We can find hope in a loving God who walks beside us through the pain of infertility.
21 months felt much more like 21 years. How to even describe them escapes me.
Infertility isn’t a word, a label, or an experience that anyone wishes for. Few start out expecting it. Infertility snuck up on me. At first the months went by and there was no baby, but our journey to pregnancy was still “normal.” But the closer we got to the “abnormal” mark, the more my heart vacillated between being sure the issue was something simple our doctor could fix with a pill or a blood test and being completely gripped with fear that our story would be much more complicated than that. I’m not sure why, but I think I knew from that first appointment we were facing a hard road that would stretch us beyond what we could ever imagine.
For the longest time, my heart was not ready to admit our struggle or to share with others. Today, what I want to tell you is I believe, now more than ever, that God is faithful. And I don’t mean just because our IVF story ended in a pregnancy (which many don’t). I say that because we have experienced His faithfulness in so many ways that don’t have to do with results. We have experienced it in the midst of the “deep in your soul, crying yourself to sleep, begging God in prayer, physical pain of over 100 injections and countless other meds and treatments, surgeries, procedures, flights, decisions, finances, and waiting” kinds of ways. There was so much waiting and, yet, in the middle of it, He was there.
Through angry tears and humiliation and insensitive comments and sorrow, He was in it with us. At every turn we saw glimpses of His grace at just the right time. When I thought I couldn’t look at another negative test or give myself another shot or make it through one more procedure, He was there.
Sometimes, His ministry to my heart came through another infertility warrior’s story or support from a friend or the steadfast faith of my precious husband. His grace was definitely there the day we saw our embryo on a computer screen and in the tension as we waited for those days that felt like a million years to find out if, after everything we’d been through, our IVF attempt had worked. His grace was there in the first few weeks when we had a scare and were sure we were going to lose our baby. And it was there the first time we saw him on the ultrasound screen and they told us he was going to be okay. He’s almost three now and I still cry every time I remember that moment.
I feel His grace now as I write this story. One I never thought I would write. And I am so grateful…grateful that He would carry us when we could hardly hold our heads up at times…grateful that He would provide for every need along the way.
He has given us the unbelievable gift of our oldest son and another precious boy who is our second miracle. Although the doctors told us it was impossible, our youngest was a surprise natural pregnancy. The news came with joy, of course, but also with its own set of fears and complicated feelings. We were afraid the pregnancy would not progress to a live birth because the cause of our fertility issues is unknown. We felt guilty when we thought about the other embryos frozen, waiting for us, at our fertility clinic. We felt guilty that after all we had been through as part of the infertility community, all of a sudden we were part of two different groups. Oddly enough, the pain and fear of infertility didn’t disappear with the birth of our first son or with our second pregnancy. But a feeling of amazement that something impossible had taken place nurtured a deep love for our second kind of miracle baby. Infertility is cruel that way. You feel excruciating pain when it steals your dreams and you feel guilty when an unimaginable gift takes place.
Even though I would never wish this journey on anyone, I can honestly say I’m grateful for the way it has deepened my relationship with my husband and with the Lord in a way that only grief and pain can.
So many have known this kind of sorrow on some level. We have friends and family members who have battled infertility for much longer and in much different ways than we have. Every story is unique, and our hope in sharing our story is that anyone reading who feels alone or is grieving will know there are others who have felt the deep, complicated sadness and fear of infertility. We want you to know that no matter how your story has gone or will go, we encourage you to cling to Jesus and His promises. He is the only lasting hope! His love for us both in spite of and in the center of our circumstances never fails.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (ESV)
Liz Dixon has a Master’s degree in social work and is married to Russell Dixon, who is the pastor of Sunset Canyon Baptist Church in Dripping Springs, TX. She is the mother to David (2) and Drew (1). She loves to cook and spends as much time outside as possible with her boys.