“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  Isaiah 9:6

I was surprised this year at how emotional I was this Christmas.  I was definitely excited that my family was coming in town and that was a good emotion.  However I realized some time at the beginning of December how depressed I was.  This of course impeded everything I tried to do to get ready for Christmas so I wouldn’t be so rushed, tired, and overwhelmed when the week before Christmas arrived.  I always try to get everything ready early, so that I can rest and relax with my family when the time comes.  But like most years, I was running behind.  This year, it wasn’t that I had more to get done then any previous year.  This year depression set in and immobilized me as deep depression often does to it’s victims.  (I seriously considered showing up to work  in my pj’s with no shower – and I don’t work from home…)

Of course I miss Nathan every day.  For some reason this Christmas, more than last, the aching hurt and longing was greatly intensified (I’ll admit, I was a basket-case).  I guess last year I was still in shock or numb; I put on a brave face because that’s easier to do sometimes with people.  This year, I couldn’t fake the brave face anymore.  I was seriously hurting.  So much so that I couldn’t listen to any Christmas carols about baby Jesus.  You know those songs that don’t really sing about Jesus as our Savior, but sing more about Jesus as a baby.  There’s one in particular that I normally love,which is sung from a Dad’s perspective of his baby boy; but I couldn’t stand to hear it this year and the local station played it over and over again.  I just turned off the radio for most of Dec.  For those of you who know me know that I LOVE Christmas and Christmas music, carols, hymns, etc!  Not so much this year.

I still love our Savior and I love our Father in Heaven who sent His son to be our Savior.  I love that the day we celebrate as Christmas came; because if it had not, there would not be a way for us to be united with our Father God in Heaven.  But I miss my son and the joy that you have with an 18 month old at Christmas.  I heard one lady in a store talking with another lady with a child about Nathan’s age say that this is a “wrapping paper and bows kind of Christmas”.  They are still a little too young to understand all the presents, but they definitely like helping you unwrap them and they definitely like looking at all the pretty lights.  (They also like touching the tree, grabbing any ornaments they can reach, and eating tons of sugar to fuel all of this even further).

I hate missing out on these experiences with Nathan – I want my wrapping paper and bows Christmas!  But even with the pain of missing him and these moments, I would never, ever take back having Nathan.  Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior is the greatest gift of all.  The second greatest gift to Jeff and me are the brief moments we had with our son.  While it may be hard for some people to understand how we can love or believe in God after losing our son, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was God who gave us Nathan.  There were too many insurmountable odds against us for having a baby on our own and those odds still prevent us today from having another child.  There is only One answer.

The build up of the “holiday season”, especially in light of the retail focus on children, does bring with it a inherent build up of emotion from losing a child.  But now that it is all over, I am reminded that focusing on the One true Gift of the season, Christ, is all that really matters.  Yes I will experience extreme sadness over the loss of my son, but in the end I know that Nathan is in Heaven; I am a mess and am grateful for the Savior; and one day I will be reunited with my son in Heaven because of what my Savior did for me at the Cross.  That is a lot to look forward to and be happy about!

PRAYER:

Father God, thank You for Your grace, love, and mercy.  Prince of Peace, You cover me with compassion and comfort in my darkest stormy moments, which I would not be able to get through otherwise.  May Your Spirit speak to my soul in good and bad times and help me to listen to hear Your counsel.  May the purpose for which You gave Nathan to us be fulfilled as You intend and Your name be glorified, Wonderful Mighty God.        ~ Amen

October is Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month.  Not that anyone who has lost a baby needs to be reminded to remember their baby; but in the U.S. we don’t realize that miscarriage, stillbirths, and newborn deaths are still extremely prevalent – millions a year!    Modern medicine has given us a false sense of security in this regard.

As part of Infant & Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month, there are many activities that take place across the country.  Jeff and I were especially privileged to be joined by a couple of our friends in the Atlanta Walk to Remember on Sunday, Oct 14th.  Here’s a picture of us wearing our Team Nathan shirts. It was a beautiful fall day and we were so grateful for our friends coming out – Thank you Kinette, Nancy, Matthew, Anna, Adrienne, & Chris!  Also a special thank you to Demetria, who could not walk with us, but wore a Nathan t-shirt that day in memory of Nathan and to promote awareness- thank you Demetria!!

Next Sunday Jeff and I are attending the Share Atlanta Memorial Service where I will be reading the poem I wrote for Nathan on his first birthday.  It is outside in the Angel Garden at Arlington Memorial Park.  Please Pray for more beautiful fall weather!

Proclamation 5890 — Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, 1988

October 25, 1988

 By the President of the United States of America

 A Proclamation

Each year, approximately a million pregnancies in the United States end in miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of the newborn child. National observance of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, 1988, offers us the opportunity to increase our understanding of the great tragedy involved in the deaths of unborn and newborn babies. It also enables us to consider how, as individuals and communities, we can meet the needs of bereaved parents and family members and work to prevent causes of these problems.

Health care professionals recognize that trends of recent years, such as smaller family size and the postponement of childbearing, adds another dimension of poignance to the grief of parents who have lost infants. More than 700 local, national, and international support groups are supplying programs and strategies designed to help parents cope with their loss. Parents who have suffered their own losses, health care professionals, and specially trained hospital staff members are helping newly bereaved parents deal constructively with loss.

Compassionate Americans are also assisting women who suffer bereavement, guilt, and emotional and physical trauma that accompany post-abortion syndrome. We can and must do a much better job of encouraging adoption as an alternative to abortion; of helping the single parents who wish to raise their babies; and of offering friendship and temporal support to the courageous women and girls who give their children the gifts of life and loving adoptive parents. We can be truly grateful for the devotion and concern provided by all of these citizens, and we should offer them our cooperation and support as well.

The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 314, has designated the month of October 1988 as “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month” and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this month.

 Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of October 1988 as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirteenth.

Ronald Reagan

“I cry out to the Lord; I plead for the Lord’s mercy.  I pour out my complaints before Him and tell Him all my troubles.  When I am overwhelmed You alone know the way I should turn.” (Psalm 142:1-3a)

When I said Jeff and I were taking the summer off, I had no intentions of taking time off from writing; but over the last couple of months Jeff and I have both been entrenched in an endless barrage of “busy” at our jobs.  There are many nights and and many weeks where we don’t see each other until 9 or 10pm and then only for a little bit before it’s time for bed and time to start the next work day all over again.

We were able to get away this past week on vacation to the beach.   Although we still had to work some, it was a much needed break from the long hours and high stress of our daily lives.  What it was not was a break from the longing hearts we carry.  I have heard people say the second year after the loss of a child is the hardest.  So far my heart’s personal research on the matter concurs with that observation.  The whole week I just kept thinking about what Nathan would think about the beach; how would he have done on the long trip; would he like playing in the sand; would he let his Daddy take him out into the water; would we be able to maintain any semblance of a schedule for him while on vacation; could we keep his lily white skin (like his Dad’s) free from sunburn…  I just miss him so much and thoughts of what my life would have been with him shroud everything I do.

I think the second year of loss is hard because you aren’t in shock anymore and the numbness has long worn off.  Every experience I have, I want to share with Nathan; but I can’t and that hurts.  The lives that my friends are having with their babies I long to have, but I don’t.  And I don’t like being left behind in those friendships either; but frankly we don’t fit in their worlds anymore and there isn’t much in common.

The summer off, referenced earlier, was to step away from the fertility treatments.  Our last treatment was in April, finding out the negative results at the beginning of May.  The results of fertility tests indicated that I was even further down the spectrum of infertility.  There was no more pushing the body to produce eggs, when there wasn’t a chance of egg viability.  All of this set the stage for God to perform another miracle – to give us another miracle baby.

I wish I could be writing you today to say that God had taken the summer to give us another miracle baby; but He has not.  In many ways I feel slighted by God.  I am hurt that He has not answered our prayers in this way and has not chosen this particular opportunity to show the world that He still exists and He still performs miracles.  Then again I am being greedy.  I did get my miracle pregnancy & baby the first time and I am grateful that God allowed us Nathan, even for so short a time.  I just wanted God to do it again; but after all how many people get to have two miracles in their lives, when most of the world never sees one modern day miracle.

However, I am back to a place of confusion and disappointment.  What methods do we take now? If God has not chosen to bless us with a baby, then how far are we to go to get one?  I am also back in that place of having to accept that there will never be another Jeff & Margaret baby.  Regardless of the options left to us now, there is never going to be a baby that is biologically the combination of Jeff and me.  That is a common aspect of grieving the loss of fertility – giving up on having your own baby.

For the options that are left to us, I do ask for your prayers.  We think we know which way to proceed, but we want it to be God’s leading of direction, not our own desires.  We want the baby that comes to us to be God’s choice; His child; His will.

Over the course of the past year, I read through the Psalms as a way to stay engaged with God after Nathan’s death.  I’ve never read straight through them before.  I was surprised to see that the emotions of this book tracked so closely with mine.  There is fear, frustration, anger, and depression.  However there is also focus on God and his care, protection, and love.  Of course there are also psalms of praise.  In all of this, I see that it is possible to be in the depths of despair while continuing to praise.  David was angry at God at times, but yet always understood that God’s will was going to prevail and no matter what it brings, it will be used for God’s glory.  David was willing to accept that God’s will was more important.  It doesn’t mean God’s will is always easy, but His grace is sufficient to get us through.

PRAYER:

Lord, please lead us in the direction You want us to go to get a child.  Guide us in the decisions that need to be made and keep us from drowning out the Holy Spirit with our own desires.  Bathe us in Your grace and sooth our hearts from the continued disappointment in our lives.  Help us to see Your greater good in all of this loss.     ~ Amen

“Just as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people, both now and forever.”  (Psalm 125:2)

“Come quickly, Lord, and answer me, for my depression deepens.  Don’t turn away from me, or I will die.  Let me hear Your unfailing love each morning for I am trusting You.  Show me where to walk, for I give myself to You.”  (Psalm 143: 7-8)

I have been slowing down in my updates simply because there is not much new to tell.  Jeff and I are taking the summer off when it comes to fertility treatments.  We’re saving money for the next step, whatever that will be.  We refinanced the house.  Jeff is re-tiling our guest bathroom.  We’re both just generally working and going on with the duties of life – nothing exciting, just routine.

As I was talking with a friend the other day, all of a sudden I realized I am tired.  I have no physical reason to be tired; but I get home from work and have nothing left of myself.  Most of you who knew me before pregnancy know that I generally was over-committed and had things going on just about every day of the week; most of the time I loved it.  And in recent months I was inching back, in a sense, to being my old self in that regard.  But lately all I can muster is to go to work and come home, with the occasional aerobics class thrown in.  I can hardly even make it to work – it takes everything I’ve got to get up in the morning and go.  This is the kind of tired that comes with depression.

As I thought about this, I realized that passing Nathan’s birthday brought back a lot more of everything than I thought -memories, emotions, and depression.  Don’t get me wrong, I always think about Nathan.  However, as the winter turned to spring (both chronologically and emotionally), my thoughts and memories of Nathan went from a state of hurt to a state of gratitude for being given the gift of Nathan from God.  I am so proud to be Nathan’s Mommy.  My thoughts were of a general nature – his sweetness; his soft skin; the simple pleasure of holding him.  I was (and still am) so happy to have had him, even for the short time that it was, here on earth.

However, when Nathan’s birthday approached, my thoughts turned back to a detailed nature – remembering every minute of that day.  And I have continued to reflect on every minute of that day for the past three weeks.  It has taken me back to the emotions I felt at that time.  Now I will say that I do not have the raw pain like I did this time last year, but I have some of the numbness and obviously the depression, with which comes the tiredness.

I have replayed in pinpoint detail the night before we had him; the morning we went to the hospital; every step leading up to surgery; every second on the operating table; all the time in the operating room; coming back to the recovery room; the people who were there; the second Nathan was pronounced dead; the wailing; the feeling of  obliviousness to everything but the raw heartbreak; each day spent in the hospital; the drive home from the hospital – more wailing; and the fog that began as I spent eight weeks recovering at home before returning to work numb and broken.

It’s the brokenness that has returned.  When something is broken, it cannot work properly.  That is how I feel on so many levels.  I think Satan likes to use these times to accuse us – bring up all the regrets; bring up the things I wish I’d thought to do, like sing a lullaby to Nathan; bring up how my body has failed me in having another child; bring up my anger.  Satan wants to beat us down and entrap us in bitterness.

The act of being broken is not a sin.  Allowing Satan to twist brokenness into bitterness is.  Fortunately when something is broken, most of the time, it can be fixed.  Jesus was broken – his body was physically broken in an act of sacrifice for all of us who want a personal relationship with God. His body was restored to new life as he came back from death to defeat the evil plans of Satan.  His sacrifice and resurrection brings hope because with the acceptance of that personal invitation by Christ, we have a loving God who promises to take care of us.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present  nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 8:38)

It doesn’t mean we won’t have dark days and trials; but there is nothing I can encounter, even the return of brokenness & depression, that is too big for God to handle.  I know this to be true for the first year of life without Nathan and I know it will be true for always.  Holding onto that faith brings me great hope in the midst of Satan’s barrage of insults, accusations, and perversion of truth.  I hope for bright days again and know that they will be, because God is faithful.

“Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them – the Lord, who remains faithful forever.”  (Psalm 146: 5-6)

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, thank you for being constant and faithful in your love for me.  I am truly grateful for Your gift of Nathan.  As I reflect on his life and death, Holy Spirit, please help me to reflect in the eyes of truth; help me to return to that state of fond memories rather than pouring over insignificant details which have no bearing on the gift I have been given.  Protect us from Satan’s lies and twisting of the truth.  Restore us.  Please watch over our marriage and protect us from the damage that depression and inward thinking can have on our unity.  We love you, Father.   ~ Amen

This weekend we went to a going away party for some friends who are moving to another state.  It was a good time.  Now that I think about it, it could have been a Father’s Day party.  Most of our friends with young children were there – children that would have been Nathan’s friends – most are very close in age to Nathan.  I watched Jeff as he interacted with our friends and with all the babies.  Every Dad there was a really good Dad, tending to the needs of their kids; holding them; playing with them on the floor.  We are happy to be in the company to really good friends, who have turned into really good parents.  They see parenting as their responsibility to God and as being good stewards to what God has given them.

I can’t even remember what the scenario was, but there was a moment from across the room when one of the kids did something and I was sad thinking that Nathan would have been just like that.  I looked at Jeff and  noticed he had caught whatever the moment was and his shoulders slumped a little too in sadness.  But that quickly went away as the adult and pre-toddler interaction continued.   It was like being invited to observe a play-date.  There was so much going on as each child had their own interesting toy (or someone else’s more interesting toy) to play with.

Of course we couldn’t help but think what Nathan would be like in all of this.  And it’s hard to be left behind in wanting something so badly that most of your friends are experiencing, but you ‘aren’t.  On the flip side, it’s nice to be able to interact with our friend’s again and to be able to be around all the babies who are growing up so fast.  It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since Nathan was born.

All Jeff and I have are the memories of Nathan.  I remember Jeff so clearly in the operating room taking care of Nathan while I was still on the operating table being sewn up after the c-section.  He so sweetly comforted Nathan after they pricked his little foot for his APGAR score.  He tenderly cradled Nathan close to his chest so Nathan could hear a comforting heart beat; He so gently placed Nathan on my shoulder so I could see him while still on the operating table.  What an amazing Father – loving, protecting, serving.

Jeff can’t feed Nathan now; tend to his needs now; or get down on the floor and play now.  But, He took all that God gave him, loved him, and handed him back to God – just as every parent has to do.  Our children are not ours  – they are gifts from God and belong to God, just as everything does.  In one way or another we give them to God.

Happy Father’s Day Jeff – you serve God in obedience and our son in the most  tender love any earthly man can possibly provide.  I am so honored to receive your love as your wife and Nathan could not have had a better Daddy to show him love on earth.

 

“A Man in Grief” (Author unknown)

 It must be very difficult to be a man in grief

Since “men don’t cry” and “men are strong”

No tears can bring relief.

 

It must be very difficult to stand up to the test

And field the calls and visitors so she can get some rest.

 

They always ask if she’s all right and ask what she’s going through.

But seldom take his hand and ask “My friend but how are you?”

 

He hears her crying in the night and thinks his heart will break.

He dries her tears and comforts her but stays “strong” for her sake.

 

It must be very difficult to start each day anew

And try to be so very brave ~~

He lost his baby, too.

June 2, 2012 was Nathan’s 1st birthday.  Of course birthdays don’t really matter in Heaven; but for those of us left behind after a loss, it seems like birthdays are even more important than ever.

Everyday this past week, I would lie in bed at night thinking about what were we doing this time last year.  We were of course preparing for the biggest day in our lives, thus far – the birth and death of our son.  It didn’t really matter what we were physically doing, it was all a mental preparation; but still each night I would think what did I do,” was this the day we gave blood for our genetic testing, was this the day I worked really late so I didn’t dump anything on my co-workers, was this the day of the last OB/Gyn appointment…”

Once we got to June 1st though, all the feelings of those days came back.  Not that we haven’t had a huge range of feelings over the past year; but the night before his birth and this night before his 1st birthday were different.  That sense of impending doom rushed in.  In some ways it was like we were back in time.  The anxiety and nervousness we’re there in anticipation of the next day.  It was almost hard to go to sleep.  You pour over every detail in your mind because that’s all you have left, the memories of your baby.

I didn’t want to stop being pregnant because that would be the end.  I loved being pregnant with Nathan.  In my right mind I don’t know if I truly had a great pregnancy or if it was just so overshadowed that I don’t remember the discomfort.  But I definitely didn’t want to give him up and when June 1st arrived it was no longer a date in the future, the next day was it!

This year, as June 1st slipped into June 2nd, we woke up to quiet house as usual and once again a frenzy of preparation.  Last year we were headed to the hospital.  We had to be there at 11am for pre-surgery.  This year we were headed to the cemetery for a mini-ceremony and we had to be there by 11am.  Last year we were packing up a suitcase with a little outfit to dress Nathan in.  This year we were packing up flowers, balloons and butterflies to dress-up his grave.  Last year we greeted our son; this year we greeted our guests.

Last year we were wiped-out as the day came to a close.  This year as the ceremony and lunch came to a close we were again emotionally  & physically wiped-out.  Last year we came home from the hospital to an empty house that was way too quiet.  This year when the guests had gone we were again left with an empty house that was way too quiet.

Last year and this year the old thoughts swam in my head – “why did God choose us for this path” and “we should have the sounds of a baby in the house – this isn’t the life we were supposed to have.”  But  dwelling on those thoughts really doesn’t get me anywhere.  The truth of the matter is that “it is what it is”.  I know some people hate that saying, but the fact of the matter is you cannot change it; it was never in your control to change.  So to say something was or was not supposed to be implies you think you are the one in control.

Regardless of your religious beliefs, you have to admit that life is often not under our control.  I believe that God is the Author of my life.  Others may believe in fate or destiny.  Whatever the belief, the loss of a newborn is not in your control!  For some that may be a depressing statement – to know you have no control over the grand scheme of life.  For me, I know the Lord.  And so last year and this year, I will continue to place my faith in the Lord.  He will get me through the roller coaster even as I scream at Him with every twist and turn.

I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from?   My help comes from the Lord above, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121: 1-2)

Thank you to all our family and friends (both here and afar) who have supported us through our biggest trial and for our whole lives.  We cannot thank you enough for your love and prayers!

Here are some pictures from our Remembrance Ceremony.  My Father-in-law put it best – “I don’t need butterflies or a ceremony to remember my grandson – there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of him”.      Amen!

I have not written in several weeks.  Frankly there didn’t seem to be much new to say.  Since the last time I wrote, we went through another round of IUI, which was the same as the previous months – nothing new.  I wish I could be writing today to tell you that we are pregnant, but we found out on May 7th that was definitely not the case – nothing new.

Mother’s Day was of course very hard.  Most people do not acknowledge the day for Mother’s who don’t have any living, visible children.  I am a Mother even though I did not raise my child; I loved my baby just as much as any other Mom loves her children here on earth.  Perhaps I loved Nathan more because all I have is his memory and I dwell on it just about every moment of every day.  I never wish he would stop crying or would just take a nap or be quite for two seconds or stop bugging me – I only wish he were here in my arms all the time.  (Maybe that’s not fair to say I love my child more; I’m just hurting.)

Having been through one previous Mother’s Day, when I was pregnant with Nathan last year, I thought this one would be easier or at least the same.  But at some point early on Sunday morning it dawned on me that I still had my precious baby last year.  Even though I knew Nathan was not going to live too long after birth, I still had him with me last Mother’s Day and could talk to him; wrap my arms around my pregnant belly to hug him; and gently rub on him.  This year would indeed be different, and trying to convince myself otherwise was not going to be a successful endeavor emotionally.  I cried all day.

Now, let me jump back to the weekend before Mom’s Day (May 5th) – Jeff and I were at the beach to celebrate our anniversary.  As we walked on this long pier out into the Atlanta Ocean, I silently spoke to God saying,”wouldn’t it be neat if you let a dolphin jump out of the water right here in front of us to show us that You are going to give us a baby?”.  Of course I immediately chastised myself because God doesn’t owe me any signs or symbols that He is the One true God and can do anything.  He gave us Christ dying upon the cross, which had been prophesied for thousands of years in precise detail.  That was the greatest sign of His love we will ever need to see!  (“…prophecy, however, is for believers, not for unbelievers.”  I Cor 14:22)

Then after having that mental conversation in my head, I looked up and saw my dolphin.   He did not leap out of the water and pirouette (like they show on the commercials for Sea World).  He simply crested the top of the water to breath.  He did this a couple of times and I never saw him again nor any other dolphins that whole weekend.  Can you imagine how my heart leapt.  God was with me in my conversation.  He heard me, and while He did not make the dolphin spiral out of the water, I believe He showed me that dolphin to let me know I was not alone and to remind me that our prayers are often answered in ways different than how we envision.  He may give us a baby, but it might not in the way we thought.

“Your eternal word, O Lord, stands firm in Heaven.  Your faithfulness extends to every generation, as enduring as the earth You created.  Your regulations remain true to this day, for everything serves Your plans [even the dolphins].”    Psalm 119: 89-91

So, where are we now?  Well, the day after we found out we were not pregnant, we had an appointment with our Doctor.  Jeff and I knew that we could not continue on with this course of action.  The emotional roller coaster, exacerbated by the extra hormones, was getting to be too much.  Every month we’d get our hopes up because we responded well to the drugs and every month we’d be crushed because we were not pregnant.  My blood results were getting worse and it was clear that I no longer had any egg quantity or quality left. The Doctor agreed.

For the summer we will not be on any course of action.  We are weighing our remaining options (regular adoption, embryo adoption, and donor egg.)  If you are going through or have gone through fertility treatments, you know that there are no sales, coupons, or price breaks – everything is expensive.  While I have been lucky that my insurance paid for most of what we’ve done thus far, we now enter into the final options that range from $18,000 to $40,000 (even more) and are not covered by insurance.

So that’s where we’re at.  God loves us and hears our hearts.  If He wants to perform another miracle pregnancy, He has the empty canvas -we are not on medications or seeking treatment.  There would be no question in anyone’s mind as to God’s authority over a pregnancy now.  But then again, He has already spoken to me that there are no signs or miracles needed to prove His authority over everything in my life.  He has given me one miracle pregnancy; I have no doubt He can do it again if that is what He wants.  However maybe what He wants is to show us something else or give us something different.  “God loves to give us incredible glimpses into His nature when the line breaks between what we want and what He has chosen to provide.”  (Moment’s for Couples Who Long for Children – Ginger Garrett)

The good and the bad of it  –

  • I am a mother (which I would never change), but my baby is not with me on earth.
  • I am glad to be off the fertility medicines, but am sad to give up that dream of another Jeff/Margaret baby.
  • I long to be a mother again some day, but I am most definitely infertile.

The good and the great of it – God loves me, is with me, and that will never change!

PRAYER:

Father God, thank You for your amazing love in sending your Son to die for us on the cross as a means of reconciliation for our sins.  There is no greater vision of love in the world than Your sacrifice.

Please help Jeff and I to find strength in Your love for us as we continue to heal from the pain of losing Nathan and the pain of infertility.  Guide us as we make choices about the future (physically, emotionally, financially, etc).   Please be with us as we approach the anniversary of Nathan’s birth & death.  ~  Amen

A Mother’s Day Poem

So many months I carried you and I couldn’t wait to see

What a wonderful little person you would turn out to be.

I had my dreams of how it would be just to watch you grow,

But now those dreams are faded because I shall never know.

For God in His great wisdom looked from His throne above

And saw how beautiful you were so He carried you away with love.

Now the rocking chair sits silent and the lullabies won’t be voiced,

But in heaven there’s a celebration as all of the angles rejoice.

My tears, they won’t be quiet, they flow like a river roars

And I know my life is forever changed, to be the same no more.

I must be a special Mother because I have been set apart.

Some Mothers carry their children in their arms,

But I carry you in my heart.

 

(Author unknown)

“I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from?  My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”  (Psalm 121:1-2)

You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘keep your chin up” that someone says in an effort to somehow cheer you up.  We’ll that phrase just lingered in my mind today as we received more bad news.

We already knew last week that we were not pregnant and we already knew that we’d likely go for another round of IUI given my positive response to the combination of medicines we’re using.  (Positive meaning that I am producing multiple eggs, not to be mistaken with what I consider positive in that you are guaranteed to get pregnant, which is not the case and not true).

Before you can start each monthly round of fertility treatments, they have to wait until your cycle starts again and then you have an ultrasound and blood work.  The ultrasound is to make sure you are not still over-stimulated from last month’s round of meds (which can be life threatening).  The blood work is to make sure your estrogen levels are back down to a normal level.  The people doing your ultrasound are not usually your actual Reproductive Physician.  They’re typically highly trained non-physician healthcare providers who are doing most of the exams throughout the month.  They are carrying out the plan of action that is created by your specific Physician for your specific circumstances.

Today, my Physician just happened to be the person who walked in the room.  Not because I’m special, but because my regular non-physician provider was on vacation.  I love my Doctor.  She is very kind, so sweet,  and really wants us to be successful in as much as the arm of the law of medicine can allow her.  (And by arm of the law, I mean the standards by which Doctors are held to  – not medical standards, but the countless law suits that have corrupted the simple act of trying to care for patients as individuals rather than as a group of possible claimants, such that MDs are scared to take chances for fear of getting sued or losing their liability insurance.  Ah… but I digress into another discussion for another day  about runaway jackpot juries and the legal system that perpetuates the problem.)

So where was I… my Physician walked into the room.  As usual she was very upbeat and optimistic.  She did the usual ultrasound and had the nurse draw my blood.  The ultrasound did reveal the possibility of a lingering cyst on the ovary, but if the estrogen level was low enough, it would be okay.  She also commented on the excellent, “positive” results we received the last two months with the multiple mature eggs (that unfortunately never were impregnated).

Now I have begun to feel like no matter how wonderful of a person my Doctor is, she brings with her a black cloud with my name on it.  I only usually see her when we’re having a big consultation and determining what few options are left for us to pursue in the world of fertility.  Usually those consultations leave me in tears for hours and depressed for weeks.

So, my appointment came and went today.  Then as usual in the afternoon, I received a call from the nurse regarding my blood results.  The estrogen was fine and we are free to start another round of the meds.  What I didn’t know when they drew the blood this morning is that my Doctor also requested a FSH test be done with the blood.  The FSH level can tell the Physician many things.  Most of us regular folk think of it as where you are on the pre-menopause scale.  Anything below an 11 is considered normal for fertility bearing purposes.  When I was tested four years ago, I was an 8 (and on one test, I was a 6).  When I was tested six months ago, I was an 8.9.  So that was one number that was in my corner on the fertility panel of tests.  (That was probably the only number that was favorable on my work-up in all those years).

Today as I was listening to the nurse rattle off numbers, I learned than in six short months I have gone from a 8.9 to a 13.5.  (Enter on cue the black cloud.)  How in the world could my number remain so relatively flat over the course of years and then in six months jump me to the middle-aged lady range.  That’s just one more strike on my already tainted fertility file.  You know for a person who did not “feel” her age, I have aged about 10 years in one afternoon! Fertility tests can make you feel like such a failure and I would be completely honest to say it pulls you over to the self-loathing side of darkness for a while.

I recently read an excellent devotion from a book called “Moments for Couples Who Long for Children” by Ginger Garrett.  She really puts the whole struggle so eloquently:

“Your body needs physical patience for the endless tests, procedures, and monthly cycles of trying to conceive.  Your soul needs emotional patience to handle the roller coaster of hope and disappointment, daydreams, and frustrating realities.  Your spirit needs supernatural patience for the endless challenges to your faith.”

I am challenged in my faith and in my self-worth.  Funny I used to think my self-worth was caught up in my job (which I am not saying was emotionally healthy, but at least I can acknowledge it).  Now, enter in a new way to judge self-worth – reproduction, or the lack there of!  My faith is still in God’s plan; but man!! I secretly and silently yell at Him wanting to know why He doesn’t want me to have a baby of my own (who lives)!!

“I am worn out waiting for Your rescue (O Lord), but I have put my hope in Your word.  My eyes are straining to see Your promises come true.  When will You comfort me?  (Psalm 119: 81-82)

I need His comfort and I need that more than anything, even a baby.  Logically I know God is here with me because He said He would be; but my troubles are so heavy that I just don’t feel His presence.  I feel like the weight of my future is on me, and the weight of our struggle is on me, and the weight of our happiness is on me.  But I know that is not how it has to be.  I know that God wants to take those burdens from me if I will just release them once and for all.

So I will pray for God’s help and I will try to remember to keep my chin up.  Where the chin points, so go the eyes – I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from?  My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”  (Psalm 121:1-2)

PRAYER:

Lord Jesus, your plans are perfect; I just can’t see You through the heavy burden of all of this.  Please help me to release this to you and wait joyfully for the future You have for me.  Please remove the black cloud of depression that has engulfed our lives.  Please return to us our sense of security in You and please return to our marriage its center on You rather than on our circumstances.  Not that you’ve left us and our security has gone, because we know You have not left us; but Lord help us to feel your presence along side of us in this struggle.   Jesus, we believe Your will is for children in our lives.  We ask that you reveal to us the doors we should walk through in this journey and confirm the ones to close.  Thank You for Your sacrifice, so we can be united with You forever.   Amen

I haven’t written in a few weeks because we are in the same place as usual, having gone through another IUI and waiting to find out the results.  However, in church this morning we sang a song that really spoke to me.  It’s a popular Christian praise & worship song we often sing, which appears to have originated from a church in Australia called Hillsong.  The song is “Stronger”.  Now there are a lot of songs with that title, or some variation of that title, in the many genre’s of music .  It’s a word that none can trade-mark because it is such a common word.  However, this song by Hillsong talks about a theme that is not so common or even tolerated in this world.  It talks about God’s perfect love through His son Jesus Christ, who died to offer each one of us the opportunity for perfect communion with God.  Jesus is stronger because he took on and overcame every person’s sin (past, present, & future), the world’s sin, which he died for.

Jesus is the only worshiped deity who ever defeated death and lived to walk the earth again.  He is the only god who can claim life after death.  There is no other religion in the world whose god has ever overcome death.  And not only that, but there were witnesses to his resurrection, which is why Christians can believe with confidence in their Lord & Savior – the one true God.  He did this to provide a means of redemption – trading our sin for freedom and death for eternal life with Him in Heaven.

This song has special significance to me not only because it talks about my salvation, but because it has a personal deeper meaning.  Jesus is stronger than the sins Satan intended to use to kill him; but Jesus is also stronger than anything I can face in this world.  The loss of my baby felt like I was dying at times (and sometimes I probably wished that I was dead); but one step after another, one day after another, Jesus carried me through.

Did we still lose our baby – of course; was it hard – absolutely, harder than anything I’ve ever encountered in my life!  I could not have endured the things that we’ve been through in the past 14 months if it had not been for God’s arms lovingly carrying me through.  I may be a strong person, but no amount of personal strength prepares you or helps you to deal with loss in such a way as you would walk the journey all over again if you were called by God to do so.  His love is amazing and His strength conquers all.

“Stronger”, (Hillsong)

“There is love that came for us
Humbled to a sinner’s cross
You broke my shame and sinfulness
You rose again victorious

Faithfulness none can deny
Through the storm and through the fire
There is truth that sets me free
Jesus Christ who lives in me

You are stronger, You are stronger
Sin is broken, You have saved me
It is written, Christ is risen
Jesus You are Lord of all

No beginning and no end
You’re my hope and my defense
You came to seek and save the lost
You paid it all upon the cross

You are stronger, You are stronger
Sin is broken, You have saved me
It is written, Christ is risen
Jesus You are Lord of all
There is none

So let Your name be lifted higher
Be lifted higher, be lifted higher”

PRAYER:

Lord Jesus, let Your name be lifter higher; higher than any cry I release to thin air.  Help me to truly grasp in my heart that no matter what happens to me in this life and no matter what heart aches I go through, the fact that I will be in heaven with you is far more important and far more wonderful than even the best day on earth.  Lord, You already know our desire for children; now please help us to understand that Your plans are perfect and to trust the decisions You make.  Thank you for carrying us through to this and every day in our lives.  You are the only reason we’ve made it.  ~ Amen.

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