It was 8 months since I had gone off birth control pills and we began trying. 8 months of timed intercourse, negative pregnancy tests and mounting tension. There was an unspoken ache growing in my womb instead of a baby. We had purchased our first home and we eagerly painted one room the sweetest pale yellow we could find, as we dreamed of our first baby. I knew something was wrong, even when others would speak of our “young age” and the need for me to simply “relax” in the waiting. Finally, we went to the doctor for testing.
I can still remember the phone ringing as I sat at our dining room table, trying to plan out my decor for the rest of our tiny home.
“Hello, may I speak with Crystal Coates please?”
“This is she.”
“Hello ma’am. This is So-and-So from Such-and-Such Hospital. I am calling with your lab results, is now a good time?”
I said yes, later I would wonder if I had said “no” if it would somehow buy me more hope, as if doing that could stop and change the story.
“I am sorry ma’am. There is no way for you to be able to get pregnant naturally.”
“Naturally” meant sex. But we could have sex every waking moment for the rest of our lives and never “fall pregnant.” In one moment my world seemed shattered.
I don’t remember anything else that was said. I do remember dropping the phone as tears slid down my face. I remember calling my husband of 1 year and repeating the words like a robot. I remember dropping to the floor and weeping and wondering why this was happening to us.
That was 17 years ago. I was 22 years old. I would spend so many years and tears navigating people talking about how God did the impossible for such-and-such a couple or after we adopted, people sharing how it was “after adopting” that so-and-so unexpectedly got pregnant. Those stories are glorious, no doubt, but they felt like salt in a never ending wound. We would never get pregnant “naturally.” And for years that held a shame and weight I can never express with words.
Eventually, we would opt to try and get pregnant. Eventually, it would work. Eventually, I would lose those babies and learn of a pain when I buried them that felt far heavier then the infertility. Eventually, we would adopt, and adopt, and adopt again. Eventually, when all hope seemed gone for us to ever be able to try again, we did.
This time it was IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization), the mac-daddy of all infertility treatments, and I was 35 years old. Finally, I would know what it was to carry a baby full-term and the joy of hearing her first cry when she was born. And, I would also have 2 more embryos frozen for the future.
It has been almost 4 years since our daughter was born, almost 3 years longer then we had planned on waiting to try again by doing a FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer), but that is another story.
The future is now. This week marks the beginning of walking through a FET, of (God-willing) giving those 2 embryos a chance at life, and I can’t help but remember the very beginning of our story. A story that began so long ago, a story so full of sorrow and joy and God’s unwavering faithfulness that it steals my breath with its enormity. So tonight, as I swallow my meds, I need to remember His past faithfulness. As I ponder my fragility, I remember His strength and His power. When I am tempted to fear, I lean on his faithfulness. Because one thing I have learned through it all is that I was never meant to walk this road without Him.