Thursday, March 18, 2010

Infertility: Did That Get Your Attention

In February of 2008, Heath and I decided it was time to start trying for Baby #2. Ella had just turned 2 and it was time to start thinking it might be time if we want them to be close in age. Also in February, at about the same time we had just started discussing this, God very clearly called Heath and I to go on a mission trip to Sudan, Africa that would be for 2 weeks in July. We felt so undeniably called to go on this trip that we decided the baby making would have to wait until after we got back. We actually joked about starting to try in Africa and then if we found out we got pregnant we could name our baby Sahara or something really Africany. But then we got to Africa and saw are living conditions for the next 2 weeks and immediately knew that was NOT going to happen. You know what I’m saying? That’s just wrong.

Anyway…so after we got home from Africa, we were full of joy and excitement as we started this journey. And as the months kept going by and by and by and each month was full of negative pregnancy tests that joy and excitement faded quickly away in my mind.

You see, Ella, was not exactly planned, not at all…not even a little bit. It was against all odds that we got pregnant for two reasons:
1. We were being careful.
2. I don’t exactly have the most regular periods and from what I had heard that probably means I’m not ovulating very often .

But it’s because of those two reasons that it is SO evident to me of God’s timing and will for that to have happened when it did. And never once has that been doubted!

(Also, I later found out that Amanda and her mom had been diligently praying for Amanda to have a pregnancy buddy and I’m so thankful that God chose me for that, along with our good friend Sunni!)

So you can imagine our surprise when that test result (the first pregnancy test I had ever taken) was positive. I thought, surely I did something wrong while taking it. In fact, Heath was in such a state of shock he sat on the bathroom floor for about 10 minutes staring blankly at the directions looking for some kind of error. However, after a couple of hours went by and it started to sink in, we were like little kids in a candy store overflowing with excitement!

Even though I still to this day struggle with #2 on that list, I honestly did not think we would have a problem getting pregnant. We certainly didn’t with Ella, so why would something be different this time.

I had never heard of women who can’t get pregnant with their second child until I was doing some research about 9 months ago and came across this.

What is secondary infertility?
Secondary infertility simply means problems getting pregnant or sustaining pregnancy in a woman who has had a child previously. In some ways, women describe it as painful as primary infertility, because:
1. The causes of infertility are even more mysterious, since they have had a child before.
2. They don't usually have the support and empathy of others dealing with primary infertility, or even friends and family, because they are presumed to not have a fertility problem.
3. They don't know how to explain to their child that she or he may not have a sibling.

One of the most important factors to remember for those who can't understand why they are unable to achieve a pregnancy as easily as their first child is that, by definition, they are older now, and fertility diminishes with age. Furthermore, they may have always been of lower fertility, but had a lucky break the first time they had a child. Either way, secondary infertility can be extremely painful, but for most, is finally resolved with the birth of another child.

My thoughts immediately snowballed from there as I pondered the possibility of me having secondary infertility. I’ve been through fear and sadness but also have had peace. Looking back at how clearly God’s plan for Ella was has brought me immense amounts of peace. It is a great reminder for me that God has a plan!!! He had a plan. That was all part of His plan and this is all part of His plan.

This past 1 ½ years I’ve been studying a lot on waiting, the strength God gives us as we wait. I’ve studied a lot on Abraham and Sarah and the YEARS they waited for Isaac. I’ve read every passage there is on God opening women’s wombs like Hannah, Ruth, Rachel, & Rebekah. I love the story of Rebekah because it says that her husband, Jacob, prayed to the Lord on her behalf because she was barren. Such an amazing picture!

Medically we have not gone there yet. Heath and I haven’t had the slew of tests done on us or started any type of fertility treatment. I have not felt a peace about going in that direction yet. It might come but as of right now I feel the Lord is telling me to hold off on that.

We did, however, recently go through two months of homeopathic treatment where Heath and I were seeing a holistic doctor and going through acupressure and acupuncture. I also had to drink these crazy disgusting herbs 3 times a day for a month. (I have a video of me taking my last one that I will have to post one day so you can at least see how gross it is.) I did make several of my close friends and family try the herbs so they could testify to the disgustingness of them.

So what now?

That’s the question my heart is asking. Where do we go from here God? You know my desire. You know the desire of my husband’s heart. Even though Ella has not voiced wanting a sibling, (which I am so thankful for) you know she desires that, if not now, in the future she will want that.

What now?

I believe this is part of the “what now”. Me writing this for all of you to see…my blogging peeps. I’ve kept this silent for so long. When I’m feeling really down about it though, I have reached out to my group of close friends that are each other’s prayer warriors. But I know that I’m not the only one dealing with this or a similar situation. I would love to know your story!! I do not take Galatians 6:2 lightly. “Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Here in just the last few weeks, I have started feeling a new stirring of joy and excitement building up in my spirit. I feel like God is about to take Heath and I on a journey, an adventure, and I want you all to be a part of it. Mainly because we NEED your prayers. But also so God can be glorified in this story that He is writing for us.

Please know that this is hard for me to put out there. I just don’t talk about it much to anyone, family or friends. But I feel so strongly about this blogging community we have. There have been several times over the past few years that many of you have reached out to me and have shown such kindness of heart and words of encouragement that I feel comfortable sharing our deepest longings and desires with you all.

So I thank you in advance. I love you and I will keep you continually updated on this journey.

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Murrell Family said...

I am so proud of you for opening yourself up and sharing this with us. We will continue to pray for you on this journey and know that the Lord has taught you so much already and will continue to sustain you. Love you, friend!

The Sanders House said...

I know that this is tough to openly come out with such a deep rooted personal issue and desire. I will be praying for you as you find your way in this journey and that you will have ears to hear exactly what the next step is. You are loved by many and most importantly God. You go sister.....let's see how God blesses you through your transparency!

Yankee Mama said...

You are precious Janelle. I will be praying for you sweet sister.

connorcolesmom said...

Sweet Janelle,
I am praying for you
I have many stories I can tell you of friends in similar situations but one thing is true
God is in control and you know that :)
He loves you and has a wonderful plan for your family
Much love

kittyhox said...

It took us 15 months to conceive our first child. That is not long at all in comparison to many couples who deal with infertility, but 15 months of negative pregnancy tests was very, very tough.

I think the part that was the hardest is that our minds eventually went to, "What if this never happens?" We felt like the answer to our prayers was "no," when, in hindsight, it was "wait." The worst part was when the doors to adoption seemed to close, because that was an option we would have welcomed as much as a pregnancy.

In retrospect, God's timing was perfect and far better than ours. Although we spend nights crying in our bed, we also had some of the craziest, goofiest, and most fun times of our lives and I'm grateful that God gave us that extra time that we didn't know we would appreciate so much post-kids. And I KNOW we got the exact child we were meant to have and shudder to think of not having him, had we conceived on our schedule. Also, God orchestrated the circumstances of the first pregnancy so that there was no question in my mind that HE was totally responsible, which bolstered my faith and was the best part of all.

I pray that God will soon (like, right now!!) send another child to you and that someday down the road he will reveal why his timing was best - maybe why the age gap worked out for the better?

Also, I want to add that I have PCOS, and a very, very irregular cycle. With baby #1 I was on Clomid the entire time we tried to conceive, and did two unsuccessful IUIs. With baby #2 the medical community had apparently raised the dosages of Clomid, based on success rates, I think, and we conceived on the first round. If you decide to go that route, it is not invasive or a big deal like IUF treatments.

Amanda said...

I love you, friend.

C:M:W said...

Oh sweet Janelle. I love hearing your sweet heart. You are so so brave. Love you friend and cannot wait to pray for this journey for the Hartfields!!!

Mandi said...

Janelle, my husband and I were in a similar place three years ago...that place where God is telling you to wait but you're not sure what you're waiting for or for how long. :) One thing I've learned through our experience is that when the Lord tells us to wait it means He has something HUGE in the works that will bring him all kinds of glory!

God is calling you and Heath on a journey with him, an adventure, and I just know He is going to bless your socks off! When you are on the other side of all this uncertainty you will look back and
be amazed by the perfection in His plan and the miracles performed.

He has done immeasurably more than all we could have asked or imagined through our infertility. He has grown our family and fulfilled the desires of our hearts in ways we never would have expected...ways that are so much better than what we had planned.

I would love to share more of the story God has written for our family...maybe through email or you can check out my blog? This comment is long enough already. :)

I am excited for you and praying with you as you take each step on this journey! Thank you for sharing and allowing me to be a part of it. Please feel free to email me anytime. I know how much it helps to have someone who understands.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Erin said...

I have a very similar story to yours. My daughter, Kendyl, turned 4 in January. When I got pregnant with her it was completely not planned. Just before she turned 2, my husband and I decided to start trying for another one. I assumed it would happen right away, but I was wrong.

Almost a year later I went to my doctor for my normal yearly check up. I told her about the problems we were having and how I was pretty sure I wasn't ovulating (I had been buying the home ovulation predictor kits). She scheduled a simple blood test and found out I had PCOS.

She put me on Clomid and after two cycles I was pregnant! Mady is almost 8 months old and we couldn't be happier.

I know ultimately the decision is up to you, but I would strongly suggest having a blood test done. My doctor told me that she would only do 3 cycles of Clomid because if it didn't work by then it wouldn't.

Good luck and I will be praying for you!

Bama Belle said...

Hi Janelle,

I came to your blog from Amanda's. I am struggling right now with Infertility too. My husband & I have been trying for almost 1.5 years to conceive our first child. Recently, we felt released to have the doctor run some tests. We found that I am not ovulating at all. I have begun to take Clomid and this past month was my first cycle. My husband and I prayed that I would not experience any negative impacts from the treatment and God was so faithful and I didn't. We are beginning our journey down this road too. I am journaling our experience with infertility on my blog, so stop by anytime and we will encourage one another in Him. :) I promise to check back in with you and pray for you and your sweet family.

Do not grow weary in well doing, for you will reap in due season if you faint not! -Galatians 6:9-

Becca said...

Hey Friend, I have been praying for you and Heath so much!! I KNOW your feelings...but you know that. The Lord completely directed our crazy path through infertility. There is a day coming when our God will show off big for you! I just know it. Love you!

Heather said...

Hi Janelle! I "know" you through Amanda's blog but have never commented until now. My story is VERY similar to yours....we had secondary infertility for 18 months. Though God taught me so much and was ever-so-faithful, that was the hardest time of my life. All my friends and former "preggo-buddies" had baby #2 (and some #3!) and we just kept getting negative test after negative test. I had never heard of secondary infertility either. To say I struggled emotionally and spiritually is an understatement. We prayed and prayed for God to change our hearts to be content with our one child...but we didn't have a peace about it. We prayed and finally decided to try Clomid for four 'rounds.' On the very last one, when we were ready to give up, we got pregnant!!! Our sweet faith baby girl is now 10 months old!! I have blogged about my experiences on my blog and would love to e-mail with you if you ever have questions, rants, or just want some more info. It is a hard road to walk, but knowing someone who has walked there or is walking there is a blessing in the desert. I will be praying for you and your husband in this time. Thanks for sharing your story. I know it will encourage others and like you said, unleash some serious prayers for you around blogland!!! :)

Tara G. said...

Thank you for your transparent testimony- I'll be praying!

Erin said...

I didn't really experience a ton of negative side effects. Clomid definitely made me more emotional, but so did all of those negative pregnancy tests. The one thing my doctor told me that helped was that she knew I could get pregnant because it had happened before. Through all those negative tests I had almost lost hope and that put me back on track. Good luck and I will pray for you to finally get that positive test!


Barr Family said...

Hi! I haven't ever commented here before but found you via Amanda's blog a long time ago. I feel for you because we are going through a little bit of the same thing. We have two little girls already and were ready to start trying for #3 last fall.

With both of my girls, I had to go on Clomid and it worked in the first round with my oldest and the second round with my youngest. I just assumed that it would work quickly this time. Unfortunately, that has not been the case.

We are seeing a specialist and they realized I have PCOS and the Clomid doesn't respond as well sometimes after several rounds of it. Sooooo, we are kind of in the place of in between....trying to figure out how much to rely on God and where to draw the line with medical intervention. We are doing higher doses of Clomid, monitored with ultrasounds, and a horomone shot. We get a couple of months trying this before things get a lot more invasive so that is probably where we will draw the line.
I will certainly be praying for you while you wait. It's hard but God is good!
PS...I have loved your blog...your family seems so sweet!

Heather said...

Janelle, I'm praying for you guys! Thanks for the vulnerability to people you don't know. And thanks for the opportunity to lift you up in prayer!

Kelli said...

Thank you, thank you! :)

Anonymous said...

Fertility is very hard. I am 42 and have never gotten pregnant. I really worry about who will take care of me when I am old. I have great nephews but not a child to call my own.
If the birds of the air are precious to God, I just have to know that I am precious too and this is his plan.

Helen said...

Oh honey! I can feel your pain. I will keep you in my prayers.