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|16-3-2012 - “I will praise you in this storm”…OUR infertility journey of FAITH and BLESSINGS
||My mood while writing this blog:|
BLESSED beyond measure
Like so many women in this world my heart’s desire was to always be a mother. After 2 years of marriage George and I began trying for our first precious child. It’s never in your mind when you first start trying that infertility; miscarriage or a loss of a baby could or would happen to you. Sure you hear it happening to other women but you want that precious baby so bad that it never really crosses your mind. Only a few months after trying we were excited to find out that I was pregnant and started the whole process of doctor routines only to be crushed only a few weeks into my first pregnancy that I had a miscarriage. Our hearts were so crushed and we had so many questions for the doctor and how we could fix the issue. This wasn’t supposed to happen on a first pregnancy, we thought. We held it together though and struggled to understand why but also keeping the faith that God would bless us one day. After struggling so long and not happy with the doctor’s office I was at, I decided to change doctors and began seeing an awesome doctor who specializes in infertility issues and learned that my miscarriage could be from my history of Endometriosis, which I had surgery for in 2002. So it was then that this doctor decided that the best step was to start with one thing at a time to eliminate the possibility of another miscarriage. His first step was an HSG (Hysterosalpingogram). He knew my history of Endometriosis but felt like that was not the issue at the moment and so we proceeded with the HSG. The results showed nothing out of the ordinary as to why I was struggling but I was told that sometimes women get pregnant soon after having this procedure done..and so…I was one of those women. Three months later I became pregnant again. George and I both wanted to be excited but were scared as well. The whole fear of miscarriage scared me and so I had my first ultrasound at 5 weeks. As most people know at 5 weeks pregnant you cannot see much at all, not even a heartbeat yet, and so that scared us both but we knew that was to be expected. But over the course of the next 5 weeks I would have an ultrasound almost every week and we prayed that God would bless this pregnancy and not let us go through another heartbreak. I remember my mom being with us in the ultrasound room, I remember crying the first time I finally got to see her heartbeat on that monitor and I remember my wonderful Mother in Law being so beyond excited when we found out we were having a girl (George is an only child). Kinsley grew and I had an awesome pregnancy with no complications at all until about 2 weeks before she was born she decided to turn and kick me very hard in the ribs causing me so much pain that I ended up in the ER 3 times, the doctors thinking I had blood clots in my lungs and after about 2 weeks of pain and sleeping upright in a recliner, the pain finally eased off. She was just as stubborn in the womb, as she is now, and finally after 40 weeks and 3 days our precious and beautiful miracle, Kinsley Amarah Rhodes, was born on July 3, 2007. She was perfect in every single way. She completed our lives and since the day of her birth has brought so much love, laughter and joy to George and I. She is truly a blessing and miracle from God and we are reminded each and every day how HE has blessed us beyond measure.
But the story doesn’t end there…..George and I had always talked about having more children. At one point George wanted 3 while I only wanted 2, but we both knew that we wanted more. So after Kinsley turned 1 we started talking about trying again. It was right after Kinsley’s 2nd birthday when we officially started trying again and it didn’t take long for me to get pregnant again…and to miscarry AGAIN. We both tried to understand that God has a reason for this happening and yet we knew we had already been blessed with a miracle and to be thankful with the one we had even though we wanted another child so much. We both kept the faith that God would eventually bless us again in his time. Over the course of the next 2 years we continued to try with no success and in the process of it all we lost one of the most precious people in our lives, my beautiful Mother in Law and George’s mom. She and my mom were our physical strength through each of our struggles and Kinsley was Nana’s pride and joy. Nana called her Pumkindoodle and still to this day Kinsley remembers so much about her and we miss her greatly. She was so special to me and she had been in the same situation. She struggled with miscarriage after miscarriage only to be blessed with George, her own miracle child whom would become my husband and biggest rock through all of this.
After so many tests and numerous visits and long talks with the doctor, we finally found out my body wasn’t functioning as it should after I had Kinsley, so after sitting down with my doctor in his office we all agreed that Clomid was the next option in trying to help me get pregnant again. I began taking these having full confidence that this would fix the issue and we would have another healthy and beautiful child. But reality and fear set in again, when I found out right before 4th of July vacation 2010 that I was pregnant yet again. I had blood work done right before I headed out on vacation only to have vacation interrupted by a phone call from the doctor’s office that I needed to be put on Progesterone ASAP because my body was not producing it as it should in a normal pregnancy. By this point I could pretty much tell you when something wasn’t right with a pregnancy with me… at this time I don’t know if it was my doubt because of my past…but this was one of those times. I tried not to think about it very much while on vacation and returned back home to more doctors’ visits that were becoming more and more like I was living there. The nurses know you by name and it seems all your paychecks go to them. An ultrasound showed that I had not had a miscarriage, but rather I had an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancies can be very dangerous to a woman if not treated properly so of course my doctor took immediate action. Because I had shown no real signs of danger he decided that surgery was not needed at the time and so I waited at the hospital in a room to have a round of shots called Methotrexate (usually given to cancer patients). For anyone who doesn’t know what this is, it is medication usually given by injection to stop the growth of the fetus in the tube. If left untreated the fetus continues to try to grow in the tube, the tube can burst therefore causing life threatening circumstances to the woman. If there is no history of pain with the ectopic pregnancy or major issues, this is usually the route the doctors prefer to take because it is not near as risky as surgery. So there we were sitting in the same position. Starting all over again, with a million questions for the doctor, and not knowing why all of this was happening, trying our best to keep our faith in God that he would bless us again and told not to even begin to try again for 3 months. In one sense you know it is best to wait for the body to heal in those 3 months and in another sense you want so much to try again. I struggled with the waiting period, the why is this happening and maybe we shouldn’t try anymore. I’ve had people ask me “I have no idea how you could go through that many losses, how do you both make it through each miscarriage?” It is called FAITH. Without our faith there would be no way we would have made it through each one, and I am reminded that I have already been blessed with 1 beautiful and amazing angel when there are so many women out there that continue to struggle on a daily basis just to have one. For that I am so grateful for what God has given George and me and pray daily for the women and families I know that continue to struggle.
Like I said, at this point, it was a struggle for us to even decide whether it was even worth it to try for another child. In my heart I wanted another one so bad, to feel those tiny fingers wrapped around mine and feel that sweet innocent baby in my arms, to wake up to midnight feedings and hear that baby cry all over again. But was it worth putting my body and life at risk for it? And so, even despite the circumstances and past, we decided to give it yet another try. So back on Clomid I went the same routine as the last unsuccessful pregnancy. At this point it was either take Clomid, or take nothing and risk another miscarriage or ectopic. We thought that would “fix” it, taking the Clomid. We, as well as the doctor, thought it was my progesterone, with the last unsuccessful pregnancy, not elevating as it should in a pregnancy (I wasn’t producing any beforehand) and Clomid keeps that level where it needs to be until pregnancy happens, and then I was immediately taken off and put on progesterone. And so the struggle began again. You see, my initial problem was NOT getting pregnant it is keeping the pregnancy, but ectopic pregnancies are a TOTALLY different ballgame. I did, however, become pregnant again April 2011. By this point, both of us really were not even excited when I found out. Of course I wanted to be pregnant, we both wanted another child, but when your heart has been crushed so many times over the course of 2 to 3 years it becomes numb and the excitement doesn’t set in immediately. There is this fear that EVERY mom and woman has if they have been through multiple miscarriages and losses and it stays with you from the very beginning. And so, yet again, we discovered I had another ectopic pregnancy. Now the first one scared George bad enough that when we found out I was having another one it literally made us both think about the circumstances and risks, but God had given us a great doctor who had watched closely over me and had done everything he could to help me and George to have another child. And so yet again I was sent to the hospital for another round of Methotrexate, but this time around it was a little different. I was experiencing some pain and so an ultrasound was ordered to reveal that I still had an ectopic pregnancy but no major issues to cause me to have surgery…YET. George and I both figured that I would have the shots and then we would be right back where we started, yet again, either making a decision to go back on Clomid to try again or pray heavily over whether or not God would want us to try again. We both talked about how we had prayed that God would give us a sign, answer,or would somehow reveal to us what he would have us do. I truly believe our answer, even though we still struggled with it after, came on Sunday, May 29, 2011. The day and night before, George and Kinsley had been out of town. It had been one week since the shots and I was at a friend’s house because I knew she would be there if I needed her. I started experiencing pain that would cause me to call the hospital to ask what to do. They immediately put me through to my doctor who was on call that night and I was told that if the pain got worse to go to the ER, otherwise he wanted me in the ER in the morning for an ultrasound to see what was going on. His fear was the shots had not worked this time but he wanted to rule it out. Luckily I did not have to make a midnight trip to the ER and Sunday morning I had told George to get him and Kinsley ready for church I would just be going to have an ultrasound done and be back home. That would be an understatement and the whole plan would change drastically. A routine ultrasound that concluded that while the shots had stopped the fetus growth in my left fallopian tube, the mass was not getting smaller still putting pressure on the tube and causing me pain that would eventually result in surgery. That surgery would happen that day. It was an unexpected thing and I was scared to call George to tell him because I knew how he felt with the last ectopic but it was something that had to happen. There weren’t any other options. Surgery had to take place and it would either take place that day or later on in the week. We both decided that since I was already at the hospital and “dressed to hospital standards” that we would do the surgery that day. Even my doctor went to church that day before doing the surgery around 3 that afternoon. Now some would say, that was wrong being that I could have been a critical case, but he was on call and I praise him for going to church and being such an example. It says a lot when you have a doctor of faith and uses that in his practice. Surgery went as planned and with success, although he had to completely remove my left fallopian tube as well as clean up a lot of endometriosis that had taken over my uterine cavity once again. As a matter of fact the condition in my cavity had started getting worse, and we did not know this, from the time the ultrasound took place that morning to the surgery that afternoon. And so we firmly believe that God told us to have that surgery that day and not wait.
Since then, it has been 3 months and since then we have been in the doctor’s office yet again being asked if we wanted to try again. This had to be one of the toughest decisions that George and I have EVER had to make in our life as well as one of the most life changing decisions. On Sunday, May 29th we were STILL struggling with which way to go and for 3 long months we would still question our decision as well as PRAY heavily. It was either go back on Clomid that officially says; yes we are trying again or go on birth control and stop trying all together. I can’t go without one or the other, because my body will not allow it. The burning question from my doctor was “How bad do you want another child?” My risk of another miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy is higher than 60% even now, after removing my fallopian tube. However my doctor seems positive that I could also have a healthy pregnancy, still. But the burning question for George and me both was…would this be something that God would want for us, to keep trying or to be happy with the beautiful miracle we has already blessed us with. Each pregnancy could possibly create more damage for my body as well as the past failures are something we talked and prayed about.
Last month our pastor, David, at CrossPointe church preached a series on Unstoppable: Daring to live a life of FAITH. The one that stuck out to me the most was the sermon on Brave Faith (verses based on Heb. 11: 30-34). There were two quotes he used in this sermon that really hit home: “FAITH is unconditional confidence in God.” and “The real obstacles in our life are not our circumstances, it’s our unbelief in God and who he says he is.” That was when I realized, Ok, God is definitely teaching me a lesson on FAITH here and I knew that. My question to God was….Ok are you trying to teach me to have faith that even though you may decide not to bless George and I again, that I should just have faith that you will take care of Kinsley as our one and only OR are you trying to teach me that I should have faith that you will bless George and I again with another child. I told George about this struggle and questioning and we continued to pray and asked others to pray for us and with us so that we would not make the decision WE may want, but what God would want for us. And so we have made the decision right now for me to not take Clomid again and not to try for another child. We made this decision with much, MUCH prayer and dedication, and we are both at peace about this decision and feel like God has given us that peace. Wildly enough the last few weeks it seems Kinsley has said or done things that have REALLY touched or hearts as well as others in her life and we take great pride and joy in knowing that our beautiful child is a blessing to not only to us as her parents, but to others that she may not even know. And because she is a beautiful blessing from God, we will continue to raise her, teaching her great FAITH and what it means to her dad and me.
Now you may ask me…”how is it that you still can have faith, even after all the failures?” Well here is my answer to that. God allows us to go through struggles to bring him closer to him and maybe be a support for someone else struggling. And when we have that FAITH I have seen full hand that he blesses us even more tremendously than we can ever imagine. We may not know why we are going through a struggle at that point and time in our life, but God has a plan. He has a plan that is perfect for us, but we have to have FAITH and realize that his great plan comes in HIS time and not ours. George and I are both firm believers in the fact that God will never give us more than we can handle. Without HIM, our church, our family and friends, we would have NEVER made it through any of this. God has blessed George and I both with Kinsley who simply amazes us both on a daily basis with the simple things she does, says and her simple and innocent childlike faith reminds us that no matter if God sees fit to bless us again or not that she is truly our blessing from God. “No matter what our circumstances are, or what struggles we face in life…no matter what, God is enough.” FAITH is having absolute confidence in God no matter what!
AFTER having my left fallopian tube removed in May 2011 we were told that IF we wanted to try again for another child it was best for me to give my body a rest for 3 months. Basically George and I had already decided that we would not be trying again so when it was time for my yearly exam on Oct 31st 2011 I told my doctor that George and I had both decided that I would go back on birth control and it had been a tough decision, one that we prayed and prayed about. Little did I know that I wouldn’t even get to start the new birth control and would back in his office the next week to confirm a positive pregnancy test. PRAISE GOD for He is faithful and knows the desires of our heart even when we have given up hope. Over the next few weeks I would undergo tests and 12 weeks of progesterone shots, still scared and in shock, but praising God for this little miracle growing in my tummy. On Feb. 13th 2012 we found out we were having another beautiful little princess and then it started to become more and more real. This pregnancy has been totally different than my pregnancy with Kinsley but everything has been perfect with no issues and I give all the praise to God for that. This pregnancy along with God’s grace has brought George and I as a couple closer together than we have ever been as well as it has taught us to be better and stronger Godly parents to not only Kinsley but her little sister, Elena Ann, who is due July 19th. Not only has God blessed our family once again, but he has also blessed in other ways. Whitney, my younger sister, is also going through pregnancy with me as well. We are both having girls and due within 6 days of each other, with her due date being July 13th 2012. I see God’s grace and mercy through this whole journey of infertility and I fully believe that HE is still working miracles today. He will NEVER leave us nor forsake us.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Love in Christ,
George, Jennifer, Kinsley and Elena Rhodes
1 Comments on “I will praise you in this storm”…OUR infertility journey of FAITH and BLESSINGSlil.pigz
- Friday, 16 Mar Your story touched my heart♥ I too have suffered 5 losses...3 unexplained, 1 ectopic and one stillbirth. I found myself questioning my faith and wondering if only I was going through this and for what reasons because at the time I could not see what I had done to deserve such heartache. Looking back now, those who had suffered the same, had been there for me when I most needed them and gave me their testimonies of hope and inspiration, and I have found myself in the same situation now consoling others and offering them hope for another baby and to not give up faith. He truly works in mysterious ways, but in ways we cannot deny♥ I am so happy to hear all has been going well with your pregnancy, it is such peace of mind to pass the milestones and know things are going great:-)