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  !

 

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Answered Prayer: Lindsay

 

I met Lindsay over eight years ago through her now husband, Matt. They have been married since October 18, 2008. They have a beautiful 4-year-old daughter named Cali and a sweet little miracle 8 month old son named Paxton. Lindsay has a huge heart and amazing faith. I pray you will feel encouraged by her story.  These are her words. . .


Photo Credits: Rebecca Kelly Photography

Part 1:

Have you ever felt like you are being attacked by the devil? It can happen at any time and without warning. Even the best Christians, with the best walks with Jesus can come under Satan’s attack.

When Cali was two and a half we found out we were pregnant….by total surprise. We had been trying for months but nothing was happening. And then randomly out of the blue we found out I was expecting. We were thrilled. So excited in fact that after only a week of finding out we told all of our families during Christmas. Everyone was thrilled for us. Well only a few short weeks after that we found out our baby had no heartbeat. We were scheduled for a repeat ultrasound in a week just to confirm. We prayed and prayed and prayed some more. I wanted a miracle, honestly I did. But I prayed mostly for God’s will. And that whatever his will he would walk me through it. It’s amazing how consistently praying can put you at ease. As we sat in the waiting room the following week for our ultrasound I knew what they were going to find. And I knew that God was there with me. In that moment, in that space, he was there holding me up and giving me this peace that surpasses all understanding. We had our ultrasound and exactly what I felt was confirmed. I was scheduled for a D&C just a couple of days later. We left and neither of us really said anything. It’s a strange feeling knowing that only a couple of weeks ago you were planning your baby’s future and now you are preparing for a surgery to remove this precious life God gave you. I put on the brave strong face. I didn’t want to upset Matt or Cali or our family. I was at peace with this and knew that God wouldn’t put me through such an ordeal without a reason. I fully believe this is when the devil crept in. I had the surgery and again kept up the brave face. I said all the right things to people when they asked how I was. I told them God had a plan and he knew what he was doing. But in the quiet of my house during my alone time, I cried out to God. I couldn’t understand what was going on. He knew how much we wanted another baby. Did he really think my faith was strong enough to withstand something like this? Did he think my faith wasn’t strong enough and so that was why he was letting me endure this, to draw me closer to him? All kinds of questions would run through my head. And some were not always accepting and loving towards Christ. I had moments of hurt and anger and sadness with God. I pulled away from my marriage. I didn’t want to be close to him because it hurt. I had one job, protect and grow a little baby and I had failed.

I had joined a group of ladies at church around this time. I had been leading a women’s small group for about a year and we were starting discipleship groups that fall. In order to lead a discipleship group you must first yourself go through the discipleship process. I was excited to get connected with some more ladies and really dig into the word. I just knew it would bring me out of my funk. So I joined and things seem to pick up. Matt and I became closer and eventually decided to start trying again. Well we decided we weren’t going to prevent anything. If the Lord blessed us with another baby then great, if not then we were ok with that also. So everything was moving along. I had an incredible support system of girlfriends who had experienced the same loss and we regularly chatted and shared our hearts with one another and it was awesome. After a few weeks in this discipleship class I find out I am once again pregnant. And because God is who he is, he showed up. I went to my discipleship class and our leader started out by sharing a verse that for some reason that morning God laid on her heart. It was Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding: In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” I cried…and everyone looked at me a little crazy. I apologized and said that verse just really speaks to me. After we were done with group my leader pulls me aside to let me know if I need to talk or to pray she is there. So I told her we had just found out we were pregnant again and I was a nervous wreck. How was I supposed to relax and trust in God when he took my second baby home with him? She said I think it’s crazy this verse was laid on my heart. She said it was truly from out of nowhere and that she felt God telling her to share it with us. I relaxed a little. God was there, he is in the midst and he knew my anxiety. Well I prayed and prayed and prayed during the weeks leading up to our first doctor’s appointment. And we went and I thought I was going to throw up I was so nervous while sitting in that waiting room. We get called back and there is a heart beat! This little one has a heart beat and I can see the beautiful heart beating away on the screen. Next to seeing Cali’s heartbeat the first time, this was an incredible day. I left that appointment a little more confident in this pregnancy.

 

Hope

In order to take God’s words deep into your heart, in order to allow them to alter your thoughts and ease your mind, you will need to calm yourself.”  – Pregnant With Hope : Good News For Infertile Couples

Last night I shared this quote with the ladies in Seeds of Hope. A couple of the ladies have reached out to us and shared their fears, worries, and doubts about their upcoming cycles. I get it. I remember being in that deep, dark place of doubt. I remember wanting to give up because I just didn’t feel like I could push forward anymore. I felt defeated. I allowed my own emotions and doubt to swallow me whole. I shut people out of my life. I became a person I did not even recognize. I. WAS. CONSUMED.

Sometimes it is easier to follow our own plan versus listening for God to reveal His plan, right? Raise your hand if you like to be in control. Do you like to call the shots? Do you like to know what is just over the horizon? Are you holding a tight grip on something? My hand is raised. Both of them. “Me. Me. Me!!!” I had it all planned out. In my mind I knew just how the story should go. Much to my surprise though, God had an even better story for me. I just needed to let go of that tight grip I had on MY plan. I had to stop trying to call the shots. I had to stop doubting. That’s all easier said than done. I know it is. We have to do it though. As hard as it seems. As vulnerable as it makes us feel. We have to do it.

We have to let go and know God will catch us. We have to push our feelings of self-doubt, constant worry, hopelessness, and defeat aside. Those feelings are clouding our vision. They are not beneficial to us at all. We cannot see what God is trying to reveal to us when we are consumed with these feelings. He’s got this, folks. His fingerprints are everywhere! We just have to be still, release our grip, and listen.

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.

 

 

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.