Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Remembering and Moving Forward

"The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18

I have not written on this blog in a while. I think about it so often. I could give many reasons why I haven't written...busy, not sure what to even write, too much to write so I just don't write anything. All of these would be true. One reason would be complete avoidance. This blog is an outlet for me as well as a way to keep all of you informed but it is also a reminder to me of the dreaded "I" word...infertility.

As you all should know Chris and I have been taking a break from infertility treatments and though I never thought I would make it this long with out wanting to try again it actually has been the opposite! The break has been so nice!! After almost 3 years of trying, 2 years of REALLY trying and almost a year and a half of trying with infertility medication and/or doctors involved, a break was the perfect decision.

I did not realize how many day to day things change after being on this path for so long. Our schedules (being home in time to take a shot or taking a shot with us and putting it in somebodies fridge or just not going places because of having to take a shot) were different. I basically operated like I was pregnant 3 weeks out of the month (how I ate, drank, exercised, everything) every month just to find out I wasn't pregnant. Crazy hormones (enough said). My work schedule shifting on a dime because the doctor may call and want me to come in THAT day and its 2 hours one way so that requires canceling appointments at the last minute (I have been very fortunate to have some very understanding clients, most of the time ;). Managing your "love life" on a calendar and pretty much knowing exactly what your body is doing at any given moment. This is the first month that I had to actually look at the calendar to see what "day" I was on because I didn't have to felt amazing!!

I do not say any of this to complain, just to point out that I did not realize what all we were taking a break from until about a month into the break. I would and will do all of this again for the dream of our baby. During this break it allowed Chris and I to connect more (as well as make sure neither of us went crazy, lol) and it allowed me to just focus on me and getting healthy physically. I have lost almost 25lbs since mid October!! Whoo-Hoo! I was also getting sick a lot with just about every virus out there, I have not been sick really since Bronchitis in September either. So, in regards to health Chris and I both are doing well. My Lupus is being managed and I am only on 3 medications (all of which I can stay on WHEN I get pregnant)!

"Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted." Matthew 5:4

Many of you that are close to Chris and I know that this summer was not pretty. We have had a hard time grieving our miscarried baby, Hope (as we named her, read previous blogs). The summer is a blur to be honest. Chris will tell you that I had already formed such a bond with that baby before she was ever formed in my belly. I started journaling to our "one-day" baby in September 2011. So after trying to get pregnant and going to the doctors when we found out we were actually pregnant that bond with my child was instant because I had already began creating it. I believe this made the grieving that much harder for me, and Chris as well, when we lost her.

"After a miscarriage, you grieve for a person you never knew, and for a relationship that ended before it really began. You grieve not for a person who has lived and died but for an unlived life. You grieve for the loss of your future as the parent of the baby who has died. You are sad not just because of what you have lost but because of what will never be." -Unknown

Today was Hope's due date...I realize she may not have been born today but today was the day she was given as her possible entry into the world. I try to imagine what that would have been like. I certainly would not be sitting at work writing this with kleenex in hand tears softly but silently streaming down my face. The room would not be quiet. I would not be alone. It would have been joyous and I have no doubt my precious, loving husband would be beside me. There still would be tears, just tears of a different kind. I know family and friends would support us and be anxiously awaiting their turn to see her or hold her and Hope would be the most beautiful baby in the world to me. Instead what I try to focus on now is that she is in Heaven and Jesus is holding her and she is listening to lullabies sung by angels, can you imagine?!? How amazing that must be...

"This isn't something you get over. It's just something you get through, and then you carry it around with you for the rest of your life. It's part of your story now. Part of your history. It'll always, always hurt. Just not quite as bad someday." from Lucious Lemon by Heather Swain

Chris and I will hopefully begin trying again with in the next few months or so, we are of course, scared at times thinking about entering back into what we call "that world" again. However, we are just being diligent at listening to God at this time and what his plan is for us and trying to focus on his timing. We know that God ultimately is in complete control and though we may never understand his will at times we continue to try and trust it at all times. Thank you so much for taking time to read this and for all of you that have patiently stood by us and held our hands and loved us even when it was hard. You are a blessing!

"God doesn't always change the circumstances, He did not change them for Jesus on that hillside outside Jerusalem. But the cross is also proof that God always has a purpose in the circumstances and that His purpose and His plan will prevail and will triumph through any circumstances in this world." Louie Giglio

Monday, October 15, 2012

National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day

In October 1988 President Ronald Regan proclaimed October as Natioanl Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. October 15th was named the day of Rememberance for all the babies lost to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, birth defects, SIDS and other causes. Many families experience this grief in silence. Although it seems we have a day for everything, I think this is a good way to look at a silent type of grief and despair many families go through year after year.

It is asked that everybody light a candle this evening and let it burn for an hour in Rememberance of these babies. Chris and I did so and said a prayer for our Hope as well as our future child and the many families we know that have also lost a child and even the ones that we don't know. We ask that you take a moment to do the same, if you are not reading this on October 15th, that's ok, do it anyways. We believe life begins at conception so no matter how far along during pregnancy, if you lose a baby, it is the death of a child.

Some of you know that Chris and I have continued with Infertility treatment since our miscarriage, having two procedures since the miscarriage. This last round the doctor added MANY injectables, which meant a lot of shots and ultrasounds and doctors appointments and bloodwork and trips to Cincinatti. Well, we found out September 8th we were NOT pregnant. This was devastating to say the least. I went completely numb for several days, Chris felt deflated. I couldn't rebound this time and Chris let me know he felt the same way. I remember just feeling speechless, for days I couldn't get angry, I couldn't cry, I couldn't come up with a plan. I knew we were going to have to skip trying for September because we were out of town.

Eventually the tears, the anger, the questioning, the despair and many other emotions came. Along with those emotions came difficult talks between Chris and I. First of all, I am so very fortunate to have the husband I do. We have decided to wait a while to continue with infertility treatment. This DOES NOT MEAN WE GIVE UP!!!! We really need a break mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. We will definitely come back to infertility treatment next year, we just need a few months to regroup.

I personally want to take some time to make sure I'm healthy and fit. Most importantly Chris and I want to make sure our journey for a baby is not getting in the way of our relationship with God and we continue to strengthen our relationship with our Heavenly Father and not let a desire for a baby become an idle. We have no doubt God has called us to be parents and we do not know why he has not allowed us to have a baby yet but we are trying to trust in his timing and we ask for your prayers in that as well.

While months might not seem like much time to some, in the infertility world, it is like decades, so choosing to take months off is a very well thought out, dedicated, prayer led decision. Continue to pray for our healing from the loss of our baby Hope as we still find our grief overwhelms us at times and please pray for our upcoming infertility treatments in the future or that we could conceive naturally!

Your support does not go unnoticed and we are so blessed to have such great friends, thank you, thank you, thank you for all you do for us.

"Wait for The Lord, Be brave and courageous and wait patiently for The Lord" Psalm 27:14

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Blessed through Infertility

I never thought I would use the word Blessed and Infertility in the same sentence. However, I have had the privilege of getting to know women and their stories, both infertile and not, because of this journey. I can now accept, although not always with a happy heart, that God has given me this battle for a reason. I don't think I will know all the reasons quickly, I think I will only see glimpses of them throughout my life. I know that issues involving infertility will always be close to my heart, even after I conceive a baby (because it will happen). I also know Hope's death was for a reason too, because God has a plan and a purpose!

I have so many people to thank for the fundraiser last Friday! First of all, Carrie for opening her house up, Christina for providing such wonderful food and the consultants with Miche (Erin Veasey), Just Jewelry(Gina Karnes) and Jamberry Nails(Melissa Wilder). These consultants gave their time and portions of their own commission for Preserving Hope; If anybody would ever like to host their own party, I highly recommend these women. Most of all I want to say thank you so very much for the women who came and supported me. I'm not just talking about coming and buying something but those who gave me such kind words and hope and prayer. Women I didn't even know came to support this cause, WOW! Thank you just doesn't seem like an adequate word.

Well, Chris and I have been going back and forth to Cincinnati lately, I've been taking many shots of hormones along with other medicine. Chris has been amazing through all of this. As a friend and colleague of mine, who is a doctor, said, "I've given plenty of shots but giving your wife a shot is totally different". Chris has really struggled with having to give these shots and watch my body go through the havoc of all the hormones but he has done anything I have asked because in the end our goal and dream is the same, a baby.

I don't think many people realize how much infertility affects the husband. Though we do not have any male factor infertility issues, this journey has been just as difficult for my husband. He has often placed his own feelings aside to be strong for me, something he has never been asked to do, but does so willingly and unselfishly. Watching your wife make numerous drives and driving with her as well as trying to figure out how to come up with the money and administering medication, watching her cry and grieve while also losing a child in the process is no easy task.

If you know anybody in your life that is going through infertility I encourage you to take the time to also pray for and check in with the husband, who often goes unlooked. I guarantee he is hurting as well and could use any positive support offered. I just want to say thank you so much Chris, you have been everything I have needed during this process and I could not ask for a more Godly husband and best friend.

"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails" Proverbs 19:21

Have a blessed week and thank you thank you to all those that have supported Chris and I in some way along our journey.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Letter from my Journal

Just thought I share a very intimate piece of me with you all today.  I was reading back through my journal that I have kept through this process and I came across a letter that made me smile in some ways...I thought I'd let you have a peek:

Precious One,
   Today at Church a man was baptizing his son and he said, "we have prayed for you before you were born".  Well, sweet baby I want you to know that your daddy and I have prayed for you since before you were conceived.  We have loved you before you were a plan when you were merely a long off dream.  We have loved you through every test, every exam, every ounce of bad news, through shots, medication and each second of waiting.  You have become our child more and more with each prayer.  We will continue to love you through each procedure or doctor visit or drive to Cinicinatti.  You are already our child.  You are already in our heart and one day you will be in our arms.  We love you precious one, Mommy

We still feel this way and fight to stay the course God has for us! Blessings through out your week.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Keeping Hope Alive...

Hello All,
   Chris and I have slowly entered back into the land of the living.  I have had a longing to post on my blog for a while now, but when I read my last post it was so sad for me and has kept me at bay for a while.  I first have to say Thank You, Thank You, Thank You to all of our supporters.  We have had such an outpouring of support and we are so truly grateful for the people in our lives that have prayed, listened, sent food, gifts, and spent many hours consoling us.  None of your thoughts and/or actions were over looked once.  I feel so blessed when I look at our support group and our surroundings.

   If you read the previous post you know that we named our baby, that we miscarried, Hope.  It seemed very appropriate and has brought me so much comfort.  I still think of Hope often, well daily.  I still cry weekly and I talk to God about her and write in my journal to her.  Chris has tried his hardest to be strong but he deeply grieves as well and recently admitted that this has affected him more than he ever dreamed something would.  We both consider ourselves parents of an angel and even if she just lived in my tummy for a little while, she was precious to me and I will see her again in Heaven. I would have been 17 weeks yesterday.

  I am reminded of a song, "Glory Baby" by Watermark that heaven will hold her before we do and she will hear lullabies by angels and never know the troubles of this world, wow, I am grateful for that! Who better to rock my baby to sleep then her heavenly father and the loved ones that have gone before us.  Many people may not believe this idea, but we do and not just as a fairy tale but as truth, so I thank you for respecting our thoughts and beliefs.

  Well, as hard as it is, we plan to get back onto the fertility track.  We needed a break and I'm not sure if we are ready but if we wait to heal completely, that will never happen.  Many of you may wonder about our faith.  It would be fair to say we have both struggled with God's decision to bring Hope home, but surprisingly he guided us through the whole process and we can not be angry or wonder why anymore. Anger was never even the primary emotion, just hurt, discouragement and wonder. His word says:

"In this world you will have troubles, but take heart, I have overcome the world" John 16:33

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" 2 Chronicles 12:9

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted" Matthew 5:4
   I recently read an amazing book, "Hannah's Hope" in the book, Jennifer Saake wrote It is easy to trust when God's ways mesh perfectly with my plans. But it is only when reality collides with my preconceptions that my faith is tried and proved.  This is true for Chris and I, we can not waver on our faith simply because things didn't turn out how we wanted.  I know God's plan is bigger and better and I can't wait to see what he has in store for us, we trust it will be amazing. 
Again, thanks for hanging in there with us and please continue your prayers and support.  With much love in our heart, Amy and Chris :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Goodbye Baby Hope

Many of you may not be aware that on May 3, 2012 Chris and I realized we were finally pregnant!  Our second super-stem IUI had worked! I was supposed to take a test May 1, 2012 but it said "not pregnant" so before calling the doctor to ask if he wanted me to start progesterone to get me to start (since I still had not started my period and had no signs) I knew he would ask me to take another test. So that Thursday afternoon after laying down for a bit because I was was so tired and while Chris was out weed-eating the yard I took a test and it immediately came up "pregnant", a word I had only dreamed of seeing.  I stared at it and then found my shoes and went running to the front yard, with my pregnancy test to show Chris, I was able to say the words I had longed to say, "your going to be a daddy". He was so happy and excited, we hugged and cried in the front yard (no telling what the neighbors thought).

The next Friday Chris graduated with his doctorate in interdisciplinary studies with a focus in criminal justice. I could not have been prouder of my husband and all God's timing seemed to be perfect. We then began to tell our friends and family.  Excitement does not capture the word everybody felt. For a little over a week I was the happiest I have ever been in my life. I remember thinking all felt right and good and at peace and the only one I had to thank was God and I was very grateful.

On Mother's day I started cramping and slightly bleeding, the doctors felt it was just my uterus growing as I was not bleeding a lot.  However the cramping was very severe.  Through the whole next week I cramped (sometimes so severe I could only lay in a fetal position) and I bled some (never enough though to make them fear I was having a miscarriage).  I had just come to the conclusion that unfortunately I was going to be one of those people that just cramped and bled some through my first trimester. I had been able to put the idea of a miscarriage out of my mind though.  Besides I had no other problems, no morning sickness or any other unfortunate symptoms.

Friday, May 18, 2012 was our first OB appointment in Cincinnati where we would have an ultrasound and hear a heart beat (maybe even more than one).  I started cramping kind of heavily again on our way to Cincinnati, but the excitement of hearing our baby's heart beat erased the concern from the cramps.  After going into the room and getting ready for the ultrasound the doctor came in an began looking around, what was probably only minutes felt like an hour of him looking and saying "just a minute".  Finally he told me to sit up, I had not heard the heart beat yet and he had not pointed anything out to me so I immediately began to cry.  We had miscarried.  2 years of trying to conceive, many shots, pills, drives to Cincinnati, blood, ultrasounds, etc... and we miscarried. 

All I remember from there was crying with Chris, who held me and just cried with me.  The doctor gave some medical talk about how it wasn't my fault and at least we were able to get pregnant but all I could think was that my baby was gone. The pain continued from the extreme cramps on our 2 hour journey home from Cincinnati.  I have never been in such physical and emotional plain at the same time.  The cramps only got worse until I finally "passed" our baby later that night.

At this time I know all the answers people say, it wasn't time, something must have been wrong with the baby, God needed her, etc...  I felt strongly that it was a girl and I do not know why, but Chris and I agreed on that.  We named her Hope.  She was a real person, a real baby and we grieve her desperately as we try to go through the day to day tasks that still require our attention. 

I feel numb and disappointed and in disbelief and whatever the word is for a sadness that consumes your whole body and makes you ache inside.  Right now, the only verse I can hear is " Be still and know that I am God". Being still is all I am capable of right now.

Chris and I will try again as soon as we are able.  We just wanted to update people and let them know we continue to appreciate your prayers, your thoughts, your kind words and time.  At this time we just need our time to grieve the loss of our precious baby. I would have been 7 weeks today. Please continue to pray for us.

We love you Hope, you will always be our first child and you will never be forgotten.

Take time to listen to this song if you can:

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Taking A Break...

Thought I'd just update you all.  Chris and I are taking a break from some things right now, including some issues with infertility .  We appreciate all your prayers and ask that you please continue praying for us.  We will gladly accept calls with questions or support. We are still very hopeful in our dreams coming true and God blessing us with a baby.  Thank all of you for your encouragement, prayers and unbelievable support.  Talk with you all soon. Blessings!

"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." Jeremiah 29:11