I just came home from the doctor’s office, and I’m really excited. Why? Because today I begin a whole new chapter in my life. I had surgery on July 3rd to remove my right fallopian tube. It took three years to get to this point. In June 2010, my husband and I started trying to have a baby. In July 2011, I was shocked to find out I was pregnant because I was suffering from a devastating pregnancy where the baby implanted on my right ovary. I had no idea. I ended up in the emergency room with my husband. I was given a chemotherapy drug (methotrexate), and we went home with empty hearts and a still empty womb. I would endure weekly blood tests for a month to ensure my pregnancy hormone levels were decreasing. Seven months later, I had a second life-threatening ovarian pregnancy. I was two months along, and I was borderline between surgery and the chemo drug again. My husband was 2,000 miles away setting up our new house where the military had relocated us. I was blessed to have my mom with me and together we decided on the chemo drug. She stayed for three weeks to help me begin my recovery. There was no heartbeat with either pregnancy, but I still believe life begins at conception. I wish I could tell you they could just move the baby from your ovary to your womb, but there is no technology to do this kind of thing yet. To continue this kind of pregnancy means that your reproductive organs will likely rupture and you will bleed to death. It is a terrible predicament to be in, and I wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone in the world! It’s one of those moments you must truly cry out to Jesus Christ for relief from your deepest pain.
The next three months I endured weekly blood tests watching my pregnancy hormone levels fall and my heart sink further and further into depression. My husband Mark came home one week after I was officially “cleared” of my pregnancy. I felt completely numb. I was beyond pain and grief. The next day the movers came and packed up our remaining items in the house and shipped them from Boise, Idaho to Erie, Pennsylvania where Mark had set up our new residence. We drove my little car and our three cats across the country. For the next six months I was grieving and heartbroken. Some days all I could do was cry. It was the middle of summer, but I left the windows and curtains closed. It was my winter. I felt guilty, angry, depressed and hopeless. My doctor had her physician’s assistant in Boise tell me to give up ever trying for children naturally again right before we moved. I was alone at this visit, and those words stung like a bee. That moment will live on as one of my hardest for the rest of my life. The physician’s assistant said that in Erie we could pursue a fertility specialist for assisted reproduction if we felt like it. I really didn’t know what to do with my life. I was a mess: I moved across the country, left my dream job, left the house we owned and loved, left my friends behind, lost a baby, and I felt like I had lost my fertility and womanhood too. Life didn’t seem like it could get much worse! All I could do was cling to God’s promises and pray He would give me some verses to strengthen and encourage me, as well as place some other Christians in my life. The verse in the photo is perhaps the one I cling to the most, but there are others I will be sharing with you that can perhaps encourage you in your darkest hour too. I am thankful for my small group at my awesome church–Grace Church–here in Erie, PA. They really helped me to get back onto my feet again and helped me to stay grounded in God’s Word through it all!
Last fall I began a journey to try to find out why I had my ectopic pregnancies. I finally found a doctor that insurance would cover and that was willing to help me out. I had an exploratory laparoscopy in April that revealed I had a damaged right fallopian tube. The doctor said this was likely the cause of my two ectopic pregnancies. Further testing revealed my husband Mark has no fertility issues, but I have a partially heart-shaped uterus that will make any future pregnancies difficult. My doctor discussed my future fertility prognosis. He pushed us hard to consider IUI and IVF in the future, but he also encouraged us to try naturally saying we could still be at a slight risk for yet another ectopic pregnancy. I had surgery on July 3rd to remove my right fallopian tube, and I am recovering nicely.
Today Mark and I have been given the “green light” to start trying naturally for a family again. I felt my heart leap with joy at this news just a few hours ago! I thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for carrying this burden for me, even though I’ve taken it back once or twice along the way. Mark and I had a huge philosophical and spiritual discussion with our doctor today. It was quite unexpected, but it felt like a great moment to talk about our faith, our beliefs, and our awesome church here in Erie. I feel compelled to pray for my doctor as he clearly needs Jesus Christ and has been turned off by his experiences growing up at church. He is very confused, but I have a burden on my heart to pray for him. Mark and I told the doctor that we will wait to see what the Lord has in store for our future. We trust that He has a good plan for our lives, and now we wait patiently to see how it will all unfold. He knows whether we will one day have children of our own or whether we will one day adopt an orphan just as He adopted us into His kingdom.
This journey has been so challenging. At times I just didn’t think I could bear another moment of anguish that my heart was feeling. I felt crushed under the weight of my infertility. I felt like the spiritual wind had been knocked out of me. But I never felt alone. I always knew that God had not abandoned me. He quietly and gently made His presence known. I love God’s creation and often it was something as simple and beautiful as a radiant sunset, waves crashing on the shore, colorful spring flowers and the many birds of the air that reminded me of how much He loves me–and they still do! The one thing I can say to encourage someone who feels like they’re at the end of their rope is to know that God loves you with an everlasting love. His love is greater than anything the world has to offer you. His love has the power to heal you and to break all of the bonds that are holding you down. Run to Him and know that He will wrap His arms around you and comfort you quietly with His love during your darkest hour. He will even take the burden from you if you let Him. He can fill you with renewed hope and His promises have never been broken.
No matter what you are going through, the Lord loves you with an everlasting love!