I never have a guest writer but this was the exception to the rule, it’s my daughter-in-law, Tiffany Butler Leguizamon and this is her testimony. So happy to be able to print it al last!
I started writing this in December of 2015, but it has since gone through many updates. God placed it on my heart to share our story and while it has gone through several edits and updates since then, but the message remains the same. This is the story of the last two and a half years of our lives:
I have always been involved church and believed in God. My life has actually been extremely easy and I believe that to be favor from God. Everything I have ever asked God for, whether I need it or not, he brought to me. I’ve seen miracles, witnessed the power of God touching people and I personally have always been shown favor. Even when I applied to be a flight attendant for Delta Airlines and the odds were .4%…yes, less than half of 1%, God allowed me to have the job that I asked for. But the last three years of my life has been a true test of my faith and I want to share it with you.
In 2015, my husband and I decided we were ready to expand our family and bring a little one into this world. We tried for a couple months with no luck and I was sure we had missed it again in July. I told Ararat how much anxiety it was causing and he wrote back, “God placed it very strongly in my heart to specifically tell you to trust him and that he’s got it covered.” So, I did, and just 10 days later I found out I was pregnant with our first child. To say that we were ecstatic would be an understatement! It was a happiness I have never felt before. As soon as I got home from vacation I scheduled my first appointment which was supposed to be during the first week of school. I knew that wasn’t going to work so I was able to get in the Friday before school started. We went in and our ultrasound technician didn’t like what she saw, my dates on how far along I should be and how the baby was measuring were off by about 10 days. Thankfully my doctor reassured us that this happens frequently and we would just come back in two weeks and re-measure everything. I tried my best not to worry or be anxious, because this was something I wanted so badly. I relied on God and prayed constantly until that next appointment. At our second appointment, we heard the sweetest sound, our baby’s heartbeat! She was still measuring about 4 days behind where I should be, but she had grown significantly. We were so grateful! God had heard our prayers!
A week later, I started to notice some bleeding. I was concerned and spoke with my doctor who recommended bed rest for the weekend. She told me if I was still bleeding the following Monday to come in for another ultrasound. Sunday, August 23rd is when my life changed. My bleeding had not subsided and I had planned to get a substitute on Monday afternoon to go for an ultrasound, so I went to bed early since I knew it would be a long day. I woke up in the middle of the night and instantly knew something was wrong. I used the restroom like most pregnant women have to do in the middle of the night and knew. My bleeding was unlike anything I had ever seen. I immediately woke my husband up and we went to the emergency room. During the ride, there we listened to “It is Well” for reassurance that everything would be fine and it helped calm us in the midst of trouble. When we arrived at the hospital we saw a friend of ours in the waiting room. He was not doing well and we truly believed what was happening to us was so we would go to the hospital to pray for him. After several hours of testing and scans at 5:00 AM on August 24th, 2015, the on-call doctor confirmed our worst fears. “Unfortunately…….” I’m not exactly sure what she said because I was crying hysterically. I didn’t understand how God could let this happen to me or to my husband. We have always been faithful, active members of our church. We help others in need. We are good people. We would’ve been great parents that would’ve raised our baby to serve God. Why was this happening to US?! The night after my miscarriage I had a vision from God: I saw an ultrasound screen with two sacks. I knew that it was meant for me to know that I would have twins one day. A few days later I had several complications from the remnants of the miscarriage and had to have emergency surgery to ensure my safety. My heart and my body were destroyed. I put on a brave face for many weeks in public and even at home, but I felt like I was dying on the inside.
Shortly after we discovered I would physically recover from the complications, Ararat and I decided we weren’t going to let this stop us and we were ready to try again immediately. On September 27th, five weeks to the day of our miscarriage, we found out we were pregnant again! We immediately thanked God and for the first time in five weeks I finally felt joy again. We started the whole process again: blood work, doctors’ appointments and ultrasounds. Just one week later, I started to have the same problems as I did the first time I was pregnant. The first thing I did was call Ararat and prayed…I couldn’t lose this baby too. I didn’t know how I could handle having two miscarriages in six weeks. So, I went home and I anointed myself with anointing oil, rolled out Ararat’s grandfather’s prayer rug and begged God to spare me this pain again and spare my child’s life. The following day, our worst fears were confirmed again. There was nothing there…. again. Looking back, I can honestly say that that particular moment was one of the lowest in my life. I wanted to die. I didn’t feel anything. I have used the analogy of being in an open field with no lights and no one around. Just complete darkness. Over the next two months I couldn’t even hear the word baby without bursting into tears. Seeing any pregnant women made me have panic attacks. I grew to have such bitterness in my heart that I started to question my faith. Did God even care about me? I have always believed God is merciful, all powerful, and able to do all things, but if he could do all of those things why is this happening to me? If I’m a child of God, why isn’t he just speaking life back into my body? Why did he let this happen to me? I even contemplated taking my own life multiple times because I was so low. I told several people I felt like I fell through the rabbit hole and should’ve hit rock bottom but I just keep falling lower and lower. I know now that he was trying to teach me something, yes, he could’ve done all of those things, but he wanted my faith to grow and actually listen to his voice. I spent many days and nights crying and worrying that I started to neglect everything around me. My husband, my home, my job. I wasn’t the person that I should’ve been during those few months.
In December, I had a full-on meltdown one morning. I was so angry at God. He should’ve given me a baby by now but he hadn’t. After several hours of crying and battling, the Lord told my husband we needed to do a few things and “get right” in our hearts. We did those things that day and since that day I have felt better. Sure, my faith has been tested since then, but we are finally seeing the light in that open field and I no longer feel alone.
After many more months of agony and waiting with an empty womb we decided to turn to a fertility specialist. After MANY painful tests the issues were detected and he provided us with a solution. We initially pursued mild forms of fertility treatments for about five months, but unfortunately, they all failed. We decided after multiple failed fertility treatments to move forward with a more invasive form of treatment, in-vitro fertilization, or IVF. It was not something that we took lightly. We prayed, agonized, and thought long and hard about the difficult choice we were faced with and ultimately, we asked God that if this was the plan for us to open the door, but if it wasn’t to slam it shut. And it stayed wide open. After we made the choice to do IVF things fell into place so quickly and perfectly it was evident that it was only by God’s grace that we had been able to do this. My first scan and bloodwork appointment was on August 24th, 2016, one year to the day that my first miscarriage occurred. That day was also a Wednesday and we had church that evening and the lineup for that evening included, “It is Well,” the same song that Ararat sang to me on the way home from the hospital the night all of this started. After using the required medication for over 12 days I didn’t respond to the injections like I should have. Our doctor advised that we cancel the IVF cycle, as we would only have a 15% chance of it working. Needless to say, we were crushed once again. Those days that we were doing the multiple injections daily were TOUGH, both physically and emotionally. IVF is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life and it seemed like we finally had our answer, but this wasn’t it yet again. Our cycle was converted to a different fertility treatment that we had tried previously, but our chances of it working were still only about 15%. Less than two weeks later we found out that it failed. I was devastated. We had spent thousands of dollars, countless, painful injections and had nothing to show for it. We knew that we wanted to start IVF one more time and had discussed this with our doctor previously and were told we would be able to. That morning we were told we couldn’t. This did not help with any of the emotions that were running through me, after pleading with my doctor, he reluctantly agreed but told us that there was a significant chance that I would respond poorly again. The very next day we started the entire process again, only with double the amount of shots and meds.
I wish I could say the second time around was easier, but it wasn’t. The first night of shots I had severe clotting again (as bad as my miscarriages) and nearly ended up in the hospital. We knew that if we stimmed for more than 12 days that we would not be able to do a fresh transfer and have to wait two more months. This time I responded exactly as they had predicted…..poorly. 4 follicles. On the morning of day 12 we found out that we could “pull the trigger” (trigger shot to force my body to release the eggs) and collect the eggs to be fertilized. 36 hours later we went in for the egg retrieval. Immediately after the surgery our doctor came in and told us that we had 5 eggs. We were thrilled with 5, then a nurse came in with the official count and told us we actually had 8! We were so shocked and had no idea where they all came from, but knew it had to be God. The mature eggs would be fertilized and then transferred back within a week. The next morning, we got the call. Of our 8 eggs only 1 fertilized and they wanted us to come in for our transfer the next day! It was bittersweet. I knew God had shown me that I would have twins, I didn’t understand how I could only have one, but I was so happy for that one precious life. Later that day our doctor called my husband and told him another one may fertilize but we wouldn’t know until tomorrow at the transfer. At 8:00 the next morning they called back. Our second embryo had fertilized, but we wouldn’t be able to transfer it that day. I immediately started to pray that by some miracle we would be able to and in the middle of my prayer, the phone rang. It was my clinic telling me they had made a mistake and that we would be able to transfer both embryos that day. I started crying uncontrollably and started thanking God for this miracle that he had performed. The vision he showed me the night after my first miscarriage was coming to pass 15 months later. I was finally going to be pregnant with the two babies he showed me. When we got there, we learned we actually had a third embryo that fertilized, but found out a week later that it stopped growing. The transfer itself was one of the most incredible moments of my life. I actually saw my two babies (as two balls of cells) on a screen be put into my body and from that moment on I was pregnant. My world was finally full of joy. A week after the transfer I received an email from my nurse saying our third embryo hadn’t survived and was discarded….like it was thrown into a trash can. It immediately put doubt in my head that these two embryos that were living and growing in me wouldn’t take and I would be faced with my deepest, darkest fear again. I continued to tell myself that God wouldn’t do that to me. He had let my vision come to pass, I had my twins, He wouldn’t take that from me again. He wouldn’t let me suffer like that again. Ararat and I decided not to take a home pregnancy test during those two weeks and wait for our blood test that would confirm our two miracles. On October 20th, we went in for our blood test. We were nervous and had so many people praying for things to go well. Someone even had a vision of angels surrounding my womb so I knew it was going to go well. After several hours passed we finally got the call. “I wish I had better news.” Six words that crushed me to my core. I still don’t have the words for what I was feeling because I can’t describe it. The hurt, the betrayal, the loss, the pain. In that moment, I wish my heart would’ve been shattered because it would have been better than what I was feeling. We decided to take a break for a while from fertility treatments, to give our bodies and minds time to rest and recover. Ararat and I agreed that if nothing happened on its own by March of 2017 we would go back to our clinic. Which is what we did a few months later and we were told that we would again need to go through more testing, an IUI, and then could move onto a frozen IVF cycle if the IUI failed. I was devastated again. I kept thinking about how it could be six more months before I had life inside of me again at the earliest. But, we went with what our doctor said and followed his protocol and began with new tests and bloodwork. This time my numbers came back and we were shocked to learn that my ovarian reserve (the number of eggs a woman has) was low. EXTREMELY low for my age. It finally explained why I had responded so poorly the last two times of our IVF cycles. Still we went through with another IUI which failed, but we were ready to our third round of IVF. My doctor put me on his most aggressive, long (and expensive) protocol. I was back on 3 injections a day for 20 days. During these 20 days, I was back at my fertility clinic daily for ultrasounds and bloodwork, but this time…I FINALLY RESPONDED. My follicles were growing! Finally, on day 20 we pulled the trigger to get ready for another surgery. When we went in that morning for surgery we were both super nervous and anxious about what was to come. The surgery went well and they collected 14 eggs! We were thrilled because we knew this made our chances of having several embryos very high. The following day they called with an embryo report and 9 of my eggs were fertilized and growing. We then had to wait 6 days to see how many of the 9 embryos would make it to blast. Blast is where they can freeze the embryos so you can transfer them back to the mother after a thaw. On day 6 we heard the news that we had 2 embryos that made it to blast. A part of me was thrilled that we had 2 babies that we could transfer back but a part of me was worried that neither of those 2 would take again. We consulted with our doctor that told us not to do genetic testing and to “roll the dice” and put them both in and see what happens and on September 6th that is exactly what we did.
We knew that we could take an at home pregnancy test 5 days after our transfer and to say that we were both nervous was an understatement. September 11th happened to be the day that Hurricane Irma was supposed to hit so Ararat and I both had the day off from work. We got up and went to the store to prep for the storm and while we were there we bought a pregnancy test with the intention of waiting until our blood test that Friday. But I couldn’t wait, so as soon as I got home I had Ararat take out the trash and I took the test, which INSTANTLY came back positive. I ran to the stairs and yelled “BABE I’M PREGNANT!” He didn’t believe me and needed to see the test for himself and sure enough it was positive. We cried together, thanked God, and called our parents to tell them the good news. We were in total bliss!! We went on with our week like normal waiting to take our blood test that Friday when something started to go wrong. I had some extreme pain in my lower abdomen on Thursday, September 14th, the day before my blood test. I thought I was miscarrying so I took another test and it again came back positive, but I was still in a TON of pain. It got so bad that while I was at cheerleading practice I threw up and passed out. I knew something was wrong so I went home early and Ararat insisted that I head to the ER because he thought I may have appendicitis. After several hours in the ER we discovered that my bloodwork did come back positive for pregnancy at 211 (which is high for being 4 weeks pregnant) and that I did have appendicitis and would need surgery. My concern was obviously for the pregnancy and the life that I was carrying and not my own. We had gone through SO much to get to this point that there was no way I was willing to risk losing another pregnancy. Thankfully everything went fine and I was in and out of the OR in less than 30 minutes! We even went home that night! Three days post-surgery we went back to the fertility clinic for the bloodwork I had missed from the appendicitis and my HCG beta came back at 1,580. My numbers had quintupled in 3 days. We started to think that maybe there was more than one baby that stuck. Another 3 days later it was 6,107. We went on vacation to enjoy ourselves before our first ultrasound and that’s when the “morning sickness” hit. I was miserable, but I kept telling myself that it was normal and part of a healthy pregnancy. With every bit of nausea, I kept saying, “this is good,” to help me get through it. After a great vacation, we came home for our first ultrasound and that’s when they we saw our baby as soon as she turned on the ultrasound machine. Then we heard, “I see two heartbeats!” That moment was the one we had been waiting for nearly three years. OUR TWINS WERE THERE! We couldn’t see them moving but we heard their sweet heartbeats and were told they looked PERFECT. We had to schedule another appointment two weeks later and see how everything looked. They would be looking for growth and movement next time. Two weeks later there they were again but this time they were moving, wiggling, had strong heartbeats, and “textbook perfect.” We were told to come back in a week and a half and if everything still looked good we would be discharged from the fertility clinic. And that’s exactly what happened. We had graduated from the fertility clinic. It was such a bittersweet feeling because so rarely you go into the fertility clinic with good news and we became attached to the staff that worked so hard to get us our children, but we were glad to close that part of our journey. Which leads us to where we are now…we’re 12 weeks pregnant with our perfect twins that God showed me so long ago. We kept the faith, even though it was shaky at times, and God gave us His promise. We are so blessed to be through this time in our lives and to have these two babies on the way.
For those of you in similar situations, your time is coming…. Keep the faith. It is hard, I won’t lie, but God took something awful and made it wonderful. I feel closer to God, my husband, my family than I ever have and I know it’s because of everything that has happened. I know this is something many people keep to themselves, but God placed this on my heart to share, so I listened. I hope this helps someone that may be going through a hard time or questioning their faith. God doesn’t hate you or want bad things for you. Yes, it sucks that we have to go through horrible things, but it will make you stronger. I know what it feels like to be tortured and tormented spiritually on a daily basis. Don’t quit, don’t give up…. you will make it!