Monday, September 17, 2012

On hold from pursuing parenthood

Yesterday, Alex and I were reflecting on the possible meaning of our being "on hold" right now.  We got our initial infertility diagnosis over four and a half years ago, January 2nd, 2008, to be exact, after two years of charting and trying to conceive naturally.  Since that time, we pursued private domestic adoption with 4 birthmothers changing their minds; we inquired about over 50 waiting kids in foster care to no avail; we fostered a little girl we affectionately called VV for 10 months, hoping to adopt her but having that dream crushed; we spent a full year pursuing international adoption from my native Poland before we decided to cut our losses and withdraw from the program (more on that later); and we adopted 4 embryos and gave them a chance to continue to live full lives.  

The latest of these, our "Fantastic Four" (as there were 4 embryos in the batch that we adopted), were the last active attempt we made in our pursuit of parenthood.  I will share the details of our journey, but for the time being, suffice it to say that after over 4 years of "trying", we are "on hold" - ie, not trying.  We - ok, more me than Alex, who's always gone with the flow - so, I am learning to enjoy living life complete for the time being as two.  It has been very refreshing to simply enjoy life, enjoy my husband, enjoy the many other blessings in our lives.

We have been on hold now for four months.  Twenty more months to go.  You see, I was in prayer after our second loss in May when I was drawn to 2 Kings 11.  It’s a strange link, I think, but as I read about Athaliah, Queen of Judah, I couldn’t help but notice certain numbers and ideas jumping out at me.

If you’re not familiar with this biblical narrative, when Athaliah’s son Ahaziah died, she took it upon herself to kill off all the royal offspring so she could rule, but Jehosheba, the daughter of King Joram and sister of Ahaziah, managed to hide Ahaziah’s son, Joash.  I’m not very clear on the whys of the situation (I’m no biblical scholar), so just bare with me.  Six years passed while Athaliah ruled the land. In the 7th year, the true heir, Joash, was revealed.  Athaliah did not take well to this news and started making a ruckus, at which point she was escorted outside the city gates and killed. 

In spite of the fact that I don’t fully grasp the biblical significance of this chapter (I never said this was a bible study!), here is what resonated with me and my current situation at the time:  Athaliah was actively pursuing her own will, forcing the true king to be hidden for 6 years.  In my life, for 6 years we pursued parenthood on our own terms, assuming to know God’s will without ever consulting Him.  We insisted on ruling in our lives. During this time, the rightful heir, the One who ought to be ruling in our hearts, Christ, was waiting quietly in the background. The fact that the name of this book is “Kings” also reaffirms for me that I have not been allowing Christ to reign in my life.  

In the 7th year, the true king was revealed, and instead of accepting this, Athaliah insisted on her way and was killed for it. Here, I see it as a warning that we are in the 7th year since we actively started trying to conceive (read: trying to have it our way), and if we don’t back off and allow God’s will to be revealed to us unobstructed by our own plans, this will not bode well for us.

There were other numbers that jumped out at me, in addition to the 6 years that Athaliah ruled coinciding with the 6 years we had been trying to become parents our way.  Right before this chapter, in the 36th verse of 2 Kings 10, we learn that the previous king, Jehu, reigned in Israel for 28 years – the age that I was when we actively started trying to conceive.  Also, the numbers in the very reference – 2 Kings 11 – spoke to me.  In two years, Alex and I would be celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary.  This is where I got the burden on my heart that we needed to lay low for 2 years, until our 11th anniversary, which is in May, the same month when I had this revelation. 

Since we’ve been on hold, in only 4 short months, we’ve come to acknowledge that Alex’s hypothyroidism isn’t being well controlled by his medications, and that it may very well be the cause not only of various general symptoms such as fatigue or heart burn, but also his sleep apnea (which his C-pap machine apparently won’t cure), and… possibly even the azoospermia that got us on this roller-coaster journey to parenthood to begin with!  

Now, the idea that there may still be a sliver of hope for us to conceive a mutually biological child may have been the initial motivation to turn our attention in the right direction, but in all honesty, we are motivated to help Alex get healthy no matter what effect this may or may not have on the azoospermia.  As it stands, it may cure it.  Not enough research has been done to definitively say one way or another, so we’re looking at our life as a sort of amateur research study to this end.  There’s been studies that show a link between obesity and azoospermia (in fact, 80% of morbidly obese men have azoospermia), and I’ve recently learned that hypothyroid also has been linked with sperm production and quality issues.  Therefore, we truly don’t know what the future holds, but we are committed, for 2 years, to not actively pursuing any route to parenthood other than the one that comes with being married. ;-)

Amazing things happen when we allow God to fulfill His will in our lives, but it is too soon for us to tell what His plan for us is just yet.  Still, we are growing closer to Him and to each other as we wait impatiently for the green light arrow pointing us in the right direction.  I fully have faith that God will still bless us with a child, but I just don’t know when or how He will do so.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. 
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

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