There is a low point that some couples reach during the infertility journey. It is a place of despair so deep and dark they wonder if they can survive it.
What they assumed at the time would be the worst of the journey is already behind them, rapidly receding in a past that pales in comparison to the deeply painful present. Disappointment, discouragement, bad results… it seemed so challenging at the time. Now, it would be a gift to return to difficulties no worse than what was faced back then.
This is a valley of darkness.
“Kirsten was 18 weeks pregnant and she started having a lot of bleeding,” Mike remembers. “The trip to the hospital is a blur. I remember the nurse tried to find a heartbeat in utero, and she couldn’t find one. We both thought, ‘She doesn’t know what she’s doing’ because we were in such denial. We thought, ‘The doctor will get here and it’ll be okay.’ He got there and it wasn’t okay.
“He left the room and a minute later, the baby came. I had to run out of the room to get him. He ran in and four nurses ran in after him. I remember just standing out there in the hallway and feeling very dizzy. One of the nurses got a chair for me and said, ‘It’s okay. Just sit here.’”
The baby was coming too soon. His first day outside the womb would be his last.
Where is God when our dreams are dying? When the joy we’ve longed for and struggled for is slipping from our grasp? Where is He when our hearts cry out for help? For comfort? For hope?
Where is God in such darkness?
He is with us.
“I didn’t think I was going to recover,” Mike remembers. “When a nurse grabs you and puts you in a chair, it’s because she doesn’t think you can stand. I don’t think I was capable of doing what I needed to do for Kirsten. But I was only sitting for about five seconds, and then somehow, a feeling of calm came over me and I heard a voice in my head saying, ‘Go to Kirsten.’ Somehow I went from not being able to stand up to being able to be with her.
“I tell you, that’ll make you believe in divine grace. I don’t think there’s a psychological ability of the brain to reboot during a crisis – you’re more likely to shut down – but this was truly instantaneous. It went from one second, ‘I’m nauseous and I can’t feel my legs’ to ‘It all went away.’ I’m very grateful for that.”
Despite feeling completely overwhelmed by heartache, as we struggle through the very worst of infertility, we are not alone. When our spirits cry out, God hears us. And He responds. “I am with you always.”
There are moments… days… seemingly endless stretches of time when we feel no hope. When it seems as if our greatest fear will be realized: we will never have a child. Never have another chance at joy. But scripture says that “the Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him….”
Mike and Kirsten withstood numerous failed IVFs and the gloomy predictions of doctors, clinging to their belief that God had planted a seed of hope in their hearts because He intended for them to become parents.
With the help of a new IVF protocol they finally conceived again. Their twins arrived safely. And two years later, a younger sibling – conceived naturally and unexpectedly – arrived safely, too.
If you are struggling mightily to find cause for hope in the darkness, cling to these words from the author of Lamentations: “I remember my afflictions… and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.”