Dear God, not again,” I prayed.
Walking to the bathroom, I remembered my last miscarriage. How, after 11 weeks of pregnancy, the doctors found no heartbeat and surgically removed what remained in my womb. I recalled the shame, the hope lost, the disappointment. I recalled the anger of having hoped so long and so hard just to have it end so harshly. Tears falling, I got to the bathroom and sat down.
Now, here I was, with blood-stained underwear, facing a miscarriage again.
I don’t know which hurt worse: losing another pregnancy or losing my faith. In that moment, I lost both. I had trusted, prayed and believed I would see God fix this for me. After all, I had been a faithful Christian since I was 19. I loved Jesus. He had healed me from the pain of losing my brother to suicide years before. He had blessed me tremendously by putting my high school-sweetheart-turned husband, Eric, and me together. So why had God abandoned me in the very thing I desired most—a family?
Short on faith and low on hope, I tried to persevere, but things got even worse. I found the best doctors and went through several tests and procedures of various types and intensities. What they found shocked me.
I had three major birth defects: half a uterus, only one ovary, and the fallopian tube was blocked.
Doctors couldn’t explain how I had even gotten pregnant. Lab tests also showed I had a condition causing my blood to clot in the womb—the likely cause of my miscarriages.
I literally needed a miracle.
I spent the next few years coming to grips with those results. How could I, the one my mom always said would have a house full of puppies and kids, be facing a life without children at all? Why would God let this be my story?
Being in my late twenties, I watched all, and I do mean all, of my friends have happy, healthy babies. I was torn between being genuinely excited for them and equally sad for me. Why them and not me—not us? Eric wanted children just as badly as I did. He acted like our marriage was all he needed, but facing a future without children is a hard pill for anybody to swallow. After all, reproductively he was fully functional. I was a reproductive mess.
Years passed, and the feeling of disappointment dulled. Believing Jesus loved me—even though it didn’t feel like He did—I got the courage to try in-vitro fertilization. Doctors said it was our only option; Eric and I went ahead full force.
We aggressively searched for doctors in a bigger city and found one with accolades from patients all across the country. Jackpot! We began the in vitro regimen immediately. We got on a set schedule, Eric giving me shots of one hormone in the morning and another at night. I spent more time researching on the internet than doing my job developing software. I became obsessively focused on the process. Doctors also put me on daily blood-thinning shots to correct the clotting situation.
All I needed to do was get pregnant. This was my time, and this was going to work.
After six weeks of manipulating my reproductive system, the doctor implanted one fertilized embryo and sent me home to recover.
Finally, three weeks later, we went to the doctor’s office to take the pregnancy test. All day, my cell phone was never more than two inches away, and I jumped every time it rang. Around 2:30 that afternoon the call came.
“Not pregnant,” the nurse said.
My husband had heard the news first and rushed to my job to pick me up, knowing I would be devastated. Fist pounding the dashboard in the car, I shouted, “That’s it, Jesus! I give up! I can’t do this anymore. This hoping and believing and trusting You just ends in disappointment. And You don’t even care! You don’t care! This isn’t even hard for You to do, but You choose not to help me!”
Days led to months, months led to years. I attended church regularly, but my heart wasn’t there. One thought—He doesn’t care about me, so why should I care about Him—raced through my mind constantly. Every time I saw a pregnant stranger, I felt it simply served as a reminder that I’m the one NOT loved by God. So, I stopped attending church altogether.
What was the point?
Letting it Go
I don’t recall how I ended up in church at a Thursday evening Bible study, but I remember sitting quietly in the back, half-heartedly listening, yet desperately searching for an answer. The minister read what Jesus said about it being easier for a camel to get through the eye of the needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven. In that moment, I saw my rich self sitting there as if I had something to be whining about. I still had my husband who made me laugh everyday. I had an awesome career, and I had a great dog—you can never overestimate a great dog. But I hadn’t been able to see it because all I looked at was what I didn’t have.
In that moment, I made a decision.
“Lord Jesus,” I prayed, “if I never have kids, if it were always just Eric and me, I’ll still serve You.”
Determined to be grateful for all I did have, I began to heal emotionally and spiritually. It took a few years, but in time, Jesus rebuilt my trust in Him and restored my joy, peace and excitement about life. I was living again!
A few years later—seven years from the first miscarriage, in fact—my pastor pulled me aside and said, “Shelly, it’s time to give it one more try.”
Wait, what?! “Was he smoking those funny cigarettes?” I thought. Jesus and I had worked way too hard to pull me out of that devastation, and I was in no hurry to jump back in.
“You don’t know what I’ve been through!” I replied. But he insisted it was time, and in my heart, I hoped he was right. My husband agreed to give it one last try.
This time, I just went to the local doctor. Either Jesus was going to do this or He wasn’t.
We went through the entire process again—the schedules, the shots, the appointments, the waiting. Doctors said my fertility levels were very low, and this would be the last time my body could handle the procedure. So we threw caution to the wind and implanted three embryos.
It took six long, arduous weeks, but at last the test results came back.
We were pregnant!
Having It All
To describe that as a happy day is to describe the Grand Canyon as a little valley. My husband and I celebrated, but cautiously. Given my past, we were still on edge. I had gotten to this point before and miscarried. I needed to see the ultrasound and hear the heartbeat before I would allow myself to get too excited.
Exactly one day before the scheduled ultrasound, I had a massive bleeding episode at work. In the same moment the bleeding started, a knowing peace came over me, reminding me to keep trusting Jesus. I called my husband, and he reassured me that the Lord was with us. I went home that afternoon to take it easy. I walked out on my porch, looked up at the sky, and I cried, “Jesus! Son of David! Have mercy on me!” It was all in His hands, and I was trusting in Him.
Refusing to let the past overwhelm me, we kept the ultrasound appointment. Hands sweating, I lay there as the doctor scanned my belly. Eric and I held our breaths.
And then we saw them—two little pea-sized things and two little heartbeats. My half uterus carried not one baby, but two!
Today, my twins are thriving 7-year-old girls, and they are the absolute loves of my life. I never dreamed I would have twins, and now I couldn’t imagine my life without them.
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