Archive | April, 2015

ivf diaries week 3

29 Apr

From my journal 3/16/15

I was worried for nothing. My labs and ultrasound were both good.

I guess I am supposed to grow 10 follicles on each ovary by the time of retrieval and I have around 5 on my right one and around 8 on my left one. So, I am right on target. AND, my estrogen is 550, which is perfect as well.

They are taking me down to 150 units of Menopur and keeping me at 150 units of Bravelle. So, I will need to purchase more Bravelle and I will have too much Menopur. I wonder if they will let me return it?

I had a dream today that Don Draper from Madmen was my Dr. and he was cancelling my IVF cycle. It was very weird. He was very mean and I woke up pretty upset. Thankfully, when I woke up, I had a voicemail from the REAL Dr. office letting me know everything was ok and I calmed down. Everything is fine.

Actually, I noticed today I feel rather bloated and almost sore in my lower abdomen. I think it is because my ovaries are so big.

Thank you Jesus.

So, this was the final week before my retrieval. I had to go in for ultrasounds and labs on March 16, March 18, March 20, and March 21. They monitor this week very closely so that they can be sure to do the retrieval on the correct day.

From my journal on 3/18/15

The IVF process is still going well. I had labs and another ultrasound today. I am still growing follicles and they are getting bigger. So, that’s all good. Also, the nurse said the lining of my uterus looks like it is the right thickness. My estrogen was over 1000, so almost double what it was 2 days ago.

For today, they reduced my Menopur to 75 units or 1 vial and then for tomorrow I will do 150 units again. And I will stay at 1 vial of Bravelle.

I had to purchase more Bravelle today. I am going to have a surplus of Menopur. I doubt they will let me return it, but I am going to ask. I wish they hadn’t ordered me so much up front and I could have bought more if I needed it. But, oh well. Can’t change it now.

I am feeling much calmer and relaxed. Praise Jesus!

So, my dosage of medications changed almost every day based on my lab results and the size of the follicles. The prescriptions that they prescribe are not an exact science. They make their best guess and everyone’s body responds differently.  That is another reason why they monitor so closely.

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These are not my follicles, just a picture I found online. But, this is what they are supposed to look like if the medications are working correctly.

The only other thing I had anxiety about during this process was my blood draws. If you have been reading for a while, you may remember that I do not have very good veins. Having blood draws so often was definitely tough on my veins and the poor lab techs missed several times. They had to poke me 2-3 times to get blood. This wasn’t so bad, but I knew that the IV for my retrieval was going to be tough. It’s just…a lot of needles. You know?

Another thing to mention about my cycle is my husband. I sure do love that man. He was so supportive while I was giving myself injections. I found that I liked giving them to myself better because I could control it. But, when he was home, he would stand with me as I gave them. He didn’t really say anything or do anything besides just be there for me. What could be better than that?

We also moved into our new house on March 20th.   What a whirlwind this month was.

In the following week, I had my retrieval.  I’ll tell you about it in my next post.

 

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ivf diaries week 2

26 Apr

From my journal on March 12th.

Week 2 of my IVF cycle has not been too bad.

I have continued with the Lupron injections 10 units every evening. My period started on 3/11/15 at 5:00 pm. This was one day later than they expected it to start.

I had a Dr. appointment this morning for another ultrasound and more labs. The nurse said everything “looks perfect.” So, that’s good to hear.

I have a couple of big bruises on my stomach from the Lupron shots. But, no negative side effects.

When my period started last night, I was in a crazy amount of pain. I can’t remember a time when my cramps have been that painful. It was late and so I text the only person I thought might still be awake, my dad. I asked him to pray for me, took some ibuprofen and put the heating pad on. I wasn’t even sure if I would make it through sitting at my desk for my 8 hour work shift, but it eased up and I made it. I’m sure that had something to do with my dad’s prayer.

I started injecting Menopur this evening and then I will start the Bravelle injections in the morning. I am doing 3 vials of Menopur, but they can all be combined into one shot. It is a total of 225 units. And, the Bravelle is 1 vial, 75 units. They have to be given 12 hours apart. So, I am doing them at 5:30 am and 5:30 pm.

Well, Arturo was at work when I had to inject my first dose of Menopur this evening. I tried, but I just couldn’t reach to get a good angle to give it to myself in my butt. So, I did it in my thigh. I didn’t like it. Arturo is going to give me the Bravelle in the morning. I am nervous about letting him stick me, but it will be better than doing it in my thighs every time. So, when he’s home, he can give them to me in my butt and when he’s not, I will do them myself in my thigh. I can also give them in my arms if I want. So, here we go. Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots! Everybody!

Oh, and the nurse said I shouldn’t have any side effects from the new meds (fingers crossed). 

Now a little bit of information on the new medications I had started. Bravelle and Menopur are the medications I was given for ovarian stimulation. They are preparations of naturally occurring hormones, which are used to develop and mature multiple follicles by directly stimulating the ovaries. Bravelle is a brand name for a medication known as gonadotropin which contains only follicle stimulating hormone. Menopur is a brand name for a medication known as human menopausal gonadotropin which contains both follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone.

From my journal on 3/14/15.

Well, I have had a slight set back. After my labs today, the Physician’s Assistant called me and said that I needed to try giving my injections in arms and to increase the dosage of my Bravelle. I am now doing 150 units of Bravelle, or 2 vials. They said that my estrogen levels weren’t going up as high as they wanted them to be and so that is why they wanted me to try a different method of administration as well as increasing the dosage.

I am trying not to worry. But, I am having a minor freak out. I have another appointment Monday morning for labs and ultrasounds. They will call me in the afternoon with lab results. I just hope that I will be able to relax and sleep while I wait for the news from the Dr. office.

So, yeah. Week 2 ended on a scary note for me. I didn’t know if my body was going to respond correctly or not. I was full of fear and trying so hard to pray through it. I didn’t do the best job of it, but I tried. Those were a very long two days of waiting until my first appointment in week 3.

ivf diaries week 1

22 Apr

So, here we go.  I am going to begin sharing about our very personal journey with IVF.  Let me stress that this is OUR journey.  Everyone’s journey with IVF and infertility is different for one very important reason.  Every one who deals with infertility has a different set of circumstances or diagnosis that brought them to fertility treatments.  So, our journey is different than yours or your sister’s or whoever you know that may have gone through something similar.

I mention that for myself too.  It took me quite awhile to stop comparing our road to other people’s roads.  I found myself wondering why certain treatments have worked for other people or why their treatments were different than ours.  It drove me a little crazy at first.  But, once I fully grasped the fact that our situation is not the same as any other couple in the world, it helped me to relax and take the process one day at a time.

By the end of January, we had communicated to the Dr. that we were ready to move forward and we had paid the money for the cycle.  We were a little too late to begin in February, so we were put on the list for a March cycle.  We were told that someone would be in contact with us about payment for the medications once the Dr. had finalized my prescriptions and I was told to call on the first day of my February period. Seemed simple enough so far.

My period started on February 11th and I was given a prescription to start birth control on day 3.  Taking birth control seems to contradict the goal of treatments, huh?  The reason birth control is prescribed the month prior to the start of the IVF cycle is because it may help the ovaries respond better to the stimulation medication, thus potentially increasing the success of the overall cycle.

Toward the middle of February, I was contacted for payment of the medications they would be ordering for me and also sent my March calendar.  The medications ended up being about $500 more than they had originally estimated, so that was a little bit overwhelming.  BUT, the calendar was really overwhelming.  I had 8 appointments for labs and ultrasounds in the month of March between the dates of the 3rd and the 24th, which is when my retrieval was scheduled for.

March was already shaping up to be a very busy month for us.  We had 24 hours of adoption training scheduled and also we were still remodeling our new house that we had to move into by the end of the month.  All of these things had to be priorities and there was no way to reschedule any of it.  So, I was just going to have to cope. OH yeah and did I mention I work a full-time job in the midst of all the other happenings?

Actually my job has been a huge blessing.  I work nights and I work out of our house.  I have set hours and set days, but working nights allowed me to go to all my Dr. appointments without having to take time off of work.  Sure, my sleep suffered, but I made it through ok.

Leading up to the start of my treatments, I was feeling a little bit anxious about all the shots. I am not scared of needles, but seriously, who wants to give themselves multiple shots a day? I don’t think anyone that has to do this, no matter what the medical reason, is ever happy about it. But, I knew that it was a very necessary part of the process and that I would just have to deal with it. 

The other thing is that I wanted to make sure I did everything correctly. I was so nervous that if I made a mistake, I would destroy my cycle and we would have to start all over.

If I had anything negative to say about my Dr.’s office, it would be just this. They didn’t give me any instruction or advice about how to administer the injections. They sent me an e-mail with some youtube videos to watch and that was it. Luckily, I had experience with helping my mom with injections for various medical issues over the years. I would have been lost without my prior knowledge.

I went in for my first ultrasound and labs on March 3rd.  I started injections on the same day.  I took my last birth control pill on March 5th.  Here is a journal entry that I wrote on March 8th.

My IVF cycle started on 3/3/15. So far, it has not been too bad. I went in on the morning of the 3rd for labs and an internal ultrasound. They called me that afternoon to let me know that I should start my injections of Lupron at 10 units every evening. I took my last birth control pill on 3/5/15, so my period should be starting any day now.

The shots aren’t too bad. The first 2 days it burned a little bit after I gave the shots, for a half an hour or so at the injection site. That has stopped now, though. On the 3rd day I did the injection too close to where I had done one from a previous day and the area was sore. Since then, Arturo has helped me to find a spot that hasn’t already been poked so it’s not hurting anymore. These injections I am doing now go in my stomach. The ones that I will be starting later this week will go into my butt/hip.

I have noticed some mild cramping on the left side of my lower abdomen, more of a stabbing pain I guess than cramping.

I go back to the Dr. on the 12th and I will have more labs, another ultrasound, and start the new injections that day.

I have a lot of questions about what comes next, what to expect as far as side effects and so on.

Sounds crazy, but I am really glad I have so much on my plate right now so that I don’t have a lot of time to fret and stew over this process.

Also, Arturo and I talked the other day and we agreed that if this doesn’t work, we probably won’t try again. We both agree that if we hadn’t tried this, we would have probably always wondered what the outcome would be so we are glad that we are doing it. But, if it doesn’t work, we will take that as God saying it’s time to move on.

Ok. So, what is Lupron you ask? Lupron is a medication that prevents the premature release of the eggs from the ovaries before the egg retrieval procedure. Lupron is started approximately one week prior to the first day of the period. Patients are treated with different dosages and schedules of Lupron, depending on their ovarian reserve testing.  I was told that Lupron is the most important medication I would be taking.  They said it was critical to not miss a dose or I could lose my eggs.

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Also, the first ultrasound that is done is nothing more than a baseline to see how the ovaries are doing. The first labs are done to check estrogen levels and determine the amount of Lupron that should be started.

So, that takes us through the first week of our treatments. Please if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. I am by no means an authority on any of this, but I am happy to share the little knowledge that I do have.

you are not alone

21 Apr

April 19-25, 2015 is National Infertility Awareness Week. This year’s theme is “You Are Not Alone.” This is a message everyone who has dealt with infertility needs to hear.

I planned to plunge into our story of what we have endured so far with the IVF process in my posts and I can’t believe how perfect the timing is with this awareness week.

Before I do that though, I thought I would give you some facts that I read about infertility today. Even going through this personally, there is so much that I don’t know. Reading these facts really does help me to feel like I am not alone in this journey.

Infertility is defined as a failure to achieve a successful pregnancy after 12 months of having unprotected sex or 6 months in women over 35.

1 in 8 couples have experienced infertility.

7.4 million women have received infertility treatment in their lives.

A couple ages 29-33 with a normal functioning reproductive system only has a 20-25% chance of conceiving naturally every month.

The World Health Organization recognizes infertility as a disease.

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In the next few days I am going to share what I am calling my “IVF diaries.” I debated back and forth about sharing the specifics of what we have gone through. In the end, I decided that if any part of our journey could benefit even one person from reading about it, then it was worth sharing. I realized that I love stumbling across blogs of other moms and hearing about their journeys and all the ups and downs. It helped me a lot during the madness that the month of March was.

The facts I posted above all came from http://www.resolve.org.

pursuing parenthood part 4

16 Apr

This is my final post in this series. After this, I promise to move on to more current happenings.

In part 1 I mentioned that we went to an orientation with Project 1.27. It was a very informative meeting and by the end, we knew that we wanted to move forward with them.

Project 1.27 is not an adoption agency. They are a ministry that recruits and resources families to foster and adopt, providing high quality training and guidance so families have the knowledge and support to successfully parent kids from hard places. The vision of Project 1.27 is a family waiting for each child.

Project 1.27 facilitates all of the required training to be a foster parent. This training is taught from a Christian perspective and it is all state approved.

They provide a caseworker to each family to give support throughout the process including completing all the required paperwork and selecting an agency. This person remains a resource to families even after adoption is complete.

And the only money you ever pay them is $100.00.

We left the orientation that day with a packet of information, all the paperwork we would need to fill out, and excitement in our hearts.

While I am still nervous and unsure of what this journey is going to hold, I trust God to take care of us and any children that He will bring into our home.

Currently, we have 4 more hours of training to complete and then we will have all the required training to become certified. We have a few other things to take care of such as physicals and CPR /First Aid. After that, we will submit all our paperwork and documents and begin the home study process.

The training we have been through has been amazing and I feel so blessed to have found Project 1.27.

We received a 4 hour training on overcoming our foster care fears with our faith. Wow. Did they write that training for me or what? It sure felt like it.

Another part of the training I so loved was the honesty. Every trainer and parent that spoke was completely real about how difficult this journey can be. None of them said it was perfect or without pain.

In fact, one mom talked about her journey with adoption and said that the first two years after having her adopted kids placed in her home was the darkest time of her life. It wasn’t at all what she thought it would be like and eventually realized she needed more resources to be a better mom to her kids.

Another mom talked about all the placements they had that did not result in adoptions. They had 13 placements in a 2 year period that all ended with the children being reunified with their birth families. She said she finally had to get to a place where she would wake up every morning and tell herself that she was going to love the children in her home for today. That even though she didn’t know what the plan would be for their future, God knew. And she would trust Him to do what was best for all the children He entrusted her with. Not an easy task. This was another message I so greatly needed to hear.

Today we went to orientation with the agency we are going to use. We have decided on Lutheran Family Services. They work with Project 1.27 and do not charge any kind of a fee to families coming to them through Project 1.27, which is another blessing.

When we left today I was overwhelmed with the realization that we are getting very close to being done with our side of this process and then it will be in God’s hands to bless us with whatever children He decides to bring our way. And let me tell you. I am very excited.

I wanted to mention another book plug as well. I just started reading another Lysa Terkeurst book entitled, “What Happens When Women Walk in Faith.” I am only 4 chapters in and I can already tell it is going to bless me deeply. If you haven’t read it, check it out.

in search of peace

8 Apr

Let me start by answering the question many have been asking me. No. I am not pregnant right now. Hopefully soon, but not now.

Sorry if people are going crazy with me telling this story so slowly. It is easier for me to process it a little bit at a time. I have a lot to say.

So, where was I?

Oh yes. I left you with the knowledge that we had said “yes” to IVF, but that I was still feeling uneasy about the decision. It was a very big decision and I didn’t want to be wrong in whatever we decided.

These are the areas I was struggling.

1. I am a people pleaser. I know that some Christians, perhaps some in my own family, have negative views of IVF and find it to be morally wrong. I was terrified of getting that kind of negative feedback.

2. I was afraid of getting ahead of God’s will for us as parents. While I don’t feel that the type of IVF we are pursuing is morally wrong, I did wonder if we were not giving God the chance to perform a miracle. Or was IVF His answer to us? I have lived a life out of the will of God and I never want to be in that place again. There is only sorrow in that life.

3. I was worried about the money and going in debt to have a baby.

I received counsel and encouragement from many Godly people as I wrestled with this decision, but here are the main things that helped me make my decision with peace in my heart.

First of all, Arturo felt at peace. He has never made a decision for us that turned out to be wrong or bad. I couldn’t deny that.

Second of all, Arturo’s mom called me one day and her words gave me some clarity. She said that God heals in three ways. He heals miraculously through the Holy Spirit, He heals through man, and He heals in heaven. She said that we should not think we are cutting God out or not giving Him a chance to work if the healing was to come through Doctors. She also said in regards to the money that if God wants to supply the money to pay back the loan, He can do that too.

I knew she was right. I knew all that. It was just really comforting to hear her say it. It gave me reassurance.

Also, I started a Bible study in January that helped me tremendously. “The Best Yes” by Lysa Terkeurst, and if you haven’t done it, DO IT.

Actually, when we started the Bible study, I didn’t think there was going to be anything for me. I thought it was going to be all about not being over committed and only saying “yes” when it would fit into my schedule. I thought I was already pretty good at that and so I didn’t expect to gain much from doing the study.

Boy was I wrong.

I do think we should fear stepping out of God’s will. But if you desire to please God with the decision you make and afterward it proves to be a mistake, it’s an error not an end.”  The Best Yes, Chapter 7, Page 79.

“So many people stress over knowing God’s will and what the right choice to make is. But sometimes God gives us two or more choices that would all please Him and be in His will. We get to choose.”  The Best Yes,  Chapter 7, Page 80.

“As long as you desire to please God with your decisions, no decision you make will be completely awful. Nor will any decision you make be completely awesome. Every decision is a package deal of both. Every thrill has an element of risk. Every leap of faith has moments of uncertainty. And every great success story has elements of failure.” The Best Yes, Chapter 7, Page 87.

“There is no perfect decision – only the perfect surrendered decision to press through our fears and know that God is working in us to bring about good through us.” The Best Yes,  Chapter 7, Page 89.

I loved her advice about decision making and felt so much better about our decision from reading the above passages. I  just needed to believe that God would not be mad at me if we did IVF, that He would still stand with me. And after reading this book and going through the Bible study, I had that assurance.

She also talks about the dangerous trap of people pleasing in her book. I know this is a problem for me, has been most of my life. I have gotten  somewhat better over the years, but obviously not completely healed of this disease since it was holding me back from feeling peace in our decision.

Through prayer and reading my Bible, I finally realized that it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of our decision. The only people I need to make sure are in agreement with the decision are God and Arturo. I felt confident in that and so I felt good about moving forward.

I have to admit I am still a little insecure about negative comments I may receive, but I just have to commit them to God and not let the enemy steal my joy.

If you are facing a difficult decision of any kind, I hope you won’t despair for as long as I did. Gather wisdom and feel confident in your actions.

I’ll be back soon to talk more about our journey. Again, thanks for reading, thanks for caring, thanks for supporting us.

pursuing parenthood part 3

6 Apr

Okay, I’m ready to keep going with the story. Again, thanks for your patience.

I was gonna switch over and talk about adoption for a couple of posts, but I changed my mind and decided to keep talking about our fertility Doctoring. There are a large number of people in our lives that already know and I’m sure the rest of you have probably guessed, so no need to keep you in suspense. Yes, we did decide to move forward with IVF. I will let you know how we came to that decision.

On January 13th, we met with Dr. Magarelli to discuss our test results and a treatment plan.

We were told that my overall health is good. He said that my thyroid levels were a little high and that one of my hormone levels was a little high as well. They were simple fixes, take 2 pills a day and that’s it.

I was surprised about my thyroid. I have had it checked plenty of times over the years and have never been told there is a problem. He said that in fertility, they like the numbers to be lower than what a general practioner or even an obstetrician would consider a normal level.

The tests showed that my uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes were all in good working condition. My ovarian assessment report produced excellent results. I was ranked 16/20, which is very good for my age especially. But, I was right on the verge of the excellent result. 15/20 would have moved me into the good range and as I get older, the rating will just continue to decrease.

All of this news gave me a lot of relief.

Arturo’s overall health was also very good. I have asked for his permission to share this information by the way. I felt that since it was his health, I shouldn’t just post it for all the world to see without asking him first.

His semen analysis showed that his count was 150,000,000. It only takes 20,000,000 to be considered fertile, so he is doing great there. He scored 90% for motility and 50% achieves a fertile score. But, for morphology, he scored 2%. It takes at least 15% to be considered fertile in this category.

So, what does all that mean? It means that his sperm is a “poor shape.” The shape of it is such that it doesn’t want to attach to the egg. But, does that mean we can never have kids? No. It just makes it harder.

I wasn’t surprised to hear that his sperm was not the perfect shape. When we were Doctoring with an OB in South Dakota before we got pregnant with Angel, (the same Doctor that told me I’m too fat to have babies) she did a semen analysis and told us the same thing. But, she didn’t act like it was a big deal. So, we didn’t think it was an issue.

Dr. Magarelli told us that all things considered, we probably only have a 1-2% chance of conceiving naturally.

Those are tough numbers. Not very good odds. But, do you know who is bigger than those odds? I do. Jesus. Immediately when the Doctor gave us those odds, I thought how much MORE of a miracle Angel’s life is than I already knew it to be. We got pregnant with him, on our own, despite what any Doctor or man can tell us is possible or impossible. Amazing. What a big God we serve.

So, can Jesus do it again? Absolutely. Will He? I don’t know. So, that is where the dilemma came in.

Dr. Magarelli advised that we should go forward with IVF. Sperm shape is not an issue with IVF because they inject the sperm into the egg. He said that even with IVF, our chances would only increase to 30%. If we wanted to do IVF with CCS (comprehensive chromosomal screening) we could increase our chances to 60%. Those are percentages of not just pregnancies, but healthy babies being born. So, 30% chance of a healthy baby with IVF, 60% chance if we would add CCS to the process.

Sidebar about CCS. I have no judgements towards anyone who chooses to do this. We decided not to for our own personal reasons. I think because we have lost a child to such severe birth defects as our son was born with, there are not a lot of things that scare me in regards to birth defects. I already know that I would have no problem loving a baby no matter what health issues they may be born with. And in regards to sex, I’ll be cool with whatever sex God gives us in a child. But, I completely understand why people would choose to have their embryos screened. It was just not our decision to do so.

We weren’t given much time to think about it. He wanted us to make a decision right away. So, we kind of looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders and said, “Yeah. Ok. We want to do IVF.”

They had us go sit in another room and wait for someone from his staff to come in and discuss the financial obligation this would take and when we would have to have the money paid by.

It all sounded very good. I mean, he said we could start in February or March, depending on my cycle and when we got the money together. And we could do transfer the month or so after that, so we could be pregnant in a couple of months? Really? No way. That sounded way too good to be true and it seemed like we would be crazy to say no.

We were told that financially, we would have to come up with $4800 for IVF, and another $3000 for medications. That seemed like an impossible amount of money, even though we knew that it was much cheaper than we would find with any other Doctor . We would have to pay for the procedure 2 weeks ahead of treatments starting and we would have to pay for the medications before they would even order them.

We told the staff member that we wanted to move forward and she said to call them on the first day of my period and they would determine which month I would be able to start treatments and let us know for sure when the money would be due.

I kind of felt like I was in a daze. It happened really fast. Did we really say yes to IVF? Was that right? Is that what God wanted us to do? I didn’t know. I felt kind of confused. Was saying yes to IVF limiting God? Would it take us out of His will for us as parents? I was having second thoughts about our “yes” decision.

On the 45 minute drive home from the Doctors office, I quickly applied for a loan and we got approved. We would have the money in just a couple of days. I was conflicted about this as well. God does not want His people to be in debt. Would He really want us to go into debt to bring a child into this world? That was the biggest part of the reason that we had to put our international adoption dreams on hold, money. I just didn’t know.

I knew that I would have to find peace in the decision before I would be able to move forward and I didn’t have it quite yet.  Over the next couple of weeks, that peace came and it allowed us to make what we feel is the best decision for us and our family at this time.  I’ll tell you a little bit more about how I found that peace in my next post.

why i blog

3 Apr

I started writing in a journal when I was 5 years old. Back then it was “Dear Diary”.   I love reading those journals from when life was simple. One of my favorite “Dear Diary” entries starts like this-

Dear Diary, today Kimmy and I put pretzels up our noses.

I love that putting pretzels up our noses was the most important thing I needed to record that day. I didn’t have any feelings to process or pain to work through. It was just a really fun day with my best friend that I didn’t want to ever forget. I would say that was true for most of my childhood journals.

When I got into my teenage years, my journals changed. They were filled with self-hatred and so much pain. I would spend hours lost in my writing without really even knowing what I was saying. Sometimes I would feel better when I was done, but a lot of the time, I just brought myself deeper into my hole of self-pity.  Often, I would re-read my writings and not even remember the words as being mine. Those were dark years for me, but at least I had writing.

There were a couple of years where I quit writing. I was in a real struggle with my mom. She was doing everything in her power to help me, protect me, and be the best mom she knew how to be. She loved me very much. So, her answer was to read my journal. This usually resulted in me being lectured and grounded for something I wrote. So, to avoid that, I quit writing for the remainder of the years I lived at home. This was much worse than when I was only writing senseless babble. I had no outlet for my pain and so I turned deeper into very unhealthy habits.

I started writing again when I was in college. The writing was by no means a solution to all my problems. At that time it was probably more a part of the problem. I would usually sit down to write a poem or journal entry while I was in a drunken stupor. I’m sure you can imagine nothing good really came from those writings.

But, what I have learned over the years is that writing is not something I do. Writing is part of who I am. I’m not complete when  I’m not writing.

As I began to heal from my past, I found so much release in my writing. It became a very healthy outlet and really a time for me to contemplate on my faith.

When I started writing this blog, I was going through the scariest time of my life. I knew that I needed the therapy of writing about it. And I knew there were people in my life who were concerned and wanted to support us. My blog helped me to address those who had questions without having to answer as many face to face inquiries. I could sit down at my computer, write, cry, process, post, and feel some peace at the end. I had no idea that telling Angel’s story would help others process pain in their own lives. I had no idea that other moms would reach out to me and that I would make friends with people who I never would have known otherwise. But, once I realized all that was happening because of my blog, I knew it was important to keep writing. And not because of me, but because of what God was doing.

I have been called to be very open in my blog, very vulnerable. I have been willing to share things that most people keep private. With that, I get a ton of support and love. But, from time to time, I hear some negativity. If you’re like me, you will understand that 1 negative comment can have a tendency to drown out 100 positive comments if I will let it.

1 negative remark makes me begin to question why I write at all. It makes me doubt myself and feel like I should retreat inside myself. I mean, I could still write without being so public, right? Well, I could, but that is not how I have been called.

God tells me to keep writing. Keep being vulnerable. And keep trusting Him as the only source of approval I need.

So, thank you for reading. Thank you for caring. Thank you for encouraging me. Thank you for allowing me a couple of days to process through some negativity before I continue on with the story.

I want to leave you with a poem I wrote in 2004. I am by no means an accomplished poet, but it explains my relationship with writing in the best way I know how.

Paper
Paper is more patient than people
It hears my soul, though I don’t speak
It cradles my sorrow within its lines
It absorbs my grief, consumes my pain
It knows my weakness, dries up all my tears
A blank sheet promises hope
My secrets never leave, they are safe
My memories are forever recorded
My drama is released
My heart feels free and weightless
Paper passes no judgement on my life
Paper doesn’t care where I’ve been
I can still be a good person
Even though I’ve done bad things
I want to go on living even after death
Words live on even when our bodies can’t
If you find my paper, you will find my life
My paper dates back to before I remember
It has always been my most trusted friend

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1 Apr

Today I had someone send me a response to my blog that played into a lot of my insecurities and fears. I did not approve the comment to post on my blog and I want to just say a few things about it.

This person told me that as a Christian I should not be considering IVF. They said I should not be creating life just to destroy it.

Well. I respect your opinion, but I disagree 100%. I also do not believe this person knows what they are talking about in regards to IVF.

What I know to be 100% Biblically accurate is that we should not judge each other. So, that is my response to that person.

I will say again, I respect anyone who shares that same opinion about IVF, but I disagree and would hope that in the future, people are able to keep their negative comments to themselves.

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afathershopeblog.wordpress.com/

Bringing encouragement to those who have lost a child