d & c.

I finally think the “expect the unexpected” phrase has kicked in. (Thanks Big Brother). Truly, whenever I expect something to go one way, it goes the opposite way. Last week, I expect my beta to be 0 and they called and said “surprise! It’s 165.” Yesterday I went in and expected it to go down (although I truly was unsure what to think) and they call me and say “surprise! It doubled, please come back in immediately for an ultrasound.”

Gulp.

Hopped in my car, drove downtown, sat with the doctor and the tech as we pulled up my uterus and … Bam! There is was. A beautiful little 8 week, 2 day old sac. Except most people see a little baby inside at this point – I saw, well, an empty sac.

I was pleased in that it doesn’t look like there is anything attached to my tubes, just the uterine sac in the right place. The bad news is that my doctor was concerned that when I started to bleed, that I could hemorrhage and being that Josh and I were planning on going out of town, she didn’t feel comfortable taking that risk.

She said that we need to do a D&C surgery to remove the sac in the next 24-48 hours.

Expect the unexpected.

I don’t know why but I truly didn’t think it would come to surgery. Granted, it was always on the table but I was just hoping the outcome would be different. That my body would handle it naturally or that magic pills could take it away. I am so grateful that my RE doctor (the specialist) and the Obstetrics doctor completing my surgery (my OB from my original clinic) were so helpful in getting things moved around quickly to get this completed, as well as talk me through what to expect in a way I understood. Both spoke with incredible empathy and made me hopeful that in the end, Josh and I would still be able to go out of town as well. (The funny this is we were going out of town to get away from it all –I will now go out of town with pain meds, heating pads and a scraped, crampy uterus).

Some would expect me to feel angry. Mad. Upset. Sad. To be shaking my fist angrily at the sky and to cuss out my luck. But truthfully, I handed over this appointment on Monday to God and became comfortable with “whatever is meant to happen will happen.” No, I didn’t think that would mean a surgery 36 hours later, but I felt peace in the fact that He had a plan. Who knows? Perhaps this is the answer we were looking for? Perhaps after 3 cycles in 9 months, my uterus just needed a little autumn cleaning? (Hehehe!)

So tomorrow morning at 5:45 am, I check in for my D & C. I have talked to a few different women who have had them and their experiences all vary. I can only pray that mine is an uncomplicated procedure and that recovery goes quickly and smoothly.

If I could though, ask you to pray for a few specific items, I would greatly appreciate it:

1)      The procedure itself – that it would be free from anything that could cause scarring. Scarring of the uterus happens less the 1% of the time but can cause additional infertility issues that I am not prepared to face.

2)      A lack of blood loss – sometimes the person’s body doesn’t stop bleeding and they have to do a transfusion. While they are prepared to do this, I pray that this won’t be the case for me.

3)      The biopsy – the same day they will take the tissues they remove and test them. The results need to come back positive for pregnancy to confirm that there is no other tissue in an unidentified location. (Like an upper tube). The chances of additional tissues located elsewhere are small but would require being rushed backed immediately for surgery and would result in our trip being canceled.

4)      For quick healing – I am nervous about traveling so soon after surgery but pray that this trip helps clear our mind from all that is going on and is a trip of healing and relaxation. Prayers for minimal cramping and post-op bleeding would be wonderful!

5)      Against infection – I will be on a strong antibiotic but there is always a risk of infection after surgery. Please join me in praying this doesn’t happen to me.

So 5 things (sorry, I am being prayer greedy now!) No scarring, no extra bleeding, good biopsy results, quick healing and no infection. THANK YOU!

A week or so ago, a friend posted a quote that has forever changes the way that I view my journey. The quote said:

“If you aspire to be a person of consolation, if you want to share the priestly gift of sympathy, if you desire to go beyond giving commonplace comfort to a heart that is tempted, and if you want to go through the daily exchanges of life with the kind of tact that never inflicts pain, then you must be prepared to pay the price for a costly education – for like Christ, you must suffer.” – Frederick William Robertson

I had never thought that this struggle of ours is part of a spiritual journey towards the gift of sympathy. The gift of sympathy is unlike many the people have, as to have true empathy, you have to be able to relate on some measure. We have all dealt with people who just don’t “get it”. That says the wrong, hurtful thing and cause additional heartaches. But in order to be a person who has the “kind of tact that never inflicts pain”, then you have to become educated in what it’s like to be them.

Whoa.

I will never look at this struggle the same way again. What a beautiful opportunity God has given me to be trained to have sympathy for others going through infertility. For others going through miscarriages. For others that have failed cycles, whether they be IVF, IUI, Clomid, Femara, metformin. For others that have post- IVF complications like OHSS. And now, for others that have to go through a D&C. All of this is part of an education, to be trained in the spiritual gift of sympathy and to be able to offer comfort that isn’t generic. My heart feels humbled and honored that I would be able to stand by someone else suffering and offer heartfelt sympathies.

Does that make me crazy? I understand how completely insane that sounds. So often times infertility feels like this gigantic punishment for something we don’t know, but my brain and heart are starting to change the thought of that, and receive this as a gift. Something that Christ is educating me in so that I can be more like Him. To be like Christ, we must suffer.

Now, this all should go without saying that I am MORE than reading for this journey to be done. I want to say, “Ok God, learned the lessons! Thanks! Now, baby please?” I cannot wait for the day when I am holding my healthy little baby and looking back at all of this. But until that day, I have to stay strong, positive, and keep fighting. Because I am learning things and being taught things that many people will never have the opportunity. So for that, I am thankful.

I likely won’t be able to update for a week or so due to recovery and the holiday weekend, so if you don’t hear from me, assume things went well. Thank you in advance for your prayers, love, and support.

On a fun note, life has been good so far. We still can’t process “what’s next” until we complete this last cycle fully. In the last few weeks though, I celebrated my 28th birthday, which was so fun. I enjoyed some fun time at the State Fair, sweating and overeating. I am wrapping up a TTC gift exchange that I coordinated on Instagram – where over 100 ladies struggling with infertility sent a care package to another girl struggling. I am SO blessed to see how much joy and excitement this brings to a community that has blessed me so much. And I have spent a lot of time listening to some great podcasts that have continued to teach me new things. Take a peek at some pictures!

ACQUA

We went out for my birthday to one of my favorite restaurants and enjoyed a wonderful evening out!

 

table

My family threw a beautiful dinner party for my birthday. How great is this book themed table setting? (Books = my weakness)

 

BDAY US

Us :)

Cali got a toy in a package from my Instagram exchange friend. I think she loves it!

Cali got a toy in a package from my Instagram exchange friend. I think she loves it!

Preach!

Preach!

Anyways, all of this is in His hands and we trust that! We keep trusting that our day will come and unless He changes our hearts, we will keep fighting and giving it out all. XOXO!

wham, bam, how’s that dirt taste?

Sometimes it feels like I just get my feet back under me, have them fully straightened, stop seeing stars then WHAM! One sweeping kick knocks both of them out from under me. From behind. I don’t even see it coming.

I went in yesterday for my final blood work. It had been over 2 weeks and I was 22 points away from hitting 0. (Where it needs to be to signify the miscarriage is complete and where it needs to be before you can even consider moving forward). It was a no-big-deal appointment. Without a doubt everything would be fine and we would be cleared to move forward with considering what was next for us. So when the nurse called to let me know that my levels went up to 165 (from 27) and that my body still thought I was pregnant, likely still developing a fetus-less sac, and that I hadn’t properly miscarried, I felt like I was kicked in my gut … twice. I think it took me a full 2 hours to realize how much this sucked. Then the shock moved into anger. The bubbly kind that makes you want to scream.

I was so irritated. What the heck? It had been 3 weeks since I was told my pregnancy wasn’t viable and then to be dragged back into it, dangling the reality in front of me again and being told I still had to deal with it SUCKED. (Sucks. Still does. And yes, I know I shouldn’t say “sucks”, but that’s all I can think.)

I texted Josh that I was “beyond annoyed right now…like sick to my stomach mad.” and the saint boy writes back “it’s ok honey, we will get through it ok. Pray.” Bah! I didn’t want to pray! I wanted to find God’s private cell number and call Him up with a gigantic WHAT THE HECK speech. It just didn’t seem fair. I mean, seriously?

I ignored the advice to pray because I was too mad (“pissed” would be the best word to appropriately describe the level of angry I felt) so instead, I walked around Walmart. Among the people who wouldn’t judge my angry glares and where I could smash my cart into an aisle corner to let out some aggression. (No one is ever by the bird food section anyways). Ughhhhh. SO ANNOYED.

My doctor is out of the office this week (figures) so the consulting doctor told me that it could be a few things – 1) an ectopic pregnancy where the fetus is growing on my fallopian tube, requiring surgery and likely the loss of my tube, 2) an empty growing sac (often referred to as a blighted ovum) or 3) just my body being stupid (My words, not his) and not returning to normal naturally. I truly don’t think it’s the first one since I am not in any pain (and those are painful) and my levels aren’t high enough to truly think that’s the case, but its still on the table. But it’s likely just my body developing a babyless sac. Which doesn’t help my heart with the whole healing process thing.

I have to go back next week (Monday) for another set of labs to see where the number is going, then an ultrasound. (To the hopeful friend, the rise in levels do NOT signify I am viably pregnant, they would need to be in the tens of thousands at this point, this is just a slow stream of hormones being created unwanted-ly).

So now we basically wait to find out if my body will re-start the miscarriage process 2.5 weeks later or if I will require a D&C surgery to clean out my uterus. I just PRAY that my levels start to drop and this becomes “easy” again. I am so frustrated that we couldn’t just be granted the simple gift of a natural miscarriage and beta level drop. Why does this all have to be so complicated?

My friend texted me last night that she had tried to explain the situation to her husband. She prefaced the text by saying that he usually doesn’t get this type of stuff (which is understandable, its annoyingly confusing anyways) but that his response was this: “So from what I understand, which isn’t much, but it seems like her heart wanted that baby so badly and was trying to override her body and hold onto her child. Her heart held on to the hope of her baby when her body couldn’t.”

Tears.

Oh my dear heart. What a beautiful explanation of what was happening. My body isn’t ready to let go of the fact that I won’t be having this baby. But what a beautiful visualization that made the news a little more bearable.

I begrudgingly sat down to do my devotions last night and the first two sentences in Jesus Calling said “I am a God who heals. I heal broken bodies, broken minds, broken hearts …” It was exactly what I needed to read. I needed to be reminded that God CAN heal my body. That He would heal my broken heart as I angrily deal with the reality of still living this miscarriage. Sometimes my faith feels weak. I feel a little bruised and some days, like yesterday, it is hard to believe that this will ever really happen. But I was reminded that “when God wills, He moves, even when my faith is shaky.”  So I HAVE to keep moving forward and believing that when God wills, He will move.

I read a powerful section in Hannah’s Hope last night:

So Jesus, through perfect prayer with holy motives, through a direct audience with the Father, asked for God to do the possible, yet even Christ did not receive what He asked. His burden was not removed. His painful trail and execution were yet to be endured. If all is possible with God, yet He chose to say no even to the request of His beloved Son, can I not rest assured that trials that seem unbearable in my life fit much better in His perfect plan than anything I can imagine from my limited viewpoint?

What a powerful reminder that even JESUS had to live with an unanswered burden. I too can carry this and trust that God’s viewpoint has answers far more glorifying that what I want today.

I still am frustrated. This takes on several more weeks of waiting before we can move forward and unless a true miracle happens, I will have to start another routine of obnoxious blood tests and painful calls from my doctor reminding me my body isn’t working right. It’s frustrating, but today I feel held by Him and calmed down from my raging emotions to remember this is such a small blip in a big picture.

I was walking down the upstairs hall with Cali last night and said “Oh Cali, when will things ever go right?”. I had to laugh at myself as I looked at the four bedrooms around me, the house underneath me, the cars in my garage and my stomach full from the dinner I ate too late. I had to chuckle because things are going right – I am blessed. Even though I still ache for more, I have more than all I need.

Please join me in praying for a miracle – for my levels to shoot down in an unheard of way and for God to move powerfully in my body. Thank you in advance for having faith when mine feels a little shaky that this will be answered.

dementors.

I am aware that I am a total blog slacker these last 2 weeks. And I am okay with that. I can’t believe it hasn’t even been two weeks since we found out my pregnancy wasn’t viable. It feel like a decade has passed since that day. Not in a flippant, “who cares!” way, just in a way I feel that it has aged me far more than 2 weeks.

We have gotten many questions – the first being “how are you” and the second being “what’s next?” So let me answer them …

How are you? The short answer is really good. We are comforted by the peace that only God can provide. I know that the peace is a result of all your prayers. I am certain of that. There are moments in the day where I swear the prayers are tangible objects floating around our house, just an arms length away. We haven’t forgotten our lost little ones, but we recognize that we can’t dwell in sadness either. Our grief cycles for the last 5 years have taught us how to pick ourselves back up and move on. And that is what we are trying to do.

Truthfully, I am more preoccupied with the fact that had I not miscarried last Christmas, I would be 37 ½ weeks pregnant. My due date just a handful of days away. As my birthday hit next Monday, I feel slightly restless at the fact that another year will come and go without an expanded family or even a pregnant belly. I continue to sort out my emotions and lay them at His feet.

What’s next? We are still prayerfully considering many options and will share and proceed when we feel the time is right. Some options include doing some extensive testing to find out if there is something wrong genetically with us or me, biopsies and exams, blood and answers. We could move ahead with our last embryo and do another frozen transfer. We could do another fresh cycle, egg retrieval and change many things around. There are a lot of options and we don’t want to proceed necessarily with the one we WANT to do, but with the one GOD wants. Join us in prayers for wisdom! The good news is that less than 1% of women suffer from 3 or more miscarriages … so I am praying that I don’t have to raise that statistic.

All in all, the support of YOU, our friends, our family, our team, has been invaluable. I feel so blessed that I can still move forward with my life. Laugh. Get dressed. Enjoy life. So many people facing similar battles struggle to do that.

I’m about to show my nerdom here …

In the books Harry Potter, there are these evil being calls Dementors. Taken straight from the book, the definition is that they are “among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them… Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you. If it can, the Dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself…soulless and evil. You will be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life.

Do you feel it? That heaviness? That is what so many women struggling with infertility feel like they battle every day. A heaviness that lingers, draining the hope and peace and happiness from their lives. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the word is so close to “demon”. I feel like infertility is a constant battle again the demons that attack us, that try to steal our joy, our hope. Negativity can feed on negativity and before you know it, you are left with nothing but a sea of depression that swallows you up.

Another fact – dementors cannot be destroyed, though their power can be limited if the conditions in which they multiply are reduced. Which is why we constantly have to fight these our demons around us that try to pull us down and not feed into the negativity. Focus on the goodness of God. Thank Him for the peace He provides regardless of our circumstances. Refuse to feed off the despair will do nothing that bring heaviness and they will go away…

If you are struggling today, feeling like you are being attacked with dementors of your own – turn to the One who holds the power to diminish them. “We mustn’t lose the hope of a specific promise that God has given us. It may not look like we expect it to (who expected the Messiah to be born in a manager?) or arrive when we want it to arrive (who knew Abraham and Sarah could have kids in their old age?), but God is always faithful to His word. Romans 8:31-32 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us? 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?”  Because this one promise is true, even if you don’t see anything else in your life working the way you think it should, it’s enough! God is still in control. And He is for you. You just have to be patient.” (Craig Groeschel)

I have quoted 2 Corinthians 12:9 over and over again throughout the years but it constantly reminds me that HIS grace is sufficient for me, His power is made perfect in my weakness. When we come to a point where our prayers haven’t been answered exactly how we wish they would have been, cling to the FACT that HE is all we need. His grace is all we need.

I adore all of you who have encouraged me by telling me I “deserve” to get pregnant and have a baby. The thought is so kind, but the truth is, I so far from deserve any kind of special grace or answered prayers. My sins are just as big as everyone elses. Just because I write a blog or send cute notecards of encouragement doesn’t mean I am any better of a person. I struggle with pride. With shame. With gossip. I have walked that sinful line of danger. When I stub my toe, drop a plate, or hit my shin, “shoot!” isn’t always the first word that pops out. I am broken. What I deserve is FAR beyond what I am currently blessed with. The beauty of that? He doesn’t care. He loves me despite all of that. His power is made perfect in my weakness. So when someone tells me I deserve to be a mom, I want to shake my head and tell them, “No, no, I do not deserve that. I deserve much different. But because of His unconditional love, grace and forgiveness, I don’t have to live in the world of what I deserve.”

Believe the truth today that you CAN combat your “dementors”. Keep His word close at hand. It’s what I have to do every day when they attack and tell me this will never happen. Or that my sins are too great to forgive. Or that I am just meant to suffer. Rebuke those lies. Let Him carry you. His hands are the best place to be.

So, did you feel like you got your daily dose of Harry Potter in? Hehe. But it’s truly how I have begun to imagine the enemy – and like Harry Potter, we have our own Patronus Charm in Him. (Wait, what? Too far? Whoops …)

Much love to you all!

i saw this at our church bookstore the other day and LOVED the message!

i saw this at our church bookstore the other day and LOVED the message!

What a great quote I read the other day and have to jot down.

What a great quote I read the other day and have to jot down.

I received this precious necklace from a friend who designed and made it herself ... in memory of my little ones who aren't with us. One of the most beautiful things I have ever received. Thank you Martha!

I received this precious necklace from a friend who designed and made it herself … in memory of my little ones who aren’t with us. One of the most beautiful things I have ever received. Thank you Martha!

another loss.

Once again our hearts sit shattered at our feet. Every cycle, I envision writing THE entry. The one where we get to share good news. I so thought this cycle would be it. Everything about this cycle seemed right. The embryos were beautiful and strong. My body was at rest after not having to go through the difficult egg retrieval process. I added acupuncture this time. We were surrounded by an army of prayers. I felt pregnant. I was pregnant.

I just spent the last hour and a half writing a painfully detailed blog about the last week of our life. A story that included the highs (testing positive last Saturday) and the lows (not having the hormone levels hCg be where they should). The emotions (excitement, fear, worry, praise, joy, anxiety) and the 2WW symptoms (spotting, aches, tugs and pinches). But after my computer crashed, I don’t have the heart to rewrite it all. And maybe, its better that I don’t. Because all that would do is create pity for us. And we aren’t pity-us type of people.

Man, my heart hurts. To get the call yesterday telling us that our pregnancy is no longer viable and will result in a miscarriage broke our hearts. I can’t say that I wasn’t anticipating it to a degree. I feel like God prepared me for that outcome. I struggled in the days leading up to the final test, wondering if the uncertainty in my heart was the devil trying to cause fear and steal away my joy and praise, or if God was speaking gently and quietly telling me to be prepared. I am thankful that following the doctor’s confirmation of my pregnancy on Monday, that I was able to step back and simply enjoy being pregnant. For however long it lasted. I got to enjoy 4 and a half beautiful days as a confirmed Mom and Josh, a confirmed Dad. Those are special days that we will always treasure.

For now our hearts are heavy. Following the news I simply wept and just asked Why. Why is this happening again? 2 miscarriages in 7 months? Why do we have to continue to struggle? Why have we been chosen to ache? Why can’t we become parents? The whys soon became I can’t do this anymore. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t do this anymore. I wept so hard and repeated it so much I think Cali may soon be able to say the phrase.

In my weeping, I was quietly reminded that our joy can’t come from things on this earth. My heart was filled with peace when I remembered that truly, His grace is enough for me. His power made perfect in my weakness. He is good ALL the time. Not some of the times. “I wait patiently for the Lord to help me and He turned to me and heard my cry.” (Psalm 40:1) I feel confident that our cries are being heard. The night before we found out we were pregnant, I woke up around 3 am and felt this incredible joy. I knew we were testing in the morning and all I could feel was God being so excited for the morning to come. For us to have the moment of having a positive pregnancy test and for Him to be a part of it. I didn’t even know at that point that I was pregnant, but I just felt God’s genuine excitement to bless us. And opposite to that moment, I feel His incredible sadness along side us now. I don’t resent Him for this outcome. I trust in His promises of plans to prosper us and give us a hope and a future. So with that promise tucked close to our heart, we continue to wait.

Our hearts feel slightly numb, a mixture of shock, denial and a lack of surprise. (I feel like throughout this process, you become accustom to bad news). We prayed this was it. We had so many others share dreams and words and prayers and affirmation that they too felt like this was it. I hate knowing that April 5th will now come and go, another due date to add to the calendar. I don’t know what’s next for us. To have 2 early losses isn’t normal and I would like to undergo some recurrent miscarriage testing to see if there are causes that we could prevent. I have to continue to follow this miscarriage through to completion, which is the most painful part emotionally and physically. Since I have not yet begun the physical piece of miscarriage, by doctors orders I have to finish my medications and shots and have blood work every 2 days to follow the numbers through to negative. This next week or two will be very hard for us.

Us. So often the woman is the recipient of the sympathies as its her body that physically lost the baby. But I have to say, in miscarriages, don’t forget the dad too. He lost his baby as well. Josh has been so strong and supportive throughout all of this. On the days I was anxious and discouraged, he stayed positive and optimistic. While I have been couch bound most of the last 2 weeks, he cooked my meals, cleaned the kitchen, did the laundry and helped with every tiny task. And now, while I sit at home, processing what has happened, he has to go back to work, with equal grief in his heart but as a man, is expected to be strong. Please be praying not only for me, but for my amazing husband as well.

man

One thing I know, “Grief is not the opposite of faith. Mourning is not the opposite of hope.” (Hannah’s Hope). While we grieve and mourn, we still hang on tight to our faith and hope. I’m not sure how long it will take to gather the pieces this time or what step we will take next. But until we are holding our child in our arms, this battle is not yet over.

job