“Approximately one in eight couples are affected by infertility in the United States. That’s about 6.7 million people each year who have trouble conceiving.”
I’ve never publicly shared our fertility journey. I’m not entirely sure why, other than it’s deeply personal and it’s scary to share something so vulnerable with the world. We have shared with our families and close friends, but never on a public platform. However, to understand the whole story I think it’s important to start from the beginning.
So, here we go. When we first got married, in 2015 we knew we wanted to start a family right away. We both desired to be parents and since we got married in our later 20’s, we were ready. Initially we weren’t too alarmed when we didn’t get pregnant right away, we knew it could take a little time. After one year of trying we began to get discouraged. I scheduled a doctor’s appointment to make sure things were okay. The doctor said, “You and your husband are both young and healthy, I’d like you to give it six more months of trying before we start down the infertility road.”. So, we waited (even though I wanted answers) and kept on trying. Month after month I was hopeful and then disappointed. Infertility is such a mental battle; the monthly emotional roller coaster is exhausting.
Eventually, my follow up appointment came around. I was scheduled to see the doctor over my spring break, on Wednesday to be specific. Well, the week leading up to the appointment I was feeling really discouraged. I’d taken a pregnancy test earlier in the week and it was negative…but then my period never came. This was also the week of our second wedding anniversary. I remember telling one of my co-workers about it and she said, “Go home and take another test!”. So that afternoon, 5 days before my scheduled appointment, I reluctantly went home and took yet another test.
This time there was a very, very faint positive line, or at least I thought so. I wanted to be excited, but I was mostly confused. Those tests can be hard to read sometimes! So, I waited and took another one, again a very faint positive line appeared.
I will never forget the excitement yet hesitation I felt. I wanted to tell Clayton in some cute, Pinterest worthy way, but I was too scared I was only imagining the positive line. When he got home from work I showed him the test and he was hopeful yet unsure too. After a trip to Target for the “good test” (you know, the kind that says the word pregnant) we finally believed it was true!
Clark David was born on November 18th, 2017. Our precious little miracle baby. We were in awe of him and soaked up every moment as new parents. Clayton and I knew we wanted at least one more baby and because we waited longer than we’d anticipated for Clark we decided to start trying again as soon as possible. This was slightly scary with an infant, but we were okay with having babies close together.
**Fun fact, Clayton is an Irish Twin! He and his sister are only 10 months apart! I’m not saying I wanted to keep that trend going, but I would’ve been okay with it, especially if it meant not having to wait again.
Well, a year went by…we started to wonder. Was this infertility again? Or was it just God’s timing? We also started getting asked when baby number two was coming. Like a lot, which only feed my doubts. We talked about getting testing done, and I did have some basic blood work done (which came back fine), but time just kept moving on. Once we hit the two-year trying mark things really began to shift for me. This was taking longer than it did the first time…people had told me it was easier to get pregnant after your body had already done it once…what was taking so long?
After speaking with my doctor about our fertility struggles, she recommended Clayton get some testing done. So, this past May, he did. We were shocked when results revealed we were suffering with MFI, Male Factor Infertility. I won’t get into all of the details here, but long story short the odds were not good. In fact, one doctor said we had about a 5% chance of getting pregnant when we conceived Clark. *If you have experience with MFI, or are walking through it, I’m happy to answer more questions individually.*
This was a lot to process and honestly led to some of the darkest days of my life. We were both heartbroken. And I felt very alone. As I was grieving, I was also worried about Clayton’s heart and didn’t want to make him feel worse. But he being the logical one said, “Well, it had to be one of us.”. On top of this news, we were still in the midst of the Covid lockdown when the whole world felt different.
I will also add here that secondary infertility brought with it a whole new group of emotions. I felt guilty, selfish and ungrateful. I felt wrong to desire another child when so many people were still longing for their first. I felt ungrateful for asking God for a second child when I already had the greatest gift in Clark. Honestly, I felt like a spoiled brat.
Thankfully, through some amazing friends and family, I was reminded that God had placed the desire to be a mother on my heart. It was not wrong to desire another child, because God put that yearning in my heart. Clayton and I processed all of this together over the next few months.
As we prayed and sought out our options we both keep coming back to adoption. Most doctors and specialists we saw immediately suggested IVF. We researched and even met with one of the best IVF doctors in the country, he was amazing. However, we just didn’t have peace in proceeding. To be perfectly clear, I am not against IVF in anyway. I think its an amazing way to grow your family and we did consider it. Ultimately, it just wasn’t where the Lord was leading us.
Adoption was something we’d always considered, even before Clark. My best friend is adopted from Honduras and because of our relationship I’ve been in awe of how God works through adoption. I mean, God chose to put her in my home town of Troy, Missouri of all places in the world and I am tremendously blessed by her friendship because of adoption. We also have a newly adopted baby in the Bass family. My cousin and his wife adopted the sweetest little boy almost 2 years ago. He is such a blessing and brings so much joy to our family. Knowing him and his story added another adoption tug on our hearts.
This past fall we began praying about adoption more frequently. In October, we both set daily prayer reminders on our phones to increase the frequency of our prayers. I also began researching adoption agencies. While we felt the Lord saying yes to adoption, the process itself was very overwhelming to us. I looked into several agencies, but the more I researched the more confused I felt.
Then as I explained in my previous post, embryo adoption came into consideration. As we began researching and praying more, I felt the Lord clearing the way. Where I was confused and overwhelmed before, I felt peace and clarity.
My dad often reminds me to seek the peace of the Lord. This was something he began praying for us when I first expressed our interest in adopting. He kept encouraging me that peace was coming. Not just any peace, but the peace that surpasses all understanding. Peace like no other.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:7
He was right. The peace we have in this decision can only come from the Lord. We will continue to seek and walk in His peace daily. When we have moments of doubt or when questions of the unknowns creep in, we cling to this peace. We hold strong to the promises of His truth. He is the creator of life. He has placed us here in this moment. And He has the perfect plan for our family.