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Brandey’s story…

I never thought I would have trouble getting pregnant.  Nor, did I ever think that infertility could affect me the way that it has.  I have been severely depressed, ashamed, and embarrassed.  I have felt alone, and hopeless. My journey is not over, but I now know the Lord will lead us to the right decisions about next steps, and I am totally at peace with that for the first time in two years.    

Being a mommy is something that I have always dreamed of.  The desire to have and love children has driven most of my decisions—from becoming a teacher, to marrying a man who would make a good father, to buying a house with a back yard to play in.  So, when my husband and I married 2½ years ago, we began planning for children almost immediately.  My husband began the financial planning, and I began getting my body ready.

Soon after our first anniversary, we began trying in earnest to conceive.  We used ovulation predictor kits and timed intercourse. I put my feet up in the air, took Robitussin, and did everything anyone told me to do!   But, month after month, my cycle would start, and I would become sadder and sadder.  I would cry, and I would blame my self for my past sins.  Eventually, intimacy with my husband became rote and for the sole purpose to reproduce.  We were only intimate during the time when I was ovulating, and we both began to resent it.

After six months of trying, I felt something might be wrong and consulted my OB/GYN.  He said the next step was a sperm analysis.  So, through a series of steps worthy of a sitcom, I transported my husband’s sample in a warm safe place for a 45 minute dash across town and through the hospital….where, after being misdirected to multiple locations in the building, I ended up having to practically yell to a sweet, little gray-haired, hard-of-hearing nurse in the middle of the hospital, “I HAVE SPERM-- WHERE DO I GO TO DROP IT OFF?”   I think everyone on that floor heard me, but I was finally directed to the right “drop-off” location, and I began to realize that fertility tests and treatments are not for the bashful!

Unfortunately, the sperm analysis came back abnormal, and we found out that he had a low count of quality sperm.  Additionally, through another test, I found out that while one of my fallopian tube was open, the other was blocked.  I began taking Clomid, and we went through three failed Intrauterine Inseminations (IUIs) before my doctor referred us to a specialist to pursue In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF).

I was devastated.  I didn’t want to go through IVF, and I thought God was punishing me. I was mad at God for not answering my prayers.  I began to sleep 15-18 hours a day.  When I slept, I didn’t have to feel the pain; I didn’t have to face the many, many people that seemed to be happy with their babies; and I didn’t have to face the nagging question, “Are you pregnant yet?” My husband would get agitated at me for lying around all day.  I would get mad that he didn’t understand my pain.

The specialist diagnosed me with PCOS and recommended IVF with ICSI (a procedure assist the sperm in fertilizing the egg).  We discussed the procedure, but I still wasn’t comfortable with it.  She said that I needed to loose 15-20 lbs. before we could proceed with IVF, but indicated we could do another IUI in the interim.  When we went in for our fourth IUI, I had two eggs in the ovary by the open tube, but my husband’s sperm count was very low--only 600,000.  The doctor wasn’t hopeful, but indicated they would proceed with the IUI anyway. I cried all the way home and prayed for God to answer my prayers this time.

Then, two weeks later, when I took a home pregnancy test and saw a faint pink line, I thought my prayers had finally been answered.  My husband and I were ecstatic!  When I went for a blood test, the nurse reassured me that false positives were rare, but said they wanted to check my Beta HGC count to be sure it was a viable pregnancy.  The phone call that came was filled with both joy and sorrow.  After I heard the words I had waited so long for, “Congratulations, you’re pregnant!” the nurse cautioned me that my Beta HGC was very low, a likely indication that the pregnancy would not last.  The numbers continued to drop, and six days later, I lost my baby.

I was beyond devastation and would cry and sob alone. “Will I ever have a baby of my own?” I thought.  My faith in the power of prayer was crushed and even doubted that He would anser my prayers to be a mother.  My husband tried to reassure me, and we began discussing the future possibility of adoption.  We tried another IUI with no success, and I slid further into a state of depression.  Our marriage was strained, and we didn’t like where it was headed.  We had different ways of dealing with the emotions we faced and didn’t fully understand each other’s pain.  We both felt we needed to take a break to recover emotionally, physically, and spiritually. 

I saw a counselor who recommended antidepressants and a marriage counselor.  I knew of another teacher who was also struggling with infertility, and I mustered up the courage to ask her how she was coping with all of it.  She told me about a prayer group called Miracle Mothers that had helped her overcome depression.  She explained the feeling she would get just to know that someone was praying over her!  It sounded like the type of support I longed for, so I decided to attend the next meeting. 

That first meeting was so amazing!  Listening to all the women’s stories, their successes, and their struggles, it was nice to not feel so alone!  I began to see that the Lord led me to this group.  I began to understand that I was in need of spiritual healing.  Karen was so dynamic and passionate about helping us through our struggles. The meeting left me emotionally exhausted, but with a sense of renewed faith and peace!  Through Karen’s teaching, I learned that the Lord will fulfill His promises to me and that my past sins cannot separate me from His love—if I ask for His forgiveness.  I learned that the Lord is never early and never late!  He has a plan, which I can now see unfolding little by little.  I now know that He will direct me to the path I should follow—whether IVF, adoption, IUI, or natural conception.  WOW, what a weight that has been lifted off of me!  Knowing that He is in control and I don’t have to be, I no longer feel pressure to do IVF or even know all the answers.  I have put all my faith in Him, and I am giving Him my dreams!

In John 15:16, the Bible says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in My name.”   In John 15:7, He says, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you.”  I believe God chose us and put this desire in our heart to give us children at His appointed time. 

That first evening at Miracle Mothers, Karen spoke of “faith purchases” to prepare for the child to come in the same way a farmer prepares his fields.  While the idea of buying baby stuff used to seem sad and desperate, it now feels like a step of faith!  I bought an outfit for the baby; I cleaned out the room we will use as a nursery; I asked my mom for the rocker that she used to rock me; and I hung a cross that I had bought over a year ago.  It feels so good to have a space for my child.  I use the room as my praying room.  I sit and think of my child and pray for the women that are struggling as I am. It feels good to pray for others, for their pregnancies, and for their families.

My husband and I have been going to counseling, and we are learning how to better love and support one another.  I no longer feel alone in this journey, and I will continue to work on my life and my faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ.  We are praying for our miracle and looking forward to the day that we kiss our baby’s cheeks and cradle him in our arms. as we rock him to sleep in the antique rocker my mother has passed down to me.

I am so thankful that the Lord has led me to the Miracle Mothers Prayer group!  I feel like I understand more of the lessons the Lord is trying to teach me and that maybe this infertility is a blessing.  It has certainly brought my husband and me closer together. I feel like we can get through anything that comes our way.  Most importantly, I feel that I am closer to the Lord, and I have a much stronger relationship with Him, as I depend on and trust in Him like never before!

Becca’s Story

Dear Karen,

I wanted to thank you for the huge welcome and love I felt from you and the other women who are giving of their time to make Miracle Mothers possible. It was a pleasure meeting you, Brandey, Terry, Katie and so many of the others!

Josh and I have been trying to conceive for over 18 months. In this time we discovered that I wasn’t ovulating and was diagnosed with PCOS and hypothyroidism. After not conceiving though I was made to ovulate using Clomid, we found that I had a condition called Unicornuate Uterus which means I only have half a uterus and one fallopian tube.  Although my doctor is wonderful, he was very discouraging with my UU condition, suggesting I use a surrogate and that I may never carry a full-term baby. Something in my spirit reared up at these statements. God had given me Psalm 113:9: He makes the barren women the Joyful mother of children. I wouldn’t accept what he was saying.  No, that wasn’t going to be the case. Not long after, I met another woman from Miracle Mothers with the same condition, and was greatly encouraged. A God thing — no doubt!

I came for the first time on Thursday night sad, discouraged and heartsick over my recently failed second IUI attempt. I couldn’t understand why everything for both IUI attempts had been so perfect, yet we still failed to conceive. A few nights before the meeting, I found myself in the pit of despair, wondering how in the world it would ever happen if it had not happened when everything looked so “perfect”. I realize now, it was the enemy trying to steal my hope and keep me from believing the promises He has given me.

I left the meeting encouraged and filled with hope and a renewed assurance that God will fulfill the desire of my heart. It was the first time in a very long time that I felt so encouraged. After you prayed for us, such a peace enveloped my heart. I couldn’t believe how the things you were saying and praying spoke directly to my heart and my fears.

It was so evident that God led me to Miracle Mothers. Even in the midst of the pain, God’s grace and loving care are unmistakable as I look back at His footprints in this trial.

Thank you for reminding me to keep hoping and to keep expecting. Thank you for reminding me that He put the desire to conceive and bear a child in my heart, and that my child is simply not supposed to be on this Earth yet...that his timetable is different than mine. And thank you for your ministry to hurting women like me.

May God bless you richly. See you next month!

Gratefully,
Becca



Melissa D.'s story… 

It’s been a faith-filled journey trying to understand why I had to face infertility.  At times, I’ve been mad and angry; at others I’ve been severely depressed.  But I finally have peace through prayer
!  One year ago, when I began infertility treatments, I was hopeful and excited.  I was sure I would get pregnant the first try.  I was optimistic and ready to be pregnant!  To my dismay, the treatment did not work that month or the next, or even the next for that matter.  What followed was a year of repeated failures.  
 

My optimism slowly faded.  Infertility treatments became increasingly stressful and upsetting.  Each month followed the same cycle: excitement, dreaded ultrasounds, and a two week wait for a negative pregnancy test.  The absolute worst was the last stage of the cycle, the pregnancy test.  I can think of nothing more heart wrenching than hearing those words, “We’re sorry.  You’re not pregnant, maybe next month.”

After 10 months of “no” phone calls, I started to become depressed.  Crying in bed became the norm for me.  I was sleeping in the middle of the day, and I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone.  I started having negative thoughts about life.  I remember telling my husband one day that I wish something would happen to me and I would fall into a coma.  Then they could do infertility treatments on me and wake me up when I was pregnant.  My husband became increasingly concerned about me and wanted nothing more than to take my pain away.

I got to the point where I no longer wanted to feel the pain.  Infertility treatments and not being pregnant enveloped my every thought.  I felt miserable physically and mentally.  Then one day I had an epiphany-I wasn’t living anymore.  Obsessing over not being pregnant was all my life entailed.  I had forgotten about all of the positive things in my life.  I had a wonderful husband and a very strong relationship with him (partly thanks to the infertility treatments).  I had a supportive and loving family.  My job was rewarding and challenging.  Other than my infertility, my life was absolutely wonderful.  Somewhere in this past year I had lost sight of that.  I had stopped thanking God and appreciating all of the wonderful blessings I had in my life. 

Right then and there I decided things needed to change.  I needed to stop letting infertility rule my life and start enjoying the blessings that surrounded me.  I wanted peace.  I wanted to wake up and not worry about treatments and doctor appointments.  I wanted to wake up and embrace life instead of dreading it.  That night I stopped praying for a baby and started praying for peace instead, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.  I prayed to God that His will be done, and in the meantime, I asked if He could please fill me with His peace?  
 

The journey wasn’t an immediate success.  I’d like to say that I woke up the next morning feeling better, but that was not the case.  God started leading me to people that could help me find that peace.  I started seeing a wonderful counselor, began acupuncture, and joined an infertility prayer group called Miracle Mothers.  God knew what He was doing when He placed these people in my life.  The changes came slowly and steadily.  I started having more peaceful days than difficult days.  And through the prayers and support of my counselor and the Miracle Mothers group, I began to feel God’s overwhelming presence and peace.  
 

Gradually, I started enjoying things that I had once enjoyed--playing a board game with my husband and barbecuing with friends, to name a few.  I finally felt like I was living again.  I had peace, and I owed it all to God!  I want to share with other women that peace is possible during the infertility journey, not just at the end when you’re holding your baby.  We all know that we will eventually have a child because God put that desire in our hearts.  The important thing is that we can look back at the journey and realize that we grew as a person through God and the people He surrounded us with.  And most importantly, that we embraced life, even amidst hard times.  As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” 
  

Update!  On April 30, 2007, Melissa and her husband gave birth to twins!  Mom, Dad, baby son and baby daughter are doing GREAT!

 

Terry's story... 

If you surrender this journey to God, He will take your burden and give you not only peace, but joy, as you walk through this trial!
   Well, that’s what I’ve learned through my experience with Miracle Mothers, and God has begun to work in my life in ways I never imagined! But, let me tell you how I got there.  My husband, Tim, and I have been trying to conceive for about 3 ½ years now and had been undergoing fertility treatment for about six months. The mother of a friend of mine gave me a copy of the Atlanta Journal Constitution article on Miracle Mothers.  It wasn’t so much the title, “Praying for a Baby”, that caught my attention because believe me, I had been praying for a baby for a long time!!!  

What moved me was the power of the picture of these women praying together and trusting the Lord !  And when I came to the group for the first time in March, that same power and love overwhelmed me.  Karen gave me not only hope, but absolute assurance that the Word of God is true, and that His promises are not just for other women – they’re for me, too!  When we first prayed together, she told me that, “If you have the desire in your heart to conceive, God put it there.”   She pointed me to Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart!”
 

I had been struggling with whether I was walking outside His will by continuing to pursue a child, and through Karen’s words and that verse, He reassured me.  For the first few meetings, I asked for prayer for clarity and direction regarding next steps with fertility treatment.  I had already taken Clomed and gone through my first IUI at that point.   And both Tim and I had previously undergone minor surgeries to correct a varicocele and to remove a uterian polyp and endometriosis.  So, at that point, we were diagnosed with “unexplained infertility”.  I soon learned that what medicine can’t explain, God can!
 

We went through three more failed IUI’s, and I kept thinking, “Now how is that possible? Seven million sperm in exactly the right place at exactly the time when two to three mature eggs should be released—and none of them can meet up?”   Moreover, I had prayed about each procedure and felt God had given me peace to proceed with each--so why wasn’t this working?  In hindsight, I believe I went through that process so God could teach me not to rely on medicine or the laws of nature because He controls those laws!  
 

After the fourth IUI failed, I hit an emotional low point—and felt myself again in a state of despair.  Our doctors told us that we needed to move forward with IVF and that we needed to do it quickly.  After all, I am 37, and statistically the chances of success drop off dramatically at age 38.  So, I started planning.  I lined up the loan and the pre-screening tests; researched the drugs; scheduled the required counseling; and then started praying for God to give me peace and to tell me when to move forward.  Ironic, huh?  That I lined up the plan, and THEN asked God about it!  Well, He didn’t give me peace about the plan—instead He spoke to me very clearly and told me to wait upon Him, and not for my plan, but for His plan.  
 

So, I finally surrendered completely to His plan for this baby, and told Him I would get out of His way.  And with that act, clarity finally came! He took me back to Psalm 37:4, but for the first time I focused on the first half of that verse, “Delight Yourself in the Lord”—the condition for the promise that I had already claimed.  Oh, I’m still claiming His promise, and I truly believe He will give me the desires of my heart.  But, I’ve been focusing on God instead of my problems, and it has made all the difference!  He has given me my joy back and made it clear to me that He is working in my circumstances.  He is preparing my heart and my life for this child to come.  With each step of obedience, I grow stronger in my relationship with Him and with my husband.  There is no doubt in my mind that God will give us the child He has planned for us—in His perfect timing!


Update!  God's timing IS perfect!  The precious miracle Terry and Tim were believing God for was born in December, 2007.  (See Terry's updated story on "Answered Prayer" page)

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