Hope Renewed

I’m at home in Canada right now because my grandma has been sick and I wanted to be there to care for her and spend time with her while she is still with us. She has dementia and progressive aphasia so every time I see her she has a harder time finding her words.  We spend most of our time trying to guess at what she wants to say while watching her struggle just to express herself.  Something we all take for granted.

It reminds me of how precious this time is with her. Soon she may not be able to communicate at all and all of the stories and memories she used to share with us will only be in our memories.  The blessing is that she still remembers us and I’m so grateful that.  No matter what memories have been lost, I am still her granddaughter.

I’m also watching her experience moments of depression and hopelessness as her physical and mental health decline and I hold her while she cries like she held me as a child. In these moments she sometimes says she just wants to go to heaven and as much as this breaks my heart into a million pieces, I get it.  This last stretch of her earthly life must seem exhausting and without purpose but to those of us who love her it is overflowing with purpose.  She has lived for 91 years and I’m grateful for every second God has blessed us with her presence. She has taught us so much about unconditional love, true sacrifice for family and unknowingly what the love of Jesus looks like.

I find comfort in knowing where she is going and at times I wish I could go too. I wish I could be there to introduce her to each of my children and watch her wrap them in her warm hugs but the reality is that she will meet them before I do.  On that day they will be some very lucky kiddos and I will be a very thankful mamma!

Because of her dementia, she still asks me at least once a day if I am going to have a baby and I have never been able to give her the answer she wants to hear. She tells me how she prays all the time for God to give us a baby and can’t understand why He won’t.  I know that God has a plan and perfect timing but I have dreamt so long of sharing the news that I am pregnant with her, to tell her that her first great-grandchild is going to be born.  For 3 years, every trip home has been planned out in my head about how and when I would tell her and every time I’ve only been able to tell her I lost the baby.  I have come to realize now that she will probably never meet this miracle baby and it devastates me. All I can do is trust that God knows what’s best for me and for her, that He has a plan for every part of her life including the end of it.

Infertility has stolen so much from us, things that others take for granted because they came easily. There is so much lost- time, money, joy and of course, babies.  I’m glad that it hasn’t stolen this time from me, that I’m not in the middle of a treatment cycle or miscarrying again, that I can just be here in service of her.

She has spent the last few days asking questions about adoption and how it all works while I tried to explain how complicated it is now from what she knew 50 yrs ago. I finally gave in and tried in the simplest way possible to explain embryo adoption to her.  Instead of frozen embryos I described them as tiny babies in the freezer and how we were going to try and put then inside me to grow a baby and her eyes just lit up.  I showed her pictures of our donors and their boys and she admired how cute they are.  When she asked when this would happen I told her as soon as I go home and she quickly said, “when are you leaving?!” which made me burst into laughter because she had spent a week asking me not to leave. I don’t know if she remembers a word of that conversation we had but she has since stopped worrying and asking questions so I like to think she understood enough to calm her fears and the excitement on her face was worth every struggle we have endured.

I had come home sad to let go of my dreams to share a pregnancy with her but after that conversation I actually felt excited to get back home so that we could prepare for our first donor embryo transfer and I have hope for her living to see the day when her prayers are finally answered.  My grandma is the sweetest person I’ve ever known and all I want is to rejoice with her at what amazing things God has done.

New Built in The Fire Support Group!

I’m so excited to launch my new support group starting in September.  God laid it on my heart about a year ago but it didn’t feel like the right time but recently I heard God whisper “Go!” and where He goes I will follow!

My prayer is for this to be a place of acceptance and understanding when it feels like the world just doesn’t get you, a place for women united in prayer and support for one another as we seek God’s will for our families and a place where we can find joy again within the story God is writing through us.

Built in The Fire is all about how God is shaping and growing us through our trials and my dream is for every women struggling to not just survive their wilderness walk but to conquer it and to reach their promised land where they can say they are grateful for the struggle because look what God has done!

I would love for you to join me in this group, no matter where you are in the process or what you’re struggling with.  I would appreciate everyone sharing this with their network and anyone they know who could benefit.  Let’s be Jesus to the hurting!

For more details click HERE

 

An Embryo Donors Story

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted an update and to be honest, not much has happened but I have sure missed you all!  We are currently planning to wait until at least August to do our first donor embryo transfer because my cycles have not been cooperating and we have a trip planned to visit my family in Canada at the end of July.

In the meantime, I had asked our embryo donors to write a post to share their perspective with the world and I was thrilled when they said yes so I’m excited to share that with you today!  Their perspective is so unique because they have walked the road that many couples who have frozen embryos are struggling with right now and I hope their words bring light and hope to each of them.

Proud to be a Donor

It was a normal crazy day when out of nowhere I got a text from an old friend of mine. She asked if I knew anyone that had done IVF and might have embryos remaining that they didn’t plan on using. She said she had a friend that had gone through a lot in trying to have a family and was planning on trying embryo adoption.

The strange thing was, my husband and I had just been talking the night before about what do with our 6 remaining embryos. We had decided that we were 99.9% done having children.  We already have 3 very active boys, 3 year old twins and a 5 year old!  My body had already been through a lot after an abdominal myomectomy, a c-section with my first son and another c-section with the twins. I wasn’t sure if my body could handle another pregnancy.

When I got that text from my friend, I knew God already had a plan for those remaining embryos. After all, they are God’s children. I always wanted to be a mother and God had blessed me with three healthy boys so now someone else deserved to be blessed as well.

I talked to my husband that night and over the next few days we did a lot of praying.  At first he had a few concerns, like; what if they don’t like what they get and want to return the child? (lol, not even kidding), our kids are really wild! What if the child is born with special needs? or what if the child wants money from us when they get older? (he’s obviously the worrier in our marriage).  I encouraged him to have faith and reassured him that there would be legal documents where we could add anything we felt we need to protect ourselves.

My husband and I received the potential adoptive couples profile and we reviewed it together. We couldn’t have found a better match!

While continuing to pray about our decision, I was texting back and forth with our would-be recipients and I quickly felt a special connection. We bonded so well! Usually it takes me a while to warm up to people and get to know them, but I felt like we were almost family.  I even had the chance to meet up with her when I flew out to California for a short vacation, and it was like we’d known each other for a long time.

We have told many family and friends about our decision, and have shared with our small groups from church. Many were very surprised that such a thing existed, and most are very supportive of our decision.

Now, all documents have been signed and everything has been taken care of on our part. All we can do now is pray for our embryos and their new family. Overall, I am excited to see what the future holds.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

-Our Donors

A Letter to our Embryo Donors

Good news! we are now legally parents to 6 precious embryos…so exciting and humbling.  We are hoping to do our first embryo transfer in the next 3-4 weeks if all goes well.  I truly can’t believe this has finally happened and really without me having to struggle or worry, God has just paved a way and I’m so grateful.

I wrote a letter to our donors shortly after the contracts were signed and I hoped it would be something they could keep forever and look back on as time goes by and our relationship develops.  I wanted to share this letter because I know there are many couples who donate anonymously and never know who their embryos went to or the outcome for their recipient families.  I want them to know the gratitude their recipients have for the gift they have been given and what is in their recipient families heart.  If you are an embryo donor I hope this letter makes you feel the immense love and gratitude we have for you and that your sacrifice and generosity are never, ever forgotten.

Dear Donors,
How do you thank someone for something like this? There really aren’t words with enough impact or meaning that could quantify the gift you have given us- you have given us a part of you. A part of your genetics, a part of your family and a part of your heart. The gravity of your sacrifice is overwhelming and at the same time truly
beautiful. We admire the way you chose to give your children a chance at life, how you wrestled, prayed and asked for God’s guidance to make wise choices for the little lives He has so lovingly created. God’s hand has been evident in every detail of this story in ways that at times seem unimaginable. Luckily we can rest in the fact that His ways are not our ways and for some reason, through you, He has chosen us. That thought can feel overwhelming and scary but also very humbling. We can’t predict the outcome for these precious lives or what the end of this story He is writing will look like, but we trust that He has a plan for both of our families that is more than we could ever think or imagine.

We promise to be the best parents we can possibly be, to love and provide for them unconditionally, to cherish them as gifts from God and to raise them to know, love and serve their heavenly father. We promise that they will always know of their adoption into our family and the loving sacrifice you made for them. We will always respect your privacy and comfort level with contact but know that we will always welcome more with open arms and will forever consider you part of our family.

Thank you for putting your faith in us. Thank you for giving us a chance to have children in our arms, instead of just in heaven. Thank you for walking bravely into what God has called you to. Thank you for changing our lives, regardless of the outcome. Thank you for giving us hope again when there was none. Thank you for allowing me to share our story with the world, I pray that God uses it to change people’s hearts and minds. Thank you for every word said for us in prayer.

We pray for you, we are eternally grateful for you and we love you.
xo

 

The Gift of Sarah’s Laughter

This week I had the honor and privilege to share my infertility, loss and embryo adoption story on the Sarah’s Laughter podcast and I would love to share it with you!

From the moment I heard about Sarah’s Laughter I couldn’t stop listening to all the stories and waited impatiently for the next podcast each week.  It was so inspiring to me because it wasn’t just another infertility success story attributing a pregnancy to the science of reproductive technology or the perseverance of the mom-to-be, it was about God and faith and sharing the brokenness and struggle while still in the middle of it.  I appreciated that it wasn’t about success stories and happy endings because instead of giving me hope, success stories only reminded me that I couldn’t relate and maybe never would.

I met Beth who founded the Sarah’s Laughter Support Center in Louisiana at the Choose Joy conference a few weeks ago and when I saw she was teaching a breakout session about sharing your story I knew I just had to go.  I had always listened and thought that one day maybe I would get to share my story when I had some good news to share but God had other plans and at the end of her session she invited everyone to be on her podcast.  I was so excited! I put my name on the sign-up sheet with the date I was available and knew that this was the push from God saying that this was the time.  I wanted to be obedient to that but as the day approached I became really nervous and heard the enemy saying that I would mess it up, not be able to share the important parts and not do justice to her podcast.  I had horrible insomnia the 2 nights before the recording and woke up that morning with a bad headache but I told Satan “there is nothing you can do to stop this from happening, so stop trying” and went on with getting ready for work.  When the time came, Beth called me over Skype and she was wonderful and her voice and lovely southern accent just put me at ease.  I had made some notes the day before about things I didn’t want to forget but honestly at the end I didn’t remember anything I had said, it felt like the Holy Spirit had taken over and did the interview for me…thank God for that! Then as Beth asked me her last question about what I would say to a woman in the same situation as me we lost our connection, my internet was down and that had never happened before.  My computer wasn’t even detecting our network so I restarted my computer and it proceeded to run through 10 minutes of updates and then I couldn’t open the Skype app and when it finally did it also went through an update.  Clearly Satan did not want this to happen which made us both all the more determined to see it through so I just paced around my house praying out load and Beth said she was prying too.  Finally we were able to connect and finish the interview and even though I don’t remember all that happened I felt a huge sense of joy afterward, like God was affirming my decision to share.

I actually had not intended to share in this interview about my abortion because I hadn’t shared it publicly yet but Beth opened that door right at the beginning of the interview by sharing that in my bio and I thought “OK God, I guess we are doing this!” and it really became the focal point of how God has redeemed that part of my story.  Thank you Beth for being the push I needed to share about my abortion publicly for the first time!

I got to listen to the podcast yesterday when it came out and it was like I was hearing it for the very first time.  Some parts made me cry and other parts gave me chills and it was so clear how when I prayed “God give me the words”, He had come through in such an amazing way.  It was also so valuable to see God’s work in my life in such a big picture way, when you are living it you see it in moments and it’s easy to miss what He’s really doing and it was so beautiful to see through Beth’s eyes.  I’m so grateful that I got to do this and that I got to do it in the midst of unanswered prayer.  I want anyone listening to know that your story doesn’t have to have a happy ending for God to perform miracles, your story if beautiful and God designed just as it is right now, pain and all.

I hope this podcast brings someone comfort and closer to God.  Please share it with those you love!

CLICK HERE to listen

http://www.sarahs-laughter.com/

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Happy International Bereaved Mother’s Day

I just want to acknowledge those mothers who simply endure Mothers Day either in silent pain with a fake smile on their face, the ones that want to scream “I’m a mother too!” when the pastor acknowledges all the mom’s at church, those who mourn instead of celebrate and those that spend the day hiding under the covers because it’s just too painful-  I am there with you.  In the dark, ugly places of suffering.  In the joyful memories of their short life and the quiet moments you spend with Jesus.  I am there with you.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” Matthew 5:4

No matter how you plan to spend the day next weekend, know that today is your special Mothers Day so I hope you feel loved by your children, Jesus and your family.  I hope you feel honored and appreciated for your mother’s heart and the story God is writing through you.

I encourage you to love on a bereaved mother in your life today!