Friday, April 29, 2016

How You Can Help

I wanted to share a little bit about some needs that I, and other couples struggling with infertility may have.  These are not inclusive and may not be for each couple.  I realize that I may struggle differently than some other couples.  It can vary depending on their situation and how far along on the path they are.  What I am about to write is what has helped me in the healing/coping process.  I say that because I am not sure you can consider infertility ever "healed".  We just learn what works best for us to move forward in life.

I need you to try to understand.  Try to understand that I may bow out of a conversation if it turns to pregnancy symptoms, birthing plans, or who the baby looks like.  It will depend on how I am doing that day.  Sometimes it won't bother me, but please don't feel bad when you look up and notice I am gone.  I get it.  I will try to leave silently and gracefully to not draw attention to myself.  Try to understand that I may decline a baby shower.  Try to understand when I invite you over and the kids are not invited.  I just need to feel like I fit in somewhere.  I need to not feel like the odd couple out.

I need encouragement.  I need to hear you say that you are praying for us.  That you know it must be hard for us, but that God knows our hurt and He has the perfect child for us.  Encourage us to keep our chin up and that you support us.  

I need friends that make an effort to include us in their life.  Satan is really good at making us feel so alone.  He makes it seem as if everyone else is too busy for us.  And their lives are passing us by as we are standing still.  I am thankful that I do have friends that do this and it means so much.

I need randomness.  I need random texts from friends, parents, brothers, sisters.  I need to know that they are randomly praying for me.  Not only when we have a transfer or blood test coming up.  Because we struggle daily.  Not just when there is a step being taken.

I need you to remember us on Mother's Day.  I have already struggled with this holiday for many years, but I know I have a bit more anxiety about it this year because of our miscarriage.  Sunday's are already one of the toughest days to get through and this just adds on top of it.  The sermon focuses on Mother's (as it should- it's just hard to sit and hear while you try to put on your brave face.)  Mother's out there reading this, we do not begrudge you of the blessings you have.  There should be a day dedicated to you and we are thankful for our own Mother's.  Please don't take this wrong.  We just hurt for us.  That we haven't heard those words "Happy Mother's Day, Mom!  I love you!"  That we haven't had the chance to get a hand made construction paper card with flowers and hearts all over it made by our super proud children.  

I need support.  There are so many different ways to support us.  Cards, phone calls, texts.  But the most important way is by prayer.  Prayer is so powerful and we can certainly feel it.  God has been so good to us and we are thankful for each one that has shown us support in many different ways.  

We need you to want to learn more.  Learn about our adoption process.  Learn about how you can support a friend during this process.  Google is a great place to go if you are not comfortable just flat out asking your friend.  There are many articles that you can read to help you gain understanding.  I know far more than I ever thought I wanted to about the reproductive system, IVF, HCG, FSH, home studies, and background checks, and where you really should store your cleaning products, and what temperature your hot water should be set at.  I always encourage my friends and family to ask me questions or educate themselves.  

I need you to tell me about your pregnancy.  Please.  Before it shows up on social media, or before I'm standing in the middle of a group at church.  I have several close friends that have sent me a text, card, or called to tell me they were expecting, but knew how hard it was for us and that they were praying for us.  It means so much than you probably can imagine.  I need time to process my sadness for myself so that I can focus on my happiness for them.  All I need is a little time to make the shift :)  I understand that it is very hard to tell me something like that.  I honestly try to make it as painless as possible! :)

It is kind of like a grave that keeps following you around day after day as it swallows your hope and buries more of your dreams.
-Waiting For Baby Bird (blog)

It is loving your child you have never met.
It is mourning your child that you have never had.
It is the phone call that says, "I'm sorry, but your numbers are dropping and is not a viable for sustaining a pregnancy.  You will miscarry soon."
It is a constant battle between your head and your heart.  A daily challenge in putting ALL at Jesus' feet.

But what it will not do is:
Cripple my marriage
Shatter my hope
Destroy my peace
Kill my friendships
Silence my courage
Invade my soul
Conquer my spirit
Steal my dreams
It will not overcome me.
Because while I might bend, I won't break.
While I might fall down, I will get back up.
While I might lose my way for a bit, I'll find it again.
And while my wave of emotions might sometimes overwhelm me and take me under, I'll always kick back up to the surface.
Everything that infertility is... which is heartbreaking, dream shattering, and soul crushing... has made me fight for what it is not.  And it is not going to win.

Again, these are my personal feelings and not meant to say that everyone that struggles with infertility feels the same.  Please chime in if I have forgotten anything or if you have more topics you want me to cover about infertility.  After re-reading this I hope I don't come across as "too needy", but wanted to share some ways you can support your friends walking this path in life.  Blessings, friends. xoxo

Monday, April 25, 2016

National Infertility Awareness Week

As most of you faithful followers know, I very rarely post anything about our infertility journey on my blog.  But I am very open about it and want to take this time to help bring awareness to the terrible disease that infertility brings to 1 in 8 couples.  But first I want you to know that all thoughts are mine and not every couple deals with the struggle of infertility the same, as each situation is different.  The theme for NIAW (National Infertility Awareness Week) is #StartAsking.
I welcome any and all questions you might have about infertility and I will do a follow-up post with these questions and answers.  You can ask in the comments section anonymously or send me an e-mail if you would rather.  No questions are off limits and I will do my best to answer each one.

This past year has been a tough one for Jacob & I.  We started the embryo adoption process in March and had our first transfer in July.  My first blood test came back negative.  We were heartbroken, but knew it was a part of God's plan.  We have 3 tries with the agency we went with, so we still had hope.  We transferred again in November.  My first test came back POSITIVE!!  We were so excited.  I was pregnant.  For the first time in my life there were 2 pink lines.  We started planning how we were going to tell our family.  It was a wonderful period of time that Jacob & I really were able to rejoice together.  At my 2nd dr. appointment we found out that my numbers were going down instead of up and I had an early miscarriage at 5 weeks.  Again, we were devastated.  This time even more so.  Because we were able to get our hopes up and excited I had farther to fall when we learned the news.  One thing I feel infertility has robbed me of is being able to be excited and hopeful with each dr. appointment, test, or positive news.  I have a guarded heart.  I don't let myself get excited.  I don't get my hopes up.  And I probably won't ever be able to until we have our child home with us.  
After this last transfer we decided to take a break from transferring.  We were exhausted.  Emotionally, physically (all the shots and hormones going into my body), and financially.  I don't say this for anyone to feel sorry for us.  It is reality. You never know what all goes into one cycle until you have done it.  The emotions are by far the toughest.  We questioned if we are following His will.  Why would He bring us this far, only to leave us in this devastation?  We grew so much, friends.  We grew closer to God.  We grew closer to each other.  Infertility has the ability to make marriages struggle or make them stronger.  With the help of God, we are thankful to say that we are stronger for it.  We still feel that this is a part of His plan for us.  Even if it means that we are only the way for them to get to Heaven.  At least these babies have had a chance at life instead of being destroyed.  We will go wherever He sends us.  We know He will never forsake us, even though it feels like it at times.  
The stress and anxiety that infertility causes has been shown to be similar to being diagnosed with cancer.  That is how much we need you.  How much we need your support and most importantly your prayers.  
We still have at least 1 transfer left through our current agency.  As you can probably imagine, after the last two, I am not excited about it.  I know what all it entails and I don't know if my heart can handle it.  But I do know that with Christ by our side, He will see us through.  When Jacob & I first felt lead to embryo adoption, we committed to 3 transfers.  No matter the outcome of the first two.  So here we are.  Ready for the third, but not really ready.
I hope that this post has helped bring awareness to those around you who may be struggling.  I wrote a post about how you can help and more on our story, HERE.

So send me your questions.  I would love to do another post on infertility if you are interested.  I will take anonymous questions if that will help you ask and try to understand.  Blessings to each of you who have helped us on our journey as we are still in the trenches!  And remember, it took a lot for me to hit the "publish" button because it is hard for me to be so vulnerable to so many people who may not feel the same about adoption as we do.  So please be kind.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Easter and Burning Pasture

Getting ready for the egg hunt.  We had to have it inside since it was rather chilly.
Dumping out all the loot to share.
Jacob and I finally had a few days where it wasn't blowing 158674.98333 miles per hour so we burned pasture.
This was my job.  I got to start the fires.

It is really pretty to watch and even more beautiful when the new grass emerges!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Naughty Puppy And More Company!

We woke up one morning to this scene in our garage.  Skipper must have really liked these flip flops.  He chewed up one of each pair.  He knows now that flip flops are not a part of his menu, but he thought maybe tennis shoes were the next night.  He chewed a little part of the back of one of my running shoes before we caught him.  Now he sticks to bones, turtle shells, fish, and rocks.  We came home the other night to a bluegill laying on our patio.  Seriously.
The Luthi family got together one Saturday afternoon to go through Grandpa's shop and divvy things up.  There were quite a few treasures here.
Grandpa & Grandma and Aunt Peg stopped by on their way home from Texas for the winter.  So of course tradition won out and we played a game of Mexican train dominoes.

I'm so glad that we on en route to their destination.  I always look forward to a visit from them either on the way down or on the way back.  And the Texas fruit that they bring is always a treat as well.  It was so good to spend some quality time with them!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

More Company!

We always enjoy having our friends some visit us!  And Jake especially likes it if they enjoy fishing!!  It was so good to catch up and have a relaxing few days before Easter.
You may recognize this from our previous company.  If you can't tell, there isn't a whole lot to do around our parts and this free zoo comes in handy!

Then we headed to a local park and burned off some more energy.

And before you knew it, it was bedtime.  Jake and Ty have a special bond going on.  It is so adorable!  And Jake absolutely loves it!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Spring Break Company

My brother's family came and visited us over spring break.  It was so good to see them!!  I miss these kiddos so much!  My brother, Wyatt, also came to see us.  It was long over due!

We had to send Grandpa Knapp a picture of his two little girls getting spoiled with candy at Aunt Krystal's.  He gets to spoil them all the time and likes to send me pictures, so I returned the favor.
We went to the local zoo on Saturday.  It was a little chilly, but we had fun!

And this is the reason you haven't seen any pictures of Drake on my blog yet... he is hard to catch!
Finally he cooperated with a little bit of bribing.  We loved having you come see us!!
And of course, no photo session is complete without one of these.
And I promised my bro I wouldn't put his picture on social media if he took one with me... so you will just have to imagine what a great brother/sister and spouses picture looked like.

Wyatt delivered a package from my northern niece and nephews.  They did such a great job on their art work!  Packages make me feel so special... and miss them so much!

We can't wait to see you all again!