Hold This For a Second

You can’t carry it all. 

In the last couple of weeks, Averlee has discovered her love for all things baby doll related. She is such a little Mommy! It is so precious. She will line her babies up beside her and cover them with blankets. She will stick things in her “purse”, grab a baby, and head for the door – Just like I do when we are going somewhere. Just the other day, she was grabbing her baby of choice for the day and her purse. I watched her as she tried to hold her baby, keep her purse on her arm, and pick up her sippy cup – all at the same time! After a few moments of struggling, she looked at me and handed me her baby so she could pick up her sippy cup. I offered to carry her sippy so she could hold her baby, but she was content with the arrangement she had made. Out the door we went. I was carrying my bag, Ryker, and baby. Averlee had her purse and sippy.

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I did not think much about all of this until yesterday when I was making out my prayer request list for the week. It seems my prayers are shifting more and more towards, “God I need you to [insert miracle]” or “God, please take [insert burden] from me.” I’m asking Him to take things and handle them for me, but I’m not fully releasing my grip. Yesterday afternoon I came across a quote though. *I see you, God. I know that was all You.*

It is okay to not be okay. If you are not okay, you don’t have to pretend that you are okay. You can say, ‘I need help. I need help from God.”‘ 

The truth is, in my mind I know I need to let go of these worries that are weighing heavy on my heart. I know this. Believe me when I say that. I. KNOW. In my heart I can’t help but to hold on to tiny pieces. Do any of you do that?

It is up to me to decide: Do I want to continue juggling these problems all by myself, or am I ready to hand them over for someone stronger to carry? 


I’m typing this through tear-filled eyes. Friends, I ask that each of you say this prayer with me today…

Father, I’m carrying this load. I’ve pretended to let it go many times and just hand it to you, but we both know- I’m still holding on. I haven’t released my grip- my super tight grip. I know You want to take this from me. I know You can heal my heart and my body. I know you can do things unimaginable. I’m standing in faith that You will carry me through this storm. I’m confident You have a greater plan than I can imagine. Father, I know I am not alone. My friends here are carrying burdens also. We come to You now to lay these at your feet. We can’t do this without You, Lord. We are submitting our agenda to Your perfect plans today. Walking with You, letting You carry us is far greater than trying to run ahead on our own. In Your Holy Name. Amen. 

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Answered Prayer: Courtney

I just love sharing stories like these! Today Courtney is sharing her beautiful testimony for our Answered Prayer series. I met Courtney at my wedding actually. Her husband is a friend of Trey’s. Courtney is such a beautiful young woman inside and out with a love for God. Here are her words… 

My Fertility Journey

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My husband and I decided it was time to stop birth control in the Fall of 2013. We weren’t ready to start actively trying for a baby, but we thought maybe in the next year we would, and we wanted to give my body time to get back on a normal cycle. I had a close friend trying to conceive, and she gave me a book called “Taking Charge of Your Fertility”. It talks about the importance of knowing and charting your cycle to help you get pregnant. I thought stopping birth control would give me time to read the book, learn about my cycle, and become more familiar with my body before we started trying for a baby. *By the way, that book was so helpful! I would recommend it to anyone trying to conceive.* So off the birth control I went, and then the problems began. I very quickly lost over 10 lbs, which on a small frame is a lot, but I did not gain my period. The months went by with no period in sight. I began to be a little concerned but the doctors said it was “normal” and that it should return within 6 months. Well 6 months rolled around and still no period, so my OB/GYN prescribed me progesterone to kick-start my cycle. Nothing happened. Then she ordered an ultrasound of my ovaries. After seeing what looked like little cysts in my ovaries, they told me I had PCOS, possibly endometriosis, and this condition would make conception more difficult.
At this point I was feeling upset and confused, wondering how this would affect my fertility. I decided to get a second opinion from a fertility specialist at Vanderbilt, a doctor my mom worked closely with and trusted. After seeing him and another ultrasound, he felt the previous doctor had misdiagnosed me. Although I showed some minor signs of PCOS, I wasn’t the typical case and to him my ovaries looked fine. This made me feel better. He prescribed one month of birth control to “kick-start” my cycle. Thankfully, it worked! I had a period for the first time in almost a year which felt like an accomplishment. From then on I started charting my cycles, and quickly found out that they were far from normal. My cycles were super long and all over the place, sometimes going 2 months without a period. I was a little worried that it would cause problems in conceiving, but at this point we still weren’t actively trying, so I just hoped things would settle out over time.
We began trying to get pregnant in February 2014. Being such a planner, I had the timeline worked out perfectly in my head. This gave us a couple of months of trying (since how many people actually hit the jackpot the first time?) before school let out for summer. This would also mean once I was pregnant, my morning sickness would be hitting over summer break, and I could have that time to just rest. It seemed perfect. HA! I sure thought I had it figured out! Boy was I wrong. After about 3 months of trying, and no positive pregnancy test, I was a little frustrated that things weren’t going as I had planned. Plus, my cycles were still anywhere from 35-50 days long and I had a hard time figuring out when I was actually ovulating, if I was at all. I had been reading Kari’s infertility blog and noticed how much she praised Dr. Williams, so I made an appointment. I loved him from the first visit, because he listened and answered all of my questions. He was so caring and understanding, because he and his wife had gone through their own infertility journey. He told me he would do everything in his power to help me become a mother. At this point though, the best thing was to just keep trying and to come back either at a year or when we got too frustrated. So back home I went to continue my cycle charting, taking my basal body temp every morning, and letting myself get consumed with trying to get pregnant. The charting became somewhat of an obsession. I would study my charts over and over, trying to make sense of them. Of course, looking back, I don’t think this helped the situation and only made me stress more. I prayed that my cycles would become more normal and I tried to gain a little weight back, thinking maybe that would help. Finally around the late summer of 2014, my cycles started to become more predictable. Even though they were still 30-40 days long, it appeared that most cycles I was ovulating, and I was able to decipher my charts a little better.
By the fall of 2014 I was ready to look into our fertility a little more. In October I had an HSG procedure done, where they check to see that the fallopian tubes are open. Everything came back normal. I had heard that some people had gotten pregnant the month after having that procedure done, as if it had “cleared out the pipes”, so naturally I hoped this would happen to me. I was disappointed yet again. In December, my husband had a semen analysis which also came back normal-thank goodness. So there we were at the end of 2014 with no baby and no answers. Needless to say, the holidays were hard for me that year.
In January, almost a year after we started trying, I decided to go back to Dr. Williams to look into our options. I started my period a few days earlier and was feeling discouraged. I had gotten on Facebook the morning of my appointment, and a friend of mine had posted a video. I watched the video, only to quickly realize it was a pregnancy announcement. Of course, at that point I couldn’t turn it off. The couple sang the sweetest song they had written together about the journey of their relationship and how they were now expecting a baby. I sat there watching as emotion flooded me, and I just cried and cried. I was happy for them, but my heart ached because I wanted Tanner and I to have the same joy and blessing in our life. My mom came with me to the doctor that day, and I cried to her in the waiting room as I told her about watching the video. It was so unlike me to cry in public, but the pain was deep, and I couldn’t hide the sadness. Dr. Williams, sensing my emotion, was so sensitive and encouraging. He diagnosed me with “unexplained infertility” and recommended trying Clomid. I was unsure about beginning fertility medications, especially since I was already ovulating on my own, but he gave me the prescription and the option. After many prayers and conversations with my husband, we decided we should give it more time. We really wanted to trust in God’s timing, even though it was hard to wait. I continued to pray that we would become pregnant naturally.
As the months passed and more negative pregnancy tests stared back at me, I began to really feel the effects of the infertility emotional roller coaster. The cycle would begin with the hope and anticipation of ovulation. Next, we would “try, try, try” on what we thought were the perfect days to conceive. Then came the awful, nerve-wracking “two week wait”. Every month I would conjure up all the pregnancy symptoms, making myself believe this was it! This was the month my prayers would be answered. Yet every month, my period would return, a sad reminder of the life that wasn’t growing inside of me. I prayed, more so than I think I ever had. I wanted a baby so badly. I wanted it to be my turn. It seemed like every day on Facebook, someone was announcing their pregnancy. With tears in my eyes, I would try to tell myself my time was coming. Soon my prayers would be answered. But it was hard. I am not one to cry often, and I do not like showing extreme emotion. I pride myself in the fact that I have always had a very “even-keeled” temperament, but experiencing the highs and lows of every cycle, made it difficult to keep this up. Some cycles I would be strong and trust in God’s timing. I would think, “It’s okay. God’s timing is best and I trust in that.” In those months I could feel God’s peace and strength so tangibly that I knew it came from Him. I praised Him for helping me though and teaching me the patience I so needed to learn. I also had months where I was heartbroken when it didn’t work out and my period returned yet again, leaving me feeling lacking in the patience department. I would be left crying, asking God “Will I ever be a mother? Will it ever be my turn? What am I doing wrong?” I struggled with the fact that some people got pregnant almost immediately, and unwanted teenage pregnancies boggled me. It didn’t seem fair. But no matter what, I found comfort in knowing that the God I served had always been faithful to take care of me and get me through hard times. So each month I would push forward, praying He would give me the strength and trust I needed to face whatever result lay ahead.
Over the next few months I tried just about anything that claimed to aid in conceiving, minus the Clomid which we still didn’t have peace about me taking. I used a myriad of herbs and supplements, and too many other things fertility bloggers assured worked for them or someone they knew. Again, like the obsessive charting, I exhausted myself trying to find the trick which would get me pregnant, all the while God was saying “If you will just let go and let Me work it out in My own time, everything will be okay”.

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Photo Cred: Natasha Thomas Photography

On a weekend in August 2015, I was supposed to start my period. I was expecting it, because my cycle had been a little different that month, and I thought we had “missed” my ovulation window. The weekend ended, and I still had not started. I had no pregnancy symptoms, not even fabricated ones, except for a little cramping (most likely due to the impending period). I woke up Monday morning, August 17, still not having started. I decided to go ahead and take a pregnancy test just to get it off my mind, bracing myself for the all familiar negative. After a year and a half of negative tests, I couldn’t help but wonder “Do these things actually work? Is there such thing as a positive test?” LOL. Much to my surprise, 2 pink lines showed up! “Could this really be it?”. I took another test (different brand), because I wasn’t convinced. Two pink lines. I was shocked. I ran to the bedroom, woke my husband, and told him, “I think I might be pregnant! Come look at these tests!” We both stood in the bathroom staring at the two tests, with two pink lines, giggling in shock and excitement as we took in the weight of the moment. Our long-awaited prayers had been answered! Nothing but praises filled my heart and mind in the coming days.

 

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Photo Cred: Natasha Thomas Photography

While we had been trying to conceive, I had written a prayer over my future pregnancy. I have to say, God not only answered our prayers for a baby, but blessed me with an enjoyable and healthy pregnancy. I loved being pregnant! It was such a wonderful time experiencing the miracle of life growing inside of me. I spent my whole pregnancy thanking God for His precious gift, and for His timing which in the end seemed more perfect than I could have planned myself. Our sweet baby boy was born April 23, 2016, and I could not be more thankful for our little blessing. He was so worth the wait.

 

Previous Answered Prayer Stories:

Kayla

Lindsay (Part 1)      Lindsay (Part 2)

 

If you have a story you would like to share for the Answered Prayer series, I would love to hear from you! Email me at dearbabybellblog@gmail.com!   – Kari B. 

 

Relationships and Infertility

Tonight we will have our 2nd Seeds of Hope meeting/ gathering. I have chosen relationships as our topic of discussion for this month because I feel like this is a very important topic we can all relate to! 

 Relationships and Infertility

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Your spouse. It is so important to not let your infertility struggle destroy your marriage. This is a time for you to lean on each other for support, openly communicate your feelings, and  be on the same page. Easier said than done? Yes. Definitely. Trey and I had only been married six months when we realized something wasn’t right. We had been trying for a few months, but I had stopped having cycles. Obviously, a cycle is one of the necessary components to becoming pregnant. As our journey unfolded, I learned Trey and I had different ways of handling our emotions. There was nothing wrong with how either of us handled our emotions (with each other), but it was very important for me to realize he wasn’t one to talk about his feelings. I was. He had to learn to listen when I needed to just vent, and I had to learn he wasn’t the type to sit down and cry with me and tell me everything going through his head. Trey only cried in front of me twice. I cried in front of him more times than I can count.

No matter what, your husband will be your husband. Baby or no baby. Treatments or not. Adoption or pursuing further treatments. You two began this journey together as husband and wife and it is so important to not lose the foundation of your marriage in the shuffle. It happens. I know it happens.

Your family. I’m still trying to figure out this part. Even though I have our story plastered on social media and here on my blog, we still have family members who are clueless about what we’ve been through. After my first surgery, we had people ask us, “When are ya’ll gonna have kids?”. Seriously. As if my ovaries were even ready to address this question so soon after surgery, right? It seemed like anytime there was a family reunion/ gathering/ cookout/ dinner/ excuse-to-get-together-and-question-my-reproduction-capabilities, the question always came up. It was easy for me to just be short. It was easy for me to be snippy and give smart @$$ remarks like, “When people stop asking us that question.” or  I would just say, “Never”. Oh that response shut people up quickly for sure. You know your family and you know how they are. Take their remarks with a grain of salt. Never feel like you have to explain your full medical history with anyone if you don’t want to. With that being said, you do need support. You need as much support as possible and maybe a few extra hands when it comes to getting your mother-in-law or nosy aunt off your back about when you’re gonna have a baby. Talk to a few people you trust. You might be surprised at how much easier those awkward family gatherings can get. Also – I am a firm believer the more people covering you in prayer, the better. If you don’t want to go into great detail, maybe just ask for prayers for your future children?

Your church. This is a sticky situation. I know some ladies who feel like they can’t open up to their church family about their struggles because infertility is such an uncomfortable topic for some men.  I was fortunate to have an amazing group of ladies in a Wednesday night class who covered me in prayer and lifted me up when I needed an extra boost. Infertility, pregnancy loss, and miscarriage are something a lot of churches (not necessarily just mine) don’t talk about. Churches will pray all day, everyday for Susie Jo Q who is so-and-so’s second cousin’s wife who stubbed her toe, but that sweet, young couple on the back pew? They  are merely a line at the bottom of the church bulletin. Why is that? Why are we afraid to talk about infertility? Why are we afraid to meet these people right where they need us? On our knees, praying FOR them during the hardest thing they’ve ever endured is where we should be. Instead, I know some women feel like they just don’t fit in anymore in those pews. Mother’s Day is a huge production at some churches.  These women suffer in silence month after month and they need to feel God and they need to be covered in prayer…right here. Right now. So ladies, I encourage you, pull someone aside. Tell them YOU need prayer. Tell them YOU are struggling and YOU need to feel God’s comfort. Don’t walk away from your church family, but don’t let your struggles get brushed under the rug either.

Last but not least… Your friendships. I pushed several people out of my life when I needed them the most. Don’t make that same mistake. Even though everyone will not understand your journey, they may still try to help. Even if that “help” looks a little different from what you think you need, that’s okay. Sometimes people don’t know what to say or what to do. They just want to do something to let you know they care or they are thinking of you! Infertility/ pregnancy loss is not something everyone has dealt with. It’s hard to speak to the emotions and heartache that come along with infertility when you haven’t necessarily been in the middle of it yourself. Sometimes people just do what they think they need to do, or they say what they think you need to hear. Sometimes people will say the wrong things. It happens. Don’t shut them out of your life or push them away. Like I said before, you need as much support and as many people as possible surrounding you in prayer. Don’t make the mistake of pushing people out of your life.

Infertility will take as much from you as you allow it to. Do not let it take your relationships. Don’t. Do. It. Don’t let it consume you. Don’t let it rob you of any more than it already has.

For more info on Seeds of Hope, please feel free to email me at  dearbabybellblog@gmail.com or Find me on Facebook  !

 

20 Months Old

What a week. I sent my oldest son off to 7th Grade on Monday and today the twins turn 20 months old! Time is getting out of control. I’ll be planning graduation parties before we know it! First I need to survive this season / phase of raising twin toddlers and  a pre-teen.

God, please give me grace!

A few months ago, a friend let me borrow a book titled   Grace Based Parenting . I have to admit, it has been sitting on a shelf in my office since she gave it to me, but last night I pulled it out just to skim through it. I came across a quote that really jumped out at me… 

“God helps grace-based parents see what matters and what doesn’t matter…His grace helps you see whether to write the rules in pencil or in blood.”


In this season of life, I am faced with the challenges of dealing with a son who is trying to figure out how to balance school, sports, parents who are divorced, and everything else in between. In the moments when it seems I should get firm with him, I sometimes have to take a step back and try to put myself in his shoes. I had the luxury of living in a home with both of my parents. I didn’t bounce between homes. I grew up in a small town; therefore, I always knew everyone in my classes. Gavin attends a rather large middle school. I don’t know what that feels like. I cannot relate to some of the struggles he is faced with when it comes to figuring out middle school. In the moments when I feel myself getting frustrated with him, I have to remind myself he’s only twelve. He’s just trying to figure things out, and he needs me to give him grace every now and then.

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Gavin and Ryker 

Then there’s the twins…

They fight. They bite. They kick. They pull each other’s hair. I know they are just trying to figure out this HUGE world, but a part of me feels like I have failed somewhere. In a few weeks, they will start a Parent’s Day Out program two days a week. I have this fear Ryker will get kicked out for pushing, biting, hitting, or kicking. I know this is all part of growing up, but I have two the exact same age trying to do the exact same things. There are both in the same stage of growing up. Averlee is the complete opposite of Ryker. She doesn’t throw fits (yet). I’m sure that’s coming though, right? Or maybe she sees how tired Mommy gets after Ryker throws his 10th fit of the day before noon? Maybe Averlee plans to give Mommy a break? ha.

Enough about all of that. Let’s see what R&A have been up to lately.

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Little Tikes Water Table

Ryker

Nicknames: Ryker Roo, Ry Ry, RyRoo. He refers to himself as “Wy- Wy” or Just “Roo”.

Favorite Food: This kid would drink lemonade all day, every day if I would allow it. He loves “mem-made”. He also enjoys all types of fruit. He loves cookies. He will eat chicken, steak, or deli meat. He isn’t too fond of tomatoes.

Favorite Game: If it involves a ball, he’s a fan. He also loves to swim in the big pool or play at the water table. He also loves our lab/ golden named Foxy a.k.a “Sock-see”.

He’s also a Mickey Mouse (“Meee-Mou”) fan especially if Mickey has a tractor!!


Averlee

Nicknames: Averlee Beth, Sassy, VeeVee. Ryker calls her “Way-wee”.  Averlee hasn’t attempted to say her own name yet, but she will point to herself.

Favorite Food: Grapes! This kiddo loves grapes so much. She really likes all fruits! She is also a lemonade fan, but will drink water or milk just as often. She is a little picky when it comes to meats at first, but she typically will clean her plate!

Favorite Game: She loves to help clean (“keen”), take care of her babies, and will pet any animal she comes in contact with. She loves cats, dogs, cows, and the occasional goat. She is a wonderful helper! She likes to help me take clothes out the dryer. She will also pick up her toys in the floor if I ask her to help me clean up! She’s basically a mini mommy. She is quite independent compared to her twin brother. She will play by herself stacking blocks, playing tea party, or rolling a car.

Averlee isn’t much of a TV fan. She will occasionally watch Doc McStuffins for a brief moment, but she prefers to be on the go and playing versus sitting down to watch TV. I’m totally ok with that! She also prefers the water table over swimming in the pool. She will swim in the pool with her Puddle Jumper for a little bit then hop out to play with the water table.

 

Check out our previous updates here:

Twin Adventures – 13 Month Installment

Toddler Time: Let’s Be Real

We are 11 Months Old

We Made It

7 Months Old and Other News

Four Months

Impossible? No.

Matthew 19:26 tells us: “Jesus looked at them intently and said, ‘Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”‘ NIV af76fa1e038817477675f2dadc1f421c

 

Believe in the impossible. 

Ya’ll. Do you ever feel like you are consumed with a million reasons why something will not work? Are you like me and you constantly think of the worst case scenario before you even consider the best possible outcome? Just this past week, satan has been after my heart. That’s so hard for me to admit, but it is true. He’s been filling my head with doubt. I’ve been discouraged. I’ve been overwhelmed.  Those are not feelings from God. With God, nothing is impossible. If I allow satan to control my thoughts though, I may begin to believe God can’t handle whatever is thrown at me.

As a thirty-one year-old woman who has not exactly had a spotless medical history, it is very important for me to keep an eye on my health. I’ve worked super hard to make sure I take better care of myself than I did in my late teens and early twenties. Just last week, as I was doing my monthly breast exam, I noticed a knot that had not been there before. I immediately panicked and convinced myself this was something I should be concerned with. I prayed about it that night and trusted I would wake up the next morning and the knot wouldn’t be there. It was though. So I brushed it off and tried to stay calm. I told myself I would check it again the next day (Friday) and call my doctor if it was still there. On Friday morning at 11:15, I found myself in the waiting room of my trusted OB/GYN waiting for my name to be called… yet again. This was familiar territory for me; however, this time I was more anxious than normal. As I looked at my twins in their stroller, I couldn’t help but wonder what would be ahead of us. What would I find out in the next thirty minutes? Will this visit change our lives?

After an exam by one of the nurse practitioners, I was able to brush my worries aside. In that moment, God answered my prayer. The knot is not something I should be too alarmed about. Just to ease our minds, I will have an ultrasound today.

I need to be around to see my kids get married. I need to help Averlee pick out her wedding dress. I need to see the look on Ryker and Gavin’s faces when each of them see their wives walk down the aisle on their wedding days. Of course tomorrow is never promised, but I am standing in faith that God has this under control.

The Beginning of 7th Grade

I’m not exactly sure how this happened, but I woke up this morning (late of course) the mom of a 7th grader. When Gav was little, people always told me the years would fly by. I believe them. I really do. Gav’s dad and I were talking this morning about how soon we will be dropping him off at high school. Seriously? This is all happening way too fast for my little Mommy heart.

Gavin

 

About Gavin

Gavin has a huge, caring heart. He loves to help me take care of his brother and sister. Ryker is his #1 fan for sure. Gavin loves to eat. He usually requests Mexican if we are out, but he really likes when we have taco or spaghetti night at  home. He’s now the same height as me – 5’5″.  He hopes to make the middle school basketball team and baseball team this year. He’s practiced and scrimmaged with both, but an official tryout will not be held until later in the school year.

Gavin will be 13 two months from Wednesday. I cannot wrap my mind around how quickly the last 13 years have flown by, but I’m grateful we’ve survived this long. Being Gavin’s mom is probably one of favorite jobs, but it has also been challenging. He refers to himself as my “guinea pig”. Honestly, there has been a lot of trial and error with Gavin. I don’t know what I’m doing half the time or how to handle some situations. His dad and I are able to co-parent really well though so that makes things SO much easier.

 

Happy 1st day of 7th grade, Gavin! I’m so proud of the young man you are growing up to be! Love you to the moon!