Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Encouragement

Well, I thought I'd write today about the Lord's encouragement during a rough time. In order to do that, though, I have to write about discouragement first. A lot of days, it seems like I fight discouragement. The reason for that is that I am infertile. It's a tough thing for me to just write those words. I've wondered how I would share this with all of you. Many of you know about it already. It just isn't easy to describe the way that infertility changes, scars, and defines you. David and I started trying to get pregnant 3 years ago this April. During these three years, many of our family and friends have had one child, and then sometimes, two children. During that time, we have watched our hopes dashed month after month after month. For the past eight months, I have endured the emotional and physical trauma of treatment with an infertility clinic. This has involved numerous ultrasounds, bloodwork, fertility drugs, interuterine insemination, testing on David, testing on me, and once again, and even harder this time, the heartbreak of failure. A lot of people don't understand how infertility feels to a woman who always thought that her most important role would be the role of mom. For a woman, infertility doesn't just affect her body, it affects her view of herself as a woman. It involves the shattering of deeply held dreams and assumptions about the future. My relationship with God, my understanding of God, and my faith have been tested over and over again. I have screamed at the sky, and I have screamed at people. I have been filled with rage, and I have had times of intense Godgiven peace in the midst of the storm. I have become numb and cold because the pain was too hard to bear. I have felt incredibly alone in a world of happy families. Depression has gripped me, and I have wished that I could just stop living because living is too painful. I suppose that this might sound melodramatic, but it is all too real. I wish it wasn't. If you are reading this, and you are infertile, you will know some of what I'm talking about, even though I am sure that your experience is different than mine in many ways. After six months of treatment, this November, I finally got pregnant. I believed that this hard time of testing and trying my faith was over. I had hope, and so did David. I lost the baby at 6 1/2 weeks. Miscarriage broke my heart more than anything that had gone before. For a few days, I honestly wanted to die so that I could go to heaven and hold my baby. I am still heartbroken, but God is binding up my broken heart. David and I feel that the Lord may have given us this baby for a short time so that we would not give up. We feel sure that He doesn't want us to, but we were close to doing just that before I got pregnant. We are starting new injectable drugs very soon.

Why am I telling you all this? I am not telling you because I want you to feel sorry for me. For almost a year, I didn't tell a lot of people about this because I really didn't want anybody to pity me. I am telling you so that you'll know the reality of infertility for so many women, women who may be unable to tell you because they are hurting so badly. I also want to tell you so that you will glorify God for the amazing things that God has done for us in the midst of the deepest tragedy we have ever known. Maybe you can be amazed with me at the wonders He has done and the ways He's been right there guiding us all along.

Today the Lord gave me a huge boost of encouragement right when He knew that I needed it. My husband teaches a Bible study at his workplace, and a week ago, everything went wrong with it. They were supposed to watch a DVD, and they couldn't find a DVD player. Then the DVD player wouldn't hook up correctly. Finally, with their lunch hour rapidly dwindling, he decided that they could share prayer requests instead. David is not as open about our struggle as I have been. It is not characteristic of him to share about it, especially when there are new people in the group like there were that day. But he felt a peace about sharing that day, and when he did, one of the new secretaries spoke up. Her name is Melanie, and she had done the injectable drugs and gotten pregnant on them. David told me that he was really encouraged by her story, and he wanted me to meet her for lunch to ask her questions and get info about these drugs. I don't know many people who've taken them. So today I met her for lunch. We went to a nearby food court and talked for over an hour. During the course of that talk, we discovered uncanny similarities about our infertility. She had exactly the same condition that I have now down to the letter. She had little eggs that simply weren't getting the message from her brain that they needed to grow, so she could not ovulate on her own. People take these drugs for many reasons, but I hadn't met anybody with this exact diagnosis before besides me. She didn't ovulate on the typical fertility drug, Clomid. I didn't either. She asked how old I was, and I told her I'd be 27 this month. She said that was how old she was when she got pregnant with her daughter. She asked how long we'd been married. I said 5 years, and she said that was how long they'd been married when they got pregnant. Maybe this doesn't seem definitive to all of you, but I've talked to a lot of infertile women in this journey, and I have never met anybody who's experience tracked mine this closely. Many of the women I've met were a little older or had been married longer, and most do not have my diagnosis. We both noticed how strange it was. Melanie got pregnant the first month that she used the injectable drugs. I hope that that part of her story becomes identical to mine, too, but I don't know if that'll happen. All I know is that God sent me encouragement today, and He sent it in big way. I have faith, and with all that has happened in the past, the fact that I still have that is nothing but God being huge in my life. I am really thankful that I saw God's hand today. He's saying, "Don't give up, honey. I love you. See? I sent you this so that you won't give up. Keep trying for now. I'll let you know if its time to move on."

2 comments:

Kelli Bragdon said...

May God bless your honesty and your heart! Thank you for sharing your heart and the very real pain that is shaping you into God's perfect image. Thank You, Lord, for your very real and present love for Ellen. What an encouragement!! What an amazingly beautiful testimony you are to the Savior that I love so much. You are beautiful and I Love You!!!

Lisa Carter Burch said...

Wow-what a journey it has been for you. I promise you are not alone in your misfortune. Try being divorced, have diabettes, cancer, and infertile. It's been awhile since we talked...how about all of this for a shocker.