Sunday, May 20, 2012

Letting God write our story

As I said in my last blog post, Mike and I are currently in a waiting period. We have finished our last month of fertility treatments for now, and we are praying about what direction we need to go next. While we are trying to enjoy the break and each other during this time, it is also really hard to remember some days that this is not the end of our journey to becoming parents. With all of the disappointments we have endured these past few years, it's hard to be optimistic and think the best is yet to come for us. It's so hard to know what the Lord's plan is for us, and if that will include children, and if so, how that will all come about. It is a constant, daily struggle to give it back to the Lord and trust in His plan and His timing. Luckily, He is right there with us, walking beside us and giving us little reminders that He is still working, and His plans are going to be so much better than what we could ever have imagined.

I have been doing a Facebook bible study with some ladies at our church, and it has been really good for me. Basically, we all are reading the same book, usually the same chapter each week, and we have a Facebook group that we use as a discussion board for everyone to write on to share what spoke to them the most. We have been reading the book "Stumbling into Grace: Confessions of a Sometimes Spiritually Clumsy Woman" by Lisa Harper. A part in one of the chapters really spoke to me this week. In this passage, Lisa is talking about letting God author our life stories, even when it doesn't match up to our own plans.

"I am stingy when it comes to handing God the pen. Sometimes He has to pry my fingers loose, but with each new page of my story, I'm learning to trust His narrative more. I'm learning to believe in an ultimate happy ending, even when I don't like some of the chapters He writes, because as Paul reminds us in Romans: 'And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.' (Romans 8:28). We can become more content by giving God the sole authorship of our biographies."

I think this is such a powerful statement, and so important for us to grasp, but oh so difficult to actually do. Ultimately, I think all believers know and acknowledge that God is the one in charge of our lives, and the one in control of our destinies. But how often do we wrestle with Him for control of the pen? I know I do! Maybe I'm the only one, but I certainly think that sometimes the man upstairs can use a few pointers from me, and a little help to bring my great ideas to fruition. I'm trying to convince the author of my life that I know better than He does how the ending should play out. I think sometimes He must just laugh at my ideas, thinking, "Why would you want to settle for that when I have so much more to give to you?"

Lisa writes in this chapter that she never thought she would be approaching 50 having never been married and never having had kids, but that is where she is. In the same way, I never thought I would be turning 30 without having children, or at least being pregnant. I never imagined that I would have to celebrate 2 pregnancies, only to lose those 2 babies weeks later. I never imagined having to spend thousands of dollars on fertility treatments and putting my body through crazy physical demands with no good results, but that's exactly how it has happened. In my mind, this is NOT how my story was supposed to unfold! And I know I have told God more than once just how I thought my life should go instead.

But when I am close to becoming overcome with sadness and frustration, I always have to go back to Romans 8:28, and ask myself if I truly believe those words. It says God works ALL THINGS for the good of those who love Him...not some things, not most things, but ALL THINGS. That means that God will work good out of our countless fertility treatments, the loss of our first 2 babies, the tears shed and the stress endured. I don't know HOW or WHEN, but I have to trust that the Lord WILL, in HIS timing. And I have to trust Him for that now, not after we have our miracle home with us. I posted a passage on Facebook earlier this week from a devotional that I read that gives good advice for trusting God during the waiting periods.

"A lot of times people think, 'I'll have a good attitude as soon as I get over this health issue' or 'I'll give God praise when I get through these tough times.' But that's not how faith works. As long as we're negative, discouraged, and focused on our problems, it limits what God can do. You've got to give God praise first, and then the breakthrough will come. You've got to change your focus first, and then things will change in your favor. Praise always precedes the victory."

I think this is such a powerful message, but again, tough to put into practice. I am trying to meditate on this and stay in the Word so that I am reminded of these messages. It is so easy to be overcome by the insignificant life stressors that are thrown our way, but it is so hard to remember to trust ONLY in the Lord during this waiting period. No one knows what our story will look like, or when it will come to pass, but until then, I am waiting and trusting that the Lord has plans for our life, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us a hope and a future.

"Waiting! Yes, patiently waiting!
Till the next steps made plain will be;
To hear, with the inner hearing,
The Voice that will call for me.
Waiting! Yes, hopefully waiting!
With hope that need not grow dim;
The Master has pledged to guide me,
And my eyes are unto Him.
Waiting! Yes, still waiting!
I know, though I've waited long,
That, while He withholds His purpose,
His waiting cannot be wrong."
-Streams in the Desert

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Latest update

For those of you following our blog and our journey with infertility, I wanted to update you on the latest with our situation. If you have been reading our blog and remember the last post, we were about to enter into our last month of treatments with the specialist before taking a break for awhile. We were diligently praying that my left ovary would respond, since the last 3 months my right ovary had been responding very well, but since that is the side with my blocked fallopian tube, I was unable to get pregnant. We were praying for at least one last good shot at getting pregnant, since we determined this would be our last month with the specialist.

We went through taking the pills and giving myself the shots, and when we went in for the first sonogram, the doctor said that my right and left ovaries were both responding, and they were about even, which was good news. I went back 2 days later and the doctor was really happy to tell me that my left ovary had pulled ahead, and I would definitely ovulate from that side, giving us a much better chance of getting pregnant this month! We were so thrilled that my left side FINALLY responded and went ahead with the IUI 2 days after that sonogram.

Then came the 2 week wait...I always hate this time, but I was relatively calm about this one because I was so HOPEFUL that this could be the month. Everything went the way it was supposed to, and about a week and a half into the wait I began to have symptoms of pregnancy. I was really tired and really hungry, which were my main 2 symptoms with my other 2 pregnancies. I began taking extra care of my body, just in case I was pregnant. We went to Vegas for 5 days for my brother's wedding, which was a great distraction, and got back last Tuesday. I was scheduled to go in for the blood pregnancy test on Friday, and couldn't wait for the day to get here!

Usually about 2 days before I start my period, I have early signs of cramping and I can just tell that I am about to start my period. The last 3 months, I have actually started my period before the doctor even called with the blood pregnancy test results. I took that as a good sign that by Friday, I was still not feeling at all like I would be starting my period. I was also still tired and hungry, so I was just convinced that I was pregnant. On Thursday night, I even said to Mike, "I'm going to be surprised tomorrow if they call me and tell me I'm NOT pregnant....that's how sure I was.

Friday came, and I went in for my blood pregnancy test at 8. They always tell you they will call you after 4:00 that day, so I went back to work to wait on the call. I was nervous, but in good spirits, sure I was going to get great news! The doctor's office called about 1:30, which surprised me, and I picked up immediately. Then came the verdict from the nurse:

"I'm sorry, but I don't have good news for you."

She told me the blood pregnancy test was negative, and I was shocked. I asked her to verify my levels, and even went and took a home pregnancy test just to confirm (as if that would be any more accurate than the BLOOD test!) I was devastated, more so than I have been in a long time. I called Mike and sent out a text to some close friends and family, and then I just lost it. I was SO sure. I just couldn't believe it, and I was so heartbroken I could barely breathe or think. I learned a long time ago during this journey to not get my hopes up, but this month I couldn't help it. My body responded the way it was supposed to, I had symptoms, my period was late for the first time ever while on the fertility just didn't make any sense.

We got that news on Friday and have been dealing with it since then. I told Mike that because our hopes were so high and because this was our last month of treatments, this disappointing news was almost as bad for me as our 2 miscarriages...that's how devastated I was. I know that is hard to understand, but I had already begun making plans for this baby that I thought I would be carrying. It was a very rough weekend emotionally, and then I ended up having the period from hell, which only made things worse. I had the worst period I've had in years, and I guess maybe that's why I was experiencing such strong symptoms the few weeks before. Needless to say, not my favorite way to spend a weekend!

Now Mike and I are faced with trying to heal from the past 2 years, trying to understand why this has all happened, and trying to figure out where we go from here. We are taking a break for awhile to pray about the direction the Lord would have us go. The next step for us would either be In-Vitro or adoption, both of which are huge decisions and require lots of money, so we don't want to jump into anything. Plus, our emotions and our hearts need a break. These past 2 years have been a beating, and we want to spend some time just being together and enjoying each other, without the pressure of trying to conceive. I am looking forward to not having to plan our lives around shots, have 6 doctor's appointments a month, and worrying about making sure I do everything at the right time. I am also curious to see what my body does now that I am off all of the fertility drugs, since I have been on something for the last 15 months straight. We are focusing on relaxing, getting healthy, spending time together, and growing closer to the Lord through this time. We aren't tracking ANYTHING this month, and maybe for a few months. We also aren't discussing or checking into other options right now. We are simply taking one day at a time, and when we feel like moving forward, we will start checking into the options of IVF and adoption, and see what we feel is right for us.

We would appreciate your prayers; prayers for healing, for understanding, for patience, and most of all a sense of peace. This month felt very FINAL, like this was the end of our journey, and I am struggling to remember that it's not over, that we WILL be parents one day, one way or another. I KNOW the Lord has plans for us, to give us a hope and a future, and we are just clinging to that right now. I may not have the promise that Sarah did, that I will bear a child, but I do have the promise that the Lord has a plan for our lives, and I am resting in that. I wish I knew what the plan was, or even when it might happen, but then that wouldn't really be relying on faith, would it? This is by far the hardest thing that Mike and I have ever gone through, and I guess the Lord must think an awful lot of us to think that we could handle something like this. As we are about to celebrate our 7 year wedding anniversary next month, Mike and I are extremely thankful for our incredible marriage, and that we have each other to lean on through these times. We are also so blessed by family and friends who continue to love us, encourage us, and pray for us. But most of all, we are grateful for a loving God who comes alongside us during the hard times and gives us the strength to get through another day, when we don't have it within us to do it on our own.