Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Family That God Built

I wrote up this little re-introduction for an infertility support group I used to be involved with (if you were ever part of Ladies In Waiting before the merger with Hannah's Prayer and the message boards, we would be delighted to have you join our reunion group at ) too! I wanted to share it herel, but first, since nearly everyone that has posted there so far, are also now "InfertilityMom"s, I recently shared,

"Praise the Lord to see how many children he has added to so many families here, by births, adoptions, or some combination. What a testimony from this infertile flock to attest to God's overwhelming grace! But what of the equally amazing grace stories that haven't really been told yet here? Any old LIWs willing to share if you are still waiting or God has closed the doors??? We would love to celebrate with you God's sustaining grace and how He has uniquely woven your story and continues to walk with you. Please share!"

Without further ado, here's our family's miracle story:

Julie Donahue started LIW (online) about the time I started HP (offline). In 1996 I began venturing more into the online world, via my husband's encouragement. Julie, who had pretty much just been only on AOL, found me on a (non-AOL) public infertility message board, we got to know each other, realized were lived only a few hours apart, John and Julie drove up to meet us, I joined LIW, Julie eventually suggested a ministry merge (HP had the legal structure and LIW had the multi-issue vision and network). A couple years later that what God led us to do!

Rick and I got married in 1992 and started TTC pretty much right away. Within that first year I was already seeing an "infertility specialist" (ob/gyn with an interest in infertility, I didn't even know what an RE was!) and was on Clomid. After about 18 months of progressively stronger doses of Clomid, (yes, 3 times more than they now suggest as a lifetime cap for number of cycles on this medication!) we stopped the drug because insurance wouldn't go any further and we were told I was allergic to Rick's sperm so would never get pregnant without at least IUI.
In a rebound effect after stopping all that Clomid (even though I rarely ever ovulated on it), I ovulated and got pregnant in early December, 1994. I miscarried just after Christmas day (first negative test on the 24th, so went through Christmas suspecting trouble). Noel Alexis, our Christmas Minister of Needs, because she addressed the need to become parents, even though she did not stay here.

 "Big J." was conceived on injectables, Metformin and via IUI after our first try resulted in hyperstimulation and a forced cycle sidelined while I recovered. He was born, full term, but tiny (4 pounds 13 ounces) just before Christmas, 1999, coming home on Christmas Eve! Early testing indicated that he was likely a twin, but I cannot let my heart go there.

Seven serious adoption leads (never a bring-home child for us), prior to J., but as far as we know, there were no more pregnancies over the next 4+ years prior to his birth (between him and Noel). Two more (natural conception!) pregnancies/miscarriages around his first birthday (Joel Samuel, then Hannah Rose who was due on J's second birthday) then no pregnancies again for over a year. We were working with an agency about adopting a daughter from China at this point and I was daily praying for "Ruth and her birthmom." Little did we know how God was already planning to answer those prayers...

"Princess R." was born (after high risk pregnancy and bedrest starting at 25 weeks) in January, 2003, after I had been told I could not ever get pregnant again (less than 5% chance even with medical aid) and if I somehow managed, I would absolutely NOT carry another baby to live birth. I was on Metformin when we conceived her a few months after the 3 1/2 hour laparoscopy that had delivered this news just a few months before! Otherwise, it was "natural" conception and she was my biggest (6 pounds, 5 ounces) and longest carried baby.

After two year of pretty brutal post partum depression (in part triggered by God's redirection from adoption to another bio baby when I had done so much to relinquish the dream of pregnancy to God), I started getting a baby itch again. Rick was not interested because he had seen how hard the last pregnancy had been on me, both physically and emotionally, so we were actually trying to prevent pregnancy for the first season in our entire marriage. Once again, our plans must have made God laugh, because Little J. (who put me on bedrest at just 19 weeks!) came a month early, January 2006, and came home on R's 3rd birthday! It is then that I really realized how much PPD had impacted my first 2 years with R., as God very much used J. to restore joy and laughter to our home. God's surprises are amazing. I joyfully call J. our "bonus baby."

When I had a semi-emergency hysterectomy the fall before J.'s3rd birthday, I knew God was absolutely closing the door to more biological children, but I held onto the dream/hope that we still might adopt some day. After my strokes, 2 years ago, this door is firmly closed as well. I still have twinges of desire and "could-have-been" moments, but overall I am content with the knowledge that we are truly finished. It was a long road, but after 7 years of no bring home babies, I'm still in awe that we are blessed with THREE today. They are "perfectly spaced" at almost exactly 3 years apart each time and I laugh and frequently comment, even still, that no one would ever guess we were infertile just by looking at our family!