Infertility, IVF & Grace (part 1)

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I felt I was entitled to it.  I mean I am blessed right?  I have the favor of the Lord. I am the daughter of the King and He has promised his blessings and inheritance to me.  There is no reason why this wouldn’t work out in my favor.  I sought His wisdom before I started – no resistance was discerned, no indication that He was against the decision.  Prophetic words were given over and over that this was in my future.  I stood on that.  I stood on His promises.  I declared His Words.  I walked in faith.  I bathed it in scriptures.

Hope was high.

Everything in the natural seemed to be lined up in my favor.  I spent months of proclaiming, declaring and standing.  So when the news came that it didn’t work, I was shaken!

We had been married for about a year when my husband and I decided to have a baby.  After several unsuccessful months I decided to go in for fertility testing.  I had been tested years before and was documented to have infertility but I had hoped I was healed and that it had changed. When we didn’t get pregnant right away I suspected it hadn’t.  Testing confirmed my fears. For anyone who has wanted to get pregnant and couldn’t you’ll be familiar with the emotions of fear, anger and desperation that quickly assaulted my thoughts.

“I’m never going to have a family.”

“Why is this happening to me?”

“What’s wrong with me?”

“How come all these people who don’t want to have babies keep getting pregnant?”

“Why, God, why?”

“Will I ever have a baby?”

“Is there something I can do?”

After much discussion, research and prayer Jonathan and I felt God gave us the go ahead to pursue “alternative” methods to getting pregnant.  We saw the doctors, discussed all the options and due to my type of infertility pursued the only medical option we had: IVF (in vitro fertilization.)

Jonathan and I believe life begins at conception so we didn’t enter into this decision lightly.  The process of IVF means that life for our little ones would begin in a dish. The potential of there being way more lives then we planned on adding to our family had to be discussed.  We agreed that how ever many lives lived in that dish would be the number we would have.  If that meant we had 7+ children, then so be it.  We also made “embryo adoption” plans in our Wills for our little ones just in case once their lives began – ours unexpectedly ended.  We tried to foresee and cover all the moral obligations we could to protect and care for the lives of our children.

With Jonathan’s overseas deployment quickly approaching we pushed to get the ball rolling before he left.  Our hope was I would get pregnant and be nearing delivery when he returned to the United States.  It sounded easy.  Count these days, take these shots, have this procedure and BAM – you’re pregnant!

If only that were so.

Jonathan completed his part of the procedure and off he went to “the sandbox” as they call it.  My sister joined me for my procedures and Jonathan attended by phone.  They were able to extract nine eggs from me and placed them in a dish with Jonathan’s “little swimmers.”  And “ta da” nine little lives of our family began.  But on the third day of their young lives only four remained.  We grieved for the five but remained hopeful for the remaining embryos.  By day five these four remained strong ready for a continued chance to live.  The doctors said they couldn’t have looked better.  We decided to have two implanted – hoping for twins – and two frozen to join our family later.  Modern science is amazing!

After 20 or 30 minutes reclining in an office I had these two amazing lives within me.  It would be two weeks of waiting to confirm they were nestled warmly in my welcoming womb.  These two weeks were the longest most anxiety-filled weeks of the whole process.  I thought the shots and the procedures were the hard part – little was done to prepare me for that agonizing wait.  Unclear expectations added to the tension.

Two weeks passed.  Blood was drawn and hours later the dreadful call notifying me that I was not pregnant came.  I had to notify Jonathan of the disappointing news by phone.  Then I went back to my room and cried.  I didn’t understand what had happened.

I had planned for the trip, anticipated a great outcome.  I packed my bags, bought my ticket and boarded the train of my bright future.  I had mapped out my course; seeking the Lord’s wisdom all along the way.  The train departed the station and began to pick up speed.  I was on the way to my destiny when suddenly, somehow the train I thought I boarded changed course.  This new route did not seem to have my best interest in mind as it barreled down this unknown track!

What happened?  I couldn’t explain this.  This shouldn’t have happened.  I followed my negative thoughts from initial denial to shocked disappointment, from disillusionment to despair. 

After not being able to discern whether or not I was “fine”, I determined indeed I was NOT fine.  I found myself in bed, in the dark, sobbing.  I couldn’t figure out how I got here.  Following my normal tendency to take all responsibility onto myself I tried to find out where I went wrong.  Did I misunderstand?  Should we not have done this?  Did I allow the enemy to sabotage by not having enough faith in the promises of God?  Had I forgotten to repent of some self-imposed curse?  I was so angry for getting myself into this situation!  I was hurting.  I was angry.

Then I began thinking I wasn’t worthy of my planned destination.  Not qualified.   Not ready.  I had been labeled with “Less Than” – less than everyone else who booked and made the trip.  I thought, “God – what’s the deal?  I thought you were good!  I thought you loved me!  You promised me!  You said this was my destiny!  I did everything you expected of me!  What went wrong?”

I was exhausted – the tears overwhelmed me and my head was hurting from the pressure.  I decided that I couldn’t do this anymore – I couldn’t live my life this way.  I started to reason that I had it wrong all this time.  I thought, “Faith in God is a waste of time and effort.  It doesn’t work.”  I began to question if God and all my beliefs about God and Christianity was all in my head. I began to question everything.

As soon as I started down this path of thinking I became afraid.  Because while in the moment this felt safe and reasonable, when I projected into the future of living without belief in God and Jesus and faith, life looked even darker and uglier than it currently felt.  I knew I was in trouble and needed help.  Praying to God wasn’t working because all I could hear were my own reasonable thoughts or worse – silence -  which felt like confirmation.  So I called a trusted friend…but she didn’t answer the phone; adding the sense of aloneness to despair.  But only minutes later she called me back and I could barely speak from all the crying.

All I could say was, “I can’t do this anymore…”

“Do what?” she asked compassionately.

“Have Faith,” my voice choking on tears, “It’s too hard…and it doesn’t work!”

I felt like such a failure.  I was so angry and disappointed in myself because the test of my faith had come and I failed.  I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t persevere.  I couldn’t muster up the strength.  Years of being a Christian, a strong Christian, a leader, teacher, counselor, Bible school graduate and now licensed reverend all to come to the test and fail.

My good friend said many things; all with gentleness and wisdom.  She reassured me that it wasn’t the performance of my faith that obligates God to favorable action and that sometimes we just don’t know why these things happen.  Thankfully she didn’t offer me common cliché’s like “God has his perfect timing – Just be patient” or “All things were going to work for my good” or  that “I could do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and she didn’t try to reassure me that this was an opportunity for growth that later I would be able to minister from or tell me to “Just continue to pray it through.”

But she did tell me that I didn’t have to prove my faith right now.  That there were plenty of loved ones around me that were praying for me and can have the faith that I couldn’t have.  She suggested I didn’t have to do anything and that God had enough Grace for me in this moment.  She asked me if I could allow God’s Grace to be enough.  I suddenly had a picture of a great big featherbed, a featherbed of Grace, and all I had to do was fall into it. And then the pressure came off – and I thought, “Yes, I can do that.”  Faith seemed like so much work, so much pressure, but Grace – Grace didn’t require anything.  Trusting in Grace didn’t require me to proclaim scriptures, declare promises, or even walk in accordance with any stipulation that illustrated my beliefs.  Grace was something only God could do – it didn’t require anything of me.  Grace became the lens through which I could see God clearly again.  In the midst of despair, exhaustion and confusion Grace became the harnessing knot at the end of my rope and later would become the springboard for the rest of my life!

Of course this isn’t the end of the story my Bio page (along with most of my other posts) lets that cat out of the bag.  But the events that led to those amazing miracles is a story for another day.

Copyright ©2012 makeitplainontablets.wordpress.com

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13 thoughts on “Infertility, IVF & Grace (part 1)

    Robin Lemon said:
    February 12, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    I remember that phone call, my friend. Life really is as I always say “nothin’ but grace”. We are defined bt His amazing GRACE! Thank you for sharing your life so freely. I hope many will be inspired to follow their path of grace because of your humility. Love you!!

      Debra Bell responded:
      February 13, 2012 at 9:44 am

      Robin, I can’t imagine doing life without you. You have been an irreplaceable friend. I can’t wait to read YOUR blog! ;)
      ~ Debra

        Robin Lemon said:
        February 13, 2012 at 9:48 am

        Yep….been working on it for about four months now in between working like crazy and life. I’ll have it active very soon. Then we can encourage each other! You are the true writer though, my friend!

        Debra Bell responded:
        February 13, 2012 at 1:39 pm

        I can’t wait to read it!

    Michelle said:
    February 13, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Ah! I love this… I got so sucked into it that I thought I was reading a book!! Until it ended! I hope the rest of the story comes soon :)

      Debra Bell responded:
      February 13, 2012 at 8:40 am

      Fabulous! I am already working on the next part. Thanks for the encouragement.

    Lynnie Harlow said:
    February 13, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Soooo good…I love your life stories. I shared this again on our ministry page.

    Lynnie

      Debra Bell responded:
      February 13, 2012 at 9:41 am

      Thank you, Lynnie!

    fwinslow said:
    February 14, 2012 at 8:54 am

    powerful. love you. love your journey. love your God.

      Debra Bell responded:
      February 14, 2012 at 9:22 am

      I love you too. God is Good!

    J. Bell said:
    February 14, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Go, baby, go!

    […] God is still God – And is always is no matter what happens. […]

    […] I will not allow the shortness of your life lack impact on the Earth.  Your life, though brief, will not be without meaning.  You will never know breath in your lungs, the taste of sweetness, nor feel the tenderness of my kisses.  You will never know the burn in your lungs when you run full force across a field for the ball or the exhilaration of jumping from the diving board into a pool for the first time.  You won’t know the butterflies fluttering in your stomach as you fall in love nor the beauty and intimacy of marriage or the joy of having your own children. […]

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