Infertility is not something many openly talk about. It’s personal. It’s heartbreaking. Often, people say nasty things to couples pursuing treatment. I’ve heard it all, even from those so close to me that I would have never expected to hear such hurtful words from. My husband and I didn’t share our journey for so long because of that. But infertility isn’t something that should make us feel ashamed. It’s changed our outlook on life, and even strengthened our faith.

I am mother of three. I always knew that being a mom was part of my destiny, but I never expected it to be such a struggle to achieve. At the age of nineteen, I was diagnosed with stage 1a ovarian cancer. I had a tumor the size of a grapefruit on one of my ovaries. I was pretty naive as a teenager, and I didn’t fully understand what it meant. The idea of cancer didn’t really hit home to me, despite my trip to MD Anderson. The tumor was confined to the ovary, and surgery was all I needed to be 100 percent cured. At such a young age, the thought of struggling to start a family wasn’t even on my radar. I completely took the miracle of being cancer-free for granted. When I married my husband, Derrick, it was then that I realized how lucky I was to have been saved from what could have been a childless life, or even death.

When we began trying to have children, we expected it to be a little bit harder based on my history. After almost a year with no success, we made an appointment with a fertility doctor. The first step was a laparoscopy and hysteroscopy to check things out. Other than a tiny bit of scar tissue from the tumor removal, everything looked great. Derrick went through some testing too, and his outlook was pretty good. We had really high hopes that we’d be able to conceive quickly. With a little intervention I became pregnant the very next month via intrauterine insemination. Sadly though, the pregnancy was not viable, and we lost our sweet baby at seven and a half weeks. We were crushed, especially because my DNC to remove the tissue occurred Mother’s Day weekend. I should have been celebrating as a mom-to-be, but instead I was mourning the loss of what was to be my first child. I felt angry, sad and confused. I was heartbroken and questioning my faith. It was extremely difficult to accept that it just wasn’t meant to be at that point in time. We continued to try, and after several more unsuccessful months, we resigned to the fact that we would have to try in-vitro fertilization. This is something we never thought we’d have to go through. We heard stories from others and read about it, but just never put it on the table as an option. We struggled a bit with whether this was “a Christian thing” to do. Finally, we came to the conclusion that our baby, whether conceived naturally or with medical intervention would be conceived out of love, and God is love. So this was the right step for us.

We had to wait a couple of months before we could begin, and during this time I started feeling pretty sad. My lowest point came in the month of December 2011 when the baby we lost would have been born. I remember having a hard day at work and deciding to do a little retail therapy on the way home. On my way to shop, I got a call from a dear friend announcing her own pregnancy. I was extremely happy for her, but at the same time, I was so sad for myself. It’s not that I was jealous or envious. I wasn’t. But I was empty inside. I felt like motherhood was happening for everyone around me, and I was ready for it to be my turn already! Now, I needed that retail therapy even more! I was waiting in line at one store and to pass the time, I browsed the bins at the checkout. I just happened to come across a book of name meanings. When I found my name, it said- “Stephanie: mother of many happy children.” I slammed the book shut and tossed it back into the bin! I wanted to run out of the store and cry because obviously this was not in the cards for me. The name was spelled wrong, for one, and if this was for me, I wouldn’t have lost my baby, and I’d already be pregnant again.

I called my husband immediately when I got into the car to tell him about the book of names. At this point, I was almost hysterical. He just calmly said, “Steff, do you not think that was a sign from God that you WILL be a mother?” I thought about that the rest of my commute home. I realized again that I had been saved from ovarian cancer, so surely I was meant to be a mother one day. I hoped it was soon.

We began our IVF, and at the end we had four embryos. On our first attempt at pregnancy, we transferred two embryos. Sadly, it did not work. We were desperate at this point. Again, we just experienced brokenness. All the ‘why’s’ entered our minds, and the ‘what if’ scenarios. But we found the strength to focus on one step at a time, and we prayed that transferring our last two embryos would work.

On April 6, 2012, which also happened to be Good Friday, our twins were conceived! The transfer worked. My due date was December 23, 2012! Although we only made it to October 20th, Corbin and Lynley were born with ZERO health problems. Something rare for premature babies at that stage of pregnancy. These were our miracles, and we brought them home just six weeks later after they gained a little weight. Flash forward three years, and they are both right on track with no developmental problems.

Surviving Infertility and Not Losing Faith, Austin Moms Blog, National Infertility Awareness

This past fall, we were blessed with another little miracle. When we began trying for our third child, we knew we wouldn’t do IVF again, so it was our hope to conceive with as little intervention as possible. We never expected it to happen so quickly. Just two months later, we were surprised to find out I was expecting! Baby Harper was born in September. She was, and is perfectly healthy and right on track developmentally. Our family is complete, and I thank God daily for letting me be Corbin, Lynley and Harper’s mommy. It is a huge blessing that brings me to tears. Throughout this whole journey, I’ve learned to stop focusing on things that I can’t change. I have more of an “it is, what it is” attitude- something extremely difficult for my type a personality! This journey has strengthened my marriage and my faith and reminds me to cherish every moment, even the ones when I’m running on two hours of sleep,  and smelling like day-old spit up! I have to believe there was a purpose for all of the heartbreak. I try to never take anything for granted again!

To couples struggling with faith and infertility, I recommend the book Hannah’s Hope by Jennifer Saake.



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