Life Update 2018

Wow this year is almost over with. It was a whirlwind for me, what about all of you?

I am sorry to have drifted off of the face of the blogging world for so long. The events that have transpired in my life have been all consuming and difficult to find the words to express in the times when I have sat down to attempt blogging. I never can quite find the resolve to press the publish button. I’m not sure why.

I’m on a two week break right now from caregiving (more explanation soon) so I think it’s probably a good time to update my blog.

I’m just going to jump into everything because it’s hard to know where to begin and I’m sure I’ll leave so many things out, but I’m just going to keep this as short and sweet as possible.

This year my mom was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia at the age of 61.

It’s always hard to figure out what to say after those words. I’m at a loss for what to really say about it.

In January, we moved my mom in to live with me and my husband. She was previously living with my grandmother. I’m her full time caregiver and hope and pray that I will continue to be able to care for her through this disease.

Okay so the next part of this update gets a little complicated. I’m not sure how much I have shared on my blog about health issues I’ve had over the years. Obviously if you’ve ever read my blog you know I typically have written about recurrent miscarriages and my faith in Jesus Christ.

But my whole life I have struggled with a variety of health issues and to me it was just kind of my “normal”. I didn’t really think too much about it.

In May, I found out that I have a primary immune deficiency, IgA deficiency, which is a genetic immune disease that I was born with where part of my immune system is nonexistent (I have NO immunoglobulin A and some of my IgG subclass numbers are low as well). Sometimes people can have IgA deficiency and not have any problems and other people with the deficiency have just as many health problems as someone with a more severe immune deficiency.

I’m not going to go into big long details about how I found out about this. But I will say that a mistake was made 7 years ago when I was hospitalized with low platelets while having my 2nd miscarriage. At the time the doctors diagnosed me with ITP, an autoimmune disease that attacks your platelets. However, the doctors did not tell me about other blood tests results, including this IgA deficiency result, which should have been followed up with by an immunologist. My primary care doctor this year tested my blood again and referred me to an immunologist.

Obviously it’s upsetting to know that I wasn’t told about this 7 years ago.

As much as it’s upsetting that these mistakes were made, I also know I have to trust God and His timing. When I found out in May, I felt peace about it. I’m not really sure I could have handled finding this out 7 years ago when I was in the thick of dealing with miscarriages and grieving very heavily. I think it would have been too much of a burden to handle.

Since May, I’ve had a lot of doctors appointments and more diagnostic testing. My health has gotten a lot worse over the last year and it seems to be getting progressively worse even though I have made so many healthy lifestyle changes. I’m sure the stress of my mom’s disease and caregiving have played a role in my worsening health.

I think the hardest part for me has been why this is all happening while I’m trying to take care of my mom. I had all of these plans and dreams for what we would do together while she is still in the earlier stages of the disease and I even had plans for what we would do in later stages to make her life meaningful. And getting more sick this year I feel like we’ve just been homebound and there’s some days where she’s watching TV all day because it’s all I can manage to just keep up with cooking and doing survival chores. I know I don’t need to feel guilty about anything but it’s hard to feel so out of control. I’m fighting really hard to get healthier and I hope it will pay off.

My faith has totally been challenged by all of this. Being physically exhausted and mentally exhausted make it really hard to seek God. And then sometimes the anger and emotions and stress of all of this and caregiving make me feel like a really bad person and then I’m scared to go to God because look at how unloving I am. Other people will say look at what a good person you are, but God knows my heart and the thoughts I have sometimes are ugly and mean and so far from God. Even though I know, I know, I know that Jesus’ grace is for me and to come boldly to His throne of grace in my time of need, sometimes my faith is so full of doubts and fear and struggle. I think also as a woman, I place so many burdens and expectations of perfection on myself that Jesus never meant for me to carry. But that’s easier to write than to live out.

There have been so many lows and highs over the last year. Sometimes my faith feels strong and I’m trusting God and walking with Him and believing what He says, and then other times, I feel so far from Him. I can’t tell you how many times this year I have had such low, defeating thoughts. Sometimes I wish all of the pain would end and that I would die. That’s hard to write on the internet.

They are only thoughts but it’s still hard to have them. Every time I start to have those thoughts, I shut them down and say, “No! You have a good purpose in this world.” I know that might be too much to share online. But I hope it helps someone else to know you’re not alone if you have similar struggles. And when I talk about my faith in Christ, I don’t want anyone to think my faith is strong and I have it all figured out. No! I need Jesus every step of this life. My husband shared with me this year that caregiving has shown him the truth of his heart more than ever before and he often tells me to pray for him because he’s having resentment or mean thoughts.

And that’s the thing, outwardly, he is upright, does all the right things, is patient and kind. I’m similar, but inwardly we are struggling. Inwardly, we need the help of Jesus to make our hearts right and to truly love those God puts in our lives. And sometimes we just need to rest at His feet and know we are forgiven and loved unconditionally.

It’s a battle. I’m thankful for a 2 week break where I can really slow down and process some of these emotions. It’s only been a few days and already it has been so good for my soul.

I’m also looking forward to getting some alone time with just me and my husband. He’s working a weird on call schedule during the holiday week so I can’t wait for this weekend to get here so we can have some fun. We need some fun and laughter in our lives.

Well I think I’ll wrap it up for now and I hope to write again soon. There are so many things I could share during this season of my life. Hopefully it will be a bit easier to write now that I have actually shared an update and got all the big news out of the way.

Lots of love to you all and thank you for reading. You are all so loved and precious to God and to this world. Shine your light of love in a world that needs what only YOU can uniquely give. ❤

-Amber

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14

 

 

 

 

 

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You make beautiful things

Yesterday I was talking with my best friend on the phone and we caught up on the last few months of life.

During our conversation we started talking about my miscarriages and my friend admitted being confused by how I can hope in God and not be angry at Him for my losses. She expressed struggle to understand how He could not only allow it once, but time and time again.

It’s a bit of a topic too deep to go into fully, but I just shared my heart and explained that I feel confident in His love for me and I believe with all of my heart every one of His promises. I went a bit more in depth sharing testimony to the different pains and struggles I walked through, even the darkest point in my journey when I was ready to walk away from Jesus Christ, but when He restored my faith and gave me peace to keep going.

Afterwards I was reflecting on my journey and I opened my private journal that I wrote in the midst of the worst of my grief journey in 2012 and 2013.

As I look back through the painful words that I remember writing drenched in tears and a broken heart that could hardly go on, all I can see is Christ’s faithfulness to carry me, protect me, and to pick me up out of the pit of despair and restore joy and hope and laughter to me again, even in the midst of these trials. And He is continuing to do these things day after day. It’s not always easy, but He is always there.

“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” Psalm 126:5

“I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And He put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. Blessed is the man that makes the LORD his trust.” Psalm 40:1-3

One of the journal pages I came across was a cardboard testimony. I’m not sure what my intentions were writing this – if it was for my personal benefit to reflect on God’s faithfulness in the midst of my grief or if I was hoping to share it publically.

It’s about 5 years late, but I would like to share it now. I hope in the future to add more and more testimony to the work Jesus has done in my heart and my life. He is SO, SO good. I hope you enjoy reading! In bold will be my testimony of what I believe Jesus has done for me. This was written in 2012:

  • Child of Divorce: Adopted as a child of God
  • Searched for love in all the wrong places: Found true love in Jesus Christ
  • Guilt over sexual sin: Accepted. Forgiven. Loved.
  • Afraid of commitment. Fear of getting hurt: Blessed with a husband who loves and serves the Lord
  • Didn’t finish college. A loser. Nothing special to the world: A treasure in the arms of Christ
  • Lost with no direction: Found my purpose in serving God and my family
  • Lost 3 babies to miscarriage in 9 months: Held in the arms of Jesus
  • Heartbroken: Comforted
  • Lonely: God is always with me
  • Wanted to die: Given hope to keep living
  • Depressed: Finding joy in growing closer to my Heavenly Father
  • Angry. Jealous of other moms: Mercy and grace
  • Scared of losing another baby. Afraid we will never have children on earth: Faith in His plan. Peace through prayer.
  • I am weak: My strength is in Christ
  • I am a sinner: I am forgiven
  • A broken mess: I am a new creation through Jesus Christ

I hope this testimony will give someone hope in the midst of your own trials. If I could tell anyone advice on what to do when you are overwhelmed by grief, it would be to give into the grief fully. To embrace the pain, the sorrow, the anger. But to take all of that to the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ and cry out for His help to carry you through it, and then one day, slowly but surely, to restore laughter to your soul. He did it for me, and I believe He will do it for anyone who calls upon His name.

I told my friend yesterday, the most hopeless day in all history was when Jesus was killed and died on the cross. But the beauty of my faith in Him is that 3 days later He rose from the grave. I’ll gladly give Him all my sorrows knowing nothing is too hard for Him. My strong Savior!

Each of us has a choice to make when we are presented with Jesus: we can either harden our hearts and ignore Him and try to figure this life out on our own or turn to Him in faith. I plead with anyone to not go down that heartbreaking road of unbelief. If you could only see how the Heavenly Father weeps over you and how He longs to lavish you with His love, surely you would run to Him.

“Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.”

From the parable of the prodigal son: “And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” Luke 15:20

My prayer for anyone reading this would be that instead of doubting and trying to go your own way, you would take your broken heart to the Lord.

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

See where it says, “throne of grace”? I love that! I quote it all the time in prayer to God: “Father, I come before your throne of grace!” It reminds me of who He is and how He loves us. I hope it comforts you in the same way if you are reading.

With love,

Amber

A great song to reflect on the work of Christ is: Beautiful Things by Gungor

 

 

The Kingdom of God belongs to such as these

Today was a bit of a hard morning. My dog, Maxi was not doing well at all yesterday and I knew we needed to get him into the vet this morning. He was shaking and panting all day long and hiding underneath the bed (totally out of character).

It triggered a lot of painful memories from the loss of my dog, Sweetpea (2012) and my cat Pebbles (2013) and made me worry for my future with my sweet rainbow dog.

Much in the same way as I have felt in my pregnancies after loss, every time my animals get sick, my mind panics and worries that I’ll have to say goodbye to them too soon. With Sweeptea and Pebbles, they were much older (14 and 15) and they both had kidney disease. Maxi is only 8 years old, but the fear is still very much present when he becomes ill.

As we sat down in the waiting area, I saw the candle by the front desk with a note that said, “When this candle is lit, please be quiet and respectful of a family saying goodbye to their animal.” Again, another painful trigger of the two times we had to say goodbye to our beloved fur babies. Thankfully, the doctor thinks our Maxi is going to be okay. We don’t have a diagnosis quite yet, but the doctor saw what looked like a possible injury in his back and is hopeful that 7 days of pain medicine might do the trick. So we are waiting to see how our Maxi responds to the medicine.

While I was in the waiting room, next to me sat a desk about dogs and heaven. I opened the pages and my eyes flooded with tears as I flipped through the pages. The first page was a cat and dog sitting together and instantly I thought of the joy of Pebbles and Sweetpea together in paradise. The next several pages were filled with beautiful images of heaven, with animals and children with angel wings playing together. Of course, I thought of the joy of my 9 beautiful children in heaven with our fur babies.

I’m so thankful for my fur babies that we have now, Maxi and Elmo, and for the joy and laughter and happiness they bring to our lives. But I am also incredibly thankful for the joy and hope of Heaven and what is to come. I hope I have a really long life, but I’m really excited and looking forward to the day when I will see my beautiful Savior, Jesus Christ and my Heavenly Father and my beloved animals and children and all those who have or will have gone before me.

Glimpses of grace.

Our heavenly Father promised that it won’t always be easy in this world, but He will always walk with us every step of the journey, and along the way we see glimpses of His glorious grace.

“Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Luke 18:16

With love,

Amber

P.S. Do you need prayer? I would love the honor to pray for anyone in need. If you have a prayer request, leave it in the comments below or send me an email to amberunderconstruction@yahoo.com

P.S.S. I need to update about my doctor’s appointment. It went well and I’m hopeful for the future. Update coming soon!

P.S.S.S. I turn 30 this weekend! Oh my 😉 I can’t even believe it. It seems like such a milestone, but on a certain level, it seems so young. I feel like I’m years older than 30 and I think to myself, “Am I really ONLY turning 30?” Other times, I feel like the time is flying by and I wish life would slow down a little bit. “30 already?” LOL! I’m looking forward to my 30s. I believe Jesus started His ministry at age 30, so it can’t be so bad now can it!?

Waiting for a rainbow

For months, I have been searching for a rainbow in the sky. There has been plenty of rain and cloudy days, the perfect conditions for a rainbow, and yet, no rainbow. God knows how much joy it brings me to see a rainbow in the sky, thinking of our little ones in heaven and the children I hope He will someday give to us. It also makes me think of Him and how faithful Jesus has been to me. But, He usually makes me wait until just the perfect time to see a beautiful rainbow in the sky.

In 2015, it had been a while since I saw a rainbow, but I was always looking up, always hoping and waiting to see that beauty again. God made me wait, and it ended up being worth the wait. I was driving home from my best friend’s wedding shower. I was exhausted because I had been up all weekend long setting up for the shower and then early that morning, driving 4 hours to go to the shower, and then just the fun and excitement of the actual shower was tiring. It was time to drive 4 hours home and I ended up getting lost in Houston (my home town, but goodness I’m always getting lost in Houston). It was raining and I was very nervous to be driving. I was going over one of the very high overpasses that scares me every time and as I got to the top of it, in clear view was the most perfect rainbow covering the sky in full view. I was praying the entire time, but that rainbow was a sweet visual reminder, at the perfect timing, to let me know that God was with me and He is always faithful to His promises.

I’m just waiting and waiting to see when God is going to show me that sweet reminder of His faithfulness yet again. This is probably a strange thing to admit, but I think fellow loss moms will understand where I’m coming from. You look at life differently, even the sky differently. My faith in Jesus also fills me with wander as I look at creation and think of Him and praise Him for everything.

I could probably tell you 100 special little things that God has done for me in my life, and especially over the last 6 years of infertility and recurrent miscarriage. He is always showing up at just the perfect timing with exactly what I need. Sometimes to make me laugh. Sometimes to give me hope. Sometimes to comfort me and remind me to put my hope completely in Him. Sometimes it’s the perfect scripture at just the perfect time. Sometimes it’s the friend who calls when I’m feeling lonely. Sometimes it’s a small gesture, but it brings me joy all the same. Other times, it’s a big gift and I want to shout from the rooftops: I want everyone to know Jesus and His love!!! Well – I pretty much think that every day, but there are times when you have that really big mountaintop experience and it’s extra hard to keep your faith to yourself.

Like many of those special extra little gifts God has given to me, I wait with hope and expectation to see the beauty of the rainbow in the sky again. And I know, it will come at just the right time.

It is with the same confident hope and expectation that I pray and have faith this verse will someday be true for me as it has been for so many others before me: “He makes the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise the LORD.” Earlier this week, I was feeling down with the waiting of infertility. How long, oh Lord? Even with all my hope and faith, I was weary with the waiting. It’s hard to watch others move on over and over and over again and wonder, when will I have this pleasure? To think of your dreams and watch them fade away. I always wanted a really large family. 3 kids minimum! I wanted a busy, house full of laughter and chaos and so much love! The older I get, the more unlikely and unrealistic that dream seems. The clock is ticking, and apparently, God is not aware of my limitations or my timeframe.

But I’m reminded over and over again in scripture and in the lives of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who have gone before me and testify to the Lord’s faithfulness, that nothing is impossible for God. Is anything too hard for the Lord? If you are feeling like it’s too hard for the Lord, sister, let me tell you, He will not forget me and He will not forget you!! He is working in the waiting and someday we will understand more clearly.

In a far, far greater sense than my wait for children, is my wait for eternal life where I will live with God forever in heaven. For me, belief in Jesus is far, far more than simply imagining that He is real or hoping that all of this faith is not in vain. I have complete and total confidence that Jesus Christ is alive – that He died in my place for my sins and rose from the grave to give me forgiveness for my sins, freedom from sin, and forever with God in heaven! It’s this hope that carries me through the hardest of times. It’s this hope and faith that I rest in knowing goodbye in this life, is not the end of the story. It’s this hope that fills me with SO much joy and peace every day. You wouldn’t think I had my 9th miscarriage in December with how much I smile every day, and laugh, and sing, and dance (but only Jesus gets to see that dancing – I have no rhythm).

A quick life update: I have not yet been back to the doctor for my recurrent pregnancy treatment. I was supposed to go last month at the beginning of February, but unfortunately, I had a family medical emergency that I went out of town for. I re-scheduled my appointment for April, but it looks like I might have to re-schedule again. It’s really hard to go into a lot of details about this, but, I’m in a place right now where I’m kind of “on call” so to speak, from week to week. I really feel like I don’t know what each day will bring and I’m just kind of keeping my phone close by, praying and waiting. This weekend I was in Houston, Friday-Tuesday, because my family member was in the hospital with pneumonia and  I’ll be going out of town again next week to help my family. I’m hoping I won’t have to re-schedule my April appointment, but I just don’t know how to plan for anything right now. I really don’t want to discuss details about someone else’s health problems, but it’s a very hard time right now. The future looks a little uncertain and scary.

But God….

As I look to the unknown future and wonder what to expect I also look back to my past. God was faithful to carry me through 6 plus years (and counting) of infertility and 9 miscarriages, and He will be faithful to carry me and my family through this trial.

I have always believed that God has allowed me to go through recurrent miscarriages for specific purposes. One of my favorite scriptures is in Genesis and it’s from the story of Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brothers. His brothers were extremely jealous of him and hated him, even wanting to kill him. One brother shows him mercy and intends to go back to rescue him, but Joseph ends up sold to Egyptians as a slave. His poor father assumes he is dead. Long story short, Joseph is later reunited with his family and he not only plays a critical role in rescuing them from death (a famine) but also the entire land of Egypt. In one of my favorite verses, he tells his brothers: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

Who knows exactly what causes the trials and suffering we face in this life: sometimes our own sinfulness that sadly leads to horrible consequences, sometimes other people’s sins and we are innocent and pay the price for their actions, perhaps sometimes even Satan as we see in the case of the man, Job in the bible. Whatever was “intended to harm us” even if it was our own foolishness, God ultimately desires and intends to use for our good and the good of others.

So my update, in the midst of chaos, sadness, continued trials and storms (some literal – can it please stop raining so our fence repair can be complete!), great hope and joy, you’ll find me looking up in the sky, looking, watching, and waiting with hope for rainbows in the clouds, for our God is faithful to all His promises!

Love and peace to you all,

Amber

P.S. Sorry for yet another lengthy post. One of these days, I’ll blog on a regular basis and keep it short and sweet. Ha. Maybe. A girl can dream, can’t she?

P.S.S. Happy John 3:16 day!!! Woo! John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son so that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have eternal life.”

“I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” Genesis 9:13

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

 

 

 

Thank you and appointment update

Hello friends! Thank you so much to anyone who read my post from last night and thought of me and/or prayed for me.

My appointment went well this morning and I’m feeling very proud of myself for going.

“Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.” -John Wayne (according to the internet. LOL. I read this quote in college in a planer I had and have always loved it).

Today I talked with my doctor about a plan of action for the next few months, had some blood work done, and have instructions to meet with my primary care physician for some additional blood work.

My doctor found an interesting detail looking back through my blood work history (back from November 2011). At that time I was having my 2nd miscarriage and was in the hospital with low platelets. I was eventually diagnosed with ITP but my platelet levels rose over the course of two months with a treatment of prednisone and have been in remission since January 2012. Honestly, I wonder if I actually have ITP or if the low platelets were just related to that pregnancy. I know some people with ITP have said they had a one time issue with low platelets, then went years in remission before having a problem with low platelets again. It’s always in the back of my head wondering if it will someday become a problem.

Anyways, back to the interesting detail my doctor noticed today. I had a positive ana blood test during my week in the hospital. I was never told about this and my doctor thinks they dropped the ball in not doing follow up blood work. I’m really surprised that the hematologist did not continue to follow up on the ana blood work. I do remember the doctor’s specifically telling me that I did not have lupus (it’s common for people with low platelets to have lupus). I’m confused by why they would rule out lupus when I had a positive ana test. Also, from what I’ve read online, lupus is something they test for over a period of time. A negative result does not necessarily rule out the disease nor does a positive result indicate you have the disease.

I’m frustrated by all of this, but I suppose looking back and being angry doesn’t change anything. Onward we go, and from now on, I need to be more proactive in my health care. Thankfully, my health care system now has an online medical chart where they post all of my blood work results, exam results, and so on. That should make it significantly easier to understand what’s happening with my treatment. And they have a cool feature where you can send messages and questions to your doctor so I love that I can look through all of my blood work results and be able to message my doctor with questions.

I’m going to my primary care physician to have them check out the ana situation. She said it’s something that really has to be tested over time, with history of symptoms and so on. Not a one time test without a follow up. She said my doctor will either go ahead with that testing or just refer me to rheumatology.

Sigh.

My doctor thinks that autoimmune disease might be contributing to my recurrent miscarriages. We will work through some more blood testing and then she’ll discuss what we can do for treatment if we find that to be the case.

I’m going back next week for an ultrasound to look at the lining of my uterus. In late February or March, I’m having a HSG done. I had the option to do the HSG after our first 3 miscarriages, but it was so darn expensive (our insurance did not cover it at all) and I really didn’t think there was a need for that test. I still think it’s going to be a waste of money, but, because I want to cover all my bases, we will go forward with it now to be 100% sure.

It feels good to be taking these next steps after our miscarriage in December. I didn’t think I would be ready to talk about pregnancy related issues, but it feels good to know I’m taking care of my health. I really, really feel like God opened doors for me to lead me to answers. There’s anxiety with moving forward, but I also have so much hope that I’m not walking forward without purpose.

With all of that said, thank you so much to all of you for your thoughts and prayers and love. I know that I previously said I wasn’t sure how much blogging I would do going forward, but over the last month, with much prayer and thoughtful consideration, I have determined that I want to continue blogging and sharing about our journey.

I love this community of support and so appreciate all of you for reading and sharing your own stories of trials, loss, hope, and victory.

With love,

Amber

P.S. I hope this post makes some kind of sense. I didn’t sleep very well last night and I’m thinking it’s about time for a nap 🙂

 

 

 

 

Will you pray for me?

Hi precious internet friends! I hope you are all doing well and enjoyed a nice weekend.

Tomorrow, Monday morning, I have my first follow up doctor’s appointment after my miscarriage in December.

I have been incredibly nervous over the last two weeks leading up to the appointment. Praise God, yesterday and today I have been able to mostly put it out of my mind.

This last month has been a really challenging time. In some ways, I feel really strong, much stronger than 5 years ago (after our first few miscarriages). In other ways, I’m exhausted from fighting a battle in my mind every day. I also really feel like there is a spiritual battle going on here, and man, I have had a target on my back. The shame that I have been feeling over the last month has been intense, and that is not a feeling that ever, ever comes from our merciful, gracious, loving God. There has been a battle to believe the truths of Jesus Christ over the lies of satan.

This is a truth that I’m now reminding myself of every single day:

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

Some of you might be wondering where shame and condemnation come into the conversation concerning miscarriage. It’s honestly a long topic for another day. One I’m praying about writing soon. It’s a post I’m afraid to write and share with the world, but one I’m feeling increasingly more and more the need to share.

Part of my fear of meeting with my doctor’s tomorrow has to deal with the shame I have been feeling. There’s this strong desire to hide away from the world and deal with my problems on my own. There’s pride in not wanting to share my burdens with others and receive the help I desperately need to be made well.

But over and over, I feel God’s gentle leading urging me to be brave. To take the next step forward. To ask for help and to humbly receive help.

So tomorrow, I’m going to be brave. I’m going to put on my faith in Jesus Christ and walk forward in faith, knowing He is going to be with me every single step of the way.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

And my precious sisters, I ask that you please lift me up in prayer. I know so many of you hate to hear of me suffering through more losses and wish you could do something to help. Praying will be the greatest gift you can give me.

Sending love to you all,

Amber

 

 

Happy New Year 2017!

Hello friends and happy new year! I cannot even believe 2016 is over and done with. Last year was certainly a whirlwind in so many ways.

I’m sorry to have dropped off of the face of the universe. I needed to take some time to reflect on living a more simple life and have been and I’m still currently seeking how much of my life I want to keep private vs how much I want to share with the world. By November, I deleted Facebook and have since enjoyed the peaceful feeling of not having information and news at my finger tips that so often would still my joy. I never plan to delete my blog, but I am steal actively praying about and considering how I should best spend my time.

Last year was pretty busy and it’s hard for me to even remember much of it because it all passed by too quickly. Some highlights from the year that I can remember:

  • I started a new job and worked hard on paying off debt and also worked hard to conquer issues I was having with anxiety. A small update on my anxiety: It’s still there in certain circumstances, but I’m feeling a million times better than I was a year ago. I’m still a work in progress, but I’m satisfied with how far I have come.
  • My husband and I finally after over 5 years of marriage, went on our honeymoon in July. After getting pregnant and having a miscarriage in June, we planned a spontaneous honeymoon adventure. It was a blast! We drove from Texas all the way to Washington state and visited some beautiful sites along the way. We spent way too much money and it was probably not the best idea while paying off debt, but it was so worth it. You only get to be young and stupid once, right?
  • I went to 3 baby showers last year and 1 gender reveal party. It would have been 4 baby showers, but 2 of the showers were on the same day. I was so thankful to God to be in a better place mentally to celebrate life with others. It’s not always easy, but I’m finding it more and more natural to enjoy life again with friends and family.
  • My mother and grandmother were able to come to my home to celebrate both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Spending the holidays with them was such a gift and I’m so thankful for every moment I have with family.

Those are just a few of the highlights. We also had many great memories with friends, old and new. I especially enjoyed getting to practice hospitality by having many friends and family over at our house. It’s nice having extra bedrooms now that we live in a house. I don’t miss apartment living at all 🙂

Some sad updates from 2016: we experienced 3 more miscarriages, bringing our total number of pregnancies and miscarriages to 9. I cannot even begin to wrap my head around that number. It’s just too much.

In September, just a few days after writing this blog post, I found out I was pregnant for the 8th time. My excitement and fear was short lived as it ended in a very early loss, or chemical pregnancy.

In November, after Thanksgiving, I found out I was pregnant again and it was a very long month of waiting to see what would happen. I initially thought the pregnancy was over right at the beginning and expected to have a chemical pregnancy. Several days later, I found out that I was very much still pregnant and there was still hope. I can’t even describe the shock and happiness I felt when I found out there was still a chance. But I spotted the entire pregnancy and it was a very difficult time waiting to see if baby would live.

The week before Christmas, on December 20, we had an ultrasound that showed a sac but the baby never progressed like they should. My hcg levels were dropping and the next day, the miscarriage started full of contractions and about 4 hours of intense pain. The worst was that day and everything was much easier the following days. This Wednesday, December 28, I had a follow up ultrasound and the pregnancy “resolved” on its own and my hcg levels are now back to zero. My platelets are also at 220,000 which is a very nice high level. This is a very hard time, but I’m thankful that this did not require hospitalization or surgery, and I’m also incredibly thankful that this was not an ectopic pregnancy. With the daily spotting I had the entire pregnancy, it was hard waiting through blood work and ultrasounds and follow up ultrasounds. As hard as this experience has been, I know it could have been far worse than it was.

There’s a certain level of relief to have this passed me now, but at the same time, I have many moments where I struggle to understand how this happened. I’m trying to focus on being positive, but the thought of having 3 due dates next year is a bit difficult to wrap my head around. It’s difficult thinking about turning 30 this year with these due dates coming up, but I pray that God will give me the grace and strength to carry me through the harder times.

It’s also very difficult saying goodbye to this baby. I have a good set of really kind and supportive doctors that are confident they will be able to help me and find out what’s wrong (I go back on January 30th). Even though I’m incredibly thankful that God led me to a staff of doctors that I really believe are going to help us find some answers, it’s hard for me to imagine trying to get pregnant again or making all of these efforts to have a baby. I want this baby that’s supposed to be with me right now.

The only way I can push myself forward is by telling myself that this is about self care. My body is sick and I’m doing this to take care of myself and be a good steward of my health. I’m not betraying my baby that died and it doesn’t even have to be about going on to have another baby, but simply about my health. When I go back on the 30th, I’ll be sure to discuss some of the anxiety I’m having about future pregnancies with my doctor. I’m sure they will be able to direct me or support me as we move forward.

I’m trying to focus on each day as it comes and not dwell too much on the future. There are certain plans in place for the future, but as for the things I cannot control, God will be with me as each new day comes. Part of conquering my anxiety has been to focus on the present moment and trust God with the future moments. Looking back on the past, I realized that so many of the things I have worried myself sick over, never came to pass. And even the worst of my worries that did come to pass, well, God gave me the grace and strength I needed through each trial. It didn’t help me one bit to worry about a single moment that was out of my control.

My husband has been a huge support system through this even in the midst of his own sadness. He’s such a strong man of faith and I loved how he never gave up on this baby, always praying and believing they would live. It gave me so much hope. Even when I first thought we lost the baby, he continued to pray for me and the baby. It’s hard to think about him not becoming a father. He is the most amazing, selfless husband and I know he would make the best dad. There just aren’t enough words in the English language to describe what a good man he is. I’m really fortunate to have him as my husband and best friend. It’s hard to be sad when I’m with him because he makes life so much sweeter, more fun, and care free. We are coming up on 6 years of marriage this year and I’m so very thankful to share every moment with him. When he proposed to me (way back in 2008), part of his proposal was “I want to share everything with you. The highs and lows of life.” We have certainly shared many highs and many lows together, but our marriage gets stronger and sweeter with each passing year. I love this man! My grandmother asked me at Thanksgiving if Jonathan is the same around me as he is around everyone else. She told me he is a jewel and to never stop appreciating him. I agree with her.

I have no idea what 2017 will bring. I have goals, plans, and hopes for the future, but mostly I plan to commit each day to the Lord and I trust that He will do immeasurably more than all I ask or imagine. I know Jesus will carry me through the hard times and I look forward to the good times He has planned for me as well.

I’m not sure when I will blog again or what all I will share, but I wanted to stop in and wish you all a very happy new year and update anyone who is interested in my what’s happening with my infertility journey. I’m not sure if I will document our medical process and search for answers for why we have recurrent pregnancy losses, but I will be sure to update every so often for anyone who follows my story. I briefly mentioned it above, but I have a great staff of doctors that I’m working with and I’m feeling much more peaceful when I step into their office. We are also receiving a huge amount of support and love from family and friends and I know that we are going to be okay, no matter what happens.

I’m sending you all my love and prayers and wishing you a very happy new year. Cherish every moment my friends!

❤ Amber