The Evaluation

After a few years of frustration, we were finally seeing a specialist. This was going to give us all the answers, and help us finally start our family. I think we were both in denial of anything serious being wrong. Or maybe it is better to say that we trusted in God’s plan, but thought His plan and our plan were going to be similar…eventually.

Since 2018, I had three miscarriages and no answers as to why it was happening. There is a process for doctors to follow.

First miscarriage; it happens to 1-in-4 women – no big deal. Keep trying.

Second miscarriage; still pretty common, but let’s do some blood work just in case.

Third miscarriage; big warning sign. Something’s wrong.

From 2018 to 2021 we both had blood tests, exams, analysis’, etc completed that all came back clear. We were told we were healthy young adults, and we shouldn’t worry. So why was this happening?

After the third miscarriage, our gynecologist referred us to a specialist. Our doctor had run all the tests for the most common causes of miscarriages, and it was time to seek outside help.

Specialists are not cheap, and I knew that going into it. We had to pay $250 cash up front to even make an appointment to meet the specialist. Just to tell him our story would cost hundreds of dollars. My mind pauses here to consider what this means.

My husband and I have both been on many missionary trips, and have spent a fair amount of time working with/praying for/loving on people that live on maybe $2 a day as their income. My first thought in this moment then was, “Wow. We are blessed to even be able to be in this scenario, and be able to pay for this visit.” Not only was I thinking about the third-world countries we have been to, but also the millions of Americans who wouldn’t be able to afford this. So naturally my second thought was something like, “This is so unfair. How ridiculous of them to charge so much for people just wanting to start a family. Should we even spend our money on this?”

After prayer and consideration, we met with the specialist over a Zoom call. (Or another app like Zoom.) Our first step would be to complete our “evaluation”. Our regular doctor had almost given us all the tests, however, we would just need to do genetic testing to make sure everything was normal. At this point, it seemed like our miscarriages were just the luck of the draw. After the genetic testing came back clear, we would take extra precautions to make sure our next pregnancy went full term. Extra progesterone, estrogen boosts, things like that. So we made an appointment for the genetic testing.

Another few hundred dollars. More thoughts of guilt that we are in a financial place to take these steps. More anger towards the medical industry for charging outrageous prices. Then two weeks later we received our results.

I still do not understand everything the specialist told us completely because it was a lot to take in over the phone. But there were two main things we learned:

#1. We can’t have kids. Naturally, at least. We are in the rare scenario of being carriers of the cystic fibrosis gene. There are different types of these genes I believe, but overall, 1 in 25 people carry the gene. Now if only my husband or myself were a carrier, they told us we could continue trying to have kids. The chances of our kids having CF would be low. However, somehow we are both carriers of this gene. Which means that our kids would have a high chance of being born with CF. Before I even had time to look into what CF was, the doctor told us that we should not continue trying to have children naturally. For the rest of our lives, we needed to use protection. I never thought that would be a necessary step with my husband.

He told us that our options for a family would be IVF or adoption. He told us IVF could cost in the $25,000 range. He stopped there telling us that this was in a whole other ball park then what we originally were thinking, and we would need to set up a different consultation meeting if this was the route we wanted to go. He wanted to give us time to process this as well as look into if insurance would cover any of it. Then he told us the other bit of information:

#2. This had nothing to do with the three miscarriages. The miscarriages were most likely a chromosomal abnormality, as are most miscarriages.

“Of all miscarriage causes, chromosomal abnormalities are considered to be the most frequent explanation for why miscarriages happen. Estimates suggest that anywhere between 50 and 70% of all miscarriages are caused by random genetic problems in the developing baby. In most instances, scientists do not know the exact reason why chromosomal abnormalities lead to miscarriage. One theory is that the mother’s immune system recognizes a problem in the developing baby’s genes and thus ends the pregnancy.”

So in my mind, I am thinking that even if we do IVF, is there something else that could still go wrong? The doctor told us that there is no specific reason to believe I would have another miscarriage, but after three I am significantly worried about spending $25,000 with those odds. My other thought, which my husband shared, was that maybe these miscarriages happened by the grace of God. Maybe while I was desperately praying for these pregnancies to grow full term, God was showing us kindness, knowing what our children would go through, and preventing that suffering. I know that there are people that live with CF and have good, functional lives, but I also know there are different types of this gene and others do not live so long.

So that is where we are at. We are processing this news, and praying for the right choice to make. For the third time, I am stuck thinking that I should not spend thousands of dollars on the chance of a child when there are children who need homes already alive. I am stuck thinking how our friends in Liberia would never be able to have IVF as an option. I am stuck thinking what thousands of dollars could do for God’s kingdom. But on the other side, I know that my money is God’s money, and all that I have is what He has blessed me with. I know that my husband and I desire to have a child that we made. A child with his eyes, or my quirks. A child that looks just like his dad or mom. I know that I would love to feel our child kick, or hear our baby’s heartbeat for the first time inside my womb.

I don’t know what our next steps are or what God has planned for us, but I do know that we will never have that “accidental” child that was never planned. That sounds odd to some I’m sure, but to me it always sounded like a child born out of love and passion with that person that God put into their lives. I know that if we ever want a large family it will cost thousands of dollars of planning and paperwork. It will be much more formal than I ever imagined it. More importantly though, I know that through all of the heartache that God is good. I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. God did not make a mistake when He made me or my husband, and He did not make a mistake when He put us together. This walk can be hard, but God is with me through it all and His will is perfect.

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