Time to Go

September 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

I am in a waiting period in my infertility journey, but many of you are in a season of going. Going involves a different kind of waiting. When we are going, we wait for doctors, test results, social workers, or parental rights to be revoked. This waiting is filled with hope, expectation, and possibility. During my go times, I found myself desperately beyond comprehension hoping. Yet I was holding my heart back for fear that my going would result in nothing. Going was wonderful because we had a plan and a direction. Oh, but going was painful because we never knew what the result would be. Could we get pregnant with IVF this time? Will a birth mom finally choose us, or will IUI work this time?

So how do we get through the waiting while moving ahead without turning into lunatics? Practically, we don’t allow whatever “going” we are doing to consume us. There is a great big world out there beyond whatever road we are pursuing to have children. We have a spouse to love, respect, and encourage. There are friends to encourage, dishes to wash, stories to tell and hear. There is more to life than our going. In fact during this going season we can pick up a new hobby. Knitting. I love to knit. While I waited at doctor appointments, lab draws, and ultrasound checks, I knitted. I made things for friends, family, teachers. Maybe you are a technophile and filling your waiting with time on facebook, blogging, or video games is up your alley. I have also learned that memorizing God’s word is a great way to fill the time that could be squandered in waiting. Perhaps a verse on God’s faithfulness would be a good place to start.

When we start out on the direction God has given us for our infertile journey, let us not forget waiting is a big part of going. As we wait, let us rest in God knowing that; “The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 God is before us leading us down the path, waiting with us and never leaving us. He is telling us to trust Him with the results and not be afraid or discouraged. He promises to never leave but more than that to never forsake us. Amazing but true. God is in the midst of it all.

Are you going? Are you waiting? Tell me about what you are doing. I would love to pray for you.

Strength in Waiting

September 6, 2010 § Leave a comment

Isaiah 40:31 “but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

So we are waiting for God to perform a miracle. Right? A miracle in our bodies, so we can have a child, a miracle in circumstance so that a precious child who needs adopted comes to our door, or a miracle in our hearts so that we are content with our current situation. As we wait, we pray. We sometimes beg, other times we timidly ask, still other times we may practically yell our requests. However we wait. We wait for God to move.

The amazing thing is that God promises to renew our strength as we wait on Him. More than that, as we wait, God wants to give us a new perspective of Him. So He mounts us on eagles wings. He promises that we will run and not be weary. Ladies, He wants us to serve Him as we wait. Whatever form it takes, let us be faithful to run hard after God. Let us never waste our waiting on sitting like a bump on the log.  However God isn’t done with us yet. On those difficult days when we just don’t have the energy to run, God promises us that we will walk and not faint. Ladies that means that on those hard days when we are struggling with God over our infertility. When we barely have strength to put on foot in front of the other, God is going to sustain us to keep us walking in Him.

In other words, as we wait, we grow in Him and we become stronger. I don’t know about you all, but I certainly could use more strength for the journey.

Father, thank You that as we wait for You, You will renew our strength. Father help us to wait on You and not on that pregnancy test or the next exam or the next blood draw. Help us to wait on You, on Your wisdom and Your direction. Father that our strength for the journey through infertility will come from You alone. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Anchor in the Storm

August 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

While trying to conceive, each month feels like a storm. The storm starts brewing as you plot and plan, watch and wait for the “perfect” time to baby dance. The clouds get darker and stormier as your hope increases because the timing was perfect. The winds start to howl as your hormones are whipped into a frenzy. The day has come and there is no sign of your monthly flow, you celebrate. As you head to the store (or cabinet) to get a home pregnancy test you ignore the first drop of rain, deciding it was only your imagination. As the urine dries on the stick, and there is no second line appearing, the storm breaks loose. You feel as if the walls around your house are closing in and a stick that says you are not pregnant is battering you. What is there to keep you safe from the storm of raging hormones, dreams deferred, and dashed hopes?

We who know Christ as our personal Savior, who trust in Him for our eternal security, have an anchor to keep us from being knocked off course. Despite the storm of possibility and dashed hopes, we have a hope that is secure. In fact Hebrews (ESV) 6:19-20 says, “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf..” Our hope as children of God goes beyond ourselves and this world. This verse says we have a hope that is beyond the curtain, in the inner place. That is referring to the Jewish temple and the Holy of Holies. The Holy of Holies was where a holy God met with unholy man. After Jesus died for our sins, God tore the curtain to the Holy of Holies. Through Christ’s sacrifice everyone could have a personal relationship with God. Therefore our hope and our anchor is the cross in the most holy place, God’s dwelling place, heaven. We have the hope of eternal communion with God. That anchor, that hope, can keep us from dashing into the rocks of bitterness, anger, and self-pity.

When we cling to our anchor despite the storm, we can find true hope. Not hope that we will one day hold of child of our own. No, a hope that does not disappoint. The hope of eternity with a loving God who comforts, loves, protects, and understands our pain.

Thank You God for true lasting secure hope. Help us to hold tight to the anchor of hope you have for us, as the storm of being unable to conceive rages around us. Help us to rest in Your anchor, trusting You for our future, knowing You have a plan for us that is better than we could dream. Thank You for Jesus. Amen.

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No Condemnation

August 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

Infertility is full of so many uncertainties. We question everything. Why am I unable to conceive? Did I eat the wrong thing? Did I make poor choices in my past? Did I do something, anything that has caused this pain? Our hearts are condemning us. They are calling us guilty. Guilty of being unable to have a child, if nothing else.

The kicker is that the causes of infertility can include past choices that haunt us. However through Jesus, we have redemption. We no longer have to live in condemnation. In fact any time we hear the accusing voice it comes not from our Lord, but from Satan, the accuser. Have you heard him whisper the lie of “it is all your fault that you cannot have children?” Maybe Satan is bringing up past sin that you have repented of, but he is now taunting you with. Perhaps he is accusing you in a different way. “You are no true woman, since you can’t bear children. You are worthless.” He even tries to get us to believe our bodies, which are temples of God, have betrayed us.

As we listen to Satan’s lies the guilt and condemnation rise. Soon he lulls us into listening to his song with lyrics like you do not deserve the blessing of children. Satan stands back pleased with the sniveling, broken women we have become, simply because we cannot have what we long for. Ladies, let us not buy Satan’s lies. Let us not be taken in by half-truths and thus further fall into depression and self-loathing. NO! Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” Period end of story. When we hear whispers of condemnation we must fight back. We are not to live in the past, tied to sin that we have asked God to forgive. No, Jesus died to free us from sin and death. We are now free, forgiven.

Ladies, we can let God use infertility in our lives to grow us closer to Him, and to mature us, or we can let Satan use it as a weapon of condemnation. Let us not listen to Satan’s lies any more. Let us listen to Jesus, the lover of our souls. Let us rest in the shadow of His wings. We are not condemned, no we have victory in Jesus!

Precious Lord Jesus, thank You that You do not condemn us. Thank You for forgiveness, for mercy, for grace. Help us Lord Jesus not to focus on the lies Satan is trying to trap us in. Remind us that condemnation is not from You. Your word tells us that it is Your kindness that leads us to confess sin. So when we hear condemnation help us to turn our ears off to those lies and focus on Your truth. That You love us, that You forgive us, and that You have heaven waiting for those who believe. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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Comparison is NOT Your Friend

August 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

Often on this infertility journey, we look around us and see what other people have. That sweet family of five, the teenage girl who is pregnant and unable or unwilling to take care of her baby, or even your best friend or sister is pregnant, why not me or you?

Sisters that is a trap straight from Satan. When we compare ourselves to other people, we only see the good things. We see the smiling faces, the sweet baby, but we forget that good and bad come together. We do not know if that family of five is from fertility treatments or if they are completely dysfunctional. We may know some of the things our friend or sister have been through to get to a beautiful pregnancy, but we do not know her daily struggles or trials. Our road is different good and bad. Gal 6:4 tells us that “Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load.” Oh sisters it is a lie to look at a woman and say it “MUST BE NICE.” We only see the good the facade. We know not what their journey has been or will be. However God knows. He knows what journey is best for me and what journey is best for you. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us “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.” So God knows your journey God is in the journey, orchestrating the journey, and most of all He is with you on the journey.

Jeremiah continues in 29:12-14a, “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.” So God knows His plans for us to give us hope and a future. What is amazing is He says THEN you WILL call on me, and come and pray to me. Often we dwell on the “MUST BE NICE” comparison attitude. We feed our hurt and our why-mes, but we do not call on the LORD. Once we put on our “God-glasses” and see our lives through His perspective, then we call on Him. When that happens He promises to be found by us and to be near to us and to hear our prayers. He doesn’t promise to give us what we want, but He does promise to be there.

Sisters when we compare all we get is darkness, isolation, and pain breeding pain. When we dare to look at our circumstances with “God-glasses,” we can see God’s promises to give us a future and a hope. Holding to that promise through the dark times, brings us to our knees to pray to Him and ultimately brings us nearer to our God. He isn’t bringing you through the darkness to destroy you, no He is bring you through the darkness to draw you closer to Him. Let us not allow our hearts and minds dwell on comparison. Let us dwell on God.

Father God, I confess I have “MUST BE NICE-itis.” Lord I look around me and desire what others have especially when it comes to children. Help me Lord to see my circumstances through “God-glasses.” Help me to hold to the truth of Your word. Father help me to take captive my thoughts that I may dwell on You, not on others. Forgive me for being self-centered, give me what I need to be God-centered. Thank You for drawing near to me. In Jesus’ mighty and awesome name I pray. Amen.

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Then There Were…28?!

July 26, 2010 § 1 Comment

So my husband and I felt led or compelled to choose IVF.  That was an easier choice to make than I thought.  The journey was much more difficult than I thought.

1.  We knew we would give any embryo created a chance at life outside the petri dish.  That meant NO CONTROL, over how many children we would have.  Wait a second, isn’t that how it is naturally anyway?!  Oh, that was a bunny trail.  God was teaching me AGAIN that I don’t have control even though I think I do.

2.  We knew that we may have multiples.  Secretly, I was pretty excited about this possibility.  Mostly because I am a twin.  I longed to carry more than one child.  I am not sure I ever told anyone, but I do know my husband was fearful of multiples because of my health.

3.  I had “decided” to reduce the risk of high order multiples that we would NEVER transfer more than two embryos at a time.  So, you know how I said I would “never” use fertility treatments.  This never went about as well as that one.  I’ll give you details later.

So Dan and I prayed that God would not give us more than we could handle.  We talked with our MD and said we don’t want too many embryos because we were planning on giving them all a chance at life.  We asked about having me put on lower dose hormones to reduce the risk of too many embryos.  He told us that most people don’t have enough embryos and encouraged us to do the “regular” amount of meds.

So the day of my egg retrieval came and they were estimating 12 eggs would be harvested.  Imagine my shock and disbelief when after the procedure they retrieved 28 eggs.  My heart skipped a few beats, my head began to swim (or was that the anesthesia), and my eyes BULGED.  I told my sweet husband that certainly not all of those eggs would fertilize.

The next day I spent in breathless anticipation and soreness (from the retrieval), waiting for the fert. report (the call you get when they tell you how many eggs fertilized).  Now mind you this is the number of my babies.  I believe life happens at conception.  God knows us before we are knit together in our mothers’ wombs.  So breathless and with fear and trepidation, I answer my phone.  21 eggs have fertilized.  The room started spinning.  No panic attack.  I just kept praying that God knew how many I could handle.  God knew what was best.  God HELP me and my husband.  However, there was that same tug on my heart, the one I had when my pregnancy test was positive.  I had 21 babies.  I may never get to hold them in my arms, but I would hold them in my heart.  They were my husband’s and mine.

The next day I got another phone call.  This call was to tell me how many embryos were still alive and when my doctor planned to transfer the first two.  Sometimes they do day three transfers and other times they do day five transfers.  This depends on the quantity and quality of your embryos and your doctor’s preference.  I got the call in church and quickly ran out the back of the balcony, with my husband trailing behind, so I could hear the report.  ALL 21 were still alive and we were to have a day five transfer.  Once again, my heart skipped a beat, but a wave of assurance came over me.  God had a plan.  God knew what was going on.  God would not give us more than we could handle.

I didn’t hear from my doctor again until the day of the transfer of my embryos.  That was when I heard the news.  Only nine of my precious twenty-one were still alive.  My heart sank.  I truly mourned the loss of those babies, even though my logical brain said, I would go crazy with that many children.

I had two precious ones transferred to my womb and went home.  God blessed us with a pregnancy.  The other seven embryos were left in a freezer at my doctor’s office, two and a half hours from my home.  I soon realized that part of my heart was in that freezer with those babes.  My little tot-sicles (like popsicles only babies), were on my heart, if not my mind constantly.  My prayer became, “God how many can my heart handle to lose and my nerves handle to survive?”  God knew.  His plan never changed, but He changed me.

Thank you God for not leaving me the way I was, but making me more like Christ!

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You are NOT Alone

July 23, 2010 § 2 Comments

Are you having difficulty conceiving a child?  Are you struggling with grief, isolation, and pain?  Is your faith being shaken?  Well sister, here is a place for you to come.

I am writing this blog in the middle of my journey.  I call it the middle because I although God has blessed my husband and I with children, I still want more.  However, we have no more embryos in which to do in-vitro fertilization. IVF was necessary for two of my three children.  My husband, my children, and I do not feel able to go through that process again.  The excitement of possibility, the joy of holding a child, the pain of loss, are too much for us to try again.  Not to mention the horrible hormones.  The hardest part for me was having part of my heart in a freezer for four years.  Those precious embryos were my babies, whether I got to hold them in my arms or not.  I was nearly giddy the day I finally got to take those last three embies home.  Although I did not get pregnant with that cycle, and lost those three babies, I was so excited to take them home.

This blog will be about things I have learned through God on this journey.  I am still in the middle of waiting for God’s hand.  Waiting for Him to change my heart, make a miracle in my body, or place a baby that needs to be adopted on my doorstep.  Come with me.  Ask me questions, ask God questions.  Let’s do this together!

I’ll post my complete story shortly.

Blessings,

Angela

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