Maria (Infertility)

Maria (Infertility)

This episode is brought to you by boxer rentals, LLC for your residential and commercial property needs. They are located in the heart of Houma, Louisiana. We want to thank boxer rentals for providing the recording location for our Louisiana series and for extending hospitality to us and our guests. Thank you for making this such a memorable experience.

welcome to the winning ugly podcast, a place where we are real, raw, entertaining, energizing, and encouraging come experience real conversations that go deep and relationships that extend through the media to overcome testing times. We can't continue to keep our trials and tragic stories to ourselves. The people you will hear from are facing, they're ugly, stepping out of their comfort zone and sharing your victory storms, our guarantee in life. And when they come, we want to be right here building you up and empowering you to win ugly

and you're getting
welcome to the winning ugly podcast. It's me, your host, Trish,
and it's Emory, the cohost, and very blessed to be a part of this show.

Yes. Um, I'm so glad you guys are listening and for all you newbies out there. Welcome. We are so glad you are joining us. This podcast is a platform for people to share their most intimate moments of having to win ugly. We are in a different location for this recording.

Yes, we were very excited to be, um, in Louisiana, south Louisiana. And um, we, we've got some episodes that are going to be coming out and they're going to be awesome and today is going to kickstart an amazing series. Amazing.

We are so happy to be back in our tar roots and to love on our people and eat some awesome food. My sweet brother will be boiling up some seafood I think are going to have crabs, crawfish and shrimp. Y'All. I'm very happy about that. I alone will eat 15 pounds. Guarantees.

It has been a minute since I had some real, real good Cajun secrets. It's probably been three years. I destroyed a poboy earlier. Oh yeah, you didn't, it was incredible. It was. It was awesome. And again, cake actually a piece of cake. Yeah, the Polen. Um, I think it was like pecans on the top and it was the Bavarian cream in the middle. It was incredible. So good to be back. Well,

our guest today is one of our most best friends and no matter how many miles that keep us apart, we are forever joined in the heart. So Maria, welcome to the show.

Thank you guys for having me. It's an honor and privilege to be here was so excited. Your story is going to do some awesome things. I hope so.

Yes. So thanks for wanting to share your story. Um, Maria is one of the most soft spoken and kindhearted people you will ever meet and that goes for her husband, Josh as well. Y'All, this woman and her family are the real deal and we just love you and your family so much. So thank you for being the Rock in our life. So Maria, tell us a little bit about you, your family and your work.

So I'm married to Josh since, um, 2002. We were married fairly young, but you know, we were ready, so, sure. Um, um, we have been married. Um, it's actually going to be 17 years next weekend. I know that. Yeah. So it's um, it seems like yesterday, but at the same time it's like, oh my goodness. It's like 17 years already. Yeah. So yeah. Yeah. And we have one little girl, her name is Mary and she's seven. Wow. She is. Yes. And um, you'll learn a little bit more about my family throughout this conversation, so. Okay. What do you do as I'm an interior designer by profession. Um, and I work at a local, um, flooring and interiors plays here, um, in south Louisiana. That's awesome. Yeah. We could use your help. Yeah, I didn't know w we record some episodes in our apartment sometimes and I didn't know this, but Patricia is like, yeah, when people walk in they ask, where are you guys moving to? I was like, what do you mean? They're like, cause we're kind of minimalists, we don't have many things. So we've moved a lot. We can use the layout. You, you maybe that's what it is. We've gotten rid of a lot of spot. Yeah. That is wrong with that. That is true. I didn't think about that.

But now have you ever heard of the book called Cozy Minimalist by Michael Lynn's myth? I haven't. Well we're trying to be cozy, cozier, minimalist. So we have to marry the two together because we are extreme minimalist and it's not working out. Yeah, we need to get like a painting on the wall or Afghan, like the Beatles one behind you. Um, well since we're in the middle of summer here in south Louisiana, as Emory said, we are kicking off our Louisiana series. What is something that you love to do or your perfect summer day in South Louisiana with you and your family?

Probably, um, a lot of times if I'm asked about half a day off, um, if it's just Mary and I will just go swimming, get a snowball, you know, we just, nothing major, just spending time together. Um, and then we do love, we haven't been to the zoo too often this year, but the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans is beautiful and they have a little splash park and we do, um, we do enjoy doing that. You don't a boiled seats eat a lot of Elsie food. I mean we probably have boiled crabs. Oh, at least I would say two to three times a month when they're in season. My m Hawes love, love, love to go crabbing. So it is always a treat when they call. Yes, absolutely. So we love that man. Yeah. Yeah. I wonder too, I'm serious. We've been around the world and the best food comes out of Louisiana.

Absolutely. Thanks. Thankfully I can cook well. So I try to re um, recreate all those recipes in our house in Alabama. But well, Maria, before we move into your story, we always like to ask a few fun questions. So the first question is what advice you love to give? It's something that I've learned, um, over the years, but it's to basically follow your heart but also listen to your gut instinct. Yeah, absolutely. I feel like I've been in many situations that I have not listened to my gut and it's just like, you know, you just regret it after like I should have. Yeah. So I have learned and I have something else I've also learned is that it's okay to say no. Hey, this is so true. Like, I mean, it is so important to know when to say no and um, and have those boundaries and just feel comfortable with say yes.

It was something that I've definitely had to work at to say no, but I've learned that I have to put my family and myself first. Exactly. Sometimes you just get way to burnout. Do you want to please people you want to absolutely do well or you know, some people pleaser and so that was very, very hard to McComb. Exactly. Yeah. All right, next question. This one should be a softball last place you've visited or vacation? Orange beach. Oh. Um, which was, I mean it was actually last fall. We haven't gone anywhere.

Um, we went with, um, some friends of ours, um, and spent like the long weekend fall break when the kids were out of school. So we really enjoyed that. Nice. Very cool. Well, do you have a hidden talent? I haven't salad. Oh, no, no, I'm horrible at that. Um, Josh is a juggler.

No, he's not Syrian juggle. Oh, he can juggle. Yeah. He like build stuff out of wood. I mean, and he's pretty, he's pretty amazing. He is. Y'All. Um, I feel like I'm so not like I don't have that hidden, um, I don't have a hidden bake cakes that night or do like Origami. No, no. And it's so funny. I think people think I'm actually like one of my, um, a lot of times people ask like, oh, well you're a designer, so like your house just must be like, just so beautiful and like, Oh, I love my house. I do. Josh and I have worked really, really hard on restoring an old home, but I'm like, it's kind of the last thing I think about when I go home because I just, you look at it all in that common though. Yeah. I mean, I want a beautiful house and it's getting there.

It's on the road to being beautiful and it, I mean, we love it. It's cozy. It's exactly a work in progress. I think people probably would be a little surprised that you know, oh well I get it. I don't watch HGTV. Like I don't even know half the designers out there and people ask me and I'm like, I don't know who you're talking about. I don't know what we've been to your house. And it's really, really cute and cozy and [inaudible] all day long. Yeah. I feel like doing it. Yeah. Yeah. You know, it's like the landscaper that his yard maybe is a little messed. Palmer has leaky pipes and so I have a really good friend who's also a designer and I'm constantly texting her. Okay, what do think about this? What do think about that? Can you just pick the pink goes over my house because like I stone I'm not interested. Yeah. Well

in regards to books, do you prefer hard copy or digital?

Um, I go back and forth. The last book I read, um, was digital. Um, but I, I'll, I, I still like a hard copy. Okay. I think it's better personally for my child to see me with a hard copy course. Yeah. Cause I don't think she doesn't quite understand the whole digital world yet. So, yeah. Yeah. Right. Beach bomb or snow bunny. Oh, beach mom all the way. I can be honest with you. I've never been snow skiing. I mean I've been in snow, but I've never been skiing and like I really have no desire to go skiing. Me Neither. I have no desire. I know. Well I think it's beautiful. It's just beautiful. I would much prefer the beach.

I was always a snow bunny until I went on a snow bunny vacation and I am total Beachbum now. So

yeah, it wasn't that great. It was an odd okay. It just didn't feel like vacation. I don't know. Right. Coffee or tea. That's hard. That's a tough one. So ice tea, like, like sweet limped in tea. Um, not necessarily sweet. I mean we make, there's always a picture of tea in our refrigerator. Yes, we brown tea, ice tea. Um, I'll, I'll have a hot tea once in a blue moon. It's not that I don't like it, but, sure. Um, ice tea we brew and just, just not extremely sweet. Just like a little bit of a little bit of sweetness. But I do love coffee too. It's not something that I have to have to have every day, you know, every other day if I, if I skip a day, I'm like, okay, you know, is it back with creamer? Coffee Mill. Oh, okay. Gosh, I can't have that. I can't have that every day. Okay. Yeah. Bobby, I just can't, no, that makes them no. Gotcha. Yes, that's a toss up.

Maria, let's move into your story of end fertility. This story is really dear to our hearts. Emory and I both cannot conceive children and we grieved for many years, but we can say now that we've been set free from that and we no longer focus on that sadness that was there, but we focus on what we do have rather than what we will never have. And that serves us really well. And that's just brought great joy to

us. As I asked you, Maria, to share your story because we saw your pain and we saw your battle and we saw your sadness and I'm sure anger, um, and you and Josh persevered and, um, you praised God for what he was going to do in your lives and that just really spoke volumes to us. So, um, that's why we, we really wanted you to share that with us. So, um, you and Josh married like most couples, I'm sure I'm in wanted babies. Of course.

Of course. So we were married in 2012. We were both fairly young, so I mean we knew, um, I was actually finishing college and Josh was as well. We knew that we wanted children, but at the same time we knew when he had to get settled and just get established. So I'm, I guess after about three years of marriage we decided, you know, okay, I think we're ready. Yeah. So, you know, ideally I think every couple when they get married, they have this like plan, oh, it's all out behind, out. And then this year this is going to happen. And then I'm going to have a little girl first and her name is going to be this, and then I'm going to have a little boy two years later and they're going to go to this school and blah, blah, blah. And you call, no, you have it. Oh, it's, it's just perfect. And of course I had that in my mind. Yeah. Right.

We had the name of when we, we want it for boys and we wanted them to be quadruplets they were going to be Kingston, Emerson, Grayson and Charleston. So girl, I get it. We like had this whole

plan, you know, of course. So it's like three years in, you know, we start trying, if you would say. Yeah. And I remember, you know, like I had several friends who are just, you know, just came so easy to them. And of course you're like, oh, this is so exciting. Like all your friends are expecting. And so like, of course I'm going to be next. Right. I mean, um, and it just never happened. I got even, I was evaluated by the doctor and so was my husband. And, um, there was no evidence of anything wrong if you want to say, um, I had exploratory surgery. And so it's Kinda like, okay, everything is looking healthy, everything's looking healthy, you know, so I mean, they're like, maybe it's just a timing thing. I mean, you know, when they can't, it's great when the doctor says like, I can't find anything cause you're like, wait, well, nothing's wrong.

Right. But at the same time you're like, well how cannot can this be fixed? You have no remedy. Right. So it's, it's a little frustrating at the same time that you're glad, but you're glad that nothing's wrong. Right. So, um, we decided that we would, after much prayer and um, you know, we gave it a lot of thought and prayer in time that we would pursue some, um, entry level fertility, I guess you would call it. Okay. Um, so we did that and um, we, we probably went through that for about, uh, I'd say six months to a year maybe.

Okay. So at this point y'all are married four or five years. Yeah, I would say

we're about this point. It can may have been an even a little, a little longer than that. It, I would say it was probably close to eight, eight to nine years. So I know we didn't really, let's say start trying, you know, till three years in. And so then like I'd say a good five years went by and so at this point when nothing's happening, you're like, okay. So I feel like that's when the grieving started to come in. Like, okay, it's five years. I mean that's a long time, you know, like we were grieving, but at the same time we still had hope. We never ever, that was just something we just, I was still young, you know, because I felt like I still have plenty of years ahead of me. Yeah. It's just time. And whether I have the child biologically, if I adopt a child or if I am some sort of a motherly role in right.

Another setting, even that is not where my heart was at the time. Yes. Maybe. Okay, this is how it's supposed to be. So you just kind of cope, I guess you would say you cope, you never lose faith, you keep praying. That's kind of like the point we were at a positive. Yes. I would never say I can say, I mean, I can't say this for everyone. I mean, I've read so much about fertility. You've been in so many groups, you've listened to other podcasts and you just hear and there's just so much heartache, which I understand, truly understand, but they lose that. Um, they've lost that relationship with God or you know, or, um, they've lost that hope and they just become angry. And between those two, right? Yes, yes, yes. And thankfully I never, we never allowed ourselves to get to that point.

That's really good that there was no blaming or that's really encouraging to hear, which is why I think we really saw that in you because I mean, yes, we knew you were hurting, but I mean, you both were so upbeat each day. Yes, yes. And so there was another time at church at the, um, church that we've, you know, um, I've gone to, it's now been like 20 years. The church that my husband grew up in, um, the one we were married in. Yes. So, uh, once a year they would have a special guest that has been coming to the church, you know, for, I dunno how many years now, maybe 30 years or whatever. Um, and he, um, was in like a song ministry. Okay. I think I know what you're talking about. And so, um, after he, he and his, his son, we watched his son grow up, we watched his son grow up and, and learned, you know, watched him learn the music with his dad and, um, just amazing, um, musicians.

Yeah. And after that they would, um, quote unquote perform and lead or whatever. Um, they would pray with people. And so this was like years prior to this, all this infertility, when he prayed with us, he said that God, you know, basically speaking through him said, like, you know, like Josh, you're gonna be an amazing father one day. Oh Wow. And so, like we always just held on to that and I didn't bring it with me today, but I have what he, his prayer, I have that typed out and we do reflect on it. Um, you know, from time to time. Um, so anyway, so we're at the point of, okay, we, we did, we went through some infertility financially. We were like, okay, we have to like just kind of call this quits, right? Yes. No, whatever. Yeah, no. And, and we were both burnt burnout, so, um, we decided we're going to take a break. So that must have been at the time all that was done. That would have been in 2010, 2009, 2009, 2010, somewhere around there in the fall. We didn't, we hadn't pursued anything and we were okay. We were okay. You know, of course the longing is still there then. And July of 2011, we were spinning time with the July weekend with some great friends, which was us. And, um, I mean, I honestly never really like thought I was pregnant that weekend. Like, I mean, why would I be

right, right. You wouldn't really feel different either. I mean,

you know, but, um, I, I knew that I should probably take a pregnancy test just because like, okay, like I should, right. We were on the boat and you kept saying something. I think your Dominic was hurting. Yeah. Like I, I mean I didn't feel bad or like I just didn't feel completely right completely myself. So it was actually on the way home from spending time with you all the camp. We stopped at Walgreens, got a pregnancy test. The Walgreens. Yes. Lo and behold, I'm pregnant and we were just, I mean, just so much in shock that it's like, okay, God, like, um, what are you doing? Like this is wonderful. You know, it was just, and this was natural pregnancy, this natural, spontaneous pregnancy.

Were you still doubtful from the initial task? Kind of like not dow from that like I need to do another one. Right. I want to make sure this isn't like a free thing or something. I did at least two or three. Okay. Oh yeah. Yeah. I do them every day for two or three. I did two or three. And um, so, so,

um, and then, you know, I went to the doctor and was confirmed and everything, you know, the baby was looking healthy and said I was going to be due the following March, March of 2012. So, um, the pregnancy was great. Um, I had no complications and we gave birth to Mary March 5th of 2012. Wow. So it was just amazing. I mean, it was, it was a journey and we felt so, um, like, you know, God heard our prayers and it was just, he said it just wasn't the right time. Yeah. It just wasn't the right time. So powerful, you know, and, and, um, looking back you can see, I, you know, in hindsight, of course you always see, okay, I understand. I understand why it wasn't the right time. And, um, does she realize how much of a miracle she really is or am I gonna I know she quite understood.

I think she's, I think she's getting there. Yes. I think she's getting there. Um, so she knows she's special. You know, she knows she's special. Um, and she's precious and she is, she, she truly is just an amazing child. I mean, I couldn't have been blessed with, you know, um, yeah, so that's the first part of our, of our infertility journey. That's the first part because there's three parts to finals. Like there's three parts, so, okay. So you had married and then I'm sure you didn't just want one child. I mean, of course other people want multiple children. What was that next step for you? So ideally, you know, in our little planned outline, um, well first it was supposed to be a boy and Mary was supposed to Campbell, right? Because that was what was on my list. Mario [inaudible].

Right. And then, um, second I was going to have a little girl and so once we had her and she was a spontaneous pregnancy, you think, okay, well it happened once. Yeah, it's going to happen again. Right. It finally happened once. I'm good. Now. Is there, is there some of that because there was like, no, there absolutely was because after that first year after she was born, like having another child never even entered my mind. You're so pumped at this point. Right. Right. This miracles because, and then I at the same time, I did not want to feel selfish. I didn't want to be selfish. Like, God, you answered my prayers right. And they're all kinda like you almost like bargaining with God in a way. Like I'm good. Take care of somebody else now you know, like I don't want to be selfish. Yeah.

Okay. I want another one. Right. Thankful for this miracle. Right. Of course we wanted another one. We always wanted two children. So that's always in the back of my mind, but I wasn't, wasn't my focus. Gotcha. When it became a focus, when Mary who would now be about three, um, would come home from preschool and say, so and so's mom has a baby in their tummy and she would say that, you know, she came home and said that like two to three times within a short period of time. And she said, well, why don't you have one in your tummy? And so my response was, because Jesus hasn't given us another one yet, you know, hasn't given us a baby yet. Great answer. You know? I mean, that was the only way that I knew how for her to understand, you know? And so she would ask that quite often.

And then I just, I thought, you know, I just, your motherly instinct because you feel so guilty. Like I want to give that to you. Yeah. If I could control it, honey, that would be taken care of. Yeah. You know, a little time went by and Josh and I, um, we gave it a little thought. I say a little time, maybe a year. So let's say Mary's about four. So this would have been in 2016. Um, we s we met with our local, um, doctor again and just kind of went over a few things and he said, you know, it seems like you would have been pregnant again by now. You know, it's been four years since you've had Mary. Like, you know, so if it's something you want to pursue, I think you should see a specialist. Um, so we went to New Orleans and, um, had an evaluation with a specialist, evaluated Josh.

She evaluated me and she basically said there's nothing really more we can do at, we've kind of explored every avenue. Yes. And even from the holistic side in so many, you know, to a certain extent. Yeah. To um, she was an endocrinologist so she looked at it from a different angle and um, we're seeing this

specialist in New Orleans and she basically said, really the only other thing that I can offer you would be in vitro fertilization. Um, and that was something we had kind of tossed around the topic here and there, but never gave it like a serious, serious, serious thought. And so, um, we really needed to think about it, pray about it and you know, really, really like, okay God, like, because financially that's a big step. It's a huge, it's a big deal. It's a huge step. And that's something we could have never done financially for me.

Like trying to continue marrying the first child. So we were at a point where we were, we, we, okay, we can do this, we could have, you know, and we felt that like, okay God, if, if, if you've given us this opportunity and we, we felt comfortable ethically, um, we said that no matter, um, they give you so many options on how to handle the embryos if you don't use them. And we all, all our prayer was that Lord, you only give us the amount of embryos that we can handle. We do not want to, it was our choice not to donate them to another cup home or abort them or, and so that was our prayers. There's so many options thing. It's something that I like. Amber. Oh well no one ever thought about, you know, we made our decision and so we decided to go through with it.

Long Story Short, um, we, um, two embryos were conceived and they were healthy. Um, the way they're graded, they were healthy and they were the only two that made it through the process. And so we decided that we would implant both embryos. So there was a possibility of twins. Um, and that gave us peace because we knew that there was none left behind, you know, um, and one of those embryos implanted and I was pregnant, the other bay embryo did not implant. Um, so some people might not, um, think of those embryos as babies, but we surely did. And we, we, they were like twin, they were like our twins. Right. You know, they were conceived at the same time and they were implanted at the same time. One took in one day. And, um, and so I was, I was pregnant, um, for about eight weeks and unfortunately I miscarried on Mary's fifth birthday in 2017.

So that was, um, that was devastating. But like, I felt like I didn't have a whole, whole lot of time to like really grieve, you know, you just have a five-year-old. It's her birthday hike and I'm just supposed to move on. Yeah. You know, it's tough. It was tough, but we made it. And, um, once again, in this second part, we're about to enter into the journey. Um, in hindsight, I understand why maybe this baby didn't make it, you know, so, um, that was in March of 2017 and we, um, went on to, um, just went on with life, you know, and like, okay, this was, I mean, as far as fertility, I mean that we're done. We were never reentering this realm again. I want to kind of park a little bit right there though. Um, I'm sure were you trying to seek any help?

Like was there a counseling or was there, I mean, intense prayer? What was, oh, there was intense prayer for sure. Intense prayer, not just by Josh and I by, um, mainly our immediate family. Like we didn't share this in vitro conversation with, right. So our immediate family for sure. And then there were a handful of friends, close friends that didn't know details, but just knew our heart's desires, you know, so we felt, um, we did definitely were, you know, held up in prayer for sure. Yeah, absolutely. And so that gave us a lot of peace. I gave me extreme peace and I should say this too, in 2016 in the fall when we were just starting the IVF journey, the same, um, musician [inaudible] isn't it? Andrew East? Yes. Andrew and John. So they were back at living word church, um, visiting. And I'm so Josh and I went up for prayer.

This was his, I'm going to read to you guys what his prayer was the second time. This is the second time. Okay. So this is like, actually I had started the in vitro process. You'll understand why I did it. Yes. It's devastating to have a miscarriage and you know, no matter how the baby was conceived or how old the

baby is when you miss miscarry, um, yes. And it was still a human human. Yeah. You know, and so, um, but this, it always, um, comforted me. And so, um, this is what he prayed. He said, Lord, a threefold cord is not easily broken. So with these three, pray for just agreeing together they shall have, they shall have it. And many times you'll pray and it will come very quickly. Other Times you will wrestle for it, but you will have it in Jesus's name.

Don't be denied and you don't take no for an answer. Don't question, well maybe this isn't working because it is not God's will if he put it in your hearts and all three of you agree and sense that it is God, you fight for it because she will have it. And so yeah, that is, it was very, very powerful. And so I knew that even though I had that miscarriage, I did not honestly feel in my heart that this was over. Right. Um, and Mary at this point is five, so, okay, you have to remember. So she's been asking for her siblings and she's three. She consistently consistently bringing it up. And I would just, my consistent answer to her was we have to keep praying, right? We have to keep praying and we have to trust that the Lord is hearing your prayers. And when he is ready, he will, he will answer.

And that was just the, that was the only way that I knew to explain that to her. That's kind of where we begin. The second part of our, in the second part of the second part. Right, right, exactly. The second part of the second part because there's a third part that's very interesting. So the second part of the second part, um, so some really good friends of ours that we've known for a very long time, um, were um, foster parents. They were placed with a newborn, um, when he was about five or six days old. So this would have been, I've miscarried and March. This would have been at the end of May, beginning of June, that same year, 20. You know, we had, um, precious baby boy we had, you know, been around him with, with our friends and um, just just thought he was just adorable and you know, we got to love on them.

If I can say something, I saw Him Yong, he, that, those blonde curls, I mean, amazing. And those fat cheeks, he really is, he's precious. They introduced us to the idea of fostering. Okay. Um, with the intent of hopefully being placed with this baby to adopt this idea. That's the idea. Now, this is just our, the four of us that, you know, this is our idea. This is not something that like we spoke to any professional in a social worker in the state, you know, foster system or anything. This is just, Oh yeah, we're going to do this and our plane and we're just going to pray that it works out. Yeah. You know, it's just like, oh my God. He's like, we're winging it. And the thing is, is that Josh and I never really, um, gave a lot of thought to fostering. I honestly always had in my head like, I just don't think I can do this because I don't know if I can bear the heartache of giving the child when I want to keep that.

Of course I'll want this baby, you know, because you've invested so much time and you're so attached. But after we laid eyes on this child, it was like, oh, how can you say no? Right. Yeah. So long story, but, um, it took us a little while to get approved as foster parents after went through all the, all of the classes because we were renovating our home and we had to kind of get through a few extra steps with that. Um, so then sort of like a approved to do it. So like you have to, you know, you have to take these classes, your home has to be inspected, you have to be interviewed, you have to pass a background check. All that sort of thing makes kind of a big deal. Right? Yeah, it's a big deal. It's a big deal. So, um, that took about a year.

And so our friends, he lived with our friends for the year and um, but we would have him every weekend because they traveled a lot with their kids and travel soccer and other sports. So he was with us every weekend, basically since he was about six weeks old. I mean, you know, we looked forward to every Friday getting him, you know, he'd be with us Friday, Saturday and we'd give him back Sunday and when

they returned home. And, um, so we had him that way until he was like officially placed with us and he has been with us now for a year. He, um, are a little over a year. He's about, um, 26 months now. He made two in May. So, um, but he is with us full time and we are getting closer and closer to Ba being able to adopt him. Okay. It's wonderful. He's precious. I mean, I can't imagine my life without him.

Awesome. And so once again, in hindsight, had I had this baby or babies, you know, in 2017, this little boy would not be in our life, right. Because our friends really probably would not have asked us. Of course, you know. Um, and so you Brian, right. And so that, um, it was like, okay, okay. God, like this is not at all what was on my outline. Courtyard. You know, you've got your voice. Yes, yes, yes. And, um, by fostering, you know, and, but once you, um, get to know the foster world, um, it's not easy by any means. Yeah. But it's very rewarding. Um, even if it's not, even if you're not in it to adopt, you know, um, it's very rewarding. And, um, you just see the joy that you can offer these children and just the same secure a stable environment. Yeah. He's not adopted fully yet.

Um, but we're, we're getting closer. It could, it could be another six months to a year, but we do have faith and trust that, um, we still have a few red, you know, a little bit of red tape to go through. But we've, we, we feel good about it this far. He's going to complete yes. His work. Yes. And through all of this, um, there was several times throughout the fostering journey with him living with us. Um, there would be instances that we could have lost him, like a family member would come into play. Um, there was a lot, a lot of, um, cliffs that we were like really hanging on to dear life or, and um, there was this one scripture that Josh's, um, grandmother was shared with me and, um, I clung to it and she shared this actually. Did she write that?

Yes. She wrote this beautiful handwriting. She wrote this and she said, Maria, you need to read psalm one 38, eight. And in her handwriting, she says, God will perfect those things that concern you. And so psalm 38, eight says, the Lord will fulfill his purpose for me. Your love, oh Lord, indoors forever. Do not abandon the works of your hands. Um, you know, every person dreams and makes plans for their future. And when you, you know, you work so hard, you make all these dreams come true, but it's not up to us. Um, and so it was just a, she was, it was just a reminder to just, God's got this, that, you know, just let it go. Don't give up. That's something that I learned. You don't give up. Um, you persevere. You, you still need to remain active. Don't just sit back and just think, oh, God's just going to handle it, you know, um, don't give up.

And another thing that sustained me through this, cause I always felt, um, I guess silly. Our pastor and Monet wants 'em. I mean, he said it several times before, but it was just that one time that really, I guess stuck out for me was that there's no limit on how many times you can ask for prayer or ask for something. God said you knock and you don't stop knocking, you know? And so, um, I mean, I prayed not just I as a couple, we've prayed, you know, Josh, right? I know he prayed. Um, and we just kept asking. And I would go to the altar for prayer over and over and over,

over again for the same thing and a, you know, yeah, it was okay. I was like, Hey, it's me again. I'm here for the same thing. I don't even have to say why I'm here. Just pray with me, you know? Um, and so that was something that I learned through the process as well, which I think can be just, you know, applied to everything and absolutely not just this topic, you know, I know we've seen that so many times in our life, you know, I mean we just have to keep asking over and over and over and just be, just say, here it is Lord and we're, we're ready when you're ready. So I'm just give it over to him. Right. But right, right. Okay. So now for part three that I can see.

Yeah. So part three, um, we received the absolute shock of our lives, um, on March 31st so, you know, day before April fool's. Okay. Night before. Right. Um, I found out that I was pregnant 19 weeks ago, right? Yes, I am 19 weeks. Wow. Yeah. So, um, praise God. That is awesome. So when I took that pregnancy test, it was a like, what is going on? What? Like, like literally, I'm like, I mean, I didn't, I didn't verbally, I didn't say anything, but I was just like, in my mind, like, what in the world are you doing? God, you, yeah. Sense of humor, right? I'll have to say I can't handle three kids. Right. This is crazy, you know? And so it was just so much joy, so much, um, thankfulness so much. Um, fear, fear. Um, I am fear, um, referring to just, okay, get me, can I do this? Like, you're outnumbered now. Right? Like fear.

I also fear, um, I'm older, you know, I just never, I always had the hope that I would get pregnant, but I just honestly, I mean, I'm not gonna lie. I just didn't think it would happen, you know? Um, so just the fear, guess of being older and being pregnant, but

from like a health standpoint or health standpoint. I mean, I am a healthy person. Sure. My doctor feels very good about the pregnancy. I've seen a specialist. Everything is checked out. Yeah. But you know, there's just

always these, I'm just like, when you read the back of a medicine bottle, you read all of the side effects of course. And so they have, they have to disclose to you, you're over the age of 35. So these are, these are the list of things that could possibly be wrong with your name.

Yes. And of course, if they didn't tell you that you can go to Google, that is like I learned, I am not googling anything. No. Because this, that is the worst case scenario today. Yes. So, um, but after I've done it too, I've done it and I'm, I'm not, I'm not putting myself in that situation. Yeah.

I'm not. And so now we're here, um, with the third, um, the third part of our infertility story. And I think when a lot of people listen to this, they'll probably say, wow, she didn't deal with infertility, you know, but I can say I feel like I have. Absolutely. Yeah. And I feel like, um, I guess the winning part of this journey, um, or I should say the win, I think most people would say the wind would be your children. Right? Right. Yeah. However, I don't, I do think that's part of it. I feel like there's two parts. I feel like the other half of the win is I think the f when I first had Mary, um, so I was 30, um, I was mature, you know, and my relationship with God, but they was like, I felt there was this something missing. And you know, I knew God was there all along, but until he does something tangible for you to see that he answered your prayers, it was always just, okay, he's there because you know, you're trusting in him and that's what you've been taught. And, but once that, once that prayer was answered and it was just opened a whole nother like realm to my relationship and, um,

and you actually have, you tangibly have your outcome. I mean, you just, yeah. Every day. And it's just like the constant reminder of like his faithfulness and his,

it is power. Right, right. So that's, um, it's been a journey and it's not quite over yet.

Apparently not quite over yet. Are you doing another interview in a couple of years? Really praying. I mean, this might sound really bad, but this is part three will be the last chapter. There's turns a year later, like port five. You're not going to come interview me three years. No. Okay. No, there's there only, there's only one

boy. Girl. Don't know. Don't know. Don't want to know. We're not going to find out. Actually, yes, we gave, we let, um, Mary, um, does this make the decision? Like do you want to find out or not and she's chosen to be surprised. Yes. She's chosen to be surprised. And um, so she, I mean this is how I feel since she was about three, when she started really praying for a sibling, she would always revert to my baby sister, my baby sister, this, my baby sister, that and her prayer has always been for a baby sister. Always. Always. She knows. Cause she knows that there's a possibility that this is a boy and she's okay with that. But in my heart of hearts, like I feel like God answered our prayers, like, and he is going to reveal himself to her, you know? Right. I mean he has, but if this baby is a baby sister, it will be, that will be her tangible.

Exactly. You know? Um, so I think it's been just as much of a journey for her as it has been for us. Yeah. She's been right there with you guys. She hasn't understood quite everything, but she, she's known, she's picked up on things along the way. I mean, we, you know, we're not open about a lot of things, but, um, so she's definitely, pictures weren't going away. Yeah. Well, I know that you're here sharing your story, but how are, are you doing anything else to encourage other women out there that may be struggling with infertility? I'm always open. I'm an open book. It's how I feel. It's not something that I like to, um, I don't promote myself as a, you know, as this like expert or anything. But I do have friends who, you know, friends of friends who have struggles. And I'm like, look, I'm here.

You know, I'm not, I'm not an expert on fertility. I don't know. I mean, there's so many friends that I would seek advice for them to know like, okay, what, what drugs can, you know, can I buy, you know, like, can I take going through this phase of Joe and like where can I get these, these, this medicine cheaper? It's so, so complex. There's so many parts and there's so many people who have a researched just, you know, an eye. I was one of those people that just trusted my doctor and just did what she told me to do. I did not, I didn't venture out. No, I didn't. I'm just, that's just not me, you know. But, um, so in that aspect, um, I'm not, I may not be the person to ask for that part, but I feel like I'm not afraid to talk about it.

I'm not afraid to talk about it cause I feel like it's, it's one of those, um, what would they call it? Like a taboo issue. Like subject that you just kind of don't talk about it. Miscarriage is not talked about, you know, it's like he's kind of swept under the rug like a little bit. So, um, yeah, I'm an open book so when somebody has a question, you know, I answer it and I don't, I'm not afraid to, if I know that someone's going through struggles, like I'm not afraid to address it. I do feel like I do feel like, um, it's not, um, it's, uh, not addressed, you know, I think it's becoming more and more of a topic yeah. In these last, you know, 10 years or whatever. Um, or maybe it's just because that's when I was introduced to it, but, um, I'm not afraid to talk about it.

And I think for anyone who else else is, you know, struggling, um, just ask for help, don't be afraid. Ask for help and ask, you know, seek advice, seek prayer, don't give up. You know, if you, this could be part one of your journey, you know, there, this, you're exactly there. There could be several parts that you just don't quite understand. Yup. Um, so overall our journey has been, um, 15 years probably. Oh No, 14 years. Yeah. Been 14 years. Um, so, you know [inaudible] it's been incredible. It's been, it's been incredible. There's been some heart, lots of heartache, but there's also been, yeah, lots of hope. Lots of joy. Um,

and that's what you look too. I mean, you ha that's why too. I don't know if you journal, but I mean going back and look at journaling, general entries, I mean it just brings such, seeing all those blessings. Yeah. Cause it doesn't last it saving all of these, I mean exactly the notes. I've seen Abby to have so much

seven here. I've got even have like this was ultrasounds from the babies that are in heaven now. Like I have so much stuff in here that

um, I just, I can't exactly,

of course it was very important. Yeah, it's good. It's good reminders to just, yeah. We're so thankful, Maria, for you sharing your story and coming on. And, um, thanks for you guys out there tuning in because this is why we exist to bring encouragement to people out there that are struggling with different things. And that's why as Maria said, it's so important if you see someone struggling, reach out to them. Just that one conversation with them can just uplift them and just give them the hope that they need. Um, so just remember to share your story and love on others. Yeah. Thank you for coming on. I'm thankful that you didn't, you know, brush your story under the rug. Kinda like you said. I'm glad that you're talking about it. Cause I'm sure this is, you know, there's so many listeners that deal with this sort of thing and it needs to be talked about in a mature and okay. The

proper way. I think it's more people than we know. And I think it's also think the topic of what, I guess you would call it, secondary infertility, which is a bit, were you able to conceive your first child but you haven't, you

haven't had success with the second is just as much of an issue as it is. Yeah, it's still hard. Eight there. There's still yes, a lot of different aspects there. Yeah. So I appreciate you coming on. Thank you. Thank you all for having me. Thank you. If you haven't done so yet, hit the subscribe button.

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