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/

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

Baby Blues

It’s true, I am a private person.

I don’t like when people get in my business and I definitely don’t talk about my feelings to anyone other than my husband. I don’t like sharing in groups about what’s “going on” in my life. And when someone comes up to me and asks me how I’m doing, there’s a 90% chance I’ll respond, “I’m fine”.

But the truth is, I’m not really fine right now. I’m struggling. Yes, I trust God, but it isn’t easy most days.

It’s hard to speak the words when they are so heavy in my heart. It’s difficult to talk when I am on the verge of tears all the time. My mind is running in one direction as I convince myself to look forward and not dwell on the current unfortunate news and therefore the words literally cannot come out of my mouth.

So why share my story?

That’s a good question and I’m not sure what the answer is quite yet. But I do know that ever since I started writing my story on paper, I felt this sense of relief, comfort, and peace. My hope is that my story can help someone else who is living the same sad reality as me. My prayer is this simple blog can remind other women struggling with infertility that they are not alone. My prayer is God may use this blog to remind all women that the Lord is faithful even in the difficult times.

No one talks about infertility while going through it. In fact, I bet many of you know someone who has or is currently struggling with infertility. I have come to realize that people are more willing to open up after their trial, when the pregnancy test shows two lines, when the baby name is picked out, and when they are rocking their bundle of joy to bed.

No one likes to talk about their storm when they are facing it. We like success stories. We like the happily ever after. However, I am in the storm. I’m still waiting on my baby. The trial is still ahead of me, and the journey is my present life. I want to write about and share with you the good, the bad, and the ugly as I am living through it now. This blog will be a place to read about my journey with infertility, including stories on the past few years and my current situation.

Friends, I invite you to walk this journey with me. Read my stories so you may understand what someone who is dealing with infertility is feeling. Share my stories with someone you know who is suffering from the same sadness as me so that they may find comfort in knowing they are not alone.

Pray with me. I TRUST in Him to provide and I want to celebrate with YOU as the many blessings are revealed.

“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. The you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:11