leaning in.

It’s been just over a week since we found out that our little ones didn’t get to stay. I haven’t done tons of talking about everything…sometimes in this process things happen that cause me to lose my words for a while. My brain works at a million miles an hour in a million different directions and it just takes me a bit to work through that and find my words. That’s where I’ve been…and I’ve spent a few evenings staring at this computer screen wondering what I should type. During that time, God and I have been in an… interesting place.

I wasn’t angry with Him particularly…nor did I completely distrust Him or want to do anything so drastic as walk away from Him. Now to pull away a bit, distance myself as a means of ‘protection’ for my heart…yes, that temptation was there. I remember driving home from work on the day after we found out, and forcing myself to listen to songs that sang of His goodness, of His promise to bring beauty from broken things. I made myself sing, albeit through tears, to “It is Well”…all while my spirit was begging Him to make it well within me. Although I wanted to push back, I knew it was the opposite of what I needed…and so despite the pain, I began to lean in.

I felt that same need when we were at my parents and discussed whether or not we would go to church that Sunday. So many people there have been following our story and praying diligently for us, and we knew that we might have to talk about our loss with some of them. In the end, I felt like it was where I needed to be. The service was a good one…but again I had to make myself sing, make myself listen to the words of encouragement and truth spoken from the pulpit.

It may sound wrong to say it that way…or maybe I’m just not doing a good job of explaining it. But I don’t think God minded that I was “faking it until I could feel it” so to say. Although I didn’t feel like “it was well,” {and I’m still not there 100%} I knew & trusted that God could make it well, so I very intentionally declared that to Him. It was the same with church…pushing past my feelings and forcing my heart to open to Him took much more fight and trust than shutting down & shutting Him out.

At that point in time, I found it very overwhelming emotionally to be in His presence. He has been so near to me, to us, over these last few weeks…and it made me feel vulnerable in a way I found to be difficult once we found that His will was different from what we’d been praying for. I knew He was there…I knew His arms were open to me, His comfort readily available…but I wanted to keep some distance between us. Kind of a “we can be in the same room, but you sit on that couch and I’ll sit over here on this one” kind of thing.

I came across a beautifully written blog by a Christian woman who experienced a miscarriage at 6 weeks. She was farther along than I was obviously, but her words on the grief and pain she felt in experiencing an early pregnancy loss felt like some of the very same words I had been searching for. She said “For several months, I grieved and battled within myself. I remember telling the Lord that if I didn’t know Him so well, I would not have been so hurt and angry with Him. But I DID know Him, and I DID know without a doubt that He had given this life to my womb knowing all the while that I would be brought to the highest of high in my life, only to crash and be utterly broken within weeks. He gave me thins Samuel-baby, knowing that He would soon take this baby home to be with Him and that it would break our hearts.” {From Faith for the Journey

As this past week went on, it was as if the more I sang and prayed to Him, the more emotionally unstable I became. On Thursday night, one week after our beta test, I remember Chris lovingly telling me that I really needed to talk with God…to settle things with Him. I knew it was time, but I felt so hurt that it was hard to allow myself to be wrapped up in His arms. {The best way I know to describe it is this: Sometimes when Chris and I have gotten into an argument, I have felt so hurt by something he’s said or because I don’t feel understood by him. Afterwards he has always opened his arms to me & said “I love you, come here…” But in those moments, I feel torn. I know he is my husband, and that I love him and should go to him…but I’m still so hurt. When that’s happened, I usually take the needed steps toward him, but then stand there and cry while he holds me. After a few moments of that I’m able to hug him back, and from there we are able to make things right between us and move forward.}

All that being said…I’ve been in the “torn” stage. I’m taking tiny steps towards Him, but I’m not there quite yet. I actually made a lot of progress in connecting some of the dots a few nights ago while talking to a close friend of mine. What I figured out was this…

At the end of January, I felt God telling me that I needed to stop living in “and if not” and start living in the joyful hope & expectation of “and if so.” And I did. I allowed Him to settle peace & calmness into my days, I began to allow myself to really think about what our lives would look like with babies. I knew around when I would be due, thought about when I would need to have sub plans for, envisioned Christmas with our babies & our new nephew. During our time of waiting after the transfer I downloaded pregnancy apps, Chris talked to the babies every day…he even announced to someone that I was pregnant with twins. {Yikes!} It was a sweet time for us.

So when I found out that I wasn’t pregnant…that neither little one would be staying with us…I felt so overwhelmingly disappointed and confused. I knew that I would likely never understand all the reasons why, but I was so confused by Him. Why would He have made me leave that place of “and if not”…that place of guarding my heart and shielding my expectations. Had I stayed there, it certainly seems as if this all would have hurt less. Why would He give, just to take away?

What I feel like He helped me understand is this…had He not asked me to move out of that place, the time spent with our little ones likely would have looked much different. For a lot of people, the time leading up to / following the transfer is marked with anxiety and stress. Had we spent that time feeling on edge and counting down the minutes to our blood test, we would have wasted what little time we had with our little ones. Instead, it was a sweet time of peace and love. Chris and I were in a good place, emotionally I was in a good place, and so much love was showered on and prayed over our little ones. I will always be able to look back at their time with us and call it good. There is so much beauty & meaning in that. It doesn’t answer everything, but it gives me a glimpse at the reason He asked me to make myself vulnerable to Him, and to them. Love is worth everything it costs; I know that to be true now.

That seems like a good place to stop for today.

Blessed am I.

we’ll get there.

{This is one of those posts that is truly mostly just for me…just trying to journal & recount this process and all of the feelings. Not the most captivating or inspired post, but necessary for me to work my way through my thoughts & feelings.}

Friday 

Somewhere in the wee hours of the morning on Friday I woke up from a dream juuust enough to feel confused about what was real and what wasn’t…and then enough to remember that I wasn’t pregnant. I managed to fall back asleep, but when the alarm clock started sounding a couple of hours later it was right back at the forefront of my mind. I remember thinking “But God, I don’t want to live in a world that they aren’t in…” {Not as in I wanted to die, just that the thought of them really being gone was so sad to me.} We’ve known about these little ones since September, we’ve been praying for them specifically for almost a year before that. Once we decided on embryo adoption, we knew that likely our little ones already existed and probably had for years. {We later learned that they were created about 6 months after we were married.}

I pushed it until the last possible minute to get out of bed, and even then it was a struggle. I wanted nothing more than to call in and stay in bed for the day…but on a Kindergarten award assembly & field trip day, that’s just not an option.

I made it through getting ready solely because I prayed each step of the way that God would just get me through it and get me out the door, and was able to hold the few tears that did sneak out at bay. {My eyes were so puffy they hurt…} I had a harder time keeping it together on the drive…I typically listen to christian music but I didn’t dare that morning. Honestly it was all I could do to pray that God would help me hold it together…to enter into a space with Him beyond that would have made me more vulnerable than I could handle at that moment.

School, for a variety of reasons unrelated & outside of my control {plus my state of mind, of course}, was basically a terrible, no-good, very bad day. I made it through, and that’s about all I can say about that. I made it to my car afterwards and cried the entire way home. This time I did play music, and pretty much forced myself to offer parts of the songs as prayers. I’ve learned through this that feelings are fleeting {and they aren’t always true} but that God never changes & loves us beyond measure, even when we feel hurt by Him. So I sang to Him through my tears, both to acknowledge who I know Him to be and to remind myself that He is for me, not against me.

Once home, I texted our close friends to let them know the news, and asked my mom to call my extended family. I just couldn’t do it. Then I packed up all of the medicine & needles and put them away until we need them again. I never thought I would miss those things…but I did, and still do. :/

A bit later, Chris and I drove to my parents house. We hadn’t planned on going before, but Chris knew I would need them…so off we went. It was a good drive for us…we were able to talk about a lot of things and encourage one another. Before bed we talked & grieved with my parents & brother/sister-in-law. That was the last big crying bout I’ve had…

Saturday/Sunday

I slept extra late on Saturday, then we mostly spent the day lounging around the house together. I did send a few e-mails {to the agency, our genetic family, our prayer circle} to let them know.

On Sunday we went to my parents church. I did have to steal dad’s hankie…I held it together pretty much until the pastor came by to speak with us for a moment {he was a big prayer & adoption support for us} and then spoke words of strength & encouragement for those who were hurting from the pulpit. It was good that we went…I’ll write more about that later.

Before Chris & I left on Sunday we had a discussion with my parents about what all of this is going to look like moving forward. We do still have two embryos waiting on us, and we think it would be best to go back for them sooner rather than later. It was helpful to have them think through some of the logistics of that with us, and they continued to speak reassurance and encouragement over us, which was much needed.

It was late before we were back home & in bed, but my soul felt so much more settled after time with my family. I am so blessed to have them, and to have always had a home that was a safe place of rest and peace for me.

Monday & On

Back to work was hard…it’s those quiet mornings & drives that get me. But we’ve been making it through and we will continue to. We’ve had a lot of good family & friends loving on us…I’ll write more about that later. They’ve helped us tremendously, and they’ve made these days easier to handle.

So, we’re pushing on. Right now we are waiting on my period to start…it’s a necessity before we can move forward and will really bring more closure I think. I did take a pregnancy test yesterday…the no-period thing was freaking me out…but of course it was negative. There was no crying…it wasn’t new news.

We are trying to lean in to God and allow those around us to help & comfort us as they feel led. I’m looking forward to next week {spring break}…I’m hoping for some good time to really read back through our journey & pray…to search the Word. I’m still working some things out with God, and I know I need to really make myself fully vulnerable to Him before I can find healing and trust to move forward.

As Chris and I tell each other often, we’ll get there.

Blessed are we.

Thursday.

Thursday – Blood Test / Results

Despite feeling nervous about the weather and anticipating the big blood test, Chris and I slept well on Wednesday night. I woke up feeling at peace & well-rested, and spent a little quiet time to myself. When Chris woke up he checked the icy roads, and although he was nervous about us driving he agreed that we could go for the test. {If he had seriously tried to say no I can’t even imagine the fight he would have had on his hands!}

We took the trip slow, but it was basically non-eventful. Had the blood drawn no problem, made sure they knew to send it to our doctors office asap, and off we went.

Not longer after we got home Chris went to work, and I was left to nervously piddle around the house. I managed to do some school work…straighten up a bit…and eventually took advantage of a friend’s offer to run to Target for some dollar aisle browsing. All were decent distractions; I was more nervous and unsettled on Thursday than any other day of the wait.

I had asked our nurse to call and leave a message for us with the results so that Chris and I could listen together. She called before 2 {hence, the need for the Target trip} and Chris wasn’t expected home until sometime between 4 & 5. When he got home from work {and I from Target} we sat down on the couch together to listen. Chris was calm & confident…same as he’d been the entire wait. I felt like I could throw up. We reassured each other that no matter what, we would be fine and we trusted God.

And then we pressed play. 

It was over before it even started really. I could tell by her “Heyyy Heather…” that the news wasn’t good. We held it together through the message, which was a sympathetic “the test was negative, stop your meds immediately, call us after your period starts” kind of thing.

I can’t even say how long we sat there in shock afterwards. There weren’t even tears at first…and then there were. Lots. Silent, endless streams punctuated by sobs.

I definitely can’t even begin to recount all of the thoughts that were jumbled in my mind. I could hardly finish one before the next started, and they were all over the place.

The only thing I remember saying during that time of shock was “I miss them.” It is a terribly heart-wrenching thing to know that there was life in you, only for it to be gone. 

I moved pretty quickly into denial…and started freaking out about not doing our shots for the night. We were nearing our medicine time, and I just panicked. What if we tested too early? What if they were late implanters? What if they were really still there and we stopped the medicine? I e-mailed our nurse, but it took her a few to get back to me. By the time she did, I had talked myself down for the most part…we pay them a lot of money to know what’s going on, after all. Her e-mail confirmed that the hcg level was less than 1, so that was that. We stopped the medicines that night.

Chris called his parents and talked to them to break the news…I can still hear his sobs. :/ I think I pretty much just sat there during that time, then I set about doing all {okay, not all} the things not-pregnant people can do…eating raw brownie batter, drinking sweet tea, taking a super hot bath, taking some Nyquil for my head cold…

We ate some dinner…walked the dog…I don’t even know what else.

A bit later I called my parents. They had been out to eat, so I waited until they were home. The news was a shock…they hadn’t had any idea that we’d even taken the blood test. It was so hard to choke the words out to them…to know how invested they were and how much they had hoped with us that these little ones would get to stay. We cried together, and despite neither them or I even knowing the words to say, it was enough. {Not in the ‘just barely enough’ way, but in the ‘exactly what was needed at that moment way.’} I have incredible parents…they both soothed and strengthened me, even in their own heartbreak.

From there we called our siblings…the brother and I cried together, and my sister-in-law {ever the cheerleader} had the wisdom to speak words of life over our little ones and promised me that they would not be forgotten. It was a good talk, between the three of us…I wish I could remember more of it, but again, it was enough. Throughout the calls my sweet pup jumped up on the couch with me {something he rarely does} and laid his head across my lap. He stayed there for almost 2 hours…unheard of for him, but he knew that I needed him I guess.

We were drained after that, and it was bedtime since we both had work in the morning. We decided telling extended family & friends could wait for another day. Blessedly sleep is rarely ever something that is a problem for me, so we snuggled in, even Huxley.

No doubt, it will be counted as one of the hardest days of my life. Our hearts were broken…twice over really, as we lost two little ones. God was with us though, I know that…and we didn’t grieve as those without hope. Our little ones received a beautiful life, in glory...and we will get to meet them there one day.

Blessed are we.

bfn.

I find it much easier to type it than to actually say it out loud…the transfer wasn’t successful {well, by the “didn’t result in a pregnancy” standard.} :/ The pregnancy test was a big fat negative, so turn out it wasn’t God’s will for our two little ones to stay.

As always, I wish I had more time so that I could have been writing over the last several of days…thoughts and feelings come quickly these days…. When things get topsy-turvy like this {especially in the middle of the school year} I just can’t seem to get the time away I need to write it all down.

Tonight will be no different; it’s basically stay up and type or go to bed. Since I know I have spring break coming up & can type and think to my hearts content, sleep wins out for now.

I’d say we’re doing pretty well, all things considered. Kind of floating in and out of the first few stages of grief…shock, denial, pain & guilt…a dash of anger & frustration thrown into the mix. We are trying to ‘lean in’ to God and keep our focus & trust on Him.

We’ve told most everyone now that it wasn’t the news we were hoping for, and once again I’ve been amazed & incredibly blessed by the support and love of our friends and family. I’ve called them the hands & feet of Christ many times along this journey, but I continue to see them as just that.

So it’s tough right now, but we don’t walk this road without hope. God has turned our mourning to joy before, and I believe He will do it again. Lord help me, I have to say that to myself over and over {in a shaky voice at that} since we got the results, but I truly do believe it.

I pray that one day soon I’ll be able to say “it is well.”

Even so, blessed am I.

hcg.

Previously written on 3/4/2015

******

I should probably know what that stands for…but honestly I can never remember. It’s a very important acronym though, because it is what my body should be producing in full force by now. It’s what the lab will test for in my blood to determine if I’m pregnant or not.

They’re doing that tomorrow, by the way. 

It’s kind of funny…perhaps it’s the one event in this entire process that we’ve been able to keep to ourselves for more than a day or two. {Not going to lie, I do have one friend who knows…and it has been helpful for me that she knows. Plus she’s going to be praying for us tomorrow…} Even I thought it would take almost 2 weeks before they would even think about testing {somewhere around 12-14 days post transfer}. Close family & friends were told 2 weeks {again, it’s what I thought}, and the bigger circle of people were told 3ish weeks. {Not a total lie – it’s not a one time test so it takes a period of several days to know for sure. Plus, come on…does everyone have to know everything in real time these days?! *wink*}

So when we found out at the transfer that it would be 9 days after our transfer instead, I was pretty pumped. And it also made it much easier to keep the time of our blood test a secret…I don’t think anyone has a clue that the first one is happening tomorrow.

Well…hopefully. 

This winter weather has really made our transfer cycle quite….interesting. We prayed our way through a lingering ice storm for the transfer, UPS totally messed up the delivery of some of my meds due to the icy weather {yes – that was this weeks freak out moment, but all’s well that ends well I guess…}, and now we have more ice rolling through tonight that will make getting to the lab for blood work a bit dicey.

I was actually supposed to drive up to a certain lab in the next town over, but with the promise of ‘treacherous road conditions’ I changed my appointment to our local hospital. When I e-mailed our nurse with the update, she responded back with a warning that they haven’t had great experience with little hospitals in the past…they don’t always respond to the “STAT” directive within the same day like they are supposed to. However, she ended it with “I know you pretty well by now and they will likely have to go through several phone calls from you before the end of the day if they don’t fax them on time.” 

Bahaha…it made me laugh, because probably no one knows that better than her. 

{I have little patience for my questions going unanswered / me not being 100% clear on what’s happening…this is too important, and we’re paying too much money, for people not to have their stuff together.}

With a laugh, I wrote her back and said I practically made the lady I talked to at the lab promise me her first born if she didn’t get the test results back to my doctor tomorrow…so hopefully we’ll be good to go. 😉

Just have to make it there to have the test done!

After we get our results tomorrow evening, we’ll go back on Saturday morning for test #2. Obviously tomorrow is important because there needs to be some level of hcg for us to proceed, but Saturday’s is very important as well, because the number needs to double within 48 hours. It’s possible from there we would have one more blood test, but from there we move on to an ultrasound at/after 6 weeks 4 days to see how many babies there are. 🙂 {As of right now I’m considered 4 weeks pregnant I think, so it’s not actually a long wait all things considering.}

So that’s our little secret! I’ll post this after the fact, obviously. 🙂 Chris and I are both feeling calm. He’s super calm & confident. I’m calm and more…at peace, I would say. We’ve done what we can do and what the doctors asked, and it’s been in God’s hands this entire time. My prayers have actually been pretty simple and repetitive during this wait, and they remain so. {Basically, take care of them God, protect them. And please let them stay!} He knows the desires of our heart, soon we will find out His will. He is faithful, He will not forsake us, and He is good. No matter what happens over the next few days. 

But wow oh wow do I pray that number is through the roof. 

Blessed are we.

I know who holds my hand.

I was planning on titling this post “daily bread”…then I heard that line in an old hymn today and I decided it would do perfectly. 🙂 Here we are 5dp6dt {5 days past a 6 day transfer}…wrapping up an icy weekend that has caused us to be stuck inside most of the time.

It’s kind of funny…when I thought about the “2 week wait” I wondered how anyone made it through it without just wearing themselves out. I wondered how we would handle it…if we would battle stress and each other. Who could have known the weather would add a new element, keeping us stuck inside.

But I am quite happy to report that my God is faithful {was there ever any doubt?!} and He has held our hands as we’ve waited. He has given us, me in particular, what we’ve needed each day to make it through. Our daily bread.

And for that reason, we’ve made it through quite calmly and happily. Chris kisses my tummy each day and talks to the little ones. I’ve had plenty of time to rest and be still. We’ve laughed and enjoyed one another’s company…we’ve wondered at the curious things my body has started to do {as a result of a pregnancy or the medicine, we’re not yet sure.}

I decided after a few days to post news of our transfer and pictures of our little ones more publicly online. {This blog is still very private; basically only my mom and mother-in-law know that I write here.} It took me a bit to be ready, and even then I had to think and pray about it. The day of our transfer, while well known to many, was a very private and personal day for the two of us. {As getting pregnant should be! *wink*} I felt like I needed some space between the transfer itself and a ‘public announcement.’ I started to post several times, but yesterday it finally felt appropriate…and right. See, according the research I’ve done, days 3-5 post transfer {for a 5/6 day embryo} is when implantation takes place. We don’t yet know how much time we have with these little ones…and our prayer from the beginning has been that our story would always point back to Christ. It felt nice to celebrate their little, amazing lives with others beyond our immediate family & prayer circle. They are real…they have been created in the image of our magnificent God… and they are beautiful. {Yes, you knew I had to say it again.}

Today Chris and I decided to stay in from church and listen online instead. Typically we attend a more contemporary service, but because that one was canceled due to the weather/roads, we listened to the traditional service. Old hymns are truly like balm to the soul, and I we sang one in the service that encouraged my spirit and reminded me of the reason we’re making it through this time of waiting without going crazy…because of the faithfulness and grace of our God. {There was another song that did the same – “I know who holds tomorrow”, but turns out it’s not a hymn…it’s sung by Allison Krauss. All the same!}

All I have needed, they hands have provided…Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!

I don’t worry over the future, for I know what Jesus said…and today He’ll walk beside me, for He knows what lies ahead. Many things about tomorrow, I don’t claim to understand…But I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand.”

So today is a post of thankfulness…a post of praise to my King. I read in James today, verse 13…”Is any of you happy? Let him sing songs of praise.” We are happy to be in this season…even as it is a season of waiting.

Blessed am I.

P.S. – I found another verse today…I love it because it speaks of the wonders God has allowed us to see. 🙂 Deuteronomy 10:21 – “He is the one you praise; He is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.”