IVF ONLY – Our infertility journey and how God has redeemed our pain

We have been trying to get pregnant for over three years now. And the journey has been very difficult. I wish I could sugar coat it and say there have been pros to this but the honest truth is that it sucks. As I researched a little before starting to write this post, I found articles on how infertility has ruined marriages, women’s bodies, couples mental health, and how IVF (in vitro fertilization), is not recommended. In general, most articles were honest, which I appreciate, but so negative.

Side note: If you're going through infertility, don't google about it. It's freakin scary. Talk to someone you know has or is going through it, instead. 

The reality is pretty heavy and painful and I’m going to be as honest and transparent as I can, but I will not allow my pain to dismiss that there is ALWAYS hope when you have God on your side. Infertility sucks. But God is good.

It has been a long journey so far. We started trying to get pregnant in 2016 while we were still living in a small apartment. We were anxious to move to a new place so we could have more space for our growing family. So we decided to move to a new city, buy a home we could afford, with enough room for the children we were hoping to have. Fast forward to 2019, we have a 4 bedroom home and no kids. Just me, my husband, and my mom who lives with us. And an empty room waiting to become a nursery.

In 2017, after trying for a year I decided to let my Gyno know and she recommended for us to do a bunch of tests. Blood work, ultrasounds, semen analysis, etc. After all the exams, we met with her again and my results came back normal. But my husband’s didn’t. And on the report, it read: IVF ONLY.

I was in shock. One minute we were trying naturally–just doing exams to check what was going on. And all of a sudden, we were being told IVF was the ONLY way we’d get pregnant. It was painful, scary, and I felt sad that my husband had to carry this burden.

I did not understand how or why God would let this happen to us. We had done everything in our ability to live in a way that was pleasing to Him. We had made purity when we dated and in marriage a top priority. And we served Him faithfully. I was so confused.

We decided we weren’t ready to take such a big step so we waited for a while. We knew that doing a procedure like IVF was financially, physically, and emotionally draining. It wasn’t until we felt the “ok” from God that we moved forward. In the summer of last year, I spoke to someone very dear to me who encouraged me to call my insurance to see if IVF was covered. She encouraged me to not let fear get in the way of a blessing. And I did just that. To our surprise, our insurance covers it! And that motivated us to look for a fertility clinic that we felt comfortable with. (Side note: our clinic doesn’t take insurance for some parts of the process so we will have to pay a few Gs out of pocket. As Jimmy Fallon would say, “EW”). After lots of research, we made an appointment.

Making an appointment was a big step for us. It meant that we were ready to face our fears. And it also meant that we were out of our denial. This was an issue. We are really struggling with infertility. And we were taking a step medically to address the issue.

When we met with our doctor, he had us do MORE test and exams. He suggested meeting with a urologist before we even decided our next steps. He explained what his predictions were but wanted to make sure we took every step necessary before we went down the IVF route. This made me feel at peace. I knew he had our best interest at heart. But it was also very frustrating because it meant more waiting and potentially more tests which means more money, too.

The latter part of 2018, was filled with lots of appointments with a urologist who is helping my husband improve the root cause of infertility. He’s been on medication for a while now. After a few months of being on the medication, we were told there wasn’t much improvement. Not enough to try for an IUI (Intrauterine insemination), which is a step before IVF. Another letdown. So we decided that we’d keep trying naturally while Edward took this medication to see if after a few months there was an improvement.

And that’s where we’re at right now. We are waiting. And our next appointment is coming up. To be honest, the weeks leading up to our appointments are hard for me. They remind me of what we’re dealing with. It puts focus on something that I wish so badly wasn’t true.

Throughout this process, I have wrestled with God. I have made my pain and my anguish known to him. And in return, He has comforted me and also admonished me. He has searched my heart. He has healed me from a lot of junk that I have carried for years. He has brought to light the fact that my relationship with Him has been a means to an end in many cases. He has helped me celebrate other women and their children in the midst of my pain. He has helped me cope with my pain as others became parents. And he has humbled my heart so that I don’t create an idol of this desire to become parents. Yes, even something as good as being or becoming a parent can become an idol.

There are so many articles that speak of infertility ruining marriages and ruining lives in general. I am thankful that even though it has taken a toll on our relationship, we are stronger than ever. It’s not because we are the most awesome couple in the world, it’s because we have clung to God for dear life. And we have not separated ourselves from our community.

One thing I told myself a few months ago is that I REFUSE to let this consume me. I REFUSE to let this ruin any part of my life. I want us to be parents but not at the expense of my sanity, my relationship with God, or my relationship with my husband. If I’m being real, it’s on ME to let anything ruin my life. I get to decide if I will truly believe God’s word or if I will accept the enemy’s lies.

We are choosing to believe God. We are choosing to trust Him. We are taking every step cautiously so that we can hear from Him. Even though we are on the route to IVF, we don’t know for sure if that’s what we’ll decide to do. And if we do, we don’t know for sure if that route will result in a baby. And we don’t know for sure if we will ever have our own kids. Which scares me and makes me incredibly sad. But we DO know that God is faithful. And that miracles happen in many ways. Not always the way we imaged or wanted, but they happen.

The last thing we ever want is for people to pity us. For people to see us and say “I feel so sorry for them. They don’t deserve this”. I am aware that sharing all this might bring pity. And that kinda makes me nervous. I share this because I truly believe that God wants to use our pain. God doesn’t cause us pain, He is our Father and only wants good stuff for us. But he does use our pain to help us understand and be there for others.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. (2 Corinthians 1:3–5)

So, this is our story. It’s still being written. And I trust the hands that are writing it. I know His plans are bigger, better, and brighter than mine. I choose to humble myself before him and accept His will for our lives. I choose to celebrate in the middle of my pain. And I choose to allow him to use it for His glory.

If you’re currently going through an obstacle, loss, medical diagnosis, hard new season, whatever it is, know that you’re not alone. God is with you and wants to hear your heart. And I am here to say that your pain is valid and real and justified. I also want to say that no matter how deep the pain, there is hope. And that hope is Jesus. Cling to him. He will never let you down.

February Free Mobile & Desktop Wallpapers

The love month is here! I rather call it appreciation month, though, because it’s a month to appreciate all the people you love.

February is a month to celebrate relationships and connection–whether you have a significant other or not. And you know what? I bet that there’s someone in your life that you can say “thank you” or “I appreciate you” to.

This month I’ve created a few illustrated and feminine wallpapers for you to dress up your phone. I hope they inspire to celebrate the people you love.

P.S. Stay on the lookout for some more fun freebies in coming weeks to help you celebrate Valentine’s day AND Galentine’s day. I think you should celebrate BOTH, just sayin’. 😉

To download the wallpapers, long press or right click on the images below.

Not Today, Offense!

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Picking up the phone, sending that text, inviting someone over, letting someone stay the night, listening, being honest, forgiving. Those are things that build relationships.

But offense… Offense is the one things that can destroy and unravel relationships. Offense is no respecter of relationship. Offense can affect our friendships, marriage, workplace, extended family, and even church.

It creates separation and causes us to think the worse of people. It leads us to notice the bad instead of the good. When offense starts to creep in, our thoughts get clouded and soon we feel lonely, isolated, left out, and at it’s worse, entitled.

How about we flip the switch on offense? Let’s stop to think of the last time we took the first step. Or expressed how we truly felt. Or the last time we showed up for others in ways we long for others to show up for us.

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You know, the cure to mend a broken relationship is to say no to offense. To do the opposite of what it’s whispering in our ear. To do the thing that feels least natural to our flesh and most freeing to our soul.

When I’m in the thick of it and my mind is out of control, God’s Spirit intervenes and reminds me to be the peacemaker, the hospitable friend, the listener, the gatherer, the one that’s quick to forgive.

Is there someone that comes to mind while reading this? Do you need to let them off the hook? Do you need to start noticing the good versus the bad? Do you need to let your pride down and make the call? Do you need to show up for them today?

Today I’m saying, “Not today, offense”. I’m saying, “Not today, devil”. Clear mind, open heart, willing spirit. God’s way, not mine.

Download the artwork below, Not Today, and feel free to share on your social media accounts. There are two sizes to choose from, square and vertical. Tag me if you use them, I’d love to see them on your feeds 🙂

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Grace-filled Reminders For The Lady Of The House (a.k.a. Home Engineer, Family Manager, Home Economist)

StyldbyGrace_LadyOfTheHouseCards__35I’m excited to share a new freebie I created for my fellow homemakers. That word, homemaker, may be a dirty word to some but to me, it means the head lady in charge. The boss lady. The home engineer. The puzzle solver. The family manager. The lady of the house. And oftentimes, the home economist. Anything to save a dollar here and there, right?!

Loving, nurturing, organizing, and up keeping our homes can seem like an antiquated thing but God has called us to our homes and families first. If we can manage businesses, schedules, outings, and everything else in between, we should make it a priority to manage our homes. To look out for our people. To make sure everything is at peace.

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But let’s be real. In the modern world, where our careers, side hustles, and servant leadership, demand A LOT from us, that can be really really difficult. Sometimes we even resent “having” to take care of our homes. I know I do!

So, what the solution? First, an enormous amount of grace towards ourselves and our families. Second, reading and meditating on God’s word and truth. And finally, reminders that encourage us daily, rooted in God’s word, both practical and spiritual.

 

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And that’s what this freebie is all about. Practical and spiritual reminders for us ladies to have a happy and willing heart when it comes to loving and serving our homes.

You can download these Grace-filled Reminders For The Lady Of The House here and display them all over your home. I hope they’re a blessing to you and your home ❤

5 Facts About Infertility Everyone Needs To Know

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If you’ve been following the discussion around #NIAW, then you must have read the many stories of people going through this struggle.

The stories are so important to bring awareness. I also believe that hard facts and statistics can make this medical issue (because it is a medical issue) less taboo and easier to talk about.

Not only that but maybe more people will advocate and work to get better medical coverage for it.

Here are 5 important facts/statistics you need to know about infertility:

1. The CDC lists infertility as not being able to get pregnant (conceive) after one year (or longer) of unprotected sex. In my opinion, if something is listed by the CDC as an illness, then it needs to be seen and known as a medical issue. Therefore, the necessary work needs to be done to bring awareness, get funding for research, and people who are diagnosed with infertility should be able to seek reliable treatment and reasonable coverage.

The next time you talk to someone struggling with infertility, remember it’s not always as simple as “letting go” or “not stressing about it”. It could be an issue they are battling medically. Which can be very draining emotionally and physically.

2. Infertility is actually very common. 1 in 8 couples struggles with infertility. You may very easily know someone who is battling infertility. 6% of women aged 15 to 44 are unable to get pregnant after one year of trying to conceive. It could be your sister, your brother, your aunt, your coworker, or your friend on Instagram. I’m amazed at the number of people that I know personally that have been diagnosed with infertility. Just in my family, there are 3 people who are struggling with it.

I’m much more aware of what to say, what to bring up, what to keep to myself, and what questions not to ask at this point. But I think we should all start rethinking the questions and suggestions we give others about family planning. It’s too common and too sensitive to ignore.

3. Men struggle with infertility as well. This isn’t just something that happens to women. Or to people of a certain age group. Or people who waited “too long”. As I mentioned earlier this week in our personal infertility story, my husband was diagnosed with infertility. We are in our late 20s and we try to have a healthy lifestyle. Yet, here we are. This issue touches all kinds of people. Again, it’s important to be aware and be sensitive with our words, suggestions, and assumptions.

4. Infertility can be treated with medicine, surgery, intrauterine insemination, or assisted reproductive technology. And sometimes a combination of these methods are used. BUT…

5. Only 15 states have infertility insurance laws. But that doesn’t mean that it is mandatory for insurances to cover infertility treatments. It’s up to the employer to decide what kind of coverage they’ll provide.

Being that it is a common medical condition, it saddens me that many people don’t get medical attention because they can’t afford it. And if they do, they are using their life savings for it. 

We are so thankful that our current insurance covers the majority of the infertility treatments we need. But that’s not the case for everyone.

Be reminded when meeting or speaking to someone with infertility that they might be carrying a major financial burden. Not only is it draining emotionally and physically, but also financially.

Encouragement for people struggling with infertility: call your insurance before you cross off any type of treatment. Your insurance might cover what you need and you may not even know it. This was the BEST advice I received.

There’s hope in the middle of all this:

I’ve learned so much during this season. I’ve learned to be empathetic. I now understand what it is to grieve. I now understand what it feels like to get a bad report from a doctor. I now understand why these things matter. I now can be there for people going through similar experiences. IT’S NOT ALL BAD. Even though it feels like it.

One thing I also now know is that my God has the power to overcome ALL these facts. Facts, reports, and statistics are great. They inform us and move us to action. But God’s power, sovereignty, and goodness can contend with these things and win every time.

He truly has the final say. He provides the resources. He provides exactly what we need and when we need it. In Him, we live, breathe, and move. He is the one orchestrating a miracle in motion.

Please share this with someone. Let’s help bring awareness and hope.

With love & appreciation,
Theresa

References:
https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/infertility/index.htm https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/infertility/publichealth.htm

Quote credit for “Miracle in Motion” to @richwilkersonjr and his amazing sermon series Miracle in Motion. Which you should definitely check out 🔥