As I read a fellow bloggers post (yougetlifted.blogspot.com), it got me thinking. In her post titled, “Get Pregnant Again, Please”, +Barbara Dixon discusses the constant prodding by well-meaning family and friends into her family expansion plans. I chuckled as she notes how everyone is very concerned about her current child’s development if he lacks a sibling, but seem far less concerned about the physical and emotional sacrifice required by her. But as I chuckled I thought about how many times people have asked me or my husband when the next one is coming. With no knowledge about our plans people ask, “What are you waiting for?” In truth, we do want another child. We wanted to wait until our son was at least a year old before we began trying. The hard reality is that our plans are not what dictate the body. As many couples can likely affirm, “trying” does not always lead to success. I think this is the most difficult part of the well-meaning prodding. You know you are trying, but your efforts are unsuccessful.
I’m sure many couples, like my husband and I, go into marriage thinking they will eventually have a family. Before getting married we read a devotional that encouraged us to discuss our expectations for family expansion. So we did. The end. We figured when we were ready we could go “forth and multiply” (Genesis 9:7). But what about the rest of the discussion? What if things don’t happen the way you think they will? What if one of you are infertile? What if the husband has low sperm count or low motility? What if the wife has low progesterone, an irregular ovulation pattern, or a weak/short cervix? What then? How far are you two willing to go to have a family? Would you be willing to adopt? Family planning without success can be one of the most stressful situations for a couple to handle. Yet, few people are discussing this.
So, “go forth and multiply”… not quite so simple.
December 2010 we decide to start trying for a family. Boom! Right away I get pregnant. We’re thrilled, but super shocked. We immediately got on the phone and told our family and close friends. Surprisingly we got mixed reactions. :-/ No matter. We were pregnant! At 6.5 weeks I began cramping at work. I was terrified. We went to the doctor for an ultrasound. There was a sac but no heartbeat. We were asked to come back a week later to recheck. During the next ultrasound we heard a heartbeat. Relief. This would be short lived. At 8 weeks I began cramping more intensely, again at work. This time we lost the baby. My body did not release everything naturally and I began to get sick. I had to have a D&C (Dilation & Curettage). Thank God for my husband and my parents. I was numb. I was confused. How could this happen? —It’s crazy how the emotions come rushing back, even after three years.—
After this experience Jonathon and I really leaned in on each other. We talked about it a lot. This brought us closer together, being there for each other at such a vulnerable time. This closeness soon produced another pregnancy in April of 2011. We more a bit nervous and more careful this time. We didn’t rush to tell everyone. When I reached 12 weeks we heard a heartbeat and saw a squirming baby and we felt confident to let the world know that we were pregnant. Thankfully we naturally delivered a healthy baby boy the following year. J What a joy; Holding your baby for the first time. —Again, emotions!—
So, YAY! You’ve done it once, now do it again. Not quite so simple.
Our son turned one and we began trying for the next baby. In March 2013 I received a positive pregnancy test. Woo! Very excited. We were more ready this time around. Got on the phone and told everyone, because hey this is the second baby. There shouldn’t be any problems. WRONG. A few days later I start cramping. I already know what’s happening. Shoot! Now I have to tell everyone what happened. No matter. We are not going to get discouraged. April 2013 brings another positive pregnancy test. Ok, now we’re rolling. I’m thinking this will be like when I had my son. One miscarriage, one success. Wrong, again. At 5 weeks I start cramping and spotting. It is too early to detect anything on an ultrasound so the doctor has my HCG (hormone that indicates life is growing in you) and my progesterone (hormone that tells the ovaries to stop releasing more eggs, the uterus not to cramp, and works to sustain the embryo in the first 12wks) levels checked. My progesterone is low and the doctor prescribes progesterone pills*. Too late. At 6 weeks I start cramping again and go in for an ultrasound. There is an empty sac, a blighted ovum. This time my body releases everything naturally. *Sigh* What is wrong with me? I mean, it’s obviously me. *sigh* Insert well-meaning family and friends asking about the next kid. Insert conversation of Jocelynn having the perfect life.
I can’t slump for too long. It’s not healthy and it’s not in my spiritual nature. So, I prayed. I didn’t blame God I just asked why. Honestly I was ok not getting an answer. But he gave me one. Not the one I expected of course, but he gave me one. As I watched Facing The Giants with my husband one Sunday, it hit me. Contentment. In the movie, one of couples has been unable to conceive. After much heartache, the wife prayers one day and gives it over to God. She tells him that if he never blesses her with a child she will love him anyway. She will love him ANYWAY. She thanks him for her amazing husband and her happy life. She learns to be content. That day I decided that I would be content in this season. I have one beautiful son. I have a wonderful husband and a happy life. If we don’t have any more children I will continue to rejoice in the one that we do have. It is difficult of course. Friends around me keep popping up pregnant, and I wish for a second I could say, “Me too.” But I rejoice with them. I rejoice in their blessing because I know God is still blessing me.
J So all that to say that everyone’s pregnancy journey is different. Some women will never carry a child because they do not have a desire to have children. Some women will never carry a child because they are not physically able. Still some women will struggle to get pregnant and sustain each pregnancy. Please remember this before you ask someone “What’s the hold up?” I know you don’t mean any harm, but sometimes those words can cut deeper than anything.
*Progesterone pills have helped many women sustain life. Use of the pill is typically more successful if you begin taking it the day after ovulation. This way the level of progesterone is built up enough to allow the egg to attach to the uterine lining.
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