Tuesday, May 15, 2012

You Can't Afford to be Hopeless

My ultimate hope in life is to be a mother.

Four years ago my new husband and I decided we were going to try for a baby. So we did.

And we failed. And we failed. And we failed.

After months of trying and failing, my body began a mutiny. My menstrual cycle was not a cycle at all, but more like a sporadic onslaught of unpredictable absence, and then unwanted, never ending pain. For months I’d go with no period at all. Then I’d have it for 4 weeks accompanied by the most excruciating pain I could imagine… as if someone was stabbing my ovaries with a serrated steak knife.

I finally called the doctor. I was diagnosed with Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Basically, my ovaries were filled with innumerable tiny cysts that prevented my ovaries from producing any eggs. It accounted for the extreme pain I was experiencing, as well as numerous other physical side effects such as weight gain.

The typical treatment (according to my doctor) is treatment for Diabetes, because in most cases, the patient is obese and this is the cause of the syndrome. Obviously, this wasn’t my case. The second line of attack would be birth control. I found out at 19 years old that I was allergic to birth control, so that wasn’t an option. We chose to treat it with Clomid, an oral anti-estrogen medication that would kick start my ovaries into producing eggs.

After about 6 months, it worked. Let me remind you that there is no “cure” for PCOS. Only treatments.

Anyway, I found out January 10th of 2009 that I was pregnant.

Three days later I was in the hospital. Pain beyond anything I ever thought I’d have to endure. Hearing words I never thought I’d hear.

“You must abort, you have no other option.”

My baby was ectopic. The Clomid had forced the cysts to burst and caused scar tissue to build up inside my fallopian tubes. My baby never made it to where it should have and it was killing me, literally. After being poked and prodded, scanned and tested for hours upon hours, the doctors said they thought the embryo was small enough to not have to operate, but they couldn’t be sure.

The “treatment” I was given was chemo. I was told that chemo kills rapidly growing cells, such as cancer, and that an embryo was the same thing. They called my baby a cancer, gave me a shot, and sent me home after informing me that there is a 90% chance that my next pregnancy would be ectopic, as well.

I spent the next 5 days laying on the couch, purging what the doctor’s called a cancer, and asking my murdered child to forgive me

I was hopeless. 

The guilt I felt was that I chose my own life over my baby’s. I know… I know… that there was no way to save the baby. That doesn’t change how I felt, though. I was forced to do something I believe to be a sin.

I let go of the dream I had of being a mother. I forced the hand of God by taking fertility drugs, forced my body to get pregnant when it wasn’t supposed to be, and I suffered because of it. I stopped having faith and took matters into my own hands.

I decided to go back to school, focus on a career, and just accept that I would be an aunt and nothing more.

It wasn’t until last March that everything changed. I attended a women’s weekend for church that was full of ministry and fellowship. I cried more that weekend than I had in my life. I got real with myself, stopped denying that I was afraid, forgave myself for killing my child and grabbed onto hope again. I had an honest conversation with my mother Saturday night. I told her everything I was afraid of and why I wouldn’t admit I wanted to have another baby.

The next morning was our last session and I was filled with hope. Right before the end, Pastor Stephanie called me to the front and spoke about all the things I had told my mom in confidence the night before. She spoke of my healing. I cried, I went home, I told my husband and we prayed together.

4 months later I went to the doctor… the PCOS had vanished. She said there was no trace of cysts in my ovaries anymore, that it had simply disappeared. She told me to start trying to get pregnant anytime I wanted. My cycle was back to normal, the pain was back to normal, everything was and is as it should be.

I praised God for my healing. I still do, every day. It was a miracle and I’ll never forget or deny that.

I still have some obstacles to overcome first… some other physical obstacles that I’m dealing with, but my hope is so strong. I no longer say “if I get pregnant”, but “when I’m a mom”.

I believe that God took my baby 3 years ago because it simply wasn’t time. I had been on a medication at the time that my doctor believed to be safe for pregnancy. In the 3 years since it has been discovered that it’s actually extremely harmful to unborn children. I’m now off said medication and doing awesome without it. I’d like to believe that there was a reason for what happened. I do not believe that I would have had to go through all of that pain for no reason.

Anyway, the 3 years I was in despair over not being a mother were the worst of my life. Having no hope is the worst condition to be in EVER. I never want to be hopeless. I never want to give up and let go of my dreams. I shouldn’t have to. Without hope, we have no faith. The two go hand in hand, so, of course, that’s exactly where the enemy wants us to be… hopeless, apathetic, complacent. Hebrews 11:1 says “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hope for it, then believe it.

So that’s what I’m doing. I’m hoping, believing and waiting on the Lord. When the time is right, I’ll have my baby, I’ll be a mother and I’ll praise God for all of it. 1 Chronicles 16:8 “Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon His name, make known His deeds among the people.” Hoping, believing, praising. That’s all I need to do.

It's so important not to let go of hope, of anticipation for what comes next, of the excitement you feel when you consider your dreams.  Without the hope of something, faith has nothing to work for. Whatever storm you're going through, it will end.  These things don't last forever.  So keep hoping and looking forward to the good that is ahead. 

We should always have hope for our future.

Supporting Scriptures

Psalm 94:19 "When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer."

Isaiah 40:31 "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

Romans 5:2-5 "Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

Romans 8:28 "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."

Romans 15:13 "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."

2 Corinthians 4:16-18  "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Hebrews 11:1  "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."

Revelation 21:4   "He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever."

3 comments:

RebeccaGodlove said...

Shannon...thanks for sharing this. I knew you wrote it but didn't get the chance to read it until today...right after everything happened. THANK YOU.

Spsmiles said...

I have had my own battle with hope and it definitely rocks your world. I remember when I got real with myself and finally said..."you are this way because you've lost hope." It's a powerful realization that led me back to the Word to find what God says about hope. I am SO grateful that His Word trumps every feeling, every circumstance, every fear and every doctors report. I CANNOT WAIT to meet your little one(s), I know you will be an incredible momma my friend! xx

Lindsey @ A Pear to Remember said...

Shannon,

I am so sorry for your pain.

I write you to share something different: my mom and day tried to get pregant for thirteen years. Thirteen. The doctors told them there was nothing wrong with them, it was all mental, they were just trying to hard, too stresses, etc. It wasn't until several years after adopting my brother, and then me, that my mom was diagnosed with endometriosis. My mom's hurt for those many childless years is one that I feel I inherited. In fact, it seems unfair to me that I could get pregnant so easily. I want to adopt. I want to do what my parents did for me and my brother.

The Bible doesn't have everything written. The Bible doesn't suggest that the only way to children is pregnancy, or that having children is required. Not everyone can bear children, not everyone marries: are they less? It's unfair to suggest to oneself that an inability to conceive is somehow related to faith. I believe my adoption was God's plan, but surely my parents prayer was for other things, other paths to children.

I'm just sharing: Keep your heart and eyes open, God has a plan in His time. Take it from a kid who took the long road to make it into this great world : )