This continues the story of our journey to have a family. The time frame for this chapter of our story is 2002-2007.
If you continue to read along, you will see first hand the reality of how broken the Foster Care system truly is.
I hate tests. It does not matter what kind of test it is or how well I know the information. For some strange reason, I become a bundle of nerves when I have to take a test. So it should not have surprised me when time after time after time I failed this test too! How in the world do you fail a pregnancy test? Well, I figured out how!
You may be wondering how in the world I seem to be making a joke about something so serious. I have learned through this whole process that you have to find humor in all situations. I have not been able to do that in every step of this journey, but when I find something that is remotely funny, I hold on to it for dear life. I guess in some small way this is how I hold on to my sanity. Well, there would be some that would argue that point as well, but it helps me cope!
When we decided that we would go down the road of fertility treatments, we sat down and discussed where we would stop. We knew that we had to have a line firmly drawn in the sand before we ever got started. Just as with anything, if you do not know where you stand before you get into the situation; it is way too easy to keep moving the line for which you say you will not cross. For each couple that line is different. For us, we decided together that we would go no further than the IUI (Inter Uterine Injection). We knew that IVF was out of the question for us. Financially, there was just no way IVF was an option for us. But aside from the financial decision, in our research throughout this journey, we have found out that this procedure is very painful. They actually harvest the eggs from the woman’s ovaries.
My body had already endured so many procedures at this point that I was in pain all the time. I refrained from voicing this to anyone outside of my husband. I tried not to tell him, because I knew that he was very torn. While he wanted children, he did not like to see me going through so much pain. I already had weight issues before we started this process, but the continual medications and hormonal changes sent my weight into overdrive. This was the last thing we needed. I had to have so many blood tests that I was virtually a walking bruise. I had to have so many sonograms that just seeing a sonogram machine in the hallway made my body tense up.
Early on in our procedures, they discovered that my Estrogen level was extremely low. What this means is that if I did become pregnant, the risk of miscarrying was huge. My body would not be able to carry a baby to term with my Estrogen level so low. So I had to take Estrogen suppositories vaginally after every attempt to get pregnant, just in case the attempt was successful. This process was very messy and felt disgusting. And I had to make sure it was left in as long as possible. So once again, I had to make sure my buttock was elevated for an extended period of time. I started out with one suppository a day, and then increased to two a day. So I was going to bed with a treatment and waking up with a treatment. Remaining graceful during this part of the process was impossible.
I do not give these explicit details for sympathy or shock value. As much detail as I am giving, it does not fully depict the actual experience. For the sake of some semblance of privacy for us, as well as decorum with my readers, I am trying to be as vague as possible. However, to get the real picture, you have to hear some details.
And again, you may be asking yourself, as my friend asked me, why would I go through so much pain? Because we wanted a child. We wanted to be parents.
My friend, though I am quite sure she had the best of intentions, hurt me more than words can say. In the conversation where she was berating my husband for “making” me go through all of this, she told me that I did not need to go through all of this for kids, I could enjoy her kids. While, again, I realize she was trying to help the situation, she had no idea that she was making it so much worse.
We had gotten to the pinnacle of our fertility journey. This was the last procedure. We were at the IUI point. We had decided we would not do more than two IUI procedures. If neither were successful, that was the end of the road for us.
We went in for the procedure.
Unfortunately, this is not at all what I had envisioned as a little girl when I dreamed of becoming a mommy. Going into a doctor’s office, having my temperature taken time and time again, having blood drawn time and time again, having sonograms done time and time again, taking numerous medications time and time again- well, that does not make for the most romantic movie scene.
This experience was one of the most nerve-racking experiences of our journey. First, I had to go through the entire procedure of having a sonogram done to make sure the follicles were the right size to proceed. They were. So on to the next step.
My husband had to make a “deposit” in a cup. Again, not the most romantic experience that you dream of. Add that to the fact that the office was in the middle of moving to another location, so there were boxes stacked all through the halls, examining tables moved out into the hall, people milling around everywhere- all of this while we are in the private “room” (a large restroom with a chair, a TV/VCR combination, and a diverse collection of adult movies and magazines). While we were nervously trying to do what was necessary, there was a very loud bump at the door of our “room”. An examining table had inadvertently been shoved into the door. By this point, we were both ready to get this over with.
After the “deposit” was made, we had to give it to the nurse in the lab. She had to run tests on the “deposit” to make sure everything was good with that side of the procedure. It would take an hour to know if it was or not. So we went to lunch.
After lunch, we went back to the office, and yes, that side was good as well. So off to the examining room we go. My legs go up in the stir-ups yet again. A syringe is inserted into me, and my husband’s sperm is injected straight into my cervix. While it was by no means the most comfortable thing in the world, definitely not romantic or pleasurable, by any stretch of the imagination, but neither was it the most painful experience. After the injection, I had to lift my buttocks off the examining table as long as possible. Then I had to turn on my side, all the while, keeping my buttocks elevated. By the end of the procedure I was sure that I was qualified to join the circus!
After the procedure was completed, we were free to leave. Thank you very much, ma’am! Gives new meaning to the term Wham! Bam! Thank you, Ma’am!
So now the waiting begins. We had become quite accustomed to waiting.
And then it arrived. It was one of those dreaded mornings. It was time to pee on a stick yet again.
I went to the bathroom and peed on the stick. And we sat waiting and watching the clock. The five minutes you have to wait for the test results to show on the stick seems more like five hours. But finally the wait was over. We held hands and walked over to the bathroom counter. I am sure we looked like we were taking the walk to the death chamber. Negative.
So we try one more time.
My husband asked me if I was sure I wanted to go through another procedure. At this point I could not even answer him. I ran a bath, and crawled in the hot water. I was hurt. I was angry. And I had to get ready to go to work. I cried. I got angry. I got angry with God and I told Him all about it.
Very few times have I known that God has spoken directly to me. But this day, I knew God had spoken. But I did not like what He said at all! “Be still and know that I Am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
This sent me into a rage. I was having a full conversation- out loud- with God. No, I was not praying. I was ranting. My husband came around the corner of the bathroom and asked me what in the world was going on. I told him I was talking to God. The look on his face spoke volumes. He knew that I was angry. I told him that God had spoken to me, and what He had said. But when I spoke the words, they came out more as a curse than an acknowledgment or praise of God Almighty. There was heavy sarcasm in my voice as I spat out, “Be still and know that I Am God. What does He mean? Does He think I don’t know Who He Is?” At this point, my husband is almost literally backing away from me. He has no idea why in the world this has upset me. It did not stop there. I was in a very foul mood as I got dressed. At this point, we only had one vehicle, so he drove me to work. As I got out of the car, he kissed me goodbye and wished me good day. I started up once again, my voice full of sarcasm as I repeated what God had told me that morning.
Did He really not think I knew Who He Is? This truly boggled my mind. And it made me angry. While I have not always lived my life in a Godly manner, I have never doubted the existence of God. For many years of my life I felt that I could never measure up to God’s standards. I knew I could not be good enough. I had tried and failed too many times. I did not know all of those years as I continued to run from God that this is exactly the point. I can never be good enough. None of us can ever be good enough. That is why Jesus had to become our Sacrificial Lamb on the cross. But it was never shown to me in this way, so I did not understand it. But by this point in my life, I did get it. I knew that I knew that I knew Who God Is.
Knowing that I had already gone through the excruciating painful, yet very beautiful journey of discovery God in all of His majesty, glory, mercy, love, and forgiveness, I did not understand why God would be telling me this. Especially on a day like today, when we had yet another let-down in trying to have a child. I know Who God Is. Where is His message of hope and love? Where is His message of encouragement and promises? There was nothing. There was only the reminder that He Is God.
I totally missed the message that day. It was not until many months later, if not a couple of years later that I actually understood what God was telling me that day. Now, this verse of Scripture is one of my favorite. It is one that I hold on to in my desperate hours. It is so important to me that it is posted in two different places in our home.
God IS God. Yes, I understood that. But I did not get the being still part. I am a person who is always on the go. My brother jokes with me that I need to start a “Flutter-ers Anonymous” Group. “Hello, my name is Allenah, and I am a flutter-er. It is a struggle for me to sit and watch a 30-minute TV show. To watch a movie without getting up is next to impossible. I absolutely hate going to the movie theatre. To be confined in one place for so long is excruciating for me.
To me, telling me to be still meant to sit still, physically. While yes, I do believe that is part of the meaning of the Scripture, there is so much more depth that is there. It is not just to be still physically, but to be still spiritually. Do not fret. Do not worry. Know that God IS in control. He knows what He is doing. He has a plan. (Jeremiah 29:11)
To this day, Psalm 46:10 brings a smile to my face. It is a peaceful smile. If my husband and I are together and this Scripture is quoted, there is a knowing glance between us. God did give me a promise that day. I just did not understand it at the time.
The purpose of this series: Who Hears The Voice Of The Children?
The next chapter in this series: Facing My Fears
The previous chapter in this series: Dreams Of A Little Girl Shattered…Or Are They?
Foster Care: A Broken System- Video