I first heard this word at 20. It was fall of my final year of college and for about six months I had been in horrible pain during certain times of the month. Finally, I called home and told my mom I needed to see a doctor. 2 visits and 2 ultrasounds later I learned the words Endometriosis and Infertility.
Mark and I had been engaged since the summer before. We had discussed wanting children (him 2-3 and me 1-2) and just assumed they would be part of our lives after we married. I drove to visit Mark at school and we went through everything the doctors had said. I told him I wanted him to really think about marrying me. I knew that, more than anything, he wanted children and I knew that he was not necessarily open to adoption. I told him that I needed him to really pray and be sure that I was still the future wife for him. He did. He said I was. And in the months that followed the Lord opened Mark's heart to the idea of adoption.
We married in May 2009. We decided that we would allow the Lord to give us children when and how He saw fit. Then we waited. And waited. And waited.
A year in I saw my family doctor and we were referred to a specialist (read VERY expensive doctor) on the north side of Indy. I called the office and was scheduled six months out and nearly fainted when I heard the cost of one office visit. During that time, I switched family practitioners and found a wonderful doctor in Dr. Kimberly Franklin. She was the first one who suggested that our fertility struggles did have something to do with the Endometriosis but there may have been other underlying factors. We ran a ton of tests and found that while my blood sugar always tested fine my insulin levels were 10 points higher than the high end of the scale. I started on Metformin and changed my diet. She suggested a vitamin plan for Mark and myself. We foolishly thought this was the magic cure-all. I fully expected to be pregnant within the first few months of those changes. Still nothing.
It seemed every other week someone we knew was announcing a pregnancy: "We weren't even trying!" or "I cannot believe it's our third!" or "We just got drunk, I guess I'll marry her now." Every woman I knew had some crazy advice - and I tried ALL of it! It began to really consume our lives, the want for a child. We kept praying that adoption would feel right but it never did. We really felt the Lord answering a firm "no" to that prayer. That made it all feel even worse - not only did the Lord not see fit to give us a biological child but also was giving us strong feelings against adoption. We canceled the appointment with the fertility specialist. I shut down. I could no longer attend baby showers, shop for children, go to the mall (because every pregnant teenager would cause me to breakdown right then and there), I would avoid facebook and blogs in case someone else was revealing a pregnancy.
In October 2010, we put away the charts, the calender, the thermometer and we just gave up. No more. We decided that in the new year we would begin the adoption process even if we still felt the Lord saying "no." It was one of the lowest points in my life. The holidays that year were very less than merry - we were just trying to survive. All I could think was "How many more until we have a child?"
On New Year's Eve, I made the resolution to be happy as a family of 2. I vowed to enjoy the life the Lord had given me.
We started the year off busier than ever. We never got around to getting the adoption process started. We welcomed a visit from the SD Riley's, Mark worked Boy Scout Winter Camp, I hosted a ladies junk exchange - we started living again. Then, January 28, 2011 we realized that it wasn't just the two of us living life - we were THREE!
Everyday of expecting Annabeth, we lived in fear her little life would end. I counted hours between appointments to hear her heartbeat. We lived for that 20 week ultrasound. I slept so little and threw up so much. And then this happened. Then, by God's amazing grace, she was ours.
The name Anna means "God is merciful." We chose it because it's beautiful and it is in part a family name but in the end it fit so perfectly. God is in fact merciful. We are so blessed.
We know friends who have to adopt who are still waiting, after years, for a baby. We know friends who have been trying for years to conceive. We know that to those our nearly 2 year journey through infertility is nothing. To them we are blessed beyond measure - they are right.
God is merciful. To Him be all the glory.