A new mother’s testimony:
Our journey started 5 years ago in 2014 when we decided we wanted to try and start a family. In 2016 I started to have extreme pain associated with my periods as well as intercourse. My OB at the time told me there was "no way" I could have endometriosis and it must be something else. About a week or so after that Jeff received a new client, Dr Biggerstaff who happened to be women's specialist. Jeff then did something he never does, talk about personal issues with someone. He started telling this doctor about the issues I'd been having, which lead to me coming in and talking with him. He had pictures on his walls and stories of all of the babies he had helped bring about by performing endometriosis procedures. I underwent surgery and it turned out I had one of the worst cases of endometriosis this doctor had seen, and he was someone who helped pioneer this type of surgery. After the surgery, it was believed that we would then have an easier time getting pregnant. However a year later still no pregnancy, and my endometriosis symptoms were returning. Again another surgery and hopes of getting pregnant.
In 2018, we decided to see a fertility specialist. The first doctor we met with would not even do any kind of treatments with us because of my hormone levels being way out of range. She told us that we should think about donor eggs or other options. Looking back, I know we both knew deep down that wasn't our calling just yet in life. We then decided to get a second opinion. The second doctor told us that yes my numbers are low but he was willing to give us a chance if we were. He told me that I had what they called "Diminished Ovarian Reserve".
In March, I was prescribed a dose of hormones that they would normally give someone 10 years older than me. The hopes were to get 10-12 eggs using the medication. After a month of injections, I only showed three eggs (the minimum he would go into the procedure with). He was able to extract two eggs, one of which degraded, and the other properly started to form. We proceeded with the implant. The following Monday, my lab results showed that the implant was successful, but I needed continue my progesterone shots and use estrogen patches to support it. Tuesday Jeff left for a business trip. We were both in high spirits thinking the best and so excited for what was to come. Wednesday I had another blood test to make sure my levels were where they needed to be. It turned out that my levels had dropped, meaning the pregnancy would not take. Not only was this horrible news for us, but we wouldn't be together for another week due to his out of town work. While Jeff was out of town he had a spiritual encounter as well as a “fight with the devil” but I will let him tell you about that.
The pregnancy did end up failing and my next cycle started on May the 4th. Our post-consultation with the fertility specialist couldn’t be scheduled until May 24th. We both went in expecting the doctor to explain what happened and then essentially tell us we should give it another try. We were quite surprised when he told us that we need to consider an egg donor. He told us that 90% of the women he tells this end up coming back (sometimes a week, sometimes a year later) to go forward with the egg donor. Jeff even asked if we could just try it again. What would we have to lose other than the money? The doctor told us very straightforward that, while this was his profession, he didn’t feel right ethically sending us down a financial spiral. Neither of us said much on the way home. Jeff took the day off. For some reason I just didn’t have that gut-wrenching feeling that I should have had. I didn’t feel like I’d been hit by a bus or anything. I guess in my heart I just refused to believe what he was telling us.
We ultimately decided that (since I had just been accepted into the dental hygiene program) we should just “shelf” the idea for a couple of years and then go from there. A couple of weeks later Jeff and I were offered an “invitation week” to the Landings Club where we got to enjoy the dining, golf courses, etc. free for a week. We played golf one Saturday and it was the first nice, stress-free day we’d had in a long time. I remember thinking that no matter how difficult this process has been, we are still blessed beyond measure to have each other and such a wonderful relationship. We live in an amazing place. We were blessed to find the home we live in and have more than we could ever need.
May the 4th was the start of my next cycle, and as June rolled around I found that I was several days late for my period (which was unusual for me). Jeff had to do a server migration over the weekend and after church on Sunday June 6th, I decided to go ahead and get a pregnancy test. When I got home and took the test I saw the two lines appear almost immediately. Then I saw it, something that I had never seen in the 5 years we had been trying. I had to walk out of the room and come back because I was in such shock. I kept thinking 'two lines meant pregnant right?' knowing that yes, of course they did. I decided to show Jeff when he got home and he was dumbfounded. I think given the roller coaster we had just been through it was almost hard to believe. We decided to call the fertility doctor the next morning and they sounded like they didn’t believe me or thought that maybe I was delusional. They had me come in for a blood test and called me back just a few hours later to tell me the doctor fell out of his chair when he saw the results. I was definitely pregnant. The icing on the cake was that not only was I pregnant, but my numbers were perfect and they told me I didn’t need to worry about taking any hormones and told me to schedule the first available appointment with my OBGYN. The cherry on top was that it turns out I was actually pregnant at the time we went in for the consultation and the doctor told us we would not be able to conceive without an egg donor.
We explained the situation to my OBGYN and he has been keeping an exceptionally good eye on our pregnancy. Initially he was concerned because of the shape of my uterus as well as a “pocket” (hematoma) they saw on the initial two ultrasounds. After our 3rd ultrasound he ordered me on bed rest and I wasn’t to do any kind of lifting or physical activity. I was told to call immediately if there was any kind of bright red or pink bleeding. Due to my misshapen uterus, he told us that I would probably need to start steroids at 20 weeks to make sure the baby was strong enough, in case I went into delivery early. Something in "in his opinion and experience" happens in this sort of scenario. I would also most likely need to have a c-section due to all of this. A few days later I had some brown bleeding/discharge but we both stayed calm. Jeff said “I bet that’s the bad pocket making its way out and our next ultrasound is going to be perfect”. We called the doctor and since my next ultrasound was the following week he told me to continue to take it easy. After the next ultrasound he said that there was no evidence of the hematoma and that I could resume normal activity! When it came to the possibility of having to take steroids and what the shape of my uterus was looking like, there was no evidence on of any abnormalities and it was of no concern at this time
And so here we are, 4 months pregnant. I have had five ultrasounds to date and everything is looking great! Something I'm very grateful for out of all of this is that it helped me learned how to pray and how to dig deep into my faith. When I'm telling people this story, something I always say to them is that I had two options during all of this. I could get angry, upset, depressed, fall bad for myself, etc, or I could focus on God, the word, and my praying and try my hardest to listen to what he is saying to me.
I’m sorry for length and detail of this all but wanted to explain why we have been a bit cautious with sharing the news and everything. This has been quite the roller coast for both of us.
A new daddy’s testimony:
I left for Destin, FL on a Tuesday to get started on a huge project for my company. This job was going to take us to a whole new level and I could not postpone due to their deadlines. On Monday we were told Jill was pregnant and on Tuesday I left thinking I was going to be a father. It was an 8-9 hour trip and the whole time I wanted to call everyone I knew and share the big news. Wednesday morning at 10am I had a meeting with all of the executives along with about 20 different managers from all of their locations. I was sitting in my truck, preparing myself to walk into this meeting when my phone rang. When I heard Jill’s ringtone and looked down and saw her calling, I knew it was one of those phone calls you don’t want to take. She had been crying. Her tone was numb. She told me that the second lab test results showed her numbers dropping and that the IVF procedure had failed.
I guess the one positive thing about being out of town for an immensely challenging project was that I didn’t have a lot of time to dwell over anything. I had a team of people coming down to transition 9 different locations over to an entirely new system and it had to be done over the coming weekend. It was an immense task that required precise planning, coordination, and communication to pull off.
That Thursday I went to check into the hotel I’d reserved online. My team was coming in the next day and we’d be staying there for at least the next week. To my dismay, when I pulled up to the hotel, all of the lights were off and there were no cars in the parking lot. I walked up to the door and could see the whole place was being gutted. Apparently it was under construction but they’d never turned off online reservations. I left to go drive around and hopefully find a hotel that could book 3 rooms for 7 days. It was late and the gas light had gone off in my truck. I pulled up to the closest gas station to fill up. Side note: I am OCD about a few things and one of those is my wallet. I like to keep everything in a specific spot so it’s easy to find what I need. I had my personal debit card and my company debit card. Seeing as how we had just spent a lot of money on IVF, I was trying to keep all my expenses on the business card. When I went to put my card in the gas pump, neither of my debit cards were in my wallet. This made zero sense. I started tearing through the truck, looking everywhere for my cards. I never used my personal debit card so why would it have been taken out of my wallet? It’s possible I left my business debit card at the restaurant I’d been to that evening, but it was over 40 miles away. I’d also completely forgotten I had about $200 cash that I’d taken out in case of emergency (I never carry cash so it never crossed my mind). During the frenzy to find my card I noticed an “odd” individual approaching me. I figured he was probably about to ask me for money. He asked me if I “could help him out”. It had been a rough few days and so I guess everything I’d been bottling up was starting getting dumped on this guy. I immediately started explaining to him the situation about my card and the hotel down the street being completely closed and I didn’t have anywhere to stay or any gas in my truck. He then told me he didn’t have a place to stay either and that he just wanted to know if I had a wrench in my truck so he could fix his bicycle.
That somewhat made me check myself. I stopped what I was doing, handed him a wrench out of the truck (which was loaded down with any kind of tool we’d need), and told him I was sorry for being short. While he was gone I went through my wallet for the 3rd or 4th time and all of the truck’s compartments, under the seat, etc. Still no cards. Still not remembering I had cash.
He came back with his bike and I told him I was going back across the bridge towards the last place I used my card. He asked if I could drive him over the bridge because it was late. He was a line cook at the beachside restaurant and didn’t like riding his bike on the bridge at night. I don’t normally do this, but I threw his bike in the truck and we drove off. On the ride he was telling me thank you and that no one ever helps him out. I asked about his situation. He was maybe in his late 20’s and told me he’d been dealt some bad cards but admitted he had a drug problem. I explained to him about my darker past (drugs, etc.) and that even after getting through all of that, it wasn’t until I met my wife and started going to church that I found true happiness in life. He had noticed all of the equipment in my truck and was asking about my business and how I got this kind of job. I explained to him how it was a God thing and that ever since I began tithing, my business has grown tenfold. I told him not to give up and that when you give yourself over to God, He will provide, no matter what situation you’re in. After a few minutes I was pretty sure we were going to run out of gas but he said I could drop him off at the Circle K down the road.
I don’t normally do this, but I asked if I could pray for him and put my hands on his shoulders and prayed for God to help him find his way out of the situation he was in. He was in tears and as we got out and I went to pull his bike out of the truck I remembered I had cash in my wallet. I don’t normally do this, but I gave him everything I had, asked that he please not use it on drugs or alcohol. He gave me a huge hug and said no one had ever been so kind to him. I told him to find a church and that God is more kind than I can ever explain or show him. His name was James. In retrospect, there’s a good chance I had probably just helped him steal that bicycle.
I had several thousand dollars’ worth of tools and equipment in my truck and couldn’t just leave it there. I figured I’d go through my phone and see if there was any kind of hotel within 4-5 miles that I could I could reach and sort everything out in the morning. My wallet was sitting on my seat and I instantly thought “YOU IDIOT. YOU HAD CASH! YOU COULD HAVE BOUGHT SOME GAS BUT YOU JUST GAVE IT ALL TO THAT STRANGER!” I looked back up and James was already gone. I belted out a hysterical laugh, grabbed my wallet and got in my truck. I sat there furious with myself.
One last time, I looked through my wallet.
There right in front of me, clear as day- the very first two cards facing me were my business debit and my personal debit cards. My jaw dropped. I smiled and said out loud: “Message received, God!” I filled up with gas, found a hotel, nearby, with three rooms, for a whole week, and had a smile on my face the whole time.
The next day, my team came in and we went to all nine locations between Destin and Pensacola. We found a few obstacles that we were going to have to deal with and realized it was going to be a very challenging task to pull everything off over the weekend. It was a stressful day and I think we were all a bit nervous of whether or not we were going to be the heroes I said we’d be to a room full of executives and managers. That night it all came out of me. All of the stress, everything about trying to have a child, it just didn’t seem fair. I’m a good person. I work hard and I care about those around me. It wasn’t fair.
As you and Pastor Kempie might guess, I’m not the most outspoken guy. I’m also very patient and calm but sometimes that comes with a price. Way back when, I used to take my emotions out by hitting things or hurting myself. I haven’t done that in a very long time and so when the temptation came to break everything around me, I remembered my encounter with James and I recalled a message about speaking words aloud, and that sometimes you need to speak those words to remind the devil he has no authority.
Oh, I spoke words to the devil alright! For what turned out to be 20 or so minutes (that felt like two) I cursed him and “explained” that he has no place in our lives and he won’t be successful in convincing us we can’t have children. I declared by the blood of Jesus Christ he had no authority over our children and that if he wants to mess with someone he can go straight back to where he came from and peddle his misery elsewhere. I didn’t hold anything back and I’m pretty sure everyone within 5-6 rooms of me heard it all. I’m surprised they didn’t call in a domestic dispute. This was confirmed the next morning by some strange looks as I was walking out. Needless to say, I slept like a baby shortly afterwards. That weekend we pulled off our job and had an amazing experience as a team doing so. We were heroes to the client and we now have 14 new locations under contract because of it. I was actually able to leave two days earlier than expected to go home and be with Jill.
God is good!