Sunday, July 24, 2011

We Serve a God of Miracles.

I don't even know where to begin.

Jack and I were told very clearly that we would not conceive naturally without the help of Assisted Reproductive Technology, more specifically, IVF with ICSI.  Due to the nature of our infertility problems... where I never ovulate on my own, my cycles are not regular.  On top of that, Jack's sperm is such that while he has a good count and a good amount of swimming and moving sperm, the shape of them is not a healthy shape.  It's odd shape makes it impossible in the rare event that I would ovulate, and if sperm and egg did meet, that the sperm would be unable to fertilize the egg. 

Understanding this, and lots of prayer and guidance from the Lord has brought us to where we were when I last wrote. 

It is my hope and prayer that anyone out there who reads my blog and hasn't come forward to me, will understand that I am praying for all of your aching hearts.  I understand where you've been, I understand the immeasurable depths of sorrow that come with infertility.  I am praying for peace and comfort for you.

I have taken the time to contact every person that I can think of who has ever told me that they are struggling to conceive.  I am hoping that I have not forgotten anyone, and if I have, I am sincerely sorry for that. 

On Tuesday morning, I woke up with the same "symptoms" that I wrote about in my last blog post.  I poked myself in the side of my boob and got up to pee.  The night before, I had stopped by my best friend's house to pick up a left over pregnancy test that she wasn't going to use since she is 25 weeks pregnant.  She offered it to me.  Obviously, it isn't possible for me to get pregnant, so I didn't want to waste any money buying any tests. 

I said some half-hearted prayer, half awake, something along the lines of, "God please let me be pregnant."  I sat down on the toilet, ripped open the EPT and peed on it.  I always watch the liquid move across to make sure that I held it in the urine for long enough and went to set it down, but as I watched the liquid and dye move across the test... an unmistakable positive showed up IMMEDIATELY.  Shock doesn't begin to describe my emotions.

I fell to the floor in the bathroom, didn't bother wiping or pulling my pants up... just pants around the ankles, sitting on my bathroom floor sobbing.  How can this be?? Is this real?? That looks real.... what does this mean?? Am I... could I possibly be...?? 

I immediately called Jack.  I was sobbing and he couldn't understand me, so he said he would call me back and he left his desk and walked outside.  When he called me back, it had been 2 minutes and it was undeniable.  I had cleaned myself up (haha) and moved my sob fest into the nursery where I sat on the floor holding this pregnancy test and bawled.  Jack called me back and all I could squeak out was, "The test is positive!!!"  I couldn't say anything else and Jack was speechless. 

I cried on the phone with him for a good 10 minutes and then he had to go back in to work.

I pulled myself together and called my best friend who gave me the pregnancy test... I started sobbing as soon as I heard the phone ringing.  It's POSITIVE I told her.  I couldn't believe this. 

I went to the doctor to have my blood drawn and my first beta was 6,274!  Definitely positive!! I'm definitely pregnant!

Do you need a minute?  I have had since Tuesday to let all of this soak in and had enough time to share with the people I could think of to share before I posted this publicly.  I understand if you need a minute.

Let's re-cap.  3 1/2 years of trying.  $10,000+ spent on trying to figure out WHY it wasn't happening.  Months of fertility drugs.  Went to one of the top Reproductive Endocrinologists in Michigan and were told that, "It would literally be a miracle if you conceived on your own."  This was NEVER supposed to happen for us.  We were NOT supposed to be able to conceive.  SURPRISE? I'm pregnant!

Who do I want to call most?? This doctor to tell him that I knew I had a God of MIRACLES...

We are so incredibly blessed to be able to share this news.  I have no idea how many people read this blog, so I have no idea how many people are going to be hurting when we share this news.  My heart is continuing to break for everyone who is still waiting, or other people who have been told similar things.


We are so blessed to be able to have told our parents.  My mom ugly-cried (you know, makes the super ugly face while she is in such shock that she can't cover it up... you know what ugly-cry is).  My sister says she knew it.  I called my Grandma and got to tell her the awesome news too.  Yesterday we spent the day with Jack's family and got to tell Mother-in-Law and Father-in-Law and Brother-in-law and future sister-in-law.   When I got to tell my dad and his wife, I told them congratulations, you're going to be grandparents!  My dad, bless his heart, says "oh Great! Did your well pass?? Are you going to be getting some kids?"  Well, yes dad... but I'm also pregnant.  :)

I am so grateful for every minute that I have this precious gift growing inside me. 

I have no way to predict the future, but I do know that we are incredibly blessed to be pregnant right now... and right now, we want to share our news and celebrate with all of our friends and family and strangers who have lifted us up and supported us through this journey.  I know God numbers our days before he creates us in the womb, so our baby's days have a number to them... and I am SO blessed and thankful to be able to share this miracle with all of you who openly and privately supported us.

I know it's common practice to wait until the pregnancy is out of the first trimester, but we couldn't bare the thought of not sharing this Miracle that God has given us.  Even if we have to "un-tell" people in the future, we are prepared to do that, as long as we got to share our testimony in the first place.  The testimony is that this child was never to be conceived according to science.  And in my uterus is growing a miracle baby. 

We were not doing any type of fertility treatment, we were not charting aside from that I know when the first day of my last period was.  We were not even keeping track of intercourse or CM.  We have done nothing to take credit for in this miracle... this pregnancy is 100% "a God thing." 

Do I believe this miracle will happen for everyone?  I'm definitely not saying that, but all I know is that my God is a God of miracles.  He has changed our lives without us even being aware.  He has given us this unbelievable gift that we couldn't be more grateful for. 

Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. John 4:48. 
Jesus said unless you see these signs and wonders, you won't believe...
  Do you see this sign and wonder?

This is one of those miracle pregnancy stories.  I cannot believe what I see here... and I cannot believe how blessed we are to be one of His miracles :)

A lot of people have asked us if we are going to continue to do foster care... the answer to that question is, Of course we are!!  Our well passed and right now we are just waiting to hear if we have been submitted to the State yet for our licensing, or if it has already been submitted and we are waiting to hear back from the State for our license.  We still fully believe and understand our calling to serve others, and Foster Parenting is what God has chosen for us right now. 

We had also just submitted our application for Domestic Infant adoption... but I think that one we will hold off on.  It was going to cost $22,000 and we were trying to come up with a plan on how to save up and come up with that kind of money.  So for now, we are just going to continue to consciously save money for that adoption that we will do some day, but as we hope and pray that this pregnancy is healthy, and that we bring home a healthy baby, we will hold off on Domestic Infant Adoption. 

What I can't stand about the way all of this went down is that I am, and as exasperated as it makes me.... we are the total cliché.  In the month of May, we went on two vacations.  We were relaxed.  We had let go, we were moving on.  Not only had we relaxed and stopped trying... we were also doing foster/adopt and beginning to pursue Domestic Infant Adoption... so far into the process, that I will actually have to call my adoption worker and let her know that we are planning to hold off on that. 

I hate that we have become the cliche.  I hate that I have been fighting against people saying stupid things like everything that is true to us above.   Those things are not the reason that we conceived.  We conceived because God gave us this gift in His time.  It just so happened that we did all of those things before conception.  So again, don't tell someone that you know that I am a miracle story and all of the things I did before we conceived our child... because all of those things are not WHY I am pregnant today.  I am pregnant today because of the Grace and unending Love of God.  Period.  This is HIS miracle and no amount of anything that I did or did not do the months or years before conception had any hold on whether this did or did not happen.  Just keep that in mind, please.  Please continue to be sensitive to your friends and family who are struggling. 

We did NOTHING to earn this pregnancy.  I just want to make sure and explain that our faith, or our prayers or actions of any kind are not the reason we conceived.  God chooses what he chooses for who he chooses it for, and it's not that we prayed more or had more faith than someone else and that's why we are pregnant and someone else isn't.  I do believe, however, that God did hear EVERY one of our prayers and the prayers of our families and friends for us and he has counted every tear that has been cried over this.  I know that He has and had a plan for our lives and THIS is a part of it, again not because of anything I did or didn't do.

Also please remember to not minimize what we have gone through to get here today.  "I told you this would happen."  Or "I knew all you had to do was adopt and you'd get pregnant."  Or "I knew it wasn't that hard for you to conceive..."  are all unhelpful types of comments for us.  What we have gone through in the last 3 1/2 years leading up to this was the most heart breaking time of our life.  Which means we are all the more overjoyed to get to experience this pregnancy, however much of it God chooses to allow us to have.  I have had a lot of friends who have lost children during pregnancy, in pre-term labor, or infant loss.  I can't begin to imagine their heartache, or begin to imagine their loss, but I understand it does happen. 

For right now... I am 6 weeks and 4 days pregnant (according to my LMP) and my estimated due date (EDD) is March 14, 2012.   I will write this day on the calendar... I will share this testimony as many times as I can.  THIS is what God can do! 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ramblings of an Infertile... Just adopt and you'll get pregnant, right?

So it's time to get a little insight to the inner monologue of a couple of infertiles.  We've all heard the stories right, you adopt and you'll get pregnant... it's as simple as A, B, C, supposedly.  I mean, that's what everyone tells you, isn't it?

And here we are... on the brink of being licensed for foster/adopt.  Practically on the brink of adoption.  We have accepted our diagnosis of never conceiving naturally.  And with such a fate, it's natural to never take a pregnancy test.  It's been easily 6 months or more since the last time I peed on something that shouldn't cost as much as it does. 

I remember the first time Jack went to the store to buy pregnancy tests when we first started trying.  We were so excited to have him be wearing his wedding ring.  It wasn't some accidental, I think my boyfriend got me pregnant when we weren't even supposed to be sleeping together type of thing.  It was special.  It was important.  He was so proud to be able to be excited to go buy a pregnancy test.  A pregnancy test that we both hoped and prayed would show up with two pink lines. 

That feeling of being married and hoping you are pregnant is so different from the feeling of when you're not married and hoping you're not pregnant.  It's so different from wondering what the reaction is going to be on the other side of the test, wondering if he even wants you to take a test, because he doesn't want to know.  Or even if he would be happy, what does that mean for the rest of your life?

The first time when he brought home those pregnancy tests, we naturally bought the most expensive kind.  We knew that First Response Early Response had the strongest test, detecting even the smallest amount of HcG (the pregnancy hormone) out of all the tests that are out there.  $15 for 2 tests. 

Fast forward to now.  Fast forward past 100 pregnancy tests over the last 3 1/2 years.  Fast forward past $1500 of pregnancy tests.  Fast forward past mourning on the way to the store to buy the tests because you already KNOW the tests are a waste of money and going to come back negative.  Fast forward past bleeding for a month and having your doctor do a simple urine test and having THEM see your first positive test.  Fast forward past never getting to share that moment with your husband.  Fast forward past crying when your period starts and past no longer crying.  Fast forward past no longer taking pregnancy tests any more because there is no reason to waste your money.

Enter all of the symptoms that you have watched for like a hawk in the past 3 1/2 years.  Sore boobs, so sore you can't even ride down the road without wincing.  Sore boobs for well over a week.  Nausea, every morning and night.  Let those things bounce around inside your infertile heads for a while... and add in the "fact" that naturally, when you adopt, you'll get pregnant. 

This is how being infertile messes with your head.  You KNOW that you can't get pregnant.  You KNOW that you don't ever have to pay for contraceptives of any kind again.  You KNOW that.  Yet... you start to think things like, "Well... maybe because we are adopting.... maybe... could it be?" 

You don't want to even begin to hope or believe that it's true, because you know that hope.  You've been there many many times in the last 3 1/2 years.  You understand that what comes after the hope and dreams is a broken heart.  You know that it's silly to get your hopes up when you KNOW the tests will be negative.  Yet, somehow, you wonder if this is that miracle that everyone talks about.  Do you deserve a miracle?  I don't know, who really does? 

Then you start to think all the terrible things like, "how many people are going to say 'I told you so'" and things like "how long can we enjoy this little miracle feeling on our own before someone comes along and destroys our hope or dream?"  And then you start to think things like, "Well, I was totally ready to adopt, 100% on board and we both were, what does this mean?  What does this mean as we are waiting for children to come home?  Does this mean we don't want to do those things any more because we are guilty of feeling even the smallest smidgen of hope right now?" 

Being infertile sucks.  It sucks almost every sane thought out of your head and replaces it with crazy things.  You know it's crazy to hope after years of trying and rock hard science that you can stand behind that tells you, this is not happening for you.  It sucks to hate the feeling of hopefulness because you KNOW that following right behind hope is despair.  You hate your body for messing with you, you hate your period for being late.  Because what really is a late period when you have irregular cycles?  There pretty much is no such thing. 

You hate yourself for analyzing every little bit of your past 6 months of normal cycles.  You hate every little thing about how hopeful you were for your other chosen path and you try to remember that lets just say that unbelievable miracle did come, you try to tell yourself, we definitely still want to adopt... when you don't know.  For a minute, just a few seconds, you want to dream and imagine that you are that normal family that never has to TRY to get pregnant.  That no obstacles come your way.  That you have a normal pregnancy and a normal birth and everything goes just right and you come home with your little Allison Jr. and all is right with the world.  Everyone treats you normally.

Is God purposefully making your well an obstacle?  Did we have to fully commit our hearts to what He told us He wanted us to do?  Are we Abraham in this situation about to sacrifice our Isaac?  And then is this well failing God telling us he was seeing how committed we are?  Is God going to give is our miracle and let us have our son? 

All of this pain and confusion is normal for someone who is infertile.  We have terminal infertility.  It's not going to go away and this is the end of the road for us.  But this is what it's like. 

Naturally, God has his own way of doing things.  While I was at the beginning of typing this post, I got a call from the guy from Oakland County who inspects our well.  On Friday, I didn't get a call from him and so I called his office.  He was out of the office, so I asked for the results.  They told me that our well failed again.  We had no idea what to do next and were feeling super discouraged, and I had scheduled another appointment with the receptionist for another appointment with Matt to come out and test the well today.

Matt called me about a half an hour ago and let me know that he would not be coming out today to test our well again, that he wasn't sure what test his receptionist was looking at but that we passed our well inspection and he won't be out here again.   So hallelujah and praise God that we are moving on with our Foster Parenting... That means any day now we should be submitted to the State for licensing and that it will only take 1 to 2 weeks after that and we should be licensed and we could get a call any time for a placement. 

This is the kind of things that I wish more people who thought they "understand what we are going through" was privy to.  Do you understand that?  Can you honestly say that you can imagine going through that kind of a roller coaster with your husband and with your hopes and dreams and emotions?  If you've never been through it, there's just no earthly way to understand this kind of crazy. 

Maybe in the future there will be a new kind of psychiatric hospital... where childless couples go to grow old together.  They sip coffee and play scrabble all day long in their comfy robes, where they have people to talk them down from that crazy ledge of hope where there is no hope.  Where acceptance isn't something that you have to re-learn year after year.  And where you aren't confused about what exactly you're in denial about... are you in denial that you have "pregnancy symptoms" or are you in denial that you can't actually get pregnant? 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Still in a holding pattern

This past Tuesday, we had another well inspection.  We had an incredibly low level of bacteria from the test the week before and because nothing else had worked, the inspector suggested that we chlorinate the well yet again.  I'm getting sick of doing it, but we did it again anyhow.  We poured 2-3 cups of bleach down the well, ran the hose into the well to mix the water for about 45 minutes until the hose smelled like pool water.  Then let the whole system sit overnight.  Jack got up at about 3am and ran the hose out the back of the house, away from the septic field and ran it for 3 hours before he got in the shower, until all the chlorine smell was gone from the hose.

The guy came and tested the water again, this time I had him back down in the basement (he had been for the last 2 inspections doing it in the kitchen, which introduces even more opportunity for bacteria that can be in the pipes but not in the water to show up in the sample, it's not an accurate test as the first place in the basement before the water even goes into any treatment system in the house) and he took the same two vials that he has been taking since the second time.

Friday rolled around, the day that I normally get a call from Matt.  Yes, we are on a first name basis now, after speaking to this guy for 7 weeks about our well, you get kinda friendly.  Matt never called, so I called the office and spoke to the receptionist... One vial passed inspection with a bacteria count of zero and the other vial had a count of two... so the well needs to be tested again.   *Face palm*  Really?  Both vials taken from the same source at the same time had different counts?? 

FRUSTRATING.  How is it something so silly is what has held up this process for 7 weeks now?  That is incredibly frustrating and draining.  It almost has gotten to the point where it doesn't even feel like we are doing this any more.  We have the same two empty bedrooms that we never use, except now my sewing stuff is stuffed in a corner instead of a bedroom.  And there are more things to dust.  And the cat has a different bed to sleep on.

This doesn't even feel real any more.  It feels like old news, like it's not happening.  It's weird.  I know, 7 weeks of hiccups is nothing compared to the years some have to wait with bureaucratic red tape, or people who go through this kind of stuff for adoptions. And 7 weeks is nothing compared to the years of infertility that we have faced and been through, but this is best described by the word "frustrating".  It's so simple, yet we can't seem to get a hold on it.  And weeks just keep passing by with the well not passing by a hair.


Jack is not much of a reader, nothing quite like me anyway... and reading through a whole book is a big feat for him, partly because the act of reading isn't enjoyable for him, and partly because he hasn't found anything that he can read that holds his interest through hundreds of pages or chapter after chapter.  But, something that I have enjoyed since we got married is reading out loud to him.  I am a speed reader if I am reading to myself, and relatively fast while reading out loud, but Jack is able to enjoy books that I am reading if I read them out loud to him.  I have to resist the urge to read ahead when I'm not with him, but we have passed hours and hours on long road trips, or laying in bed before we go to sleep with me reading my books or the Bible or whatever out loud to him.

We started reading this book, Another Place at the Table a few weeks ago, and we have 2 chapters left that I'm hoping that he will let me finish reading tonight.  This afternoon I read three chapters to him and had to stop a few times to wipe off tears or get a hold of myself.

It was written by a Foster Mom and her husband, Kathy and Bruce, who have had over 100 placements and she is writing about the few placements that have most touched her heart.  There was Danny, the little boy who had such a troubled past with sexual abuse that he could never be left alone with small children or animals for fear of him perpetuating the same abuse, but that they loved anyway because he was just a victim of his life and he couldn't help what he was exposed to.  The child that they couldn't keep because they almost had to give up a child they were hoping to adopt, and how it broke their heart to let him go to institutionalized care.

There was Sara, a six year old girl whose only experience with men was them holding her under water as they molested her in the bath tub, or her own father raping her.  She was angry and violent and needed to be watched constantly and needed a special kind of care that no one on earth is capable of giving.  They write about how heart breaking it is to see how unattached she is to anyone in her life, fully disinterested in her siblings that she has been separated from to be put in separate foster homes, and even less interested in having a family.  This small girl has had to fight just to survive to the point where she finds human interaction and attachment something that hinders survival.  They write about how there are some special moments that make the whole struggle and ordeal worth it, when they finally find a way to connect with her over the smallest things.

There was Lucy, the sweetest little 7 year old that you could ever met... whose mom was just too selfish to care for her.  Her mom would rather do her own thing and leave Lucy at home so she could bar hop, so she surrendered her into care.  Because she wasn't forcibly taken from her home, but given up, her mom could essentially take her back at any time.  And she does, and within a few days, brings her back to the foster parents stating that she is just too much work.  For Lucy's birthday, her mom gives her this second hand outfit of boy's jeans and a dirt bike tshirt gotten from a salvation army.  Lucy cries to Kathy and Bruce, when she gets home saying she just wishes her mom would grow up and take care of her.  That all she wanted was something pretty... and something yellow, because that's her favorite color.  Lucy is the perfect child, never getting in trouble, just hurt and broken and abandoned.  Kathy writes about how finally the courts have changed her plan to adoption so that she can have a permanent home.  Her social worker finds her an adoptive family who are head over heels in love with her. Her new family adores her and Kathy writes about how she meets this family and sees Lucy change and blossom with these parents who love her and adore her.  And she writes about the first time she sees Lucy's new bedroom, and that her new parents have redone the previously pink room to Yellow.

And Karen was their most special placement.  Kathy writes about social workers who don't do their jobs and are over worked and under paid.  Kathy writes about one fateful visitation that Kathy has to drop Karen off at her mother's apartment, only to find her mother and a friend had overdosed and her friend was dead on the sofa with a 2 year old boy left all alone with his dead mother in the apartment.  Karen's mother was unconscious in the bath tub.  Kathy writes about what it's like to deal with Karen's birth mother and how she is intermittently sober, and when she is, she fights for custody back and the roller coaster of emotions that Kathy and Bruce go through fighting to keep Karen safe and how much they desperately want to adopt Karen to make her officially and permanently theirs.  Karen's birth mother gets a fancy lawyer who puts up a big fight.  And Kathy writes about how unbelievable it is that this small child who is under two years old only believes her to be her Mommy and refuses to trust her birth mother because she remembers her abuse and neglect.  She knows instinctively to trust her Foster Mother.

So many stories of their special placements and how it forever changed the lives of Kathy and Bruce and how they added to their family and the emotions that went with each placement as they came and went.  The heartaches and struggles that each of the children went through and continue to go through daily.  The day to day things that are so triumphant for Foster Parents and so heart breaking in the end.

I go back and forth while reading this book from thinking, "What are we getting ourselves in to?" to "This is exactly why we have to do this."  I can't prepare myself for the horror I will come across and the evil that we will witness in the abuse to these children that God will bring to our home, but I can pray that God prepares my heart for what's coming because only He knows what is in store for us.  It's terrifying.  But, at the same time, to read about the little battles won by Kathy and her husband Bruce as they get a chance to love a child and care for a child who has no one else in the world, there is no way to put a value on something like that.  It will be worth the cost.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Another meeting about infertility ministry

I had another meeting today with the lady I spoke with on Sunday about this Infertility Ministry.  The situation was about what I had discerned it to be.  She was in charge of these things at our campus and basically what had happened was that it was handed to her and she almost felt as though she had no choice or input on it at all.  I took the time to explain to her exactly how it came to be that I spoke with Carole and why I contacted her in the first place. 

She was basically unpleasant about it because she was having problems dealing with herself, she felt like she needed to re-examine herself to see why I hadn't come to her.  I hope that I put her fears of not doing her job to rest when I explained to her the circumstances through which I ended up speaking with people who were her "superiors" so to speak.

After the miscommunications were straightened out, I talked to the two ladies who met me for lunch today about what my vision was for this Ministry and all that God had put on my heart about it.  I explained a little bit about myself and Jack and I.  I talked a little bit about our journey through infertility and then where we are today. 

They both really support and follow my dream and ideas for this ministry and they were both really encouraging and are seeing my vision on the outreach part of this ministry as well.  I stressed again and again that I didn't think of this ministry as a teaching ministry but more as a support group or encouragement group.  I think after I explained things to them and they didn't hear it through the grape vine, it was much easier to understand what I had visioned for the group and the mission for the ministry. 

I'm really glad that things went so much better, now I have two more women who are really encouraging me and basically trying to help me come up with a name and resources for the women who might end up coming.  They were both totally in support of the fact that I have no idea who else might come to such a group, but that God put it on my heart and that it would be up to God to fill the group as He sees fit.  It was much much more encouraging to have this conversation instead of some rushed conversation after church was over.

I also shared my vision for the support group I would like to have for the couples and also for families who were choosing to grow their families through adoption, and how we could have a bulletin board set up with pictures and biographies for mothers who wanted to make an adoption plan but just didn't know any options.  She was very supportive of that too, so that is fabulous!  She totally saw where my mind was going with that thought process on not only being able to support people who chose adoption as a church body as a whole with prayer and encouragement, but also to have available resources to women who wanted to choose life for their babies.  And visuals of families who are waiting to adopt instead of just the abstract words, "There are families out there waiting to adopt!"

Right now, what's left for me to do is really brainstorm ideas for the name of the Ministry. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bumps in the road of Infertility

***In the spirit of keeping people anonymous and not to incriminate anyone from our church, I'm going to keep the description of how and where and with whom this conversation took place as vague as possible while still getting across the point of what happened today.***

((Also, I do not know this person well at all that I was talking to, this was one of my first conversations with her.  I have seen her many many times at different events and small group situations.  I do not know what is going on in her life, and I know nothing about her background... this is just my description of how things went down for Jack and I today.  I do not mean to bash her or to attack her by this description either.  I only intend to give an honest description of what life is like with infertility, and what life can be like as a part of a church body as someone who struggles with infertility and how things happen to us.)) 

I was told by Carole and Renee that I was going to need to talk with certain people at our campus since we have a LARGE congregation spread out over four (almost 5 possibly) campuses.   So after church, I found this person as I have been introduced to them several times before.  She recognized my face as someone who goes to her church but didn't put two and two together with my name.   I introduced myself and told her that I was the one who needed to talk to her about the infertility ministry that I was starting up. 

At first she was taken aback and said that she didn't understand why whoever this person was at our church who wanted to start this didn't come to her.  I didn't comment... It wasn't the right setting to explain to her exactly the chain of events that lead me to going to the top of the heap and to the Pastor's Wife with my dreams, so I didn't explain.  She said she was glad at least it wasn't some faceless woman in the crowd.  She also said that she was sorry for our struggles.

Then she launched into how "teaching a class isn't going to be all fun and games, you know."  Without giving me an opportunity to respond to this statement, to tell her that I NEVER had any intention of teaching any class and it was all sort of sprung on me and it was more like a support group instead of a class... But before I could explain, she mowed me over some more.  "You are going to need to learn how to teach a class and there are some pupils that are just bad customers and you will have to be able to learn how to shut them down and not have sharing time."  Oookay... I'm sure she was just rushed.... but okay... I know there are people who come to things to just be negative and difficult... those people annoy me a lot and the teachers of classes who can't get a handle on them annoy me even more...

What was super odd was that she didn't give me a chance to talk at all about my vision or what I had shared with Carole and Renee, but more she seemed REALLY annoyed that I had "gone over her head" so to say, by going to the head honcho.  When Carole says something starts... something starts, period.  It appeared as though I had unknowingly usurped her authority... and that she was miffed about it.

She continued on her talking to me by saying, "What's great about Pastor Jim and Carole is that they are totally willing to let anyone start any ministry that they feel that God has put on their heart... and totally willing to let people fall flat on their faces."  Jack and I just sat there, speechless.  Okay, well, thank you for the vote of confidence. 

Afterward, she finished by telling me a "miracle story" which anyone who has ever struggled with infertility even semi-openly, you have all heard the stories.... "They were going to adopt and then she just got pregnant!!"  "They relaxed and stopped worrying about it and then she just got pregnant!!"  *Insert Eye-Roll* 

She did tell us a pretty amazing story however about her niece who was told her whole life she would never conceive and then got married and was pregnant within a month.   Then she says to me, "See, she had it worse than you because she was told her whole life she couldn't get pregnant."  I responded, "Actually, so was I."  (When I was 15ish, I had a cyst burst that was incredibly painful which ended me up in the ER and had an MRI (I think that's what it was... this was 10 years ago) because they thought it was my appendix... the doctor came out and said don't worry it's not your appendix, you had a cyst burst, it's no problem, you just probably won't be able to get pregnant.)

There are two fundamental differences between her "miracle story" and actual miracles.  We have been trying for coming up on four years.  1. Her niece never tried, and then conceived the first month of having sex.  So for all intents and purposes... her niece never suffered from infertility, she put all of her trust in some silly doctor and basically had borrowed infertility or supposed infertility.  If you're a virgin, you cannot complain about infertility.  2.  God doesn't have a pregnancy planned for every family who struggles with infertility.  She told us this story with the conclusion of giving us hope as she patted herself on the back with her good deed for the day of having given us hope.  Make no mistake friends, Jack and I have HOPE.  We have HOPE in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and that no matter how many kids we do or don't have, while it is all up to Him and in His plan for our lives, we are STILL spending eternity with Him in Heaven.  THAT is our hope.   What some people don't understand is that by telling people that there are "miracles that happen" and equating that only with a "miracle pregnancy" they are missing out on every other way that GOD Himself can choose to grow your family.  Maybe by embryo adoption, donor sperm, donor egg, surrogacy, adoption or foster care. 

In the spirit of keeping this blog honest... both Jack and I left there somewhat annoyed.  This is part of my calling and I know it, to help educate people and show them Grace in their ignorance.  This person had no idea what she was saying or how it would possibly affect someone who understood a struggle that they know nothing about.  This person concluded her miracle story by telling us that she was "a fertile myrtle" and that basically everyone she touched just got pregnant left and right.   Oh, gee, thank you so much for sharing that.  That helps.  A lot. 

I'm trying not to sound too sarcastic about this, but this is the type of thing that some people believe is "helpful".  What happened was that this person felt better about herself and "helpful," when really, she didn't take the time to listen at ALL to me and Jack. 

Hopefully our next meeting together will go much better and hopefully she gives me a chance to share my vision and dreams with her too, instead of her taking her own personal issues with what she believes "infertility" to be and lets that color her opinion on the need for such a ministry.  I suppose I am not surprised that I am encountering someone who has a problem, or maybe not even has a problem, but someone who isn't 100% on board and understanding why there would be such a need for an Infertility Ministry.  I also think that she doesn't understand what I am trying to do.  I am not trying to teach a class, I would just like there to be a safe place to go at church for women who struggle with Infertility.  Also, I would like to be able to minister to these women, LOVE them and care for them without judgment or condemnation or "miracle stories" to be "helpful".  Sometimes all they want is a hug or a brownie.

((Please note that I am also not condemning everyone who tries to be helpful.  My only point for this was that sometimes when people don't take the time to listen, they form their own opinions about what this couple or person needs and refuses to see beyond their own thoughts and reasoning.  Being helpful and thoughtful and caring is great, but I would like to be able to educate the church body as a whole that while yes, we do serve a God of miracles, not every couple who struggles with infertility will experience the miracle of pregnancy and telling some story where someone's third cousin's neighbor miraculously got pregnant does not help.  I understand wanting to try to be helpful, but unless you personally know a real and true story about infertility and you would like to share someone's testimony about it, then try not to share some story that has been through the game of telephone. )) 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Weekend with company

This past weekend, my oldest friend, Ashley came to stay with us and brought her husband, Matthew and two girls, Emma and Addie with her.  Ashley and I have known each other since Kindergarten.  She lives out of State now and was sort of in town (about an hour away) for a family wedding.  I offered up our two extra and empty bedrooms for them to stay.

Addie is a 6 week old, so we moved our cradle into the older child room in between the twin beds.  Emma is about 19 months and slept in our crib, and I think she slept pretty well except that I think we need to put a curtain in there because the window faces the west and it stays pretty bright here until after 9pm.  We got to make use of quite a few of our new baby gear, well rather, Ashley and Matthew did... but still.

Ashley's sister Kelly came over with her little bruiser of a son who is about 18 months old or so.  Jackson and Emma played with the box of toys that was so generously donated to us by my friend Brittan and her family! 

Also my girlfriend Alyssa stopped by for a few hours on Saturday morning with her son, Tommy who isn't quite two yet either. 

To say the least, the weekend was far from our normal peace and quiet weekends that we are so used to.  And I can imagine that we probably won't have 3 small children almost the same age in the house very often.  It was a bit of a system shock to have so much noise going on at once. 

Jack and Matthew were talking about tractor's.  Emma and Jackson were running around the house chasing each other, with Ashley and Kelly trying to chase them.  Little Addie cried and cried because of a bad diaper rash, and plus she's just a tiny baby and was hungry almost every hour.  It was chaotic :P  But it was fun to play with all the toys with the little kids and try to watch a kids movie at the same time. 

I guess I have a lot of sounds to get used to... but I think it will be completely different when it is just Jack and I and our kids that we need to take care of in the house.  The weekend was chaos, but mostly because it wasn't our chaos to control.  If it was our kids, it would have been our chaos and we would have probably felt much more at ease with it all.  We would have our way of doing things and our routines. 

For some reason, I didn't manage to take a single photo with all the kids and the animals and the people in and out of the house... but I did get a picture of the cake I made for our bbq.  Haha.

This Saturday is the long-awaited Bridal Shower for my future sister-in-law.  Their wedding is a month from today and the shower is on Saturday.  Kelly also scheduled my hair appointment for the day of the wedding which is fabulous because I am terrible at doing my own hair in any fancy way except for an up-do and I'm not really feeling the idea of an up-do. 

Anyway - that's my quick little update for now.  We had a guy from the County come out this morning and take one more water sample.  I'm hoping that watering all weekend long with a sprinkler all around our yard did the trick to flush out the well, but we will see!

Friday, July 1, 2011

So Grateful For My Country!

This is one of my favorite weekends of the year :)

I'm so thankful for the freedom that I have where I live.

Today I was blessed to be able to shake the hand of 3 85-90 year old veterans and 2 soldiers and thank them for everything they do and did.

I love my country and each and every person who has ever or is currently or will ever fight for these colors :)

Happy Independence Day!!!!!!!