Sitting down and writing about this STILL brings back so many emotions! First, I have to say that God is absolutely great and wonderful! He knows exactly what we need, when we need it, and how much we can take. There were times I questioned that last fact, but He always got me through those moments, and constantly reminded me through His Word and through His people, that He is GOOD.
Very few couples get married, expecting to have problems conceiving. We all tend to plan our lives out, and when things don’t go as planned, we’re surprised, hurt, sometimes even angered by it. God never promises that every dream we have will come true. He promises to make His dreams FOR us come true, and to be with us through those times when our own dreams are disappointed.
My husband and I were married in 1993 (I was 20). I was finishing up my college music degree, and neither of us had any plans for children right away. We were both happy to wait “at least 3 years.” I took birth control at that time, not knowing that it needn’t have been much of a concern for us. After graduating college and moving into our first home, I went off all birth control, figuring that after the 3-month “waiting period,” we’d get pregnant within 3 to 6 months. It didn’t happen. And it didn’t happen.
We weren’t horribly concerned, but a little befuddled. I just kept thinking, “Well, the Lord knows what we’re in the middle of here, and a baby would definitely complicate our schedule a bit, so He’s just waiting.” But after a full year, the worry began to set in. I saw my gynecologist for regular checkups, and he was always very reassuring, saying things like: “We’ll just wait a few more months and see;” or “Sometimes our bodies are just not in sync when we want them to be;” etc.
Finally, after almost 3 years of actively trying (2 of which I was “charting” in great detail), my doctor finally said, “If you haven’t conceived by September (of 1998), we’ll do a workup and check everything out.” Around that time, I decided that I was sick of paying so much attention to everything . . .of “timing things” every month, of avoiding vacuuming, etc. for fear of causing a miscarriage, of thinking so constantly about it all (not too healthy for a marriage, by the way). I kept charting for informational purposes for my doctor, but I started going about my daily business with gusto, and decided if I was going to hear bad news, I wanted it to be after Christmas. I called my doctor and moved my appointment from September ‘98 to January ‘99. I got pregnant in October of ’98 at the age of 26.
I’m not here to say, “Just stop worrying and your body will relax and do its thing.” There are many who have definite, diagnosed fertility problems, but my husband and I were not one of those. We had a beautiful, rather intelligent baby boy in August of ‘99. The pregnancy was perfect, the delivery was perfect. His early babyhood was exceedingly challenging (in the sleep department), and I remember thanking God OVER and OVER that He didn’t give me a child the minute I began asking for one! I would have never been prepared to handle the struggles we had, with the proper spirit, had I been younger and less patient. You find out how absolutely selfish you are when a child enters your life, and had I gotten a baby earlier than I did, my appreciation for that little miracle would have been MUCH less, and my gratitude (even for the challenges) would have been nonexistent. God knew this!
During my early prayers as I asked God for a baby, I ALWAYS ended my prayers with, “Not my will, but Thine.” I had already seen too many people who demanded their own way and were sometimes given it, and it was NOT the best thing for anyone. I also said that if He ever gave me a baby, I would be content with that one.
A couple years after our son’s birth, I began praying for a sibling for him. I definitely wanted more children myself, but I especially wanted him to grow up with at least one sibling. I was NOT discontent. I STILL prayed (and meant), “Not my will, but Thine.” I was willing to hear the answer, “No.”
The next 2 years were even more difficult than the 6 ½ before our son came along. I had two miscarriages, one at 5 weeks and within the same year, a “missed miscarriage.” I carried for 13 weeks, but the baby had stopped thriving at 7 weeks (after a bout with food poisoning), and my body didn’t register the miscarriage. The trips to the doctor’s office, and then on to the hospital for further ultrasounds, knowing that the news was going to be bad, continuing to teach Sunday School, playing piano for church services, etc. with a smile on my face while my heart was breaking . . . those were difficult, difficult days! It was hard on our marriage as well. Our husbands CANNOT understand exactly what we’re going through. They can be sympathetic, but their inability to “fix” things adds greatly to their frustration.
But the Lord did wonderful things during those times as well. He constantly reminded me of His goodness, every time I looked at our son! And my prayer: “I will be content with whatever answer You give,” ran through my mind daily. I WAS content. Sadness does not equal discontentment. The Lord wants to see a heart that is submissive to His will, not someone who never cries.
In April of 2003, another positive pregnancy test! So much for thinking that we were unable to conceive. This was our 3rd positive test in the space of 2 years. We had learned long before to only share this news with our very closest friends, and then only after the first trimester. With the first miscarriage, I told several people immediately after the positive test, thinking that I didn’t want to spend another pregnancy worrying the whole time like I did with our son’s. I miscarried the next day. Calling all those people back was one of the hardest things I had to do. Keeping the following pregnancies to ourselves early on took some of the pain out of it.
Our daughter was born the next winter. Not a perfect pregnancy and another difficult babyhood with an undiagnosed lactose allergy, but we are here today with a boy and a girl, siblings for each other, and happy as clams. I always get “the baby itch” right after we’re through the potty training phase. : ) This last time was no exception, but my husband’s “cutoff” for kids was when he turned 40 – 5 years ago. My “minimum child count” was always 3, but God had other plans. He has been more wonderful to us than I can express. I am still content!
The things that got me through: my daily time with the Lord (absolutely indispensable!); His wonderful words of comfort and assurance (I read a lot of Psalms, Proverbs, and Philippians); my incredible, PATIENT husband; my sweet little miracle boy; my friends who prayed for me, wrote to me, called me, listened to me when I was struggling (you all know who you are); and a spirit of gratitude (every time I was tempted to complain, the Lord would bring to mind all His wonderful blessings in my life – there were others going through SO much worse at the same time).