Catching Our Rainbow

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm…

What a Difference a Year Makes

Almost a year ago (it will be a year on Tuesday) I woke up full of excitement and apprehension. I went into the bathroom and peed on a stick, and a few minutes later, I saw my first positive pregnancy test. I immediately ran into the bedroom and told hubby. There was so much joy, excitement, and laughter. We immediately called our families and celebrated the fact that our 9 month long journey of trying to get pregnant was over and we were finally going to be parents. As you all know, that joy ended in blood, pain, and sadness only a few days later.

A lot has happened in the year since that first BFP. A lot of terrible things: miscarriages, Crohn’s, and feelings of hopelessness. Also a lot of wonderful things: growth, a new support system, and love.

Tuesday morning I woke up with a sense of peace and certainty. I went into the bathroom and peed on a stick, and a few minutes later, I saw a faint second line. I continued my normal morning routine and told hubby right before I left. We exchanged a knowing look and a shy smile and then left to go to work as usual. Needless to say, it was a much different experience from my first BFP.

Tuesday was 11 DPO, and I got a squinter on my DG cheapy. I tested again yesterday on another DG test and got a much darker line. So far, this whole experience has been so different from my other three pregnancies. With the exception of a few moments where panic started to bubble up, I’ve been calm. I’ve also been positive, removing the word “if” from my vocabulary. Only a week ago, I prayed so earnestly for God to grant me some peace and to calm the storm inside of me, and my prayers have been answered ten-fold. I honestly believe this will be our take-home baby–our miracle child that will show the world that God can bring beauty from ashes and grant a child to a couple who had all but given up. I am hanging on to faith, hope, and love and trusting that they will get us through the next eight months. I am trusting God to protect this child. I am trusting this child to fight for life. In an expression of self kindness, I am trusting my body to nurture this child. And I’m not ending this with a statement about how I reserve the right to change my mind and freak out–when my trust runs out, I will pray for more and it will be given to me.

Instead of super excited phone calls to family, hubby and I spent the last two days asking close friends to be in prayer. We covet the prayers of those who love us, and I consider this community to be included in that group. Please, be in prayer for us and our child. Please pray for life.

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Support

I’ve seen quite a few posts about how to support someone who is going through IF or loss. I think it’s great that people have written these posts because, let’s face it, we aren’t an easy group to understand and support. Statements that are meant to be helpful and supportive can be really hurtful to many in our community. I’m learning that this is not necessarily unique to to IF/loss, and being a good source of support for anyone isn’t easy.

Over the past few months, I have been struggling with how to support my husband as he deals with Crohn’s disease. My heart just breaks when I see him in pain, and I desperately want to make him better. But I can’t. I can’t heal him. I can’t alleviate his pain. I can’t promise him that he will feel better soon. So what can I do? Over the past week I’ve been in prayer about how to support him, how to be a good wife to him as he faces this terrible disease. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • Pray for him I pray for my husband’s health regularly. I don’t just pray that he will be healed–I also pray that the Lord will walk with him through the desert. I pray for strength to endure and peace to deal with a diagnosis that sucks. And I make sure that hubby knows that he is being surrounded by prayer by telling him when I pray for him. 
  • Serve him When hubby has bad days where he can’t really leave the couch, I serve him. I make him something to eat that won’t make him hurt more. I bring him anything he needs. I take care of things he is usually in charge of (like mowing the lawn or putting the dog up at night) so he won’t stress about it. It’s exhausting, but it’s so rewarding and giving him the opportunity to rest makes a big difference to his pain levels.
  • Abide with him Earlier this week, hubby was hurting too much to stay in bed, so he took another pain pill and went to living room and propped himself in a more comfortable position on the couch. Instead of taking my usual approach (silently bemoaning the interruption in my sleep and shutting the bedroom door so he doesn’t keep me up), I got up and went into the living room. I held his hand and talked with him to help distract him until the pain pill kicked in. I let him know that he’s not alone in this.
  • Love him I try to use every opportunity to remind my husband of how much I love him. Sometimes he will say something like, “I’m sorry you are stuck with a broken hubby” and I refuse to accept that. I remind him that I meant it when I said “in sickness and in health.” I make it a point to show him and tell him that I love him and his illness cannot change that, and in some ways, his illness has made me love him even more because it has given me the opportunity to serve and support him in a big way.

So that is how I have learned to support my hubby: pray, serve, abide, and love. And you know what? I think that’s a good way to support someone through just about anything.

What kind of support have you received that has been particularly helpful or encouraging?

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Endurance

For those of you who are church-goers, have you ever gone to church and felt like the pastor was speaking directly to you? Like he is addressing everything you are going through and his sermon was written specifically to encourage you with your current struggles? I have felt like this every Sunday for weeks, and I have been taking a lot of notes so I can go back to them for encouragement and insight. I wanted to let you all know a little of what he said in hopes that you find encouragement too.

Pastor has been doing a sermon series on Nehemiah for a few weeks now. In his first sermon on the series, he talked about how Nehemiah went straight to prayer and fasting when he heard that the walls of Jerusalem had fallen. He said that when disaster comes, we usually do one of two things: we ignore the problem or we frantically try to fix the problem. We do not usually immediately turn to prayer. This spoke to me quite a bit. In this journey, how much time have I spent charting, researching, blogging, and doing other things to “fix” my problems? We always have a plan B, plan C, heck we’re on plan G right now, but I think in a lot of ways, pastor was right–I spend a whole lot more time trying to fix our fertility issues than I do praying about them. Which is funny considering they are ultimately out of my hands.

Yesterday, I swear pastor was talking to me. The sermon was on endurance. Pastor talked about rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and how the people were tired and wanted to quit after the wall was half built, and he said that opposition is inevitable, especially when you are doing something that God has called you to. Something I thought was particularly relevant was when he said that the tools Satan uses to bring opposition haven’t changed over the years. Nehemiah refers to discouraging people (Neh 4:1-3) and discouraging progress (Neh 4:9-10), and these are things we face today. I think it is something we especially face with infertility. I know each of us has had a conversation with someone who just didn’t understand and ended up discouraging or upsetting us instead of building us up, and I also know that we have all faced discouraging results–things just don’t move along the way we want them to. Every cycle it feels like we have to start over from the beginning, especially if we experience a loss. Pastor kept emphasizing: just keep praying, just keep building, just keep picking up bricks, just keep praying.

It was just really encouraging yesterday to hear this–to be reminded to persevere through prayer. Prayer may not make me able to have a child, but it will encourage me and it will keep me connected to God and His plan.

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Worrying about my lack of worry

Over the past two weeks or so I’ve noticed something about myself. The obsessing, the worrying, the despair is missing. When I think about TTC, I don’t freak out. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to create, carry, and birth a child, and if I will, I have no idea when that will be. It will be months before we will even start TTC again. As you have seen in previous posts, this fact usually throws me into counting fits where I calculate the soonest we could have a baby. How old will I be then? What are my life plans then? How old will BFF’s son be? (I try not to compare, but she was three months preggo when we started TTC and it gives me a point of reference, albeit an unhealthy one). Usually, when I think about our journey thus far and what all the future could possibly hold for us (tests, procedures, more mc’s, no baby), I am a quivering ball of anxiety and panic who can’t function on a normal level due to the crippling worry and fear. But that hasn’t been the case the past two weeks or so.

I noticed this change last Thursday. That was the day we were supposed to go hear the heartbeat, and of course, we didn’t. And I was so calm and zen about it. If I could use one word to described how I’ve felt, it would be content. I have a wonderful husband and life and maybe babies just aren’t in the cards for us right now. Waiting could even be a really good thing because that might give hubby the opportunity to find a full time fire job, allowing me to stay home. Molly will have the chance to grow up a little, meaning I won’t have to chase the most hyper puppy in existence whilst pregnant. We can pay off a few things and add a little cushion in our savings. I am calm and rational and ok with where we are in life right now, and to tell you the honest truth, it is freaking. me. out.

It all started with a pretty intense prayer session with some close friends two weeks ago. I know some of you aren’t religious, and it’s ok if you are rolling your eyes at me right now. My most ardent request during this prayer session was that I would stop asking why and stop trying to understand and just trust that God is in control. That I could accept what happens and live my life with joy. That I could release my fear. And here’s the thing: I’ve stopped asking why and trying to understand. I have accepted that I am not in control, and I am so happy and appreciative of what I have. I’m not afraid. And this is all so foreign to me.

I am honestly starting to worry about not worrying. Is this a sign of healthy healing and acceptance or am I suppressing all of my problems in an unhealthy way? I know lots of women in this community hit a point where they wonder if they even want children anymore, and I wouldn’t say that is where I am. I am just ok with the fact that I can’t have any right now–at least I am today. However, I feel a little like I am waiting for full blown panic. Maybe it isn’t coming and this is the new normal. That would be nice. Once I get used to it. I’m not really sure what to do with myself when I’m not worrying all the time. And I feel like I’m a bad IF/loss blogger if I’m not obsessing about TTC right now.

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Anger, Prayer, and a Rainbow

My mind is in a million places right now. My second hCG was the exact same number as my first. It’s supposed to double. The midwife I spoke to sounded very concerned and she was very surprised when I told her that I haven’t had any spotting.  She did say that it’s still early and things could work out, but she sounded like she was really trying not to give me false hope. Her exact words were that my numbers are “not reassuring.” Of course they aren’t. I’m honestly not surprised. I’m upset, devastated, pissed off, heartbroken, bitter, and a million other things, but I’m not surprised.  I will be surprised if things work out and this is a healthy pregnancy. In fact, I’ll be floored. Hubby thinks that it was a lab mistake because the number is the same, but I don’t think it is. My progesterone did change–it got even better: 23, and if that number was the same too, I might think there was a mistake. But I can’t afford that kind of hope right now. I know better than to let myself have that kind of hope.

As I was driving to work today, it was a beautiful, clear day. The sky was the perfect shade of blue, which was the total opposite of the bleak grey and fog that was inside of me. I kept thinking about how God fits into all of this. I remember during my first pregnancy earnestly praying for the health of our baby. I miscarried the next day. The next time I got pregnant, I was honestly too afraid to pray about my pregnancy. This morning I was thinking about how I should pray about my numbers and my fears, but I was just so angry and bitter. I prayed out loud and told God that I know He can make this a healthy pregnancy and save my baby. I know He has the power to do that. But I also said that I believe that he won’t do that, and I don’t understand why. I don’t understand why he won’t save me from this heartache or why he won’t save my child from death. I know that’s not a typical prayer, but I try to be honest when I pray because He knows what I’m thinking anyway. After I said all of that, I turned a corner and saw a rainbow. It was just a small piece of a rainbow but it was bold and I could see every color in it. It was a beautiful morning without even a hint of rain so there should not have been a rainbow outside, and I honestly believe that was God’s answer to me, but I don’t know what it means. Maybe this pregnancy will be ok. Or maybe God will bless us with a child later in life and we need to be patient and wait. I don’t know.

Right now I’m just trying to hold myself together. We leave for the beach tomorrow morning, and we will be gone until Tuesday night. That’s just what I need. My first time at the beach in six years, and I’ll probably have an miscarriage which means I can’t wear tampons, which means I can’t wear a bathing suit. Perfect. I’m trying so hard to remember that I actually have a wonderful life with a husband I adore and a stable job and a nice house and two crazy furbabies, but I’m still falling into a place that is angry, hateful, and bitter.

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