Our Struggle with Infertility

Posted by  | Tuesday, April 8, 2008  at 8:32 AM  
I must admit that I have been anxious about whether or not to share our story with infertility on POH. Until now, there are really only a few close friends that I have confided in all that we went through. However, I really hope that you will be blessed by each of the precious (and brave!) women who share their stories this week and we will be encouraged to pray for one another and understand better how to support those who are battling infertility.

My story begins around the time Josh and I got married and we decided to use the pill. Hind sight is 20/20, but, at the time, I really never even gave second thought to any complications the pill could cause (much less any ethical issues we've since learned about). After 2 years on the pill, we decided it was time to begin a family. I was so thankful to get off the pill because I never felt like myself the entire time I was on it. The only problem was that I didn't have a period once I stopped taking the pill. (Until this time, I had had perfectly normal periods my entire life.) After three months I called my doctor and he prescribed progestin to cause me to have a period. While that worked, I continued to not have a cycle on my own. A couple months later my doctor prescribed Clomid. At the time I didn't even realize this was an infertility drug, but, I took it for three cycles (including the bloodwork) and found it was having no affect on my body.

It was around this time we moved to North Carolina and decided to put everything on hold for a few months. Ten months after stopping the pill, we had our first appointment at Duke's Infertility Clinic. The doctors said my body wasn't producing the right hormones to trigger ovulation. I asked what caused this and was told anything from it being genetic to "we don't know," but the doctors were adament the pill had nothing to do with it. The good news was twofold: we finally knew what we were dealing with and the doctors said it was one of the easier problems to solve. The bad news was that infertility clinics are expensive and invasive.

We went home and prayed about it. . . a lot. We knew we were called to go overseas, which meant we couldn't have debt. (We had worked hard until this point to not have any debt - not buying a house, furniture, etc. when we got married - so we would be free to go when He called.) Not only that, I was greatly burdened because I just believed there had to be a natural solution. This was in the fall of '04, and we walked away from the fertility clinic for the next year. During this time I read a lot, prayed a lot, and did some crazy and not-so-crazy "natural" things. Here's some of the things I tried:

  • Gaining a few pounds (our families said I was just too thin. . . I wasn't)
  • Accupuncture
  • Herbs
  • Homeopathy
  • Night-lighting (totally blacking out your bedroom while you sleep)
  • Natural Progesterone Cream
  • Food - it was during this time I found The Maker's Diet and we implemented this way of eating. (While struggling with infertility was long and hard, I am SO thankful to have found this book and the road it lead us down with nutrition - things like raw milk, milling our own wheat, organic meats and vegies, Cod Liver Oil, etc.)

Through all of this I charted my cycle and it was always crazy, revealing no ovulation. I also never had a period during this time.

In the fall of '05 Josh was in his final 2 semesters before we moved overseas. I came to the realization that if we didn't at least try to go the route of western medicine and I never did have a baby, I would always regret that decision. So, while I was not ready to have invasive procedures done, we were SO ready to have a baby. The Lord had blessed Josh with a part-time job while he was in school and I was teaching so we figured that we would somehow manage to find the money to pay for it. This is what I had to do:

  • Go back on the pill for one cycle to put my ovaries at rest
  • Then give myself daily hormone shots to get my body to ovulate
  • Return for ultrasounds every 2-3 days to monitor progress
  • Ultrasounds would determine how to adjust the medicine for daily shots
  • When I had a fully-grown egg, Josh would give me an intramuscular shot to trigger ovulation

The danger with this was that I had many follicles just waiting for hormones to tell them to ovulate - so many that there is a big risk of multiple pregnancies. As soon as I went back on the pill I began to second guess our decision and wonder if it really was worth it (the pill really made me feel crazy). We went through this cycle and found that I had grown 10 eggs! Since we weren't willing to consider "selective reduction" if many of the eggs fertilized (and were were told they probably would) we cancelled the cycle and went home to regroup. Josh and I prayed about it and decided we would try one more time. Mentally, I couldn't take more and we definitely did not have the money to try IVF since this debt would keep us from going overseas - something we knew we were supposed to do. This time - to the amazement of my doctors - I grew ONE egg only. Two days before Christmas I took a pregnancy test and couldn't believe it when it turned up positive. I had taken SO many, for so many YEARS and now it was positive! Since it was Christmastime when we were going through this cycle, every morning that I had to drive to Duke (45 minutes away) at 6:30 a.m. I would listen to worship music. There was one particular CD I listened to each time: Come Let Us Adore Him - A Christmas Worship Experience. The day I found out I was pregnant I was visiting my dad in Atlanta and planning to drive back to South Carolina to be with Josh and his family for Christmas. During that ride home I listened to that CD and weapt and worshiped like I had never experienced before in my life. God gave us His Son - the greatest gift of all - and that's what we celebrate at Christmas. But, this year, he had given us a baby and words cannot describe the depth of the incredible joy I felt.

After Christmas I took a blood test and then another two days later to help confirm it was a "viable pregnancy." Then, at 8 weeks, I had an ultrasound to make sure there wern't multiple pregnancies. With all that we went through to get pregnant, I was ready to have a totally "old-fashioned" pregnancy and we chose to not have another ultrasound or other testing during the pregnancy. My pregnancy was a breeze and we praise the Lord for a wonderful birth story.

While we absolutely praise the Lord for this precious miracle and blessing (she truly is an incredible gift from above) we also know we're still in the midst of our struggle with infertility as we want more children. (Lydia is 19 months old and I still have not had my period return.) My desire and goal is to be a godly wife and mother. . . and mother to many healthy children born from my womb (not necessarily all born at once either haha!). While I know the pain and heartache of longing for a baby, in many ways it does not get easier after having one. . . if your heart's desire and longing is for many. Life is a precious miracle and it is not a given. He is the Creator, Author, and Perfector of all life. While we all have struggles and things God is using to grow us in our lives and walk with Him, mine is definitely this. Living in an arab culture where men harrassing women is commonplace, I've stepped back many times and looked into the faces of many of these men and thought, "You have a mother who loves you and a Creator who you don't even know." It brings me to my knees to pray for the lostness, but it also brings me to my knees asking the Lord, "Why Me?" The answer is always, "Why not me?!" While the doctors and nurses at Duke were wonderful, it was still an experience I never wanted to go through again. I've prayed and cried so many times from the time we conceived Lydia asking the Lord to bless us with more children - naturally - but it's really been in the last couple months He has given me a peace about returning to a doctor one day. While I don't know what the future holds, I do know who holds the future. And He has a perfect plan for each and every one of us!


Jessica said...

Krista, Wow! I really hope that the Lord will bless you with more children without all the hoops. He is capable of miracles and I will pray for one in your life.

marymstraits said...

Thanks for sharing your story! I know it took a lot of courage to do so. Lydia is such a gift! I really admire how you stuck to your guns with the IUI. I think I would've insisted they go ahead and do it and take my chances with sextuplets. Your faithfulness to God's calling on your life is inspiring! I also really appreciate how you said that having #1 doesn't make wanting another one easier--I have been starting to feel that way more and more lately. Thanks so much again for sharing!


Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for having the strength to post about this topic. I was battling infertility for a while. I came across this site during my research and found more information on vitex, an herbal supplement that is supposed to promote fertility. The site was very helpful in telling dietary habits and lifestyle changes one should be changing in order to help battle infertility. Thank you again.

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