Mary's Story

I'm going to be honest, I have been putting off sharing my story with you for awhile. First off, it is absolutely terrifying to put something so personal out into the world. Secondly, admitting to the world how broken I am scares me to no end, but Sarah's recent story just broke my heart. I sincerely mourned for her as I read the struggles she has faced. Her words could have been my words so many times and she had so much courage to share all of that with the world so I knew it was my turn.

My story began in July 2010. Tyler and I had been married for about a month when I had the most amazing, wonderful dream. I dreamt I was pregnant! It was so real! I woke up that morning 1000% ready to start our family. I told Ty and his face went white. We had agreed not to start trying until at least a year, and we planned not to have a child until we had been married 2 years. I was devastated. I began craving a child of my own and the day I would become a mother. I realized he was right, I had a lot of growing up to do and we decided to wait awhile longer.

Fast-forward to November 2011. Tyler and I finally felt like we are both ready to start our family so we started trying. I assumed that in just a few months I would be pregnant and looking forward to our perfect little family expanding. One month went by, nothing… Two months, nothing…. Six months nothing. By 6 months I was fairly convinced that things were not going to happen easily for us. It was so hard on me. This was the first time in my life, no matter how hard I worked, I had no control over the outcome and that shook my faith to the core. I couldn't understand why if my Heavenly Father loved me, he wouldn't make this happen for me. I knew he was capable and I knew he understood my pain but in my narrow mind, I was unwilling to see the the blessings he had given me and I focused instead on what I didn't have.

So at this point, I was frustrated, sad, angry, desperate, and as anyone who has suffered from infertility knows, I felt very very alone. I unfortunately decided that Heavenly Father was just not involved in my life, at least not very much, and that if I could start doing infertility treatments I would be able to get pregnant. I continued attending church but I had distanced myself from God.

In hindsight I can see that I was just looking for someone to blame. If I could blame Heavenly Father then it wasn't my fault. I knew that my body was the reason I wasn't able to get pregnant but I wasn't ready to face that yet. I felt like a failure, I couldn't understand why even though women have been having babies for centuries, but my body couldn't do that, at least not on its own, so I blamed God. I continued to do the outwardly things, go to church, read my scriptures daily, and even say the same prayer over and over again, “Please let me get pregnant this month.” But my heart was far from him.

By October 2013, I started seeing a doctor about my infertility and we started the testing process. We did at least 10-15 different blood works and an ultrasound and it was determined that I have PCOS, a fun imbalance of hormones that typically in women means they don't ovulate. I was put on some medicine and then we decided to start the ovulation pills, Clomid. There were a couple of set backs so I wasn't able to start until the last week of December 2012 and I knew it would work. I was so absolutely sure that I would get pregnant this first round. I had the nursery all decorated in my head, down to the paint color. I had Pinterest boards and online shopping carts just waiting for the day when I could say ok, I'm pregnant.

The end of January came and I had self diagnosed all the pregnancy symptoms, I was easing up on my rigorous exercise program and I took the pregnancy test that I had taken a handful of other times and I found out I was not pregnant. I was devastated, I didn't understand, I had done everything just as they told me to and I still wasn't pregnant. (Insert tons of sobbing here.) I was hormonal from the medicine and had been through the ups and downs before, and I just fell apart.

Despite my devastation, we decided to stick with the Clomid for as long as we could. We both felt like this would help us get pregnant and we were not giving up without a fight.

We did 2 more rounds of Clomid, all with the same results, not pregnant. We had done testing during the cycle to see if I was ovulating, and every month, I was in fact ovulating so we were all stumped. Slowly, my heart softened, and I began to listen to my husband testify of our Savior's love for me and for us. I was able to let go of some of my anger and start to cope with the fact that infertility was not a punishment from God. 

It was the end of March 2013 and my doctor suggested we do an IUI. They would do a test on my husband and then on my ovulation days actually inseminate me. We moved forward with this plan but on the day of Ty's test, we just felt like it wasn't right and decided not to do it. Ty was graduating in April and we were moving an hour away for his job and so we decided we would do the Clomid as planned for April and then just take a break. We continued trying over the days I was ovulating but we went on with our lives. By the end of April we confirmed we were not pregnant and by now had become pretty numb to all of it.

At the beginning of April, we watched a semi-annual meeting by our church and there were several speakers that I felt answered questions and relieved some of my doubts and fears. One speaker in particular shared a story about his daughter in law who was struggling with infertility. She had a couple of children already but was really struggling because she wasn't able to get pregnant again. He talked about how she finally gave up her desires to God and would submitted to His will for her. Hearing that softened my heart even more and I began praying for that same thing. I wanted to do Heavenly Father's will over my own and I wanted him to help me give up my desires and help me to desire his plan for me.

By May we decided we needed a break. We decided not to do the Clomid and to take the summer off. We were going to have a fantastic summer enjoying the new area we lived in and having fun being done with school.

Something happened in May that stood out to me. Our new church leadership visited us and we mentioned how we were struggling with infertility and a bishopric member said that they had struggled for several years, and then right after they moved they got pregnant. I remember thinking, I wish that would happen for us but there isn't a chance in the world that it will.

By the last weekend in May I knew my period would be coming soon but since I had stopped the Clomid and I hadn't ever been regular before it, I didn't know when it would come or if it would come at all. I had a left over pregnancy test and to this day, I don't really know why I took it, maybe out of habit? I guess I wanted to be sure my period was coming. Whatever the reason, me not on fertility, not having any pregnancy symptoms took a pregnancy test and found out I was pregnant. I was in full and utter shock for the next few hours. I immediately called Ty at work and told him to sit down, I had news, I was was pregnant. He asked if I was sure so I sent him a picture of the test (but we still ended up taking 2 more in the next 24 hours, just to be safe).

We now have a funny, exhausting, amazing, 2 year old girl who has completely changed our lives. We know that God loves us and know that he is a part of our lives, and even if we don't always understand why, we know he will give us relief to continue through our trials.  I am still trying everyday to become the person he wants me to be. It is most definitely a constant struggle for me, but I know it will bring more happiness than anything else in the world.



 

 

Welcoming 2016

Happy New Year! And here we are, already a month in. One of my favorite things my husband and I do at the beginning of each year is reflect on what we wish we did less of, what we wish we did more of, and what we really enjoyed about the past year. Using those reflections, we try to outline a few goals for ourselves. One of the things that I enjoyed most about 2015 was starting this site, which encouraged (or forced?) me to write, and I realized that it is something that I actually enjoy. It has been such a life-giving experience to connect with so many of you – to read your stories, receive your emails, and pray for you.

Many of you reached out after my update last fall to let me know you were praying for me. I am so thankful for your prayers and thoughtful words! And I recognize it has been a bit of radio silence around here on that front since, but I’m going to start the new year off with sharing some more of my story.

We are expecting our first baby and are due in June! Can you believe it?! I still can’t. In fact, I think I look like I just ate too many Christmas cookies, but the bump is coming along, which is starting to make it feel more real.

In the weeks before our embryo transfer but after we returned home from our trip to Paris, I was catching up with my sister, telling her all about our travels. We were on FaceTime so I could tell she was anxious or nervous about something once I stopped jabbering and she blurted it out, “I’m pregnant!” I had just thrown some ground turkey in a pot on the stove to make tacos for dinner and remember my stomach plummeting to the floor. I managed to get out a very pathetic, “Congratulations! I’m so happy for you!” before I said, “I’m sorry, I have to go” and hung up on her. (Yep - I hung up on her). I stared at my turkey in complete disbelief, watching it burn on the stove and keeled over in a heaving sob. After a few moments, I picked up my phone again and called my mom who was in the middle of teaching a piano lesson and had already received a call from my sister crying, saying, “It didn’t go well!” My. Poor. Mother. Lord, have mercy!

Even though there was a part of me that was so happy for her, that joy was completely overshadowed by my own self-pity and frustration, so the following days were tough. And that is a total understatement. I cried until I had no tears left. I replayed the conversation in my head over and over again, identifying all of the ways that my sister was ‘insensitive’ and ‘unloving’. I even wrote and sent her this terrible email trying to justify my response and explain why I thought her delivery was 'hurtful' and 'inappropriate'. How dare she tell me on FaceTime! I couldn’t disguise my emotions and felt so exposed! How dare she not preface it with a million apologetic introductions that go something like this: “Mer, I am the worst and this is so tough and I am so sorry that I have to tell you this!” How dare she not just wait to even try to have a baby until I finally get pregnant! Yep. Super rational, I know.

Over the next few days, the direction of my anger shifted from her to God. I couldn’t believe that he would put me through this. I mean, she practically blinked and she was pregnant. How is that even possible?! We have the same genes! It just didn’t make any sense. Why did God pick her and not me? 

The next day at work a song popped up on the Spotify radio station I was listening to called Good to Me by Audrey Assad. That afternoon I played the song over and over again as I wrestled with the hurt and frustration I felt.

By the time I got home from work that night I could feel myself emerging from the fog. I cozied up on the couch, listened to the song (again) and let the tears that I had choked back all day at work finally fall down my cheeks. I closed my eyes and listened again. This time, my eyes still closed, I had this vision of me rubbing my swollen belly, singing to the Lord about how good He is to me. I listened to it yet again, eyes still closed, and this time I had a vision of me cradling a baby in my arms, tears rolling down my cheeks, singing about how good our God really is. I opened my eyes and was overcome with the strongest sense of peace. It sounds so trite, but every ounce of bitterness, every bit of anger was lifted.

I called my sister and apologized profusely before squealing like sisters should when you find out one of you is having a baby. We realized that we both had expectations about how a situation like this would play out, but they were very different from each other. (I thought she should be super sensitive with me, and she thought it was best to not treat me differently just because I couldn't get pregnant, because that could be insulting to me. See? Complete misses in that department). Never-the-less, the Lord truly redeemed us (okay, me) from what was initially a crazy painful situation.

A few weeks later was our embryo transfer, and a few weeks after that we found out that we were pregnant. So my sister is due exactly 4 weeks before me. How cool is that?! It is such a special thing to share with her - bump pictures, books we're reading, cribs we're considering. Now it is difficult to imagine not going through it together.

God may have answered my sister's prayer more quickly than mine, but building this community and getting to know some of you would have never happened were that not the case. I am so thankful for the friendships that I have formed as a result of my vulnerability. I've gotten to connect with so many of you -- online, offline, over email, over coffee. Looking back, my biggest regrets are the days that I spent wallowing in my frustration and sadness instead of pressing deeper into Him. Because If I had the option of having a 2 year old or being right where I am today, I would not change a single thing. 

Yes, God eventually answered my prayer in the way that I wanted him to, and I realize that is not always true for everyone, but that doesn't change that He is God and that alone makes him good. He is good to me, and he is good to you.

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:9



Sarah's Story

“By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered Him Faithful who had promised”  Hebrews 11:11

This passage speaks great hope into my heart, and also torments me as I wonder the fate of my own story.  I too, am named Sarah.  And I too, face infertility.

I am far from “past the age,” turning 28 this year, and my journey through infertility began just about two years ago.

January 11, 2014 was one of the happiest days of my life.  I just knew I was pregnant and I was eager to find out.  So when I woke up early that Saturday morning, I rushed out of bed to take a pregnancy test.  It was faint, but there it was. The coveted second line.  Just barely pregnant. But pregnant.  I left it on the counter for my husband to find when he woke up.  I sat in our living room, dreaming of our new life and the life that was growing inside of me.  He finally woke up, and saw the test.  I could feel his excitement and shock as we sat with each other and talked about our future to come.

The joy, however, was short lived.  A week later, I began to have some spotting. I knew.  From that first moment, I knew. We tried to stay positive, after all some spotting can be normal.  But.  It wasn’t.  And just like that, our baby was gone.

I knew miscarriages happened. I knew it could happen to me, and I even worried it would.  But I never believed it actually would.  After all, if you worry about it, it protects you from it, right?  Regardless, there is no preparing for that kind of pain.  The heart of a mother is so strong for her child - when a child is taken…well, you either know that pain or you fear even the thought of it.

After the miscarriage, my doctor really wasn’t concerned.  We were young and healthy; it was only a matter of time before we would conceive again.  I struggled to grieve the loss, and there was a lot of pain, but through it I found myself craving more of God. It was as if something was missing.  That something, I would come to find out, was a trusting relationship with God.

Did I believe in God?  Sure did.  Always. Really, I’ve never doubted His existence. But a relationship between God and I? Well, that was still pretty new to me.  During a challenging time in my life a few years prior, I learned that God was what I really needed.  He carried me through that season, but eventually as things got better, I moved away from Him.   No longer needing Him to get through each day, I drifted.

It was now time to find my way back to Him.  So I picked up a journal, and I began to write to Him.

“I do not have control over my body or my ability to conceive- and that terrifies me” March 5, 2014

I could have written that exact thing today.  That entry was the beginning of countless pages I wrote to the Lord.  Journaling became my prayer life.  It contained the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of me that I fully share with Him.  It was exactly what I needed to find Him. The pain still lingered, but I was finding strength to persevere through Him.

A few months later, our church was preparing for a Baptism service.  I was baptized as a baby in the Catholic Church, so baptism wasn’t something I thought much about.  But I felt God pushing me out of my comfort zone, asking me to trust Him.  So I took the plunge. Literally.  I remember doing my testimony video, through the tears saying, “I realize I am not in control, God is, and I need to trust Him and that is terrifying.”  That sentence pretty much sums up my walk with God today.  I remember hoping that I was pregnant as I got baptized.  Wouldn’t that just be an amazing story? 

Well. It didn’t end that way. Another month of no pregnancy.

And then another, and then a few more.

As the end of summer arrived, we agreed to start seeking some medical help.   I had feared that there was something wrong for some time, but had agreed with the doctor and my husband, to give it more time.  So as the summer faded we got a referral to a doctor who specialized in fertility.

At this point I was struggling, but had come to the realization that we would need some form of intervention to conceive.  In the fall, we started sharing our struggles with people in our church community. I remember telling God that I’d share this story once it was over, once we had our baby. But I felt Him pushing me to share it in that moment, as we were walking our way through it.  I think that was God trying to show me that I didn’t need to do this on my own. 

Over the next couple of months we did all of the required testing. Bloodwork and ultrasounds were a regular occurrence.  I remember really struggling before one of the tests.  I sat on the stairs that morning crying.  Before my husband left for work, he prayed for us, and reminded me that this test would not reveal anything that God did not already know.  I felt so comforted by that. God knows, so why be afraid?  All my tests were coming back normal.  Hormone levels were a little low, but with some supplementation those were corrected.  So things were looking good.

Even though on paper things were looking good, a year of trying had brought the worst out in me.  Each month that passed, my lack of control was eating away at me and was a breeding ground for fear.  My perfectionist heart hated that we had to continuously try each month, only to be unsuccessful each time.  This was the first time in my life I couldn’t achieve something, no matter how hard I tried.  The only thing that kept me going was my heart’s desire to be a mother. If I wanted kids, one way or another, I had to keep going.  Through the pain, I was drawing close to God. I was beginning to see that He was using this hardship to speak to me and transform me.  Most importantly, I started to see that this wasn’t really about a baby at all.  It was about me.  I needed healing, but not just in the physical sense to conceive.  A baby was not going to fix the hurt, the pain, the sin that was inside of me.

A year had passed.  We entered 2015 with renewed hope. I was happy to see 2014 go. It had been a year marked with pain and suffering. 2015 was the year. In January, we followed up with our fertility doctor.  All the tests came back normal, and she gave us the green light to keep trying. If we weren’t pregnant in 3 months, we were to come back.  What I heard: you will be pregnant in 3 months. I had some reservations about this, because I had been having some spotting during my cycle, but the doctor figured it was just stress from holidays and traveling, so no need to worry because it would go away.  I felt God asking me to trust this plan, even though I felt uneasy about it.  So I began to let go of the fear, and I started resting in the joy of hope that a baby would soon be on the way.

Except that it didn’t work out that way.

The spotting didn’t go away, and we didn’t get pregnant during those 3 months.  I felt like I was being tormented, as if this was all an elaborate, cruel joke.  I felt like a fool for believing we could actually get pregnant.  I was shaken. I could tell my faith was taking a hit.  I was still holding onto God, but the cracks were starting to show. The wounds of infertility were being exposed and it wasn’t pretty.  I was hurting so much that it was consuming me.  I knew I was supposed to rely on God. I knew the scriptures, the prayers-but I just couldn’t find my way to Him. 

Eventually I knew I needed to do something so I participated in an inner healing prayer session.  During that time, I was able to repent, forgive, and see the root of my struggles; the lies I was telling myself, the fears, the desire to control, all the things that were pulling me away from God, and further into the pain.  Afterwards, I felt like a new person. It felt like a weight had been lifted from me. I had been honest with God about my heart, and He had given me peace in return.

After that, I went on to have another appointment with our fertility doctor.  She decided it was time to try clomid. I remember in December being so fearful of having to go on clomid, wanting my body to be capable on its own.  But when she said the words, my heart was overjoyed.  I don’t even know why, but it just felt right.  She also decided to refer me for a gynecologist consult.  But in my mind, that referral was an afterthought; the clomid was what felt right, and that would surely be our fix.

Our first cycle on clomid was perfect. Hormone levels were great and no spotting. Looking ahead, the end of that cycle would be falling on Mother’s Day weekend. Clearly this was a good sign, right? 

But. It wasn’t. 

To add to my hurt, my brother and his wife decided to announce that weekend that they were expecting their first child. My parents were becoming grandparents for the first time. And it wasn’t because of me.

Then the following week, another announcement. A co-worker. 

Then the following week, another. A close friend.  

I was struggling to hold on. The darkness was starting to creep in as I wrestled with the question, “Why not me, Lord?”

And then the following week, we got another call. My husband’s sister.  She was due two weeks after my brother’s wife. And would be minting my in-laws as grandparents for the first time.

My world started to fall.  I was barely holding on at this point.  Four announcements in four weeks. Two nieces/nephews due weeks apart. My parents and in-laws would finally become grandparents.  On top of this, the following day we had our appointment with the gynecologist.  So I tried to forget about all the announcements, and focused on the appointment.  But really, I felt this consult was unnecessary, there was nothing wrong with me.

So to our appointment we went. After the gynecologist performed his exam, he told me that he was fairly confident I had endometriosis and would need surgery.  

Excuse me? What? No, you must be mistaken.  I don’t have endometriosis.  I’ve spent a year convincing myself that I couldn’t have it because I really don’t have any symptoms. 

I didn’t want to believe it.  But I knew it was true.  I remember crying uncontrollably in the car after the appointment.  Feeling so overwhelmed with so much hurt, that I was bursting at the seams.

So we went home.  And I fell apart. Mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually - I was broken.  In this darkness, I no longer saw God. I chose to no longer see Him. I was no longer interested in His plan for me. I still believed in Him, but I didn’t want a relationship with Him anymore.  It was too hard. It hurt too much. I was not cut out for this type of faith.  So, I took time off work, and I hid. I relied on Netflix to numb my pain, so that I could sleep at night. I ignored Him, and anything to do with Him. I would go to church and just sit there. There was no praise, there was no worship, I had nothing for Him. 

I’ve never been in such a dark place. And I stayed there for about 3 months. But even though I had turned my back on God, He was finding His way to me through the people around me.  For the first time, my husband finally understood my pain. My crumbling faith terrified him.  For the first time, he saw me for what I really was.  Broken.  For the first time, I felt safe enough with him to let him see it all.  And although he still struggled, he was exactly what I needed him to be.  God was showing His hand although I wasn’t willing to admit it at the time.

Over those 3 months I didn’t do much praying, but I spent a lot of time figuring out why I was hurting so much.  After reading all of Brene Brown’s books, I finally got it.  Shame & Identity. If I was not a mother, then what was I?  I was not okay, because deep down I didn’t think I was enough.  Without kids, I was not enough.  I felt deep shame about who I was.  Having children would give me worthiness.  Infertility was challenging that plan. The fear of never becoming a mother paralyzed me. I needed to become a mother.  God was showing His hand again. This wasn’t really about a baby. It was about me.

Two weeks before my surgery date. I knew I needed to make some choices about my faith.  God had been pulling on my heart for a while now. I had a great network of people who were trying to encourage me to rely on God, but I knew that I needed to make that choice for me, and nobody else.  While away on a vacation, I sat on a beach and began to journal.  For the first time in months, I wrote.  After numerous pages, I came to this conclusion.  If I waited until after the surgery to decide on my faith it would either have one of two outcomes.  If the surgery went exactly how I wanted it to, my faith would be artificial; a faith based on receiving what I want.   If the surgery didn’t go how I hoped, I feared I would have no faith left.  I felt God urging me to decide on Him then, and not later.  So with tears in my eyes and peace in my heart, I found Him that day on that beach. 

For the next two weeks, I focused on Him. I did another inner healing prayer session, which helped immensely.  I then began to bind down my fears in the name of Jesus every moment they entered my mind.  I listened to the song “No Longer Slaves” on repeat day after day. I immersed myself in Him, every moment I could. I was ready to face this surgery. 

My surgery came and I was diagnosed with moderate-severe endometriosis. The gynecologist removed everything he could see. I had cysts, and adhesions, but fortunately my tubes were mostly unaffected. We thanked God for the healing He was providing and took hope in that we finally had some answers as to why we were not conceiving.  After the surgery, we were given options to try on our own, or do hormone suppression to further treat the endometriosis.  We felt the right choice was to take some time to try on our own, and if needed, we would explore other options later.

And that is where we are today. 

Waiting.

I write these words not knowing the end of this story.  I felt God was encouraging me to share my story, before it is completed.  I think He’s asking me to trust Him (again), before I have all the answers. I still really struggle to do this, but I know that’s where real faith grows.  I know my heart’s desires are to be a mother. But I have also learned, that I need Him more than I need children. That doesn’t mean I won’t have children some day, but it’s a reminder that I am enough (just as I am) for Him, and He is enough for me. 

He continues to bring me back to the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22.  It’s a painful story to read. I struggle to understand how God could ever ask that of Abraham. And then I remember,  “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (John 3:16). 

He gets it.

It doesn’t make the suffering any less painful. But it reminds me that redemption comes from the darkest of places.  He too lost a child.  And from that loss came the greatest gift of all. 

I end this with saying, I am nothing special. I have not willingly chosen this path for myself, and I still struggle to find the courage to trust Him on a fairly regular basis.

I have lots of questions, and not many answers. 

But there is one thing I do know. On the day He allows me to receive my child, it won’t be about my triumph over infertility; that day will be all about His glory.  And on that day, I will humbly bow before Him, and praise Him, knowing it was all worth it. 

Tammy's Story

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes... a baby? 

Most people's journey is like this... however, ours, was not. 

Four years ago we were so excited to start our journey to parenthood. Little did we know it would end up a lot different than what we had planned! However, after each storm along the way, we have seen the most beautiful rainbows from God. Through each and every struggle God was there, no matter what I was feeling. God's grace never left me. I wasn't always strong, and I let the devil get in my head and tell me that I was never good enough to be a parent, but thankfully God always pulled me back.  

After just nine months of trying, we got pregnant in April 2012 and we were happier than ever. Just a few weeks later, we lost our angel to a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. We also lost my left tube, which meant getting pregnant again might be tough. We tried and tried, but nothing happened.

In February 2013 our pain and loss set us on the path of foster care / adoption. Shockingly, God had a sightly different plan for us than becoming "legal" foster parents. He ever so gently stopped that journey and placed Ryder right into our laps through a friend at church. At the time Ryder was being raised by his amazing, God fearing, loving, supportive grandma. She loved him with all her heart, but was really wanting to be "grandma" who could see him often and spoil him with grandma love. She didn't know it at the time, but God placed Stephen and I right before her, just as he placed Ryder before us! After only nine months of getting to know Ryder and his family, he moved in with us and we became his mommy and daddy! He quickly became our everything! What we could have looked at as a complete devastation, ended up bringing us our miracle "baby" boy, and the first best gift we've ever received. 

Tammy's Story 2.JPG

In August 2013, our journey continued with IVF when we tried again to grow our family. However, it felt like doors just kept getting slammed in our faces. IVF did not work, and the doctor was not hopeful that we'd ever have children. IVF is not any easy process, and I swore I'd never do it again. I knew that God had a plan in mind, but just didn't know what it was. 

In November 2013 we found out about two children who attended the school I worked at who were in need of a family. At the time, Ryder was three, the sweet boy was four and his sister was five. Without praying about it, I said, no. I just closed the door. Months and months went by and I couldn't get these two off my mind.

In August 2014, almost a whole year later God reopened that door -- wide open! By September they had moved in with us! We were still not legal foster parents but fostering with hopes of adopting three children at this point. They were the sweetest foster daughter and son, and amazing siblings to Ryder. Our lives felt complete. We felt like this was the place God wanted us. I no longer had a yearning in my heart to have a baby, and Stephen was such an amazing daddy to the three kids.

Just six months later it felt like another tragedy hit when the two children were moved. It felt like we were living our first pregnancy over again. I felt physical pain, all three of us cried and didn't understand. Nothing could ever replace the two we lost. 

After things calmed down we decided to go in search of the missing piece to our family, to try to adopt... We were finally going to become legal foster parents! But to our surprise, because of where we were in our adoption process with Ryder, the doors were slammed, over and over. We felt rejection, pain, and confusion. Didn't God want this for us? Didn't He want us to be parents? 

In June 2015 we found Dr. Brian Acacio, with Acacio Fertility Clinic. I will admit I did NOT want to go meet him. IVF was so hard and there was no way I could see myself going through it all and the disappointment again. I told my husband and mom, who were my biggest supporters, that if I went through it and it didn't work, I'd probably suffer a mental breakdown.

I met him any way, and left crying tears of joy. He was so advanced, and so knowledgeable. You know what felt best? He looked at me and seemed to know the pain I had walked and acknowledged it.... It was real! It wasn't in my head. By the end of the meeting he assured us that we would have our baby. Lots and lots of medicine and pain, and appointments graced us, only to find out on August 23 that we were indeed pregnant. 

It's funny how things happen. Sometimes we feel like God is closing doors and keeping us away from what we want, when really He just has a much better plan for us on the way. Each time a door was closed God brought something amazing into our lives that we never knew we always wanted. Now God is ending our four year infertility season with the next greatest blessing in our lives ... We are now expecting one boy and one girl in May 2016! 

We surprised our family and friends and kept the "twins" part a secret until our gender reveal! 

Kimberly's Story

Happy Friday, people! I am so excited to share Kimberly's story with you all. I think you will be moved by the incredible and very brave hearts of Kimberly and her husband. I pray that the Lord uses this story to bring comfort and inspire -- maybe convict one or many of us to really listen to what God might be calling us to in this season of waiting. To hear more from Kimberly, check out beautifularrows.wordpress.com.

When my husband and I talked about starting a family early on in our marriage, it never occurred to us that our story would be quite different than what most would consider “normal.” We certainly weren't expecting extreme hardships in order to grow our family. My husband and I married in November 2008, we had only been married about 6 months when we decided to stop preventing pregnancy, the birth control I was on was making me constantly sick and we knew it was best to stop taking it and just see what happens. Months went by, nothing to report but we were still hopeful. A few months turned into a year, then turned into two years.

We decided it was time to get checked out to see if anything was wrong. After several tests and lots of money, there wasn't anything “definite” on why we couldn't conceive. There were some concerns but nothing officially diagnosed. The next step recommended for us was IVF. After some prayer and talking we didn’t think that was the path The Lord had for us and felt like we needed to keep trying to get pregnant.

Every month that would go by and negative test after negative test, was heartbreaking. Friends and family announced their pregnancies left and right while my womb stayed empty. I was convinced having a family wasn't our calling. We were hurt and confused on why this was happening.

A couple more years went by and adoption started to be laid on our hearts. We had always wanted to adopt but we figured after we had 3 or 4 biological kids. As we were researching our options for adoption, foster care really jumped out at us. We decided to get some information on it and in January 2013 we were knee deep in trainings and paperwork. On March 25, 2013 we were officially licensed foster parents and just waiting for a placement. That time of waiting was the hardest thing, like the last 4 years hadn't been hard enough, waiting for a phone call for a child who needs a home is stressful to say the least. I was an emotional wreck the entire time, constantly checking my phone, having a panic attack every time it rang and it just being my mom calling to see if we heard anything. Thanks mom by the way. ;)

Thankfully we didn't have to wait long. 4 days later on March 29th we received a phone call for a 2 day old baby boy, whose case was deemed a “legal risk” case, basically meaning he could go towards adoption because of previous history of the parents, but the biological family has a chance at reunification. There is nothing more terrifying than knowing this precious child you love and care for as your own could leave at anytime if a suitable family member popped up or if his parents were able to work their case and be reunited. We knew this coming into foster care that it is always a possibility, reunification is always the primary goal, followed by biological family getting first dibs. We just had to pray for what was best for this child.

Long story short and to not go into details of the case for his protection, we were able to adopt our little guy 19 months later in October 2014. It was the best day ever and I was flooded with emotions.

Several months before our son's adoption we were informed that his biological mother was pregnant again, they would be removing the baby and asked if we'd be willing to care for this one as well. We of course said yes! How awesome would it be for our son to have a biological sibling with him. We were excited and prepared for our new arrival. On August 8, 2014 we welcomed a 2 day old baby girl, precious and identical in every way to her older brother. We were head over heels for this little girl. Life could not have been better.

Fast forward 4 weeks later, we received a call from our agency saying that Baby Girl would have to be returned to bio mom that day. There had been a court hearing and the judge ordered the baby to be returned. We could not believe what was happening. My husband was able to talk with a supervisor at CPS to see what was going on. There should have been no reason for her to return unexpectedly; her case hadn't been worked, it would be dangerous to send her back home.

We were informed that someone at the hearing didn't show up prepared and to make a point the judge decided to dismiss the case. That's it. Our newborn baby girl was being sent home and we couldn't do anything to stop it. As foster parents we have no legal right to fight for her, we just had to pray that she would be safe and protected or be returned immediately. We had a few hours to pack her stuff up and say goodbye, never knowing if she would return.

After dropping her off, we were broken and devastated. We decided to take a break from fostering and just focus on finalizing the adoption of our son. Our home would stay open only for the return of our baby girl. To say this was the darkest season for us is an understatement. We were completely devastated, I cried every day for months. It felt like we lost a child. The Lord had to really work in us to bring us out of that place of brokenness. We eventually decided to open our home up again for another child. We had believed that our little girl wouldn't be returning and the Lord was telling us to open our home for another.

Six months after baby girl was returned to family, we received a call from our agency, one we were not expecting. Our baby girl had come back into care and would be dropped off to us in an hour. She was coming home to us. We were overwhelmed with joy and sadness. We were elated that we would get to care for her again but saddened that her biological mom couldn't properly care for her. I had prayed for months that she would be the mom that I so desperately wanted to be for this child. Baby Girl had been through so much in those last 6 months, her life, a miracle to say the least. She desperately needed medical care and a nurturing home.

We have been blessed to nurture her back to health and she is a completely healthy, normal functioning, 13 month old baby girl. The Lord is so good. Her case isn't over yet, we have at least a year before we get to hopefully finalize her adoption. Things are in our favor for adoption, but in foster care you never know what to expect.

We have been incredibly blessed by these two children and it's been a huge joy to watch them be brother and sister with each other, there is nothing sweeter. The Lord is still working in my husband and I to bring healing to us for all that has occurred in the last 6 1⁄2 years. We still pray that we would be blessed with biological children but we have a heart for foster care and adoption and look forward to any other children that will be brought to our home. 

A Little Update

I’ve hesitated to write this – for multiple reasons, I suppose. First, I fear disapproval and judgment. I have family (and I’m sure some friends -- maybe some of you) that I know will not agree with the choice we’ve made that I’ll share below. I hate disappointing people, and that is something that I am finally starting to get more comfortable with, but it is still scary for me.

Second, my husband is a very private person, and while he is extremely supportive of The Baby Wait, I know that it is difficult for him to have me divulge such personal details about what is for most, a very private topic.

And lastly, I never wanted or intended for this space to be about me. The vision for this site, the vision that I felt God call me to, was to create a space that reminded us all of God’s faithfulness in the midst of the painful struggle that is infertility, miscarriage or adoption. When I wasn’t able to get my hands on enough stories to post as frequently as I wanted, I started to write a bit, then a bit more, and before I knew it I was sharing more and more about myself and my own journey, which was not what I had initially planned. However, I realized that my recent unwillingness to share was making it difficult for me keep up with this site. Every time I tried, I couldn't write anything, because then I would be revealing what was going on.

I decided that not sharing goes against everything that this site is about: the human story, vulnerability, and seeing God's goodness in the trials and the celebrations. I decided that I want to reciprocate the vulnerability that you all so generously give. So, here goes...

After a break from treatments and a lot of counsel and prayer, my husband and I decided to give IVF a try. We had planned to start a cycle this past spring, but it was right after I launched this site and for some reason I just couldn’t do it and backed out. I know this isn’t the case for everyone, but my doctor was going to put me on birth control to align my cycle with his retrieval schedule, and the day of my first pill was Mother’s Day. It all felt wrong. While disappointed, my husband was extremely supportive and agreed that it was not the right time.

All summer long we prayed about it some more, sought the counsel of a pastor in our church, discussed at length with our parents, shared our concerns with our doctor, and I continued to try a number of holistic infertility options. I oscillated back and forth about the decision by the week, sometimes the day.

One of my biggest hesitations was the use of so many drugs and medications. I’m the kind of girl who will suffer through the worst headache in the world because I don’t want to take Advil or Tylenol. I drink green juice every morning with my probiotics, green supplements, and a handful of vitamins. I make my own deodorant for Pete’s sake. I take pride in my focus on preventative healthcare and my limited use of over the counter and prescription drugs. IVF was the exact opposite of that and I felt like a traitor.

Secondly, I was weary of ‘how far is too far’ when it comes to medical intervention. Were we trying to ‘play God’ by doing IVF? Just exactly how do science and God balance out in this kind of a situation? And if we were going to give it a try, I wanted to make sure that we talked through all of the pros and cons of the many small but very important decisions ad nauseam. 

We talked about all of this until we were blue in the face, and we prayed even more than we talked about it. We eventually got to answers that we both agreed on, but for some reason, I still couldn’t pull the trigger. At this point, Seth gave me some space for me to try to understand my hesitation.

One day I was prepping a story post for the site and it dawned on me – I wanted a cool story. I was receiving all of these stories of miraculous pregnancies, undeniable callings to adopt (which neither Seth or I had felt), and every once in a while, a combination of the two. Nobody’s story was, “I had unexplained infertility and I did a round of IVF and got pregnant.” What a snooze-fest! That would be like the most boring ending ever to “My Story”.  And not only that, but I wanted God to show me His glory in a big way. I expected it. I was the creator of The Baby Wait, after all, and I felt like by doing IVF, I was taking that opportunity away from him.

I confessed this desire to Seth and a few close friends. The more that I talked about it the more I realized how selfish it was. This is not all for me or about what I want or think I deserve. God does not owe me anything. And to consider a plain old IVF story absent of God was making my view of Him so incredibly small. To assume that He wouldn’t be as present in that miracle of life as He would through a natural pregnancy? I realized how ridiculous it sounded.

Now let me pause a second and say that I do think that there is something really powerful in the stories that we hear of women like Hannah (and some of you!), who ended up giving birth to a child even when it seemed impossible by all other conventional standards. After all, it was hearing stories like these that inspired me to start this site in the first place. 

But I started thinking about all of the women that get pregnant every day naturally, some unplanned. Would I ever say that God was not a part of the miracle of those pregnancies? Absolutely not! That is my biggest pro-life argument – every pregnancy is as God planned, and every single life is a miracle. Even IVF pregnancies. I truly believe that if it is not part of God’s plan for someone to get pregnant at a certain time, no amount of science or medical intervention can overcome that.

And it doesn’t make the seemingly ‘less miraculous’ stories any less important. Every single person’s story is meaningful. It reminds me of finding God and His beauty in the everyday, mundane moments. You don’t have to be on the shores in Hawaii or overlooking the skyline of an ancient city to be enamored by His creation. Sometimes His most beautiful masterpieces are in your own backyard.  

I was finally ready. We were ready.

The most invasive and difficult part of the process is done. Before we left for our vacation I had my retrieval and we have some teeny tiny siblings in a freezer. We let my body recover from the procedure and enjoyed what was hopefully our ‘last hurrah’ in Paris, and soon we’ll have our first transfer. We are both nervous and excited.

Part of why I’ve debated whether or not to share is that in the online infertility community, it is very common for people to share every detail, including the results of the transfer. I didn’t know if I was comfortable with that, and I’m still not sure. So I’m just going to wait and see how it goes. I might share and I might not, and I hope you all are okay with that.

Where ever you are on this journey today, know that my heart and prayers are with you. And if any of you are struggling with a similar decision and want to pick my brain, I’m here for you if you have questions or want to know what our thought process was in all of this. Everyone has different perspectives and opinions on it all. Regardless, the whole exercise is exhausting and overwhelming, and I’m so thankful for the people in our lives that helped us navigate this difficult road. You can always email me at shareyourstory@the-baby-wait.com

We are so grateful for your prayers.

Love,
Mer

 

Though You Slay Me

Hey friends. I've been listening to this song by Shane & Shane a lot lately. It's not new, but new to me. I found it about a week before our trip and have been listening to it on repeat the past few days. The lyrics are so good and the song is just beautiful. You all know how much I love a good song so I just had to share. Meditate on these lyrics a minute:

I come, God, I come
Return to the Lord
The one who's broken
The one who's torn me apart
You strike down to bind me up
You say you do it all in love
That I might know You in Your suffering

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though you take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the One who's all I need

My heart and flesh may fail
The earth below give way
But with my eyes, with my eyes I'll see the Lord
Lifted high on that day
Behold, the Lamb that was slain
And I'll know every tear was worth it all

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though you take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the One who's all I need

Though tonight I'm crying out
Let this cup pass from me now
You're still all that I need
You're enough for me
You're enough for me

Though you take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the One who's all I need

Here it is on YouTube with an excerpt from a sermon by John Piper. Friends, be encouraged! Your suffering is not for naught. And if you're in need of a good cry, this song is just what you need.

SO much love to you all today,
Mer

Mallory's Story

Hey everyone! I hope you all are enjoying the wrap up of summer. I am soaking it all in. Yesterday it was the slightest bit chilly in the city and I got this quick glimpse of fall and the coming months. If summer had to end to roll into any other season I would be a total crank about it, but thank you God for making Fall the next one up, because I have no complaints! 

I have given myself a little bit of a break on the blog lately, so thank you for giving me that grace. It has been a much needed rest! And on a related note - I need more stories, friends! If you have thought about sharing your story - even if it isn't finished yet - or know someone that has a beautiful story to share, please send them my way. I know that the well isn't dry yet :-)  The Lord is too good for this to be it for amazing stories of his faithfulness.  

And with that, I give you Mallory's story! They all amaze me in their own way, but you all - God is so crazy sometimes!!! :-) Enjoy

Love & Prayers,
Mer

God has a plan for all of us, though sometimes our timing and way seems better. His plan sure has surprised us and given us more than we could have ever dreamed of – His timing, His way…

My name is Mallory, I blog at nestingheart.wordpress.com. My husband and I got married on a chilly September day in 2010. We enjoyed life as newlyweds; traveling, focusing on our hobbies, and spending time with friends. In December 2011, we were hopeful to start our family. When January rolled around and my cycle wasn’t anywhere in sight – I held my tummy, knowing there was a baby in there. Unfortunately, there wasn’t. And my womb would remain empty for the next 3.5 years as each month I kept the hope up that this was it and each month I was devastated as my heart’s emptiness grew with each passing minute

After lots of testing on both of us, multiple diagnoses, and years of Clomid, Femara, IUIs, second opinions, and finally, a laparoscopic surgery that showed moderate/severe Endometriosis – this was a diagnosis that would give us very little chance to ever conceiving on our own. Our hearts were exhausted from the rollercoaster we were on. As we prayed at mass one Sunday, we watched a family of 4 adopted children sit in the pew in front of us. Each week, we witnessed the love of this family, and each week we felt our hearts reshaping and hope being planted.

All we ever wanted was to be parents. With adoption, came a peace in our hearts that we hadn’t felt in a long time. We contacted agencies, explored our options, and had lots of heart-to-heart talks about our future. We held a spot on a waiting list at a local agency – a waiting list that would take months and months to even be able to get to a home study, or so we thought!

About a month later, a social worker from that agency called us. We were selected to move forward with our home study if we were interested. Luckily for us, our social worker was close to being on maternity leave and was hoping to get our home study done fairly quickly. In a few months, we were approved and officially a waiting family – that was the beginning of February 2015.

Just a few short months later was April 2nd, a day I will never forget.

I got a phone call from our social worker that a healthy, beautiful baby boy was born on April 1st. I got to hear a little about him and his birthmom and how she wanted to meet David and I that afternoon. A bit into the conversation, our social worker said “but there’s just one thing…” and I immediately felt my heart sink. I’m glad that sinking feeling didn’t last long as she said excitedly, “he comes with a healthy baby sister! Twins!”

Twins!? Twins!!

We picked up our beautiful, full head of hair, big brown eyed baby twins less than 24 hours later! We lived in a state of shock for about a month as we settled into our new family, our new routines, with our hearts filled with so much love and joy that I couldn’t help but cry thankful tears.

As we navigated through over-night parenthood to our twin newborns, Aria and Myles, we were extremely worried about the cost of agency fees that were coming. As we walked down the hallway in the hospital with our social worker before picking the twins up, we were informed that the placement fees were now doubled. Our hearts sank. That cost was already above our heads after years of infertility testing and treatments with no help from insurance. We were hesitant to move forward with adoption because we simply weren’t sure we could afford it. We trusted God to help find a way because our hearts were already in love with these two little miracles.

Two weeks after bringing the twins home, we were contacted by a family that had recently lost their daughter, Chelsey, to cancer. Chelsey was a beautiful, courageous, selfless young woman who dreamed of adopting one day but as the cancer took over; she turned that dream into helping other’s dreams come true. After Chelsey passed, her family started the Chelsey’s Dream Foundation – a foundation to help families financially who had adopted.

The Bildstein family with the help of our angel, Chelsey, washed our worries away as they handed us a check that was the exact amount we still needed to pay our placement fees for the twins. We prayed and God provided with the help of Chelsey.  Our family was being watched over and our prayers were being answered, one after another.

The feeling of overwhelming love, peace, and joy that we felt over that first month is enough to last for a lifetime. My heart was full and healed.

When Aria and Myles were a month old, I started to look at a calendar. A little sleep deprived, I questioned where my cycle was. There was no way that I could be pregnant, was there? We had so much going on, no longer trying, and very little chance of ever conceiving. We couldn’t possibly be that family that this happens to…

I took my very first positive pregnancy test as I held my 4 week old newborn twins and cried from the overwhelming feeling of God’s goodness. God opened my womb as soon as my heart was full and just when I thought it couldn’t get any fuller – we became parents to not just one, not just two, but three beautiful miracles!

Through all of the pain, all of the years of waiting and questioning, all of the tears and feelings of hopelessness – God’s plan turned out to be worth every second of it all. Just a year ago, I couldn’t have dreamt up our future to be even half as amazing as it is now!

Everyone has a story and although it may not be what you imagined or when you wanted, it doesn’t mean it can’t be even better! My heart goes out to all those still waiting, I will continue to pray for you as your patience and strength is tested, and I will celebrate with you when your story unfolds, beyond your control, beyond your imagination.

Megan's Story

Our story truly started on our first date in Starbucks nearly 7 years ago. We sat for 6 hours talking and drinking coffee. Some topics were comical and just plain getting to know each other, the other conversations were deep and meaningful. The most meaningful topic was adoption. Adoption was part of both of our stories beforehand, with my husband's family adopting 2 girls from China, and my father was adopted. It was part of us, and we loved it, and it led to us both wanting to build at least part of our family through adoption. 

Almost a year after being married we decided to try to become pregnant naturally. Fast forward about 6 months, and nearly all of our friends being pregnant, I knew something wasn't quite right. We met with my Dr. but not a lot came from that appointment. We were eventually referred to a fertility Dr. and a lot of things were revealed during that time. 

On my husbands birthday I had an HCG test along with a disheartening ultrasound. The HCG test revealed that my right fallopian tube was completely pinched and it would never be possible to be fixed. She also found that my right fallopian tube was completely straightened which is supposed to be coiled; I had fibroids inside and out of the uterus, and a couple of cysts. That day while I was recovering, I began searching for adoption agencies and narrowing down which country we could start the process for. 

During our process and wait I had 3 surgeries within 2 years. My first surgery was to lessen the size of the fibroids, get rid of the cysts and explore for endometriosis. She didn't get as much done as she would have liked, but did confirm I had an advance case of endometriosis. She sent me home to recover with no hormones, so 3 months later I was in a lot of pain with 2 more cysts on my ovary that had to be removed. This time, it was with my OBGYN and I'm so thankful for that. She took care of everything and shortly after put me on a medication that caused my body to go through menopause. Thankfully, it was during winter because those hot flashes were no joke. It truly helped though, and we just waited after that. One year later, I knew I had to make one of the hardest decisions and get a partial hysterectomy. One week after deciding, I was in the hospital going back for surgery. 

The recovery from my hysterectomy was the most difficult, physically, mentally, and especially emotionally. At this point we were told we would have been matched. It was difficult to watch friends and family build their families so quickly and with ease. We wanted to be parents, and we were longing for that picture of our daughter. Almost one month after my hysterectomy it was our day. We got the call, and the picture, and the ease. We were parents! To say we were excited was an understatement. It made up for all the days we waited and all the pain we had endured during our wait.

4 months after seeing our daughter's picture, we were home and a complete family. Sometimes I sit and think about our story before our daughter and it is such a reminder of how God's redemption can make such a positive difference in anyone's life. I know for certain that God placed adoption in both of our hearts before meeting for a reason. I know without a doubt God placed us together in our marriage because we endured a lot in a short amount of time and so early in our marriage. I never questioned whether my husband wanted to still be married to me because I couldn't have biological kids. God gave us each other to be strong for each other while we waited. God gave us our daughter to begin our family and remind us of how much He loves us. 

There are still moments where I wonder what it would be like to be pregnant, the feelings, the emotions, the physical change in my body. Now, though, I quickly remind myself that a lot of people will not experience what I did. How a love for a child grew so strong in my heart I can hardly explain it. How we instantly felt like family even though we don't have the same blood. It reminds me greatly how God must feel when one of His children accepts Him and becomes part of His Kingdom. I think we are blessed enough to get a little snippet of how He feels, because we have adopted and brought this beautiful child into our home.

Betsy's Story

Hi friends! I hope you all have had a good week. Summer is in full swing here in Chicago and it has been lovely. Also, I just have to share that this morning I woke up to a picture of my dear friend holding her son's hand for the first time in Ethiopia, so my heart is about to burst over here with joy over the faithfulness of our Lord. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Today's story is from two wonderful classmates of mine from Pepperdine. Dan and Betsy are Pepperdine sweethearts and the most fun and vibrant souls. I am so thankful to have reconnected with them recently thanks to The Baby Wait. We're trying out a new format today to change things up and going with an interview style with the two of them. Enjoy!

_________________________________________________________________________________

How many years have you been married and lived in San Francisco? 

Dan: We have been married for 9 years.  We got married right after college and moved to Boston for 3 years so I could attend law school and then moved back to California.  We have lived in San Francisco for 5 years.

Tell me about the moment you knew you wanted to become a mother.

Betsy: I always knew I wanted to be a mother.  I definitely wanted to go to college and afterwards I had a great job that I really enjoyed working at a non-profit that serves kids, but ultimately I’ve always wanted to be a stay at home mom.

Can you share some of the initial challenges of becoming pregnant?

Betsy: Right after we started dating, I had some health issues, and as a result, shortly before we got married, we were told that I had Endometriosis and we would probably have a difficult time getting pregnant. It was recommended that we should go straight to a fertility specialist when we were ready to start trying.  So after Dan graduated from law school and was settled into a job, we found a doctor and met with her for the first time in January 2011.  We spent almost a year doing tests and trying a couple of different fertility medications and nothing was working.  In December we did our first embryo transfer for IVF and found out right after Christmas that it was successful and that we were pregnant.  After the initial test, we had to wait a few weeks before we could go in for the first ultrasound where we would find out if there was a heartbeat.  When we went in for that appointment, there was just nothing there.  The doctor explained that I had miscarried and that it was common and that we were young and there was still a lot of options and no indication that this wouldn’t work for us.  So we tried again with almost the exact same result and then again.  At this point it was the summer of 2012 and we are going to be out of town too much to try another round because at certain points you have to be able to go in every day. And our doctor wanted to re-run some tests and do some new ones before we started again.  So we took the summer off and in late August I had a test scheduled.  Before they would do this test, I had to take a pregnancy test and mine was positive.  All I could think about was the stories you hear about people who try so hard to get pregnant and then when they stop trying, they finally get pregnant.  I went in for a blood test to confirm and when the doctor called with the results she explained that the levels were too low and I was miscarrying again.

How were you able to trust God in the middle of this difficult circumstance?

Dan: The doctors were actually putting a baby inside of Betsy and it seemed like there was no reason that it wouldn’t work.  But science or anything we did couldn’t make it continue to grow, God had to do that.  If it had happened any sooner, I think we would be tempted to say, isn’t science so amazing?  But at this point we fully knew that only God could do this for us. We were praying about it constantly and started a fast that some of our family members and friends joined us in.

How did you make the decision to try IVF one more time?

Betsy: We decided that we would try one last time and would do everything that was within our control to make it successful so that if it didn’t work out, we could walk away and not regret that we hadn’t tried certain things.  So I went in to the meeting with our doctor to go over the latest test results in November 2012 thinking that she was going to say there was still lots to try, etc, and I was going to have to tell her this was our last time- it was just too emotionally exhausting.  Instead, she told me that the test results weren’t what she would have expected for what she thought was going on and that we there was nothing else she could do for us.  There were other things we could try elsewhere, but they were very expensive and not medically proven and she wouldn’t recommend them.  I asked her about trying one last time with our two remaining embryos and she said she wanted to talk through the whole scenario.  She said “we know you will get pregnant and we know you will miscarry.”  What was our plan from there?  We had talked about adoption being our next step and she said she was fine going ahead with one last transfer if we would talk to an adoption attorney beforehand and find out all of our options there.  I called and actually got excited about the possibility of adopting.  I was still really hopeful that I would get pregnant, but a part of me also just wanted to get this last round over with so we could move on - I was just so tired of waiting!

What was it like the moment you found out you were pregnant?

Dan: We had the first positive pregnancy test the week or so before Christmas.  We were going to be at Betsy’s parents when we would have been able to go in and hopefully see a heartbeat so we convinced the doctor to let us go in earlier with the understanding that it was too early to see a heartbeat. We just wanted to know if there was still hope or not.  We didn’t tell anyone that we were going in for the appointment.  We had been to so many of these appointments that had turned out to be so disappointing that it was hard to imagine it being any other way.  The doctor turned on the ultrasound screen and said “do you see what I see?”  We had seen literally a hundred ultrasounds at this point, but neither one of us could figure out what we ever looking at.  And then she said, “here is baby A and here is baby B, or I guess I should say twin A and twin B.”  We were so excited - neither one of us could stop smiling.  We went back a couple of weeks later and were so nervous to see if there were heartbeats, but she turned on the screen and this time they had grown so that we could actually see for ourselves that there were babies. She pointed out the flicker of their heartbeats and we listened to each one. We knew from genetic testing of the embryos that it was a boy and a girl!  And from there, we just kept getting good news that the babies were developing well.   

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How has your faith grown through this experience?

Betsy:  Even though it was such a low point in our lives in many ways, it amazes me how evident it is that God had a perfect plan for us.  Being pregnant and now having Jay and Lyla, I think, how could I have ever missed out on this experience, but I also feel so confidently that if we had adopted, I would feel the same way. That would have been God’s perfect plan for our family.

Dan: Looking back on this experience, it’s easy for us to see how God took care of us.  We had insurance that covered our IVF attempts almost 100%.  I had a great job, but was working so many hours. When Betsy was pregnant, I got a job offer without even looking and it lets me be at home with the babies way more than my other one would have.  We had great support from friends and family. An experience that drives many couples apart, has brought us closer together.  We came to a crossroad and had to choose faith.  We like to say we prayed for a miracle and instead we got two!

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Kristine's Story

Before we dive in...I have to start by saying I struggled with writing my story. I would sit down to get started and when I did, I would start to feel that my words weren't powerful...my story not important. This story doesn't involve fertility drugs, miscarriage or adoption. I haven't been through anything traumatic. But today as I sit down and finish my story, I realize that all of those doubts were lies from the devil who wants to take away my confidence, in order to prevent me from sharing this incredible example of God's timing and provision. I am so happy that it's finally written... almost a month after my sweet friend Meredith asked me to share. With that...here we go....

Growing in Faith while Waiting for Baby Z

Photography by Ashleigh Rachel Photography

My wondeful husband, Jeff, and I have been happily married for almost four years after meeting in the cornfields of Iowa while in our first jobs out of college at a news station in Mason City, Iowa. After about two and a half years of marital bliss we decided it was time to "start trying." This decision wasn't based on a strong urge to get pregnant, although I've always wanted kids; I just wasn't cooing at every baby that crossed my path. I was enjoying life as a newlywed, traveling and completely focused on my career as a newscaster in Charlotte, North Carolina. Our decision to "try" was more based on age, career timing and the notion that you'll never be ready, so let's just take the plunge because heck - we aren't getting any younger. 

We started trying in the early spring of 2014. I thought that was a good time to start - that way I would have my baby in my arms around Christmas (it just sounds like a nice time of year to stay inside snuggled up with a little one). I thought we'd get pregnant in the first month or so of trying. My mom never had any trouble. My mother in law had no problems. Why would I be any different? If only planning for a baby were that easy. After about 4 or 5 months of negative results I started to really understand the meaning of the "miracle of birth." But still I wasn't worried. Just shy of a year after we started trying is when I began worrying and thinking we may need to see a doctor to find out what was going on. I have to mention that during this time my husband was actively seeking full time employment, and we weren't sure if we'd be staying in Charlotte because he wasn't finding work in the TV business. 2014 wasn't the best year. It was a season of financial instability, my husband's unhappiness as he waited for the phone to ring, and now baby stress. So I fell on my knees...begging God to provide a TV job for Jeff, to provide a steady income for him so he could fill the role of provider which he so desperately wanted to be for our family, and for a baby! We had everyone praying. 

While praying, I kept hearing God say..."trust me." Peace started to replace fear as I learned to wait in faith and obedience...slowly giving up control and letting Jesus take the wheel. I deleted my ovulation apps, threw out the ovulation tests and just stopped thinking about trying so hard. I know everyone says that's when it happens but that's not why I did these things...it was to put God first and put to death my own efforts. No kidding...letting go worked! The next month I was pregnant! I found out day before I was scheduled to see a holistic doctor in Tampa who had helped my sister in law get pregnant after she was told she'd never be able to have kids. How ironic -- the day before I went to seek professional help here I was finally with child! Talk about God's perfect timing.  

I want to give you a timeline to add to the awesomeness of God's timing and our own little "Holy Trinity." In January of 2015 after a year and a half of sending out resumes and going on interviews...Jeff got a TV job as a sports reporter and anchor where I work, WCCB News. A month after that we closed on our dream home which is another story of God's faithfulness as we put in a crazy offer and the builder didn't even counter. Another little miracle. All the while I was pregnant and didn't even know it. Remember I had stopped tracking....it was Jeff who encouraged me to take a test because he felt it had been a while since I menstruated, and sure enough at the end of February I found out I was almost 2 months along! God answered our 3 big prayer requests within 3 months and to top it off, He answered the desire of our hearts for a baby boy to carry on the Zell name! We cannot wait to meet the little man in October! 

Final thoughts: 
Even though I was never diagnosed as infertile (a word I loathe, by the way, because it sounds so absolute - I feel it should be called "trouble conceiving"), the wait was still incredibly discouraging. Every negative pregnancy test stung and left a pit of disappointment in my stomach. But looking back I know God's timing was absolutely perfect. God knew having a baby during Jeff's season of waiting for a job wasn't good for us. And I believe He waited to bless us with the job, home and baby as He worked on our hearts -- teaching us to lean on Him. And he was preparing my heart for the profound, high and holy calling of motherhood...one of His most important callings, as I will nurture this boy's soul. God humbled and reminded both of us that we can't perfectly plan out our life...a good lesson for a girl who already has the entire month of September scheduled on the calendar. I'm thankful now for the waiting period because it drew me closer to the Lord. The Lord strengthened my prayer life, and strengthened the spiritual bond with my husband as we sat in bed together for months praying for our baby. And when the pregnancy test finally showed a plus sign a year later...I was so grateful to God!  It made me appreciate this baby so much more than if it had been easy. Not a day goes by when I don't thank Him for answering my prayers and the desire of my heart. I hope this encourages you to remember that God's timing is perfect. It says in Ecclesiastes that "time and chance come together for every person." God fulfilled our dream and prearranged this time of increase and blessing. I encourage you to be in hopeful waiting for your blessing because it is coming, as God promises to give you too the desires of your heart that He's placed in you. Just know He's at work right now on your beautiful and unique story. 

Prayer: 
Lord, thank You for providing me with Your peace. When the devil tries to steal my peace, I won't let him take it. Instead, I'll remain rooted in You as I look not to the future but learn to enjoy this very moment. Amen.

My Anything

You guys, this week I've been reading Jennie Allen's newest book, Anything: The Prayer That Unlocked My God and My Soul, and it has my thoughts racing and heart so heavy - in a good way.  She talks about the prayer that she and her husband, Zac, prayed, surrendering every part of their being to Him, wanting more of Him, willing to give anything to Him, and how that changed their lives. I sat on the runway for 2 hours last night at LaGuardia trying to get back home after a short work trip to NYC, and besides the brief snooze I took (I bet you a million dollars my mouth was definitely hanging open, because I'm cool like that), I read this book the entire trip home. I have been highlighting a bunch on my Kindle, but this part in particular made me think of you all:  

There is no escaping it. He is God, and if our suffering brings him the most glory, let it be.  
-- Jennie Allen

Isn't that so true?! Not easy to swallow, sure, but PREACH! 

In many ways, this site was born out of an "Anything" prayer regarding my infertility this past winter. I pleaded with God to help me understand why I had to be the one to suffer, what was His purpose? His plan? Why me? 

As you can probably imagine, taking the vulnerable leap to start this site was not easy, and I wrestled with it for quite some time until I realized that I had to obey what the Lord was calling me to do. Sometimes I still stop and have a freak-out moment when I remember that everybody knows - EVERYBODY KNOWS! But it's okay. It isn't just about this life, and this life isn't just about me - it is so much bigger than my infertility, so much bigger than my embarrassment, so much bigger than me. 

So, that's my Anything. This site is my Anything. And if I had to go back, I would do it all over again.

I'm sharing a bit more about that today over at 4Word for Women - I'm so honored to be a part of their Wednesday Interviews series. 


Ashley's Story

You guys, I am so honored to share this story with you all today. Ashley's story is going to make you choke up, tears will likely roll down your cheeks, and without giving it all away, let me just say that it is a first for The Baby Wait. I think one of the most beautiful things about the stories that our God has written is that every single one of them is different, yet they all have one thing in common: in one way or another, the glory of our God shines through the tears, through the struggle, and through the rejoicing. Ashley's story is powerful, and I am so thankful for her willingness to share even though her story is far from finished. Grab your tissues, friends.

Photo Credit: Wonderlane, Creative Commons

Photo Credit: Wonderlane, Creative Commons

My husband, John, and I met in college and after dating for nearly four years we got married in June 2010. We both knew that we wanted to have 3 or 4 children and wanted to spend at least a year as just the two of us (and our dogs!) before we started trying to get pregnant. In September of 2011 and as we were laying in bed, John out of nowhere said, "Let's start trying to have a baby." I was of course ecstatic and thrilled that we were both ready for this next phase in our lives.  I stopped taking my birth control pills the next day.  Being the naive 23 year old that I was, I didn't think we would have any issues getting pregnant, I mean that's what our bodies are made to do, right? We were both young and healthy, and though I wasn't expecting to get pregnant immediately, I figured surely we would be expecting by Christmas.  I began tracking my cycles and we just went on with life hoping each cycle would be the one to make us parents.

Fast forward to December of 2012 and I still wasn't pregnant.  At this point I knew that something was wrong and that I needed to go see a doctor.  I drug my feet around before calling and setting up an appointment because I was absolutely terrified that we would find out that for whatever reason we would not be able to have children of our own.  I'm usually a pretty optimistic person, but I was completely paranoid about getting bad news.  I finally made an appointment and went to see an OB/GYN in March of 2013.  She ran some tests on both John and I. John's tests all came back normal; however, my results showed that I had PCOS and hadn't been ovulating... Kind of a problem when you're trying to get pregnant. My doctor got me a prescription for Clomid and I took my first round in May totally not expecting it to work.

On Sunday, June 2, 2013, I very anxiously took a pregnancy test because I was a couple of days late and was shocked when I saw two pink lines appear.  John and I were over-the-moon excited! We'd been waiting almost two years for this! I went to the doctor and the pregnancy was confirmed with a simple blood test.  I was due February 12, 2014. The next several weeks went by quickly and without any issues.  I was never sick, just really tired.  Things seemed to be perfect.  Then on July 4, I started spotting. I was terrified and my doctor's office was closed for the next 4 days due to the 4th of July holiday.  I took it easy over the weekend and called right away on Monday, July 8. My doctor wasn't too concerned since I wasn't bleeding much, but scheduled an ultrasound just to be on the safe side. The ultrasound revealed a perfectly healthy little baby that looked just like a gummy bear. At that point, I thought we were in the clear.  I'd read that once you hear a heartbeat, chances of miscarriage went down significantly.  So, we told our families and everyone was so excited.  On July 26, our world came crashing down (little did we know, it wouldn't be the last time). We went in for our 12 week appointment and found out that our little gummy bear no longer had a heartbeat.  We. Were. Devastated.  I had a D&C that afternoon and we tried as best as we could to move on with our lives (easier said than done).

This is the point when I began having a closer relationship with God. I was raised believing in God, but my family didn't attend church regularly and didn't pray often.  I began praying that God would help us find peace with our loss and that He would help us to have a healthy baby.

I got pregnant again (with the help of Clomid) in January 2014. Again, everything went great until I was about 8.5 weeks. Then, I started spotting again. I immediately had flashbacks of our last miscarriage.  Before I had the chance to get in to the doctor's office for an ultrasound, I started bleeding more and on February 28, I naturally miscarried our baby. We were once again devastated.

At this point, my doctor ran some more tests and determined that I had MTHFR, which causes my blood to clot more easily and most likely caused clots in the placenta leading to both miscarriages.  Knowing this, we came up with a plan for my next pregnancy.  I got pregnant again in May of 2014 once again on my first round of Clomid.  I began giving myself shots of Lovenox to combat the blood clotting. Our due date was February 14, 2015. A Valentine's baby! Everything was going well; I had another small bout of spotting at around 9-10 weeks, but ultrasounds showed a healthy baby. It was measuring a bit small, but it wasn't a big concern to the doctor.  Our 12 week appointment rolled around and we were thrilled to hear a healthy heartbeat.  My doctor scheduled my monthly appointments as well as a monthly ultrasound to monitor for blood clots.  We shared our news with our family and friends and on social media.  I told the student in my class (I teach 5th grade) and John and I prayed daily for a healthy baby.  We thought we had everything figured out and that in February we would be welcoming our first child.

On September 8, 2014, John and I went in for our 16 week ultrasound (I was actually 17 weeks,  but couldn't get in at 16 because of scheduling conflicts). We were so excited and were hoping to be able to find out the sex of the baby.  The ultrasound technician was wonderful and completed the ultrasound noting that the baby was really curled up and she couldn't determine the sex.  She said she needed to go make sure that she got everything the doctor wanted her to get and that she'd be back shortly.  Only, she didn't come back, the doctor did. My doctor was not available, but another from the practice came in.  She informed us that she suspected that our baby had holoprosencephaly and that in her 25 years as an OB/GYN, she had never seen a baby survive the defect. Our world came crashing down for a third time. I don't really remember much of what else she said at that appointment and everything became a big blur. I remember begging God for the ultrasound to be wrong and for our baby to be ok.  My doctor's office referred us to a specialist and we scheduled an appointment to confirm the diagnosis two weeks later.  It was the longest two weeks of my life.

The specialist confirmed the holoprosencephaly diagnosis and let us know that our precious baby was a girl.  She suggested that we have amnio performed because more often than not a chromosome abnormality accompanies the holoprosencephaly. The amnio revealed that our baby girl had triploidy; a complete third set of chromosomes... A fatal diagnosis.  At this point I prayed more and harder than I ever have in my life.  At first, I was angry.  Why was God taking another baby from us when he already had two? After all we had been through with the infertility to begin with, and then the miscarriages and MTHFR and shots, why were we now having to go through this? Then, I began praying for peace and for acceptance.  At this point I was about 22 weeks pregnant and we continued with the pregnancy knowing that our girl would either die in my womb or shortly after birth.  We began making plans for a funeral instead of decorating a nursery.

On November 21, I woke up not feeling quite right.  I knew something was wrong.  John and I went to the doctor as soon as they opened and my suspicions that our daughter's heartbeat had stopped were confirmed.  I was induced that evening at 28 weeks and in the course of the next 36 hours I was given 6 rounds of Pitocin to induce labor to deliver our daughter.  At 7:46 a.m. on November 23, 2014 our precious Hope Madalynn was born an angel. She weighed a mere 8 oz and was 9 inches long.   A rush of peace swept over us; the waiting for the inevitable was over.  Our girl was with God.  We spent several hours with Hope and our families got to meet her and hold her.  Then, I was discharged from the hospital and left empty handed.

Planning and attending Hope's funeral was the hardest thing that I have ever had to do in my life.  I think about our daughter every. single. day.  A week after Hope was born, we began attending church again and have since welcomed God into our lives more than ever before.  The anger that I once had has turned to love and appreciation that our sweet girl knew nothing but love.  She never experienced any pain or any of the bad things going on in the world, just love. With the help of our families and God, we started a program at our local hospital called Hope's Hugs to provide tiny blankets and other comforting items to families that have to walk the same road we did.

Now here we are almost 8 months later and close to four years after we started to begin our family.  We have been trying for the last 5 months to get pregnant again so that we can expand our family.  The Clomid is not working like it has in the past.  We will do one more round this month before we begin to explore more drastic fertility treatments.  I hope and pray with all my heart that we are able to have our own children whenever that may be. If there's one thing I've learned from all of this it is that God's plan may not always be the same as our own, but He does have a plan.  Prayers for all of you other mamas who are also waiting for your miracle.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a FUTURE.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you." - Jeremiah 29:11-12

On Contentment

Happy Wednesday, friends! So I have to share something with you all... a few weeks ago I was text messaging with a friend of mine. We were talking about feeling overwhelmed, being stuck in this time of waiting, impatience, and the like, and she reminded me of a sermon that she listens to again and again because it is just that good. This sermon was really convicting for her a few years ago when it was first preached, and was so convicting for me when I listened to it the other day. The funny thing is, I totally remember listening to this sermon at church 2 years ago, but I was a few months into marriage, so I had passed the big hurdle of my 20s - finding a husband. We had just started "trying" for a baby and were obviously blind to the surprising road ahead. So I listened to this sermon, but I didn't really 'hear' it until this week when I gave it another go. It is long, but I doubt you will regret the time that you spend hearing this message. I would bet money on it :-)  Enjoy, sweet friends!

Love & Prayers,
Mer

 

Kailey's Story

Hi there, friends! I’m Kailey and I blog over at Cheers to Plan A. It is a sweet little space where I shared our journey through the adoption process. I also love sharing how the Lord is stirring me to become more like Him and drawing me closer and closer always. I am super passionate about authentic relationships and walking with people through their journeys of adoption, infertility, and/or miscarriages. Please connect with me on Instagram, I love making new friends {@kbirkeland}. 

I am so honored to share our story with you today. I hope when you are finished reading that you see the Lord in every detail in your life and know that He loves you so deeply it's almost unfathomable. Enjoy! 

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Sweet friends, I am beyond honored to share a beautifully written story that only our amazing God could orchestrate. My husband and I never thought that we would face the decisions and procedures we have over the last six years, but God did. He knew from the very beginning of time that this would be our story, this would be how He received the glory He deserves.

Both of us wanted to be parents, but definitely disagreed on the timing of it all. We agreed while we were engaged we would wait five years to start our family. Little did I know, the desire to become a mommy almost immediately became all-consuming for me. I was on birth control briefly but stopped about three months after we were married. We quickly decided it was not the best route for us. Long story short… that stuff made me crazyNow as I look back, I am certain that fear drove that decision. I was fearful the longer I took birth control, the longer it would take us to conceive. At this point, I did not know how this one thing not happening in my life would be the catalyst to bring me closer to Jesus than ever before and bring a ministry I’ve longed for for years. 

And so the journey to growing our family began. I was convinced every single month that I was pregnant. I wasn’t. There was always hope. Every. Single. Time. But I never saw those two little lines most women have the unbelievable honor to see.

At the beginning of 2011, we decided it was time to see my OB. For the next two years, we journeyed through testing and more testing, surgery, procedures, crying, screaming, throwing of things, and wondering why in the world there wasn’t a baby in my belly. Each disappointment was an opportunity for the Lord to use my pain for purpose and I knew He was calling me. He had something so amazing for me. He had the best for me. But we were just so desperate, so my husband and I took matters into our own hands. The whole time, He was whispering, “Come to Me, Kailey, I have what you need. Do you trust me?” 

But, it was time for us to have a baby and I wanted to make it happen. We went to a specialist and began our first IUI cycle with clomid. We did two more rounds with no success. By the end of April 2013, I didn’t even recognize myself in the mirror. I was overweight and more depressed than ever. The Lord met me there and used a very special someone to speak to me. He knew the person that could confront me could only be, my mom.  

The conversation I had with my mom was probably the most pivotal moment in our journey. It got my attention. I was so blinded and had such a one-track mind. Get a baby in my belly. That’s all I could focus on. That’s it. I was not going to church. I did not want to be around anyone, I did not care about anything except getting pregnant. My mother has always had the tough conversations with me, but this one beats them all. She said she had been praying and did not want to have this conversation, but she knew she had to. She let me know that this was not living. She knew I was going to be upset. And I was. She had the tough conversation, knowing that I would not like it. But, I knew she was right. She was beyond right. That conversation removed the blinders from my eyes. I could finally see. I could hear Jesus saying again, “Come to Me, Kailey, I have what you need. Do you trust me?” 

All of those meds, appointments, and taking things into my own hands... did not create a little life in my belly. I spent all that time trying to get what I wanted, but I ended up getting the furthest thing that I thought I wanted. I got Plan A.

The next week I started a weight loss program and began spending some major time with Jesus. Again, He was saying, “Come to Me, Kailey, I have what you need. Do you trust me?” Finally, I realized that God had another plan. The best plan and it was not the one I had written. He was calling me to chase Him… live the story He had written for me even before I was born. And adoption was going to be a part of the story.

Adoption had been on my heart since 2005, but not on my husband’s. The night he asked me to marry him, I remember telling him I needed him to be okay with adoption before I said yes. He said “if we cannot have our own kids, then we could adopt.” Fast-forward six years later, our house was still super quiet and we did not know why. We were never told we could not conceive children, so there we were, at a crossroad: do we wait until a doctor tells us we cannot conceive? Or do we believe the Lord has another story for us? We wanted to be told our Plan A wasn’t going to happen, so we could go to God’s Plan A. But God. Don’t you just love those words? He knew that we needed to grow our faith in Him and learn to lean only on Him to live our story, the story He had written for us.  

Over the next three months we prayed separately about how our family was going to grow. Throughout this time of prayer, I did not mention anything about adoption to my husband. I was not going to be the one to change his mind or his heart; Jesus was. So there I was again, hearing the Lord say once again, “Come to Me, Kailey, I have what you need. Do you trust me?”  I did trust Him, with all my heart and so did my husband. We knew that the Lord had spoken clearly to us both. In August 2013, my husband looked over to me and said, “So about adoption. I’m ready.” Cue, crying and laughing and crying some more. I was thrilled about this new adventure. This was the adventure the Lord had lead us to and there was no doubt that He was right there with us.

After one year of waiting in the adoption process, we were matched with our birthmother in December 2014. While we were waiting and getting to know our birthmother, she told us that she chose us because we did not have any biological children. This time, Jesus did not say, “Trust Me,” He said, “My love, now you understand.”

Our baby, Evangelyn Rose, was born May 6th, 2015, at 4:46 a.m. We were able to be in the birthing room when she was born and I was able to cut the umbilical cord. She is now eight weeks old and we are having the time of our lives. We are thrilled that she was Plan A!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Baby Proofing

These are some pictures of my house right now. 

Yep. Amazing, right? And now you're all royally confused. Nope, those aren't my baby toys, and no, I don't have a baby, but yes that's my baby-proofed condo.

We have some of our best friends staying with us right now with their darling little boy while they are in transition between their old house and closing on their new one, and it is just the best thing ever. I mean, logistically, we have an extra bedroom, extra bathroom, and plenty of space for 3 more so it makes sense, but we get so much in return that I could go on forever. We get to share dinner making duty, clean up duty, and have built-in early morning workout partners (that aren't lying next to us in bed, making it more enticing to snuggle instead). There is always someone to talk to, someone to help you decide which shoes to wear with your dress, AND there is the bundle of joy that is their 11-month old little pumpkin of a son. We get to help feed him, bathe him, read stories to him, and experience the fun of witnessing "firsts" right here in our own home. And it just makes my heart so happy. I'm telling you, the Swedes might actually be on to something with their communal living. We are having a blast! 

Before they arrived, we wanted to make sure that their little one would be safe in our home, so we had a wild Friday night on Amazon.com and ordered outlet protectors and a bumper for around the fireplace. Seth excitedly put up the gate at the top of our stairs that our friends ordered, and at last - our home finally looked like the place I had always envisioned it would by this point in our marriage :-)

So besides the fact that this has been such a fun week, it has all gotten me thinking... Chances are we never would have baby proofed right now if it weren't for our guests, but the sprinkling of it all around the house? Well, they are just the most beautiful reminders to trust in the Lord and His plans for us. I love it so much that I just might not take it all down. Even after they leave. Because I know deep down in my heart that we will need it all someday. 

What if we prepared for all of life in that way? I know we say that we trust in Him - or at least I know I say it all the time - but do we really mean it? Do we trust in Him so greatly that we would go as far as drilling holes in the wall for something that has not yet arrived, in anticipation of its coming? Do we trust in Him so deeply that we push away the smallest hint of jealousy? Do we trust in Him so whole-heartedly that we stop our wishing and whining? Do we trust in Him so passionately that we redirect the focus of our hearts to the needs of His kingdom instead of the needs of ourselves? 

If I'm being completely honest, I'm not sure that I do, and I am working on it this week. Sure, deep down I trust Him and constantly try to get rid of my jealous thoughts and impatient daydreams, but I'm pretty sure I tend to let it all go a little too far before I remember to halt and surrender. So I know it sounds silly, but I am using my baby proofed condo as my reminder - my reminder to give every anxiety, every fear, and every doubt to the Lord. What is your reminder?

"But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit." Jeremiah 17:7-8

 

 

Hannah's Story

For those of you newer to the site, I explained here how I decided on the name for those that want to share their story but prefer to stay anonymous. This story here is so wonderful, and one of the things I really love about it is the way she explains how her health played a role in her infertility. All of our stories are so different and beautiful, and I think that's what makes them all so special. Never a dull or boring moment with the Lord - he keeps us on our toes! Enjoy sweet Hannah's story, friends!

Several months after getting married, we found out I was pregnant, and were thrilled.  Then, at 12 weeks, I miscarried.  As anyone who has been through miscarriage knows, it was a terrible, terrible time.  And I kept thinking "soon, I'll start to feel better".  But I didn't.  For 2 years, I simply didn't feel good.  I was exhausted constantly, had blood sugar sensitivities, aches and pains, vision changes.  I was tested several times for thyroid issues at my insistence, but nothing was conclusive.  And worst of all, I wasn't getting pregnant again.  Two years of trying, testing, and feeling sick, was taking its toll.  Thank God that he had blessed me with an amazing husband - he was my rock throughout this time.  I finally ended up at the Pope Paul VI Clinic in Omaha, home of NaPro technology.  

At Pope Paul Clinic, I was finally diagnosed with a rare thyroid disorder and put on medication that made an immediate difference.  Like, 2 hours after I took the first pill, I felt a jolt of electricity run through my body, and for the first time in years, felt like I had energy.  It was spectacular.  Then, through a lot of reading (Dr. Susan Blum, Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. David Perlmutter are my favorites), education, meeting with naturopaths, diet changes (primarily no gluten and sugar - as these are huge inflammatory agents), acupuncture and body work, I kept working through my problems.  I have an autoimmune deficiency which was causing widespread inflammation throughout my body.  The massive wave of symptoms were triggered by my miscarriage, but I can look back as far as junior high and see the starting signs of things amiss.  Anyway, the inflammation was making for an "inhospitable environment" in my uterus.  During my testing at Pope Paul Clinic, they knew this was happening, but couldn't pinpoint the exact cause.  It took me years after that to work through the whole picture.  And I certainly wasn't doing it with just my fertility in mind.  I just wanted to feel great. 

At this point, we decided to pursue adoption.  My husband has several cousins who were adopted, and it was always something he felt drawn to.  So it wasn't a difficult decision to shift our focus to adoption.   We adopted through our local Catholic Social Services, who had an infant adoption program for newborns born in-state, adopted by local families.  We were at the hospital for our daughter's birth, and have had a truly blessed open adoption with her birth mother.

Fast forward some years, and we were wanting to adopt again.  Our daughter was praying every night for "a baby brother and a baby sister" (completely unprovoked by us!).  I told my husband that God probably had twins waiting for us, so get ready. Then, through the same program, we were able to adopt our son, again bringing him home from the hospital at 4 days old, and again with a spectacular open adoption with his birth parents.  We were feeling so very, very blessed (although I was, admittedly, a little surprised that it wasn't twins).  After facing years of not knowing if we would ever have children here on earth, to have 2 beautiful, healthy kids was beyond our wildest dreams.

When our son was 4 weeks old, I was starting to be quite concerned for my health again.  The exhaustion was back, and I literally spent all day on the couch.  Luckily, our son just slept all day anyway, and our daughter spent a lot of time at her grandparents - they were way more fun than her boring mom who just wanted to sleep all the time.  On a strange whim, I took a pregnancy test - the first time I'd thought about it in almost 5 years!  Once we adopted, I simply let it go.  Anyway - surprise!!  I was pregnant!! Hahaha - God has such a funny sense of humor!  Our younger daughter was born 9 months to the day from our son's birthday. God gave us "Irish Twins" - and our older daughter got exactly what she had been praying for!  And life has been absolutely insane ever since.  But the stress is good stress, and I regularly just stop in my tracks and marvel at God's plans.  For I simply can't imagine our lives without our older daughter and son.  And without our fertility struggles, they never would have joined our family. 

I also credit my infertility with leading me down a path to general health and wellness.  I still have struggles, but my awareness of my body and what affects it is so much improved.  And I'm convinced that I finally was able to get pregnant because of the changes I made - even though it was the furthest thing from my mind!  Honestly, at that point, I had completely made peace with never being pregnant again, and was in no way doing things thinking "maybe this will be the thing that works and I'll get pregnant!"  I was just happy to be feeling better and better.

I realize it's easy to look back, now that things are so, so good, and say "it was all for a reason".  But that's really true.  I had always been a type A control freak and even back in college knew that it would take something big to make me work through that, and just give my life truly to God.  And what's bigger (and more out of our control) than fertility?  And yes, it absolutely tore me apart dealing with infertility. But it made my marriage stronger, my faith deeper and actually made me like myself more, made me a better person.  And for that I am grateful.  Add on top of that our older 2 kids, and I wouldn't trade our journey for anything.

So now I'm a busy mom with a 6 year old, 19 month old and 10 month old.  Life is good, and God is spectacular.  To all the women out there with infertility weighing on their hearts, know that you are in my prayers.  It's such a burden, and at times a very lonely burden.  I pray for comfort for you, and a baby to sleep, heavy in your arms, very soon.  Thanks for letting me share my story.

Father's Day

My sweet husband might not officially be a daddy yet, but I had the opportunity to watch him be a father-like figure multiple times this weekend and it made my heart so happy. I hit the jackpot with this man of mine. Have I said he was worth the wait? :-) We served in the nursery together at church and he was the only one able to calm down the most upset little boy. He held him and comforted him, and eventually the little one fell asleep in his arms <heart melting again just typing this>. Yep, he's pretty great. So blessed that he is mine!

I know Father's Day has come and gone, but it has taken me some time to process my feelings about this holiday as they caught me by surprise. Unlike Mother's Day, it's not supposed to be my day - never will be my day - but it has been more difficult than I thought. It's the sadness. The longing. The frustration. Don't get me wrong - I have the very best Dad, and I think it is a wonderful day to celebrate the important role that the father figure plays in a child's life and the family unit - but I ache and can't help but feel responsible (at least partly!) for unintentionally keeping this privilege from my husband. I know it's "not my fault", and it's not his either. And I know that our time will come. But the sting is there.

As we sat at the dinner table together - just the two of us - on Sunday night, we prayed that this was our last Father's Day as a family of two. We prayed that we might have the opportunity to be parents, to be nurturers, leaders, mentors, disciplinarians, friends, boundary setters, teachers, listeners, comforters. We prayed that if it is God's will, that he would bless us with many children. Many. MANY. I might take this back in a decade, but I think I could mother for the rest of my life. And maybe I will in one form or another...

There are many ways to be parents, and this post beautifully highlights Dads that are fathers to children in the foster care system. It was all over my Newsfeed this weekend so some of you may have already read it yourself. It is lovely.

How did you all feel about the day? Were any of you surprised by your emotions? Maybe you thought you would be more emotional than you were? Maybe I'm just a crazy person? :-) Or maybe it was just all those adorable Facebook posts of my friends' husbands with their little ones. Maybe that's what it's all about, after all... Jealousy. Comparison. Inequality. Let's be honest - none of those lead us down a path to the Lord. James 3:14-15 says, "But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic."  

It takes serious work - constant reminders - to fight off the jealousy. One of my favorite quotes of all time...

 

So I'm choosing to protect my joy. To guard it with every ounce of my being and fight off that jealousy with a strong fist. I know it is what the Lord wants for me; what He wants for us all. Join me?