There are few struggles as lonely and as invisible as infertility. But for those with empty arms, the wait for a baby can challenge even the most sincere faith.
And every month that passes with yet another negative pregnancy test is another reminder that God hasn’t answered their prayers.
But for Megan, God’s grace was greater than even her desire for a baby.
MEGAN’S STORY: GOD HAS A PLAN
“Throughout the whole thing, I’ve known in my head and my heart, God has a plan. I know there’s a reason. His timing will be best, but on the day to day level, that didn’t really stop me necessarily from getting emotional or being hurt.” Megan said.
She and her husband, Ben, married young – full of hope, love, and expectation about how their life would look. And before they even got married, their dreams involved children. They had no reason to foresee the huge obstacle they would have to navigate together.
“My mom had three kids, and it’s just not something you think of.” Megan explained, “When you’re a kid, you always just dream about your family and being a mom. You never think, oh, what if I have trouble? After six years of infertility, we discovered that wasn’t as easy as we thought it would be.”
THE FIRST YEARS OF TRYING TO HAVE A BABY
They didn’t know there was even a problem the first year. They were off birth control, but Megan was finishing up grad school and was distracted by her studies. When she went in for her annual appointment, the doctor was surprised they had been trying for a year and thought there should be some tests. Megan hadn’t even considered that there was a problem.
After the tests, the doctors told Megan that even though there were some little problems, there was still a good chance that they could get pregnant without intervention. They tried on their own for another year. By the third year, she was ready to use fertility treatments.
“For about a year, we treated different things, and then kind of got tired of it.” Megan remembered, “We’d take a few months off or maybe six months off, and then we’d start another round of treatments, so it was kind of off and on over the course of the next few years, but more on than off.”
During those four years of infertility treatment, they had 11 months of insulin blockers, 14 cycles of various fertility drugs and shots, 5 cycles of intrauterine insemination, and even a surgery to remove cysts and blockage. None of it produced even one positive pregnancy test.
All the while, Megan and Ben were watching their friends around them moving forward with their own families.
“It didn’t hurt any friendships but definitely felt myself being jealous as I was at the time of life where all my friends were getting pregnant, some of them baby number two or three.” Megan said, “I just felt like we were kind of getting left in the dust. I was happy for them of course. There was a point in time where I counted. I had 18 friends who were all pregnant at once. I was like, ‘Man, why is it never me?’”
MARRIAGE AND FAITH IN THE FACE OF INFERTILITY
Despite a monthly reminder that their prayers weren’t being answered, Ben and Megan were fortunate. Many couples who experience the long years of infertility end up suffering in their relationship. The scheduled intimacy, shattered expectations, and constant disappointment often take their toll, and even if they do manage to get pregnant, the marriage is often past the point of recovery.
Ben and Megan stayed healthy. They navigated the journey together, and sharpened one another in the process.
Even more importantly, their faith in God remained strong, although that’s not to say there weren’t some ups and downs.
“I’ve never really been one to not believe or to question God or have these huge doubts. Throughout the whole thing, I’ve known in my head and my heart, God has a plan. I know there’s a reason. His timing will be best.” Megan went on to confess, “But I will say on the day to day level, that didn’t really stop me necessarily from getting emotional or being hurt, and when I’d pray about it, I was like, “OK, God, I know you have a plan. I just pray that it’s sooner rather than later. It’s hard to wait, but I know You’re in control.’”
On the hard days, Megan often repeated Scripture and spent time in personal Bible study to remind herself of God’s faithfulness. One of the passages that Megan rested in throughout those years was Habakkuk 3:17-18. It says,
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
IS ADOPTION AN OPTION?
For six years, they waited and hoped and struggled, and cried, and waited some more. And as they were waiting, adoption would come up from time to time. This wasn’t the answer Megan was looking for.
She acknowledged, “Adoption was a big, scary thing for me that I thought we would never do honestly. I think it’s a beautiful, wonderful thing. When I see people do that, I think it’s awesome, but I always just thought, Oh, I don’t think I could do that. I just had so many fears about it. I’m afraid I won’t be able to love it the same. What if I’d feel differently? Or what if someone hands me this baby, and I don’t love it? I just kept thinking, I’m going to have this child, and I’m not going to love it.”
Whenever it would come up, Megan and Ben would shrug it off for a worst-case-scenario they’d consider in the future. It was so packed with fear for her that she was more prepared to be childless than to adopt.
“Ben and I actually talked about that a little bit. If we don’t have kids, what does that look like? Because we were trying to decide if we should adopt, and we thought, maybe we won’t adopt. Maybe we’ll just never have kids. Maybe we’ll be those people that just invest in other people’s lives even more.” Megan said.
But all of that changed with a phone call last fall.
They were on another break from infertility treatments – and this break felt permanent. They had been praying for clarity for weeks. Megan said, “I just felt like I needed time to just process it all and be at peace with the fact that we weren’t going to have children. I just didn’t know what to do.”
Then one day around Thanksgiving, a woman Megan only barely knew called her. The purpose was simple, “I heard about this baby that needs adopting and I thought of you, so let me know what you think.”
This was the last question they were expecting. And for Megan and Ben, the shock was just too much.
Their first answer was actually no. They didn’t think they could do that. It felt too soon, too unplanned. The birth mom was already halfway through the pregnancy, and they didn’t feel ready to bring home a baby in just a few months. It was all too much. But they’d been praying for clarity, and God answered immediately after they said no.
“After I said no, it’s like the one time in my life where I felt ill over that decision. I knew it was the wrong decision. I couldn’t sleep. I felt sick to my stomach like when you do something bad as a kid, and your stomach just hurts afterward. That’s how I felt the next day. I just felt like, this is not right. I don’t think we made the right decision, and I couldn’t stand thinking about it knowing that we had said no.” Megan said.
She asked her husband to revisit the idea, and they agreed that they needed to call back. Was it too late to change their minds?
LEARNING TO TRUST GOD
It wasn’t too late. They began the legal process to enter into a private adoption, and four months later, they met their daughter, Ruby when she came into the world.
As soon as they agreed to the adoption, Megan’s feelings about it changed. The fear evaporated as she embraced the idea that it was the right answer and everything would be fine. Her fears immediately transformed into excitement.
“I feel like it’s the one time in my life that God made it so clear what I was supposed to do. They say God’s the master communicator. He created communication. He will make it clear. I had started feeling like, I guess I just don’t understand what that means or how to understand God’s will, because I felt like I was doing the right things and walking in His will, and it still wasn’t clear, but then when it was clear, it was clear. It’s hard to explain, but it’s like the point at which it was obvious what we were supposed to do. I had such peace about it. He changed my heart,” said Megan.
She continued, “How did I ever think that I wouldn’t be able to love this baby? I don’t know. I don’t know how to explain it other than it was just, as soon as they gave her to me, and she was in my arms, I just felt like she was mine. I felt like God had prepared me for that because it was such a transition for me to even accept the adoption that, once He did, I didn’t even really think about her not being mine, and that’s how I felt ever since at the hospital and bringing her home, I feel no different than if I had given birth to her.”
GOD’S PLAN AND TIMING
God’s grace had redeemed their waiting and overcome their fears about adopting. Finally, after praying and hoping for 6 years, their hopes for a family were being answered. It wasn’t the path they had expected, but their obedience and trust had led them to their precious baby girl.
They were content. They were overwhelmed. They were excited. But God was just getting started.
A few months before their daughter was born, Megan realized something important. She was pregnant.
“Our first thought was ‘OK, when would this make me due? And how far apart are these babies going to be? Does it make sense to still do the adoption and all that?’ But at that point, we already felt invested and committed into this adoption, and so to find out I was pregnant was just double excitement. Getting pregnant after the fact made me feel like the adoption was even more meant to be. If Ruby hadn’t come to us first, and I had gotten pregnant first, and then I got that phone call, I probably would’ve been like, ‘Oh no. No, no, I’m good. I’ve got a baby. It’s fine.’ Looking back, it had to happen in this order, and I’m so thankful that it did.”
TWO BABY GIRLS
Megan is due in September. Their daughters will be six months apart. They’ll be a constant reminder that God’s timing – and the long wait – were all in line. It had to happen that way for God to perfectly form their family together.
There didn’t seem to be any chance that they would adopt and there didn’t seem to be any hope that they’d get pregnant. But they were determined to find joy in their Lord. And then, He gave them a family when they stopped expecting one.
And now they can say with absolute certainty that His grace was greater than their infertility.
If you are in the middle of a personal trial we encourage you to explore this personal Bible study or small group Bible Study by Bob Russell, called Acts of God. In this study he teaches that to get from the problem of pain to experience the purpose of pain, we must all take a journey of faithfulness. Learn more here.
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