Shay's Story

Today's story is from Shay Shull, also known as Mix and Match Mama. Shay is a foodie and family/lifestyle blogger, and is sister to Bachelor Sean Lowe. A friend directed me to Shay's story a few months ago, and Shay has graciously agreed to share her story on The Baby Wait today. In addition to her Infertility story below, Shay also writes about the newest addition to their family, sweet Ashby, here. Thank you so much, Shay!

Andrew and I had been married for several years, we had a puppy, a new house, two good cars, a savings account, and our own business going...we were ready for that next chapter in our lives to begin...parenthood.  It was time to become parents...or so we thought.

After 5 months of not getting pregnant, I went to see my doctor for some answers.  I remember leaving that appointment and calling my mom in the car.  I was 25 years old and the doctor had just told me that he wasn't sure if I would ever be able to get pregnant.  I cried and cried and cried.

My doctor didn't mess around with mild fertility drugs...he pulled out the big guns right away.  From that point on, I began taking 2 types of fertility drugs a day plus Andrew would give me 4 shots in my stomach daily.  Between the pills and the injectable medicines, they were trying to get my body capable of being pregnant.  A few months passed and we decided it was time to try an Intrauterine Insemination (IUI).  I had the IUI in mid-May and on Memorial Day 2007, I found out I was pregnant.  Being the big-mouthed, never holds anything in kind of gal I am, I immediately told my entire family and all of my friends.  We went to the doctor, everything looked great and my pregnancy was in full swing.  I had horrible 24/7 morning sickness almost immediately and had every symptom in the book of a healthy pregnant gal.  

On June 25, I went in for my routine checkup (I was almost 9 weeks pregnant) and they couldn't find the baby's heartbeat.  I was devastated.  The baby was gone.  My D&C was scheduled for the next morning and that was it...I wasn't pregnant any more.

Between that day and December 8, I would go on to have 5 more IUIs...all failures.  I took so many hormones, so many pills, had so many needles jabbed into my stomach...I was a mess.  Finally, on December 16, when we received confirmation that my 6th IUI had failed, we decided to proceed with Invitrofertilization (IVF).  We filled out the paperwork, paid the money, had the affidavits signed and picked mid-January to start.  It was Christmas, and all I wanted to do was enjoy the holiday season minus the pills and needles to the belly.

This is us in Chicago during that month...we went Christmas shopping and tried to forget our sadness.

This is us in Chicago during that month...we went Christmas shopping and tried to forget our sadness.

On January 16, 2008, I was ready to start the IVF procedure.  My doctor called and said for me to take a routine pregnancy test before I began my meds (something I did frequently...they wouldn't write a prescription until they knew for sure I wasn't pregnant).  During my lunch break, I grabbed a pregnancy test and decided to take it at work so that my doctor would call in my prescription.  I took it...and it was positive.

I remember staring at it for a long, long time.  Fortunately, Andrew and I worked together, so I went into his office and told him my pregnancy test was positive.  Being the typical cynical Shull that he is, he said it was probably wrong.  I called my fertility doctor and told them what happened...they asked me to come in for blood work right then and low and behold...I was actually pregnant.

After thousands of dollars, 6 IUIs, a miscarriage, a D&C and more drugs then I'll ever be able to count, I became pregnant without any of it.  God likes to show his glory and might on his own terms in unexpected ways...he gave me my miracle baby.  And on September 15, 2008, I gave birth to Kensington Kate.

Kensington was worth the wait!

Kensington was worth the wait!

Then...God thought he would really make his point clear, and on June 5, 2009, I found out I was pregnant again...and I had a 6 month old.  

Smith William arrived on January 18, 2010 and was my best surprise!

Smith William arrived on January 18, 2010 and was my best surprise!

After all of that money...all of that trying...all of the doctor appointments...all of the prayers...God gave me two freebies.  Kensington and Smith came on the Lord's terms...on the Lord's time...and it was exactly what I needed.  I just didn't know it before.

I am a big believer in fertility doctors...please don't get me wrong.  I was blessed with wonderful doctors that loved me and cared for me and did everything they could to try and help me get pregnant.  But the bottom line is...they could use all of the medicine in the world and create the absolute most perfect conditions for conception but unless God wants to bring a human being into this world, nothing they do can create a baby.

Even though I'm five years past infertility, I still have a huge heart for moms that can't conceive.  I don't care whether you're trying to have your first or your fifth...whether you've been trying two months or 10 years, I have an aching heart for you.  I pray for each and every woman that emails me about their struggles.  From the bottom of my heart, I am so sorry for your pain.  I wish I could tell you that one day, you'll conceive a child but I just can't.  What I can tell you is that God is in control...the Lord loves you so much...and he has never left the plan for your life.  Trust in the Lord and he will bless you more than you could ever know. 

My two favorite scriptures are Jeremiah 29: 11, "For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord.  Plans to prosper you and not harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future.".  And I also love the Message's version of Ephesians 3:20. "God can do anything, you know-far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams."

Four wonderful things happened to me through infertility...
The first two are of course, Kensington and Smith.  Without my struggles, they wouldn't have arrived.

My third blessing was my dear friend Erika.  She and I bonded over the fact that we were both having fertility issues.  Our mutual friend Whitney told us that we should be friends because we were both trying to get pregnant and having issues...well, we bonded over our sorrows and then the Lord blessed us times four!  Within 18 months, we had 4 kids!  Without my fertility struggles, I wouldn't be as close to Erika as I am today...and my kids wouldn't be the same ages as her sweet kids.  I am so thankful that infertility brought me Erika.

And finally, if it weren't for my struggles, I wouldn't be able to relate to so many of you.  I count you in my blessings and am praying for you.  Thank you for sharing with me and trusting me with your struggles.  I love you all!