Believe it or not, my schedule is already opening to May. June. July. Even August is filling up. Although as I type snow is falling, I’m planning ahead to days where tulips will be out, lilacs will be blooming and grass will need to be cut.
I’m a planner by nature and some of my events revolve around Mother’s Day. That used to bring about a dread and anger because I wasn’t a mom.
And I was told to plan for the fact I may never be one.
My infertility story centers about my PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) diagnosis. I miscarried. I truly thank God that I have two children but I will never forget those feelings. And I wanted God to use that story to encourage someone else.
A Walk in the Valley: Christian Encouragement for Your Journey Through Infertility is a transparent look at not just my story but Heidi Glick’s, Elizabeth Maddrey, Kym McNabney, Paula Mowery and Donna Winters. All of our stories are different but center around our infertility experiences. They are not happy-hold hands- cliche filled-pat answers stories. We were angry. Scared. Faced with expensive treatments. Given terrible news. And yet there is hope. We take each facet of the story and share how we made it through. We have Scripture because honestly, we’d still be in the pit of emotions had it not been for God’s love and Word. There are places for the reader to journal her feelings.
The book will be available April 28th but you can pre order now. If you are or have walked this road of infertility and miscarriage, I strongly suggest you consider ordering. If you love someone who is struggling or has, this book will help. I tell people it is the book I wish had been available for me.
Many have asked for my full story and A Walk in the Valley has it. May God take what I consider my broken place and create something beautiful for someone else.
To Pre Order A Walk in the Valley, click here.
e-Mom is a grandma! I love her story and I’m with e-Mom, the timing of this precious birth isn’t a coincidence. Such a beautiful post, I hope you read it and leave your congratulations.
But sometimes those baby stories aren’t all happy ones. Part of my “broken places” that I share with others is my experience with infertility and PCOS journey. Although I drive my family nuts by being so open, I do it about what personally affected me in hopes it encourages someone else.
And today, I think there is someone out there who needs to know my story.
I learned at age twenty-five I had PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome. The symptoms for me were irregular periods, acne, and hormonal imbalance. The doctor sat me down, knowing I was in a serious relationship that looked like it was heading for marriage. He spent 45 minutes with me sharing his story, even though we both heard the crying babies and other patients outside the other door.
He was candid and let me know that I would most likely have difficulty conceiving, if I could do so, at all. His encouragement was that as a man of faith, to take his words as just that, words. He was a mere doctor. He suggested if I wanted to have children some day, to ask children to pray. I left with hope, although devastated at the facts before me.
Fast forward and I was a newlywed and conceiving was on my mind, a lot. It’s funny, when you’re told you can’t have something isn’t that when you realize that’s the one thing you want? I never grew up wanting to be a mom or anything full of maternal bliss. As soon as I realized it might not be an option, I wanted to be a mom.
The PCOS for me was unique and challenging. Now that I’m 16 years after that diagnosis I realize how severe the hormonal imbalance was and I wish I’d fought harder for my peace of mind. The depression, just daily depression for no real reason beyond the imbalance assaulted me to no end. Add to it the sadness I felt regarding the situation and I was at times emotionally paralyzed. I’m not afraid to share this all was so consuming there were times I saw myself heading to the medicine cabinet for permanent relief. I write this not to be dramatic but to say to the woman reading this who feels the same—tell your doctor these things. Mine had no idea it was that bad. It wasn’t until years later when I started early menopause did that doctor understand how severe my moods were. I am now on a low dose medication to combat that and the menopause symptoms I had as well. I feel new and alive. Please don’t be ashamed to ask for help. You are worth it.
But…there was the physical pain as well. I was in such discomfort I could go to work and then I’d go to bed. It was constant pelvic pain that felt like I was in a vise. One night I was in such misery I remember crying out to God. I let Him know I was His and I knew there was more to my life than this. I understood I had something of purpose to do with my life and being in bed wasn’t it. I surrendered my ability to have children. I told him if I needed a surgery to end all chances to conceive, so be it. I just wanted my life to move forward.
From that surrender, things moved fast and the peace of God was overwhelming. My surgeon told me there was a procedure he could do that would not end my chances to conceive, but enhance them. He was fearful I would get my hopes up. I was adamant that this was no longer about conceiving, but just being able to live. I authorized the surgery. We moved into our first home. Nothing and no one could stop me, despite the pain.
Although the surgery isn’t done so much today, it was a wedge resection. He took half of each ovary out and in recovery he let me know he had never seen such large ovaries. It explained my constant pelvic pain. Turns out mine were FIVE TIMES the size of normal ovaries. I instantly felt better, even as I recovered.
The whole time I worked with a girls’ ministry at my local church. I asked them to pray for me and to ask God that one day I could be a mom. These girls believed God and pressed in. To this day when adults come to me for prayer I remind them to seek out kids. They are the ultimate prayer warriors.
I say all that to say…seven months after the surgery I was pregnant.
That baby is 13.
Another story for another day is in 2001 I miscarried, but I knew God had one more child for us.
In 2003 we had a daughter.
If you are struggling as an infertility patient I pray you don’t let the diagnosis own and define you. Believe God. Go to Him. Seek Him hard for His plan for your life. Don’t let doctor’s words trump God’s promises.
And have some children pray.
Did you know during the month of November this blog features YOUR thankful posts? Slots are filling up but I’m still looking for your thankful thoughts. Learn more here.
Also, Tuesday at 9pm EST I’m having an hour chat just to hang out with and encourage moms of all ages and stages. Although the overall topic is what do you do with your kids on October 31, all mom topics welcome. Just because we do things different doesn’t mean we should do them alone. Log in as a guest, I do rest. Please help me spread the word. Free room link: https://connectpro19068335.adobeconnect.com/julie-arduini-the-surrendered-scribe/
Lastly, I’m teaching highlights from the John and Stasi Eldredge book, Captivating. Thursday nights at 9pm EST share my own experiences, film clips and a video link in hopes of all women seeing how Captivating they truly are—always were, and always will be. If you don’t have the book or missed the last couple weeks, no worries. Join us! Same room link as above. I need all the help I can get letting ladies know about this life-changing book—just one hour a week!
Tags: chronic pain, Chrysalis blog, e-Mom, grandma, hormonal imbalance, infertility, Julie Arduini, Marriage Monday, menopause, miscarriage, PCOS, polycystic ovaries, praying children, suicidal thoughts, surgery, The Surrendered Scribe, wedge resection
Tomorrow can range in several scenarios. I remember as a kid riding down a country road seeing a woman pushing a lawnmower. She looked hot and tired and what I remember the most was who was watching—a man I guessed to be her husband. As a child I thought why should she be doing that? Isn’t it Mother’s Day?
I also remember watching church services where moms were given hyacinths and carnations, books and Bibles to celebrate their motherhood. During some of those services I was single. Some of them I was married and a mom. But the ones that stand out most of all were the times I was infertile.
Maybe that’s you. I know there aren’t perfect words to give you because as well meaning as so many tried, nothing they said helped me forget a moment that I wanted to be a mom accepting the church gifts on Mother’s Day. I detest patronizing cliches and believe it or not, I’m not a fan of Bible verses thrown my way in those moments either. I know the Bible, I knew those verses and they felt like salt on the wound.
What I hope to give is my story. My story is just me, no one special, definitely not perfect. I couldn’t pay my way to a different circumstance. What I had that you can have is to believe God. No matter what your outcome is, believe God.
I learned in 1995 I had polycystic ovaries, PCOS. This is an endocrine disorder that can render infertility and this was something my doctor spent a lot of time sharing with me. The ironic thing was prior to that appointment, being a mom wasn’t a big goal on my list. Yet I’d recently met the man I knew was going to be my husband and the minute being a mom was taken off the screen, it was the one thing I wanted.
My case wasn’t typical. Beyond having irregular periods I had chronic pelvic pain. My newlywed days were spent going to work and then right to bed. It was hard and there were a lot of tears. My hormones flew all over the place so it was a difficult time. I was fairly new in faith so I felt punished by God.
Now I get I was blessed.
I did all the things a confused infertility patient would do.
I obsessed online with all the groups, medical forums, trying to conceive loops, the whole shebang. The keyword here isn’t shebang, it is obsessed. I let those websites become my Bible and I took their words as promises. I cried when I saw families and I felt a heavy, heavy ache those church services that honored Mother’s Day.
If that’s you, you’re human. I’ve been there. What will make you blessed is to leave there. It’s a pity rut that is impossible on your own strength to dig out of.
Your story might not have the same variables as mine. If you’ve read anything of mine for a time you know I am a mom. I have two kids. Blessed? Absolutely. How did I get there?
Medically I had a wedge resection, a procedure not done much anymore that took half of each ovary out. Turns out my ovaries were five times the size of normal. Taking them out that way enhanced my chances to conceive when I thought in prayer when I surrendered my fertility it meant saying goodbye to any biological chance. I felt better immediately and I was pregnant in less than a year.
The blessing was He equipped me to believe Him. I’m not a gal who trusts anyone easily, especially my Heavenly Father. Yet surrendering the dream of my heart was the biggest thing I could give Him. I totally meant it when I told Him I was on His team no matter what. I know He desired to make me a mom and I am very grateful. What makes me blessed, I believe, is I would still love and trust Him even if He had not. Only God can put that kind of faith in someone like me.
By giving me impossible circumstances and the power for me to believe Him, He calls on me to believe big for others. I don’t always know the outcome, I rarely do. But time after time He’ll have me stand up and proclaim He’s faithful and that they can not just survive this thing, but thrive…in Jesus’ name. I’ve watched people become pregnant with God’s promises against all odds and what set them apart is they believed God…especially if it didn’t go the way they wanted.
Wife. Mom. Author. Reader. Blogger. Amateur nature photographer. Chocolate eater. Encouraging you to surrender the good, the bad, and—maybe one day—the chocolate.
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