My husband and I started trying to conceive shortly after our wedding. After 6 months without a positive pregnancy test, we visited my OB/GYN. Being 35 at this point, I was the proud recipient of the label “elderly” in my women’s health file, so we had no time to waste. During that visit, I suggested that my progesterone may be low based on some symptoms that I had been experiencing. The doctor laughed at me for suggesting this, but said he would test my progesterone to “humor me”. There was one single blood draw that showed that it was in “normal range”. So, he wished us well, and referred us to a reproductive endocrinologist (RE).
Basic tests with the RE were inconclusive and “Unexplained Infertility” was the diagnosis. Course of treatment options – intrauterine insemination (IUI) followed by in-vitro fertilization (IVF) if needed. We didn’t feel great about either option, but decided to move forward with IUI. This is when God stepped in and shifted our course in a way that we couldn’t have imagined.
I had a cyst on my ovary.
The RE would not start me on the medication to trigger ovulation for IUI until the cyst was gone. He wanted to give it a few months to see if it would resolve on its own. If it didn’t, I’d need surgery to remove it. With his prediction of it not resolving on its own, I was added to the surgery schedule for three months out. I was devastated that our efforts would have to be delayed because of a cyst.
However, this delay turned out to be God’s timing to show us the way.
We signed up for a weekend retreat for Catholic couples experiencing infertility being held in West Virginia. Infertility was taking its toll on us emotionally and spiritually. So, this retreat, at a minimum, would be a nice weekend away. We had no idea what goodness God had in store for us.
We shared the weekend with other couples who were going through the same thing. They knew the pain we were feeling. For the first time, we felt like we were not alone. The clergy provided such amazing hope and insight. We prayed, we cried, and we hoped. Over the course of that weekend, my husband and I had our faith restored.
I had two solid “take-aways” that weekend:
- Jesus got through the pain of Good Friday because he knew that Easter Sunday was coming. The pain of infertility was our “Good Friday”. Hold on, walk with God, and have faith that our “Easter Sunday” is coming too.
- NaPro Technology as a treatment option. NaPro looked at infertility as a symptom of an underlying issue, not as a diagnosis itself. I left the weekend with the name of a doctor about 2 hours from our hometown.
When we returned from the retreat, I scheduled an appointment with the NaPro practice and called the RE to cancel my surgery. We were completely shifting gears, and it felt like this was just where God wanted us.
NaPro testing was intense. A month of blood draws to monitor my hormones throughout my cycle and a follicular ultrasound series to watch and confirm ovulation. After the testing, it was determined that my progesterone starts out normal, but falls drastically towards the end of my cycle, making it impossible for a fertilized egg to implant, and easily corrected through medication. (take that, Dr. “Humor Me”) The next step was laparoscopic surgery to look for/correct any issues. A nearly 6 hour surgery found and removed endometriosis AND opened blocked fallopian tubes. Oh, and they got that cyst that was in there too. I remember coming out of anesthesia and asking my husband if they found anything wrong. His response was, “Yes, a lot. But it’s all fixed.” Praise God.
We conceived in the second month after surgery. Sadly, this baby was not meant for this world, and we miscarried at 8 weeks. I would like to say that I handled myself with grace and dignity through this time, but it was quite the opposite. My heart was broken. I was so angry with God. I’m not proud of how I felt towards God during that time, but I am so grateful that He can still love us through those ugly times. God was not done with our story yet, but I was too wounded to see it. I somehow pulled it together and remembered that this was part of our Good Friday. Our Easter was coming.
On Easter Sunday 2014, two months after our miscarriage, we had another positive pregnancy test. Our due date, Christmas Eve. And this time, the pregnancy would be a healthy one, giving us our beautiful daughter, Olivia Noelle. And what a perfect gift she is!
When we were walking through the pain of infertility, our “Good Friday”, it was often hard to not lose hope. We couldn’t see our outcome, couldn’t see what wonderful joy God had in store for us. Putting one foot in front of the other, and trying our best to maintain our faith, brought us to our beautiful “Easter Sunday”.
For we walk by faith, not by sight2 Corinthians 5:7
Lisa lives in State College, Pa with her husband, Ken and daughter, Olivia. She has spent her entire career helping others through difficult times, including the past 17 years working in the addiction treatment field. Lisa’s struggle to become a mother has forever changed how she looks at the world and the importance of never losing sight of our everyday blessings.