After laparoscopy and 4 IUIs failed, we took several months off to seek God separately and pray about in vitro. At the end of our seeking time, we took a trip to Florida. I watched as Alex built a sand castle with a stranger’s little boy, tears stinging behind my sunglasses. Alex is such a good sand castle builder. Lord, is he really never going to have a sand castle cohort of his own? We talked. We both felt led to pursue IVF.
It was a tough decision. We prayed a lot. I talked with reproductive endocrinologists, read book after book written from a Christian perspective about reproductive technology. I worked to get an understanding of the science to the best of my ability as well as a handle on my own faith and what gelled with my understanding of the Bible.
Our amazing couples’ small group voluntarily fasted and prayed with us. I spoke with several Christian women who had been through the process. Alex and I talked through what we would and wouldn’t do. And then we went for it.
I experienced both judgment from people I didn’t expect to judge me and complete support from people I did expect to judge me. Many people think you’re playing God. I don’t think that’s possible. The thing that I love and in which I take great comfort is that truly only God can create life. Doctors can stick sperm inside an egg, but only God can make it grow. Doctors can stick an embryo in uterine lining, but only God can make it attach. That gives me comfort.
So. We made the best decision that we could make with what we had. And I don’t know what God would have said along the way, but I felt His presence in every moment.
Here’s the thing. We all judge each other. Whatever your story, whatever your situation, it’s unique. It’s yours. We need to support each other in these moments, offering advice and perspective, turning each other to the Word of God, and in the unfortunately very very gray area of reproductive technology, we need to extend grace to hurting sisters.
There were some things that we would not do. We forfeited a round of IUI because I ovulated too many eggs and they were asking us to kill off some of our embryos if we ended up with too many. They call it “selective reduction.” We were not comfortable with that at all. And many people wouldn’t be comfortable with IVF at all. One person in my life was very hurtful in her criticism about our frozen embryos.
Some women have natural babies naturally. I live vicariously through their stories of squat bars and water births and hypno-birthing, hanging on their every word. Am I jealous? Totally. Some women have babies with epidurals. Some women have c-sections. Some women conceive in a candlelit room with John Mayer on the iPod playing in the background. Some women can actually say things like, “We’re going to wait till the summer to get pregnant so the baby will be due in the spring.” People can do that?!? Amazing! Some women conceive via any number of reproductive technologies. Some women head straight for adoption. Some women have a blend of biological kids and adoption. Some adopt domestically, some internationally.
We need to stop judging each other and start supporting each other. I sought out opinions while trying to make a decision. It’s okay to give solicited opinions. But let’s do it with gentleness and respect. I have plenty of opinions (Doesn’t anyone who has a blog have a host of opinions that they’re completely willing to splash across the internet?!?). I’m happy to share them, and I hope that I can do that gently. And the decisions that we made during that time were to the best of our ability, hopefully led by the Spirit. Our desire was to please the Lord. But there is no verse that says, “Thou shall/shalt not proceedeth to in vitro.”
My advice to anyone considering reproductive technology is to question question question. Learn as much as you can about the science. Learn as much as you can about what God says. Pray and trust that your decisions will land where those two worlds overlap. Decide with your spouse what you’re willing/not willing to do at the beginning, so that as you’re sitting on a cold metal table feeling dejected because your ultrasound did not bring good news, you already know what the next step is and you’re not making a snap decision in the dregs of the moment.
To all my sisters out there who are facing enormous decisions about their next step, I’m praying for you. Please feel free to contact me privately if you WANT more of my opinions. I don’t even have one quarter of all the answers, but I’m so grateful for the women who stepped up and shared their struggles, their faith, their decisions with me as I navigated everything. I’m grateful for the countless people who prayed for us through the whole thing. God guided us and sustained us through those prayers.
Lord, lead them. Guide them through these murky waters. Un-murk them, clear everything up so that my friends can see Your will. We want to see You. We want to bring You glory. Give us strength to put Your glory, Your name, before everything else. I pray for womb-healing and heart-healing and that You would glorify Yourself through answered prayer. Let each empty womb bring You glory. Let each baby bring You glory. Let each miraculous conception, whether You use science or nature, bring You glory. You can use any method You choose. I don’t know what’s best for each woman in the world. I trust You to move in these decisions. I ask You to stop us from heading the wrong way. Give us sensitivity to Your Spirit. And lead us. Only You can create life. Each child is a miracle. Each child is a gift. I pray for child-gifts for hurting sisters. In Jesus’ Name, Your son, who You laid down for us. In His Name. Amen.
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