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Not a Baby Story: Brian & Jen Edition

The day we met Brian and Jen, my husband put his foot in his mouth; making an offhand joke about the two of us struggling to have kids (an issue not yet on our radar). Turns out they had been trying for several years. But thankfully, since our friends have no memory of the incident, they don’t hold it against us.

It was 1999. Brian and Jen met in high school. Before they had even been dating a full year, Brian told Jen he was going to marry her someday.

Losing his dad at age 13 sparked a longing within Brian to be a dad. So early on, it was no surprise to hear him joke with Jen about having three or four kids.

When the pair married in 2006, they decided to wait a year before attempting to re-spawn. This January will mark the fifth year of their unsuccessful attempts. When Jen compares the time to a roller coaster ride, she’s not kidding. At first, the problem seemed to be on Brian’s shoulders. His were the test results to come back abnormal. He endured the internal agony accompanying the knowledge that he was unable to get his wife pregnant.

But all that changed on June 12, 2009. Brian and Jen each had an appointment with a different infertility specialist in a different city. Brian found out he was fine. Jen’s results came back right away too. Nonchalantly, Jen’s doctor turned the monitor screen toward her and said, “Your fallopian tubes are completely blocked and you’ll never be able to conceive naturally.” It was Jen’s turn to grieve.

Almost a year-to-the-day later, in June 2010, Jen went under the knife for exploratory surgery. When she came to, she could tell Brian had been crying. But the news was good. The doctors discovered that her fallopian tubes were completely open. The couple was told to go home and have fun.

And fun they’ve definitely had. But now, two and a half years later, they remain childless. They’ve seen a total of six different doctors/fertility specialists and heard many contrary opinions. Jen told me the last five years feel somewhat akin to a death. “You go through different emotions like denial, grief, confusion, shame, being pissed off at God . . . I mean, He could snap His fingers and we could be pregnant. But in my first month of trying, I started praying for God’s perfect will, not His permissive will.” She paused for a long moment before completing her thoughts. “I think we have good days and we have bad days. . . . But overall, God has totally sustained us.”

This past year, a group of high school girls stayed the night at Brian and Jen’s house. When asked about the most difficult thing she’d ever had to go through, Jen shared her infertility story. A 16-year-old girl piped up and said, “But Jen, you realize if you had a newborn, we wouldn’t be here now.”

Brian and Jen know their story is only a part of the big picture.

An aside: Brian & Jen just moved from Myrtle Beach, SC to Chesapeake Beach, MD, where Brian is on staff at Chesapeake Church. Jen is a Regional Director at CallSource. And Grey is the furry one on the left. Currently, Brian and Jen are giving the fertility meds a break. When asked about their next steps, Jen said, “Adoption or IUI are still possible. We could adopt, but we’ve been together since we were 16, and it would be awesome to have a piece of each other in a child.” I completely understand her sentiment.

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  1. Terri Cox

    I so understand the longing to deepen your lives and relationships by raising a family. I was just shy of 36 when my son was born and 39 before I had my daughter; there were so many tearful days and nights of questioning and longing that led to that point. But now, 16 years later, because we have two “extra” children along with our own two teens, I am almost embarrassed to admit how little I knew about what it feels like to adopt or foster a child. After almost four years with one and two with the other, there is no difference in my heart or theirs. We are all as tightly bound to each other as possible. I pray that Brian and Jen are given a peace that comes from knowing God loves them and has a plan. I pray that that plan includes more young people than they could have hoped for– whether biological, adopted, fostered, or even youth group kids placed in their lives for a reason. Reading about you two couples touches me deeply. Don’t lose heart!

    • beth

      Thank you for sharing Terri. And not that this has anything to do with what you wrote, but you seriously don’t age a bit.

  2. Jeana Anderson

    We love you guys so much. I know it is hard to share your story but I hope it is also cathartic. If there is ANYTHING I can ever do for you…I am here!

  3. Kelly Garcia

    Six months ago I had the opportunity to experience the birth of my daughter, Jen and Brian’s niece. My little Ava is God’s greatest gift and my life, and I would want nothing more, but for my sister to have the same opportunity. I pray everyday that God has a plan for my sister and brother in law to experience bringing a child into this world. They are such good people and always do good for others that I hope God will give them this gift.

    • beth

      I couldn’t agree with you more Kelly! I’m glad Jen has a sweet sister like you in her life.

  4. Beulah Farren

    To Jen and Brian, my prayers are with you that God will bless you with children of your own. But until that day comes, I know he is using you both mightly to touch the many lives of young teen’s to show them the true Love of God, because so many teen’s don’t have parents at home to give them that Godly love and guideance. God has a plan and sometimes his plan is not on our time schedule. But until that day, we are going to keep knocking and seeking for the Heavenly fathers wisdom, and rejoice with you both greatly when his fulness is revealed

  5. You ladies are so courageous to speak out and share about a subject that is so personal, so acutely sensitive, and so isolating. Thank you for being willing to share your walk and your hearts. I pray other women (and men!) will know they are not alone. Infertility has touched my family, and I know it is a unique kind of agony. ((<3))

    • beth

      Thank you Carol Anne.

  6. Carol Anne said it best, y’all are a courageous bunch. We went through the roller coaster ride for less than a year, but I still remember the tears and grieving every month when my period started.

    I’m grateful you’re sharing so that you and others don’t feel so alone and tempted to isolate with the pain. I know you’re helping many. I love your transparency and your heart.

    • beth

      Thank you Kim.

  7. Carlee Priestley

    I too know what it is like to be on the roller coaster of fertility meds, a childless life and grieving. My husband and I have been trying to have our own biological children for almost 3 yeas and it is devastating to feel helpless. However last January 2012 we were blessed with our first child, a baby girl through adoption. She has been the answer to our every prayer and could not imagine my life with out her. God has a plan for all of us. So we have to continue to believe in our prayers and believe in our dreams. Love to you both Jen and Brian.

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