IVF: Here We Come

Well, here we are. Our next step in the journey to become parents is official- IVF here we come. I'll be completely honest, I didn't want to be here. I absolutely did not want to do IVF. At the start of this process, IVF just seemed like a distant option that we didn't think we would end up pursuing. We assumed that the IUI procedures would work and that IVF wouldn't be a part of our story.
God knew otherwise.
I'm not here to tell you how thrilled we are to be going into this process. I'm not here to lay out our plans or go into detail about the process. That will be a different story for a different day. Today, I am here to share with you how God has changed my perspective and shaped my heart through the past year to prepare me for IVF, because our story going into IVF is bittersweet.
We started our first IUI procedure in June of 2018 and continued them until December. And as those months continued, with every negative pregnancy test, IVF started to become more and more real. Yet, it was something I continued to push off and I absolutely refused to think about it. It just seemed like such a final last resort kind of thing. And I refused to face the reality that it could possibly get there.
I started seriously praying against IVF after our negative test in August. If you have followed our story, you'll know that August of 2018 was hands down the hardest and most challenging month of our story. We officially had three negative IUI procedures under our belts and we were starting to lose hope...fast. So I began seriously and intentionally praying every day for us to get pregnant through IUI procedures. I kept telling God that I didn't want to do IVF. Initially, I really struggled with the thought of "playing God" and where that line falls. And I think that was one of the most intimidating thoughts of IVF. So, I prayed. And I prayed, and I prayed, and I prayed. Because I was certain that I could still, somewhat, control our story and well, IVF wasn't going to be in our story.
Spoiler alert: our story includes IVF.
And after August and each negative test that came thereafter, I just became more and more angry with God. I started pointing my finger at Him in anger, disappointment, and hurt. The worst part is that I began to doubt His goodness. I doubted His faithfulness. I doubted that His plan prospers us. I felt like He was slowly painting us into a corner of discomfort and hurt in order to bring glory to His Kingdom and honestly, I really didn't understand that. I had prayed to Him consistently and told Him that I didn't want to do IVF. Time and time again, I prayed. Time and time again, I told Him- I'm not going to do this. It's scary and I refuse to be uncomfortable. But month after month, IVF inched itself into our discussions.
So how, where, and when was this huge perspective change? I'm not entirely sure. I can't sit here and tell you that it was one specific moment. Over time, God just changed my perspective. Every time I would hurt and fuss at Him, He was faithful to me. He never left me. Instead, He spoke to me in those moments of pain. In little ways, He just really started to show up and remind us of why we were given this battle.
People began coming to us and sharing their testimony of infertility. People reached out and prayed for us. People shared with us how they had heard the gospel and saw God through our story. People from all over the world began to reach out to us and build a community with us to reassure us we weren't alone. God was at WORK! We have been absolutely blown away by the support, love, and community that surrounds us through this journey. And here's the thing: we wouldn't have these relationships and these people if we didn't have the trial that brings us all together.
And just recently, God reminded me of something I felt and prayed for in the summer of 2018. It was either June or July, after one of our IUI procedures, and I was a few days late on my period. In the exciting thoughts of, "I might be pregnant!" I was also kind of sad. I knew that God was at work through our infertility and I knew that He was giving us this ministry to reach people for Him. Yet, I thought for a second that our story could be over and I saw our ministry diminish. If we only had to go through 1-2 IUI's, how would we be able to relate to someone who had to go through more or even, the dreaded IVF? I was sad because that meant we wouldn't be able to relate to those people and I felt like our story was abruptly ending.
Well, if I have learned one thing it would be this: God loves irony.
Because here we are, a year later and on the cusp of starting our next step with IVF.
At the end of November, Alex and I sat down and really talked through what we wanted to do. We knew that we weren't going to pursue IUI procedures in 2019 we had to figure out what to do next. We talked about adoption, fostering, IVF and every other option that we had. Yet, as we continued to talk, IVF was constantly and consistently the idea that just seemed more comfortable and where God was calling us to go. So, we took some time. We agreed to think and pray through it on our own and then come together to discuss how we really felt. Sometime later, we decided that if the December IUI came back negative, we would start 2019 with a clean start and pursue IVF.
And ya know what? I think that's where the official shift really happened. In the comfort of knowing that we would have a fresh start, I became okay. I realized, for like the thousandth time, that we have no control over this situation. Like zero control. The one thing we DO have control over is our attitude and our perspective going forth. And if that's what we can control, then we are going to go all in and make sure our perspective and attitude are top notch. But, disclaimer here- we also have to realize the basic reminder that we are human. Some days are going to suck. Some days will still be filled with pain and the daunting thought of, "why us?" What I'm saying here is that- just because we feel that doesn't mean we will wallow in it. It has proven to fail every time. It does nothing but bring us down and those wallowing thoughts are encouraged by the enemy. God says: stay with me and come the high waves, I will teach you to swim.
I feel really content and peaceful about our next step. Don't get me wrong, it was totally and utterly intimidating when we had our first appointment with the IVF Fertility Clinic. They handed us a BINDER of information and said, "Here's everything that could genetically be wrong with you. We'll test these seven tubes of blood and let you know in two weeks what comes back." Okay, they weren't that abrupt, but still! That's some intimidating stuff. We got back to the car and sat in the parking lot for a bit. We cried some and talked a lot. Yet, we still felt like this is where we are supposed to be.
Here's one thing that I am really coming to find: strength does not come from comfort. In Matthew, it tells the story of when Jesus walked on water. He calls Peter to step out of the boat and walk to Him on the water. Peter leaves the boat and begins to walk on the water to Jesus, but as he begins to lose focus on Jesus- he begins to sink. I lost sight of our purpose. I lost my focus on Jesus and where He was leading us to go and I began to sink. I sank because I focused on my wants, fears, and MY plan. But as I begin to re-set my focus on Him, I am reminded of our purpose. I am reminded of His goodness. I am reminded that this is bigger than us. I am reminded that He gave us this ministry because He knew that we could handle it. And while that's an intimidating thought to digest- I am so thankful that my Father knows me better than I know myself. He sees a strength in me that I can't and because of that, He will call me out of my comfort to show me just how strong I am.
I am actually really thankful for this journey. I am thankful for the pain and for every negative pregnancy test. It has made me stronger. It has made Alex stronger. It has made us stronger together. But more importantly, it has made us stronger with God and we see that we couldn't have made it this far without His strength, grace, and love.
God is at work through our story. It's not finished yet, but I know this will be a story of redemption. How is He at work in your story? How is He redeeming you and your situation? Look desperately to see, because I guarantee He is pursuing you fiercely, even if you're silent.
"I was stumbling in the darkness, couldn't see my hand in front of me. I was sending up an SOS when all was lost You came running. Nowhere to run, no place to hide, You sent the shadow scattering. When through the cloud, a piercing light and then I saw You. Shine, shine, shine like the sun. You're waking hearts and You've only begun. Every fear, every doubt disappears when You shine on us." - Bethel Music
"It is overwhelming not to know how all of this brokenness will be mended, but may you be all the more overwhelmed by just how loved you are, and how wonderful it is that God is completely in control of the healing and restoration your soul so desperately needs." -Morgan Harper Nichols
Keep fighting. Keep searching. Find life in the waiting, that's where you'll find God.
Photo Credits:
Featured Image: Laura Moon
Pregnancy Test Image:  Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels
Community Image:  Photo by Helena Lopes from Pexels
IVF Appt. Image: Personal Photo