My Friday began much like any other typical Friday. Hitting the alarm clock, hurrying through my shower, a quick kiss on the cheek to my husband and trying to wrestle with my three year old daughter to get to Preschool on time. Everything was normal except for the day. This particular Friday marked the end of the two week period of time following my third IUI procedure. This “dreaded two week wait” was finally over! I could finally take that long awaited pregnancy test and confirm my suspicions. For the past couple of days, my breasts had become increasingly tender and I had been feeling incredibly fatigued.
I made it to my office and slipped on my lab coat, then headed to the restroom to pee on a stick. I noticed my chart rack was full of patient’s charts, which meant I had a busy morning. So, I quickly peed on the stick, wrapped it up and slid it in my pocket. I didn’t even have the five minutes necessary to wait for the test to complete. I quickly became immersed in a pile of charts and patients. I saw a few pregnant patients, all they while, secretly smiling and knowing that I ,too, would be joining them very soon in the mommy to be club. Finally the morning ended and I sank into my desk chair before remembering I still had that silly pee stick in my lab coat pocket. Excited, I grabbed the stick, and turned it over. Hmmm….well, that’s not what I had expected. There was supposed to be two pink lines. But, instead, there was one, lonely little pink line staring up at me. My heart sank. I was confused. What about the breast tenderness and fatigue?? This cycle was textbook perfect. It didn’t make any sense. Quickly, those old, painful memories and feelings began filling my mind. My stomach began churning and I felt a big, empty pit swelling. My eyes began to fill with tears, and I had to restrain myself from sobbing uncontrollably. I quickly ran to the bathroom to try and compose myself. It just didn’t make any sense. Suddenly, I heard those old familiar voices in my head, well meaning voices who never knew how to comfort me on days like this. Voices and words from family members, colleagues, and friends who tried to console me with old adages and sayings like, “All in God’s timing,… Maybe if you would just relax…Have you thought of adoption?…” Each more painful than the next. All were meant with the absolute best intentions. People just don’t know what to say anymore. Maybe I am just too sensitive. Perhaps, the absolute worst possible way to console me is by suggesting that somehow God’s greater plan doesn’t include me having more children. This brings me to the most painful myth regarding fertility that I would absolutely like to explore.
MYTH: “IF GOD WANTED YOU TO HAVE CHILDREN, YOU WOULD HAVE THEM ALREADY.”
Growing up there are a couple of dreams that every young girl has. First, all little girls dream of their wedding day. Walking down the aisle in a beautiful gown and being swept of her feet by her own Prince Charming. Then, we all envision settling into our little homes with white picket fences and cute little curtains and maybe a dog or a cat. But the one dream that most young girls all desire is to be a mommy. Growing up in a Christian home, I was also taught that God has commanded us to “Go and be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:27). We all knew that we would grow up and get married and have babies. That’s just how it was. So, I found my Prince Charming, married him and settled into a beautiful starter home with my two little dogs and fancy window treatments. We were ready for the next stage of our lives. So, we waited and waited. Nothing happened. Naturally, we visited our OBGYN (or in my case, my collaborating physician) and he suggested that we begin the preliminary workup for infertility. Wow…didn’t expect that. We were young, married, and healthy. We didn’t fit that “infertility“ mold. So, we began the journey of testing, ultrasounds, blood work, medications, a surgery and finally we conceived our little miracle baby. While bringing her home from the hospital, I looked up at my husband and said, “You know, we aren’t done yet. Our family isn’t complete.” He nodded in agreement. We both knew that we intended to have more children.
This journey for baby #2 has been a long and arduous journey. We have almost succeeded (one ectopic pregnancy following IUI #2) and have felt very discouraged. However, there is one verse in the Bible that I must cleave too. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11). I have to believe that God wants the best for me, and has given me a very strong desire to have more children. I also believe that God has allowed the advancement of science to help those of us who need a little help in the reproductive department. Infertility is a disease process. It’s a horrible, painful disease that causes both emotional and physical pain and scarring. Just like any other disease process, God has allowed advancements in “treatments” to “treat and cure” infertility. Just like you would never tell a Diabetic, “If God wanted you to live, he would make your Pancreas produce enough insulin,” you should never tell an infertility patient, “If God intended you to have children, he would have already given them too you.” You would never tell a patient with a horrible infection to simply wait and not take antibiotics, you would say, “Go ahead, take this medication as prescribed and you will feel better”. Besides, none of us have the right to speak for God. I believe that God has given me a strong desire to have another child, and just like everything else I have ever prayed for, his answer will either be, “yes, no or wait.” But, I would like for God to make that decision and not me, or any other person trying to find something nice to say. Besides, whatever happened to my favorite old saying, “If you can’t find something nice to say, don’t say anything at all!”