Grace Among Us

024 - Grace and the Unseen Challenges of Conceiving

August 07, 2023 Carri Adcock and Ebony C. Gilbert Season 1 Episode 24
Grace Among Us
024 - Grace and the Unseen Challenges of Conceiving
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Come join us on an incredibly personal journey with our dear friends, Amy and Clint Ledford. Their story of the path to parenthood is a rollercoaster of emotions, challenges, and heartache, isolation, faith, and grace - which they've bravely chosen to share with us. Full of fear and envy, AND hope and spiritual support, they demonstrate that strength and grace can emerge from the most testing circumstances. They highlight the significance of unity and companionship at such times and how these aspects can provide solace and comfort.

The Ledfords paint an intimate, striking picture of infertility and the IVF process. It is a journey marked by determination and resilience despite a slim one to two percent chance of conceiving naturally. This isn't just a story of biology and medical procedures -  it's a journey through the financial implications and the emotional rollercoaster that accompanies them. Yet, they remind us that each step, each moment, offers an opportunity for grace, and a chance to hold onto hope. It's a poignant reminder that miracles do happen when hope meets adversity.

Their journey doesn't stop at conceiving. Clint and Amy remind us of the importance of seeking support and acknowledging the grace life sends our way, demonstrating that love, strength, and the power of grace can be found even in the most challenging of journeys. Their story is a testament to all of this. Their willingness to share their journey offers comfort and inspiration to anyone facing similar challenges, and we're sincerely grateful for their openness and courage. We invite you to join us on this journey with them, filled with hope, resilience, and above all, grace.

We'd love to meet you in person! Come Join Us in Heaven's Net. A 3-day retreat March 13 - 15, 2024 - find out more by clicking HERE.

Speaker 1:

Welcome to Grace Among Us, the podcast where we unearth the many faces and places of grace and share stories of the power of grace in our human lives. Our desire is that this will inspire you to see grace in your own life and share it with others. Hello, hello.

Carri Richard:

My name is Carri Richard. I'm a mindset coach and I help people make space and enjoy the ride. And I am doing one of my most favorite, favorite things and that is to talk about all the faces and places of grace, and I get to do this with my dear friend, Ebony Gilbert. And hello, Ebony, hello.

Ebony Gilbert:

Carri Richard, thank you for introducing yourself. My name is Ebony Gilbert, as Carri stated, this is our podcast on Grace. We love to talk about it, we like to see it, we like to experience it, and sometimes we invite friends to do so with us. So today we have invited our dear friends Amy and Clint Ledford or Clint and Amy Ledford, depending on how you want to put which one first and they are here to share with us their experiences with Grace today. So, Amy and Clint, please tell us a little bit about yourselves and get us all hyped and excited about Grace on this great day.

Amy Ledford:

Hello, hello. Well, I'm Amy Ledford Thank you for that introduction, Ebony and this is my husband, Clint. We have been married for almost two years, but together for four. We just celebrated, I think, our four year dating anniversary last week and yes, I celebrate those kind of anniversaries, even though he thinks I'm crazy for that. We met online four years ago and we've had a whirlwind romance and things moved quickly, but with God's grace, it was just magical. I mean, he's my soulmate and I just feel so blessed that we found each other. And so, like I said, we've been married a couple of years and we'll talk more about our journey to expanding our family. Right now, it's just the two of us here plus our wonderful dog Penny, but our family is growing and so we will share more about that. But I'll let my husband introduce himself a little bit more.

Clint Ledford:

Yeah, sure To clarify, there's always a debate on exactly when that date is that we can pass. You know a fun little story of what it was thinking we're dating for the other one and someone had to call somebody whom I'm apparently serving their life sentence there now, but it really has been a whirlwind. I did get a tag-team partner to do this with. But yeah, when you asked me to move to North Carolina with you, I know you didn't know what I would say, but thank goodness you didn't ask me to move to Wyoming or anything. But yeah, I just jumped on and four years later here we are in a lovely house and a lovely town and a lovely state.

Carri Richard:

Yeah.

Amy Ledford:

And very blessed.

Ebony Gilbert:

This is like the new-day American love story, you know something like that.

Amy Ledford:

Yeah, we keep waiting for match to call us to be in a commercial, but yeah we can make them a lot of money because it worked for us hey we'll put it in the resources Exactly. Yeah, if you're listening match please.

Ebony Gilbert:

I know it works, so we invited you guys here today to talk about your journey. Oftentimes, when we discuss grace, there's an adversity or challenge that's been presented and we use grace to mold and shape and frame our perspective. Sometimes that perspective aligns with the outcome and sometimes it doesn't, and this is one of those situations where it does very nicely. So thank you for agreeing to be here and tell us your story.

Amy Ledford:

Yeah, yeah.

Clint Ledford:

So we've been wanting to expand our family we're just bursting at the seams with love and decided we needed, you know, little rug rats to spread that on. Yeah, it's been an interesting journey, just say the least I know maybe you've been wanting to kind of truly been on your heart to discuss it and bring awareness to it. You know we moved here to our current place in June. I think sometime in May we decided to start trying for a family.

Amy Ledford:

So more than a year ago.

Clint Ledford:

Yeah. So, I don't know if you wanted to.

Amy Ledford:

So we, you know we had decided, okay, it's time to start trying and, as with most people, we kind of don't know what you're going to get until you start trying. It's trying something right, whether that's having a baby or anything else in life. Sometimes it's trial and error, and trying to get pregnant for us has been definitely some trials. And so I'd say, you know, we've been trying about six months and, you know, consulted our doctors and was just like you know how do we prepare our stuff? And we got physicals and they're like, yep, try for about a year. And you know, then come back and see me and we're kind of like, okay, all right, anything else, no, all right. And so about six months in, you know, started to get a little impatient and we're doing all the right things and you know, there's suggestions on how you track and you know, being really intentional about conceiving and because there's quite a, you know, bit of scientific, you know intentionality that you can have with a woman's cycle and just trying to, you know, make it work right and increase your probability. And so about six or seven months in, realized I don't know if I'm patient enough to keep waiting and keep trying, because something just feels like we just I think both new and our hearts like something might be off, so let's seek out some other help. So we went back to the doctor and still not quite the answers we wanted to get. There was like, still keep going, and so, honestly, this is. It was one of those circumstances where you just don't know what might pop up. And, thanks to social media and Instagram, I actually saw an ad for a local fertility clinic and was like bingo, I want to go check them out and talk to them and see how they can help us, because I want to cut right to the experts. I'm the type of person I think, yeah, go ahead.

Ebony Gilbert:

Did your phone know that you had been talking about this, so it popped up an ad for you?

Amy Ledford:

I don't know, but it worked for me on that time, so I it was great Grace in all forms.

Carri Richard:

Exactly.

Clint Ledford:

There was a lot also in between those two events, that's one being that sex ed lied to us as a kid it's way harder to get pregnant, even if everything works, than they may seem. It may seem like you just bumped into a woman, there you go, but no, it was a big process, like you said, and when we went to the doctors and I was very adamant that we started getting checked or something like that, because I've always been that proactive person of we got to do something and it was really the hard part of all of it, which is the not knowing and the stressors that come with it. And then you begin to really lose intimacy in your relationship because it becomes there's intimate moments, become like work, you know, like you're talking and talking out, and we found that not only does it affect just those intimate moments, but it affects throughout. You know you're losing that closeness that you have with each other about everything, and it was wearing on this and that's really what drove us to go to the doctors again and while you know at the time we're both so adamant that we need to see somebody, and then the doctors that we've been going to our primary care at the time were really like you said we're not giving us the answers we wanted, or even the answers we wanted, but they weren't asking the right questions or being inquisitive enough. Mine actually, because I'm so demanding, referred me to a urologist and that's what I learned that there's only two even in this area and they're booked out for months in advance. So I had an appointment. My first appointment was August this time last year, and the day before the appointment they say oh so sorry, you can't see it. How's two months from now? So then it turned into October. Same thing happened. Oh so sorry, how's December? The December came around? Oh so sorry, he's called away again. How's another two months? And again, the whole time we're still trying. We're still doing all these things. We went everywhere, from trying to match up your right days to doing rain dances and that little thing in between, but trying to get there because you're trying to make anything stick.

Carri Richard:

So can I ask you a question? So it's really a beautiful explanation and I know that people who are in this situation are really going to resonate with this, and it's also really informative for people who have not gone through this process or may be going through this process in the future. So it hit my heart when you were talking about this very beautiful act of coming together, like actually shifting into more of a clock-in clock-out, and losing that connection. Can you tell me, during all of this with the urologist and with the uncertainty and all this, can you explain the emotions that you go through in this process?

Amy Ledford:

I think a big emotion for me was, honestly, anger and frustration. I became angry at a certain point that it was so difficult for us and I think this is where social media can be hard in these circumstances, because I would feel like there was a period where I was going on my feed and all I was seeing were pregnancy announcements and births announcements. I was angry there for quite a while and resentful, to be honest, of why isn't that us and why is it so hard for us? And it was really stressful and it was difficult and, even though we had each other to lean on, it also felt isolating to a degree, because even though we're partners in crime and partners for life, we're trying to do this together. I think it just felt like at times I felt like it was us against the world of everyone else having babies and it was so easy for them, right, because whether you know it is or not. And it was stressful and it put a lot of strain on our marriage because it's like, okay, you do what you're told and you try to do the best that you can and we were being so intentional and we're planners. And then, month after month, and it's not working and those days leading up to right before it started a period and it's like, okay, is it going to be this month, is it going to be? And so you get your anticipation and your hopes and then you're like, oh shoot. And so I think it was quite a roller coaster and I'll let Clint share how he felt during that time. But for me, I had a lot of anger that I've had to sort through and the emotions have shifted over time, but there was definitely a period where I was mad.

Ebony Gilbert:

Did you recognize it as anger while it was happening? Oh yeah.

Amy Ledford:

I was really pissed off.

Clint Ledford:

I think the right word for that that I also experienced it as envy. Yeah, a lot of it, I think it's like, oh, I dropped a big chip on her shoulder. It's like I always said in my mind. I put it to like when you have a broke down car and you see all the other cars working running down the road perfectly and you're stuck in this beater, you know, and you're like, well, wish I had one that would work perfectly, yeah, you just that's to your point. It's something we just I personally just noticed everywhere is that association with it. And then you grow that resentment, that jealousy for like happy things or even weirder things, like I mean, we're going through this. I think during the whole Supreme Court, the whole overturning of Roe v. Wade and abortion thing, and being - seeing that from such a different perspective, like that, I'm sure they never thought about it. It's like, well, we wish we could even have a kid, let alone have the right to do this or that. So we were coming at everything of this lens of envy and jealousy of others you know tons of other people who you know unwanted pregnancies and stuff and like, well, we would love an unwanted pregnancy, you know, and yeah, yeah. So that was a big thing. And the biggest thing I could stress to people in general is, at least from my perspective, is I was always very lucky. I came into this. I said this long before we ever started trying to do, because there's always a fear of mine, it's always a fear of any man you know, not being able to have kids, because there's nothing you can really do to switch either works or does some kind of thing. So I've told her this long before. It's like if one of us can't get pregnant, neither of us can get pregnant. You know, having that frame of mind said that we're in this together and I think that really saved us a lot from blaming one person or the other. So we were able to avoid that kind of infighting at least through that. But we were also dealing with it then of towards others. You know we were not at our best with some friends. I'm referring back to one friend in particular who they had a baby. They were pregnant at the time and the wife was complaining about, morning sickness and stuff like that and somebody asked them are they going to have another d" ? No like after what I went through with the first drive, minister, I don't think so. I definitely don't want to do that, and both of us just got -you know - kind of in our feelings. You know nothing because that's what they're going through, that's their frame of reference, like, well, we would love for morning sickness right now and going back to that. So that was definitely the hardest part, at least in an interpersonal way is really that chip on your shoulder you get. You're going through something and you can't really you can, but you don't really want to talk about it. You know it's, it's you want to keep, keep going like everything is fine, so yeah.

Amy Ledford:

And I think we recognize that pretty early on and I think separate but related around the same time, before we sought out help from the clinic, we also decided and we decided a while before that that we really wanted to find a spiritual home and grow that part of our relationship. And so even for months leading up to this, we had talked about, you know, trying to find a local church to become a part of and kind of explore that together. Because we had not done that yet and I think, we both have different viewpoints and, different faith paths and experiences. But together, you know, we talked about trying to grow with that together and so, I don't know about a couple months before we started working with the clinic, we had also went down the path of trying to find a church and we, you know, tried some out and went to different ones and actually landed at one that we liked, and so that connection, I know for me was helpful to at least have a place that would. We went and I had. Well, I'll just say every Sunday I have a very emotional release at church, like it all comes out and we have to find the row that has the tissues, because Amy's going to cry, it's just going to happen, even if it's a super joyous occasion. And I think honestly, that outlet not knowing it then, but like thinking back on it now was really helpful at the same time, because it was hard to express these emotions and what had been going on in words. And so then, when I you know was at church or you know I connect also to the music and hearing songs it was like the walls and the filters and it just like I just opened up and just let it out. And so that's certainly something that we've talked about or, you know, I think has helped us along the way as well as discovering that outlet, at least for me, because there were many points where it's like, I know I'm angry, I know I'm sad, I'm upset, but it was hard to put it in words because it's also a fluid situation too right, because the day of the month matters and you know, as we got, different information in, your perspective changes and you're not able to plan all the way to the end, at least in a fertility journey, like there's a lot of milestones, and so you know we had steps that we would complete, but you didn't know what was going to come next, necessarily, or what that outcome was going to be.

Clint Ledford:

I'll fill in the blanks there. So yeah, we got lucky and met with these people and Then we just go for a consultation, and then we go get tested and find out. You know, we think the doctor basically gave us a 2% chance to conceive naturally.

Amy Ledford:

You know, you said two? Yes 1 - 2 percent.

Clint Ledford:

Yes, yes.

Amy Ledford:

It was a huge blow.

Clint Ledford:

Shaq had a better chance of making a free throw than we did of conceiving the challenge. So, yeah, sorry, Shaq, but Anyways.

Ebony Gilbert:

So you're already angry, you're already feeling what you're feeling. You're already in this isolated space and you're experiencing all these emotions that aren't characteristic of who you are as people. And now you're told you have a one to two percent chance. Do you give up? Yeah, what do you like? What happens at that point? How's that drive home?

Clint Ledford:

So it's, it's actually surprising, we felt better.

Ebony Gilbert:

Yeah, we really did, and now you have a direction.

Clint Ledford:

Yeah, you, yes it. The hardest part of all of all of this is the unknown. So once we knew what - because that was the frustrating part, like before I was mentioning my appointments kept getting canceled. Is that a continuation of the unknown - I keep trying to make it happen, you keep trying to take your destiny into your own hands, but it keeps being given and taken away from me. So once we finally knew, hey, this is what we're dealing with, it was very relieving. It's like okay you know, it's not X, Y or Z, it's Q, you know, and this is how we're gonna treat Q now. It was not fun when we learned about the cost of everything, and that was the same day that we also learned that our, our bathroom went out. Our shower was leaking. So that was a fun day. Speaking of grace and really just having to take it step by step and taking it moment by moment. You know, because if you try to eat the elephant, one giant gulp, you're never gonna get there.

Ebony Gilbert:

So I want to pause there for a second. You said so much. That was so juicy. I want to take a minute. A door closes right and your, your thought, is great, that wasn't the right door. Now we know to those with different door, the different door comes with a high cost, literally and figuratively, yes. And in the midst of all this happening, it starts to pour like raining pouring. It's all happening literally, because your showers all jacked up. Things are happening and You're still thinking I've got to move forward. You've got to move forward one step at a time. These steps are guided this is all or this. We got to move forward. What gave you that hope? Like? What were you holding on to?

Amy Ledford:

I think our drive to become parents is what helped propel us and we knew - I think we had agreed even before we got our test results, that we were going to exhaust all the options that we had within reason. Right, we would level set and understand, kind of, what are what we were willing to do. But, again, not knowing how your path was gonna go or what we would need to do made that difficult. But we knew that we wanted to try as much as we could to have a child biologically before we pursued, fostering or adoption, because we had talked about that too. Well, we know that there's other options if this doesn't work. So, but we will, you know, one thing at a time, we'll try this and then we'll cross that bridge when we get there. But, like he said, when we got the testing results, it was a huge relief because it was an answer to all those unknowns and it helped reframe, our whole situation. I definitely know that I had a shift in all that anger and resentment - of feeling frustrated, to almost a more strategic mindset where it's like okay, this is our situation, these are our variables, because everyone's fertility is different, right? So the combination of partners and what you bring to the table, it's like algebra, it's like A plus B equals your equation and our A plus B equaled zero to two percent. (Clint) yeah, so when I first heard, to quote Jim Carey from Dumb-and-Dumber, I said "so there's chance, right?" It wasn't a zero percent chance, and so then it became a question of how do we increase our probability??

Clint Ledford:

How do we get? Yeah yeah. So they gave us a couple different options. You know we, we immediately went thinking of you. You know, one option was I just they forced your window into being "all right On this day at this time. Here's your window, kind of thing, and that's had a percentage to it of like 27%. It's still better than two, but wasn't all that great. Then with medications and changing your hormones and increasing eggs and things. And then the one that we ultimately went with was IVF, where they gave us like a 65% chance. But then came the questions of funds. You know how do we do that? That's a big stressor right there because it's more. You know, while we both do, fine, it was, it's a giant stressor. And so you immediately go like, " I had a with you know X to meet why, and yeah, you know, Many things are running through your mind. Okay, maybe I start bagging groceries. Or you know, there's a bank near the house that doesn't have an alarm system or something you know. I mean, you just start thinking of just wild things because you just you know you've got to make this happen some way, somehow. There never was a quit, there was always a, "So you're saying we have a chance, kind of thing, and then we were lucky with that and. We then picked the IVF route, which came once we did acquire the funds and get moving, which was a whole other deal that we really had to deal with. It felt slimy, it felt almost weirdly so transactional.

Amy Ledford:

Yeah, yeah, transactional.

Clint Ledford:

I mean, these people are running a business and they were great people. I'm not trying to speak ill of them, but to think that like, oh, it's money that's stopping us from being able to have the family that we want to have you know, to be able to live the life that we want to have is money, and that again, for me personally, led to another chip on the shoulder - is insurance. You know, insurance will help pay for x, y and z, but not for this Like having that whole teenage "rebel thought of cause kind of feeling of like you know the man's keeping me down, kind of thing. Um, yeah, yeah, once. Once, luckily, we were able to get that figured out. Our next big journey really began with medicines and all kinds of stuff. I don't know if you want to talk more about that, but we had to take shots, and every day, I should say we, she I hope you'll forgive her the credit that's due. So what was it? Nine o'clock became our shot time every day. I mean, going back to that initial talk about intimacy, what started out as a very freaky thing to do, came to be a very intimate thing. I mean, it wasn't fun, don't get me wrong, but with each shot we knew we're getting closer to our goal of ultimately starting a family. So it became a little journey. We went on together. Yeah yeah, you had fun like that, thinking you were a pin cushion for a little while, and they were very good with us as far as we're looking for keep our expectations realistic. at no point did they ever say like, yeah, this is going to work. So for me personally, going through this, all was that constant waiting for the rug to be pulled out from under you. They give you different milestones. The first ones they're checking to see how you're responding to medication, as far as your hormone levels and everything goes. They have a couple of checks there and then you go to schedule to get your eggs retrieved and then how many eggs you got and then, hey, how did the fertilization go? And, guys, if I could tell you all, the most humbling thing I've ever done in my life is the cup that they give you to supply your specimen is like a big gulp cup, you know. And they give up and one-eyed pirate man that gives it to you and say fill her up. Yeah, yeah, that was very humbling, but no, so, yeah, it was. At each milestone we kept waiting for the rug to get pulled out from under us and trying to keep expectations on track.

Amy Ledford:

Well, it was a new phase of unknowns.

Clint Ledford:

Yes.

Amy Ledford:

Right. So you know, we got our diagnosis, and then it was commitment to the process. Then it was okay, these are your, this is your treatment plan, and you're going to do these things, but we can't guarantee you what your outcome is going to be. We can't tell you how many eggs you're going to grow, we can't tell you how your hormone levels are going to change. I mean, it's the most precise and yet un-precise science I have ever been exposed to, and because there's all these things that they measure but yet they can't tell you how it's going to go or what's going to happen next, and it can change by the day. Like I got to a certain point where later in the treatment, I was going in for blood tests daily, and so they were like, okay, it was this this day and this this day, and what was going to happen the next day was dependent on the measurement of that day, and so it was a lot. But I think again, once we started on that progression, it was again kind of just getting back on that roller coaster of, okay, we're in this together. There were certainly stressful moments, for sure. I mean even with the medication very much. So there were many times where I was not very nice or didn't like being the pincushion.

Clint Ledford:

Well, and if I just may add on to that just for a moment. It was difficult for me because I wanted to help as much as I could, because I felt very powerless of it, because I clearly couldn't take the shots I can't have the baby myself and so there were times I wasn't helpful, I could have been overbearing or whatever. So I was just trying to be as supportive as possible and it was there was butting head moments, so it wasn't just. You know we're making it. It wasn't as smooth as we made it out to be. But yeah, there were definitely trying moments. I'm sorry, please keep going.

Amy Ledford:

No, it was, it was real, and I don't know what possessed me to do this, but I think it was probably learning about how difficult this is and just kind of experiencing like okay, this is not easy for anyone, and so wanting to share, eventually, kind of our story. I just we decided to video each one of our medication shots, and so we you know, every night. We took a video and sometimes we would talk about it and I think it was cathartic to a degree, but then it was also like, and also a drive to like want to share it more, right. So it's like, okay, we've made this commitment, we're doing it, maybe we can share our story and whatever form that may come, because in doing research, you know, fertility can affect one in eight couples, and that's they don't even they think this statistic is even higher, because it's not something that people talk about. It's not. People usually wait to go seek help, and you know those that have talked about it. I really applaud them, but there's not. You know many books that are written out there about how to even get started with, what to consider, right, so how to seek the right help, how to ask the right questions. There's some now, thankfully, podcast out there of people who are sharing their story, but you have to really seek out those things for yourself and that was a frustrating part of if you don't have a great support system or if you didn't have a supportive partner. I can only imagine how much more incredibly difficult this experience would have been if you didn't have someone to even talk that through Because, again, thankfully, he and you know helped hold us, you know, hold me accountable at times of like okay, when's your next appointment? We're doing this, and, even though there are times I was frustrated by it, it also helped propel us forward, cause there were plenty of times where I just wanted to be like, forget it, this is too much, I'm overwhelmed. I'm, of course, emotional because my hormones are off the chart. It's, you know, it's feeling too much and getting anxious, and he would help, you know, center me of like, okay, nope, remember why we're doing this, and you know so I think there really is an area where, as a society and similar with mental health, like it needs to be talked about more, and so I feel strongly about figuring out what works best for us. But then also, you know, we've shared it, our story or our situation, with people, even strangers, on an airplane, and they're like, oh my gosh, I know someone, or I did as well, and so it found it to be a lot more common than I thought, at least in my circle and broader, but yet I didn't know about that before I brought it up.

Clint Ledford:

Yeah, and you mentioned that as second. My thought is it almost feels like a secret club. It's like, since we've been so open to it, I've never I mean beforehand I've heard one or two people born from IVF or what have you. But no, we start talking about the number of people come up to me or said, yeah, man, my son was born this way, or daughter's born this way. Hey, I was born this way. Or me, I had a coworker mind just the other day, pulled me aside and asked me about it. I was like, hey, me and my wife have been having trouble. And I was like, yeah, man, go get tested. That's the biggest piece of advice we can give anybody is don't hesitate. You know testing is cheap. Yes, stuff can be expensive. The testing is relatively inexpensive and, like we were saying earlier, then you know you really do. It takes away that unknown world.

Carri Richard:

It's amazing. You know, by God's grace it was not part of my own life story, so I had no idea that it's such a secret club and it's like, as you were talking about that, as you guys are journeying through this, it's like it's almost like you're wandering in a desert. You know it's in the mountains and it's beautiful. One of the things that really struck me is that you guys took action early. You know it was tearing you guys apart. I might be being a little dramatic, but it was tearing you guys apart. I can only imagine people who are feeling like they're doing this alone and may not have the support system, like you said, that take action early or just go go to a clinic, go find out, have a consultation, ask the questions. I was really surprised that when you said you got the one to 2% chance and I think even Ebony said so were you angry again and it was like, no, we were relieved. It's like, oh my gosh, yeah, go go find out please.

Ebony Gilbert:

That's my takeaway. Like that really resonated with me. How do you embrace the closed door? Is it a closed door? Is it a hallway? Is it an opening to a hallway between here and there? That gets me to the place where I'm supposed to be, and now I'm not going in the wrong door, you know. So that hit me pretty hard. I had to like take a seat as well.

Amy Ledford:

Yeah it was a window that opened that we had to decide if we were going to go through it or not. You know we knew at that point, ok, well, our journey is not going to be traditional, but it gave us a direction and I think again, that relief I mean I was surprised by it myself but looking back it almost was like I wish we had done it sooner, because those months and months that we went through of being frustrated and stressed and the tension in our relationship was not pleasant, but you know. So that's, you know again, but kind of been our biggest advocacy point is the information. Don't be afraid of that outcome or that testing result or what your variable might be, because it can help guide you to the next step. And we again talking about we were also expanding our spiritual journey and finding a church. But we had a lot of people tell us well, just keep trying and pray about it and give it up, it'll all work out. And you know there's many situations in life that I think you should give it up to God and really accept that you don't have control over the situation. And that's really what this felt like to us was we had to come to grips with. We are not driving this, this vehicle. We are not in control, but we have to do what's best for us to try to do our best. I don't know if that made any sense, but can take action with something.

Carri Richard:

Yeah, it makes a lot of sense and it's almost like you can have faith. We all have faith, but faith without works is dead, right? Yeah, so to your point. And you guys said this, like when you started down, you know, you found out the result and you found out your options, and even they were not iterating what the outcome was. They couldn't tell you what the outcome was, if it was going to be yay or nay, but they could give you the next path and it is up to us, all of us, to walk the path. And so I love, I love what you just said. I do want to ask you and I don't know if you don't want to answer this or you can't, that's totally fine. But since you spoke about, you know, starting the spiritual home, like in the before the fertility clinic, right, when you guys were like, yes, here we go, we're going to start this thing, like, what was the if you were to say what your prayer was at that point? What was that prayer during that time?

Clint Ledford:

That's a great question. I was raised in a Baptist home. One of the things they was really beaten to my head was constant prayer. And you can't. The Lord doesn't doesn't just give out. You have to. He doesn't just give you what you asked for. You have to ask for guidance, you have to ask for the strength. You know you can't just ask for a shiny boat and a shiny boat will appear. So, personally, for me was the clarity, you know, to find the right path forward, for the strength to keep going and even for a little bit of luck. You know, yeah, I mean it was, it was a constant, constant thing, just reaching out for the strength and something, something, some sort of direction. You know, because the hardest part about all this is the is, is the science of it. Through everything, it's the, the unknown. It's like like you're saying being in a desert at night. There's nothing out there, even to like our friends and family who have all and you, you mentioned this about people like, oh, just do this or that they, when you first get married, they ask oh, is it when you having kids, when you're doing all this? And then those things become less and less frequent and they eventually stop. And then the intimacy thing of it becoming a job, you know, and then it just the intimacy slowly stops, it becomes quiet and it's that, that silence, that is so deafening. That's why, when I would pray, I would pray for something, I would pray for some, you know noise, some sort of guiding light to pull us out of this low. You know because love and grace can die in silence that they grow if you, if you can give it something to feed, give it some path forward.

Amy Ledford:

So definitely, definitely around strength. I think again made a conscious decision early on not to and we talked about it not to shy away or hide the situation of ours. So we were very open and transparent with our families and our closest friends up front and I think that also helped, brought some relief to right, because in your friend groups you start talking about what everybody's working on and going on and going through and I just put it out there and I think that helped me mentally work through a lot of just being open and sharing and it helped lift some of that burden, the emotional weight. And so I would, you know, many times ask for that strength to continue to feel open, to share it, because I know that I received a lot back from that, but I knew that I had to be, I had to have a sense of willingness and openness to do that. And then, you know, had a down, have had a download a few times of keeping strong to keep sharing it because it will help others and it can break through, you know, even if it just helps one other couple with. Again, this whole roller coaster is what it is To me. That's worth talking about it. I feel no shame whatsoever about our situation and we talked about that early on. If we are not going to feel shame about this, we are not going to label ourselves as different, we are not going to have a pity party about our zero to 2%, because, again, it's not zero. We are not going to feel like you know, we're something's wrong with us, because, again, our algebra is what it is and we know we are great people, and so we knew. We knew that, we know that we have this love to give, and so we knew that that outcome would occur. However it was going to occur, but we were going to find a way to share this love that we have bottled up and that's been growing.

Clint Ledford:

Butting gets to snowing.

Amy Ledford:

Right, and so definitely praying for strength has been key and it's been hard. I've read through some journal entries that I wrote throughout this process and pretty angry and frustrated, and it's hard to remain strong and level headed and sensible when this you feeling every emotion under the sun. So definitely a great question there, Carrie, and you know I think our prayer now has changed a bit.

Carri Richard:

And Amy, why has your prayer changed a bit?

Amy Ledford:

Because, so you know, we went through the process of doing the medications. We did an egg retrieval, which means I was induced with lots of medications to grow a bunch of eggs. They extracted them from my body, they fertilized them and then we did an embryo transfer and luckily, that embryo transfer has now turned into a successful pregnancy Hold on. And so we're very, very excited. We're still early on, we're still in the first trimester, but we're getting close to the second trimester, which is kind of crazy, but you know it's a little surreal. Thankfully, we've only had to go through one cycle of IVF and we consider ourselves very lucky and blessed, because many don't many have to go through multiple cycles and it can take years. So I feel very fortunate and grateful that that was our outcome. But again, you know, whether it takes you one time or 10 times, it's quite a process, step by step, and so yeah, that's fine.

Carri Richard:

I would love, since you guys are so open, I would love to hear, if you would share it with us and our listeners what your prayer is today for this growing family?

Clint Ledford:

10 fingers, 10 toes, 2 arms and 2 legs.

Amy Ledford:

I think together we just want a healthy baby and not getting attached to if this baby is going to be a boy or a girl. We're so blessed and so grateful that we are pregnant because, again, our numbers did not look so good when we did the egg retrieval. There were seven eggs, which is a very low number. After this sort of treatment I had another round of feeling very angry and upset. I'm like why aren't my numbers very good? I want a good crate on this test. I had seven eggs, only three of them fertilized. Our probability dwindled. Of the three that fertilized only one made it to the end stage. Just one when we did the embryo transfer. I know, but it was close there. We were down to the line because it was like, okay, if this one doesn't work, we've got to do this all over again. And I was really not wanting to do that, but had to have faith that we were going to do what we had to do. So thankfully that one stuck. I think my prayer now is trying to find the gratitude and, where we're at, really lean into. We have worked so hard and we have been through so much stress. Now we're pregnant. I really want to celebrate that and be happy and be excited about it, and then we're going to have a healthy, happy baby that we smother and love. We are so excited to share this being with our friends and our family because we know that we have a great village too. It's going to be our baby, but I feel like they're going to be shared with so many people because we've shared this story with so many people. We have so many people who have been rooting for us and supportive that I just can't wait to really put it out there broadly and get that out for love, because we deserve it. I don't often claim things that I feel like I deserve, but I know we deserve this one. I'm really trying to hold on to that now and be excited and celebrate A little eggy we call it eggy right now.

Carri Richard:

Eggy. Well, my prayer for you is that you enjoy every single day of this process and that you find the grace that is just surrounding you and your family.

Clint Ledford:

The last little note I'd like to make, too, is pregnancy brings its own challenges and difficulties, especially for you, and constantly remembering to give ourselves grace that we asked for this. This is what we worked so hard to be here. Just remembering to stay present and be thankful for the upset tummies, the headaches, the stuff that goes along with general pregnancies, and being there for each other.

Amy Ledford:

I feel like a daily pepto commercial. If I could share that I would, but I know that it is mine to work through now and thankfully I hear that it may not last, so I'm just hopeful that it will fade. There are some days that it is rough but I do appreciate that he helps remind me of this is what we wanted, and it's uncomfortable and it's hard, no matter what stage we're at, but reminding each other that we're here for each other and thankfully again, we have that wonderful village that both of you are a part of to help also remind us of how great it's going to be, and so that helps keep us going forward, too Awesome.

Carri Richard:

Clint, you said something that just struck right through me, and it was love and grace can die in silence, and so I just want to. I'm so grateful that you guys are willing to be so wide open about this experience, and I know that it is going to touch others and it really is. If it's just one, you know, and I look forward. I love to hear that you guys documented this process for lack of a better way of saying it and please get with us and let us know if you guys decide to put more information out there or do something with that, because we would love to spread the word. But this has been part two.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Carri Richard:

It's such, it's such. Thank you so much for being so generous by being so wide open, and I have asked my allotment of questions and so, Ebony, I'm going to ask you if I'm going to just stop talking. So - I love you guys.

Ebony Gilbert:

I will take this out. Thank you guys so much for not keeping the grace and love you've experienced in silence. Thank you for sharing it with us. It extends beyond what you share with each other and what you share with your community. You've shared it with our community now and I am so grateful. A couple takeaways. The last one that Carri just made the love and grace can die in silence. I think that's a quotable tweet right there. That's going to be in our notes. Love that. Clint, put that on a T-shirt. Closed door is really an open window, Amy. That is golden. That is completely golden. Seeking out support Don't do life alone and acknowledging that through all the challenges, through all the adversity, when you get what you ask for, it still might not be easy. But it's worth it, but it's worth it. That's a pretty golden nugget. My prayer for both of you and little eggy is that God will continue to strengthen you and bless you and even in your ebbs and your flows, when you're in your dark, silent moments and your lonely moments and your isolated moments, that you'll draw on the things he's already done to bring you where you need to be to renew your strength. And my prayer for the community and the people who are listening is that you are strengthened by the story and that you can see yourself somewhere in here and that God's grace will permeate you so that you can receive it and then you can give it. This isn't about just receiving. We receive so we can give. Thank you, guys, so much I love you. I'm so glad to be part of your village. I want to be one of the 19,000 Godmoms and we welcome you back for a part two and then possibly a part three, where you bring little eggy with you. Well, thank you for having us. Thank you for having us Thank you so much. Thank you, Carri.

Carri Richard:

Oh, I was going to say eggy's name. Subject to change, that's it. I love you. I t's such a gift. So, thank you and with that grace, out.

Speaker 1:

Thank you so much for joining us. If you enjoyed this episode, please let us know. We love to hear from you and share it with a friend. Also, please be sure to subscribe so you're notified when a new episode is posted. We hope you're leaving with another pointer to grace, a new perspective that will light it up in your own life. Until next time, be well, be bold, be kind to yourself and be on the lookout.

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