Friday, January 29, 2016

3 days...

It's strange to write a blog post about the same thing over and over again, but I guess that's what the persistent widow felt like.  Constantly petitioning God for her hearts desire.  Hoping in expectation that He would not only hear her, but agree that the time has come.  I want His time.  His Kingdom.  I want to be on His path. Have His heart.  This month has been a hard one. 

2 weeks ago we discovered that a friend of mine is missing.  Like, she was there, and then she wasn't.  Sierra Shields lived underneath us when we first moved into our apartment.  She's really a friend of a lot of my friends, but the thing about her is, if you meet her, you're her friend.  She's kind and loving and wonderfully full of God's grace.  She has a heart for the lost and hungry and lonely and afraid.  Which is why this "case" is so challenging.  She seemed off one morning and she went to work, quit her job as a flight attendant and then walked out of the airport never to be seen again.  I don't understand how that is possible these days.  In a world of camera's everywhere SOMEONE must have seen her.  They must have taken a selfie with her in the background and they just don't see it yet.  Someone must know where she is.  Even though I was never close to her, it hit me really hard that she's missing.  I can't imagine (nor do I ever want to - family and friends be listening) going through something like that.  And the worst part is we can't do anything about it.  We just keep praying and sharing her info with people in hopes that someone will come forward with information.  God bless her wherever she may be.  And let her come back quickly. 

This week our beloved bunny Ajax passed away.  Ajax and I have had a love/hate relationship.  He was super cute and I loved him, yet taking care of him was always difficult for us since we traveled so much.  And, honestly, he needed a lot of attention that many times we couldn't give him.  So then I felt guilty for not playing with him as much as we should etc.  We tried finding a better home for him several times, but I guess he was meant to stay with us.  I woke up  2 nights ago to a loud noise which was Ajax thumping out of his cage after going to the bathroom.  I literally gasped as I sat up in bed.  Drew woke as well and told me it was just Ajax and to go back to sleep.  But then Drew got out of bed.  We hear that thumping noise all the time, so I'm not sure why Drew thought to check on Ajax that night, but I'm glad he did.  Ajax's breathing was shallow and I asked Drew what was going on and he said, "I think he's dying".  Drew held him while he took his last breaths.  Then I cried.  And cried.  And cried. So hard.  Like the ugly face cry.  I couldn't stop and even after it was all over I couldn't fall asleep.  It was so sad.  Granted, I don't deal well with change and I certainly hate when a living thing dies.  Especially when he was a part of the family.  So this week we lay him to rest in our gracious families back yard.  So much sickness and struggle and death this month.  Those are just a few things, there are many, many more. 

A glimmer of hope. 

In the midst of darkness...but God.  

We were not supposed to do a fertility cycle this month, but the opportunity came and we decided to jump in.  We started our meds last week and shots this week and are thinking the IUI will be either Monday or Tuesday.  My appointment this morning showed I'm not yet ovulating, but they aren't sure when I'm going to.  So I'm praying I don't ovulate over the weekend so we don't miss our window.  It's kind of an expensive window. And our last expensive window. So please join us in prayer that God's timing is perfect.  I'm really praying that God moves.  That He brings a baby in the midst of a storm.  That redemption can be just around the corner.  In Asher's bible that we read together the last story says this: 

When Jesus died, his followers felt sad and all alone.
They placed his body in a tomb and closed it with a stone.
On Sunday several women came; The stone was rolled away!
"He is risen," the angel said, On that very first Easter Day!

And after reading it I sing to him: 

On Friday night they crucified the Lord at Calvary
But He said don't fret because in three days I'm gonna live again, you're gonna see
So when problems try to bury you (6 feet deep) and make it hard for you to pray
May seem like that Friday night, but Sunday's on the way  - Take 6

Asher really, really, really, likes it when I sing that.  He won't even read any other story now, he wants to hear the song.  To be honestly, I want to hear the song too.  I want to know that when problems start to bury us, and they make it so hard to know what or how to pray, I have to remember that it may seem like that Friday night or in my daily life, or every hour....but Sunday, the day of REDEMPTION, the day full of LIFE, the day of HOPE FULFILLED, the day of LAUGHTER, the day of RIGHTEOUSNESS, the day where it all makes sense and HIS presence is DEEPLY known and felt...THAT Sunday is on the way.....

Friday, October 30, 2015

Millions of Prayers

I'm sitting on my couch feeling incredibly blessed.  We had our second appointment today and this month we were able to do both IUI's.  I thought we would though, last month was weird.  So the bottom line is we have 1.5 million chances to conceive with 4 really really good eggs.  :) That's a good thing!  This is the most we've ever had so we are feeling good about that.  Now we pray that the sperm can swim the 6 inches to find the eggs that are waiting for them.  And we wait 2 weeks as ovulation takes place and hopefully embryo's are created and embedded.

Here's Drew checking out our best swimmers!

there are microscopic sperm in there! 


I know several of you were asking the difference between InVitro (the procedure we did last time to get Asher) and IUI (the procedure with are doing this time.  Well, the biggest difference is the price, IVF is over $10,000 and IUI is more between $200-700 depending on the drugs we use.  The technical differences are:

IVF - the woman takes meds to increase eggs and egg quality and then those eggs are REMOVED and placed in a dish.  The sperm sample is then placed in that same dish and 2 things can happen.  They either allow the sperm to work their way into the eggs, OR they take one sperm and they inject them into the egg (to ensure fertilization).  Then they allow the embroys to grow for 3-5 days.  Once they are at a certain cell stage, 3 embroys are placed back into the uterus in hopes that they attach to the wall.  Then, voila - a baby!

IUI - the woman takes meds to increase eggs and egg quality and then a shot is taken to start ovulation.  The next day a sperm sample is given and spun and the best sperm are collected and inserted into the uterus in hopes that they can swim and find the egg, enter the egg and then create an embryo.  Then we hope it implants and viola - a baby!

In both cases egg increase and quality betters our chances and in both cases there's much prayer. Also in both there is a wait of 2 weeks after the procedure to find out if it worked.  That is by far the worst of it.

Here are a couple of videos that I found that explain what has to happen in order for pregnancy to occur.  After watching these you will 1. believe in God and 2. wonder how anyone gets pregnant.

Praying for this to happen:

This is the entire process without fertility assistance.  Ours were inserted into the uterus so we skipped the first section of this video:

(you have to go to youtube. sorry, this video wouldn't let me embed it)

These videos are amazing.  Conception really is an unbelievable thing.

It's hard as it's been a long week of work and scheduling and fighting and longing.  As I sit here and write I feel exhausted.  Asher just went down for a nap and I will too shortly.  We have a fun but busy weekend and I hope for the next 2 weeks I can just shut off my brain.  I honestly feel more depressed than I have in a long time.  Mostly because this process is frustrating and I feel like I have to settle my brain in the chance that Asher might be an only child.  I never wanted that, and I know that if that is what happens, it will be ok.  I guess it's just hard when your childhood dreams come to an end.  It's sad, because most movies don't end this way.  Life isn't a hallmark movie.

A good man from our church died last night.  He was an icon at our church.  He was always smiling and dancing in the isle and everyone who goes there knows who he is.  He was full of life and passion and drive.  He was funny and frisky in love with his wife.  He prayed like he meant it and believed as if it was.  He was one of the most amazing examples of a Jesus lover that I've ever seen.  I know I looked up to him, and I know many others did too. I know he's still dancing, but I will miss him and will be forever grateful for his example in my life.

I also found out my Aunt Deloris died yesterday.  She was my mom's aunt so I wasn't super close to her. But knowing that my mom was close to her makes me sad.  She was the one great aunt that we would visit when I was young.  She was always so kind and although I didn't know her well, it takes my breath away a little bit when I remember how quickly life is going.

It's so strange to know that while life is leaving this earth, Drew and I are trying to bring it.  The beginning and the end.  The seasons speak to this well.  My dr. said an unusual amount of women are ovulating this halloween weekend, so the office was very busy this morning.  It's interesting how many things there are that we don't understand about life.  Knowing there is an almighty God who is ALL knowing, ALL righteous and ALL loving is what I cling to.  So we press on into the next 2 weeks mustering all the hope I can.  Knowing that all the odds are against us.  And believing that God is able.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Round 2 - ding!

It's Tuesday and I've been taking injections for the IUI since last Friday.  I took my first injection and then went on an all night trip with 900 jr. high students.  All night meaning, stay up all night. .  . FUN! (it really was fun).  My pills ran out on schedule a few days ago, so it's just one more shot tonight and then I'm done with those.  Maybe forever?

I had an early ultrasound this morning to find out when and if we were doing a treatment this month. Today is day 10.  Meaning the 10th day of my cycle.  So I figured if we DID do a cycle this month, we would inseminate this week sometime.  And we are!

Dr. B said everything looks great! Ok - what he actually said was, "I'm really pleased with what I see.  It looks great for, dare I say...someone your age?".  WHATEVER! But I guess I know what he means.  So that being said, we are moving forward with our treatment this week.  Thursday and Friday morning we will be getting inseminated.

I'm having a hard time not feeling depressed a little.  I mean, it's SO hard to come off of a failed IUI or a failed anything and jump right back in to try again.  I think it wouldn't have been that bad, but I really thought last months was going to work.  Maybe I was naive, but it seemed like the stars were aligning.  I don't ever question God or His ways.  I don't claim to know anything close to what He knows.  I don't even ask to understand sometimes because I know that's impossible.  I just try to find my place of contentment and peace so I can move forward.  I don't deal well with change.  I need time to process to think things through.  But I'm 43 and I don't have time.  I've never had time when its come to this subject.  So - here we are, trying again.  I believe God.  I believe what He says is true.  I know He has more for us.

As I sit and play with Asher I just marvel at the fact that he is ours.  I just can't believe it.  I know it will be equally as hard to believe when God does it again.

It's personal.  It's deep.  It's intertwined into my dna.  This love and yearning to fill a gap that still lays open.  Ah yes, Asher has filled some of it, but there's more.  I walk the balance again of Hope and disappointment.  Don't Hope too much.  Don't ignore Hope too much.  I wish there was a magic pill or combination that makes all things possible.  But that is like asking God "why" about any subject. That question will not be answered.  My energy is better used somewhere else.  Some days I feel so selfish.

Did I mention that my dr. told me he once took out 62 eggs out of a woman who was 40! SIXTY TWO! She did IVF and all 3 of her embryos implanted.  She only ended up having twins.  And then a few years later she got a divorce.  She's now remarried and still has 18 frozen embryos.  He said that was a long time ago.  But it's strange how each story is so different.  So unique.  So crazy.  Seriously, that's crazy.

Anyway, this post is a bit random, but that's kinda how my brain is right now.  Random things keep popping in my head.  I even forgot to make the appointment for this morning which is why my appointment was at 6:15am.  No, that's not a typo.  So here's praying to a successful transfer this week and to an even more successful implantation next week.

Chin up! Eyes focused! We will prevail! Thank you for praying and walking with us.  I will keep you updated!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Try, try again

One good or bad thing about this fertility game is you don't have much time to think about how you feel cuz you're right at the beginning of a new cycle.  New cycle.  New Hope.  New Day.  

I went in this morning for an ultrasound to start the next cycle.  Everything looks great! She found 7 follicles on one side and 2 on the other.  That's pretty good for me.  Last month was 6 and 6.  August was 2 and 2 (not so good).  She said every month the numbers vary.  The body is amazing.  She saw my cyst and said she had a few when she was younger as well.  She told me they are actually genetic and inherited (which I didn't know).  Then she said, (without missing a beat and stated matter of factly) "When you have your daughter, make sure you get her tested when she's old enough".  "Um...I will", I said.  I'm not sure what she said after that cuz, um, WHAT?  Here we go....

I start my normal meds tonight to help produce as many eggs as we can.  We decided to get more aggressive with our treatment this round and we will be taking injectables to help the eggs grow as well.  Last month we only had 1 mature egg out of 12.  Injectables help with that.  The shots start on Friday.  

I have a head cold so I feel a bit out of it the past 2 days, and although I'm sad, I'm feeling my strength resurface as we move forward to this next round.  I told Drew I remember the first IUI we did 5 years ago and when that failed I almost didn't care about the next one.  I had no hope at all. And that one failed too.  I want to have Hope.  I want to believe that even though God didn't, God could this time.  I know that's possible.  I know His timing is perfect.  So one day at a time we move forward.  Believing.  

Day 1 - start of period
Day 3 - ultrasound to make sure everything looks ok.  Start meds. 
Day 6 - start injectables.
Day 10 - another ultrasound check up
Day 11-14 Possible HGC shot to start ovulation
Day 15ish - IUI
Day 16 - be tortured for 2 weeks.  

Friday, October 16, 2015

Positive about being Negative

Not Pregnant.

That's the bottom line.  I took a home test on Wednesday and although I hadn't started my period I had a feeling that meant we were not pregnant for sure.  I hadn't started by Friday so I took another test and it was still negative.  So I had a pretty good idea that we were not pregnant.  I had my blood test today and just got word that indeed, we are not pregnant this month.

I'm sad, but I get it.  I know nothing is easy. I know sometimes things work for you and sometimes they don't.  I know there's not a magical calculation filled with pineapple and prophecy to make every effort a success.  I know that God is good.  I know that He doesn't always give me what I want.  He doesn't always give me what I deserve (thank God!).  He always allows what is right.  I've written plenty of these emails expressing God's goodness in times of "trial" or mis-understanding.  But to me, even though the bottom line is not pregnant this time, the real bottom line is that God is always Right.  God makes the BEST stories, and although this one seems to have taken a strange turn, I know God.  He's not done, and I trust that He knows what He's doing.

I'm so thankful and truly blessed to know all of you out there are praying for us and our family.  I really do believe God has more children for us and I also believe I couldn't do this without all the prayers.  This world of infertility is insane.  The heart for children that God put inside of me seems desperate at times.  But I know if it's meant to be, then He will make it be.

We are planning on doing another cycle.  (Remember how I said it was insane? yes. )  What that means is as soon as my period starts, which should be any day now, we will go back on medication and start the process all over again.  Please pray that God will once again show favor on us.

We are off to worship tonight.  It will feel good to just sit and be in God's presence and be reminded of how good He is and be reminded of His good works.

We love you!


Monday, October 12, 2015

The Blessing Game

I know everyone is talking about the Michigan vs. Michigan State game that's coming up.  People are crazy about that around here.  But this past week I've been having my own little game that feels just as emotionally charged as the football fans. It's called: Bloated or Baby?

You see during the 2 week wait when people are trying to get pregnant, your mind goes to a million places.  This is almost like the dark zone - you know, like in those movies when the space shuttle sees it's last glimpse of earth and sun and it's on the other side of the moon in darkness and silence for so many hours and everyone goes crazy until they see the sun again..yeah, kinda like that.  It's sort of like you're trying to live normally, but you can't help but every second of the day pray that God will bless you.  Well, He IS blessing me (more than I could ever imagine), but blessing me with my hearts desire for a full heart and a full home.

So today I write an update of my Bloated or Baby game.  Just a few notes of things I've been feeling and the games that I (and probably a lot of women who have done this) play while during the 2 week wait.

Sunday October 4
I receive the sweetest text from my friend Suzanne with this picture...she said, "for whenever thoughts of doubt and defeat start looming...

Later that afternoon I got a text from another friend (who does NOT know Suzanne) and all she text me was...

but God

She said when she prays for us, this is what comes out.
Hmmmm.... interesting..

Tuesday Oct. 6th 

Thankful I get to work from home today as I don't feel the greatest.  I feel very tired and I have cramping. it embryo's implanting? Or just that Mexican I ate?  :/

Wednesday Oct. 7th

Went to the chiropractor today.  I had to tell him about our treatment.  He asked me if it was the kind that could cause multiple pregnancy.  I said, "Well, I guess it could, idk!" **Note to self: try not to think about multiple pregnancies. 

Thursday Oct. 8th

Tired again today.  More cramping.  Super glad I'm at home today as I can work in comfort. my boobs hurt? Could it or period coming soon. 

Friday Oct. 9th

Boobs don't hurt, must have been a fluke.  Leaving to drive to Grand Rapids to spend time with the Grands.  Hoping to get some rest and distractions.  Drew is at a men's conference so I'm traveling alone.  Wish I could sleep all the way there like Asher.  Gonna need coffee.  Crap - caffeine or no caffeine? grrrrrrrrrrrrr.....
Arrive in time for dinner.  "Would you like a glass of wine?"  Um YES! But um no thanks.... #worthit 
Asher wakes around 10pm and I have to rock him.  Feeling sentimental about how much he's grown and not a baby anymore.  Emotional cuz of hormones raging? Or just regular Kat emotion? hmmmmm

Saturday Oct. 10th

Had a dream that I started my period, but I was like, ok - well, whatever.  Moving on.  A sign? Or just a dream?  
Coffee tastes horrible.  WHAT? That's what happened the last time I was pregnant.  hmmm..but wait..did I put almond milk in that? I never like how that tastes.  Gonna drink a little anyway.   
"Mama up!" as I pick up my 40 pound son.  Wait - should I be lifting things that heavy? Probably no worse than when he kicks me in the gut as I change his diaper.  (***note to self: potty train soon) Either way, it shouldn't matter.  I'm a normal person! LOL! I just think I need special treatment sometimes,  don't want to screw anything up.  Wait, can I screw it up? 

Sunday Oct. 11th

Enjoy the morning with family and friends.  Try not to think about the last time we were at this house (Drew's parents) when we did treatments and how we were pregnant with Asher and didn't know it.

Drive home.  Get sick from too much sugar in a Pumpkin Spice Latte.  Go to lead a 6th grade girl small group where they want to teach me how to do this dance:

Should I be dancing? (Refer back to the screw it up questions above) Have lots of fun and drive home to put Asher to bed and catch up with Drew.  We are both dreaming a lot lately.  
Received an amazing package of pictures from my Aunt Mave.  I finally had time to open it to find this picture on top:  

It just happens to be a picture of Drew and I the weekend we were at his parents when we were pregnant and didn't know it.   whaaaaaaaaa????  

Monday Oct. 12th 

Woke up in the middle of the night to pee. (never happens) Pregnant? Or just Pee-nant?
Had lots of energy when I got up.  Super thirsty for water (which if I'm honest I don't drink much but I was constantly thirsty for ice cold water when I was pregnant with Asher).  Pregnant? Or just dehydrated?
Every ( and I do mean EVERY) time I go to the bathroom I wonder if this is it.  It's a strange thing to have to pray to God and remind yourself that you trust Him before you use the restroom.  Try it, you will see how annoying it is.  

So here we are 1/2 way through our 2 week wait.  Doesn't it sound like a lot of fun? Well, for sure it has been SUPER cool to see God moving and showing up and speaking to me through all these crazy ways.  But I do wish people didn't have to wait so long to get results.  I know for some it's torturous. Dealing with fertility issues is so painful and holding your breath for 2 weeks is insane.  But thousands of women do it every month because they feel a yearning, a calling deep within them to love.  To share love.  To be loved.  Bless them Lord!  

I'm so thankful to feel loved.  And a child has nothing to do with that love.  God has been so gracious to me.  So kind.  He took a moment to glance my way and I will never be the same.  But the cool thing about Him is, it's never once.  It's never one glance.  It's one amazing moment after the next with Him.  And we never know where we might find him.  He's everywhere just waiting to be recognized.  He is.  He was. And He always will be.  I can understand why the Hebrews would call him YHWH which means I Am.  No beginning, no end.  Just foreverness.  

So the 2 week wait is full.  It's full of questioning, it's full of laughter, it's full of family and friends, it's full of Love and it's full of God.  I guess the 2 week wait really isn't that bad after all.    

Thursday, October 08, 2015

But God...

Last night and this morning I haven't felt the best.  Not sick like I'm pregnant, but sick like I'm going to start my period soon.  I keep telling myself I'm ok either way, that God is with me and He knows what we need and the perfect timing is in His hands etc.  And I do believe all those things.  But when Asher wakes me up at 5am, it's hard not to be emotional.  But God..

I'm sitting here working and I get an email. My precious friend Molly sent me her devotional for today.  It says: 

Have you ever felt backed into a corner, with the odds stacked against you? In situations like that, Christians too often refuse to acknowledge an important truth. That is, they fail to recognize that God may actually be orchestrating their challenging circumstances.
You may think, No way. God protects me from such things. The world and Satan are doing this to me. Perhaps. Yet maybe, just maybe, God is trying to tell you something—and He first needs to get your attention.
Time and again in Scripture, we see that the Lord uses difficulties to build our faith. It’s easy to trust Him when things go our way. However, God often removes comforts and false securities from our lives to remind us that He is the true source of our strength.
Consider today’s passage, in which Gideon was ready to lead a powerful militia of 32,000 men into battle against the enemy. However, the Lord stepped into the situation two different times, whittling the Israelite army down to less than one percent of its original size. We may have replied, “What? It’s impossible to defeat enemy forces with just 300 men!” That’s probably true; 300 men alone couldn’t do it. But the Lord could.
When the odds are not in your favor, don’t think that God has abandoned you. Your money, your success, and even people you thought were friends may disappear, but those wouldn’t win the battle anyway. Stand your ground and stay focused on the Lord. With everything else stripped away, you’ll be amazed at what your heavenly Father will achieve.
Judges 7:1-7

I couldn't even finish reading it before I burst into tears.  Not because I needed this reminder, I already know God is putting this scripture on us at this time in our lives.  I'm crying because God, in His deity, in His Almighty-ness, in His Greatness, in all His Creative Being-ness, with a world full of War and Killing and Homeless and Dying, He heard me...little me who didn't utter a word to anyone about my heart this morning.  He heard my heart.  He heard my doubt.  He heard my cry for love.  His love.  And He took the time to glance at me.  Overcome.  Overwhelmed.  Overflowed by His Love, for me. In this moment.  At this time in history.  He is so so so very good.  I love Him so.