We were able to sit down with Jessica Miller, one of our Snap Moms, having just celebrated her son’s 1st birthday after 10 years of trying to conceive, for a nitty-gritty interview on her journey through infertility.
1. Did adoption cross your mind?Adoption crossed our minds a LOT! As a matter of fact, that is still very much an option as we look to expand our family. There were at least threeinstances in our marriage where we thought that we would have the opportunity to adopt a child. I won’t go into specifics, but early on in each instance the mother or someone from the family decided to keep the baby. I believe that when God is at the center of your marriage and you call on Him for guidance, He will lead you both in the same direction. I know that when and if the time is right, both my husband and I will know.
2. How does a Mom know whether or not to wait longer or pursue other avenues?I’m not sure I’m qualified to answer this one. I think that this is different for every person. In each marriage you have TWO people. Within each marriage there can often be two schools of thought or desired courses of action. The best advice I can give a woman going through this, is talk to your husband. It’s not your choice alone to make. Make sure you’re on the same page as your spouse. Keep the lines of communication open. Talk it out. Men struggle with infertility differently than women, but they are still very much affected by it. Pray about it together. Talk about options together. Get help together. Decide to wait together. Support each other in whatever decision you make. Whatever it takes, do it together. Never blame or criticize your spouses choices or feelings, but be honest about yours. I think when it’s the right thing to do, you’ll both know.
3. What was the best part of your wait & what was the WORST part?The best part of waiting for our baby was the growth in relationship that I experienced with my husband. Going through something as difficult as infertility really exposes raw emotion and true character. Some things we went through together were ugly and dark. There are days I’d rather not remember. Lots of things to forgive and have forgiven. However, coming through those dark days years later, there is so much love, joy, and appreciation for one another. Don’t get me wrong, our marriage isn’t all ribbons and rainbows, but it’s amazing how much closer we’ve become though our struggles.
[pullquote_left]The worst thing about the waiting was…waiting[/pullquote_left]
4. What did it teach you and do you see a bigger picture now you are on the other side?Going through infertility has taught me a lot about my faith. God has always been a part of my life, but through some of my darkest days, He was the one that held up my head. I have grown to understand His love for me in such an intimately personal way, that it just blows my mind. Like I mentioned before, God healed my heart long before I got pregnant. He opened my eyes to His goodness and grace and I’ve never been the same. It also taught me to trust in His perfect plan for me. If I’d have had my way, I would be a mom to 3 or 4 kiddos right now. Seeing them off to little league, dance, and music lessons. But God’s timing was a little different than mine. I guess that’s where the big picture comes in. I’m not sure I see the whole picture yet, but I get pieces here and there. Tonight, my husband Rod and I were talking about how we’re so grateful for the experiences we’ve shared and the struggles that we’ve had to endure because we feel it’s made us into the parents that we are now. Not to say that we haven’t made mistakes, but had we had our son Gray 12 years ago, we wouldn’t be the people (and parents) we are today.
5.Can you share your birth story with us?Our birth story happened much like our conception: not the way we planned. We chose a midwife to attend our birth and wanted to have a natural water birth at our local birth center. We took natural childbirth classes and prepared as best we could. I read Ina Mae Gaskin’s guide to childbirth and Rod read the birth partner book cover to cover. (I was totally impressed with him, btw…have you seen the size of that book? It’s massive!!) We decorated the nursery, made freezer meals, worked, and cleaned. My due date (march 6) came and went. I cleaned some more. I made more freezer meals. Then on march 7th at 12am my water broke. Yippee!! Here we go! As some of you know, when your water breaks you have 24 hours to go into active labor and have your baby before you need to be admitted to a hospital and be under a Dr’s care. Immediately the clock was ticking. I called my midwife to tell her what was happening and that I thought my water broke but I wasn’t sure. she told me to report to her in the morning. I was too anxious/excited to sleep and braxton hicks contractions were coming about every 15-20 min. I got about 2-4 hours of sleep. After meeting with the midwife in the morning, we realized we were nowhere near “in labor”, so we got our tinctures, homeopathics, and castor oil and headed to the acupuncturist before heading home to wait. After taking all my herbal cocktails, my contractions started coming pretty hard and by 6:30/7pm they were about 2-3 min apart. We arrived at the birth center around 8:30 prepared to settle in for our birth. Time was ticking! We had till midnight to get this baby out! As soon as we arrived, my contractions stalled. Completely stopped. I think from 8:30-11pm I had 2 or 3 contractions. Time has never gone by so fast in all my life. I was praying that we could just have more time and that God would allow us to just have this baby at the birth center. Why would he allow us to go through all the preparation for natural birth and then not see us through it? I wrestled with God for a while. I sobbed. From about 11pm on Rod just prayed with me and read scripture over me and we grieved our plan once again. It seemed that God was once again teaching us to trust His plan and not our own. Our midwife called ahead to the hospital, and let the on call Dr’s know we were coming. After she hung up the phone she gave us the good news that we would be attended by some of the best Dr’s at the Hospital. Well…I guess that was one consolation. Once we were admitted we were attended by some of the best Dr’s and nurses that I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting. Our first attending nurse was so kind and understood completely what we wanted since, she had all four of her children at home! I knew that was an answer to prayer as we had prayed on the way to the hospital that the Dr’s and staff would respect our birth plan. (we had made a birth plan ahead of time that included our requests to hospital staff in case we had to be transferred – i highly recommend this!) long story short….I labored on pitocin for many many hours and we agreed to some interventions that we swore we’d never use. Our midwife and doula took shifts with us and were there throughout my entire labor. I don’t think I could have made it without them. The Dr’s respected us and never rushed us. We had time to think and assess every decision we made. So….47 hours after my water broke grayden reid was delivered via c-section. I heard him before I saw him. He coughed and then cried a squeaky cry. [pullquote_left]The Dr. lifted him up so I could see him.[/pullquote_left] The Dr. lifted him up so I could see him. As he held him there for awhile, I just cried and cried (for pete’s sake, i’m crying now) and thanked God over and over for our little miracle boy. In that moment I didn’t care how he got here or how it wasn’t the birth I planned…in that moment nothing mattered except that he was healthy, he was whole, and he was mine. Success!
6. How should friends help when someone is having fertility problems?If you know a friend is having fertility problems two things are probably true: a) she told you that she’s having fertility problems or b) you heard from someone else she’s having fertility problems. If it’s “a” then the line of communication is already open. Be a sounding board for her. Check in with her from time to time to see how she’s doing. Don’t pity her. Let her know you think about her and recognize her at special times of the year. I remember the first time my sister in law gave me a mother’s day card for loving on her kids. (ps. mother’s day can be an especially hard day for those who are in the midst of their struggle) support her in any way you can. Now, if it’s “b”….tread softly. I’m no psychology expert, but I can tell you that if she’s not opening up to friends then she’s probably not wanting to talk about it. Pray for her. Her emotions may be too raw and she may need time. She will open up when she’s ready. Just be there for her when she is.
7. We are firm believers that God moves when we move. We could venture that your diet and hard work in the physical opened the door for God to move for your healing?Yes, I believe that God was able to use me and my body because of the physical discipline I had at the time. I will never forget how it felt when I knew he had healed my body! I was probably the healthiest I had been in my adult life. As Rod and I look to expand our family, it’s once again evident that health and physical wellness need to be addressed. We may only be given one biological child in this life, but we want to be around to see him grow up, and who knows what the future holds. God may have another little one waiting in the wings for us. Time will tell.
We would like to thank Jessica Miller for opening up, and sharing with us in such a beautiful and raw way.