5 things you want to tell your fertile friend.

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Ever been there? That place, that moment, when you look around the room and realize you are the only person without kids? The conversation drifts in and out as you refresh your thinking “was up all night with johnny .. so tired .. love when they snuggle all morning … watched too much tv yesterday with them … need a night out … love them more than I knew was possible … love the boppy, although I would recommend … ” You catch snippets of conversation, knowing that you have nothing to offer and for just a moment, you want to weigh in and let your friends know these 5 things …

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Thanks for clicking to continue reading and supporting my writing at Fertility Authority! Please feel free to share this post as much as you can within the next month – your views matter! And I’d love to have you weigh in and share what you wish you could tell your friends with kids – comment there or here!

Also, it’s not too late to enter the giveaway for your chance to win a copy of  Where Have All the Storks Gone? A His and Hers Guide to Infertility by Michelle and Chris Miller or a fertility pack with a TTC Boost Bundle for Her and a BFP Test Strip Little Bundle. Read the previous post to enter or Click Here: a Rafflecopter giveaway.

See you Friday to announce the giveaway winners and share some Friday Favorites!

pregnancy and infant loss remembrance day.

There’s a Lumpy Rug day, a No Socks day, even a Talk Like a Pirate Day. The silly and humorous days that fall on the calendars bring laughter and create conversation. Then there are other days that we hear about that bring awareness, like today, which is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Let me preface this post by saying this day is not a day where we (generally speaking of those who have suffered a loss) are looking for pity. Today is not about getting sad looks or making you feel uncomfortable because you don’t know what to say. Today is about connecting together a community – those who are grieving and those who are simply supporting those who grieve – it’s about remembering the too-short lives of lost babies and infants and spreading love.

So often we comfort widows, cancer victims, and orphans – all who are beautifully deserving of love and care. But more often than not, there is a group of people who suffer without anyone around them even knowing, ashamed to speak of the sadness that they feel, stripped of the public title of parents or saddened to have other children who will never know they had another sibling. The New York Times last year said “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.”

One of my favorite parts about today, other than the comfort that it offers and the community it builds, is that there is a way for each one of you to offer support. Tonight from 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm, in all time zones across the world, you can light a candle to remember the babies who have been lost from miscarriages, ectopic and molar pregnancies, born stillborn or lost to infant death. The lighting of these candles creates a “wave of light” across the world and is a beautiful, touching, moving tribute to the families who have suffered. It’s not an image that will likely ever be seen, but if you are home tonight, even if it’s not at 7 pm, light a candle for those who have lost their precious babies.

Each family’s pain is unique. Each life, no matter how short, was meaningful and special. To our own babies lost, I love and remember you often. I often wonder what milestone you would be hitting, what color your eyes would have been, how your laugh would have sounded. We have treasured every embryo created, prayed for every embryo transferred, and fell head over heels in love with each pregnancy we have experienced. I can’t wait for the day our family can be reunited in heaven.

Light a candle tonight, even and especially if you have not lost a baby. The support and opportunity to spread love and care means more than you will ever know. I’d love to see any pictures you take of your candle burning – feel free to email them to me at trialsbringjoy (at) gmail (dot) com.

Today is a beautiful day of remembrance. I am so thankful this day exists.

hold them


Fear is a nasty thing.

My baby dog Cali has been acting a little abnormal lately. It hasn’t been long, a week or two at best. An accident while she was sleeping, brushed off as she was sleeping too soundly and didn’t wake up in time. An increase in water intake, clearly from it being so hot outside. But then she got these sick, sad eyes and would look at me and I just knew in my mom gut something wasn’t right.

After another accident this weekend, I assumed the worst. (Naturally). So when you are worried, what’s the best thing to do?

Pray, call, make a doctor appointment, think positively and wait until your appointment.

Well, yes, that is the right thing. Unfortunately that’s not what I did. I turned to Google. (Never a good idea).

What I learned was that Cali likely has diabetes or Cushing’s Disease. So I continued to “research”, staying up on my phone till 3:00 am, reading article after article about what this means for her life span and quality of life, while letting my brain race.

The next day, the day the vet was of course closed, I couldn’t shake the anxiety in my stomach that I was going to lose Cali. Of course her dying was the natural thing to assume. Could I hold her while she was put to sleep? Would I survive it? What was wrong with her?

All of my worries ran through my mind like a fire in Colorado, one that couldn’t be put out. I felt physically sick to my stomach. It started in my tummy, like a burning rock that made me want to throw up. Then it spread up to my diaphragm, like hot lava spreading up to my heart, which ached, then up my throat, sitting there like a form of acid. The anxiety of losing my furbaby, the one who has been by my side for 8 years and licked my tears and cuddling against my barren stomach was too much for me to process.

I KNEW better than to let myself go. I recited all the verses I knew about worry and anxiety and trusting God. In fact, I actually begin to think that God was going to take Cali from me as some sort of test of my faith (because I haven’t been through enough) and all day I plead with God, trying to convince Him that I was strong enough without this test of faith.

I was stumped. How could I be praying, reading scripture, and yet so physically ill from the anxiety? Wasn’t the peace of God supposed to take away this pit in my stomach? What was I doing wrong? I had faith that God could heal Cali, but was assuming He wasn’t. I was being honest to Him with my emotions, scribbling down in my journal I’m so scared today Lord. I know you know how much I love Cali and I am terrified that I am going to lose her. I know I would survive but the thought of having to go through that pain paralyzes me and makes me anxious. God, you are a healer and I pray for healing for Cali and Lord, you also are a comforter and I pray that you comfort my heart and calm my anxious thoughts, surrounding them with your peace.

And still the anxiety grew. I couldn’t eat dinner. I couldn’t disengage from the fear. I read Steven Furtick’s words about fear – “…if left alone, it (fear) tends to compound, spread and destroy. Little fears can cohabitate and combine to form levels of anxiety and terror that will annihilate our awareness of the presence of God….therefore, our approach to dealing with fear cannot be passive. Because fear doesn’t evaporate. It must be evicted.”

I was letting the fear destroy me, trusting God but trusting Google more. I was engaging the fear by just looking up “one more thing”. It was awful. I was expecting the fear to evaporate instead of being proactive to just STOP playing the “what-if’s” in my head and setting the phone down. Josh eventually was able to pry the phone from my hands (which resulted in me missing lots of texts, sorry for my abrupt absence to those texting). And then I just had to wait.

Josh prayed for Cali and I and that made me feel better. I took a sleeping pill (the only logical thing to do to stop the voices) and made an appointment for the first thing this morning.

I teared up as I brought Cali to the car, for some reason terrified that they wouldn’t give her back to me if something was wrong. Lord please, any other sacrifice …

(Side note – isn’t it funny how dramatic our brains can be when in FEAR MODE? Logic makes no sense, even typing this now I am wondering how I let myself get so out of control. But that voice just fed on itself and unfortunately, I let it.)

I talked to the vet, spilling out my concerns … a few accidents, maybe drinking more or maybe just hot, sad eyes that have nothing to do with the fireworks, I think … I just know … diabetes? Dying? The look of empathy he gave me was calming, Is she eating normally? (yes) Is she showing a lack of interest in everything? (no, I had to tear her away from her toys to get her into the car this morning) Is her belly bloated? (No) The questions continued and I realized my Google research lead me astray a bit. They brought her back and took a urine sample (poor little pup and the catheter) and some blood work. While we waited Cali demonstrated her tricks for the techs (balancing and high fives and rolling and spinning in a circle and such) – all clearly evidence that she was on her last leg, right? Sigh.

Well, the results are in. She doesn’t have diabetes or Cushing’s Disease. She has a slight UTI and low estrogen (like her mom, go figure), which is causing slight incontinence. Are you sure she isn’t dying??? (“She has some of the best blood work and urine results we have seen, she is extremely healthy and has a long life ahead of her.”) And no diabetes? (“Not a trace.”). And so we were off, with antibiotics in hand and a low-dose estrogen that she will take twice a day for the rest of her long life.

That was a lot of worry for nothing. And how I wish I could have told my yesterday-self that it would all work out like this. SHE WILL BE FINE. Stop the voice. But I just couldn’t build up enough strength to trust God and stop my racing mind. I wish there was a “Peace of God” pill, but there isn’t. I know next time to stay off of Google  – to EVICT the fear by stopping my thoughts. By running the other way and to NOT play out all of the what-if’s before they come true. I wish I could say next time an anxiety attack like this hits, that I can say I will have it under control, but it’s so hard.

“Jesus stood up and commanded the wind, “Be quiet!” and he said to the waves, “Be still!” The wind died down, and there was a great calm. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Why are you frightened? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:39-40 GNT)

When I read these verses today, I couldn’t help but feel God was speaking directly to me – Chelsea, why are you so frightened? Do you still not believe that I have things under control? That you can trust me? That you have nothing to fear because you always will have my protection over you? Trust me, regardless of the outcomes.

What a struggle this is! One I will continue to work on. I wish I was better at trusting. It’s a muscle that I need to continue to work on and I know that in order to work on it, I need to face situations in my life that require trust. It’s scary, but not as scary as the what-if’s. He’s got my back.

In the meantime, send us good luck wishes as we attempt to get a very stubborn little dog to take her antibiotics twice a day. And send Josh well wishes as he now has to live with two hormonally-imbalanced ladies. HA! :)

My sweet little puppy-cannoli.

My sweet little hormone imbalanced puppy-cannoli.


Well, we have made it through all of the calendar landmines for 2014. We just cleared Frostie’s due date (our last frozen embryo we transferred last fall) and I feel relieved to be past all 4 of the “I should be in labor right now …” days. I know that I will always carry those due dates on my heart. There will always be days in January, April, June, and September that are carved into my soul with love for my babies that should have been. As I reflect back on so many emotions of the last 5+ years, I realize that infertility is incredibly complex, making me have days and moments where I feel like there are 18 different Chelsea’s crammed into one body.

I am here to let you know that if there are moments you feel like your world is caving in and you just don’t know if you can keep going, you are normal.

If you have moments where you feel like the sun is shining extraordinary bright and your heart has nothing but hope in it, you are normal.

If you have moments where you burst into tears for no reason at all, you are normal.

If you have moments where your heart aches with a physical pain and you are concerned that you actually may be having a heart attack because it hurts that bad, you are normal.

If you have moments where you are so grateful for your spouse and what you have that you can’t wipe the smile off your face, you are normal.

If you have moments where you pat your hormone induced belly bloat and talk to a fake baby bump, you are normal. (Also normal, pushing out your stomach and taking selfies to see what you will look like when you actually are pregnant.)

If you have moments where you contemplate knocking over a smoking pregnant woman and screaming at her about how stupid she is, you are normal.

If you have moments where you find yourself wandering the baby aisles at Target, softly petting the ‘I love Mommy’ onsies, wondering if you will ever be able to buy it for yourself, you are normal.

If you have moments where you enjoy your freedom to go out to a movie on a whim with your husband and are secretly grateful for that flexibility, you are normal.

If you have moments where you go on a ‘you are pregnant, therefore hidden’ binge on Facebook and erase the physical reminders that all 319 friends of yours are pregnant, you are normal.

If you have moments where you cry with happiness because a friend shares with you that she is expecting, you are normal. (Also normal, crying in the bathroom later because you guys were supposed to be pregnant together.)

If you have moments where you feel completely content with your trial and embrace each day with strength and joy, you are normal.

If you have moments where you hear phantom crying in the middle of the night for the infant you wish was beside the bed, you are normal.

If you cringe when a pregnant woman complains about how fat she is getting, you are normal.

If you roll your eyes every time you have to buy ANOTHER bottle of prenatal vitamins, you are normal.

If you get excited about ovulation tests, raised body temps and cervical mucus, you are normal.

If you hate everything about ovulation tests, body temping and analyzing your cervical mucus, you are normal.

If you get anxiety when your angel baby’s “birthday” comes around, you are normal.

If you want to quit this journey and start traveling and living life, you are normal.

If you can’t stop thinking about the “what if’s” all day, you are normal.

If you don’t think about infertility for a clump of time, you are normal.

If you hate that your sex occasionally has to be timed and that you need to lay with your legs in the air for 15 minutes after, you are normal.

If you find yourself getting excited about a new vitamin, supplement, cream, herb, or technique, you are normal.

If you feel like you just can’t turn off your brain, you are normal.

If you are suddenly and overwhelmingly comforted by God’s peace in your darkest moments, you are normal.

If there are days where God seems so far away and you have no idea if He hears your prayers, you are normal.

If you wonder WHY WHY WHY WHY on a regular basis, you are normal.

If you get excited when you think about the opportunity to make this misery into a ministry, you are normal.

If you cling to the reminder that God won’t waste a hurt, you are normal.

If you feel like no one understands you, you are normal.

The truth is, there is no right or wrong way to feel when you are struggling with infertility. Every day is a new day, new emotions surging through you and new triggers that stand in your way. I am doing my best each day to keep things in perspective, reminding myself that it could be worse and be thankful for the opportunity to strength my faith, grow as a woman and with Josh as a couple, and feed on the faithfulness of God. But I also have my moments where I want to pick up the towel and throw it in, declaring myself officially barren and binging on spa trips and new clothes.

So, where does that leave us? Well, our western medicine interventions are still on hold. I have been going back to acupuncture weekly and getting sessions, along with cupping for my back pain. My back pain is thankfully more mild than severe and the sessions seem to be helping, and for that I am grateful. I haven’t been back to the naturopathic doctor in a while and feel peace about that decision. I learned a lot from him though and still regularly take my daily vitamins and supplements. (For those who are interested, I take a prenatal vitamin, Vitamin D3 and C, Magnesium Glycinate, Vitex Fruit, Maca Root, Vessel Care, COQ10 and a baby aspirin daily). My cycles since my April surgery haven’t been awesome. I had a 49 day cycle the month of my laparoscopy, which I know can be normal. This last cycle I didn’t ovulate and I induced a period using natural progesterone cream, resulting in a 45 day cycle. We are adding in herbs this cycle, mixing in 5 teaspoons of this unique mixture into hot water and chugging it twice a day and I am hoping that this brings positive change.



I have been doing castor oil packs on my back and will now start doing abdominal ones leading up to ovulation. I have heard good things about that and have tried it in the past and found it relaxing. I would really like to be more consistent with it though. I aim to improve my health this summer, hoping losing some weight and getting back on track with my low carb/sugar diet. I have no clue what the future holds and just continue to pray that God would make a new path incredibility obvious for us. All in all, I know that this rests in hands much larger than mine. I will be hopping back into the working world soon, covering a maternity leave at the hospital I used to work at and am excited for that change in routine (and am grateful its only 12 weeks). One day at a time right? I will do my best to continue to keep you updated. I have a blog on infertility; I should share my own story more often, right?

Thanks for continuing to coat our journey in your prayers and cares. It means so much to us. As time goes on, I know this trial can start to feel so routine, yet it’s a real hurt on our hearts every day. It never gets easier on our hearts. We learn to cope better, adjusting our perspective or embracing how we are being stretched, but the pain is still raw and real. At the end of the day, we KNOW that God will continue to use this for good and that because of Jesus, there is no worst case scenario for us.

See you Friday for Friday Favorites! :)


Ever hear the story of Joseph from the Bible? The story that Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat in loosely based on? It’s a great story and one I tend to breeze over in the Bible since I have heard it over and over again. For those of you who don’t know it or want to read a refresher, in summary, Joseph grew up in a family with his 11 brothers and dad Jacob, who favored him. His brothers got jealous of that and grew to hate him, even more so when Joseph started sharing revelations from his dreams that his brothers would one day bow down to him. They planned to kill him, but instead sold him to a caravan going to Egypt and told their dad Jacob that Joseph was dead. Still with me? So Joseph ended up being sold as a slave to an officer in the army, got accused of something false and was thrown in prison where he remarkably continued to have a positive influence on God’s kingdom. Finally, 13 years after he was sold as a slave, he became recognized by the King due to his God-given gift to interpret dreams and was made a ruler in Egypt.

Okay, so keep all of that in mind because it’s important. Joseph’s life kind of sucked! I mean, imagine growing up with tons of brothers who hate you. I am sure that the ridiculing was worse than just a few wet willy’s or noogies. I mean, they were so mad they plotted to kill him, so we know that house must have been a little (or a lot) hostile. So then Joseph gets sold as a slave, which, hello, would be awful. Imagine having freedom and then suddenly being ripped from your home and forced to be a slave for someone who’s wife keeps putting you in a very difficult position. Then you get accused of something false and thrown in prision. Again, suckfest.

So I am sitting here reading all this today and cringing at the thought of this tough life Joseph was living. I mean, I am CERTAIN that he was wondering “Why God???” Why have you put me in this place? Why have you forced me into this situation that is lonely and painful and confusing? Why why why? But I am so amazed at how Joseph continued to trust God in these desolate moments. I am sure he had to fight off hopelessness daily. Life was not how he planned it to be.

Fast forward a bit. Joseph is around 39 or 40 when he is moved into this new place of power. So, I continue reading when I come to these verses*:

During this time, before the first of the famine years, two sons were born to Joseph and his wife, Asenath … Joseph named his older son Manasseh, for he said, “God has made me forget all my troubles and everyone in my father’s family.” Joseph named his second son Ephraim for he said, “God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief.”

Two things stand out. One, the fact that God can bless us in such an unexpected way that He can make us forget all of our troubles, all of the years that we have felt trapped to a struggle or hardship, all of the tears that we have cried. God is capable and able to help us let go of the hurts that held onto our hearts for so long. Two, God can make us fruitful in the places that hurt us the most. This verse doesn’t say “God can keep us alive by a thin strand in the land of sorrow.” or “God has made me survive in the land of my grief.” … it says FRUITFUL.

Definition of fruitful: producing an abundance of growth, yielding fruit and results

We have the ability to have an abundance of growth right here, right here in the places we struggle most, the places that cause us the most grief, that make us wonder “why?”.

What is it for you? Is it struggling with your job, feeling like you just will never get a foot ahead or succeed? Is it struggling in your marriage, feeling like you are just on autopilot and missing the intimacy you once had? Is it struggling with your weight or food choices, always wondering when you will beat the addictive cycle and become a healthier you? Is it struggling being single, feeling lonely when all of your friends marry and have their other half? Is it carrying the burden of infertility, feeling so left out in a world full of families and aching for one of your own? Or perhaps you’re a mom who is feeling lost in the monotony of a toddler life – cleaning cheerios off the floor and saying “no” or “not now” all day. What is causing you to feel a little lost right now, your land of your affliction?

There is good news to all of this. God is with us and God will come in and save the day. He always does. It doesn’t always look the way we think it would or should look, but He is so faithful in blessing us and providing for us when we continue to stay faithful to Him. And it IS possible to produce fruit right where you are – midst divorce, midst family turmoil, midst another failed IVF cycle and midst seasons of lost purpose.

We can find purpose in our “chains” when we look for ways for God to use us, right where we are. Let’s continue to have confidence that He will work our tough times out for His good. I know the stretching is hard, I’m certain 13 years as a slave and in prison wasn’t exactly how Joseph pictured his life, but in the end, there was so much good that came from his story. Ours too – there is good to come. Keep the faith friends.

*Genesis 41:50-52 (NLT)

resolve to know more.

This week marks an important week in the world of infertility as it is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). It’s a week where people can unite and help educate others about infertility and what it all entails. I have been so grateful that thanks to my blog and social media, we have been able to share our own story and build a network of support as we fight this.

Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples. 1 in 8. That’s tragic. It’s a disease that doesn’t discriminate – it touches men and women. The highs on this journey can be high and the lows can be devastatingly low. You can’t just dip your foot into this world. When you deal with infertility, you tend to be all in – invested fully with your heart and body. There are days when you feel fine and then without any warning, something triggers your emotions and you unravel very quickly. You learn to grieve as you are forced to face your own reality over and over again. Infertility is hard on relationships as you navigate feelings of brokenness, guilt, jealousy, frustration, sadness and anger. There are friendship causalities along the way.

This year, RESOLVE has set the theme for NIAW by spreading the message “Resolve to know more”. This can be taken in many different ways – for those supporting someone with infertility, it may be resolving to know more about what to say to your friend or learning more about the disease they face. For those struggling with infertility, it may be resolving to know more about when to see a fertility specialist or knowing more about the options ahead for your family. (Check out the links at the bottom of this page with lots of resources!)

To my readers that are supporting someone that is struggling with infertility:

Thank you. Thank you for reading this. Thank you for being interested enough to spend time investing in your knowledge of infertility. Thank you for trying, caring, and loving us. In the spirit of education, here are some great ways to support someone you care about: Let your friend know you care. Become educated in what they are struggling with, not to offer advice but to be more aware of what they are suffering from. If your friend chooses to open up to you, please act interested. Ask them what they need. If you are friends with the husband, don’t forget about him either. Often times it’s even harder for men to talk about how this is affecting them. Support them in whatever they decide, whether that’s pursuing treatments or not. You know Mother’s Day and Father’s Day? Remember them on it. This is often one of the most painful holidays that we encounter and simple acknowledgement of us on that day means so much. Offer to come to doctors appointments with us if you can. We may not take you up on it, but it means a lot to know that you care to do so. Pray for us and offer hugs and simple words of encouragement. We truly are so blessed and lucky to have you in our lives. People like YOU make this struggle easier.

To my readers that are newly diagnosed or quietly struggling with infertility:

I am so sorry. I am so sorry that you have to go through this awful heartache. I am so sorry that your heart breaks as you navigate baby shower and listen to pregnancy talk without anyone being aware of your pain. I am so sorry that you are scared – not knowing what’s ahead and worrying about what your future may hold. If I can offer you any advice, please take the time to learn about when it’s time to talk to a doctor. 91% of people who struggle with infertility wish that they had sought medical attention earlier. If you don’t feel comfortable with your current doctor or the plan, find someone else. If you are uneasy about what you are being told, do some research yourself. And try to find someone to talk to, even if it is completely anonymous. Start an instagram account that is not linked to your facebook account or last name and search for hashtags like #ttc and #infertility. There will be an entire world of support available to you behind those doors. Or tell a close friend that you can trust. It is so difficult to suffer silently. I wish I could give you a hug. I completely understand the decision to be quiet about your battle but know you may receive so much more support than you realize.

To my readers who are vocal about their infertility:

Thank you. Thank you for being the voice of many. Thank you for being willing to share your story. Talking about infertility has become so taboo since it deals with sex and intimacy. Your bravery is shining. Please don’t give up. Don’t lose hope. Continue to advocate for yourself. Be in tune with your emotions. There may be a time where the depression that is linked to infertility battles becomes too much and you need to reach out for help. Many reproductive specialists will offer the names and numbers of counselors to talk to. Take advantage of their professional support when you are feeling so overwhelmed by this. Do everything you can to not pick the scab on your heart. Don’t be afraid to grieve but also don’t be afraid to laugh. Speak up when someone has hurt you but don’t personalize everything. Remember to ask yourself what the person’s intentions were, as it likely wasn’t to inflict pain. Know that you are valuable regardless of what your family looks like. You matter.

To everyone reading this today, I challenge you to pray for someone that is struggling – even if you are someone struggling yourself. Maybe it’s someone you know or someone random. (Check out the hashtags of #niaw and #1in8 on Instagram or Facebook. Your page will be flooded with the faces of couples who are battling this fight.) Pray for a healthy pregnancy, pray for healing of their bodies, pray for wisdom for them as they navigate their treatment options, pray for peace to flood their hearts, pray for their spirits and their joy to be refilled, pray for their faith to be strengthened, pray for their marriage to withhold the stress of this struggle, pray for the medical team working with them and pray for those in their life that support them.

Josh and I are 1 in 8. We are doing everything we can to not let this disease define us and it’s one of the hardest and most heartbreaking situations we could ever imagine going through. Yet, still we have hope because we are not alone in our fight. We have a Savior who stands with us in it all, we have the love and support of many, we have the wisdom of doctors and we have each other – all of this certainly sets us up for success.


Here are some resources for those wanting to learn a basic understanding of the disease of infertility, for those who want to learn more about National Infertility Awareness Week, or that wants to read more facts from my NIAW blog last year.


it’s friday, but sunday comes.

As I sit in front of my computer, I keep praying that I would somehow blink and when I open my eyes, this post would be fully written and God will have somehow written out the words I am to write today. Because honestly, blogging on Good Friday feels enormously overwhelming to me, simply because I have so many thoughts and emotions running through me that I know that I will not be able to do justice to articulate what today means.

Today is Friday. Today is the day my Lord was beaten, spit on, stripped, mocked, restrained, humiliated, laughed at, forsaken and killed. Today is a day that Jesus willingly walked in to, knowing what it would cost Him. (“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42) Today is the day where eternity was changed, where my sins, my disgusting behaviors, were nailed to the cross and the curtain was torn, making personal, daily relationships with our Savior possible.

Today overwhelms me. Today reminds me of the cost that was paid for the ability to spend eternity with my Lord. So often we fast forward through today, we lump this weekend together as “Easter weekend” and speak merely of the resurrection, but we forget about Friday. We forget about the pain, the death, the sorrow, and the sacrifice that was needed in order to get to Sunday.

If you have never seen this video, I encourage you to watch it. It’s based on S.M. Lockridge’s sermon and I can’t make it through the first “It’s Friday …” without the tears welling up.

“It’s Friday. The world’s winning. People are sinning. And evil’s grinning. It’s Friday. The soldiers nail my Savior’s hands to the cross. They nail my Savior’s feet to the cross. And then they raise him up next to criminals.  It’s Friday.  But let me tell you something, Sunday’s comin’.”

Here’s the thing, Sunday does come. Just as Jesus went through Friday and Saturday, He got to Sunday – and what a beautiful, victorious day that was. Sometimes in our life, we go through seasons of Fridays and Saturdays. The days of grief and pain, the days of feeling forsaken and the days where it seems everyone has turned on you. We go through the silence of the Saturdays. Where we mourn and we don’t know what’s going on. The pain is so confusing, the comfort we thought was coming doesn’t come and our world seems empty. And perhaps our Saturdays stretch into long periods of time, feeling like they will never end. Why? Why is this happening? We begin the prayer of Jesus and ask for the cup to be removed, the pain to go away, the trial to be lifted. We deserve that! We deserve our miracle. We don’t deserve to go through this pain! Ah, our selfish hearts. We forget to follow up our prayers with the second half of Jesus’ prayer in Luke, “Nevertheless not my will but yours be done.” Here’s the thing though, Sunday does come. Sunday may take a little longer to get here for some of us, but Sunday does come. There is victory to be found. It may not look like what you imagined it to look like, but I guarantee, it will be better than you expected. The stone will be rolled away. The linens will be stripped off and there will be freedom found.

And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly…” (Luke 22:45a) How often, when we are in great agony, do we pray more earnestly? I tend to find myself in those times simply complaining more, venting more, talking about it more, but do I pray more earnestly? Do I begin to sweat like great drops of blood falling to the ground? That intense prayer. That’s what praying not my will, but yours be done looks like. That’s trusting in our Father.

Today is a reminder to me that even Jesus, the Son of Man and Lord of Lords had to suffer. (And suffer doesn’t even seem like a nearly strong enough word, it’s been far too dulled down.) My “sufferings” seem so small, petite, tiny, minuscule, compared to what He went through. Today empowers me to remember that because of this weekend – because of His death and resurrection – we have already won. We have all we need.

Craig Groeschel says, “The right perspective changes everything. When all you can think of is what you want to complain about, you can be pretty miserable and ungrateful. But when you shift your focus, your heart changes. Instead of being poisoned by ingratitude, you’re transformed by gratitude and contentment.”

My prayer for all of us this Easter is that we can become more aware of the sacrifice we have been given and then, begin to shift our eyes and our focus from ourselves and our own sufferings, and develop a spirit of gratitude for all we have been given, starting with the gift of salvation for those who choose Him.

Sunday comes. God wins. Death is squelched. Praise the Lord!!!

field trips, jokes and fresh air.

I just sat down at the coffee shop. Okay, by “just” I mean about 3 and a half hours ago, but I am finally getting to writing a post. It’s an easily distractible world! There is the constant commotion at the counter, visitors stopping by (Hi Mom!), the chairs getting moved around, eavesdropping on others conversations … I find myself being so grateful to be out of the house for a change that I am finding a whole new appreciation for the sounds of the milk steamer and clanking of change as people throw in a few cents as a tip.

The cutest old man walked up to me and asked me if he could sit at the chair across from me. He carried over a muffin and a cup of coffee and despite the open chairs all around, apparently just wanted some company. So across from me he sat at our little 2 person table with my laptop in between us. He asked what I was doing and saw my Bible sitting next to me from a study I was working on. “Oh. I used to read that when I was 16.”  He has told me a few jokes, but not without first asking for permission. “Do you have time for another joke?”  He made a few cute comments about winter and when I told him to be safe on the roads, told me that I was taking all of the adventure out of his day by giving him orders like that. I heard a story about his friends Tom, Dick, and Harry (yes, it did end up being another joke, but not the kind that you’re imagining, the punch line was about a pet bird being eaten.) And then he said goodbye, got another muffin to go and is back out on the roads. It was refreshing to see someone pursue interaction like that and he left by letting me know that he would be celebrating Easter. So cute.

Anyways, it’s me, Chelsea. I realize I haven’t posted in 2 weeks (yikes) and wanted to apologize for that. I just opened my laptop today for the first time since my last post. And can I be honest? I am so OVER my last two weeks that I don’t want to talk about it at all. For those of you who aren’t friends with me through another social media avenue, I need to let you know that surgery went very well and that the doctor found no endometriosis, that my tubes are open and that there was no visible organ issues. The only thing she found was a polyp on my uterus that she removed and will test, but said that she wasn’t concerned whatsoever. So that is good news – it eliminated many concerns and we are thankful for that. Unfortunately it didn’t answer any of the questions about the pains I have been having, but I will process all that another day. I meet with my doctor on Friday now to go over the pictures and hear from her exactly what she saw.

The last 2 weeks have included the surgery, many naps, the death of a wonderful family friend who’s absence is incredibly felt, a lot of love received in the form of texts, cards, emails, flowers, gift cards, ice cream, coffee and meals, time at our urgency center finding out I have a nasty intestinal infection that may or may not be related to the surgery, IV bags of fluids, pills, pills and more pills, tears, gaining 7 pounds of bloat and then losing 15 pounds of bloat (and hydration), a desperate call to my bestie (who thankfully was having a slow day at work), several word vomit texts, finding out sad news on a few different levels, and finally – finally! – rounding a bend just yesterday.

I am tired of talking about myself. I am tired of not feeling well. And contrary to my last post, am tired of being asked how I am doing, because then I have to answer and feel frustrated that I am not feeling “fine”. I kept trying to keep everything in perspective – it would pass, the sickness and soreness was not permanent, and in perspective of what others were dealing with, was so small. But my brain was (is) so tired. I just want to be past everything. I don’t like complaining. I don’t like that a week ago those stupid pains came back, the ones that the surgery would hopefully fix. I hate that after all this, we are still no closer to our family than we were before – in fact, all the physical fighting done in the last 12 days didn’t even have anything to do with that (which maybe is why it felt so overwhelming?). I don’t know. I am just so glad it’s over. Can I say that? I am praying each day is better than the day before and NOTHING ELSE HAPPENS.

So today was my field trip day. Despite attending a wake last week and dragging myself through church on Sunday (thankfully without passing out), I’ve been painfully secluded due to feeling so icky. (Granted, I had some family visitors and when I am not feeling well, would rather be alone, so friends, please don’t feel bad for not visiting.) But all in all, today has been a great day. So seriously, thank you Lord for bringing healing!

My old man visitor today made me smile. The fresh air, despite it being cold and blizzardy, has been refreshing. My hot tea has tasted delicious and my latest book has brought a smile to my face. Today is beautiful. And as I sit and listen to my music, I feel His presence sitting on my heart, reminding me that I am not alone. That none of this is in vain. That He has uniquely designed me to need Him above all else. And so, yes, I wish I had handled my attitude the last 2 weeks a little differently. I wish I hadn’t allowed myself to feel so mentally drained and I wish that I would have turned to His Word more than I had turned to the TV, but we learn right?

“You calm the storms and you give me rest. You hold me in your hands, You won’t let me fall. You steal my heart and you take my breath away.” (Lifehouse – Everything)

do something.

I just don’t want to say the wrong thing.”

This is something I frequently hear and I can be honest, yes, sometimes people say the “wrong thing”. At times, it’s intentional, someone suffering “worse” than you and wanting to cut into your heart so it makes them feel better. (I will never understand this.) But other times, it’s simply someone saying something with good intentions but with naivety to your emotions and it catches you off guard, causing you pain as you reflect on the conversation.

Both offenses are forgivable with the right heart. The intentional persons words being dismissed and often causing me more sadness to know that someone is struggling so much and without any joy. The naïve friend’s words let go because I know their hearts are in the right place, even if the words stung.

But what I am learning is that it’s the people who say nothing that hurt the most.

It’s the people who know you had a tough week and avoid eye contact and walk the other way. It’s the friends who don’t respond to your text messages when you need them the most. It’s the awkward land when you know they know what’s going on and yet you never hear from them.

I am constantly touched by the people who reach out, the ones who send emails, texts, Facebook messages, cards. I can’t tell you how much it fills my heart to get a message from someone I haven’t talked to in 10 years letting me know I am in their prayers. When people share that they have cried with us, it moves me in a way that is difficult to put into words.  It means something. It’s not awkward, in fact, if you have been following along quietly on someone’s story – anyone’s! – I strongly encourage you to reach out. It’s the supporters that come along side us that mean so much, it keeps us going.

You may not know what to say. You know what’s perfectly acceptable? Admitting “I don’t know what to say, I just want you to know I am thinking about you.” You don’t know what to do? Send a card. You don’t have their address? Send a Facebook message or ask a mutual friend. This doesn’t just go for someone dealing with infertility, this applies to anyone struggling with something painful. The loss of a family member. Being let go from a job. Struggling with financial payments. Hearing news that a spouse wants to separate. Surviving a miscarriage. Watching a wayward child make painful decisions. Hearing of an illness. Dealing with post partum depression. Just feeling a little lost.

Do something.

I have dropped the ball many times. I hear about a friend who has gone through something difficult and mean to pick up the phone, and then too much time passes and I never do. I see a Facebook status about a tough time and have the best intentions to connect, but forget. I have many cards and emails that go unwritten and phone calls that don’t get placed.

So often we don’t want to say the wrong thing, which is why I am a firm believer in simple words like “praying for you” (only if you really are) or “thinking about you”. The power of a $5 gift card to a local coffee shop or a bouquet of flowers dropped off at their door goes a long way. It doesn’t need to be something huge; it just needs to be something that says I care. It doesn’t need to be financial, many aren’t in the place to do that, it just needs to be something.

When you are at a low point, when the circumstances around you seem suffocating, it can often be painful to face the day. I remember after one of my miscarriages wondering around Cub Foods in a daze, somewhat shocked that people were smiling and laughing and talking about the weather. But it’s in those moments,  when someone comes up besides me and just reminds me that I’m not alone, well, it means the world to me.

Shauna Niequist writes “When you are in that place, it’s a gift to be asked how you’re doing, and most of the time the answer comes tumbling out, like water over a broken dam, because someone finally asked, finally offered to carry what feels like an unbearable load with you.”

The simplest questions go a long way. What can I do? How are you feeling? Do you want to talk about it? Please be respectful of the location in which you ask these questions. If you are whizzing past someone in the church lobby, gently touch their arm and say “Hey, I saw what’s been going on with _____ . I just want you to know you are in my thoughts. I’m really sorry you have to deal with this.” The church lobby (or any very busy place) is NOT the place to say “Hey, I heard you miscarried last week. Tell me how you are feeling. How are you dealing with this?”

Don’t feel like you have to say something profound. It’s not about you having the magic words as it is about the person you are talking to simply knowing you care. If you have the resources, send a gift card for a dinner (Chipotle or Buffalo Wild Wings can brighten anyone’s day, right?) or make a meal. A note or text goes a long way. Just remember that your words, your care, might be exactly what the person needs to survive another day. Life is hard, we need to be there for one another.

And please, when you ask someone how they are, give them the option to say “I don’t want to talk about it right now.” Some days it hurts too much and you are too vulnerable to want to discuss it. That’s when simply knowing someone cares enough to ask means so much.

I apologize to anyone who I have let down by not being there. I am amazed at how my heart aches when I feel let down by a friend who doesn’t seem to care and I know that I likely am the cause of such heartache too. It can be a tough cycle to break outside of yourself and your own difficult season to show you care. But it’s worth it. We live in a world of vague Facebook posts hinting at something difficult and yet, many of us are too afraid to send the message to say “What’s up? Are you okay? I’m not sure what you are going through but I notice.”

So do me a favor today, do something for someone. (No, this isn’t about me. Do something for someone else. I am incredibly blessed.) Maybe it’s a comment on their Facebook wall or Instagram picture. Perhaps it’s grabbing a card at Target or sending an electronic gift card. It may be time for you to pick up the phone and send a text or make a call. Even something as simple as “liking” a Facebook post or blog post simply acknowledges that you know and care. Chances are as you are reading this, you are thinking about who that person is that you should reach out to. Do it. It may mean much more than you know.

In other news, my surgery has been scheduled and will be taking place THIS Friday, the 4th at 9:00 am. I met with the doctor earlier this week and feel very confident going into it. We will know what was done, removed, and briefly seen that same day and then I will meet with her on the 18th to review all the pictures taken and talk about what was seen in more detail.  Thank you in advance for all your prayers as we go into this. Specific prayer requests would include:

  • Surgery itself: for the hands of the doctors and nurses working with me, for the anesthesia, for the pain management afterwards and for whatever needs to be done in the operating room to go smoothly.
  • Minimal discoveries: we are praying hard that no body part needs to be removed (ie: fallopian tubes, ovaries, etc.) and that if there is anything found, that it can be treated easily while they are in there, avoiding a second surgery.
  • Recovery – The surgery itself is done by filling the abdomen with gas and recovery afterwards can be painful since not all the gas can always be removed. The incisions (typically 3-4 plus your belly button) can get itchy and we are praying against infection.
A brief look at how they do the surgery - simplified! For mine they will navigate all the way up to the liver then back down.

A brief look at how they do the surgery – simplified! For mine they will navigate all the way up to the liver then back down.

  • Answers: at the end of the day, we pray that God will provide us with some answers and wisdom as to what is going on.

Thank you again for your prayers. We are heading into this surgery after having a nice relaxing vacation with Josh’s family in Mexico last week and so I leave you with a few pictures of what our last week held. Gorgeous isn’t it? I’ll update as soon as I am able post-op. Thanks again for your prayers!

Thanks to my father-in-law and hubby, we snagged a front palapa every morning and had this gorgeous view!

Thanks to my father-in-law and hubby, we snagged a front palapa every morning and had this gorgeous view!

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I spent many hours floating in the pool with my book and an arnie palmer. Perfection!

My floating pool view.

The “quiet” pool.

We had an amazing dinner on the beach one night - what a view!

We had an amazing dinner on the beach one night – what a view!

We made a few visits to the spa - relaxation at its finest!

We made a few visits to the spa – relaxation at its finest!

On the plane on our way down!

On the plane on our way down!

Getting ready for dinner one night.

Getting ready for dinner one night.

No vacation is every fun without a fish face selfie!

No vacation is every fun without a fish face selfie!

what’s next ….

So what’s going on with you?! Any updates?”

That seems to be the question directed at me lately and I am so thankful for the people in my life who care about me enough to ask. I’m sorry to say that I have passively replied to it with a “Things are going good! Looking forward to spring.” answer and changed the subject. The truth is I haven’t really felt like talking about infertility, TTC, and Me lately.  Life-After-IVF is such a different pace with less updates and sometimes the updates that I do have feel so personal. (I know that sounds funny coming from the girl who has a blog.) When we were in an IVF cycle, I knew exactly what was going on, what was next, what we could tentatively expect and how you could specifically pray. Now that I am not going into the doctor every 2 days, I don’t know what the next week will hold. Pushing me for more answers just makes me shrug because I don’t know what to say. Do you want me to start talking to you about my cervical mucus and how often we are baby-dancing? I didn’t think so.

But I do have a little update. No, I am not pregnant. We have just hit another little road bump, but one that will hopefully bring us some answers.

I blogged back at the beginning of February that I was working with my OB on some weird symptoms and pains that I was experiencing. We went through some preliminary testing without many, if any, clear answers. Unfortunately the pain I have been experiencing has increased to the point where we are a little concerned which has resulted in scheduling a laparoscopy and hysteroscopy surgery. We are praying that with it, we will be able to find out some answers about what’s going on with these pains I am dealing with. (For those in the IF world, these are not pains consistent with endometriosis, which I have never been diagnosed with, but also don’t have any other symptoms in line with. But its certainly not off the table.)

So what’s a laparoscopy and hysteroscopy? Well, under general anesthesia at a surgery center, my doctor is going to go into my body through my belly button, cervix and a few other belly incisions, to get a live look at most of my organs. The ultrasounds we have done in the past can only show us so much in black and white. The laparoscopy will be able to use cameras to see everything as is. Because of the pain and the unknowns, we will be doing a broader organ assessment than necessarily typical of someone struggling with infertility. My doctor will be able to go all the way up to the gall bladder duct (I had my gall bladder removed in 2008), then follow down and check on my liver, bowels, intestines, appendix, pancreas, uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. She will be able to biopsy anything that looks suspicious (God-willing that is nothing), as well as flush out both tubes to ensure there is no blockages since we last checked in 2010. (Hey, a lot has happened since 2010! Anything is possible.) She will also be able to remove some cysts that lurk thanks to PCOS and if there is anything else visible and fixable (like adhesions, polyps, fibroids or infections) take care of it at that time (typically done with a laser). Thanks to doing the hysteroscopy at the same time, we will be able to get a good look at both the inside and outside of the uterus.

There truly could be such a wide variety of issues going on that I have tried to remove myself from Google until we know more. I hope and pray that it is nothing serious. The surgery date is being firmed up in the next few days and it looks like it will be scheduled for the first week of April.

What’s ahead? I wish I had more answers for you. While this surgery will be able to look at my reproductive organs, the primary reason we are going through it is to diagnosis if there is anything more serious going on. It’s difficult to figure out what’s “normal” given all that my body has gone through the last few years. At times, pain can be evidence that something in your body is changing. It may be a good thing! Both Josh and I, as well as our doctor, feels that it’s better for everyone’s peace of mind to just know if it’s anything serious and be as proactive as possible to get on top of whatever the issue may be.

So, the answer to your kindly asked questions is still somewhat unknown, but thankfully I will know more in a few weeks. I promise that if there are any updates, changes in plans, news, or progress made in the infertility department, I will certainly let you know. In the meantime, try not to press me for details about “what’s next” for us because truly, I am not sure. If I’m being honest, that question (Now what are you doing to try to have a baby?) can make me feel like we need to be doing something else other than waiting on God’s timing, as we both feel that He has us holding off on another IVF cycle at this time. Our biggest hurdle right now is getting through this surgery, possible running a few biopsies and checking out my organs, cleaning a few things up and continuing to trust that God is in control of all of this.

I will let you all know the exact surgery date soon so you can be praying for us during it. I feel like most of my hurdles in the last few years have been primarily mental – I mean, granted, there have been other surgeries, but the mental part of the game has been so predominant that the physical side effects have been easier to embrace. I feel like the physical part of this surgery is a little heavier than the others so ask for prayers for a quick recovery (a week or two to get back on my feet, possibly a little longer to feel 100% depending on what they do while they are in there), as well as all of the pieces that go along with surgery  (anesthesia, multiple incisions, internal healing) to go smoothly.

Am I anxious about it? Honestly yes, at times. But it’s at the point where I just want some answers. Will it help my fertility? Possibly. But this isn’t an optional surgery to increase my fertility, it’s a diagnostic surgery to try to figure out what’s going on with my insides. And whenever I start to get a little nervous about these unknowns, I always manage to come across some words that instantly calm me down. One line that has been echoing in my heart lately is a quote from Samuel Rutherford – “Trust God’s Word and His power more than you trust your own feelings or experiences.” This whole time in my life has been an opportunity to walk by faith, not by sight, and so we trust and hand it over to Him.

Truly, thanks for asking how we are doing. Consider this a mass update and if we are close, I am so sorry that I wasn’t able to share this with you in a more personal way. But I genuinely appreciate your care and kindness and value your support more than you know!

Oh and PS – let’s celebrate another shorter cycle! We have gone from 63 days, to 41 days, to …. 37 days. Making progress! :) Praise God!

I’ll be taking off blogging for about a week as we enjoy some time with family so keep your eye out for a post at the beginning of April with more info on the surgery date. With that, I’ll leave you with a picture from St. Patty’s Day. Enjoy! :)

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Me and my little leprechaun, who is obviously thrilled with her hat.