brave

I am not a brave person.

Ask Frank.

When I am walking up the stairs and he chases after me, I sit down on the stairs and curl up.

True story.  It’s like my knees stop working.

Fight or flight?

Is laying down and dying an option?

And this transcends into other areas of my life.

The amount of effort it takes for me to do things often seems monumental.

And sometimes, I wonder why things fail and I realize that my fear stopped me from taking a critical step.

I know that I am smart.  Maybe not genius IQ, but I know enough to be dangerously effective.

But fear of disappointing people stops me in my tracks.

My dear friend and fellow blogger, Heidi, found out that she is expecting.  This baby is so wanted!

But she has been hurt a lot – four years + of infertility and two miscarriages are stunningly difficult things to endure.

She vocalizes something I’ve worried about since we realized that this fertility biz was not looking awesome for us: that once we get pregnant, what if there is more pain?

And I wonder, do I have what it takes to make it through the first 9 weeks of pregnancy without wondering if every ache and pain is a sign of another loss?

Can I be brave?

And not just in pregnancy – but in all areas of life: work, family, friends, missions, finances, etc?

I think I can.  I am pretty sure I can.

And I have a God that says I can.

I think about the disciple Peter a lot.  The oldest of the disciples.  The one who Jesus regularly used as an example.

One day, the disciples were in a boat in the midst of a raging storm, and Jesus walks on water to them and quiets the storm.

Wanting to be just like his teacher – and believing bravely that he CAN be just like his teacher – Peter follows Jesus out onto the water.

And Peter walks on water.

Pastor Rob Bell points out that it is when Peter hesitates – when he lets fear creep in – when he stops believing in himself – that he starts to sink.

Pastor Bell points out that Jesus BELIEVED in Peter.

But Peter did not believe in Peter.

And I wonder, is God walking along side me telling me, “You CAN do this!”

And I am not failing at things because God didn’t answer a prayer or give me enough or teach me enough or instruct me enough: I have to own up to the fact that I might be failing because I don’t believe that I can do it.

God has already provided me with everything I could ever need.

Supplying the bravery is up to me.

sucks.

Sometimes things just suck.

In big, big ways.

My appointment with my OB triggered big anger in me tonight.

The appointment itself was fine, but the perceived injustice of this situation just exploded in my brain.

I swore and cried and yelled at God the whole way home.

Fortunately it’s not a long drive.

And it’s ok to be angry, and even to be angry at God.  He’s a big boy, and He can take it.

But at the end of all of my anger and frustration and fury at our situation, God quietly and calmly reminded me that I am His child.

I’m a little less angry.

That’s not to say that I’m not going to have bouts of anger about the situation.

But God can handle this.

life goes on

We’re going through one of those situations where life just stops for a while.

We were bumping along, a sunny, beautiful day (metaphorically of course- c’mon, it’s still bloody winter in IL), and then something horribly unexpected diverted us from our normal trajectory.

And unfortunately all that comes to mind are cliched sayings.

I wish something profound or amazing came to mind.

But now: just cliches.

This too shall pass.

Everything happens for a reason.

And maybe these cliches come to mind because they are true, or because they are comforting, or because they are both.

I was talking to my dad this morning and he was explaining to me a little bit about how he is grieving.  He said, “Emily, you remember that scene in Back to the Future* where the family members start to disappear from the picture because things weren’t changed in the past?”  “Yeah?” “That’s what it felt like to find out that you lost this baby.  Like someone who was supposed to be in our family suddenly was not. They were just erased from the picture.”

One week ago, our sweet baby stopped growing, but I had no idea.  I was still dreaming of what she would look like and what a hot summer pregnancy would be like and what it would be like to be in the delivery room with Frank holding our baby for the first time.

And now, just one week later, that whole reality has been altered.  In September none of that will happen.

It was all just so quickly erased and replaced with a new reality.

And we will be ok.  Slowly but surely, everything is coming back into focus and we are realizing that for this baby, this was the plan all along.

But man, I wish I had something profound to say about it.

*My dad raised us on sci-fi and time travel.  The first chapter book he read to me was The Time Machine by HG Wells.  It’s not surprising at all that Back to the Future came up as part of his analogy. 🙂

loss

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear

On January 22nd, 2010, Frank and I were blessed more abundantly than we could even fathom.  For the first time, we had a BFP: big freaking positive.

We couldn’t believe it.  We were in between fertility treatments.  This pregnancy was truly unexpected.

We had three ultrasounds, two that showed the perfect heartbeat of a sweet baby that we lovingly referred to as “Bean.”

Last night, after hours of unexplained cramping, an ultrasound technician was unable to locate the heartbeat of our sweet baby.

We are both crushed.

And even when I’m caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won’t turn back
I know you are near

As I sat in the ER with my dear friend Meghan, I kept wondering:  “Is this really happening?”

Frank was in Atlanta and caught the first flight he could catch home, arriving in the ER at 12:30 a.m.

We held eachother for a long time.

And I wondered where God was.

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?

And even though Jesus couldn’t physically come sit with us, He was there.  He was there in the form of friends who dropped everything to sit with me for 5 1/2 hours in the Emergency Room.  A sweet friend who sat with me during the ultrasound.  He graciously helped Frank make it home last night, on the last flight out.

During church earlier yesterday morning, the worship team played the song whose lyrics are interspersed in this post.  It was a song that carried me during our fertility struggles.  And God lodged that song in my head and my heart yesterday, a lyrical security blanket that I fell asleep singing and woke up singing and can’t get out of my head.

And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
A glorious light beyond all compare

Of course I wonder why this happens.  But this morning, while I was curled around Frank, wondering why 16 year olds who have no idea what they are doing have perfectly healthy babies, it occurred to me that this was all the life that this sweet baby was supposed to have.  God knew the number of days for this sweet baby before I even knew that I was carrying her (I’ve just always thought this baby was a girl).  This sweet baby only had a few weeks to live and I see it as a heartbreaking honor to have been able to be her Mom, even for just a short 9 1/2 weeks.  Of all the people who could have been chosen to give her a home and a soft place to live on this Earth, God chose Frank and me.

I took excellent care of us during these past 9 1/2 weeks.  I took all my vitamins and medication.  I didn’t drink my favorite beverage (Diet Coke) because I didn’t want the caffeine to negatively impact her. I gave this baby the best life I could possibly give her.

She wasn’t meant to be born.  I know that in my head, but my heart is still trying to make sense of it.  Something was probably wrong with her that would have made surviving outside of the uterus impossible.  But while she was here on this Earth, she was loved.  We talked to her, we dreamed of her, and we loved her, sight unseen.  She had a whole family that loved her and cared for her, even though they had never seen her.

And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
We’ll live to know You here on the earth

I don’t know why these things happen.

But maybe it doesn’t matter why.

These things just do happen.

Frank and I were meant to be her parents, even though it was just for a short time.  And even though this breaks our hearts more than anything ever has, we know that she is with our Savior in Heaven and that we can one day hope to meet her face-to-face.

when to say when

Knowing when to say “when” is not my strong suit.  Ask my husband.

I am the queen of bad timing and timing misjudgments.

My timing issues tend to center around my inability to leave the office, but have also seeped into other areas, including when to leave a party, when to leave church, when to leave dinner, when to go to bed… etc, etc.

And when to let go in an argument.

I have to say I’m getting better at the last one.

Ask my younger sister Cait, she’ll tell you that I used to always try to get the last word in ALWAYS.  I’ve been like that since she’s known me.  Her first day home from the hospital as an infant and she was like, “darn, girlfriend, have a bottle and CHILL!”

When should I let go of the fertility biz?  When is enough truly enough?  How many shots, scans, opinions, tests and screenings can I handle?

This isn’t to say that I think we are at the end of our time in fertility treatment world.  I’m not ready to give up yet.  I know Frank isn’t ready to give up either.

But I know there is  a chance that a time might come where I might have to recognize that we fought the good fight and there is no more we can do or pray for, at least regarding having a biological child.

At the end of the day when I am beyond tired, that is usually when I decide to bake cookies, wrap Christmas gifts and wash the floor.  When I should rest, I find that I am too tired to sit still.

That is why I worry that God will give me all the cues that we cannot go any farther, and I will miss the cues because I am too tired to see them – too focused on searching for the solution, the next option and the next treatment to realize that the game is over and the crowd went home.

After reading a few blogs about women at varying stages of this process, with several of them undergoing treatment for three to five years, I just can’t even fathom what that is like to go through that emotional and physical marathon.

I am amazed by God’s tremendous grace and blessing.  God gave me a husband who is an expert at knowing when to say “when.”  Frank puts 100% into everything he does, but he knows when a situation is done.  He knows when the party is winding down, when the game is over and when it’s time to turn the lights out and go to bed.

So we’ll keep chugging along and I’m hopeful that if I miss God’s cues, Frank will see them.

infertility jokes are just not funny

So obviously I’ve been pretty sad lately (as in over the past few days).

But the Irish girl in me (about 1/4 to 1/8 of me… I’m a bit diluted) is fighting hard to find a joke in here.

I think about different conversations I have had or might have, and I try to work in a infertility  joke.

It’s not possible.

Infertility is the most unfunny topic ever.

And even when I think of something that sounds funny to me, I realize that if I say it out loud, I will put everyone else in a bad spot.  You can almost see the panic on peoples’ faces as they think: Laugh? Don’t laugh?  Is it funny?  I don’t know! I don’t know! HELP!

That’s not really fun for anyone.

I guess I’ll just have to honor the Belgian in me: chocolate and beer, please!

bah.

I don’t know what else there is to say about the BFN today.  I was hoping that some elegant words would come to mind, but most of the words that have come to mind have been less than elegant.

Mostly the words are born out of frustration and anger.  Oh, and a ton of sadness.

This month was more difficult than most.  It marked a full year of trying.  Yes, I totally understand that most people try for a year before they think something is wrong and get checked out.  We were just fortunate (or unfortunate?) enough that it was evident that we had a problem on our hands four months in to trying.

For the past eight months I have been on and off of Clomid.  I have been stuck and poked and prodded countless numbers of times.  I am pretty sure I could give myself an ultrasound if the technician were to accidentally pass out.

This is not how I imagined how this process would go.

I know that I am blessed beyond comprehension in so many ways.  I remind myself of that daily when I get sad or upset about this situation.

But this situation just sucks.