By: Natalie Johnson
Our Infertility Story
For the past 5 years my husband and I have come to realize that infertility can drain you in every.single.way. Every story is different, but all can have seem to have a constant theme of being full of hope but then, somewhere along the line, a proverbial plug is pulled out to leave a feeling of absolute emptiness. You have to refill and start again.
When the plug is pulled out over, and over, and over… it just gets exhausting. What kept us going was our faith that we can trust God’s timing, our friends and family who believed in us, and ultimately a seed that had been planted. We HAD to be parents.
If you’re reading this, then you probably know what I mean. You can’t go through a day or night without dreaming about your child. The best word to describe the feeling is ‘ache’, which can be defined as a ‘continuous or prolonged dull pain; an emotion experienced with painful or bittersweet intensity.’
The Reader’s Digest version of the past 5 years is that I had cancer in the early 90’s. I was 4 years old and there was a tumor fingered through my pelvis. When a child received radiation back then, it stunted the growth of that specific site. I have been 24 years cancer free (YAY!) but my hips and internal organs are not as developed as they should be. I carried two healthy babies, but delivered them early because my uterus would not stretch. I would have done it over and over but I hemorrhaged SO much each time that my doctor told me if it happened again, I would get a hysterectomy at age 25.
Door #1 to close: carrying my own baby.
Thankfully, my awesome friend Katie, who I will always think is an angel, offered to carry our babies. We took out a loan and went through the process of surrogacy. It was SO out of my comfort zone but seemed to make sense. It was the safest way to have a baby and heck, we could even have twins! We did it two times. Even though everything was right, for whatever reason, it did not work. We had help from a lot of people to raise money and more than ever, we felt embarrassed and mad.
Door #2 to close: having a baby that was biologically ours.
A year later, we met two little twins at our church who were in the foster care system. Though we didn’t know the foster family well, they invited us to the boy and girl’s first birthday party. We went. We fell in love. That family has become some of our dearest friends. To make a long story short, we got our license, thought they could someday be ours…and it just didn’t happen.
Door #3 to close: our dream kids.
I went to counseling. I was a mess. I would think, “I”m never going to have kids’, ‘It’ll just be us and I have to be ok with that’, ‘God, you’re heartless.’
I still go to counseling. It is one of the best decisions I made in this process.
Last summer, my friend Katie called me after a counseling visit and left a voicemail saying, “I know you’re done, but call me and see what you think”. Because of all the connections we made through fundraising surrogacy, a friend of a friend connected us to our girls, Jaedyn and Neila. In one last ditch effort of faith, we met them on my husband’s 30th birthday. In September we were chosen out of 12 other families to adopt them. Every detail about them are things I cried and screamed about in prayers for years, even down to their blue eyes and personality quirks. A year later, I am writing this after tucking them into bed. I am so grateful we kept going.
Don’t give up. Push through. You never know what you’re life could look like in a year. In our story, each painful step had to happen in order that we would have our girls. I encourage you to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
About Natalie Johnson
Natalie is a dental hygienist and pastor’s wife. She and her husband, (and now 2 daughters!), live in Kansas. Natalie has been sharing her story for the past five years to open the conversation about infertility and bring hope to other families who struggle.