The end of Mother’s Day week. All week long, I have been praying and thinking about putting my emotions into words. Each day I have thought Am I ready to write yet? I was not ready until now.
On Mother’s Day, Josh and I celebrated our moms… all three of our wonderful moms, and so many more spiritual moms God has blessed us with. At church, I wished many mothers a special day that morning. But then the tears started.
On Mother’s Day 2015, sorrow washed over my mind and my spirit. I really struggled… am I a mother too? We created two embryos that were in my body, but they died even before a positive pregnancy test. We loved them and had dreams for them. I was so blessed, because God knew what I was struggling with and brought two different women from our Bible Study group to answer the questions in my heart that morning. They both hugged me tightly and whispered to me: “Happy Mother’s Day. You are a mother. Your babies are in heaven with mine. I am praying for you. I love you.” I cried through the baby dedication, quickly walked out of church with tears in my eyes as gifting were being handed out to all of the moms, but these two women and their tender words stayed in my heart.
This week I have spent a lot of time in prayer, although it has honestly been a very busy week (Josh’s last law school exam and graduation, a very busy week of traveling for work and processing 9 new referrals of potential human trafficking victims from around the state of Ohio). I wish I would have been able to make more time to spend in God’s Word in the mornings, as that is usually my time of reflection and worship to focus before the day begins.
But God was faithful to bring scriptures to my mind when I needed them: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) That one prepared my heart at the beginning of the week for the appointment we had been half looking forward to and half dreading: the follow up consultation with our doctor after the failed IVF attempt.
It has been difficult for the last two weeks to be patient, wait on the Lord, and lean not on my own understanding. But, with Josh’s encouragement and accountability, I made it to Wednesday morning without any researching, googling, planning, or analyzing what the doctor might say or what we might do next (so un-Warpinski-like of me!!). I definitely was tempted, and I certainly did think about it, but I stayed faithful to what Josh challenged me to do: WAIT.
Wednesday morning the doctor was compassionate and straight-forward with us. He said he was shocked the embryos did not implant, but there are many reasons that can happen, and the most likely culprit is out of human control (unless you want to pay an extra $5,000 for genetic testing of each embryo to make sure they are genetically competent, ie: have all the chromosomes). Apparently, implantation can fail for three reasons: (1) problems with uterine receptivity, (2) problems with the transfer procedure, and (3) problems with the embryos. The third is the most likely and most common reason for implantation failure. In our situation, he suspected that was the case, since my hormone levels clearly showed that neither of the embryos had ever implanted at all. However, there is a possibility that my body also had difficulties with uterine receptivity, too, because of the very large number of fibroids that the doctor found when he went in to do the hysteroscopy surgery in March, before we started the IVF cycle.
Hearing the breakdown of why and how this happens to couples somehow helped my mind and my heart in the healing process. Now, we still don’t know the exact cause of the failure. But we do know we have four more frozen embryos that look good, and we have a doctor who is one of the best in the nation. The prospect of trying again scares me but also excites me. We so badly want to be parents. My heart is still so broken, though. And what if it does not work again? Now that we know the deep heart break if IVF fails, it makes it a bit scary to go into it all over again.
If there is one thing I have learned in life it is that God gives you enough grace to handle only the present moment, not the fears about the moments to come. No matter how painful, if you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and rest in the shelter of his wings, he WILL give you the grace you need. Another good reason to WAIT. This truth, like so many truths, has been distilled in my life through painful, trying experiences, and through heartbreaks. Each time I feel afraid, I remind myself: God gives grace to the brokenhearted, and heals them.
|Church destroyed by war, Gbarpolu, Liberia (2005)|
This week especially, as I have been reading another book about the genocide survivors in Rwanda, I am vividly reminded of the truth that God’s mercy comes in the moment in which it is needed, in a way that only the individual walking with Him can sense. I know, you may be thinking… wait, how did we start talking about genocide? And what does that have to do with God’s mercy and grace? How do genocide and losing babies through a failed IVF attempt relate to one another? Well, friends, all I can say is that in my heart they are related. Quite honestly (and if you know me well, you know this to be true), genocide relates to every spiritual truth I hold dear because God has touched my heart and my mind deeply with the stories, the prayers, the heartbreak, the devastation, and the enduring hope after the Rwandan genocide.
So, what will we do next? Well, for the time being, Josh will study for the bar exam and I will focus on the healing God wants to do in my life. This is yet another chapter for us. We are praying about another attempt with a frozen transfer in August, preparatory work to start in July, but are still seeking God about that decision (because of the expensive cost when are still struggling to ay back the first round and the timing right before we plan to move to Minnesota). Please join us in prayer.
|Darkness and Light, Wisconsin lake (Father's Day 2007)|
This week Josh and I spent some time praying and reading through Ephesians 6: the Armor of God. What a wonderful reminder! The shield of faith protects us from the lies that are thrown at us by the devil. When my mind wanders and my heart starts to feel overwhelmed or hopeless, the shield of faith protects me from going down those dark paths. Hope is my anchor. In the darkest moment, there is grace enough to handle the darkness and look toward the light.
Thank you, again, for joining us on our journey. I am so grateful for you encouragement, love, and prayers! Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms, to all who have lost children, and to all who deeply hope to one day be moms. May God bless you with grace enough to handle whatever darkness you are going through, may you lean not on your own understanding, and may hope be your anchor.