Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Hindsight Series, Part 2: Charissa

Our next story belongs to Charissa. Charissa and John had a lengthy journey of waiting on the Lord, but now have three beautiful daughters. They also have their own blog called Highs and Ludlows. Thank you, Charissa, for taking the time to contribute to this series. I hope you all enjoy her story.


Charissa's Story

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

John and I were married for 4 years when we just felt it was a good time to start trying for a family. We ended up trying for 3 1/2 years before i got pregnant. My mom got pregnant very easily and I just never had infertility on my radar. I didn't know anyone who had had a hard time trying to conceive personally. Sure I heard stories and prayed for people's prayer requests, but it wasn't really real until it happened to me.

We tried for the year that they suggest to you before you do anything, and nothing. So we both went in for tests and my doctor was not really concerned at that point. I felt that it was a lot of tests, just for them to say, 'eh'. We decided to pursue medical intervention through IUI. My doctor really only recommended three rounds and this what we did for 3 months. Scheduling, shots, and tears were normal during this time. We took a break for a few months and then tried one more IUI round.

The day I got my period and not a pregnancy was the day we also got a call that John's younger sister had gotten pregnant on her wedding night. We called a counselor the next day. It wasn't that I didn't want her to have a baby, it just was supposed to happen to me first! Going to a counselor was one of the best decisions that John and I have made as a married couple. We discussed our families and how we viewed God, and the loss of not being able to have a baby.

We also felt like we were ready for the next step of IVF. I read in one of the many infertility books that sometimes couples can go broke trying for just "one more time", and that it was good to have a limit on what you were willing to do before you started. So we set a limit of one.

It was during this time that I heard our pastor's wife share her personal story of infertility at a women's event. I came blubbering afterwards to talk to her and we met a few months later with a group of others who had struggled with infertility. I was surprised at who all showed up. Couples I knew in passing showed up. Couples who already had babies were there. And I remember bitterly thinking, "They have their babies, why do they struggle anymore?"

God was so gracious during this time. He showed me how much he did love me and cried with me each disappointing month after disappointing month. We used the same doctor as the pastor and his wife, which was unfortunately 2 hours away! John and I used that time to pray, talk, and discuss life. We transplanted two embryos but unfortunately lost one of the babies in month 2.

Gianna Joy was born 6 weeks early in an emergency C-section as she was breech! But God was faithful and our baby girl came home with only 8 days in the hospital. Fast forward 18 months later and we found ourselves going through IVF again. John had amazing insurance that covered IVF, and he was laid off but could still be on COBRA. We had no frozen eggs so we repeated every shot, every pill, and every blood check again! On the day of our retrieval, we had to be relocated for our procedure to Dallas, as our doctor's office was in the direct path of Hurricane Ike. God spared us and this time two embryos are our twins Elizabeth and Cosette. Currently we are days away from Gianna's 6th birthday and Elizabeth and Cosette are 3 1/2.

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

I would say that God used my time of waiting to let me really see how good He is. Even when things were hard - that He still cared for me and my needs, that He cried and held my dreams dear. That He loved me no matter what, and that I needed to love Him no matter what too.

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 wish I knew! All I know is that it was totally His timing. Maybe it was so I would be able to identify with so many women and share how a void worked in my life. Maybe it was to bring about greater dependency on Him, or maybe it was just so I could remember when other things have been hard - that I survived and He helped me with the pain once as He will do again.

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

That God is good no matter what.

5. What helped you endure the time of waiting?

Having my husband be in the same place of desperation and longing and dependence on God as I was. We were partners and prayed so so much together. It also helped to have friends that had been through infertility praying for me. And honestly, going to counseling really helped me identify some sin patterns and areas I needed to trust God in, that I don't think I would have ever discovered if not for going through infertility.

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?

Your life may not ever end up being the daydreams you had in your mind. But God is still good, and you are loved. Time will ease this pain and memory.

7. What were your thoughts/feelings about IVF prior to trying for a family, and how did your struggle affect those feelings?

Ok, honest truth - I judged people who had IVF. I wondered about all that science stuff and if it was really "God's plan." I thought that twins from IVF weren't "real" and somehow cheated. So yup, I am a hypocrite. But when faced with my options I no longer cared. I wanted a baby and felt that if other holy women in my life thought it was ok to do, that I just might be ok with it. We prayed and really put up our own limitations prior to ever walking in the doctor's door. We knew where our lines were and what the number and effort we were willing to do for it. I also flat out told family members that we have prayed about our decisions, and shared some of our reasons for them, but that if they had any problems with IVF to keep them to themselves and to just pray for us. I was blown away by the support from many members of all our families. I also struggled with the "what ifs" about having too many fertilized eggs, but I never had any extra to spare that were of the quality to be frozen. In fact when we decided to do IVF again because of insurance, I had to start completely over with every shot and pill again. God was gracious with us again and the second time we didn't have any eggs that were of the quality to be frozen.

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

I truly can't believe how fast time has flown since I cried ugly tears and begged God to give me a baby each and every month. I still pray with a heart that understands when I hear of someone who is struggling with infertility. It's a shared sisterhood of quiet tears. I now know the pain, but I also know God more. Without the struggle, I would have kept God in my box and my plans and my desires. I wouldn't have been able to say my God is good - all the time.

Previous: Part 1: Amanda's Story
Next: Part 3: Jenny's Story
Return to Hindsight Series Introduction

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for including me Christine! I feel honored you included me!