a weighty discussion

tomorrow i have a meeting with a nutritionist.

i have to face up to the fact that i have gained weight rapidly and that it is not entirely my fault.

to gain weight this quickly (which i have NEVER done before – yes i was heavy, but that was a long time coming and added gradually over years) is totally abnormal.

i think that my own embarassment about my weight gain kept me from taking any serious action.

so tomorrow i am going to get a plan from a nutritionist, specially designed for my weird hormone issues.

here is my guess: no carbs/low carbs.

i just have a feeling.

so yeah – i’m not looking forward to it, but it is necessary.

oh-dear-emily-what-were-you-thinking moments

So yesterday, as some of you know, I was in a fashion show.  Just one outfit.  I did it because it was for a good cause.

But in the end, what in the world was I thinking?

The hormone problems are causing insane weight gain.  I don’t feel good about myself.  I’m the biggest I’ve been in years.  WHY was this a good idea?

The timing of this couldn’t have been worse, either: I have been wanting to cry every day for the past 3 days for no apparent reason.  After I walked the run way and returned to my seat, my boss’s wife was talking to me about a few things and I wanted to just cry.  I got in my car after the show and wanted to drive home, curl up in bed and cry.  WHY?

Then, my dear, loving, sweet husband said two things: 1) you haven’t been like this all month (yay) and 2) maybe it’s because your period is next week? (boo!)  He’s right on both counts.

So yeah, I’m feeling a little bit better today.  Thank goodness!

that's what she said…

I was reading the blog of one of my dearest friends, Vicky, and I realized that what she said was right on.  Basically, she didn’t believe that God would give her a safe pregnancy or that she would have a friend that she could be pregnant with.  She didn’t believe that something that GOOD could happen to her.

I know that God gives me good things all the time.  Heck, the things from God are usually GREAT!  This job that I have now, I firmly believe came from God.  My husband – totally a gift from God (but don’t let that go to your head Frank! 😉 ).  Family and friends that I love – awesome.  Lots of good, amazing things.

But in this one area, after years of watching my friends having children, I’ve started to think that God just wouldn’t let me have that.  This thought isn’t based in experiences I’ve had in other areas of my life – my life is abundant with God’s blessings, even in the disappointments I’ve had.  And maybe because I’ve wanted children for so long and had to wait, and then when we started trying, it has been a trail of problems, I’ve started to think that God can’t touch this area of our lives.  I’ve started to think that while God can do great things, He just can’t do them in this area.

And that’s just not true.  He can do something about this.

the race

“Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” ~Hebrews 12:1

Since this weekend, I’ve really been struggling with my emotions.  Wrestling with them.

I’ve fallen into the horrible trap of wondering why, why, WHY this is the path that God is taking us down.  I’ve been angry, sad and frustrated.  I’m even guilty of comparing myself to others. And to what end?  I’m not any better for it.

This is a difficult time for both of us, but we still have hope.

My husband is probably the most wonderful man I know.  It’s not easy for him to be emotional, but he is really stretching himself emotionally and sitting with me and talking to me (and not telling me how to fix it, which is sort of a guy thing to do).  Marriages fail all the time under the weight of infertility.  But instead of Frank getting angry with me for being sad, he is learning to be very patient.  He encourages me to pray and approach God.

When I think about how difficult this is, it’s hard for me to not remember all of the huge blessings God has given us.  We both have jobs, we are both relatively healthy, we have a home that we enjoy, we have family and friends close by – we have SO much.

We have a different race to run than other couples.  Harder, easier – it doesn’t matter.  It’s our race, specifically designed for us.  I can choose to run it with happily, which only makes the race more joyful and worth watching – or I can choose to run it with great sadness, which might be easier in the short term, but is no way to go through life.

So I’m going to make the conscious decision to choose to be happy, to embrace joy and to seek God.  And sometimes I might stumble and I might fall, but I will get up and keep going.

hard

There are a lot of difficult things that come with struggling with fertility.  Every month is a new adventure in fertility land – new tests, new ultra sounds, new hope.  And so far, for us, every month ends on a low note.  It’s difficult and sometimes heart breaking.

Sometimes the things that I think are going to be hard… aren’t.

In the past 24 hours, I did three things: I went to a wedding, had breakfast with some friends and their baby and received an invitation to a baby shower.

The most emotionally difficult thing for me was not what you would think.  I really enjoyed having breakfast with friends.  Their son is really adorable and quite well behaved!  And the baby shower invitation I recieved was also sweet.  The shower is for a friend who I love dearly.

Interestingly, the most difficult thing for me was the wedding.  Which seems curious because I am married and I am not missing out on nuptials.  Frank and I had a beautiful wedding.  I think about that day quite frequently, actually.

The wedding was difficult because, as I watched my friend’s dad give her away, incredible sadness washed over me.  What if Frank never gets to walk a daughter down the aisle?  What if I never get to dance with my son dance at his wedding?  What if we never see children following in our footsteps, adding chapters to this story that started generations and generations ago?

And that’s what made the wedding hard.

sufficiency

This round of IUI did not work.

Obviously we are disappointed.  We hoped that it would work, but the odds were against us.

I am sad about it, of course.

But I am not hopeless about this situation.

I know that there is tremendous hope for us.  And it’s not all about having children.  I see how Frank and I are weathering this storm together and how our marriage is staying strong, and I am hopeful.  Fertility problems can destroy marriages, but God has been so kind in matching us up because it hasn’t destroyed us.  We are closer than we have ever been, walking in lock step together.  Sure, we have moments, but I am amazed by my  husband’s honesty, strength and kindness.  For someone who has only 3 emotions (which is 2 more than what he had when we got married), he really works hard to try to understand and to be compassionate.

I wonder a lot how God is going to use this time.  I wonder if it is simply experiencing this season of life that is pivotal for us, or if it is an outcome yet to be determined that will be significant.  Or maybe both?  I realize that God is saying a lot to us, but He is very quiet about it.  There are subtle things He points out in what He allows and doesn’t allow us to experience.  Reading Slightly Cosmo’s blog, I realized that God says a lot when I am being quiet.  And it’s not just about silence externally, but silence internally.  When my desires and my thoughts bubble over, I am less able to hear what God is saying to me.

I realize that my prayers have not been, “God what do you want for us?” but rather, “God what do you want for us? Wait, but listen, here is what I want and I just want you to say yes to me when I am done praying about this because that is the right answer.”

Dear Mrs. W, a friend from years ago, called me back in 2007, I believe.  I haven’t talked to her since that phone call, but I think often about what she said that night.  She said, in a sweet Texan accent, “Emily, God always gives us His best.”

I think about that statement a lot.  Especially because she was speaking in context of answered and unanswered prayers.  Prayers she really, really wanted answered her way, but prayers that God answered His way instead.  Prayers that were ultimately answered better than she could ever have expected.

And I see that same pattern when I look at my life.  I see that often it was better that I didn’t get what I wanted.  I see that I grow more when faced with trials.  I see that God gently uses these times to teach me and change me.

It’s difficult to stay focused during this time.  It’s difficult to remember.  It’s a good thing it’s written down:

Romans 5: 1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

God’s grace is sufficient.

hanging together

There are sooo many things going great in my life right now.

My marriage.  All this fertility biz could destroy our marriage, but instead it is helping to bring us together.  I feel like our marriage is stronger and better than ever.  I love my husband and I love our time together.

My job.  I love it.  I enjoy going to work.  I learn, I grow, I get to share my favorite things with people and help them grow and make a difference.

My friends & family.  I am enjoying my time with them.  I feel surrounded by them.  I love it.  I love being around for events.  I love seeing them all more frequently.  (but of course I miss my peeps in Milwaukee!)

And in so many ways, our life is so sweet.

But often I feel like I am standing in the shadow of the fertility issues.  Is this going to be ok?  Will this aching in my heart go away if this doesn’t work out?  And sometimes I can’t even dare to dream that this might work out.

It just seems so unlikely.

Yet I still pray for it.

If I am honest, I admit that it is getting harder and harder to imagine the end result: holding a baby in our arms in a hospital room.

It is just so unpopular to say, “I can’t see this working out.”

No one wants to hear that.  Most people want to say, “Think positively.”

I’ve thought positively, though.  I’ve prayed.  I’m not sure that I’ve done the full-on begging and pleading, but I sure have gotten close to it.

The fact of the matter is that we’re doing everything we can.  There is nothing else that we can do.  I’m taking vitamins every day. I’m taking my meds every day.

If this is going to happen, it is in God’s hands.

Last weekend’s message at Willow was centered around Jesus saying, “love your enemies.”

That really struck a chord with me because over the past year I have been thinking a lot about what love truly is.  I’ve determined that it is an action, a choice, and ultimately an interest in the greater good for the person that I love.  The interest in the greater good leads to self sacrifice.

How could I love an enemy? An enemy is someone who wants to defeat me. To love them would require action, a choice and seeking to do the best thing for that person.  Who does that for an enemy?

That’s why Pastor Hybel’s was so dead on when He said that the kind of love it takes when it comes to loving an enemy comes from God.  Only God could teach us that kind of love.  I know I couldn’t have thought of that myself.  Is it anyone’s natural instinct to love their enemies?

And then Jesus said, “pray for those who persecute you.”

Again, that kind of statement is transforms how I think – it changes the conversation.  Who prays for their persecutors?  You seek to destroy me and I pray that God shows mercy on you?

I realized, by the end of the message, that I am angry about this infertility thing.  I would love to love my enemy – but who is it?  Who do I love in this situation?  The nurse that forgot me in the waiting room after IUI?  She’s not an enemy.  She just forgot.

I would love to pray for my persecutor in this situation – but there is no one persecuting me.  No one is vindictively saying, “Emily, you can’t have a baby because I want you to be miserable.”

The message on Sunday was difficult for me.  How do I resolve this situation with the basic biology of my body?  WHO can I be angry at?

And it sort of hit me, as I’ve been thinking about it: since there wasn’t someone to be angry at, I had been punishing my body throughout this experience.  I’d been eating horribly, not exercising regularly and drinking a lot of Diet Coke.  I have no one to be angry with, so I’ve been angry at myself.

If love includes making the tough decisions for the betterment of the person you love, then I hadn’t been loving myself very much.

So tomorrow I am going to keep on this path to getting healthier.  I may not be perfect at it, but I owe myself that much.

After all, how am I supposed to love my neighbor as myself when I can’t even love me the right way?

There are so many uncertainties in life – and that is cool.  But there are a few things that I am sure of.

I am sure that I will look back at my life and see how God’s hand worked through all of these difficult times and good times.

I am certain that when I see all the pieces of the tapestry of my life hanging together, I will be even more in awe of my Creator.

the tick tock of the clock is painful

all sane and logical…
I want to tear it off the wall!

This morning we went in for the IUI.  Well, Frank went in first.  Then I showed up about an hour later.

Before we began the procedure, the doctor let us know that our odds, because of some of my weird test results, are about half of what a normal couple’s odds are with IUI.  And those odds are pretty slim to begin with anyway.

Hey, it’s a lot better than what we would have had on our own.  I won’t turn my nose up at any chance.  I will embrace it and hope that I am on the good side of those odds.

The procedure was quick and pretty painless.  Just a little bit of cramping and then we sat and waited and prayed. 

And then Frank tried to take his forehead’s blood pressure and check my heart rate with the stethoscope.

The only thing that stopped him from following through was that I reminded him that the stethoscope had been in other people’s ears.

Moving on.

We won’t know for quite some time whether or not this worked.  I take great comfort in knowing a few very important things:

  1. God is sovereign over all things.  This means my life is under His authority.  He has control of this situation – all of this is in His hands.
  2. God has a plan.  It may not be my plan, but it is a plan.  And that plan is to give us hope and a future.  It may not be the way I want it, but it will be the right way.
  3. My husband is awesome.  He is a tremendous partner and friend.  But – I swear to you Frank – if you don’t put away the exam light that is attached to the exam table, I will make you sit outside in the lobby.  Ok?

So that’s it.  Praise God that we’ve made it this far!  Praise Him that we are not out of options! 

And now we wait and hope and pray.

Tick. Tock.  Tick.  Tock.

big day

Tomorrow is the big day!  We could use lots of prayers!!  (and by big day, I mean IUI DAY!)

That’s all I have for you.  I’m hopeful.  I’m prayerful.  And if it doesn’t work, there’s always next month.

whoa

Ok, welcome to crazy town.  Population FK & EK.

Prayers were answered – we have a mature follicle! 

However, the cluster that has ensued in order to get this little follicle ruptured and, you know, “taken care of” has been a little nerve wrecking.

Our original plan was for me to take the shot that causes the ovary to eject the egg today at 4 p.m. and then go in for the IUI tomorrow at noon.

That was until FK’s company extended his stay in FL.  At the moment, he is trying to get back, but since we aren’t 100% certain of his travel situation, we have had to juggle things a little bit…

So now, we are hoping that I don’t ovulate (which I shouldn’t ovulate on my own) and tomorrow I have a follow up ultrasound.  Then I will take the shot later that day and go in for the IUI Wednesday.

Thank you for being prayer warriors on our behalf.  It is making all the difference in the world.

And if you could keep praying, that would be excellent. 

PS.  Not having a good hair day today.  But hey, you win some and you lose some.