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