His Perfect Timing

Posted by  | Saturday, April 12, 2008  at 5:54 AM  

Hi, my name is Beth. Stacey asked me if I would tell my story on POH this week. I appreciate the chance to share, and hope that something I say might be an encouragement to someone. I tell people that we are now 0-for-2 in planning pregnancies—but in very different ways. I’ll share some from both of those stories (and by the way, you can see our family adventures at http://www.arabmusicians.blogspot.com/).

Jason and I got married in the year 2000. We were both still in grad school (I was just starting) and weren’t really ready to start a family right away, so we used birth control for several years (not going to discuss that decision here—let’s just say I would do it differently now). I started out on the pill and then switched to the Depo-Provera shot for a while. I was told when I started taking the shot that it could take a while, even up to a year after stopping the shot, for me to get pregnant. I remembered that, and about a year before I thought I wanted to get pregnant, I switched back to the pill so that my body would be ready and not affected by the depo shot. Then, finally I quit taking the pill as well. However, things didn’t quite go as planned.

I was shocked at how my body responded when I stopped taking the pill. After about two weeks, I started to bleed, and continued to bleed every day for almost four months. It was obvious that I was not having normal cycles. I saw my OBGYN, and even though we had just been “trying” for four months, he was willing to work with us because things were obviously not right with me. He suggested that I take Clomid in order to encourage my body to ovulate. He said that we could try several cycles of that, and if nothing happened, then he would refer me to a specialist.

Long story short, nothing happened. I did start having fairly normal cycles, but I did not get pregnant or even know for sure that I was ovulating. After six cycles of Clomid, my doctor referred us to the Center for Assisted Reproduction in Bedford, Texas. When we finally got to meet with the doctor, I was a little disheartened that she basically wanted us to do the same thing that we had been doing, only with more sophisticated testing and a lot more money out of our pockets. We were not eager to do anything more invasive, but it was discouraging to know we were just going to keep trying the same thing. I wasn’t sure how much longer I wanted to take Clomid. We knew that we were eventually going to be moving overseas, and I really wanted to have at least one child in the states before we did that.

To make things even harder, right as we were beginning treatment at the center, Jason’s sister and her husband announced to us one night that she was pregnant with their first child. We were very close to them, so I knew that they were not even really trying to conceive. I felt like she had hit me in the stomach when she told us the news. When they finally left our house that night, I collapsed in Jason’s arms sobbing. I had never hurt like that in all my life. Still to this day, I would say that was the most difficult night of my life. I wanted so badly to be excited for them, but I couldn’t see past my own grief.

We began the cycle at the clinic, which also included a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) on day 10 of my cycle to check for any blockage in my uterus. That was a great day. The HSG showed no blockage at all, and the sonogram showed several follicles that looked ready to be released. They sent me home with a pack of ovulation tests and instructions to come back on the day that I tested positive. Days 10-17 came and went with no positive result on the ovulation test. Finally, they told me to come back anyway. I went in, and the nurse who did my sonogram looked at my ovaries and bloodwork and was thoroughly confused. She said, “Your bloodwork doesn’t show any sign of ovulation, but the eggs aren’t there anymore. I don’t know what to think.” I was crushed, and frustrated that even with medical intervention, my body just wasn’t going to work right. My doctor from the center called when she saw the results and recommended that we simply try again with a higher dosage of Clomid. She prescribed Provera for me so that I would menstruate. I filled the prescription, but thankfully never took it.

During the same week that all this was happening, Jason and I were attending a conference where pastor and author John Piper was the keynote speaker. During one of the conference sessions, we both heard God clearly telling us to trust Him with our desire to have children and move forward as He was leading us. We both knew that meant to start working toward moving overseas. We came home from the conference and began filling out initial paperwork. We also decided together that we would not do another round of treatment with the Center. I began casually looking at adoption websites, wondering if maybe that would be God’s plan for growing our family. (Side note: During that websurfing, I subscribed to a free bi-monthly newsletter called Stepping Stones that is for Christian couples dealing with infertility and pregnancy loss. Even after I got pregnant, I kept getting the newsletter, and it was a great reminder for me of what others were still going through. You can subscribe to the newsletter at http://www.bethany.org/step. I highly recommend it.) We felt at peace knowing that we were being obedient, but I was still having a really hard time, especially with my sister-in-law’s pregnancy. I lost several pounds that month because I was so upset I could hardly eat.

About three weeks after our last visit to the Center, I still hadn’t started my period, so one Sunday night after church I came home and took a pregnancy test. To my utter disbelief, it came out positive. Jason wasn’t home yet, so before he got there, I went to the store and bought another one. As soon as he walked in the door, I drug him to the bathroom to see the two little tests sitting on the counter. It turns out I had ovulated late after all. I remember lying together on the couch that night, laughing, crying and praising God together for surprising us with such a precious gift. Our daughter Lee Anna was born nine months later, in June of 2004 (just 7 weeks after Jason’s sister had her baby girl).

Fast forward to September 2005. Lee Anna was 15 months old, and we were in the final stages of preparing to move overseas. In the middle of September, we went to our commissioning service, then came back home to finish packing up before we would moved to another location for training, then head overseas. At this point, having more children was the last thing on our minds. We were not doing anything to prevent it, but after all the waiting and trying involved in conceiving Lee Anna, I couldn’t even fathom the possibility that it could just happen.

Well, our God is full of surprises! When we got home from our commissioning, I realized that I hadn’t had a period in about six weeks (my cycles have never been regular, so I can never say exactly when I’m “late”). I decided to take a pregnancy test, although I still did not think for a minute that I was pregnant. Imagine my surprise when the test line turned dark, dark blue within about 5 seconds. I could not believe it. After having worked, prayed, and tried so hard to conceive our first child, now we were going to have another one during the most transitional time of our life. I didn’t know what to think. Of course I was thrilled to be pregnant, thrilled that God had chosen to give us another child, thrilled that I actually could conceive without doctors and drugs and tests, thrilled that I would get to help mold and shape another precious life, but I won’t lie, I was also very unsure. If it had been up to me, I would never have chosen that timing. We knew that our life for the next year was already going to be difficult, filled with the stresses of adjusting to a new culture, language, and way of life. I couldn’t imagine adding to that the stress of being pregnant (in a hot climate), dealing with medical issues in a foreign country, having to help Lee Anna (at one-and-a-half) adjust to living overseas and becoming a big sister all at once, and the list goes on! It was overwhelming to even think about.

We decided to take a few days to really seek God. We asked Him to confirm that this was indeed all part of His timing and that we should still proceed with our plans to move overseas on the original schedule. He made it abundantly clear that His hand was in it, so we proceeded. We left the states on Dec. 30, 2005, when I was 5 months pregnant, and our son Sawyer was born on May 5, 2006. We had been in country for just 4 months.

Things went amazingly well, and God answered every prayer that we and so many of our friends prayed for a healthy pregnancy, delivery, and baby. Looking back, I would not change one thing about the timing of either of my pregnancies. While I never would have planned things that way on my own, I am so grateful that my Sovereign God could see what would be best for me and my family when I could not. His ways really are so much higher than our own. He is so, so good!

I don’t have a lot of advice that hasn’t already been given this week, but I would say that one thing I’ve learned is not to expect your second attempt to be just like the first. In our case, things couldn’t have gone differently. We shouldn’t assume that because we’ve been pregnant once, our bodies will work perfectly the next time we try, nor should we assume that if we struggled once, we will automatically struggle every time. This whole issue really is in God’s hands. That has been my biggest lesson. I MUST trust Him completely with every part of me—even the parts that He has yet to create.


Krista said...

Thanks for sharing your story. It's such a wonderful testimony of how the Lord blessed you even before you knew to ask. Lee Anna and Sawyer are beautiful!


KC said...

Thanks for sharing about trusting the Lord no matter what is happening in your life. It is so hard to get there sometimes when our circumstances don't make sense from our perspective. As one of my professors says, "You must get to the point where you really believe that God is good and that God is good to me, even if I never..." I have recently struggled with trusting God even though my circumstances don't make sense and when I finally got to the point where I could truly state the above quote, life got a lot easier.

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