God had led this journey for our family
I was so excited to have Corinne one of our readers share her experience of deciding to have another baby and the exciting miracle that followed.
When I was pregnant with my third child, I had this niggling feeling that we were done. I didn’t know if maybe adoption was in our future or if we just were going to be finished with three, but the feeling was very strong. So sure was I about this being my last pregnancy that I paid to have a maternity photo shoot and every evening when I nursed my newborn boy, I tried to relish this last nursing experience. I gave away all his clothes after he grew out of them and put his crib up on freecycle.
Three years later, I flew from Maryland to San Diego with my husband for our anniversary. On the actual day celebrating our 10th year of being married, we went to the San Diego temple to do sealings. It was a really peaceful time and despite the fact that we had not discussed having more children, at all, we were both given the same prompting in the celestial room that day: it was time to try again. We looked at each other with both fright and wariness – we discussed and discussed it but it couldn’t be denied. We were told to try again to get pregnant.
So, we tried because we knew it was the right thing. Despite nearly instantaneous pregnancies for the last three, it didn’t happen. And didn’t happen. And then one day, I had some crazy pain that led to an ambulance ride to the emergency room and emergency surgery. I had been pregnant without knowing it (having both a period and no morning sickness during that time) and had suffered a ruptured ectopic at seven weeks. One tube and one ovary were completely removed. It felt like such a kick in the face, being told by God to get pregnant and then have this happen. My feelings were hurt, I won’t deny it.
I was told by several doctors that I still had just as good a chance to get pregnant. So, after a few months, we started trying again. Months went by. That very distinct prompting began to fade as my youngest child got older and older. Soon, my “baby” was 5. I was really beginning to feel like maybe I was just allowed to be done. We took some months off, but that fall, the niggling feeling came back. It came back during my prayers. It came back in my own children beginning, without any prompting from me, to talk to me about wanting more children in our family, all three of them at different times bringing it up. My husband and I sat down and had another serious talk, reminding ourselves of what we’d been told to try to do. We decided that we would try for three more months on our own and then that I would go see a doctor.
The day I got that third period, I called for an infertility consult at my GYN.
And thus began one of the strangest, most exhausting, most emotionally charged experiences of my life.
Because here is the honest truth: my heart was not dying for a baby. My life was so GOOD, dare I say, EASY. It had its challenges but all three of my children were in school all day. I was busy but it was completely manageable. I had all kinds of time to tackle my calling, volunteer at school, have days to myself in DC seeing the sights. It was pretty awesome. So when we were referred to a fertility clinic, I said these words to myself, over and over,”we can try whatever they recommend, but we won’t do IVF. If we get to that point, it means we’ve done our best.”
So, we did all the testing. I did everything I was supposed to. The first time we did an intrauterine insemination (IUI), I felt like I was just going through the motions, nearly completely emotionally removed. I felt genuinely upset for a few hours when it came back negative but I bounced back really quick (amazing how not letting yourself care can do that.) I would say that partly, this was really just a defense mechanism. After the second negative IUI, I felt fine.
But that’s when things got REALLY tricky.
During my second IUI procedure, the doctor saw evidence around my ovary that indicated that my eggs were not getting into my fallopian tubes at all, probably as a result of the trauma to the region during my ectopic. He looked me in the eye and told me our only chance to obtain a pregnancy was to begin In Vitro Fertilization. IVF. That thing that I told myself would be the end of the road. It had now been nearly THREE YEARS since we were first given that prompting to try.
I went home and talked to my husband. As much as we tried to talk about it together, I’d never felt so alone. We were floating in this sea of “what are we supposed to do” and the weight of NOT knowing was nearly debilitating. I was feeling really done with thinking about it all the time.
So, like I learned in Sunday School, I made my own decision to take to the Lord and went to the temple.
Here is what I wrote in my journal about this experience:
“When I went to the temple today, I was really ready to tell my Father in Heaven that I am done. I did ten family-file names and felt the spirit very strongly. I changed my clothing and went into the Celestial Room where I was alone save for the lovely matron in there who got to watch me cry for 25 minutes as I sorted through this biggest decision of my life.
I sat down, bowed my head, and I offered up to the Lord what I have done: I offered up 11+ years of childraising, 3+ years of trying to get pregnant, a pregnancy/miscarriage/near-death experience, the testing and 2 IUI procedures and being told that my body really can no longer conceive on its own. From the bottom to the top of my heart I gave it to him and asked him if it could please just be enough.
And I sat.
And thought over all the different pieces of this.
And I wanted to just have peace so I could walk out the door and go home and move on with my life.
And I kept seeing images in my head of my own children with other, smaller children that I don’t know.
And I kept thinking of the joy that my own children give me. One random, specific memory came into my mind. It was this moment when we were at Crampton Gap and [my daughter] was using that tricky saw to try and cut wood. And it was so hard, and I offered to just take a turn and she wouldn’t stop. She told me she wanted to do it herself, her arms shaking with effort as she sawed that branch – and the look of triumph when she finished. For some reason, that moment, for me in the temple that day, was like a bolt of lightening, a revelation. It made the view in front of my closed eyes go black, overwhelmed and full of love and appreciation and joy – the joy and rejoicing in your posterity that I had just been thinking about over and over.
The words that came into my mind were that I needed to better appreciate the children I have now.
This is really important. It totally changed my attitude around the house today, totally. I need to remember what a gift these three children are.
And the other feeling I got was that I could choose – but that we would be blessed for the trying.
And I knew that if I did not try IVF, I would wonder my whole life if there were other people who belong in our family.
If it works, I know without a doubt that it will change this life of ours in ways that we can’t even imagine – some of it hard, some more joyful and fulfilling than anything I can even fathom. If it works, my big children will learn and grow from being older siblings, learn things that I cannot teach them myself. This is a hugely motivating thing for me.
If it doesn’t work, I feel like the Lord has promised me peace. I will know that I have taken our desire, MY desire, for more children as far as I can take it. I have allowed my heart to open up to the idea again, opened it up to getting my feelings hurt, I have found that desire that I know is a gift from God. And as much as I will mourn the lost possibilities if we do our three rounds and we still don’t have a baby, it will be something I can walk away from with no regrets. I will find ways to fill my life with children, just like I always have.
And once I decided to just move forward, I could finally leave the celestial room.
It was so not what I’d expected.
But when I came home and talked with [my husband], it was like we were reading each other’s minds. On the way home I had even decided I didn’t want to wait, I want to do it now.
And HE brought that up to ME, that he didn’t want to wait.
OH how blessed we are. What an incredibly spiritual path this has been for my beloved husband and I. If nothing, NOTHING else, it has brought us together in a way that no other blessing or trial has.
I’m on the verge of being grateful for this experience.
I have never had to go to the Lord like this before, and I feel like he is truly guiding me, guiding this. ”
And so, that winter, I did my first round of IVF. I let myself want it to work. I opened my heart to bringing another child into this family. And I got pregnant. With twins. I am due in a month.
It is the most astonishing, overwhelming, terrifying thing I have ever done, this twins pregnancy. My “baby” is now seven years old. My oldest child is twelve. It’s just not what I would’ve ever, ever imagined for our family. But the most important part is that I know it is RIGHT. Those moments I had in the temple are like an anchor, like the hand holding a kite string, and when I get so panicky that I don’t know what to do, I remember that I am not doing this on my own. I am reeled back in by my sure knowledge of the guidance I was given. Just this past Sunday in Sacrament meeting I was listening to the opening hymn and my heart felt so softened as I sang,
“Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My gracious, omnipotent hand.”
I have been amazed by the strength of his hand to uphold me and my husband. What I don’t ever want to forget, and what I need these two little boys that I am growing to know, is that, like the Brother of Jared in his barge being led across the sea, God has led this journey for our family. Even though we were scared and unsure of the way, even though we didn’t even always know that we WANTED to go, we followed where he led and I know that something special is waiting for us. I am astonished by how fierce my love for for these unborn sons is and how sure I now am that they belong to this family. I don’t think it will be without trials. I have no doubt of the challenges that wait us. I also have no doubt that my Father in Heaven is in charge of it.