How Infertility Struggles Made Our Family Whole

We always wanted children.

On August 31st, 2008, we found out we were pregnant. Just one day before our first wedding anniversary. In October 2008, we had a miscarriage. We tried for a little while longer with no luck. The infertility struggles started shortly before our second wedding anniversary. The health insurance we had did not cover infertility treatments. We spent every penny on varying degrees of infertility treatments.

I had surgery to make sure I did not have endometriosis, that my fallopian tubes and ovaries were clear. My physician told me I had “funny little body.”  Long story short, there was not anything the physicians could find that was preventing me from conceiving a child. I did not ovulate regularly, but on medication I did. So really, my body should be able to get pregnant.

How Infertility Struggles Made Our Family Whole

Have you ever taken Clomid? It is literally the devil in a pill. It made me into a different person.

I took it for many months. Months on this devil pill that made me crazy, literally. My husband would come home from work and said hi and I would cry. I threw my cell phone and shattered it at one point. I was living on the edge with this devil pill. If I valued our marriage I had to stop taking this medication. We decided to do some more research and talked about in-vitro fertilization. After a consult down at the University of Iowa and did a few different things down there with no avail. We had an over the phone consult with a highly respected physician in Colorado regarding in-vitro fertilization. He was confident he could “produce a baby” for us.

Produce a baby. 

What?

I didn’t want a product. I wanted a real, living, breathing human being.

I wanted the baby smell, the late night feedings, the giggles bouncing off our walls.  Around 2014, 7-ish years into our marriage, we decided enough was enough. A few days after we had decided we were going to Colorado, I woke up and just felt like that was the wrong decision for us. We were unhappy pouring every penny into trying to make my body get pregnant. I did not want to force my body to get pregnant. My husband was amazingly supportive. He had an understanding that this was my body. He, too, wanted a baby. He could see how hard this process was on not only my body, but my mental health as well. 

We took a year or so to decide how we were going to start our family.

We wanted a baby, so we looked into adopting an infant. Nope. That did not feel right. We looked into international adoption of an infant. Nope. That felt wrong too. What about international adoption of older kids? Nope. What was going to feel right? I knew there are too many children already born in this country that needed forever homes. We talked about foster care. Yes finally, God was piecing our story together. My heart was beating faster every time we talked about foster care. I knew the GOAL of foster care was reunification with biological families, but this felt right. I just could not stop thinking about foster care.

In the beginning of 2015, we took the 10 week foster parent course. We drove to the ISU extension office in Johnson Country every Monday night for 10 weeks. An hour drive there and an hour drive back. During the 10 weeks we had home visits. We had to fill out stacks of paperwork with names of our family and friends to vouch for our character and merit. We had to get personal with strangers who came into our home. After we completed the course, we received the certificate.

We waited for the call for our first placement…

This is the beginning to our story.

Our story was initially plagued with sadness. We were mourning the loss of a pregnancy, a baby,  and the loss of not being a mommy and a daddy. I did not realize that this was really the beginning of our beautiful chaos. God has a funny way of making you become patient during times of struggle and sadness. We could have been bitter, got a divorce, and moved on. My heart could have turned cold to each of my friend’s pregnancy announcements. Don’t get me wrong, it was a little difficult every time a friend announced a pregnancy.

Instead of being forever bitter, we listened to what God has spoken to our hearts. He was so good during our dark and challenging times. We were able to start our family through foster care. We adopted a sibling group of four children. My husband and I didn’t know what the feeling of “wholeness” would feel like for us. The minute we had all four children under one roof, we knew that this was OUR family. We were ready to tackle every challenge OUR new family of 6 would face head on.  

The difficult chapter of starting our family is over. Now, we are living the beautiful chapter of our forever family. 

How Infertility Struggles Made Our Family Whole

For more information on becoming a foster or adoptive family, check out the the Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parents Association (IFAPA) Website.


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Ashley lives in a world of organized chaos. She lives by her color-coded calendar and love of bullet-coffee. Ashley and her husband, Tom, have been married for 10 years. They have four, crazy beautiful children: Jordan (11), Nina (9), William (7), and Rico (6). They keep busy taking kids between sports and church activities. Did she mention they also have 3 dogs, an indoor cat, and several outdoor kitties? It just adds to the marvelous chaos that is The Caton Family! In addition, Ashley also works part time as a NICU nurse.