Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Filling My Empty Window - A Fertility Struggle

“You give and take away, You give and take away.  My heart will choose to say,
Lord Blessed be Your name”

Planning to have a family, like a lot of women, was something I would get to eventually.  In all honesty I can’t say that I was building a career.  But, I loved the places I worked.  And working ten hour days was actually fun for me.  Fertility was something I assumed would always be there for me.  Let’s face it my Grandmother Beers had given birth to 9 babies and my Grandmother Rydbom had given birth to 15 babies.  And out of 90+ first and second cousins only a very small fraction of my cousins had struggled with fertility.  The numbers were on my side.  WRONG!

In 2005 I began a hot pursuit to become a Mother.  We had our initial visit with a fabulous Fertility Doctor and a plan was put together.  Between her plan and my family’s fertile history I thought that I would have a baby by Christmas. All we wanted was that image from painted by Lonestar "And the view I love the most is my front porch looking in."  So, the work began.  Blood work, pills, vitamins etc.  When the day came for our first IUI I was so excited. This would be it!  This is where it would all begin.  I had done everything right.  My husband and I even said a prayer before the procedure.  It just had to work.

Well, it didn’t. So, back to work I went. Some blood work, more pills, vitamins etc.  In my head I was thinking, who gets it right the first time anyway.  It will work.  So, the day came for our 2nd IUI and I was anxious.  It just had to work this time.  Again, my husband and I said a prayer and I have to admit I poured it on a bit heavier this time just to be sure.  A few days later I was back to square one and a bit baffled.  My entire life was built around a formula that had never failed me.  Follow the rules and procedures and the desired result will appear.  This was not the case and the more I dwelled on it, the more fired up I got.  

However, I was not about to give up.  For the next several months this cycle repeated itself over and over again.  Dosages of medicine increased and changed, various tests were conducted, procedures altered, weight was lost, prayers continued, tons of blood-work done and I even chose to take a sabbatical from the worship team at our church.  I was willing to do whatever it took.  But, it became harder and harder to be brave.

On occasion we would have to go into the Doctors office on a Sunday morning.  After the appointment we would head to church.  One particular Sunday, the worship team was introducing Matt Redman’s “Blessed Be Your Name” And in the midst of the song – my emotions caught up with me.  I had been pushing so hard, staying so focused that I paid my emotions very little attention.  After each “you’re not pregnant call” I would have my moment of wallowing in self-pity by commiserating with my mother over the phone long distance (God bless her tolerance and love).  But, at this moment – this song captured all that I had and all that I was dealing with.  And there was no hiding from it.

The contrast in the verses “Blessed be Your name, in the land that is plentiful” versus “Blessed be Your name when I’m found in the desert place” was right where my husband and I were as a couple.  Ike and I had never really struggled much as a couple – we both were gainfully employed and financially secure and had family that loved us beyond words could ever imagine.  We had everything.  And now, we suddenly felt in the desert not being able to take our family to the next level by adding a precious baby to it.  As the song progresses “Blessed be your name, when the suns shining down on me” and then moves into “Blessed be your name on the road marked with suffering” was so reflective of my personal struggle and the collapse of my magic formula – follow directions it will all work out. In college that formula worked like a charm and when I was a college student I felt as if the sun always shined down on me. And now all I kept feeling was loss.

The longer this process continued the harder it was to believe it would actually work.  At one point my doctor insisted I take a month off.  That was inconceivable to me.  The very idea, the audacious notion set in like a dark storm cloud.  My doctor was telling me to quit – well not exactly – but that is how I heard it.  Then the song comes back “When the darkness closes in, Lord still I will say  - Blessed be the name of the Lord..”  It said nothing about - When the darkness closes in  - I fight or I strive or I push – it was beckoning me to just Bless the Lord.  Problem is, that I am great at working a problem to death – I suck at resting in God.  And second, in my very dwarfed perspective – had nothing to praise him for. Hallelujah – my hormones are all over the place – Praise God – the phlebotomist gave me a bruise on my arm the size of California – I didn't feel any closer to becoming a mother and now I was to just take a break?

Thankfully my husband has a way of getting me to do the right thing in spite of myself.  So, we took a month off. We even took a mini-vacation to the Delaware shore – a place that has always been restful to me.  Now, I know each of you are thinking – and then she started up again the next month to find success and the motherhood she had always wanted. Nope not so folks – this is not a Hollywood movie.  It was my twisted misery. 

As the summer progressed the same cycle repeated. And I wasn't sure if it was me or not – but it seemed like we were singing that “Blessed” song a lot at church. And is it me or are there more pregnant women around in the Summer?  It sure seemed that way.  As Fall settled in, I was becoming more accustomed to the fact that despite my intentions I would not have a baby by Christmas and I may very well not even be pregnant.  As we neared the holidays my doctor again recommended a break and this time I was much more open to it.  I finally allowed myself to rest and enjoy the holidays.  Don’t think that I didn't break down crying on Christmas day. But, it wasn't that deep distressing I had felt earlier on.  It was just out of a deep longing to have another Dimitriadis around our tree. 

We started back up at the start of the year and this time I decided to take a more relaxed approach. I remained diligent, but became more mindful how blessed we really were.  We were both very happy at our companies – and I more so having just taken on a new role at a firm with a fabulous group of people – many of whom I had worked with in the past.  I had come to the point that if I got pregnant great – if not fine. Let’s be real – did you think I would say “Great” about not getting pregnant.

We even began exploring the option of adoption - the costs, the process etc.  God, reminded me of two women in my past- both of whom had struggled with fertility and then chose to adopt. The one had adopted her son – just mere months before her mother suddenly passed away. What a reminder of God’s awesome timing.  The other had adopted a son that as he grew up resembled the family in every way – he was tall, curly hair, loved baseball, and was sharp as tack – just like his mom and dad.  And I respected these women and I knew that I could build a family in that same way. 

It was a few days before another procedure and the wheels were in motion when my phone rang.  My mother’s sister Anna had passed away.  Her funeral would be on the same day as the procedure and I could not be in two places at once.  I loved my extended family dearly and wanted to go home.  But, I made the tough decision to move forward with the procedure.  Throughout the entire day I had no anxiety about the procedure.  I was excited and optimistic.  I had a peace that if it didn't work – the sun would still rise and all would be ok.  The procedure from all technical standpoints went well.  We were now in a wait and see. 

The very next day I was in tremendous abdominal pain.  Since I had been laying down a lot I assume that it had to be gas.  But, it got worse and worse.  I was so afraid that something had gone terribly wrong.  I finally called the Doctor and she requested I come in the very next day.  The next morning I woke up and my abdomen had grown over night and I was so uncomfortable. Full of anxiety, digging through my drawers to find pants that would be comfortable I just wanted to be at the Dr’s office already.  As soon as I got into the Doctors office, they drew blood. I was then rushed into an exam room.  As my Dr. entered the room – she looked me right in the eye and said I am almost certain you are pregnant.  Later that afternoon I got the call I had been waiting for – I was pregnant and within a few days we knew we were having twins.  What a thrill! 

Over the next three months we kept this a secret. But, I have to say that singing “Blessed be your name” brought joy, and sweet tears. It was and still remains to be a reminder of God’s faithfulness and my deep need to continue to trust him.  By Christmas of 2006 we had two beautiful little baby girls in our home.  “Every blessing you pour out, I’ll turn back to praise.”  We were so blessed!


  1. What a beautiful testimony of courage and faith. Congratulations on your lovely family! :)