Shortly after meeting my husband in 2010 I knew he was the one I wanted to marry and have a family with. He was not a member of the Church and I was not an active member, and hadn’t been for many years, but I had no doubt he was the one for me. We decided together that as soon as we married we would start our family. Shortly after getting married we moved from Iowa to St. Johns where my husband, Tony, took a teaching and coaching position at the high school. We continued our attempts at getting pregnant but two years later we were still waiting. It seemed like our prayers were going unanswered. I began to question myself and my spirituality; was I not worthy enough to have children? I was confused. Why were so many of my friends and family being blessed many times over with children? Did Heavenly Father love them more? I was beginning to feel depleted spiritually and emotionally.
During this time of frustration and sadness, I remember getting the Ensign in the mail one day. I put it on the table along with the other mail that came with it. It sat there for a couple of days until I felt prompted to read it. I opened up to an article about a couple who was struggling with infertility. I don’t remember the title of the article but the message of it really hit me hard. We were ready to be parents in every way: we had a home, my husband had a career, we were healthy and we were financially stable. However, one thing was missing: we didn’t have the Gospel in our home. Tony and I rarely talked about religion throughout our marriage. We both agreed that if we are going to have children, some sort of faith needs to be in our home- whether it is Catholic or LDS, but that’s as far as our discussions went on religion. After reading that article, I started going back to church here and there. It was nothing regular but it was a start. Later, Tony started coming as well and eventually joined the Church and we were sealed one year later.
We continued our efforts at getting pregnant, which included many failed fertility treatments, an unsuccessful surgery and eventually learned our only option was in vitro fertilization. As hard as that was to hear, we were thankful for some answers as everything to this point had been unexplained. But this didn’t mean we felt it was the right option for us. There were so many factors to consider. It was expensive and even for someone healthy the success rate wasn’t appealing. It meant months of grueling treatments, injections and procedures; ones with risks. The only place to get this type of treatment was four hours away, meaning I would have to make countless trips back and forth by myself; sometimes several times a month, once a week and even daily depending on the different stages of the process. Were we really up to this challenge? Was I mentally and emotionally strong enough for all this? I knew I wanted a family more than anything but I never imagined it would take so much to have what some take for granted and what others can have so easily.
We prayed and fasted about whether to take this road or not and after getting an answer we decided we were up to the challenge. If we tried and failed, at least we knew we tried and could then move on to adoption. I remember being nervous once we started the process. I was excited we had a plan but also scared of the unknown. At the beginning of the treatments there were times I wondered why I was putting myself through this. It was harder than I ever could have imagined. I prayed for comfort and strength but still couldn’t shake the fear of the outcome. I feared I would go through all this and end up with nothing.
Then one day I was cleaning out the closet in our guestroom and as I was going through some boxes I found my patriarchal blessing. I thought I had lost it so I was surprised to find it. It had been so long since I read it that I could not remember anything about it. I sat on the bed and read exactly what I needed to hear. It mentions that my greatest mission here on earth is to become a mother and eternal wife and that I will be blessed with a family. I immediately felt comforted and my doubts were dissolved. Those few words gave me all the strength and faith I needed to continue. The several priesthood blessings I received gave me comfort through the ups and downs of this journey. I knew in my heart that we were going down the right path; that the Lord blessed us with this opportunity to have a family, and with our faith and prayers and the many others that prayed and fasted with us, we would get through this and have our family. On February 13, 2014 we found out we were expecting. Words cannot describe the amount of relief and gratitude we felt that our prayers had been answered. Eight days after our third wedding anniversary we finally had the biggest blessing we could ever ask for.
Looking back, I now realize the Lord was not ignoring our prayers and desire to have a family; His plan for my husband and I unfolded in his own time and way. Even though this painful road of infertility felt lonely and hopeless at times, it provided us with a wonderful opportunity to grow as a couple and strengthen our spirituality. Through infertility we are now prepared to raise our son and future children in the gospel. I cannot imagine getting through this trial without having the scriptures, Heavenly Father, prayer and faith to carry us through. I’m grateful I was able to listen to the promptings of the Lord. He has his own timeframe and way of answering prayers. Our prayers were answered, not exactly in the way we wanted, but through this trial there were experiences and blessing we could not have received any other way.