I am, I have recently decided, a collector of experiences. I do not collect knick-knacks or china, but I want to experience things, which I line up in the proverbial shadowbox in my head. Eating insects? hmm - we'll put that one on the shelf next to swimming in the amazon and making myself a dress. During the first year of med school, I went swimming in the ocean every month of the year, just so I could say I had.
I think maybe that is at least part of the pain of infertility. Not knowing if I'll ever experience pregnancy. Or giving birth. Or feeling the flutters inside you that are another human being, moving around. I hear my patients talk about it, my friends describe but, but I want to actually live through it. It's like I have this checklist in my mind that I am slowly making progress on - going to med school - check, completing a triathlon - check, getting a successful intubation - check, and then I come to "have a baby" and it feels like I can't move past it.
Instead, I add a few unexpected things to my list:
appointments with specialists
And yet, I know deep down that these things, though unwanted, are still useful and even beneficial me. I strongly believe they have made me a better doctor. Even today I was able to give a lecture about infertility, its treatments, work-up, and causes to all the other doctors at my program, giving them just a glimpse of what this is like from a patient's perspective. And I know that all these things have instilled in me more prayer, more faith, and more love for a God who is enough and has sustained me through all of it.
I am reminded of this bible verse: Romans 8:32
"He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?"
I am suddenly not so sure why I worry so much about my checklist. I've already been given God's own son - and even have a promise to be given "all things." I know that this doesn't necessarily include pregnancy, but it is good to be reminded constantly of the gracious God we serve. And that whatever he brings my way will be wonderful. Even if I don't realize it at first.