October 1, 2010 § Leave a comment
Dreams deferred often equates to joy deferred. During this IF journey, I have often struggled with finding joy in today. I am fixed on joy when I finally get a baby, instead of joy today. So in the process of finding joy today, I want us all to think of things we are grateful for now in the midst of our longing. Here is the beginning of my list…
1. I have a husband who doesn’t understand and says hurtful things sometimes, but loves me. He grieves with me even when he doesn’t understand my grief.
2. I have friends around me that support me even if they don’t understand the depth of my pain.
3. I have parents and sisters who love me through the journey and have supported all my husband and my decisions.
4. I have a God who walks this road with me. He keeps my tears in a bottle.
5. I have a God who listens as I call out to Him.
6. I have a God who asks me to trust Him with my longing. He is trustworthy.
Ok, so what are some of the things you are grateful for during this journey? Let me know. I’d love to praise God with you.
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.
August 25, 2010 § Leave a comment
Uncertainty and fear become constant companions when you desire to have children and cannot. You are constantly assessing your body either for ovulation signs in order to correctly time the deed, or for signs that you are indeed pregnant. I pinned my hope for joy and peace on being pregnant. If only that second line or plus line or pregnant would show up on my home pregnancy test, then I could find joy.
The problems was as the urine dried on the test the joy evaporated too. If the test came out negative, I mourned another month passing without a child. However if joy of joys I was pregnant, I found I had a new set of worries to attend. Am I on enough folic acid? Is the baby going to grow normally? Will I miscarry? Is my child implanted in the correct spot? The thing that was to bring me joy, being pregnant, was not the bearer of true joy. Let me say that again, true joy doesn’t come from a stick you pee on or from whether your womb is inhabited or not. It only comes from God. In fact Nehemiah tells us, “…the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 So true joy, joy in God, gives us strength. It gives us strength to make it through today with or without a baby. It gives us joy for today. Joy in a God who has freed us from sin, who has a plan to give us a future and a hope. Joy in what He has promised us, an eternity in intimate relationship with Him! Amazing!
Oh Lord, help us find our joy in You. Not in the state of our wombs, but in Your wondrous forgiveness, grace, and love. Help us to rest in knowing You have wonderful plans for us. Give us wisdom and strength through joy in You to find purpose in You. Help us to find joy for today through You. We love you God! Amen.
What are some things you have done to help you keep your joy on the Lord? One thing I had to learn to do was enjoy each stage. I get to ovulate this week! That means my husband will be happy. 😉 Or if I am pregnant, I get to be pregnant until the next test tells me otherwise. I will enjoy this pregnancy and relish it until the next test. Now share your ideas in the comments section. Thank you ladies!
August 20, 2010 § 1 Comment
I have become a crier. I HATE it. I don’t like crying in front of people, or being vulnerable. My mascara runs even though I use the “waterproof” kind. Then I walk around half the day with dark smudges under my eyes and no-body tells me. Do not get me wrong, I have more days of joy and peace than of tears and grief. Yet, I find myself emotional over things I never imagined. For instance, today would have been the first day of Kindergarten for the babies I lost to tubal pregnancies. Strange as it sounds, I am still affected by realizing milestones those children never reached. Literally he or she was in my fallopian tube for four weeks, I only knew he/she was there for two weeks. Howeverthere is a part of my heart still remembering. Still thinking about what he/she would have looked like and if he/she would have enjoyed school like his/her siblings.
Even though I really HATE the tears, they are cleansing. Through them, I am humbled and more compassionate. Paul mentions in Phillipians 3:10, “that I may know Him [Jesus] and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings…” Paul wants to know Jesus, experience the power of His resurrection or victory over sin, but he also mentions sufferings. He says there is a fellowship of His sufferings. When we suffer, we do not necessarily come closer to Jesus, but He comes closer to us. Often it takes suffering to draw us closer to each other. I know suffering brought me several friends that I may have never connected with had we not lost children before we were able to hold them. So not only did I get to make and keep friends for a lifetime that have suffered similarly to me, but I get to draw closer in fellowship with Christ. Nicholas Wolterstorff wrote in his book Lament for a Son, something like “to love this suffering sinful world is to suffer.” When we suffer we better understand God, we better experience Jesus’ willing and obedient suffering on the cross.
Ladies, I am not making light of how we suffer when we long for a child and cannot conceive. However I am seeing how the pain, the tears, the suffering are drawing me nearer to the heart of God. Yes there are times I feel shaken and I certainly never would have chosen this road for my life. However, I would never have known my God the way I do. My compassion is overflowing now. I long to encourage, love, and uphold those of you on this journey. I remember struggling, and I still do long for a child. I remember sobbing, and I still do sob. I want you all to know that I am here to share that yuck and let You know that God loves you through it.
Will I be tearing up in 18 years knowing the babies I lost to tubal pregnancy would be graduating high school? I honestly can’t say. All I can say is that I need a fellowship of sufferers around me. I am praying you have that type of fellowship as you walk this journey. If you don’t have it in person, consider this blog your outlet. Leave a comment and we can encourage each other.
July 27, 2010 § Leave a comment
I will be honest, the idea of having ten children, remember I had one living child prior to IVF, was frightening to me. My first child was, well, strong-willed to put it bluntly. So the idea of having nine more children with similar dispositions scared the wits out of me. I wondered what God was thinking, and yet I also knew it was quite unlikely that all, much less most would survive. I was conflicted to say the least. I had friends tease me about having a basketball team of my own. That was a true incentive for me since I LOVE basketball, but honestly I was hopeful and scared. I didn’t know how many I could handle. I cried often over what God would do with those precious babes.
My first transfer resulted in a pregnancy. I was elated and yet there was loss even in the pregnancy. You see both embryos implanted in my uterus. However at about 8 weeks, I lost one. I felt devastated. I felt blessed. Again, I felt conflicted. I wondered if I could separate the loss and grief from the joy of being pregnant. Grief and joy went hand-in-hand so often through this journey. Joy that I didn’t die when my tubes ruptured, grief that I lost my babies. Joy to have eggs harvested and embryos created, grief to lose some to stunted growth and others that did not implant.
I now see God’s sovereign hand all throughout the process. When I didn’t understand, when I felt conflicted, He knew, He had a plan. So now Dan and I have seven embryos left in a freezer two and half hours away. It is actually surreal to wrap my brain around that. I had babies, who were essentially in suspended animation for four years. Periodically, when it was “time,” we would have them defrosted to transfer them to my womb. You don’t need the sci-fi channel when you are doing IVF, you are living it.
So God blessed us with a beautiful baby. Yes, her delivery was missing someone, her twin. However her delivery was a God ordained miracle as well. More about that later, first the other 7 babies…
My doctors agreed that waiting at least a year from delivery to another embryo transfer was best to allow my body to get back to normal. You see, artificial hormones and I don’t get along. If I thought I had morning sickness with my first natural pregnancy, then I had all day and all pregnancy sickness with my IVF pregnancies. Regardless, it was time for another transfer. My heart was heavy. I wanted to get pregnant, yes. I wanted to give each embryo a chance at live on the outside of a dish, yes. I didn’t want to do shots, multiple doctors visits (two and a half hours away), and discuss what was going on with mommy to a precocious four-year old. However, this was the journey God had me on, and this was the road I had to walk.
The first transfer was unsuccessful and full of grief. My bad attitude seemed to have seeped into my uterus and no baby would want to implant in there. However God brought hope again, the following month after the unsuccessful cycle, we tried again. My four-year-old was in school at the time, and thus I had to warn her teacher about potential comments. Comments like, “The babies in my mommy’s tummy died.” The day I mentioned this to her teacher, she came home with a painting titled, “Mommy with babies in her tummy.” Praise God, I listened to him and warned her teacher or she may have been calling DHS (Department of Human Services) on us. This cycle was successful, but only one embryo implanted. There was still grief. Grief that there were only three more embryos waiting. Grief that only one embryo implanted. Grief that the previous cycle saw a loss of two precious babes. However there was joy and the joy was a handsome boy. Then there were three embryos. That is another story.
It amazes me that God often uses joy and grief together. One only has to look at the cross to see it. Oh the grief and shame of my sin that caused my Savior so much pain. However, joy comes in the morning when he rose victorious over the grave. Jesus knew the pain he was to endure, He said, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42 Jesus knew the ending, the resurrection, the victory over sin and death. However He also knew the grief and the pain. He knew that God could take the grief, but if God removed the grief, the victory would not come either. In great grief there is often great joy. I am not saying I have some great astounding victory at the middle of this journey. I don’t have it all figured out, but I do know that I am closer to God. I know Him more fully. I have more compassion than I ever dreamed I lacked. God has brought great joy through the grief. He has brought triumph through the tears. Psalm 30:5b “…Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.”
For those of you in the night, I am praying for a quick return of the morning.