Category Archives: God

8 days

**I wrote this in the days following Addy’s funeral, but until now didn’t feel like posting**

addy’s life was short.

there is no way around this subject.  her life was short.  8 days to be exact.

while you may not agree with the next several thoughts, you have to allow me to believe them because i do.  we don’t have to agree, but we can respect each other.

when addy was born the odds were not in her favor.  she was 12 weeks early, she had the PDA, she developed the infection, and she had the massive brain bleed.  if she only had any one of those things (instead of them all), this story may have played out differently – but we will never know and playing the what if game is pointless.  with all of those complications we believe there is mercy in her passing.  we obviously didn’t want that to happen and we wanted the outcome to be different, but we were constantly reminded that we are not in control.  death is some times the most compassionate thing that can happen to a person, and we believe that to be the case in this situation.

even though the birth mother changed her mind hours before addy’s death she wanted us to be at the funeral.  we got an e mail from our caseworker with the arrangements.  we knew we wanted to go to support the mother and her family, we wanted the agency to know that we really did care, and while addy was alive i spent a lot of time with her and wanted to say goodbye.  so for us we knew that we would go.  we wouldn’t attend the grave side service, but we would go to the funeral home.  since the birth mother hadn’t told a lot of people that she was giving the baby up for adoption we didn’t want to go to the grave side service where people talk to the people around them afterwards.  we didn’t want to just say we were “friends” because we didn’t want the follow up questions.  the safest thing to protect the mother and the best thing for us was to just go to the funeral service at the funeral home.  when we got there we signed in and found a seat.  shortly after we sat down the pregnancy counselor came over to us and we stood up and hugged her.  she slipped something in my hand and told me that the mother wanted us to have it.  it was a tiny knit hat that belonged to addy, they also gave us a card signed by the people that worked at the agency.  i gave her a card and a flash drive of the photos that i had taken of addy to give to the mother.  we spoke with our caseworker and gave her a hug.  a few minutes before the service started the birth mother came over and gave me a huge hug and the dad came over and shook our hands.

i don’t love funerals – besides the obvious that someone is dead, but because i don’t feel like funerals capture a persons life.  i have been to a few funerals that have made me feel closer to the deceased, but most of the time i feel like funerals paint a picture that isn’t an accurate image of that person or their life, or that they are so far off on who that person was to the people they have left behind.  i will say that this funeral was no different.  it was painful.  i mean no disrespect for addy, her family, or the preacher that performed the funeral, but it was the worst funeral i have ever been to.

to begin with, it was a funeral for an 8 day old baby.  it doesn’t matter that we were connected through the adoption process and that she was so close to being ours, it would have been horrible even if that wasn’t the case.  it honestly felt like a pre-memorial service for pat summit (she was eulogized more than addy was).  i liked coach pat as much as the next person, but the tiny little body up there wasn’t pat summitt, it was addy.  the other thing that stuck out to me so much as being terrible was that in talking about pat summitt the preacher continued to say that millions will remember pat, but no one will remember addy.  that her life meant nothing.  she was insignificant.

maybe we misunderstood the point of what the preacher was saying, but we both would have misunderstood the same way, because we were both very upset when we left the funeral.  during the funeral andy’s hand would grip mine a little tighter and i returned the gesture each time something didn’t sit right (at one point in time it was just a continuous squeeze).  we couldn’t  believe some of the things we heard, and granted at a time like this it is hard to know what to say, but I feel like other things could have been said.  i silently prayed that the preacher would step aside and ask if anyone wanted to come to the front and say a few words – because i would have gone.  i thought about the fact that most people didn’t know of the adoption plan and thought “i don’t care, addy deserves better than this.”  he never left the podium, and never gave me a chance to speak. so allow me to say what i feel like should have been said in the first place.

one thing that the preacher did say was this: “how do you eulogize 8 days?”  that is how he started his sermon and that grabbed me, so i will keep that.

how do you eulogize 8 days of life?

you shouldn’t have to.  it isn’t fair and it is hard for us to understand why things happened the way that they did.  we can sit here everyday and say it was all part of God’s timing, but that implies that God was ok that her life was cut short.  or the implication can be made that he planned on her life to be short for a “greater good” or to “teach” someone a lesson.  i have a hard time believing that some people are born to die to show other people something because that would imply that their life is expendable – that God doesn’t value their life as much as other lives.  i don’t believe that we are God’s pawns that he just kicks us off the chessboard whenever he feels like it.  i just don’t believe that.  i understand from a physical stand point why addy died.  i know that she was early and that she was very sick.  i understand that her chance of survival was slim with all of the complications – so her death wasn’t a complete shock to us.  what i don’t understand is the spiritual side.  i don’t know why we were chosen to be part of her 8 days.  my heart tells me that there is a reason, but i can’t figure it out – and possibly i will never know the reason – and i have come to believe that this is ok.

addy came into this world with a dramatic flair – butt first; however, that first breath of life was her own.  she was a 13.75 inch long, 2 pound 10 ounce miracle.  for weeks before her birth she was our miracle.  her short life was full of tubes, medicines, tests, needle sticks, glow lights, beeps, and monitors.  her cry was never louder than a kitten’s meow. she never found her voice and we will never know the depth of it.  she never got to sleep in a real bed, only knowing the warmth of the incubator.  she will never know the silence on a starry night gazing at the moon, she only knew the beeps, constant noise, and bright lights of the nicu.  despite never holding her, and never being able to be that close to her, i was able to pick up on her scent.  the “new baby smell” that everyone talks about.  when i left the hospital after she was born to go to the hotel, i fell asleep with my hands next to my face drinking the smell in.  the smell that i associated with dreams coming true, hope, and our miracle. the smell that a few days later, triggered the tears to fall as i leaned my head against the incubator praying that the doctors were wrong.

it is hard to imagine what kind of person she would have been.  in her short life you could catch glimpses of characteristics of who she might have been.  when she was uncomfortable or in pain she put her hands to her face covering her eyes.  when she was completely relaxed she would hold her ear or put her hands above her head.  her heart rate reacted to music showing that she enjoyed music.  she would have liked to have been snuggled because she always responded to touch.  she was quick to grab your finger and to latch on and squeeze.  but beyond these things we will never know addy as being beyond 8 days old.  we can imagine who she would have been, but because her beginning was brief and the ending came too soon we will have few thoughts of her growing and living beyond the incubator and the nicu.

she was surrounded by love before she took her first breath.  her birth mother loved her enough to do the adoption plan, andy and i loved her more than any words i can express, our families loved her, and friends loved her.  she was a little girl that was never at a loss for love or prayers.  they poured in for her.  the nurses and the doctors loved her too.  i walked in several times to see the nurses talking with her and telling her that she was beautiful.  she might have just been their patient, but the love in the nicu was palpable.  addy received more love in her short life than some people get in a life time and for that i am thankful.

while her life didn’t reach millions of people (maybe not even hundreds of people) she touched lives.  deeply.  the people that she leaves behind have felt her presence deep within our souls and we mourn the loss of sweet addy.

and while i still don’t understand the “purpose” in her life cut short and i don’t believe that God “caused” this to happen to teach us something i do believe that we can use terrible things – this death – to find beauty.  we can find beauty in the fact that she wasn’t alone and that she died being loved by many.  personally, i am holding onto the beauty that this experience has opened my eyes and proved that i can love a baby that isn’t biologically mine.  there is beauty that relationships were strengthened surrounding the birth and death of addy.  the beauty that God never left us throughout this entire process.

i will never believe that she was put here as a dispensable life.  for some unknown reason her life was an essential part of our story and of our lives.  there is a part of addy that will remain in my heart, and i hope in the hearts of others, forever.

how do you eulogize 8 days of life?

her life was short and and her death won’t affect millions of people.  her footprint might have been tiny, but in the 8 days she was alive she left a mark – her mark – an impact and love that was immense, beyond measure.

goodbye sweet addy, goodbye.

desparation then devastation

there is a time in my life where I need to realize some truths and accept them.  I am working on this – every day.  there is a long list and I don’t feel like this is the time to divulge that list in it’s entirety, but rather just glance at that list.

with the infertility journey and the adoption journey one of the truths that I have learned is that in the grand scheme of things I have no control.  I have no “real” say in my life.  yes I make decisions about what I am going to wear, what I am going to eat, what I am going to do, but this journey has opened my eyes that I can’t control everything, despite my best effort I just can’t.  I can make lists to control the happenings in my life (and the organization of my home), but in reality I don’t have control – just an illusion of control that I cling to with every breath.  if I had control I would have said “listen ovaries – you have one job – it is time to do it” and it would have worked.  if I had control I would have looked at my doctor and said “you have no option but to make this procedure succeed.”  but I don’t have control and I am learning – still – that there is nothing that I could have done differently or additionally to change the course of our journey.

this is where I feel like I should say “in reality we don’t have any control because God should be in control of our lives.”  whereas, yes I agree God should be the center of our lives and our decision making, this isn’t that type of post.

as stated in my last post we have been officially waiting for a year.  we have been passed over numerous times – for an entire year.  with that type of response or in this case lack there of,  I can’t help but think.  that thinking often leads me down a dark and narrow road full of doubt and sadness and longing.

a road that causes my imagination to run wild with “what ifs” and “what is.”

what if we are never placed?  what if I never get to be a mom and andy a dad?  what if I have robbed family of having the experience of us as parents?  what if andy will really one day regret not taking the “out” when he could?  what if he starts to resent me?  what if my life never feels complete?  what if that longing and desire never goes away?  what if I never get to experience all the things that fuel my fears?  what if I sink into misery and allow me not being a mother to destroy my soul?  what is so wrong with us that we haven’t been placed?  what is it that caused people to skip over our profiles?  what is the big picture and can I survive not having the control to understand right now?  what is the reason God gave me this desire to be a mother and paired that with bad ovaries?  what is the point – is there a point?  is this some sort of punishment from above?

that dark road is sometimes dotted with street lamps – glimpses of hope, answers, or things that get me back to the sunshine.  talking with other people that are waiting to be placed and hearing that they have the same fears – that I am truly not alone in some of those thoughts.  when andy tells me that he loves me and doesn’t resent me despite all the reasons that I have given him to feel the other way.  when I know someone looks at our profile and passes us by because they want a family that already has a child.  a beautiful sunset or sunrise over the mountains.  street lamps that brighten up my mind.

but sometimes the things on my road aren’t street lamps, but rather lanterns.  a little light that shines bright enough to tide me over.  not nearly as bright as the lamps, but still light enough to get me through.

these things usually show up right before I have a breakdown full of complete and total doubt and tears.  when I feel like I have come to the end of my road.  when i start to question why we are doing what we are doing.  when I am grasping at straws.  desperation for that normalcy and control.

desperation: a state of despair, typically one that results in rash or extreme behavior

synonyms: hopelessness, anguish, agony, distress

usually my desperation manifests in lists.  lots and lots of lists.  I clean things and organize things.  I constantly am trying to reorganize and make better.  trying to drown my thoughts with lists so that I can’t do anything but focus on what is in front of my face.  I write, take pictures, and create new projects around the house to occupy my mind.  it helps.  in the process of focusing on anything else, those doubts and sadness ebb away.  that longing is still there, but without the doubt it just turns back into “just waiting.”

once I realized that we had been waiting a year and that we had to update a bunch of our paperwork I started to feel overwhelmed and to be honest – sad and a little (ok a lot) mad.

**side “semi relevant” note**

there are times where I start to wonder if God is “doing” this to us because he thinks I would be a terrible mother.  or that other people think I would be a terrible mother so God is like “i agree.”  there was this time that I was with a group of people (and a young baby just a few months old) and everyone, except me, was being called away for just a moment.  the parents were trying to decide who would miss out and stay to give the baby the bottle.  I offered since I was not leaving and both of the parents looked at me like I was crazy.  like if God didn’t trust me with a baby, they weren’t going to either.  the parents exchanged looks and did let me feed their baby the bottle, but their looks and doubts just fueled that thought process.  it is possible that I was over sensitive to the situation and that I misread the looks and the hesitation, but in the moment those looks emphasized that God thought I would be a terrible mother and everyone agreed.

**end semi relevant side note**

so in my sad and a lot mad state I found myself thinking back to those events, of possibly not being trusted to give a baby a bottle, and to the thought process that God thinks  I would be a terrible mother.  my thoughts are fueled by fear of the unknown and once it takes root desperation sets in.  hopelessness overcomes rational thought and where my behavior isn’t always rash or extreme my thoughts tend to become that way.  I found myself on my dark narrow road, running.  running into the darkness looking for a street lamp to ease off the desperation.  I found a lantern.

at dinner saturday night dad told me that he was going back to the farm.  there was a calf down and he was going to have to bottle feed it.  I had been a hermit in my house working on various projects and told him I would be glad to go with him.  andy ended up getting home before we left to go to the farm and he joined in with us.  we loaded up our gear and headed into the muddy abyss.  the calf had gotten stuck in the mud and was weak but drank the bottle (and a little more).  dad made sure that it was in a nice bed of hay and warm and we left.

mudpie

sunday after church, dad, mom, and I gathered our gear and went back to check on the little calf.  as we drove up he was stretched out and his head was semi back  I leaned forward and said – “doesn’t look like good news,”  dad agreed.  as we got a tad closer he blinked.  I was ecstatic – he was alive.  we gave him another bottle and repositioned him to be more comfortable and in more warm hay.  dad decided that the little guy needed to be moved to the barn.  later sunday gene (live in farm hand/manager) was able to take the tractor and get the little calf to the barn; however, his mother was no longer interested in following her baby or the tractor to the barn.  it was left to us humans to nurse him back to health.  after youth on sunday andy and I headed to the farm to check on the little guy.  he was in the stall with his legs tucked under him and he was dry and warm in his bed of hay.  I sat on a bucket and fed him his bottle and he was my little “mud pie.”  cows normally moo but a little cow with pneumonia purrs like a little kitten.  he was given several shots to make him feel better.  I rubbed his fluffy little head and ears and told him that I loved him.  I put my hand under his chin and lifted his head up and made eye contact with him and told him to have a good night and that I would see him Monday.  dad sent me a message Monday morning that he drank his bottle and that he wanted to stand up but was still too weak.  he was still purring a little bit too.

I told andy that mud pie had to live.  he became my desperation.  I didn’t have a list this time, I had mud pie.  he had to live.  he was my way of proving to God and to the rest of the world that I can take care of a living thing.  that I could give a bottle and love.  that I could be passionate and that I could be the role of a mother.

Monday night after work I went to the farm and got there before my dad got back.  I went into the stall and mud pie was in a weird sling that dad and gene strung up to help insure that his legs were getting blood flow.  I grabbed my bucket and sat down in front of him and rubbed his head and said hello.  when I was rubbing his neck he leaned into my hand like a dog would do.  I told him about my day and he listened – he is after all a cow that couldn’t go anywhere even if he wanted to.  I noticed he wasn’t purring as much and was tap dancing with his front legs.  I informed him that he had to get better.  he had to at least try.  he mooed at me.  it was a moo filled with passion and anger and rebellion.  a moo that told me that he was a fighter.  after that I talked to him about my desperation and I rubbed his ears and he semi mooed in understanding.  dad showed up and we gave him his bottle and he drank most of it, but it was too early to let him out of the sling.  so we came back a few hours later and freed him and propped him up in his bed of hay.  I told him good night and we turned the light off bathing the stall in darkness.  my Tuesday morning update was about the same as the morning before.  Tuesday after work we went to check on him and dad said that he had been in his sling but was out for the night.  I walked into the stall and found little mud pie snuggled in his hay.  he tried to stand.  I tucked his feet under him and held his head up and talked to him while he drank his bottle.  we made eye contact and I told him how much I loved him and what a good and handsome boy he was.  we had to go to a meeting and I knew we wouldn’t be back Tuesday night so right before we left I went in and rubbed his head, told him good night and sweet dreams and walked away from my little mud pie.

mud2

Wednesday morning I got my morning update.  the subject of the e mail was mud pie.  I opened my e mail and read “I am sorry!  We tried.”

devastation: severe and overwhelming shock or grief

I sat facing my computer and silent tears escaped the rims of my eyes rolled down my face.  I reminded myself to breathe and stared at the words.  mud pie was gone.  my lantern burned out.  my desperation morphed into devastation.  I was devastated that he was gone and that my attempts failed.  I couldn’t even do right by a cow.  I couldn’t save him.  my thoughts quickly went down the road that maybe God is right, maybe I am not fit to be a mother.

Wednesday night, with those thoughts circling in my head, I curled up in bed and cried.  my eyes filled with tears that rolled down my face and puddled on my pillow, followed by choking sobs.  a soul drenching cry.

I woke up Thursday morning with a throbbing headache – remnant of my tears from the night before.  as we drove to work I watched the clouds play on the tops of the mountains and with no other rational thought – other than it made me smile, I had found my street lamp and was finding my way back to the main road.

it was during this time of desperation that I realized a few things.  one is that I have no control.  I can cling to the illusion as much as I want, but it will always just be an illusion I create for my peace of mind.  another is that this process, from start until present, is just a constant ride of ups and downs: the waiting, the emotions of being rejected, the unknown, the way a person will walk by with a stroller and my heart almost leaps out of my chest, the looks of pity from other people, the hope that we will be the family that we always envisioned.  something that is difficult to explain and difficult for people to understand is that sometimes there are no words to make me feel better about this stressful time of just waiting and of the unknown.  that sometimes even the most rational comments and insight will not sound rational to me.  this time, my little mud pie, taught me that in my times of desperation, stick to the lists.

gcpc 2014 recap

it seems only fitting that on a sunday i do a recap of the youth group from 2014.

a look back at our youth group.  a lot of the middle school events aren’t captured because I am mostly with the high school youth.  it is always fun to look back and see how the youth have changed physically, but also to remember the events and see how they have changed on the inside as well.

we went to resurrection in january.  it was cold.

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youth sunday happened.  cleo our 2014 senior gave the message.

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lawn part to kick off the school year

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church picnic at locust springs.  there were two donkeys that wondered in to say hello.

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we had a high school lock in on Halloween night…it snowed.  the next morning i woke up at 5 and took a picture.  luckily it didn’t stick around long.

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we went to montreat in july.  i love montreat (it is a thin place – we have been told).  i am sure the kids hate my camera…but i enjoy it and so they put up with it.  i know that in a lot of the pictures they kids aren’t smiling…apparently it is a game that we play.  they act like they are miserable and i allow it (they do have to smile for a few photos).  they really are having fun – i promise.  bob retired.  we miss bob!

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took a group of kids to charlotte to carowinds.  andy got sick (didn’t puke – but pretty sure he wanted to).  i road boo blaster and shot some monsters.  it was a short but fun trip.

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high school progressive dinner.  i enjoy taking group photos, but just start taking the pictures and keep taking them and see how long they will put up with it.  sometimes i act like i am taking pictures but am really doing a video.  they are always such good sports.

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middle school bon fire at the farm.  it was huge.  it was a hot fire.

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we went and helped at gifts for kids (and played a little too).

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just a taste of 2014.

so very thankful…

i woke up this morning and it was hard to believe that it is thanksgiving!  another year has almost passed by and i have so many things to be thankful for – here is my short list (in no particular order).

  1. andy and our marriage – and for always being there in my best and worst times.  always quick to reassure and quick to point out my irrational thoughts.  my rock.
  2. my parents – who have always been so supportive and loving and welcomed andy with open arms
  3. my friends – past and present.  even when only in my life for a designated time – lessons were learned.
  4. my family – blood relatives, andy’s family, and people so close they might as well be family.
  5. otis – my little heater and snuggle buddy.
  6. my job and coworkers – for the ability to work and actually like the people i work with.  and for those who are working today.
  7. our story – as heart breaking as it has been, we have learned so much and are thankful that we have the option and are able to adopt.  (next year i hope to be able to put a specific name instead of just the idea).
  8. our animals – they bring an element of peace and furry happiness that makes me smile.
  9. our house – the one we live in now, but also the one we put in an offer on this past week – it is conditional but we are thankful and hopeful that it will be ours in the near future.
  10. God for all that he blessed us with

happy thanksgiving!

addoption add on

when a loved one dies we mourn.  it takes time to “get past” it.  once you do that, you are mostly ok with it.  you can understand the implication of what is lost with that person’s passing and why it is lost.  you can understand the reason they are gone (sometimes), and will be ok because you have to be – because you have no choice.  what happened is done and there is nothing you can do to change it.  most days are ok.  those memories of how they died or how you found out they died are locked away.  not necessarily deep, but locked away.  then there are days that you are not ok.  a holiday, milestone, or hearing their favorite song unlocks those memories and what is lost.  the tears can’t be held in.  you cry not because it is just hitting you but because there is a moment of despair that you don’t want to be ok with their loss.  that you don’t want to believe that the rest of the world has moved on.  that you don’t want to deal with the realization that the rest of your life you will be without them. so you weep, pouring out all the tears that have been trapped inside.  that is what infertility is like.

we are at a place where we are “ok” more times than not, and even when we are not it doesn’t take long to get back to a good place where we are “ok”.  with that said i am not sure that someone who goes through infertility will ever be “ok” with it.  i don’t believe there will ever be a day that i wake up and say thank goodness i had infertility issues.  i don’t think i will ever believe that i was better off because i had infertility issues.  but what i do believe is that for the rest of my life i will have days where i am fine and i can tell you everything without batting an eye and there are days where i will open my mouth and tears will pour down my face before any words are spoken.

so after the infertility journey and once we felt we healed enough from that part of life we started talking about what was next.  i knew that i wanted to be a mom and that andy would be the best dad.  something we talked about long before we infertility would become part of our vocabulary.  we decided to proceed with adoption.  now, i still struggled with those stages of grief.  they came in waves – and to be perfectly honest they still do.

with all of that said we are very excited about adopting.  in our minds we didn’t expect to go down this journey but this is the adventure that we have been dealt, so we will do so with as much grace and understanding as we can.

since i have written my 4 post leading up to the adoption announcement a lot of questions have been asked.  i will attempt to answer some of them in this post, but some of those questions will be answered in a later post dedicated specifically to the process of adoption.

1. why did we announce the way that we did?  i wanted people to know that we had tried several other options and it wasn’t like we woke up one morning and decided to adopt.  i wanted people to know that they could feel free to ask questions, but that hopefully i gave enough information to satisfy.  i really didn’t want people to come up to me and say “oh you are adopting – have you tried fertility treatments?”  i wanted it to be out there so that people could understand where we have been and the raw emotion associated with our story.  i wanted to tell it once instead of to each person we told we were adopting.

2.  what does a donkey have to do with a kid and adoption?  absolutely nothing.

3.  why did you start a company?  the company started because of a fundraising idea that went a little crazy.  we know that adoption is expensive and we knew that we would need to raise money and we looked into a few fundraisers and we feel in love with the idea of the bossy donkey co and ran with it.

4.  why not just fund-raise or ask for money?  as i have said earlier, infertility has caused me to look at myself in a negative way.  at times it has caused me to feel less like a woman and human.  i didn’t want to come across as begging people to help me adopt.  i know a lot of people sincerely want to help with no ill intent.  the deeper we get in this process i am able to really see that i am still a woman regardless of my faulty ovaries.  i am able to get my pride in check and realize that by people wanting to donate it isn’t a way they are looking down on us, but rather, a way that they can join in our excitement – and be a part of our child’s amazing journey to our home.  in short, infertility robbed me of having a biological child and i couldn’t stomach “begging for a baby.”  it took me a while to realize that my way of thinking was the bitterness, pain, and hurt still seeping out of my soul – a by-product of infertility.  we have talked to the adoption agency and they will take donations directly for our adoption.  if you want to make a donation, you can look at the about us page on the bossy donkey website.  checks for 250.00 and above can be mailed directly to them (with our names in the memo line) and smaller checks can be mailed to us and we can send them once we have collected 250.00 or more.

5.  why did you have horrible friends?  we didn’t really.  part of the reason i didn’t put names is because i really feel like it was just a horrible way for ALL parties to deal with the situation.  for me it is easy to justify the “abandonment” and them jumping ship – we weren’t in a place to join them FULLY in their happiness and they weren’t in a place to understand our pain and sorrow.  in each relationship our expectations weren’t met and feelings got hurt.  let’s be honest – who wants to hang out with a girl who looks like she is doing drugs and cries all the time?  i was hesitant to put that in the post but for me it was important to illustrate how things for us personally and socially got turned upside down.  it was important for people on the outside of infertility to maybe see what it is like inside as far as the social aspect.  it was important to show our entire side of the story and maybe show them where we were while they were going through their joys.  maybe communicate some sort of explanation that we never could visualize before – assuming they would even take time now to read this.

6. has deciding to adopt made not having a baby easier?  a lot of times this comes at me as a statement and not a question.  i will be very candid here.  when we first made the decision to adopt i felt like i was saying “i give up on me.”  it isn’t really like that now and we are so close (to waiting) we can’t stand it.  with each milestone we pass in the process it gets more and more real and the excitement and giddiness escalates.  we can’t wait for the day that we get to hold our baby in our arms.  with that said i do feel that infertility has robbed me of certain “passages” and i will always wonder “what if” and will mourn those – adopting or not.  this question brings me to things that are not ok to say to people with infertility problems – which will be its own post (compiled by a collection of people and experiences).

7.  isn’t it amazing this journey that you are on and the plan God has for you?  this one comes in many forms as well.  i will say there are days were i still struggle with understand God and his plan.  i still have moments of anger towards God.  i have times where i don’t understand.  i have times where i want to scream when someone pats my hand and says but “God’s plan…”  i understand that having faith means that you trust even if you don’t understand – i get that.  but i don’t think that means i have to love it.  i don’t understand why i had to go through everything we have been to get to the same result – before infertility we talked about adopting at some point.  i don’t understand how a 19-year-old addicted to meth can get knocked up the first time she has sex and someone who would do anything can’t get pregnant.  i don’t understand how someone can hide a pregnancy and when their baby is born, drown it, when someone did everything in their power to get pregnant and lost everything.  i don’t understand God’s plan.  the beauty of it is that i don’t have to.  i don’t have to understand, i just have to take it one step at a time and have faith that one day when i am having a cup of coffee with God, looking back on my life, his plan will make sense.  so our journey through the pain and hurt and the lack of understanding will be known to our child as the greatest love story – their story.

8. are you happy now?  yes we are.  we are thrilled.  we can’t believe that we are almost done with the long process of paperwork and state laws and almost to the “just waiting” stage.  we are happy.  through the pain and hurt of our journey we have found unexpected things.  we found that our relationship (mine and andy’s) that we thought was pretty solid turned out to be the strongest foundation.  we found the joys in simple things again.  i still get an ache in my heart when a pregnant woman walks by – my heart hurts but healing eventually comes.  and while sometimes i dwell on the things i will miss because of infertility, i come back to the unique things andy and i will share that other couples won’t ever get the chance to.

9.  are you going to write a book?  no. i will be honest i have never felt like i was a good writer.  i felt like i was good enough to get by (and still do) but not fabulous.  i have been completely humbled by all of the compliments on my posts. in college i did take a creative writing class and he encouraged us to write a lot and i did start a “book” so maybe i will pick that back up.  but for now i will continue to feel like the average writer that i am and hopefully will be able to use words to inspire others.

several people told me that i was able to express their emotions when they couldn’t come up with the right words.  i was able to give them a tool to show their families so they could say “that is what i have been trying to say.”  i don’t want to be the next poster child for infertility by any means, but i do hope to raise some sort of awareness which will hopefully instill compassion and understanding and obviously to share the story of the cutest baby ever (to be determined).

part 4 of 4: the inconsolable soul – the end

part 4…the end.

this is the part in this crazy story where i should be able to start out this post with these words:

‘with every great story comes a happy ending and in the end it was all worth it because we are pregnant!’

this is not that story and that is not our ending.  we are not pregnant.

every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. – semisonic

in the years since our story begun, we have come a long way – we still have a long way to go, but we are on the right path.
before our “break,” in my last conversation with dr. w, he said that if we wanted to come back to him he would recommend ivf but that he didn’t feel that would even help.  he told me in his no sugar coating fashion that the medicines would be tougher and considering what i went through the past few months, i could and should expect the worst when it came to the side effects.  as reassuring as that was, we talked about it.  we really did.  we dissected our thoughts and actions, we looked at the positive and negative, and we prayed.  at the end of the day, we decided to wait.  we didn’t really want to do ivf at that time since the percentage of success would be so low.  and, we wanted to give ourselves extended time to heal before we tried any more iui’s, so we waited.

in our waiting, we were faced with new challenges.  challenges of dealing with, and learning to live with, infertility.  one of those challenges was being able to respond to people when they ask why we weren’t pregnant and asking if we just didn’t want kids.  it takes time to respond to those people because with each question it rushes me through all of the stages of grief.  when i get back to the acceptance stage, i don’t know how to answer.  i don’t want to make the person feel bad because they didn’t know, but all i can really do now is give a sad smile and shrug.  sometimes when people complain about their children or their pregnancies, all i can do is breath and relive the pain.

**i am not saying now, or ever, that 1. i would have been a great mom that didn’t complain.  i might have, but having been through all of this, if i could have gotten pregnant i would have embraced the bad and horrible because for me it would have been a victory.  it would have been better than being in the state that i am in right now.  2. That people can’t complain. everyone has a right to be miserable in their own situations and i get that.  sometimes it is hard for me or other people going through infertility to grasp what people are saying because we are stuck in the mentality of “if only i had that problem.”  3. that other people can’t share their happiness with people going through infertility or that we expect people to only be sad around us and not share their good news and their joys.  it isn’t that we aren’t capable of being happy for anyone, because often times we are.  but with everyone else’s happiness inside us, there is still that sting of heartache.  that with everyone else’s happiness, even though we are genuinely happy, there is still a place in our heart that breaks.  and i am not sure that there is anything that will make that go away.**

each month that passed, a little bit of sadness enters in, but it eventually leaves.  most of the time that we have been taking a break has been uneventful.  i have had some more cysts rupture (but nothing that sent me back to the hospital) and i have had some lingering effects of the treatments (mental and physical).  i am telling you, my hair used to be so sleek and shiny instead of the afro fuzz ball that it is now.

in april of 2013, i found myself having some issues.  i started bleeding and wouldn’t stop.  i called my doctor and told him i was annoyed and to fix it.  he prescribed something and told me to call in 3 days.  i did and he said “did it stop?”  i said “no, what else is there?” he gave me another medicine and told me to call a week later.  i called and he said “did it stop now?” i said “no and if it doesn’t stop soon i am going to go insane.”  he told me he would call me back.  he wanted to check into something.  a few hours later, his nurse called and told me that he wanted me to have an ultrasound (still not a fun one) and to come see him in the office.  this has become a new way of life – just do what we are told when it pertains to my “mickey mouse.”  i went to the ultra sound and the tech asked me if i was familiar with the “type of ultrasound we were doing that morning.” i laughed at her and said yes.  i am sure that she didn’t get the joke but i giggled.  if only she knew where this all started.  i had the ultrasound and when i asked what she was looking for, she wouldn’t tell me.  i asked her if it looked ok and she said, “the doctor has to go over it with you.”  i will admit, i wasn’t overly concerned because i have been here before.  after the ultrasound, we had several hours to kill because my appt with him wasn’t until that afternoon.  we went and had breakfast.  we went shopping and i got to go to target – i love target!  we killed time and i went to my appt.  andy went in with me, but opted to stay in the waiting room.  when they called me back, i went into the room and the doctor walked in. he sat down and pulled up the ultrasound so that we could look at it together.  he showed me that my ovaries were fine (not in the ‘you can have a baby’ fine, but in the, fine for alison’s screwed up ovaries).

he then went on to show me my uterus. he said, “ok, do you see this?” and showed me something gray and white on the screen (let’s be honest, everything on those screens is white and some shade of gray – but i digress).  he told me it was the lining of my uterus.  oh – i don’t know why i didn’t recognize it because years before, i got to see it each month four or five times a month.  he told me that the lining was a great thickness and he was glad to see that.  i looked at him as he continued.  he stated, “i was worried that since you were bleeding so bad and since you didn’t stop with those medicines that you had cancer.”  i nodded. “oh ok – wait WHAT?” he told me that because my ovaries don’t work right that i am at an increased risk for cancer (which dr. w did mention to me at our initial consultation).  he said that when i was talking to him on the phone that he had a bad feeling about it and wanted me to have the ultrasound and come in to talk to him about it.  he stated that he was concerned that he would see a very thick lining and if he did, he would want to do a d&c to clear it out and do biopsies to diagnose.  he was certain now that i was fine and that for some reason unknown to him and to myself, i just had a lot to bleed the past month and a half.  he offered to do a biopsy if it would calm my nerves and put my mind at peace.  i said, “um, yes please.”

he got his nurse and told her that we were going to proceed.  then he told me how he was going to do it and that he was going to get several samples.  he told me it was going to be a bit uncomfortable.  i remember hearing this when i had the xray and when they did the actual iui procedure, so i said ok – thinking that this would be the same.  i was on the table and he said, “here we go.”  all i have to say is: uncomfortable, my ass – it hurt like hell!  he did the first biopsy and i almost climbed over the top of the table.  i was mad.  i may or may not have said a choice word and told him through clenched teeth before he took the second one that he needed to revisit his definition of uncomfortable.  he moved a little faster and at the end of it he asked if i was ok.  i said i was, but i wasn’t happy with him.  all in all, i was glad that he had the forethought to be worried even when i hadn’t been. i had labs drawn that day as well and those were a piece of cake – since i am an expert now!

time passed and the results came back.  i was fine – cancer free and, for the time being, worry free.  he counseled me on what to look for in the future and when i needed to come in for more tests or biopsies (which i told him i didn’t think i would ever do again).  that biopsy was something that you can do once because you don’t know, but once you know that pain you wouldn’t volunteer for it again – ever.

at any given moment you have the power to say this is not how the story is going to end. – christine mason miller

In our story, we will always be labeled as an infertile couple (if not by other people – by ourselves).  we will always be a part of that club even if we didn’t ask to be.  we will always wonder what could have been.  but we decided that our story is not going to end how so many do.  we were going to stay together and love each other.  we would not let this rip our relationship to pieces.

something that i haven’t talked about that much is andy.  yes he is sprinkled here and there in the story, but i haven’t really focused much on him.  through all of this, he was my rock and my sanity.  he was my punching bag (verbally) and the recipient of my anger and lashing out.  he was my voice of reason when i went on an irrational rant.  he was the calm to my raging storm.  if I was having a bad day, his look of understanding and compassion and a smile of “bring it on, i can take it” was all i needed to see that there was a light at the end of this.  in his eyes, i could see, and still see, the promise that he made me – that i was his forever.

there are days that i still question if he will wish he walked away when he had the chance.  there are days i wonder if he will ever resent staying married to me because of all of this.  there are days where i feel so insecure that no matter what he says i believe that he will hate me.  but then there are the rest of the days.  the rest of the days that have built our relationship. the days where we were in the midst of our darkest time together – in the midst of anguish and despair that a lot of couples don’t experience together.  it wasn’t like there was one sided, earth shattering grief for one of us where the other was there to hold you up. it was earth shattering grief for both of us.  we had to hold each other up and keep from falling in the process.  we were fully invested in the good days, where we hoped and dreamed of having a family.  and we were fully there in the dark days when it seemed like a black cloud was flying over us raining down despair.  our story, as horrible as it was, gave us a foundation stronger than we ever thought was possible.

because of the lack of spontaneity and intimacy that comes with fertility treatments, we have spent the last few years re-falling, deeper and deeper in love.  we have found tremendous joy in doing even the simplest things together because, through all of this, we have realized that we don’t need to take things for granted.  we run our errands together.  we make a game of giving ourselves challenges (find the most random gift for someone or something we can restore) and go to thrift stores to try to fulfill those challenges.  we are more intentional about having date nights (something that we didn’t really do before we realized we had infertility problems).  we find simple pleasures in random mini road trips, looking for hidden treasures in the world.  i knew that i loved andy a long time before we even started dating and i knew i loved him when he asked me out.  there was no question in my mind that i was head over heels in love with him when he asked me to marry him and on the day that we said “i do.”  and as cliché as it sounds – the love that we had back then is nothing compared to the love that we have right now.

every great story on the planet happened when someone decided not to give up, but kept going no matter what. – spryte loriano

when we said our vows, i believed that ‘for better or worse’ would come with old age – dealing with ailments and sickness.  i never imagined that it would creep in so early in our marriage.  i can honestly say that andy has been there through the best of times and the worst.  he has seen me at my best and at my very worst.

our story, as imperfect and unwanted as it is, has been our greatest love story.

Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise. – victor hugo

i feel God again.  that doesn’t mean that i understand everything that he is doing in my life.  i still don’t understand why he put the desire for children in my heart if he knew that i would never be able to get pregnant.  it doesn’t mean that i agree with everywhere he has led me.  it doesn’t mean that i don’t still get angry with him and ask him why.  especially when i see a new mom with a 4 week old baby and the mom admits she did heroin 3 weeks earlier.  it doesn’t mean that i have to like what he has done in my life.  it doesn’t mean that i am not broken anymore, because i am.  it doesn’t mean that the sting isn’t there sometimes.  it doesn’t mean that i only have good days now.  it doesn’t mean that i have it all together and don’t cry anymore.  the important part is, i feel him again.  my faith has returned – a little damaged but there.

the youth and their families we worked with in monroe and here in greeneville have helped.  family and friends have helped. little glimmers of hope for peace have helped.  understanding and compassion from people in and out of our situation have helped.

as weird as it might sound, pancake helped.  i was already doing better (most of the time) by the time we moved to tn, but i feel like i have been doing even better when pancake arrived.  we loved going to the farm and riding around and hanging out with the animals (even when they didn’t have the time of day for us).  it was a scene of calm and peace and we needed that.  we would sit and listen to the cows chewing on the grass (which is surprisingly louder than you would think).  we would watch jack wander around, ignoring us.  we would listen to the river and look at the mountains and ponder why they never looked the same.  but when pancake arrived a whole new ballgame began.

i was responsible.  ok, i really wasn’t “responsible” for anything other than love and treats because gene fed him and took care of basic needs, but i felt responsible.  we uprooted him from his family and took him to a strange place and contained him in the barn for a few weeks.  i watched him go from refusing to leave the barn to waiting for me in the barn lot when i took too long.  i watched him go from standing as far away from me as possible to running full speed to us when he saw us.  pancake.  my weird little donkey.  i watched his personality develop and with each development, we laughed more and more.  everything from his squeaky bray to his obsession of walking behind the other animals with his head on their rump made us laugh and smile.  we shared our stories of pancake and his equine friends and we noticed that other people laughed too.  it seemed like there is something about an ass that makes people smile (not all people, i am sure, but just go with me here).

we were talking one day about doing some fundraising one day and our ideas became bigger and bigger and we decided we needed to just start a company.  we played around with it (one of andy’s wild ideas) and came up with a name and a concept and a business plan.  we laughed about it.  one day at lunch, andy told me that we had a website.  that our fundraising idea was now no longer just an idea.  it was real – tangible.  within the last little bit, we have a business license and a website.  we are business owners.  we are starting out small, but our plans are huge.  pancake and his equine friends made us happy and helped heal us and if it brings a smile to someone’s face, then we have made a difference.

from the pits of despair to the path of healing, we have turned the story into something we never could have imagined.  so sometime tomorrow, november 1, 2014 will be the first day of:

the bossy donkey company

http://www.bossydonkey.com

tomorrow will be a new adventure in it’s own right with the launching of our own company.

i know that infertility has robbed me and us of certain rights of passage, and no matter what happens from here on out there are some things that deep down i will always grieve, but it is ok.

our story has lead us here and in the end, our story is just beginning: we are adopting!

part 3 of 4: the inconsolable soul – numbness

Sorrow is knowledge, those that know the most must mourn the deepest, the tree of knowledge is not the tree of life. – Lord Bryon

i took my break.  i told andy that we would get through the summer and reevaluate our situation.  andy agreed.  i went through stages of intense crying and apologizing.  the more tears that fell and the more i said i was sorry, the more i realized how much i was hurting andy.  i did my best to hide the tears from him.  i cried a lot in the shower.  i took really long and really hot showers.  the noise covered the sobs and i was able to have my outlet and andy didn’t have to watch me cry –  again.

those five months of intense treatment were catching up with me.  i was able to process what happened because while it was going on things happened too fast and really left no time for coping with each failed treatment.  i was able to analyze our movements and our numbers.  i was able to reflect.  i cried a lot.  i would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and the realization would hit me.  i would roll over and cry into my pillow while andy slept beside me.  sometimes he would wake up enough to roll over and pull me close.  i was able to breathe and i started putting my life and my soul back together.
i was off pretty much all of the medicines and i felt myself slowly coming back.  i could look in a mirror and see the life coming back to my eyes and feel a little bit more like myself.  no more hot flashes.  unfortunately my hair stayed a frizzy fluff ball.
during infertility treatments, timing is obviously everything.  because of that timing and the type of infertility treatments we were doing, we quickly learned that spontaneity and intimacy were gone – just bury it in the back yard.

dealing with infertility is very much like dealing with the stages of grief: denial/isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.  i guess because in a way, it is a loss. it is real, heart breaking, soul shattering grief.

denial/isolation:

we dealt with this early on.  maybe not the denial part because all of this was pretty hard to deny!  but the isolation part really hit us. we found that being around certain people hurt more and if we controlled that, it seemed that life hurt less.  it wasn’t that we thought that we could cause the pain to cease to exist, but we thought sparing one ounce of hurt would break our hearts less.

with the group of 4 couples, in a way, you could say that we isolated ourselves when i sent that letter asking for space.  we were told that nothing would change and that i was wrong for insinuating that things would change.  whether we want to admit it or not, life experiences like marriages and pregnancy will change group dynamics.  it might not be intentional but those changes will happen. when we noticed those changes within our group, we slowly withdrew to allow even more space (for them as well as us) and unfortunately after a while of declining invitations, we stopped getting them all together.  i tried to stay in touch with people individually sending private messages when life happened (birthday’s, Christmas, death in the families, etc), but after a year or so, i was told that “it is kind of obvious that you don’t want anything to do with us” and was asked to stop sending birthday wishes and Christmas cards.  at the end of the day, i still try to keep up with our group of 4 couples through other people or personal messages sometimes.  in isolating ourselves we didn’t stop the hurt because that came even when we were in a room alone, but it dimmed it just a little and that little bit helped.

Anger:

anger was the biggest obstacle for me.  i was angry at myself and i was angry at God.  there were times i was angry at andy but those times faded quickly and i placed the blame and anger back on myself.  this anger was present from the emergency room visit and escalated into a rage over the course of the year.  my anger was directed at myself and i replayed everything in my life, wondering at what point my ovaries stopped working and asking myself what if.  what if i knew what was going on before we got married?  what if i did something wrong to cause them to stop working right?  what if?  i was lost in a world of ‘what could i have done’ – i wasn’t just lost, but consumed by it.  i looked in the mirror at my reflection with hate and couldn’t wrap my mind around why andy didn’t have the same glare when he looked at me.

**I am writing this knowing that some people may be upset by my perception of this, but this is how i felt in the moment.  feelings that are still very raw for me.**

most of my anger was directed at God.  i was pissed.  it wasn’t fair to me that we were “faithful people” that prayed, but i felt like we were being punished.  i felt like if i had done something better in my life, or with my life, maybe things would be different.  that maybe if i had been a better person, God would have allowed my ovaries to be good.  it wasn’t fair.  each and every day i was reminded of how unfair life was when i turned on the news and saw women killing their babies.  or women strung out on drugs getting pregnant in the blink of an eye.  when people who didn’t want those babies got them so easily and i wanted one so bad, i was willing to put myself mentally and physically to hell and back.  it wasn’t fair and i blamed God.

my faith, that had been pretty rock solid growing up, was spread thin.  really thin.  almost transparent.  i was really questioning why i believe what i do.  i was questioning if i still believed.  i was questioning if faith was real and if God was real.  i was searching for answers and couldn’t get past my thoughts that if God allowed this to happen to us, or made this happen to us, was this the God that i wanted to believe in.  i wanted to believe in a passionate, caring God that cares for his people.  with all the heartache, i couldn’t feel him caring.  i could no longer feel his presences in the wind.  i could no longer feel his arms around me in an invisible hug.  when i needed to understand why and feel God the most, i couldn’t.  not only was i abandoned by my ovaries and my hopes of being a mother, but God left me too.

i searched for him in all the places that i could look – if I was going to be enraged with him, i wanted to feel him because that meant he was near and that he could feel me.   if he could feel me, then i could inflict pain back to him like he was doing to me and andy.

we went to church each sunday.  sometimes i didn’t want to go, but i went.  i wanted my faith to be strong again.  i wanted people to ask me why bad things happen to good people and be able to rely on my faith for an answer – not bitterness attacking God.  i went to church.  the place that i should have felt God without question.  i was wrong.  i felt love from the people that went to the church and in hindsight, i could feel God in those people, but i couldn’t see that at the time.  but i couldn’t see or feel God from the pulpit.  i was sitting there each week wanting to see God and instead was yelled at and told that i was going to hell because i wasn’t singing.  lets face it, i don’t sing well.  i don’t.  i am not going to act like i do.  if i do sing, usually i sing quietly.  but to be told before each song that i had to sing, made me mad.  so now, not only did God give me bad ovaries but God gave me a crappy singing voice.  and now, apparently, i am going to hell.  it wasn’t a picture of the God i wanted to believe in.

maybe it was because i was already so critical of God and so angry at God, but i felt like all of the sermons were based on God hating some group, or telling me that i wasn’t good enough in God’s eyes.  that isn’t what i needed or wanted to hear.  what i needed to hear was that we are all broken and that even in our brokenness, we were still made in God’s image.  that faith goes beyond our understanding, our dreams and our needs. that faith pushes us to be better, to get better and to get beyond.  i needed to hear that God loved me, not that he was judging me.  i needed to hear that God’s grace rained down over me when tears poured down my face.  to let go of the anger, to be at peace and to give myself grace.  i needed to hear that it was ok to be angry at God as long as i kept talking to him.  i needed a place i could go on sundays to escape all of my negative feelings that i had during the week and to feel God.  i needed to hear about the God that i grew up believing in that was compassionate and loving.  that is what i needed to hear.

during all of this, i was working with a youth group.  it was through them that my faith flickered.  i surrounded my heart in ice to protect me from any more disappointment and it was those youth that started chipping away at that ice.  i latched onto those kids as if they were my own because, in a way, they were – and will always be.  they made me laugh and, for a moment, my anger would fade and i would laugh.  they made me so very proud.  they played sports and instruments and we tried to support them outside of church.  they took an active role in participating and they put up with me. they allowed me to interrogate their friends and, in their own way, would ask for advice.  they would ask questions and discuss faith questions.  their blunt honesty put an new spin on the faith that i was trying so desperately to reconnect with.  on a sunday, they were my sanity.  they were my angels that kept me from getting so lost in the darkness that i didn’t want to come back.

it was during this time that i learned of several other friends having infertility issues.  i made it a point to reach out to them.  with one in particular, we made it a point to go to dinner and be away from it all.  just a girls date night.  during dinner, we would take a few minutes to catch up.  we would fill each other in on life as we knew it.  there was always that moment where our laughter died down and we looked at each other.  the subject of infertility would come up.  she would ask what was new and i would fill her in on our story and  i would ask her how she was doing.  i leaned on her and still do.

in my anger at myself, our situation and at God, we decided to keep a lot of our story to ourselves.  it was too raw to really talk to most people about it because a lot of people just didn’t understand.  it was too hard to be able to admit how broken i really was.  how to admit that the vision that i had instilled in my own mind was unraveling.  how to admit that i was mad at God. we wanted to be able to control who had what information because, after all, it was our story to tell.  it was also too hard to deal with the look of pity.  people say that look doesn’t exist, but it does.  i was at a funeral and someone came up to me and gave me that look.  i said hello and she grabbed both of my arms and said “i am so sorry.”  i knew that she was genuinely sorry for us and meant what she said, but for starters, she should have never known – someone gave her information that she should have never known.  secondly, that look of pity – that look of, ‘i know what you can’t do.’  i know that you can’t create a family for your husband.  i know that you are broken beyond belief.  we also didn’t want people to know because we had hoped that treatment would work.  we hoped that if we kept it to ourselves, we would be able to “announce” a pregnancy to the world instead of having everyone know when our iuis were and knowing when the pregnancy test would be.  since it was based on timing, it wouldn’t have taken too long to figure out and we didn’t need the added stress of people knowing when to expect good news or bad news.

another thing that made me angry were people taking their pregnancies and their children for granted.  it wasn’t that it just made us angry, but that it shattered us into a million pieces.  we would have been thrilled and we worked so hard for it and nothing.  one of my friends told me that she was nervous that i would be upset at her when she told me that she was pregnant.  i will admit that my heart skipped a beat, but at the same time, i was overjoyed for her.  my only request was that she know how lucky she was and how fortunate she was to have this life growing inside her – to take the good and the bad and embrace it.

bargaining:

i bargained a little bit i guess.  i told God that if he allowed me to just have one baby i would do better.  i asked him what it would take.  i prayed and begged.  when i was home alone on saturdays (because andy was in school), i cleaned.  i would put my headphones in and listen to ‘doubting thomas’ by nicklecreek over and over while i cleaned and prayed.  i would sing  scream the lyrics hoping that it would help me move past the bitterness and the anger.  i would scream the lyrics and start crying hysterically listening to those words.  the words that were very much who i was.  i often found myself in the laundry room with my back against the washer sobbing.  i often found myself in the most normal situations sobbing – completely broken.  i don’t know if it was all the medicines coming out of my system or just every once in a while the reality hit me like a ton of bricks.  i didn’t bargain for long because it got me nowhere.

depression:

when the anger faded, sadness filled the void.  i don’t think that we ever went into depression.  we were sad – yes, of course.  but we weren’t depressed.  we wanted to act like nothing was wrong and sometimes we could, but the truth was that it hurt.  there were some days that we couldn’t get cereal from certain stores because that aisle shared the diaper aisle and that was just asking too much.  i remember going to the store to get one thing and decided we needed poptarts.  i was in a hurry, grabbed them and when i turned around, i was looking at baby food.  i started crying in the middle of aisle 8.  we had good days and we had bad days.  we were very honest with each other about this.  all it took was “this isn’t a good day” and we knew what we needed to do to help the other one out.

acceptance:

i am going to get off topic right now and say that i have never liked this last stage of grief.  because i don’t believe that acceptance is really the end result.  i feel like with each loss (in the situation of a person passing away or the loss of dreams and hopes) there is no real end.  i think that you move beyond the first stages and you enter a stage of “mostly ok.”  it isn’t that you fully accept the situation but that you move past the rest.  acceptance is such a strong word.

the thing about grief is that it sneaks up on you.  even when you feel like you have gotten past the first four stages and move into the fifth and once you feel like you get through the fifth stage, there are triggers that will take you back through all the phases again.  the stages might move a little faster and don’t take as much time to process them through to the next, but all of those stages resurface.

since the word is acceptance, we have accepted a few things.  we have accepted that even in our own personal grief, we can still have joy.  joy for other people and joy for ourselves.  we have accepted that even though we were thrown unwillingly into the infertility club, that we will survive.  we have accepted that other people are going to take things for granted and our feelings will be hurt.  we have accepted that people will unknowingly ask us why we don’t have children.  we have accepted that people will ask us questions about when we are going to get pregnant.  we have accepted that even in the depths of the darkest place we have ever been, the world will continue on around us, regardless of our grief and loss of what could have been.

I write about the power of trying, because I want to be okay with failing. I write about generosity because I battle selfishness. I write about joy because I know sorrow. I write about faith because I almost lost mine, and I know what it is to be broken and in need of redemption. I write about gratitude because I am thankful – for all of it. – Kristin Arstrong

darkness and little bits of light

we don’t live out in the middle of no where and there are a few houses right around us (one across the street directly, and one diagonally from us) but at night it gets pretty dark.  when all of the meteor showers were going on we could turn the porch light off and be able to see them shooting through the sky.  one night this summer i got home after dark and realized that i didn’t turn the porch light on.  as i was walking to the door in the pitch black i glanced across the street and saw these green dots of lights flickering.  i paused thinking that maybe someone was in the field with flash lights.  as i tried to focus my eyes i realized they were lightning bugs – thousands of them.  i had never seen so many at one time in one place.  it was mesmerizing.  i hurried in and got the dog out of his crate and took him on the porch with the light still out and stared at them flicker on and off.  it was so beautiful and surprisingly breath-taking and reminded me that even in our darkest times there are still little hints or flickers of light and hope.  it reminded me of when i was a child and would play in the yard with will and vicky catching them.  and the times that i was cruel and would kill them.  i was reminded of how awesome God’s presence is and how lucky i was to be able to witness so many “sparkles” in the pitch black.

a few days later my parents came to visit and dad didn’t come in the house and he didn’t come in the house and when he finally did he was like oh my gosh did you see the lightning bugs across the street?  I was like yes, yes I did!

i hesitate to admit that i was grabbed my camera to take a video of how awesome it was…because i know that you are sitting there thinking “that is fantastic – bugs…but who really cares” but my camera wouldn’t get anything except the darkness and i knew if i posted a video of just seconds of black you really would think i was crazy or that it wasn’t cool.  so for now you will have to trust me that it was completely awesome.

recap of the past weekend…

we had an over all good visit to charlotte this past weekend.  we were able to spend time with andy’s family friday night for dinner and just hanging out.  it was great to be able to visit and hang out with them.  it was good to see katie graduate and share in that day with her.  it was wonderful to spend time with my family and friends at the race track.  it was fun to continue the tradition of going to the race….it was one of those weekends where i wish we would have had more time to see more people…but i feel like those weekends are more often than not.

after the all-star race we had to race home (haha see what i did there?)!  andy had to be at church sunday morning.  so before the race i took a nap and after the race we waited around a little for traffic to calm down and started our trip home.  andy and otis slept and i was left with my own thoughts and the sounds of early morning radio.  my drive home was ok.  it rained most of the way and was foggy for the majority of it.  (there were only a few times that i couldn’t really see because of pouring rain and fog so that was nice).  we stopped once so i could get out and otis and andy got out and walked around too since stopping the car woke them both up.  on this drive i think i saw more deer then i have seen in several years.  i saw several packs (is a group of deer called a pack?) and they all made me very nervous.  i could tell that one group just crossed the road and was ok but two different times they were running parallel to the road and i just knew they would run out in front of me – but thankfully they didn’t.  i saw several fresh dead deer in the road.  apparently it wasn’t a good night for wildlife.

as i turned out the road we live on i the sun was coming up.  it was beautiful despite the rain and the clouds.  the sky just glowed.  it is moments like that, when i witness that beauty, that makes the journey worth while.

*this is the part where i admit that i went inside jumped in bed and didn’t give it a second thought that i was going to finally get some sleep and andy had to go to church.  this is also when i could confess that i might or might not have slept until 1.

and the rains came

i woke up this morning and automatically wanted to go back to bed.  the room was cold and i was snuggled down with otis next to me with andy yelling at me to get up.  i drug myself out of bed to a cloudy, gloomy monday.  (i planned to get a few pictures of the sky around lunch since it was really cool looking, but my phone couldn’t capture it and i didn’t have my digital in my purse). 

i sat at my desk and glanced at the window watching the rain pour down.  there is something that moves me about rain.  with the crashing rain drops comes a rollercoaster of emotions.  a lot of times rain makes me sleepy and makes me wish i was wrapped up in a quilt.  sometimes rain makes me want to weep.  i imagine that God is up there weeping for some reason (usually at what is hidden deep in my soul) and so it makes me want to weep…knowing that God is crying for and with me.  it reminds me of events and milestones that have passed in my life with a gloomy, rainy day.  days when i have found out that people i love have passed away, times when childhood friendships were restored on front porches, fun dates with andy, getting caught walking with otis, mending broken hearts at montreat, seeing the beauty of God in his creation.  after the urge to weep comes the sense of peace and hope.  it reminds me of montreat and all the bittersweet memories that come with that territory.  it reminds me of a childhood spent playing in the woods, and in forts and creeks, it reminds me of waking my brother up to make a big bed out of our blankets and pillows in the hall and sleeping away from windows (in case of tornadoes – long story).  it reminds me of summers in TN playing in the rain and sleeping with the windows open with the patter of rain on the roof.  i remember running through the house in the spring to shut windows during freak storms so that it didn’t blow in.  i remember when times were simpler.

me and will playing in the rain

there are days that i sit at my desk and i want to run outside and dance in the rain like i did before.  i want to run back to those memories and be comforted by the soft, cold raindrops that fall from the heavens.  i want to escape the stresses of life today and trade them for the happy memories that come with rain, but i know that with the happy memories comes some sad ones as well.  i also know that each day it rains more memories (happy and sad) will be made and my rollercoaster will continue…