Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Oh Baby

When I was younger I dreamed of having children. I planned my future when I was still a little girl. I made a wish on every star I saw, especially shooting stars and it all boiled down to one thing, well two. I wanted to be a wife and a mother. I was not satisfied with only one child for my future, either. I wished for eight children. This was before mothers were getting their own television shows for having big families, unless you count the Waltons. There were four of us children growing up and I was surrounded by a lot of cousins so a big family meant a happy family to me.

In junior high I started having some medical issues that continued throughout my high school years. None of the medical professionals I went to see were able to properly diagnose my condition. In my late teens and early twenties I was not sure what was wrong with me but it was so frustrating to not be taken seriously. Few believed that I had anything medically wrong with me. I was in constant pain, often so debilitating that it prevented me from being a normal kid and doing things most others my age were able to do. I finally saw a doctor who truly listened to me and what had been going on for so long. She thought I had endometriosis and she referred me to a surgeon. When I was 17 years old the doctor offered to perform a complete hysterectomy on me. My mother said no! She told me that they are not God and they do not have the final say. I was informed that my chances of bearing children were slim to none. If I was even able to conceive the doctor was not sure I could carry the baby because of the way things were positioned in my body.

I had a laproscopy in May 1999. The procedure took a lot longer than they originally thought because the endometriosis was everywhere! It had formed what was like a web around my major organs. It was no wonder I was in so much pain. I felt like I had been sawed in half when I woke up. The nurse got me up to use the restroom and I knew something was wrong. My blood pressure bottomed out and I felt like I would faint. My nurse was quick to get me positioned in bed and helped get my blood pressure stable again. I do not remember the ride home but I can remember laying on the couch. My mom changed my dressings and kept everything nice and dry. I will forever be grateful for the way she loved me through that time, caring for me and helping with everything.

I met the love of my life in March 2000. He said he had hoped to be a dad someday. I knew I had to tell him everything. It would have devastated me if he would have chosen not to marry me but he had a right to know that there was a possibility that I might not ever get the chance to give him children. September 23, 2000 one of my wishes came true. That is the day I married my best friend, Paul. He said he loved me so much that even if we could not have children he still wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. God surely blessed me with such a wonderful husband.

We did not try to get pregnant right away. I had been on birth control for years. It's funny because when I was prescribed birth control I was terrified someone would find out and think I was sleeping around. Growing up as a preacher's kid meant always being very aware of what others were thinking about me and doing everything I could to live my life in a way to please the LORD and everyone else. That is a tall order for anyone! I was scheduled to get more birth control but was not overly concerned with running out. The doctor told me I had a window of two years in which to get pregnant or I may have to endure another surgery. I did not allow myself to even consider the possibility of having children. God had other plans! April 22, 2000 on my mother-in-law's birthday we gave her the news that she was going to be a grandmother. She screamed! She was overjoyed!

I knew I was pregnant with a daughter. My aunt had told me that I would have a girl someday. She passed away before I could ever tell her she was right but it was a precious gift to me. My doctor said she believed me when I told her I knew the moment I had conceived. Some may think I am crazy but I definitely knew when I had conceived. There was something very different about that time and I knew in my heart. On December 27, 2001 God gave Paul and I the most beautiful daughter in the world. Her name is Kadesia which means sanctified and radiant.

Five and a half years later Paul and I brought our son into the world. August 17, 2007 Kadesia got a baby brother named Javan. His name comes from the Old Testament and is the name of one of Noah's grandsons. His middle name is Paul like my husband. I love that it is a biblical name. I certainly did not expect to go in for an ultrasound to rule out an ectopic pregnancy or cyst on my ovaries and find out neither was occuring but rather I was pregnant with Javan. God's time is definitely not our time but it is always right on time!

I am thankful for a mother who trusts God and does not rely on what the medical professionals say as the final word. We respect doctors and other healthcare providers. We know they have a job to do and we are thankful for the care and help they can provide. However, as Christians we also know that when medical science stops, our God can continue to work and perform miracles for us.

My heart breaks for women who want to be mothers but are unable to do so. Some have struggled with fertility treatments, painful procedures, slave to a calendar, clock, and cycles. There are those who have conceived but are unable to carry a baby to term. I hurt for those women and I understand the frustration and sadness when as a woman one feels like their body has rejected them and somehow they are "less than" just because they cannot bear children.

I cannot tell you that it is fair that some women are very fertile and have great ease at getting pregnant. I do not think it is right that someone will choose to abort a perfectly healthy baby growing inside them because their lifestyle would not support a child. I find it hard to hear of women who abuse drugs and alcohol while carrying a child. Some women choose to not bear children because they want a career, to travel, and experience things they may be unable to do with children and make great strides to assure they do not get pregnant while there are many others who would be thrilled to have the opportunity to bear a child. It is not fair and I wish it was different but it is not. I cannot give false hope to anyone who reads this. I cannot tell you to read three scriptures and quote a special prayer and you will be able to start a family. I wish I had an easy answer but I do not.

All I can offer is a little bit of encouragement and hope to you as you go through this journey. Please do not think it is easy for me to say this since I have my blessings already. It really is not easy for me to share advice but my heart goes out to you who are trying and not finding success.

Please do not alienate yourself from those you love. When I was told I would most likely never conceive I was very young. My sister had just found out she was going to have a baby. She was so excited and wanted to share that with me. She had no idea that I had just received such bad news. I did not want to tell her and ruin her moment to enjoy this special event in her life. I went shopping with her and remember breaking down in the baby section at Target. I tried to hide among the bibs and booties but she found me crying and asked me what was wrong. I had to tell her. She has always been the motherly big sister and I found myself pouring my heart out to her and I remember her just hugging me and telling me it would be okay. She even apologized for asking me to go with her. I assured her it was not her fault and got myself together. We had a good rest of the day but if I had distanced myself from her and became bitter that she was able to bring a baby into the world I would not have the relationship I have with her children today. I adore my niece and nephews as though they were my very own.

Do not blame God, yourself, or your spouse. If you are having a hard time conceiving do not automatically assume you are being punished for something. If your husband cannot give you a child, please do not become angry with him. If you are unable to bear children, do not blame yourself. Go to the doctor if you have not already done so. Find out all that you can about the situation and what all the options are including adoption and foster care. I know it is not the same thing but it might just be the plan God has for your life and for the life of a child that desperately needs to be loved. Look for solutions instead of someone to blame. I know it is easy to find fault with your spouse when things are not working out like you had hoped but this is the time you need to lean on one another for support and help each other through this time. Some men hurt just as much as women as they yearn to be a father. So please be kind to each other and helpful rather than play the blame game.

Shift your focus. Sometimes when you have been chained to a calendar to tell you when the best time to conceive is, you lose the intimacy that you and your husband shared. It is great to want something and plan for it, but if you hyperfocus on getting pregnant than sometimes you start to drive a wedge between you and your spouse. You must not lose sight of why you fell in love to begin with. Does he make you laugh? Are you still his encourager? When life seems hard and you might not find a lot of things to smile about, shift your focus for a moment and see what efforts your spouse is making to help you through this. Remember you are both in this together and when you see that your on the same team it will help to keep you from drifting apart.

Pray for God's will. I do not know why some women cannot ever have children. I know that sometimes you pray for something and God does not always say yes. Sometimes God says no. I cannot speculate as to any specific reasons why God would not want someone to have children, but I do know that any time in my life that I have ever asked for God's will to be done instead of Bridgett's will, it has always turned out better than I could have ever imagined. Sometimes when we give it all to God, He nods His approval and we can conceive. Have you talked to God in earnest about His will? I am sure you have told Him how you feel about things but be prepared for His will to be done.

Share the love you have. My last piece of advice is to share some of that love you are saving up for a baby of your own. Is there a way you can volunteer at a children's hospital or clinic? Maybe you could get involved with the local center for foster children. Start a support group for others in your area that are going through similar situations. Maybe you could go to your local nursing home or extended care facility and see if they have a children's ward. Sometimes children who are disabled or have special needs live in these facilities and rarely get any visitors.

I am no infertility expert by any means. I do not mean to dangle carrots or promise pie in the sky dreams for you that may never materialize. I just want to offer you some hope and encouragement if you find yourself facing this situation. I spent a lot of time in prayer, shed a lot of tears, made a lot of wishes and did a lot of begging to God to become a mother. I am thankful that I have had this opportunity to love and nurture the two biggest blessings of my life. I hope you will be able to do the same. I want you to be healthy and happy and content with God's will in your life and may you find some helpful ideas here to try. My goal is not to hurt or offend anyone. I hope nothing that I have shared today has been anything but positive and uplifting.

I will leave you with these scriptures that I hope bring joy and peace to your heart:
James 1:17
Every good gift and every perfect gift
is from above,
and cometh down from the Father of lights,
with whom is no variableness,
neither shadow of turning.
I Peter 5:7
Casting all your care upon Him for He careth for you.