Jalina (USA): Following the signs to a King
My fertility journey began at age 15. No, that’s not when I began TTC. That’s the age at which I prayed to God – if there was a God – to be patient with me as I explored my faith. It’s also the age at which I had a series of dreams about “the man I was supposed to be with.” The first one ended with him saying, “My name is“ – then I suddenly awoke. Why did the dream end like that? I got the sense that I had already met him and therefore knew his name. I sensed his name started with A, but wasn’t Adam.
At 18, weeks before starting X-ray school, Anthony messaged me. Anthony with an A, whom I had met when I was 14 years old.
We began communicating regularly. I fell in love with him, but more than that, he inspired me to be better. We had similar interests, values, and life goals. We wanted to have children and give them more than the broken homes from which we came. I wanted to experience life’s greatest joys and deepest sorrows with him.
In October 2011, at age 20, I walked the sands of a Southern California beach to the tune of Blake Shelton’s “God Gave Me You” in a surprise wedding ceremony Anthony planned for me.
Sixteen months later, we decided we were ready for children. I didn’t want to wait until after his deployment, scheduled for August. I waited anyway. We didn’t conceive in the six months before he deployed, and we didn’t conceive in the eight months he was gone. Six months after his homecoming, we pursued initial fertility workups. The diagnosis: male factor infertility.
My OB handed me the business card of a fertility clinic he highly recommended. I smiled, nodded, and shoved the card into my back pocket as he talked them up.
I wasn’t going to go. I had watched too many medical documentaries about the man who woke from a coma, the woman who conceived naturally, the boy who learned to walk again after doctors said it was impossible. I refused to hear anyone tell me that I would never conceive on my own.
I googled at every waking moment. We switched to whole foods. We eliminated xenoestrogens. We exercised. He iced his testicles. I learned about essential oils, breastfeeding, and cloth diapering. I switched to whole milk, then denounced dairy altogether. Eventually, I read about Softcups for conception.
After 2.5 years, we conceived during a cycle that began on Mother’s Day. We got our BFP on Father’s Day. My due date was on Valentine’s Day. The timing was impeccable. This baby was meant to be.
That baby was not meant to be. I bled, clotted, and cramped. I curled up on the couch for two weeks, Netflix playing in the background of my devastation.
By the next month, infertility and his transition out of the Marine Corps broke my husband. He couldn’t provide for his family or impregnate his wife. He had lost his identity and his purpose. He questioned his desire to have children. He thought I deserved better. He left.
I couldn’t move, speak, breathe, eat, sleep, or otherwise function. I could only watch movies in bed next to my best friend and pray. In desperation, I opened my bible. Over and over I read, “I do not consider these present sufferings worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed to us” Romans 8:18. Collapse. Cry. Pray. Read. Repeat.
Late one night, Anthony’s boss called to have me pick up Anthony from his house. I had never seen Anthony this drunk or disheveled. I situated him in the back seat and started the car. “God Gave Me You” began playing on the radio from the beginning, the moment I turned the ignition.
Obeying this undeniable sign to save my marriage, I trusted Anthony would come back to me. He returned four weeks after he left. After apologies, explanations, discussions, time, and healing, we decided to resume TTC.
At work one day in November 2015, I passed by a magazine lying on a counter. On the cover was one of the Duggar daughters, glowing as she held her new baby. Instinctively, I turned the magazine face-down and continued walking. I took three steps and stopped. I wanted to be a mother so badly, and this was not an example I would want to set for my children. I turned the magazine face-up, studied the picture of the happy new family, and mustered a few moments of genuine joy for them.
In that moment, I was pregnant and didn’t know it. The same month I finally earned health benefits after three years at my place of employment, I had conceived my first son. He was born eight days past his due date in August 2016, which moved my maternity leave return date from Christmas Eve to New Years Day.
By this time, I could not deny the existence of God, His perfect timing, or His work through our infertility struggle. When he was seven weeks old, we dedicated our son to Christ. My husband and I were baptized ourselves in April 2017.
When our son was 10 months old, we started trying for another baby, knowing it could take another few years. It didn’t. We conceived the second month with Softcups, then miscarried, then conceived again 23 days later.
God turned a second devastating miscarriage into a chance at redemption for Anthony to better express his grief. He turned it into an extra month for us to relocate cross-country to Upstate NY, where the lower cost of living allowed me to quit my career and be home with our sons.
Infertility has forever changed me. I know more, have more, feel more than I ever would without struggling to conceive.
Now I am following my calling to share my story of infertility and all the reasons I have come to consider it the best struggle I never chose.
To follow Jalina, please visit her at www.oneofthreekings.com