Welcome to the Mamahood Stories guest blogger series!! I have asked several special mamas to write posts for this series and I really believe they are going to encourage you and build you up! My wish is that as you read these posts leading up to Mother’s Day, you are encouraged and exhorted to love on other mamas, waiting mamas, and women longing to be mamas!
Today’s post comes from the love Melissa Forster. She beautifully shares her journey to becoming a mama over at her blog, Borderless. I love how she finds God’s goodness in the pains and hards of infertility and miscarriage, and how she boldly shares her faith! I’m sure her Mamahood Story will encourage you today! If you know someone struggling with infertility share this with them too! Make sure to go check out her little blog space as well!!
I have always wanted to be a Mama. For as long as I can remember, I always had favorite dolls and any pretend story always included me as the Mama. My husband, Dan, and I married in 2007. I was 21, still in college and fertility issues were the furthest thing from my mind. I went on birth control a few months before the wedding, because as much as I wanted to be a Mama… we weren’t ready.
In late 2009, I came off the pill because it was causing some awful side effects. At the time, we weren’t exactly ready for kids, but we knew I couldn’t stay on the pill. I will be honest, as much as I knew we weren’t ready, I thought we would be pregnant quickly. I had no clue that getting pregnant could be difficult. I thought simply having sex was all we would ever need to do. I had no clue that there could be more to it.
In late 2011, at my yearly check-up, my OBGYN thought it was strange that we had been off the pill for two years and not gotten pregnant. I thought it was strange too. I had started “charting” a little but really had no clue what I was doing. My OBGYN ran some tests and diagnosed me with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
PCOS is a complicated hormonal disorder. Every woman’s story looks different. Basically, if hormones are involved – PCOS can screw it up. One of the biggest problems with PCOS is that it can cause infertility. My OBGYN gave me some pamphlets, told me to lose weight, put me on some medications and recommended I take Clomid (an “entry level” fertility drug) if we wanted to get pregnant.
I took her advice, read everything I could get my hands on related to PCOS and started my journey to a healthier lifestyle. Even though I was getting healthier by the day, I still couldn’t wrap my head around the word “infertile.” Sure, we hadn’t been preventing pregnancy for years, but I couldn’t possibly be infertile. We waited until my next annual checkup in 2012 to pursue clomid.
After several cycles on clomid, my OBGYN told us there was nothing more she could do, and she referred us to an Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE). So off we went. That first appointment was terrifying. The doctor reviewed our history, discussed a million tests that we needed to consider, and then explained the options we would have based on the outcomes of our tests. It was overwhelming to say the very least.
After a month of uncomfortable testing (for both Dan and I), the RE felt it was best that I continue with clomid but add a “trigger shot” that would force my body to ovulate. The plan included going to the office for an ultrasound, taking clomid, going in for a second ultrasound, taking the trigger shot in my stomach, and timing intercourse on very specific days. Honestly, it was so little compared to what many endure, but it was a lot for us. Each “cycle” lasted about 35 days and if we were not pregnant, we started over again. There was something to do each day to ensure that we were “on track”.
In July 2013, after three months of this protocol, we got our first ever positive pregnancy test. I took the test on a Wednesday before work…and didn’t stop smiling all day. I spent most of the day looking for nursery décor and ways to tell our families. Our wait was over! We shared the news with our family on Thursday night, and my mother in law instantly started praying for “Trudy.” She didn’t know why, but it was just the name that kept coming to her mind.
Sadly, we learned one week later that our precious Trudy was an ectopic prengnacy. I was rushed into surgery to end my pregnancy and save my life. Thankfully, my RE was a very skilled surgeon, and he was able to save all my reproductive parts. I am told that is very rare when it comes to ectopic pregnancies. Although we lost our baby, I still believe that God worked in big ways. My life was saved, and my body was still whole after surgery.
In March 2014, we celebrated Trudy’s due date by going away for a weekend. I got my first tattoo to mark Trudy’s special life. A constant reminder of Genesis 50:20, “What you meant to harm me, God has used to change my life and the lives of many.”
In April 2014, we went back to the RE. He told us that we would most likely never get pregnant without the help of fertility drugs. In fact, he would recommend that we skip all other “steps” and move straight into In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) due to our history. We felt moving straight to IVF was extreme and decided to do one more cycle of the protocol we had been on previously. We felt if that protocol did not work, we would then look deeper into other options.
Things didn’t go as planned. I had a terrible reaction to the medication, which forced us to take a break. I spent most of the summer in and out of the hospital due to the side effects of that one month of drugs. During that time, we spent a lot of time asking God what our next steps where when it came to being parents. Both Dan and I felt God was saying “be still”. To us, that meant we were not only going to stop pursing treatment, but we weren’t going to worry about charting or really anything related to trying to have a baby. We were simply going to live our lives in a healthy way and allow God to do the rest.
The choice to not go back to the RE was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. I had gotten pregnant with fertility drugs… and I had a hard time accepting that God wouldn’t let me continue. But, I quickly learned, God wasn’t punishing me. He had so many good things in the wait. I would never say waiting is easy, but there is a lot to celebrate in waiting. We have been able to experience so much and grow so much in our wait.
Letting go of the constant need to count and chart and take medication has been so good for me. Medical science is an amazing thing. I am so thankful that God has given doctors the wisdom He has… but at the end of the day, babies are still miracles. No matter if they are conceived naturally or through medical intervention… each life is a miracle. Realizing that there is nothing I can to do (or can’t do) to make a baby has been incredibly freeing. This girl likes to control things and learning that God is bigger than what I can control has been a hard, but wonderful lesson. His way of doing things is always much better than mine!
In early 2016, after a year long struggle with PCOS systems that had gotten out of control, I found an OBGYN that specialized in hormone health. She understood our desire to “be still” when it came to trying to have a baby, but still working towards hormone health.
In March 2017, I got the surprise of my life… a positive pregnancy test. A miracle baby, we quickly started calling Lil Bit.
Dan and I were both so shocked when we got that positive test. We waited on God and believed He could do anything… but still couldn’t believe when He did! Ha, thankfully God worked even in my unbelief!
Carrying Lil Bit was a roller coaster. There were good days and bad days. Sadly, I only carried Lil Bit for 10.5 weeks. Although our story didn’t end the way we hoped, God was in every detail, taking care of us and providing for us. Lil Bit’s life defied medical odds. We got pregnant naturally. Something doctors told us would never happen.
I have always loved saying “But if not, He is still good”, but it feels different now. I can relate so much to what Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego said to the king in Daniel 3:18. Dan and I have begged God to change our situations, and then seen Him be good to us even when our situations didn’t change. We have been thrown into the fire and survived to tell the story. We didn’t survive because we are awesome. We survived because God is good.
The journey to motherhood has been hard, but God has been so very good to us. In a lot of ways, getting pregnant again is scary. However, we believe that God is bigger than fear. We believe God’s promise still stands. We will have children in our home. We believe God will do it again… soon!
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