Friday, July 31, 2009

What If?

Today I'm going to lay out some "stuff" that I've told very few. Some of it will be new information. It's a little scary to be so real, here, out in the open.

When we were first married in 1971, zero population growth was a hot topic. We made a conscious decision not to have children and agreed that if we happened to change our minds, we "could always adopt."

A few years later, I began to have problems with birth control pills. To avoid any "mistakes," Dennis underwent a vasectomy.

Several years later, we became involved in our first church. As warm bodies and willing workers, we were hijacked to junior high. We loved those kids! We were surprised as the desire to grow a family increased. And so we began to seek out adoption options, but without success. It seemed as if we we going to do this, we would have to do it the natural way.

We traveled out of state to visit an acclaimed urologist who was having much success performing vasectomy reversals. It was successful. But our attempts at pregnancy were not.

Those of you who have walked through the valley of infertility can understand the bittersweet emotions of watching your friends become pregnant. Suddenly pregnant women and babies are everywhere. Your whole life begins to revolve around a thermometer. And every month brings fresh disappointment.

At this point, I was running on only one cylinder as my left ovary and its tube had been removed earlier due to a cyst. After many tests, my doctor discovered scarring in my remaining fallopian tube. We agreed that I would undergo a tuboplasty, an open procedure to correct the obstruction. It turned into quite an ordeal, but it was successful, and one day the triumphant nurse called me to confirm a positive pregnancy test!

I savored and rejoiced in any physical sensation, any sense of nausea or dizziness. "I'm pregnant, I'm pregnant," I would sing to myself. But my doctor was not that excited. He was very serious, running tests, worrying that my beta hCG was not rising as it should. He was fearful of an ectopic pregnancy. He wanted to do a D&C, trying to avoid a serious problem. My mind heard "abortion," and I refused. An ultrasound showed a sac in the uterus. See? I told him. Everything is fine. But he was not convinced.

It was the middle of the night. Something was wrong. I did not know what--or didn't want to know. I checked my temperature. It had plummeted. I had a scheduled appointment in the morning. But in the morning, I had very little energy. I had to lie down after brushing my hair. I called the doctor and called my husband to come home. My doctor was very worried. He kept calling back to see if I was okay. Oddly, I had no pain.

The office staff took one look at me and rushed me into an examining room where my doctor found indisputable proof of internal bleeding. He sent us directly to the hospital. He was worried enough to send one of his nurses with us so she could make sure I got immediate attention. Everything from then on was a blur. Hospital staff were coming at me from every direction. Dennis called our pastor who arrived in time to pray before they whisked me off to the operating room.

The doctor could not repair the tube. He had to remove it. He left the ovary, but I would not be able to conceive naturally. I was told I could have died. I felt such peace. God's presence pervaded my room, a semi-private room in which I communed with Him alone for 2 days.

My doctor told me later that he had gone to the lab that night to see the specimen for himself, to see if there would have been any way to save the tube if we had acted sooner. There really was no way to tell for sure.

What if? What if we had never made the initial decision to not have children? What if we had attempted pregnancy before I had my ovary removed? What if I had had that D&C?

What if? What if? What if?

Those kinds of questions can torture us. If we had truly been walking with the Lord and seeking His counsel from the very beginning of our married life, what kind of outcome would there have been? Any different decision we made along the way could have snowballed into a totally different life outcome.

There are no real answers.

Something my doctor said at the time has stuck with me through the years, though.

"We make the best decisions we can at the time with the information we have." And then we go on.

What if we had had children before we were walking with the Lord? Would we have brought them up in the church? What kind of parents would we have been? Would we have been able to conceive anyway? Did God have different plans for us from the very beginning and allow us to go through the fire for our refining?

There are no real answers.

I have a decision to make. It might be this weekend. It could be lifechanging. I know what my head says is practical. I know what my heart desires. I'm seeking and praying. I do believe that as we grow closer to Him, His desires become our desires. Our hearts become one with His. Sometimes His timing and ours are different.

I'll make the best decision I can with the information I have at hand. And then I'll go on, trusting in the fact that my God knows the plans He has for me, plans and a purpose that cannot be thwarted, and that He will work all things together for my good and His glory.

I'd appreciate your prayers.

"May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests." Psalm 20:4-5

What is the desire of your heart? Can I pray for you?

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