Moving Forward

Life is already moving forward, ready or not. I’m not ready. I don’t even want to get back into my normal daily routine because all I can think about is how I felt fine just one short week ago, and one week later, I feel this huge loss in my heart.

Part of me feels like I’m betraying the baby I just loved and lost to move forward and make plans for the future. I would like to take the time to just simply grieve, but I just have no choice but to look ahead. This is different than a death because this is also an illness. I have to get into the mindset of treating this like the illness that it is, just like I would do with any other medical condition.

And so I’m moving forward, regardless of if I like it or not.

My doctor’s office finally called this morning with my blood work results from Friday and I shared the news that I lost the pregnancy on Sunday. They want me to do follow up hcg blood work on the 20th just to make sure it returns to 0. My hcg on Friday was 15 so I’m sure my doctor figured I was going to miscarry. It was early when they called this morning so I wasn’t prepared to take notes about my blood work. My blood levels (checking my platelets) were in normal range. My thyroid was a normal range and they said a number that I can’t remember now for my progesterone but didn’t say whether it was normal or not. I didn’t question anything because I was still drowsy and unprepared for the phone call and I figured I’ll be discussing all of this and probably getting several more blood testing done with the specialist.

The nurse that I spoke with said my doctor really recommended I get a referral to the infertility specialist at the hospital’s infertility clinic (same center – different part of the building as my obgyn office) and I said that I would very much appreciate my doctor do so.

She called back about 10 minutes afterwards and said my doctor sent over the referral and gave me the direct line to the secretary for the infertility clinic. I called and left a message with all of my information and should receive a call back by the end of the business day to schedule our first appointment. My husband said to schedule it for any day and he would use a vacation day to get off work. What’s amazing about that is a year ago, he would not have been able to get a day off of work for a doctor’s appointment. We could try, but they were always short on officers and it was difficult to get time off without advance warning. When he was on patrol, our entire lives had to revolve around his work schedule. Now that he’s a detective, he has a lot more freedom and it’s not a big deal to get a day off. That is such a blessing to me! I’m thanking God right now that He opened the doors for Jonathan to have this position.

When the voicemail said this is so and so with the “blank” infertility clinic, I started to cry and had to pull myself together. It just really hit home that I’m actually taking a step in this direction and suddenly became even more real. Has anyone else cried over your first phone call or visit to the reproductive endocrinologist? Seriously, share if you have. It will make me feel less crazy.

And now we wait to find out when my first appointment will be. I don’t really have any expectations. I’ll be surprised if they are able to get me in soon. I’m just imagining that I might have to wait a few months. But, who knows? I wish they would hurry up and call. I feel like all I have done the last week is sit around waiting for doctors to call me back. I guess I should probably start getting used to this feeling, huh?

I called my mom afterwards to tell her that I was pregnant last week and now I’m not and that I’m finally seeing a reproductive endocrinologist. My mom was very, very happy to hear that I finally got a referral to meet with a specialist. She already knew that I was talking about going this summer for a different reason than recurrent miscarriage, but she was happy to hear that I have now actually taken the first step. My mom knows me well and knows I can spend a long time talking about something before I actually go through with doing it.

I’ll discuss it more in a future post on why I was already planning to see the specialist before this most recent miscarriage happened, but it doesn’t really relate to what I’m talking about right now so I’m going to move on.

My mom has been going through a hard time the last few years as my grandmother’s (her mother) health is failing and she has been in and out of the hospital. My mom was venting to me and talking about how she hopes she never has to see the inside of a hospital again unless it’s going to see me with my baby in my arms. She said, everyday when she was in the hospital, she would see new families coming out with baby carriers and think about how badly she wants to be able to walk into a hospital room and see me holding her grandchild for the first time. Of course we were both crying as she shared this and I told her I hope for that too. Although it made me sad that my mom is hurting too, it also was nice to hear her open up about how this is hard on her as well as me.

My family has always just worried about me and my health and no one has really shared that they are hurting too over the loss of our children and the loss of dreams for what should be. It felt nice to hear her say that today and know that this doesn’t just affect me and Jonathan – this is hurting our entire family and we are all in this together.

As far as my plans with the reproductive endocrinologist go, I’m not really making any plans. I’m realizing more and more how much I suffer with anxiety and I’m learning that I need to tackle this journey one simple step at a time. It might seem silly, but just calling and making an appointment was a huge step for me. I already feel a sense of relief and accomplishment as ridiculous as that might sound.

Ridiculous or not, I’m embracing this part of my life. I’m not going to pray that God takes away this struggle with anxiety, I’m going to pray that He helps me to learn how to embrace this unique part of who I am and learn to live victoriously with it. I think so often, we hurt ourselves when we look at a struggle and feel like it’s a burden that hinders us from having a good life. A blind person can choose to see their blindness as a negative part of their lives, but that would only prevent them from finding joy. Same with someone who is deaf or missing a limb or even limbs. But isn’t it amazing, that in these instances, more times than not I’m sure, you see people rising above what the world says is a “handicap” and overcoming and sharing amazing gifts and talents with the world.

I saw this inspiring video a few months ago and couldn’t help but to think of my own journey. This video shows Rebekah Gregory crossing the Boston marathon finish line. Watch the video here.

This is the scripture that she shared on her Facebook page on the day she crossed the finish line:

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
2 Timothy 4:7

I cried when I watched that video because I know that God has given me my own set of gifts and talents and unique circumstances and challenges that are going to make my own story one of beautiful victory. And I believe with everything in me, that just like with so many others in the world who have suffered as a result of this fallen world we live in, I will be a light in a dark world to shine Christ’s love and push back the darkness. The loss of my children won’t stop me from fighting for love – it only inspires me to fight even harder and love harder.

This song just recently came out on Christian radio and I am loving it in every way. I think this is my new theme song for my infertility/loss journey:

Keep Fighting the Good Fight by Unspoken – YouTube

While my heart is hurting and there is great adversity to overcome, I choose to believe that I will overcome every single struggle I face.

With love and hope,

Amber

Sad Update

I’ll have more to write about in the coming days as I start working through my grief and as I try to figure out what to do next, but I thought I would update my support system and prayer warriors here.

I’m sorry to share that this baby has passed from this world and my miscarriage started late this morning. I knew that it was coming, but wasn’t willing to give up all hope until it was confirmed. Last night I took another pregnancy test and the second line was even more faint and hard to see – a sign of pregnancy hormones dropping.

Right before I started bleeding, I was meditating and singing part of a song we sometimes sing in my church: “Oh how he loves you. Oh how he loves me. Oh how he loves you and me.” When I saw the bleeding, I cried at the sight, but continued to think about the words of the song. As much as the enemy might try to confuse me and make me feel unloved right now – I will choose to believe this beautiful promise in scripture:

“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?  Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”)  No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.  No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I really love the way this translation words this passage of scripture. The apostle Paul who wrote these beautiful words of God was a man of many trials and intense persecution. No doubt, the words God gave him to write gave him hope through many sorrowful and painful nights. Thousands of years later, they are still bringing hope to many and they give me hope today.

I don’t understand what I’m going through right now and even if I did, I’m not sure it would take away from the pain of having to say goodbye to this little one we love so much.

Last night I wrestled with thoughts of feeling unworthy and hopeless. I wondered to myself, “Why should I even bother moving forward with life when this just keeps happening?”

But as soon as I even started to think like that, I stopped myself.

I am not going to give up.

I will keep fighting and I will fight harder.

I will not let my child’s life be wasted. God gave us this blessing for a reason. I don’t have to understand what that reason is, but with faith and hope in God’s plan, I will push forward believing that something good is coming from this pain.

I will choose to humble myself and admit my weaknesses. It’s not okay what I’m going through right now. This is not a little thing that will pass or that I can “buck up and get over.” This is a deep burden that I need to share – with a support system in my life, here, in my real life with friends and family, and with a professional counselor who can help me move forward in victory and not fear.

I will choose to take my life one day at a time. I keep thinking too far into the future and worrying too much about “what to do next”. But today has enough burdens as it is and it’s more peaceful if I focus on doing what I can do today.

Tomorrow my doctor’s office will call with the blood results from Friday and I’ll share the update with them about my bleeding. I will also receive the results of my platelet levels so do please be in prayer that my platelet levels are in a healthy range. I will also be asking for a referral tomorrow to see a reproductive endocrinologist, but I’m not going to discuss that right now as it makes me anxious if I think too much about it. I told Jonathan that we are just going to take things one step at a time and deal with everything when it comes to that, and focus on what we can deal with for right now.

Please pray for my health and safety as I go about the physical parts of the miscarriage. I’m thankful that Jonathan has today and tomorrow off of work so that I’m not alone while I’m going through this.

Thank you all for your love and support,

Amber

 

Still Waiting

I’m still waiting to see if this pregnancy is going to end or maybe by some hope continue. I’m still spotting and cramping but not bleeding. My doctor finally called back yesterday afternoon and I had blood work done, but it was right before the lab closed so I won’t be able to get the results until Monday. I have the worst veins in the world and after trying my arms she finally had to take blood from the big, ugly vein on my hand. Ouch!

image

I didn’t take any pregnancy tests this morning because I’m too afraid they will be more faint or show negative now and then I’ll know for sure this is over. Looking at the positive tests from yesterday sitting on my bathroom counter is like some kind of slap in the face. Seeing a positive test is such a beautiful site after seeing negative tests for so long, but knowing that it probably is going to end aches like nothing else.

image

I keep holding my stomach and asking the baby to stay with me. It has only been a brief moment in time with this precious gift, but I love them with every fiber of my being and I’m going to miss them so much if they go.

Please pray that by some miracle this baby will live and we won’t suffer the pain of another loss. I appreciate all of your love and support. Jonathan and I have no one in our lives to talk to about this right now. We were forced to tell his mother today, though I didn’t want to. She’s in town from teaching overseas before going back and I wanted her to know why we aren’t attending a family member’s birthday tonight. I just hate having to share this with anyone unless I am choosing to do so because I feel comfortable enough with that person. I just want it to be on my own timetable and not something I’m forced into sharing because of circumstances. The same thing goes with a local mission trip I’m supposed to be helping with in a few weeks. I think I’m going to need to find a replacement but I’m angry that I’ll have to share my miscarriage if I’m not ready to do so. This all just makes me feel so hurt and confused.

Even writing about this on here makes me feel vulnerable. This is such a supportive community but I can’t help but to wonder what people are thinking of me. I hate feeling like a victim. I don’t want to be this sad girl over and over again going through loss. Perhaps that’s my pride issue showing and I need to humble myself and realize that I’m not a victim and by sharing this I’m simply telling my story because life is hard for all of us at times and the more open we are, the more healing can occur. Of course, this is much easier on my blog. This is a much safer place because you get it and understand the trials, because you live through them as well. But to open up to those in my real life? It’s going to take an amazing amount of courage that I’m not sure I’m ready to fight for at the moment. It’s exhausting having to choose grace or gently educate people about such a deeply personal and painful battle.

I don’t even need to think about that now. I worry about too many things. I just need to focus on today and try to cherish what could be my last moments with this baby.

Thank you to everyone who has left comments and said prayers for us. At some point in time I will respond to you all personally, but just know I’m grateful for you all.

Amber

Treasure in Jars of Clay

Things are not going well with my 6th pregnancy.

My doctor’s office finally called me back this morning. It only took 3 days of waiting! And of course, it wasn’t even my doctor’s secretary who I requested to speak with about the blood work – it was a nurse. So now the nurse is putting in my request for blood work to the doctor and the doctor’s secretary will call me back. That’s what I wanted in the first place, but whatever.

But I doubt it even matters at this point. I started having some pretty nerve-wrecking cramps last night and this morning, spotting. Of course, you could say that’s all a normal part of pregnancy, but this is my 6th pregnancy so I know what feels right and what feels wrong. I wasn’t going to keep testing, but now that I’m going to have to deal with blood work, I’d rather find out on my own if this is ending than over the phone from a nurse.

I took my off brand first response and it seemed lighter than the other day, but I wasn’t really sure because it’s a blue color and not the standard pink color I usually test with. So I went to buy some first response tests this morning and this is the second line at 4 weeks and 2 days pregnant:

wpid-wp-1436543898907.jpeg

That is way too faint for this point in pregnancy. And don’t even get me started on how faint the second line is on the dollar tree test now. So that’s just great.

All signs point to an early miscarriage.

I have been sobbing all morning long. I don’t understand any of this. I don’t know what to do either.

Not only that, but I noticed a spot right below my jaw a few days ago that was hurting and I googled it and read that it could be a swollen lymph node. I get swollen lymph nodes behind my ears every time I get sick with a cold or flu or sinus infection. So I checked behind my ears and sure enough, I felt the raised and painful bump behind my ears.

I’m not sick at all! There should be no reason why they are swollen! But I honestly think my body treats pregnancy like an illness.

BAH! I’m just so tired of all of this. All I could think about the last 3 days was how hard it is to experience pregnancy for a 6th time and I kept thinking, “I really hope this is it. I can’t go through all of this anxiety and torture for nothing.” And now I’m irritated that I have to deal with my stupid doctor’s office. I didn’t want to call them on Wednesday but my husband asked me to go ahead with calling. I just wanted to make it to 5 weeks first. Every time I talk to them on the phone, my hands shake from the anxiety, my heart pounds out of my chest, tears come to my eyes and I have to keep myself from crying . Don’t even get me started on actually going to get my blood work done. Jonathan said this will still be good to get my blood tests done even if I lose the baby to check on my platelet levels.

And if anything good is to come out of this situation, maybe it’s that I’m learning how much anxiety I have that needs to be looked into. I mean, I hate to use this definition, but it honestly feels like I have a little bit of PTSD regarding pregnancy. I realize that probably sounds extreme, but I can’t think of any other way to describe the way I feel regarding pregnancy, regarding going to the doctor, or even calling the doctor.

I wanted a break from loss and infertility so badly and I really felt like I was moving on with my life. And then this happened and it’s like suddenly, I’m forced back into this world.

It just feels so devastating and out of my control. I don’t even know what steps to take next after this ordeal is over with.

Thank you all for your well wishes and prayers on my announcement post the other day. I really, really appreciate the support and love. I’m sorry that I don’t have better news to share and I so wish that I could be an encouragement to someone in the form of a miracle. I hate that anyone reading my story might come here after having one miscarriage and might become fearful that my story will be their story of having loss after loss.

As devastated as I am and as heartbroken as I am, there is one thing that I will always continue to believe and reflect on: God is good. His goodness is not defined by my circumstances. I don’t have to understand why this is happening, and I don’t. I can think of several reasons for why he’s allowed this pain to come into my life, but God’s reasoning is not black and white. I rest on the promises that he is working all things out for my good and for the good of others.

I rest in the promises that Jesus spoke of when he said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

I rest in knowing that my brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world are right now suffering intense persecution and even death for their faith in Jesus. They are mistreated, they are beaten, they are put in prison, they are tortured, they are killed. But the testimonies that you hear from those Christians who have lived through persecution gives you hope: hope that even in the worst trials in life, there is peace with God. There is blessing to stand firm in your faith and continue to follow Christ even when the entire world stands against you. And there is joy in knowing Jesus is coming again and will “wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

I rest in believing when Jesus said, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”

I rest in knowing that I don’t cry alone: “Jesus wept.”

And I still believe, even after everything, that He is still a God of miracles. Perhaps, maybe not always in the way we imagine, but I still believe with every ounce of strength that I have – even if that strength is pretty small right now.

I had a thought while writing that last sentence reflecting on the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Mary and Martha believed and fully expected Jesus to heal their brother. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died.”

Martha expected the miracle of Jesus healing her brother from sickness so that he would not die. He did it for others, after all. Going from place to place healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, and so on. Like me, I think about how God has healed so many from infertility and miscarriage, even recurrent miscarriage. Why not me too, Lord?

What Jesus wanted to do next was weird. I can only imagine. I’m sure I would probably look at him like a crazy person!

“Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”  Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

Perhaps, we believe and trust that God is going to give us a miracle, but maybe that miracle that God really wants to give is not one that can fit inside the tiny box of expectations we limit Him to. Perhaps, that miracle is much, much greater:

“So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me. When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.”

Like Martha, I might wonder where was Jesus in this pregnancy. Why is he allowing this loss to happen? But like Martha, I can also choose to believe and declare to Him, “Even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.”

God will be glorified through this and I will stand amazed. Just wait for it – the miracle is coming! Call me crazy all you want.

For now, He comforts me in this current pain. Because like a dear blogger friend shared before, the glory of the miracle coming does not take away from the pain of right now. Jesus meets with us in our pain. I know that God is using this for good and I know that someday, all of this pain is going to be wiped away when I’m finally home in Heaven with my sweet little babies that I can’t wait to hold. But still, I’m here in the valley. Knowing all of that does not change the pain of today. Today my heart feels crushed. Today, our fallen world feels a little bit darker.

I’m going to go cry in my Father’s arms now and rest in the peace that only He can give me.

Much love and hope to all of you and remember to never, ever give up! Keep hoping, keep fighting, keep praying, keep believing, and keep pushing back the dark,

Amber

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

 

 

Unexpected Surprise

Today’s post is going to be hard to write because today’s post fills me with excitement and hope, but it also fills me with worry that I’m going to hurt someone reading this.

Today’s post is a pregnancy announcement. Normally, I might want to lead up to a more exciting announcement, but I have lived in this infertility community for too long and I feel it would be heartless to do so. If you are hurting right now and reading the rest of this is going to cause you pain, please, please sign off. You can always check back in with me later when you are feeling better. But if you need to feel peace right now, I completely understand anyone that needs to walk away and stop following my blog to protect your heart. Go do something you love that brings you joy: walk with your dogs, go see a movie with a friend, watch a funny show, whatever. Just don’t feel the need to stick around and read about my happiness if it’s going to make you miserable. The last thing in the world I want is to cause pain to anyone else and it hurts to think that this post is going to be difficult for someone out there who is already hurting. I’m sending you hugs and love if that’s you!

Now to begin with that random announcement that came out of nowhere. I guess not nowhere – this is an infertility blog after all! But, still, it was unexpected to me and maybe even to some of you.

So, I’m pregnant! 4 weeks pregnant to be exact. I don’t even really know where to begin. I guess we’ll start with some updates to my life and how this last month has been going. I meant to blog since my last post, but was occupied with other activities and I really wasn’t quite sure what to blog about to be honest. My best friend was married a month ago and the wedding was beautiful and I was so thankful to be a part of it, but I’m really glad it’s over now. Being a matron-of-honor is exhausting!

The following week I taught VBS at my church and it went well. My grandmother ended up in the hospital after suffering from a minor heart attack so I had to drive out of town to visit her the Sunday before VBS started and I missed the first day of VBS. Thankfully my grandmother is doing much better now and is home from the hospital.

After VBS was over, my husband and I got started back up on our Dave Ramsey budget plan. We spent a small fortune in the two weddings I was in this year and it’s time to get back into our gazelle intense mode and get mad at debt. In the last month we managed to get our emergency savings of $1,000 fully re-funded only to be needed when our car broke down last week. I was just really thankful that we got back on the budget plan when we did or I’m not sure what we would have done. God provides! Now we will work hard again to get that emergency fund re-built and hope and pray that it will stay put for a bit longer this time so we can move on to baby step 2 (paying off debt). Well there is that one little detail of a baby on the way that might slow down baby step #2, but I’m feeling confident we will get that all figured out with time.

So the last few weeks have been pretty boring. My house was completely neglected over the last 6 months so I have spent all of my free time cleaning and organizing. I organized my junk drawer for the first time in like 2 years and it looks amazing! The dollar tree is amazing for organizing containers by the way – check it out. And cooking homemade meals which is very helpful to our budget! So yeah, life is pretty boring when you are living on a budget, but I’m enjoying all of my free time after a very busy season of life.

So let’s get to the fun part of this post: my pregnancy! EEEK! I can’t believe I’m even writing that. Seriously, how exciting!

Jonathan and I weren’t trying to get pregnant this month, but I guess we ended up together at just the right time. I think it was a few days after we were together that I started having some pretty intense cramping that made me wonder for half a second if something exciting was starting to happen. But I brushed it off and moved on to more interesting things, like organizing junk drawers haha. This blog makes me feel even more boring. Oh well.

Last week I was rinsing out dishes in the sink and smelled something funny and started gagging and nearly threw up. It made me wonder if I was pregnant, but I doubted it. But every day after that, I continued to have feelings of queasiness and on the 4th of July, I actually vomited. I still didn’t really think much of it. I was just worried I ate something that was bad.

But on Tuesday, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I should take a pregnancy test. Not wanting to waste money on an expensive test just to see a negative result, I went to the dollar tree. After about a minute or two, I didn’t really see anything on the test. I kind of thought I saw a little something, but convinced myself it was my infertility brain playing tricks on me saying to myself, “You could see a line on anything!” I started to walk away and about a minute later, grabbed the test out of the trash just for one more look. And sure enough, there was definitely a second line now. But I didn’t believe it. I had literally no emotion over that second line.

I convinced myself that it must have been an evaporation line or I just screwed up the test by throwing it in the trash and taking it back out.

Yesterday morning I took another dollar tree test and expected to see a negative result. Within a minute or less, the second line was showing. Cue a little bit of mild excitement! But not much. It’s still just a dollar tree test and I wasn’t about to let such a cheap test get my hopes up.

I went to the grocery store to purchase a digital and a first response line test. I wasn’t going to waste a digital unless I saw a second line on the first response. My store was all out of first response tests so I got the off brand version of it. Thankfully, they did have the clear blue digital.

The off brand first response showed a clear second line so I worked up the courage to take a digital test. I knew I was pregnant, but my fear was that it would just be a chemical pregnancy. And with 2 of my chemical pregnancies in the past, the digital test never showed pregnant. I got out my video camera for this part, just in case.

But I was still convinced it wouldn’t show up pregnant, because, well, I have such a bad history with digital pregnancy tests and the “not pregnant” response stabs you in the heart like nothing else.

I was in complete shock when the test showed: Pregnant.

Finally! Finally!

The last time a test said that was in January 2012 when my pregnancy made it all the way to 10 weeks. It definitely does give me a little bit more confidence that at least this pregnancy is going better than my last 2 that ended right at four weeks.

I cried when it came up showing pregnant and I previously had no response to the other positive tests. But I think, I just really needed to see the digital positive test to believe it’s real. I’m glad I had the camera out so I could capture a bit of my reaction. It’s a really short video because I was speechless and crying and wanted to quickly text my husband the good news.

I sent him this picture:

wpid-wp-1436412595309.jpeg

He was really excited and just as shocked to see that as I was. He told his boss that something came up at home and took the rest of the day off.

We called my doctor’s office to request blood work. I have no desire to test my hcg levels as I know it’s just going to create anxiety in me, but unfortunately I don’t really have a choice. On top of the pregnancy blood testing, I also have to get my blood counts check since I have a history of low platelets during pregnancy. I’m still waiting for a call back from my doctor’s office but they should respond today or tomorrow.

Just calling the doctor’s office today gave me huge anxiety. I almost started crying on the phone because of how worked up I got. But the receptionist on the phone was very helpful and sweet to me and even teased me saying, “You’re not excited are you? I couldn’t tell.” And told me congratulations and best wishes for my pregnancy so that felt good to hear.

When the doctor calls me back I’m also hoping to ask if they can test my progesterone levels and my thyroid. Maybe my doctor can put me on progesterone as a precaution? Any advice would be appreciated. Bah, this is why people see a specialist so they don’t have to be filled with anxiety on how to handle this kind of stuff. Oh vey! And the other issue is that it has been so long since I did any kind of pregnancy/miscarriage related research that I don’t remember everything from before. Yesterday for instance, I ate tuna and then wondered after the fact if that’s allowed. Are you even kidding me? I used to have the list of foods you shouldn’t eat memorized! This all just feels so unreal to me. I really thought we were not going to get pregnant again (or ever) for a long, long time.

I’ll find out for sure after blood work and talking with my doctor to hear her recommendations, but after talking with my husband today, I have decided I’m most comfortable waiting until we reach close to the end of the first trimester for an ultrasound. During my 3rd pregnancy, with baby Hope, we had 3 ultrasounds over the course of my 10 week pregnancy. The first at 5 weeks 5 days, the second at 7 weeks 5 days, and the third around 9, almost 10 weeks. It caused me great anxiety to have a constant series of two week wait periods in between ultrasounds and I was so focused on the ultrasound and what we saw that I couldn’t breath easy during the wait. Following that loss during miscarriage testing, I spoke with my doctor about future pregnancies and shared with her my desire to not have so many ultrasounds in the future. She thought that was a good idea so I’m assuming she will still be okay with me requesting a more specific plan of treatment that I’m most comfortable with. But that was back in 2012! I can’t even believe how long ago all of that was.

I’m hoping that I can get her to wait until we reach 10 weeks for an ultrasound. The doctor’s office has a policy of doing 8 week ultrasounds, but I really feel like that will be a waste of my time. Even if everything is perfect during the 8 week ultrasound, I’m still going to want to come back at 10 weeks, because I didn’t lose my babies until 10 weeks previously. And I know I’m going to have huge anxiety during my 10th week of pregnancy and that ultrasound will be a life saver. After that point, I’m not really sure when I would want another ultrasound. I know for sure I will not want to wait until an anatomy scan or gender reveal because I’ll probably also want to know that baby is still around at the start of my second trimester. So maybe she’ll be willing to do an ultrasound at 10 weeks and then an ultrasound at 13/14 weeks? I sure hope so. But I’ll just try to wait patiently.

For now, I have a long road ahead of me and a nice long wait before I need to get worked up over those details. Right now, I just feel so hopeful but yet at the same time I am terrified that this is all going to be taken away from me and Jonathan in the blink of an eye. I just really, really want to get beyond 4 and 5 weeks and then I think I’ll be able to breath a little bit easier knowing we passed the point of having a chemical pregnancy.

My husband is being really sweet and loving, but he is driving me a little bit crazy. Every time I start to express a little bit of concern, he says, “No! Don’t worry – the baby is going to live. Stop saying anything bad.” I think he’s just so nervous and he’s worried that if I have anxiety and stress it might make things worse. So he’s trying to get me to calm down, but telling me to relax doesn’t really help. What does help is when he talks about the baby and speaks about the future with confidence. It gives me so much hope to know that he is believing for me that this baby is going to stay put.

At the same time, however, every time I let myself dream about the future and get excited for planning for the days ahead, I start to feel like a fraud. Like I shouldn’t really be planning anything because in what world do my pregnancies end well. That makes me really sad and I really think from now on when I start thinking that way, I do need to stop and pray for God to replace those negative feelings with peace. These two verses I think are going to help get me through the first trimester and probably the entire pregnancy if we are being honest. I can’t imagine ever feeling 100% confident.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

Something that gives me great hope is the scripture I turned to a month ago on the 4 year anniversary of finding out we were pregnant with our first baby and what would have been our second baby, Matthew’s 3rd birthday. I had a negative pregnancy test last month on that day, but I wrote about the hope that God gave me for the future in this post here.

Yesterday after calling the doctor’s office, I was praying about the future appointments and my fear over the ultrasounds. I opened my bible and it turned to Luke, where I read that scripture a month ago. Only yesterday, it was the cover page to Luke. I have a life application study bible and before each book in the bible, it has a cover page giving a summary of what that book is about, who the author is, who it was written too, and so on. On the very top of the page it said, “Every birth is a miracle, and every child is a gift from God.” This was of course leading into the discussion of the miracle or miracles: the birth of Jesus! It was such a nice reminder that just a month ago I read a scripture that gave me hope for the future and not even a month later, God has answered with this precious gift.

My due date for this baby is March 16/17th. I can’t really remember for sure if I started my cycle on June 10 (that night) or the next morning, June 11. As scared as I am that this will all just be a dream that never comes true, I also feel so much hope that we are going to be welcoming a precious baby to the world in March. That will be right after our five year wedding anniversary! I remember spending our very first wedding anniversary having just miscarried our third baby, Hope and wondering how so much loss could happen in just one short year. To think that this time is going to be redeemed and that we might actually be celebrating the coming arrival of our baby on our 5 year anniversary brings tears to my eyes. And March 7 is the day that we started dating in 2007 so March is one of my favorite months of the year. So basically, March is the perfect time for a due date :-)

I’m sure this post is getting way too long so I’ll go ahead and end this here. I do think I will plan to do weekly pregnancy updates on my blog and possibly YouTube. I’ve often debated in my mind if I would do that, but I really think it will be good for me to celebrate each milestone and allow myself the joy of enjoying pregnancy. I’m still thinking about it though – we’ll see if I even have the energy to go there.

Ah, this is exciting! And scary and unknown! But truly, truly exciting.

My heart and love goes out to all of you. Have hope my friends – our stories are not over yet!

-Amber

Filled with hope for the future

Last night and this morning was hard. Today is the 4 year anniversary of finding out we were pregnant for the very first time with our baby, Abiygale, who was also our first miscarriage (just stating that in case anyone is new here. We do not have any living children.) Today is also the would have been due date of our second baby, Matthew, who should be 3 years old today.

Today my period is also due to start, though it hasn’t shown up yet. I took a digital test this morning just to see if maybe, by some miracle, we were pregnant, but unfortunately the test said, “not pregnant.” I cried for a minute, then sat around for a little bit feeling exhausted, texted my husband to tell him it was negative, and then decided to go outside and have some fun at the new dog park in town with my boys.

After the dog park, I stopped by Sonic to get a half-priced drink and the person who delivered my drink introduced herself saying, “Hi I’m Abigail. You ordered a diet coke?” Cue the tears. Thankfully I had sunglasses on. Coincidence that she shared the same name as my first baby in Heaven? Maybe. But I don’t believe in coincidences :-)

On the way home, I was really wishing I would see a rainbow in the sky. It’s been so long since I have and it would give me such comfort to see one on a day like today.

But instead of a rainbow, God gave me something better. I came inside and changed into some pajamas because that’s how I like to roll when I’m home ;-) While I was changing, I was thinking about the negative test and thanking God that although it’s still painful to experience infertility, it’s so much easier to bounce back from a negative than getting pregnant and having loss after loss. I was feeling grateful that although I feel sad today, this pain is easier to move beyond than the pain of a miscarriage. For anyone that experiences infertility and hasn’t had recurrent miscarriages, I don’t want to compare our pain at all. Infertility is devastating and I’m not taking away from the immense sadness of that journey. But I’m sure you can understand where I’m coming from when I say, I’d rather not get pregnant than get pregnant only to lose a baby. Both infertility and recurrent miscarriages are heartbreaking journeys. Different, certainly, but we can’t really compare on a pain scale. Pain is pain, amen?

After thinking about the negative test and trying to find a positive outlook to my circumstances, I decided to open my bible. I opened to the new testament and looked down and started to cry at the page I had opened to:

“But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. He will be a great joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth.” Luke 1:13-15

Another coincidence? Maybe. But I don’t believe that at all.

God has given me what I believe to be promises before for a child, but somewhere along the journey, I started to lose hope. Waiting is hard. I prayed for my hope to be restored the other week and I feel like today, on this very special anniversary of the day I became a mother, God is starting to restore the hope I lost and remind me that, although this wait is long and at times desperately painful, it is all going to be worth it someday, in His perfect timing.

Although I still feel incredibly exhausted from today and am taking the rest of the day easy to recover from the emotions, it brings me so much hope and excitement to think that God has been writing my child’s story for a long time now. It brings me joy to think about the plans He has for their life and that, although they aren’t even here yet, God is already preparing for the plans and purpose he has for this child. I love them so much already!

Today, the test might have said, “Not pregnant” but what I feel instead, is pregnant with hope. I don’t know how the story will play out, but I know my God, and I know it’s going to be one amazing story.

For now, I’m still determined to live with a “childfree mindset” as I discussed the other week. I don’t want infertility to define my life. While I’m waiting for the child that God is going to give to us, I can live NOW. I don’t have to wait to start living. Although days like today are hard, tomorrow will be a new day and I can live victoriously. God also has good plans for my life and I don’t want to waste this precious time He has given me doing anything less than living in the abundance of His grace.

P.S. I published this and now I’m editing because I already need to add more because my Lord is just so amazing that He continues to bless me on what should be a sad, hopeless day. I read this blog post from the Compassion website today. Today is also our sponsored child, Sabenca’s birthday. Two years ago we sponsored Sabenca on this day. I was reading an article about the poverty in Haiti after the hurricane and hopped over to the compassion website to see if they were doing anything to help. Right on the front page was Sabenca, from HAITI and she needed a sponsor. It was also her birthday! You guys should know by now how I feel about coincidences. Jonathan and I sponsored her and she has given us such much hope. To think about how God has used the pain of our miscarriages and the loss of our children to bring about so much good for us and for others just fills my heart with joy. I love Jesus so much. I hope if you don’t know Jesus, you’ll get to know Him. He really loves you and wants to show you just how much He does!

Have hope my friends,

Amber

Waiting with hope:

“Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”

Grieving with hope:

“Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”

To hope again

I still have one more post that I’m hoping to share soon in my series about changes and resolutions in my life, but before I write that, I wanted to open up and share what has been on my heart today.

Fear. Fear has been on my mind and heart.

All because of one date coming up: June 10.

If you don’t know my history (and even if you do, I’m sure you don’t remember special dates), June 10 is a very significant date in my life. 4 years ago on June 10, 2011, I found out I was pregnant for the very first time. Of course we lost that baby and had our first miscarriage.

A few months later we found out in September 2011 that we were pregnant for a second time. I was amazed when I found out the due date was June 10, 2012. I couldn’t help but hope that God was redeeming that date with our rainbow baby after a miscarriage. But sadly, our baby Matthew died at 10 weeks pregnant in November 2011 and we had our second miscarriage.

Every year, this date gets to me. It brings up a lot of emotions, even if I’m not actively thinking about it, I still seem to never be able to forget. I suppose it’s the combination of that date being the start of our recurrent miscarriage journey, our first pregnancy, and our due date for baby Matthew.

But I think it’s also a huge reminder that God did not answer our prayers in the way we hoped He would and He allowed this pain instead of giving us the miracle we longed for. It is a reminder that God allowed this to happen not once, but 5 times before, and a worry that it could happen again.

I’m fearful because my last period in May started a day early. And because of that, my period is now due to start on June 10 (my period is a very predictable 28 days. It’s unusual for my period to not start predictably on time).

4 years ago, my period was due to start on June 10, but instead we found out I was pregnant. A few days later, on June 13, I started to miscarry. June 13, was also the very first day of Vacation Bible School and I was co-leading the missions rotation with my mother-in-law.

I wasn’t really thinking about my upcoming cycle or feeling concerned with it, therefore we didn’t prevent this cycle and there’s a small chance we could have conceived. I really, really doubt it because of the timing, but because there is this tiny chance of it happening, I’m feeling fearful. Even though I’m having so many symptoms of a worse problem that could indicate significant infertility and the inability to even get pregnant, I still have a history of getting pregnant easily in the past only to miscarry and that reminder is burned in my brain.

Not only am I due to start my period on June 10, I’m also leading the 3rd grade group in Vacation bible school from June 15 through June 19. For some reason, I didn’t put all of this information together in my head at the start of this cycle and I was kind of oblivious to the fact that if I did happen to conceive this cycle, I could end up miscarrying again for VBS. For some reason, I thought VBS was later in the month of June and I just didn’t put two and two together.

If I had, I probably would have actively prevented conception in the form of abstinence so that I didn’t take any chances. That’s how fearful this date makes me.

I had a really nice 3 day weekend with my husband and had fun working out together and enjoying time together. Today, I was working out again at home and listening to worship music on YouTube when I started thinking about all of the times in the past when I have tried to focus on changing my life, taking steps to get healthy for me, only to end up getting pregnant and miscarrying and having to start all over again.

And then thinking about this upcoming period and the fear that comes with that and the fact that I’m trying to move on from infertility and trying to get my life back brought up emotions and fear.

After I finished my work out, I got in the shower and the tears and sobbing came freely. I’m so afraid that I’ll never be able to get better and heal from the pain of infertility because I’m afraid that I’ll keep losing babies.

Even though I didn’t feel like it, I poured my heart out to the Lord, praising Him and also sharing my heart and my fear with Him. I told God why I’m scared because of past circumstances and in my heart, I could feel Him reminding me of past circumstances where, even though my heart was broken, He was there with me through it all.

And I prayed a prayer that I didn’t want to pray and I said it with bitterness and fear in my heart, but I prayed anyways believing that my God is a redeemer, even when I don’t feel like it:

“Help me to hope again.”

You would think that hopefulness is an easy thing. But I think everyone struggling with infertility can understand and relate to the idea that sometimes, it’s just easier to give up hope. Sometimes, it hurts deeply to let yourself hope.

And so when I prayed that prayer it terrified me because I don’t WANT to hope anymore. But I know that the opposite of hope is not a good place to be. And I know that there is deep healing that I need to let God work through in my life. And so with a heavy heart, I prayed for what I know is good for me. For God to restore what the enemy has damaged.

After my shower while I was letting my hair air dry, I signed on twitter and read this blog post from Amateur Nester. Do yourself a favor and go read that post right now. I’ll wait for you to come back :-)

It doesn’t surprise me one bit that I would pray for God to restore my hope and read a blog post about hope during infertility just minutes after. “God is with you in everything you do.” Can I even count the number of times God has shown up like this to show me He is with me and that He is listening when I cry out to Him? I can’t possibly understand why I miscarried 5 times, but I can rest in the peace of knowing that I’m not alone through any of this pain.

I love that she shared that hope is good for our soul and it also benefits those around us. She encouraged those who are filled with hope to share and encourage others through this journey (I thought of so many amazing bloggers when I read that line who do just that and are always an encouragement to me.) And she also shared that for those of us who are struggling to hope, to find hope through others in this community who can encourage us and lift us up when we are feeling low and struggling to run our race.

Although part of me wants to hide in the dark and not admit my struggle to hope during this journey and my struggle with fear, I know that through bringing this to light I will not only help myself, I’ll help someone else.

If you are in a place where you are struggling to hope for the future, I want you to know that you aren’t alone. And if you need someone to talk with, email me and I’d be happy to talk with you: thefrugalwed@yahoo.com.

And if you are one of the amazing bloggers who share hope with this community and even through your own struggles, are always there to encourage members in this community: I thank you. You are doing an important work and you make the world a better place.

P.S. On June 10, 2013, God did restore the date of June 10, but not in the way I expected him to. I was feeling pretty sad that day and I think I had already prayed about 100 times asking God to comfort my heart. That afternoon, I was on Yahoo looking at articles when I saw the title of one article about the people in Haiti still suffering years after the hurricane. I sadly, will usually ignore an article like that so that I don’t have to think about it. But on that day, I clicked and read. And my heart broke for the people in Haiti. I wanted to give something to help so I headed over to the Compassion International website where we sponsored a child, Maria Abigial to see if they were doing anything to help the people in Haiti. I had in mind that I would give a one time donation if I found something to help with.

But instead, God had other plans. Right on the front page was little Sabenca. June 10, was her birthday and the screen said, “Today is my birthday! Will you sponsor me?” Not only was little Sabenca’s birthday June 10, but she was from Haiti. I screamed for my husband to come to the room and asked if we could sponsor Sabenca and he of course said yes.

So although this date still brings with it many emotions, it is also a beautiful reminder that God can restore joy to my heart at just the perfect time. He works things for our good and He also works for the good of others. Although I hate going through pain and suffering, it is a comfort to know that God can use my journey to help other people. And that makes days like today, worth it. Totally, absolutely, worth it.

With love,

Amber

Psalm 42:

As the deer longs for streams of water,
    so I long for you, O God.
I thirst for God, the living God.
    When can I go and stand before him?
Day and night I have only tears for food,
    while my enemies continually taunt me, saying,
    “Where is this God of yours?”

My heart is breaking
    as I remember how it used to be:
I walked among the crowds of worshipers,
    leading a great procession to the house of God,
singing for joy and giving thanks
    amid the sound of a great celebration!

Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise him again—
    my Savior and my God!

Now I am deeply discouraged,
    but I will remember you—
even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan,
    from the land of Mount Mizar.
I hear the tumult of the raging seas
    as your waves and surging tides sweep over me.
But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me,
    and through each night I sing his songs,
    praying to God who gives me life.

“O God my rock,” I cry,
    “Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I wander around in grief,
    oppressed by my enemies?”
10 Their taunts break my bones.
    They scoff, “Where is this God of yours?”

11 Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise him again—
    my Savior and my God!”