Wednesday, May 25, 2011


"Mark and I are seeing a specialist for infertility."....That is one sentence I never thought I'd say. Infertility is one of those things that happens to other people, not to me. Especially because pregnancy has always come so easy to me. It took us only six months to conceive Tommy, three months for Ben, and zero months for Samuel since he was a surprise. How could infertility happen to someone like me? Well, apparently, it's not all that uncommon for someone like me to become infertile for seemingly no reason at all. It's so common, in fact, that there's a name for it: secondary infertility, which affects about 3 million Americans.

To give a brief history: two-and-a-half years ago we were four months pregnant with our third son when Mark got a vasectomy. We (foolishly) decided that three kids in two-and-a-half years was enough for us. Two weeks after his vasectomy, we lost our son. A few months later, God changed our minds and our hearts about children and gave us the desire for more children. We got Mark's vasectomy reversed and have been trying to conceive ever since. That was almost two years ago.

After trying the old fashioned way to conceive a child for about fifteen months, we finally sought the help of a specialist. We went through a battery of lab tests (both Mark and I) and ultrasounds (just me). After all the tests, the doctor didn't yet have a clear idea of what the problem was. So we tried a fertility drug (Clomidfor three months  to see if it would help move things along. It didn't. In fact, it didn't affect me much at all, besides giving me crazy mood swings one week out of every month. In addition to that other week that gives most women crazy mood swings. After all the tests and after seeing how my body reacted to Clomid, the doctor's best guess is that my ovaries are aging at a much quicker rate than my chronological age - they're behaving as if I'm 40, even though I'm only 28.

There have been a lot of different thoughts and feelings churning around in my head for these past eighteen months. To use a cliché, it's been a roller-coaster ride of emotions. Since the beginning, I've been struggling to be content with my two children and not want any more. I've prayed for a long time that if more children weren't in God's plan for our family, that He would take away that desire. By now I've realized that maybe this was not very realistic, and so I've settled for being content in waiting for God's plan to unfold, whatever it may be. Then over a period of six months God shifted my heart away from yearning to be pregnant - I still desired a larger family, but I would be happy with any child, adopted or biological. This was a huge milestone for me! 

And then, just when I adjusted to being content not to be pregnant, we started the process for Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI) - a labor-intensive process to get me pregnant. Go figure. I was feeling confused and anxious about everything, to say the least. I was very close to deciding against doing IUI because the odds of success seemed so low and the risks and effort involved seemed so daunting. In a nutshell, the 'work' involves several blood tests to check hormone levels, daily drug injections, and driving 45-minutes each way for almost-daily ultrasounds for two weeks. It was the advice of a few more-mature ladies that convinced me the risks and the work involved were worth pursuing. Our first cycle of IUI takes place this week, and we'll see if it was successful in about two more weeks. We've decided to pursue IUI for only three months. 

The Lord has used this trial to teach me so much about how to deal with life when it isn't all sunshine and rainbows. These are some verses He has used with me:

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
This verse doesn't say to give thanks only when things are going well. It says to give thanks in all circumstances. So the Lord has shown me what I can be thankful for in our infertility journey: having lots of help with the boys when we have to go in for our numerous doctor visits; Mark's amazing health insurance benefit that covers about 97% of all of our costs. Without his coverage, we wouldn't be able to afford even a single doctor visit, let alone the slew of ultrasounds, medication, tests, etc.; friends who have gone before me in this journey who have given counsel and comfort.

"Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth." (Colossians 3:2)
I need to be reminded on a constant basis that adding more children to my family is not the defining thing of my life. The defining thing in my life is the fact that Jesus took the blame for my sins and now I can look forward spending eternity with Him. Whether or not I have more children is a small blip on the radar of eternity. 

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." (Proverbs 3:5)
"...Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.(Philippians 4:6-7)
When hard decisions have to be made, it is very easy for me to feel overwhelmed and anxious about what the "right" choice is. But when the Lord helps me put my trust in His power to make His will known to me and His perfect plan unfold without my "help", I can let go and allow the His peace to fill my heart.

"Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things." (Phillipians 4:8)
There have been plenty of times that I've driven home from a doctor appointment thinking things were hopeless and we'd never have any more kids. Now, this wasn't necessarily true based on the information I'd received. My thoughts just usually lead to the worst possible outcome if I don't keep them in check. Sometimes it's all I can do to just keep running the words, "...whatever is true..." through my head to keep my thoughts in line with the facts that are known. 

In the end, there are a few options of things that could happen:
1. The IUI could be successful and I could get pregnant sometime in the next three months.
2. The IUI could be unsuccessful and I could never have any more children.
3. The IUI could be unsuccessful and God may choose to open my womb and bless me with children at some later time.
4. At some point we could be blessed with the finances to afford adoption.

I can say that right now I could be content with any of these eventualities. Option #2 would be the hardest to deal with, but God will give me the grace to accept His plan. Whatever happens will be within God's sovereignty and will be part of his good and perfect plan for my life. 

One final scripture that has given me comfort, from Habakkuk 3:17-19:

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
he makes me tread on my high places
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer's;


  1. Kelly8:35 AM

    I love how strong you are and your belief in God is something to be admired. I look forward to hearing updates no matter what the outcome is.

  2. Love, love, LOVE this post. Thank you so much for sharing your heart. It is such a blessing and an encouragement.

    Over the past few years I've found my 'plan' and view of children radically changed by God's grace as well. It's so hard to be patient and to wait on the Lord. But I know that trials draw us nearer to the Lord. So even in my struggles and frustrations, there are so many reasons to rejoice.

    Thanks again Autumn!

  3. Karon Lee9:56 AM

    Autumn, what An inspiring story. I know someone in the same situation. She had two children and is now married to another man. They both desperately want a child together. Do you mind if I share your story with them. They have been trying to have a child for almost 3 years.

  4. I love you guys so much and reading this made me cry. It was hard for me when we had Reagan when the doctors told us that we could not have anymore kids. Over the years I excepted what God wanted for us. Yes it is hard in the beginning but it will get better trust me.

  5. Thank you for sharing your heart and what God is teaching you. I know that I have learned so much from you as we've walked similar paths the last two years. May God bless you with His perfect and blessed plan in His timing. Praying for Thursday!
    Blessings and love,

  6. Anonymous5:59 PM

    Very encouraged for you! I know it is not easy but so worth it. We will be praying that God will bless you with His best for you.

    love, Lisa for the MacDonalds