Today I’m interviewing Melanie from Waiting For Bliss It Is Well. I was struck by how similar she seems to me in personality and the things she likes. (I am also a sucker for anything drinkable and warm!). Her blog is an anonymous blog, so there are no pictures in today’s post, but I hope you enjoy her words of wisdom.
Q. Tell us a little about yourself.
My husband and I have been TTC for 21 months. We are facing male factor infertility,caused by two possible factors, which may or may not be related. My husband had a traumatic accident in high school where he lost one of his testicles due to testicular torsion. In his mid 20’s he was feeling depressed and sluggish and was diagnosed with low testosterone, so was put on testosterone replacement therapy. About 9 months into our journey, he was diagnosed with azoospermia, he went off the testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). Thankfully, his numbers have been creeping back up slowly since that point and we are now pursuing IUI’s as a treatment plan! Our RE seems very optimistic about our chances!
Q. What has been your lowest point and how did you survive it?
Our lowest point was last April, when we did the second semen analysis that, like the first, had come back with a zero count. Furthermore, his free testosterone levels were low, despite being on the TRT. It was unclear if he had ever produced any sperm, and we were terribly frightened that this meant we could never have children biologically. To add insult to injury, it seemed as if every day I logged onto social media or heard from a friend, it was a pregnancy announcement. It was definitely a grieving process for both my husband and myself. I’m not really sure what helped me through but I think it was a prayer from a wise friend and Christian mentor. She said that she would pray for us that God would provide us with comfort, peace and that He would open doors for us. It was the most comforting thing that anyone had said to me, and I didn’t know if we could have children, but I did know that God would provide new ways for us to find joy and purpose. I also found (and still find) myself clinging to the Bible verse, Romans 5:3-5, which says, “Not only that, but 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.” It helped me know that because of God’s love, there is always hope for us, despite the suffering I was going through. As I kept reading and meditating on this verse over the months, I realize that the suffering that I am feeling is molding and shaping my character so that I can trust God even more.
Q. What advice would you give to other women who are currently experiencing infertility?
The most important relationship that you need to maintain is the one between you and God. Infertility can feel like a punishment, like opression, and I often found myself angry at God for not answering my prayers month after month after month. It is SO HARD to understand why this is happening to us, but God does not desire infertility. He is a creator and author of life by nature, and infertility is a disease which destroys life and therefor outside of His plan of creation. Matthew 7:9-11 says this: “Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” I can’t promise you that we will all end up with babies in our arms, but God gives good gifts to His children. Once I began looking for good things in my life, the more I realized that God is blessing me in so many ways that I was blind to in my time of grief and anger.
Q. Which books, websites, blogs, songs, etc. have been helpful to you?
First of all, resolve.org is a fantastic resource for anything infertility related, especially if you need to educate families on just how difficult this is for you and your husband. Blogs have been a big encouragement for me, and some of my favorites are Redeeming Infertility, Wating For Baby Bird, In Due Time, and A Calm Persistance. I also have been reading A Seed of Hope by Evangeline Colbert, which is a huge departure from my Lutheran doctrine, and I also liked Dancing Upon Barren Land by Leslie Westfall. I’m a musician, so any hymn that talks about God helping us through suffering makes me immediately cry. I named my blog after Phillip Bliss’s hymn, “It is Well” but I also like “Come, thou Fount of Every Blessing.”
I also found that the more I talk and share our journey, the more support and love and prayers my husband and I get. Again, this can be tricky, but as long as you share your struggles with respect, dignity and discretion, it can be very helpful. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had encouragement from an unexpected source, because I’m open and transparent with my friends and family.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers?
Yes. I spoke earlier about God being your biggest source of strength and comfort, but He gave you your husband to be your earthy comfort and protection. We are commanded in Ephesians 5:22-33 to respect our husbands and submit to them, and for husbands to love us as Christ loved His church. I had to learn this lesson the hard way, as it was a delicate tightrope for me to walk between finding information and solutions to male factor infertility and not emasculating my dear husband. We tie so much of our sexuality in our ability to procreate, and the partner with the infertility factor is NEVER to blame, so support your spouse. You need each other now more than ever, so it is NOT the time to isolate yourselves from each other. Talk together, grieve together, pray together, and enjoy each other’s bodies and company. Your husband is your only family right now, so treat Him with honor and respect. He needs to feel valued as much as you need to feel loved, especially when you are struggling with something so sad and exhausting.