Saturday, August 18, 2012

Nate and Tiffany's Story

Nate and I had been married four years when we “decided” that it was the right time to start trying for a baby.  I can’t believe how naïve that sounds.  If I had known then what I know now, I would have jumped at ANY opportunity to have a baby at ANY time in our marriage.  We now know that nothing will ever be perfect enough to bring a baby into your family but that they are the most precious blessings that we get to experience in life aside from marriage.  So, after “deciding” that we were ready to be parents, I went off of birth control in expectation of getting pregnant.  Everyone does, right?  Well, month after month, the pressure intensified and nothing was happening.  After 9 months or so, I went in for my yearly appointment and talked to my doctor about the troubles we were experiencing getting pregnant.  She put me on Clomed (an oral fertility medicine) and we tried that for three months with no success.  Everyone was very blasé about us not getting pregnant because we were “so young” and “it will happen eventually”.  But to us, it was already an eternity!  Sex became a huge stressor in our marriage!  I became depressed knowing that it was my fault that we weren’t getting pregnant and it became an all-consuming obsession for the two of us. 

We were referred to a nurse practitioner that specialized in infertility and we did our first artificial insemination (IUI).  When that didn’t work, we were referred to a very well-known fertility doctor in Omaha.  Nate had known who she was from a medical panel that came to speak to his medical school class and he knew that she was a very outspoken advocate for the Pro-Choice side of “Family Planning”.  So we went into our initial meeting very guarded.  As she asked us our stance on life, bringing up that we would need to be willing to agree to “selective reduction” meaning that if there were too many embryos after the fertility treatment  we would abort any unhealthy ones to get down to three.  We said that that would not be an option.  So, it was doomed from the get go.  Wish that we would have thought about that BEFORE we spent tens of thousands of dollars there!  She didn’t really want to help us and we didn’t really feel good about getting her “help” but the goal was blinding!  In our roughly six months of treatment there, we experienced the ultimate highs and lows that come with infertility and I was on the hormones that amplify those!  We did an exploratory procedure with her as well.  During what would be our last IUI, I remember laying on the table, ALONE, supposedly “making a baby” with a doctor and all of her science, and I remember feeling this tremendous presence from God, present through the whole procedure, and He was VERY clearly saying “This is not how your baby will be made.”  So, we stopped after 4 IUIs and quit seeing that doctor.

In the meantime, my little sister, who was my only confidant during everything, and who has always been my best friend, got pregnant “on accident”.  I remember the night that she told me so clearly and the pain and devastation that immediately followed.  It was the most selfish that I could be but it was all I could think about.  Nate and I both went to be crying and deeply hurt.  It hurt that she had beat me to it!  That she didn’t WANT kids!  That she was going to have the first grandchild!  That I could barely look at my best friend or talk to her anymore!  That life wasn’t fair!  I have to say that those were miserable times in my family.  As a result, everyone ended up finding out that we had been trying, unsuccessfully.  Then comes the pity.  The knowing look in everyone and the questions that you try to shrug off.  

We decided to search for a doctor that fit our moral and religious convictions and I have no idea where we heard of him but we decided to try to see Dr. Hilgers at The Pope Paul VI Institute.  He focuses on finding the source of infertility problems instead of patching them with fertility drugs.  His patients practice The Creighton Model, of knowing your body and finding out what your body is doing at different times of the month.  So Nate and I started to learn his methods as we were put on the 4 month waiting list to see him.  Once we saw Dr. Hilgers, he started us on a series of methods to figure out the source or sources of our infertility.  The first series of tests was for me to get my blood drawn every other day for 30 days and then we were put on a waiting list for another exploratory surgery in the following months.

On November 2, 2007, after a little over two years of trying, I was leaving the high school where I worked and I got a phone call.  It was The Pope Paul Institute, they had run all of my blood at the end of the month and wanted to tell me something and asked if I was sitting down.  I was scared that they found some weird problem that was going to mean more bad news.  I braced myself.  The nurse told me that when they had run all of my blood, the hormones went up and never went back down so they did a pregnancy test and I was pregnant!  I was shocked, shaking, skeptical, and elated all at the same time.  I had to start progesterone shots immediately to supplement my hormones so I drove right to the clinic.  Because I was spotting, I was placed on complete bed rest for almost 3 weeks and was placed on IV antibiotics that were administered by a home health nurse.  We wanted to do everything that we needed to keep our baby safe.  I had never had a positive pregnancy test before.  It was a HUGE step in starting our family but I also had to prepare myself in case it didn’t work out.  The spotting subsided and things started going “normal” as far as pregnancy goes.  We had one more scare in January as we were on a trip while Nate was interviewing for residency programs.  There was so much bleeding that I thought I was miscarrying and my world was thrown.  The bleeding stopped after a couple of days and everything seemed normal when we got back and went to the doctor.  I still don’t know what happened.  But I was blessed to experience my growing belly and to feel my baby moving inside of me for the rest of my pregnancy. 

Bennett was born on June 29, 2008 and we have been blessed to be his parents.  Our world changed.  It took 7 months to get pregnant a second time but the stress was off.  It will always be a factor for us.  Even as we are trying for our third, I am reminded that my body is different than other women who “get pregnant on accident” or the first month of trying or while on birth control!  I ache for the women in my life that are still waiting for their first baby.  I ache also for the women who do not appreciate the blessing that pregnancy is and that discard their opportunities or take them for granted.  My boys have been a huge blessing in my life and I wait (not always patiently) to see what else God has in store for our little family. 


  1. Thanks for sharing and being honest. I had no problem getting pregnant the first time and then had two painful miscarriages after that. Our second baby came along soon after my 2nd miscarriage and what a blessing. Although she has developmental delays she has been the healing that I needed and also has taught me that life is precious through all the pain and trials. God works in mysterious ways and although it often hurts and brings questions, I am thankful for His presence each step of the way.

  2. Thank you for sharing, Shannon. God is good, all the time. I recently heard a song that impacted me in a huge way. It says "Only God can be both the builder and the wrecking ball. He builds you up, and knocks you down, so he can build out back even stronger" Nothing sums up infertility better!