I try to keep this a non-denominational place for baby related stuff, but I have to say that religion has been such a huge part of my life that it is impossible not to bring it up from time to time. This weekend, the fabulous ladies at Woon. Assembly of God threw me the most thoughtful shower - and this is my gift to them, a small testimonial of how I became barefoot and pregnant.
I can say that it was a long road and I can say that it was a difficult road at times. I never expected to be someone who had trouble getting knocked up - I didn't know of anyone that I was related to that had trouble. I also never expected to have such a difficult time emotionally with everything.
When Mike and I decided to try to start a family, we both knew that we wanted a family and were excited to get started, I think we both expected to be pregnant right away. In school you always learn that "if you have unprotected sex you might get pregnant." I was completely unaware of how unaware I was. Pregnancy is truly a miracle - whether it happens unexpectedly, after trying, or after treatments. I did a lot of research when we started having trouble - I was checking cervical mucus, taking and charting my temperature, taking supplements, carefully timing everything - and it didn't work.
I can't pretend that I am the most pious, christian girl, but my beliefs have never really wavered. I don't always make the right choices, I make mistakes, and sometimes I even skip church. I might have a temper, and a sarcastic sense of humor. I don't always do my devotional or say a prayer before bed - but during the time we were trying, it was even more difficult to stay on track. I felt like a failure. I couldn't even get pregnant.
Maybe I didn't deserve it?
Maybe I wouldn't be a good mom?
Maybe Mike and I weren't meant to be parents?
We both had a hard time dealing with the emotions and it became an argument for us. At any point in time, we could point the finger at each other and say "you're not trying hard enough" but really it was just the fear that there was something wrong with one of us - but we didn't know what.
Around the 1 year mark, I made an appointment at a fertility clinic to start testing. At that time, I found out that we have infertility coverage through Mike's insurance, but only a $5000 lifetime limit. Yikes. That would barely cover the testing we'd have to go through.
I can remember sitting on the floor of my living room, bawling my eyes out, with the novel of paperwork I was supposed to fill out about when my mother-in-laws paternal grandfather last sneezed. It was awful to know that there might be something wrong with us and we wouldn't be able to pay for the treatments we needed in order to start a family. Equally as terrifying was the thought that there was nothing wrong with us - we were just being punished.
At that time, Mike and I decided to take a trip to Disney for our anniversary. I had found an awesome deal and we wanted to take one last fun trip before we started saving for fertility treatments. It was the best trip ever. We had so much fun - I even came home pregnant!
It was the most exciting feeling in the world to know that we had finally accomplished what we'd set out to accomplish, we were starting a family, and this little person was going to change our lives forever. Mike could barely contain his excitement and immediately told everyone he saw. We were expecting a little baby in May 2010 and I gladly canceled my appointment at the fertility clinic.
A few short weeks later, I started bleeding at work, and we lost our little miracle. It was a both physically and emotionally painful moment of my life. I felt like I had just been slammed back to earth. Back to the doubt, pity, sadness, frustration... this was definitely a "Why God??" moment.
Add an insensitive doctor's office and no one who I felt really understood what I was going through. It was not fun. I might've taken it out on a few loved ones along the way, and for that I apologize again.
I can honestly say I was broken. There was little happiness in anything in life. I blamed Mike, I blamed myself, I blamed God. It wasn't fair. Why does ::insert name of pregnant friend, family member, acquaintance:: deserve to be pregnant and I don't?
We were back to where we started. I wasn't ready to go back to the clinic - and I had almost wanted to just forget about trying. When I go back and read my posts, even the positive ones, I can tell that I was just trying to convince myself that I wasn't meant to be a mother, that "everything happens for a reason," but I wasn't really believing it.
I definitely started praying more during this time. Praying for strength, clarity, and a baby. Sometimes I found going to church difficult - so I wouldn't go. Just because everyone was so happy and I wasn't.
I can remember, maybe a month after the miscarriage, I was teaching Children's Church and the lesson plan that I opened that Sunday morning was about Sarah - praying for a baby even though she was thought to be too old. The lesson focus was on waiting on prayer and having patience. Seriously? The entire time all I could hear was Alanis Morissette "Isn't it Ironic?" playing in my head. I guess I wasn't ready to hear the message God was trying to send me.
Living through the holidays was difficult. I had imagined a pregnant holiday for me and Mike, but that wasn't happening. I threw a baby shower for my cousin, at my house. I watched friends' bellies grow while mine was just squishy from eating too many sweets. I contemplated going back to charting and all the other crazy stuff that I did, but I couldn't really bring myself to do it. I knew all I needed to know about getting pregnant, it was either going to happen or it wasn't.
In January of 2010, we had a change of pastor in our church. Our founding pastor - the man who ran the church as long as I've been alive, married Mike and I - got sick and was unable to continue to run the church so we obtained an interim pastor. Pastor Ray. I started going to church more - somewhat out of curiosity, because I'd pretty much come to terms with the fact that no matter how much I prayed, God might not give me a baby.
I don't remember the date, or the week, but It had to be somewhere in January or early February, that Pastor Ray gave a sermon about patience. The same exact message that I had taught in Children's Church only a few months earlier. He talked about praying and waiting - and that sometimes the answer from God isn't "no" it's just "not right now."
It wasn't anything I had never heard before, actually I had taught it before, but this new voice just seemed to speak right to my heart. I sat in church and I prayed, but not for a baby, for patience and the ability to accept a baby when it was God's timing. I prayed that I would be ok with not having a baby until I did.
And I prayed that same prayer every day after that. No more than a month later, when I didn't even think I had ovulated yet, I found out I was pregnant. And I knew that this time I'd get to meet him.
So 9 months later, I sit here and I can only thank God for this gift (while he kicks me in the ribs). I can't give credit to anyone else. And although I know Mike and I had a part in it ::wink, wink:: I really needed to have that change of heart. After all I went through, I just had to trust that God would follow through when he was ready, not when I was ready. I also had to trust the gut feeling (that I can imagine was there for a reason) that we weren't ready for testing and treatments.
I also need to put in a disclaimer, because I know many women who are suffering from Infertility, which is different from my experience and that is a journey all its own. There are many diagnosis - Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome, Endometriosis, Male Infertility issues, are just a few - that prevent many couples from getting pregnant without treatment. I am in no way saying that prayer is always a cure for medical issues or should be used in replacement of treatment, but I am saying that no matter what you're going through, God is still there and can give you the patience, determination, strength, and guidance to get through your own personal journey.
Throughout this pregnancy I have been reminded of how lucky that Mike and I actually are. We have so many people that care about us and Ezra it's amazing. We really have everything we need, support included, and can only thank all of our friends and family for that. God really does provide - I'm proof of that.