“Look, you two,” Lindsy's friend said, “we all know you trust in your God to give you a baby, but it’s been how many years, and you still aren’t pregnant?”
“Three and a half,” Lindsy replied, standing alongside her husband, Matt.
“What? Just get it done artificially. You’re in your 30s!”
From the time Lindsy was a little girl volunteering in the church nursery, all she ever wanted was to be a mother. When she met Matt, everything fell into place: he loved and wanted kids too.
From the time Lindsy was a little girl volunteering in the church nursery, all she ever wanted was to be a mother.
They married and began trying to conceive, but after two anxious years, Lindsy couldn’t get pregnant. They tried talking about it to keep each other sane; then they tried not talking about it to keep each other sane. Nothing relieved the pressure: what is wrong with us?
Nearly four years later, as some artificial means began to look attractive, Lindsy and Matt started to wonder, If science works—how will God get the glory when our friends believe that science is there when God fails?
Even so, they sensed God nudging them toward In Vitro Fertilization. Visits to the doctors got the responses they wanted: “All systems are go.” Matt and Lindsy felt God’s confirming hand. Even in the midst of their excitement, however, they lamented that it would still look like God had to be bailed out by men in white coats.
The harvesting of Lindsy’s eggs went perfectly, resulting in seven eggs ready for fertilization. Lindsy and Matt signed a waiver stipulating that once fertilized, any embryo not healthy enough for planting could not be discarded. All that was left to do was to see how many eggs would take to the fertilization.
A day later, three eggs did not take, leaving four fertilized eggs ready for implanting or storing for later. It was a glorious day.
The next day, they received an update from the specialist: Two of the eggs stalled in the zygote stage, were no longer viable, and would wither away in time. But the two that remained were “very strong—one to implant, one to store.” The procedure was scheduled for the next day.
Lindsy and Matt were up before dawn praying when Lindsy’s phone rang.
“Good morning,” the doctor said, with not a hint of lightness. “Is Matt with you?”
“Put me on speaker and have a seat.” Suddenly, Lindsy’s heart began to race. With Matt touching her shoulder, they pushed the button. “We’re here, doctor.”
“I wanted to tell you personally,” she said, going slower than they would have liked.
“I don’t know what happened, but your two, very strong embryos—well, overnight, they withered and expired. I’m sorry.”
“What does that mean?” Lindsy spoke, terror rising in her voice.
“It means your healthy embryos are gone, Lindsy. There are no more healthy embryos. I can’t tell you how sorry I am.” Lindsy’s mind began to go into shock. The doctor continued. “I’ve never seen anything like this. Those were two fully viable embryos. It makes no sense.”
There was silence over the line.
Lindsy couldn’t grasp it. It had never even crossed her mind that they would come away with nothing. They were, by the doctor’s repeated assurances, too healthy for that.
“And the other two?” Matt asked, with his hand on Lindsy’s shoulder, trying to stave off an eruption.
“The zygotes?” the doctor asked. “Not viable. I don’t even think your body would accept them, Lindsy. The chances of success would be nearly zero. I know you’re people of faith, so you can pray for it. But I can’t recommend it. You’ll be back in a week with another broken heart.”
Lindsy fell to the floor. “Jesus!” she screamed. “Jesus!”
Suddenly, she stood and took hold of her journal. “I’m going out.”
“Where?” Matt pleaded with tears running down his face.
“I don’t know.”
Two hours and a thousand tears later, she was parked somewhere downtown writing furiously when something came to mind. “There will be pain and sorrow through the night, but joy comes in the morning.” Her body began to transform from heavy and grieving, to an almost unbearable lightness. At once, nothing and everything made sense. “You’re still God! You still have a plan! I don’t have a clue what it is, but I know you’re still God!”
As she drove home, there was only one thought in her mind—to pray for the two fertilized eggs holding on in the petri dish, the zygotes. “Lord, I don’t even know why I’m doing this, but I’m praying for your holy hand on their eternal souls.”
The next morning, Matt and Lindsy peacefully reached the same conclusion: they would not implant the two remaining eggs. Another disappointment would be too much. The ordeal was over.
They drove to the hospital for their scheduled meeting to discuss their decision. When they arrived, the nurse ushered them into a room giving them gowns, caps, and wristbands.
Matt could see Lindsy begin to panic, as if the victim of a joke. Matt opened the door. “Excuse me!” he yelled to the nurse. “We’re just here to have a meeting with the doctor.”
“My instructions were to take you to O.R. for your meeting,” the nurse said, “and I can’t without gowns.”
“We’re having a meeting in the O.R.? This makes no sense,” Matt said. Lindsy was mortified. When they were led to the O.R., they felt like fools sitting in an empty O.R.—waiting for nothing more than a chat.
Suddenly, their doctor burst in. “Good morning," she said with nervous energy. "Listen, overnight, one of your zygotes, I’m sorry to say, expired.” Lindsy and Matt looked at each other quizzically. “But the other,” she said handing them a photograph, “now, I don’t understand it—but the other one has taken a slightly different turn. If you look at this photograph, you’ll see that it has grown into the most perfectly formed embryo I’ve ever seen.”
They looked at the photograph. To the doctor, it was the perfect embryo. To Matt and Lindsy, it looked like a really nice bubble.
“In fact, we hope you’ll sign a release so we can use this photograph in a medical journal. Something this perfect is basically impossible. Embryos are never this perfect and never, ever from a withering zygote. This doesn’t happen.”
Matt and Lindsay stared straight ahead in silence. Neither could speak. The doctor let a smile come across her face. “Congratulations,” she said. “Shall we start the implantation?”
Lindsy slowly turned toward Matt. “It’s a miracle,” she whispered as the tears reappeared.
“Actually,” the doctor said, “yes it is. Science has no explanation for something like this.”
As they laid Lindsy back, she smiled and felt the presence of God. "You see," God said to her spirit. "I was always going to get the glory."
Malachi Thomas Hines, 8 lbs., 5 oz., was born April 7, 2014.