Monday, July 31, 2017

American Greetings: Not Alone

This video quickly put me back on the emotional roller coaster of infertility and my journey to motherhood. While I am overwhelmed with gratitude to be a mom to my precious son Thomas, my fertility struggle has forever changed me. The pain doesn’t fade away, when a perfect bundle of baby is placed in your arms. I have my gift, my child, but my heart has scars which remind me of the journey to parenthood. The memories of the longest 3 minutes of my life, waiting for the results of a pregnancy test filled with both fear and hope in my heart…and month after month, seeing negative results; the pull on my heart with every passing baby bump; the thought to never use social media again, because every day someone announced a new pregnancy or birth; the forced smiles when asked “when are you going to give your parents a grandchild?,” when you really want to weep (or practice your right hook!); the buckets of tears cried for the children your heart desires, the child you’ve lost and the days and years passing without a sweet child making your house noisy and calling for “mommy."
The journey is different for each woman. For me, the journey consisted of countless Doctor appointments, medicines, hundreds of injections given by me or my husband, egg retrievals, embryo growth, embryo transfers, staggering financial costs, emotional turmoil and stress. Even still, my journey has made me a stronger person, a more compassionate individual and has drawn me closer to God.
If you are currently craving to become a parent, I want you to know, you are not alone. One of the hardest aspects of trying to conceive and experiencing infertility are the feelings of loneliness and isolation. My heart has been touched over the past years by the love and encouragement from family, close friends and my TTC (Trying to Conceive) sisters. Please never underestimate the value of a kind, encouraging word. It can be the difference to encourage someone to be filled with hope and joy, instead of despair and bitterness. The road of infertility is depressing, challenging, even maddening, but with the smallest gesture you can show someone suffering they are not alone.
Statistics show one is eight couples are battling infertility. Someone in your life is struggling (probably privately) to become a parent. These individuals are not looking for your advice (unless they ask), or to hear “you have plenty of time,” “you are still young,” “enjoy your time and sleep before kids,” etc. However, it would mean so much to have someone just show up or send a card to let them know they are not alone.
Not alone…is having your husband give you a Mother’s Day card honoring your role as a mother to the baby lost and the embryos created through IVF. Not alone…is having your sisters travel from other states to hug you, sit with you and just BE THERE when you miscarried. Not alone…is having your friend send you cupcakes and a card when you are having a dark day. Not alone…is receiving a note telling you that you are strong and beautiful, when you feel you and your body are a failure. Not alone…is sending a card to a friend to brighten their day and telling them they are loved. I am immensely blessed with a family that SHOWS UP. Take time to show up for someone today.
#givemeaning #partner

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

PUPO again!

I am nearing the end of my Two Week Wait and getting so close to finding out if our embryo has implanted and I am officially pregnant.  I have felt so many emotions over the last two weeks.  I have made an effort to take it easy and relax as much as possible. The first week I was blessed to have time off work and my usual responsibilities.  I did a lot of laying and resting on the couch and watching movies but mostly I watched Gilmore Girls!  My sisters told me I should watch this show and I’m so glad I started the series on Netflix!  It is light-hearted and the perfect show to get me through this emotionally draining time. 

During times like this, there is no other option but to completely trust God for the outcome.  I told myself going into this transfer that when I became PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise), I would enjoy every moment of this time.  For this reason, I did not test early with a home pregnancy test, as many ladies do.  You could say it's extreme patience but the main reason is I wanted to savor the time I was pregnant, even if for just a short period.  This is an extreme case of "Ignorance is bliss" ;)   

Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
I have full trust that God’s plan is perfect and trust Him for the outcome of this pregnancy.  I want this baby more than words could adequately express and am praying without ceasing that this is my time to be a mom and have a baby to hold and rock to sleep.  I have spent a lot of time talking with God and sharing my hopes and desires for our baby and this pregnancy.   

There have been several verses that have spoken to me during this time of waiting and trusting.  I hope the verses encourage your heart today, no matter what you are waiting and trusting for, put your trust in God.

Psalms 130:5-6 “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

Psalms 27:13-14 “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!  Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

Psalms 33:20-22 “Our soul waits for Lord; he is our help and our shield.  For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.  Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.”

In Isaiah it says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” I do not know what the next hours, days and weeks hold, but I do know who holds the future!  In Him, I have hope and peace. 


Friday, July 22, 2016

Weaping becomes Joy!

I have the privilege of owning a Bridal Salon and Event Design Company with my mom.  Through my work, I have met amazing people.  Over a year ago, I met a mom at a bridal show and she shared her need for a wedding planner and event designer for her daughter’s upcoming wedding.  We clicked, she loved our work and she booked our services.  We have been working together with her daughter over the last year to plan and design her wedding day.  Through talking and sharing, I learned that this sweet lady has suffered 8 pregnancy losses...some babies that were as far along as 5 months.  My heart broke for her.  When I first learned that news, I was beginning IVF round 1.  As you may know, IVF round 2 was successful and I was pregnant.  I lost my baby at 7 weeks 3 days.  Over the days following my loss, I often thought of this mom that had lost 8 children.  I remember thinking..."If she can go through loss that many times and still get out of bed and function, then so can I."  Not only does this woman function but she exudes happiness.  She is a joyful person that shares a smile easily!  That doesn't mean the pain is gone because it certainly has left deep scars.  When I was sharing my struggles with her, her tears came quickly.  It brings everything back.  You never forget the loss of a child, someone you loved so much and didn't have the chance to meet and hold.

After her losses and deciding to seek another route to motherhood, she pursued adoption.  She adopted two lovely girls.  It was months into our relationship before we were told that the sisters were not made up of the parents’ DNA and furthermore, we were shocked that the sisters were not biological.  These girls not only look like each other but look like they were the mom and dad’s biological children.  Through the investment this mom made in the life of her adopted daughters, they are both amazing, strong women!

I share this story because tomorrow, this mom who suffered more heartache then one should have to bear, gets to celebrate the wedding of her DAUGHTER!  Praise the Lord that Joy Comes in the morning!  Tomorrow will be such a time of celebration, happiness and joy!  This story has been a reminder that God's plan is perfect and the pain that we are experiencing right now is only temporary.  I hope it encourages you as well.  We must keep going and be open to the path God directs for our life.  Adoption is not for everyone and certainly is not the solution to infertility but it is a beautiful way to experience motherhood.  I am so happy for this mom and her family.  

I will share a wedding picture tomorrow!  


Monday, July 11, 2016

Finding Hope in the Hard world of Infertility

My sweet friends,

The past weeks have been filled with some of the darkest days of my life.  I have felt such grief, pain and anger.  I have cried buckets of tears.

On June 16th, David and I had an early appointment for our second ultrasound.  Although I was excited about my appointment and seeing our baby again, I also felt weird, a bit off center and not normal.  I found my hands trembling and heart racing as I got ready and during our drive to the office.  We went into the room and prepared for the ultrasound, as the nurse began by measuring the sac.  She said the baby was measuring 6 + weeks and immediately my heart sunk...I was 7 weeks 3 days at this date.  The nurse continued with the ultrasound quietly, without a word.  It went very fast.   She then had me sit up and said the words I'll never forget "The baby has no heartbeat, I'm so very sorry."  I was numb, in complete shock.  My husband and I were given time to pull ourselves together and then we met with the Doctor to discuss our loss.  My husband called out of work, followed me home where we comforted each other for hours...he held me, prayed with me, cried with me, let me talk when I needed and was quiet when I needed.

Ironically, the day after Father's Day, June 20th, I had a D & C.  This was a hard day.  It was so final...our pregnancy was officially over.  The physical recovery was going smoothly until a few days later.  I woke up at 3 am with awful cramping and by 10 am, I was in tremendous pain and could hardly speak.  I sent a text to David, asking him to please call my mom and my Doctor (in that order ha ha)!  He did and my mom rushed over to help me get to the hospital, per my Doctors orders.  Mom checked for a fever and gave me some medicine from one of my retrievals.  The medicine helped tremendously.

The ER visit was another "slap-in-the-face."  The staff at the hospital were, unintentionally, insensitive to my emotional condition and each staff member asked questions that were a constant reminder of the tremendous loss.  In addition, my release papers had, in big words, PREGNANT - POSITIVE.  However, I no longer was...

Currently, two weeks since that hospital visit, my HCG levels are still not back to 0, but thank goodness the cramping and bleeding are over.  I am beginning to feel like myself again, though, I miss being pregnant and keep thinking about how far along I would have been today or this week.

I am very grateful that I now know I can "get pregnant."  I also understand that the odds are something genetically was wrong.  However, this does not take away the deep feelings of loss, failure and hopelessness. 
One of the hardest struggles is the continual waiting in this journey...
waiting for my cycle
waiting through injections
the two week wait
waiting for Beta results
waiting for a successful embryo thaw (my newest fear)
waiting for my sweet child to warm my heart, my life, my arms

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up like wings of eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

A naive person, I am not.  Infertility and the IVF process certainly strips away our naivety and innocence.  I honestly never thought of miscarriage in my scenario.  I thought the embryo might not "stick" but when it did, I was hopeful and full of joy.  I will never experience pregnancy with the sweet innocence I had always envisioned.  I am not being a pessimist but rather a realist.  Those of us struggling with infertility are poked, prodded, probed, evaluated, stimulated and on the list goes.  Constant failure breathes at your back.  The "roller coaster" analogy describes it best.   You are hopeful with anticipation as you embark, trepidatious as you climb to the top, elated when you reach the pinnacle, terrified of what's to come, literally, holding on for dear life and then you drop...


Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes it is a tree of life Proverbs 13:12

No doubt, the ride is depressing, challenging even maddening!  But...we get back on and ride again, experiencing all the ups and downs that TTC brings.  I have recognized I have one of two choices;  despaired and bitter or hopeful and joyful.  I am choosing to be hopeful and joyful.

My heart has been touched by the love and encouragement from family, close friends and my TTC sisters.  Please never underestimate the value of your sweet, encouraging words.  You have helped me recover and climb from my pit of despair.

Kind words are like honey...sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24


Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Struggle is part of the Story

I am so thankful for the TTC community.  The ladies in our community are amazing!  We encourage and inspire each other, grieve with others who are likewise suffering or discouraged and celebrate with overwhelming joy a success of any kind and especially a BFP!  For so many months, I kept my struggle with infertility between my husband and myself. It wasn't that I was ashamed, I am just a private person.  Sharing my struggle and my story is the best decision I ever made.  It has been healthy to share the pain and fears and also to have a strong network for support, guidance and reassurance.  

The Struggle is part of the Story.  The injections, medicines, countless Doctor appointments, egg retrieval, embryo growth, embryo transfer, staggering financial costs, emotional turmoil and stress, all comprise the struggle.  However, these struggles have made me a stronger person, a more compassionate individual and have drawn me closer to God.  The struggle goes beyond the obvious. 
Even though I have gained the tremendous blessing of support through sharing, it remains a struggle to share.

Many women who conceive naturally would not consider to share the news of their pregnancy at only one month along.  There are still many critical milestones ahead in the baby’s growth...we have not even heard a heartbeat or had a sonogram!  You would think finally getting a BFP (big fat positive) would alleviate the apprehension, but it certainly hasn’t.  Psalm 34:4 comes to mind, “I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”  I think it is only natural, in a sensitive situation like early pregnancy to be worried about a lack of symptoms, sharp pains, and even comparing your own Beta numbers to other ladies Beta numbers.  I have to continue relinquishing my fears to God who already has a perfect plan.

The past few days, I have been battling with myself over whether to share my news so early and the most appropriate way to share the BEST news I have ever received in my life! (I was doing this battling, while fighting the urge to do a backflip and shout to everyone I see “I am pregnant!!”) I am keeping positive thoughts, am overjoyed beyond measure and I am inviting prayer and support for our growing child. 

I would ask those who know David and me personally, please don’t share our special news before we have the chance to do so!  You are our most treasured of friends. I know, just by your interest in our situation and your love and caring messages, this is not too much to ask.  I have waited through years and throngs of negative pregnancy tests to have finally heard the words that play like beautiful music to my ears, “you are definitely pregnant!” Praise God! LET IT BEE!!!

I know that my news can bring pain to many of you struggling and waiting patiently for your own positive outcome.  This too is part of the struggle.  I refused to allow myself not to allow joy for others. I would think why her not me.  Then I would ask myself again…why not her?  It would help me every time. My prayer is that this step in my story would serve to strengthen our community with hope.  This is exactly what your stories have done for me.  Thank you!

David and I are overjoyed by the news that this round of IVF may just bring us our long awaited BABY BEE!  I am excited to continue sharing our journey, having you cheer us on and having your support and prayer.  I thank God every time I think of you! Philippians 1:3

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice!”
Philippians 4:4

Beta #1 done!

The best $2 I spent on this sash to surprise my family with the news of our Beta results!!