Monday, February 21, 2011

A Faith Journey

In an effort to be a bit more transparent and share a very personal part of our current story I thought I'd do ONE big post about our journey to get pregnant with a second child and how it's been more than just a biological's been a faith one. (Don't worry, I don't intend on turning this into an "infertility blog"- and just for the record I'm not in love with that term and I hope not to be in this state for too much longer.)

I knew "going public" on my blog about our desire to get pregnant and inability to would open up the door for people to see into our "private" life...but I was hoping to encourage others and perhaps get a little encouragement myself...

Cuba Gallery: New Zealand / landscape / mountain / background / yellow / flowers / grass

During this season I have been struck by how many people are in the same boat as me (and of course how MANY people really aren't), just as becoming a mother was a quick way to feel connected to other women, struggling with infertility has you connecting on a much more painful level.  This season has also made me aware of how ashamed we can feel about not getting even sharing that you're "trying" feels like you're revealing such a huge secret. I often wonder why that is.  Is it because we are left feeling vulnerable? Victim to a process we ultimately have no control of?  Worried that we'll be pitied? Viewed as damaged, weak?  I know I kind of cringe these days when I hear that one more person is pregnant before me...whose first child is several weeks, months, perhaps even a year younger than Wes. I HATE that I feel that way and am ashamed to admit it.  (I am willing to admit that it's a struggle of mine, but I also want those out there who are pregnant to know that I truly am happy for you, but that yes, it is a reminder that I do not currently have my hearts desire, which is hard.)

Our biological journey:

Since having a c-section with Wes and not getting pregnant within 6 months of trying fear was slowly born...what if they put things back wrong? What if my fallopian tube got twisted? What if scar tissue has taken over my uterus? What if I have a unicornuate uterus? The questions kept piling up and in an effort to calm them my doctor suggested running a few tests.  The first was an MRI that I did last May (ish).  The shape of my uterus checked out fine- I had all the parts I needed.

And after that I thought I was being too paranoid and just needed to be patient and not waste our money...we'd try over the summer and surely, surely I'd get pregnant.  But October rolled around and I had Wes' second birthday on the horizon (November) which had been my "I just want to get pregnant before Wes turns 2" deadline.  (I'm supposed to be well into my 2nd trimester here people!)  So, I made another call to my doctor and she suggested doing a dye test to check that my fallopian tubes weren't blocked...and they were great, but while I was at the appointment the doctor suggested they do an ultrasound on my ovaries to be sure that my body was preparing to release eggs.  They said they like to see between 6-10 eggs being prepared in both ovaries.  I had 9 on one side and 11 on the other.  What's this about infertility? Not by the looks of it!  Blood work? Maybe this is a hormone problem.  Nope.  No answers.

The doctor felt like over time Jeff and I would certainly get pregnant. BUT if we wanted a little assistance to make it happen faster we could try IUI (intra-uterine insemination).  We weren't prepared to go that route.  But believe me, there are months that I just chant "IUI, IUI" to Jeff, like it's my new mantra.

Cuba Gallery: New Zealand / mountains / landscape / snow / alps / sky / Queestown / photography

Our faith journey:

Shortly after the news that there was nothing "wrong" with Jeff or I we began talking about IUI.  I was a little more interested in the idea, trying to convince Jeff that God was still ultimately in control of whether or not we got pregnant, whether the procedure worked.

It had been awhile since we had gone to church, but there we were sitting in the pew...listening to the story of Abraham.  I feel like every direction I turn, talking with friends, etc. I have been confronted with the story of Abraham. How at 90 God promised he and his barren wife a son and how they just kept "doing the work" but it didn't happen in "their timing" and so he slept with the maid servant and had a child...he then asked the Lord to bless *that* child and God replied, that was not the child He promised him, Sarah would be pregnant in a year (I paraphrase), and Abraham laughed. He felt so discouraged (as I am often feeling these days) like having a child was never going to happen for Sarah...but God promised him again and Abraham had the faith that God could make a miracle happen. And he did. I remember looking at Jeff and saying, "is he talking directly to us?" Is this about IUI?  Is this about pregnancy in general?  I felt convicted and believe this is how the Holy Spirit works. (Note: I'm very grateful modern medicines ability to help people get pregnant, and though we feel called to wait on going this route for the time being, this may very well be something we explore in the future.  I am making no judgment calls on IUI or other fertility procedures.)

Each month I have been praying that I will get pregnant, or that I will be fine with the Lord's timing...but I haven't been that faithful. I have found myself saying, well Abraham had God *actually* speaking to him and if I had God tell me "you will get pregnant" I would believe it and I would know that it was going to happen. Why can't I feel that way now? Didn't God put this desire in my heart?  Hasn't God been speaking to me all along? Have I stopped to listen?

When Jeff and I were debriefing about this Abraham revelation he mentioned there was a Bible verse in the New Testament that had a similar theme. And would you believe that last week when I decided to read some daily scriptures on my iphone (which I seriously never do, but should) the following passage was on my list?

Mark 11 22:24
22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Maybe God IS *actually* talking to me.

Cuba Gallery: New Zealand / landscape / mountains / lake / amazing / beautiful / nature / trees / sky / clouds / photography

This past weekend, with this scripture on the forefront of my mind, I drove quite a distance to a childhood friend's baby shower (of course) and literally everywhere I looked there were mountains, the Olympics in my rear-view, the Cascades ahead of me, Mt. Rainier to my right.  It was as if God was daring me to ask them to throw themselves into the sea.

I hope it doesn't seem like I'm over spiritualizing this experience, it's all very real to me.  And like a good friend of mine said to me, after courageously calling off her wedding a year ago, I don't want to go through this experience for nothing...I want to come out changed, improved, praising God with a grateful heart.

I also wish that at the end of this I could I'm pregnant...but I'm not even sure what's happening with my cycle this month (I gave up the ovulation kits since they weren't helping us get pregnant anyway).

Your prayers would be greatly appreciated.  But I'm also hoping my prayers will be free of doubt in my heart and that I can give God the faith He deserves.

Thanks for sticking with this post through to the very end.  Despite wanting to be pregnant we are still filled with much joy and appreciation for the blessings we have.  Jeff and Wes are pretty incredible gifts and if that's all I end up "getting" I will remain one happy woman!


Kristen said...

jenny, you know that my heart is in this journey with you, and i feel so blessed tonight reading your journey written out from your heart in this post. it is so abundantly evident to me that God is growing you and cultivating so much beauty in you during this time of waiting and the trial it is for you--pain, doubting, fear, and all. my heart thrills with joy & hope to know that God has been speaking so deeply and intimately to you (and to Jeff, too) through His Word, through your circumstances, and through conversations. i am excited to see how He will answer your prayers (and all of our prayers for you guys!) in His perfect time, giving you and your family the best possible story for His glory and honor. you better believe we will continue to hold you guys up in prayer, waiting on the Lord alongside you, being confident that he has put a desire for another child in your heart for good reason!! i love you, jenny, and thank God for your faith journey. xoxo

Chris Gough said...

Wow, pretty amazing Jenny. It seems there are very few things God does again and again, after all He is as creative as it gets...He only made one Mt. Rainier, one Olympic Mt. Range, one Jeff, one Wesley and one of you. I am not sure how this will turn out, but I am grateful for your family that he put together and am confident that there will be, as you stated, one story out of this that will be worth telling.
Amazed by your attitude through all of this!!!(...and those incredible photos!)

Rebekah said...


I sit here wanting to come up with the perfect thing to say - a word of deep strength and encouragement as you and Jeff (and Wes :)) continue on this journey of growing your family. But your revelation and courage has instead inspired me - that is what is so miraculous about you Jenny you are not someone to be "labeled by infertility" or discouraged and angry that God has not answered your hearts instead go out of your way to build others up, use your time to lend a helping hand, organize parties and teach people how to make pretty things. You generously bless others and are genuinely excited for others and are so extremely patient. It is amazing.
I love you so deeply and want so badly for you to get pregnant right now. But I see how God is using you and how he is speaking to you. How he has captured a new place in your heart that you've allowed him access. I know without a doubt that God has so much goodness in store for your family and this time of waiting will not be in vain. I am beyond proud of you for coming out with your journey here in this space. Your courage is a blessing and I am so grateful for you.
I will continue to storm the gates of heaven for you guys as Paula would say..we are praying and we love you and are in this with you thanks for sharing sweet sister!

ps. did you take all these photos? they are breathtaking!
pps. you should make Kristen play her song "smoke" for you, mine and Chris' fav of her work and about Abraham :)

Jenny said...

Thank you family for your sweet words of comfort and encouragement- just what I needed.

And just to clarify, I did NOT take those photos (but I'm flattered that you might even think I could)...just click on the photo to find the flickr page.

i DID take the last one though ;)

Thank you for praying for our family and for loving us just the way we are!

Casey said...

Thank you for sharing your heart here Jenny. I'm so sorry that this has been such a frustrating time for you and Jeff. I'm thankful that your loving heart has your little Wes, and I will certainly be praying for you as the days go on. If there is one thing that I am often frustrated about, it's God's timing....but it always seems to be right, we simply don't know it yet.

Love you!

Joanna Roddy said...

Wow, what a beautiful story. I love how Christ continues to work and minister to the hearts of his beloveds. I love how your heart is tender to receive what he might be saying to you. I think one of the things we women struggle with most is our need to control--our lives, our homes, our husbands, or agenda. In this moments of thwarting our desires, Christ invites us to surrender ourselves to him and learn to trust him. It is risky, vulnerable, and beautiful. I pray that the pain and questioning will drive you to a great intimacy with the One who is coming for your heart even now. And I also stand with you in faith for the family He is preparing for you and Jeff to have.

Love you, friend.

Kristen said...

jenny, here is a link to the song rebekah mentioned:

i wrote this song so long ago now...ten years ago, maybe? and listening to the lyrics today i wish i had taken the song further with a bridge about God's ultimate faithfulness even in light of my own doubt and striving for control. it is human nature to try to do things our own way, on our own... our temptation towards self-sufficiency. but God always has a better way, a far more amazing way to take us as we trust him. especially as we wait on him to fulfill his promises to meet our desires with his love and purposes for us.

(i hope this link works! this is my first time sharing a song on soundcloud.)

La Dolce Vita said...

Jenny, thank you for sharing this very personal feelings with all of us. We admire you for this courage to tell out loud what you feel inside and your impatience to get pregnant. We just want you to know that we are praying that your desire of enlarging your family with a new baby will be realized soon.

We have a friend who tried to have a baby for 3 years, and finally she had him last week. Never never never loose the hope it will happen. Like you said, there are plenty of people who are in your same situation and there is always a solution...keep on believing!!!

And what if maybe the solution would be another trip to Europe? :))
Our house is always open to put you up!!! :))

Jenny said...

thanks again for all these thoughtful comments...they have been a buoy today!

And Kristen, thank you for publicly sharing your song. It's beautiful and another indicator that the Lord is using Abraham's story to speak into my life. Thank you for being the vessel for that.

Brianne said...

That last picture of Jeff and Wes is super cute- great shot!

I love you, Jenny and keep you (and your family) close to my heart. Thank you for encouraging me along with my pregnancy and already blessing little girl with your love :) I know it's gotta be hard- but you do it with a smile on your face and genuine care.

Lewy said...

Thank you for sharing this, Jenny. I know we can all relate in different ways to this kind of frustration (like you mentioned on one of my posts recently). Just wanted to let you know that Chad and I are keeping you in our prayers and in our hearts! We got all kinds of love for you, and I am so grateful for your insight and thoughtfulness. It inspires me to try to find patience and understanding in my own struggles.

Rachel said...

In my own life, I have been drawn to God's love and intimacy most profoundly in the midst of struggle. I find it deeply humbling that He pursues us in such ways. I love you Jenny, and know that you will praise God and bless others all the days of your life no matter what, but I also pray that He satisfies the desires of your heart and graces the world with another little child of Jeff and Jenny Gough.

Shauna said...

I'm sorry Jenny...

I'm sorry for your struggle and would be lying if I said I know how you feel. Sometimes there are no words, just hugs. So with that said, here's a great big hug through the internet.

We will keep you in our prayers!

Prince said...

you're inspiring jenny! (and this is coming from a most inspirational high school student so you know i know what i'm talking about...hehe ;)

seriously darling, you are so brave and honest for sharing this journey. even though i've known several of the "facts" it was so heart-wrenching but beautiful to see more of your soul than i've been able to, being so far removed from all this. i'm sad i'm not there to live life with you more frequently, but you are faithful and strong and in such good hands. i am a little intimidated by the incredible comments that have preceded mine, and i don't know quite what to say. you are blessed with amazing loved ones who care for you and have wonderful counsel. i would add just one whispered thought: you're body was made for this ;) keep the faith my dear and the righteous desires of your heart will be realized!

love always,
doula juana

Jenny said...

thanks again for all of these wonderful comments, i keep coming back to them and am always inspired!

Shauna, I did want to say that I hope you NEVER have to relate in the same way but that I think we can ALL relate in some way.

I'm sure all of us have experienced an unfulfilled longing in some area of our life...whether it was when you were dating and wanting to be married, when you were working like a dog and still not getting that promotion...I'm sure there is something, or there will be (not that I'm wishing that on anyone, I just think it's human to have desires that aren't met and in those seasons God is trying to speak to us.)

After finishing Bittersweet this weekend I came across a quote that I thought would be perfect to share.

"...I don't know anyone who has an easy life forever. Everyone I now gets their heart broken sometime, by something. The question is not, will my life be easy or will my heart break? But rather, when my heart breaks, will I choose to grow?"

I hope that the answer is YES for all of us!

Kimberly said...

Wow. I don't have the beautiful words that so many bloggers do, however I can say that I'm here for you, and Jeff and Wesley and whatever my little family can do to help you're family, we will in a heart beat! xoxoxo

Jenny said...

Thanks Kim! Mind having a baby for us? ;)

I also just reread my last comment and realized it seemed like I was specifically talking about shauna when I was giving examples of "longing" but I was speaking generally- sorry!


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