When Worry Steals My Joy

The past several months have been quite a wild ride, as partially evidenced by my complete lack of writing. But there’s one post that I’ve had in my head for months & have struggled to make the time to get it “on paper”. It’s overdue and it’s now time.

I will admit that there have been plenty of times over the last many months where I have struggled to maintain my joy at the complete miracle that God has blessed us with. Consuming thoughts about logistics and “how in the world are we going to make this work” take over and won’t let go.

The day we went to the doctor to find out how many babies we had growing inside of me was, of course, quite memorable. We had chosen to put in two embryos in that IVF round and we knew we were around 7 weeks pregnant, but we didn’t know with how many. So as the ultrasound tech is performing the scan with our doctor watching over the monitor, they find a cute little gummy bear looking thing, complete with a tiny, little heart beat. Wow! They’re checking it out and making sure everything looks good, and I get up the courage to ask “are we just seeing one?” “Looks like it” our doctor replies. Cason & I exchange smiles, and probably semi-relieved glances… Amazing. Our prayers have been answered… But then… she moves the wand in a bit of a different direction… “Oh, there’s the other one!“…

We were, of course, overjoyed that we were finally pregnant. Especially after what felt like such a challenging journey. And we were obviously totally aware that twins was a very real possibility (though the percentages weren’t nearly as high as you might think).

But what happened in that moment, and for weeks afterwards (and still often creeps in now), were the overwhelming thoughts that go something like this:

  • Twins? I don’t know how to care for 1 baby; how are we going to care for 2?
  • Can I even hold 2 babies at once?
  • How does feeding/sleeping/loading them in a car/going anywhere work?
  • Do you even know how much daycare for 2 costs? How in the world are we going to make that work? Will we both continue to work? Does that even make any sense at all? Could we even attempt to make ends meet in any of these scenarios?
  • How much more stuff do we need to buy when it’s twins? 2 cribs, 2 car seats, a double stroller…? How many diapers and bottles and wipes? How in the world are we going to be able to afford all of that?
  • Where will we live? How can we fit 2 cribs and all of that baby stuff in the same room?

I became so consumed with trying to figure out the logistics and the life scenarios and the impending costs, that it kind of consumed my thoughts (and my sleep). The worry would steal my joy. I’m slightly ashamed to say that in a time where we should have felt on top of the world and praising God continually for what He had done for us, I was bogged down with worry and anxiety. And I feel so guilty about that too. After the journey we went through, and all of the couples I know who are going through similar struggles and would do anything to be pregnant.

But that’s our human frailty isn’t it? And a universal problem that we all struggle with a various times. To get consumed with doubt and anxiety over how things will work out. To have a really hard time trusting that God has us right where He wants us and that He WILL supply all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19).

And then of course there’s Matthew 6:25-34 about not worrying about tomorrow…

Here we are months later and we’ve seen God answer the “where will we live” question. He has blessed us with a beautiful townhouse in a great location and we praise Him for that. And we can say out loud that we know He will provide for the rest of our needs in due time. That’s not to say it won’t be hard, but He will take care of us, and in the process, He’ll continue to sanctify us and keep us on our knees in dependence on Him. That’s the beauty in the brokenness.

Another way to help me push back those overwhelming thoughts of anxiety and worry is to recount the tremendous and miraculous ways that God has provided for us in the past. For anyone facing a similar struggle with worry (no matter what the circumstances are), I encourage you to do the same.

Psalm 9:1 says: “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.

You can stop reading here and go recount some of the amazing ways God has showed up for you, or if you want, you’re welcome to continue reading one of those stories that I hold onto now for us.

We know that God had His hand in every step of this journey for us – in bringing us our precious twin girls. One of those stories that I need to continually remember is in how He provided for us financially through it all. Infertility treatments are quite expensive and there aren’t many insurance plans that cover everything.

The cadillac of insurance plans that we switched to covered a good portion of the procedures, office visits, and super basic medications like the 1 antibiotic pill you take the night before a procedure. However, it covered nothing of the really expensive injection medications, of which you need a lot of in one round of IVF. One injection can cost hundreds of dollars and you’re often doing multiple injections every day for about 10-14 days in a row. It’s like liquid gold going into your body every time. Talk about pressure!

We went through 2 partial IVF rounds (that we stopped mid-cycle because I wasn’t responding well enough) and 2 full IVF rounds. That’s A LOT of shots. We purchased a big batch to start with. Our nurse at the clinic would then occasionally give us a couple here or there that someone else had turned in because that person had success and didn’t need them anymore.

As we were in our 2nd or 3rd round and were about 48 hours away from having to order another really large, really expensive batch of shots, our miracle happened…

A little backstory: Emily & I were in the same church youth group but hadn’t seen each other for around 10 years. My mom & Emily’s mom currently work at the same elementary school. As people often do, my parents & her parents would often say “we should get together for dinner” and then not actually make it happen. One day they finally set a date.

Emily was supposed to be out with a friend that night, but the friend uncharacteristically canceled on her, so she ended up being home too on that particular evening and joined them for dinner.

I come up in conversation (“how’s Karen doing these day”). Emily works at the main office of the clinic we’re going to and emphatically tells my mom to have me contact her. That she’d love to help us in any way that she can. Specifically to have me tell her which medications I’m on.

Mom delivers the message to me that night or the next morning. I send Emily an email, including the list of medications. Within an hour she writes me back and essentially says – ok, I’ve already rounded up 4 of these, 5 of these, and 5 of these for you. Give me a little more time and I can get some more. I read this at work and tears just start streaming down my face.

Her office is a good hour from me, without accounting for DC area traffic. How am I going to get these from her before the weekend when we need them? It just so happens that at IJM, we’re having our quarterly prayer retreat that Friday at a church halfway between where I live and she works. And we always end prayer retreats by 3pm. Her office closes at 4:00.

After the retreat wraps up, I make a dash for it (rush hour starts at 3 on Fridays!) and get to her office right before closing time. Like my fertility angel from above, she comes out carrying 3 large bags full of medication to just give us. Thousands of dollars worth. The tears go streaming down my face again.

I haven’t seen Emily in about 10 years. Our parents just happened to finally make their dinner plans for that particular week. Emily just happened to be home that night. It just so happened to be about 48 hours before I would have to place an order for more shots and I just happened to have our prayer retreat that Friday, allowing me to get to her in time.

Only God.

That batch of shots, and another one smaller batch she got us later, allowed us to get through the next rounds that we did. After we found out we were pregnant we even had some left over and were able to bless another friend by passing them on to her!

God used Emily as a big piece of our miracle, and even as a piece of someone else’s!

So this is a story for us to remember. To lean on when the worry creeps in. It’s a big part of how God has brought us this far. He provided, through Emily, for us during a very challenging time. He made it possible to get our girls. We must trust that He will continue to provide, for all of our needs.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

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