Beautiful Words.

I came across a shop on Etsy with beautiful typography & watercolor art by Franchesca Cox as I was searching for some sort of print I could purchase to frame with the pictures of our precious little ones. So many of her prints resonated with me…beautiful words that captured much of what my heart & mind haven’t quite been able to fully form as of late. Upon a bit more investigation, I found that many of her works are based off of the words of Angela Miller, an author who writes about life and the grief she experienced after the loss of her child.

Franchesca creates these lovely watercolor word collages…I’ve decided having one made for our little ones would be just what I’ve been looking for.

Here are a few of the quotes that encouraged & validated me…there are a few others I’ll share in upcoming posts.

~ A loss of life does not mean a loss of love.

~ A mother is not defined by the number of children you can see, but by the love she holds in her heart.

~ Mostly I am broken, but today I am thankful you were ever mine.

~ So breathe Momma, Keep breathing. Believe, Mama, Keep believing. Fight, Momma, Keep fighting for this truth to uproot the lies in your heart. You didn’t fail. Not even a little.

~ She wept, because life was so full. Of hurts. Of joys. Of the madness that danced between the two.

All so beautiful and true.

Blessed am I.

Back in the saddle…er, stirrups…again.

Our path back to our 2nd transfer was a bit of a wild one. I can’t even begin to remember all of it, not with all of the life that’s happened between then and now, but I thought it would be worth a bit of time to write about how I ended up back in the stirrups again. 😉

Our first transfer was the end of February; received our negative beta in early March. We took a few weeks to grieve & process, then began seriously discussing going back for our other two little ones. Sure, we were nervous…a little gun-shy…but our general thought was that a) they were already ours, b) we were ready to meet them & hopefully get pregnant & c) it was better to get on with it so that we would know one way or the other and could have the summer to make the necessary plans one way or the other.

The two main issues were coming up with the money for the second transfer and Chris’ job. He had been looking for a job for right at a year, knowing that his government contract job would be going away at some point in the near future. It turned out to be much sooner than we had planned, and at one point we had about 10 days notice of his job ending. He had a few interviews right around this time, but it was stressful, to say the least. Of course, in typical awesome timing, we were waiting to hear if he would have an extension on his job literally right as we were reaching our point of no-return with moving forward with the transfer. There were a lot of feelings…a lot of confusion & wanting to do what was right…but God answered some very specific questions with some very clear answers, so we forged ahead. Within days we had begun the shots and Chris had accepted a great new job. Oh yes, and we found out that the transfer would cost less than half of what it had the first time. {Don’t even ask me how…my only answer is God!}

My medicine regimen was much simpler the second time around…no lupron {the little stomach shots}, straight to estrogen shots every 3rd day, then progesterone once my lining was up to where it should be. We didn’t have any delays like last time, although my lining was barely at the 7 we needed it to be. {The architecture, however, looked beautiful…or so they told me. Weird, I know.} The shots weren’t terrible, I didn’t get as many knots as last time around.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we weren’t as open with telling others about this transfer. We didn’t lie if people asked, but didn’t offer it up so freely either. I put in to take a couple of days off of work, and before we knew it the big day had arrived.

Since we knew what to expect, the transfer itself was a pretty calm event. I didn’t drink as much water as last time, so there was no need for a bedpan. 😉 We didn’t have to wait as long before the procedure; we knew the drill. We were relieved to learn that both little ones had survived the thaw, although they did caution us that one of them had gotten a bit frosty. At the time of transfer the doctor assured us that both had grown well in the short amount of time since they were thawed, so we left with hearts full of hope for both little ones.

We enjoyed a quiet evening at home, and I spent the next day laying around. I definitely struggled with feeling more anxious and emotional {there was an unexpected cry fest because I wanted to take Huxley for a ride in the car but couldn’t get him in myself…ridiculous, I know} and we both struggled with opening our hearts fully to the process. Chris started his new job, we began to consider the logistics of moving. Life stayed busy, as it usually is for us…with the little ones never far from our minds or prayers.

As for the rest…well I’ve written about that. Like the others, we lost them somewhere in those nine days of waiting. And then it was baby shower time and Mother’s day and time to take down my classroom & prepare for the end of school. Life goes on I guess.

That’s the saddest part I think. Just like that, our life goes on…but without them, and without a hope of holding them here. But for grace it would all seem quite hopeless.

But for grace. It can be found in the most unexpected of places. When your feet are awkwardly propped in those awful stirrups. When the pregnancy test only shows one line. When your heart is broken. Sweet, precious grace is there for me in all.

Blessed am I.

 

We’re going to be okay.

Well.

I want to write, but I don’t know what to say.

I could write about how under attack our marriage feels at times. Infertility & loss can feel so isolating, even between a husband and wife. Thank God those moments are the exception rather than the rule, but I understand how without a lot of prayer & diligence it could all start to feel very overwhelming. I keep quoting “Do not gloat over us enemy!” {from Micah 7} and singing this powerful song about standing in strength when the rain falls…even daring the rain to fall harder. {Except….let’s not let it rain harder right now. Okay then.}

Or I could write about how I swing between feeling numb or with emotions lurking just right under the surface. We took a kindergarten field trip today to Lowe’s for a building project and I had to fight to keep from crying while I watched the kids happily hammering away. I don’t even know why.

I’m so perplexed by God and how He could call us to do this knowing that this would be the outcome that I can’t even begin to know what else to say about that. I feel like I have a big fat question mark hanging over my head when I think about what in the world we are going to do moving forward, so obviously there’s nothing else to say there.

Or how, in spite of the pain & disappointment, how much joy & honor…pride & wonder I feel when I think about what God has done in our life over the last year and a half. It seems as though it all would be diametrically opposed, but somehow it’s not.

Maybe I could try to explain how what Chris really wanted/needed, which was to limit our openness with others about this second transfer, has turned out to be quite the opposite of what I needed when it was all said and done. He felt like he had to tell and retell others about the outcome of the first transfer, but I feel like the bulk of that really fell to me. {Well, I had to tell most of the people who we know and interact with regularly, he had to answer questions from a bunch of randoms that he randomly told.} So this time around, he has had less people to tell and I’ve basically had the same amount, only spread out over a longer period of time. And because they didn’t know the transfer was happening in the first place, it feels as though most are either less interested or afraid to give much of a response when I share the news. {Not to say I haven’t received beautiful shows of support from those closest to me…they have been wonderful and so caring.} I don’t know. It’s just lonely. I’m just not sure where I fit these days I guess, and it’s hard. People don’t know what to say to me, and I don’t know what to say to myself.

I’d rather not write about how I am really out of excuses and need to get serious about losing some weight. Between eating my feelings and some weight I’d like to blame on the fertility meds {even though I have no idea if they are to blame at all}, it’s not helping how I feel about myself.

So yes. Still sorting. Still processing. Still scratching my head and crying in the car and buying books about grief & pregnancy loss on my kindle because somehow this transfer loss feels more like a miscarriage than the first one did. I had little lives inside me and they died inside me, and that’s just really devastating to think about. 

But we’re going to be okay. And then one day we’ll be more than okay.

With God on my side, it can’t turn out any other way.

Blessed am I.

 

 

Momma’s Day.

Last Mother’s Day we had just entered matching & had received our first match opportunity. It was an exciting time of possibility and hope. A year later, we have not only been matched with and transferred our 4 little ones, but we’ve lost them as well.

It stings.

With both Mother’s Day & the baby shower for my bro & sister-in-law coming up, I didn’t want to take a risk of being caught of guard with a negative beta…so I took a few pregnancy tests this past week. All negative. I handled it pretty well {minus one convo with my mom that was a bit teary} and held out hope that the beta would be positive.

No thanks to a series of unfortunate events / timing after my blood test on Friday, Chris & I were not able to receive the news together…and it did not set us up for success in handling this grief together. Although the loss was seemingly similar to the last transfer, it hit us both differently this time. Chris was angry & wanted to internalize…refusing to even eat the brownies that a friend dropped off because they might have been baked with pity. I was hurting yet trying to be strong for the events to come, all while feeling increasingly isolated. We were much less open this time around, a bit more guarded, and I found myself lacking the support & encouragement from others that I didn’t even totally know I needed until I was in the middle of needing it.

Saturday started rough {seriously grouchy husband}, then got easier, then ended rough {seriously emotional wife}. Although there were a lot of emotions lurking right under the surface, the shower was really nice & baby Miles was honored and celebrated with our whole hearts. Staying focused on him helped me from thinking about what wasn’t to be for me…I can’t wait to meet & love on him.

But I guess one can only keep their feelings in check for so long…especially when frustration & confusion reigns and there’s hurt between a husband and wife. By the time we got home on Saturday night I felt unheard and alone in my grief…which resulted in a lot of tears and a panic attack. Or hyperventilating. Whatever it was I couldn’t catch my breath and it concluded with Chris rocking me on the floor of the laundry room praying with me until I could finally breath normally. The crying took longer to get under control. Chris and I were able to talk & get on the same page, I called my momma so she could tell me it would all be okay, and eventually it was okay enough that I could go to bed calmly.

Which brings us to today. Mother’s Day. I had planned on pushing through church because there were no less {but potentially more, I lost count} than 5 of my friends having babies dedicated. In the end, we decided to stay home & sleep in, then went to a local breakfast spot to drink endless cups of coffee and watch the rain. We wore scrubby clothes, barely brushed our hair, and I wore no make-up. It was actually really nice. In the hours since, Chris has not strayed from my side {a grand gesture for him, since his computer is in the other room} while I’ve eaten all sorts of junk, binge-watched Hart of Dixie, and online shopped for a new comforter for our bed. The couch probably has a permanent impression of my rear end, but it’s a small price to pay for a day of R & R.

I gotta be honest…it’s not how I pictured my first Mother’s Day to go. But it could be worse. Chris was so sweet to look me in the eyes and wish me a Happy Mother’s Day. And I’ve received several texts from my close friends with just the kindest words of encouragement and validation. {From my dear friend L: “Happy Mother’s Day to you too. You’ve prayed over, rejoiced over, worried over, praised over, wept over, sacrificed for, loved, and carried 4 sweet babies. You’ve already been through more real, gritty mom stuff than most. If that’s not being a mother, I don’t know what is.”}

And so that’s where I’m at. A momma who has both welcomed and lost 4 little lives inside of her. A momma with empty arms and a heart that’s bigger and more full than it was a year ago…albeit broken for the time being. A momma that doesn’t look like a momma to most and who has no idea where to go from here.

But even more than all that, I am a woman who was invited by God to become a momma so that I could help usher 4 little lives into His kingdom. He didn’t have to involve me in this plan…and when the pain is at it’s greatest I almost find myself wishing He hadn’t. But it has truly been an honor to have mothered our little ones in this way, and through them God has been at a great work inside of me. I can’t say I understand what He is doing at all, but I trust that He is good.

I read the following verses from Micah 7 today…I think I’m going to be meditating on them for a while. “7 – But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. 8 – Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.

So yes, even today, blessed am I.

 

 

Our two ‘least of these.’

Yesterday we met these two littles…

little ones 2

🙂 Yes, we went back for our 2nd frozen embryo transfer. It’s been just over two months since the first transfer…and it’s been a pretty wild couple of months.

Once we definitely decided to move forward with this 2nd transfer, things fell into place quickly. I didn’t have to do the Lupron shots, my lining progressed well enough {barely} that there was no need to postpone the transfer like last time, and somehow the procedure ended up costing us less than half of the first one. {Giving God total credit for that one…it still doesn’t make sense to me!}

Besides all that, we’ve been much quieter about this transfer. That was Chris’ request really…he was so open & excited about the first transfer, and found it difficult to keep having to talk about it after we found out we weren’t pregnant. Our immediate families & close friends knew this one was happening, along with a few others who we knew would be committed to praying for us. {Plus we didn’t lie about it if it came up or someone asked.} Surprisingly, I actually struggled with not sharing as openly…I want God to get the glory & for our little ones to be known…but I felt a peace about us keeping it more quiet. Could be for a variety of reasons {my personal favorite is because these little ones are going to get to stick around and be known & loved by lots of people}, but for now it’s what’s best for our little family.

So meeting our little ones & the time since has been a pretty quiet event. Yesterday Chris went to work for a while, while I spent some quiet time preparing for the day. We drove in after lunch, I *waited* to drink any water until we got to the doctors office {lesson learned = no bedpan. Victory!}, and we were back in and ‘suiting up’ within minutes of our appointment time. The transfer itself was smooth, the doctor encouraging, and the two of us happy to meet our little ones.

little ones

These two are a true example of “the least of these.” They are the last in what was originally a set of 11 {if I remember correctly}, which means each transfer they’ve been passed up for others deemed to have a higher chance of success. Although we didn’t get an official grading from the doctor, I know it wouldn’t be stellar if we had. Actually, one of them was a little “frost bitten” initially {we’ve nicknamed that one Frosty, of course}…but they both continued to grow and improve even between the initial point of thaw and the transfer itself. Surprisingly all of this bothers me very little. God and I dealt with the whole issue of “odds” early on in this journey, and I know that no grade is going to determine the will of God.

They are beautiful & we love them…and we’re praying God will show up & show off with our “least of these.”

Snuggle in little ones!

Blessed are we.