Category Archives: Death

IF Community Unite

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So, in the midst of this Facebook Fast where I am unable to check social media, I get an email about a prayer request for a family that lost their little girl.  The email stated the mother was a local teacher and the father a local fire fighter.  Both of these roles I immediately connected to because she works in my school district, lives in my city..we have several mutual friendships-though we do not know each other directly.  DPD and DFD have a connected bond through the work they do for the city.  I am also a mother of a toddler.  I could not find any information on the situation on Thursday night without jumping on Facebook, so I just committed to pray.

Yesterday, a fundraising site began circulating around and long story short now more people are talking, sharing and mostly fundraising to help this couple with funeral costs and paid leave as they grieve.  My child choking is my worst nightmare and my child experiencing pain while in the care of a daycare or sitter is a close second.  Every working mom has guilt and the number one guilt is that you cannot be there for your child and will someone else care for them to the depth that you will.  I mean I have to work (infertility is expensive), but I hate it because it took me so long to be a mom.  In the end, you just have to let go and let God and trust that you are making the best decision possible.  All of this rocked me to my core as a parent.  It hit too close to home.  And then I learned a detail that brought me to my knees.  This couple suffered from infertility and their child was conceived through IVF.

We in the infertility community know this pain too well.  “For this child I have prayed…”  The loss, the waiting, the patience, the emptiness and then to finally parent (whether through treatments or adoption) is your greatest joy because it did not come easy and it was not natural and you thought time and time again “What if it never happens?”  We know the brokenness our bodies feel and the shame and the regret and the pain when everyone around us has two then three then four or just starts selecting dates on a calendar to try for another like it is so simple; for them it is.  We know something entirely different. Our story is not the same.  The love is the same, the parenting is the same but, the struggle can only be felt if you have been there and felt like that 1 in 8 that cannot conceive.  My friends might cringe at my numerous kid posts, but this was a kid I never thought would exist and this kid may be my only one due to the work it took to get him…so I am embracing each day because I know it will not likely come again.  I don’t get the luxury to plan for baby number two….I have no control.

In light of all this my Facebook fast seems pretty unimportant and small.  In fact, it allows me more time to hug my son and embrace his laughter.  It allows me more time to pray for this family and listen for God to tell me how He will use me to help.  This blog is it.

http://www.youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/emma-turner-memorial-fund/299958

IF community I urge you to join me in donating to this family.  They have already reached their fundraising goal, but we know it is not about the money.  It is about the community of us that struggle to conceive and cling to those miracle babies only to thing their birth signifies the struggle is over only to lose a child while you are at work.  God be with your donation, God be with this couple and their families and God be with all of our community.  Let’s UNITE and show them we see them, we care and they are not alone.

THe good news is: I am not saying infertility babies are more loved or more special.  Any loss of a child is tragic,  I am just saying that nine months to meet a child and 36 months changes things.  THe baby becomes like a prize and a reminder every day of a blessing you thought would never come.  Every dirty sock, every poopy diaper, every temper tantrum is a gift that I do not deserve and adoption allows me to be a parent.  My heart aches tonight.  God, be with them and all of us that do not get it.  Remind us that death is part of your promise and without it we would not see you.  We must die for our life to begin.

When God Doesn’t Make Sense…

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My heart is heavy this week because I have had dear friends and even some strangers attacked by tragedy. Unexpected death of a parent, contracting an illness while doing God’s work, stillborn baby, failed cycles, adultery in a Christian marriage, birth defects in the womb….pain after pain after pain. Some of these tragedies I cannot directly relate to (Praise God or maybe just not yet), but they all fall under the big umbrella of “Why God?” Being confused with God is something I can relate to very well. When I speak with people directly going through the storm, I can look back and reflect that I have been there…that lonely, angry, and confusing place. Even as a Christian, hearing the words “This is all part of God’s plan” stings. It burns in fact. How could God want my child to die? How could God be okay with the death of my father? How could God see a baby suffer?

The truth is He doesn’t. I think people often confuse this. He is just as angry as we are that we live in a fallen world. God is grieving the utopia He intended it to be with us. God grieves with us and that is the first truth I share with people hurting: Let God cry with you. He understands every pain we feel-especially betrayal. He can hold every tear, so let Him-let it out because it is needed.

The next truth I share is “It is okay to get mad.” As Christians, we feel guilty if we are angry about our circumstance. I mean who promised us a pain free life anyway? After all, God knows best and this is part of God’s plan so we must accept it. But, I don’t know about all that. I think God is angry too about the injustices of this world and I think He is powerful enough that He can take our rants. Hiding them from Him won’t work–just be careful that you do not forget you are talking to God. And remember as angry as you are-He still loves you. I stood in my hallway and wailed at God. I screamed, cried, hit, and complained. I let it be known that I have had enough and I was over all this—He listened. Later, he comforted and then put people in my path that could pick me up. I tell people that what you are feeling is real and meaningful and it is okay to be mad that bad things happen because it is hard.

I share with others to take the time you need to grieve. I took a day off and just was still. I allowed myself to be numb and separate from my surroundings. I needed to embrace the pain. Take a vacation, take a day or an afternoon, but grieving is not a bad thing and being still can actually give you the best chance possible to hear God’s voice and feel God’s presence. In that stillness He will say “I love you” and will give you the wisdom you need to move forward, but often we get so busy trying to fix it that we fail to let God take control. Let him.

Finally, tragedies like these and many others that I have not named or experienced are the best reminder that we are not home. This Earth and all its beauty is not the end. Sadness, sorrow, grief, tragedy, death, sickness etc. should make us more homesick than ever. It should make us eager to be home in Heaven. I saw a poster recently asking if you could speak to anyone from the past, while here on this Earth, who would it be? My first thought was my grandparents, but then I rethought it. Why would I take them away from Heaven to be here? How selfish to pull them from paradise! This place may feel pretty great, but they get to experience perfection every day…so keep them there-they are home.

My heart hurts for you if you are suffering during this season of your life. I pray that you will be reminded it is a season and seasons change. Sorrow will endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Even if you (like me) suffered in part from your own sin, knows God’s goodness is even bigger than your shortcomings and God’s grace is larger than we can ever fathom or deserve. Although, God does not place horrible things in our lives…He does bring good from them. Somehow or someway…maybe not immediately, but good will come from it eventually. It might be a connection from a blog like this, an opportunity to encourage or comfort someone in pain, a foundation or organization to help others that was birthed in the pain of loss, an adoption of a child that would not have come any other way, a birth of twins after many failed cycles…the list goes on. But God’s promises are true and He is good even when He does not make sense.

The good news is: I can say with certainty that the trials that have been placed in my life have given me wisdom and built my character. Through faithfulness, God has redeemed every mistake or sin I made and brought beauty from ashes. I am also thankful that I have been spared from a lot of hurt that I probably deserved. Just remember that-we all hurt at some point and no one (not even Christians) are exempt from pain. During these times of deep sadness, I can also declare great victories. I can rejoice and celebrate with new births, new families, healing, reconciliation, promotions etc. Often times the hard times bring an appreciation of the good times and victories come from defeat.

Infertile, Adoptive Mom

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I attended the Mother’s Day service with my parents at their church.  I say their church even though it was the church home I grew up in.  I knew the best gift that I could give my mother was to worship with her and the whole family so I surprised her and she loved it.

The preacher did a great job of acknowledging all aspects of Mother’s Day and pointed out that for many this was a challenging day.  He proceeded to read a long list of Mother’s Day feelings including “For those that lost their mother…we mourn with you.”  “For those that are expecting a baby…we celebrate with you.”  But the two that hit home for me were:

“For those that are infertile….we wait and pray with you.”

“For those adoptive moms…we thank you and need you.”

I fit in a few other groups in his list, but these two struck me.  I am an infertile and adoptive mom.  How can I be an infertile mom?  Well, I am.  I adopted a sweet baby boy, but that does not take away the infertility.  The sting still hurts.  Do I dwell on it?  No way!  Life is too short and it is what it is, but adoption and all the joys of motherhood do not erase that my body is broken.  It does not erase the memories of waiting, counting, testing, crying, asking, documenting etc.  I get infertility.  I get trying medications that made me crazy.  I get asking doctors to do more testing while trying to stay calm.  I get the two week wait where I put my life on hold.  I also get giving up and just living.  I get researching reproductive endocronologists and learning how to spell that.  I get vials and vials of blood work.  I get looking at an empty womb on a sonogram.  I get asking my husband to endure more invasive tests only to learn he is 100% healthy.  I get crying at night and all during the day.  I get the dreaded phone call reporting the disappointing lab results and the private meeting saying “there is nothing else we can do”.  I get taking off work because you can’t fake it anymore and you don’t want to try.  I get praying and reading scripture for meaning and then hearing a song that leads you straight to adoption.  I get infertility in an all too real way.

Thankfully, I also get adopting.  I get filling out a inquiry sheet and then going in for an interview.  I get the mounds of paperwork including criminal background checks, references, medical checkups, home studies, floor plans and safety plans of our home, submitting financial documents and pay check stubs and tax returns proving financial stability, the infamous adoption book that I labored for two months over.  I get meeting home study groups and discussing with other adoptive parents.  I get waiting and waiting and waiting. I get taking a phone call that would change our lives three weeks before the bably was born then preparing for a boy with only 20 days left.  I get meeting a birthmother and then hoping she likes me and hoping she does not change her mind unless it is God’s will then I pray for her to parent wisely.  I get going to the hospital for her planned Caesaren and then getting to know her for four days while we shared parenting responsibilities.  I get not knowing who should get up when he cried or needed to be changed and then I get not having the words when it was time to leave the hospital.  Watching her wince from her scars, seeing tears in her eyes and yet knowing we were driving four hours in the opposite direction.  I get her anticipation every time I post a new pic or give a new update.  I hold so much of her heart in my arms at night.  I get all that, too.

 

At the end of the day I am blessed to be a mom no matter how it all happened.  I am blessed to have empathy for the infertile in such a way that I can respond when asked what to say. So many don’t have the words or scriptures and I do. I can also respond when people ask about adoption and how it works, where do they start and what to expect. I can also relate to bottle feeding, putting a baby to bed, feeding solids, bathtime and everything baby because I have been there, too.

The good news is: I am blessed with the experiences that I have had and as we celebrate the one year anniversary of Callen’s adoption day…I am thankful for them all. I am especially grateful for a family that has accepted adoption and God’s plan for our lives with no hesitation and that his birthparents love us unconditionally and love to watch him grow. I am thankful for a husband that does not think twice about genetics when preparing to pass our full inheritance on to him. He is our son and he will get everything we work for and more. Our goal is to support him so that he can have it all. I am proud to be an infertile, adoptive mom because I am proud to be Callen’s mom.

Resolve to know that infertility can be a blessing…

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Is infertility a good thing?….Heck no, it sucks!  I despised waiting month after month to see if I was pregnant….hoping for two weeks then crying for the next two only to start the cycle again.  It got to the point where discovering my cycle had started became a sweet relief because at least I could stop hoping and resume normal living.  The worst feeling in the world is to be so out of control of something that is so normal and easy for others.  I had plans, a calendar, a kit, a timeline and month after month I had to rearrange and restart the future.  Sitting in a doctor office with a title I can’t even spell, so I willl abbreviate RE, was embarrassing.  You felt sympathy for every couple in there knowing you all shared a horrific common bond: you can’t get pregnant on your own.  It was a miserable time in my life so I am not saying I enjoyed it, but looking back being infertile is one of the things I consider a blessing…

Why is it a blessing?  Glad you asked:

#1 It is the exact reason I began to blog.  Before Lupus and infertility, I did not have much of a story to tell.  Nothing about me set me a part or made my story important.  Enter disease and a non working reproductive system and now I am interesting!  I never knew there was such a large world of writers that had experienced or were experiencing the same heartache and same struggle that I was going through.  I began to lean on their stories and cling to their comments.  Their likes inspired me to write more and my anonomity helped me to be real and open and it felt good.  Infertility gave me the chance to be a writer again and reconnect to a passion that I had lost.

#2 Infertility gave me empathy.  I was like most women clinging to birth control until the exact month I wanted to get pregnant then getting off it and expecting to see positive lines.  Month after month after month then year after year it all showed blank.  I now empathize with couples that it is not easy.  I feel for couples like us that just don’t decide one day we want one more or to go for a girl this time.  I don’t assume anything anymore and I learned to celebrate big with those that are successful and cry genuine tears for those that are not.  I understand women that struggle with conceiving children in a very unique way.

#3 Infertility brought me closer to God.  I learned patience, I learned timing, I learned I was never in control and the delicate system of our bodies is too much even for science to explain it all.  I clung to his promises and faithfully believed that I was not alone and my prayers were being heard even if the answer was not the same thing as mine.

#4 Finally, it led me to adoption.  I never considered adoption my last resort…I just never paid attention to it before.  When the door was finally closed to conceiving naturally then I opened my heart to another option.  An option that I did not consider because I did not think it was my calling.  Time after time, God dropped hints and signs, but I am so stubborn in my own plans that I kept telling him, “Shhhh…”  Finally, I stopped praying to get pregnant and began praying to create our family.  The timing was perfect for God to lead us to our son.  The boy I was meant to parent all along  and the reason I was born.  Our son is amazing and a promise fulfilled in every picture we take that I am living the dream. The affirmation of every decision I ever made that led us to him…our child…the perfect one for us.  Infertility made me listen to that calling and to stop trying to figure it out.  It shut the doors that I kept open with my foot because I wanted to do what I wanted to do. 

If I had another life to live…I would do it again if it led me to the adoption of our son.  Infertility did not destroy me.

Now this post does not mean that I will congratulate barren women everywhere or speak on behalf of increasing infertility for all the joys it will bring.  Never.  But, I hope to encourage women that infertility can be an opportunity to turn something tragic into a triumph.  Don’t let infertility define you and when you get the chance, be a rock for others to empower us to continue looking for healing.  Infertility takes a lot, but it does not take everything.

•http://www.resolve.org/infertility101 (Basic understanding of the disease of infertility.)
•http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html (About

Lupus Found Me…

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You may be saying “Dang girl, what’s up with all the posts?” The answer is simple, I have no idea when I will post again (took me two months to log in) so while baby is sleeping and I feel good then I am posting all my pent up thoughts so I don’t feel bad when I go back to not posting.

The pic above of the family is our first day of school pic! My husband had his first day of class and so did I …baby boy went to his baby school aka…grandma’s! Love that this was our first day of school as a parent!!!

You read by the title Lupus found me. I was flare free and feeling good all summer and that was with the hot sun! Yes, running around the park and playing soccer outdoors was not smart…I got a huge rash to prove it wasn’t my best idea, but I could do it. I swam almost every other day with baby boy…we did swim lessons and lots of visits to the park. Yes, we were the crazy parents that took like a hundred pics each day of the swim lesson. I held him one day so dad could take pics then we switched. Even with all that sun, I managed to be stress free and well rested to avoid any flares.

Then school started.

From the first week of staff development the flares began to build. I could feel the chills, the fevers came back, the rashes were on my face, arms and neck and that was just the beginning. By the first day of school, I could not move in the morning. Every joint was throbbing in pain. To turn over and turn off the clock was a battle. Getting out of bed was work. The first thing I did in the morning was take an anti-inflammatory pill. By midday, I felt better but by the end of the day I was exhausted. I began to take 5 hour energy for the first time. I could not last all day. I lost my voice, I began to get the whole sexy raspy thing that is only cool for a day. Going to bed at nine was a gift, but that meant SO much did not get done around the house or in the classroom. I was literally making it day by day. For the first time I felt like this is the invisible disease. From the outside I look fine, but inside I am hurting and just getting to work was a huge accomplishment. I googled Lupus flare more than I ever did before and I actually related to a video that described Lupus as the disease where “you don’t look sick” I understood the spoon theory that every choice I made meant I had a little less to give later. What made it all worse, is that I committed to do a half marathon in my summer I feel great days and running was no longer an option. I felt bad for not training, but I had nothing to give.

Thank God I began to do a daily devotional because I needed the prayers and affirmations. To be honest, I have been in a flare from the middle of August until now when I got back on Prednisone. I weaned myself off it, but now I am back to 5 mg a day. Not much for most, but I know have to wean myself back off it later. For now, I feel better than I have felt in over a month. I can be up at this hour typing and not wanting to sleep forever. I can pick my son up in the morning instead of grimmacing and praying I don’t drop him. I can turn in the middle of the night without waking myself up in pain. I can open bottles and bend my fingers. I can walk. I can bend my knee. Lupus affects my skeletal system the most and it hit hard for the last month. I got depressed again, I was afraid I would not be able to do my job, I thought that my life would be lived in pain forever. I questioned going on disability…it was bad. I did not want to take the meds, but finally realized I have to and I have to keep taking them until we figure out a different plan.

It finally clicked to take the Prednisone and keep taking it everyday. I first thought that once I felt better then I could stop, but my body was addicted again and stopping meant hurting. I feel so much better that I forgot what it felt like to feel normal. Again, I know now that this is the real me and not what I had become. My husband put it nicely “so I won’t have to live with that other girl…this is you again?” This is me.

I go back to the doctor in October to learn what to do. This may be my new norm with a kid and job. I have to be active all day and then come home and be active all evening for my baby. Remember this is my first year to do this so I am learning to do both, but I am also learning what it feels like when something is wrong and doing something about it.

The worst part is I did NOT lose weight dramatically which I liked until I got too skinny and looked like death when I was diagnosed. My belly is growing and it makes me mad because that is the only good thing about Lupus which is unexplained weight loss. If I am going to flare up at least give me that one symptom!

The good news is: I am able to type this post which I have not wanted or been able to do in a while.

Adoption Day and Tearful See You Later

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We learned that the official date for our Adoption Day will be June 14th! This is the same day as my niece’s birthday, so I hope she does not mind sharing the special event. We thought about pushing the adoption to a later date, but then could not imagine explaining to our son that it could have been official sooner, but we chose to wait. We will always be sure that my niece knows it is HER day and Callen is just sharing it.

We look forward to our sixth and final visit with our agency at their annual adoption picnic. We are eager to see other AIM families created through adoption and other families that may be connected to our son. I will post more about this experience later, but we are hopeful to see some familiar faces and celebrate adoption and the love of this ministry.

Sadly, my grandfather passed away on Thursday evening. He had suffered from Alzheimer’s for many years so it was bittersweet. On one hand, he gets his mind back and is reunited with his love of 65 years (maybe more, but I lost count). He is also able to worship Jesus every day with the angels in heaven and there is no better place to be. I am sad because I loved getting to hold his hand. I also loved that he met my son so that he can tell my grandmother all about him. Alzheimer’s is an uglyl disease in that you lose your loved one over and over as the disease progresses. I would always leave him happy that I saw him, but upset that he was worse than the time before. At one point, you just wanted them to stop suffering. The death is not quick…it is a long goodbye, but I am thankful that I had the opportunity to say goodbye because I know many do not.

Loving Jesus is a beautiful thing in death because He conquered it. My grandparents filled out this memory book for my brother and I so we could remember their lives. Here is his answer to the question “If you could go back to any age in your life, which age would it be and why?”

I love his response because it is so wise. He wrote, “I enjoyed lots of good times with my family, but I do not want to go back to any of them. I look forward to the good times ahead.” What beautiful words to sum up a beautiful man.

The good new is: Jesus came to conquer death so that we would not be slaves to it. There will be many good times ahead that we can live in memory of my Paw Paw.

To women everywhere on Mother’s Day

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</p><p>To all women everywhere…I feel you today.  I feel the young girl that laughs at the motherly responsibility and thinks “no way I love my sleep”, I feel the new bride that just wants to be selfish with alone time with her husband,  I feel the five year wife that wonders when her husband will commit to trying for children.  I feel the barren woman that feels guilty that she can’t create a child for her husband because he is not to blame for us not conceiving, I feel the lonely woman that feels broken and rejected and constantly questions should she keep trying or move on,  I feel the woman praying for her husband to consider adoption since she wants to parent a child and believes God has a bigger plan than conception, I feel the woman overwhelmed with paperwork because there are so many details to making an adoption complete.  I feel the hopeful mom praying her book was enough to be chosen and feels unworthy everytime a day passes with no phone call, I feel the woman frantically nervous if she will be able to connect to a baby that she has never met and will it be “her” child…finally, I feel the woman that meets the first mother of her son and together they create a plan of how we are going to give this child the best.</p><p>There are a lot of women that I cannot relate to with the positive pregnancy test, the first ultrasound, hearing the heartbeat, going into labor etc…but there are quite a few women that I feel exactly where you are at.  I have been there, too.</p><p>

A year ago, I was so hurt and bitter because it was my third year of infertility and I still wasn’t a mother. At the time, we were at the early stages of adoption, but still so far. I remember thinking everyone feels sorry for me because I don’t have a baby, but I am old enough to be a mom. I want women everywhere to know that you are not alone and this is a season. No matter where you are in your stage of life, you are loved and we are connected in that someone out there has been there, too.

The good news is: Love never fails. If you are not celebrating Mother’s Day today then know that you will if you want to. Anything is possible. I have no regrets about letting go of conception even though it is hard to imagine not carrying a baby or seeing my inherited traits in a child. However, I know that our adoption was never plan B…it was the Plan A that I could not see until I gave up what I thought was best for me and learned to trust God.

Feels so good to celebrate this first Mother’s Day…you never get another first Mother’s Day 😉