I say quite often that patience is not my strong suit. I won’t say that anymore. There is a long-standing “joke” among Christians that you should never pray for patience because God will give you opportunities to use it. Ask any group at any church what happened when they asked God to give them patience; they didn’t suddenly, mystically reach such a zen-like state that Buddhist monks were jealous and asking for pointers – they encountered circumstance after circumstance that tried their patience – a baptism by fire, if you will. We silly humans expect that if we pray for peace or patience that this brilliant light accompanied by an angelic “ah” chord will signal to us that we have received the requested virtue. God, on the other hand, likes for us to experience firsthand the results of said requested virtue by putting it into practice – usually immediately.
It has taken me years to accept peace and patience from God, but this last month has proven that I am finally getting it through my thick skull. We had a follow-up appointment last week with the fertility specialist. I was expecting him to say something along the lines of “your egg quality isn’t very good, so we just can’t expect a better outcome in the future.” I had been bargaining with God for an if, then result – a clean answer to move on and give up trying ever again to carry my own child. Even though my husband and I had carefully avoided discussing possible courses of action until we went to this visit, I was fully expecting to hear that we were done pursuing this route. As much as I had told myself that it would be a good answer – a definitive directive to go forth and adopt – I couldn’t deal with the thought of never, ever having a successful pregnancy, of never, ever having those special moments with my husband of feeling the baby kick or seeing our baby on an ultrasound picture while we both pretended we knew exactly what we were seeing in the grainy picture on the monitor. So, I put all thinking on pause for a few weeks until we went for the follow-up, knowing that after that visit, my soul would be crushed, and I would grieve more for the loss of that dream than for the loss of our last pregnancy.
In retrospect, I should have known from our medical history to date that there would be no such clean answer. Our doctor still has no idea why we can’t maintain a pregnancy, and he has recommended a second opinion visit with another doctor. As the doctor said, he feels like we’ve done everything we can to determine what the problem is, but for our sake he hopes another pair of eyes will find the magic bullet. I’m sure that for a doctor it’s hard to hope that you were wrong and that another doctor will solve the problem, even when you’re sure you’ve done everything in your power and doubt that there can be any other answer. That’s humility and love, and that’s why this entire doctor’s staff is so great at what they do.
Obviously, patience and peace have been two of the things I have begged God to give me, and I know that he has because of my response to last week’s news. We still have no indication that there is actually a problem, and we’re going to see another doctor who will not likely have anything to add to that statement. I’ve been waiting for that lack of knowledge to send me into a raging bull state of mind, but I’ve been surprisingly settled with the lack of answers. It felt like mercy to find that although I may not be able to carry a child for no apparent reason, the dream isn’t dead. We had already decided to table any further action, whether it’s IVF or just trying again or adopting, until at least the fall, so this doesn’t change that decision to pause for a while. We’ll go to the new doctor in a few weeks, and we’re investigating adoption agencies and options. We’ll wait, and we’ll know that we have the peace and patience to wait calmly and expectantly for God to direct our next steps.