What’s in a name? 

I’ve always thought names are important. They can come with a history, a heritage, a wish, an expectation…they can be a first impression or a lasting one, and they can be used to build you up or tear you down.

Even before I was a Mrs, before we were on this long road to parenthood I kept lists of names I liked. I sometimes had pictures of the people those names belonged to in my head. I worked out their stories and struggles in my writing, I imagined their lives. So, you can imagine I have not taken the naming of my children lightly. I have written lists of names for them, imagined what traits their name might bring to their life, what story it tells about them. I’ve looked up meanings, thought about nicknames, and considered they way it sounds mixed with our last name. I think I’ve taken this naming business much more seriously than my sweet husband and possibly more than is really necessary, but this little birthday gift has always been high on my priority list.

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Amara Joy is the name we’ve chosen for our girl. OK, admittedly, I may have insisted.😉 I knew her first name long before she was created, I knew her first name without a doubt long before I could settle on a boys name. When I said before I might have called her from heaven by her name I truly meant it. This is that story.

I believe I’ve mentioned before the importance of my maternal grandmother in my life. The memories I have of her are some of my most precious, the summers I spent with her instilled in me a sense of love and acceptance I will never forget. I can close my eyes and stand on the front porch of her small trailer as though I was there yesterday. I can walk my way through that home touching the kitchen counter smelling the cinnamon sugar pie crust she saved for me. I can picture her in her chair, tatting away with hands swift and sure as lightning while baseball plays silently on the TV. I can move down the wood paneled hall, stopping to visit my bedroom, smiling at the bags of yarn in the closet and know the solid peaceful feeling I’d have resting my head on that pillow, listening to the train whistle in the distance. I can walk farther down the hall, visiting the mustard yellow stack-able washer and dryer in the bathroom, just my size I always thought. I can visit grandma’s bedroom with the floral bedding and curtains my mom and her sisters replaced one summer as a gift for her. My grandma went to be with the Lord when I was 14, but those memories of her linger stronger than any in my life.

During this infertility process when I sometimes found it hard to talk to God I would talk to my grandma instead. She raised six girls, persevered after her husband’s death when the youngest of which was five and the oldest sixteen. Of course I knew her as a retiree, without the pressures of providing for teenagers and young children. I knew a woman passionate about church and singing loud and proud even from her place beside me in the pew. Who was known for her making to both family and friends. She made layettes for all the babies, slippers, blankets, hats, quilts, dolls…her hands did not know how to be still. She taught me a lot, but mostly she just loved me. It’s the kind of relationship I hope my mom and her granddaughter have. So, when in this difficult journey I felt abandoned I called out to her. I can lay in my bed 20+ years later and listen for the trains in the dark and feel myself back in that little bedroom safe and comforted.

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I’ve always known it was her I wanted to name my daughter after. Her name was Martha -and though I don’t love the name Martha I set out to find a name that could both honor her and celebrate the unique girl she would’ve called great-grand-baby. I went looking for variations on her name and my first consideration was Mara. I like the name Mara a lot, but I don’t love that I remember Ruth 1:20 every time I hear it.

“Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter.”

I definitely don’t want to give my girl a legacy of bitterness, so I looked a little farther. I found that if you add an ‘A’, and the name becomes Amara, it changes the meaning to ‘eternal’. Now that’s a name I’m happy to bestow on my little love. So Amara it became, and since I’ve found it there has been no other name.

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Amara’s middle name was harder to settle on but has a less dramatic history. I tried out the middle names Faith and Hope first, but they left me feeling unsettled and not quite right. A few years ago I chose the One Little Word for myself of Joyful; a word to think on and bring into my life for the year. I made a banner and hung it up in our hallway, and at the end of the year I didn’t take it down. I don’t think I chose another word after that, it just lives with me all the time. When I think about what the infertility process required -Faith and Hope- are at the tippy top of the list. But when I think about what I wish for my girl it’s that when her faith and hope are called upon to be active hardcore that she find joy in whatever she’s going through. My cousin Meredith would say “Find joy in the journey.” And that is the dream. A verse that’s stuck with me through all of this is Psalm 27:13-14.

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord  In the land of the living.

Wait for the Lord;  Be strong and let your heart take courage; 

Yes, wait for the LORD.”

That is the truth. Not to say I didn’t have hard days, but the hard days did not beat me, they did not break me. Which leads me right to the verse that is my wish for our girl; Nehemiah 8:10.

“Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

That’s it. I pray the joy of the Lord is her strength; Amara Joy it is. Our daughter has a name that satisfies the part of me that puts too much weight on two little words. Added bonus -her initials are A.J.- my father’s first initial (A) and my mother’s (J). It’s also a pretty great nickname should she be a Tomboy and prefer something more neutral than Amara…or Mari…or cuddle bug…or snuggle bear…or any of the thousand other cutesie things she may be called by those that love her.

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As you can see she’s already brought so much joy to her parents.

It’s a girl! 

Here we are -HALFWAY to welcoming this little Bean into the world. Twenty Weeks feels SO good!

We went to see a perinatologist (aka a maternal-fetal medicine specialist) for our anatomy ultrasound. Something they like to do for IVF babies since there’s some concern they are more prone to heart defects. We spent a lot of time with the ultrasound tech trying to see all that there is to see of this somewhat uncooperative kiddo. There were head measurements, arm and leg bone measurements, and estimates for weight. All her measurements are right on track for her gestational age, and her weight is estimated at 13 ounces. All great news!

Here’s Baby Bean with knees to nose:

They took a picture of Bean’s belly, showing us this tiny stomach and organs. Diaphragm, liver, loops of small intestine; it is so cool all the things they can show you on that muddy black and white screen. They checked her nasal bone, if it was short or missing that would be an indicator of Downs Syndrome, we were happy to see a proud white line just where it aught to be. They looked close at the upper palate in the mouth, pointing out to us a solid white mass to show there’s not a concern for a cleft palate.

They also checked blood flow in the umbilical cord, and spent lots of time attempting to get every angle of the heart. Here’s where we found out we have a bit of a stubborn baby, with little arms tucked in close the arm bone shadows obstructed some of the heart views. We poked and prodded, rolled side to side, and tried all we could to get her move and allow clear pictures. We saw lots of kicking but those little arms didn’t move away long enough to help us. What we did see was there are four chambers and they seem to be working just the way they should. Her heart rate was 151. And, I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a little happy that they feel we didn’t get every angle, that means we get more pictures in five weeks when we go back to check again. Let’s not forget that little heart is only about the size of a nickel and will grow a lot in the next five weeks!

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We also didn’t hesitate when the tech asked us if we wanted her to tell us the gender. Oh yes! She got a great picture of a leg and tiny butt and the three little lines that tell her we’ve got a little girl growing in there. She checked twice and said she was extremely confident Bean is a girl! We are obviously thrilled! Of course we’d have been thrilled if we’d had a boy growing too, but the knowing makes it so exciting! I called my mom as soon as we left the appointment to tell someone out loud -It’s a girl!

IMG_3701The doctor came in after the ultrasound and went over the images again with us, slower, pointing out details. I got a chance to ask him if he had an opinion on my birth options, something I’d been warned he might have. There was some talk at a previous OB appointment that he may recommend I have a c-section or be induced at 39 weeks due to my advanced maternal age. (They use that term for mamas over 35.) I was beyond happy to hear him say that if I  was 40 early delivery would be standard protocol, but that I’m young (haha!) and unless I develop something in the next 20 Weeks indicating otherwise he sees no reason I can’t go the full 40 weeks! He said they wouldn’t have me go past 41, but that gives me a chance for a natural rather than induced labor (or scheduled cesarean) and that is music to my ears! So, if I could humbly ask you to add that into your prayers for this little adventure -a healthy uncomplicated pregnancy, and a body ready to do the work when the time comes- I would be so grateful. I think I’ve said before how much this process means to me, and that doing each thing is important to me. This process includes birth; the labor and pain don’t scare me, but not having the option does. I’m fully prepared going into this with an open mind that says however this birth happens is OK. In the end the healthy arrival of our Bean is what matters most. But, I’m not wishing away any part of the process, and I am passionate about having the chance to do labor and delivery au natural if my body cooperates.

I’d already made plans with a friend to take the hand print gender reveal photos that evening. There was so much laughter, so much excitement to share with our friends who feel this utter joy with us. There was also some teasing of daddy -who’s daughter with have him sucker punched right from the beginning I am sure. It was so fun to go pick out pink paint for that occasion. To pass the bows and flowers and ask my guy Do we need those, too? How girly do we need to be to share our news? We opted for just the paint, though he tried to convince me to get yellow or green and make everyone crazy building the suspense. You’re welcome from my impatient self that I didn’t agree to that!😉 He also let me get pink glittery stickers to make a sign for our girl to reveal her name. And that, my friends, you will have to wait on! Though not so long, soon we’ll talk about the story behind those choices. I just really wanted to give this moment, this story, its time. Because IT’S A GIRL is so big and awesome, and It’s a HEALTHY girl all that much more big and awesome. Let’s just celebrate that for a minute or two, OK? OK!

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Dear Baby

Dear I-can’t-wait-to-call-you-by-your-name-Baby, 

How’s it going in there? 

We’re 19 weeks into this grand adventure and that’s the question I ask over and over all the time. Hello? I say, How are you doing in there? So far you haven’t answered me, at least not in a way I can feel yet. 

Everyone tells me not to worry about that, that it’s early yet, that soon soon I’ll be feeling you lots and lots. I still search for you though. At night when I can’t sleep I hunt for you with my hand, with my heart. I wonder if every little thing might be you wiggling, waving, trying to get comfortable on the inside while I try and get comfortable out here. Sometimes that’s harder than it sounds, maybe it is for you too.

I search for you other times, too. I try and feel where your little home has reached as it moves up my belly from the inside. By this time next week you’re roof will be right in line with my belly button. When friends want to touch my belly (see everyone wants to feel you, to know you) they always reach too high yet. Down here, I say, touching where I know you’re hiding, finding the place the doctor last let us hear your heart beat. Strong and steady; I whisper encouragements to you. We can’t wait to meet you. 



In just a little while we’ll be seeing a special doctor to check in on you. We will look to see how you’re growing, and if you’re good to us we’ll find out what you’re name will be. You already have a name waiting for you to claim it. After all we have been waiting an awful long time for you to join us, there was so much anticipation and there were so many prayers -I might have called you from heaven by your name long before you made it into the cells here on earth. 

I think about who you will be, what it will be like to get to know you, watch you grow…hopefully I’ll be a good teacher. There’s this thing we say to moms when babies start to kick inside hard enough to see and feel on the outside. Maybe he/she’s a little soccer player. I think about that sometimes; who you’ll be. Will you be sporty like your dad? Will you want to play soccer or basketball? Or maybe you’ll be a dancer, and love to be on stage. Or maybe you’ll love art or music. Or a perfect combination of all of that. 

I imagine your dad and I cheering for you -embarrassing you with our enthusiasm, our encouragement, our love- no matter what you choose to pursue. You might roll your eyes at us; as we stand and clap, grinning like fools. I might cry with pride. Maybe you’ll wish we didn’t cause a scene, that I didn’t yell out quite so loud, or take so many pictures of every little thing. But, I hope you grow to secretly love it. That one day you’ll tell your friends, your kids, how silly we were and how crazy it was -our joy over you. That’s not a bad wish really -that we show our love in loud obnoxious ways. We want you to never doubt that we love you; big and loud and unabashed. 

All these dreams feel so far away right now while I search for a flutter from your tiny growing body. And I remind myself not to get so caught up in looking forward to the next phase that miss out on the miracle of the place I’m in. You’ll grow faster than I can imagine, and each step will be so fast I think before I know it I’ll wish backwards. For your life to slow down and for you to be little forever. So I bring myself back to the here and now with you. Small enough you’re keeping secrets a little longer. Small enough I can still mostly move around you, still see my feet, still put on my own shoes. It’ll be different before I know it and I want to embrace every step along the way. 

Love, 

Mama

Since April?! (1st trimester catch up)

I haven’t written here SINCE APRIL?!

That’s what I thought when I finally came to check in. Surely it hasn’t been that long.

Oh, but it has.

Oops. Sorry. Let’s catch up.

All that praying everyone was doing for our last frozen embryo transfer was worth it’s weight in gold.

We have a little bean growing!

I dunno why I’ve taken to calling the babe -the bean, but I have. Hopefully it won’t be too long before I get to call he or she by their actual name.

I’ve successfully made it into the second trimester so I can tell you all about the first!

There was a lot of nausea, and some vomiting, and all the tiredness. There were mountains of worry, and many doctor appointments. There were needle sticks and ultrasounds, and many bathroom stops. There was monitoring and marveling over size and what’s-happening-now; from an apple seed to a blueberry and then a peapod. Little lives grow so quickly! We saw a heartbeat at 6 weeks, SIX! This tiny being measured in millimeters had a beating heart. And so fast it had little arms and legs that kicked and waved at us on the ultrasound. Our bean already has fingerprints. The whole thing just blows my mind.

All during the process I kept thinking -I need to write about this- and then didn’t. I’m not sure why that is. Too tired and sick to work up the energy? Probably. Too anxious that we’d never make it to the second trimester? That too.

We’ve transitioned from seeing our fertility doctor to seeing a regular OB. The process was bittersweet.  I tried to convince Dr. B he could just run the whole show beginning to end but he didn’t take me up on it. I found a doctor’s office I really like (thanks to a nurse friend), but I don’t think we’ll have anything quite like the relationships we developed at Rocky Mountain Center For Reproductive Medicine.

My mom and I were on a trip when I got my very last shot. It was a thing to be celebrated! Just as soon as I quit throwing up. I looked forward to days without extra hormones thinking the sick would get better. Imagine my delight when it actually got worse! The occasional vomiting turned to every day. And all the things the doctor said to try really did not help. When I spent a day unable to keep anything down and not even wanting to drink water because I was so tired of throwing up I finally gave in and asked the doctor for a prescription. Thankfully, that made a big improvement. Not prefect, but so much better.

I keep getting told it’ll get better so I’m waiting for that little blessing to come upon me. I hope I won’t need the prescription for long. Right now everything feels like it’s moving so much slower. I only see the doctor once a month, and the bean isn’t big enough for me to be marveling in kicks and squirms yet. I can tell you it likes to swim and delivers swimming dreams to me a lot. Bean also likes pasta. You know how they tell you to eat the BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) diet when you feel sick? Yeah, we’ve thrown up all the things at one time or another. Pasta though? Big fans. All the things I was eating to manage symptoms early on have eventually been rejected -yogurt, peaches, crackers, granola bars, oatmeal…finding food I want to eat, enjoy after the smell or first taste, and can keep down has been a fun experiment. Which, if you’ve met me in real life you would know, is downright hilarious.

We haven’t worked on the nursery any more yet, I’m hoping I’ll feel more inspired to do that if we learn if we are having a he or a she. We do have a fun stash of mixed gender clothes started, a few toys, and little things already collected I just couldn’t pass up. There’s time, I keep telling myself, it’ll eventually feel like it goes so fast but I need to pace myself. We also have some home improvement projects on the agenda for the summer. It feels slow going now, but oh-so-soon I think it’ll feel like we’re full steam ahead!

Read-a-thon-ing

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Hello, friends!
I’m doing something fun and different that I’ve never done before today -I’m joining nearly 2000 readers!
Dewey’s 24 hour Readathon actually began at 6am, but I had to do meds at 6 so I’m starting at 6:30. I’ll be posting updates and doing some challenges here today while I male a big ‘ol dent in my TBR pile.
Ok, let’s go!
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1) Northern Colorado, USA
2) Making a big dent in my current read Drums Of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon
3) Nachos!
4) I’m a wife to my BFF, a stay-at-home pet mama to 2 dogs, a bunny, and a bird. I’m in the midst of an very long, frustrating, infertility journey-learning-experience and that’s mostly what I blog about here. I read for the escapism, and it gets me through the hard days, but have been a reader since I was young and have loved Stephen King since 5th grade. I’m a fan of stories and not really genre specific. (Stories are what I love most about people, too.)
5) This is my first readathon and I guess I’m mostly looking forward to learning how this community works and joining in…that, and the books!🙂
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Six hours in!
I’ve read nearly 4 of them, with breaks for breakfast, and joining the Twitter community (I’m team Goldfinch), doing a couple mini challenges, checking back with the readathon blog to follow along, etc. I’ve only been reading the one book so I’m thinking I’ll switch things up for a bit and perhaps actually finish a book today. Though, it’s totally fine if I don’t. We’re all here for the fun of it!
I’ll leave you with my Operation: Quotation! Challenge quote from my read this morning:
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Over half way!
I confess: I’m kindof a slow reader. I’m easily distracted. Also, my husband kidnapped me for church and dinner and a drive around town. But, you know, he’s worth it!😉 (And He’s worth it.)
I’ve read a little over six hours. I have a goal of 12 in mind so we’ll see if I can make that up tonight. My hubby also offered to stay up playing video games as moral support! It’s love y’all.
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I am about half-way with book number two: Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. And, I’d like to finish it. Though I’m starting my second half with a third book, a graphic novel French Milk by Lucy Knisley. I’m excited because I loved Relish by her.
Ok, I’m off to stick my nose in a book! Here’s another mini challenge quote from today:
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THE END.
I only made it 9 hours of actual reading, but I had so much fun with the community that is all worth it! There’s another Dewey’s 24 hour Readathon in October (2!Every year!) & I’m excited to do it again. Next time I’ll have a big stack of Lucy Knisley graphic memoirs to read. I read 3 books but only finished the 1 graphic memoir, French Milk. I did get well over half way with another book I’ll finish reading today Where’d You Go, Bernadette . And got a nice chunk out of Drums of Autumn .

All in all, my first readathon was great!
Happy Sunday!🙂
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The Long Wait

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We’ve been taking a lot of naps around here.

Hello, friends.
I’d like to say -I have so much to tell you!
But, I really don’t.
So much of this process is rinse and repeat that there’s not much to report. And there’s the waiting…seemingly endless amounts of waiting.

Here’s what I can tell you:
While the Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) is different from a normal round of IVF it’s not so different you’ll need a step by step.
I’ve been taking my meds like a good girl. I stuck to the complicated schedule and all my ultrasounds and blood work over the last couple months have looked great.

I had one intense day when I switched to progesterone shots and about an hour after my first one I got nauseous and fainted in the bathroom. I was only out for a minute and I did make it back to bed on my own. (D was at work) I tried to sleep, felt pretty awful, vomited over the side of the bed into a trash can. D came home early and I was supposed to be driving him to the airport that day…it took a lot of convincing but he did make his flight thanks to his sister. I eventually called the doctor’s office to make sure it wasn’t the meds; which would’ve been unlikely since I’d done this before with a different brand but same drug. It wasn’t.  My elevated temperature was a sign to my nurse friend that I had a stomach bug. Luckily, it was mostly kicked in two days. Two very sore and uncomfortable days.

That fear though, that it might have been my meds, is great way to illustrate that this infertility stuff doesn’t get easier the longer you’re dealing with it.  For me, it feels like it gets harder. The stakes get bigger. The fear of something going wrong gets bigger. The I’m so tired of this gets much bigger.

That’s my truth -I’m so tired of this.

So, my regimen of 5 estrogen pills and 1 progesterone shot a day has been my normal for a while. And, the number of alarms in my phone has gone from a dozen to just those 6. Yay!

The day of transfer I was pretty nervous waiting for a phone call expecting our embryos not to survive the thaw. I even got a phone call that had nothing to do with the transfer but freaked me out in the moment the phone was ringing. I was so surprised and relieved and thankful when Dr Sharry came out with this photo:

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Yes, that’s D’s hand holding it, yes it looks rough, he’s in construction, that’s his normal.

The exciting news is that both embryos survived and looked really good! Hallelujah!

I never thought I’d say to a doctor “I’m really looking forward to that catheter.” But I did. And I was. Full bladder + ultrasound + speculum = thankful for the catheter. It’s amusing the things you get used to when you see doctors and nurses for so long. I remember the first transfer during IVF the catheter was my biggest concern since I’d never had one before. This time it was the second best part -after that photo above!

Everything else has been the same as last time.  The transfer went great, followed by bedrest for 3 days -I have the best family and friends who came and hung out with me on the couch, made my favorite foods and continually pray hard those embryos are making themselves at home.

So, now we wait. The longest weeks of our lives to find out if we’ve finally come to the transition part of this journey. The transition from infertility to parenthood. I’m anxious. I’m doubtful. I’m hopeful. I’m hanging on. I’m leaning in….
I’m complicated.

(Infertile) Bookish Thoughts

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I haven’t read very many books on infertility, in fact this is the first. If you know me you might think that’s odd considering I do a fair amount of reading. I’ve just always preferred to read about the baby part, What To Expect When You’re Expecting, rather than the struggle part. I get all my struggle knowledge firsthand, thank you.

A couple weeks ago I came across an article talking about link between infertility and PTSD… Post Traumatic Infertility Stress Disorder or PTIFSD.

“Infertility awareness requires not only an understanding and recognition of the disease itself but of what that disease can do to us.”

I found validation in that article and discovered the author had also written a book -so I ordered it.

Enter The Infertility Survival Handbook.

Firstly, it was written in 2004. You and I both know medicine advances can change dramatically in that amount of time, the same is true for fertility medicine. However, most of what’s written is still relevant even if not perfectly up to date. If you’re on the fence or confused about what procedures come with signing up for infertility treatment this is a perfectly good place to start. It breaks things down and gives you a good foundation to begin to ask your doctor informed questions about your health and what you might be getting into.

There’s no sugar-coating here; in fact, the author is afraid of needles, she might have you unduly worried about needle size and placement. While she gets you concerned over drug side-effects, which DO happen but don’t ALWAYS happen (I have had very little), she also tells you it’s okay to have bad days. To be devastated and excited in turn as you go through this process. It’s very reassuring for someone who’s gone through things multiple times to say “you can do it” and also “you don’t have to do it”.

She talks about the money involved in treatment, navigating insurance, managing stress, telling your family and friends, and even about choosing adoption. I also like that there is an entire reference section of resources to help you with what’s next; be that support groups, immunology, adoption, surrogacy, etc.

My biggest peeve with the book is actually the way the author constantly reminds us of how smart she is, especially during the first several chapters. There’s multiple mentions of “putting on the white coat” so she can explain these complex medical procedures with big words. I find that totally unnecessary. I also disliked later in the book where she talks about marriage trouble and assumes her four years of therapy are enough to allow her to comment on your marriage. There are many instances of her joking, sarcastic, snarky inserts added to the writing in parenthesis where I rolled my eyes, or sighed in frustration.

Advice to milk your treatment trauma with your husband who has gotten off easy during this process bothers me. She does later talk about being a support for your guy if you’re dealing with male-factor infertility but I find it insulting to assume husbands need you to use your bad days as leverage for pampering. Maybe I’m over-sensetive to husband criticism or over-optimistic about the majority of the husband population. I do believe that this process makes you more intimate on an emotional level and simply asking for what you need is usually enough. Don’t underestimate the toll it takes on a man to see his wife go through this process. He’s not blind to that or immune to the excitement/devastation rollercoaster.

So, if you’re on Goodreads (let’s be friends) my review rating is 3 stars. I liked The Infertility Survival Handbook. I didn’t love it, though it had very good info, and I didn’t hate it, though it had some problems. Also, if you’re really wanting to read it, let me know, I’ll gladly send you my copy!

Is  there an infertility book you think I should read? Recommended away!

Until next time -♡.

On Creating Your Own Safe Space

I want to chat for a minute (or ten) about safe spaces.

Sometimes the places you think you should be safe aren’t, and the places you are afraid to be vulnerable are the best places to do just that.

Have you ever noticed how like attracts like? People with similar (I’m going to call it for the sake of this discussion) trauma seem to find each other. Sometimes people on the outside of your hurt, no matter how close to your heart, cannot understand what you’re going through. There’s a reason humans create support groups, that we seek experiences like our own.

If you are going through something painful, difficult, confusing, or emotionally draining I want to encourage you to seek out a safe place, with safe people, to talk about all that these kinds of life experiences encompass. You might be surprised what and who that looks like.

Your safe place might be with family members. Or it might not. It might be with close friends. It might not. It could be that your safe place is with a professional counselor, or with a group of strangers…gathered because they share a similar need. Someone to understand.

There should be no judgements in your safe place. Dirty laundry isn’t dirty in a safe space. You’re allowed to be selfish, angry, hurt, raw, or whatever you need to be in your safe space. You’re allowed to not make sense, you’re allowed to say bad words, to ugly cry.

Sometimes our traumas need to be held by more than one body. Sometimes we need to spread the burden a little and hear we are not alone in order to cope day to day with the huge thing overshadowing everything else in our lives.

When you start to look around you and decide who is allowed access into your safe space I want to encourage you not to allow guilt to follow those people in. In your safe space there’s no room for guilt over who’s included and who is not. It could be just one person, or it could be a whole group of people. Size doesn’t matter; that’s true for so many things and especially here. What matters is building a trust that gives you the freedom to get brutally honest. What matters is people who love you no matter what ugly stuff you have to say in the moment. Let’s face it -trauma is ugly, pain is ugly. People who hear you and let all of that be ok -that is beautiful.
That is a safe space.

Even if you are thinking you don’t need that, you’ve got this thing handled. Let me just say, oh friend, we all need it at some point. And the blessing of needing a safe space is that when the tide turns you have become someone else’s safe space in the process. That is surely an amazing calling. Being trusted that much, loving someone through the most difficult days of their lives…well, there’s divinity in that, and we might all pray to be so blessed.

Don’t be afraid to mindfully create your own safe space. Don’t let past let downs keep you from trying to find just the right people to let in. Sometimes there’s set backs, no body is perfect. But when you find just the right people, when your safe space comes together and actively holds up that burden for you a little…well, there’s magic in that. I hope everyone is touched with that magic at some time in their lives even when it hurts to get there.

To the people who make up my own safe space -thank you, I love you, I’m so thankful for each and every one of you.

Here and Now

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Hello friends!

After a long and much needed hiatus I’m back…here to keep you in the loop…and in that office I spent so much time in last year.

We met with Dr.B last week, got the low down on what we do now, and signed a stack of consent forms thick enough to give us hand cramps.

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Today I had my baseline ultrasound; everything begins here, same as before. And, thankfully, everything was still utterly normal. I also picked up my calendar and prescriptions to get filled. The calendar is already up and ready to begin the count down. Here’s a blurry look at that:

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Schedules. Schedules.

So, the simple way to explain all these drugs is that the Dr. shuts down the part of my brain that runs my hormones and then supplements, monitors, and controls my body’s natural rhythm. The goal for IVF was to get my body to make eggs, lots and lots of eggs, and we manipulated my chemistry to accomplish that.

For a FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer) our goal is to control and balance my chemistry to create the best possible home for those little embryos. Last time the focus was on the ovaries, this time all the focus is on the uterus.

Some people say that a frozen embryo cycle works better than a fresh embryo cycle (FET is better than IVF) and this switch in focus may be the key.
Please, God, let it be the key.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. We only have two frozen embryos, it feels like our last chance. We are praying when the time comes both those little seeds survive the thaw; there’s always a chance one or both may not. We’re praying those little seeds continue to grow, and eventually take root in this perfectly welcoming environment we will be creating.

Want to pray for us?
Pray I can be diligent with my complex drug protocol (Good news! Only two shots!) and pray I have the willpower to treat my body well to prepare it in every way possible.

We’re marking off our first of many days committed to this next thing. Thanks for hanging in there with us!

Did I forget something you’re curious about? Just let me know and I’ll address it in another post.

(If you’re new here Welcome! and wondering what you’ve gotten yourself into you can scroll back in time and catch up on all things infertility HERE.)

Trust

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Not too long ago I wrote a letter to Dr. B. I’d run into him out shopping one evening and got to give him a hug and wish him Merry Christmas. I hadn’t seen him since he called to say the IVF didn’t work; I had been expecting to feel…upset or sad, maybe sorry or guilty…like we worked really hard, prayed really hard, for this thing to happen and maybe it was my fault it failed.

I didn’t feel any of those things though, I just felt joy. Seeing him for the first time out of the office, realizing I missed the people we’d spent so much of our time with this past year. And later, knowing I needed to tell him that the year, though difficult at times, was all part of the plan -I wrote him a letter.

Here’s what it said:
After our disappointing IVF I was having a hard time wrapping my head around all the whys and how comes. It’s been a hard 8 years hoping for this dream, and so much hard work by so many people this last year chasing it. It feels like God keeps asking me to walk toward a cliff and put my toes over the edge. That’s scary, I’m tired, it hurts, I’m a slow walker.

So, I was doing a Bible study called Discerning the Voice of God. I’m pretty sure in the 12 weeks we took to go through it people are generally supposed to learn something new every chapter. Things about obedience and seeking and whatnot. But my study was full of one thing: Trust me. Trust me. Trust me.
And arrogantly I think ‘that’s what I’m doing! ‘.

Then He got really real…
He asked me -If I offered to turn your fertility over to your best friend would you want me to?
I’m, of course, saying -Yes! Let’s do that! I trust her, she wants what I want, we’d have this fixed by dinner.
And the response I get is -Why do you trust your fallible human friend more than your infallible God?
Ouch.

So, back to my cliff, I was talking to someone recently about this image of God asking me to put my toes over the cliff and do that hard trust thing, and it brought up yet another question from God.
-If Dr. Bachus asked you to jump off a cliff would you do it?
And my answer was -Yes! Of course! Because I trust him. I trust if he asked me to do that then I would be tethered.
The response to that was simple and profound -Then trust me to have you tethered and keep walking.

So, I’m not trying to raise anxiety about this crazy patient with too much trust in you, but rather to reaffirm the importance of the process.
It’d be great if God let you be in charge of our infertility, we’d have this fixed by dinner, right?
But it’s not up to you.
You just get to do your part, bring the science! And turn the whole thing over to the only One who knows the reason for the journey. Maybe, we hope, it’s a baby. But maybe it’s something we can’t see yet because our toes haven’t found the edge of the cliff. Frustrating that the answer can’t be even an inch closer.

Sometimes, I get questions about if doing these treatment things are really trusting God.
Well, there can be no doubt when each moment -from admitting to my heart that adoption was a means to an end but not a solution to a problem, to right now- doors flew open before us. Some opened with a tragedy to lead us to a blessing and on to days of frustration. But, the doors haven’t closed yet so we keep going where they lead. They may not lead in the direction I want, but I can’t doubt the leading for my own expectation. Of course it’s trusting God, the dude invented everything science is based on!
Sure, He could snap His fingers and make this easier -but dang it if easy is not the point. Father’s are so like that.
*insert my teenage eye roll here*

It’s not a Christmas miracle, but a Christmas blessing instead…tears don’t make for a bad year, sometimes they’re just growing pains.

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