I majored in sociology not psychology so I know less about brain development and brain formation than I would like. Of course, I could educate myself more but why would someone do that? All that to say, I’m not sure what part of your brain gets triggered most by parenthood or relationships but I feel certain that infertility is somehow centered right in the feelings part of the brain. It’s not logical. It is science, but never try to tell a woman who can’t get pregnant logical stuff because chances are, she’s living most of her life all up in her feelings. Or perhaps that’s just me.
At our results meeting last week, our doctor told us of two women she was working with who got pregnant spontaneously on their HSG (fallopian tube procedure) cycle. I am in that same cycle so I admit to hoping more than was probably wise that we wouldn’t even need to enact this great plan Dr. Johnson came up with because I was already with child. As we planned and plotted, the hope was that I would be calling her after April 21st and saying I had not started my period yet. Otherwise, I would call on cycle day one and we would get this big, gigantic infertile ball rolling.
Well, today I called for cycle day one. Yet another cycle of hoping, not drinking, cutting back on caffeine and praying but my period still came. I am not pregnant. Again. This is the 9th cycle that has come and there is no baby. And I am so hopeful and excited to know more of what is going on in my body and my husbands body and now have a plan to move forward. But today, I am just devastated. Like Hannah in 1 Samuel 1, I am weeping before the Lord. I am a woman deeply troubled. I stand with Hannah and millions of other women at the alter and beg the Holy Spirit to speak the words that I cannot speak through my groans (Romans 8). Granted, it could be because I’m weepy from my cycle but today, I am just overwhelmed with sadness.
It isn’t just the 9 cycles where we have tried and not succeeded. It’s the 30 years before when I have held this dream of being a mother and the reality that it’s going to be different than I ever imagined it would be. It’s seeing my husband smile at babies in restaurants and knowing his desire is to have one of his own and we can’t produce that. It’s looking at Facebook and seeing another pregnancy announcement and tons more pictures of women who’s bodies did what they were made to do. It’s knowing that God is the giver of all good things and that He knows the plans He has for me and that might not include being a mom. And in the end, I want Him more than I want a baby and I will accept if that’s not His will. I will still know with all of me that He is faithful. But until I can feel His peace about it, I will still probably weep before His throne when my womb stays empty.
I think I am grieving the fact that it’s not going to happen naturally for us. I don’t know how to wrap my head around the fact that something that is supposed to be so sacred is becoming so scientific. That I have to call and report my monthly cycles to a third party. That my child will be conceived with doctors looking on and calculating the odds of the first cycle of intrauterine insemination vs the third cycle and how all of that pails in comparison to one round of IVF. How do I reconcile all of that with the fact that I am a devout believer in miracles? Will my doctors think I’m crazy because I want to pray before they put a catheter of my husbands sperm into my fallopian tubes? Do they share the belief that though I have been barren, my God could breath and life would form where there had been none? Do they believe like I do that every child is a miracle?
We live in a world that increasingly scares me. We are so divided on matters of faith, politics, and human rights. And I for one, don’t want to take something so divine as carrying a child for granted. I don’t want to treat it as if it’s something that happens because a doctor decided a more aggressive treatment for our case. I don’t weep in the exam room at Reach, begging for a child. I try my best to take this desire to the Only One who can knit a child together in my womb. Who knows the life that Chad and I will get to bring into this world, or the life that already exists that we get to love. I have put together a playlist on my iPod called “You are Ever Faithful” and I put songs on it that draw me back to my deepest and truest love. To my Savior. To the One who touched Sarah’s womb and filled her days with Isaac and laughter. To the One who heard what Hannah said though she spoke no words. To the One who holds my tears in a bottle.
One of the coolest things about the Old Testament to me is God’s practice of renaming people after encounters with Him. In Genesis, Sarai becomes Sarah meaning princess. Abram, her husband becomes Abraham as he is promised to be the father of many nations. In my deep sadness, I wondered if perhaps this might be where He gives me my new name. A name I won’t know this side of heaven. But what if, just what if, God renames me something that is so counter to what I feel? I, who feel barren and empty, like a wasteland. Used up, dried up, and weary. What if He might call me Fruitful? Rich, lush, productive, bountiful, overabundant. This became one of the things that I drew comfort from. Just as God carefully chose my name while he formed me in my mothers womb, He can christen me again. He can take the places that feel empty, and fill them. He can with yours too.