Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Faces of Infertility: Joni's story

In celebration of "National Infertility Awareness Week", I am featuring stories of infertility this week. These are all guest posts that I hope will put a real face on this devastating disease. Please spread the word and share these stories!

My journey with infertility took place more than thirty years ago. A time before the internet allowed women to research for answers regarding pregnancies or receive support when a miscarriage ended hopes and dreams. My story benefits from the passage of time because I can reflect back on how God’s plan developed through my difficult experiences and how He worked everything out for good. My first pregnancy was an exciting time. I had a sister and a sister-in-law who were also pregnant. I never even considered that anything could go wrong especially after I had surpassed the 12 week milestone. However, after one particular weekend of virtually feeling no baby movement, I lost a little boy. I was about four and a half months pregnant and miscarried at home. I can vividly recall every detail of that devastating time. My mom came down from Wisconsin to be with me. Many well-meaning people sent flowers, but I was left with the loss. I recall waking up in the morning and for a split second all was well. Then the reality of of what had occurred sank in and I felt that I couldn’t, nor did I desire to face the day. My mom strongly encouraged me to get up each day. I was the only person in my circle of friends who had suffered a miscarriage, and I know that they did not know how to deal with me or what to make of my situation. Since no one had dealt with infertility -- not a word in anyone’s vocabulary -- no one could relate.

Wendi with her Dad and Mom, George and Diane, as a baby.

One of my good friends at that time was Wendi’s mom, Diane. Within a few months, I became pregnant again, but miscarried after two months. My third pregnancy was going very well and I was within three weeks of my due date. At that time my water broke and I expectantly headed to the hospital, anxious to hold our new baby in my arms. When the nurse was checking for the baby’s heartbeat, she couldn’t find it. She searched for about 20 minutes but to no avail. There wasn’t any heartbeat. My baby had died. I delivered a little boy sometime later. Stillborn!! I begged my doctor to allow me to go home rather than endure being on the maternity floor and he agreed. My mom came down again ... there were flowers again. I recall that it took some time before I felt I could leave the security of my home. What if I ran into someone who wasn’t aware that I had lost my baby? My family questioned me regarding a funeral for the baby, but I was emotionally unable to go there. For my fourth and final pregnancy, I saw a high-risk specialist who was affiliated with Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. I prayed so hard for this child. Seven months into the pregnancy, during a scheduled stress test, my doctor explained that the baby’s heartbeat was failing, and an emergency C-section was performed. Brant James was born at 2 lb. 2 oz. He went down to 1 lb. 10 oz.

Holding Brant

From the beginning I knew that Brant was going to have difficulties. We were able to take him home when he was three months old and weighed in at 4 lbs. Brant did have major difficulties. He was profoundly retarded to the degree that he never walked, talked, or really knew who we were. He was difficult to feed and only a few people could handle this task. Wendi was one of these people and she certainly was the youngest. Wendi was about eleven or twelve when she began to help me by babysitting for Brant. What a gift from God!!

When Brant was seven and a half years old, God answered my prayer for the possibility of adopting a baby. We had an appointment with an attorney on a Wednesday afternoon in November, and Brant became ill and died four days later.

Almost six months to that day, God gave us Brianna. I often remark that it was God’s plan all along for Brianna to become our daughter. God also intended from the beginning that our lives would intertwine with Wendi and John to the extent that Brianna would give birth to Isaac and Isaac would become their son. God is faithful and He is good!!!


Anonymous said...

JONI -thank you for sharing this...your joy and love you show so many is such an encouragement to my heart and faith...Thank you for reminding us of God's goodness from where you are now -but helping us feel what someone might be going thru now and how we might love, deeper than sending flowers...I can see that God's love never fails, tho we have sorrow and questions... and He cares for us tenderly even in the midst of our pains..and as we wait and wonder... -I believe even know He holds you specially close to His day you will hold those precious ones in your arms..that is our hope in Christ and in the Resurrection... ...How thankful I am with you that He brought Wendi into your lives...and that thru them, I could know you and be strengthened in my life thru your sharing. God bless you dear Joanie...

Anonymous said...

oops -i meant to sign Janet K

Anonymous said...

Joni - you are so amazing! I cried when I read this. I'm so thankful that you are so linked to this awesome family in so many ways!! God is so good!!

Julie Edgar

TAV said...

I am always amazed when I hear your story. You are an amazing, strong person. tara

AW said...

You are such a precious and amazing woman Joni. I am blessed to have just been a witness to Bri and Wendi's story...but it's spoken deeply into my heart. Love you lady!!!