There's a word in my Dutch cultural heritage that people use to wish someone perseverance through their suffering or hardship. I remember my mom using the word at a funeral visitation: solemnly, compassionately, looking into the griever's eyes and delivering the solitary word:
It was nearly impossible for me to imagine finding any kind of strength on the other side of a failed embryo transfer. I knew the odds. I knew it could fail. I knew we could lose our precious embryos. I didn't know how I would endure it.
Yet here I am on the other side of that loss, finding strength. Growing stronger.
I find myself looking at this chapter of my life with great surprise; a sort of third person perspective where I scribble in the margin, "Wow! Resilience!" with an exclamation point because who would have thought this desperate and scared little soul could have survived such a crushing blow? It's been two weeks since that heartbreaking phone call, yet already I am healing. Already my strength is being renewed.
I can only attribute this to the supernatural power of Christ Jesus in my life. I feel as though I am learning in a new way the truth of this passage from 2 Corinthians 12, "I pleaded with the Lord to take [my hardship] away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on my. That's why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
I am so weak right now. Physically and emotionally I am dry. Yet spiritually I am being filled. It's an incredible paradox. In my prayers I say to God, "I'm so scared to try again. I'm terrified that I will never conceive." He answers me with words from scripture:
Yesterday John and I met with Dr. Colbert again. Having practiced reproductive medicine for decades now, he knew the concerns of my heart. Sharing our faith, he was able to speak the truth to me. "You're doing everything right. You've done everything we've asked of you. You let us worry about the rest. You let us figure this out. It's in our hands." Then he corrected himself, "Actually," he said, "it's in the good Lord's hands. We're doing everything we can. It's not for you to worry."
God has given me this message five times over the past few days from a unique mix of people: the message that I'm not doing anything wrong. This is not my fault. This is in his hands. It's a message I didn't even know I needed to hear, but a message that has allowed me to find the strength to heal from our loss and move forward with our treatment.
When I am weak, I am strong.
Moving forward, I am going to have some labs done to test for a number of blood clotting disorders that can interfere with implantation. With the Thanksgiving holidays coming up here in the US, I'm hoping to get the results back early next week.
The transfer schedule at our clinic is all booked up through the new year, which allows us to take a welcomed break from treatment over the holidays. I'll likely start the medication regime for our next transfer in January and have the transfer scheduled in early February.
I want to leave this post with a word to those who are suffering the pain of infertility and embarking on the holiday season- a season marked by baby-filled family get togethers, invasive questions, the obvious passage of time that has left you still waiting, and the guilt of being sad when you "should" be joyful. I know how can sharply these things can puncture our vulnerable hearts. Here's my word to you:
May you find in Christ a strength that surprises you. A reason to hope, a place to rest, and a faith that endures.