I stood in the hallway of our condo holding my sister-in-law’s hand tightly. We were quietly watching Ryan put Brayden, our nephew, to sleep. Anytime we have had the joy to watch our nephew, bed time has always been Ryan’s “special time” with his boy. Ryan held him in his arms, bouncing him softly up and down. The glow from the lights outside slightly filled the room. “You know your Uncle Ry Ry loves you so much,” he said in a soft whisper. Nicole and I patiently watched this beautifully sacred moment unfolded right before us. Ryan gazed into Brayden’s eyes and you could simply see the love that exploded in his heart for him. Brayden has been such a significant part of our journey. God has used this precious angel in ways I truly cannot explain or imagine to get us through some of my most difficult days on this long and agonizing journey. On that particular day, we had found out our second IUI was unsuccessful. When I shared this devastating news with Nicole, she instantly dropped everything and came up to be with us for the night. She and Brayden were my saving grace that day. Ry got home from work pretty late and I knew I didn’t want to spend the evening alone, especially on that weary day of all days.
I knew Ry, too, needed the joy and love of Brayden to fill his broken heart that night. As Ry swayed Brayden back and forth, I realized this particular moment was made just for Ryan and was probably more crucial for him to experience than anyone else. It was the love from a child, nonetheless Brayden, that he needed and was experiencing right in front of me. I couldn’t help, but be overwhelmed with joy and a deep sense of love. There was such beauty and grace that God made in this moment. Part of me didn’t want it to end because I loved seeing God use the love of Brayden to breathe hope and faith into my husbands heart.
However, if I am being truthful and authentic to the emotions that come with this walk, then I have to say that sadness, too, had taken root in my heart that night. My emotions were running wild. It was such a special and intricately designed moment, yet difficult for me to embrace at the same time.
“I can’t give that to him,” I kept thinking.
Nicole and I went into the kitchen. Suddenly, my grief had succumbed me and I completely lost control of my emotions. I was drowning in my own tears. I found myself in complete disbelief, emptiness, and a deep ache of mere sadness smack in the middle of my weary heart. Nicole held me in her arms, as she too, ached for this loss. I had no words to say, just deep cries of heartbreak. I kept thinking about how I desperately wanted to give Ryan his own son that he could whisper words of love to, but my body wasn’t capable of doing that on it’s own. “Would I ever be able to give him a child?” I thought. Once again, I was walking through despair and loss and believing untruths about who I am and how God made my body. Finally, Ryan walked into the kitchen only to find Nicole and I holding each other tightly mourning the loss of our babies . My strong and faithfully hopeful husband placed his arms around us both, comforting us, as he spoke truth over our situation.
“We are going to have a baby.”
I knew this was true, but our journey has been hard. And I was tired of experiencing a constant negative. Ryan and I knew we wouldn’t try another IUI again. We had already spent thousands of dollars on something that was only a 10% chance of working for us in the first place. We knew our next steps would be a huge undertaking physically, emotionally, and financially. However, our chances of In-vitro Fertilization working successfully were significantly greater. We had to put all our trust in what God was doing, knowing that He would bring our story of hope together.
Just days following our second failed IUI, we had a consultation with our Doctor to discuss IVF and all that is involved in the process. Everything felt so surreal and incredibly overwhelming. IVF is intense. I never actually thought it would come to this for us. The steps started much sooner than I anticipated and things were already happening quickly. Injections and egg retrieval would be in October and then we would freeze our embryos and do the transfer in late December. It sounded like a great plan and I liked the idea of having somewhat of a break in November. Despite the fact that I was in disbelief that IVF would be apart of our journey, audacious hope quickly covered my heart.
The financial aspect of this was insanely overwhelming. We knew we were looking at at least a $20,000 investment for something that wasn’t even a guarantee. But we had to try. We trusted God and the story He has designed for our family. We knew somehow, someway the finances would come together. We would do whatever we had to do to meet this need: take out a loan, work double time, borrow money, etc. If this was what we had to do to have a baby, then it would be worth every single penny, even if it meant we were in debt for several years. As we prepared for treatment, Nicole called me and shared with me a truly beautiful idea that she and my friend, Noelle, had thought of.
“We want to do something to help raise funds for you and Ry for your IVF journey. We were brainstorming all kinds of ideas and Noelle thought of something that we would like to call The HOPE Jar! We want to contact as many friends and family as possible and ask them to take part in this journey. They will each make a Jar of Hope and keep it in their home. In the jar, they will stick pennies, dollar bills, encouraging words, prayers, or whatever God leads them to do. We will give it about two months and then collect the hope jars before the transfer.”
Instantly, tears of grace and love were covering my heart. Wow. I was so overwhelmed with thanksgiving.
“Desi, people want to help. They want to sew into your journey.”
I was truly amazed and blown away that people would actually want to help us like this.
It was then that God truly began to reveal to me that there is a much greater purpose to our journey. He began to show me that more than anything our journey is about HOPE and bringing God’s people together for one purpose. It is about the body of Christ uniting for Him and to see His fruits unfold. As difficult as our journey to parenthood has been, there is so much beauty in it because God has never left us. And one day, Ryan and I will have a family, and God will be glorified because He beautifully knitted every intricate detail together and used our journey to reach the hearts of so many. What else could I ask for?