Five years is a long time to wait for anything.
But when that waiting involves the wait for a baby, the timeframe seems infinitely longer.
And infertility makes you wait. Infertility causes one to hit the pause button on life.
After the tumultuous birth of Esther, I decided to take a year off before trying to have a third baby. My body was tired and needed to recover and my mind certainly not less so.
It didn't make sense. At the start of my journey, I was 32-years-old, in the prime of life. Yet I was unable to conceive a much wanted child. And I had two girls without the need for medical intervention already.
Yet no baby came. Weeks turned into months that evolved into years. Fertility doctor after fertility doctor could offer no explanation as to why my body would not cooperate.
No hope. Secondary infertility is real. Raw. Rough.
Test after test was run. I seemed healthy. So I cried out to God "why this innate desire to have a child that is not to be?"
But nothing prepared me for the shock I received one July night, four and a half years and $20000 deep into infertility treatments.
"Donor egg Laura. It's your only shot. Or quit fertility treatments altogether. There's no baby in your future with your own eggs. They are of low quality, incapable of making a baby."
Harsh words. True words. Not only would donor eggs be beyond any price point Tom and I could possibly afford, but the baby would not be genetically mine.
From a scientific perspective.....I was certainly a bleak case.
- 4.5 years trying to conceive (TTC)
- 3 years as a fertility patient
- 6 failed rounds on the fertility drug Femara with IUI's each month
- 10 failed rounds on injectable fertility drugs with IUI's each month
- 6 failed rounds rejected to be a candidate as an IVF patient (not enough eggs)
- 1 whopping failure of an IVF cycle and transfer
- 4 more months attempting to get a chance at IVF. All in vain.
More ugly words and infertility phrases....
- Donor eggs
- Undetectable AMH
- Poor responder to fertility drugs
- No egg quality to speak of. One or no eggs produced on the more aggressive fertility protocols.
- DOR (diminished ovarian reserve)
How could this be the truth about me? I felt so healthy.
The quality of the egg the woman puts out is vital as to whether a woman will conceive or not.
"We're at the bottom of the barrel. Even on the highest dosage of fertility drugs, you are still only producing one, maybe two eggs a month" (other woman produce anywhere from five to hundreds of eggs on such strong fertility drugs.)
"And those eggs are of such low quality that you are as fertile as a woman between 75-80 years old. This means that you and a women close to 80-years-old stand the same chance of conceiving a baby. Basically, no hope. No chance. I'm so sorry"
Stung, I persisted "so if we continue on this in vitro path, on the most aggressive fertility treatment possible, what are my chances of conceiving"?
"Laura...I tried to tell you, there is no hope. Even if you attempted 12 more aggressive IVF cycles, on the highest dosage of fertility drugs that I can legally prescribe, your chances of success are under the 1% mark."
"Okay doctor, what are the chances that I'll conceive without IVF, on my own naturally without any medical intervention?"
The doctor was speechless at my insane question.
Yet I never ceased praying As the days ticked by, and the news of my infertility issues got worse and worse, I continued to pray.
I asked God to prove the doctor wrong. Prove that he was stronger than any silly scientific facts about decrepit old eggs.
Prove that he was the author and inventor of science and any time he wanted to change the rules of the game....he could and he would.
Shortly after my conversation with my infertility doctor in July something weird happened. An intuitive woman by nature, I woke up feeling pregnant. A pregnancy test confirmed my suspicions.
But I wasn't excited about this pregnancy. Something felt terribly "off".
HCG is the hormone that home pregnancy tests and blood tests pick up on to determine if conception has occurred.
A number over 25 is considered essential to confirm pregnancy and as the days unfold, you expect that number to dramatically increase.
I flew to the clinic. They ran a blood test. Again, pregnancy confirmed. Sadly, my instincts were correct.
My numbers dropped quickly and I knew it was just another miscarriage to be added to my shame.
Then I did something very odd and hard for me.
He allowed my body to conceive. He gave me yet another baby who I will meet in heaven. He was not silent to the yearnings of my heart.
And I meant every word. The thankfulness was pouring from every fiber of my being. I cried on the couch and thanked God over and over for this blessing.
I am far from being the perfect Christian woman. But I do believe that God takes such pleasure in the real and authentic praises of his people. He delights in a thankful heart.
At this point in the journey, I started to wonder whether a baby would come or not, but it was possible. My body could do what science said was impossible.
So I started to mediate on one of my favorite verses in the Bible.
Matthew 19:26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Finally, I threw up my hands in despair and said...."God, I don't know how this journey will end, but I give you the reigns, finally. I vow to stop putting my faith in doctors, in procedures, in money invested in infertility treatments. I put my hope and trust in you.
And if you favor me with a third child Lord, and Lord somehow I know that this baby will be a boy, I will give him back to you. He will be light for you in the dark world and I will raise him with this commitment always at the forefront.
There. I said my peace. I was done. I was ready to go back to life fully again.
I'm a woman of instinct...."I just know". So I said a little prayer and ran a pregnancy test.
I set the test on the bathroom countertop (in retrospect I realize how gross this is) and went on with my morning chores. Packing lunches, laundry, making beds. An hour elapsed and it was now 7 a.m.
My heart was pounding but I needed to look at that pregnancy test again before throwing it out.
Confirmation. It was negative. No baby.
God....are you testing me? I "know" that I'm pregnant. I "feel" pregnant. But the test says no.
And suddenly I felt his presence.
Are you going to believe the good news I'm giving or will you falter and continue to believe in science?
See...when you go through years of fertility treatments you succumb to buying cheap dollar store pregnancy tests because you use so many. Overall, the cheap tests do work at a fraction of the cost that the name brands cost.
God gave me the insight to rip the test apart and I had this epiphany. The test was cheap. The piece that registered the HCG hormone got tucked under the wrong part of the plastic indicating a false negative.
Tears sprung from my eyes realizing the truth, yes, I was pregnant after all. And instinct once again took hold knowing full well that I would be loving and holding this baby soon.
Back to the clinic to run those dreaded HCG numbers.
Shock on the face of every nurse when I told them I was pregnant again.
One grabbed my hand and said "Dear, please don't get too excited, it's doubtful this pregnancy will last. Your body doesn't want to be pregnant and is resisting it."
But no one was going to steal my joy. This baby was a gift from above.
So they took my blood and I stood by the phone waiting for the results.
2 days later....
Second test number 1790
In case you don't obsess over the hormone HCG and I hope and pray you never have to....those are flaming good numbers. My numbers more than doubled indicating a healthy pregnancy that would most likely not end in miscarriage.
See when God choose to bless, he overfills our cup of joy. Not only did he make my numbers high to ease my mind, but he made them so high that there could be no doubt this baby would thrive.
Mind-blowing. I could enjoy this pregnancy. My mind was more at ease with such solid numbers!
Nine months elapsed and I joyfully gave birth to Timothy Thomas Sproull and I dedicate him to the service of the Lord. May he be a light to a very dark world.
As much as I appreciate all the human effort at the fertility clinic, I stand in awe of the Great Physician and the miracle baby he blessed me with.
His love. His Timing. His Grace. His Mercy.
Because I was given a 0% chance of conceiving naturally on my own and less than a 1% chance with the most aggressive IVF protocols.
This is what the Lord's love unfaltering love looks like.