Take Me Back

Last summer we went with Taylor’s family to Madeira Beach, Florida. I’ve been to Florida, just not this part before. Everytime I look at pictures from the trip I yearn for the beach and ocean. John’s Pass was such a neat place to explore. We loved all the little shops and it was even better that it was just a short walk from the hotel. We were “those” people who you could tell were tourists.

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I’ve never stayed on the beach in a hotel, so I was very excited to experience it this time. Waking up to an ocean view is breathtaking.

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I’m ready for the season to change into Spring and to feel the warm air. I’m naturally a doer and so I love to stay busy with things outside like gardening or playing with Diesel when it’s warm.

Take me back…

 

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xoxo

Hesitation

I hesitate to write this post. I hesitated to call a counselor to schedule my first ever session. I hesitate with my words, afraid to offend someone. I hesitated to go to grad school. I hesitate to try new foods. I hesitate to get out of bed some mornings. I hesitated to forgive my Uncle for taking his life. I hesitate to tell myself I’m pretty. I hesitate to do something for fear of doing it wrong.

Enough.

All this hesitation. So much uncertainty. When did I learn to be this way? Why am I so anxious to do things in life? Something’s gotta give. I need to get to a better me.

Less hesitation. Less anxiety. Less doubt.

I’m not ready for “no more” of these things just yet. I have to take baby steps. One.step.at.a.time. I’ll get there.

via Daily Prompt: Hesitate

Our Heart’s Desire

{Grab a snack, this is a long post.}

In high school I remember being afraid to have sex because everyone made it seem as if as soon as you did, you’d get pregnant. It was almost a given that if you had sex, you’d get pregnant. Maybe I’m the only one who thought that?

When Taylor and I first started talking about trying to get pregnant, it was a whirlwind of excitement and frightening feelings. This is such a huge step in a relationship and we thought we’d just see what would happen and not worry too much if it didn’t happen right away. We officially started trying in October 2015.

I can tell you firsthand that cycle apps, Google, and trying to conceive (TTC) forums are both your best friend and worst enemy while trying to conceive. Several months passed and I was obsessed with looking up every single “new” thing my body was doing throughout my cycle. I learned that often times an absence of a normal cycle symptom, such as sore breasts, could indicate pregnancy. I had many cycles when I thought “Yes, this time is it!” Only to take a test and get a negative with my period coming a couple days after.

I also learned that numerous times I tricked my own self into creating symptoms that I wanted to be there. The mind is a powerful thing and if you try hard enough, your body will literally respond in the ways you want it to.

From feeling weird twinges, to not having sore breasts, to thinking I was more emotional (crying at commercials on tv) so I must be pregnant from my increasing hormones, to having colds/congestion during my 2 week wait. I drove myself and Taylor crazy. I would get myself so worked up, then have a huge let down by getting a negative result. I cried, laid in bed for hours, and closed myself off from Taylor so I wouldn’t hurt him with my rollercoaster emotions.

A couple more months passed and I began to wonder if we were doing something wrong. I had read online (rolls eyes) that if a couple has been actively trying to conceive for a year without success, then it’s time to go to your doctor. I was almost due for my annual women’s health exam with my nurse midwife, and so I scheduled to see her in the late summer (possibly July 2016).

I was a big ball of nerves walking into the office. I got back to the room and in walks my mid wife. She turns around and I see her big pregnant belly. I start to cry. I explained to her that it had been almost a year of trying to conceive and that was why I was there, to try to figure out why I wasn’t getting pregnant. She agreed that since it had almost been a year, it was time to see what was going on.

If you’re trying to conceive and you’re a young couple, do not let the doctor tell you something to effect of “Oh you’re young, you have plenty of time to conceive. You shouldn’t worry about that right now.” As hard as it will be in that moment, advocate for yourself by telling your doctor no, that you think something is wrong. I was thankful my mid wife didn’t say that to me, but I’ve heard stories from other women whose doctors simply brushed off their concerns.

I had blood drawn to test my hormone levels and my mid wife referred my husband for a semen analysis. I got results back before he got his test done and I was told my prolactin levels were high. Since I’d never heard of that, I asked the person who gave me the results and she said it had to do with lactation. Frustration began as that still didn’t tell me how it effected me in trying to conceive. Taylor got his analysis done on August 27th, and the only reason I remember the exact date is because it’s my brother’s birthday.

When Taylor finally got the results back, my mid wife called me to explain the results. We were sitting at Frisch’s for a late dinner when she called. His results weren’t good. Low/poor numbers in all areas. She referred us back to the Institute where he got his analysis for infertility treatment.

Taylor was most upset at this point because his numbers were so poor. He felt responsible for this new problem we were facing and that he couldn’t provide his wife with something she wanted. I remained hopeful for the both of us as we still had ways to get help.

I was able to get an appointment with a fertility clinic, but not until October which was about a month away from when I scheduled it. After meeting with the reproductive endocrinologist (RE), she gave us hope by saying that our test results didn’t worry her. She ordered to have me retested, but with fasting beforehand, and another analysis for Taylor at the end of Novemeber.

I went to get my blood drawn early Saturday morning and the lab had no record of an order. I had gotten up early, fasted, and couldn’t get the test done. The staff couldn’t even find me in their system. I cried the whole way home. It probably sounds silly if you’re reading this, but the uncertainty and nervousness I felt about everything that was happening was getting higher and higher. Not to mention the appointments were taking away from work time.

I rescheduled the blood test and was told the order didn’t send when the nurse sent it. I also scheduled a water-guided ultrasound (it has a more fancy name) right after the blood draw. More nerves. I was told to take either 600 or 800 milligrams of ibuprofen beforehand so I wouldn’t experience much pain from the test afterwards. The test involved putting sterile water into my uterus to blow it up like a balloon in order to check my uterus for cysts or other abnormalities. I was alone for the test, but really could have used Tay’s hand to squeeze. The pain was so much worse than typical period cramps and my pain tolerance is low to begin with. All I could do was take deep breaths and wait for it to be over. I thought to myself, “If I’m going to give birth one day I need to suck it up.”

The RE said everything was fine with my organs and we would now wait for the blood test results. When those came back everything was actually perfect. Except for my thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level. It was slightly elevated to indicate hypothyroidism. The thyroid is a funny thing because if it’s underactive, your TSH level is high and if it’s overactive, you TSH level is low. I’ve been taking a low dose of levothyroxine to keep the level where it needs to be so when I do get pregnant, the hormone doesn’t rise to a harmful level.

Around this point I started to get frustration from the fertility clinic as the nurses weren’t talking to each other about the plan for us. It was a big mess of miscommunication and long story short, it further stressed us out during an already stressful enough situation.

Taylor was tested again and his numbers were better except for his actual count. They look at sperm count, how they’re shaped (morphology) and which direction they’re moving (grade).

Throughout all of this he had been taking vitamins called Fertilaid for men, vitamins meant to improve all the issues he was having. So it could have been the timing of the test at the current life cycle of his sperm and that the vitamins were possibly helping too. I recently bought a count boost vitamin for him to take along with the other one. He’s been taking that for about a month now. For a little while I was taking the fertilaid for women vitamins, but the RE said they had too much Vitamin A. I reduced my vitamins to simply taking iron and folic acid.

There was a month when we had sex every other day for the entire month to try to increase our chances. Still nothing. I pushed for the RE to do an intrauterine insemination (IUI) procedure to help increase our chances. It just wasnt happening on our own. An IUI isn’t in vitro, but simply bypasses a lot of the travel the sperm have to make. The sperm are inserted with a catheter past the cervix.

Before the IUI I had to take medicine to mature an ovary.  Their goal was to time everything just right to increase our chances of conceiving. They looked at my ovaries via ultrasound and saw only one mature one. I was then supposed to take a “trigger shot” to trigger ovulation. I had to do it on myself at home, so I had Tay do it for me. I definitely should have been sitting down. Immediately after he gave it to me I felt it hit my system and my knees buckled. I almost passed out and felt woosey/sore the rest of the day. Not my favorite experience in the world.

I had the actual IUI the next morning on Sunday December 11th. The procedure was completely painless and I rested for a few minutes afterwards. I could test the day after Christmas (so my Christmas wouldn’t be ruined if I got a negative). I got a negative result.

To say we were defeated is an understatement. The RE referred us to a male fertility doctor who just so happens to work out of network with insurance. I had to search for other providers within our insurance network and it saddens me there aren’t more male fertility doctors. Most clinics only serve women. I scheduled an appointment about 2 months ago where a urologist can see him. The appointment is coming up on March 6th.

Our faith has been tested and our love for each other has grown stronger. I’m not stressing about every little thing my body does anymore and I’ve stopped looking at my Fertility friend app, TTC forums, and Google searching all possible symptoms of pregnancy. I’m also limiting my time on instagram as all I see are babies, pregnant women, or pregnancy announcements. Throughout this journey I found it helpful to journal about what was happening, lean on my spouse, and cry when I felt the need. This is something we’re experiencing together and it will only make us stronger.

We pray constantly for God’s will to be done and for patience while we wait for the right time to start our family. Resting in that faith is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do as a woman, but I know it will be worth it in the end. I pray for our future baby and that he/she will know how much he/she was wanted.

My hope is that by telling our journey so far that it instills hope in whoever else may be experiencing infertility. We haven’t gotten pregnant yet, but we’re continuing to keep our faith and support each other daily.

xoxo

via Daily Prompt: Baby

Faith

I find myself thinking and writing just before bed…as I’m winding down from the day and enjoying some quiet time.

I recently started following a blog that belongs to a woman named Meagan. Since I get emails whenever she publishes a new post, I find myself reading them at the end of the day during this time. She’s been writing posts using words that start with each letter of the alphabet and I love it. I’m trying to read some of her previous posts to get a better sense of her views and writing style. So far I feel as if we’re alike in our views of the world and how we write about them.

For the letter “F” she wrote about the word faith, you can read her post here, and what she said resonates so well with me. Although I feel as if I write about my faith often, I don’t proclaim it as often in my everyday life such as at work and other public places.

I know this largely stems from not wanting to steer people away from conversing with me. I don’t want them to think I’m going to tell them they’re going to hell if they don’t go to church, yada yada. I cherish the moments, though, that I get to take some time out of my busy work day and talk about church or Jesus or a sermon with a coworker.

Being a social worker can be tough when it comes to talking about this kind of stuff, especially with clients. I generally don’t talk about my faith as it’s not necessarily my role in the relationship. In rare cases, if a client were to bring up a faith-related question, I may answer it. It depends on the client and that moment. I do know that by showing compassion and kindness to those around me whether with clients, family, friends, coworkers or whoever, I know I’m sharing the love of Jesus.

In my heart and soul, I love Jesus. I have no doubt that he has done great things in my life and now our marriage.  I fully believe that if one’s faith is put into His promises for us, then we will receive the desires of our hearts ten-fold.

I think back to when I was involved in youth group at a pentecostal church in my hometown. They are some of the sweetest memories I have and I’ll forever cherish them. Those people made such a difference in my life at that moment and I’ll always be thankful for it.

I want some of that hunger for the Lord back. The closeness I felt to Him then is something I yearn for now.

I’m not ashamed to express my faith here, on this blog. I think for those who follow it understand what I’ll be writing about based upon the name of the blog. It’s important to say that I respect all who are different from me, everyone who encompasses that. I think that’s one of the perks of being a social worker is having compassion for those who are different from me in class, race, gender, and all of the above.

Showing compassion in my posts is a way I think I can draw the attention of many, no matter their beliefs or background. We’re all beautifully and wonderfully made and that’s something to rejoice about.

xoxo

Life’s a Blur

On the way to our church small group tonight I was telling Taylor how fast time has gone and is going. How is it that time moves so quickly? Didn’t we just celebrate the new year? And now it’s already almost March??

The thing I struggle with most is being present in the moment. I’m either worrying about what happened in the past or I’m thinking ahead for what needs to be done the next day. Most of my ‘present moment time’ is spent in a different time frame. That makes me sad.

I’ve been telling myself for the longest time that I need to be more present in the moment instead of worrying myself about the past and future. It’s a problem that I do this because, when I stop to think about things, I’m shocked at how quickly time has passed. I’ve already been at my job for eight months. EIGHT!

When I was a freshman in college graduation felt so far away, as if it was unreachable at the time. Now I’m done with grad school and in my first job in the field.

I ask myself, and Jesus, daily if what I’m doing is what I’m meant to do. I wonder how long I’ll be at this job and what the future holds for my career. I need to rest easy in knowing His plan for me is the right one.

I want to be more present in the moment and soak up all the time I have with my friends and family. Life feels like a blur to me and I want to try to change that.

via Daily Prompt: Blur

False Expectations

We’re currently in the middle of a marriage series at church and the first thing I thought about was the pastor’s discussion around false expectations.

The word of the year is Honor and, as you can imagine, also relates to the current series. He talks about why many marriages fail due to a lack of honor in the relationship. To honor means to treat someone as precious and valuable. Therefore, we are meant to continuously honor our mate. Whether that means cleaning the house, listening to one another, or taking time to simply date each other… don’t confuse it with respect, as that is earned. Honor is given to someone. When you honor your mate you pull them up despite their actions being dishonorable.

If you’re married, or simply living with your partner, did you have in your mind the way things would be prior to living together? Did you expect your partner to put the dishes away without asking? Or expect him or her to have dinner ready when you came home each day?

False expectations can also happen with the way someone assumes they’re going to receive affection. I highly recommend taking the love languages test with your partner. It’s very insightful as it starts a discussion surrounding how you and your partner prefer to receive affection. Taylor and I did it during our pre-marriage counseling and I’m so glad we did.

Eliminating false expectations in your relationship is, in my opinion, key to honoring your spouse. Once you learn that things are a little different than you thought they’d be, talk about it with your partner. He or she can’t possibly know you don’t like something if you don’t tell him or her.

Creating false expectations lets yourself down and puts too much pressure on your partner. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when we do this in our relationship, but we’ve gotten better about it as time has went on. We’ve had long talks about this very thing and have grown closer to one another by doing so.

Honor one another as you honor God by putting Him first in your marriage. It makes a difference.

via Daily Prompt: Expectation

Abide in Him

Today my Mom and I attended a women’s conference at my church, River’s Crossing, which featured Lisa Harper, included women of the church sharing their testimonials, and we also uplifted the Lord in worship.

How empowering it is to come together as the strong women that we are and worship as daughters of Christ.

I can’t begin to tell you how moving Lisa Harper’s words were today. She talked about many of her life experiences and how they relate to scripture in the bible. I’ve never heard her speak before today and she had an awesome way of mixing humor with biblical teaching. The main idea for the conference was talking about how to abide in Him. Since it was a day-long event, it’s hard for me to talk about all of the messages we heard today. The biggest thing that stuck with me, though, is this: Apart from Jesus, I can do nothing.

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Before I say this next thing, I want to say that I plan to go more in-depth about our struggle in the journey my husband and I are currently on. This is something so very personal and difficult to talk about, but I’m getting more comfortable about doing so. I plan to either vlog or simply write a blog post about it, I’m not entirely sure just yet. But I’m a firm believer in giving testimonial about the trials one experiences in his or her life; it’s how we grow in our own journey while allowing others to do the same through inspiring words.

Taylor and I are dealing with infertility. Specifically male factor infertility. To see the sadness in my husband’s eyes when he realizes he can’t physically provide something for his wife…I don’t wish it for any woman. This is one thing I never thought would be an issue in my adult life and here it is. We’re still seeing specialists and we know that it is not impossible for us to conceive with a little bit of help. We still have faith. Like I said, I don’t want to go too in-depth right now as I want to stay on track for the focus of this post.

I’ve been saying for the past almost year and a half that we will conceive in God’s timing, not our own. I haven’t fully believed that until today. This trial we’re currently facing is not by accident. I have faith that if we abide by Him and continue on our spiritual journey, we will receive the desires of our hearts.

The worship team sang the popular (and honestly, overplayed) song on the radio called “Chain Breaker” by Zach Williams. I love the song, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes I’ll change the station because they tend to overplay it. Even so, when they began to sing that song today, it was like a switch was turned on. God opened my heart to fully commit my faith to his plan for us.

This specific part of the song simply states, “If you believe it, if you receive it, if you can feel it, somebody testify.”

If you believe it, if you receive it…

Ask Him and you shall receive…

The Lord has a funny way of sending you messages when you least expect them. Taylor’s aunt and uncle came to visit last night and while talking to her she said something very similar to that; she said she’s a believer in, “What you think about, you bring about.”

What you pray about, you will bring about.

Ask and you shall receive.

Alright, God, I’m listening.

In order to abide in Him I will continue to keep my faith in His plan for our lives, but, now this is the important part, I will also keep my faith that the timing of that plan will unfold when He knows we’re ready to receive it.

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xoxo