Growing up, I wanted to be married around the age of twenty-five with kids by the age of thirty. That was the dream, right? Fall in love, get married, have babies, and live in a nice house with a white picketed fence. Well, that was not my story.
I married my husband at the age of thirty-six and became a stepmother with three bonus children. Never in a zillion years did I ever think I would marry someone with children. While I was dating my husband, I always thought about whether I could be a good wife and stepmother since I didn’t birth nor did I have any experience with children. There’s no manual on how to raise a child. The only people that know their children are the ones that raised them, so I had a lot to learn about being a stepmother. The process of adjusting to my new family was not easy for any of us, however with God’s help and the support of family members, we developed and still have a great family bond.
The Lord always knew my desire to have a child. I would always pray for that experience of birthing a child. The dreamer in me wanted the whole amazing experience. I knew it was going to happen, but what I didn’t know was how and when. My husband also knew that I wanted to have another child. In fact, on our very first date, I asked him if he was open to having more children, and being the smart man that he is, he said yes. If he would have said no, that would have been our first and last date. At my age and mindset, I didn’t have time to waste. My biological clock was ticking…
As we tried to conceive, nothing was happening. After a year passed, we decided to see a specialist. It took me a long time to even agree to this because I was like, “come on God, You got this!” I was waiting for that miracle of conception, but it wasn’t happening for me.
In 2010, we visited our first fertility specialist who stated that I had a lot of fibroids and needed a myomectomy to remove them. Once I fully recovered from that procedure, we went back to our specialist to determine what our next steps should be. I just knew I’d be able to conceive now that the fibroids were gone. I just knew he was going to give us the “go ahead and try and again without any assistance from him” speech.
At my post-surgery examination, the doctor found that I was not producing enough eggs. His only suggestion was to have a child via a donor egg. That was NOT what I wanted to hear. I kindly thanked the specialist, telling him that one day I would be pregnant from my own egg. A donor egg was not something I nor my husband were willing to pursue, so I stopped seeing him and decided I was just going to believe God that it would happen in His time, but in my way. I was frustrated for a moment, but still hopeful that it was going to happen my way.
Two years went by and we were still unsuccessful. I had a couple of friends encouraging me to consider in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment, but in my stubbornness, I shunned the idea because I just knew God was going to give me that miracle conception without the help of any doctors.
It was not until I was at church on Impact Giving Sunday in March of 2013 that the song “It’s Working,” by William Murphy was playing and the words of that song were as if God was telling me that it was finally our time to conceive. All I kept hearing was it’s my season for grace and favor. I still didn’t know how it was going to happen, but I knew it was soon, so my level of faith increased even more. Thank you, Lord. By 2014, I was 43 years old, but still believing God that somehow, He was going to do it. Never in my mind did I introduce the thought of it not happening. Was I discouraged at times that it had yet to happen? Absolutely! But I never gave up. I knew it was going to happen. I took God at His Word in Psalms 34:7:
Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
I would have conversations with people that I trusted and who were praying and believing with me. One day while serving, our Pastor asked me if I would consider seeing another specialist. My friend Caroline had seen the same doctor and experienced great success. I had exhausted all my other options and it was then that I decided to release my will to God’s. I talked it over with my husband and we agreed to see Dr. Jung Kyo Choe.
She was one funny lady who got to the point without sugar coating anything, which is exactly what I needed. She told us that my chances may be slim to none because of my age and the age of my eggs, so I would need to get started as soon as possible. And that’s exactly what we did.
First, I had to have a fallopian tube removed along with scar tissue from my earlier myomectomy. I also required a few vaccines in preparation for my IVF cycles. There were many steps we had to take – from insurance approvals to a series of medications where I had to give myself needles daily. It was painful at times, and every single time I had to administer an injection, I called upon the name of Jesus.
I had two cycles of IVF treatments. The one and only egg they retrieved from the first cycle didn’t fertilize. I was a bit disappointed but still hopeful. I reminded myself, This is my season for grace and favor.
Amazingly, only one egg was retrieved during my second round as well. After the procedure, I was in physical agony, but I clearly heard the Lord say, “it’s going to work this time”. I simply responded, “ok God,” but never gave it a second thought because I was consumed by the pain. A few days later in January of 2015, I received a call from the nurse that I indeed was pregnant. I was in shock at first, but then remembered what God said. Talk about feeling grateful, thankful, and joyful – our family was excited about the news. I called, texted, or emailed those who were believing with me, thanking them for their continual prayers, and told them it indeed was our season.
My due date was October 1st, 2015, which happened to be one of our dear friend Assata’s birthdays. I mention her name because not only was she continuously putting my name on her list of prayers for years, but she also accompanied me to one of my surgical procedures. Thank you, Assata! We are forever grateful for your friendship, prayers, and support. She will forever be Hannah’s “Mimi”.
I wanted to wait to know what I was having before choosing a name. After a few weeks, I had to have some bloodwork done. The nurse asked me if we wanted to know the sex, which we did! She told us it was a girl. I laughingly thought about doing her hair, menstrual cycles, attitudes, and all that comes with having girls. I’m sure I too, was a handful growing up.
My husband and our children liked the name Hannah. I was like Hannah? Let me think about it. I prayed and asked God if Hannah was her name. While I was waiting on a response, a nurse taking my blood was named Hannah, and then one day while ordering food, the cashier was named Hannah. Was this a sign? At that time, I didn’t look up what Hannah meant, but after those encounters, I just knew that’s what her name was supposed to be.
About a year later, I happened to look up the meaning of Hannah’s name because I just knew that’s the name the Lord picked out. Wouldn’t you know, her name means grace and favor. So, the lyrics to that song that resonated with me over two years earlier, was confirmation of my divinely ordered journey of pregnancy, down to the very name of our child. I still get chills just thinking about it.
I’ve learned to never doubt God’s ability. Things may not happen the way you anticipate them but take God at His Word. He will do what He said He’ll do but in His time and His way. I did not think I would have a child at 44, but age is nothing to God! Stay full of faith; take care of your body; and keep faithful, trustworthy people around you who will pray for you and with you. You don’t need to share your journey with everyone.
God is not a respecter of persons, which means He doesn’t only do great things only for certain people.If He, did it for me, He’ll do it for you. I encourage you to just BELIEVE!
PRAYER FOR MOMS:
Father, first and foremost I thank You for giving me life and purpose. I come before You in prayer for every woman who is experiencing infertility challenges. Lord, You do not show favoritism so as You were with me during my journey, lead and guide each woman, giving them the level of faith and patience needed to walk through their journey. When decisions need to be made, show them exactly what needs to be done giving them peace of mind every step of the way.
Lord, help each woman not to get discouraged if plans don’t work out the way they thought it would but to trust You, knowing Your timing is the best.
Father, help them to continually stay in fellowship with You; encouraged, having a heart of thankfulness and gratitude for who You are, knowing that You indeed have everything under control.
In Jesus Name, Amen
Moms Night In Conversation with Kelly Redman
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