The infertility journey can feel like the board game Chutes and Ladders. Thinking we’re at the end, we move forward, then we’re shocked by disappointment. Recently, my husband and I thought we were done having babies. Instead, we found ourselves sliding “down the chute.”

After marrying in 2008 and trying for a baby in 2010, my husband and I soon realized that pregnancy wasn’t coming quickly. For several years we preferred to pursue natural routes. We had faith that God could bless us with a baby in His timing. I want you to know that hope has given us endurance over the years.

After we moved to a new town, we found a new doctor, and began looking into medical treatment. I was diagnosed with endometriosis and otherwise unexplained infertility. During the next few years, I had three surgeries and tried many medicated cycles.

For seven years we never saw a positive pregnancy test. Meanwhile, I began blogging and wrote a book about having hope during infertility, published in 2015. I also led a support group for women in similar struggles.

Eventually, as we felt the biological clock ticking, we began treatment at a fertility clinic. Our first IUI was unsuccessful. The following month, travel and work interfered with the clinic’s schedule, so we took a break. God decided it was time, and we conceived naturally! We felt such joy!

Our daughter was born the following spring when I was 38 years old. We hoped to have a second child, and when she was 20 months old, I discovered I was pregnant. Sadly, we had an early miscarriage days later.

Several months later, after I turned 40, we were wondering if it was time to quit. I still wanted our daughter to have a sibling, and we desired to trust God. The day after this past Mother’s Day, I discovered I was pregnant. Mid-pregnancy, we learned that we were having a baby boy, and he looked healthy! We named him Noah.

When I was 34 weeks pregnant, I woke up one morning and could not feel Noah’s normal movements. I called the doctor who sent me to the hospital, and we were devastated to learn that Noah’s heart was no longer beating. We gave birth to our stillborn son that week, just before Christmas, just before my 41st birthday.

It has been 11 years since we began trying to have children, and we thought we would be done long ago. We never expected these struggles. Today we have one thriving little girl in our home, and we adore her. We are grieving for our son. Despite our ages, I don’t feel “done.” Infertility, miscarriage, and stillbirth have made our family-building years more complicated and painful than I would have imagined. Lately I feel like we’re back at the beginning yet again.

We’ll see what the future holds for our family – until then, we continue embracing the hope that we’ve found.