Once upon a time, we wanted to start a family, but we couldn't. We wanted to have children. We wanted babies. I never dreamed it would be so difficult.
2 and a half years is a long time to want something so deeply. 2 and a half years is a long time to be on a roller coaster of hope and disappointment. 2 and a half years is a long time to wait for a miracle. But a miracle finally came. This is our story of grace.
Infertility was something I never even thought of happening to me. When it struck, I was optimistic. I can embrace this challenge, I thought. I'm a get-things-done, figure-out-the-problem-and-fix-it type of gal. But it was one heck of an enemy and it wore me down to my knees. Literally. I spent the better part of that 2 and a half years on my knees. Sobbing, begging, praying.
It's somewhat embarrassing to remember and make an account of those emotions. Now that I have three children and the feelings aren't so raw anymore, it gives me twinges of shame to see how I conducted myself during that desperate time. Jay and I would lash out at each other (okay, it was mostly me doing the lashing) and then cry together. We were frustrated together, and sometimes at each other. We were, in a word, devastated. I could only picture the years of my life rolling out before me empty. No little feet pattering through the house. No Christmases filled with the delight and wonder of a child's belief. No one to teach about why a roly poly bug rolls up. No late night calls for a glass of water. No boo-boos to kiss. No soggy cheerios to fish out of the couch cushions. My marriage was (and is) a happy one. Jay is my best friend and soul mate. I love him dearly. Some would say that's enough. That at least I had that. But it actually made it worse. To love him so much and not be able to give him the desire of his heart. Of both our hearts. To not be able to create another human being just from the sheer force of our love for each other. Heartbreaking.
We sought help and medical treatment. Drugs, in the form of pills and injections (Can I just tell you? The injections in the backside were with a 1 and a half inch needle! Jay had to administer them to me, and it was no small feat for me to let him. I'd get the shakes and the sweats just watching him draw up the drug.) Tests. Procedures. Painful! Expensive. Unsuccessful. Hope is a very pesky thing though. It kept poking it's persistent little head up into the fog of our despair. So we would try again. And again. And again. We would take the drugs. Count the follicles on the ultrasound machine. Endure the blood draws. Prepare for the surgery. Anxiously await updates on the status of our embryos. Watch their transfer into my body as tiny points of light on a black and white screen. And we would pray.
On September 7, 2005, I got a phone call at my desk in the office where I work. The nurse at the fertility clinic was calling back with the results of my blood test. 2 and a half years later, I was pregnant.
Oh, what a day! The first thing I did was call Jay at work. I can't even publish our conversation, so private a celebration it was. For just a moment, we needed to close in on this wonderful news together, in secret. To curl our minds around it and bask in the elation and wonder of what it truly meant. What did it all mean? So long we had dreamed of this that we instantly knew what it meant: little pattering feet, delighted Christmases, boo-boos to be kissed and Cheerios to be fished. I was pregnant! One of those tiny points of light on the black and white screen was to be ours in hand in 9 months time. A new life, that was two equal parts of us. The best parts of us, made whole by this amazing new creature who had decided to stay.
A few days later I started having pain. Shooting pains on one side. We went back to the clinic for another ultrasound. I'll never forget hearing the phrase "the pregnancy is not developing normally". We were told to expect a miscarriage. We were told to go directly to the lab to get more blood drawn in order to determine the strength of the medicine I would take to dissolve the pregnancy, should a miscarriage not ensue on it's own. I can remember the time spent in the waiting room of that lab. I can see it as if I were someone else uninvolved in our drama looking over at us. Jay sat slumped with my head on his chest. My hair had fallen over my face. Jay's arm was curled over my head, holding it tight as I wept uncontrollably, loudly. Looking back now, I realize I was making a great scene, and it wasn't long before we were moved to another room so I wouldn't upset the other people in the waiting room. But at the time I hadn't the sense to even know or care. All I knew was that a dream had been given, and then surreptitiously snatched away.
We waited for it, but the miscarriage never came. We believed it was just yet another insult to an already horrific nightmare that the miscarriage would have to be artificially induced. We went to our next scheduled doctor's appointment. The ultrasound showed a heartbeat. A fluttering, flickering point of light in a completely normally developing pregnancy. Words cannot describe the joy or the disbelieving laughter that erupted from our mouths at that moment. What pass had we been given? What intervention had God performed? What trial had He designed for us to bear and why? None of the answers were important. The months that followed were full of everything one would expect from those who were expecting: conversations about names, nursery paint colors, and labor plans. We settled in to the grace God had granted us and that the little point of light would become our "Bug". That little point of light came into the world so brightly. 2 and a half years later, she is our world, our joy, our story of grace.