Each week I interview someone who has experienced infertility firsthand. Today, I’m chatting with Niki from Leaning on His Arms. She shares her experience with secondary infertility and multiple IUIs. I hope you enjoy her interview!
Q. Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi! I honestly wish that I could give all of you dealing with infertility the biggest hug. I love hugs. And I’m an open book. You could honestly ask me anything and I would tell you. I’m 33. I’m an engineer. I live in Florida. My husband and I are from the same home town in Alabama but we actually met down here after college. We got married in 2011 and immediately started trying to get pregnant. We got pregnant on our second month with a precious little girl. She was born in January 2012 and her name is Berkley. She is amazing and inspires me even more to keep moving forward in this journey. We talk and pray a lot about her future brother and/or sister 🙂
Q. How long have you been trying to conceive and what issues are you facing?
We have been trying for #2 for a little over two years. No specific issues. Unexplained secondary infertility. It’s an absolute mystery. We have done 6 medicated IUIs this year. The third IUI was a chemical pregnancy. I am meeting with my doctor this week to discuss IVF which I think we will be doing in November this year.
Q. How does it feel to struggle to conceive your second child after conceiving your first with little or no difficulty?
It is really confusing. I mentioned that I’m an engineer, so my brain was wired to solve problems. I cannot tell you how many hours I have spent consulting Google (and other sources), desperately trying to find an explanation for this. I try to see the “no diagnosis” as a blessing. But that doesn’t stop my mind from going crazy places sometimes. At one point, I was convinced that we had a MF problem because my husband drinks a lot. Once that was disproved, I blamed it on my tipped uterus, some vitamin deficiencies, my C-section, family thyroid history… you name it, I’ve blamed it.
For a long time, one of the things that bothered me most was that more and more time was passing so that I wouldn’t have two children close in age. My sister and I are 19 months apart, so for some reason, I assumed that if siblings are really going to enjoy each other, then they will need to be close in age. I had to let that go. Once I opened my eyes to siblings that were very close despite age difference (my husband and his brother are 7 years apart and couldn’t be closer, for example), I quit being so upset about all the time that was passing.
While there is part of me that feels devastated by infertility, I am BEYOND grateful to have Berkley. I am grateful that I’ve had all of this extra time with JUST her. I have soaked up every ounce of this precious young lady in a way that I probably wouldn’t have been able to had we gotten pregnant right away with #2. If the Lord never reveals why I’m going through this or never gifts me with another child, I can accept that part of His purpose was for me to enjoy this time with her as much as I have. It’s really been a gift.
Also, I’ve never had the option to curl up in my bed in the fetal position and spend the day crying like I have really wanted to sometimes. I have a daughter who needs me to be strong and joyful despite all of this. The Lord has really used her to show me love and give me strength.
Q. Which books, quotes, websites, verses, movies, songs, etc. have been an encouragement to you during your journey?
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp was life-changing for me. It helped lift me up in all of this and I’ll probably read it several more times in my life. [Note from Lisa: I’m reading this right now and it truly is an amazing book]. Right now, I’m reading Believing God by Beth Moore and it’s really freeing me from the unbelief that I have developed during this journey! I highly recommend it to anyone going through infertility even though it’s not a book about infertility.
This image is something I always think about when I get fearful or frustrated:
My favorite verse in this has been Romans 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
I listen to this song OVER AND OVER. It always lifts me up!
Q. Do you and your spouse cope with infertility in the same way or do you handle it differently?
Oh gosh. When we hit the six month mark (which was when I was probably the most insane about the whole thing), he got so frustrated with my urgency and “demands” on him that he blurted out that he doesn’t care if “it happens” for another two years. He’s just not in a hurry. This really hurt my feelings at first. I made the decision that I wasn’t going to let the enemy win and use this struggle to hurt my marriage. I had to accept that my husband just doesn’t have as deep of a desire as I do to get pregnant. I can’t change that and it really is OK as long as he supports me in this. We really only talk about on an as needed basis. I have so many supportive friends that I can talk to about ALL THE FEELINGS!! My husband runs two of his own businesses (working 60+ hours per week), so I highly doubt that he even thinks about TTC on an hourly basis like I do! And again, that’s OK. I’m sure I think about it enough for the both of us.
Q. What made you decide to blog about your journey?
I’ve always loved to write. I don’t think I’m awesome at it, but it helps me sort through my thoughts and feelings. Once I sort through them, I can hear God’s voice so much clearer. Also, the Lord led me to this verse one day when I was already thinking about blogging:
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
As a working mom, in a spiritually-mismatched marriage, struggling with infertility, I have really come to such a place of peace. It wasn’t always like that in this journey. And this verse showed me that maybe I would be able to provide some encouragement, compassion, and comfort to those who are struggling in similar situations but who might still be in that dark period of time that I was able to come out of.
So, I do it to sort through my own thoughts and in hopes that God will use my blog to comfort others.
Q. How have you taken care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually during your struggles?
My daily quiet times with God have been KEY! When my daughter was about 8 months old (so, before infertility), I started reading my Bible from cover to cover, daily. I finished the whole thing about 8 months into infertility. I didn’t grow up studying the Bible, so this was the first time I really got to hear the entire love story from cover to cover. Having the Word in my heart has been the biggest way that the Lord has taken care of me throughout this struggle.
I also can’t believe how much I’ve learned about nutrition during this. I really cleaned up my diet and feel amazing. These new habits and greater knowledge will stay with me for the rest of my life. God has really used this to teach me how to take care of myself physically so that I can serve Him on Earth and be here for my children as long as possible!
Emotionally- my best friend in the world is going through this exact same thing. We had our first babies within weeks of each other- both got pregnant very quickly that time. She also sought treatment and got pregnant from her second IUI then suffered a miscarriage just like I did with my 3rd IUI. Both of us are undiagnosed. We pick each other back up on the hard days. We encourage and pray for each other daily. Having someone that understands and who I can talk to on the good days and the bad is pretty key in my emotional health!
Q. Have you been able to find a “silver lining” in your infertility?
Every day! Now that I’ve gotten to this “good place”, I appreciate the time that I’ve gotten with JUST Berkley. My faith has grown, my appreciation for new life has increased, my love of the Lord has grown, my passion for being a godly mother has grown… I could go on and on.
Q. Anything else you’d like to share with my readers?
If you are struggling with secondarily infertility, please do not feel guilty for how much it hurts. Of course you are grateful for the beautiful children you have already been blessed with. God created you to be fruitful and the joyful mother of many. The enemy would love nothing more than to add guilt and shame to your struggle. Don’t let him have that satisfaction. Keep fighting back with joy and enjoy the time that God has given you with JUST the babies that you have now. You won’t get that time back. I’m praying that you all get all the babies that you want!
Update from Lisa: Niki gave me her interview several week ago and since then, she has received some happy news! If you’d like to read more about it, you can do so here on her blog.
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