I Said Yes!

This week marks 4 years since Seth got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. The picture above is from one of our engagement shoots. Oh, how time flies when you are having fun! I can honestly say, I love him more today than I did four years ago and I would say yes a million more times!

Four years later, I am now asking myself: Is it worth it? Should I keep trying? How many times do I try before I give up? Can I even do this anymore? Do I really want to take those hormone pills again?

These are just a few questions I have asked almost every day… sometimes multiple times a day. They stay in my mind, consume my thoughts and I literally think about it every minute of every day.

And four years later, my answer is the same: YES

Yes, it is worth it. Yes, I am young so I should keep trying. Yes, I need to try a few more times before giving up. Yes, I can do anything I set my mind to. Yes, if I want it to work, I must take the pills.

Okay so, YES… Let’s do this God.

Today I am saying yes again because today is the day I start the hormones again.

Today I am a little nervous and kind of anxious because I know what happens when I take the hormones. I cry, I cry A LOT. I get sad when I should be happy and I get giggly when I should be upset and the tears come out of nowhere.

Seriously, OUT OF NOWHERE.

But starting the pills today means a procedure is in the horizon, and it is… hopefully sometime in May.

First things first, another surgery is scheduled next week.

After 5 failed IUI’s, it has been decided that there are a couple adjustments that I could make in order to increase the success rate of the next IUI, so I am “going under the knife,” again.

We are hopeful. My doctor, my husband, my family, and myself… we are all hopeful.

As hopeful as I am, I am still trying to convince myself that the answer is YES. Because the reality is, every day I am manipulating my brain to believe that I can do this.
But the truth is, I can’t do this… GOD CAN DO THIS. I can’t do this. Only GOD can do this! If I live this life that God has provided, with full trust in Him, then He WILL DO THIS.

I recently discussed with friends what it means to “take up the armor of God, and stand firm,” and how to apply that in our daily lives. What would it look like to begin each day with figuratively fastening the belt of truth?

This has been another thing lingering in my brain of thoughts these days.

I have been challenged to begin each day with prayer. Asking Him to lead me, guide me, show me what it is I need to learn today and perhaps be a blessing to someone else.

I have had these talks with God and let me tell you, it’s so hard to hear what He is trying to tell me! It is difficult to know what He wants for me in this season and I have a hard time understanding what his plan for me is.

GOD CAN DO THIS. And I will talk with Him daily to understand who, what, when, where, and why as I continue to navigate these thoughts of what it means to say YES.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. – Ephesians 6:13

But Who’s Counting?

It has been five months since my first blog post “Everyone is Pregnant But Me,” and for some reason I thought it was much longer. Honestly, I thought it has been closer to a year since I started writing my feelings in this blog. I don’t know why I thought it was that long or why I felt the need to start this post with that but I think it has a lot to do with where I am at right now.

It’s only been five months since I first started sharing with you.

It has been a long five months of sharing with you.

Truthfully, five months has felt like five years some days… but who’s counting?

Today, five months after my first blog post, I could simply title this “Everyone is a Mom But Me.” Because God is so good, He has turned all those pregnancies I wrote about in my first post into motherhood. Those who were pregnant five months ago, are now tired, sleepless, yet wonderful moms.

Also, some of you who were not pregnant five months ago, are now pregnant so I guess I could call this post “Everyone is a Mom or Pregnant But Me.” (wow, that is a mouth full)

But the truth is, not everyone is a mom. Not everyone is pregnant either.

This blog post could easily turn into a “poor me” article but I refuse to let it go there.

I am simply saying the words out loud as I type them, I AM NOT A MOM AND I AM NOT PREGNANT.

Whew, that felt good to say out loud. And I didn’t even tear up! Weird, five months ago I don’t think I could have said it without crying.

In addition, I feel good in knowing that this is my life right now. I know that in the last five months, God has used me in ways I never thought possible. I never thought my words could be articulated in a story of hope that would provide comfort for someone else.

I have a sense of peace because I know that I am not (physically) alone in this journey. Though many days it feels like I am the only one who is not a mom and sometimes I feel like I am the only one who cannot get pregnant, I know that is not true. The truth is, there is a community of women out there asking the same questions and crying to God in the same way I have.

But, this is where I will get real with you.

It still isn’t easy.

I still get jealous when a friend announces their pregnancy. I still feel uncomfortable when friends talk about their mommy problems. I still feel like I am the only one in the room who hasn’t received an answer to prayers. And I still feel like I am getting left behind.

When I feel jealous, sad, heartbroken, alone, or hopeless… I still freeze up. I still don’t know how to talk about it and I still don’t know how to be a part of the crowd without being the “elephant in the room.”

But please don’t misinterpret my words because through all the emotions… I am still okay. I am still happy for the miracle you have been blessed with and I still love being with my mommy friends.

I still have hope because I know God is using me during this time.

God is using my writing to provide a community to those who feel alone on this journey. God is using my wisdom to poor into the lives of the next generation. God is using my marriage to be an example of what true love is when you first seek Him and not each other.

And God is using my story as a testament of His unending love because He is the only one getting me through this.

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called- Ephesians 4:1

You Choose.

I am on day 19 of the New Year, New Me bandwagon and I am feeling good. The first couple weeks weren’t easy but I feel great today and I have felt great for the past few days!

During these 19 days, I have come to realize that a healthy lifestyle is only a matter of what I choose to do. It is simply a state of mind. What will I eat for breakfast? Should I go out to lunch today? Do I have time to exercise?

These are some of the choices I make every day. And truthfully, these are decisions only I make. No one can stop me from going to gym but myself… no one forces me to eat the cupcake, I choose to not eat the cupcake. 

Lucky for me, the choices do not stop there.

We visited the specialist on Wednesday and more choices were revealed. We can pursue a few more rounds of IUI under the specialist care, consider IVF, run a few more tests, wait it out a little longer, do more bloodwork, and maybe we will have some answers… maybe not.

The resources, time span, success rate… all things to consider before we choose a route to take.

Ugh, I hate making choices!

Why is it so hard to choose? Can someone just decide for us? I wish the doctor would tell me what to do, no options given, just make it black and white.

I wake up most days deciding if I will have a good day or not… why do I do that? Many days I say to myself, “ughhh I don’t want to go to work or I don’t want to go to the appointment today, gosh this is gonna be a stinky day.”  Why is it easy to go ahead and assume the worse? Honestly, I am already assuming the worse when it comes to deciding how to fix my current problems.

My husband said something to me I will never forget. “Make a great day!” hmm… MAKE a great day? That’s something I never considered.

He is right, it is up to me to MAKE a great day; the day doesn’t choose to be great and that is perspective I never had until recently.

Which brings me to today… I am making a great day and sharing with you the many choices that come with the journey of infertility.

What I am afraid of most is making the wrong choice. Putting our time, energy, and resources into a particular option and it ends in a negative result… That would mean I made the wrong choice, right?

The truth is, there is no wrong choice.

There is no wrong choice because I believe that God has sent me on this journey and every procedure, bloodwork, or decision that is made is all a part of his plan. I will be honest, it isn’t easy accepting that this is his plan. It isn’t easy making these choices, especially when it comes to my timeline, my expectations, my desires, and what I thought was my purpose in life.

I thought my purpose in life was to be a wife and a mom.

Wife- check.
Mom- I have no clue.

And maybe that’s the root of it all… understanding my purpose. Not only in this season, but in general… what is my purpose?

Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in such as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.      – 1 Peter 4:12-13

P.S. If you are looking for a feel good, encouraging hour… listen to Chatologie, a podcast by my friend, Angie Elkins! I had the opportunity to share my journey of infertility on her latest broadcast and I would love for you listen and hear more of our story! You can search it on iTunes or visit her website at http://www.chatologie.com/

New Year, New (Pregnant) Me?!

There’s just something about the start of a new year that makes you want to throw out all the cookies, dust off your running shoes and hit the gym! Am I right?

I’ll be honest, my husband and I have jumped on the bandwagon and decided to commit to a lifestyle change in 2018. We are cutting out the sugars, fats, grain, and exercising more. We are only a few days in but I feel better already. I’m not sure if it is the healthier food choices or my menstrual cycle releasing the toxins but I must say, I feel different.

Yes, I have started my monthly cycle so… no, I am not pregnant.

But the title of a New Year, New PREGNANT Me sounded so fun, right? I did get a little giddy at the thought of writing my next blog and possibly sharing the good news.

Instead, here I am with a loss of words.

I had a conversation with my sister in law a few days ago… she started with the sweetest words, “Catherine, I’m not sure what your situation is, but if you needed a surrogate, I would totally do that for you and Seth!”

I responded with tears in my eyes.

And, she isn’t the first person to say that to me. My precious mother said it once and even an intern who worked for me over the summer last year said it.

Truth is, I know several of my family and friends would be a surrogate if I needed them to. There is no doubt in my mind that anyone in my life would not say yes if I asked them. I know I have an army of friends and family fighting and cheering us on.

It is easy to feel overwhelmed, sad, stressed, and defeated when sharing my latest news of infertility. But I have comfort in knowing that the sadness, stress, and even choices are shared with so many loved ones and that is what gets me through the hard times.

Though I am at a loss of words, the emotions weigh heavy in my heart as I fear the upcoming days and weeks. I shared with you all in my last post that we would be pursuing all avenues in efforts to become parents and I share with you today that our journey continues as we listen to His voice in all.

Next week I will go for a biopsy that will check to see if the endometriosis has returned and the following week we have appointment with an REI (Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Specialist). Stay tuned because He is just getting started.

New Year, New Me? Yes, I would say so. I think I have come a long way with handling some of the emotions that come with this whole ordeal and I am getting better at sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly. My hope is that this year will bring more positive results, more genuine relationships, and a deeper trust in Him.

New Year, New PREGNANT Me? Perhaps… but only He knows.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6

A Baby Changes Everything

I remember the day my nephew, Wyatt was born. My sister was in labor all day and after 28 hours, he arrived via caesarean. What a precious newborn boy he was! And my sister, she was so brave and so strong and patient as she awaited the arrival of her son.

I didn’t know it right way, but that day changed our lives forever. He is the first grandchild on my side of the family so you can only imagine what he means to my parents and siblings. What a joy it is just watching him grow and learn every time we are together.

In addition to his presence at all family gatherings, the conversations with my sister, my mom, and almost everyone else revolves around the latest with Wyatt… what words does Wyatt speak? What is Wyatt eating now? Wyatt is so smart!

Baby Wyatt has changed everything in our family.

The same could be said about my nieces… Belle and SusanJane. Oh, how we love talking about the newest additions to the de Armas side of the family! It’s hard to believe that something so small could have such a big impact, literally!

Two baby girls have changed everything for the de Armas’.

Today, after my fifth IUI procedure this morning, I lay in bed and think about the future child or children that my life may revolve around. I wonder who he/she will look like, what his/her first words will be and what my home will be like if a baby was with us.

And, I think how my life would be changed forever if worked this time.

My husband and I have considered all avenues as a means to be parents and if it doesn’t work this time, we will begin efforts to pursue other options. The hardest part is waiting, listening, and seeing God’s hand in it all. In efforts to take the next steps, the many questions resume in my head: What are we supposed to do with our resources? Is there a child out there you have already called ours? What specialist should we see?

Sometimes I wish it could have been as simple as the day Mary found out she was pregnant… An angel appeared and told her she was with child, she was also a virgin.

Lucky for Mary.

I wonder if Mary knew the weight of the miracle she birthed. I wonder if there was a day before the angel appeared that she considered she may never have children? I wonder if she thought about the day that the story of her child laying in a manger would be a day that everyone celebrated?

I know more than most people the miracle that a baby is and the Christmas song that plays often, “Mary Did You Know?”… I would love to know if she knew the same wonderful news as we do.

The baby Jesus, who came to us and born a savior… He is the greatest miracle of all!

You see, a baby changes everything.

The truth is, my life has already changed because of a baby. Yes, I was changed the day I became an aunt. But, more importantly, my life changed because of the birth of Jesus Christ, my lord and savior. It is because of his birthday long ago, I say with great joy, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”  Luke 2:10-11

Would I Still Be Okay?

It has taken almost 2 weeks for me to write the words and share the news on my blog. I’m not sure if posting it on my website is what makes it reality or actually saying the words out loud, but I am reminded that the point of my blog is to share my current infertility journey and I pray that this too, will provide comfort for the woman who is also feeling defeated. So here goes nothing…

It didn’t work.

The fourth IUI procedure did not work and I am not pregnant. I am a little bummed and disappointed but not real sad. Honestly, I am okay.

Many of my friends and family have already asked and to my surprise, I didn’t cry right away in my response and I was actually able to talk about it.

Like always, when day one of my cycle arrived, I got emotional and cried. I felt defeated. I thought about the next procedure and became afraid. I thought about my monthly schedule and the holiday season and worried about the time frame of what this month would bring. 

But, I didn’t dwell on it. A little cry session with my husband and I wiped away the tears and popped a Midol because I was okay.

With this feeling of being okay has come understanding. I am starting to understand the life that God has called me to and what it means to have faith. The faith that makes me a believer is what gives me joy. The joy is the many blessings that come from He who lives within me and I wonder often if the journey I am on is all apart of understanding where my joy comes from.

I also wonder if the journey I am on is His way of showing me that His plan is better than I could have ever imagined. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow is all His to give to me and I think about how I have been able share my story with so many readers. I see that this is how He is using me to glorify Him and I have a sense of purpose right now.

Many people have responded to my story with the words, “I know He will give you children in time.” And of course I say, “I know, I believe that too.” But a different thought has come to mind these days… “but what if He doesn’t?”

If I never became a mom, would I still be okay? 

A friend shared at our life group the other day about a bible study she did a while back. Long story short, the point was made: the only promise God has made to us is HIS never ending love for us. He doesn’t promise a house, a spouse, a family, children, a job… nothing else. If all we have was stripped from our lives, would we still be okay with knowing that HE loves us?

I have thought about that conversation many times… am I okay with JUST HIS LOVE?

Yes, He hears our prayers and gives answers but that doesn’t mean they are always the answers we want to hear. Lately, I am wondering if the answer to my constant prayer is, “Catherine, I have something better in mind… TRUST ME.”

“The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy; they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.” – Psalms 111: 8-9

 

 

 

Five Reasons I am Thankful During This Season

I think many of you are in the same boat as me… the boat that feels like it is sinking because of the five pounds gained after the Thanksgiving feast we all delighted in yesterday and probably even again today. (hehe) I’m not sure if it is the calories gained or the time with family, but there is just something about sharing what we are thankful for that reminds me of how good our God is.

Though it is easy to think of what all is missing in my life during this time, I have to stop and think how blessed I really am.

Disclaimer: I’ve already shared with you how wonderful my husband is, so it is implied that I am super thankful for him and therefore he is not included on the list of five.

1. My Friends and Family (duh). I list them together because there are friends who are family and I cannot differentiate the two in my heart honestly. My sweet mom who texts me daily to check up on me, my in laws who have sat in the waiting room at multiple doctor appointments, our siblings and their spouses who have cried with us, the lifelong and new friends who continually love on us. Near and far, I am overwhelmed by the love, prayers, and encouragement expressed via email, text, phone call, and Facebook message from the friends and family in my life.

2. My Job. Yes, I am thankful for my job during this trying time. In addition to the health benefits provided by my employer, I feel blessed to be working for a team of leadership who truly cares for me and all things relevant to my life. With impromptu doctors appointments and blood work done often, having a job that understands the circumstances I am living and allows me to take the time needed to take care of my health means more than they will know. Truthfully, my boss and coworkers share the grief of my treatment the most… coming into the office just after an appointment or getting a phone call with bad news during the work day, they see the sadness in my face and the heartache more than anyone. Having a place to go to where I can throw all my attention into the next project or event is an opportunity to not think about the current bad news and I am so thankful for that.

3. My Mentor. She probably doesn’t know she is my “mentor” but I call her that because she really provides more counsel than anyone I know. When my husband asked me to talk with his coworker who has been fighting the same battle of infertility as me, (except for way longer), I was hesitant to meet her. But today, I am thankful for the few conversations we have had and the endless amount of wisdom she provides. Having someone to talk to about what I am feeling who has actually felt the same thing, is such a blessing. She reminds me that I AM NOT CRAZY when the hormones are too much, and she provides comfort when I need it the most.

4. My Doctor. Dr. T wasn’t the first doctor I saw when I began treatment. She was filling in for my first doctor during her maternity leave and I admired how much Dr. T loved her job and helping women like myself. When given the opportunity to choose a doctor to continue treatment, there was no question in my mind, I would continue with Dr. T. Dr. T takes my health personally, I feel as though she suffers the pain with me every time a procedure doesn’t work. She always goes above and beyond to accommodate my cycle schedule, scheduling my appointments on any day of the week and coming in any time. She calls and texts me often, always checking up on me and taking it upon herself to see how I am doing.

5. My God. I saved the best for last because I know that I wouldn’t have numbers 1-4 without My God. The list is endless when I think of reasons why I am thankful for Him, but in short, it is because he has chosen ME to be His, to be the one who follows Him in the journey, and I am thankful that He will provide no matter what the circumstances are. 

And so, five reasons why I am thankful during this time of my life.

As I reflect on the list above I notice they aren’t really “reasons” to be thankful, but PEOPLE I am thankful for. If you are reading this, it means I am thankful for YOU. Friends, family, bosses, coworkers, mentors, doctors, I am thankful for you! You are the reason many of us who are facing the storm can see the rainbow because He has provided YOU.

“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”          -1 Thessalonians 5:18