Faith & Infertility

Sometimes We Just Need a Sign

This week was a challenging one for me…I had a fertility appointment Thursday. Erik is on the road for baseball, so I went alone. The pieces of my story will fall into place in future blog posts, but for the purpose of this entry, you should know I am on my second fertility doctor. I have already tried clomid, an estrogen modifier, and letrozole, a hormone-based chemotherapy drug, both of which have been shown to be effective fertility drugs. I have tried both drugs in various dosages without success. During my appointment, the reproductive endocrinologist outlined the next recommended step: hormone injections with intrauterine insemination (IUI). I learned about the entire process, practiced how to inject myself, and was advised of the cost…which is not covered at all by insurance. I mean, since when does trying to become pregnant cost as much as a car? Oh and by the way, if it doesn’t work, you still have to pay for it – when will they invent a “money back guarantee” for women struggling with infertility? Tearfully, I left the office and went back to work to treat my patients, distracted by the idea that unless I have tens of thousands of dollars lying around, I may never become a mom. I dutifully finished work, went to my car, and sobbed. In my irrational and inconsolable state, I’m thinking, how will we afford this? What if it doesn’t work? And the bigger question, if I have to work this hard and go through this much to get pregnant, is it really all in God’s plan for us to have a baby? At what point do you stop and say it isn’t meant to be?

I was raised Catholic and Erik was raised Lutheran. I would be lying if I told you we went to church on a weekly basis, but we are both faithful people. Faith, by definition, is the complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Many of us have religious faith, meaning we have complete trust in God. When Erik and I got married in the Catholic church, we were required to sign a form agreeing to raise our children as Catholics. Coming from separate religions our views varied slightly – how would we choose for our children? Ultimately, we signed the form but agreed that as long as our children had faith and a good moral compass, it didn’t matter which religion they followed.

Thinking back now, it all seems ironic. As long as our children had faith…it seems hypocritical, as I often find myself questioning if there really is a God, and if there is – does He hear me? If He hears my cries, how can He be so silent? Is God still at work when you seek fertility treatments in bringing a life into this world?

A strong part of my faith is the belief that we all serve a higher, predetermined purpose. Within my very being, I know I am meant to be a mom. I know that part of my purpose is to bring life into this world…But lately, I am forced to question my purpose – are these signs telling us we aren’t meant to be parents now…or ever?

As you know from last week, I have an amazing support system. I expressed my concerns to a few friends, and all gave me the same answer: we are blessed to live in a world where there are options for people like me – that God created brilliant scientists and technology to facilitate the process of bringing life into the world. They also reminded me that science only goes so far and the rest is in God’s plan – His hand is always at work.

So do I find solace in this? Sometimes. For most of my life, up until this moment, my aspirations have fallen so perfectly in alignment with God’s timing – I am truly blessed. I feel selfish at times, questioning God’s plan for me, debating what is fair and unfair, given the amazing life I have had and continue to lead. But this week at my appointment, for the first time, I was struck with the realization that perhaps my plan doesn’t match God’s plan…not now at least…and maybe not in the future either. And I’m terrified. I’ve prayed for answers, and I’ve cried myself to sleep many nights, fearful and angry, and this week was no exception.

But then this – Erik called me Friday – he has been working with our tax guy for the last few weeks getting everything in order for tax day. He told us last week we would have to pay-in a large amount – this had added to my stress at the fertility appointment, knowing Uncle Sam was taking a fair share of our savings. How would we ever afford fertility treatments now? But on Friday, the tax guy said he made a mistake – we wouldn’t have to pay as much as he had estimated. And guess how much the difference was? The amount for one round of IUI treatment…

Is that a sign? I need to believe it is. There have been, and I’m sure there will be more, times where I have given up on God…but clearly He hasn’t given up on me. I have come to believe that sometimes when I ask God for strength, instead He gives me an opportunity to be strong. When I ask Him for more, instead He shows me to appreciate what I already have. When I ask Him for guidance, He silently opens doors to lead me to where I belong in His plan.

Whether you believe in God or not, it doesn’t matter – what matters is that you have faith – that you believe in yourself…that you believe in your purpose in life – whatever it may be…that you believe in the love and friendship that surround you…that you at some point stop trying to control life and start living the life you have been given…no matter what you’re going through, whatever you are questioning, don’t let sadness and doubt blind you to the good in the world. Open your eyes, see the signs and miracles in everyday life – whether they are an unexpected tax return, an especially sunny day, or a kind smile from a stranger – they are all meaningful, relatively speaking…

And with that, I can find peace for now – that doesn’t necessarily mean staying positive, and it doesn’t mean my world isn’t filled with storms – but it does mean trusting my life is happening how it was meant to…I don’t always have to agree with the plan, but relatively speaking, I can live with it.

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