When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned: Ajalon

Ajalon sent me an e-mail asking if she could share her story on my blog. I love it when people do this because it’s one reason I started this blog. I want there to be a place where people feel comfortable sharing their stories. I love Ajalon’s example of choosing to have faith despite her struggle with infertility.
Ajalon is a mother of three, army wife, avid traveler, and horrible crafter who loves God and this country. In a world of naysayers and negativity, she aims to edify, educate, and empower. You can read more of her work at Go & Do.


Choosing Faith

Years after trying to start a family, I found myself at a crossroad. I had spent half a decade riding an emotional roller coaster with the occasional up, but mostly the gut-wrenching downs that only a woman struggling with infertility can truly understand. We had tried almost every medical procedure possible, countless prayers and tears were expended by us and others on our behalf, blessings and fasts were offered, I spent hours upon hours scouring the internet to research adoption agencies and certify us as foster parents not once, but twice, in two different states. We took the classes, completed the home visits and jumped through all the hoops but never saw a child because my husband’s job took us elsewhere before that could happen. We now were in a new state, and hope was on the horizon as we finished our foster certification – for a third time. I was just hired as a full-time teacher, and we were settled into our new home. But as usual, our plans came to a halt.

My husband got word that his unit would soon deploy for 12 months. Upon becoming licensed foster parents our hope was to take in a newborn. And as much as I longed for a baby and welcomed the challenge, I didn’t know the first thing about them; that was my husband’s expertise and I was depending on him for guidance. When I learned of the deployment the questions and what if’s came: what if he leaves before we are placed with a baby, do I still take one in? How can I take care of a newborn by myself when I know nothing – and I mean nothing – about them? Can I do this by myself while I’m working full-time? Should I wait until he gets home, even if that is a year away? What if we miss the opportunity to take in a child? Was it so stupid of me to even try this with our military lifestyle, what was I thinking!? My mind was in a constant state of anxiety, and the worries, oh the worries, swirled inside my head like a tornado, never ceasing. Each day more unanswered questions plagued me and I felt like my body could go into a panic attack at any moment.

The tornado persisted, then one day I read something that was a game changer for me. In his talk titled, “Faith—the Choice Is Yours” by Richard C. Edgley, a General Authority of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, he said, “Choose faith over doubt, choose faith over fear, choose faith over the unknown and the unseen, and choose faith over pessimism.”

That struck something inside me. I knew faith was an action; you showed your faith by what you did, like praying to God, following His commandments, and serving His children. But never had I really looked at it as an intentional choice; a choice made in my mind and my heart, every day – every moment – in spite of the doubt, the fear, and the pessimism that paralyzed me.

I wrote this quote on a post-it and looked at it every day, over and over, until that is what I decided to do. I cannot explain the logic or science behind it, but as I chose to have faith in my Heavenly Father: His plan, His timing, His charge… the worries dispersed. I felt as if I had taken the tornado swirling around in my head – picked it up – and handed it to my Savior to let Him carry.

Jesus has invited us to take His yoke upon us, and that is what happened; in doing so I gave my burdens to Him. They didn’t go away; questions remained unanswered, plans unforeseen and we were still childless, but I was left feeling light, calm, optimistic and happy. It was glorious!

Every day that I made the choice, to choose faith, I felt the joy and peace that came from placing my burdens on Him. How grateful I am for a Savior who loves me enough to carry my pains, so I don’t have to.

When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned: Stacy

Stacy posted in the SALT Gathering group on Facebook about her struggle with infertility so I sent her some of the previous stories that have been shared on this blog to hopefully help her. (Thank you to those of you who have shared, it truly helps people more than you’ll ever know!) She told me she has felt similar feelings and agreed to sharing her own story.
Stacy stays at home with her 4 year old. She loves Target. She loves decorating her home and she loves being with her people! She enjoys watching super dramatic shows and anything murder mystery but also loves the classics like “The Office”!


I married Cory in October 2014 I’ve always knew I wanted to be a mom more than anything and was hoping we’d have a baby pretty quick – well we did! We were pregnant by December and we had our daughter, Payton, at the end of August!

Being a mom is everything I ever expected and more! I really did always know I’d love being a mom but I didn’t know it was this good! It’s for sure a challenge and sometimes it is insane and hard but it’s worth all of it! I am not very close in age to my siblings and I knew I wanted my kids to be close, so we started trying right at a year after we had Payton to have another one. I wasn’t the least bit stressed because we had no problems getting Payton here! Well it was in August 2016 when we started trying and by December I was a little discouraged, but I knew that it can take a year and others had way harder and longer waits. But by the following August nothing.

I went to the Doctor and he put me on Chlomid, which did nothing. I did a few rounds then I went to a fertility specialist, Dr. Petersen, who is the most amazing guy ever! I thought for sure we’d have no issues, that it’d be something easy and we’d be pregnant by the end of the year. Nope! We did Chlomid as well as Femara, with an injection and nothing. So we redid the whole cycle and same thing thing. This time we had to do an IUI and nothing happened with that either.  I was getting miserable on the Chlomid. I was way uptight, hot flashes, and insane mood swings. I was also gaining weight and was just miserable! Dr. Petersen calls this the “divorce” drug and I totally can see why! We tried a few cycles with Femera and nothing either.

At this point it’d been almost two years since we started trying and I was discouraged. I had to take a break for my sanity and my emotions and marriage and to be a good mom to Payton. When I went back to Dr. Petersen he said we could do injections that were more aggressive so we did. They are so expensive and at this point we had already paid so much, but I felt so confident in it so I went with it and nothing!

I was done. I felt so much anger and hurt at the whole situation. We haven’t done any sort of fertility treatments since then. A week after my negative test my sister-in-law announced she was pregnant, adding to other sister-in-laws who were already pregnant. It’s a very weird feeling… I would never wish them this pain but I’m bitter. I’ve had to keep my distance at times.

I find myself questioning everything. Are we not good parents? Why is God withholding this righteous desire from me? I feel isolated because I know there are others who don’t have one and my heart hurts for them. I have a great husband, an amazing daughter, and so why should I be complaining? I feel guilty even being sad. My heart hurts.

We decided we were going to another round of fertility treatments and I’m nervous but I can’t stop. My faith is so low right now and that makes me more nervous but this pain inside me isn’t going away and I want to try on my end and trust the Lord that the pain will get a little less every day or we will get pregnant. I know it’s in His timing but I’m struggling with that!

When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned: Anonymous 3

The writer of this post is an amazing friend whom I love and admire so much, and she wished to remain anonymous in sharing her struggle with infertility.

Photo by Moments by Ally Photography.

Everyone has a pregnancy story to share. Some struggle trying to get pregnant. Some struggle with a complicated pregnancy or even struggle holding on to a pregnancy. No pregnancy is easy. It is an incredible experience, but not an easy experience. Even those who have a perfect pregnancy on paper, sacrifice much to bring a child into the world. Here is a bit of my own story.

We were married in June 2014. We hadn’t planned on thinking about kids until after the first year or two of being married. Around September 2014, after being married for 3 months, my husband told me he had a strong impression that we should start trying to have a baby. WHAT?! That was not the plan and I always stick to the plan! I was stressed, and nervous. Neither of us felt ready, but after some prayer and pondering, I came to the same conclusion. It was time to start trying.

We tried for about 4-5 months and nothing was happening. I had been having some pains in my stomach and I was throwing up at the same time every month. I was slightly concerned, so I decided it wouldn’t be a bad idea to meet with an OB/GYN just to talk through what was going on. I don’t think my doctor meant to be rude, but she looked at me and said, “Come back when you’re pregnant”. Okay. I ignored these odd symptoms. Talked them up to coincidence and went on my way.

We tried until it had been 11 months. I decided to go back to my doctor. It had been 11 months and nothing had changed. I was still throwing up every month—no way was this a coincidental flu or food poisoning every month. I had lost 15 lbs. I wasn’t pregnant. I knew they wouldn’t put me in the ‘infertility’ category until 12 months of trying, but I already knew something wasn’t right. Again, my doctor gave me the same response, “Come back when you’re pregnant”.

For the last couple months, I had been trying EVERYTHING. At this point I had been tracking my basal body temperature, I had been using ovulation tests, I was reading every blog on tricks to get pregnant. I was to the point of holding myself upside down in hopes of egg and sperm meeting through pure gravity. It was frustrating. We were doing everything right.

At this point, I needed someone that would listen to me. I found a new doctor at a different office, a fertility specialist.

My new doctor was very attentive. I did blood work and they started me on the fertility drug, Clomid. The blood work came back perfect and I tried that next month taking the Clomid… Nothing. So, the next month came. This time they did an ultrasound around the time of ovulation to see if the Clomid was working. I had 4-5 great eggs ready to be released. I was thrilled the Clomid was doing it’s job. I also started thinking about the possibility of multiples. I mean, how could you not? Motherhood seemed like it was within my grasp. My doctor even told me he’d give me $1000 if I didn’t get pregnant this month….

I didn’t get pregnant. (I’ve still yet to see a penny of that $1000, by the way).

So I tried a third month. And a fourth month. Nothing.

I knew my friends and family meant well. But any comment they made seemed to push me deeper into my dark pit. Friends would tell me they could relate because it took them 5 months or even 7 months. Or, they had a miscarriage. I want to be clear- no circumstance is easy. A miscarriage is a terribly hard thing to go through. But I had hit the point where I would have cried in joy over a miscarriage because that would have meant that it was possible for me to get pregnant.

At this point, I ached for a baby. I was past ready. The reality of time had set in. At the point I got pregnant, I would still wait 9 months before I could hold that baby in my arms. Every day that passed felt painfully long. My husband was incredibly patient with my emotions. I cried a lot. I was tired of trying. Tired of thinking about it. Tired of feeling like my body was failing to do what it was made to do. Not to mention, tired of throwing up and feeling like I had the endless flu.

Social media was my black hole. It was hard to watch friend after friend announce their future babies, new babies and hardest of all…accidental babies. I wanted something good. Why was I not being blessed for wanting something that the Lord also wanted for me? What was going wrong? I was in perfect health. We had no answers. The doctors were stumped.

The best advice I received was from a friend who had been struggling to get pregnant for 5 years. She told me the anger and frustration I felt was normal. But, the only way to move forward was to let it go. I repeated those words to myself constantly. Let it go. The pain didn’t leave, the hurt was still there. But we do have the ability to control our own emotion. And for the first time in months, I could feel joy for other growing families. It hurt, but I was feeling joy again. Let it go.

The next step was to repeat blood work for the third time. They found my prolactin levels came back high. The puzzle started coming together.

It turns out that I had a prolactinoma (a benign noncancerous tumor) on my pituitary gland that was producing too much prolactin and keeping me from becoming pregnant. It ended up being a simple solution. I started taking medication to shrink the tumor. The next month I didn’t throw up. The following month I was pregnant!

Not every story ends up like mine, I was very fortunate. I struggled with infertility for two years. Many struggle for 5+ years. Some never find a solution.

I had many tell me, “Oh, the Lord is teaching you patience”. I can honestly say that this trial did not teach me patience. I’m still working on patience. And, if any life experience teaches me patience, it will be motherhood. However, I did learn humility. I did learn empathy. I gained a little more gratitude. I gained a little more perspective.

I am forever grateful to my husband for being sensitive to the spirit. Had he not listened to those promptings, it would have been a much longer journey. As much as I like to create my own plan, I am constantly reminded in life that it is His plan. It will never be my plan. For that, I am truly grateful. The Lord’s plan is a plan of happiness.

And throughout life, sometimes we just have to let it go. Move on. Enjoy the plan you are given.

When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned: Kay

Kay sent me a message via the contact form on my website and told me she’d be willing to share her story. And it’s National Infertility Awareness Week, so this was perfect timing.
Kay West is a wife and mother of two adopted children. Her family is Canadian, and her life is the story of city girl meets love of her life, country boy. They marry, and together they set off on an adventure of infertility, adoption, and moving to a strange new land. Kay is a speaker, writer, a great listener, and a supporter of all women navigating their way through this crazy thing called life. You will often find her with a book in hand, chocolate ice cream in a bowl, and a cute pair of shoes on her feet. Kay blogs over at Three Toques and a Tiara where on Monday she shares a little of their life story challenges and happiness, Wednesday a little spiritual uplift for midweek, and Friday she shares 5 simple things that made her week. Come join the fun over there at threetoquesandatiara.com or on Instagram @threetoquesandatiara.
IMG_0006 The thing about hardships is that they ebb and flow with the tides of our lives. For me, our infertility trial seemed to ebb forever, then it flowed, and we found balance again. Then we began the adoption part of our journey, and it ebbed and flowed more frequently, but they were less dramatic, the waves not as threatening.

No one told me there was a chance I wouldn’t be able to have biological children. After a couple of years of “trying”, my husband and I went to the doctor, who sent us to a specialist. After more tests then I can remember, and more time I felt was wasted, the specialist concluded we had “unexplained infertility”. He even went so far as to ask us, “Huh, why aren’t you getting pregnant?”

Those were the days when people assumed to know us and our situation. They assumed we were selfish and didn’t want kids. Perhaps we cared more about money than we did about having a family. Maybe we had decided to finish school first, or, heaven forbid, we just weren’t interested in having and raising a family. When people make assumptions or think they know what is going on, that is when the questions start to come.

Some tried to be polite, “When are you having children?”

Some more forthcoming, “You’ve been married an awfully long time. Any children coming soon?”

Some downright went for it, “Still no children?”

I learned to put on a brave front, but every time a family member or friend announced their family was expanding by one, or sometimes two, my heart would break just a little. No one told me that once the specialist determined what was “wrong” with me, I would undergo multiple procedures, put on several drugs, and basically put through hell for the next couple of years.

Never mind the financial expense, the emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual taxes were great. Emotionally it drains you, every month wondering if this was the month it would happen, only to feel the let down when it didn’t. Physically the monthly blood work, which led to bruising, the poking and prodding of my body, the general discomfort, and even pain after a hysterosalpingogram or an IUI. The different drugs they put you on that make you angry, or sad, and throw your hormones off balance for years to come, not to mention your weight as well. Mentally preparing yourself for another disappointment, or pain that was now coming from the bruised arms. Mentally trying not to feel like a failure, a broken person, someone who wasn’t whole. Spiritually wondering why Heavenly Father didn’t want me to become a mother. Why wasn’t I worthy of that blessing?

No one tells you that if your husband isn’t a saint, an absolute rock, you might not make it through together. The toll it takes on husbands is just as great, because husbands love their precious wives, they want to be their heroes, and this will be a problem they just can’t solve. All they can do is hold your hand through it. Thank goodness I am married to a saint. My rock.

After those two years, my husband and I decided together to put an end to the infertility treatments and continued on with life. My spirit continued it’s yearning to become a mother. I can see so clearly how we were guided by the Divine to adopt our two children.

When you go through trials it is easy to think that Heavenly Father isn’t there for you. My husband reminded me that the relationship we build with our Heavenly Father is only strengthened through trials as we turn to Him and trust Him. So when I wanted to turn from Him, instead I turned to Him and prayed with all my heart. For months, that prayer never once left my heart.

While visiting teaching all of a sudden, this kind sister I had visited for months told me about her family member who was in the process of adopting. After that, two other people I had spoken with on a fairly regular basis talked to me about people they knew who had or were going through adoption. I never initiated these conversations, the Spirit did, and I knew it in my heart that Heavenly Father had answered my prayers.

My husband agreed and we began the adoption process through LDS Family Services. Almost exactly 9 months later, we held our son in our arms, 24 hours old. A year later our daughter joined our family, 36 hours old.

Sometimes in life, the waves are threatening. Just as the Savior invited Peter to walk with Him on the water the waves came and Peter began to doubt, “And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:28-31)

When the waves in our lives begin to threaten, we need to turn to Him, to trust Him. This valuable lesson I learned helped us through many more trials that would follow because our little ship did not sail smoothly. The adoption process brought its own stress and difficulty. It was followed by a miscarriage and a D&C. Then we lost another child we were trying to adopt after having her for the first year of her life. Our daughter is special needs due to some choices made by her birth mother during her pregnancy, which followed to severe bullying in middle school, and now on another adventure of homeschooling her.

Through all of this, I learned that no matter what, the Savior is there to take us by the hand and guide us across the water no matter how threatening our waves. I never would have been as strong today without our first big trial. My relationship with my husband would not be what it is today without all our trials. Through it all, together, my husband and I have leaned on one another and on our Savior to guide our ship safely through.
Today our story is that our life still comes with times that are hard, but a little less so. Times where the Lord’s Hand is more evident and the struggle is not so unbearable. Times where we can feel and see the hardship as the blessings they are intended to be. Maybe even times when our boat doesn’t need a sail at all because the currents will carry us peacefully along.

Today we are able to look back and completely see the Lord’s Hand in our lives. He guided us every step of the way. He led us before, during, and after those trials, and continues to lead us still.

If your own boat is empty, and the waves are threatening you in any way, the one thing you can keep it filled with is faith, and hope, because the waves will soon become still, and your way back will become more clear, and the understanding that you are never, ever alone will become more abundant as you make your way back to the shore. Whatever your hardship is, whatever your challenge, there is always Someone guiding your boat safely back to shore. Whether your tide is ebbing or flowing, your ship will eventually make it back safe and sound, and may just be filled with more blessings than you ever thought your little boat could hold.

Ours was.

When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned: Danelle

I met Danelle at my Galentine’s Day Event. We were talking a little before the speakers spoke and she mentioned her struggle with infertility briefly and we connected on Instagram so I could talk to her more and share her story. We share a common goal and I love that!

Danelle is a wife, Target enthusiast, chocolate addict and champion of kitchen karaoke! After years of struggling with infertility, she was left feeling hopeless and alone. In her efforts to find a connection with others experiencing trials, she discovered a love for writing and shares her journey on her blog wecallitajourney.com. Her message is one of hope, faith, and growth. She believes we are all connected through heartache and once we understand that, we can really start to heal. You can also find her on Instagram @wecallitajourney.

Photo by Blackley Photography

Our journey with infertility started almost five years ago. Even writing this now, it’s hard to convince myself that so much time has passed. I don’t like to admit it because hindsight is 20/20 and I might sound crazy but I think I always knew this trial would be a part of my story. Countless times the Spirit has touched my heart reminding me these simple words, “Your heart has been prepared for this.” At times my journey has left me feeling completely broken and worthless but through the cracks, I have felt the warm light of my Heavenly Father’s love. These experiences have been heartbreakingly beautiful and I am finally in a place where I can find gratitude for the journey.

I was married at 19 to an incredible man. The plan was to finish school and have a million babies! Okay… not a million, but we agreed to six! It’s easy to look back and feel ridiculous for how naive we were with family planning. We would talk about names and how far we would space our kids. We even went as far to say how many boys and how many girls we would have… [insert facepalm]. As if we ever really had a say in the matter. (If we’ve learned anything it’s how out of control we really are in all this.) I think about all those times we would panic because we thought we were pregnant and the timing wasn’t following “our plan” [insert facepalm]. All those times we joked about NEVER having kids after seeing one screaming at the grocery store. And lastly, I think about all that money we spent on birth control in the beginning only to find out we were “childproof” all along! If only we knew then what we know now.

I can honestly say for the first six months of trying, it was a relief we weren’t getting pregnant. I guess it’s like they always say, you’re never REALLY ready to have a baby. I think we spent the rest of the year praying that it would “accidentally” happen so that we didn’t have to take responsibility for the timing. After one year of trying we were frustrated with a hint of denial that there was indeed a problem.

I still remember that surreal moment of walking into a Fertility Clinic for the first time after almost two years of trying and thinking, “How are we here?! How are we THAT couple? I’m too young to be dealing with this!” We met with the Dr. and had a plan. We followed the instructions so precisely that it literally drove us crazy! So many tears were shed with that first fertility treatment. At the time I was putting my husband through his Master’s program so it took all our savings to pay for our medications and procedure. Surely the Lord would see how great our sacrifice was and He would bless us with a baby. When we finished the procedure, the nurse told us, “From this point forward, we assume you’re pregnant so no alcohol or hot tubs etc.” During that two week wait for our pregnancy results, we assumed we were so we were being cautious and realistic. When the results finally came and we heard the news that we were not pregnant we were so devastated that we realized how much we had actually believed this was a “sure deal.”

As time went on we tried several more procedures, all ending with failed attempts. Each leaving us a little more bitter, broken, and guarded than before. At one point our Dr. suggested we might be great candidates for an upcoming fertility study. If we were a match, we would be able to try a more aggressive (and much more expensive) approach at no cost for us. It felt like an answer to our prayers. Surely this is where our journey would end! It would all come down to one blood test level. Because I was young and otherwise healthy, there was no reason to think my levels wouldn’t be where it needed to be. Before our blood test, we fasted and prayed. We told our families and THEY fasted and prayed. We went to the temple and then prayed some more. Clearly, the Lord would hear and answer our prayers! The bloodwork came back at a level JUST under what was required and we were left again feeling angry and hopeless.

At this point, my faith in God and in prayer had been shaken. It felt so obvious that my name was not on His priority list. I didn’t know what to pray for anymore. I could no longer get down on my knees and continue begging him for the same thing over and over again. Because I valued my relationship with God, I was scared to ask Him for the things He wasn’t giving me. It would risk me being angry with Him when things didn’t pan out and I did not want to be mad at God, although I think He can take it. For a long time my prayers would sound like this, “Dear God, I’m here. Amen.” At one point I told Him He could put me through this but I was going to kick and scream the whole way. After that, it felt as though His arms embraced me and said, “You can put up a struggle but it will be easier if you don’t. Let me change you.”

It wasn’t until more recently that I have seen the beauty in brokenness. I have truly understood the “refiners fire” and that God is good. I guess I always knew that truth but it has meant so much more now that I’ve experienced it first hand. God has not blessed us with a child yet but He has molded and shaped us both into people we never knew we could be. I have found strength I didn’t know I had and courage I never knew was there. I have felt a deeper love for the Gospel as I cling on to every word in the scriptures and every song sung at church. I have felt God’s love for me more in the last few years than I have at any other time in my life and for that, I am eternally grateful. The heartaches are still there but it hurts less often and each day I relearn how to find gratitude and see God’s hand. I know this will be a lifelong pursuit and I guess that’s why We Call it a Journey.

When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned: Nelsy

I met Nelsy at the Munchin’ with Moguls dinner. We were seated next to each other and she started sharing a little bit about her kids and infertility experience. I feel like we were meant to sit by each other that night, and that her story is going to bless someone’s life. Of course I asked her if she’d be willing to share and so here it is.

Nelsy has been married for 11 years. Her husband, Weston, and she went to the same high school but never knew each other. She pretty much fell in love with him right away, it took him six dates to kiss her! Together they have twin girls, Naomi and June. Her days are filled with lots of laughter and lots of diapers. She had a dream that she had twins six months before she got pregnant with them. Yes, she wanted twins. Yes, her hands are full. Yes, her heart is fuller. No, twins don’t run in her family. Yes, she wants more kids.

I still remember the night I saw those first two positive lines. Disbelief, excitement, & pure love rolled over my entire body. My knee caps were even shaking up & down as I stood there glancing back at my own reflection in the bathroom mirror. I was going to be a Mom! We surprised our families with the news early because we couldn’t contain our excitement & I even went out & bought some cute baby clothes. A short-lived two weeks later, a day before our first Dr. appointment… we lost that baby.

Of course, we were devastated. At this point, we had already been trying for over a year & a half.  Although it was the most heartbreaking thing I had ever experienced up until that point, I truly felt it to be somewhat of a tender mercy. I had been questioning for so long & I felt this was God’s way of telling me that it was indeed possible but, to trust in His timing. Somehow I walked away from that experience more positive & hopeful than ever before. It was like a drew up all this extra strength out of thin air, little did I know all that extra strength was coming to me for a reason. I was going to need to rely on it to get me through the next five years. Yes, FIVE.

In the world of infertility, every journey is different & unique. It’s a roller coaster of emotions. Full of ups & downs, uncertainty, frustration, & heartache to name a few. It’s not a topic that most people are comfortable with, no matter what side of it you are on. Every situation is unique & everyone handles things in different ways. Like I mentioned earlier, after our first loss, I was blessed with an unexplained strength that really made a difference for me that first couple of years. Although I was well acquainted with disappointment month after month, somehow my faith stayed strong during that time. But, it wasn’t always that way.

As the months turned into years, the harder & harder it became to rely on that feeling to trust in God’s timing. Finally, my frustration & heartache hit an all-time high shortly after someone close to us announced their surprise pregnancy in the middle of a party. I felt completely blindsided & at that moment it was like a dam broke inside of me. All these feelings I had suppressed for so long came out with a vengeance, torturing every corner of my fragile heart. I had endured a lot of pregnancy announcements up until this point but, this was the most shocking & difficult due to the nature of my relationship with this person. It was the most conflicting feeling I had ever felt. How could I be so happy yet so sad at the same time? That is infertility for you. There is a quote by John Mayer that says: “The saddest kind of sad is the sad that tries not to be sad. You know, when Sad tries to bite its lip & smile and go “No, I’m happy for you.”? That’s when it’s really sad.” That’s exactly how I felt.

This is the part of my journey that was the hardest & most trying. Shortly after this surprise announcement, I had back surgery & spent a lot of time alone at home recovering & feeling sorry for myself. My relationship with my husband & God suffered. I felt angry. I felt guilty. I felt shame. I even felt unworthy. I began to believe these lies from the adversary. I even recall a couple of intense moments waking up in the middle of the night & hearing the words “You’re never going to be a mother”… it was awful, even now writing that makes me feel sick inside. Just as God is real, so is the adversary. Thankfully with time, this darkness began to lift. With the help of priesthood blessings from my husband & prayers from those closest to me, I started to feel God’s love for me again.

I was not always open about my infertility. In many ways, I didn’t want to burden anyone with worry. I also had feelings of shame & embarrassment which I realize now, was so silly. For a time, I was the master at concealing it, but eventually, my silent suffering got the best of me. I didn’t realize how therapeutic it would be for me to put it out there. There were days I could literally feel the prayers of my friends & loved ones carrying me through. I wish I would have confided in someone sooner, so much good can come from talking & having a good cry with a friend.

A year & a half after my back surgery we began fertility treatments. This took us a very long time to start. I had so many fears about the procedures, the hormones, the costs… it was overwhelming, to say the least. You really do have to be mentally, emotionally, physically, and not to mention financially ready to start. It may have taken us longer than I wanted to get there, but the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I’m so grateful that I had such a patient & understanding husband to comfort & support me through it all.

I would never wish infertility on anyone, but just like any trial or test of our faith, we can come out stronger. Through this experience, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of God’s love for us. My relationship with my husband grew in ways that brought us closer together. I gained friendships with others I would have otherwise missed. My heart grew bigger than ever & I have more compassion & understanding than before. My gratitude & appreciation for my sweet girls is deeper than ever, they truly are my greatest blessings. The joy I feel when I look at them is greater than any pain or sorrow I ever felt getting them here. I learned a lot of lessons throughout my infertility journey, but perhaps the biggest one I learned is that God’s plans for us are always BETTER than our own. I promise you they are. He knows your heart, he knows your pain. He will never leave you comfortless. If you look for Him, you will find Him.

When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned: Audrey

I am beyond blessed to be able to call Audrey “sister.” She is the one who inspired me to start this blog series after we had a long, deep phone call one afternoon. Her example of faith and strength have been a huge help to me many times in my short time of knowing her.

Audrey is a 30-year-old wife and mother of two living in southern Delaware. Being a young mother of an active two-year-old in 2012, Audrey never expected to be able to empathize with the many couples around her struggling with infertility. After she and her husband went through a three and a half year period of secondary infertility, they were surprised to discover they were expecting their second son, who came in August of 2016. She is currently a stay at home mom to their two boys, ages six and one. She enjoys music, travel, reading, exercising, hiking in the mountains, boating, Polynesian culture, American history, the beach, all kinds of carbs, and serving in her current calling on her stake’s public affairs committee. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations from Brigham Young University.

Who cries simultaneous tears of joy, grief, and sadness when they go to Disney World? This basket case mom right here! It was the last night of a mostly-perfect Disney experience with our four-year-old son, shared with his grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousin. We had just closed the park with the light parade and castle firework show. During all the epic lights and music, I was definitely caught up in the Disney spirit, fully drinking the company Kool-aid. We had saved for a long time to be able to take our son to Disney and this seemed like the perfect wrap-up to a preschooler’s most magical dream vacation. As I watched the show, I found myself being filled with a sense of peace, contentment, and gratitude that because we only had one child at this stage in our lives, we had been able to make this experience happen.

As quickly and intensely as I felt those peaceful feelings, however, I instantly felt the guilt come crashing back in. Again. “How can you possibly be happy that you only have one child?! You’re not supposed to be happy about this! You’re supposed to be sad! You should be wanting another child more than you want an extravagant vacation! Your priorities are messed up!” I told myself over and over, and then again told my husband through my tears in the bathroom of our hotel as we were getting ready for bed that night. He lovingly and patiently reminded me of what I was trying so hard to remember—that we WOULD rather have a baby than a Disney vacation; that if given the choice, I would be so happy to stay home in sweatpants with sticky toddlers and babies in diapers. But that wasn’t how life was working out for us, and enjoying the life we had with the family we had in the circumstances we had was not wrong or sinful. Basically, he said, it was OKAY to feel grateful for my blessings, to enjoy the moment, and to be happy we had one child. He told me—again—I could let the guilt go. I hugged him tightly, lifted my chin and gave my best attempt at a smile, turned off my tears, and enjoyed the rest of our vacation.

Hard Emotions

But why did I keep doing that—praying for contentment and then feeling guilty the moment I found it? It was a common cycle in my thought process. We had been trying to have a baby for almost three years at that point. I had been through the emotional roller coaster several times and in lots of variations. I had felt lots of painful emotions time and again: Frustration. Impatience. Jealousy. Guilt. Anger. Sadness. Grief. Fear. Exhaustion. Apathy. Heartache. Forgotten. Fault. Confusion. More jealousy. More guilt. These feelings didn’t usually come all at once, and they didn’t often stay very long. It would be a pinprick here and there. Some moments were harder than others. Only a couple of times did it feel like a full body slam. The pain was there, but throughout our secondary infertility journey, I learned several lessons that made the time sacred to me, time that my husband and I wouldn’t trade now at all.

Not even knowing what’s wrong

Our reason for secondary infertility was “undetermined.” It was so confusing, especially because we already had a child who had come to us quickly and without any problems. To quickly sum up our medical history, we had initially done some generic tests after about a year and a half of trying, which all came back normal. My doctor had immediately coded it as “infertility,” however, so our insurance wouldn’t cover the tests. We ended up paying the $2,000 we had saved for the birth of another baby just to pay for these preliminary tests telling us basically nothing—that they couldn’t find any surface-level problems. That quickly opened our eyes to the reality we were now facing—that infertility treatments are VERY expensive. We prayerfully turned to the Lord for direction, and the answer we received was to “Wait.”


So we did. We waited and waited. Secondary infertility is hard in unique ways though—one of the biggest being that you feel like there is constant pressure from a ticking clock—that every month you’re not pregnant is one month farther apart your kids will be spaced from each other.

The what-if’s creep in. What if they’re too far apart that they’re not friends? What if my little boy never even gets a sibling? What if there’s actually something seriously wrong with me but we’re not taking the actions we need to be taking, which will make things worse in the long run?

I prayed daily for help overcoming all these stressful what-if’s and to know the Lord’s plan for us. Each time I sincerely and faithfully connected to the Holy Ghost, pleading to the Lord for understanding, I felt the same gentle, loving answer: “Wait.” It was always accompanied with peace, which gave me the faith and patience to relax and keep living.

Needing to be needed

I continued to periodically feel stress, anxiety, and fear, especially early on; however, as time continued to pass, I gradually began to notice my prayers changing. Instead of praying that we’d be able to have another baby, I began to pray to know how to best move forward with our family and to learn how to be happy now.

It was during this time that I was (very) unexpectedly called to be our stake Young Women president. That’s an uncommon calling for someone of my age (I was 26) and inexperience. But the Lord knew I needed to serve as I was going through this trial of not having another baby on my time frame. He knew I needed purpose, identity, direction, friends, focus, faith, and to see miracles unfolding in my life as I learned to recognize His hand in all the areas where I would be inadequate on my own. I needed to be humbled and lifted at the same time. That calling certainly gave me that. Having that opportunity to serve in my life was evidence to me that the Lord doesn’t leave us comfortless in our trials. I don’t know that I helped anyone else at all during the three years I served, but I was certainly put in a place where I stood on the shoulders of giants. I learned essential principles and truths necessary for my personal conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I had foundational experiences needed for my lifetime of service in His church. I’m so grateful for the time I had to learn and grow in that calling, and my family was constantly blessed during that period. I’m convinced it wouldn’t have happened the way that it did if I had had more young children at home.

The Power of Prayer and a Unified Fast

As the clock kept ticking, I continued to find more evidence of the Lord’s love for me in my life. I was busy, contributing, and loving the stage of life my four-year-old was in. I was reaching a point where I was truly content. (Aside from an occasional moment of grief, like when I’d think of my child really never having a sibling.) It seemed like the longer we waited, the happier we learned to be in our circumstances. We’d pray to know how and when to change our direction for our family, but no immediate or earth-shattering inspiration was coming. I was coming to accept that this was our life and we could truly be happy in it.

But as time progressed and I felt more peace, I was surprised to find our trial becoming more of a trial of faith and patience on our loved ones, especially our parents. We weren’t very public with our struggle, but our family members knew our desires and our heartaches, and they mourned with us. Looking back over that 3+ year time period, there were times when I KNEW without a doubt that I was feeling peace, contentment, and gratitude because of the prayers of others. I knew our families were praying for us, our parents were putting our names on the temple prayer roll, and I could feel those prayers distinctly. Although I tried to keep most of what we were going through private, I knew this trial wasn’t mine alone to bear—I could feel my family members on both sides of the veil lifting me and lightening my burden of grief.

Part way through 2015, we finally felt like it was time revisit the idea of getting medical help. We found a new doctor who was awesome and had actually gone through IVF herself a couple years before. She started me on Clomid, which is a pretty common starting point for working with infertility. I had a lot of fear about being on medication (I never even take Tylenol or Ibuprofen—I will just suffer through anything other than childbirth), but I took a leap of faith and we began the rounds. Although we knew it was just the first step, when we reached our last round (out of six), it was hard not to feel discouraged. It looked like we would be needing more specialized help than what our OB/GYN could give us.

It was in that moment that I realized I needed to humble myself and truly ask for help. I know why some people choose to keep their fertility struggles private because we were that same way ourselves. But we had a big decision to make—do we keep waiting? Do we go down the road of science? We’d never felt right about adoption, but was it time to start looking into that? Was one child all we were meant to have? I suddenly felt like we needed to ask our parents and siblings to hold a special fast for us as part of the next Fast Sunday. It was HARD to ask for that though. If my child was dying in a hospital, I wouldn’t hesitate to ask for everyone in the world to fast for us, so why was this so hard? I can sum it up in one word: pride. My husband and I pride ourselves on being independent and not asking for things from anyone that we don’t really need. It’s both a strength and a weakness.  As I was battling with this thought, the voice of a good friend in my ward came to my mind. She and her husband are both converts to the church and have zero family support in religious matters. She’s said many times that she feels it’s the two of them against the world. I could hear her telling me, “If you have access to that much faith, why WOULDN’T you use it?!” I suddenly felt overwhelmed with gratitude for the spiritual strength of each of my family members, and a responsibility to call on their faith in behalf of all those incredible people out there who wished they had that in their own families. I knew that if the tables were turned, I would gladly exercise all the faith I could muster for my loved ones, so I knew I needed to give them the opportunity to exercise theirs for me.

The plea in our fast was not that we would “get pregnant.” We simply asked that as we were approaching this crossroad that we would be blessed with the Spirit to know how to move forward. We no longer felt like it was time to “Wait.” All throughout that Fast Sunday, I didn’t get any specific answers, but I felt SO. MUCH. PEACE. I felt as if I were floating through the day and the coming weeks. I knew the Lord knew me, loved me, cared about our family, and though He might not give us all the answers at once, He would through the Spirit be giving us enough to hold on to so we could move forward in faith. And I knew we could do it, whatever “it” ended up being. After a couple weeks, we prayerfully made a decision.

Moving Forward

On January 18, 2016, I had two doctor appointments scheduled, but could only make it to one. The first was a consultation at a fertility clinic in Annapolis to start the long process of determining the best way to scientifically help bring another baby into our family. After the many years of waiting, we were apprehensive about that consultation but happy that we finally felt good about having a direction to move forward in.

I had to eventually call and cancel that appointment though after I made one for the same day at the OB/GYN’s office for an ultrasound to see our seven week fetus on the screen for the first time. I was basically in denial up until that point that we were actually pregnant, and when I saw the little flutter of his heartbeat on the screen, my head didn’t know what to think, my heart didn’t know what to feel. We had no idea how this miracle had happened without more scientific help. In fact, I spent the first 20+ weeks of my pregnancy in some degree of shock and disbelief.  As he continued to grow and move inside me though, I settled into the idea of having another member of our family come to us. I kept learning to exercise my faith over fear, choosing to believe that he would be taken care of, and would arrive healthily and safely.

Lessons Learned

There are far too many to list in detail, but I’m grateful for the chance to reflect on all the lessons I learned over those three and a half years of this trial: of faith in the Lord and His timing, patience, endurance, long suffering, contentment, gratitude, compassion, letting go of guilt, overcoming jealousy, the “But if not” principle, the reality of our Savior’s Atonement, empathy, strengthening my partnership with my husband, the power of a unified fast, being satisfied with being given doses of “daily bread” to get me through a moment at a time, and a whole stinkin’ lot of humility. I learned those lessons many times over, long before I ever saw that second pink line. All of them led me back to the same core place—Jesus Christ.

The answer is Jesus Christ and His Atonement

Ours isn’t the journey I would have picked for us starting out, but now I wouldn’t trade it or give it back for anything. And what I’m amazed at is that I came to feel that way BEFORE this precious little boy came to us. He wasn’t the solution to my heartache—the Atonement of Jesus Christ was. I learned how to trust in the Savior to give me strength in the moments I needed it, to take a leap of faith without seeing the end in sight, to know that someone truly understood my heartache and sorrow, and to believe that my life could be more beautiful by trusting in God than it would be by relying on my own limited vision and control. I finally reached a place where I knew that if we weren’t ever supposed to have another baby, we would be okay. I finally learned how to be happy BEFORE this little boy came, which makes my joy now that he’s here truly full. Both of our boys (born 5.5 years apart) are complete miracles in our lives and both came exactly when we—when I—needed them most. God is so good and my heart is so full. My cup runneth over today and always.