The Hearts Behind Seeds of Hope: Kari 

Introducing: Kari
Hi y’all! My name is Kari. I am just days away from my 31st birthday. I have been married to my husband, Trey, for four years. I have a 12-year-old son, Gavin, from a previous marriage. Trey and I welcomed our boy/ girl twins, Ryker and Averlee, into our family in December of 2014. We have a shi tzu named Harper, a cat named Tabby, and a golden lab named Foxy.
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I’m a planner. I planned to have two kids. Imagine my disappointment when I had a doctor look me in the eyes after my second miscarriage and tell me I wouldn’t be able to have more children. I was barely 24.
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I met Trey in 2010. We began dating in April of 2011. Before our May 2012 wedding, the topic of children came up in pre-marital counseling. He wanted two kids. I told him about my previous history, but deep down I had a feeling maybe that doctor was wrong. A few months after our wedding, we decided we would begin trying. I stopped taking birth control pills. When I stopped taking the pills, I also stopped having periods.
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After two months of no period, I began to worry. After changing Ob/Gyn’s twice, I finally had a doctor who would listen to my concerns. I began my first round of Clomid in April of 2013. Three rounds of Clomid, two rounds of Femara, and one IUI later, I found myself facing surgery to repair an overstimulated ovary, removal an 8cm cyst from my left ovary, and removal of endometriosis. In December of 2013 I was referred to Nashville Fertility Clinic where my husband I and did two rounds of injectables and IUIs. In December of 2014, I gave birth to Ryker and Averlee at 34 weeks.
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I’ve prayed for God to show me what I can do to help other women. I know when I was in the middle of my own infertility journey, I felt like nobody else understood my heartache. I want each of you to understand – You are NOT alone. I have been praying for you for the last two years. I have been praying for God to show me a way I can use my story to help other women. He has laid Seeds of Hope on my heart. I hope that through this group, Kayla and I will be able to offer encouragement, support, and shed some light during what is such a dark and trying time for so many women.

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Seeds of Hope

 

The day has come. Today my vision, our vision, God’s plan  comes to life. Today I am so excited to introduce…


History of the Vision 

I have prayed for God to use my story to encourage others. He has. I’ve had a handful of women tell me they felt encouraged by my blog. I’ve felt like I needed to do more though. When I was in the middle of my own battle three years ago, I searched for local support groups. There weren’t any. If there were, I couldn’t find them. I was blessed to have a friend from high school to talk to who understood the lingo, had been through the ups and downs, and she was able to shine some light in the middle of what felt like a dark, never-ending tunnel. I had very supportive friends and family. Do not get me wrong, I appreciated every prayer, card, flower arrangement, bowl of soup, and gallon of ice cream. I truly appreciated it. I felt like I needed more though. I still felt alone.

Once life calmed down a little after R&A were born, I began praying for God to show me what was next. I prayed for Him to use my story, my struggles, and my miracle babies. The idea of starting a support group crossed my mind a few times, but I always pushed the idea to the back burner. I didn’t think I could do it. I didn’t think I would have time to fully dedicate myself to a support group. God had a different plan though. God has a way of nudging us sometimes, doesn’t He? God placed not one, not two, but THREE women in my path. Through those women and their stories, I realized God was after my heart. He was opening doors and showing me what was next for me and my story. He made a way.

Several months ago, I pitched the idea to my friend, Kayla. {you can read her story here!} She was one of the women God had placed in my path previously. She had recently given birth to her own miracle. She had also told me about a few women who had reached out to her for support. She told me she liked the idea of a support group. She gave me a few ideas and said she would help me in any way she could, but she wasn’t sure how involved she could be. A few weeks ago, I asked Kayla to pray about it and let me know how involved she would like to be. I told her I felt like it was time for me to launch Seeds of Hope.

This week, Kayla reached out to me. She said she was ready to do this. Seeds of Hope is the result of two women who had a dream of doing something more. We have both prayed about this group for several months. We have asked God to give us the words He needs these women to hear. We pray we will be able to share His word in a way these women will have a renewed faith and feel hopeful for His plan for them and their future families. Most of all, we want them to realize they are not alone. Infertility is not something people openly talk about. We want these women to know they can talk to us. We will pray for them. We will cry with them. We will hold their hands. We will be the listening ear they need. We want to give them the seeds of hope they need on the days when they feel hopeless.

Who are these women?

We are praying for God to show us women who are:

  • struggling to conceive
  • have experienced miscarriage or stillbirth

 

Where will they meet?

Well. That’s totally up to the women of the group. Kayla and I want this to be less formal. We are not wanting to say we have to meet every second Thursday of the month. We would rather facilitate the group in way that encourages women to say, “Hey. Let’s get together this weekend and have a prayer.” We want this to be more of a community of women supporting and encouraging each other. So we will meet wherever is convenient for the women of the group. Come if you can, if not – we have a private group on Facebook- maybe you can join us next time we meet up? We plan to use the Facebook group to share prayers, updates, words of encouragement, and announce meetings/ gatherings.

How can you help?

Could you pray for us? Please. Pray for the women who will be coming to the meetings, the women who will join our online community, and the women who will personally reach out to us. Pray we will share God’s word with these women in a way that is pleasing to God.

 

 

Mother’s Day Prayer

psalms 113

We’ve all seen them. You know who they are. They are the women who remain seated when the pastor asks all of the mothers to stand on Mother’s Day. As each woman grins from ear to ear and slowly stands, you can see that one woman bow her head as her husband rubs her back or pats her leg. That woman is the woman in my prayers each night. That woman needs your prayers today too.

This Mother’s Day, pray for the women who will wake up and not have hand print crafts waiting for them. Pray for the mothers who have a desire to have moments and make memories with the children they are waiting and praying for. Remember those women.

If you are a Mom in Waiting, please know I see you. I don’t know your name, but I see you sitting in that pew holding back tears. I know this is hard for you. I know you wish you could just slip out the back as everyone is singing praises and applauding mothers. I see you though and I’m praying for you. I know this day reminds you of the pain and emptiness in your heart. I know you feel so broken and maybe even unworthy. I want you to know, you’re not broken. You are worthy.  I know you are quietly calculating how old your precious angel baby would have been today had he/she not been swept away to Heaven so quickly. I know you so badly wish someone would recognize YOU as a mother.

Listen. I’m here to tell you this – from the moment you and your spouse were given the desire to become parents, you became a mother. Let me say that one more time…

YOU. ARE. A. MOTHER. 

God has placed the desire in your heart to be a mother. I can’t tell you He will answer your prayers by giving you a biological child of you own, but I can tell you He doesn’t place a desire on your heart just so you can be tortured month after month by negative pregnancy tests. God has a plan for you, my friend. So on this Mother’s Day, I want you to hold on to your faith. I want you to feel the prayers of encouragement and strength I’m sending up for you.

Dear Heavenly Father:
I come to you now praying you will wrap your arms around the women whose hearts are breaking and arms are aching for a child. Lord, I know the desire to become a mother has been laid on their hearts by You. I know only You can answer their prayers. Motherhood is a godly desire. I pray for the women who have not yet experienced motherhood. I pray for the women who have given their babies back to you, Lord. I pray for the women who are waiting for a call from their adoption agency. I pray for the husbands and wives who are needing Your loving arms and comfort today, Lord. I am fully trusting and believing you have wonderful plans for their lives. Please help them to not feel pity and self-doubt today. I pray they will feel the encouragement they need today and everyday to keep pressing forward as Your plan unfolds. In Your Name. Amen. 

NIAW 2016 – #StartAsking

 

It is National Infertility Awareness Week! What exactly does that mean? It means this week bloggers unite to raise awareness for a disease that affects 1 in 8 couples. This week we get the conversation started and bring awareness to something a lot of people are afraid to talk about. To learn more about this movement, you can visit www.resolve.org .

#StartAsking

Infertility isn’t easy to talk about. I know. I’ve been there. It was so hard for me to open up about our struggle. I felt like I was so alone and nobody would understand, but one day I stepped out of my comfort zone and began sharing our story. The truth is, once I opened up about what I was facing, I received so much support from others within the TTC community, close friends, and some family. I wasn’t alone! I had a wonderful support system during my journey, and I have made it a passion of mine to be a supporter for other women.

What is infertility? According to resolve.org, infertility is a disease or condition of the reproductive system often diagnosed after a couple has had one year of unprotected, well-timed intercourse, or if the woman has suffered from multiple miscarriages and the woman is under 35 years of age. If the woman is over 35 years old, it is diagnosed after 6 months of unprotected, well-timed intercourse.

What should you ask?

  • I’m a firm believer you should feel comfortable with your doctor. Ask questions. Ask if he/she has much experience dealing with infertility. If not, ask if you can be referred to someone else.
  • Ask. Questions. If you feel like your doctor does not have time to answer all of your questions, it is time to find a new doctor!
  • Ask you spouse / partner how they feel. Communication is so important when you are faced with an infertility journey. It is so easy to get lost in the emotional roller coaster. Make sure you talk about it with your spouse even if you do not feel like talking to anyone else. You are both in this together!
  • Ask friends, family, or church family to pray for you. If you are not comfortable sharing details, that is completely okay! Just simply asking them to pray for you.
  • If you are not personally experiencing an infertility journey, but someone close to you is, please try to educate yourself on what exactly infertility is. You can learn more at http://www.reslove.org or this Infertility Etiquette Fact Sheet.

 

Here is my  post for National Infertility Awareness Week 2014  –  NIAW : Resolve to Know

Answered Prayer: Kayla

My best friend, Rachel, had told me about Kayla a couple of years ago. It wasn’t until Rachel’s wedding in June of 2014 that I would meet Kayla in person. Obviously a wedding reception wasn’t the best place to talk to Kayla about infertility. On top of that, I was currently 9 weeks pregnant myself. I wasn’t sure how to even approach her. So I prayed. A month later, I received an inbox message on Facebook from Kayla. God had sent me the person He wanted me to inspire, encourage, and pray for. God sent me Kayla. 

 
When Kayla first reached out to me, she congratulated me on my pregnancy with the twins and told me Rachel had shared bits and pieces of my story with her. I wasn’t sure how to respond, so I basically just went with what was in my heart. I told her:
Hang in there. I know it is so tough from time to time, but one day it will all be worth it…if you ever need ANYTHING, I’ve been there and I will gladly listen! “

She then opened up to me about her own two-year journey. She admitted to me that she had struggled with the fact she wasn’t trusting the Lord would give them a child in HIS timing. She told me about how she struggled to stay positive from time to time. She told me how she felt when she saw yet another pregnancy announcement. She wasn’t angry or jealous, but she just wondered if that would ever be her? I remember reading her words with tears in my eyes and thinking, “She sounds just like I did. These are my own words. I remember feeling like this myself!” I saw so much of myself and my own journey in Kayla.

As our relationship grew, she told me how she and her husband were not only praying they would one day BE pregnant, but they were also already praying FOR their child. She was already thanking God for the child He would send them. THAT IS FAITH! In all honesty, sometimes it is hard to stand in such strong faith when you are in the middle of a storm. I know she had her hard days where she just felt so much disappointment. She shared those days with me too, but for the most part Kayla knew she would be a mother… she just wasn’t sure how long she would be waiting.

Kayla shared this journal entry with me from her journey:
“It was at this appointment that our journey really hit home to me. Until this point I had been very strong….of course each time I started [my period] it would hurt but I was anxious to just move on to the next month. Well this appointment was different. We talked about doing the HSG procedure and then two more 100 mg of Clomid. Her next statement made me cry. …’If the HSG is okay and Clomid doesn’t work, we will move on to doing a round of IUI.’ Wow. I never thought my body would not allow me to get pregnant on my own….” 

I don’t remember the date. I just remember sitting in my bedroom rocking one of my twins when my phone rang. It was a FaceTime call from Rachel. I remember thinking, “Why on Earth is this girl calling me on FaceTime?! Doesn’t she know I’m a mess?!” When I answered, Rachel said “Kayla has something to tell you.” She turned the phone so I could see Kayla holding a small University of Tennessee onesie. I immediately started crying. Happy tears of course. The child we had hoped, prayed, and believed for was on the way. Kayla was finally pregnant. OUR prayers had been answered. Precious Kayla had remained faithful. She stood in faith that God would answer her prayer.. in His time. And He did.
I am so grateful God placed Kayla in my life. I have learned so much from her. She is such a caring person. She and I have worked together over the last several months to encourage mothers-in-waiting on their own journeys. It is so beautiful to see how God has used such a difficult time in each of our lives so we can shine a light for others.

Prayer Request

 

 

I’ve been praying for God to show me, lead me, direct me, slap me in the face, or something of that nature. I have poured so much into my blog over the last five years; however, since the twins were born I’ve slacked. I wouldn’t call it writers’ block. I would like to call it a lack of direction. I did not want to fall into the crowd of other mom bloggers who write the play by play of the day. If you are one of those bloggers, that’s great. I probably follow you and giggle at your crazy days. I’m entertained by those women, but I just do not feel like that is me. I cannot exactly continue to write solely about infertility … well because I kicked infertility’s rear. Do you see my problem?

Where do I go?! 

A few months ago God placed a woman in my path. Maybe He placed me in her path? (We shall refer to her as C.) Either way, she reached out to me about my blog. As I got to know her and heard more of her story, it hit me. I kicked infertility’s rear and proved a few doctors wrong {pointing at the town of Tullahoma}, now it is time for me to be the hand to hold, shoulder to cry on, and encouragement someone else might need. It is time to pay it all forward. All of it.

I’ve prayed about this for several weeks. I just didn’t know what to do and it wasn’t very clear where God wanted me. In moments like that, I wish He could just send me an email or something. Like… can I get some very clear instructions here, please?! It all seemed a little fuzzy, and I wasn’t sure what direction God wanted me to take this desire. So I waited. and waited. and waited. Then my friend, Kayla, reached out to me about some thoughts she had been tossing around. I prayed over that conversation, but still didn’t “feel” the calling for my next steps. So I waited some more. THEN, it hit me. I was texting C one day. She was telling me about a support group she had attended. She told me some of the things the host said within the group. It made my heart hurt. She said things you should NEVER say to someone faced with infertility. In that moment, I knew I could do better. I knew I wanted to be an encouragement. I needed to turn this desire into action.

How do I make it happen? 

I have all of these ideas swimming around in my mind, but I haven’t quite decided how to make them a reality. I cannot decide how to put this new venture into action. Here are some things I have to consider:

  • Location: Obviously I cannot welcome everyone into my home filled with toddler toys. As personal and private as those gatherings would be, I just do not feel like it would be the best environment for women who are struggling.
    • Another option is a local coffee shop or cafe. I just need a table, a room, anything! My concern with this option is I do not want everyone to feel like they have to buy a meal every time they come. I also wonder how private this option would be. I mean if we are all sitting around a table crying, I don’t want to scare off the other people in the cafe. I also want the women to feel comfortable sharing and discussing. I’m not sure a cafe would offer that type of comfort.
  • Will anyone actually come?: I’ve been doing a bit of research the last few weeks. One of my biggest concerns is nobody will come or everyone will come. I do not want to limit the group to only women who are dealing with infertility, but everything I’ve read says I need to do so. Maybe once I get a feel for how the group will go, we will be able to open it up to women who have recently experienced a miscarriage, couples, and maybe even women who are choosing adoption. So with all of that being said, I’ll either have nobody at the group meetings or I’ll have several. I. Just. Don’t. Know.
  • Materials: If any of you are familiar with RESOLVE, you know they have an amazing program for Peer Led Support Groups. Coincidentally, there is not a RESOLVE support group in my area. The closest one is in Nashville, which is over an hour away. I have listened to the tele-seminar on starting a peer led support group, and I’ve received the information on how to start the group. I’ve also received the application I have to submit to RESOLVE in order to be “official”. They lay everything out for you in a host packet so you can get started, BUT faith is not mentioned. RESOLVE is not founded on a particular religion; therefore, as a RESOLVE host, they would discourage me from speaking about faith. Therein lies my problem. How do I encourage women without mentioning faith? How do I close a meeting without having prayer?

I want to hear your thoughts. Those of you who have attended or are attending support groups, what are some things you like about your group? What are some things you do not necessarily like? Do you use a book? Where do you meet? Let me hear it!

Please pray for me and this desire in my heart. I feel like my mind is going in so many directions as I try to iron out the details and make this a reality.

Finding Comfort in the Uncomfortable

 

 

Thanks to the crazy Tennessee weather (and a couple toddler tantrums), I missed my regular Wednesday night prayer meeting with some amazing ladies. Have no fear. I spent time in prayer and studying yesterday, so I’m here now to share my reflections! Grab a seat. Have some coffee. Whatever.

What do we miss when we hide within our comfort zone? 

Take the word “we” out for a second. What do I miss when I hide within my comfort zone? Personally, I feel like I have missed out on relationships! I’m so guilty of not reaching out to people from time to time who might need a little boost because… well… it might require me to *gasp* talk to a stranger. This is not something new. I’ve been a little on the shy side for as long as I can remember. Once I get to know someone, and I’m comfortable around them, I open up. I’m a sealed little mystery until then though. With age, I’ve slowly begun to push myself outside of my own limits. I’m not moving mountains by any means, but I’m definitely working on it!

When I’m stuck in my comfort zone (a.k.a my own little, peaceful, drama free world), am I missing the fullness of God? YES! God wants me to be comfortable being uncomfortable! I have to step outside of my little box and have faith in God. I realize this comes easier for some than others. That’s what makes this world a beautiful place though! If we were all the same, what fun would that be? If we all lived in the same little comfortable box, how could we really accomplish what God wants us to accomplish? We wouldn’t! We would all be stuck in own little comfortable worlds.

When I decided to write about our infertility journey, I was absolutely terrified. When I hit the publish button on that super long post in 2013, my heart sank. I had prayed over it for several days and finally just took the leap. I was uncomfortable, but at the same time I had high hopes somewhere, somehow someone would read my words and it would be an encouragement one day. After that first post, the future posts became easier. It wasn’t always rainbows and sunshine though. I did hit a few bumps along the way, but in the end I felt like I was being called to share my story. I realize what I did is not something everyone feels called to do! I’m not saying we should all air our personal business online. I am saying sometimes we feel called to do things we wouldn’t necessarily think we would do. In my case, sharing all of my reproductive issues with family, friends, and strangers was what I felt I needed to do at the time.

Here I am today. I’ve been tossing a few ideas around for where I want my blog to go and how I want to continue. I have a very special place in my heart for women who are faced with an infertility journey, women who are dealing with pregnancy loss, and just women who just need someone to be real with! [waving hello] With that being said, I am so patiently waiting for God to show me where to go from here. I have been feeling a tiny little tug at my heart lately to start a prayer group specifically for these special women in my life. Nothing fancy. Just a little group who gathers together once a month or so just to pray with and for each other. I SO badly wanted to be a part of something like this when I was struggling along my own journey, but I never knew how, where, or when to get the ball rolling. Doing something like this will be a bit out of my comfort zone. I feel a little anxious just typing all of this out, but… but… but if we all stick with what we are comfortable with and what makes us always feel warm and fuzzy, how can we experience the fullness of God’s plan for our lives?

Ponder on this with me for a minute…
If you never step outside of the box, how can you ever really see the big picture? It isn’t about me. It isn’t about you. It is all about God. What does God want you to do? How can you use your life, your journey, your experience to help someone see God’s greatness?

Now put your coffee down and go be uncomfortable!