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A Bundle of Myrrh

"My beloved is unto me as a bundle of myrrh." Song of Solomon 1:13

Fertility in a Fallen World: Kelly’s Story

March 25th, 2014 by Aubri

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(SOURCE)

A few weeks ago I asked if anyone would be willing to discuss a topic that isn’t easy and share the story of their fertility journey. I have had a very good response from many of you and I’m honored to finally begin presenting some of the stories that have graciously been provided by some wonderful women.  

In this series women with different experiences will share the pain and blessings that the gift of fertility carries with it, in the hope of bringing out God’s grace and promise to those couples struggling to welcome this gift when it is not known how it will turn out in a sinful world. 

Whether the result be a healthy child, a child who goes almost immediately to be with Christ, or there is no gift of life, all women of child-bearing age wrestle with this cross and the unforeseen works of God that are to come.

While we might envy God’s work in another woman or couple, Christ alone designs the cross appropriately for each. To desire to please God in this sinful world will entail suffering. But there is comfort in knowing we are not alone. There is value in hearing each other stories, that while our paths are different, it is still a struggle of faith, which all God’s children share. 

And it is a great comfort to know that God’s love is not found in how many children we are given or have taken from us, but in the saving sacrifice of Christ on the cross and in His glorious resurrection.

Our first story comes from Kelly who wrote her story on her blog Fearfully and Wonderfully Made .

When my husband and I were engaged, we talked extensively about our desire for children someday – both biological and adopted.  We knew the someday would come when we were ready for such a feat, but we knew the “someday” was not as newlyweds.

 I mean, I was in the middle of graduate school.

My husband was relocating to live with me in an apartment the size of our current living room.

My husband didn’t have a job and I was a graduate assistant.

This was not the time.  We both knew it.

So, a couple months before getting married, I talked to a doctor about the best ways to prevent pregnancy once we were married.  The doctor gave me her advice (the Nuva Ring), and told me to try it before the wedding, so my body would be ready.

And I did.

Phew, that was a rough patch in our soon-to-be-married relationship, because I. Was. Hormonally. Crazy.

Throw-the-scrambled-eggs-across-the-room-because-they-made-me-angry CRAZY.  Yes, that did happen.

My fiance gently said, “Honey, do you think maybe you should try something else?”

It scared me how much that drug controlled me, when in fact, I was using it to control me.  That is what birth control does.  You think you are controlling baby-making, but really it is controlling you and your cycle and your emotions and your life and your relationship.

Long story short, we made the decision to just do barrier method for pregnancy prevention.

Something had always sort of seemed wrong to me about using “barrier methods,” but I didn’t exactly know why I felt that way.  As a woman who waited until marriage to have sex with my husband, it just seemed WAY more “I have sex with lots of people so I don’t want their body to touch me” than I was really wanting in a marriage.  It seemed cold and distant…and sort of a passion buzzkill, right?

But, alas, I wasn’t doing any hormone drugs and I was determined to not have babies yet, so barrier it was.

My husband found a job.  I graduated with my master’s degree.  He was accepted to seminary.  We moved to a real adult-sized apartment.  I got a real adult-sized job.

WE decided it was time.  We had always talked about adopting before having biological children.  So, we started down the foster care/adoption road (or more like a dirt path with humongous potholes and giant hills).  We did the classes.  We did the homestudies.  We did the paperwork.  We got approved.

. . . . . . .

Yep. . . just waiting here. . .

All the while, barrier method it was.  We were in control of the situation.  We were trying to adopt a child who needed a family.  We were being good people…doing good things for the world.  And we were controlling the pregnancy situation.

And we were still waiting.  The system is broken.  Adoption is a hard road.  There is so much heartache involved.  But gloriously, then it happened.  A young girl, 13 months old, Hispanic, beautiful.  She was going to be ours.

But, did I mention the system is broken?  She ended up somewhere else.

Insert tears.  Lots of tears here.  The system may have been broken, but it was not as broken as me.

After the shock wore off, my husband and I decided it was time.  We were taking control of the situation, and we were going to get pregnant.  The system can’t take away our conceived baby like it took away what we thought was our baby.

One month later, I was with child.  See, we were in control.  We stopped preventing and it happened.  In our minds, that is how birth control worked.

We told our families.  We prepared our lives.  We ate the right foods.  We visited the doctor to confirm.  We took the right prenatal vitamins.  We were a family of three.  It was awesome.

We walked into that first ultrasound (approximately 10 weeks pregnant) holding hands and smiling.  I had played the whole scene in my head.  I knew enough pregnant ladies and I had seen enough movies to know what to expect here.  A black and white screen.  A round circle with a budding little human.  A heartbeat visible with little lines.  The kiss and smile from the husband.  The “Oh, that is our baby!”  The tears.  The whole thing.  I knew.

Except that wasn’t what happened.  Well, there was the black and white screen.  Then.

Well, then there was silence.

And then there was the kiss from the husband, but no smile attached.

And then there were the tears.

This.  This I did not expect.  This I did not know.

The apologies.  The explanations.  The planned surgery.  It was all a blur after that black and white screen. I was no longer in control of the situation.

Little did I know at the time, but I had never been in control of the situation.  We are led to believe in this “obviously everyone uses some sort of birth control world” that we are in control.  The fact is, the only control we have is the control to prevent or end a pregnancy.  That isn’t control.

Our miscarriage made my whole worldview get flipped.  We did it by the book.  We waited until we were married.  We waited until we were “ready.”  Then, our baby dies.  Let me say it again, THAT is NOT control.

So, why don’t we prevent pregnancy anymore?  Well, there are a lot of reasons.  The biggest reason is because birth control and barrier methods made us sin against the first commandment.  We were not loving and trusting God above all else when we were “controlling” the situation.  We were creating our own god of the family we wanted and when we wanted it.  Every reason we had for preventing pregnancy was selfish.

Do I believe there are circumstances in some marriages which necessitate preventing pregnancy?  Yes.  Most certainly.  But we don’t have any of those and we never have.  All we had were excuses for a lack of trust.

We have now been blessed with three more children (one through adoption shortly after our miscarriage and two biological).  They are all three and under.  I get the usual, “You’re done now, right?  You have had your girl now.  Three is enough.  Your hands are full.” comments.  I smile and say, “We will see what God decides.”

Behind that smile and statement is a WHOLE LOT OF FEAR…

How can I buckle ANOTHER one into a carseat?
Who will help me in church?
What if I am sick for the first 35 weeks of another pregnancy?
AHHHHHHHH…..

I am not without those thoughts.  I live with them daily.  Obeying the first commandment is not something I am very good at.

As a breastfeeding mom who has not gotten her period back, I make it a policy to take one pregnancy test every month.  Breastfeeding and postpartum hormones will get you to believing you are pregnant everyday.  It is crazy what we can make ourselves believe about symptoms.  So, once a month, I wait those three-five minutes.  I go in thinking, “Oh. My. Goodness.  Please be negative.  I need some sleep.  I need a shower.  I need to be able to pee by myself.”  Then, the one line shows up and tells me I am not pregnant.

Something strange happens in that moment.  I feel sadness.  I feel a sense of loss.  And then I know.  I know another carseat will fit in that van.  I know a friend will join me in church.  I know my husband will hold my hair back during first trimester puking.  I know if God so chooses, I will be overjoyed to welcome another life into this family.

Being in control is terrible.  Actually, no – thinking you are in control when you really aren’t is terrible.

So, even though I was never able to meet our first child, Jovi still taught me as much as my other children have.  Jovi changed my view of control.

————-

I would love to hear your story. If you would like to share that with us please see these posts:

Fertility Stories – Would You Share?

 

3 Responses to “Fertility in a Fallen World: Kelly’s Story”

  1. Katy says:

    Thanks, Kelly, for sharing. I, too, go through the scared/relieved/sad cycle when I dip that stick in the cup of pee. (Thanks for reminding me to order online some testing strips for cheap; my husband hates it when a drive late at night to buy an $6 one at the grocery store, just because I HAVE TO KNOW RIGHT NOW)

    If it pops up positive, though, joy always covers the fear :)

  2. Just a thought: Could you comment further on what you mean by “cross” third and fourth paragraphs? I think I understand that you mean the burdens of our life are crosses, taken up to follow Christ. However, should we consider children to be “crosses” (which I know we all sometimes do!), or rather as blessings? I’m not trying to be picky, just reflecting on the terminology. I know when I envision my children as something more to do, or part of my cross, I don’t fully view them as the blessings that God calls them. Likewise, is infertility ever a gift from God as well? Or baby loss? How do we differentiate between the “crosses” we bear, the gifts from God? Thanks for you ideas!

  3. Aubri says:

    Great Question, Marie
    Here is a pastoral stab at it (this is not Aubri, but her husband):

    Crosses, suffering for the sake of Christ and reasons to trust in Him, are good and in fact better than what man views as good, since they please God. However, it is a matter of perspective. Simple bearing and raising children is not God pleasing absolutely (It is impossible to please God without faith in Christ). I think talking of children as gifts and blessings is only part of the picture. It ignores sin and death. From our perspective children do not make life easier and more fun (except to sadists and those who hate sleep and quiet). But in faith we know that it is a good and holy work to sacrifice ourselves in this way, since it is pleasing to God. It is death to the sinful nature.

    Luther called children “marred blessings.” A life is always a blessing since God creates it and sent Christ to die for that life. But from our perspective, outside of faith, death, sickness, and sadness are certain to come attached with these “blessings.” But only faith sees these very consequences of sin as good, because they draw us closer to Christ and His merciful will. Of course, eternally, what is most horrible here on earth (death) is child’s play, since Christ will raise the dead. But we don’t blithely tell parents of children who fell asleep in Christ that they were greatly blessed. They are are in God’s eyes, since life is His work, but they may not see it so clearly. I like “cross,” because having less children than one wants is a cross and having more is a cross. What we want is beside the point. Seeing children as good and wanting to please God will entail suffering of some kind. But crosses accepted in faith are the best blessings, because they are not what the sinful nature wants, but what God chooses.