My Infertility Journey
I (Marilou) was the fourth of six siblings born into a Christian home. My father was a pastor and a teacher; my mother was also a teacher who went on to head a women's ministry. For as long as I can remember, I have always been enthralled with babies. My youngest sister was born when I was eight; I often pretended that she was my own baby. As I matured, my interests changed. I had been shy since early childhood, but I felt a deep desire to be a cheerleader. Something about the way they stood up in front of everybody and encouraged the crowd appealed to me. I overcame my shyness enough to try out; it was ultimately through cheerleading that I gained social self-confidence.
In high school, I learned that I had an aptitude for bookkeeping and other business skills. I went on to graduate from college with a degree in business and enter the professional world as a single young woman. My three older brothers had married quite young. My own plan was similar to the pattern they started. I was going to get married soon after college and start having babies within a few years. This was not God's plan. I was almost 29 by the time I met Daniel.
Daniel was an only son, bookended by sisters. His mother was a teacher and his father a Marine; he had moved four times by the age of 10, when his father retired and moved the family back to his own hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Daniel was a "smart kid," always excelling in the classroom, but struggling with athletics. He developed a quick, sharp sense of humor as a means of making friends, and by his early teens had come out of his shell. Also from a Christian home, he found his niche in the church youth group. He attended college on a Naval ROTC scholarship, and completed his degree in Mechanical Engineering - a discipline in which he eventually discovered he had absolutely no interest whatsoever. After a brief career as a Naval officer, he returned to Chattanooga and got a job as a Manufacturing Engineer in a local factory.
We initially met at a social function in our church's singles' group. We hardly hit it off; I thought he was immature and he thought I was uptight. Of course, we were both right, but a few months later, God sparked an interest between us and we began dating. Fourteen months later, we were married, planning to enjoy about three years of wedded bliss before starting our family. Coming from a fertile family myself, neither of us dreamed that we would have any difficulty conceiving. I fact, we went through several pregnancy tests during our first few months, always a little relieved when they came up negative.
Little did we know that the better part of the next 12 years would be spent in pursuit of fertility. Being very proactive in nature, I was determined not to be one of those women who tried to conceive for 10 years without seeking medical help. Our efforts gradually snowballed from passive efforts to invasive procedures, each costing more than the last, yet still coming up empty.
My struggle with infertility put a strain on my relationship with God. As I silently grieved over my situation, my friends seemed to get pregnant effortlessly and I felt left behind. Mother's Day at church was excruciating, as were baby showers and diaper commercials. Why was God withholding from me the desire of my heart? Did He not think I would be a good parent? Had I done something wrong? What would it take for Him to give me the blessing that so many people seemed to take for granted while I am still young enough to enjoy it?
Through this difficult process, I did eventually grow in my relationship with Christ. I had to learn to trust His sovereign plan even though it differed greatly from mine.
After four years of procedures, God surprised us with an option so radical that we had never considered it. He introduced us to the little used, little known option of embryo adoption. He provided the embryos and the resources and gave us a beautiful little boy as a result.
Now, after two failed natural conceptions, and another embryo adoption that ended in a miscarriage, we began to think that our journey had ended. However, God still had a plan for us. He began to open doors for us to share our story and inform others about the miracle of embryo adoption. We were surprised to learn that very few people even knew it was an option. Early this year, we were invited to talk with a group of couples interested in embryo adoption and in a few weeks we will be sharing our story again with a similar group.
Recently, God surprised us with a gift. He miraculously provided the finances through an anonymous donor for us to do another transfer. He overcame several other hurtles and in a few days we will begin this process again. This next step will end our journey and I pray that I will continue to experience His peace whatever the outcome.
You can check our blog for updates on this new development at http://myinfertilityjourney.chattablogs.com/