometimes wondered if He had abandoned me. After years of what seemed like endless silence, I started seeing faint tokens of His work in my life. A couple of times I even received direct promises of hope from the Bible, but after repeated disappointments I was hardly brave enough to hope. Were these really from God or the imaginings of my own desperate heart?

One such morning began rather ordinarily, but while reading the book of Daniel, I suddenly realized that God was speaking to ME. Near the end of the 70-year Babylonian captivity, Daniel asks God to restore Jerusalem’s desolations (9:17-9). “Now therefore, O our Lord, hear the pray of thy servant and his supplications, and cause Thy face to shine upon Thy sanctuary that is desolate…” I knew the rest of the story well. When the time was fulfilled, God did deliver His people so they could return to their native land.

Several things from the story grabbed my attention, in such rapid succession and in such a strong manner that I felt carried beyond my own thoughts and ideas. “Sanctuary” and “desolate”…I distinctly recognized a similarity between the destruction of the temple and my own desolation (infertility). Then the 70 years…It occurred to me that the 70 years might have a time-scale significance for our lives (70=7). Could it be possible that we would have our desolations removed after 7 years of infertility (at this point, we’d been trying to have children for nearly 6 years)? It was like God had directly told me something but again I wasn’t sure if it was really Him or not.

Around this time, a friend of mine sent me a copy of the book “Hannah’s Hope”. I literally devoured it, realizing that although I’d been in tremendous pain for years, I’d not really known how to grieve my loss.

As I began to work through the issues, the fountains of long-retrained grief broke open. The tears began to bring healing. Not that the longing became less intense, but a calmness, peace and surrender began to take the place of desperation. I experienced some of the sweetest fellowship with my Lord that I had ever had before. I began to see how GOOD He really is, regardless of what I got or didn’t get in this life. For the first time in my life, I was able to praise Him in spite of my loss. Of course, the pain didn't just magically go away.

Up to this point, we had already unsuccessfully undergone 4 fresh IVF/ICSI cycles. However, our next IVF/ICSI cycle appeared to be a big success. The signs were all positive, but the following 2 blood tests showed that although there had been a short pregnancy, it was no longer viable. We were crushed--it hurt beyond words After all these years of trying, this loss was nearly unbearable. To compound everything, my body was thrown into total confusion, with several complications (including 2 large cysts).

The intervening time of waiting seemed unbearably long. We had one last IVF cycle awaiting us, but month after month rolled by and still my body wouldn’t cooperate. Finally it became apparent that we were going to have to wait until after the summer vacation to begin again. Then, after weeks of complications, my body just seemed to shut down. Nothing was happening. Out of desperation, I finally determined to go in for a blood test and ultrasound to see what was going on.

I had no clue that today would be a big way-mark in my life. Ultrasound pictures showed that the cysts were completely gone. My bloodwork indicated I was on day 1 of my cycle, and miraculously I also began my period that very day. The nurse said everything was perfect to start our last (#6) IVF cycle if we wanted. I was in total shock--my world had just turned around by 180 degrees in a matter of hours!!

But I was also a little bewildered. While I was excited to begin our last try, we already had reservations to fly home to see my parents during the summer vacation. I was torn. In bed that night, I wrestled with God and my own heart. Should we do the treatment now or later? As I prayed and asked for some clear guidance, I heard an almost audible little voice saying “Behold I have set before thee an open door and no man can shut it.” (Revelation 3:8). This verse had popped into my head so suddenly, I couldn’t help but realize that God had spoken to me, urging us forward.

We cancelled our tickets and began doing intensive hormonal injections. Two weeks later I went in for the egg pick-up (4 eggs in total). In all the other treatment cycles, we’d never had more than 1 egg fertilize per stimulation cycle. But as I was lying in bed the night after the procedure, I asked God for 2 embryos as a tangible sign of His love and care. Even if I didn’t get pregnant, at least I would know He’d heard and answered our prayers. I prayed and prayed. All of a sudden, I felt I didn’t need to pray anymore. My prayers had truly been heard because three days later, two beautiful embryos were transferred to my uterus.

Then we prayed like we’d never prayed before! During this time, I had no symptoms like before and was gradually losing hope. The morning before the blood test at the clinic, I did my own pregnancy test at home because I wanted to be mentally prepared. I didn’t feel I could handle another “no” from the nurse over the phone. It was a BFN! We felt numb, sad, disillusioned. Our last try for our own child—and that was it. There was not going to be a child.

Despite our extreme disappointment, we went in for the blood test as a matter of routine. Several hours later my husband called in for the results, expecting the official “no” to come over the line. I noticed a strange look come over his face and he was nearly shouting with excitement, “What? HCG is 230? Are you sure???...”

Then I knew it! We were on! We wanted to laugh, to cry, to shout it out to the whole world! Wow!!! God had done it, and just when we had lost all hope!

It began to dawn on me that God had indeed literally fulfilled His promise about restoring our desolations. In fact, when the baby is born, it will have been exactly 7 years since we started trying to conceive, just as God promised. God had directly intervened in changing the timing of my body so we could do the last treatment cycle at that precise time. It was so marked, so unmistakable. I give Him all the glory!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am so thankful you shared your story. We go tomorrow for our transfer. It is so encouraging to hear a positive story about how God is working through infertility.