guest post: not just a beauty blogger.

Happy Tuesday friends! I am excited to share with you a guest post I wrote over at Not Just A Beauty Blogger today! I connected with Nikol several months back (you will love her!) and am honored at her invitation to share with her readers. The post is about how I have been learning to wait with God and not just waiting for God, including some practical tips on what that means for me. I hope you will pop on over and check it out!

Click Here to Read

Until next time ….

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Go with God Frostie.

In the words of Tyrone Wells, “Momma always said that hate was a strong, strong word. Poppa always said that words of hate should never be heard. But I’m getting older and I just cannot lie, there are things I hate, no matter how hard I try.”

I hate infertility.

I hate waiting for THE call.

I hate hearing the words “Chelsea, I am sorry to tell you that you are not pregnant.”

I hate even though my heart knew, my body has a physical reaction to the words.

I hate saying goodbye to Frostie before I even got to say hello.

I hate the tears. And I hate that they continue to replenish, even when you are certain there can be no more left.

I hate feeling this hopeless.

I hate wondering if the power of prayer works.

I hate questioning why God is bringing us through this miserable journey, only to break our hearts over and over and over and over again.

I hate that I don’t think I can fight this anymore.

I hate that I feel like giving up. I hate that instead of continuing to walk through the fire, I want to lay on the floor and let it just destroy me already.

I hate that even though I know He has not forsaken us, I kind of feel like He has.

I hate that if we decide our hearts can handle this again, we have to come up with $20,000 and repeat the whole process again.

I hate that insurance doesn’t cover this. I hate that if I couldn’t breathe right, it would cover my nose job, or if I accidentally got pregnant, it would cover my abortion. Yet my insides are broken and they can’t even cover my blood work to figure out what might help.

I hate our den. It was supposed to be a nursery a long time ago.

I hate being strong. I hate being weak. I hate feeling crushed.

I hate feeling angry. So so angry. I hate feeling this confused. I hate crying out “why?”

I hate that I am already anxious about the Christmas card “Surprise! We are expecting!” announcements that seem to come in every year.

I hate that mature couples who should have a family will now feel bad about sending us said card, sharing their news.

I hate that my heart wants to be a mommy so bad and that no matter how hard I fight, no matter what we do, God hasn’t give us that life yet.

I hate the holidays. I hate that they are reminders of more and more years passing without children of our own to create memories with.

I hate that I miscarried on Christmas last year and now that day feels tainted. I hate that the song Frosty the Snowman will always bring back memories of this baby of ours.

I hate birthdays. I hate knowing everyone around me is growing older and older and my kids will never know THESE versions of them.

I hate disappointing the spirits of those around us. Family and friends that get so invested and have their hearts hurt with this news as well.

I hate feeling like God failed my expectations.

I hate that the sun is shining today.

I hate that there is no (legal) pill to take this pain away.

I hate that even though my heart will heal, it will never be the same again.

I hate that I know the “right” things to say to me right now, yet my heart is too broken to absorb it.

I hate that Cali won’t be around forever, thus I can’t just pretend like she is my forever child.

I hate making me people bad for me. I really just want to be a mom. I want to experience having my own child, raising them to love Jesus. Teaching them silly things. Loving them with everything we have.

I hate that people judge us for not adopting if we “really want a child that bad.”

I hate that my womb is broken. I hate how awful that feels.

I hate being defined by this. I hate never knowing what the future will hold. I hate that my life revolves/revolved about shots and timing, appointments and lists of dos and don’ts.

I hate that Miley Cyrus keeps sticking out her tongue.

I hate seeing people who don’t believe in the Giver of Life, be blessed with children. I hate opening my US Weekly only to see all these people in these sordid relationships, blessed with a baby.

I hate wondering if I am being punished for sins of my past, which then makes me doubt His forgiveness and mercy. I hate doubting His character.

I hate feeling sorry for myself when I know God’s gift of Jesus is all I really need.

I hate I can’t take a forgetfulness pill or have my memory of all of this erased.

I hate that Portillo’s is so far away, as an italian beef and cheese fries would be the perfect comfort food right now.

I hate that I can’t watch Josh as a daddy. He will be such an amazing dad. You should see him make children laugh and smile. I hate feeling guilty for not giving him children yet, even though he has never ever made me feel bad about that and constantly reassures me we are in this together.

I hate that I don’t have a job to distract myself with. I hate that He led me to quit in order to try to start our family.

I hate that as much as you try to empathize, unless you have been in our shoes, you’ll never really get it.

I hate that in hopeful spirits, I kept buying baby outfits. I hate having to hide them, knowing that I may never be able to use them.

I hate that I just don’t know what’s next for us.

I hate that my evening shots caused large numb spots on my thighs and butt.I hate that I have lost complete feeling about the side of a flattened basketball on my left side.

I hate being told “don’t give up.”

I hate that I can’t pray for myself right now.

But with all that hate, there are many things I am grateful for and I don’t want them to go unnoticed:

I am thankful that we were spared a miscarriage and potentially another blood level nightmare.

I am thankful that those who prayed for Frostie, will continue to pray for us now.

I am thankful that when I am sad, Cali won’t leave my side.

I am thankful that even when I am so angry, the radio songs still play songs of His praises and my lips can still form the words even if my voice is gone.

I am thankful that even as I type this, I feel Him with me.

I am thankful that regardless of my heartbreak, my soul still knows He is a good God. Experience has shown He is to be trusted, even though its so so hard.

I am thankful that I don’t have to question if it was something I did that resulted in a negative result. I know if it was meant to be, it would have been, regardless.

I am thankful that God knows every one of our embryos by name. All 20 that have been created, including those 7 which I was blessed enough to temporarily carry.

I am thankful in advance for your kind words and appreciate your understanding that I may not be able to reply for a while.

I am thankful for my husband. For my home. For our health. For our families. For our church. For my small group. For my TTC community.

I am thankful for music. It is a tender therapy and the words to “Praise You in the Storm” by Casting Crowns and “Even If” by Kutless will bring us much comfort in the time to come.

I am thankful that I can turn over my fear to Him and receive His perfect peace. Right now its me that needs to move closer to Him, He hasn’t left me.

I am thankful tonight I can take a sleeping pill and hopefully fall into a deep sleep to make up for the many sleepless nights lately.

I am thankful for the reminder that God doesn’t make us wait just to torture us. (Thank you Caroline for your blog post this morning, reminding me of that.)

I am thankful for soft tissues to soak up the tears.

This hurts. This hurts so badly. “How can you mend a broken heart.  How can you stop the rain from falling down? How can you stop the sun from shining? ….Please help me mend my broken heart and let me live again.”  I feel so weak. I want this all to just go away. Please, if you could, say a prayer for us. For healing, for guidance, for direction and for contentment in this season. For our Lord to come intimately close to us, and for us to draw close to Him so that we may feel His comfort and praise Him in this storm. We are done for a while. It’s time for a much needed break. More lost time but perhaps some answers to what our future may hold.

In the words of my last blog post, “Lord, please give me the assurance that you are present and capable of whatever our future holds. Amen.”

still good (1) still good (2)

in a funk.

My emotions have felt a little off this last week. As our FET gets closer and closer, I should be getting more and more excited, right? Instead, I feel like this time off has given me too much time to think, analyze, think some more. Someone told me with such joy the other day that “this will be it!” and it made me want to laugh in their face. I’m afraid this last week I have become a bit of a skeptic. I read a section from a book the other day and felt exactly like the TTC author:

Before I could get away my friend patted me on the shoulder. “My husband and I are believing God for a miracle for you. You never know. Maybe you’ll be a modern day Sarah.” I suppressed an irritated response. How many times had I heard that? More than I could count. I was sick of it. Sick of Sarah, sick of begging God for a baby, sick of being told to just have faith…” (Empty Womb, Aching Heart)

It felt a little too close to home. I am not angry, I am just tired of it all. I am frustrated that we have to do this again. I am scared that the outcome will be the same as the others. I keep seeing families around me getting older, adding new members and I feel old. I never ever pictured hitting my 8 year anniversary in July without a family full of children. I feel as if this journey has aged me. This next cycle feels like I am buying a lottery card. I HOPE I will win the jackpot but I don’t actually BELIEVE it will happen. I no longer can picture myself pregnant, no longer can visual our baby nursery and the thought of thinking up cute baby names makes me irritated and sad now as so many get taken by fertile friends.

I feel like I have become so used to things not working out, that the thought that they might actually work out seems preposterous. Confession – I actually rolled my eyes while praying the other night about getting pregnant. It was an unintentional act that appalled me as soon as it happened. Where did my faith go? How come my heart has become so cautiously skeptical?

I keep having these awful dreams where I find out I am 6 weeks pregnant and in my dream, go into self sabotage mode to do everything I can to cause a miscarriage. In my dream I am certain it will happen and want to spare myself the pain of bonding with the baby and having it catch me off guard, as the bleeding always has. They are horrible and I wake up abruptly, sad and scared. Why is it that even my subconscious is prepared for the worst, but never the best? Where did my dreams go where I am holding my baby? Changing diapers and playing outside with diapered children? At a baby shower that is actually MINE? It feels like I can’t escape.

It seems my heart has settled on that fact that maybe this isn’t in the cards for me. And I hate that. I am clinging onto the hope of having a child, but I want the belief that it can happen to come back. I am starting shots again this Wednesday and want to be excited at this chance and opportunity to have a child, not dreading going through the painful motions to only end up empty again.

In life, we go through seasons of doubt and fear, hope and joy. It does bring me comfort just scrolling through this blog to remind myself I have been in this place before. A place of neutrality. A place where I am feeling desperate. And a little lost to be honest.

I continue to cry out to God and wrestle with Him for the answers that my heart is searching for. I have to turn over that fear, doubt, frustration, sadness, hurt and pain to Him. As a devotional stated, “It’s better to shout at Him than to be silent, better to call him unkind than not to call on Him at all.”  It’s so true and I am thankful He is willing to listen.

It’s comforting to be in a place where I am reminded that God doesn’t expect me to love my infertility or be happy about this journey. It isn’t my place to compare what God has done for others with what He has done, will do or could do for me. I have to remember that my life’s purpose may be different than yours and trust that it’s all part of a larger picture, a puzzle that He can see the final result of. All He asks, is that when I have my days, or in this case, my week, that I bring it to Him. That I am honest with my doubt and frustrations because, well, He knows anyways.

It’s not easy. I keep seeing these miracles happening to all of those around me and I can’t help but wonder “Why not me?”. Why do they get another baby, when I am just asking for one? I feel weary. Which is when Matthew 11:28 comes to mind and sits on my heart: “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

This isn’t something I need to handle on my own. It isn’t a battle that I am left alone to fight. Infertility feels consuming, but only if I let it consume me. If I take my eyes off of the One that should be consuming me, then I have lost all perspective.

So I keep fighting. I keep praying. I keep begging. I don’t know what this next month will bring, but I can only trust that if God has brought Josh and me to this path, then He will walk with us along it. That we will not be burned. That He will never leave us.

So I turn to you – my dear friends and faithful readers – asking for prayer as well. Prayers that my heart will be softened to believe that this is possible. That the dreams will go away. That the start of the shots in 2 days brings excitement for our potential blessing opposed to indifference. I could use a little encouragement. Not the “well, my friends neighbors cousins didn’t even have FALLOPIAN TUBES and she got pregnant so if she could, you can!” kind of encouragement. But I need cheerleaders – scripture, words of hope and promise, anything to re-energize me for round 3. I need a little caffeine boost to my heart.

HURTING

acu-whatttt?

First of all, THANK YOU for all the love and support that came from my last post. I was astonished by the amount of times it was shared, read and how many messages I received as a result. I had so many great conversations about other areas that people struggle in – women that complain about their body image when another would love that figure, or complaining about their spouse when others would love a spouse. Overall the message was received that we have to be extra cautious in a world filled with sin, where complaining comes naturally, NOT to turn our blessings into burdens. Whatever that they may be. The conversations had were excellent reminders to me that I am guilty of complaining about things that are blessings and it’s helped me put life’s “challenges” into perspective. Another conversation reminded me that we are called to carry each other’s burdens as Christians and the beautiful thing about that is that usually, we can pick our audience. Anyways, thanks for all the love and support! Meant so much!

So with that said ….

In the world of IVF, after a failed cycle, you have what is lovingly termed a “WTF” appointment with your doctor. You know, the What the fickle-doo happened!? talk. You basically fire off questions on WHAT HAPPENED!? Why am I not pregnant?! while your doctor patiently answers and re-answers the variations of the same question. I was able to have this conversation with Dr. C a few weeks ago and wanted to pass off some of the answers I was given, as many of you are asking these great questions to me! (I’ll summarize in a Q & A format and just include the highlights as to not bore you.)

Q: Are you concerned with my egg quality or has this just been bad luck?

A: I am not concerned about your egg quality. I really just think it’s been bad luck. The fact that you had blasts to freeze both cycles is great news and many don’t have that. But truly, everything else looks good. All other tests have come back really positive and I don’t see any reason to have concerns that this won’t happen for you.

Q: We were never told the percentage chance of pregnancy on transfer day. What was our percentage going into this last round?

A: With two morulas, grade B, it was only 30-35%. We tend not to share that unless asked as we don’t want to discourage our patients. (My note – I am glad I didn’t know that! We were told it would be higher at the start of the cycle but based on what was transferred, was much lower than anticipated.)

 Q: And what would be our percentage this time with an FET and the frozen embryos we intend to transfer?

A: Your frozen embryos are all grade B’s. With your age and the quality of embryos, I would give you at least 45% but likely much closer to 55%. At least.

Q: How does the thawing process work?

A: We thaw one at a time. We have an 85-90% thaw success rate and all 3 of your embryos are very strong. I wouldn’t be concerned that they don’t make the thaw. I recommend you transfer 2 again and we start by thawing the best embryos in order until we have your 2 thawed and ready for transfer.

Q: So tell me more about the FET protocol.

A: You would start with being on BCP (birth control pills) for about a month and then move to Lupron shots each day to ensure your ovaries are quiet. Then, instead of stimulating your ovaries, we simply need to stimulation your lining to make it ready for a transfer. We do this with careful monitoring and a few weeks of the estrogen pills and progesterone shots. You had great lining both times so I am not concerned that this will be an issue for you.

Q: Is there anything differently that I could do to make this more successful? A different diet? Weight loss? Acupuncture?

A: Your BMI is at a healthy level and of course we encourage all patients to have a healthy balanced diet. I have no concerns with you whatsoever. With acupuncture, there is absolutely no harm done and we have seen it to be very successful. We have a few acupuncturists that come in to do pre-and post transfer acupuncture sessions on patients in the clinic the day of the transfer. There is no reason I would suggest not doing it and many patients find it to be very helpful with their stress levels, as well as it does increase blood flow to the uterus.

Q: Anything else?

A: I have no reason to believe this won’t work for you. With many PCOS patients, we see a few cycles being common but we have high success rates with patients just like you. You have no male factor and only an ovulatory issue. I truly have no reason to doubt that you won’t have success.

So after that conversation, Josh and I both feel hopeful for this next step. I know that in the end, only GOD can make this work. And He already knows the outcome of this next leg in our journey. At times, I find myself completely filled with hope for whatever comes our way. Other times (usually between 2 am and 4 am), I find myself completely lost in a world of worry, fearful that this fight will never end. It’s usually in those moments where I think of Job. Our story is so far away from Job’s – sure, there are precious things we loved and lost, but some days I feel like I am walking this tightrope where I can’t bear to think about God allowing Satan to test us any further, remove anything from our lives, destroy what we care about. Would we get through it, with a love still shining for Him? Yes, I truly believe so. I just don’t know if I have the strength for that test. My mind will race – what will it be? Will something happen to Cali? My precious fur baby that brings me so much happiness? Will it be Josh’s job? Will it be the death of a close family member? Will it be a life-threatening diagnosis (or re-diagnosis) of someone we love?

In Jr. High and High School, we would travel with our youth group to conferences where at the end, me, an emotional charged teenager would stand, arms raised to the sky and cry out to God to “send anything my way!” Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind. (Psalm 26:2). Now, I find my heart pleading Oh God, no more! Please stop testing me! No more trying! Give me a chance to catch up. It’s not that I don’t think I could handle it. If anything, this whole journey reminds me that my strength is not my own, and I know that God’s strength in me could handle anything. I’m just tired. I don’t want to be tried or tested anymore. I just want my miracle.

As we prepare for this FET cycle, I have decided to give acupuncture a try. I mean, there is no harm per my doctor and I have several TTC-er friends who swear by it. I was uncertain, still am. But with an open mind I ventured to my first appointment last week.

Acupuncture is a type of Chinese medication that uses carefully placed thin needles into certain points of the body to increase blood flow and stimulate parts of your body. It seems bizarre, but again, with no harm and studies showing it does lead to slightly higher success rates, I am willing to try it! (A recent study had 2 groups of 80 women undergoing IVF. One set was given weekly acupuncture and 34 of those women got pregnant, opposed to 21 in the IVF-only group.)

Unsure and somewhat skeptical, I called an acupuncturist, Lauren, that my doctor highly recommended and made my first appointment. She specializes solely in fertility acupuncture and from the first phone call, we clicked. I ventured to the clinic last week (dressed in comfy clothes as instructed.) As I entered the partial basement clinic in Uptown, I was a little hesitant. As I sat in the waiting room that smelled like dirt (because of all the herbal medications surrounding me, a frequently used type of treatment for those not undergoing IVF), I was concerned. As I listened to the littlest water fountain splash tiny drops of water over its edge onto the pebbles below, I had to go to the bathroom. (Not really, but they really should get a bigger water fountain.) It certainly was a little bizarre but I kept reminding myself if my highly paid doctor was suggesting this and her, I didn’t have too much to be concerned about. I met with Lauren and we went over EVERYTHING. We looked at my chart and talked about my history start to end. It was much more therapeutic than I imagined! She knew what questions to ask, empathized during tough stages in our journey and was incredibly perceptive with asking follow up questions that would tie things together. After about an hour and a half, she told me a little about what to expect. “A typical needle sensation may have a brief burning sensation immediately around the insert location but will be brief. Most you shouldn’t be able to feel. Let me know if any cause pain.” I laid on a table, similar to a massage table, on my back, and she asked me to pull my leggings up over my knee caps and pull my shirt up a bit to expose my tummy. She alcohol swabbed several areas and then quickly and simply began to place these tiny needles into me. A few in my shins and knees, 1 in each foot, ear and hand, 1 in my head and 1 between my eyes and a few in my tummy. At this point, I was really perplexed. Truthfully, I wasn’t in any pain. I felt 1 or 2 of them in my knees but otherwise I felt nothing. It was SO bizarre. Just as quickly as she inserted the needles, she turned on some relaxing music, put a few heat lamps over me, set a doorbell under my fingertips to call if needed and turned off the lights and left. “Now I will give you time to relax. Many clients sleep.” and poof! The door shut and I was left laying on a table in a lookout basement in Uptown covered with needles in the dark.

That’s when the insanity of all this kicked in.

What am I DOING?! I am laying on a table with needles all over me? What if I roll off? What if I stab my brain with a needle if I twitch really bad and roll? (Unlikely, I know, but still a valid concern at the moment). Did I feel a needle pinch? OUCH YES! That hurts! Wait, no it doesn’t. I don’t feel it anymore. Ummm, what kind of cd is it? Waves? Or fountains trickling? Hehe. I’m glad I don’t have to go to the bathroom. I’m bored. I have needles in me. This is weird. How do people relax? And sleep? I barely sleep at night in bed after laying there for 5 hours with several pillows! Wait, do I have to go to the bathroom? She said she will be back in 30 minutes. I am going to go insane. Insane. In-sane. Bane. Bane like the guy in Batman. That was a good movie. Ohhh like Dark Knight. Awww, Heath Ledger. That was so sad. OUCH! My ear. Wait, it’s gone. Sighhhhhh….

Then it all went blurry.

“Hi Chelsea, I’m back. How was your rest?”

WHHHHHAAATTTTTT????

I fell asleep.

I have NO idea how it happened. My heart was racing so fast and I was so confused for a minute (or 10) wondering how the heck that happened. I fell asleep. One minute I was re-mourning over the loss of Heath Ledger and worrying about Matilda (his daughter) and the next, I was being woken up with lights being turned back on and needles being swiftly pulled from my flesh.

I have no idea.

I wish I could tell you what happened in that 28 minutes. I stumbled to my car wondering if she drugged me with needles. I felt rested and great. Just sooo perplexed and I still don’t know what to think.

I had my second appointment today and while I didn’t fall asleep this time, I was relaxed again (I think?). I don’t feel any different, but I just don’t know what to think at this point. Only time will tell!

acu

Shots start in 2 weeks! Can’t believe we are here again. But I am ready and generally feel hopeful. At the end of the day, we trust in a God that cares and is the sole provider of our joy. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have difficult moments, but it means that when they come, I turn them over to Him with a trust that He is in control.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:7-10)

complaining.

Ahhh, I feel like I am sitting down to write a controversial blog post today. I have been thinking and praying over this topic for a while because it’s not one where I want to offend anyone. And I don’t want to come across bitter, because I’m not. I started this blog with a vision of being able to speak for women struggling with infertility. And lately, after many conversations with others in my place, have realized that this is a topic that I would do my best to prayerfully, lovingly approach – the topic of pregnant women complaining.

Gulp.

Here is what I want to say before I go any further. I have several friends who are pregnant – both in real life and in the lovely social media world. Ones that have struggled to conceive and others where it came more easily. I am genuinely so happy for each and every one of them, as being in my place, I recognize the incredible blessing that pregnancy is. This post is not meant to make anyone feel bad, or create any anger. I am not looking for a “BUT I HAVE THE RIGHT TO COMPLAIN! IT’S A FREE COUNTRY!!” response. Well, I mean you can, but I will politely ignore it. (And you.) The purpose of this is simply to explain how the complaining makes us (TTC’ers and those that lost a baby) feel. You – pregnant mama reading this getting angry already – can chose to respond kindly to our feelings and acknowledge them or not to and you are welcome at any time to close this blog entry if this is a sensitive topic for you.

With all of that said – here is the thing, more and more  often recently have I come across friends complaining about their pregnancies and each and every time it stings. It hurts that something that I would do ANYTHING for is something that is so “miserable and unbearable” – for a max of 9 months. I want to celebrate your blessing with you! But when you start changing the balance of acknowledging that you are the recipient of a GOD GIVEN blessing and spend more time complaining about your back, your feet, the fact that you have to be on bed rest, how hot you are or how sick you feel, it makes me not want to celebrate your blessing. Because I wonder if you really understand the amazing gift that you have been given. And it hurts. Because I want nothing more than my back to hurt, my hips to ache, to feel a hot flash that isn’t a result of 5 shots that day but because I am growing a baby inside me.

Granted, I will empathize with you when you complain respectfully. Occasional complaining is ok! It’s how you feel and I am so thankful for my pregnant friends who follow it up with “…but I am thankful for every time I throw up, because that means my baby is healthy.” I adore the Instagram pictures of swollen cankles with the captions “Love my cankles … because it means I am pregnant!!” Thank you for acknowledging that regardless of the hellish symptoms, you have a baby. I love my friends who get put on hospital bedrest and cheer that they are keeping their babies in and healthy and would do anything for them. THANK YOU! Thank you to the pregnant women who remember women like me when they are getting up 10 times a night to pee. I would give my left arm to pee that much because of a baby pushing on my bladder. I laughed at a friend the other day who complained after eating that she felt so full. I felt full looking at her! But she did it with a laugh and has been nothing but graceful and caring and constantly acknowledging of her blessing this entire pregnancy. To the women like you, I will chuckle and get you a glass of water (and tums) because I DO care that you are having a hard day.

Here’s the thing – if I knew that you were living in your parents basement and wanted a house of your own so badly, how would it make you feel if I wrote a Facebook status that said “Ohmygosh, I am SOOO tired of dusting my 3,000 square foot house! What a pain this is! Oh the miseries of owning a home.” Or if you were struggling with money, barely making the bills and had everyone praying for you to find a job, and I posted something on Instagram that said “Ohhh, my arms are SO tired from holding my purse with all this money!! Woe is me!” It just doesn’t make sense right? It’s not something that we think to do! Unfortunately I feel like it has become too socially acceptable to complain about certain blessings that God has given us – at the expense of others who haven’t been given that same blessing.

I am open with our journey and others know the pain we have faced and are facing. But you know what, I am 1 in 8. 1 in 8 women who are in a situation where they are struggling to conceive. I talk to women EVERYDAY who are struggling and do not share with anyone except a few family and friends. That means that you DO have people struggling that you don’t know about. I am speaking for them. If you have 300 Facebook friends, that means that with every “Good lord, I hate being on bedrest, I am missing out on SUMMER!” post you write, you are hurting about 37 people’s feelings. Not just hurting their feelings … putting a dagger into their heart as they recall the pain of sitting on the toilet bleeding as they lose their baby; or crying on the side of the bed as the pregnancy test shows the painful one-lined result; or passing a due date or getting that first scary doctor call telling them their husband has an extremely low sperm count. It hurts. It makes me struggling with confusion so badly with how people could be so blessed and not acknowledge it.

Moms, I know how hard the morning sickness is. I empathize with how hot you feel and how bored you are laying on the couch for a few weeks. Don’t forget I have experienced so many of these side effects as a result of going through several years of medications and 2 hard IVF cycles. It’s NOT easy! But if I could find reasons to praise God for even blessing me with the CHANCE to have a baby as I cling the toilet bowl in the morning, I beg you to find the silver lining blessings in your situations.

And to those women who sat in my shoes and struggled with TTC and now are the ones complaining – shame on you. You know how this feels. You cried the same tears 7 months ago when others complained about being pregnant, reminding them how badly you wanted to be in their place. Don’t forget that emotion. Don’t forget that you prayed for this baby and wanted it. Savor every single trip to the bathroom, every single hot flash and every ache and pain – knowing that you are going through 280 days of misery in order to be blessed with a child for the rest of your life.

Now, to those who are still shaking their head muttering about their right to complain – go ahead and complain. I can (and will) block you from my newsfeed and unfollow you on IG. I will return your calls less and less if that’s what you are going to choose to talk about. Just as you as the right to complain, I too have the right to stop being a part of your life. And I would hate that. I would hate that friendships would suffer at the cost of you simply acknowledging and being thankful for your blessing. Know your audience, I beg you.

There – I said it. And please, friends that are pregnant, so many of you have complained gracefully and it doesn’t bother me. But to those who feel the need to moan all the time. Stop it. Please. My and my TTC friends are begging you. And please understand, I am not bitter. I truly am so happy for you and your blessing. I just ache sometimes as a result of flippancy. We get it. We know you are pregnant.

Now – on to happier things! Josh and I are doing really well. I feel really grateful that we have been surrounded with so much support and love as we dealt with the reality of our BFN (big fat negative.) We are excited to be moving forward with our FET (frozen embryo transfer). We meet with our nurse consultant next Wednesday to get our final prescriptions, sign and sign and sign some papers, and finalize the cycle. I have so much to more to share about a great conversation with our doctor and answer many of the questions that you guys have been asking me about “why is this happening?” and “what are your chances now?”. I will save that for another post in the next couple days – as well as fill you in on my first fertility acupuncture appointment. (Funny story, I promise.)

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend! Thanks for being the rockstar supporters that you are. :)

angel baby siblings.

My prayer this whole cycle was that no matter what, God would be glorified. I was telling a friend the other day, it can happen in one of two ways. One, He would work a miracle in this cycle and we would have success and become pregnant. Two, the cycle would not work and we would have the opportunity to stay strong and praise Him in the storm.

It looks like we will be praising Him in the storm.

I woke up in the middle of the night on Thursday singing a song by Gungor. I found it strange that I hadn’t listened to the song recently and yet I couldn’t stop singing it as I lay awake. I couldn’t even remember all the right words in the right order so my head just sang on repeat “Please be my strength, Please be my strength, I don’t have any more, I don’t have any more. I pray your glory shines in this doubting heart of mine and all would know that You, You are my strength.”

And I couldn’t help but think “uh oh.” I was 5 days past a 5 day transfer (5dp5dt). Implantation, should it have happened, should have finished the majority of it the day before. I was now officially in the I-can’t-do-anything-now waiting game. So why was my heart pre-pleading for strength? I kept singing it until I fell back asleep, and then woke to the slighted bit of brown blood. A tiny amount. One that is enough to make you instantly a little frightened, then remember that brown blood is good, red blood is bad. I laid back down and prayed. My heart kept repeating “please be my strength.” And even though this symptom could have been a really good sign, I believe my heart was letting me know I was going to need strength.

The bleeding increased on Friday, turning to red around 3:00. I called my doctor who tried to reassure me that this could be normal. That some women bleed throughout their pregnancy and 6dp5dt was too early to have a period. It could be irritations from some of the medications I was on, it could have been a late implantation, it could have been some sort of small hemorrhage or a variety of other things. But as my head played on “Please be my strength, I don’t have anymore…”, I think a small part of me knew. I was put back on semi-strict bedrest and she said the bleeding should not get any heavier and would soon go away. Josh and I prayed, we plead. My head couldn’t come up with many words so I laid there in His sweet silence.

Saturday morning I woke up to my first clot and then the bleeding began to increase, nearly as bad as my miscarriage. And we just knew. We tried to pretend like “this could be a good thing”. We went about our day, me on the couch and Josh helping out around the house. My head could not come up with the right words to pray. I listened to Kari Jobe’s “Find You On My Knees” on repeat – my heart praying “Weary just won’t let me rest and fear is filling up my head. I’m longing, God, I’m longing for You. But I will find You in the place I’m in. Find You when I’m at my end. Find You when there’s nothing left of me to offer You except for brokenness. You lift me up, You never leave me thirsty. When I am weak, when I am lost and searching, I find You on my knees. So what if sorrow shakes my faith, what if heartache still remains. I’ll trust You, My God, I’ll trust You ‘cause You are faithful.”

We broke down and tested, proving the reality we already knew. Not pregnant. A deafening stark white space where a pink line should have been.  We had a difficult night. We cried. We let a few people know who texted such encouragingly kind messages and had been praying so hard for a miracle. We grieved. My head couldn’t stop thinking about another due date I would have to live through without my babies. September 2nd and now January 27th. It aches. I pulled our embryo pictures off the fridge. I kept looking at Josh as we sat in our dark room thinking “You should be a daddy. This isn’t fair. You will be such a good Daddy.” I could barely open my mouth to speak and when I did, I think I just could get out “This sucks. I don’t know why.”

It’s amazing how much we felt comforted so immediately. There was an overwhelming sadness of course, but also a strength that only could come from Him. It was a welcome change from the long-term sorrow we felt after last cycle. God IS still good. Your prayers weren’t in vain. We immediately began looking at all of our blessings – just in life in general and from this cycle. We got 2 beautiful frozen embryos from this cycle. I didn’t end up in the ER this cycle. I managed to bounce back from my fluid-filled ovaries quicker than last time.I got to experience my first Mother’s Day as a mom. I didn’t have to wait longer and sit in hope – a typically period shouldn’t start till at least 10 or 11 days past the transfer – I was 4-5 days early! We were spared a positive pregnancy test that could have resulted in a miscarriage. We felt like we had received the biggest gift of GRACE by starting my period as early as it did.

So now we pack away the baby items taken out. We breathe deep. We sit in His presence and we sing the words of a Matt Redman song (Never Once): “Scars and struggles on the way but with joy our hearts can say, Never once did we ever walk alone. Never once did You leave us on our own. You are faithful, God, You are faithful.”

I had bloodwork done this morning and while driving, played my lovely game of song-on-the-radio roulette. You know, that one where whatever is playing was MEANT for you. (I am a big fan of this game as you know from other blog entries).

Fergie: Cuz bigggg girls don’t cry…. (Lies Fergie, I am a big girl and I cry. Stupid song.)

Mumford and Sons: And I will wait, I will wait for you. And I will wait, I will wait for you… (I WILL wait for you little babies. Mama’s gonna wait as long as it takes …)

Kristian Stanfill: Promise maker, Promise Keeper, You finish what You begin … You see it through ’til the end. The Lord our God is ever faithful, never changing through the ages. From this darkness You will lead us and forever we will say You’re the Lord our God. In the silence, in the waiting, still we can know You are good. All Your plans are for Your glory. (Ok, maybe a few tears with this song. He will finish what He began and will see our through this.)

Pearl Jam

(Authors note – there were A LOT Of commercials on the radio so clearly I was just flipping around. Hence the fun of roulette).

Pearl Jam: Oh where, oh where, can my baby be? The Lord took her away from me. She’s gone to heaven, so I’ve got to be good, so I can see my baby when I leave this world. (This one caught me off guard. It was a favorite when I was younger (the 1960’s version) and suddenly, without realizing it, I was singing it to my little baby. Was one of them a girl? She is in heaven and I get to see her again when I leave this world. Ok, more tears.)

John Waller: I’m waiting, I’m waiting on You, Lord. And I am hopeful, I’m waiting on You, Lord. Though it is painful, but patiently, I will wait. (More waiting. Seems to be the story of our life. But I will do so, with patience in the pain.)

I felt like Radio Roulette was a therapeutic success today. I was able to speak to my doctor this afternoon to discuss our next steps – transferring 2 of those frostie little babies into my warm and clearly undesirable womb. (Perhaps it needs a little Property Brothers renovation. Huh? No? Dang, I have clearly been watching too much HGTV while on bedrest). The conversation was so helpful in understanding some “why’s” and I feel relieved to know we have great potential for this Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET). I actually will be starting medication tonight to get this next cycle underway and will blog more details about it in the future. The next transfer date will be July 18th. 58 days away.

My prayers are this – that our strength will continue to come from Him. That our family members that loved these grandchildren, nieces/nephews, cousins and playmates would have peace and healing from this disappointment as well. That non-believers reading this blog would not doubt God’s goodness. That our next steps would be blessed.

My husband is amazing. He is my rock and my physical here-on-earth support that I would be lost without. Never once has he altered in his faith and positivity. I literally could not go through this without him. I love you honey.

In the words of NeedtoBreathe – I am down on my knees, I’m waiting for something beautiful. And so we will wait a little longer. Until God changes our hearts desires, we will press on. We have 3 little snow babies left. God, please let one of them be our hold-in-our-arms baby.

THANK YOU to so many friends and family who brought over meals this last week. Each one was SO delicious and was a HUGE blessing. I think food is my love language. :)

THANK YOU to so many friends and family who brought over meals this last week. Each one was SO delicious and was a HUGE blessing. I think food is my love language. :)

What a fun package to receive today from an Instagram friend! Thanks Allison! I love it all!!

What a fun package to receive today from an Instagram friend! Thanks Allison! I love it all!!

 

bedrest.

My butt is getting sore. Now, I’m not complaining. This is about the easiest part of the journey, but I am ready to get back on my feet and be able to get my own glass of water, sit up straight while I type (you should see me right now, haha), let out my dog … bed rest is one of the last hurdles though – I can do this!! It’s a really nice thing while you are tired but when you are no longer sleepy and have been on your butt for 50+ hours unable to do anything but lay flat, well, it gets a little old.

I am so thankful to Josh for being the most amazing helper to me during this time. I mean it, this man never gets cranky and every request is met with an eager enthusiasm to help me out. He sets his alarm 30 minutes early to get me set up on the couch downstairs, carefully arranging my 15 pillows, filling my water glass, making my toast, hooking up my charger, tucking my blanket around my toes … I feel so blessed to have him walking beside me. His favorite thing to do is to check my body angles to make sure I am not “scrunching” (laying at any angle that would cause a bend to my abdomen). He does random scrunching checks and I am proud to say, I almost always pass.

My note reminder Josh left me this morning.

My note reminder Josh left me this morning.

So …  Mother’s Day. What a special day! Josh, Cali, and the babies spoiled me with some beautiful flowers, a plaque and 2 cards that were so special. We got to visit with both of our sets of parents as well. We are so blessed by such great family!!!  

mothers day

I got a GREAT Mother’s Day call from our embryologist – our other embryo progressed to the final stage and was able to be frozen! Praise God!!!!!And then she went on to say that to her surprise, one of the embryos that they had ruled out as viable due to the fact that it stopped progressing a few days ago, suddenly had a shocking turn around and flew through several development and turned into a blastocyst over night! She said she was shocked but it looks perfect and they froze that one as well! WHAT!?!? God is SO good! We didn’t even know this was an option as the doctor told us there were only 3 embryos that were viable and we transferred 2 of them. I love when God smiles and surprises us like this. I know this has to do with all the prayers that were prayed for us. THANK YOU!!!

So now we have 3 frozen embryos which brings me such a peace of mind knowing that we have 2 more transfers that could take place before our IVF journey ends. One transfer with 2 embryos and 1 transfer with 1 embryo, assuming all survive the thaw. I just have such a peace that our baby is coming.

I am feeling really good! Last week was difficult as the swelling increased so much. I gained and lost 16 pounds from Monday to Saturday in fluids alone. It wasn’t considered hyper stimulation as I didn’t have any of the other side effects of it, just extra discomfort!!! The swelling and weight has gone back down but I still feel swollen and bloated and that is to be expected. My strict bedrest ends tomorrow and now I am supposed to do more “couch rest”. Take it easy, don’t do anything that would make a pony tail jiggle, minimize time on my feet and sitting at a 90 degree angle as it puts pressure on the uterus. But I will be to move around a little more which will be nice. I have friends who have willingly offered to bring meals to us this week which is such a blessing as standing and cooking is tough.

Now all we can do is pray!! I am praying specifically for peace of mind. As I add more medication to my daily list, they are medications that mimic both PMS and pregnancy and it can cause one’s mind to constantly race, wondering “Am I pregnant? This must be a sign I am pregnant.” and then two minutes later “There is no way I am pregnant, these cramps are too bad.” It’s enough to make me go insane so I am constantly in prayer that God will protect my mind and heart and keep me stress-free. We will know and share by Memorial Day if we are expecting so please continue your prayers during this time! I am feeling at peace and hopeful for what is to come. My heart is so overwhelmed with God’s goodness and faithfulness to us throughout every step in this journey. He never leaves our side. He gives us the strength to perservere and He provides an unexplainable peace about the future. I feel so blessed.

Cali is still taking good care of her mama.

Cali is still taking good care of her mama.