My Photo
Blog powered by Typepad

« I'll warn you right away that this is a short one | Main | Digestive Unhappiness »

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I hope you had a good Easter! Is Pahoehoe making you a little less sick now?

I will admit that I was among the second-thoughters - the "Oh no, what if we hadn't rushed into things?" We could have spared ourselves, and our embryos, an awful lot. But then I don't know where I'd be now; I could well be worse off in other ways. There's no way to rewind and find out (which is just as well for our son :)). So I'm not, at this point, feeling flat-out regret. But I will say that the news of your pregnancy, and Jen's, has done one very good thing for me, and that's to make Hope, whom we have previously complained about so much, into a friend again. It's as if these babies are saying "Look at us - you never know when we may come. You can always hope." This isn't to say that I'm counting on having a surprise of my own because the both of you have, in fact I'd be shocked, but I think that once my cycle resumes I'll be looking at it in a different way. Not so much "Damn it, another monthly disaster - what else is new?" and more "Well, it wasn't likely - but who knows, maybe our lottery number will turn up some day." (We're planning to adopt regardless in a few years, if we have the resources - my pregnancy fantasies aren't so much related to biology as to acquiring just one baby in a comparatively drama-free way).

And I'm not big on the "it's rewarding your faith." Not that I'm saying you *don't* have faith :) - just that I always get very uneasy at statements like that, because what if you hadn't gotten pregnant; would that imply that you hadn't come quite up to scratch in the faith department? It just seems a little too close to treating God like a sleeping business partner. I'm not saying the people who said this think this way, I'm sure they don't, but I get twitchy when the logic is followed to its conclusion.

Amen, sister. When I found out I was pregnant I lay awake in bed next to my sleeping husband for 40 minutes doing nothing but thank God, over and over, for a gift I knew He didn't have to give. And now that I can hold my daughter, see her smile and hear her coo and gurgle, my gratitude knows no bounds. It is in receiving blessings that I feel most acutely how little I have done to deserve them.

Regarding the desire not to lose touch with the infertility path, all I can offer is that it's not possible to stand in two places at once. In life we can't straddle a line, at least not for very long. We have to go forward. It's not an affront to the thing you have left behind to go forward.

Reward is such a small word, and it implies an insurance policy of some sort, or even the contract of IF you win this, THEN you get a prize. I can't fathom using any of these terms in this situation. I think of it more as a state of grace. ;o

Your pregnancy is trully a gift from God and I think you did deserve it. I felt the same thing about God telling me to wait, because I don't believe he would have put so much motherly instinct in me if he didn't have plans for me to be a mommy.

Now I think I have an idea of why God didn't let me get pregnant. We are meeting a 5 month old boy tomorrow that is in foster care that will probably be available for adoption. He is gonna need some special attention for a while, so noone wants him. Maybe He is sending me to that child.

I'm so happy for you. Everytime I read your blog I left with the feeling that God was going to bless you very soon.

I hope you are feeling better.

It wasn't your faith that was rewarded, my dear, it was your patience. The reward for the faith was the patience, and the reward for the patience was the usual: a joy, but at the same time a more difficult task that will call for more faith and more patience. You are correct at the core: all is gift, and the greatest gifts are the ones that call the recipient to give more of himself in response. Ah, that we all would have the patience to wait for the gifts, and the faith to keep giving while waiting and to receive the gifts given during that time - even if the gift is more patience instead of the gift we'd prefer to receive.

It reminds me of when my own children ask for something that they are not quite ready for.

"Be patient!", I tell them- but 3yo, and 2 yo know little of this virtue. Whether they are patient or jumping up and down demanding what they think is rightfully theirs RIGHT THIS INSTANT, they still have to wait.

When the time is right, they will be able to receive what they want.

How they receive it is another thing all together. Do they grab it out of my hands and say, "MINE!" running away and becoming completely absorbed in their new item? Or do they let me give it to them with their hands open, ready to receive the gift, saying, "thank you!" It's something that I work on with them, and within my own heart.

Thank you, Lord, for your timing is perfect in all matters of our life.

God bless!

You hit on some very subtle and important points in your story. It is dangerous to set up precedents, if-then statements that seem to give others a formula for success. IF I have great faith THEN I'll be rewarded with exactly what I think I wanted. Just like Arwen.


Cliche as it is, the Stones song is right. You CAN'T always get what you want--but you will find you get what you NEED.

And, you see, this is the undeniable reward--through obedience, as PotW says, patience, and faith you have achieved a joy that willfulness, impulsiveness, and despair can never bring.

There is an earthly reward for such bold acts--regardless of our state of sin, and you are reaping its fruits.

And so is your child.

This child will be loved in quite a different way than if it had come any earlier, or through any other means. In the end, a lot of this may be about him and the special kind of love he needs, the unique Pahoehoe designed love the Lord needed to fashion within you and Bryan, in the crucible of the trial you endured.

However, returning to the idea of YOU, Arwen being rewarded: I believe the vocation to a life of piety and faith in the Lord is measurably better for the body and soul and that, while not being the primary impetus for such acts, is the icing on the cake.

There ARE earthly rewards for living a life close to God and his will--one of them is a deep and abiding joy that can come from no other channel. You are certainly experiencing that now, apples, peanut butter, pukeyness--but, praise the Lord, 10 tiny finger--and all.

Love to you and please don't feel you need to censor your joy or your praise of the Lord for this undeniable gift out of sensitivity to those of us who still wait--Godspeed, leave the Land of Not OK, you have earned your stripes and paid your dues.

Much more valuable, great words.

As I continue to long for a baby, I find myself in many conversations about the circumstance I find myself in. I was chatting with a friend the other day and realized that if I do have another child, it won't be a greater miracle than the ones I already have. My two precious children have always been miracles to me, no matter how easy or difficult they were to conceive. But I do think that another blessing would be more valuable. Valuable in the sense that I realize that life isn' a given.

Many infertile couples will become pregnant spontaneous after longer periods of trying to conceive. A lot of folks lose sight of this fact, and a lot of doctors encourage urgency and haste in fertlity treatments because "there's no way you'll conceive on your own." We conceived once after 18 months and once after 4 years. Given the past history, and my age, I feel confident that it will happen again in God's time.

Each couple needs to make decisions about treatment in the context of their own situation, including their age, moral considerations, and personal discernments. There are a couple of problems with interpreting a pregnancy as a reward for faith. One is that it has kind of harsh implications for those who aren't "rewarded." It's sort of like with cancer survivors. You hear about how hard they fought and how hard they prayed and how much faith they had. But if you ever knew anyone who actually *died* from cancer, you will also see an inspiring struggle by a faith-filled individual. People don't die from cancer because they "didn't fight hard enough." And people don't get pregnant because God is rewarding their faith or patience. In fact, we should probably be careful in interpreting the birth of a child as a sign of God's favor at all. There are too many bad parents out there for that to be true. Rather, I believe that God brings people into the world because he has a place and a mission for that person. It's our responsibility as parents to accept the call to be a protector and a guide for God's child, so that that child can grow up and be what he or she is meant to be. It's a blessing that we can take joy in doing God's work, and this, I think, is the gift Arwen has been given. God bless.

Oh, Arwen, that was beautifully said!

I'm not surprised that you find yourself feeling a touch of "survivors guilt;" it's pretty common in us "pregnant infertiles."

Something else your post reminded me is that ten years ago, a couple wasn't considered truly infertile until they had gone five years without conceiving. FIVE YEARS. Yikes! In this era of technology, it's easy to rush that diagnosis and say six months or a year instead. Plus, if you start when you're older, everything speeds up.

But I agree with the posters above that it is your patience that has been rewarded, not your faith. It seems to me that God doesn't go around handing out babies like prize ribbons...

Ersza - true, that. Case in point (because I read too much celebrity gossip) Brooke Shields took seven IVFs to conceive her first daughter. Seven - I can't even begin to comprehend what that was like. Her second daughter? Spontaneous. She probably had a few moments of "What if ...?" as well.

Arwen, lovely post. As someone who went to see a doctor for infertility, I never felt like your path was the same as mine. I have such admiration for your willingness to listen and follow God's direction, and I'm so glad for you! I pray for such closeness, though I don't think I'm there. :) Reading your thoughts, it always seemed to me that the reward you were seeking was God's favor. As Christians our ultimate goal is to hear "Well done, My good and faithful servant." We do what God tells us not to get a tangible prize, even though He does delight in giving His children good gifts, but to do His will no matter the consequences or the results. God doesn't tell us that following Him will always be easy, or that we'll always get what we want. The hard part for me is getting my will to align with His. I imagine that's true for most.

God bless you, Arwen. I continue to be delighted for you. Deo gratias!
In Christ's love,

Everyone else has said what I think about faith and rewards and patience, so I'll just say, to you and to them, AMEN.

Many things come to mind while I read your blog, the primary one being joy that you get to deal with these feelings!

I believe that you have shown faith, and I am thrilled that you have this blessing. None of us deserve any of the gifts God has for us. But then, you can't earn a gift.

"How do I write about it so that you understand my joy but know that I have not forgotten your pain?" Your kindness and consideration is touching, Arwen. We know that you have not forgotten our pain and I, for one, want to hear all about your joy. I am so happy that you have been blessed with this pregnancy and wish you all the joy in the world (and that the pukey feelings end soon!).

I came across your blog a few weeks ago. I find myself strangely drawn to you. I have many of the same beliefs and desires. My husband and I had decided in the begining of this 7 year journey that treatments were not an option for us. I have been struggling with the idea of diagnostic testings as an option for us, but have avoided them due to financial situations.

But I have been longing, waiting and praying for a baby. And I completely believe that it will happen in His time...not mine. There is nothing I can do or not do to speed that up. Trusting in Him and His love is really my only option.

So thank you for your sweet post. It has helped me feel like I am doing the right thing. Even when others may think otherwise!

God Bless You!

This was really eloquently written.

My husband and I received some potentially frightening news during our ultrasound (everything is ok now) and never has my faith been tested so much before this. I believe every trial and tribulation is part of our greater journey. The way you choose to travel is up to you and God. I think this post just shows that everyone does what works best for them and even when blessings are received, we should be so humble and thankful for what we are given.

Congrats again. I hope you are feeling better.

Thanks for posting this... I'm not sure it was at my request, or not, but it is part of what I need to hear. We have been struggling with this for two years and it is SO HARD to WAIT.
Anyway, you sure gave me a lot to think about as my husband and I continue to struggle with what God would want us to do.
May he continue to bless you and yours (and I hope you start feeling better soon).

Yes, it is all the more beautiful because of that. Being mother to my sweet daughter is so much more poignant, more sweet, BECAUSE of the fact that we wondered if she ever would get here...BECAUSE of the fact that her twin is not here...

God blessed us, even through it.

God is so good.

When my husband left me, and I was reeling, shocked friends would reassure me, "God's going to reward you. You'll see. Something REALLY GOOD is going to come to you out of all this."
It kind of made me mad. What, God somehow OWED me something? If anything, it was an opportunity to be faithful during a painful time.
The faith WAS the reward.

Arwen- thank you for writing this beautiful, sweet post. I have been thinking about it this week.

I admit that when I heard your wonderful pregnancy news, I secretly had some doubts about my own fertility path. Perhaps all of my tests and treatments were telling God that I didn't trust him, etc. Although you are so wonderful and sensitive and never intimated that in any of your posts, the thought did occur to me.

Thank you for the reminder that we must all seek God's wisdom and direction in this area. Blessings to you and Bryan and little Pahoehoe! I am so happy for you.

You write so sensitively and so full of wisdom. Praying for you and your baby!

The comments to this entry are closed.