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.

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.

The Transfer Story

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Awake at 5am, not because I needed to be but because I think I was worried about my bladder. I got up at 2am to pee, and I needed it refilled to very uncomfortable for the embryo transfer this morning. Having a full bladder helps push the uterus into an optimal drop off position for the transfer and is one of my few jobs today. Get my shot, take a shower, don’t pee, lay with a flat pelvis afterwards.

So, needless to say I was awake at 6am when my actual alarm went off. I’d been thinking about and praying about our little embryos in the dark while I waited, excitedly nervous-hopeful. At 6:45am we were greeted by my nurse Jeneka’s smiling face, she’s a favorite, I was very happy to see her. I got changed into my gown, socks, hat, and mask -the extent of my OR prep today. Yay! D put on coveralls over his street clothes, booties, hat, and mask to accompany me this time. I got comfy on the gurney, we signed consents, Jeneka asked what I remembered about retrieval. When I told her I said “just a pinch” when it hurt so they wouldn’t stop she said she guessed it was more painful than I let on and maybe having tattoos prepared me to handle it so well.

Dr. Shari came in, that was our first face-to-face meeting and I was glad I got to shake her hand. She had the picture above to give us with the encouragement that they divided and compacted together just like they should, they look great. She also said we have 4 more about that stage and so we’ll see how they do over the next couple days to know how many we can freeze. We stared at the picture a little in awe that life begins so small, so miraculously, and that medicine can touch magic in such a way.

Dr. B came in and we were ready to roll! I did roll in fact; gurney to OR, scooted over onto the table and tried to relax while I looked around a bit at all the things I missed from being drugged a few days ago. Jeneka set the ultrasound on my pelvis, Dr. B explained what we were watching on the monitor, and then sneeky-as-can-be he dropped off the embryos via catheter. Bodies are so sensetive as to how things get delivered sometimes, geesh. He then drained my bladder for me so I could remain flat for the next 45 minutes and not be in agony. It’s the relief of 2am on a cold winter day and not having to leave the warm nest of your bed to walk across a cold floor to the bathroom. He talked over my going home instructions while we waited. Pelvis horizontal until Wednesday night (let’s call it Thursday morning), no activity that strains the lower abdominal muscles -heavy lifting, crunches. We need a nice gentle home for implantation. Then, I scooted back to the gurney, rolled back to the prep area and relaxed a while.

Dr. B told me my retrieval was one for the memoirs, and such a good story. He said it was hard work for him and so had to be hard for me. You’re so strong. He said, and I teared up. Apparently he’d almost given up on that right side ovary. He’d tried, and it was stubborn and there was a section of bowel in the way he couldn’t risk hitting to get to it. He’d started breaking down the instruments and decided he’d give it one more shot. I’m just stubborn. He said, Couldn’t leave it alone, so I checked one more time. That’s when we had you do the hyperventilating. He grinned. When you took a deep breath it changed the pressure in your belly just enough that the bowel moved aside and I could get a straight shot into the ovary. (This is with Hilary also aiding us by pushing on my belly from the outside.) He was afraid he couldn’t just have me hold my breath forever…to which I said he could have, I’d have held my breath as long as it took, that’s all I was thinking about. I’ll do anything. He said Yes. exactly what he feels too, we do whatever we have to.

So, with the needle in the ovary I let out my breath and the bowel pressed on the needle shaft while he extracted an egg. Then he asked me to take a deep breath to move the bowel so he could safely reposition the needle for the next egg. We did that over and over and it worked. He laughed It was the darndest thing. A most unique retrieval. I told him about how I had all these people praying Move, ovary, move. He said that was prefect and surely it worked.

It’s so humbling to have a doctor tell you you’re a strong person. Because oh my gosh I don’t feel that way. Keeping my smile, being willing to do the process, he knows it’s not easy and he notices those things. When I tell you that Dr. B and his staff are an important part of our journey this is why. He didn’t give up. Not all doctors would do that.

While I waited to be released to get up, get dressed, and come home I daydreamed about how maybe this time next year we’d be asking them all to stay late after work. We’d bring our baby(s) to introduce them to all the hearts and hands that worked so hard to create them. We’d have a photographer friend come and take ‘family’ photos. We’d celebrate. I’m praying in that direction, one day, one day.

Lastly, I had two songs in my head all morning…
Third Day -Sing a Song
BJ Thomas -Hooked on a Feeling
Don’t ask me why, but that’s my morning soundtrack. One for each embryo. 😉

Asked to Look

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A week ago I joined a Bible Study, one that is familiar -the people, the place- and also new in the word. In the Fall a group of women and I gather to study together, this year we are studying Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer. Today I did my first two days of homework and was moved to tears.

During day one Priscilla asks how we approach God; What are your feelings about hearing God’s voice? I said:
I doubt my own worthiness to hear from God and in doing so do not expect Him to speak to me.
I approach God with a doubtful heart instead of the expectant confident heart He wants me to have.

Day two struck a nerve. We are reminded of the story of Abraham and Sarah from Genesis 18:9-18 where God promises them a son at the appointed time. If you know the story you might also know that in their doubt Abraham and Sarah used Sarah’s maid to bring about a child instead of trusting and waiting on God’s promise. Priscilla writes: “While the righteous man trusts God to fulfill His Word, the proud man (self-reliant) depends on himself to bring things to pass.”

It was here my heart started pounding. Did I do that? Did I pray and wait on God or did I move without Him? Are we doing the right thing?
You might be thinking -uh, Steph, I think eight years is a good ‘waiting on God’ time period. If you know me you will know that during this infertility struggle we’ve prayed and asked and begged and tried to move and not felt right and changed our minds. You will know I struggled with how far to go into treatment, is choosing IVF not trusting God?

All of those fears rose up within me today. Have I done something wrong? And, so not knowing what else to do in my panic, I prayed. Father, is this what I’m supposed to be doing? Did I lack enough patience? Did I not wait on you? Is this bound to failure because I’m going about it all wrong? Tears were falling, heart was pounding, fear and doubt were building…and then I heard Look.

“Look…Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days…”   – Habakkuk 1:5

So I did. I took a deep breath and I looked back over the unfolding of this story and I saw the God has guided our family even in my doubts and fears. He has stilled my rush to move when it needed to be stilled, and He has opened doors to move us forward when it was time to go. God has provided a way for us to do IVF; financially, emotionally, physically.

He has provided a doctor and nurses I adore and wouldn’t want to go through this without. There’s no one else but them for our journey, they are important.

He has provided a supportive and encouraging community to surround us. Would we have had these people through other routes to children? Of course, but it’s not a coincidence I have several science/medicine loving friends who are all in to talk about the process we’re doing. They’re interested, fascinated, want to be a part of this difficult journey. That’s a God thing.

I have sisters and brothers in infertility walking the road with me. Some up ahead who have their miracle babies and are cheering telling us don’t give up. Some right along side crying the same tears when it gets hard, and moaning the same moans as we trudge on. I’m not in any moment of this alone and that is possibly the most important part of the journey.

God made us for community and connection and through the last eight years He has steadily built mine. I married into the family He knew I needed. I found a church with leaders He knew I needed. Within that church I found a circle of friends that are irreplaceable. His hand moved when I met my best friend’s husband on new-member class day (in a room full of people he sat down next to me), and it moved again when I joined a Bible Study and found her sitting across from me (only later realizing the connection). His hand moved each time from one friend I met another, and another, and another. As our stories unfold together and we have a million Me too! moments, God is there knowing these are the people I needed for the journey. He’s been building the village our children will grow up in slowly, steadily, faithfully. He’s given us to one another for a reason.

What I learned today, what has the tears streaming down my face as I write this, is that I am not unworthy. Those doubts, those fears, those moments when I question my faith, my hope, my trust, my belief -that is not God. That is the enemy trying to break what God is building, trying to blind me to the blessings in the struggle, the glory in the journey. I must come back to Him in those moments and remember that He asks me to look.

Look and see what He has done, do not doubt what He is doing.

one step forward, two steps back

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Ah, hello there, it’s been awhile.

If we are friends on Facebook you’ll already know why it has taken me a long time to come back and write here. At the end of May, right on the heels of telling everyone I was pregnant, I had a miscarriage. It was early, it wasn’t very hard physically to go through, but the emotional toll was difficult to talk about. I felt like I’d let everyone down, I felt embarrassed to have spoken too soon. The feelings of brokenness were bigger, there was grief to work through. Mostly I just needed some time.

I’ve had issues in the past with people not understanding the way I process grief. It has left me feeling like I grieve wrong somehow or that people judge my process. The truth is there is no wrong way to work through painful emotions. As long as you aren’t hurting yourself or someone else -you do you. So, I happen to be a person who processes grief in a solitary way. I curl up in my bed for a few days and cry my eyes out. Don’t hug me, it makes me feel worse. I bury my conscious thought in stories, usually books books and more books, while my inner self processes the pain. I give myself a little distance, plenty of time, and I say no to many people while I do. I don’t like overt sympathy, I don’t want to cry on your shoulder. I want to slowly, privately, work it through with myself and God.

That’s another thing I should put out there…God. Boy is it hard to be faithful when you feel betrayed. Bitter is probably the best word to describe my relationship with God right now. That’s a painful truth as well. When the last IUI ended the way it did I was angry. And, when we eventually made the decision to move ahead with IVF I was (am still sometimes) angry. Why does this have to be so damn hard? I don’t want to do any of these things. I don’t want to be this friendly with my doctor’s office, as wonderful as they are, it’s not good times going on there. I don’t want my body chemistry played with. I don’t want my babies created in a lab. I don’t want to have a million ultrasounds, blood draws, and needle sticks. I’d be fine not knowing what my internal organs look like. So, yeah, bitter. I’m working on it.

Alright, let’s talk recent news since we’ve established IUI didn’t work for us. Last month I did something I haven’t done in more than eight years. I held a baby. I’ve routinely said no and thank you when offered up someone else’s little bundle of joy. That situation is awkward and awful and hard to explain to a happy parent when they don’t know your history. But, last month I snuggled up to a handsome little guy and asked myself a very telling question. If you could take him home would it make this better?

I surprised myself more than a little bit when my heart answered back a resounding no. Because we’d considered adoption a lot before, I sort of talked myself into believing any means to an end would do. The truth is that while there’s many ways to obtain children there’s not many ways to experience pregnancy. And, pregnancy, I learned holding a baby last month, is what my heart wants. Not any means to an end, this one.

That epiphany led us to say yes when Dr B asked us if we wanted to move on to IVF. Which is what we are in the middle of sorting out now. The month before you start IVF drugs you go on birth control. This puts your ovaries into a bit of a dormancy so that the drugs can manipulate them easier the next month. During the birth control month there’s a lot of other tests to go through for both partners. When you’re about to throw big money at something you check and re-check to make sure all systems are go.

Anyway, today I had some of those tests, one of which is called a hysteroscopy. A hysteroscopy is where the Dr looks inside the uterus with a camera to make sure it would be an ideal home for an embryo to attach. The inside of a healthy uterus is shiny and pink like the inside of your cheek. Mine is not. Mine is bumpy with polyps. That finding alone has halted IVF for at least a couple months. I need to have a D&C; a surgical procedure where the uterine lining is removed. We are fortunate Dr B squeezed us in to the surgery center to have this done tomorrow. He’s going out of town for a couple weeks beginning next week and that would have delayed treatment another month. Even with all the awful that comes with infertility treatment we’ve been really lucky to have Dr B and his staff in our corner.

Ok. Hopefully this lengthy monologue has got you all caught up. If not, feel free to ask questions and I’ll answer what I can in the next post. No worries, friends, you’re still along for the journey, I just take a little time to get out the hard stuff sometimes. I’m trying to be open even about that hard stuff, some days it’s easier than others, but in the end I think it’s a good thing. Every life is a story, not every story is a fairy tale.
♡♡♡

The Other Emotions

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I’ve been thinking about this post for a while… trying to decide just how much to say… how much truth to get into… and I guess I’ve decided since I’m here writing it down.

I’ve talked before about how there’s a lot of emotions that come with this infertility thing. I’ve talked about the ups and downs and feeling all the things. But I haven’t gotten into many of the difficult emotions beyond sadness, the really hard ones to admit out loud.
Guilt. Shame. Self-loathing.

Since we’ve made this an open space, an honest, truth-telling space I thought we’d get it all out there. You’re on this journey with us; you should know every aspect of this road we’re walking. I’ve found that each time I get a negative answer it’s harder to push away these uglier feelings and it takes a little longer to pull myself out of the hurt.

Most people understand sadness, you don’t have to go through infertility to understand that sadness is part of the journey. What’s harder to explain is that sadness doesn’t even begin to cover what’s happening inside you when another month passes and you’ve failed. Again.

It’s hard to explain to someone who’s never felt like their body is broken, like their body is a betrayal, what that feels like. It’s hard to explain that not being able to have a child makes you feel like less of a woman. There are moments I think I’ve cheated my husband; that he’s made a horrible mistake in marrying a woman who can’t give him a child.

I was driving down the interstate when I felt the cramps this time. I’ve never mistaken that feeling, I knew exactly what it meant. I am not pregnant. And when the tears started falling and wouldn’t stop my first thought was that I just wanted to drive far enough to escape the pain. But, of course, the ugly truth is that I can’t escape my body and therefore can’t escape the pain of it not working. I hate myself. In that moment, when this body has let me down yet again that is the truth. It’s well past a matter of ‘relax and it’ll happen’, it’s pushed my limit of ‘in God’s timing’. I’ve felt humiliated, I’ve asked for help, we’ve let Dr’s and nurses in the most intimate of our moments as a couple and it’s all a big fat failure. Can you even imagine what it’s like? When most babies are created in love and intimacy between two people, can you imagine what is like to have to break that apart and share it with strangers? When creating life is clinical and not special anymore? Can you imagine the shame you might feel every time someone asks if you have kids?  Or when you hear another story of accidental/unwanted pregnancy? Can you imagine the guilt when your husband writes another thousand dollar check for nothing? To have nothing? Years of prayer and trust and belief and hope and trying and… for nothing. Can you picture yourself screaming Why? Why can’t I just be normal? Why do I have to go through all of this? Why does everything have to be so hard? Why does God hate me? That’s no longer just sadness. It stretches to sorrow and dives into hard places within you that hurt so bad you’d give anything to escape it. And there is no escaping it.

You can’t talk yourself out of wanting to have a baby. And while I absolutely adore adoption it doesn’t fix the ache of wanting to experience pregnancy and birth. ‘There’s always adoption’ is not truth. While it is an option it does not diminish the hurt and loss, it does not negate guilt or shame. Adoption is not a solution for infertility, it’s just an avenue around it. Infertility stays with you. I am barren. Doesn’t feel less awful because you can adopt.

I’m not saying that I dwell in these emotions every second. I’m not saying that I stop hoping and believing for a happy ending to this story. What I am saying is that there’s darkness along the way. Times when I ask myself if this is worth the pain it causes. Maybe it’s easier to go back to being mostly numb and not do this at all. Maybe it’s easier to push all those emotions down down and live childless pretending it’s a choice and not a sentence. Can I picture myself still living that way when I’m 70? Can I live the rest of my life having run from the scary difficult emotions and still ask What if?

The answer is No.
So I tell the truth on the hard days. That I’d give anything to not feel sorrow, guilt, shame, anger, hatred, despair. There’s no running from the emotions and you have to let them come. They carry you down into dark places and it’s a long climb to bring it all back into the light. I’ve found that wounds heal better when exposed to fresh air. The heavy stuff is easier to carry when you admit what’s in your pack. The burden doesn’t go away but gets a tiny bit easier when you share it.

We’re trying again. A third and probably last IUI. If this time doesn’t work our Dr had said it’s unlikely this avenue will work at all. So we’ll have another discussion at that point about what comes next. For now we’ve got another month of the process to go through and another month of hope and prayer that this time will be successful. Thanks for continuing to walk with us; through the quiet days, the long wait, the pits and valleys. We just keep taking another step.

Happy Easter

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We’ve got eggs for Easter!

See that big black blob in the center of the ultrasound? That’s one beautiful Easter gift!  We’ve got two mature eggs, one on each side, and I got the HCG trigger shot today. That’s doubling our chances from the first round of IUI when we actually only got one ‘just right’ egg even though we could see three (different sized) eggs on the ultrasound. I’m so glad those extra menapur shots did their job!

We have IUIs the next two days to try and turn those little Easter blessings into babies. This part is very exciting for me. The possibilities are big and hopes are running high. Don’t get me wrong, I never lose sight of the fact that it’s just a possibility and not a guarantee. I do, however, choose to live in positive belief until I’m proven otherwise. I’ve learned I can take the disappointment if and when it comes. I’ve learned I can handle the hard stuff. Choosing to focus on the positives just gives me more happy days in between the bad ones. Why fill up my space with fear and negativity if I don’t have to, right? Right.

I’m so very thankful this Easter. It’s a great day to remember that I am the daughter of the greatest Overcomer. Jesus suffered the worst for us and overcame the grave. Only with Him can we overcome infertility. Only with Him our story is made perfect. However children come into our family, He makes it possible. I’m gonna keep asking and trusting He’ll work it all out. After all, He did say he would.


And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him …
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? …
Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? …
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
-Romans 8

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11

Amen and Happy Easter!

Again

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There’s so much not fun stuff about any path during infertility that it is difficult to express what is most not fun.

Starting over is one of them.

It’s not square one, but it’s not a happy ending either. It’s just part of the process. I said at the beginning of the journey we might not get the result we want. For the first round of IUI that is obviously true.

We had high hopes.
Every month you get your hopes up a little bit. I mean by this point we’ve learned to read the signs, time things right, etc. This isn’t our first rodeo. It’s definitely not my first negative pregnancy test. I’m certainly well aware no new position, no relaxation technique, no new supplement is going to suddenly cure our infertility. But this month, after drugs and tests and all the getting everything just so, we let our hopes drift up a little higher than ever before. So it hurts when there’s yet another negative test to add to the pile.

The thing to remember (yes I’m saying this to myself as well) is that we’re just in the middle of the story. We’ve only just read a couple chapters in and we’ve got to keep going. Yes, this next chapter looks a lot like the last one, many of the steps will be the same. But, we won’t know how it ends until we get there. That’s just how it is as we move through the story. We keep hoping each step will lead us to the ending we desire. We keep walking in faith, even on the hard days.

Yes, today is a hard day. I’m allowed to feel that. I’m allowed to cry and feel sad and ask why even when I know I’m not going to get an answer. In the midst of my tears I’m also allowed to feel hopeful, look up, and keep going. One of the most beautiful things about being human is we have this amazing ability to feel all of the feelings all at once. Love, hate, sorrow, and joy (and a million other emotions) can all exist at the same time inside of you. Learning to embrace them all and not shut out the uncomfortable emotions is sometimes really hard. I’m practicing that today.

So, we begin again.
Today is my baseline ultrasound, which means Dr B will be looking for any cysts left over from ovulation. If there is one we will wait a month for it to go away. If there’s isn’t one we will get more drugs. You already know I’m not about the waiting, so send all those clear ultrasound green light prayers our way!

Thanks for sticking with us for IUI -round two!

Dear Baby

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Dear I-Really-Hope-You’re-In-There Baby,

We are about a week from knowing if our prayers have been answered. While I’m worried and nervous your dad is calm and hopeful. He says of course we’re lucky enough to have you so soon after trying something new. I’m hopeful but with a skeptical eyebrow raised. I’m also hyper aware of every little feeling happening in my body right now. It’s like in the middle of the night when you think you hear a noise and you strain your ears to catch it again. That’s how I feel for every twinge, every sensation. Hoping and holding my breath Is that you?

We’ve made some progress on this little space in our house that will be yours. The Baby’s Room sounds like magic to us. You have new carpet; it is so soft and squishy and great for bare feet. I’ve unpacked the few boxes of baby items your dad & I have been collecting since we thought you were right around the corner. We never anticipated you’d be a half-dozen years down the road.

You have a Cars rug from your Aunt Kellie and her mom. We’re sure whatever gender you may be you’ll inherit the love of Cars from us. You also have a play mat that your Aunt Aubrey and I found during one of our yearly garage sale day excursions. We just couldn’t pass up a like new play mat for $3. In my dreams during our sale day this year you’ll be along for the ride and we’ll find lots of other great things for you.

Our too-long anticipation of you is all over this room. Your first piggy bank, it’s tractor shaped, is waiting for you next to a few books and many blankets. You already have blankets from both great-grandmothers and from me piled in your closet. You’ll never go cold or lack for comfort that is for sure!
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Dear little seed,
You already have your very first onesies; in size 0-3 months, up to 12 pounds. I hold them and almost can’t believe humans start life so small. I also pray you’ll be tiny but mighty because I’m hoping for a natural birth. Be gentle on your mama, ok?

The glider (also from a great-grandma) where you and I will spend many an hour is ready for you. Sometimes I come in and rock and imagine your closet full of little clothes and toys. I imagine the sounds you’ll add to this room; your first crys, first laughs, baby hiccups is there anything better? I can’t wait to find out.

This week is a hard one, the waiting to know and trying to feel if you’re there yet or if we’ll be trying again. Your mama is an impatient woman and God is surely using you to teach me to change my ways. He will use you to teach me a great many things in sure. I’m just so eager for these lessons to begin, I hope you are too.

Love,
Your-Mama-In-Waiting

Green Light

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It felt a little like we were playing a game of Red Light, Green Light today. Luckily, ultimately, we got a green light!

I had my baseline ultrasound today and HALLELUJAH it was clear! My prayer warriors are talking the good Lord’s ear off and I am so thankful!

♡ Seriously, I love you guys. ♡

The ultrasound tech did play a small game of Keep-Away with my ovaries. They apparently wanted to hide. I had to assist her and push them into view so she could capture pictures. (Is this a sign of my parenting style already?!) The good news is that they were kinda hard to see, which means there’s no cysts in there. Cysts are very easy to spot, they are big black holes in the surrounding grey of the ultrasound.

Alrighty.
Now I get to take drugs.
Woo!

I have a little chart that tells me the days for taking Clomid (pills) & what day to go in and get my Menopur shot. After that then I’ll have another ultrasound to see how the little eggs are developing in there. Then when the eggs are the right size I’ll get an HCG trigger shot to make my ovaries release them. (Release the hounds!) Then, after the HCG trigger I will have two days of IUI.

Whew!
That’s a busy couple of weeks!
I’m living in the optimisticly faithful lane and just focusing on our part, God will take care of the rest.

Also, how grateful am I that I grew out of that debilitating fear of needles?! My Dad is up in heaven just laughing his butt off about that I’m sure.

So, that’s the update! Good news!
Thanks for being such a beautiful cheering section. 
♡♡♡

Curious about all those drugs and what they do?
Ok, here’s that break down:

Clomid: (clomiphene) is a non-steroidal fertility medicine. It causes the pituitary gland to release hormones needed to stimulate ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovary).

Menapur: contains follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone activity. These hormones stimulate healthy ovaries to make eggs.

HCG: Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is a hormone that supports the normal development of an egg in a woman’s ovary, and stimulates the release of the egg during ovulation.

All caught up?
(I’ll happily answer any questions if not.)
🙂
Okie doke.
Onward!

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