This story is simply beautiful.
Eric and Shelly have been married since 1996. They started trying in 1998 to build their family. But as so many of these stories go, it didn't work as they'd planned. They tried to conceive naturally for three years without success. That's when they decided to get some help from a fertility doctor.
The doctor recommended IUI (intrauterine insemination). The first attempt failed, so six months later, they tried again. On the second attempt they became pregnant with twins. Sadly though, at 11 weeks, they lost one of the twins. It wasn't the end and through this pregnancy they had their oldest child, Maddie. They were overjoyed to have a healthy child but with the struggle to have her, they wondered if they'd be a family with one child.
They went for another IUI sometime later but the 3rd attempt failed. "It was difficult to be around others who were getting pregnant so easily", Shelly says. It's a battle between what you want to do and what your heart feels.
Around this time Shelly began dealing with an autoimmune condition called Interstitial Cystitis (IC). Dealing with an autoimmune disease is enough as it is, but during this time they found out she was pregnant with a non-viable pregnancy and lost that child, as well. A year later though, they found out they were pregnant with Lily, naturally. She was also healed from IC.
During the time between their second child, Lily, and their third, Evan, they lost two more babies. With the pain from all of these losses, they had decided that if they weren't pregnant with a viable pregnancy at the end of the year, they would just stop and have two children. At the time of this decision, Shelly believes they were already pregnant with Evan.
Shelly says, "I've enjoyed them being spaced out because I got to be a mom for each child." There are certainly benefits to having that space in there. Maddie and Lily are four years apart and Lily and Evan are three years apart.
In these years of trials and joys, and pain, waiting, loss, and victory, God was helping them to rely on Him and not be self-sufficient. They had faith it would happen, they just weren't sure how it would happen.
I asked Eric what was the hardest thing for him as the husband, the protector of his wife, he replied, "Watching Shelly go through that because she felt the emotions so much more." He felt the emptiness but struggled with his wife's hurts.
When I asked them about what they learned during this time Shelly told me, "God is showing her that there's something good in the valley." Oh this is so good! I wholeheartedly agree with her. I remember from my days waiting for Finn, in the valley, there was so much good there. It's not about the end result, it's about the journey. So often we want to try and do it ourselves, make things happen. But we need to learn to rely on God, to find that communication with Him, the still small voice. He'll come through. He knows your heart.
I asked Shelly and Eric what they might say to someone going through this journey right now, and this is their message:
Walk closely with Him. We really believe that God will give you the desires of your heart, but it may not look the way you thought it would. Stay in tune with him while he gives you this desire. He has a plan and is faithful to fulfill it.
Check out their beautiful family now...