"I will sing of Your mercies that lead me through Valleys of Sorrow to Rivers of Joy."
~Jars of Clay

My precious and magnificent blessings...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

What do I know? Nothing.

Just when I think I know where I am going, that I have it all planned out... God shows me different.

As most of you know, my adult life has been somewhat consumed with struggle of some sort. From infertility to miscarriage, I have desperately cried out to the Lord for more children, cried out over children that I have lost, and cried out for resolution one way or another. It has been a long road full of ups and downs. One that I respect, acknowledge, and admire in a way, but one that I would never want to re-live again simply because it hurt so bad.

Once we lost our last child, I sank into a deep depression. I took months and months to come up for air again - to reach the surface, where the living were. I spent days longing for relief and to be able to breathe without my heart hurting while doing so. After many prayers, A LOT of learning and searching, and God's precious healing touch - I finally woke up one day and felt well, happy again. There was a sort of renewal that had happened, yet nothing had changed. I still did not have the baby that had died - that I had longed for - but I had something else - JOY. I had JOY without the baby that I wanted and I knew that only that kind of joy comes from God. I give you all the praise Father...

It was nice knowing that the majority of the struggle was behind me and that He was binding up my heart - as He promises to in scripture - one stitch at time. Don't get me wrong, those stitches can be quite painful... the jab of the needle and the pulling and tugging of the thread... but the bound up wound at the end of the lesson is well worth the pain. Although I never desired to go through any of what I endured, I also know that I would not be who I am without the struggle and I would not know our precious Savior the way I do, had He not set me on this particular road. I now thank Him for every tear, for every disappointment, for every year that I had to wait because every step led me to Him. AND to the abundant life that only He promises. I received that inexplicable Joy only because of His love. Again, I thank you Father for all that you have shown me - I am forever grateful.

Now, over three years have passed since I lost Faith and even though I miss her terribly, I have moved on. Yes, there is life after losing a baby. I didn't believe that for a long time but I definitely do now. The last year in particular has been just wonderful. I have basked in the gift of family and dived into parenting my precious children, Jace and Savannah. Chris and I continue to grow in our relationship and I can honestly say that all the struggle we endured just made our bond stronger. I began working full-time at the kid's school and enjoyed the fellowship I found there with strong Christian women. I developed new friendships that I found fun, extremely supportive, and exciting and realized that God had a different life planned for me that I thought all along. Sometimes, when you sit back and look over the past years, you see it all come together and you are MORE thankful than ever. We tend to only see the small puzzle pieces as we are walking along our path, but He can see the finished puzzle way ahead of time. As I sat this March and looked back on what I thought was the "finished puzzle" of my struggle with infertility, miscarriage, and pregnancy, I was completely satisfied. Completely content. Completely thankful. I was happy to move on to another chapter in my life - one where getting pregnant didn't consume my every thought. Hallelujah! Where babies and breastfeeding and diaper changing were all part of the past. Where I totally enjoyed having the two kids I had and watching them grow up to be independent and self-sufficient - without longing for more. Where I was beginning to be "me" again... more than just a mommy and a wife (although that is my favorite part!) A Christian woman... a person in and of myself... a friend... a woman who had survived infertility... a teacher... a traveler, even...

And then, He did it again.

Just when I thought I knew just where I was headed - when I had it all planned out - He pulled a fast one on me.

In April - the day before Easter to be exact - I found out that I was pregnant.
Let's sit for a second and let that sink in, shall we?

Pregnant, Lord? Really? At 36 years old? When I am completely content, have moved on, and am fine NOT being pregnant, you then give me another child? What in the world?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Remembering Faith...

Thank you to Carly in Australia who has a wonderful ministry - To Write Their Names in the Sand. This ministry is used while remembering little ones who have passed on. What a blessing she is to those who mourn and hurt as they long for the babies who rest in arms of Jesus now. Thank you Carly for remembering Faith. This picture means so much to me. As we approach what would have been her 2nd birthday, I am reminded of what I don't have but I rest in knowing what I do - a God that loves me beyond words. May she rest in His precious Agape love until I can get there to hold her.

Remembering Faith...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Phone calls from hell.... Our Story, Part 16

Have you ever received a phone call from hell? I have.
You see, when you are a deeply troubled, weeping, depressed, and mourning mother of a child that you never got to meet and who seemed to have been ripped from your womb too early for your understanding, any phone call from another who tells you she is pregnant seems to be from hell.... I guarantee you. I know this sounds awful - probably not the nicest of ways to put it but I promise you, that is how I felt when I received them. I know others who have experienced the same calls and they assure me that they too dread those calls - they are completely and utterly unbearable. These particular calls that I am speaking of came right after Christmas - only 4 months after I lost Faith and while I was in a very bad place. And they were from two very special people in my life that I love deeply which makes this post harder than I thought to write down. Those calls came from my best friend and my precious niece.

Satan was having a field day with me and the thoughts that I had during the weeks following those phone calls were heart-breaking. How did I become this person, I wondered? How could I be so cruel? What I knew and believed about God and my life deep down in my heart was being removed by fear, doubt, pain, and lies. The insatiable pain that I was experiencing was completely ruling my life and I desperately wished that those women were not pregnant. Not because I wanted them to hurt - I never wished that. It was just that I wanted to stop hurting and the thought of them growing babies and feeling those babies inside them while mine laid in a box somewhere was more than I could take. I was crumbling... fading away... silently but surely. Very few knew of my pain. Very few knew the dark place that I had descended. I cried for hours and hours and hours. I couldn't tell anyone how I really felt - what kind of Christian and Christ-follower could I be when I had such horrible thoughts? I had proclaimed Christ mighty and awesome and had stayed strong throughout my battle with infertility until victory came through Savannah's birth. How could I explain to everyone that I was turning my back on what I knew and I was allowing the pain to take over? I was passionately sad. I was deeply troubled. I was losing sight of what was Right and Good. I was spiraling into a deep depression and I wasn't sure if I could ever get out.

As I look back on those months, I cry even now. I was so beyond devastated and I could not see clearly the road ahead. It was a terrific pit. A deep dark pit from hell itself. How in the world could I ever recover after such a devastating blow?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

God Provides... Our Story - Part 15

Forgive me if the following content is a bit depressing and hard to handle, but it is what it is and it is a part of our story...

When we left the hospital, we had to make a decision about what to do with our baby. We could either sign to have the remains sent home with us for a official burial or we could allow Seton (which is a Christian/Catholic hospital who is pro-life) to bury Faith along side other little ones who passed away early in their little lives. I looked to my husband to make the decision. I was so spent that I felt I could not make any more decisions. I was still in shock and numb...

My husband was very adamant that we should not bring the baby home with us and since I know my husband as well as I do, I know exactly why. He knew that it would most likely prolong my grief knowing that the baby was in my hands - literally - and that I was now in charge of doing something with her remains. You see, Chris is very cut and dry - there is no gray with him - it is either black or white and no shade in between and to him, our baby was gone. No longer with us. Already in heaven, in the arms of Jesus, and all that was left here was a shell of who she use to be. He did not want to prolong anything - especially my grief and since he is always looking our for me, he informed the nurses that we would allow Seton to handle the burial. I was in agreement. I signed the papers and asked when I could visit the grave sight. The nurse told me that it would take about a week or so for everything to be finalized and that someone would call me and let me know the exact place of burial along with a plot number. So, we packed up and left the hospital - heading home to my two kiddos who were waiting anxiously for mommy to return. Oh, I must admit, it was sad. I had totally gotten use to the idea of being a mom to three kids and now I was having to go back to being a mom of just two. Not that it wasn't enough - just that the thought was so hard and it hurt to leave that day without my second little girl. But life had to go on....

Weeks past and I heard nothing from the hospital. They hadn't called and to be honest, either had I. I had picked up right where I had left off and started back into our daily life and daily routine. School had already begun for my son and he was now in third grade! My daughter was growing like a weed and I was enjoying being home with her. I was attending Bible study again and having my daily devotionals every morning with my Bible and coffee in hand. All in all - things were feeling pretty normal. I was going through life without really mourning. I felt pretty good and guess I attributed it all to God. I thought, "wow, how am I functioning? I am not usually this strong - I guess I have just grown in my faith enough and that God is allowing me to move on without too much strife". Oh, how I was wrong... this was just the calm before the storm.

About 2 months after the miscarriage and D&C, I decided to call the hospital to see where Faith was buried. I wasn't planning on going there at that very moment but knew that one day, I would need to go. As I finished up my devotional that morning, I sat on my couch - in the same place that I sat EVERY morning of EVERY day and made the phone call. All was quiet in my house. Jace was at school, Savannah was still asleep along with my hubby and it was just me, God, and my coffee. I called Seton and this is how the conversation went:

Me: "Yes, I recently had a miscarriage and gave permission for the hospital to bury our baby. They told me they would call with a plot number, etc. a while back but I hadn't heard anything. Can you help me find where our baby is?"
Nurse: "When did you have the D&C?"
Me: "August 14th"
Nurse: "Hold on one moment."
After what seemed like a lifetime, she finally returned."
Nurse: "Um, mam? I am sorry but your baby has not been buried yet."
Me - stunned: "Um, excuse me, what?"
Nurse: "Uh, yes mam, your baby has still not been buried."
Me: "May I ask why???"
Nurse: "Oh sweetie, to be honest, they wait until they have a large number of babies who have passed away and then they bury them all together. The remains are still here but will be buried soon. We will call with the plot number as soon as we have it."

I couldn't move. I couldn't even muster up a "thank you" to that poor woman. They had just told me that my baby - MY BABY - was in a box somewhere deteriorating away, waiting to be put in the ground MONTHS after she passed away? I sat in silence, starring into space. And finally, I began to cry - really cry - for the very first time since I left that hospital 8 weeks prior.

My baby - my flesh and blood - my precious little one is sitting in a box somewhere with a bunch of other poor babies who died as well - just waiting for someone to lay them to rest. What kind of sick joke is this? I was devastated and as I began to get more and more upset, I just finally closed my eyes and began to passionately pray...

"Where are You God?!!!!
In all this, where are You?
Why did You allow this to happen?
Why is my baby in a box somewhere and not growing in my belly?
Why did this happen to me!
Tell me!!!
Where are you? Why can't I understand....
WHERE ARE YOU, God????!!!!!"

I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed and then I opened my eyes...
And right where I sat on EVERY morning of EVERY day before this particular day I saw this...

Never before had I seen this image. Never before had the light of sun reflected in such a precious and miraculous way. Never before had He sent such an unmistakably sign of His love and His understanding. But on this morning and in this minute, He moved the sun just for me, that I might see that He was right where He needed to be...

Where was He?
I asked and His answered...

He was right there. (Why did I ever question Him?)
He was right there with me all along.
He was right there with her in that box. He was right there with Faith in Heaven. He was right there catching every tear. He was right there... He was right there all along.

It was a grueling day but as I look back on it I see that once again, in the depths of my most horrific pain, He was there and He provided. On a day when the pain of her death FINALLY became a reality, He provided a tangible sign of His love for me to cling to and I praise Him for it.

Let me go ahead and say that the months to follow were the most painful of my life as I sunk into a very deep depression. All that I had read about grieving mothers who had suffered miscarriages explained that most women will have a period of shock and numbness before they move on to grieving the baby that they lost. It was most definitely true for me. I didn't experience true grief until many months following her death but I tried to always remember this particular morning when the God of the Universe decided to converse with little ol' me.

Take my word for it - nothing can ease the pain of a hurting child like the touch of God - believe me. And on that morning, He appeared to me right when I needed Him the most.

Oh thank you Father.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Savannah wide-eyed and full of excitement: "Guess what, Mama?! Guess WHAT?!!!!"
Me: "What, Savannah, what?!"
Savannah: "I have baby Jesus living in my heart! Ms. Lisa told me I do (Ms. Lisa is her preschool teacher)!
Me: "YOU DO?!! That is so awesome! I do too!"
Savannah screeching: "You do? That IS awesome - yes, it is!"
Me: "Savannah, do you also have the older Jesus who died on the cross for you and me (trying to make sure she was putting two and two together) in your heart too?"
Savannah: "Ummm, not really. Well, maybe just a "wittle bit". Mostly I just have the baby Jesus in my heart."

I guess for now, I will take just the Baby Jesus in my three year old's heart. That is better than nothing! (:

Merry Christmas!
Love, Brandy

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A 3 year old's dream?

My 3 year old daughter Savannah spent a good portion of last week unintentionally toying with my emotions. For about 5 days straight, she continually thanked God for her "new brother". The first day, it was took me by surprise and we laughed about it; the second day I started to ponder the thought along with a chuckle; the third day my son Jace asked me if there was something that he should know which I of course assured him that there was not; the 4th day I began to wonder if she was prophetic; and on the fifth day, i was ready to take a pregnancy test. I am sure, that when I get to that point, my husband wants to bury his head and duck for cover not knowing how I will react to whatever news I get. Poor guy - he is defintely a saint.

Well, no surprise here, the test was negative but I have to say I was a bit disappointed. SHOCKER - right? Is the fact that I still get disappointed when I see the words NOT PREGNANT a shock to anyone? Probably not but I have to say that I get frustrated with myself knowing that this can still be an issue. After all that God has done for me and after all that I have been delivered from - there is still a part of me that longs for another child and secretly wants to see the words PREGNANT again. I guess I am a glutton for punishment.

Now, I know full well that this is not healthy in any way, shape, or form. Believe me, you don't have to tell me this. It borders on obsession really, and possibly idol worship and that concerns me "on oh, so many levels" as my son would say. I want to be free of this for good - COMPLETELY free but I am beginning to think that is not what my God has planned. (:

So for now; I admit my faults, I hold on tight while I am on this roller coaster ride, and I wait to see what God has in store for me. I know it will be good and I trust Him WAY more than I trust any beautiful, precious, dramatic, God-fearing 3 year old with a dream! (:


Thursday, November 13, 2008

If you follow my blog, go over to the right of the page, scroll down and hit "FOLLOW THIS BLOG". I have added the feature and would love to know who is our there reading our story. Blessings on you!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Just hang on...

It has been a while. I have not blogged at all lately and I have to say that it is not because I have not wanted to or that God has not been working in my life but because I am working full time again outside of the home!! Whew, it is harder than I remember but then again, I do have two children now with busy social calendars! (:
I am working at the kid's school and I must say that I love it. It is so nice to work at a place where everyone loves the Lord and prays for one another. There is nothing better than arriving at work and being able to share Christ all day long with anyone and everyone you come into contact with. I am so blessed to have this job and I am so grateful to God.
God placed something on my hear the other day and I wanted to share it with all of you....
Long ago when I was in the throws of despair and depression and suffering with infertility, I was searching for wisdom and comfort in books that had been written by other ladies who were suffering with the same problems as me. There was one book that I read that had stories of ladies who were barren and unfortunately, they all remained barren throughout the book. No one ever got pregnant, no one ever had that positive pregnancy test; they all just found comfort and deliverance in God alone. Now at the time, I was not at all ready for that nor did I understand it. I was quite put out with this book and the fact that NO ONE had their prayer answered. Would I be just like them?
One particular story stayed with me about a lady who never had children but felt sure that God had a plan where she would mother someone, even if it weren't her own flesh and blood. Much later in her life, she began mentoring young ladies at her church and became a "mother-figure" to them all in a spiritual sense. She was so pleased after all of the years that she suffered with being barren, to finally be a mother to someone. I never "got it". I never understood how that could fulfill that very strong desire she had to be a mom. Oh I prayed, please Lord, I do not want that. I want my own child - not just "other people's children".
Thankfully, the Lord rescued me from my own sad and dark place by blessing me with another child but then allowed me to get pregnant all over again, just to lose that baby. I thought I would never recover. It felt like the final blow. How in the world could He deliver me again to a place where I could live fully without that precious baby? I felt like it wasn't possible.
But we all know the story... I am here and can say with all honesty that He has completely delivered me and healed me from the inside out. And just like that lady in the book that I read so many years ago, I feel as though He has blessed me with a multitude of children that are not even my own. Not only to I get to love on, mentor, and teach 14 three and four year olds two days a week, I have been blessed with a great group of kids in my son's 5th grade class that I have grown to know and love. I feel as though these children are my own in a way. God has taken me to a place where I now understand where that precious lady was coming from. These kids may not be my own flesh and blood but they are mine in Christ and He has graciously placed them in my life for a purpose all of His own. I am so thankful to have my own two children here, one up in Heaven and in the arms of Jesus, and more than 50 others at RRCA too. I could not be more blessed and I am forever thankful to God above for my most precious blessings.
If you are suffering as I did for so long - hang on, dear one. There is relief coming soon. It may be in the form of a child in your womb or by adoption, it may in the form of mentoring other children in the name of Christ, or it may be in the form of Christ Himself. In any way, you will NOT be disappointed. His plan is the best plan and you too will one day see it for yourself.
Just hang on....

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My darling little one...

It was a good day. Way better than I expected.

I received a personal word from God this morning...
Support from friends this afternoon...
Love from my family this evening...
And flowers from my Tammy just like last year...

On this August 14th, I remembered Faith and celebrated her the best way I knew how.
I rejoiced in God, thanked Him for my life, and began to move on with the help and the love of Jesus.

See you one day soon, my darling little one.
Love, Mommy

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My blessings...

Oh, and I thought I would post a picture of my blessings... the smiles and the eyes and those faces that keep me going everyday and thrill my heart beyond words:

Aren't they just beautiful?!

I am in love with my life.

I am in love with these children.

And I am so thankful for them!

Has it already been a year?

Tomorrow is the 2 year anniversary of baby Faith's going Home to see Jesus. I can not believe that it has been a full year since I started blogging "Our story". It has definitely been therapeutic in so many ways. I do feel free of the intense pain that I felt when I started this blog but there still a small empty place in my heart where Faith will always be. I wish desperately that I could have held her and celebrated her milestones just as I am doing with my other children now but I know that God had bigger and better plans for her by taking her Home. I pray that as I reflect on her little short life and all that has transpired since, I remember that God has been in control all along. Over the last year, He has renewed me and delivered me just as He did when I had Savannah. In that instance, He delivered me by giving her to me and answering prayer but in this instance, He delivered me merely by His presence, His word, and His love. I can't say that is one is better than the other because they are both from Him, but I can say that I have accepted His plan for me fully and do not plan on turning back.

Who knows what will happen from here. My 35th b-day came and went and I am still standing. I knew He would see me through. It was an incredibly emotional week but it passed and I know that was because of Him and His reminders of all that is good in my life. My future is totally in His hands and I would not have it any other way.

From here on out... I am not looking back unless He instructs me to. And I will take whatever He sends my way. Not because I am strong enough but strictly because I love Him more than anything.

Think of Faith tomorrow if you would. She is quite blessed - she has seen what none of us have. The eyes, the face, and the arms of Jesus.

Wow. What a precious and sweet thought.

Thank you...

John 10:10 - "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."

I indeed have abundant life in spite of the trials and sufferings that I have faced. You are my everything, God and I am more grateful for everything than I am sad about anything.
Thank you my Lord.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I think the funk is lifting...

Feeling better today and I am thankful.

Played a little paintball with my family and some great friends all morning. We all have the bruises to prove it. Then, we went swimming at a friend's for the afternoon. It was nice and relaxing - full of fun and blessings.

A friend brought her newest addition to the pool and he is just precious. I held him and loved him and put him to sleep by swaying, patting, bouncing and shhhhing. He just melted in my arms. Boy, I miss that but I was OK with giving him back and that is HUGE in my book. Some days the pain is still there and too much to bear and on some days I can not imagine going back to that place in parenting. I think that is what I call progress. Not that I wouldn't ever do it all over again but the fact that I am OK with not having a baby on most days is good enough for me.

1 day to go and I am feeling like I can do it. God has worked on me and has comforted me since my last post 48 hours ago and I feel like the "funk" is lifting.

On to celebrating new memories, new chapters, and new life... even if they do not come from me. (:

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Closing the chapter...

I always said that I wanted to have all of my children by the time I was 35. My hubby and I always said that we would try until that time and then once it was here, we would close the chapter on trying to have babies no matter what we had been through.

Well, I turn 35 on this Sunday, August 3rd and in a last ditch effort to have one more baby before that day arrived, we tried very hard to get pregnant this last month. I tested today and my test was negative.

I guess I have my answer...

On this birthday coming up, I will celebrate the two most beautiful, smart, funny, charismatic, precious, and spiritually aware children that anyone could ever have. I am forever grateful for them and the gift that God gave me in them.

I will also mourn the loss of the child I wished I could be holding right now. She would have been 16 months old and her name is Faith. She is real and not many remember - only a few. But I remember her and I will never forget.

I will celebrate my husband of almost 13 years and thank God for giving me the most understanding, compassionate, passionate, caring, and loving man that I could have ever asked for. Without him, I would have never survived all these years of infertility.

I will also mourn the loss of my dream... the dream of being a mom many times over. The loss of being able to shout out to my husband "I am pregnant!!" just one more time. The loss of seeing my belly grow in anticipation of a new little life. The loss of having the big family that I so desperately longed for. The loss of seeing my son get to be a big brother again and my daughter never getting "the baby sister" that she has asked for.

But, as hard as it will be on that day, I will wholeheartedly celebrate God and the path that He chose for me. Even though it is not my choice exactly and not what I want in regards to having more children, I will always want Him more. And in order to have Him fully in my life, glorify Him, and worship Him, I must accept His plan.

I will ask Him to help me because I sure feel weak right now.
I will ask Him to be my strength because I feel like I do not have any.
I will ask Him to forgive me for wanting something other than what He wants because I know (and He knows) that I still do.
I will ask Him to catch my tears because there are plenty at this time.
And even though I know I shouldn't, I admit that I will beg Him to change His mind and allow me just one more miracle.

But as sure as the sun sets, I believe I will see Him "stick to His guns".
Not because He can not perform the miracle that I so desperately want but because He will not perform it if it is not a part of His will and His plan for my life. He will only allow in my life what He knows I can handle and what will in turn, bring glory to Him. I accept that plan because He is my God and my Savior and because I love Him. He allows it because He loves me.

3 days to go until the chapter is finished...

3 days to go until I can be done...

3 days to go until I can close the book and hopefully not look back...

God - help me. I can not do this one alone.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

What in the world happened today?????

I had a brief momentary lapse of reasoning and had myself a little hissy fit and a pity party all at once! I had a horribly bad attitude... and had it all even while at church!! Brave - hun?

I had a friend of mine who I adore and love tell me that she is expecting her third baby in February. After hugging her and telling her how happy I was (and I assure you that I am)I just suddenly got mad as I walked away. Madder than heck!

This is when I became schizophrenic!
I began thinking - why in the world can she get three and I can't?
Then I thought - why am I acting like this? How dare me!
Then I thought - I have a right to be upset... I can not exercise my ability to have children like most women can!
Then I replied with - You have 2 children that were given to you by God! How selfish are you?
The I said - I guess I am selfish and sometimes, I just have to be. I can't always be good.
And then I said - that is when you have to give it up and allow Him to take over.

I can not do it all, everyday, by myself. Some days, I need God to be my strength and I need to just be mad. Then as I confess it and give it over, He frees me of it... little by little.

One day, it won't hurt anymore. I am sure of it. God promises COMPLETE deliverance and redemption. My day is coming...

When I got home from church and I was looking for any word of wisdom in the midst of my fit, I began flipping through a little table top devotional that I received at my ladies retreat this past year. I flipped in a panic hoping and praying that God would have word for me. Even if that word was "SHUT UP!"

This is what I found:
"I confess to You, that I am overwhelmed by the task ahead, but I am thankful that You have authority over all things. Heaven is Your throne and earth is your footstool (Matthew 5:34-35): therefore, anything over my head is under Your feet." - Beth Moore

Praise God that He didn't tell me to SHUT UP! (:
Once again, He is here right in the middle of my pain. I know that until my day comes when I no longer long for more children or the child that I lost, He will be there every step of the way. Guiding me... encouraging me... hearing me... and loving me.

Isn't He good even when everything seems bad!

Philippians 4:13- "I can do everything through him who gives me strength."

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Maybe one day... Our story, Part 14

August 14th & 15th, 2006-

We walked in the door and our son met us in the hallway. He bounced over to us with his wide toothy grin and gave me a big hug.

"How is the baby?", he said.

"Well, Buddy..." I stopped for a minute, "there is something that Daddy and I need to talk to you about."

"That baby is dead, isn't it?", he said.

Did he just say that to us? I couldn't believe it... I looked to my mom to see if she had said anything to him before we had got there and she shook her head 'no' with tears in her eyes. I looked back at those big brown eyes that were staring up at me and continued...

"Why do you say that, bud?"

"I just know... the baby is dead, right?", he repeated.

"Well, yes sweetie. Our baby is not alive. It is up in heaven with Jesus.", I said.

"I knew it.", he said softly.

He gave me a squeeze and walked away. I gave him a few moments and then went to check on him. He was crying... sitting on our stairs - alone. It was a moment that was very hard for us all but I remember feeling very strong at that time. I didn't cry, I just told him it was going to be OK and that God had a plan and that His plan is best. I truly believe that God gave me the words and provided me with the strength that I needed to get through that conversation. But, I thought and still think it was quite interesting that Jace knew before we got home. I guess that sometimes kids just know... maybe God prepares their little hearts. Sometimes, we think they don't or that they can't somehow comprehend things of this caliber but much to our surprise, they can. God made them so precious and so perfect and so wonderful and so smart. Sometimes, I think they know more than we do because their faith is so pure.

Our son never asked about why or when or how. He just accepted what had happened and the explanation that I had given him. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all do that when times get hard? Just accept what God had for us and moved on.

I knew the next day would be hard but I was ready to get the surgery over with. I went through the rest of the day completely numb. I had no feeling at all, really. It was strange. I remember talking to my best friend on the phone who was away in Colorado and her crying when I told her. I remember that I was consoling her and telling her that it was going to be OK. In turn, you would have thought that I would have been the one who was sobbing and needing to be consoled but I wasn't. God was right there with me, holding my hand and providing all that I needed to make it through. I give absolutely NO credit to me... I am absolutely NOT capable of handling these types of situations - especially the death of my own child but God was so good to me and delivered me once again when I needed it most. How could I ever thank Him enough? My heart swells with gratefulness when I think on it... I could have started a downward spiral into the depths of depression right there at that very moment but he rescued me that day and gave me peace I needed. Once again, He had shown Himself mighty and precious and our relationship was taken to a new level even in the midst of my grief.

The next morning came quickly and we prepared for the D&C. I don't remember much but I do remember still feeling numb. I was just going through the motions at this point. We signed in, headed back, got the IV, spoke to the doctor, and waited for our turn. What conversation Chris and I had that morning was smalltalk. There was no talk of the baby. I didn't want to loose that strength that I had found in the last 24 hours.

They came for me and I said goodbye to my hubby. He stroked my hair, kissed my forehead, and smiled sweetly. I knew what he was saying... and he didn't even have to say it at all. They wheeled me away and as I stared at the ceiling and the lights that zoomed past one by one, I began to feel tremendous pain. My heart began to hurt and I began to cry. We stopped in a room and a woman with a surgical mask bent over me and saw my face. My eyes locked onto hers and before I drifted off to sleep, she said these words...

"God is with you and your baby. He will take care of you".

I nodded my head and fell asleep.

Even there on that surgery table where all is sterile and cold and lonely, God appeared once again and provided some much needed peace and understanding through one of his servants. I never got that nurse's name nor saw her face again but I wish I could have said thank you to her. Maybe one day, I will get to.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Always There... Our Story, Part 13

As Chris and I left our doctor's office, we felt completely numb and totally in shock. What I had always dreaded most in my life was happening - we had lost one of our children. Even though I did not hold this baby in my arms, I felt I knew this baby already. She had grown in my belly and was purposed by God and to me, she was just as real as my son and daughter were. I love her already and the fact that she was no longer, was more than my brain or my heart could wrap around.

We had talked with my doctor and had decided to go ahead with a D&C instead of waiting for the actual miscarriage so we headed downstairs to the surgery center to sign papers and get all the info that we needed. It would be scheduled for the next morning.

While we sat and as I filled out paper work, I told my husband to call my mom who was at home watching our kiddos. I asked him to let her know what was going on without too much detail and for him to tell her NOT to tell the kids. I wanted to be able to tell them myself when we got home - especially Jace. He made the call... he was sweet and gentle and filled her in. She didn't believe him at first but he pressed the issue until she figured out that this was not some sort of sick joke. This was actual happening and now her baby had lost a baby of her own.

We signed the paperwork and prepared to go home to tell our children, especially our son, what had happened with the baby. We were walking toward the door and I saw a piece of paper folded up and lying in front of me. I picked it up thinking that maybe I had dropped one of the papers from the hospital but imagine my surprise when I opened it and all I saw were these words:

ROMANS 8:38-39 - "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

My God is always there - just when I need Him most. Our God is so good... even in the midst of my deepest sorrow and grief, He appeared and set my heart at ease. It didn't remove the pain that I was feeling but it lessened it by reminding me how much He loved me and how NOTHING could separate me from that great love. They were the perfect words from a perfect God that an imperfect person needed at a perfect time. Praise you Father.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

"Our Nightmare" - Our Story, Part 12

This pregnancy was a HUGE surprise but very welcomed. We were thrilled and overjoyed to be expecting a third baby and especially after only trying for one month! How good is God?! We were also, to be completely honest, scared to death! When this baby was due to be born, my little girl would only be 26 months old. Wow. I did not know how I was going to do it. When I had Savannah, my son was 7!! I had never had two babies in the house at once but I knew that God would take care of it all. I didn't need to worry about the future right now. All I had to worry about at this very moment was the excruciating nausea that was about to hit and how I was going to keep myself out of the hospital this time around.

Like clockwork, at 5 1/2 weeks along, I started to feel sick. Not horribly sick, just that constant and nagging feeling of nausea that lasted all day and all night long. I took that to be a good sign! This must be a strong baby and a healthy pregnancy. I felt this way with both of my others and they were just fine. I called my OB/GYN and asked for a blood test to confirm my dates. I went in and had my blood drawn and they called that afternoon to say that everything was OK. My levels weren't high and they were not low - they were perfectly in the middle. I hung up the phone and awaited the next blood draw that would take place in 48 hours. My levels should have doubled by that time and then after that I would go in for an ultrasound. We were on our way to having another little miracle...

BUT, something felt wrong to me. I wasn't getting SUPER sick like I did with my son or my daughter. I was very nauseated but I wasn't throwing my guts up and I hadn't ended up in the hospital yet for dehydration. Hmmmm. Then, we we received our second test results, the levels had doubled like they were supposed to, but just barely. It made me very nervous and I remember talking to my mom, my husband, and my sister who assured me that all was OK - that I was just having some anxiety over it all. I had to admit that they were right... everything looked OK but something still seemed wrong. I decided to try to place it out of my mind and move forward with the pregnancy. Had I not learned to rely on God and stop looking to myself for answers?!!! My goodness... hadn't He shown me enough in the past for me to just trust Him completely and not take it all in my own hands?! Boy, we sometimes can be so stubborn.

I went in for a ultrasound at about 5 1/2 to 6 wks. knowing what to expect. Since I was an OB/GYN nurse who also worked for 4 years as an OB ultrasound technician, I knew just what I was going to see on the screen. I needed to see two things for me to feel comfortable. One, that the pregnancy was inside the uterus and two, I needed to see a yolk sac. For those of you who do not know what that is, it is a little white appearing ring seen during those scans - you can see it before you can see the baby! It is the source of nutrition for the baby that is visible in the early weeks prior to the placenta taking over. At that visit, I saw one out of the two things. The pregnancy was in the uterus but I saw no yolk sac. The nurse assured me that that could be normal and that I could be off on my dates, etc. For me not to worry and that they would see me back in 3 weeks for another ultrasound. OK, I thought... I just need to get through 3 weeks and once I see that baby and it's heartbeat, I will feel much better.

We left the doctor and pondered what I saw on the scan quite a bit. Would the baby be OK? Is everything growing the way it should? Did we press our luck and ask for too much? Could the office have missed something? My mind was wondering and I was beginning to panic again. I had to just stop and take a deep breath. "All is OK", I kept telling myself. Stop thinking the worse...

The next 3 weeks seemed to take forever. I took my Zofran every 8 hours and kept the nausea at bay the best I could. I never threw up and for that I was thankful. The few days prior to my ultrasound, I seemed to feel a little better. I was up, moving around and taking care of my kids. I felt like the Zofran was working and I was feeling quite good to be 8.5 weeks along. At this time in my last pregnancy, I was in the hospital for the second straight week about to receive a central line so they could feed me. This go around, I was up and trying to play with my 18 month old. I thought it could be an answer to prayer! We had prayed for me not to be so sick and I was hoping that was why I was feeling like I was feeling.

On August 14th, 2006, my husband and I went in to see my doctor. We purposely left our 8 year old behind "just in case" something were wrong. As I hopped on the table so the ultrasound technician could do her thing, I was grinning from ear to ear. I couldn't wait to see that little teddy bear on the screen with that heart going a mile a minute. I knew this pregnancy was different and even though I had allowed those feelings of uncertainity to come in and haunt me for the prior 3 weeks, I was still optimistic about what God was doing in my womb. I was ecstatic to be having another little miracle. The young lady who started my scan never turned the screen my way - which totally annoyed me. Didn't she know that I was there to see my baby and didn't she know that I KNEW what I was looking at. I wasn't some patient who didn't have a clue what was going on - I use to work with this very doctor for goodness sake!

"May I look please?", I said to her.

"Um, let me get a few measurements. You know I can not say anything to you. You have to wait for the doctor".

Whatever, I thought. Just show me the screen already!!! She never did. She kept looking, and pushing buttons, and measuring, and ignoring me. I was getting anxious.

"I want to see the screen", I told her again.

She repeated herself, "I can not tell you anything about the scan."

"I know that", I said. "Just let me see my baby".

She tore off the pictures and turned it toward me. There on the screen was my precious baby. A little part of me and my husband. My children's sibling and my parent's grandchild. But this time around, I could tell there was no life there. It lay motionless, with no heartbeat, and measured only 7weeks and 5 days. My baby had been dead for almost a week and deep down, I think I had known it.

She hurried out of the room and I turned to my husband and began to cry. He was smiling because he had no idea what he was looking at. He thought all was OK.

"That is not a normal baby. That baby is not alive. Our baby is not alive!!"

By that point I was sobbing and shaking uncontrollably. My hubby said that maybe I was wrong and that maybe everything was actually OK but I told him otherwise. I knew what I had seen on that screen and I knew what I had been feeling deep down in my gut all this time was true... and yet, I couldn't believe it. I was in total shock. I was definitely pregnant again, but this time my ending wasn't going to be a fairytale... it was turning into a nightmare.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Is this a joke? Our Story - Part 11

Chris and I were blessed and we knew it. There was nothing that would make me feel otherwise. We had a beautiful marriage, two fantastic miraculous children, a family that loved us, a great group of friends, good health; all around, we had a full life. There wasn't much more that I would have asked for. Not even another child. I was truly happy inside and out for the first time in a very long time and I felt like nothing could rock my world like infertility had. The worst was over... it was a cake walk from here.

In April of 2006, Chris and I had decided to once again, let God be in complete control over our reproductive life. We were so trained in knowing that pregnancy did not come easy for us that the thought of another child wasn't really even an option. I told him that I would LOVE another child but if it didn't happen, I was OK with that. He said that he was open to it if God wanted it for us but that we would not do any medication, treatments, doctors - nothing. I was good with that. We prayed about it and gave ourselves a time limit. We'll be conscious of ovulation for 6 months and if after 6 months of trying, we have had no "luck", we would know that it was time to close the book on having babies and move onto to a new chapter in our lives. We felt that since we were both on the same page and since neither of us had any word from God that we shouldn't try, that we would proceed and see what happens.

May came and you will have to excuse the term, we went for it. I think I did an ovulation predictor kit but nothing else. We prayed, I elevated my hips, and we left it in God's hands.

I didn't really count down the days after that. I always started on a Saturday and figured that if a couple of Saturdays went by and I hadn't started, that I would do a test then. Chris was never one to want me to test any earlier than the day of my missed period, so I just waited. My hands were full with a 8 1/2 year old and an 18 month old anyway so I didn't have much time to think about it.

Two weeks came around and that Saturday afternoon I was lying on the living room floor playing with Savannah and it struck me that I had not started my period yet. I still had plenty of time left in the day but Chris was about to leave to run to the store and on his way out I told him to pick a test up. He actually asked "why" and I told him that I suppose to start that day and if I didn't, it would save him a trip later. He kinda smirked the smirk he always smirked when I told him to get me a test and went on his way. You see, me doing pregnancy tests was nothing new. We probably should have purchased some sort of stock in one of those companies. I wouldn't doubt if the amount of money spent on those tests topped the $1000 mark. It was nothing new and the results usually weren't either. Mind you, out of all of them, it was only positive twice in my life.

He returned and I went to the bathroom to do the test. Imagine my surprise when I pulled that stick out and before my very eyes could focus on the test window, there was a plus sign on it. I gasped and then just started laughing hysterically. Are you kidding me? Is this a joke? We tried for years and years to finally have our baby girl and this time, we actually tried for one month and got pregnant?!?! I thought to myself, "Lord, you sure do have a sense of humor". I imagined Him laughing at me... sitting up there watching, saying "I can do anything, My child. Anything I want. It just has to be My way - My plan - My timing because My way is the best way for you". I ran quickly out into the living room and started cracking up as I handed my hubby the test. Chris knew as soon as he saw me - he didn't even have to look at the test.

"You have got to be kidding me", he said.

"Nope", I said. " I guess my gut feeling was right. He does want us to have more children!"

We hugged and laughed and smiled and laughed some more. It was a really great day. Jace was in shock but happy. All he requested was that "this time it be a boy". (:

God showed Himself mighty and powerful once again and we praised Him over and over for it. How in the world could we deserve this kind of happiness? I was astonished and thrilled. More babies to come? Wow! What a tremendous blessing. I didn't think that I could have been any happier after Savannah's birth but suddenly, I was.

Another little miracle was on it's way...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Deliverance is here...

Rejoicing with a fellow blogger today on her own "D-Day".
M - Deliverance is here.
I praise Him with you and your Babe.
Blessings -

Friday, January 4, 2008

Enough? Not yet... Our story - Part 10

The months that followed Savannah's birth were glorious. I felt like I was at a place of complete peace. I felt like I had truly been delivered from all of the pain and the heartache that I had suffered with for so long. To be honest, I was on cloud nine! My family was in a great place and I was so thankful for my gifts. Nothing could be better than what I was experiencing as a mother and as a wife.

I savored every moment of having my daughter and of the months to come. The c-section, the recovery, the scars, the colic, the long nights with no sleep, the breastfeeding, the jaundice, the droopy body, the extra weight, the endless days at home - I really LOVED every part of being a mommy again. I felt as though everything in my life was perfect.

One day shortly after Savannah was born, I remember sitting in my bedroom talking with my husband. The conversation is as vivid in my mind today as the day she was born! We had been talking about her birth and the miraculousness of it when I stopped him in mid sentence and said...

"I want more."

There was a very looooooooooong pause and then silence. He just looked at me and grinned. He knew I was having one of those "Brandy moments".

Please play along, I thought. Don't tell me that I am crazy...

Chris, being the very rational person that he is, carefully said to me, "Be thankful for the children we have, honey, and stop always wanting more. It was hard enough to get these two. Let's just enjoy them!"

"I know, I know... and I do! I do enjoy them." I said. "I enjoy them so much that I have the desire to have more! It is possible! Look what God has done for us thus far. Look at these beautiful children! What if He has more in store for us? Would you be OK with more children?"

"Of course, I would." He said. "If God wants us to have more, then we will have more. BUT don't even think about infertility treatments, medications, or procedures. We are done with all that. We need to move on, honey."

Fair enough, I thought. I can handle that! If we are to have more - then we will. If we are not, then we won't. It was simple. I had the children that I had longed for, for so long and I would be fine with the 4 of us. It was really nice to be in that place... that place where I could really turn it over to Him without hesitation. I had never completely been there before. I knew - truly knew - in my heart that whatever happened in my future would be "Father-filtered" and would be just fine. I had my children - my two precious blessings and I felt great! I was so happy and I felt like nothing could take that feeling away from me.

Those months while I carried Savannah and the months following her birth were some of the most precious months of my life. Even though I continued to think about having more children, it did not consume me or my thoughts. I wanted God to work His plan for my life out in His way... I did not want to interfere but I couldn't help having the feeling deep down that we were not done. I can't explain it, I just felt it. I felt like there was something more to come. A child maybe? An adoption? Another miraculous birth? I didn't know what, but I felt it.

Scripture says the barren womb never cries "enough" and mine certainly hadn't.

I guess my womb just doesn't know when to stop...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

D-Day... Our Story - Part 9

May 24th, 2004.

It was a very special day. My little precious baby boy was graduating from Kindergarten!!! It was a full day for me, I remember. We, as room moms had tons to do to prepare for the graduation ceremonies that were to take place that evening. I had my morning coffee and quiet time as I always did and set out to meet the moms at Jace's school for a full day of work. We did work all day if I remember correctly - through lunch even and finally left at around 2pm to get some rest before having to be back by 6pm. I grabbed Jace from his teacher and off we went. On the way the home, we ran a few errands and I started to go over in my head all of the things I had to do before the evening started. Sitting in the car - on Gattis School Road, no less - I remember thinking to myself that I should be starting my period that day. I was feeling a bit emotional, a little bloated, and a little crampy. You know, the normal "I am about to start my period" feeling that we all get right before it happens. Even though I was not living my life in total desperation any more, we still tried every month to get pregnant and every month, I anxiously awaited my cycle day thinking maybe this would be the one month it wouldn't come. I had spent a pretty penny on pregnancy tests over the year, but had to do one every month just to be sure of my fate. This month was no different.

Remembering I had only $16.18 left in our checking account (ahh, the joys of only one parent working!) I was hesitant to spend it on a pregnancy test. I called a friend of mine who had recently found out she was pregnant and asked if her kit had a bonus test I could use. She said, "do you think you are pregnant???!!" I said, "no, I just want to know for sure, like I do every month. I want to start the summer with Jace free of any false hope. I just want to focus everything on him." Unfortunately, she did not have a test so I drove to a local Walgreen's to pick one up.

I went home, had Jace lay down for a while to rest and started the test. It always was negative and I knew this one was no different. I walked away to do a few things and came back to see the word "Error" printed on the digital read-out part of the pregnancy test.

Great. I had spent my last $16 on a test that was NO GOOD! I was perturbed, to say the least. Thank goodness I had bought one that had 2 tests in one box. I pulled out the old test and put a new one in. I waited a while and did the second test.

"Error" again.

As I pulled out the test strip from the digital part of the test, I noticed that there were two lines on the strip. Two lines. Not one, like the previous 53 cycles. Two. What does this mean, I thought??? The digital tests were fairly new on the market and I didn't know if they worked any differently than the old ones so I called the 800 number on the box, hoping that I would get a woman who would tell me that the lines meant I was, indeed, finally pregnant.

That did not happen. I should have known better... This was the story of my life.

The lady on the other end of the line explained that those lines meant nothing. They were not to be used in any way to determine a pregnancy result. Only the digital part of the test indicated a positive or negative result. Since my test had an error reading on it, chances were it was negative, but I would need to re-test. She offered to send me a new one through the mail, but that was not going to satisfy my need for finding out on that day. I thanked her and hung up. I was still perturbed.

The phone rang shortly after I hung up and it was my dear friend, Shannon (you know, one of ladies from my playgroup). I told her what had happened and she was going a little nuts. "You go and get a test right now, Brandy. What if it was really positive!!". I told her I was not holding my breath. I was cramping more by then and I had only an hour or so left before I had to be back at the school. Plus, I had no money left! She offered to buy the test and I told her she WAS nuts. I would just try to get new ones later on that night, after Jace had graduated. Maybe Walgreens would feel sorry for me and replace the ones that were defective. (: I felt no need to rush out... I wasn't feeling great and I knew the answer anyway.

My hubby came home early that night for the festivities and the strips were on the bathroom counter where I was getting ready. He saw them and looked at me with a blank stare. "What are these?", he said. I explained what all had happened to him and that I would re-test later that night. I remember saying "maybe" the two lines did mean something. He said, "Probably not. Don't get your hopes up". He was right and I wasn't going to. This month would be no different than any other.

Kindergarten graduation was great! Lots of family and friends joined us to celebrate the big day as Jace walked across the stage in a white cap and gown - complete with blue flip-flops. (That's my boy!) I couldn't believe my little one was growing up and even though I was sad to see it happen, I was also very excited about the years to come. He was growing into a wonderful little person and I was so thankful for his little life. "What would I have done without him?!?", I remember thinking. I was so grateful that he was given to me. I don't know how I would have lived without him. I praised God for his life and I knew I could never thank Him enough for giving me this precious blessing.

After the ceremony was over, we all piled into the chapel for a fun reception. The teachers had compiled a notebook from over the year for each parent from each of their children. It was full of their child's drawings, random poems, and pictures of their kid from throughout the year. It was precious. Jace's teacher had called me over the day before and told me about a particular picture that Jace had drawn so I was looking forward to seeing it. She had asked if there was something I needed to tell her. Not knowing what she talking about, I said, "Noooo, not that I know of. Why?" Apparently, Jace had drawn a picture under the heading "MY FAMILY PRAYS". In it was Chris, Jace, and me with a big fat belly. Inside that belly was a little tiny baby. When she asked him about my belly in the picture, he said that there was a baby in his mommy's tummy. That he prays with his mom and dad for a baby brother or a sister all the time. It was such a sweet picture. I have to say I couldn't help but thinking about the test that I had taken only a few hours earlier. Could this be a possibility??? Maybe Jace knew something I didn't. Now, wouldn't that be something. After dreaming for a while, I brought myself back down to where I needed to be - where I actually lived - in the present - where pregnancy was only a wish and not a reality.

After the ceremony and after we all went to dinner to celebrate Jace and his accomplishment, I asked Chris to stop and let me try to exchange the tests out. I remember what he said as he pulled into the Walgreens 2 minutes before they closed. "Don't get your hopes up and don't do the tests tonight. Wait until the morning."

"Why?", I asked.

I crack up as I think back on it. Being that I was a nurse and had fed him so much info on the subject, being that we had tried so many times and taken these tests over and over, he knew that my urine would be diluted that late at night. He wanted me to wait and make sure it was accurate since the first ones I took were defective.

Yeah, right.

I went home. I piddled around a bit and decided to do the test. I didn't tell him or make a big deal of it. I just did it. I placed it on the back on the toilet and walked away. I went and did a few things with Jace, went through some of his keepsakes that were given to us that night, and started to prepare him for bedtime. I actually almost forgot about it for a while. Then, as I came around the corner of my bedroom, I saw the light on in the bathroom, reminding me of the test. As I walked around the corner and peered over the toilet, I had no idea what was about to happen to me.

In one moment, all of my heartache would be over. All of the despair gone. All of the anger, sadness, and envy would just vanish. All of the brokenness repaired. All in that one moment, God would deliver me from my many years of pain and mend my broken heart. And in that precious moment my test read...


It was my D-day. My Deliverance Day. He did it! He had done it! He had Delivered me as only He could! PRAISE YOU FATHER GOD! PRAISE YOU!

Once I read the test, I remember that my entire body started to shake and I began to scream. I backed myself out of the water closet and stood there, unable to move, waiting for Chris to come to my side. I was still screaming when he came running around the corner. He looked scared, but I had no words to tell him what was wrong... I couldn't speak. I just pointed to the toilet with my hand shaking uncontrollably. I felt like I was going to faint. Chris turned around in time to catch me, with tears in his eyes and a grin on his face. I remember him holding me and all I could say through the tears was...

"Thank You, Jesus! Thank You, Jesus! Thank You, Jesus. Oh, Thank You, Jesus. Praise You God, Thank You God! Thank You, Jesus..."

Finally, my journey was complete. It was done. I had waited on the Lord and He delivered me as only He could. I was finally freed from the chains of infertility. And I was finally at peace. Completely at peace because of what ONLY HE could do for me.

I remember not being able to sleep that night. I woke up all night long just meditating on what He had done. I was unworthy... how many times did I scream at Him and question His plan? How many times did I lose faith and not trust Him? How many times did I question the plan He had laid out for me? How many times did I turn back on Him throughout the journey and try to take the reigns myself? Too many to count and yet, He still blessed me with this new little one growing in my belly. Thankfully, His love and His faithfulness is not dependent on me nor on anything I do or not do. His love is what it is because of Who HE is and What HE is. It is because of HIS character and HIS grace. Nothing I could do or say to Him would explain how grateful I was. I just kept saying it over and over and over and over again.

"Thank You... thank You... thank You... thank You...."

And I still do it today... I could never thank Him enough.

My life was about to change - yet again - by the grace of God and I was so ready. The 54th cycle was the one I had been waiting on and it was finally here. I sat back and remembered that "Wait on Me..." that I had heard in the months prior and pondered the sweetness of God. He could have let me sit in silence throughout all of those years, but He didn't. He showed me so much - some of it I got and some of it I didn't get until now. Through His word, through His blessings, through His character, and now through His grace I had completed this particular journey and I was finally coming out on the other side of it. I felt completely restored. Hallelujah!!! The physical pain was finally gone, but somehow deep down, I knew the scars from infertility would always be there to remind me of this journey. And that was and is OK.

Savannah Hope Johnson was born on a Monday, January 24th, 2005 at 3:12pm. Weighing in at a whopping 9lbs 15oz. She was (and still is) the most beautiful baby girl I have ever seen. Her arrival was anxiously awaited by many and I pray that through her birth, many have seen God's sovereignty and power. He is an awesome God, isn't He?!

The years prior to my daughter were some of the hardest of my life, but I would never trade them for anything. The knowledge that I gained during those years is invaluable. The relationship that developed between my Maker and myself is unfathomable. As I look back, I see that the pain, the despair, the journey - it was all necessary. In order for me to be able to surrender completely at the throne of God and allow Him to take my entire life into His hands, I had to learn how to trust Him. During those times when I felt like I had nothing to go on or nothing to keep me going, I had to rely on Him. And during those times, when I turned my face to the Heavens, He was there. There - ready and waiting. Praise You, Father!

Oh, friends, I have seen God at work and I hold his precious, miraculous, handiwork in my arms everyday. Words cannot describe my heart and how full it is because of my God. Not just because I "got" the babies that I wanted, but because He WAS THERE beside me every step of the way.

Isn't our God good?!

Romans 8:28- "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him."

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The good days and the REALLY bad ones - Our Story - Part 8

OK- here I was - trying to change the way I was thinking. Trying to place my focus on my Mighty God and not on my mighty situation. Some days I was successful at it and some days I wasn't, but I was trying and I know God was pleased with that.

I remember being blessed with the friendships of quite a few women who were struggling with infertility themselves. It was so nice to know I wasn't alone.... that there wasn't something wrong with me... that there were others out there who knew truly how I felt. This gave me comfort and a sense of peace. I know God allowed them each to come into my life at just the right moment. These relationships gave me joy and that in turn, made some days really beautiful. I began to appreciate my time alone again as well. It was time to get to know the God of the universe on a much more intimate level and how could that be bad - right? Do I hear an Amen?! I met with Him A LOT and felt Him close by like I never had before. I drew near to Him searching for relief, and on some days, I really did find it. Though scared of total surrender, I never gave it all up fully, but I was trying to get there and I knew He knew applauded my efforts. I began to be able to go a day, maybe two, without thinking about infertility at all. I tried to place my focus on my miraculous son and thoroughly enjoyed being a mom to the one most precious child in the entire world. (: I volunteered a lot. I fellowshipped with other women a lot. I had long lunches with my hubby often. I even took a nap from time to time. (: These, I must say, were really good days...

But then, there were the not so good days. I still had them - even as I tried to surrender.
I remember days of crying uncontrollably on my husband's shoulder after starting my period.... thinking, "would this last forever?????!!!!!!". Why couldn't I get past this? Why couldn't I move on? Why did I feel SO STRONGLY like I was suppose to be a mom again, yet month after month, that intuition never proved true? I remember my hubby consoling me day after day, not knowing what to say and me thinking, could he possibly ever know the pain that I am feeling? I remember, as much as I do not want to admit this, feeling no happiness for others when they got pregnant. None - I was numb. The very words "pregnant" would burn deep inside my gut. On some days, I could physically feel the pain in my chest. One of the worst things I remember is catching myself thinking about one friend losing their baby. It wasn't a thought I wanted or willfully executed but it was a thought that came to my mind. I denounced it severely and prayed over it but nothing could erase what I had thought about at first. It was a sick thought and I was the sick one who thought it. I was heart-sick. Mind-sick and soul-sick. I could have days that any number of things could send me into a tail spin without a moment's notice and it felt like I could do nothing about it. I remember finding out that a dear friend of mine was pregnant with her third child - the news didn't hit me too hard or hurt me too much (must have been having a good week) until the weeks that followed. After about the 3rd week of hearing about it, I remember calling another friend who I felt comfortable with and trusted and told her that I was gonna scream if I heard another word about her pregnancy! I was going to SCREAM at the TOP of my lungs!!!! The "ickiness" kept creeping back no matter how hard I attempted to let it go. I felt darkness looming over me because of my barren womb and I struggled in private with the filthy heart I had because of it. The pain that infertility brings isn't pretty and it is hard to confess. Those were the REALLY bad days...

So this was my life.
Good days. Bad days. Surrender days. Pain days. I never knew what I would feel and when I would feel it. I had so many days when my prayer life was wonderful and when I had a clear sense of what I was do next. There was much comfort in those days. I had days when I would get on my knees and just cry out to Him, saying "Please help me, please show me, please take this from me, please, please, please". Nothing else, nothing more... I just couldn't muster any more than that. All I had was just a cry for help and on some of those days... most of those days, I heard nothing. I had no understanding of His plan or which way it would take me. But, no matter the day - good or bad, one thing I always hung on to was that He was there. Yes, HE WAS THERE! I may not have "felt" Him all of the time or gained understanding all of the time, but I always knew He heard me and for that I was always thankful.

I do remember one day in particular, when I glimpsed a bit of my future through prayer. Jace was at school and I was having one of those "bad" days that I just talked about. I remember being in Jace's room for some reason and ended up on my knees, face on the ground, crying out to God. I remember asking specifically for Word from Him. I needed to hear Him that day - in one way or another. Through a person, a study, His word, through this prayer - I needed to know whether we should continue this journey or move on completely. I had to know. I felt like I couldn't go on any longer. I had to have something from Him or I felt like I was going to crumble. After about 10 minutes of prayer, I remember being silent for a while - waiting and crying - hoping to hear or feel something - anything from Him!
Very clearly, very softly, I began to hear a statement over and over in my head.

"Wait on Me... wait on Me... wait on Me... wait on me...."

Oh, how I still love to think on this, even right here at this very moment. It still brings tears to my eyes. The Most High God spoke to me... little ol' me... right there on the floor of my son's room. He heard my cry and knew my heart was breaking. He knew I needed something to keep going and Hallelujah, He spoke to me!!! There were much bigger issues in the world that day, but He took time out of His day to calm my aching heart. What tenderness He has for us... what mercy His character exhibits... what love He possesses.

I sat straight up barely being able to breath.

"Wait on Me"... I thought. Not "no". Not "yes". Not "maybe", but "wait on Me".

I had received my Word.

I didn't know what I was waiting on, but I sure was going to wait! I did not want to miss out on this blessing, whatever it may be. I hoped that it meant I would waiting on a baby, but it could have been so many things other than that. No matter what, I was gonna wait!

If I remember right, I had more good days than bad after that meeting on the floor of my child's room. God soon started to become enough... even with this womb that was still barren. He became what I sought after... even more than the baby that my heart so longed for. My ache never fully went away, but the desperation diminished the more I gave myself over. He is good and I reminded myself of that daily while I waited on Him to reveal His plan.

Psalm 86:1-7,10-13 -"Hear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Guard my life, for I am devoted to you. You are my God; save your servant who trusts in You. Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to You all day long. Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to You. Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my cry for mercy, In the day of my trouble I will call to You, for You will answer me. For You are great and do marvelous deeds; You alone are God. Teach me Your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name. I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your name forever. For great is Your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths of the grave."

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Trying Something New? - Our Story - Part 7

I kept a picture of the babies that I lost during my IVF cycle on my fridge for years. I think I finally took them down last year sometime. I was trying to move on, but didn't have the heart to completely remove them from my life. If I did - would that mean they never existed? They had to stay there where I could see them... I needed to be reminded of what we had been through and no matter how hard we tried - it just wasn't "in the cards". It was a reminder of God's plan that I knew was in place... a plan that wasn't necessarily mine, but a plan I had no choice but to embrace.

I did my best.

During the months to follow, I learned how to multi-task. I learned that I was able to live two totally different lives... the life I knew I needed to have and the life I truly had behind closed doors. On the outside, I was together and happy. The first to tell you how blessed I was to have all that I had been given. Blessed to be a mom, blessed to be at home to raise my son (I had quit finally after 8 years of nursing to raise my son before he headed off to Kindergarten), blessed to have a wonderful marriage, blessed to have great family and friends, and most of all blessed to have a God who loved me in spite of my sinful nature. All of this, I did believe and was grateful for, but couldn't fully appreciate. There was too much pain that hid within me... my other life stole my focus and my understanding of the life I should have been living.
That other life consisted of me locking myself in bathrooms to cry when I saw an infant come my way or burn with envy when another person would exclaim with happiness and pride "I am pregnant!!!". My other life was dark - full of jealousy, bitterness, and rage. There were days that I would let the phone ring and ring because I could not stand to talk to the mom on the other end of the line. I knew she would speak of her impending pregnancy or I would hear the chaos of all the little ones in her house and it was too much for me to take. There were days while I was at playgroup with my son that I would have to excuse myself to another room where there were no other "breastfeeders" around - the sight of that made my skin crawl. Overall, these days were filled with despair and an overwhelming sense of failure. I was not able - nor allowed - to do what these ladies were able to do. This gift of motherhood that so many took for granted could very possibly be only mine once. I better start enjoying what I had left of the "little days" before my little one went off to school...

The next year was hard. We continued to try. No medication though. No procedures. Just good ol' fashioned trying and a lot of praying. Another 15 cycles went by... yes, 15. That is
15 no's... 15 not yet's... 15 never's... 15 let downs. (Reminder - that is 46 "no" cycles in total since my son was born). It was a rough year to say the least - months of depression, a trial run of Prozac, and many days completely spent in bed, but we kept going... still hoping His plan would include a "yes" one day even though every "no" was completely and utterly destroying my fragile heart.

Jace was already 5 and about to start Kindergarten in the fall of 2003. The thought that my little one was growing up, moving on to another chapter in his life, and that I was left without another child at home was excruciating. He was my pride and joy and his "little life" as I referred to it was over. "Big boy-hood" was starting and I was now one of those moms whose kids are grown and gone to school. I was left at home - alone - with my days empty - void of any life within my house but my own. It made the infertility portion of my life much worst. Everything was magnified, so I began to fill my days hoping it would help. I was homeroom mom at Jace school which was fun. I started a ladies Bible study group at my home and hosted different studies one night a week. Jace was involved with baseball and I was snack mom. I met other ladies at his school and joined them for lunches and fellowship. I stopped going to playgroup... it was too painful, but enjoyed my lady friends as much as I could. As I look back, I see that God used this time to show me so much, but all I could see then was the heartache.

Something had to give. I knew I couldn't live my life focused only on heartache and loss, but I was not sure how to get out of that way of thinking. My head would tell me one thing and my heart would tell me another. I was determined to try something new... to try to trust the Lord fully... to try to gain some understanding as to why He would have chosen this for my life. Some days were great - some were not, but I do know that as I began to seek Him fully - with a willing heart - the clouds began to lift and some sunshine crept back into my life.

I started to study my Bible - a lot. I would sometimes spend 4, 5, even 6 hours in His word while Jace was away at school. With coffee in hand, I would scour the pages of His Book, contemplate verses at my computer, and sharing what God was showing with me with others. At God's urging, I started an email ministry to get some spiritual food out on the web where friends who were also struggling could go to have a moment with God. I spent hours every week typing up Bible study lessons and spent many a day on my face before God praying about my life, my future, and my ability(or lack thereof) to cope. I can not say everything suddenly became perfect or that I was happy everyday, even, but I can say I felt more in tune with God and that in turn gave me great comfort and peace in my season of waiting. Chris and I continued to try without any luck and so as the months passed, I began to change my way of thinking. Maybe having another baby just wasn't an option for us and if it wasn't ever going to happen - how was I going to handle my life? Was I going to waste it away by drowning in the despair - in the sadness - in the anger? Or would I refocus on surrendering to God this terrible journey and allow Him to pick up the pieces of my heart and make it whole again?

It was worth a try...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Without hurting...

I am thrilled to say that I held my great niece today and did it without hurting. Isn't she a beauty?!! When I mentioned this to my niece, she thought I meant physically until I explained further. It was so nice to hold that little one and not feel the pain rise up in my chest like I had experienced so many times before. I think I will always have that "mommy love" for any infant that I hold since it will remind me of the precious times with my own little ones. I think I will also always think about Faith and what she would have looked like and how it would have felt to hold her in my arms. But maybe - just maybe - once and for all, I am past the pain that I had once experienced. The "heart hurt" wasn't there today and I am so thankful for that.I pray I stay in this place. Would you pray for this for me too? It is definitely a better place to be in...
So today - I celebrate new life in my life and I celebrate a new life within myself. To God be glory for both. Without Him, neither are possible.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

New life...

Before I go on, I must rejoice for there is new life in my life and I am finally in a place to enjoy it! My friend, Tammy just had her third baby boy, my niece is awaiting the arrival of her first little one, another dear friend is about to have her fourth, and another blogger who I met here on this dashboard is expecting a bundle of joy (after many pregnancy losses) as well. I am happy to say that I can finally feel excitement for these ladies again. In the past, that wasn't possibly for me. Where joy should have been, there was only jealousy, bitterness, and rage. I write this not because I have done anything to attain it, but to tell you that God has done everything to make it possible within me. Praise be to You, Father for these little ones! Praise be to You, Father that I can feel happiness where only sadness lay for so long. Praise you Father that my heart can once again celebrate another's blessing without tremendous pain and despair. You truly are an awesome and amazing God.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Losing Hope - Our story - Part 6

April, 2002
"We were able to retrieve 13 eggs", the voice on the other end of the line said.

Thirteen - although I don't believe in luck, thirteen has always been my "lucky" number.

"They aren't all mature, but there are quite a few good ones. We will do the ICSI procedure and you can come in on day 5 for transfer. We will let you know then how many embryos you have."

Embryos. I never liked that word... it seems like a pitiful excuse of a word to me. The word baby is appropriate and welcome. Calling them anything else is just wrong.

We waited (in tremendous pain, I might add) for 3 days and showed up for the transfer. Out of all thirteen fertilized eggs, only 2 babies remained. I have pictures of them - they were only a tiny clump of magnified cells. Still each a baby to me though. I thought they were beautiful. I was excited, but exhausted and ready for this particular procedure to be finished. It would take 10 days of waiting before I could find out if this indeed was the different cycle I had been praying for.

I remembering lying there on the table after the babies were placed in my womb staring out the window. I felt a strong sense of doom. I began to cry. As I looked at Chris sitting across the room, I felt helpless. I knew he was not at all thrilled with what we had done, but that he had appeased me anyway. I loved him for that, but upset he wasn't more excited. I knew our chances were slim that I would indeed get pregnant or that I would have more than one baby, but I was totally willing to take that chance. The thought of possibly getting pregnant was overwhelming to me and I was extremely anxious to begin the 10 day trek to the dreaded pregnancy test. 9 days, 22 hours and counting...

I don't remember much about that wait. Maybe just that is was excruciating, but I do however, remember the day that I tested. I was still working part-time for the doctor's office and had been there at 7am sharp to have the HCG drawn. We did it STAT and it would take about 3 hours for the results to return to me. My husband was on standby, I am sure bracing himself for what would happen if it was negative. My parents were sitting by the phone. Friends too knew that this day would change my life - either way. I would either get my wish or sink deeper into the pit. I know that result couldn't come any sooner to me and I am sure they felt the same.

The back line rang around 10:15a... I knew this was it. The moment. The lady at the STAT lab was named Gracie and I knew her voice well from the years I had been there.

"I have STAT results for a Brandy Johnson."
For all those years, she never knew that Brandy Johnson was me and I was glad. I would have been embarrassed had she known that every month I was the failure she was reporting on... that every time she called, she was calling to devastate me with the sound of her voice saying that the HCG level, "was less than 2" - yet again. Less than 2 meant not pregnant. Less than 2 meant I was less than a woman.

"OK, I am ready." I said.

"The results are less than 2."

I could barely choke back the words "thank you" before I hung up the phone. This time the cycle had been different... not different in the way I had hoped and wished for, but different in that I had just lost 2 precious children. They were with me - alive just 10 days prior and now, they were in me and dead. I couldn't believe it. NEGATIVE - again.

Something in me changed that day and as I look back, I see that my descent into what I call the slimy pit of infertility began to rapidly increase shortly thereafter. I do remember a few things about the rest of that day though...
I remember that my husband brought me flowers to my office before I left for the afternoon... 2 single roses. White - I think.
I remember driving home alone and screaming and sobbing in the car... "why, God?! Why, why, God?" is all I could say.
I remember telling my friend Tammy that is was negative and yelling over and over again, "I just don't understand... why is HE doing this??!!" She didn't know what to say. I wouldn't have either.
I remember praying and crying until I just did not have any tears left. I felt numb. I couldn't believe that after all we had been through, we were right back where we had begun.

But, I must also say that even in the midst of all the sadness, God provided that day as well. (What an awesome God He is.) I did go home and pick up my Bible and began to read scripture. I needed anything from Him that I could get. Any word at this point would do... any peace that He could send my way would be great and He gave me just what I needed. Scripture after scripture came forth - not only to get me through the day, but also to get me through the years to follow. I specifically remember reading 1 Peter 4:12... it says, "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed." It made me laugh a bit and I needed that. "Don't be surprised" it said -"but rejoice". Rejoice, Lord? How can I rejoice right now? I just lost 2 babies and all the hope that was left inside me.
O, Lord, Teach me how to rejoice in the midst of suffering... and how to have hope again.

I sent an email out to friends and family that afternoon letting them know what had happened. I told them that God had a different plan for us than what we had thought and that we looked forward to seeing what that plan was. I told them that our babies were in Heaven and that God, alone, was enough for us. That He, alone, would sustain us...

As the "dark" years approached, I began to search scripture for new hope. I was drawn to Jeremiah 29:11 which has now become my life verse. Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future."

His plan was in place. Now, as I waited on Him to reveal it, could I live up to my words? Could God, alone, be enough for me if my future didn't include the answered prayer that I so desperately wanted?

My infertility journey had begun years ago, but my spiritual journey had just started. I had suffered already for 31 cycles - not quite 3 years without truly seeking God and HIS plan. It was time to try something different. It was time to start trusting Him and what He had in store for us - no matter the outcome.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

My new plan - my new obsession... Our story - Part 5

September ,2001 - March, 2002
When Jace was 4 we moved into a new and bigger home. We told others that we had grown out of the other house, and even though that was very much true, I was also planning for and anticipating an addition to the family at any time. Even though we were no closer to getting pregnant than we were 2 years prior when we had first started trying for a second child, I still had high hopes and much faith that God would answer our prayers. And if He did, more kids meant I needed more space.

We prayed about this particular move A LOT and felt that God gave us the okay to move forward. Just the other day, I was looking back on a bunch of old prayers journals from that year - 2001 - and noticed that I had prayed about this move more so than I remember. Every entry for months asked for His will for our lives, His protection over us from making the wrong decisions, His provision for the right home and new friends nearby, and His wisdom as to how to proceed with it all. I wanted so badly to make sure this move was right- not only for us as a family, but for my son too. We found the right neighborhood for us and within 6 months, we were in our new home which was complete with an extra room just the right size for a nursery. I even set up my son's old crib and changing table in that room thinking it would only be a matter of time before I would be bringing a baby home to fill it.

Shortly after we moved in, I started praying fervently for a couple of specific things. One, where to go from here with our infertility situation (we were now on cycle 26 without any success), and two, for Christian friends for Jace and our family. God was quick in answering one prayer request and the results added tremendous blessing to our lives, but He wasn't so quick in answering the other. As I look back on this prayer time and the answers, or lack there of, that we received, I am in awe (once again - Praise you Father!) of God and His mighty hand in my life. He provided me with a fantastic group of ladies whom I grew very close with, very quickly. They were and are all very special to me, but one in particular was almost like a soul mate to me and her son, was my son's soul mate as well. How much more could I have asked for in provision for our family???!!! He provided in a HUGE way and these friendships that I made helped me tremendously while I suffered with my infertility struggles. As for the other prayer request, I didn't know where we stood in moving forward with trying to have another baby, or as a matter of fact, where He stood on it at all either. I felt like no matter how hard I prayed and no matter how much I asked for an answer, the answer never came. I journaled daily and prayed very hard for guidance. I prayed, and prayed, and prayed and prayed, but still felt I was no where near knowing what God wanted me to do, if anything. I felt like I was just "sitting still" and I did not like the fact that my cycles were passing me by and we were doing nothing more than we had done for over 2 years. I started to grow quite anxious and began approaching my husband (and God) about IVF (in vitro fertilization).

I had heard quite a bit about IVF... from medical journals, patients who had gone through it, from others nurses that I worked with, and doctors around town. I wanted to know all that I could about the procedure so I started to investigate it. I attended seminars (with and without my husband), stayed up late into the wee hours reading about it, searched it on the Internet, and of course, prayed about it. Maybe this was the way to go, I began to think... maybe this IS His answer to our infertility problems. Remember my paper work that read "Refer to IVF clinic" those few short years before? Maybe the answer was right in front of my face all along!!! Maybe God had given me the answer long ago and I just had overlooked it. The only thing I had to do now was convince my husband that this was the right move for us. He had been less than enthusiastic when we had casually discussed it in the months prior, but I knew he knew how much I wanted a baby and I thought that with a little persuasion, he would get on board with the new plan. I thought, I'll pray about this and ask God to help Chris see it my way. I felt truly happy again with the thought of IVF. It had been a while since I had felt that way and I was glad for the break. There had been too much sadness in the years prior...

"OK - we have a plan!! IVF is the way to go!"
With the thought of this, I became so very excited again - just like I did when we first began trying to have a second baby when Jace was just 2. This is pretty simple, I thought... "If we do IVF, then a pregnancy should occur. Just take his sperm and my eggs and fertilize them in a dish - then, put them back in - put my legs up and it will take. I have no reason to think otherwise". My pregnancy with my son was fairly uneventful with the exception of hyperemesis, so this pregnancy would be no different. I studied everything I could about the procedures and the outcomes and brought the info to my husband, hoping for the best.

It was not well received....
I love my husband, but I remember being so mad at him that day. After giving him all the info, he sat there completely silent - just staring at me. There was not one bit of interest or excitement anywhere on his face. After a while, he finally spoke... "That's a lot of money, Brandy", he said. I just sat there - stunned.

Yes, 12k to be exact, but could you put a price on a child, I thought??
Oh my goodness!!!! We can not have a baby and that is all that he can think of! Money?! I was SO MAD! What about my heart that is breaking?! What about my womb and eggs that are growing old? What about our son who has started praying for a baby sister or brother every night without him being asked to? What about the darkness that is starting to take over my life because I can not get past the thought of never having anymore children? What about me? Forget the money!
I could feel the fire raging inside my chest, but I gathered myself and continued on...

"Yes, I know it is, but our way isn't working and we have to do something else! I am desperate, Chris! What do you want us to do?"

"If God wants us to have a baby, then we will have a baby. I think we should just wait on Him.", he said.

I hated him for that. He was right and I knew it, but I didn't want to hear it. I searched for aomething else - another comeback - another reason as to why he didn't share the same vision or the same excitement that I did about trying IVF. Then another thought came to mind... What if he was using God's will as an excuse to avoid spending the 12k? I bet that is it! I convinced myself it was just about the money... not the baby or the procedure - just the cash. I was furious. He was on my list... you know, the bad one. I felt completely crushed. As the conversation continued, I felt myself sink deeper into that place that I earlier referred to as "the pit". On top of the heartache of not having a baby, now my hubby and I were not seeing eye to eye. It was a huge blow.

We didn't come to an understanding or an agreement that day, but did decide to talk more about it in the months to come.

Over the next months, I prayed a lot about it and about my marriage. IVF had become, quite literally, my new obsession. I felt like it was our only hope and I reminded Chris of that daily. As I look back on my journal entries at that time, I see a lot of me telling God what I wanted and not much of me asking God for what He wanted. I should have been praying for HIS WILL - no matter what the outcome was - not just for my desires. I should have been putting my hope IN HIM and not in IVF since I did not have confirmation that it was OK to proceed with the procedure to begin with. I shouldn't have dictated what I wanted Him to do without asking Him what He wanted me to do. All around, I was seeking His OK to MY plan instead of my OK to HIS plan. I wish I would have recognized that earlier, but I know now that it was necessary part of the walk... I didn't have the faith at that point in my life to completely surrender like I should have.

My husband finally agreed to do IVF after many days and weeks of negotiations and arguments. I knew he wasn't 100% on board, but I knew he loved me and would do anything for me. I also knew that when I turned up pregnant with twins BECAUSE of IVF, he would see that my plan had indeed worked just as I had thought...

We were scheduled to begin the IVF procedures in late March of 2002 with the harvesting of eggs and the transfer of embryos set for a few weeks later in April. As the date grew closer, our bank account grew smaller, and I started sensing an uneasiness from my husband. He was distracted, distant, even, but my mind was made up. We would proceed and in 9 months, I would be free of the despair and the heartache that had consumed me for so long. And I couldn't wait.

Cycle 31 was approaching - the IVF cycle we had been preparing for. This one just had to be different, I thought.
Oh, please God, let this one be different...