It’s not a cake walk.

Sarge has been on Zantac and a prescription formula and there has been no change to his level of pain associated with eating. It’s quite disheartening to see this baby continue to suffer, and to know that his issues stem from being exposed to drugs in the womb. If this was just a reflux or sensitive stomach/allergy issue, the Zantac and prescription formula would have helped by now.

I spoke to a woman yesterday who gave me the name and number of a doctor who works with babies and children that have been exposed to drugs in the womb. I called this morning to get Sarge an appointment. I am waiting to hear back when they can fit us in. The doctor is booked out months in advance but when a case like us calls in, he does what he can to see the infant as soon as possible. Please pray we can get in as soon as possible.

Speaking to this woman yesterday, who is a mother to three children exposed to drugs in the womb, was a big source of encouragement yesterday. To speak to someone who has walked in my shoes and validated every single feeling I am feeling as we walk through this was just what I needed yesterday.

I am pretty much homebound with Sarge as I learned the hard way on Friday night. Every fall, the family takes a trip the mountains to the family cabin. Since we got the phone call about Sarge while there in early August, I desperately wanted to go there this fall. It was going to be full-circle to take him there. After speaking with his birth mother in the living room of the cabin and then the family immediately going to prayer when I hung up with her, I wanted to take a picture of Sarge in my arms after asking the Lord to place him in my arms during that time we didn’t know where Sarge was going to end up.

My parents asked to take the girls up to the cabin with them, and because I am relying so heavily on their help these desperate days, I had no choice but to say yes even though there was a tinge of Mommy Guilt thrown in there about sending the girls away for a week after having been away from them for four weeks while Sarge was in the NICU. But, I knew I had no other choice but to send them.

And then I thought, Why not go up for a long weekend? And that became the plan. Dave, Wesley, Sarge and I would drive up on Friday after work and stay through Monday! Perfect! I was so looking forward to a bit of “normal”.

We pulled out at 4:45pm. Sarge was due to eat between 5-5:30. We made it to the north side of town and stopped to eat dinner and feed Sarge, so we really didn’t get on the highway until 6pm and we had a 7-8 hour drive ahead of us NOT counting the stops we were going to have to take to feed Sarge along the way! It can take anywhere from 45-75 minutes to feed him. That’s a lot of lost travel time on the road. I was beginning to second guess our decision in trying to make this trip.

But I just chose to make it an adventure…until Sarge was extremely uncomfortable in the car seat. After eating Sarge writhes in pain. We hold him until the pain passes and he can relax and fall asleep. This takes anywhere from 1-2 hours after he eats. If I held him until his pain had passed before putting him in the car seat to continue our travel we would literally NEVER make it out of our state, much less all the way to the mountains! So I tried to comfort him as best I could with him in the car seat, all the while thinking this was going to be a LOOOOOONNNNNGGGGGG night.

Then, around 7:30pm, after we had only been on the road 1.5 hours and would need to stop again to feed Sarge around 8:30pm, my dad called to tell us that Sweet Pea currently had a 102 temp and had thrown up. Say what?!?!

I felt SO defeated at this point! Little Bug had been plagued with a horrible stomach bug that had lasted 4 days the week prior and now it appeared it was Sweet Pea’s turn! Sarge could not be around those germs. We started talking about our options, one of which was to just turn around and go home.

After 15 minutes of talking it over, we decided to just go home. We were asking too much of Sarge to make this trip in his condition. Later I was kicking myself for even thinking this trip was a good idea! I should have known better and had I thought about the logistics and the fact that being in the car seat for 8+ hours probably wasn’t going to be the best for Sarge, let alone being out and about while we were in the mountains, I would have realized even attempting the trip was a dumb idea.

Defeated we drove the 1 hour 45 minutes back home and we were home by 11pm. I was unpacked by midnight because I was so mad and didn’t want the chore of unpacking to hang over me.

God is teaching me much in this season of my life. One of which is the fact that we are so not in control of our lives!! It’s a lesson I’ve been taught many times before.

Life is NOTHING like I imagined it to be this past summer as I was preparing for our first official homeschool year! But- God is faithful and He is giving us the grace to move through these days in His strength. There is no doubt in my mind that this is God’s calling on my life right now. To love and nurture this precious baby boy to health. God made it abundantly clear that His Plan all along was for Sarge to be our son and it is one my highest callings in this life to be the mother of Little Bug, Sweet Pea and now, Sarge.

Once again, life has turned out to be anything but what I expected. As always, it’s a wild ride and as hard as life is right now, I wouldn’t trade this for anything.

I remind myself daily – if not multiple times a day – that all of these circumstances are temporary. This is all a season. A season that will pass.

As I was sharing my feelings with the woman I spoke with yesterday she validated the one thing that has just been nagging me from the beginning of all this. It goes against every grain in my body to not be capable of caring for all three of my children at the same time by myself. I feel like I should be able to. I want to more than anything, but logistically it is just not possible because of Sarge’s delicate state. I was sharing these frustrations with her yesterday, telling her I feel like a wimp or something. She said, “You are not a wimp! Adding a third child to the family is hard enough under normal circumstances. But you have a drug baby on top of all that! It is NOT easy. When my third came along, my two cousins moved in with us to help take care of everyone for the first several months because I COULD NOT do it alone. It was impossible to care for two little ones on top of a drug baby.”

Do you know how much that was music to my ears?!? I am not crazy. I am not weak. I am not being a wimp. I am doing the best I can do given the circumstances. And I am blessed that God has given me parents who are so willing and capable of stepping up and helping us through this time. And we will get through this. She told me, “Things will improve. Life will get easier.”

I know it’s true. Right now, life is hard. I feel pulled in twenty million directions 24/7. It is extremely difficult watching a baby suffer and knowing the reason was completely 100% preventable. I can’t dwell on that too much. It is what it is. This baby is right where he needs to be and I am going to do EVERYTHING in my power to get him the help he needs so that his body can heal and these drugs don’t have a lasting effect on his little body. By God’s grace, I know he will be healed. The alternative is not acceptable to me.

It is taxing and tiring trying to figure out what to do next to help him! I am praying this doctor is our God-send and will give me the tools I need to help Sarge recover.

This summer I had wonderful plans in place for our first year of homeschool! I was so looking forward to this season of our life. God had other plans and now my focus has shifted although we are still very much homeschooling Little Bug. (I just love the flexibility homeschool provides.)

I want to write a post soon about all that I have learned from everything we have gone through in 2014. Perhaps the biggest is a reminder that our lives are not our own. We make plans, which is a good thing to do, but ultimately we must keep our hearts attuned to God and His plan for our lives and be ready to surrender our plans for His plans if His plans are different from our own. God’s plan for our lives is rarely a cake walk because He takes us places to make us totally dependent on Him! It’s truly a good place to be.

In the midst of all the chaos, there is peace because I know I am right where God wants me doing exactly what He wants me to do in this season of my life.

It’s just hard and I truly appreciate the support and prayers during this time.

PS: Sweet Pea was sick that one time. She immediately asked for applesauce, ate it, kept it down and slept all night. She was perfectly fine the next morning and went on a long hike. I am convinced God used that to make us turn around because He knew the trip was too much for Sarge.

His Grace is Sufficient

It became apparent to me while we were still in Sarge’s birth city that I was going to have to fully rely on the LORD to fill in my gaps as a mother through this trial.

We got the call to come to Sarge’s birth city in the middle of the night. At this point we still didn’t 100% know if the birth mother was planning to place with us or not, so after I hung up from the call, Dave and I just looked at each other in a daze and I remember asking Dave, “So, do we go…now?”.

Minutes later I was throwing items into a bag and going to wake my brother to tell him we were leaving and he was responsible for the girls. He had fallen asleep on the couch. I gave him the monitor and he went to his room. Those moments were so surreal I didn’t even think about going in the girls’ bedrooms to tell them goodbye. I wouldn’t have woken them but later as we were driving down the highway in the middle of the night, it was very eerie to me that I had left, not only the house but the city, and had not told the girls I was leaving.

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Obviously, I knew they were in good hands with my brother. Later I learned that Little Bug had woken in the night to a bad dream. She had dreamed that mean chickens were after her. Uncle ran in to her room to calm her down and she did ask why I hadn’t come. Not wanting to tell Little Bug in the middle of the night that I wasn’t there he just said, “I heard you crying and came.” She was satisfied with that answer and went right back to sleep.

Little did I know that Friday was forever my last day with “just my girls”. My last memory of it just being me and the girls was a walk we had taken in our neighborhood, which is pretty much an every day occurrence around here! The girls had stopped along the way to pick up treasures.

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That week had been pretty stressful as we were living in limbo not knowing what was going to happen concerning this baby. The day ended with us letting the girls have fun playing in the kiddie pool in the backyard. After they were in bed for the night, I took 3 hours to clean the house including washing the carseat cover that a friend had given me “just incase”. Because it had been a crazy week, I had gotten behind in housework and I wanted it all caught up for the weekend.

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Had I known when I tucked my girls in to bed that Friday night that I would be leaving in the night and not returning for four weeks, I’m pretty sure I would have been a basket case. Moments like these remind me why God doesn’t allow us to see the future. That would have been too much to handle.

We didn’t really know what to expect when we arrived at the hospital but it soon became abundantly clear that this mother had every intention of placing this baby with us and this was really happening!

One of my last conversations with this mother before the baby was born was about coming to our city to have the baby. When we arrived and baby had already been born we realized we were once again going to have a child in the NICU with our other children in a different city. Because the girls’ NICU stays were just a week or a little over a week, we naively thought Sarge’s NICU stay would be about a week long, too.

And then we learned about his medical condition and I knew we were here for the long haul.

What could I do about having a baby in the NICU for who knows how long and suddenly being ripped away from my girls?!

Trust in the Lord.

It’s all I could do.

I knew they would be just fine with my parents, and they were, but it really plays with a mother’s heart to feel torn between her children like that.

As time wore on and we didn’t know how long Sarge’s NICU stay was going to be, I had to turn my mind off to the girls and put it completely on Sarge. That was a hard decision to make, but I knew I had a baby in the NICU who desperately needed a mother’s touch and God had obviously called me to be his mother! I had to trust His grace would be sufficient as I was suddenly absent from my girls’ every day life.

Social media kept us in touch with the girls but when I wasn’t talking to them on the phone or sending them a Snapchat, I wouldn’t allow my mind to think about them much at all because it was too painful and I knew my calling in those days was to be there for Sarge.

God’s grace would have to be sufficient for my girls.

And it was.

When we arrived home with Sarge twenty-seven days later we left one set of chaotic circumstances for another set! Life was anything but normal and, once again, even though all three of my children were finally under one roof, I still felt completely torn between the girls and Sarge.

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It quickly became clear to me that taking care of all three simultaneously was going to be an impossible task.

What could I do about wanting nothing more than to be able to take care of all of my children by myself, but knowing in reality that was an impossibility?

Enlist help and trust God to fill in my gaps!

I seriously don’t know what we would be doing if not for my mom who has totally given of herself to us during this time. When I was freaking out about not knowing how we were going to do this she told me, “I will help. This is my ministry right now and I will be here to help for as long as you need.”

And so my mom (and dad), Dave and myself have basically tag teamed to care for everyone since we arrived home. We take shifts with Sarge and I have made the girls my priority this past week because they desperately needed me after being away from them for 4 weeks. In all the chaos I have tried to give them the order and structure they are used to. We have gone on walks in the neighborhood and read books together.

There has been guilt for me that I can’t give my all to any of my children!

I have learned through this that Mommy Guilt is of the devil!

I know in my heart that I am simultaneously doing what is best for all three of my children right now and that is all that matters. God’s grace truly is sufficient to fill in my gaps during this season.

Before I know it there will be a roly poly baby boy joining us during our book time, neighborhood walks and homeschooling. But right now, it’s all about getting Sarge well, finding our new normal and relying on God for our everything.

Being in a place of total dependency upon God is a very good place to be.

New Day, New Mercies

It is a new day, a new month and that can only mean one thing:

God’s mercies are new. He has brought me through another fire and I am still standing.

But I am not just standing.

I am standing firm because God is my strength, my peace, my joy in times of trouble and heartache and no matter what the devil tries to scheme against me, GOD has won.

Which means I won, because I’m on His side.

The promises of God’s Word are still true. There is no doubt in my mind that God has a plan, a perfect and beautiful plan that is far greater and far bigger than a biological sibling for Little Bug.

I learned that full well on my journey to Little Bug.

Yesterday was a day of sorrow for what wasn’t going to be and there were certainly tears, but ultimately do you know the overwhelming emotion I felt yesterday and continue to feel today?

Relief.

I am sure that might not make a whole lot of sense right now, which is why I have chosen to reveal the details of this drama.

The drama began with a text from Tracy to me on Monday, January 24th.

She asked me if we wanted to come over for dinner and help her get some furniture.

I replied that I had been asking around to see if people had any furniture they were trying to get rid of and could donate and we would just have to wait and see what is donated.

Tracy text me back that she was getting a kitchen table and needed us to come help her pick it up and then we could stay for dinner.

Not long after this text, I received a call from our lawyer.

The lawyer told me she had just received a text from Tracy saying she needed a sum of money to be able to buy a kitchen table because Dave and Elaine were coming over for dinner and she needed a place for us to sit.

I am sure at this point my jaw was on the floor, but believe it or not, this was just the prelude to all the drama that was about to unfold.

The lawyer and I made the decision that this was an outlandish request. The lawyer said she was going to call Tracy and tell her no, the request could not be granted.

On Tuesday, January 25th I received a phone call from the lawyer telling me that she had talked to Tracy and Tracy was livid that the lawyer would not give her the money.

Tuesday night Tracy was scheduled for an ultrasound in the evening. All we had from the adoption agency for proof of pregnancy was a “pregnancy confirmation” document.

Tracy was scheduled for an ultrasound at a crisis pregnancy center on Tuesday evening.

When the lawyer told me that Tracy was angry about the money situation, she warned me that Tracy may not show up for her ultrasound.

Tuesday afternoon I received a text from Tracy asking me why we had not paid the lawyer and did we really want this baby?

I replied that we had done everything the lawyer had asked us to do because, of course, we were very excited about this baby.

I never heard back from her and sure enough, Tracy dropped off the radar. No one could make contact with her at all.

It was at this point that we obviously knew something was up and we began to suspect that she might not even be pregnant.

Wednesday passed. Then came Thursday.

Thursday we learned that the crisis center had actually cancelled all the ultrasounds scheduled for that evening because of a bad storm we got that night.

Thursday I received a very unexpected apology text from Tracy. I felt for sure that Tracy had “left town”, but hearing from her made me think that maybe there really was a baby after all.

I just wanted to get to the bottom of all the drama and know one way or the other!

Tracy also made contact with the lawyer and the lawyer set up a meeting with Tracy for Friday morning.

During their meeting the lawyer made Tracy call and reschedule her ultrasound, because, for obvious reasons, we knew this ultrasound was key in knowing if this adoption was over or if we would proceed. At this point, I didn’t know how I was going to survive 5-6 more months of dealing with Tracy drama if there really was a baby!

Tracy knew it was imperative to be at the Monday morning (January 31st) ultrasound.

I was at the appointment right on time. I sent a text to Tracy and told her I had gotten there. She text me back that she was on the way.

Forty-five minutes later, she had still not arrived. I sent Tracy another text and asked her if she was almost there. She said she was and five minutes later, she walked in the clinic door.

While I was waiting, I had spoken to the woman at the front desk and briefly explained the situation. I told her I needed to know TODAY if Tracy is pregnant or not.

Not long after Tracy arrived, she was called back. I was informed they were going to talk to Tracy first and then they would call me back when they were ready to do the ultrasound.

Ten minutes later Tracy walked back out into the waiting room and told me that they could not do an ultrasound on her because she has had ectopic pregnancies in the past.

I immediately stood up and told Tracy, “We have to get an ultrasound today to proceed with this adoption. That does not make sense. I am going back there to talk to them.”

Tracy sat down on a chair and I walked myself through the door and told the woman at the front desk that I had to speak with the lady who had just talked to Tracy.

She said, “Go down the hall and take a left.”

I found the woman and she was on the phone about Tracy with the manager of the crisis center.

She put the manager on hold and I told the woman, “This is the situation. We are not sure she is even pregnant. Drama has been going on for a week now and I NEED for her to have an ultrasound so we can get to the bottom of this. Please help me!”

The woman was very sweet. She asked me if I would talk to the manager. I immediately took the phone and pleaded my case to the manager.

Surprisingly enough, I got the same story that Tracy had just told me.

I understood. Tracy has had ectopic pregnancies in the past. (I do know this is true from official medical records when Tracy was pregnant with Little Bug.) The clinic is not a medical facility so their standard protocol is to not do an ultrasound on any woman who has had an ectopic pregnancy or who has had any bleeding during the pregnancy.

I also learned from the sweet lady at the crisis center that Tracy had said she had had some bleeding, which was another reason they were not giving Tracy an ultrasound.

The manger told me that the crisis pregnancy center could give me the name and number of another place where Tracy could go to get an ultrasound for a charge.

I told the sweet little lady that I needed that information. She gave me the information and I went back out to the waiting room.

Tracy had bolted.

She was no where to be found.

I went ahead and called the contact the crisis center had given me and found myself talking to another sweet lady.

I told her the situation I was in and that I needed an appointment TODAY, if at all possible.

She booked us for a 6:15pm appointment and I hung up with her and immediately dialed Tracy.

Of course, she did not answer.

I called the lawyer to fill her in on what was going on.

She told me she and her office would try all day to get in touch with Tracy and she would call me as soon as she knew anything.

Monday afternoon I received word from the lawyer that she had talked to Tracy and told her through texts that she HAD to go to this appointment at 6:15pm or her rent would not be paid tomorrow and she would not receive another penny from the agency.

Tracy text the lawyer back saying that she “couldn’t make it tonight”.

The lawyer text her back and told her we were done and to never contact her again for anything.

And finally, I had answers. Either Tracy was never pregnant to begin with or Tracy was pregnant, miscarried and was trying to see how far she could go.

When I learned that this was officially over I was sitting on my old bed at my parents’ house.  I had just laid Little Bug down for her nap and was waiting to hear from the lawyer. I heard the news, continued siting on my bed to take a few minutes to process, and then I walked downstairs to the living room where my parents were siting on the couch.

And the tears came.

They were tears of disappointment.

I knew they would come and I knew they would quickly go because ultimately I felt relief and like the weight of the whole world has been lifted off my shoulders. (I have another post coming soon about this.)

And while I can’t hardly believe the drama that transpired over the past week, it is what it is and ultimately I have hope in Jesus Christ.

Satan thinks he won this battle.

But I’ve got news for him.

Satan definitely has a stronghold on Tracy’s life, but on this brand new day, I proclaim to the world that God is good and God is faithful and Something More is coming!

Please don’t view me as a victim!

I am not the victim here. Tracy is.

Satan has a stronghold on her, not me.

I am as free as a bird soaring in the sky.

This is not the end of God’s story.

He’s got plenty still to write and I know it’s going to blow the socks right off my feet.

To God be the glory, great things He has done, is doing and will do.

I just want you to do your best.

I keep replaying in my mind the five minute clip of a movie that was played at the end of the sermon today at church.

A coach was on the football field with his high school football team. Apparently, one of his best players was more interested in goofing off instead of getting serious about the game and playing his best.

The players are all sitting on the field and the coach calls out the player. He asks him to stand and then comes face to face with him.

Coach puts the player to a challenge. He tells him he wants him to carry a teammate on his back for as many yards as he thinks he can go. Only he isn’t to carry the teammate in his arms.

Coach wants him to get on his hands and without putting his knees on the ground carry his teammate as many yards as he can go.

“I just want you to do your best”, the coach tells him.

“Do you think your best is 20 yards?”

The boy says he can do 50 yards.

Before they get started, the coach pulls out a blindfold and ties it to the player’s head. The teammate lays on the back of the player and the challenge begins.

Blindfolded, this kid begins his treak down the football field with his teammate on his back and 50 yards as his goal. The yards are never shown on the movie screen.

It’s just the player, the teammate on his back and the coach who follows closely.

Coach crouches down as the player crawls along the field and says, “Just do your best. Just do your best. Keep going!! Just do your best!”

The player’s arms begin to ache, the weight of his teammate bearing down on his back.

But still the coach says, “Just do your best. Keep going!”

The player presses on, but at any moment, you are waiting, expecting him to fall flat on his face.

The coach’s voice now says with a sense of urgency, “Keep going! You are NOT going to give up, are you? Do your best!! Do your best!! What is your best?! Keep going!”

Coach continues along with his player screaming in his face, “DON’T GIVE UP! DO YOUR BEST! DO YOUR BEST!”

All the while as you are watching you are wondering just how far this kid is going to go.

The camera pans back to the teammates, who at the beginning sat in groups on the field chuckling to each other about the whole thing.

The next time the other teammates are shown, some of them are no longer sitting on the field but are standing – with looks of shock and amazement written all over their faces.

The player continues down the field, coach screaming in his face to do his best.

Eventually, the guy colapses. His coach falls to the ground with him and, in a quiet but excited voice he says, “You went to the END ZONE! Your BEST was the END ZONE! You are my most valuable player. If YOU don’t give me your best, they won’t either. Are you going to give me your best, or not?”

At this moment in the movie clip my mind flashed back to six or so months before Little Bug’s birth.

I had on my back the heavy burden of infertility. I was worn out. I wanted to give up. I could not see an end in sight.

But a still small voice kept saying to me, Elaine! DON’T give up now. Are you going to do your best to let this infertility bring glory to my name? Or are you going to wallow away to the depths of despair?

Suddenly, I saw myself on that football field, carrying my burdon and faced with the reality of a choice that had to be made.

Was I going to do my best to allow my infertility to bring glory to God?

As I was crawling down the road of infertility, God was crouched beside me whispering in my ear that if I did my best to give it all to Him, He would use it all for His glory.

He most certainly did – and still is to this very day.

Plucking Weeds

I was just outside plucking weeds in the flower bed. Whenever I am plucking weeds I always see a parallel to sin.

Weeds in a flower bed is like sin in our hearts.

Weeds are going to happen in a flower bed. No matter what I do, they always grow back. I’ve tried just about everything to get them to stay out of my flower bed: weed killer spray, adding more rocks to the flower bed, plucking by the roots. Doesn’t matter what I do – they always grow back.

I am human and because I am human my heart is going to have sin. Always. It’s a part of my sinful nature. No matter how “good” I try to be, I will always mess up.

So, because I can’t totally get rid of the weeds in my flower bed or the sin in my heart, I must maintain it constantly. As soon as I see the weeds poking through the rocks I get a bag and go outside to pluck the weeds. I know if I “let it go” I will have a huge, ugly mess in my flower bed before long. My flower bed will no longer be able to serve it’s purpose of being something pretty for people to see as they walk up to my front door. Instead, it will become an eyesore to me and to all my neighbors.

I have to constantly examine my heart as well. When I see sin pouring into my heart I have to “pluck it out” because if I don’t, my heart will soon become an ugly mess and I will not be able to serve the Lord with a joyful heart as He has called me to do.

Dealing with sin as soon as it is obvious is key because, just like a flower bed, it is so much easier to deal with the weeds (and the sin) before it has time to completely take over the flower bed (my heart).

Once the weeds (sin) have taken over my flower bed (my heart) it is going to be a back-breaking painful process to uproot all those weeds (sin). It can be done, but not without a lot of effort and pain.

It is easier to pluck at the first sign of a weed,

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so my flower bed (and my heart) stays pretty and serves it’s purpose well.

May 29th

When planning Little Bug’s birthday party I would not plan her party for today, May 29th, because I do not like the date May 29th.

I know that may seem strange, so let me explain.

We had a waiting period of 81 hours from the time of Little Bug’s birth to getting the call from our lawyer saying Tracy had signed the consent and Little Bug was officially ours.

I know for some states, there can be a waiting period of 30 days for the birth mother to change her mind. To me, that is torture, for both adoptive parents and birth parents. In our state, Tracy could sign the consent after 48 hours of Little Bug’s birth.

Originally,we were set to do the signing at 9am on Friday, May 29th, just over 48 hours after Little Bug’s birth.

I will forever remember the drop in my heart as we pulled into the parking garage around 7pm on the night of May 28th for a visit with Tracy and Little Bug at the hospital.

My cell phone rang as we were getting out of the car. It was the lawyer and she told me words that ripped my heart right out of my chest.

She told me that Tracy didn’t want to sign the next day. My mind was literally swirling as I tried to comprehend whether she didn’t want to sign, period, or if this was just a delay.

I could barely keep myself together as I made my way up to the hospital room. I sat holding Little Bug completely torn whether I should allow myself to love her or if I would walk out of that hospital room and never see her sweet little face again.

It was agony.

In the back of my mind there was always the knowledge that I was holding a baby that was not yet officially mine.

As soon as the visit ended, I was back on the phone with the lawyers who tried, to the best of their knowledge, to fill me in on what was going on.

I can’t go into details (sorry), but I can say that I knew I was completely out of control of the situation and there was nothing I could do to sway the outcome of this situation – except wait.

And so began the LONGEST twenty-four hours of my life.

On the way home from the hospital on the night of the 28th, Dave and I stopped at the gas station just down the street from our subdivision. I was sitting there in the passenger seat staring off into space when my sister-in-law’s roommate (who happens to also be my friend) pulled up in her car beside me. She got out of her car and walked over to me.

“Congratulations!", she said. When she asked how I was doing I started to cry as I shared with her what was really going on. The compassion in her eyes was the genuine concern of a sister in Christ. I poured my heart out to her and together we got the idea to have a prayer meeting at my house that night.

I called some close family and friends who came over to our house that night to pray with us. There was a somber, yet hopeful mood in my home that evening.

Everyone took turns just pouring their hearts out to God on our behalf and pleaded with Him to please allow this precious baby girl to be our daughter. And yet, even though it was so hard to pray, everyone prayed God’s will be done – even if it meant Little Bug was not to be ours.

I cannot tell you just how uplifting it was to have family and friends surrounding me that night. Driving home from the hospital I didn’t know how I was going to survive those hours of waiting.

I needed the presence of my family and friends and they were there surrounding me in the darkest hour.

That prayer time lasted about 2 hours. I’d never been a part of something so amazing and haven’t since.

I didn’t know how I was going to get a wink of sleep that night, but I slept and I slept well. My hope was in the Lord and it was His strength that was holding me up as I waited.

I awoke very early on the morning of May 30th. I went into Little Bug’s nursery and continued the conversation with God that had been started the evening before.

Our parents came over to our house to wait with us that day. I didn’t want to be sitting in our house alone. I wanted people around.

We were in contact with the lawyers who told us we were to meet with the birth mom that afternoon to discuss some things.

This was my breaking point. I remember sitting in a chair in my living room completely feeling lifeless. I had not an ounce of strength in my body. I seriously did not know how I was going to get up and go fight the battle that I had to fight.

God’s presence was all over during those torturous hours of waiting. Suddenly a strength came over me like nothing I had ever experienced in my life.

I stood up.

I walked to my bathroom and began brushing my teeth, getting dressed and getting ready to go to battle for my child.

I felt an inner strength within me that I knew was God and God alone.

I wasn’t going to this meeting alone. God was going with me and He already knew the outcome and nothing I said, or didn’t say, would change that outcome.

I remember telling Dave, “Let’s go. I’m ready.” and avoiding my mother like the plague because I knew if I allowed myself to get a hug from her or allow her to say anything to me I would crumble right there and not have the strength to go on.

We pulled out of the driveway. Mama waved.

Later she told me she went into Little Bug’s nursery armed with her Bible and prayed and read Scripture until we came home.

Turns out Tracy decided the meeting with us was unnecessary. We met with the lawyers and a councelor who had talked to Tracy that morning.

We learned what was causing the delay. (I will just say it wasn’t Tracy second guessing her adoption plan. It was something totally unrelated to Little Bug and the adoption plan she had made for her.)

The signing of the consent was set for later that afternoon.

We went home for more agonizing waiting. Every minute seemed like an hour and every hour seemed an eternity. Time stood still.

Our parents were still at our house. We played games and ate dinner, all in the hopes that those activities would be great distracters from thinking about what was happening.

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I had felt a sense of calm but as 5:30 approached and we had not heard anything from the lawyers, I felt the anxiety creeping into the corners of my heart.

The waiting was literally about to make me go crazy. I didn’t know how much more I could take. I was getting to the point that I just wanted to know – I wanted to know if Little Bug was going to be our daughter or not. Just tell me!

I went and laid on my bed. I just laid there. I didn’t have any more words to pray.

In God’s great mercy, I had been laying there for probably 10 minutes or less when my cell phone rang.

I sprung off the bed and began running like a manic through the house to my cell phone. I urgently answered when I saw it was our lawyer.

She said, “She’s YOURS! Congratulations!”

I know I probably hurt her ear because I was still holding the phone when I screamed for the entire household (and probably a few neighbors) to hear, “SHE’S OURS!!!!!!”

It was a glorious moment. Tears streamed down my face and a prayer of thanksgiving filled my heart completely.

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It was over.

The years of waiting.

The pain and disappointment of the recent past was no more.

God had walked me through the fire and blessed me beyond measure. This was truly happening.

I was a mother to a precious baby girl.

Those moments after the phone call from the lawyer were surreal.

It wasn’t 10 minutes later and Dave and I were rushing to the hospital to see our baby girl.

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Yes, God is a God who turns mourning into dancing and weeping into laughter.

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Family, Travel and another impending decision

Exactly 21 months ago we were in Brazil for my cousin’s wedding. I have not seen Cristina since she got in the limo the night of her wedding and drove off.

I am very excited because today at 4pm, she and her husband, Marcio, will arrive here! Even though the time spent together is only a fraction of the time we have been apart, we are very close, and I am so grateful to have this time with her this week and to be able to get to know Marcio better.

Saturday afternoon my great aunt (Aunt Helen) died at the age of 89. Last October on her 89th birthday she announced that she did not want to live to be 90. Aunt Helen lived a good life of service to the Lord.

Tomorrow my parents, Grandmother, Cristina, Marcio and me will travel to North Carolina to attend her funeral. Dave can not go because of his work so he will stay behind and take care of Puppy and Ellie. We will return on Wednesday after the funeral. So if I am MIA over the next couple of days on this blog…you’ll know why.

*****

I’ll definitely be on here at some point to let you know the results of the IUI. I’m still planning to not go in for blood work on Friday, so I may not know anything until Monday.

At this time, making a decision of “what’s next”, should the results of this IUI be the same as the previous ones, is quite possibly the most overwhelming decision we’ve had to make thus far on this journey.

The obvious big question is … Do we try IVF again?

There are so many factors that go into making this decision. I’m not going to get into them right now.

I am just once again asking people to please pray heavily that God would clearly make known what our next step is to be.

Can I just say that I am tired of all this? Tired of … everything. But when I step back and attempt to look at the big picture and what God is doing, it helps.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is a season of my life, not my life. I know one day I will look back on this season and see the purpose.

When I step away from the heartache and pain and see all this for the way God sees it, I am deeply encouraged. I am encouraged to know that God is working in ways, at this time, we cannot see. I am encouraged because I know God is using these circumstances of my life to accomplish His plan. I am encouraged because I know God is receiving glory. I am encouraged because, even though Satan attempts to destroy me, he is defenseless because I am shielded with the armor of God. I am encouraged because so many people have rallied together through prayer. And mostly, I am encouraged because I know one day this story God is writing through my life will come to a beautiful ending … and a new story will begin.

Overcoming, Day 2 of Stims & Prayer Requests

So I made it through day one of ovary stimulation. And can I just proclaim a miracle here??

It was almost a year exactly that we had our very first appointment with our RE. If you would have told me that in a year I would be at the point where needles don’t bother me AND they don’t bother me to the degree that I am capable of taking a syringe with a needle and sticking in in my own stomach, I would have told you there are definitely screws loose in your head.

In March of 2008, I was the girl who wouldn’t go to the normal doctor because I was afraid he would demand that I had to have my blood drawn. I couldn’t imagine voluntarily sitting down and allowing some nurse to poke and prod my vein. Then, the thought of blood coming out literally make me weak in the knees. I couldn’t stand the thought.

But now, can I even count the number of times I’ve had my blood drawn? Um. No. There are too many occasions to count.

Then it came time for injectible IUI cycles and I soon learned it was expected that I was to inject myself! No, thanks! I had about three different nurses that I knew lined up to give me my injections. And my first injection went something like this:

I sat with shirt pulled up and face turned away. I could not bear to look at the shot. And then, whoever happened to be around at the time, had to scratch my arm as a distraction mechanism. Then, I braced myself for the shot, grit my teeth and breathed a sigh of relief when it was done.

And then came IVF.

I have given myself the first two shots, no problem. Miracle.

This also makes me realize something more.

Infertility has a way of stretching us in ways we never thought possible. Infertility has forced me to do things that I never dreamed of being able to do. Infertility has taught me God’s grace and strength are there. All we have to do is go to the Source and draw it up. The account never runs dry.

This shot business also shows something else. Putting mind over matter really does make all the difference in the world.

Our minds really are a powerful thing. Yesterday morning at 7am when it was time to administer the first shot, if I had allowed myself to panic, or allowed myself to dwell on the fact that I was about to give myself a shot, I would have freaked out and not been able to do it.

Instead, I told myself, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

I say all that to encourage anyone out there reading this and facing IVF injections soon. If I can say giving yourself shots isn’t bad, it isn’t bad!!

And like my nurse told me, they try to make it as easy as possible for patients. The needles are very, very tiny and honestly, I have never even felt the prick. It just slides right in because it is such a “baby” needle.

So day two of injections are in order for today. And then again on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday I go in for an ultrasound to see what my ovaries are producing.

*****

Prayer Requests

1. The number one request is always going to be to pray against the attacks of Satan. He will try to attack me by planting seeds of fear. However, if my prayer warriors are praying, I will have a protective shield against these attacks.

2. Pray for lots of healthy follicles to start developing. This is our prayer focus from now until Thursday’s ultrasound.

This year, persevere

My devotional for January 1, 2009, was very fitting. The title was, "This year – persevere".

Even though at this time I do not know which direction we will take concerning fertility treatments, I do know that whatever we decide will take much perseverance and focus.

Which is why I will keep this verse close to my heart as we press forward in 2009.

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

Those three failed IUI cycles must be forgotten and left in the past. I cannot take the fear of another cycle failing with me if we are going to press forward and try again.

Right now the thought of another IUI cycle is just hard to swallow. I want desperately to try again, especially now with the endometriosis gone, but stepping out and taking that risk for another possible negative result is just frightening.

On the other hand, I know without a shadow of a doubt that if God does lead us to another IUI cycle He will provide everything we need to endure it again – no matter the end result. Once again, His grace will be sufficient.

The devotional book defined perseverance as "succeeding because you’re determined to, not because you’re entitled to". I like that. Before I go further, I need to define to you what I believe success for me looks like when I finally do cross the finish line.

Success does not necessarily mean a baby in my arms. I believe with all my heart that when I do cross the finish line, it will be with a baby in my arms. However, that, in and of itself, is not the measure of success.

The measure of success is my attitude, obedience and the glory my journey gave to God. Did I remain positive with an attitude of relentless trust and faith in Jesus Christ through every dark valley this journey brought me through? Did I listen and obey God as He directed me in every single decision, big and small, that had to be made along the way? Did I give God the glory as I crossed that finish line and every step before?

I can do none of the above apart from God’s strength, power and grace working in me.

Those are my goals this year. If I can cross the finish line with my faith intact and the glory all given to God, there is victory, baby or not.

Surgery Tomorrow – November 6th – 10:20am

I have to be at St. Luke’s Hospital at 8:20am tomorrow morning. Surgery is scheduled for 10:20am. Dr. L told me, depending on what is found, the surgery will be 1 to 3 hours.

I’ve tried not to think about it too much but at the beginning of this week I was thinking a lot. It’s just scary. I don’t want anything to happen to me and then Dave be left alone. I know the odds aren’t high in something happening but with surgery and anesthesia the risk is there, however slight it may be. And I just don’t like it.

Then I think about what may be found. Who knows what is in there!

Many decisions will follow the outcome of this surgery. More rounds of IUI? IVF? Stop treatments all together?

I don’t feel people who do IVF, or IUI for that matter, play God or go against the Will of God – unless they know in their heart God is saying no and yet they deliberately disobey and go through treatments. I believe God can use IUI or IVF to accomplish His Will and bring glory and honor to His name. Each person and circumstance is uniquely different. He may use IUI or IVF for one couple and not for another.

I believe discerning the Will of God is all about living life one day at a time with an attitude of surrender, service and obedience to God. I know so many times I’ve set out to “find God’s Will for my life” only to discover that as I live my life for Him, His Will is automatically played out in my life. I don’t have to go searching and “find it”.

I am trusting and believe that after surgery, when we have a clear picture of possible underlying issues we were not aware of before, God will clearly show us the next step and we will move forward from there.

My prayer now only needs to be that we will be obedient. Obedience is key. Without obedience to the Lord it is impossible to allow God’s Will to reign in your life. And without obedience it is not possible to receive the blessings God wishes to pour out on a life lived in obedience to Him.

And as far as all my worry and fear – that needs to be handed to the Lord. He will take care of me – and Dave – no matter what happens.

Please pray for me tomorrow! I am nervous and just want it to be behind us. Please pray for Dr. L as he performs the surgery. Pray that if there is anything abnormal found, Dr. L can take care of it right then and there. Pray the Lord will guide Dr. L’s hands. Pray for the anesthesiologist. Pray he gives me just the right amount and that there will be no side-effects.

And, as always, and most importantly, pray God will receive glory no matter the outcome of tomorrow.

He holds it all in His very capable hands.

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Phil. 4:13

I do not intend to stay down for long as I hate being “sick”. So, I hope to be back on the blog to give an update by the end of the day tomorrow.

THANK YOU FOR PRAYING ME THROUGH ANOTHER BUMP IN THE ROAD TO PARENTHOOD!!