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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love, loss and news.

We prayed. We asked that God would put in our hearts what was next for us. I took several blood tests. All of which came back in proper ranges and negative for everything that could be concerning. Good news. We met with the doctor. “What should we do?”  She recommended doing another fresh cycle with a different protocol. “Because you only have one “C” embryo left, let’s do another fresh cycle and transfer the best embryos back. And hopefully add one more to your frozen embryo so you could do a 2-embryo transfer in the future.”  We prayed. We contemplated. We weighed our options. Yes, a fresh cycle with strong embryos sounded wonderful. But neither of us could forget about our little less-than-average embryo that was waiting for us. “Your odds of a pregnancy are much higher if we do another fresh cycle.” We kept hearing our doctors voice in our head. But both of our hearts felt called to our little frostie baby first.

So we made the decision. We were going to proceed with a frozen cycle based on the hopes that God had big plans in store for our last embryo – “Frostie”. Our doctor completely supported our decision. We made our consult appointment. We paid our bills. We scheduled our transfer for September 26th. I would be starting shots at the end of August. We knew without a doubt that this frozen transfer was the right decision. But we continued to pray for God’s timing to be displayed. Instead of praying for a sign that it was His time, this time I prayed that if it wasn’t His timing, that He would throw up a roadblock. A clear, can’t-miss-it sign that September 26th wasn’t meant to be the transfer date.

Later that same day we paid for the September 26th transfer, the call came in. “Your blood work went up.” Less than a week later I was canceling our September 26th transfer as we found out the D&C would be necessary.

I asked for a roadblock and I got one, clear as day. I was frustrated because I wanted God to be like “Yes of course this is My time! Go for it!”. My bags were packed for our cruise. We requested a fridge in the room to house my shots. My doctors note allowing me to travel with needles and such already packed in my carry on. And then the roadblock.

September 26th was not meant to be our transfer day.

I will never know why. But I sit now, weeks later, in complete awe at the simple answer to prayer that He created, especially when my will and wanting was so different.

Days passed. Then the nurse called. We were cleared to start our Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) cycle again. My numbers were zero.

So we proceeded with starting. And again, praying, God, if this isn’t Your timing or Your will, please create a roadblock.

This FET would be different than all the other cycles in the past. I would be using different injections and high dosages to receive the estrogen I needed. I would be adding and changing other things as well. We had no idea if my body would respond to this. Truthfully, I think I anticipated my body not responding at all and that being my “roadblock”.

We (I) made the conscious decision not to share this cycle prep with anyone. (Josh respected and agreed to my request.) I was exhausted. I didn’t really want to think about the cycle. I wanted to wake up, give myself my shot, pop a pill and go about my day. Repeat at night. My mind couldn’t handle anyone asking me how I was. Updating people. Telling people “Yeah, the medicine didn’t work. The cycle has been cancelled.” I stood with my hot flashes, too stubborn to admit that the shots were to blame. I was too exhausted some days to get off the couch. I am sure people just thought I was insanely lazy. But still, I chugged on. It was beautiful not being defined by how I was feeling/doing by everyone I encountered. Yes, I know. Their intentions would have been wonderful. But my heart and brain just didn’t want to think or talk about it. At all. I felt like I got to be a “normal” person when really, if they had seen my stomach, they would have known by the bruises I wasn’t all that “normal”.

You see, for so many cycles I have relied upon YOUR support, your encouragement, your words to keep me going. But I felt God quietly whisper in my heart Let me be all the support you need. And so we marched forward, the future of if my body would be ready for a transfer unknown. Only Him knowing my specific needs each day.

We cleared the first appointment. My lining was thin, ovaries quiet. Then we added more meds. And waited, prayed, hoped. My heart so cautiously scared yet optimistic. I knew that if this transfer was meant to happen, then the medicine would work. My hormone levels would be as they should. My lining would be okay. And if not, another clear roadblock.

Last Friday I went into the clinic to hear the wonderful news that this protocol worked. My lining was ready and perfect. Now we just needed to take some blood work and check that pesky estrogen level. They like to see it between 200 – 400, but will cautiously take anything above 100. Last time I was a miserable 112. I had no idea what to expect. So imagine my pleasant surprise when the nurse called that afternoon and didn’t tell me “The cycle is cancelled.” But instead “Your levels are 391! We are set to move forward with the transfer.”

Praise God! Oh He is so good.

So what does all of this mean? It means I am EXCITED to share with you all that this Friday, Josh and I hope to have the God-given opportunity to transfer our last little embryo into its home for hopefully the next 9 months. I say hope to have because there is still one more big step between now and that moment of transfer – our little guy/girl has to survive being thawed. It’s a complete unknown if it will. We pray with every piece of our hearts that it does. But we will not find out if it made it until we get to the clinic Friday morning. The emotions thinking about that possible joy or heartbreak is overwhelming.

So – surprise! For the last 30+ days, my days have included many shots. If I have broken out in a sweat around you or looked a painful color of gray, it was because of the shots combined with the lack of sleep.

 A tiny look at my secret life lately.

A tiny look at my secret life lately.

So PLEASE join us in praying for:

  1. The thawing of our embryo.
  2. The transfer itself to go smoothly.
  3. That this is IT.

Today also marks a special day in our journey as it is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Throughout this journey, Josh and I have had little ones join our Father earlier than we would have liked. It’s interesting, for those who have lost a spouse, the word “widow” is given. For those who lost a parents, the word “orphan” is used. For those who have lost a child – well, too often it simply goes unsaid.

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“Unless you wear a T-shirt emblazoned with your children’s names or tattoo them on your wrist, you rarely speak their names aloud no matter how much you need or want to tell others. And for women who have struggled with pregnancy loss, there seems even less place to mention the love they feel for babies they will never have.” (NY Times article today)

So today is the day we remember. Today is the day not to be ashamed of the sadness you have felt. In fact, on this day, there will be a “wave of light” spread throughout the world. From 7 pm – 8 pm in each time zone in every part of the world, candles will be lit to remember those babies who have been lost. So please, I ask, if you are home tonight, even if its not at 7:00, please lit a candle for those who have lost their precious babies. It’s not an image that will likely ever be seen but the significance is incredibly touching and moving.

(Great, now I am crying at Starbucks. Yes sir, the one watching me, if you have a Kleenex to share, that would be great.)

I saw this photo on Instagram earlier today and it touched my heart so much.

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What would God say to my little one about me? As I pondered that today, I couldn’t help but pray, with all my heart, that it is something similar to the song I had been listening to ironically at the same time:

May Your love cause us to open up, cause us to open up our hearts.

May Your life cause us to shine so bright that we bring hope into the dark.

Great is the courage to give as You’re calling.

Make me an instrument of Your peace.

May we love as You love.

I hope that I am living a life that causes God to whisper, “Look at your Mom. Her heart is open. She is shining so bright. She is bringing hope into the darkness around her. She is brave. Aren’t we so proud of her?

(That may have been the hardest sentence and image to imagine and type. More tears.)

So as we move forward, join us with confidence as we trust whatever God has planned for us. Perhaps another roadblock. Perhaps a glorious ending to this present suffering. Perhaps another lesson learned. A heart more dependent on Him. The possibilities are endless. And we are jumping in wholeheartedly.

Now off to find some tissues.

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sneaky grief.

Have you ever had a dream that felt so real, that when you woke up from it you were shocked to realize that the dream reality wasn’t the real reality? I had one of those last night. Which is somewhat odd for me because in general, I am alert enough in my dreams to recognize it’s a dream. But last night was different.

Last night I dreamt that I went in for an ultrasound (not at my clinic but at this strange looking 2050 doctor office warehouse-center) and upon getting a check-up, the doctor told me “congratulations! It’s time.”

Me: “Time for what?”

Doctor: Time to deliver! You are pregnant.

Me: What? I am? Aren’t I supposed to be pregnant for 9 months? I’m pregnant?

Doctor: It’s different for you this time. You got to pass over everything. You are pregnant and your baby is about to come!

Me: I’m pregnant? Is this real life? Are you sure? Is this a dream?

Doctor: Yes, I am sure. This is not a dream. Get ready Mama!

Me: Are you sure? I can’t take any more pain in my heart. I am pregnant? I am going to have a baby?

Doctor: You are going to have a baby. You are pregnant. This is not going away.

Me: I am going to have a baby? Are you sure?

Doctor: Yes, I am 100% sure. Enjoy this. You are going to have a baby.

Me: You aren’t joking me? Are you sure I am not dreaming? I am going to be a mom? Are you sure?

If you can’t tell, I was incredibly redundant in my dream. Asking over and over and over again – “are you sure?” and the answer always was “yes, I’m sure. This is it for real.”

The conversation with the doctor felt ages long. To a point where my subconscious actually started to believe that my pregnant self, was a reality.

Imagine my surprise when I woke up.

It took me a painful minute to realize that the dream in fact, was a dream. It was the most real-life conversations I have ever felt in a sleeping state, to the point I had actual tears of joy on my face. When that reality hit that the sweet taste of relief that this struggle was over was simply a dream, well, it was more devastating that probably makes sense to you as a reader right now.

I have no idea how my heart managed to find such contentment and peace in the fact that I was “pregnant”. But then, to have it turned off so abruptly, at 3 am, defied a logic my brain could handle.

I was so sure this battle was over.

There is a John Mayer song which lyrics spoke so directly into that moment. “When you’re dreaming with a broken heart the waking up is the hardest part. You roll outta bed and down on your knees and for a moment you can hardly breathe.”

It’s funny how grief can hit you when you least expect it. For crying out loud, I was SLEEPING. Can’t I be protected from it in my dreams? Sometimes we forget that the process of grief is spontaneous. It catches us off guard and suddenly we are left dealing with the reality and pain that our hopes and dreams aren’t what we expected. That a part of our heart is missing. Grief is its own phenomenon and can just be messy at times. I certainly wasn’t expecting to wake up facing it.

I say this all simply to validate that grief in this journey is okay. No one is immune to it or protected from it entirely. It happens in its own space, in its own time. It can be overwhelming at moments and easier to swallow at other times. Tears shed aren’t always out of weakness; they are sometimes out of a heart that loves so much.

I read a quote by CS Lewis that says ““For in grief nothing “stays put.” One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats. Am I going in circles, or dare I hope I am on a spiral? But if a spiral, am I going up or down it?”

There are days in this journey I feel like I am making traction upwards. And others where it seems like my heart takes over and the plunge happens. In these moments, I am so thankful for the arms of our Father.  Simply there to provide a small glimmer of peace midst a racing heart and a weary spirit. Psalm 22:24 (MSG) says “He has never let you down, never looked the other way when you were being kicked around. He has never wandered off to do His own thing; He has been right there, listening.” This verse brings so much comfort. He doesn’t look the other way. He is always there. When my heart is grieving, He is right there listening.

“I love the Lord because He hears my voice and my prayer for mercy…. Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me.” (Psalm 116:1, 7 NLT)

For those of you fighting your own grief, hang in there. You’re normal. Grief happens. But when it does, take it to the One who holds all our tears, fights all our battles, and never looks the other way.

I do have a prayer request and that simply is for sleep. I have been struggling to sleep at night for about 6 weeks now. I can sleep a little but constantly wake up and don’t get restful sleep. I know its aiding to my mental weariness and physical exhaustion. So if you could, prayers for a healthy sleep pattern to return would be a real blessing.

I will leave you with this cute picture of Cali from earlier today. We created our own little pumpkin patch for her to visit. (By we, I mean me and her, haha.) She clearly was amused enough to not want to sit normal but display her balancing trick instead. If I could get this dog into show business, we could have endless attempts at IVF. HA!

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Happy Wednesday!

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a walk down memory lane.

The other night I laid awake thinking about the fact that a blog entry was waiting to be written and praying for a topic to be placed upon my heart. A word. A brilliant thought. A meaningful verse or a recollection of a recent story that could be tied into significant writing.  Instead I came up empty handed. In fact, instead of being bestowed with an entry that sparkled like Tierra (hehe, Bachelor joke), my brain instead simply kept rerunning the phrase, “I’m tired.”

It began to pluck what life has looked like for me that last year. The moments we have gone though.

The excitement. The joyous feeling of that first cycle. The highest highs of hope. The adrenaline.

The egg retrieval. Our beautiful 11 eggs.

The visit to the ER in the middle of the night. The overstimulation.

The transfer. That moment of seeing our two precious little babies for the first time, in their smallest cell-form. Knowing that everything up until this point was beautifully worth it.

The moment we saw the words “Pregnant” show up on the digital screen.

The moment of racing to the store to buy our first onsies. (My eyes still fill with tears when I remember those precious moments of being pregnant and so painfully unaware that anything could go wrong). The joy of picking out Mommy and Daddy outfits for one another.

The moments of telling our parents and my sister we were pregnant. The look of surprise on their faces. The tears shed. The hugs given. The dreams dreamt.

The weird cramping. The trip to the bathroom. The blood. The realization.

The call from the doctor, “I’m so sorry ….”

The days in bed, weeping from the deepest part of my soul. The pain.

The words of Meredith Andrews playing on repeat, “And every step, every breath You are there. Every tear, every cry, every breath. In my hurt, at my worst, when my world falls down. Not for a moment, will You forsake me…. After all, You are constant. After all, You are only good. After all, You are sovereign.”

The decision to try again. The leap of faith into the second cycle.

The egg retrieval. 14 God-given eggs this time.

The transfer. Our 2 little ones cozied up in Mommy’s tummy.

My first Mother’s Day as a real Mom.

The scared excitement of what this would bring.

The early bleeding. The cramping. Learning that it was over.

The confusion. The pain.

The decision that it was time to transfer our two frostie babies.

Learning that they made the thaw. Seeing them for the first time. Celebrating the moment.

The early bleeding again. The relief when it went away. The fear. Oh, the fear.

Seeing those two beautiful perfect lines pop up on a home pregnancy test. The words “Pregnant” shining on the digital again.

The terrified joy we felt.

Confirming we were expecting with the doctor. The news that they numbers weren’t as high as we had hoped.

The call a few days later to let us know the pregnancy was no longer viable.

The heartbreak.

The exhaustion.

The final blood work 3 weeks later.

The emergency ultrasound. The concern of an ectopic pregnancy.

The D&C surgery. The recovery.

The exhaustion.

And all these moments don’t include the shots. The pills. The patches. The suppositories. The juices drank and the oil rubbed on my tummy.

And as I laid in bed running through the memories of the last 10 months, I couldn’t help but validate my brains statement … ‘I’m tired.”

I would never imagine 10 months ago, that this is where my story would be. As I laid there thinking about all of this, I couldn’t help but feel this wave of frustration run over me. God, what’s the plan here? We have prayed faithfully this whole time that when we are meant to stop, that He would make it clear to us and despite the outcomes and surgery, I couldn’t feel stronger about that fact that we are supposed to march on in this journey. But I’m tired.

The funny thing is, when I woke up, my sister had sent me a message about a dream she had during the night. The details shared were exactly what I needed to hear and in a nutshell, the message was simple. God is using our story for His glory, even if I don’t see it. And Satan wants nothing more than to put my spirit, my hope, my joy, to death. He wants me to take his bitter pill and self obstruct. It was exactly the message I needed to hear to remind myself that I have to actively choose NOT to take that bitter pill each day. To look for the ways that God is using this for good. And when I take the time to look, I see them all around me.

So now the million dollar question everyone is asking … what’s next?

I have been transparently open to you all during our journey. Please know that when our hearts are ready, we will know and share what’s next. I promise. I appreciate in the meantime, your respect of not pressing us for details until that time. With all we have been through this last year, the questions “What’s next? When’s the next cycle? What’s the plan?” has become tiring. Part of me understands that you are all just excited for the future and what it may hold, the other part makes me feel like you don’t understand how exhausted I feel. Truly, I know your intentions are so good, but I have a little guard up on my heart protecting the little strength I have left. Simply talking about it drains me of that.

I promise you this: my desire for a baby remains strong. I still hope and pray that someday, that dream God has planted in our hearts becomes a reality. But for now, I will regather my strength. I will be intentional each day about rejecting the pity party pill. I will continue to look for the good in the story, because it’s there. And I will continue to be eternally grateful for each of you and the role you play in this story. You have no idea how much you mean.

“May our weary hearts be filled with hope…” –Gungor-

dementors.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m about to show my nerdom here …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much love to you all!

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

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

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

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

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

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