Hi friends, welcome to another post on God’s Faithfulness in My Infertility. If you missed my previous posts, you can catch up here. Today I’m sharing about our infertility diagnosis, the second year of trying to conceive (TTC), and first treatment. I’ll be honest, this was a hard post for me to write. I struggled with anxiety and depression most of the year, and reading through my journal about that time brought up so many emotions. Much of what I wrote may sound pessimistic or hopeless to you, and that’s ok. It’s truly how I felt, and I know a lot of people going through hardship can relate.
As you read through this, I would love for you to answer this question: How do you think God responds when you wrestle with your faith or emotions during suffering?
Getting Answers and Encouragement
In early October, Matt went for his testing. The good news from that appointment was that there was nothing insurmountable, and we also had a reason for why we were having trouble getting pregnant. The bad news was that there was a reason – Male Factor Infertility (MFI) – but the doctors said we would have a good chance conceiving with Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). We took time to pray and think about it, and of course I researched online. I saw that success rates were only 10-20%, which seemed so low to me. The odds seemed to not be going in our favor, again.
At Bible study, we talked about fear and how we let it impact our relationship with God. At this point, I had only shared about our fertility struggles with a small group of friends and family, but the Holy Spirit was pushing me to share. I broke down in ugly tears, crying in my friend’s arms about the fear I was experiencing with infertility. Although I hated crying in front of people and feeling out of control, a weight was lifted off my chest. It wasn’t a secret anymore and Satan’s power had fallen. I received encouragement from others that I never would have if I hadn’t opened up.
God brought so many people into my life at this point to encourage me – from a woman I met at church who shared her story of infertility and to whom I could ask questions about IUI, to a group of TTC friends who could relate to the cycle of hope and disappointment each month. I was so grateful I had others on this journey with me, though I would never wish it on anyone. If you’re going through infertility and don’t know of anyone else going through it, please reach out to me and keep an eye out for an upcoming post on resources!
Anxiety and Depression
I was struggling to accept the fact (and stigma) that we were considered to be infertile, which felt so definite. I was also having major anxiety about going home for Christmas and thinking of all the worst case scenarios. One of my cousins had just announced they were pregnant with the first grandchild of the family, and I was terrified people would ask when we were going to have kids. I feared ruining everyone’s Christmas by being a downer if I wasn’t pregnant by then. Thankfully my counselor helped me prepare some answers depending on how I was feeling in the moment.
I repeatedly prayed for wisdom and provision, for God to be glorified in this hardship, and for my book, which was a great distraction but also a stressor. I did my best to cling to the truth, although sometimes it felt like God was withholding from me. We flew home for Christmas, and instead of a big family gathering COVID prevented most from traveling (which honestly alleviated a lot of anxiety). Shortly after we arrived, I found out I wasn’t pregnant, and it was incredibly painful. I had gotten my hopes up, and the whole week of Christmas I felt depressed. I went through the motions of Christmas without enjoying any of it. I knew I was supposed to be joyful, but I didn’t seem to have the capacity. One night in particular was so difficult; we had a game night with some friends and all I could think of was when I had told my parents a year earlier we were trying to get pregnant after a similar game night. And here I was, a year later, still in the same place with empty arms.
A New Year
At the start of 2021, Matt and I spent some time away together reflecting on the last year and planning for the next one. I had some great time with God and I felt him telling me to surrender my desire for a baby to Him and choose to hope in His plan, not mine. My prayer was that after a hard year of pruning, I would start to see the fruit that year.
In January, I released Rhythms of Relationship, and I began to think that maybe God didn’t let me get pregnant because it would have been too much with the book. Now that it was done, Matt suggested I take a “sabbatical” where I didn’t work on any big projects and could experience what it was like not to have a jam-packed schedule. I had never done anything like that before, and at first I struggled with who I was if I wasn’t working toward a big goal. But eventually, I leaned into the peace and calmness. It was the perfect time to take the next step in our fertility journey.
IUI #1 – Feb. 2021
Our first IUI was not an easy experience. I couldn’t tell when my ovulation strip was dark enough to time it right, the office I was going to did the procedure so infrequently that when I called to make the appointment, the woman at the front desk wasn’t sure what I was talking about, and there were lots of little miscommunications. When we finally got into the office, I was so nervous – it felt like everything was going wrong. I couldn’t seem to get the 10-20% success rate out of my head. Thankfully Matt was there to hold my hand. After the two week wait (TWW), we found out the procedure wasn’t successful. Psalms 13 summed up how I felt:
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long will I store up anxious concerns within me,
agony in my mind every day?
How long will my enemy dominate me?
Consider me and answer, Lord my God.
Restore brightness to my eyes;
otherwise, I will sleep in death.
My enemy will say, “I have triumphed over him,”
and my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.
But I have trusted in your faithful love;
my heart will rejoice in your deliverance.
I will sing to the Lord
because he has treated me generously.
The second year of our journey is to be continued, so I hope you’ll subscribe and come back for the next post. I want to go back to the question I asked at the beginning of this post: How do you think God responds when you wrestle with your faith or emotions during suffering? I challenge you to really think about this, and then ask yourself why you think that way. I know my perspective changed a lot over the course of the last few years.
I also wanted to leave you with a few takeaways from these somewhat scattered journal entries:
- When we are vulnerable with our struggles, they lose power over us
- If you have anxiety about “what ifs” in a certain situation, you can prepare for them ahead of time so you’re not as flustered in the moment
- God is bigger than our emotions and circumstances
See you next week!