Wonderfully Filled Wombs | Heather

When I met Heather through our LifeGroup last February, I had no idea the role she would play in my life. I was in a tough season with my shoulder injury from our car accident, bursted pipes causing a flooded living room, and an eager, longing womb. After a few months of meeting to Lord kept pressing on me that she was the mentor that I'd been praying for. It felt strange asking someone I'd only known a few months to step in and mentor me but I knew from Heather's response that I'd been hearing God correctly. At that point in time, I had no clue that Heather had struggled with infertility... but God knew. He knew that I'd need a mentor who could speak right to my heart because they understood my heart. Heather has been that time and time again. I pray today you'll be encouraged by this beautiful woman who pours out love and wisdom to me.

Growing up, all I ever wanted to do was get married and have children. It was my dream and passion and wanted nothing else but that.  I just knew that I would find the man of my dreams, become a nurse and have children.   It was the perfect scenario and why would it go any other way?  I had my life all planned out the way I just knew God would want for me :) Looking back now after fifteen years of marriage to an amazingly Godly man and two amazing boys, the road to get to where I am was so much different than that I have ever dreamed.  I would never change a minute of it, because it was God's plan and knowing that His ways and plans are the best.  Why would I not rejoice on the road we have been on?   Yes, hindsight might be 20/20, but even in the midst of it, I was still rejoicing.  

My name is Heather and I am one of four children, including an identical twin sister, Heidi. Growing up with a bigger family, I always knew that I wanted at least 3 children and maybe 4, if God would allow. I met my first and only boyfriend Jeff, in middle school.  We started dating in high school when I was 16 and he was 15 years old. Yes, I know we were too young and I agree!  :):)  Progressively throughout high school, my dad became very sick and we really didn't know how much time he had left here on earth. Though it was a difficult road for him and our family, he passed away at the young age of 53 on September 4, 1999. I was 22 at the time of his passing and right then and there I knew that so many of the qualities that I loved about my dad, I saw in my now husband, Jeff.  A few months later, at Cape Henlopen Beach (where we spent so many summer days together), Jeff and I got engaged on November 13, 1999.  I was so excited to begin this next chapter of my life and to marry the man of my dreams!  My dad really loved Jeff and even though he passed away before our engagement, I know he knew deep down inside that we would marry one day.  We wanted to wait till after Jeff was finished college to get married but we decided on Mother's Day 2000 that we were getting married in September 2000.  Once again, God had a different path for us!  It ended up being quite a shock to our families that we moved the wedding up 9 months but we knew it was time.  There was no reason to wait another whole year!   We were married September 16, 2000.  It was such a beautiful wedding!  I wanted to get married outside and Jeff loves history, so we comprised and got married in Old New Castle, a Delaware favorite!  It was also a place that we spend so many of our date nights walking by the Delaware River.  We got married in the gardens of the George Read house.  Right as I began walking down the aisle, it began to rain.   A family friend told me after the wedding that that was my dad crying tears of joy for us. Wow, thanks for that!  That just brought the tears even more.  But yes, knowing that they were tears of joy really helped.  Through all of this, our family claimed a life verse Proverbs 3:5-6.  I felt that we were able to live that out in our lives.  It became so much more than just another Bible verse.   We did trust in God and tried not to ask “Why our dad?”  To be honest, it was hard.  It was devastating at times.   The best dad on the Earth is now gone, and who can take his place?  Inside, I knew the answer and to this day I rely on my Heavenly Father, knowing my earthly father will never be here to answer my questions, give me away to my husband, play with our kids and love like a father loves.

Our first 9 months of marriage were filled with 13 water leaks in two different apartments (seems impossible I know, but it's the truth!  :):) We decided it was time to start looking for our first home.  We purchased our new home and after enjoying the home for a while, we decided we wanted to go off birth control and try to get pregnant.  Jeff and I dated for 7 years and everywhere we went we were constantly asked, "When are you going to have a baby?" Remember, I just wanted to be a mom since I was in middle school and the pressure was now on!  While walking through our new home, I remember saying, "Yeah….a nursery is already ready and the finished basement is going to be the perfect playroom."  Jeff and I could not wait to hear little feet running up and down the hallways and started our dream of becoming parents.  After about a year of trying, I was having very irregular menstrual cycles which was making things very difficult for us.  I decided I needed to go and see my family doctor.  I gave her all my symptoms and she decided to have labs drawn.  She then broke the news to us that she thought I had PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). My heart sank to the floor when I heard the news. Being in the medical field, I’ve read storied of women who are diagnosed with PCOS and end up have an extremely hard time conceiving. I was then sent to an infertility doctor who through more bloodwork and ultrasounds confirmed the PCOS diagnosis. I remember seeing my first ultrasound of my ovaries and they were so covered in cysts that we couldn't even make out the individual ovaries. I felt like my dreams were shattered and things were starting to unravel.  Isaiah 55:8 comes to mind '"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord.'" Things were not going the way I wanted and had dreamed but God was trying to teach us that it isn't about what we want, it's about what He wants. After processing all of this and what PCOS really meant, I remember leaving one of my appointments and then hearing encouraging words from my doctor like it was yesterday.  She told me, "Heather, I can get anybody pregnant." Wow, anybody pregnant?   I processed what she said and then felt sad thinking, are we relying on God through all of this or are we relying on the words of a human? I went home to share this news with Jeff.  We honestly felt better about our chances of conceiving.  There was actually a light at the end of our tunnel that wasn’t an oncoming train for once!  We continued to trust God through it all however.  

I remember calling my twin right after getting my diagnosis.  She had recently gotten married the year prior so she had called her doctor to get tested to see if she too had PCOS. I was started on a low carb diet to help my chances of the cysts lessening, which they did, but still no ovulation. After a few months on the diet, I was nothing but skin and bones.  The good news is, my ovaries were looking better but again, still no ovulation. I was started on Clomid and even with that, I was not ovulating so my dose was increased and finally I began to ovulate. Taking a break from my story, remember my twin who was going to be tested for PCOS?   Yes, you probably know what I am going to say!  She ended up getting pregnant without even trying.  I remember her telling me.  I remember having the feeling that I was going to just pass out and die.   My heart just broke in half.  Not that I wasn't happy for her because I was, but my total sadness and despair for what I was going through totally over-shadowed my happiness for her. I tried to be happy but I felt like Jeff and I were doing everything right, so why wasn't the Lord giving us the desires of our hearts and now my identical sister was pregnant?  

Jeff and I met with the doctor once again and decided that we would try IUI. We decided we would only try 1 session and go from there. In the lowest of despair, when I felt that I was living a nightmare, God did grant the desire of our heart.  I got the phone call that after the first IUI treatment, we were pregnant!  I love Psalm 37:7 where it says to "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him." Patience is such a hard thing to have when we think we know God's perfect timing for our lives. My pregnancy was rough since I was pre-eclamptic at 30 weeks and ending up on bed rest until delivering at 33 weeks. Our first boy Tyler, was born on August 14, 2003, almost 3 years after Jeff and I were married. What a huge answer to prayer!  I soon felt very guilty.   I felt like I had failed him by not being able to stay pregnant long enough for him to be born full term. He was in the hospital for 3 weeks.  This was such a growing experience for both Jeff and me.  It really helped to grow our relationship closer together and to the Lord. It took me a year to finally realize that there was nothing I could have done to prevent his early birth.  Once again, we learned that God was and always will be in control!  Praise Him for that!  

 I did go back on birth control after Tyler's birth to regulate my menstrual cycle. My doctor wanted me to wait 2 full years to try to get pregnant again due to the toll pre-eclampsia takes on a woman's body.  I remember telling Jeff that I just could not go through infertility treatments again.  All the blood work, hormones, shots, appointments, vaginal ultrasounds could not be tolerated again.  No thank you!   When Tyler was 18 months, I couldn't take it anymore.  I was done with the side effects of birth control and also, while was I on them, I asked myself, I don't ovulate anyway, so why be on them?  In January of 2003, I was done with the pills and didn't really know what our plans were for future kids.  Knowing we needed to wait 2 years, Tyler was only 17 months, what is the worst that could happen?  Well, apparently the doctor was wrong and all by ourselves, with no Clomid or IUI, I became pregnant!  To this day I have no idea how to explain it except to say that God, the Great Physician, blessed us with the most amazing blessing for a couple who had faced infertility. I remember calling my mom and telling her and asking her how I got pregnant and her response was, “Do I really need to tell you!”  :)  

I had an uneventful pregnancy with our second son, Carter who was born on November 30, 2005. I felt like I was on cloud nine and my life seemed complete.  Carter faced some very serious heart issues and almost died at a very young age but today is a perfectly healthy and amazing 9 year old who never stops smiling!  Tyler is now 11 years old and has such a heart for the Lord.  Jeff and I decided that we felt so blessed with having 2 children, and not even knowing if it would be possible in the start of the process, and what a roller coaster we have been on, that I just didn't want to face the possibility of dealing with another infertility pregnancy.  We felt complete and extremely undeserving of the 2 boys God had given us, that we decided were done having children. Our family felt complete and I was perfectly content with that, continuously thanking the Lord for our 2 amazing and loving boys who bring such fun and happiness into our lives.  Living through infertility, especially when your own twin sister is pregnant, is such a hard road to go down.  I know there are so many women who try for so much longer than Jeff and I.  I just urge everyone facing infertility issues to stay strong and don't give up.  My new life verse changed from Proverbs 3:5-6 to Jeremiah 29:11-13 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

I know going through it, it feels like God is doing harm to us by not giving us what we want and when we want it.  But that is not the case. God wants us to call upon Him and pray to Him.  He has the plans already laid out for our lives long before we were even born. It's hard to lessen the desire to become a mom when that is all we have ever dreamed about. I know the longing and the despair of just wanting to feel a baby inside of you, kicking and moving, buying clothes and getting the nursery ready. It seems like yesterday as I am writing this, as all the feelings are coming back to me.  As I close, I just want to encourage you, regardless of what your diagnosis is, to continue praying to the Great Physician, the Lord, to keep your eyes focused on him throughout this season of your life. I pray that I hear more Carter stories.  Stories where the doctors gave us no hope of conceiving on our own.  Thankfully, God is in control and our twists and turns were not a surprise to God.  God had written a different story for our lives.  It was one that we have never dreamt of, nor would we have thought we would have been able to cope during this journey!   It ended up being the best ending to our pregnancy journey.  As Luke 1:37 says, "For nothing will be impossible with God."  Please rely on our Heavenly Father, no matter how bleak things may look.  He is always in control!

Thanks for joining us! 
Here are some other posts you may enjoy!

The heart behind Wonderfully Filled Wombs.
Brittany's story of loss and waiting.
Rachel's story of God's redemption in the longing.

Courtney's story of the winter ending and the spring coming. 




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