I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting to end my series on navigating infertility with, but I promise you it wasn’t this post.
The series, which started with my story of surrender (Infertility Doesn’t Define Me) and then went through posts on faith, marriage, relationships, and our hearts, was written last year and has been shared over the past six weeks.
The only piece of the series that wasn’t complete ahead of time was my “end note”, the post that would tie everything together. I had a couple drafts sitting around but hadn’t decided on which one to use.
And then, the unexpected happened and I couldn’t use any of them anymore.
So I was left sitting in front a blank screen, trying to find words to finish a story that I hadn’t seen coming.
Since the New Year, I’ve written a couple of other pieces that have been haunting me a bit. Those of you who read my blog regularly probably remember them.
In January there was a post about how God has not forgotten me even if life didn’t look the way I expected (When You’re 99.8% Okay) and I also wrote about knowing God is big enough and good enough–even without the answers we long for in a post titled Is God Big Enough to Give Me a Baby?
If you don’t remember those posts, when you’re done with this one—you should go read them. They are startling in retrospect, because what I didn’t know when I was writing them was that God was working a miracle in my body. Things were healing and aligning and within a week of writing Is God Big Enough to Give Me a Baby? He was already doing it.
When I was writing Your Story Isn’t Over Yet, a new chapter in our lives was being built inside me.
And when I wrote How to Survive When God Says, “Wait.” the answer to the question I shared in that post (God, will I ever have a baby?) already had a beating heart and limbs forming, even though I had no idea.
By the beginning of March, I was battling the longest bout of the stomach bug I had ever experienced. My husband was preparing for a trip to Alaska and before he left he asked me if I might be pregnant.
And guys? I sat across the table from him and said, “Nope, there’s no way.”
I found out later that he didn’t believe me, but he didn’t say a lot right then.
I stopped drinking coffee, started throwing up over random things, and fell asleep almost every time I sat down. In the meantime, I was editing and preparing my series on infertility.
By the time I had it scheduled, my mother came to visit me with a package of pregnancy tests.
I hadn’t taken a pregnancy test in over nine years. But I took one that day and then sat with my head down, scared to even look at it.
I prayed, right there in the bathroom with the test beside me and all these conflicting emotions racing through my head, my hands shaking.
With or without, Lord, You are good.
Because that’s the lesson of the past eleven years.
With or without whatever it is that I’m longing for—God is still good.
And when it comes to babies and pregnancy, for the very first time I got to experience the “with”.
By the time I took that test, I was already further along than I’d ever been–over two months. By the time I went in for my first ultrasound, I was 15 weeks.
My husband and I sat in the waiting room, both tense with memories. Because the last time I had an ultrasound, all it did was show us a knobby ball of cysts. So Amos just held my hand and prayed over us until my breath was coming normally again.
I should have said something right away to the technician when we walked in. Should have mentioned that we were nervous and scared. But instead, I was my usual quiet self and laid down with all the fears and agony knotted up inside.
And the technician just sat and looked at the screen for what seemed like an eternity, concentrating on her work with a look that was completely indecipherable.
And once again, I was praying.
With or without, Lord, You are good.
When she finally turned the screen for me to see, she was all gentleness and kindness. “You can see here,” she pointed, “your baby is tucked head down, so I’m having a hard time getting a measurement. But the heart is right here, see it beating?”
I blinked and blinked again because everything was blurry, but there on the screen were tiny legs kicking about and a little hand waving and a miniscule heart beating 154 beats a minute.
I’m still a bit shaky over it all. I still look at my husband each day and whisper, “There really is a baby, right?” I’m fighting off nightmares of the baby disappearing or being taken away. In other words, I’m not walking into this unscathed by the eleven years of infertility. It’s all there—still part of the story.
But it turns out the story really isn’t finished yet.
You want to know the most interesting part of the whole thing? Nothing has changed, even while everything is changing.
I know that sounds crazy, but here’s the deal: I went through those scheduled posts on infertility as they went live, and they’re all still true. The things I wrote about God and faith and life and relationships? Not one single part has changed, even though I’m carrying a baby.
And that’s the part of God that overwhelms me.
He is who He says He is.
With and Without.
I’m sure you will hear more in the days to come, because I only write about what’s real and happening, but I pray that you’ll be blessed; even if you’re still living in the without like I was for so many years.
And I pray that you will feel the Lord’s presence deeper and more intimately every day, every month, every year.
Because He truly is exactly who He says He is.