We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:3-5 New Living Translation (NLT)
September, twenty years ago, a part of me died. This was the month I should be bringing life into the world. Instead, I tried to take my own life.
We had our 7th IUI (Intrauterine Insemination). Tired and purely exhausted emotionally. If this one is not successful, I don’t know if I can take much more of this rollercoaster! Expectations soar month after month, only to experience another loss. Not just loss of the pregnancy but many other things. Month after month that, for us, turned in to year after year.
I had the flu, another period, more disappointment and stinking frustration. I didn’t want to have a pregnancy test and almost refused to go! Reluctantly, I went back to the doctor for the routine test.
Later that day, I’m sick in bed when the phone rings. I hear Dr. Moffitt leaving a message. He said the test was positive. Yes, I heard correctly. We had a positive pregnancy!
Almost every day, for the next couple of weeks, I’m at the doctor, giving more blood to check my hCG levels (pregnancy hormone).
Levels are rising.We are pregnant! An ultrasound was scheduled about a month later. I didn’t have the flu after all; it’s pregnancy sickness!
Several days before the scheduled ultrasound I had a “feeling” I was no longer pregnant. I tried to dismiss the feelings even though the physical symptoms were gone. I knew. On the way to the doctor, I said to John, “I’m no longer pregnant” and his response was, of course I was, since all the tests have been positive, I was probably just fearful.
It’s taking Dr. Moffitt a long time with this ultrasound. Finally, he says that he hates to tell us there is no baby. I said it was OK, I already knew. At least I know now that we can get pregnant!
After the ultrasound, I continued going everyday for several weeks for blood work to monitor hCG levels. If they continued to rise, there could be a pregnancy somewhere other than the uterus, that requires surgery and can be life threatening if not discovered. My levels finally started dropping. So glad because those trips to the doctor for a pregnancy test was getting old, real fast.
This was our last IUI. The next option was IVF or GIFT, which we choose not to proceed with.
The years of trying to conceive, with and without treatments, were the worst of my life. Wanting something so bad and being out of our control to get, was a difficult place to be. So many friends were having babies. Why not us? The emotional toll and stress in our marriage was, some days, unbearable. The loss wasn’t just of a baby but also friendships, social life, money and time.
All this resulted in me withdrawing from life for a while. My hope died and so did part of me. I avoided Bible studies or girl get-togethers, since all they talk about are their kids. I didn’t fit in.
It is now September, the month our baby would have been born. We‘d gone out to dinner on a Saturday evening, enjoyed an appetizer, a thick, juicy steak with the side dishes and every bite of the dessert we shared. Good thing I ate a good meal that evening.
It hit me from out of nowhere. This was the month I would be having the baby we prayed for, tried so hard for and had a name for. I don’t remember what triggered the despair but I started swallowing a mix of pills, wanting desperately to die. Life was not worth living if I could not have my dream of being a mother. God, where are you and why won’t you allow us to have a baby? John was trying to stop me from taking more as I was crying uncontrollably.
Later that evening, I’m leaning over the toilet, throwing up my thick juicy steak and everything else I’d eaten that day. Puking, crying, screaming, broken, on the floor, in the pit of despair. I puked till I could puke no more. I sobbed until I had no tears left.
When I had thoughts of wanting to die, God spoke words of Life to me.
I’m surprised I heard Him. Not an audible voice, but the one that whispers to your heart. His Voice of Hope whispered gently the words from Deuteronomy 30:19-20.
“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. Deuteronomy 30:19-20 New Living Translation
This was in 1997 and I still cling to this verse as a precious word from God to me when I was at the lowest point of my life. He gives us choices and He was asking me to choose life. He has called me to live my life by loving Him and obeying Him and committing myself to Him. This is the key to my life. It’s not in being a mother. Choosing to love and obey My Father in Heaven is what I was born for and live for. It was years later that I finally accepted our childlessness. I learned to focus on and be grateful for all the many blessings I was given. God has restored hope in me for more than a baby. He taught me a lot through this season of our life. My identity is not in being a mother, my identity is that I am a child of the King of the world and He loves me, this I know.
I named him even though I never saw him. A baby boy, I believe, in my tummy for only a short time but forever in my heart. I never saw his face but he gave me a smile on mine.
Happy 20th birthday Jacob Oliver Repan.
“For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:13-14 HCSB
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