As told to: Kevin Seguin
My own wife had been told for years that it would be very difficult for her to have children. It is a topic that we discussed quite a bit while we were dating and into our engagement and first year or so of marriage. Infertility is a topic that isn't discussed much in the church, far less the options when dealing with it.
Some dear friends of ours have been struggling for years, and their story is filled with ups, downs, and everything in between. They have generously agreed to share their journey in the hopes of encouraging others in a similar position. It is our hope that this piece (which will come to you in four parts) will function as a jumping off point for church leaders, believers, and even couples facing this challenge as well. This is a painful topic for many and for many reasons. Our prayer is that this conversation is helpful to you.
Ok, here’s part 2. In this part I’ll be covering what has lead up to our recent decision - IVF.
Sound interesting? Scary? Expensive? Controversial? Yeah, all of those words are applicable, and then some. But let’s back up a bit.
Our son, Jonny, was 10 months old in June 2012 when we decided to start trying for number two. Obviously we were worried that it would take a while to get pregnant again, but I was trying hard not to stress about it. Our infertility was unexplained after all, so I was really hoping that after carrying a child to full term, my body had figured out how to do this whole “baby” thing. We started casually at first, and then seriously trying in the new year (January 2013) and after a year without success, we went back to the SOFT clinic in London in January of 2014. Jonny was now 2 1/2 years old.
The doctor showed us some stats that supported using the same method that worked to get our baby the first time around. Bill and I decided to go ahead with unmedicated IUI right away in February… and again in March… and again the next month, including injections to make me ovulate. No dice.
We were baffled.
Why wasn’t this working? We aren’t made of money, and the emotional toll was starting to be too much. We took a small break and tried again in August.
That’s it, I decided. For now, I’m done. The emotional toll is too hard. Our finances were strained. In the meantime almost everyone I know is pregnant! Pregnant for the second/third or fourth time, some were accidental, and for some, fertility treatments had worked. In the meantime on and off I feel like I’m drowning. I’m crying out to God. I’m at a loss. I feel like my family is incomplete. Why would God answer my prayers only to close my womb again? Why must I go through this terrible ordeal a second time? I feel like a constant burden to my friends, venting to them about a topic they don’t really want to talk about - it’s too depressing. They stop asking me how I’m doing, because they assume that if my situation changes, I would update them. So the concern fades away, the questions stop coming in, and yet as every month goes by I hurt more and more. So I learn to hide it better.
In 2015 we only did one more IUI in March, and it was after I had exploratory surgery done in February to see if there was anything else that could possibly be stopping us from getting pregnant. I was treated for some endometriosis and was hopeful for the March procedure but alas, no pregnancy. At that point the clinic advised us to stop doing IUIs. They didn’t want to see us wasting money on something that clearly wasn’t helping this time around.
So we were done.
This brings us to how we eventually came into IVF. In January of 2016 we decided that we were going to look into the foster to adopt program. It seemed like the only way as IVF was too expensive. After going through the classes, we ended up deciding that it wasn’t going to work for our family. The process is a lot more complicated than we understood at the beginning and while I see a great deal of value in the program, I believe that is a choice for each individual family to make. For us, it just wouldn't have worked.
However, shortly after we had finished the classes, a miracle happened. The Ontario government came through with their promise to cover the IVF procedure for the first attempt. Only the medications would be out of pocket, which would still end up being half the cost but the dream was now within our grasp!
Bill and I did our research before we talked to SOFT and got put on the wait list in April 2016. This is a big decision for any family, and should be prayed over. We’re talking about the essence of what IVF is. They take the sperm and the egg and fertilize them in a petri dish. They then take the fertilized egg and implant it in the woman. Some Christians have a problem with IVF because of the moral questions it brings up. It begs the questions: What do you consider to be the beginning of life? Are you placing it in God’s hands or your own? These are legitimate questions. Here’s how we came to our own personal decision.
First, we prayed. Hard. We asked God for wisdom, discernment, guidance and that His will be done. We didn’t want to do anything we felt was sinful. God, throughout this journey has given me a peace that surpasses understanding. I know He would speak to me and make me feel otherwise if we were going outside of His will.
Second, we were clear with what we considered the beginning of life. For Bill and I, it’s as soon as the egg and sperm are fertilized because given the right environment, that’s a baby. It was clear to us that no matter how many fertilized eggs we ended up with, we would honour God and use them all.
No matter what.
Each one is a life.
Third, we remember that God has a plan. And he uses people and circumstances to complete His plan. He is in total control, nothing is a surprise to Him. So for example, if God gave us 5 fertilized eggs and they all took, we would have 6 children. Do I consider that a feat of science? No, I consider that a miracle of God. He would have always intended for me to have 6 children, no matter the circumstances leading up to how we acquired them. He could have none of them take, and it would just be Jonny. And I would also consider that God’s plan for my life. He is in control. Thinking that I have any say in this decision is giving myself WAY too much credit.
That is how we came to our decision. It was a long, complicated, difficult road but God led us to a place where we can honour him in the middle of the storm.
Part one can be found here.
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