Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hindsight Series, Part 1: Amanda

Our first pair of shoes belongs to Amanda. Amanda and Joey have been married for 5 years, and struggled with infertility for over 3 years before welcoming their daughter, Joni. Please enjoy Amanda's story below. Thank you, Amanda, for taking the time to contribute!

Amanda's Story

 photo amanda1_zps2c374da0.jpg

1. Please share your story/background briefly (about your journey of infertility and how it ended, where you are now)

Joey and I surprisingly found out we were pregnant in December of 2008, just a year after we were married. We say surprisingly because we were using birth control at the time, but unfortunately just learned we were expecting right as we were miscarrying. The loss of a baby we weren’t expecting or prepared for affected each of us differently, but profoundly. We decided to stop using birth control in February 2009 and see what the Lord had planned for us. Little did we know that we were what you call “idiopathic infertile” and would have our second miscarriage in January 2010 after trying a round of Clomid, since we had not gotten pregnant since our first loss and wasn’t testing positive for ovulation, followed by our third miscarriage in October 2011 after trying Progesterone cream and regular chiropractic treatments.

Interestingly enough, just two weeks after miscarrying the third time, we became pregnant and got the strongest positive test ever on November 14, 2011. We welcomed our daughter, Joni Elizabeth, into the world with a beautiful natural water birth on July 27, 2012, 1,306 days after the loss of our first precious gift.

To this day, I attribute our fertility success to the use of natural products. Just two months before getting pregnant, Joey and I went on the Maker’s Diet, shedding 20lbs each, and getting my blood sugar in the most level place possible. I researched causes of infertility and natural remedies, taking to a mixture of beliefs. I really focused on diet, knowing that nutrition is key. I gave up gluten, in case I had a gluten sensitivity that could be causing some Celiac disease (causes miscarriages). I also started eating organically and drinking raw milk in an attempt to remove as many preservatives as possible from my diet. We started seeing a Chiropractor as well, who did micronutrient testing on me and put us both on very high quality vitamins. (Highly recommend the micronutrient testing! Call Dr. McCrae at Essential Sport and Wellness in The Woodlands and tell him Amanda told you about this and he’ll order it for you long distance). We found a doctor that 1. Believed we had a problem and didn’t just keep testing my hormones over and over and 2. Who offered affordable solutions that if were unsuccessful, would at least help me feel better as I was. The micronutrient testing showed that I was deficient in a non-essential amino acid that’s only essential during, interestingly enough, DNA replication as it pertains to reproduction. All of our miscarriages were at 5 weeks, which is about when the heart starts beating. My lack of an otherwise useless amino acid was causing our babies to not properly develop to the state of viable pregnancy. God’s design is amazing!

2. Looking back, how was God at work during your time of waiting for children?

I truly think God was wrestling with me in an area I’ve always struggled in -- trusting through everything. I can look back at pivotal moments in my life where there was nothing but disappointment and abandonment. I think God was trying to show me that He blesses us in His timing as it fits according to His plan. I’ve always been in control, or so I thought, as I grew older to try and prevent disappointment from entering my, what I thought was, stable adulthood. Dependence on God is so much more beautiful and freeing than thinking we have everything under control that we don’t need Him. He was trying to show me that He has a plan for me and stop fighting against that plan.

3. Looking back, what would you describe as the purpose for you having to wait for children? In other words, what do you think was the reason(s) you had to wait?

I think I needed to wait for children so that I could really see God working in my life. I think if I would have gotten pregnant so easily, I wouldn’t have been as thankful for my daughter as I am now. It’s so easy to look at things and think, “Look what I did!” God wanted me to say “ALL praise and glory to Him!” I don’t mean that to say I wouldn’t be thankful either, but I think the growth and spiritual maturity that occurs during struggles can be so beautiful in hindsight, and makes us into such better people!

4. What was the biggest lesson(s) you learned through your journey?

I think the biggest lesson I learned was to just trust in the unknown. I think there finally came a point in time where I was so miserable in not being pregnant as I watched 37 (yes, I counted) other couples around us get pregnant and have children throughout our three and a half years of infertility where I just threw my hands up and just cried/screamed “God, I really don’t understand what you’re trying to show me! Could you possibly make it a little clearer, because I don’t think I’m going to figure this one out on my own?!” I had to force myself to listen to KSBJ (which the afternoon show host was pregnant at that time) in hopes I’d hear an inspirational song, read my bible as often as I could and specifically search for passages that would encourage the difficult walk that was laid before me. I learned that trust in the unknown doesn’t mean it’s easy, but rather more so that it takes hard, real, diligent and deliberate work to stay grounded in Christ. Hear me, though, when I say I went off the proverbial deep end before reaching this place, where I was so angry at God and anyone around me that was pregnant, wanting to offer advice, or who wanted to pass judgment upon me for our infertility as if it was a sin that was keeping us from getting pregnant. The enemy is near when we are hurting and wants nothing more than for us to blame God and turn away from Him. I had to learn to cling to Him, even when it was more a choice, rather than an instinct.

5. What helped you endure the time of waiting?

Actively seeking other women/couples that experienced the same thing is what helped the most. Infertility is such a strange beast that I think most people really don’t know how to respond so they end up responding oh so poorly! I had to find people who understood my struggle and who I knew I could feel safe venting/crying/praying with. It’s such an extremely emotional time that there are often times of questioning yourself. How much or how little should I share with people? How should I respond when something unknowingly hurtful is said? Should I feel obligated to go to showers, and will people who don’t understand be mad and not come to my shower later on? My mind would go in crazy places constantly, and knowing I wasn’t alone saved me from crying every time someone asked, "So, do you and your husband want kids?" Something else that someone told me was really helpful. "God wears big boy panties, so He can handle you being angry with Him right now for the hurt you’re feeling, as long as you keep two things in perspective. 1. Be seeking forgiveness for being angry with God and work toward fellowship with Him, even in the midst of your hurt. 2. Don’t forget that He understands your hurt and sent His only Son to die for you."

6. If you could go back and tell your past self something -- the past self who is in the midst of waiting -- what would you say?

God knows you and wants you to be a Mom. It may or may not be your own biological children, but He wouldn’t give you such a strong desire to love another human as a mother and give you such a Godly husband and not let you fulfill that gift in rearing children. Just be patient and learn to fall in love with God during this time.

7. Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I think it’s so extremely important for this topic to be discussed in premarital counseling, to talk about as a couple how they would like to handle things should this come up in their marriage. Infertility is so unexpected, that often times you don’t know how to react to one another, especially if you are lucky enough to get an answer as to why you’re infertile, leaving that party feeling so responsible and blamed. It’s also imperative that you pray about treatment options and only do what you feel comfortable with! Don’t let your emotions cloud your judgment and do something just because a doctor recommended it. Search within yourselves and really think about what treatments line up with your beliefs, what your budget is, what your timeline looks like, etc. Infertility treatment can be so expensive, and the last thing you want is to create financial stress between a husband and wife that are already stressed about infertility when you’re trying to bring a child into a family. Also, remember you became a family when you said, “I do”, not just when a child is introduced. No matter what God has planned, the ultimate goal is for the glory to be given to Him.

Previous: Hindsight Series Introduction
Next: Part 2: Charissa's Story

No comments:

Post a Comment