I met Bekah several months ago through email correspondence after her sister, Kathryn, nominated her and her husband Nathan for my infertility Promise Package. Bekah and Nathan underwent IVF treatments to get pregnant with their son, Judah. After Bekah was hospitalized and placed on bedrest, I felt it necessary to share this part of her story. Because it is so often we look for God in the destination when in fact he lives in the details. Bekah and Nathan were kind enough to share their story with me. My name is Bekah Phelps. I spent the first half of my childhood in Broken Arrow, OK, and the second half in Inola, OK. I went to the University of Oklahoma where I obtained my degree in Dental Hygiene, and I’ve been working as a hygienist for almost 5 years. I met my analytical and tender hearted husband, Nathan, in college and we’ve been married for almost 5 years. When I’m not spending time with Nathan or our toy poodle Harvey, you can find me working on interior design projects!
A year and a half into our marriage, Nathan and I started trying to get pregnant. My life-long desire to be a mother had become an attainable reality. I have always had a heart for children and wanted to be a mother. I remember when I was little opening a “bundle of babies” toy at Christmas that was a wearable baby carrier with 5 dolls. Basically, I was ‘octomom’ before she even existed. I've always been a nurturer by nature and I'm the first one in line to hold any baby in the room.
We started trying a little earlier than we initially wanted to, but I just had a feeling that this was going to be a long and hard road for us. I read books, took my temperature every morning, and purchased ovulation predictor kits. Nothing seemed to help. But, we kept trying, and I kept feeling more discouraged and hopeless.
After a year of trying we saw a Reproductive Endocrinologist and underwent testing, only to be diagnosed with “Unexplained Infertility." As frustrating as this was, I learned to be thankful for this diagnosis because it meant we didn’t have an issue that needed to be corrected. Following the testing, we did three insemination cycles but they all ended with the same result: not pregnant. The second half of that year we tried on our own and did nutritional/herbal cleanses. After much prayer and research we were ready to start InVitro Fertilization. Nathan preferred to wait longer, but every month that failed, to me, was another month wasted in my head. It had been 2 years, and I was ready to start more aggressive treatment.
I really wrestled with the decision to do IVF. Was I playing God? Was I not trusting Him? Should I keep waiting for Him to bring us a baby? On the other hand, would I look back and regret not doing it? If I was diagnosed with a disease would I refuse advanced medical treatment and wait for God to heal me? The indecision drove me crazy, so I asked the Lord for a tangible sign. That evening it was raining, and we were going to my cousin’s basketball game. I specifically prayed that if it rained while we were driving, but not while we were outside, that would be my green light from God. It rained on our way, but it stopped before we got out of the car. When we left, it wasn’t raining, and it started coming down again on our drive home. Coincidence? Maybe, but it was clear to me.
Through our season of IVF, I took some time off from work. Two of my coworkers recently found out they were pregnant and it was just too hard for me emotionally to be present while undergoing treatment. I started to isolate myself and only told close friends and family what we were doing. One of the biggest things that helped me cope with the grief of infertility and treatments was building a support system of people who understood my suffering. I started a monthly infertility support group, and those women ministered to me in more ways than I ever could’ve hoped or imagined. We shared lots of tears, lots of pain, and lots of prayers. I also tried to adopt an attitude of gratitude. Changing my perspective and focusing on all of my blessings was really a game changer. It made me thankful for my health, my husband, my family, etc. and allowed me to walk through this trial with much more grace.
Our IVF pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at 9 weeks. We heard the heartbeat twice, but the baby wasn’t growing as it should’ve. We prayed big prayers and believed God was going to help this baby grow into the baby we would hold in our arms. I will never understand why God didn’t intervene and heal our baby, and because he allowed me to go through so much loss, I questioned everything I knew about God’s character. The rest of our year went like this: Nathan got laid off from his oil and gas job and I had to pick up extra days working. We had to put our extra bedrooms in our home on AirBnB to help pay bills, and we were constantly living with a different group of strangers. Then in August I had another miscarriage at 5.5 weeks.
I started taking antidepressants in early June. I got to the place where I could no longer control my emotions in public. I didn’t see the point in praying anymore. I truly could not see a reason to. When I did finally pray, all I did was cry my heart out to the Lord in a voice journal and I asked Him a series of questions. “Where have you been? Do you see me? Do you even care?”
We went to Colorado for a week in July to find some solace and to escape our lives. We did yoga in the mornings and I spent a lot of time in prayer searching for God. I quit taking my antidepressants at the beginning of that week because they were making my stomach hurt and I was going to switch to a new treatment after we got back. I had an anxiety attack one of the first nights we were there at a restaurant, and I felt darkness and anxiety oppressing me. I began losing control of my own thoughts, and eventually I could only feel fear and depression. We quickly left the restaurant and sat in the car. I have never felt mental turmoil like this before. All I could do was say, “Jesus, Jesus help me”. After awhile, I started to regain control of my thoughts, and God took my thoughts to the highest depths of love, peace, and understanding I have ever experienced. The magnitude of grief I was feeling was now matched with the magnitude of God’s presence. I have never so desperately cried out to the Lord before. He spoke to my heart and my mind, and he answered every single one of those questions I had asked of him. He showed me how much He cares, how much He loves me, and how He is always with me. I literally left the love of God inside every cell of my body. Tears and laughter were just pouring out of me. He spoke to me about many things, and one of the last things I heard him say was that there was a significance with September; that our baby was coming in September. I took this with skepticism, and didn’t tell anyone besides Nathan. We were scheduled to transfer our last frozen embryo for the end of July/early August. I was waiting for my cycle to start so I could begin medications, but it never did. I was a day late, and had a wild hair to take a pregnancy test. It was the faintest little second line. My levels were incredibly low, and I ended up having a very early miscarriage. But wow, this was the FIRST time we had ever conceived naturally! I was heartbroken to lose another pregnancy, but we were also very encouraged by this break through. We decided to wait a few more months on transferring our embryo, and all I could think about was September. I wasn’t sure what this meant, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
On the night of August 31st, I took a pregnancy test. There was no sign of a second line, and let me tell you, I looked hard. The next morning on September 1st, I woke up, took a test, and there a dark very obvious second line. That was our Judah.
The Lord promised me this baby, and here I am, 30 weeks pregnant with him. I still have fear that something bad will happen, but when I doubt, I cling onto this truth and I can’t deny the Lord’s hand in our story.
Things I know about God that I will never again doubt:
GOD IS GOOD.
AND HE IS LOVE.
HE WAS AND IS ALWAYS WITH ME.
HE DELIGHTS IN ME. HE WANTS ME TO DELIGHT IN HIM.
HE KNOWS ME.
HE GRIEVES WITH ME.
HE NEVER STOPS WATCHING OVER ME.
HIS LOVE FOR ME IS SO DEEP, SO WIDE, SO IMMENSE… THAT I CAN’T FATHOM IT.
HE HAS GREAT PLANS FOR ME AND HE ISN’T FINISHED WITH THEM YET.
HE IS RESTORING MY WOMB.
HE IS GOING TO REDEEM OUR SUFFERING.
HE IS SO MUCH MORE THAN A FRIEND. HE HAS NO LIMITS. HE IS A MIGHTY WARRIOR THAT IS TO BE GREATLY FEARED AND RESPECTED.
HE IS A FIERCE GOD AND WHILE HE IS NOT SAFE, HE IS GOOD. SO GOOD.
We are currently trying to sell our house and move to Tulsa. One day we had a showing at the house and it was beautiful weather so we went for a long walk in the neighborhood. Shortly after we got back to the house, I noticed I was leaking a small amount of fluid that looked odd. I called my Dr and they told me to go have it looked at. We went to the labor and delivery unit at our hospital and they tested the fluid which came back negative for amniotic fluid. An ultrasound showed my amniotic fluid volume at 13cm, which is a more than healthy level. They sent us home but told us that if anything changes to come back. Once I got home I started gushing. After about five big gushes and several hours of confusion and turmoil, we went back up to the hospital at 1am. A second ultrasound showed my AFV at 4cm. At 24 weeks 1 day pregnant, my water had broken. I had lost almost all of my fluid in just a few hours. From there, it was a whirlwind. The nurse explained everything and my OB was on call and came up to the hospital. They hugged me and cried with me. I was sobbing, but Nathan stayed strong and in control. He rallied us together and told me everything was going to be okay and we were going to get through this. I was so upset and scared. They transport me via ambulance to OU Children’s hospital where I have been since then.
Once chaos became reality, (about 1 week’s time) I had a huge melt down. I cried for a solid hour. I was grieving the loss of a fun and normal pregnancy. The loss of going to my baby showers pregnant. The loss of making it to 40 weeks with a huge belly. The loss of a full belly in my maternity pictures. But what’s been incredible, is the midst of all that mess, Jesus has been making awesome and amazing things happen. I got to take my very long awaited maternity pictures in a courtyard on the hospitals campus, in seventy degree February weather, and wear the dress I bought two and a half years ago and had been saving for that very occasion. We’ve had so many visitors and received so much love from everyone, it’s been so humbling. It’s been gas in our empty tank. Every milestone we reach gives me a burst of energy to make it to the next one. And even though I did lose many long awaited desires for my pregnancy, I still have a healthy baby boy inside my belly, and so it makes all of that minuscule compared to the joy I have to be having a baby.
Some scriptures I have been standing on during this trial are:
“Depend on the Lord, trust Him, and He will take care of you” Psalm 3:7
“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him” Psalm 62:1.
I’ve been having a hard time sleeping because I just worry about the baby so much, and while I was reading my bible a couple weeks ago I came across this scripture:
“He will not let you be defeated. He who guards you never sleeps” Psalm 121:3.
How sweet is the Lord to provide me with that scripture to read before bed? He loves us so, so intimately. I’m also standing on the promise that this baby is a gift from God, and I believe that whole heartedly. The Beat Infertility Podcast was super helpful for me because I learned so much about every aspect of infertility and it helped me feel more in control and knowledgable about the situation. It also brought me comfort because I heard so many other women’s stories.
My advice for other couples struggling with infertility would be to surround yourselves with people who love and support you the way you need it. Reach out to other couples who are struggling and share your pain and frustrations with each other. You are not alone in your pain, so don’t go through this alone! Remember that everyone processes their grief differently, and not everyone is equipped to support you the way you need. It’s important to understand that it doesn’t mean they love you any less, and you can’t expect for everyone to love and support you the way you specifically need. The biggest game changer for me was something I mentioned earlier about keeping things in perspective. I would say to make a list of all of your blessings and gifts and focus on them. Remind yourself of all of the positive things in your life on a daily basis.
To those who are still struggling, I just want you to know that your pain and suffering is 100% valid, and I’m so sorry if anyone ever minimizes it. People just don’t understand, and although most of the time they mean well, they can say hurtful things. Know that God is with you every single step of the way, and He loves you SO SO much. He never stops watching over you and is near to you through all of the heartache. He cares so much about you and hates to see His children succumb to the loss and tragedies of this broken world. Try to rest in Him. It’s not easy, it most certainly hurts, but there is such a sweetness in feeling the immensity of the Father’s love when your heart is just weary and broken. You can’t feel the fullness of God’s love when your heart doesn’t long for it. And one day He will wipe every tear from every eye, and there will be no more pain and suffering.
Since I visited with Bekah and Nathan they welcomed Judah Michael Phelps into the world on March 15th 2017 at 32 weeks and 2 days, weighing 2lbs 15oz! He is stable and growing and we are so happy for you and your mighty miracle boy!
You can keep up with Judah, Mommy and Daddy on Facebook