Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pressing on

I didn't mean for there to have been this long silence but I just didn't have my thoughts pulled together to write. It's been a week since we got the big negative :( That was a bad day, a very bad day. No matter how much I think I'm prepared to hear bad news, I never really am prepared. You just can't fully brace your heart for the disappointment, especially since we had let ourselves hope sooo hard this time. I don't really feel like recalling what I felt and thought on that day because it just sucked so bad. So....moving on.....

We're already underway with the process for our next IUI. Even when there's bad news, our bodies just keep moving right along! So there wasn't much time to sit around and think about what happened because after just a few days it was already time to meet with the doctor again and make decisions about this next IUI. I had read something about how different it feels to do consecutive infertility treatments because it seems like you've just barely mourned the loss of the hope for that cycle and then right away you're already starting your meds and jumping right in to the process for your next treatment. And that certainly feels true for me. Although I think Ryan and I had done most of our mourning in the days before I even took the pregnancy test because I was having cramps and pretty much knew what that meant.

I met with our wonderful doctor again and we decided to change my meds a bit to just bump up our chances a little more. The meds I've been on are the same ones I've taken for several cycles over these last two years and it's sorta the base that they start most people out on. It's the lowest stimulation and only causes one egg to be released (although I had been confused about that and used to think there were more being released- but then she explained it to me). So the next step up from that is to add in three injections that will cause more follicles to develop fully and will most likely release 2-3 eggs. Obviously having 2-3 eggs that could possibly get fertilized increases the odds versus when there's just one egg hanging out there. She said this amount of meds should be gentle enough to only bump it up to 2-3. If it goes much higher than that they will actually cancel the IUI because they don't want to create the risk of a high-multiple pregnancy. They're not interested in creating more octo-moms in this world! (Weird that when all you're hoping for is at least just ONE baby that the doctor actually has to worry about the chance of you getting pregnant with TOO MANY babies! So weird!) So something we'll be praying for is that the meds don't make my body go too crazy and that just the right low amount of eggs will be ready.

I was, yet again, really thankful for the wise, slow approach my doctor takes with all of this. She's obviously not God though and doesn't know the will of the Author of Life- but she said since IUI worked for us before and there aren't any other issues besides the endometriosis (but who knows what that's doing!) that she really thinks it will work again and we just need to be patient. Also, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the meds are affordable, since I had read some crazy stuff on the internet about people spending $1000+ on injectable meds. Plus, Ryan gets to hone his shot-giving skills. Boo. The actual procedure will probably be next Monday, but I'll keep you updated as usual.

Our hope reserves are full and we're still really, really believing that God is able to do this. Of course he is able! We just don't know if it is his perfect will for us. Maybe there is something else out there that is more perfect. Perfect.....the word makes me think of the Kingdom of God. That's where my sights have been set lately. We have big hope for this great earthly gift- a child. But there is not guarantee for that. The lasting hope that will NOT fail or disappoint or break my heart is the hope of my salvation that is anchored in Jesus Christ the Risen King who reigns forever and ever! Sorrow and mourning always draw my heart to just long and long for the Kingdom and to just be with Jesus where all my tears will be dried and I will let out all my sighs in the arms of my Love and the weight of sorrow will be lifted by the tender hands of my Savior. Come Lord Jesus! You are better than life!

This album by Sandra McCracken has been my soundtrack for this past month. It sings my heart. Ok, pretty much everything by her (my very first post explains the inspiration for my blog title from a Sandra song- and how little did I know how much more deeply that song would apply to our lives now), but I just got this album so it's been on constant rotation in the car and on the ipod.
The song Grace Upon Grace is wonderful, especially these lines-
Grace upon grace, every sin repaired
Every void restored, you will find Him there
In every turning He will prepare you
With grace upon grace.

To Thee I run now with great expectation
To honor You with trust like a child (That's what we want to have!!!)
My hopes and desires seek a new destination
and all that You ask Your grace will provide.

But then I also just found this song from one of her albums that I don't have yet. And it's always great to be able to watch her and her hubby Derek Webb (a Lynn family fave) play together. A truly precious song, water to the soul. I'll leave off with this- yes Jesus you are so good!

In the arms of a good Father
You can go to the deep water
Where the questions, we have left unspoken
Come out in the open
We will find shelter here

So I lay down, what I cannot hold in my hands
Every sorrow and hope spinning out of control
And here I find sweet resolution comes in letting go
And we will find shelter here

When I look back I can see,
And when I am old I'll remember these things
Like a mountain of stone
And the longing that makes me believe...

There is a tree by the blue river
Where the shade stretches wide over
In this breaking we are hand and glove
Come with me my love
We will find shelter here
We will find shelter here...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

not pregnant

It didn't work. I'm not pregnant. We sorta knew this was coming because I've been having cramps off and on the past week and I figured that only meant one thing (and I remembered I did NOT feel that way last time). We processed through that some on Saturday night and I got my tears out and asked God my frustrated/upset/disappointed questions. And yet we were still praying very faith-filled prayers asking God for a miracle. So we went in to this morning really hoping that despite the obvious sign that the cramps were giving, that God could do anything at the eleventh hour. But- not. It's not his plan yet apparently. I'm not totally sure what I'm feeling and thinking, but I do feel the Lord with me and his grace is abundant. We still have hope for the future.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Getting closer

The days are passing quickly, thankfully, and we're getting closer and closer to our test date- Tuesday the 22nd- just 9 days away now! We both get butterflies when we think about it....and there's just too much suspense that we can't even really talk about that moment. Ryan brought it up the other night and we both sorta made the same weird sound and I had to say "I know. Just don't think about it." and we had to change the topic.

Waiting has been ok though. Truly God has been so gracious and I've been able to pretty much just go along with my normal business and not freak about what's coming up. If you've been praying for this waiting period, thank you, because God is answering those prayers :)

Our weekend was good and then not so good. I've been having the most wicked allergies and absolutely nothing I take makes any difference. Sneezing, watery eyes, stuffy/runny nose- just like the allergy medicine commercials say- that's me lately. I'm afraid my allergies are getting worse as I get older. Wonderful. Anyways- I spent all day Friday on the couch and just stayed home because I was starting to feel pretty knocked out by it all. But by the time Ryan came home from work and I already knew I didn't feel like cooking I was ready to get out of the house. I was feeling a little bit better and had a real hankering for a Fatburger :) So we headed down to Mill for our burger date and to let me get some fresh air (probably just full of allergy-causing stuff and not so fresh, but oh well). After our delicious burgers and to-die-for onion rings we grabbed coffee and headed down to Tempe Town Lake for a little stroll. That was one of our big date spots when we were dating and engaged, and we had a lot of our engagement photos taken down there, so it's a sentimental place for us. The sunset was gorgeous, reflecting pink, purple, orange and about three different shades of blue onto the water. We were relaxed and in love, thankful to have each other and loving the weather and sunset.

There was one moment where we were sitting on a little bench, my head on Ryan's shoulder, just watching the color-changing sky and then a wave of sadness over our baby just swept right over me. Missing him/her and wishing they were here and just feeling that emptiness in the core of my body. It was out of no where. I wasn't even thinking about it really. It was like a wave that came fast and then left pretty quickly too. I think Ryan said something that distracted my mind or something because the feeling didn't linger and my thoughts moved on to something else. But I remembered it later on.

And that's just how this whole loss and mourning thing is. Unexpected. Still loaded with emotion. Heavy and sad. It takes different forms and just feels different sometimes. It's almost been 6 months since we lost our precious one. I've said a ton of times how there's no time line for how these things are "supposed" to go, and it's absolutely true. But this little experience did made me realize how I am in a different place now than I was a couple months ago. I can sense how the loss has found it's place in me now. How it's part of who I am. It's with me and in me and I'm ok with carrying it as part of me and part of my story now. I think that's a very healthy stage of grief so it was good to recognize that. And it's comforting in a way too. I don't think I can fully articulate it, but as more and more time passes and some of the sharpness of the memories fades, it comforts me to know that it's with me and part of me now and that my mind will bring it to the forefront even if I'm not specifically dwelling on it.

Saturday we headed out to the Arboretum which is one of our very favorite spots. It's a place of real healing for me so I always look forward to our next visit there. I was still feeling a bit like an allergy zombie and we both knew that me being outside surrounded by a ton of plants that are flowering and spreading their pollen all around maybe wasn't the best idea.....but we have very few weekends left before the scorching temps permanently drive us inside for the summer so I wanted to take advantage of the time no matter how my nose would fare. So with my pockets packed with kleenex, we forged on, and it was lovely as usual :) There were lots of beautiful wildflowers popping up and several different trees blossoming and we loved watching the birds, lizards and ground squirrels. We soaked it up, stopping at the little sitting areas to just relax and be in the moment.

And then I woke up this morning and felt absolutely horrible. Is it possible for allergies to turn in to a cold?? My sinuses were throbbing and felt like they were filled with cement. My throat was itchy and achy. I was sneezing so loud I'm sure the upstairs neighbors could hear me. I was a total mess and soon realized I would not be making it to church at all. And my dear sweet hubby decided to stay home from church as well and take care of me. He set up a little spot on the couch for me with a kleenex box and hot tea and made a run to the store for orange juice and chicken noodle soup. He also did two loads of dishes because the kitchen was a disaster area due to me making a new Indian dish last night that required the use of a ridiculous amount of bowls and ingredients and equipment (and after all my efforts I didn't even like it, plus the recipe was horribly misleading and poorly written). My hubby gets the gold star for being my hero today :) I'm feeling a little better tonight, so we'll see how this week goes.

Just a little update while we continue on in this waiting time :)


Monday, March 7, 2011

Tomorrow is THE day

The ultrasound yesterday showed that everything looked good so they scheduled us for the IUI tomorrow- Tuesday. Will you flood tomorrow with prayers for a miracle? Every single part of this is in the Lord's hands. He is the author of life. Please beg him with us for the grand miraculous gift of a baby.

Starting tomorrow we will start the crazy two-week countdown until we can take a pregnancy test. We can't test any sooner than two weeks due to the hormone injection that my hubby had to give me last night that causes the egg(s) to be released. Those hormones will automatically cause a false positive if we try to test before the two weeks is up. It will take two weeks for that to get out of my system and let my own hormones kick in, plus if conception did occur then obviously you have to allow time for implantation and for the pregnancy hormones to start going to give you a positive pregnancy test.

So- two looooong weeks before we know anything!

As I've shared before we are very very hopeful about God's power in this situation, but we know it may not be his plan either. So we're open to whatever happens and will see what the Lord leads us to do after wards if it didn't work. Please pray tomorrow and over the next two weeks.

Thanks for praying with us!


Friday, March 4, 2011

God moves in a mysterious way

This song has been ministering to my soul for years now through various trials and heartaches. John Piper preached on this hymn in one of his sermons as well (sorry- can't remember which one now) and that really planted the truths even more deeply into my heart. If my heart could write a song in times like this, this would be it. Every single verse resonates so deeply and so significantly with my heart's journey with the Lord. This is what I long to believe to the core of who I am through every circumstance. I want to be able to say through and through "Yes God I know this is who you are and I trust you!"

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm

Deep in unsearchable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings, in blessings
In blessings on your head

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense
But trust Him for His grace
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face

His purposes will ripen fast
Unfolding every hour
The bud may have a bitter taste
But sweet will be the flower

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain
God is His own interpreter
And He will make it plain

In His own time
In His own way...


Sorry it's been awhile since my last post (and because of that this one turned out very very long). The next steps for the IUI are coming right up here. This week I've been on the ovulation meds (same ones I've taken lots of times before so nothing new with that really). On Sunday I'll go to the clinic for an internal ultrasound where they'll check out the follicles to see if the eggs are good and ready. (Yes, the clinic is open on weekends because women's cycles don't take weekends off!) If all goes like it did last time then the follicles will look great on Sunday, we'll do the trigger shot on Monday and they'll schedule us for the IUI on Tuesday. It's a very simple process really so there's not much to it. Last time I definitely had the feeling after wards like "That was it?" It wasn't a big deal, just lots and lots of anticipation and then the big 2 week wait. Ug. Makes my stomach flop just to think about that part.

But God has been so gracious this week and I am confident that his grace is going to just keep covering me and holding my little heart through this. Last time I expected to be such a complete nervous wreck through the 2 week wait and God totally surprised me by lifting me above that anxiety and carrying me. It was a total supernatural thing because I knew on my own I was just a ball of nerves and worries and fears. Not that I wasn't nervous at times, but I could sense him with me and I was ok. As long as I can feel him with me, I'm ok.

So like I said, this week God's grace has been tangible and obvious to me. Last Sunday I didn't go to church because I was having such horrible cramps. But while my dear sweet husband was there he thought to ask our pastor if we could meet with him and the other elders and have them pray over me in James 5:24 style "Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord." Our pastor was excited about the opportunity and told us to come to the elder's meeting on Tuesday night. So we did and I was so blessed. Our pastor had me share our story with the guys first, then he anointed me with oil and those seven men prayed over me earnestly and tenderly, pleading with the Lord to open my womb and grant us a child.

That night stirred up a lot of thoughts in my head. The Lord began showing me more of a wide angle view of our "story" as a couple and his sovereignty in bringing us together and sustaining us through these trials. Every couple has their unique story. Ours includes enduring the pain of infertility and losing our first child in our first two years of marriage (along with some other very trying and painful experiences that I won't go in to here). Those aren't just chance experiences. God has allowed us to walk through these valleys and has used these experiences like a chisel on our hearts, on our marriage- on every part of us really. We can argue theologically till the cows come home if God caused these things or allowed these things or if those are just really two sides of the same coin....bottom line is that he is sovereign and that everything has been part of his plan for us and absolutely everything has been for our good and he has acted out of his goodness toward us. (I don't think I could have said those words even just last month. God's grace is on me to be able to believe these things again.)

All of this is part of something huge and it's going somewhere. This is our story and it's not over yet. The story doesn't end at the death of our baby. We are being carried along in God's plan and there's more to come. Do you sense the hope that's there?

A few months ago I did not see hope there. All I could see was that so many bad things had happened and when I looked at the future all I saw was more bad things continuing to happen. God has brought light to that now. 

So I feel like God has given me a panoramic view of what could be. I'm afraid my dream of having our own children will not come true. That's my biggest fear. But then the Lord plants the thought "What if God's plan, although different from mine, could still bring exponential joy and purpose and beauty and redemption?" He may want to fill our family with children in ways that I really can't fathom still. God's goodness for us may be much different from how we want his goodness to look. And surrendering my dream could be one of the most painful things I ever have to do. I know that God does not deny the pain and sacrifice that would entail. But for the first time I am able to see a glimpse of the hope and joy that could be possible in a different future than I ever imagined for myself.
"With what misgivings we turn over our lives to God, imagining somehow that we are about to lose everything that matters. Our hesitancy is like that of a tiny shell on the seashore, afraid to give up the teaspoonful of water it holds lest there not be enough in the ocean to fill it again. Lose your life, said Jesus, and you will find it. Can the shell imagine the depth and plentitude of the ocean? Can you and I fathom the riches, the fullness, of God's love?"    ~Elisabeth Elliot The Path of Loneliness

These are things I knew mentally all along. Theologically I could agree with these ideas. But my heart did not want to believe them. The pain was so searing it was as if I could not believe them. I didn't even want to think about the possibility of surrendering my dream of biological children for a different future. And I didn't want to accept the fact that God could work through my pain and loss to still bring me a future of great hope and redemption. The thoughts were sorta floating out there but I couldn't bring myself to process through those possibilities.

Oh how kind and patient and tender my Jesus is!!!! Look at how he has been leading me slowly, step by step, week by week, so tenderly building my heart and my faith back up, slowly slowly speaking these truths over me and pouring a waterfall of his grace over me to be able to say yes to him again. It's small and quiet and slow and gentle. I have not arrived at 100% (no one ever does anyway). It's always a journey and there will always be growth and then loss and faith and then struggle. But there's hope again and light in my future because of Jesus!

I've thought a lot about the process of grief and faith and loss and doubt and how this whole timeline actually plays out with God. If right after our miscarriage someone had come to me and said "Ok now you need to surrender your dream of children to the Lord and just give that to God and be ok with adoption or not having kids" I would have said NO WAY. It wasn't the right time for my heart yet and God had not led me to that place of surrender yet. That's the key: it has been God who has led me through every stage and step and place of this journey through grief and loss and disappointment. I couldn't hurry or rush any of it. He knows the time my heart needs for healing and growth and trust- for surrender and abandon. He doesn't demand surrender from my bruised and broken heart and my crushed spirit. He leads me to that place ever so gently and lovingly because he knows my frame and that I'm just dust. He doesn't just want my empty hands. He wants my heart. And he wants me healed and whole and full of hope again. So he'll take the time to carry me along, build me back up, sing over me, and whisper his truths to me in ways that I can finally accept it.

Even with all that said- I'm not fully there yet and I don't sense that God is asking that of us yet. That day might come, and I could face it with much more hope than I ever could have before- but that day isn't here yet. So for now we're still asking for a miracle!

The words "audacious hope" have been stuck in my head for weeks now as I think about our upcoming IUI.


1. extremely bold or daring; fearless
2. lively; unrestrained; uninhibited

Previously I tried not to hope too much (which never really worked!) because I so despised the crash of disappointment. It even felt like having hope was embarrassing. "Keep expectations low and then if things don't work out then it's not such a big deal." But no matter how much I tried to tell myself that or act like that, hope was always there, even if just a smoldering little flame.

Now God has given me lots of hope and I want to embrace it as fully as possible!! I think of all the stories in Scripture about impossible situations, giants in the land, death, armies advancing etc etc.... and God always called for a hope that was so big it just flew in the face of any obstacle and challenge! So I want to have an audacious hope that dares to believe that God CAN do a miracle in a situation that feels impossible! That's what our elders prayed for and that's what we are believing God for as well. It may not be God's plan this time or ever, but we don't know that yet- and so I really do think it honors God in this situation to ask him boldly and really believe in faith for his miracle of a baby for us. So please pray big and bold for us too!

I'll update again soon once we know when the actual IUI will be. Thanks for being part of this journey with us. We feel strength from your prayers and support.