Part 2: Up Springs Hope

Guest Post by: Cristen Powers

Part 2:

I wish I could tell you that the story gets so much better. I wish I could tell you that within this, there lies a super duper, beautiful, healthy baby or babies growing inside my womb…. But that just isn’t the case.

After prayer and consulting with physicians, Jared and I chose to go ahead and begin the journey of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Let me tell you something. If you have never experienced firsthand or had a loved one go through IVF, it really is nothing short of an emotional roller coaster ride that is far more intense than any month or months of trying on our own for a sweet bundle of joy. I’m just keepin’ it real.

We began our first round in May, and I was so proud of myself…giving myself my first injection alone and on the first try. Everything went perfectly really. Every injection, every pill, every ultra sound came back great. With IVF, you pump yourself full of drugs to produce a ton of eggs in one month vs. one egg like a normal woman in real life would. They told us in class to expect 10-12. We prayed for more. I prayed for beautiful healthy embryos from the very beginning. I prayed for the perfect number that God ordained. I asked so many loved ones to pray as well because I believe in the power of prayer from a mighty God. I am an open book with my life, and sometimes people enjoy that and sometimes people don’t. But I will NEVER go through something this intense without asking the ones I love to cover me and my family with prayer. Period.

My body responded beautifully to the medicine with hardly any side effects. Egg retrieval came, and they got 18 gorgeous eggs❤️❤️❤️. The nurse on the floor told me that was the most that day. To God be the glory. Then, out of those 18 eggs, 15 fertilized! We were told to expect to lose half. We lost 3. Out of those 15, we had 9 beautiful, amazing embryos that made it all the way! We did a transfer of two embryos and froze 7. They told us to hope for 3 total. We had 3 times that. And God gets every single ounce of that credit. We were able to do a fresh embryo transfer because my body recovered well from the retrieval and we transferred 2. The moment the embryologist came in the room and showed me a photo of those two embryos, my heart fell in love.

Now…I don’t want to start a political debate or in any way make someone who chose or viewed this situation differently than me think I’m judging them for one second because I’m not. But in my heart, those embryos that have fertilized and have grown for 5 days are life. They are my babies. God knows them. And God has a perfect plan for all of them. The moment my eyes laid on their picture, I was mush. I prayed over them. I loved them. The transfer went great, and I felt great about every single step of our entire process for about 2 days.

I started to get an uneasy feeling about day 3. It’s such a hard place to be in…hoping but not hoping so great that pure devastation could lie ahead. All the shots, drugs, pills, appointments, blood work etc… That stuff didn’t hold a candle to the waiting. The waiting with IVF was by far the worst two weeks of my life. It was the longest and the hardest thing I’ve ever been through. Nothing can prepare you for it. You just have to go through it. Two days before my blood work, I took an at-home test and it was negative. It was awful. I can’t really even describe in words the way I felt. I told my mom and a couple very close friends, and, of course, they were trying to be encouraging and positive and said it could be wrong, but in my heart I knew. I got the phone call two days later that my heart was right.

It’s hard to think about our future right now because we’re in the midst of the pain. But I know we will try again. I know that this is not the end of our story. I’m not writing all of this to get sympathy. I’m not writing it to make my pain in this period of my life appear worse than someone else’s. In fact, this story actually isn’t about me at all. This story is about Jesus. It’s about redemption. It’s about sanctification. Let me tell you. I have been on my knees a lot in the last month begging. I BEGGED. I cried out to the God who parted the Red Sea and got Daniel out of the lions’ den. I cried out for a baby. I surrounded myself with praise music and prayer and read Scripture to survive those two weeks. I prayed more than I have prayed in my whole life for the life that was placed inside me. And you know what, God heard those cries. He heard the first cry and He heard the last. And after hearing those cries, He simply said no.

There is one and only one who ordains ALL life. And it ain’t me. And it ain’t a doctor at a fertility clinic. But you know what else? I was on my knees for the first time in my life. I was reading daily Scripture for the first time in a long time. This last month has been so hard and so long and at times downright awful. Emotionally exhausting. But Jesus drew me in. I found Him in the midst of this struggle. I found Him on my knees.

I really do not believe our struggle with infertility is the end of the story that Christ has written for me. I believe it’s just the beginning. Or maybe the middle somewhere. But it’s not the end. I don’t have such a strong desire for children for no reason. I refuse to believe that God places desires in our hearts for things that are of Him…. And then tells us never mind….it was all a joke. I do not believe that my God does that. I do believe that He says no sometimes. And sometimes He says not yet. But regardless of when He says no and how He says it, it is making me more like Christ.

I’m gonna tell you what. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through. But I never had to send a son to die on a cross. I never had to give up my ONE and ONLY son to be crucified by people who hated him. That is LOVE. That is heartache. THAT is SALVATION, my friends. I am a dirty, filthy rag that deserves nothing shy of hell. I don’t deserve my husband. I don’t deserve my job. I don’t deserve children. But I serve a risen savior who washed away my sins and made me white as snow. There isn’t anything better in this world. No kids, no money, no house, no spouse, no job, no NOTHING can satisfy you like Jesus.

God calls us all to different mission fields…we all have a purpose while on earth. My purpose hopefully one day will be to be a mother…to raise children to love Jesus and to go out among their neighbors and share the Gospel of the one who died for us. But until that day comes…my purpose is right now. Right here in this spot of hard… in this place of heart break and redemption that is keeping me on my knees. I pray Jesus fills me up with the joy of the Lord and with peace that passes all understanding. I pray He allows me to share His good news with other women in this hard spot, in this moment that can feel so unbearable at times. And I pray He uses me to bring glory to Him out of this heartache.

I’m gonna be real honest and tell you…my relationship with Jesus is so much stronger today than It was 3 years ago. My marriage is stronger today than it was 3 years ago. God has transformed my cold, stubborn, selfish heart to be more like Him in these last 3 years. Has it been hard? Oh, yes, it sure has. Has it been good for me? For my marriage? For us? Absolutely. That’s hard to say in the midst of this trial because I’m saying it through tears of pain. But God is constant. He hasn’t left us during any of it, and He will see us through ‘til the end. And if I die with no kids or with 10, it will be the purpose of the Lord.

If you are in the middle of this struggle, it is so hard. But it so much harder without leaning on the everlasting love of Jesus. He has filled my heart and soul with grace to drive away bitterness and resentment of all the pregnant people swarming around me constantly. He is the reason I have joy. He is my strength. The saying that God never gives us anything we can’t handle is the farthest thing from the truth. Cristen can NOT handle this road of infertility. I can NOT handle losing two sweet embryos and possibly more. But salvation allows me to lay what I can’t handle down at the feet of Jesus. And when I trust it to Him, He handles it for me. He really is all you need. Really. He is ALL. I. NEED.

Thank you Kim Ellis for that reminder. And thank you for the reminder that it’s okay to go through the drive-thru of Krispy Kreme when the hot and ready light is flashing to get some glazed donuts on the day you found out it didn’t work out the way you had hoped. I praise God in the midst of this struggle, and I praise God for hot Krispy Kremes.

Romans 5:2-5 “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

P.S. I wrote this entry the night we found out our first round of IVF was unsuccessful. Since then, I have had another surgery and lots of hard days. I am struggling with a lot of pain from jealousy, bitterness, and anger. I feel like I used to be able to handle going to a baby shower with a smile on my face. I could handle walking past the diaper and bottles at Target, and I could sit in a room filled with mamas-to-be and listen to their stories about pregnancy and motherhood. Right now, I don’t want to handle it. I don’t want to walk in an empty third bedroom of my home that we have been saving for a nursery. What I want to do is shake the next pregnant woman who complains about her pregnancy. What I want to do, is grab those Huggies off the shelf and launch them at the first baby belly I see. I did choose diapers here and not glass bottles. 😀 I want to avoid all conversations about babies and nursing and sleep deprivation. Instead, I want to lie on my couch eating chocolate and watching “Friends” episodes on Netflix.

To be really real…. I’ve tried to even avoid talking to God. I’m not proud of this person. I know this is sin and that Jesus is the answer. He always is. But I’m a human. I’m a sinner. This “mood” I’ve been in or this place I’m in right now just shows me again how much I need Jesus. I need Him. I need Him to survive this world. I need Him to make it through these hard days and possibly more hard ones to come. He’s still trying to teach me to let Him handle all this “stuff” for me.

I still believe God is going to work this together for the good. He promises us that. He also tells us we need the faith of a mustard seed. Right now, I don’t know if I even have that. But here’s the good news. Jesus is bigger. He is bigger than these last few weeks of mourning and depression. He is bigger than my doubt and lack of trust. He is bigger than my prideful heart and bitter soul. There isn’t any sin His grace cannot reach.

Right now, I need your prayer. Right now, I need to be covered by the grace of Jesus. I know He will see us through. And I know our story isn’t finished.

 

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Up Springs Hope

Guest Post: Cristen Powers

It was the Friday before Mother’s Day. It was also the two-year anniversary of my and Jared’s struggle to grow our family. It had been twenty-four failed attempts for a baby, dozens of blank pregnancy tests, and month after month of hope destroyed with a period. I was lying down on the couch, watching real housewives (I know, I know), when my phone began to buzz with texts. It was my little sister, Sarah. The conversation began with small talk, but my heart began to race because I could feel this conversation heading in a totally new direction. I looked down at my phone and a paragraph had been typed, and I knew. I knew before I read it. My little sister was fixing to tell me she was pregnant. My throat began to swell and tears began to fill my eyes. I read it at least five times. Surely this isn’t true. Surely my sister, who is two and a half years younger than I am and who I had no idea was even trying to get pregnant, is not going to be a mom…before ME. She and her husband were planning on announcing it to the whole family on Sunday to celebrate Mother’s Day, but she graciously chose to tell me first. She knew our struggle. She knew I wanted to desperately to be a mom. I immediately ran outside and called my dear friend, Kim. I don’t remember what I said, but I do remember I could barely say it. I was sobbing uncontrollably. I love my sister. I really was happy for her, and I had no doubts that she would be a great mom. I knew I would love her baby, but my heart was broken. It was my turn. I was supposed to be first. I don’t remember what Kim said either, but I remember silence on the phone. What could she say to help? It wouldn’t have mattered what words she chose.

I walked back inside my house, trying to catch my breath, and my husband, Jared, came walking down the hall.

“What’s wrong?!?” He anxiously asked as my cheeks were red and eyes swollen.

Very simply I said, “Sarah’s pregnant.”

In the most gracious and compassionate response, he sweetly said, “Awe… That’s awesome for them!”

Awesome?!? Really?!? That’s the best you can come up with, I thought. Why on earth is he not upset about this?!? How does this news not affect him the way it has me? Am I crazy for feeling this way? I’m going to spend the next nine months watching her belly grow, being present when finding out if it’s a girl or boy, and participating in choosing a name for her baby. How am I going to get through it? That was almost a year ago. Needless to say, that Mother’s Day was the worst day in our now three-year battle with infertility. I have the most precious, beautiful two-month-old niece that I wouldn’t trade for anything in this world…even my own baby.

But every time I look at her, hold her, and kiss her adorable chubby cheeks, a piece of my heart aches. The following July, my mom, older sister Beth, and my niece and nephew were all at my house. My mom and I were going to begin a fun day of canning fresh veggies from my garden. I walked out of the kitchen with my niece for a few minutes, and when we walked back in, I found Beth and mom huddled over the sink…both bawling their eyes out. I immediately began to panic.

“What is wrong?!?” I asked.

No response.

My voice rose. “Someone tell me what is going on.”

After a long pause, Beth looked up at me with tears streaming down her cheeks. “I think I’m pregnant.”

“What?!? Pregnant? Were you late?”

“No. ”

“Well why on earth do you think you’re pregnant?”

“Because I had three positive tests.”

My world began to spin. God thinks He’s funny now. Both of my sisters are pregnant. Beth will be the first to tell you that this was a crazy, very unplanned surprise. If you know her, she probably has told you. Lol.

We all three stood in the kitchen and cried. I cried for the weight of unfairness of it all and for the idea that Beth has her third miracle coming, and all she could do was cry. I love Beth. We are very different, but she is one of the best mothers I know. She has the patience of Job with her children, and they are two of my favorite human beings on the planet. Maybe, I began to hope, all three of us will be pregnant together! How amazing would that be?!? Well, that didn’t happen. Beth is due any day, and my womb is still empty. Every time I log onto Facebook, a new pregnancy or delivery is announced. I have friends who have had two children in the timeframe that we have never gotten pregnant. In one day, I had two clients announce pregnancies to me. I have several very close friends who are pregnant right now. It’s always hard to hear the news that brings them so much joy…but that reminds me of my empty arms and aching heart.

This past fall, after two and a half years of going in circles with my local OB, I went to a specialist in Nashville. I finally had a laparoscopic procedure done to check for endometriosis and to see if I had any blockages in my fallopian tubes. By this point, we knew something was wrong. I had horrible ovulation pain, and we hadn’t gotten pregnant after what felt like years and years. I prayed for answers. I prayed for direction. I prayed for God to reveal causes for our infertility. The thought of not knowing our unexplained infertility was too great to bear. He answered me. LOUD and CLEAR. I still feel nauseous when I think back to the moment my mom shared the news with me…

Stage 4 endometriosis (the worst).

One fully blocked tube.

Severe damage from an infection years ago.

Hysterectomy in five years.

I’m 32. I’m healthy. I’ve always taken care of doctor’s appointments and my annual exams. How could my local OB roll her eyes six months prior, telling me that I did not have endometriosis? How could she have missed this after tons of blood work and ultra sounds in three years?!? How could I have wasted so much precious time? How could I have to have a hysterectomy? Every woman in my family has great reproductive genes. Why God, why?

Well, the truth is, God may never answer my “whys.” He may never bless my womb with children. I may never get to experience pregnancy, breast feeding, crying at two a.m., or Mother’s Day. I may never get to use the boy and girl names I have had tucked in my heart since my husband and I were dating. But what God has shown me through these last three years is something I would have never learned without going through this extremely difficult journey. In a recent sermon, my pastor said, “There are just some things God can only do with you when you’re broken.” Wow. Truth.

He is teaching me to trust. He is teaching me patience…to wait on His time. He is showing me that I am not in control. I can plan all day long, and I can paint this perfect picture of what my life should be, but it’s not the picture He’s painting. During this trial,

there have been days my faith was failing and my heart couldn’t stand any more hurt. Almost always on those days, I have received random acts of kindness by other women who have once stood in my shoes. Women I barely know promising to pray for me. Women who know the heartache and pain of barrenness. I have received random texts and emails from our church family with encouraging scripture. I have received precious words from my husband. After my surgery, we received meals from our dear friends and family. I even have had a client pray over me on the spot after sharing with her my story.

What God has shown me through all of this is His love. He has broken me to remold me. He has taken my messy mistakes, my bad choices (that have in part led to our infertility), my sinful past… and He nailed it to the cross. He is my redemption. My sweet friend, Rebecca, who also has gone down the infertility road, listened to me after crying and saying, “Is this punishment for the person I used to be? Is this God saying, ‘Cristen, you should’ve listened. But you deliberately chose to rebel against Me when you knew better?’”

And Rebecca so sweetly answered, “Of course not. That sin is forgiven. And forgotten. As far as the east is from the west. God is working all of this for the good of those who love him… So if He says all things are worked together for good… That’s including your sin.”

Jesus has already written my story. It’s a story filled with heartache (that scripture promises us we will face), but it’s also filled with sweet, sweet music. My song He’s written for me. I have five…almost six…beautiful, healthy, happy nieces and nephews who I adore. I have a husband, who may hurt differently, but who is still right here beside me. I get to walk through this struggle with him. I have parents who are pretty much the best in the world. I have wonderful friends who have prayed for us and who have cried with me. Brokenness is so hard, but it is so good. God has brought me so close to Him in the hardest time of my life. He has shown His love for me through new mercies that come in the morning and grace that fills my broken heart. I praise God for my brokenness. I praise God for the work He has done in my life, and I pray I am able to help others the way I have been helped. I pray for all the women I know and have never met struggling with infertility. It’s a club I hope you don’t ever have to be a part of, but if you have become a member, I love you. You are not forgotten. You are not alone. God loves you so much, and He holds your future in the palm of His righteous hand. No blocked tube or stage 4 endometriosis or past mistakes are surprising to Him. He already knows what life is going to bring. He knew me in my mother’s womb. He knew two months ago, my world would be rocked when I heard all the things wrong with me… but it was no surprise to Him. We have a hope that is so much greater than pink positive tests… His name is Jesus. In Him, we always have hope. A sweet family friend, who went through this struggle years ago and now has 3 beautiful kids, said to me, “I got to a point where I stopped begging God… And I started BELIEVING him.”

I got a sparrow tattoo on my foot this summer from Matthew 10:29…as a reminder that on the worst of days, God loves me. He knows the number of hairs on my head. If He is present for every sparrow that falls, then how much more is His love for me? I believe He has so much in store for my life. I believe He has a wonderful, rich love story written for me.

I also believe this promise for all of my fellow club members.

Isaiah 54:1

“Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the LORD.

About the Author Cristen Powers is married to her favorite beef cake husband of four years, Jared. Their roots are planted on a Kentucky farm where they live with their 4 beloved dogs.  She is a hair stylist, space decorator and Jesus lover with an infectious laugh.  She loves gardening, crafting, and all things DIY.  Current remodel:  uterus. Current craft:  fashioning human babies.  Up Springs Hope is a piece of that journey and she hopes you have been encouraged to persevere, rejoice, and above all, trust.  We will hear from her again as God turns her whys into answers and heartache into redemption. Thank you for sharing your story with us!

 

Read more on infertility in my category here.

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Photo Credit:  Joel Ham Photography

The Thing About Infertility Is

My hair started falling out a few weeks ago.  What is going on with my head?????? I did the most reasonable thing and googled it which of course told me I had Alopecia which means I will start going bald which means, a wig!!! Yay, finally thick hair!

No, seriously. I hope it really is “no, seriously” and not right. I can’t tell a difference in my hair but it has definitely been dropping like it’s hot and listen, I have too little and too fine of hair for it to be going peace out all over the place.

I know when your hair starts to fall out it’s likely two reasons: hormones or thyroid. Actually, one of the medical sites I was on says there are 250 explanations for why your hair may be shedding more. Yeah, I’ll get right on to narrowing that down….

For me, my guess is hormones. Since I had endometriosis and that is an estrogen fed-diease, my betting money is on hormones.

It’s been almost 4 years since I had the surgery to remove my endometriosis.  That surgery ended my 2 year fight with infertility resulting in my first pregnancy three months later.  For the second pregnancy, I didn’t have to do anything and conceived in only 3 months.  That was a massive relief and blessing.  I don’t usually like feeling normal and boring (haha) but I was more than happy to be typical in this right!  I’ll never forget telling my older sister that I was pregnant.  She elatedly said, “That was so easy!”  It really was.  I’m so grateful for that.

The thing with endometriosis is there is no way to know if it is growing back or not.  Yes, you can have pain and symptoms or you can have barely any symptoms at all but have a problem on the inside.  I have no clue if mine has re-occurred but statistically there should be at least some.  Again, without going inside my body and without any marked symptoms, it’s anyone’s guess with me.

Naturally, when my hair started shedding more than normal my first thought with hormones is, “Oh no, could it be endometriosis?  What’s happening with my hormones?  Could it be reoccurring?  Could it be something else?”  So again, I took to the internet.  There was nothing that directly said you can lose your hair with endometriosis but you typically do with menopause so now I have Alopecia and menopause all at 30 years old.   The internet is one harsh doctor.

Earlier today I was with my oldest sister telling her about my hair and hormonal issues.  I told her my fear is that something is off and that maybe I should try to have a baby now.  The thing is, I don’t feel ready to try just yet.  However, I don’t want to end up having an issue and kicking myself for not taking a hint and going ahead with trying for another.  If I couldn’t have any more I would still be blessed.  I would love the honor of one more if I could though.

Having infertility is the ghost in the room.  (Ghost in the womb? Maybe.)  You never really know what’s going on and no one can really tell you exactly how it will play out.  You roll the dice on whether or not you are making the best choice for what you know or for what you feel ready for.  There’s an added time pressure of feeling like you better get while the getting is good because you never know if it will change.

I always tell people, “If I had started having kids younger and didn’t have infertility, I would have liked to space them out three years.”  BUT neither of those things happened.  I didn’t have my first child really young and I do have a history of infertility so I approach the whole process differently than those whose cards fell differently.

I’m not afraid of infertility because I have been able to conceive 2 times without drugs.  I think I will be okay but there’s always the lurking of the possibility of infertility. Even when you’ve gone on to have two easy conceptions and pregnancies, it always lingers somewhere in your mind and forever imprinted on your heart.  It’s been a long time since I sat crying on toilets with 2 years worth of negative pregnancies tests but it never really leaves you.  When I talk to a woman who is struggling to have a baby, I can empathize with them so greatly that it’s scary.

So, here I sit again wondering if I will be okay just like I did before I tried to have my second child. After my two pregnancies I actually feel it’s more likely I will be okay which in a sense, scares me more because I’m not prepared fully for it to go the other direction.

Infertility, even past “solved” infertility robs a woman of the innocence of the process and puts question where there would otherwise be certainty:

Should we try?  Should we wait?  Should we tell anyone we are pregnant?  Will I be a mother?  Will I conceive again?  Am I still okay?  Will I have to go through it all over again? Is this or that a symptom of things coming back? Should I ask a doctor? Would they even know the answer since it’s all such a crap shoot?

The thing about infertility is that it’s a nemesis on your shoulder that never quite leaves you who whispers in your ear when you think you may want another child.   But, like all moms, the thing about being a mother is knowing that even if I had to go through the emotional rollercoaster once more, I would do it all again.  Children are always worth it.  And that is something every mother can to relate to.

Mother Filled Heart

I waddled into The Children’s Place clothing store with my sister with all of our kids in tow.  I waddled because I’m 36 weeks pregnant and also because I wore little wedge shoes with jeans that were killing my feet. That’s right.  I said it.  Jeans. AND wedge shoes.

Every time I wear “real” clothes and shoes I think, “What the heck am I doing?”  It’s never worth it.  If they say that nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels, then nothing looks as good as mushy, yummy sweatpants feel.  Caress me with your big, spacious pants dear Fruit of the Loom…

Waddling further into the store, I ran across someone that I know a little bit more than an acquaintance and she immediately looked at my belly and asked me how much longer I had.  As I was telling her, instantly I think of how she is experiencing infertility and how they have been trying for 3 years.  She was so nice to smile and ask about my pregnancy.  I remember how hard it was to do that.  She went on to tell me that her and husband lost their 3rd IVF baby last week.  3 babies in three years, they have lost.

Still, there she was shopping for children’s clothes for a friend’s child’s first birthday.  Until you’ve been childless with a mother filled heart, you can’t know how hard that is.  I wrote a post called Baby Gap during that time for me where in a kid’s store I had moment over a tiny piece of clothing that just about broke my heart.  When you can’t have a child, there is always something there to remind you.

Sometimes I forget what it’s like to stand in that place of hurt and longing, but there with her in the 2T aisle, I remembered.  It’s one of the truest forms of empathy I ever feel when I’m talking to a woman who is trying to have a baby.

Later that afternoon I was on my way home.  I had several bags full of new clothes for Eden’s in the new toddler size she is wearing now. I use to dream about buying little things for a child.

I had kept Eden out way too long so as we approached our drive, I saw Eden nod off in the backseat.

I got out and went in and prepared her big girl bed to be smothered with one sleeping toddler in t minus 2 seconds.  I pulled the van door back and put my sleeping daughter on my chest.  Just through the doorway with her slightly snoring with her head tucked into my neck, I had a wave of appreciation and deep gratitude come over me.  A lot of women never think this way, but when I couldn’t have a child, I would watch mothers get their sleeping child out of their car and carry them sleeping on their chest.  From a distance I would watch those moms in parking lots and driveways and feel an ache to have what they had to the point of tears in my eyes.

And then there I was…me, with my child, holding her sleeping on my chest with another baby waiting in my stomach.  With my friend from earlier on my mind, all I could do was stand in the foyer with my head on her windblown hair, close my eyes and rock her back and forth.  Tears in my eyes I swayed back and forth and lived in the moment of the privilege of becoming a mother.  Those are the moments.  That’s what you miss when your kids are too big to be held and too proud to be rocked.  If you don’t stop every now and then, you miss those times in a rush back to the car to get the groceries.

I’m not sure how long I stood there.  Long enough to feel the thankfulness to God all over for giving me that child.  I never knew if I would get to do that.  As I rocked her there, Salem kicked and pushed at Eden’s leg pressing on my belly.  There I was carrying two in two different ways.  Unbelievable.

I gave thanks for the abundance of having her inside of me as well.

The weeks are ticking by quickly where Eden is my only child, and as my next blessing nudged me from below, I stood in the stillness of the house with my first gift in my arms and I thought in that sweet moment, just one more day.  Rocking her back and forth….

Just one more day.

 

The Baby Chase by Holly Finn

My dad gave me this article that was in Wall Street Journal this weekend.  I don’t enjoy reading but I loved this article.  I believe it was an excerpt from the author Holly Finn’s novel called The Baby Chase.  In this article, Holly talks about her infertility and treatments and the unseen faces of the process:  the women who aren’t successfully getting pregnant no matter what they try.  Also, she talks about her infertility in the light of waiting too long to have children, leaving her struggling in her 40’s to concieve her first child. 

She is an AWESOME writer and it is very interesting.  I encourage all you scalywags to read it. 

Go ahead.  You know you want to.  Click here.

The Lines That Changed Our Lives

So here’s the dish.  I know a lot of you having  losing sleep racking your brains with how I told Lance the big news and how I found out I was pregnant.  I really want to help you be less anxious so I’m going to share it with you now.  Please enjoy.

Monday morning:  I got out of bed after a long night of sleep and felt like I had been hit by a mac truck.  I’d definetly never felt that way before but I only thought of it in passing moments during the day.  When you have been trying to have a baby for so long…eventually…you don’t take any symptom seriously.  Later that day I felt dizzy but hey, I do that all time with migraines and allergies.

Tuesday night:  I felt like my body had been running marathons along with rock climbing and kick boxing  and like I had been doing killer dance moves all day, even though I’d mainly been sitting.  I went to bed with a smile and thought to myself, “You are pregnant”, but again, I wasn’t fully buying the idea.  I wasn’t even supposed to start my period for 3 days.

That night I peed 3 times like a champion race horse in mass amounts.  Hmmmm…weird.  7:30 in the morning, I awake again to be a race horse.  I think to myself, “There are 2 tests in the bathroom.”  Then I think to myself, “You’ll be disappointed and you always regret taking early tests.”  5 minutes later I’m on the toilet, test in hand, fearing disappointment.  The control line shows up on the test like always and I thought, “See, I told you!  Doing what they always do when they are negative!”  Then to my disbelief I see a faint line appear.  I grabbed my face, gasped, and sobbed out loud.  I immediately stopped.  Was I seeing this?  I held the thing sideways, tilted it, stared holes through it, did whatever I could to disprove myself.  But the line got darker and darker and I held my face and cried out loud.  And cried.  Looked at the test…and cried.  I ran to the bathroom mirror and said, “I’m PREGNANT!  YOU ARE PREGNANT!  I’M PREGNANT!”  I took pictures of myself with the test, pictures of the test, and laughed and cried.

I thought, “I can’t tell anyone before I tell Lance.”  Next thought, “Who can I tell?”  So I called the Fertility Center as soon as they opened and told them I needed an appointment.  The receptionist said, “Date of birth, Dr. Name…”  I blurted out, “I’m pregnant. I’m so excited!”  Telling the receptionist wasn’t as thrilling as I had hoped so to make a long story short, I told two doctors, three co-workers, an 8 year old client who asked me if Lance would be mad I was pregnant, and my entire family all while Lance sat at work having no idea he was going to be a father.  I had NO self-control and enjoyed every second of it!  I found out at 7:30 am and Lance wouldn’t be home until 5!  What’s a girl to do?!

Here’s why I waited to tell him though.

When Lance and I were engaged, I gave him a scrapbook that chronicled our whole relationship.  I mean it had pictures from 6th grade until college, notes, tickets, name tags from church  camps, stories typed out of all of our memories…everything!  I had the idea 2 years ago when we first started trying to conceive to use the scrapbook for the announcement and I didn’t want to do it over the phone, I wanted to give him a BIG planned surprise the way I dreamed I would.

At 5 o’clock, Lance walks through the door.  I’m sitting on the couch with the scrapbook in my hand, heard pounding out of my chest so loudly that I fear he can hear it. I ask him, “Will you sit with me and look at our scrapbook?”  I thought he would at least say, “Let me take off my work clothes..”, but he didn’t.  He sat right down.

He flipped through the pages one at a time and I was a total mess and totally distracted.  Then he turned the page and saw something he hadn’t ever seen before, randomly placed in the book, right after high school homecoming pictures, was a new scrapbook layout.  And this one said, “The first time you heard, “We’re pregnant!”  In the middle of the page were the pictures I took earlier when I just tested positive: one of me holding the test smiling & a picture of the test stick.

He paused and stared at the page and said…”What?”

Moments of silence passed and then it hit him…

“SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!”

He turned to me and I was silently crying.  He grabbed me and hugged me so tightly and cried too.  Quickly, he pulled back, face grinning wall to wall and yelled, “NO WAY!  I DON’T BELIEVE IT! YOU’RE PREGNANT?!!!!!”  I pulled the test out from between the couch cushions just in case he had any doubts.  He laughed, jumped up and danced, yelled…he did it all.  I couldn’t have asked for a better response or a happier husband. Well, maybe I could’ve.  At one point soon after the announcement he got really excited and said, “Is that why your cheeks are getting fat?”  I looked at him sarcastically and silently and then he said, “No seriously!!!  Is that a side effect?”   Poor Lance.  So excited his commonsense went out the door. Fat cheeks or not, we were both elated.

So that’s how the story goes in a nutshell.

Each day I feel a little worse but I lay on the couch with my body aching and my stomach churning and I soak up every ache and yawn.  It’s the constant reminder that I have this baby growing inside of me.  It’s the reminder of everything I’ve wanted for the past 2 years.

I would say that I’m in shock and I suppose in some ways I am, but I have yearned for this for so long that I simply feel like I’ve slipped naturally into the role.  I feel so absolutely overjoyed and content that I’m calm and settled.

Very few times in life do things meet your expectations.  Then again, sometimes they are everything you ever hoped for. Today, I’m in the middle of everything hoped and I praise the Lord for this 1/25th of an inch blessing beating in my womb.  I’m humbled, thankful, and blessed as I type the words that felt like they’d never be written from my hands.  Thank you Jesus!  I can’t wait to meet you baby =0)

Toilet Tears

I unwrapped it. Held in my hand and peed all over it. Inhale.

My minds drifts to all the times I’ve done this and to how many days have passed since I’ve taken the first one. During this time, I’ve cried. I’ve laughed. I given up and believed again. I’ve been disappointed and hopeful. I’ve been frustrated at careless comments people have made. I’ve taken three tests for one cycle and then had to take one again even after my period started because, “Hey, this happens to people!” I’ve been embarassed to hope. I cried when I heard you were pregnant. I felt sincere jealousy of others for the first time in my life. I was disgusted with myself. Sitting on the phone crying to my best friend has happened more than once. Trying not to cry while talking to others? Too many to count.

I have felt so pregnant that I would’ve bet the house on it. I have passed fertility tests with flying colors. Eggs have been in places they shouldn’t. Computers have dictated my sex life. I’ve laughed while laying huge pillows under my pelvis and then been sad that I felt like I had to. Facebook statuses became my enemy. I have typed every possible symptom I have felt during the two week wait into ask.com. If I farted too loud I’d probably type “loud farting while pregnant in the first two weeks”. I have figured every possible due date I could’ve had on the online baby predictor calendars. Everytime I would hear someone else that had gotten pregnant, I could always determine how far along they were because I knew when I had to get pregnant to have a September, October baby, and so on. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on tests. I’ve felt like the “boy who cried wolf” every month. I had an omish guy diagnose my fertility correctly just by looking at my eyes two years before the doctors figured it out. I let my doctor convince me he was wrong.

I’ve watched the Easter baskets come and go on the shelves, turning into stockings, two times, and wondered when I’d need a basket or stocking to fill. I’ve gotten great news. I’ve come to terms with it, all to lose those terms again. I’ve been angry. I’ve prayed and prayed. I had cameras and lasers go in through my belly button and places where the sun don’t shine. I’ve taken pregnancy tests during the wee hours of the morning and the late, late hours of the night so I could get the news in secret so I could surprise Lance later just in case this was our month.

I became a scholar on conception and a novice at patience. I named my babies…okay so I did that 4 years ago. I looked at pictures of a live birth and thought, no thank you. I’ve talked to people that I never would’ve gotten the chance to bond with if not for this process. I’ve followed the stories of others in my position and when I heard you got finally got pregnant yourself I told person after person about it even though you were a stranger to them. I couldn’t believe it was finally happening for someone just like me and I felt the joy and relief for you. I’ve had the way I was going to surprise Lance with the big news hidden in our house for over a year and a half now, just in case. I’ve sat alone in a doctor’s office a week and day late for my period almost crying as I sat there because the possibility that this blessing would be mine to have was overwhelming. I started my period 2 hours later. I’ve prayed for you little baby. I’ve prayed for me, future parent. I’ve pictured a little child in a car seat years from now that I can see through my rearview mirror and I imagine thinking, “Oh how I loved you and labored for you before you were even mine to have.” My soul has yearned and desperately waited on the Lord.

And as I sat there on the cold, familiar toliet with the test in my hand, the past 2 years floated through my mind. I stared at the stark white stick that had mocked me too many times and I waited for any trace of life on its screen. And as one line gave way to two, questions gave way to answers.  Face buried in my hands crying,  finally….finally… Exhale.

25 and Prayin’

Alright so I ovulated this week. Okay, so I’ve ovulated about 25 times, literally, since I’ve started this whole process but one of those eggs has to be a winner. You know, a regular prize winning golden egg like the ones in the Wonka Factory.

Lance and I have our 5 year wedding anniversary Friday and we’re hoping for a nice late anniversary gift. 5 years of marriage and not so much as a fetus to show for it! What is this relationship coming to? =0)

Actually, I have felt pretty confident about this month but everytime after the egg has been put on the market ,I start to think, “What if I didn’t do enough or did something wrong?” I was feeling okay about it all until we got a call from another couple who is pretty much in our same situation and they brought up using Robitussin. If you don’t know why you would take Robitussin while trying to conceive, I’m not going to tell you. Just goggle your little fingers away.

They were telling a story about how the month their friends got pregnant after 5 years of infertility, was month they  used Robitussion. Of course everyone has a story of what they did “that month”. Who knows if it actually had anything to do with their conception. Ridiculous right? Why should another one of those stories ruffle my feathers? Speaking of feathers…it did. I ran to my fridge and reached for the eggs. Eggs? Foreshadowing? Hopefully.

The story reminded me that I only used eggs and Robitussin before I found out that I had endometriosis. Why did I stop? Dear girl, get ahold of yourself and some eggs and come to your senses!!!!

It was 11 pm at night and Lance was working on his sermon. I delivered the good news, egg in hand. Then it hit me, this egg is too cold. It’s supposed to be room temperature. Hmmmm, time is a ticking and it’s late so what I can do? Ironically, like a mother hen, the only thing I could think to do was sit on it on the couch. I wasn’t trying to be a chicken but I really think they are on to something with whole sitting on the egg idea. I wrapped mine in a washcloth just in case my crushing 105 pound body would shatter my baby egg. AND, I wasn’t in a roost so no laughing. There were many differences between me and the mother hens.

The egg warmed and so it was finished.

We’ll see if now I have my story to drive trying to conceive couples nuerotic with: a washcloth, egg, and couch roost. As they laugh I’ll jiggle my baby in their face and yell, “WORKED FOR ME!” Man, some people are so judgemental.

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