They day after we transferred our three amazing embryos that gave us our one Scarlett Grace, we received a phone call letting us know that out of the four embryos they were watching, two had made it to freeze. And at that exact moment that our nurse spoke those precious words, that old school country Collin Raye song, One Boy, One Girl came onto the satellite radio, and I knew.
It's not like I rely on signs or the supernatural, but this was just a little too obvious.
And in the years since, I've prayed for them. Asked God to grant the desires of my heart if it's in His will to do so, and that He would at least prepare my heart to handle it if it wasn't.
But the pain was still enough to stop my heart for a moment anyway.
While driving in the car on my way to make a deposit at the bank for work, the phone rang, and I recognized the area code. It wasn't a long phone call, no more than a few seconds, lasting just long enough for the nurse to let me know that she'd received my lab work and she was sorry, but my beta was negative.
Somehow, through the numbness, I was able to whisper thankyousomuch before I hung up.
And then I cried.
In the moments that followed, I couldn't stop the flow of salty tears and painful thoughts. No, she's wrong. They told me that Scarlett was a negative beta too, but they were wrong. This has to be a mistake, this was supposed to work. It took us forever to save up the money, the cycle went so smoothly, we flew into a hurricane, I've prayed so hard, everyone has prayed so hard.
I wanted these babies more than anything.
Why can't I just have my babies?
There was anger. There was fear. Hatred, bitterness, jealousy, rage, helplessness, claustrophobia, denial, and every other nasty and deceitful emotion I never knew I had in me. Everything I thought I had moved passed came floating right back up to the surface with one quick phone call.
Maybe I thought I'd become invincible, that I'd beat infertility once and this would never happen again. But the same feeling I had the first three times I'd experienced a negative cycle came fast, like a raw and open wound, and suddenly I was right back there.
I am infertile, and they can't even tell me why.
The hatred and disappointment I felt for my unexplained, broken body was thick and furious. The anger burned hot as I contemplated the unfairness of being someone who will never get to take a urine test after a missed period to determine pregnancy, I'll always have to have my blood drawn and receive my fate from a nurse on the other end of the phone. Being with my husband like any other person won't produce a baby, mine have to be created in a petri dish after several rounds of hormones and injections are administered, leaving behind countless bruises, dark blood stains, and costly medical bills.
It's just not fair.
But almost as quickly as it came, my heart cooled, and I could breathe. Pulling into a parking spot at the back, I dried my eyes and sent out a massive text to anyone and everyone who knew about our cycle, and the healing process began as a lighter shade of sadness and grief replaced the much uglier previous emotions.
I recognized immediately that my feelings were from Satan. All of those hateful, distorted, awful things that had passed through my head weren't from God, they were straight from the enemy himself. The helplessness, the crippling fear, the hatred for my body's inability to hold onto a baby even after the doctor places it exactly where it should be were all thoughts that were far from the peace and trust and understanding that God would give.
So instead, I sat in my car with the door cracked open, and I chose-against every fiber in my being-to praise Him. And as I rambled off the weak list in my head, thanking Him for safe travels, for protection from the storm, for a successful thaw of both embryos, for Scarlett and my husband and my family and everything good in my life, it felt almost fake.
But it was better than the alternative.
And as I continued to count my blessings-thought it felt as if I were grasping at straws-I was reminded that in midst of this dark moment, it was absolutely necessary to detach my feelings from my circumstances. God is no less good because I just received the call that crushed my dreams, my plans, my way. He is still the same exact God that gave me my Scarlett, even after a too low initial beta of eleven and then a second beta of zero. He is still so full of love, grace, and mercy, even thought I wasn't given the answer I wanted to receive.
I prayed. My family prayed. So many of you prayed. And because of that, I know this is right. God doesn't make mistakes, and He heard every single one of our petitions, heard all of our cries, and listened intently to every plea. And for reasons I may never know in this life, He said no.
I'm sad-naturally-but I don't think He minds. He understands grief. He gets it and He's not mad.
I'm not sure where to go from here. I never allowed myself to think that far ahead, never planned on a negative beta. I spent all of my time and energy thinking positive and taking baby steps, one foot in front of the other. And now that I'm here, on the other side, it feel as if I'm standing in the middle of an open field out in the middle of nowhere, with no map, no directions, just a whole lot of grass and some pretty big mountains.
And I have no idea where to go, this was our last try.
These two frozen babies were all we had left.
Paul tells us in Philippians that he had learned to be content with whatsoever he was given in any situation; but in First Samuel we see that Hannah prayed so fervently for a child-pouring out her heart in the abundance of complaint and grief-that the priest thought she was drunk.
So which is it?
I don't know yet.
Maybe it's both. It has to be both. But it certainly gives me something to work on.
God can still give us a baby naturally, I know He can. I've seen it happen so many times to so many amazing ladies that have been where I am. Or maybe He'll choose to open up our hearts to adoption, something that I think is wonderful but hasn't yet resounded with us. And It's even possible that Scarlett is the only child He wants us to have.
But I really don't think that's it.
We'll just have to pray for guidance and direction as to where He'd have us go next; and in the meantime I'll continue my list of praises and blessings, because there just isn't any other way to survive, to push down those ugly thoughts from the enemy that threaten to bubble back up. And I'll rejoice that though He choose to say no this time, He said yes last time.
And let me tell you, those giant brown eyes she stole from her Daddy are the best pain relief ever. Every time I look into them, I can't help but think-even while mending a broken and battered heart-that He is so good.
Yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
“God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially formed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain.”
—C. S. Lewis