Monday, June 25, 2012

Two Roads Diverged in a Wood

Total honesty here. I'm struggling. This journey we're on is getting a little too routine for me, to the point where it's been a huge struggle for me to think positively or hold onto hope. I know it's not right to think that way, but I can't seem to shake the negative feelings. It feels like what was once a blessing in disguise that taught us so much, humbled us so much, and drew us closer in now becoming a stumbling block in my heart.

If you've ever experienced a point in your life where you were waiting for something you desire, then you can probably relate. When you've waited, and waited, and waited, and don't have even a clue as to how much longer you have left to wait, thoughts of hopelessness enter your mind so much more frequently. Satan knows exactly what he's doing, and what to whisper in my ear to get me to lose hope.

You will never get pregnant.
You've always seen a negative result on the pregnancy test, therefore you will always see a negative result. It won't ever change.
You're going to have to rely on science to get pregnant.
This may never end. God doesn't promise to give children to everyone.
You are powerless.
You have endometriosis.
You don't produce enough fertile CM to conceive naturally.
And the darkest one: I'm a terrible wife because I can't even give my husband a child.

My hope in listing these negative, dark thoughts out is to help them lose their power. Bring Satan's lies to light so they can be revealed as false. Re-reading them shows me that they contradict one another. Thankfully, God is not a God of disorder (1 Corinthians 14:33).

As a side note here, Michael has been a wonderful help and comfort to me. I love that he has openly expressed his willingness and desire to be the listening ear when I need it, any time. I love that he prays for us right after I've tearfully let all my feelings out. I am so thankful to have him by my side as my spiritual head, and to not have to go through this alone. I know the truth is that he loves me no matter what, children or no children. But facing the lies and temptation to despair has been more than I can handle as of late. I have been praying for God's strength through His Spirit to take over, but feel like I'm still depleted. I know He is in control and has a perfect plan, but the waiting is getting to be unbearable.

The other hard part for me is that I have felt a division taking place in my heart with regards to my friends. Michael and I have chosen to be as open about our struggle as possible, in the hopes that when our friends find out they are expecting, they might show some courtesy by warning us ahead of time before they announce publicly in front of us. It is also in the hopes that our friends who already have children might use caution around us before complaining about unnecessary things related to being parents.

Many of our friends, as a result of our openness and their hearts of sensitivity, have shown us those courtesies above. For you, we are so thankful.

But there are others who I once felt very close to, and now I struggle with deep-seeded bitterness towards. There are people we once considered close friends who have said absolutely nothing to us since we've announced our struggle. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. And it has not been for a lack of opportunity. To you, I pray that you will learn to be more sensitive to other people's struggles and be less self-involved. I'm being totally honest's my blog, and this helps me to process my feelings.

There are others who have at one time expressed their condolences about our struggle (and some who on top of condolences, offered their 'sage wisdom' and lectures on how I should get over it because kids are hard and change your life), and then they publicly announce their pregnancies without so much as an "I'm sorry, I hope that wasn't too hard on you." Again, zilch. To you, I struggle the most with you. I struggle so deeply with bitterness that I scare myself. I don't want to feel this way about you. I want to forgive you, but at this time, I just cannot seem to bring my heart to that place yet. I know I should. I know Ephesians 4:32 says "Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." Even though you have not asked for my forgiveness, I should grant it to you anyway. I know. But I'm just not there yet. It's easier to rationalize the previous type who has never expressed any condolences at all, because I can hope that they are just oblivious and perhaps too embarrassed to bring it up, or perhaps they think bringing it up will hurt our feelings, but your feels like you're being fake. You offer phony condolences and pity, then turn around and act selfishly, only concerned about yourself. My prayer for you is that you would be made aware of how often you do this. I wonder if I'm the only one who has been affected by this trait of yours. I hope so, because I would not want someone else to feel the hurt that I feel from you. My hope and prayer for myself is that one day, hopefully soon, I will be able to truly forgive you. Sometimes I get really close to forgiving you because doing so honors God, not because you deserve it. But then I get pulled back in to those thoughts of bitterness towards you, making me realize I need to start the process over again. I really hope one day I can be free of the bitterness towards you and truly forgive you.

So the way I've been feeling lately is like I'm standing at a fork in the road, with all my friends lined up just before the fork, and I'm sorting them to the right and to the left: those whom I can trust with my struggling heart, and those I cannot. Those who have stood by us through this difficult time, and those who have not. Those who have been praying for us, and those who have not. Those who have entered a new, even more beautiful space in my heart reserved for friendship that I didn't even know existed, and those who have bruised my heart and taken advantage of it.


This feeling has made me question what kind of friend am I? Are there people in my life that I have ignored during their struggles? Have I been fake about my condolences and then hurt someone without even realizing it? If I have, I'm so, so sorry, and I hope you can forgive me. Know that I'll be a lot more aware of this from now on, and I pray that I can become even more sensitive to others' struggles.

And for those who graciously have been praying for us...please don't stop. I desperately need your prayer to help get me through this. To help bring me to a heart of forgiveness and hopefulness. To not let the lies listed above take root. To not let bitterness take root. I need you, I love you, and I greatly thank you.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Wall of Hope

You know the cliche "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer"? Well, I disagree with that...I like to keep my friends closer because as iron sharpens iron, their love and support are a big part of what helps me keep a heart of joy and hope.

Several friends have been so sensitive and considerate of my feelings. Some who have found out that they will be expecting a bundle of joy have taken the time to send me a private message to "warn" me that they will be announcing soon, and that they told me ahead of time in order to spare me of any hurt feelings. I've got to say, when a friend of mine does this, my respect and gratitude for them jumps by a lot. So if you have been one of those who have shown me this type of consideration, I greatly thank you for making this infertility journey easier on me. I thank God for placing you in my life and giving you a selfless heart of love for others. Trust me, I won't ever forget your kindness.

And several other friends have been so supportive of us through prayer, asking us how we're doing or how they can help, and sending me little notes of encouragement. I have received several to date, and I wanted to do more than just file them away after reading them the first time.

So I started a Wall of Hope.

This Wall of Hope started originally from a gift that my friend, Anna, gave to me for throwing a baby shower for her. She was one of those sensitive and awesome friends who knew my pain and struggles, and did everything (and still does everything) she could to make this journey easier on me while she was pregnant. She gave me a wall decor of Matthew 21:22 that says "Pray for anything and if you have faith you will receive it."

So I hung it in the one room where I struggle the most with bathroom. Yes, the place where I'm most often reminded about our struggle with infertility. Where I notice the changes in my fertility cycle, and experience the disappointment that parenthood will have to wait at least another month.

The Wall of Hope grew after our church's pastor's wife gave me another wall decor that simply says the word "HOPE". She gave this gift to me just before the first Hope Does Not Disappoint support group meeting kicked off.

So I added it to the Wall of Hope in the bathroom.

Then, as I mentioned previously, I decided I wanted to do more with the sweet and encouraging notes that friends have sent to me, rather than just keep them in a box in a closet.

So they joined the Wall of Hope.


This is one of the ways that God has shown me His love through our trial...He has brought to the surface how many people He has placed in our lives who love us, and have the heart to pray for us to become parents. God has richly blessed us in this way, and we are truly thankful.

The Adventures of Peeing in a Cup

The last time I blogged about this topic, it was in regards to taking a pregnancy test.

I'm...happy? say that this time, it is in regards to something else. Gimme a "U"! Gimme a "T"! Gimme a "I"! Put it together, and what do you get? U.T.I.!

Fine print: A U.T.I. may cause a sudden sense of panic when you realize that you've taken three trips to the bathroom in the past hour at work, and that you should probably go ahead and go submit a urine sample in case your nightmare is about to be realized...that you do in fact have a U.T.I. and since the lab closes at 4:30pm, you better leave work early. It may also cause a sense of urgency...not only in the need to urinate, but in your willingness to take any and all medication necessary to stop the BURNING and discomfort. Oh yeah, and a U.T.I. may also cause you to feel like your bladder hates you and has caught on fire, and that the insides of your urethra are lined with gasoline. Warning: Do not mix fire and gasoline.

So at the lab, they give you a cup to submit your urine sample in. They act like it's all discreet, but seriously, I'm pretty sure even a five-year-old is intelligent enough to figure out that a person carrying an empty cup into a bathroom is not trying to get a glass of water.

And they have the little "discreet" secret door in the wall where you leave your fresh sample for some technician to take out from the other side. There is nothing discreet about carrying a cup full of yellow liquid from the bathroom to this secret door.

But my favorite part of this process are the instructions in the bathroom stall:


To sum up the instructions, you must NEVER touch anything that is remotely close to the lid of the specimen container, and you need to have at least three hands to hold everything.

Thankfully, Dr. S. is super awesome, and he called me that same evening and prescribed me some antibiotics which started making me feel better the next morning, so all is well now. :)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A City Set on a Hill Cannot be Hidden


My apologies for having not posted in a while...I have been traveling a lot for work, but thankfully, the Lord continues to inspire me in every situation, even at work, about topics to blog about here.

Earlier this week I attended a conference with several of my co-workers, one of whom is currently expecting her first child. Just before leaving for the conference, I was fearful of getting into the car with her and another female co-worker (we were all three carpooling to the conference) because I was afraid I would be subjected to 3+ hours of nothing but baby-related talk.

To my surprise, this pregnant woman did not mention anything remotely close to her pregnancy, babies, children...nothing. Later that evening she was telling me how she used to be able to travel a lot without it affecting her, but now it's harder "Maybe because I'm married now..." She did NOT say "Because I'm pregnant" or anything close to that.

This really impressed me.


Because I've noticed a pattern in our culture, specific to females only. Obviously there are a lot of different personalities, backgrounds, strengths/weaknesses because we are all unique, but there is one thing that I've observed about women that can be classified into two groups, and only two groups: Prideful or Humble.

The pattern that I'm speaking of specifically relates, of course, to pregnancy or being a mother of children of any age. I have observed that women fall into one of the two groups above, either they are prideful or humble about how they view their role as a future or current mother.

Really and truly think about this pattern. I have observed that when women get pregnant, it seems like all of a sudden a switch is flipped, and they realize that they get to have 9-month's worth of doting on and full-blown attention from society. They get special parking spaces, strange women approaching them to comment about how great they look or ask them about their plans, the gender, the name, etc. They get to be the center of attention for at least one baby shower thrown for them by friends or family.

I'm not saying there is anything wrong with recognizing the beauty and blessing of pregnancy. But where I have a problem, is how that pregnant woman's attitude and heart responds to all of this attention.

Does she remain humble, and just dwell in her gratitude and thankfulness for the blessing she's been given by the Lord? Or does she take this opportunity, where for 9-months she is placed in the spotlight on center stage, to keep the focus on herself?

Does she remain humble by expressing her thankfulness to God for the blessing she's been given, taking the opportunity to share her faith with complete strangers or unbelievers? Or does she post an unnecessary amount of ultrasound pictures, status updates about pregnancy, pictures of her growing belly, or a cartoon "Your Pregnancy, Week by Week" tracker on her blog or Facebook?

What should your heart focus on while the world is focusing on YOU?

Matthew 4:14-15
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house."

It's inevitable -- when you become pregnant, the world will focus a lot of attention on you. I'm not saying this attention is a bad thing. But if you choose to keep that attention mostly focused on yourself, then I believe you are falling into that Prideful group instead of the Humble one.

What message will you choose to send? If you know you have infertile friends, yet you choose to update frequently on Facebook or blogs about your pregnancy, doesn't that send a message to others that you are insensitive and intentionally being a stumbling block to your infertile friends? (Assuming of course that you have not already personally contacted those friends to warn them you will be updating those types of things. I have had two friends message me on Facebook prior to their announcing pregnancy for all of Facebook, warning me that they will be doing so, and to unfriend or hide them so that I won't be hurt. That is true class if you ask me. Their sensitivity frees me up to be joyful for them, without struggling with bitterness towards them.) If you utter several complaints about how sick or tired you feel, doesn't that tell the world all about yourself instead of how faithful God is to give you a child? When you meet a stranger who asks you about your pregnancy, do you only talk about yourself and your plans, or do you bring the focus back to God -- the One who created the very topic of your conversation?

Psalm 127:3-5
3 Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
5 How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.

If you are fortunate enough to receive the blessing of carrying a child, then please realize that you have been given an amazing opportunity from the Lord to share His glory and your testimony at a time when you will most certainly have a listening and watching audience.

I was so very impressed with this co-worker of mine that I flat out told her that I think she is so incredibly sensitive for not flaunting her pregnancy. I shared about how I struggle with infertility and thanked her profusely for making it easier for me to be around her -- so much easier that I joyfully asked her questions about her baby, the gender, the name, etc. because my heart was free of fear and full of joy and happiness for her.

Matthew 23:12
Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

If one day the Lord blesses me with a pregnancy, you will not see me flaunt it, nor will you hear me utter a complaint about it. I do not want to keep the focus on myself because I know for a fact that the pregnancy will not be a result of any effort I made, it will only be because God decided it was the right time to open my womb. I cannot wait for the opportunity to share my faith even more with strangers who approach me. This infertility journey has certainly given me a lot of practice at remaining faithful through difficulties. And since I never plan to use any form of contraceptive ever again, even after having a first child, Lord willing....second pregnancy right away? Bring it on. Ten children in my future? Bring it on. I say this will full confidence because I have complete faith in the Lord to carry me through any situation or struggle we may face. Easy? Certainly not...this is the most difficult struggle I've ever gone through, but I have such a greater testimony to share about the Lord and His Grace and Love because of it.