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.”

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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.

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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.

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1,209,600 seconds of waiting

Waiting. What’s that? Ha.

If you are anything like me, waiting is hard. Especially when it’s something you really want.  The world is filled with inspirational quotes about waiting – “The longer you wait for something, the more you’ll appreciate it when you get it, because anything worth having is definitely worth waiting for.” Yahoo! Yeah waiting! Love it! Wait on!

I joke , but I do love that quote. And it’s true …. But it doesn’t make the waiting any easier.

I wish there was a magic pill to take to give you just a little glimpse of the future (like let’s say, a week and a half from now). Or I wish that God would just TELL ME already. (Impatient much Chelsea?) This 2 week wait is lonnnng and hard. Doing this time and time again doesn’t necessarily make it any easier.

My dog  Cali decided last night that she really just wanted to make sure I was awake when she was. I need a drink of water, her little doggie brain thought, I must make sure to scratch Mom’s pillow until she wakes up just to let her know I am jumping down to get a drink…..Ahh, back in bed. What? She fell back asleep? Not okay. I must lay on her face to ensure she knows I am back in bed. It was like this all night! And as a result, I laid wide awake after a while. Ah, a perfect time to pray and make it really easy for God to tell me if I am pregnant or not.

“Okay God, you don’t have to audibly speak to me, I’ll make this easy for you … how about you just give me the hiccups if I am pregnant.”

No hiccups.

Okay, well that was a hard one.

 How about if I just feel a really big pinch in my uterus on 3 …. 2 …. 1 …. “

Ouch! Wait. That was just a feather from my pillow poking through on my arm. Dang.

 “How about if you DON’T give me the hiccups if I am pregnant.”

 No hiccups! I WIN! Wait.. that really doesn’t mean anything … shoot.

I got to the point where I realized God didn’t want to play this game. He just wanted me to trust Him. Trust that He is in control. Trust that He will bless us with a child whenever the time is right (again, God, next week would be great, just throwing that out there…)

 I have continued to look for physical feelings and such of a pregnancy, (granted I am only 5 days past transfer, meaning that they really wouldn’t be appearing now anyways, but one can dream …) when I came across this line in Jesus Calling earlier this week. “Affirm your trust in Me, regardless of how you feel….Concentrate on trusting Me and fearfulness will gradually lose its foothold within you.”

 I love that it used the word “feel”. So often that relates to our human emotions, but to me, it spoke directly to the physical feelings I had been trying to search for. And the message from Him was clear – Affirm your trust in Me.

Proverbs 3:5 (AMP) says “Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.” Hmmm, so maybe my limited, heavily-searched for insight really will do me no good. I’m getting it God.

So on and on we wait. Similar to previous cycles, we will share with our blogging friends the news as soon as family and friends have been told. Keep those prayers coming in the meantime! I believe God is hearing every single one of them and that His promises will be fulfilled.

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third times the charm …. right?

Well, this is the first time I have ever attempted to blog from my iPhone so I don’t anticipate this being long, edited well, or articulate. :) But I wanted to check in and let you all know how the transfer went! It went great! Josh and I enjoyed a breakfast out before hand. We were told our transfer would be a 1:00, and since we’re doing a pre and post transfer in office acupuncture session, we needed to check in at 11:30. Instead of trying a new place like we did the first two times, we went back to the restaurant we went to the day of our first transfer, since that one resulted in a BFP.

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Our table at the cafe

Then, with my lucky socks on (thanks Ashley!), our excitement high and tummy’s full, we headed to the clinic!

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My acupuncturist met us there and chatted with us while I quickly guzzled 32 oz of water in 10 minutes, then administered such a relaxing session. Josh got to watch and I slept and relaxed. I think the Valium helped the nap. :) We then went back into prep to change. We were anxious to hear how the thaw went. We knew we had 3 embryos frozen and were praying that at least 2 survived the thaw, ideally the first two thawed so we would still have 1 left. The nurses spent extra time with us and it seemed like ages until the doctor came in. FINALLY we got good news that our first two embryos thawed! In fact, one was already hatching! (Embryos are in a mothers egg, much like a chickens. Unlike a chicken though, the embryo breaks free from its shell when it’s strong enough to survive solely on its own genes and is ready to attach itself to the uterine wall. Way to go little over achiever!) The transfer itself went so smoothly, the easiest one thus far, and after resting for a while in the procedure room, we were brought back to meet with the acupuncturist. She administered a different kind of session and man, I was out like a light! I was so relaxed and calm. I really felt such a sense of peace.

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Since then, I’ve been at home on strict bedrest! We are so blessed to have others help us with meals. And I was blessed with some goodies as well. So greatly appreciated!!

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So now we wait! God knows the outcome of this cycle and we can only pray, beg and plead that His will lines up with our hearts desires. We are so blessed to have so many people praying for us! We were blessed by many posts requesting prayers on our behalf yesterday, as well as a special friend who even fasted for the day for us. Wow. Incredible.

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So now we ask you to continue in your faithful prayers for us. We continue to feel the calling to be parents and know that God is the giver of life. I was reading this verse in Matthew on Wednesday and it seemed to be a perfect message for my heart: “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (Matthew 6:34 MSG)

ok! Enough with this phone blogging … 3 hours later …. You guys rock.

praises and prayers.

Okay friends, you are all AMAZING prayer warriors! Since I posted my last blog I have not spotted ONCE. I mean it. That is INCREDIBLE and a validation that God is listening and that He hears the needed affirmations of our hearts. (Not that I needed that validation to believe He was listening, but it sure does help!) Man, I am so grateful for your prayers! I won’t know about my lining until the day of transfer (4 days away! AH!) but I am praying its exactly here God wants it to be. The nurse did call and let me know we are still on schedule for the transfer; however, my estradiol levels are very low. Not low enough to cancel the transfer, but low enough to require some more serious prayers.

I was so busy giving you a medical update last post that I forgot to mention all the exciting things that have been going on in our lives since July started! Here you go:

We celebrated our 8 year wedding anniversary. Here’s a few pictures from that special day in 2005!

WEDDING

We were able to sneak away for the overnight, penny-paid-for staycation! We had SUCH a blast. We walked around the city and spent some time in Barnes and Nobles hunting for Waldo’s and Wenda’s. We stopped at Candyland for a treat and enjoyed dinner out. We laughed, had breakfast in bed and didn’t talk about IVF or infertility. It was lovely.

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a brief look at our weekend!

 

never afraid to be silly!

never afraid to be silly!

Then Josh celebrated his birthday – the big 3-1! We had some friends over for a BBQ and of course, ice cream cake.

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from Cali :)

 

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His one request every birthday!

I grew up close to Six Flags Great America in Chicago and have been longing to ride a rollercoaster recently. Not since my senior year, Mr. Rink’s physic class trip have I gone! I knew that once I am pregnant (God willing!), roller coasters would be out of the question, probably for a while, so my sister and I snuck away to Valley Fair for a day at the amusement park. Now, no, the roller coasters aren’t Six Flags quality, but once there, I also realized that my stomach no longer is 16, so the quicker less intense rides were greatly appreciated! Still, I managed to have the need to spend some time on a bench waiting for the world to stop spinning and the highlight of our day was going around and around (and around and around) the lazy river. I don’t know how, but I managed to get flipped so if you ever want to know what it’s like to be upside down in 3 feet of water, just ask me.

VALLEYFAIR

I finished the last of my tummy shots (and hope that it’s the last ones for a lonnnggg time) and just started PIO booty shots! (Progesterone in Oil) Not so fun, but SOOO worth it knowing the medicine will hopefully help me carry a full term baby! (Again God willing). We took this silly shot last night with the first injection – the first of ones that will hopefully last every night for the next 15 weeks.

 

Hopefully the last time I will need to see this in a while!

Hopefully the last time I will need to see this in a while!

Infertility is literally a pain in the butt. HA! (Hey, can't lose our sense of humor in all this, can we??)

Infertility is literally a pain in the butt. HA! (Hey, can’t lose our sense of humor in all this, can we??)

All in all, life is good. I am constantly re-reminded of the words in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT) “Always be joyful. Always keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ.” I am sure we can all reflect back on the troubles in life, the hardships and the frustrations. But the words of Christ have never been more true – Always be joyful. It can seem so hard to find that joy sometimes but I learn and experience more and more each day that our joy is not to be rooted in our wants or desires, our successes and our victories. They are simply to be rooted in Him. Joyful always. No particular circumstances required.

I played book roulette the other night – you know, that game I love, where I flip to something, in this case a page, and whatever is on the page is meant for me to read at that moment. The words pierced my heart and renewed my spirit: “Today we suffer. Today we don’t understand….Someday all the scattered, broken pieces will fall into place, and we will suddenly understand the hand of God has been upon us all the time. All the tragedy – all the darkness – will instantly be swallowed up by triumph. What a perfect ending to our imperfect stories!”

I love that. He wipes every tear from our eyes, He holds us so close. I have to chose to believe that if I knew everything He knew, that I would chose this exact same journey for us. We are more than conquers in Christ Jesus.

So please join us in praying for a few things this week:

1 – complete peace in our hearts that this transfer is God’s timing despite the less than ideal circumstances of last Friday’s doctors appointment;

2- that my lining is perfectly where God wants it to be and that my estradiol levels raise to a point where pregnancy is possible and sustainable;

3 – that our embryos thaw perfectly. (We won’t find out their status until Thursday morning when we arrive to the clinic);

4 – that the transfer goes well on Thursday, exactly according to God’s will; and

5 – that our hearts will be filled with joy, peace, and encouragement as we step down this emotionally overwhelming path again.

We are so blessed to call you our friends and supporters. He has placed you in our lives for a reason and we are ever so thankful for that!

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emotions.

My transfer is scheduled to be next Thursday! Already! Can you believe it? I am amazed at how much easier the frozen cycles are than the fresh cycles. Granted, I feel like the fresh cycles went faster – perhaps it’s because you are constantly at the doctor and things are very active – while on this, it’s basically an easy shot once a day, several pills and only 3 doctors’ appointments from start to transfer. As I have said before, the FET cycle is broken into 2 stages – 1: suppressing your ovaries and thinning out the uterine lining then 2: keeping the ovaries suppressed while thickening the lining for transfer.

While this cycle is technically A different type of IVF (frozen vs fresh), I feel like I know my body and the medications well enough to know what to expect, what’s “normal” for me and what’s not. What’s been normal for me in the past is to have a stellar lining, no spotting when I am not suppose to be, and relatively low estradiol levels. I figured this frozen cycle would be a great match for that because 1: you need good, thick lining, 2: spotting typically hurts the lining because its shedding it and 3: I am on enough estradiol pills to make a man squeak.

However earlier this week, I started spotting. Which is really weird for me because that’s not normal. And I shouldn’t be spotting at this point. I passed phase 1 and was in phase 2 – my lining is supposed to be thickening, not thinning. After a few calls to my nurse and a few responses of “wait till your ultrasound on Friday, anything is normal”, I still felt uneasy.

Brief medical talk – my lining has typically been between 11 mm and 13 mm. The minimum threshold for “good” lining is 7 mm and they would like to see it preferably at 8 mm. So far I have been able to welcome my embryos with a nice plush lining. However, today, they let me know it was only at 8 mm. Dang.

It doesn’t surprise me. I have been spotting for 5 days now. But why? They did some inspecting and found no fluid in my uterus or ovaries, which is good. Which means they have no reason to suspect any issues have arisen and want me to proceed with the transfer. They drew labs for blood work and will call me this afternoon. I have a hard time believing that my estradiol levels are high enough when my lining isn’t even that thick. So I will keep waiting for that call and hope it brings some direction to my confused mind.

I feel like I don’t really have any answers right now. I am asking for prayers that the spotting stops, that my lining supernaturally thickens up over the next week and that I would have peace. I feel like something is “off” and that’s hard to sit with when the doctor and nurses tell you everything is fine. They are having me start another shot tomorrow night (the big progesterone in oil booty shot – OUCH!) and antibiotics on Monday to prepare for the Thursday transfer. But it’s all just not sitting right.

My emotions are a bit all over right now.

Hope – I truly believe that God can do anything and have Hope that if this cycle is meant to be, then it will happen. I know God can do amazing stuff. I love the story of Jesus, Martha, Mary and Lazarus. Here you have Martha and Mary, mourning the death of their brother for 4 days when Jesus finally shows up. Martha knows her brother is dead and I love what she says to Jesus: “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.” Even with her brother dead – she still had the faith to ask and the Hope that God would answer her prayers. I am doing my best to carry that hope with me into the week.

Uncertainty – I just don’t know why things are so different this cycle. As Josh positively reminded me, based on the fact that we don’t have a baby right now – maybe different is good. But to me, it just has created an unsettled feeling in my stomach. Something doesn’t feel right.

Excitement – if all goes well, and the transfer does happen, then I could potentially be pregnant with one or two babies in a matter of weeks. That is exciting! Visualizing it working and having that moment of pure joy is so exciting to look forward to.

Fear – … but what if it doesn’t work. I know Josh and I will be okay and manage. We have done just that thus far and God has partnered with us to provide us a strength that we never could imagine. However, the dread of this not working out makes me scared.

Irritation – Ok, God, honestly, I LOVE that you are answering peoples prayers left and right! You got a job! You got pregnant! Baby was healthy! You won a scholarship! You were gifted a car! You found a house! You got the parking spot you needed! You were healed! You got that raise/promotion! God, it’s GREAT that you are hearing all of them, but HELLO! What about us? How come everyone else seems to have their prayers answered but us?

Sorrow – This wait is still hard. It’s still difficult to see families. It’s getting harder and harder to know how long this has gone on for and to still have that ache in my heart. I feel sad as my September due date approaches. I am heavy-hearted as many January due date announcements start to pop up.  I want that to be me so badly.

Peace – There is a stillness in my heart that reminds me that no matter what happens, whether this transfer happens or doesn’t, it works or doesn’t, we have children or we don’t, that we will be okay. That God will still be glorified and that our life and story will still be used for His good. We will survive this.

Gratitude – I am surrounded by YOU. The most incredible supporters I could ever imagine. Your prayers are priceless, your encouragement invaluable. To my real life friends and family – your personal interactions with Josh and I, your support, your meals and your love mean so much. To my TTC Instagram friends, you have been an amazing support system in my life. I will likely never meet many or any of you – but not a day goes by that I don’t get a card in the mail with encouragement from you, or tagged in a picture with a verse of encouragement, or have the mailman bring a small care package to my door. You are truly such a blessing to me.

Shame – I still hate that I have bad days. I hate that I have moments when being around kids, even family, is so hard. I feel guilty that I can’t just seem to “get over it” and rest completely in the peace that God has a plan that is better than the one I imagine for myself.

Blame – I know that’s not necessarily an emotion but if it was, I am feeling it. I want to be mad at my acupuncturist. I NEVER had spotting or lining issues before I started acupuncture. Could this be related? Maybe or maybe not, but it feels better to funnel that frustration there.

More gratitude – for so much patience that others have with me. My waves of emotions are difficult for even me to try to carry and process with God. I feel like others must be so sick of hearing about this, and yet, they still listen and care.

Determination – I don’t want to give up. I may have to take a break after this to rebuild some fight but I know that God will honor this desire in my heart SOME WAY because He is the creator that has PUT the desire in my heart. So until that changes, I won’t give up.

Exhaustion – Never knowing what is ahead of me has become tiring. I am so thankful to be held by God in this journey but my heart is tired. I am watching the time tick by, ourselves becoming older. This is tiring.

As you can imagine, my brain is on overdrive. But my hearts prayer is that God remembers us. The Bible demonstrates time and time again, that in the toughest times, in the longest waits, when God calls us towards a path, He will honor it. It may seem like the delay is too great. His silence to our prayers, too long. But He remembers. “But God remembered Noah.” (Genesis 8:1a) He will remember us.

waiting with Him.

Gulp. I really don’t know how so much time passes between blog entries sometimes. I appreciate those of you who scold me and tell me to write. It reminds me that you rely on these to direct your prayers but also, it helps you know how we are doing without feeling like you are constantly asking. So thank you for pestering me to sit down and blog.

Let’s see…today is Josh’s and my 8th anniversary! It seems like just yesterday we were saying “I do”. Fast forward to today and I continue to feel so blessed and honored to be his wife and to have the marriage that we do. Infertility can do nasty things to marriages and I am so grateful that it has drawn us closer and closer together, reminding us always that our foundation needs to be firmly rooted in HIM. I never thought our journey in life would be as such, but I find so many joys and blessings in these hard times, because it reminds me that these “tough times” bring us closer to God and to each other. We both feel uniquely blessed with our burden of infertility.

I have been through 6 rounds of acupuncture and while I still struggle to relax, have found it to be oddly therapeutic. I have had her dwindle the 45 minutes of “quiet time” down to 20 minutes and now find it possible to actually enjoy the quiet. And … I think it’s working. Which is hard to say because I am/was a little skeptical. But 15 days into shots later … I have YET to have a hot flash OR headache caused by the Lupron. In the IF (infertility) world, many call Lupron the “medicine of the devil” because – well, it seems that way. The side effects are awful but this time, I can honestly say that I have had NO SIDE EFFECTS. Not one. Praise God! I consider it to be a huge answered prayer.

I had a doctor’s appointment on Friday which is what is called a “baseline” appointment. After being on shots for 10 days, they make sure everything is suppressed and quiet and all hormone levels are low. Prayers were answered and everything went perfect during that appointment and we were given the “OK” to start adding new meds to my daily regimen. I did experience my first headache caused from these new hormones on both Saturday night and Sunday night so will talk to my acupuncturist today to see what we can do about those. But otherwise with the exception of a little extra tiredness, I wouldn’t even know I was midst a cycle.

16 days till our transfer. Can you believe it?? July is our month.

The word “hope” keeps coming up a lot lately. It’s a powerful word. Someone recently told me (and I wish I could remember who so I could give them credit!) that we are not called to Hope in what God can or will do for us. We are simply told to Hope in God. Put our hope in HIM, not in His power. Strong words.There are lyrics by Natalie Grant that say “But our hope endures the worst of conditions. It’s more than our optimism.” When I heard that, I had to stop and think. I feel like so often in our Christian walk, we do consider hope to be our optimism in Christ. But it’s so much more than that. I recently read: “The biblical definition of hope is “confident expectation.” Hope is a firm assurance regarding things that are unclear and unknown. The righteous who trust or put their hope in God will be helped, and they will not be confounded, put to shame, or disappointed. The righteous who have this trustful hope in God, have a general confidence in God’s protection and help and are free from fear and anxiety.” Hmm, true hope in God is being confident enough to trust in Him completely, so completely that fear and worry have no place in our heart. Am I truly, fully hoping in Him?

Romans 8:24-25 says this: “We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.” Patience and confidence. Waiting and hope. Key words that affect many of our lives.

In Jesus Calling last month, there was a sentence that stuck out to me: Wait patiently with Me while I bless you. Who caught that key word? With. So often we think He is saying “Wait patiently for Me.” But isn’t it quite the opposite – He is waiting WITH us. And how sad it is that we want to rush through that time of waiting with Him to have our own earthly satisfactions? If you were living in Bethlehem when Jesus was walking on earth and He said, “Come wait with me.”, how amazing would that be? To sit in the presence of God and wait? Anything could be put on hold just to have that time with Him! Well, isn’t it true that we all have that opportunity in our own times of wait? He’s clearly telling us – Not now. It will come. In the meantime, wait patiently with Me. I feel silly that I want to rush through this time. This is the time to be savored! Waiting with Jesus? Nothing could be better. This is the time where we learn the most.

So what’s He saying to you? “Wait patiently with Me while these challenges of life pass.” or “Wait patiently with Me while you wait for a job offer.” Wait patiently with Me as you battle infertility.” Or “Wait patiently with Me as you strive to strengthen your marriage.” “Wait patiently with Me as you deal with financial concerns.” Or “Wait patiently with Me as you battle this disease.” Wait WITH Him. Stop waiting FOR Him. He is already there.

I have a new favorite Bible verse – it’s become the motto of this cycle for me. It’s Micah 7:7: As for me, I look to the Lord for help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me. (NLT) I love the Message version of it too – But me, I’m not giving up. I’m sticking around to see what God will do. I’m waiting for God to make things right. I’m counting on God to listen to me.

We are not giving up. We are confident that God hears us. And in the meantime, we are waiting patiently with Him.

So, major praises are in order that I haven’t ended up on anyone’s lawn yet this cycle. I hope that the minimal side effects continue! I have to thank everyone for the continued love, prayers, packages and support you have offered to Josh and I. Many of you have been on this journey with us a LONG time. In fact, just the other day I saw in my One-Line-a-Day journal that it was (now) over 4 years ago that we had our first infertility appointment at the doctor after TTC for a while unsuccessfully. 4 years of medication, over 4 years of trying. So many friends have met their spouse, gotten married, and had a child or two already in that time frame. It was a shocking reminder of how long this journey has been. And yet, so many of you have stayed faithful in prayer for us during this time and it blesses my heart every single time I think about it. So thank you. Thank you for the continued comments and likes. For following along with us, praying for us, texting me encouragement spontaneously. These “little things” are HUGE things to me.

I will check in sooner next time! Until then …. 

EBC

renewed hope.

It amazes me how quickly we can pull our eyes off of Him, without even realizing it, and fall into funks! Man! I was overwhelmed (in a GREAT way!) with the amount of comments, messages, IG messages, emails and texts received as soon as I posted my last post. Your words literally made me realize how the devil had taken a hold of my attitude and OF COURSE he would be sneaky enough to pull me down without even realizing it was him. I feel foolish! I know better than that! And yet, just like that “wahhhh wahhhh”. Debbie Downer Chelsea comes out and makes you all depressed too. Sorry peeps! Thanks for pulling me off the ledge, away from the black hole, and bringing me back to the light of HIM and His promise for us.

For anyone in a present day funk, here is a summary and clips of the encouragement I received…written to myself for those days when I need to re-read it. : )

Delay may not mean denial. Keep praying. We can only find abundant living in HIM. Sometimes in order to experience what He has planned for us and our lives, we have to go through the trying times. It teaches us to give thanks in all circumstances. Only HE can provide us the freedom from the worry and desire to plan our lives. God has never removed His hand from our situation. One day, we will look back and see His mighty hand richly moving in our lives. NOTHING can separate us from His love. Infertility never will. In fact, He tells us that in all things, we are more than conquerors! On the days when it seems tough to pray, turn it over to God. Let the Holy Spirit intercede for you. God cares, SO much. Infertility isn’t a curse. It’s a disease brought to the world because it’s a world of sin and sickness, grief and despair. And God mourns with us as well. However, He promises to bring GOOD out of every situation and He will.

“For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” (Habakkuk 2:3 ESV)

There are so many blessings all around me. I was temporarily blinded by ME and took my eyes off of Him. So, to balance out the depressing blog from last time, I wanted to share with you so many JOYS of the last few weeks! Because when we are in a funk, we need to take our eyes off our funk, off the “horrible terrible no good very bad life” and focus them on ALL that He has given us. Because it reminds us in Philippians 4 to ”Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.” Prayers without thanksgiving are sure a selfish balance!

Let’s see …

Baby Ritchie got its first baby gift ever! A dear friend, Megan, sent this book and man! If you haven’t read it, have some tissues around when you do! (Speaking of Megan, say a prayer for her today as she is having her 2nd IVF egg retrieval!!) Anyways, it is so sweet and was such a special gift to receive in the mail. I can’t wait to read it to our baby one day!

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Two words that brings blissful tears to the eyes – Chicago. Pizza. More specifically Lou Malnati’s. I arrived home a few weeks ago to find this package sitting on my porch. Our friends Candice and Will and their precious baby Liam sent Josh and me two pizzas that were literally eaten within a week. SUCH a special blessing and one the our taste buds will forever be thankful for.

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Date nights! It seems like so often in the world of infertility the things that you look forward to all have to do with medical stuff! Doctors appointments! Yeah! First day of a new cycle! Yes! Transfer day! Hurray! So it’s always a lot of fun to do things that are completely non-related to the consuming TTC world. Josh and I got to sneak away to a movie last Friday which was such a blast.

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I am also so excited about some plans we have in July! I had been wanting to get away for a night and have some time where Josh and I can just be US. Sneak away from the IVF stuff and celebrate his birthday (turning 31 on July 8th!) and our anniversary (8 years on July 2nd!). However, when you are knee deep in infertility bills and costs, it’s really hard to feel like you can spend money on non-medical stuff sometimes. Your brain always kicks into the “what if…” gear and we feel responsible to keep saving in case we need to do a 4th cycle or for that baby that will eventually come. So in order to get away and still feel like we are being responsible, we decided to collect spare change from around the house and brought it to the bank. We had over $167 worth of change! Yahoo! And we cashed in a few credit card points and are now able to sneak away to a downtown Minneapolis hotel for a night and enjoy a dinner out. We used to go to this hotel for our first few anniversaries and I am excited to go back and have a carefree evening using “free” money. (What I tell myself, haha!).

our 2nd anniversary spent at the hotel :) We were babies!

our 2nd anniversary spent at the hotel :) We were babies!

I had a friend from Instagram also send me this book. (Thanks Allison!) It has been such a wonderful book to read and I highly recommend it!

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It’s heirloom tomato season and  that makes me very happy. I feel like I have eaten my weight in tomatoes and basil that last few weeks.

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I saw a fish in a sink used as a decoration at a restaurant yesterday and that brought on a giggle. It’s these little things!

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My sister and I had a wonderful Father’s Day with my dad on Sunday! We got to pack a picnic and head out to Lake Harriet for a fun day. I am so very blessed with such a great supportive, loving dad.

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And of course, always thankful for this tiny little silly peanut puppy of mine.

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The list could go on and on. I really can’t thank God enough for all I have been blessed with. And even when my heart longs for a child, to expand our family and to use the gift of motherhood that has been placed in my heart, I CAN and will be content in all circumstances … because He is in total control! That fills my heart with peace. When I try to make it all better and rely on myself to sustain me, well, Monday happens.

I started my shots this morning and with it, was filled with JOY and PEACE as I trust in Him. I pray this is the last “first shot” for a long while and am ready to tackle this next month. Our transfer is scheduled for July 18th – less than a month away!! So exciting! Keep us in your prayers as we travel down a slightly new road with this Frozen Embryo Transfer and all the emotions it can and will stir up.

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As I close, I just have to share this clip from an email I just received – not only was it so perfect to read this morning (Thanks Tiffany!) but it is so perfect for so many of us in whatever life is throwing our way….

“So as you begin the shots & FET process today, please remember that God knows what He’s doing, even on days when we think He doesn’t or maybe he’s got you confused with someone else’s plan. He does, we’re just scared for our own hearts, once bitten twice shy, so to say. All I know is that He sees, and so do we, that while you’re afraid, you still stick your hand back out there bite or no bite, you show up and do your part. God is faithful, He will meet you half way.”

He is meeting us all. We gotta keep on trusting, walking, and obeying. And He will be there for us throughout all of it! My heart is at peace.

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