NIAW: I am 1 in 8

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If you’re familiar with the infertility world in any capacity, then you’re probably aware that this week is National Infertility Awareness Week.

So many amazing blogs and posts have already been written on this topic. Like this collaborative post from my friend Caroline over on In Due Time. And this one from my friend Angela at While in Waiting. And this post from my friend Melissa at Borderless Blog.

So why should you read another?

Because there is power in our stories. In our testimonies. Because we are the words living out The Word (Jesus!) Each of our stories must be told because people connect to different stories. The Word says that the enemy is defeated by the blood of Jesus and by the word of our testimonies. Your testimony is a powerful tool.

As I was reflecting on our 8 year fertility journey this week, the Father reminded me of the season I spent trying to conceive a baby. A season usually lasts 3-6 months, but this season lasted for years.

It was a {long} season of restlessness and fear. Of doubt and shame.

A season without hope.

I took my seat at the “infertile” table, believing that GOD must’ve been the one who made me this way (and He better have had a good reason.) I blamed Him for the years that passed without one cycle, without a chance of pregnancy. I blamed Him for the PCOS diagnosis and our silent house. Years without the sound of little ones running in the hallway. Years without babies falling asleep on my chest or growing in my belly. I wouldn’t have admitted this if someone had asked, but deep down in my soul, I believed that He had chosen infertility for me.

It was a season of ashes, tears, heaviness, and devastation (to quote Isaiah.)

And as I blamed Him and ran away from Him, He remained faithful. He didn’t hide His face from me. He simply waited. After years of running away, I finally turned around and ran towards Him.

Holy Spirit pointed me to Jesus and reminded me of the promises He made to me.

  • When I felt like I was alone in the wait and that no one understood what I was feeling, He reminded me of Matthew 28:20, “…Never forget that I am with you every day, even to the completion of this age.”

  • When anxiety crept in and invaded every corner of my heart, He spoke Matthew 6:34 over me, “Refuse to worry about tomorrow, but deal with each challenge that comes your way, one day at a time. Tomorrow will take care of itself.”

  • When I felt like infertility was a badge of honor or a cross I had to bear alone, by my own strength, Holy Spirit led me to Matthew 11:28-30, “Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.”

  • When I questioned if the Father had made me infertile so that I would better glorify His name, He reminded me of John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” The Father is the author of LIFE and Jesus came to give life, so why would He keep me from creating life in my womb? The Holy Spirit revealed to me that the enemy came to steal, kill, and destroy, NOT THE FATHER!

This is why we have to know The Word!! Jesus said Himself, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8)

The truth set me free. His Word set me f r e e.

The Word says that He exchanges sorrow with comfort. A pile of ashes with a beautiful bouquet. Tears with gladness. The spirit of heaviness with the mantle of joyous praise. Ruins and devastation are restored with Mighty Oaks, planted by God as a living display of His glory. Those who once lived in shame and dishonor inherit a double portion of endless joy and everlasting bliss! (Isaiah 61)

This is what He does.

He exchanges. Restores. Renews.

Even though I’ve yet to feel the kicks of a baby inside my belly, still He’s birthed new things through me.

He’s faithfully restored and renewed my hope in Jesus.

He exchanged my mourning for dancing and darkness for light. He exchanged my loneliness with a supportive, healthy, thriving community of women who are walking a similar road to motherhood. (More on that at the end of this post!)


As hard as it is to share the following two posts, still I will lay it all out there.

These posts remind me that where once there was pain, loss, sorrow, and shame, the Father has replaced all of them with hope, joy, truth, and grace.

These posts are a testament that I have been in that place of control. I thought if I took all of the right medicines and followed the perfect schedule, I could make a baby. Not the Father, but ME.

The words written below were written from a place of shame and anger. They’re hard for me to read. But, it’s a testimony of where He’s taken me over the last few years.

But the prayers and prophecies of my friends…

Those are priceless and I will cherish them forever.


Post written on February 2, 2015

Most nights I'm content. Happy, even.

Most nights I feel blessed. I can list blessing after blessing, after blessing, and the list just goes on and on. 

Most nights I'm perfectly fine with who I am and what I've been given. 

Some nights, though...

Some nights it hits me hard and out of nowhere. 

Some nights I feel happy, and blessed, and content, but there's this longing that is just so completely overwhelming. 

I want a baby. 

That phrase will repeat over and over again in my head until the weight of this longing is so heavy that the feeling actually becomes tangible and the tears just start flowing. Sometimes it lasts a few minutes, sometimes hours. 

Most nights I can deal with it. Push it back and move forward. 

But on some nights, it barges in uninvited and unwelcome. And just like that, it leaves as quickly as it entered, and I'm back to feeling...fine.

I was having one of these particularly hard nights on Saturday night and the Lord must have put it on Stacy's heart to text me because it couldn't have come at a better time. Her words of encouragement meant the world to me. I hope she doesn't mind me posting this, but I really want to remember these words, and pray over them, repeat them, and meditate on them until it becomes second nature to pray these thoughts.

"I wish I could say it will happen and not to worry! And while I don't know exactly how you feel, I know the anguish and pain of losing a child, and I only assume it is as painful as the longing for one of your own. This is your time Julie. This is your battle. The Lord is near to you; do not grow weary. Pray hard and do not give up. Fast and give up what you love for something you'll love even more. Ask the Lord what that might be in the meantime, with you trying all these medicines, etc. That's a lot of new things going into your body, so you have to protect your mind even more, from yourself and the enemy's schemes. Post scripture all over your house and speak affirmations to yourself and your body of being able to bear a child. The one you have prayed for. And on the hard days when it doesn't make sense, just rest in the arms of Jesus, his promises for you, that he is always with you!!! Let the Spirit overwhelm you with comfort and joy at what is to come, knowing that it's perfect, if it comes from The Lord, whatever His will might be! I commit to standing in the gap with you and praying you through."

And this prayer from my sweet friend Lori on March 20, 2015…

I love you two so and we will keep praying!! Just keep taking one step at a time. I was thinking about you and this came to mind... Just hold one tight to your faith and love of the Lord and He will not fail!! "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are NEW each morning and great is your faithfulness" Lamentations 3:22-23. We are here no matter what you two need! HUGS!!

And another prayer from Stacy on June 5, 2015…

Wow! What a timely word from the Holy Spirit this morning! He is doing so much in you Julie, through this process; I want this so badly for you, right alongside you, but to watch Him minister to you in the moments of confusion in bad news and joy in good news, I must say, it's pretty powerful! He is speaking to you & you aren't missing it!! Thank you for using your time in this journey to point us to The Lord! Love you sis.


Post written on January 23, 2016

Full Injectable Cycle Attempt #2

We've been secretly going through treatment this month. In the event we were actually able to get pregnant, I wanted the chance to be able to surprise our closest family and friends. Now that we are in our second failed cycle, I'm sharing this with all of you because I need prayers, not secrets.

This is what infertility looks like. I'm just exhausted. So many no's, wrong ways, not you, not now, maybe never, closed doors, sad news, if only's, shoot this, try that. It's just too much to bear sometimes.

This was the face of infertility. The face of a girl who found her hope and worth in her efforts to have a baby. This was the face of defeat.

This was the face of infertility. The face of a girl who found her hope and worth in her efforts to have a baby. This was the face of defeat.

Here's what's been going on...

1.8.16
Shhhhh....it's a secret....we're planning to start treatment again soon! We've decided not to share the process this time around so we're actually able to surprise our closest friends and family in the event that we actually get pregnant! We'll still be documenting the process, we just won't publish any posts until this treatment cycle is over. Here's what's been going on...

12.9.15
I had my first appt with Dr. B since June (6 months ago!) We made a plan together that I was happy with. I'd complete the birth control pack I started on Dec. 2nd and then take 10 pills of a new pack starting on Dec. 30th. Then we'd start another cycle of injections, sonograms, blood work, etc. 

1.8.16
I took my last birth control pill this morning! Now we wait for a period to start so I can start treatment! My $1400 of medicine (ugh!) should arrive at my house today, which I should start on day 3 of my new cycle. Also, my new nephew will probably be born today! So much to be thankful for! As excited and hopeful as I am, I'm also trying to guard my heart, and I think Brian is as well, since we've been through this before and we know that it could definitely go either way. Right now I'm praying that my estrogen levels are good to start treatment and that there are no cysts that would cause us to wait on treatment. I'm also praying that the dosage is right so that I grow a conservative number of eggs so we don't have a scare again like last time where the doctors are planning for selective reduction, which we're not ok with at all.

1.12.16
Things are moving along! I started my period yesterday, so I am going in for my first sono and blood work this morning. This will make CD 1 1.11.16. Still praying about my estrogen levels and no cysts!!

1.13.16
I took my first Gonal-F shot tonight! My day 2 sono went great yesterday. I had 53 eggs. I go back Saturday morning to see how things are growing!

1.16.16
Had my CD 6 sono and blood work this morning. Lining is at about 5.5mm. Still have >50 eggs, but there are 1-3 that are starting to cooperate; they are between 9 and 10mm each. I go back on Monday for another visit to see how we're progressing.

1.18.16
Not the best update...the scan showed today that there was little to no growth in the follicles or the lining. I now have about 60 eggs, but none more than 10mm. :(

1.20.16
Went back today for my CD 10 scan. As a note, they told me my CD 8 estrogen level was 360. Today's info:
CD 10
60+ eggs
8 eggs in left ovary over 10mm, one of those was a 13mm and one was a 14mm. These are the two most mature eggs right now. 
3 eggs at 11mm in left ovary. 
Estrogen at 1,096
Meds decreased to 100iu (from 150iu).

I had a little meltdown this morning. I'm usually strong, but every now and then I need some time to just feel bad for a few minutes and cry. I just don't understand why this has to be so hard. Why can't my body just do what it's supposed to and just make ONE strong egg? Why do we have to spend thousands of dollars to be put in a situation where we might have to make a terrible decision about which eggs will survive? It's just beyond frustrating sometimes. Ugh, ok, rant over.

 
 

1.21.16
Today (CD 11) is a new day and the Lord promised new mercies every morning. I'm clinging to that today.

1.22.16
CD 12
Estrogen 2,082
Left: 4 eggs at 13mm, one at 15mm
Right: 3 at 14mm, 3 at 15mm, one at 16mm, 3 at 17mm
44 eggs total 
No meds tonight. Going back in the morning. Most likely cancelling this cycle.

The doctor said that if there are five or less mature eggs at the scan tomorrow, we may still be able to trigger, but the dr and I are anticipating that the eggs will grow larger, not smaller. In the event that it isn't safe to do the trigger, we might be able to try things on our own in the hopes that one or two eggs might ovulate on their own, even without the trigger.

1.23.16
CD 13
The cycle was cancelled this morning.

The doctor counted more than nine eggs in the right ovary alone measuring as mature follicles; they were 18-20mm or greater each. There was no need to even check the left ovary. It is too dangerous to take a risk with an IUI or otherwise this month. I was told to trigger tonight to ensure that all of the eggs rupture. We're disappointed to say the least. Not sure what our next steps are. Thank you for the prayers.


2019 Moms in the making conference

Click HERE for more information about the 3rd annual Moms in the Making conference! The conference will take place on October 11-12, 2019 in Irving, TX. I can’t say enough about this conference and this ministry. If you’re walking through infertility, you need to be at this conference. Bottom line! I’ll save you a seat!


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I’m so glad you’re here, friend. I’m not sure how you found this post, but I continue to be amazed by the internets. It brings us together in such beautiful ways and reminds us that we’re more alike than different. More united than divided. Whether you spend a minute or an hour on this page, know that Jesus loves you like crazy.  Like CRAZY . I’d love to hear how I can pray for you. Would you let me know  here ?

I’m so glad you’re here, friend. I’m not sure how you found this post, but I continue to be amazed by the internets. It brings us together in such beautiful ways and reminds us that we’re more alike than different. More united than divided. Whether you spend a minute or an hour on this page, know that Jesus loves you like crazy. Like CRAZY. I’d love to hear how I can pray for you. Would you let me know here?

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