I wasn’t always a Christian. My parents only ever took my siblings and me to church on Easter Sunday, if that. The closest I got to Christianity before age 26 were the Ten Commandments hung in my childhood bedroom and an unexplainable attraction to Christian music as a teenager.
That was before my infertility journey, which became profoundly intertwined with my faith journey.
At age 15, I prayed to God– if there was a God– to be patient with me as I explored my faith. Shortly after that prayer, I had several dreams about “the man I was supposed to be with.” The first one ended with him saying, “My name is–“ then I woke up. Why did the dream end like that? I got the sense I had already met him and therefore knew his name. I sensed his name started with A, but wasn’t Adam.
At 18, I was about to start X-ray school when Anthony messaged me. Anthony with an A. I met Anthony when I was 14 years old. We had lost touch for years. We reconnected and fell in love. We had similar interests, values, and life goals. We wanted to have children and give them more than the broken homes from which we came. We communicated well and enjoyed each other’s company. I wanted to experience life’s greatest joys and deepest sorrows with him.
In October 2011, at age 20, I walked the sands of a Southern California beach to the tune of Blake Shelton’s “God Gave Me You,” in a surprise wedding ceremony Anthony planned for me.
In February 2013, we decided we were ready to expand our family. I didn’t want to wait for him to return from his third deployment the following year, but God did, and for good reason.
He returned in April of 2014. Six months later, still unsuccessful, we pursued fertility workups, which gave us a diagnosis of male factor infertility.
I refused to see a fertility specialist. I didn’t want to hear that we couldn’t conceive naturally. I wouldn’t believe it anyway because I had grown up watching the Discovery Channel and hearing about all the miracles doctors said would never happen. I used our time waiting for a baby to learn as much as I could about whole foods, clean living, marriage, and parenting.
We conceived for the first time in May 2015 during a cycle that began on Mother’s Day. We received the positive pregnancy test result on Father’s Day. My due date was on Valentine’s Day. The timing was impeccable. This baby was meant to be.
Then the unthinkable happened. I miscarried at 7 weeks. How could this happen after we had tried for so long? What if this was going to be our story? By the next month, infertility and his transition out of the Marine Corps broke my husband. He couldn’t provide for his family or impregnate his wife. He had lost his identity and his purpose. He questioned his desire to have children. He thought I deserved better. He left.
I was devastated beyond my ability to function. Not fully believing it would work, I turned to prayer and the bible. I decided that I was married and was going to continue to act that way, even if my husband couldn’t at the time. I waited expectantly and faithfully for my husband to return.
Late one night, Anthony’s boss called to tell me I had to pick up Anthony from his house. I had never seen Anthony this drunk or disheveled. I situated him in the back seat and started the car. “God Gave Me You” began playing on the radio, from the beginning, the moment I turned the ignition.
Following God’s undeniable sign to save my marriage, I trusted Anthony would come back to me. He returned four weeks after he left. After apologies, explanations, discussions, time, and healing, we decided to resume trying to conceive.
Five months later– the same month I earned health benefits after three years at my place of employment– I had conceived my first son. He was born eight days past his due date in August 2016, which moved my maternity leave return date from Christmas Eve to New Years Day.
By this time, I could not deny the existence of God, His perfect timing, or His work through our infertility struggle. When he was seven weeks old, we dedicated our son to Christ. We promised we would raise our son to know the Lord, unlike we had been raised. In April 2017 Anthony and I were baptized together in front of our miracle baby.
Knowing we wanted more than one child and that it could take another few years to conceive again, we decided to start trying again when our firstborn was 10 months old. We were surprised to conceive on only the second cycle, only to miscarry at 4 weeks.
This time, we knew God from the beginning. “And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose” Romans 8:28. God doesn’t cause bad things to happen, but he does work through them. He worked through this miscarriage. It became a chance at redemption for my husband, who showed me he could love me through our grief instead of turn away from me. God worked through our miscarriage to reveal how far we had come in our faith in marriage.
God had moved mountains to bring us our son, and I believed He would do it again. Twenty-three days after our second loss, we conceived our second son, born healthy at 39 weeks in May 2018.
Infertility has forever changed me. I know more, have more, feel more than I ever would without struggling to conceive. Now I am following my calling to share my story of infertility and all the reasons I have come to consider it the best struggle I never chose, the greatest of which is that it has inspired my relationship with God.
Our new son, Theodore, gift of God, will be dedicated to Christ in October 2018.