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

“In 14 Days I Will Take a Pregnancy Test.”

Today is day 13… day 13 of my current menstrual cycle. Usually day 13 of my cycle is no big deal, a pretty normal day compared to some of the other days but today is a little different because I had a “day 12 ultrasound.”

Day 12 ultrasounds are usually done on day 12 of my cycle but because I couldn’t make it to the doctor yesterday, the ultrasound was done on day 13 and today revealed 2 large follicles.

Women begin puberty with about 400,000 follicles, each with the potential to release an egg cell (ovum) at ovulation for fertilization. These eggs are developed once every menstrual cycle.

And this evening my husband will give me a shot that will release the egg because tomorrow I have scheduled my fourth IUI procedure.

I am excited and looking forward tomorrow. Tomorrow is a big day. I have my clothes picked out and my alarm set because tomorrow, on day 14 of my cycle, I AM GOING TO DISNEY!

I have had this day planned for weeks.  I am so excited for a girls day with my sister and friends, friends I haven’t seen in months and we even got matching shirts!

But because of the results of today’s ultrasound, my Disney day is ending earlier than I would like. No firework show for me because I have leave the land where dreams come true to lay in an uncomfortable patient chair to have a very uncomfortable procedure done that has around a 30% success rate.

And after tomorrow the countdown begins.

In 8 days I will have bloodwork done. The bloodwork will test my Progesterone levels that gives information on whether or not my hormones are responding to the procedure.

In 14 days I will take an at home pregnancy test.

Truthfully, I will most likely have taken three tests by that time… six days sooner tests mean I can test in 12 days, right? My husband will say, “12 days is too soon to read positive Catherine.” So, I’ll test every day after that until it reads positive or start my next cycle… I better stock up on the tests this week.

Also, I have to keep my calendar open… no plans for at least the next 9 months because I could get pregnant this time. No vacations, no big purchases, take the lunch meat off the grocery list because I can’t have deli meat for a while.

Exciting, huh?

Of course! It would be an answer to prayers if this time works and I will be jumping for joy at the sight of a positive test. Gosh, I have already thought about the cute pregnancy announcement Christmas Cards that we would make. Or maybe we would announce ON CHRISTMAS, that would be cool, right?

Back to reality Catherine… guard your heart Catherine… don’t get carried away Catherine.

Because what if it is negative?

What if day 1 comes again in 15 short days?

What if the IUI doesn’t work again? What day will the procedure fall on next month? What if I can’t do it next month because it’s the holidays and my doctor can’t do it? What if Seth is out of town for work during the time next month? What if… (I could literally go on and on) 

I am so tired of thinking about day 12, day 21, day 28, and when day 1 starts again. Remembering what medicine to take when and having an injection in the fridge on standby is annoying enough.

Reality is I can’t even plan a day to Disney because I don’t know what day of my cycle it will be on. I can’t plan further than 30 days out because I have to be ready when the follicles are good enough.

Truth is, I don’t know what the future holds. I have no idea what will happen or how God will use me today, tomorrow, next week, or next month and the unknown eats me up every day. One of my biggest flaws is that I like to have a PLAN. I like to know what is going on, how I am I getting there, what I will wear on the day of, and who I will see when I get there.

So this journey is SCARY.

I tell myself everyday that He has sent me on this journey. And even as I am writing the words, I am reminded that my faith is what will guide me every step of the way.

“Because of your little faith, For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20

 

 

“Are You Getting All This?”

I remember the first call I received with results from the blood work I had done the week prior. The nurse left a voicemail, “Hi Catherine, I wanted to let you know that we received the results to your blood work and the … levels are measuring …. Which is consistent with infertility so we need to schedule an infertility appointment.”

I called Seth immediately crying, “Why would she say that over voicemail?! I knew something wasn’t right! Do you think that means we can’t have our own kids? How much is this going cost? Can we afford fertility help? Does our insurance cover stuff like this? Will we have to see a specialist? Does this mean I am going to have 5 babies at once?”

A little extreme, I know.

But those were the questions running through my mind… the thoughts that have consumed me for the last 2.5 years.

Seth had little words. My husband is always so comforting to me when I am upset and all I remember him saying was “I know God has this, don’t worry babe.”

Okay, don’t worry… easier said than done.

The biggest indicator of infertility is an irregular period (ladies, write that down) and my period was all over the place. To understand your period, you must record it. You should be tracking your cycle every month, recording the cramps, the flow, and how long you are on it each month. (there are several Apps to help with this)

So, I brought my App with information to Dr. O and she immediately says “Oh… yeah honey, you have a problem!” And I was thinking, um yeah, your nurse already said that via voicemail two days ago…so uh… that’s why I am here.

She started to go on and on about what we would check first and rule out first and then check second and then continued with what medicine I would take, what days of my cycle I would take it on, what specialist she was going to send me to… I looked at Seth and gave him the look, are you getting all this?

I left that appointment confused, but hopeful. Infertility isn’t uncommon and medicine has come a long way, I am sure we will figure out what is wrong and fix it in no time. (famous last words)

I shared the details of my first appointment with friends, family, and some coworkers. I didn’t understand true vulnerability until I shared this part of me and sometimes I wish I had kept it all to myself.

Their responses would be, “Well you’re not infertile, you’re just experiencing infertilely so that’s good” and, “I know you will get pregnant in His time, just be patient.”

Weeks would go by and I would hear, “Catherine, I’ve been praying for you.”

And those words would sting the most.

I appreciate the prayers, I really do but sometimes it’s just feels like a “I’m so sorry for you” statement. I hate when people feel sorry for me, and when others feel sorry for me, it makes me feel weak.

I am supposed to be good at everything, I have it all together. Don’t you see my social media accounts? l only post the pretty pictures. My husband and I did it right, we waited until marriage so our life is perfect and we will have kids as soon as we are ready… that’s the image I want everyone to see.

I am perfect. My marriage is perfect. My health is perfect. My hair is perfect. My home is perfect. My dog is perfect. My life is perfect… that’s what I want others to see.
I don’t want prayers… prayers mean I am weak.

Weak means I am imperfect. Weak means I am not strong. Weak means I am broke. Weak means I need help. Weak means I don’t have it all together. Weak means I can’t have children when I want. Weak means I must see a specialist and weak means I am infertile.

Infertile is defined as unable to reproduce.

Infertility is the inability to conceive children or young.

His time would be whenever He is ready to allow me to conceive.

And so, I AM WEAK. I am unable to reproduce. I cannot conceive. His time is not now. I ask you to pray because  I need prayers and I need prayers because I am weak.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me. Psalm 138:7