April 9, 2009

When walking the road of infertility you often just want to know when is all this pain, heartache and disappointment just going to end and why do I have to go through all this?

I received the answer to both of those questions one year ago today … April 9th, 2009.

I knew in my heart all along that God did have a magnificent plan in all our struggles with infertility. I was just waiting for the day for God to reveal that plan to us.

One year ago today I went to the adoption agency to turn in our paperwork and heard these incredible words: “We had an adoption fall through last week, if you want a baby in June you can have one!”

After a whirlwind of transitioning from an infertility treatments mindset to a I-am-going-to-FINALLY-be-a-Mommy-in-TWO-months mindset, Little Bug was born 48 days after I walked into the adoption agency.

I knew I was witnessing a miracle that God had orchestrated from the very beginning of my infertility journey. He knew this was the direction we were headed. I had no clue adoption was in our future as we first started trying to conceive in August 2007. I could only trust God to lead and direct my path.

And He most certainly did. God orchestrated the events that brought us Little Bug as only HE could do.

All the pain, tears and monthly disappointments were because God’s Plan wasn’t a biological child for us. He had Something More planned.

He orchestrated The Miracle of Little Bug and one year from that April day I continue to stand in amazement of His faithfulness.

God is forever faithful.

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that Sunday morning

This Sunday a year ago I had an appointment to go see what my ovaries were up to. I’d been giving myself shots for over a week to stimulate my ovaries to produce enough follicles for our IVF cycle.

I was a little nervous getting on to that table to be examined because just a few days ago I had been up there and we had not seen much action at all. My RE increased the dosage of meds I was to receive over the next few days and he told me not to worry.

We were all hoping to see much action going on in those little ovaries that Sunday morning.

But it just wasn’t to be.

There was one lone follicle who I later named The Lone Ranger.

Not only did we learn that this cycle was a bust, but we learned future IVF cycles would most likely yield the same or very similar outcomes as this one had. In other words, my dream for pregnancy and childbirth was dying more and more with every single word the RE was saying.

One of the first thoughts to go through my head was, How can this be? I am only 27 years old. How can my ovaries be shot already?

I was shocked, confused and scared.

I felt like my world was completely out of control and there was nothing I could do to stop the chaos.

For a moment, I was angry at God and could not understand why He would bring us to this horrible place.

But even in that darkest hour, God knew just what He was doing as my mind tried to process that horrifying news.

God knew that in only 80 days from that Sunday morning, I would be doing this:

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And now, 365 days removed from that Sunday morning, I am so thankful that God is in control of everything and I live in constant awe of God’s perfect, amazing plan that gave me one of my greatest blessings of all in life.

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Thank you God for blessing us with this precious little girl!

The Baby Itch

Around the time of Little Bug’s birth, I imagined Little Bug hitting the 6 month mark and us getting word to the adoption agency that we are ready for them to start matching us with another birth mom.

Little Bug is 6 months old and I am so not ready to even begin thinking about that process again!

It’s not because I am totally overwhelmed with motherhood. The opposite is true … I absolutely LOVE where my life is right now and I cannot imagine anything better than being a stay-at-home-mom to Little Bug.

She is everything I dreamed having a child would be … and more. And at this point, I just cannot imagine parenting any other child in the world besides her!

This comes as a complete surprise to me as I have always desired to have four children.

I know one day I’ll get that baby-itch again but right now, that is the last thing on my mind!

And, truth be told, emotionally, I am just not ready to embark on the ups and downs of another adoption. It’s a wild ride and considering the fact that my life, for the past two years, has been a wild ride, I am just ready to live a normal life for a while, leaving adventure out of the equation for a while!

I know one day I (we) will be ready to add another member to our family and I definitely want Little Bug to be a big sister!

When that day comes I will stand strong in the Lord and watch His mighty plan unfold yet again.

When we first set out to have a baby, my heart was not softened to the fact that my plans may not be God’s Plan.

I know that when we set out to add a second child to our family, my heart will go at it in surrender to God’s perfect plan from the start.

Even now, I know God has another miracle awaiting. And just like He did with Little Bug, He will perfectly orchestrate every last detail of that child joining our family.

All I have to do is wait in obedience to Him and listen for Him to tell me it’s time.

And in the meantime, savor every day with my precious Little Bug.

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going to the archives

I love coming to my blog, going to the archives and reading posts from months ago.

I did that last night and came across something I wrote back in February of this year. I was days away from starting my March 2009 IVF cycle.

Here is a piece of what I wrote:

I feel so weak right now. Honestly, I feel like I want to run to the side line and quit. I’m scared and nervous. I want everything to go perfectly and at the end of the month I want to finally see two pink lines and one word: PREGNANT. But I may run this race at full speed and not end up with that result.

It’s all about focus and keeping my eyes on the Lord. I can’t take my eyes off for a moment or I will stumble.

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. I can do whatever is coming my way in God’s strength. Whatever God is going to ask of me next I know He will equip me with the strength and power – HIS STRENGTH AND POWER – to do it.

God, I want a baby at the end of this marathon!! But not my will, Lord. Not my will. May Your will be done.

On this very night I surrender this cycle to you, God. When something “doesn’t go right” I can know I’m not the one in control. You are.

God, give me strength to run this race in a way that only serves to point people to You. I pray this IVF cycle will be used for your glory.

The time has come. It is time to do IVF. I’m at the starting line just about to take off.

 

This sentence stuck out to me: When something “doesn’t go right” I can know I’m not the one in control. You are.

Every single aspect of my IVF cycle went wrong! Nothing went my way at all!

But, I wasn’t the one in control and neither was my doctor.

Through that situation I have learned that when life seems to be falling apart (and that is certainly how I felt as I learned IVF wouldn’t even work for us), God still has a plan. Sometimes God has to take us to rock bottom before revealing that marvelous plan.

We can find rest in that we don’t have to be in control of anything! God hung the moon, rotates the earth and keeps the universe in order. He has a plan for our lives even when it seems nothing is going right.

God had a plan for me that went beyond a successful IVF cycle.

And now, six months later, I wouldn’t take a successful IVF cycle over what God gave me for anything!

August 4, 2008

One year ago today I was on pins and needles.

It was the day of my blood test that would determine whether my first IUI had been a success or not.

I can remember that day like it was yesterday.

Dave had taken off work so we would be together. I knew I needed something to distract me, so we went to Lowe’s and bought rocks to put in our front flower bed.

My cell phone was attached to my hip the entire day just waiting for that phone call.

My hopes were very high that maybe, just maybe, H’s phone call that day would end the misery we were dealing with in trying to conceive.

Around 2pm all my hopes were dashed in four simple loaded words: "I’m sorry, you’re not pregnant.”

Dave was sitting across the room from me and I remember shaking my head.

Immediately, I began talking to H about plans for the next cycle.

When I hung up I dropped the cell phone to the floor and crumbled there as well sobbing like I had never sobbed before.

It’s a good thing at the time I didn’t know this scenario would repeat itself two more times.

August 4th, 2008 – one of the darkest days of my journey through infertility – set the stage for God to do a miracle in my life.

I had reached the point of desperation. And that is just where God needed me to be able to perform the miraculous.

After that July cycle we decided to take a break in August and do another IUI in September.

That “break month” was the best possible thing we could have done after the heartbreak of a failed IUI cycle. At the time, I was not working and I had ample time to just sit on my back porch swing and allow the Lord to speak straight to my heart.

In that month I know my faith was tested and stretched in a way it had never been before.

I’ve always said God opened my heart to adoption in December of 2008 but if you really get down to it, He opened my heart to adoption during that “break month” – I just didn’t know it at the time.

It was during that “break cycle” that one of my readers (Jess) shared her story. God opened her heart to adoption and through her obedience and surrender to Him, God brought four children into her home through the miracle of adoption. And then He surprised her with a natural pregnancy!

Her story spoke volumes to me. At the time, I honestly thought that God would one day allow me to conceive. But it was through Jess’s testimony that I first saw the beauty and miracle of adoption.

Jess’s obedience to her Lord spoke to me so loud and clear and I knew God had allowed our paths to cross through the blogosphere so that I would be reminded about the importance of obedience to the Lord.

I knew I was to be obedient to the Lord and do as He asked of me. But He had never really required obedience of me in a way that would rock my world and turn it upside down for a time.

Now, looking back on my journey to Little Bug, I see that God was preparing my heart to be obedient to Him so I could receive the blessing of Little Bug.

If it had been up to me, back in March of 2009, when God told me to pursue adoption, I most certainly would have made an appointment with Dr. L to discuss our second try at IVF.

But that wasn’t what God was asking me to do. He was asking me to, in obedience to Him, surrender my desires for His will, His plan.

I gave it all up to Him. My desire for pregnancy. My desire for a biological child that was half me and half the man I love.

God wasn’t telling me to pursue another infertility treatment. God was telling me to pursue adoption.

I did.

And I am oh, so glad I did.

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One year ago, I was very confused. I didn’t understand why God was holding back and not allowing me to conceive.

Now I know.

He wanted to bless me with Little Bug.

I find it very interesting that God put on my mind Psalm 126:5. Looking back now I can see God was whispering in my ear, “Elaine, I’m going to do a miracle. Just wait and see!”

The verse in today’s devotion is very fitting for this day, as well.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:11

To God be the glory, Great things He has done!

Great is His Faithfulness

A reader recently asked me how I kept my faith strong even during the darkest of days. This reader is going through her darkest days right now …

Her third attempt at IVF was finally successful. She saw one beautiful heartbeat at 6w5d. But then four weeks later at her 10 week OB appointment there was no heartbeat. Her baby had stopped growing at 8w3d.

Dark, dark days.

Dreams and hopes crashed with the words, “I’m sorry. There is no heartbeat.”

I have felt that kind of pain although I’ve never heard those particular words.

My dreams and hopes were certainly crushed when I heard that I had a very small chance of achieving pregnancy even with the help of modern medicine.

It is crushing to hear at the age of 27 that your ovaries are not capable of producing enough healthy mature follicles for an infertility treatment.

Especially when you have dreamed since childhood of having a baby of your very own.

Sitting on that examination table on March 8, 2009, I knew I had a choice to make. It wasn’t a choice between doing another treatment cycle or moving on to adoption.

It was a choice of whether I was going to hold fast to my faith in Jesus Christ or turn away from that faith because I could not understand how God would not allow me to have a baby.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

Faith requires us to put our hope in the Lord and the promises found in His Word.

I clung to the truth found in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

On my darkest days, this verse held me up so I could move forward.

However, before I could really cling to this verse I also had to go through something else.

Mourning over what I had lost and even a time of being angry at God.

People sometimes think it is “not Christian” to be angry at God. I, however, believe being angry at God for a season is part of the process that brings you to a place of complete trust in Him.

I had my days where I cried out to God asking Him, “Why?”.

Why do I have to go through this when all I’ve ever wanted is a baby?

Why do you allow the couple who isn’t even trying to conceive?

Why do you allow the unwed woman to conceive?

Why can’t at least one of our attempts at an IUI or IVF work?

Oh it is so easy for our minds to think this way! Satan wants us to think this way while God wants us to think above and beyond our present circumstances.

I allowed myself a season of mourning when I found out pregnancy most likely would never happen for me.

And then, I knew I had to move forward.

You say, “Move forward to what? If pregnancy isn’t in your future then what is worth moving forward to?”

This is when Jeremiah 29:11 became what I would breathe and eat. Just as my physical body needs food and water to survive my soul needed to cling to this verse to survive past hearing, “You probably won’t even get pregnant doing IVF.”

God’s Word told me that God had a plan for me. Not only did He have a plan for me but it was a plan that would prosper me and give me hope and a future!

In the midst of those dark days it was hard to believe that because I could not see it. But that, my friend, is what faith is.

Believing what you cannot see.

And I am here to tell you that God’s plan for your life is far greater and far better than the plan you saw for your own life.

Far better.

I went through an IUI cycle in September of 2008. I thought it failed miserably and at the time, from my perspective, it did because when my blood test came back I was not pregnant.

God had something more planned though. It was in September of 2008, around the time of that failed IUI cycle, that my daughter, Little Bug, was conceived.

In January of 2009 I came home from talking with friends about adoption and wrote this poem not knowing the miracle God was on the brink of performing:

Our miracle has come, Not in my womb but in our hearts. We are going to adopt. Baby is on the way. She will be here in the month of May.

I can remember after I wrote that poem I sat there at the computer thinking, “Wouldn’t that be something if we did get a baby girl in May, but that is just too soon! It wouldn’t happen that fast.”

After that terrible news back in March of 2009 God gave me the urgency to turn in adoption papers right away.

On the very day we turned in our papers we learned of our baby girl.

And she was born in the month of May.

God didn’t have pregnancy planned for me. He had something more.

Something far better. Something far bigger than my own plans. A miracle.

Choosing faith in Jesus Christ isn’t easy but if you don’t have faith in Jesus Christ you have nothing.

You cannot allow yourself to stay angry at God! Like I said, I would be angry at God for a season and then came a time when I knew it was time to turn that anger into TRUST – trust in Jesus Christ.

After choosing to trust Him I had to believe His promises found in Jeremiah 29:11.

Then I had to surrender my desires for His will knowing His will is always best. Always. Period.

And then comes the hardest part of all … waiting. Waiting on the Lord to reveal His marvelous plans.

This is the verse my Daddy prayed over and over while we waited for Little Bug to officially become ours:

I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:13-14

Despite my bleak circumstances, I knew I had to continue to draw strength from the Lord and wait on Him to turn my tears into songs of joy.

He did – in His perfect time. If it had been any other time, I wouldn’t be Little Bug’s mommy and I wouldn’t trade that little girl for anything in this whole wide world.

Looking back now on those dark days I can honestly say those were some precious days because of the close intimate walk I had, and still have, with the Lord.

On those days when I had lost all hope and didn’t know up from down, I would get a notebook and my Bible and go to a quiet place and just allow the Lord to speak to me. If you go to a quiet place to be still and know that He is God and allow Him to speak to you, He will.

God taught me so incredibly much during those quiet moments with Him. I felt lost, deserted, defeated, angry, disappointed and heartbroken. In those quiet moments with Him, He took all of that and replaced it with His love, His peace, His strength and His joy. He taught me so much about Himself and it was there I learned to trust Him and wait on Him to reveal His master plan.

And like a father takes the hand of his child as they cross the street, God picked me up and carried me through those dark days.

The dark days do not last forever IF your hope and faith are in Jesus Christ.

His faithfulness goes on forever and ever.

He has a marvelous plan – a something more – for you, too.

Believe in His promises and put your faith in Him.

In His time, He will turn your tears into songs of joy.

Great is His faithfulness. Great is His faithfulness.

Reflections on my journey to Little Bug

The journey that has brought me to this place is simply amazing.

Starting out 2 years ago just trying to get pregnant, I never imagined where God was going to lead me. But where He leads I will follow and He lead me down the darkest road I’ve ever had to travel. It was filled with heartache and pain, sorrow, sadness and many, many tears. There were days I didn’t know if I could go on.

There is only one thing that gave me the willpower to press on – my faith in Jesus Christ.

I knew God’s word promised in Jeremiah 29:11 that God had plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future.

Because I knew that with my head and believed that with all my heart, I knew the trials I found myself in were simply temporary. I knew God was at work, about to do something great in my life – something more than I could imagine – if only I stepped back in surrender and said, “Not my will be done Lord, but Yours.”

Walking this journey required faith in Jesus Christ to wait on the Lord to move when it was time to move and to know constantly that He held me up during those extremely dark days.

I did not walk this journey in my own strength. I walked in the strength of the Lord and believed with every step that God is a faithful God and He would bring His mighty plan for my life to fruition for His Glory.

And so I waited on the Lord and I, along with everyone who has followed my journey, have witnessed a miracle of God.

God opened our hearts to adoption back in December 2008. At the time, we were in the thick of infertility treatments and did not know yet God’s timing for us to pursue adoption.

In March of 2009, after our first attempt at IVF failed miserably, I felt God asking me to surrender my desire for pregnancy and childbirth to Him and pursue adoption immediately.

Surrendering my desire for pregnancy to God was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It was the first time God had asked me to step out in faith not knowing what the future held. When I would question God and ask Him why He had given me this desire since childhood only to ask me to give it to Him, the only response I got from Him was, “TRUST ME.”

Towards the end of March 2009, I got a sense of urgency to turn in our paperwork to the adoption agency as soon as possible.

On April 9, 2009, I walked into the adoption agency to turn in our paperwork. As long as I live I will never forget what the lawyer told me that very day, “We had an adoption fall through this past week. If you would like a baby girl in June, you can have one!”

Forty-eight days later, Little Bug entered this world on May 27, 2009, at 7:11am. Eighty-one hours after her birth, Dave and I officially became her parents. 

While this journey was full of heartache and a pain that is hard to describe adequately in words, we now stand on the mountaintop with God, praising His wonderful name for what He has done.

Little Bug is here on this earth not by chance or by accident. Little Bug is not our “second-best” at achieving parenthood. Little Bug is a miracle and God planned for her to be our little girl since time began.

As I stand back and look at the entire journey, one thing clearly stands out. Our Heavenly Father loves us with a love like no other. We are His children and He has plans for our lives that are far better and far greater than anything we can plan for ourselves. We must step out in faith and trust in His plan, even when things are not making sense and there are many unknowns.

Our journey to reach this place and Little Bug’s life is a testimony to the Truth found in Jeremiah 29:11.

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New Nickname

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Little Bug has a new nickname …

“Porky”

I fed her the normal 2oz. she wants every 3-4 hours around 8pm. Typically after she eats she gets her diaper changed, is swaddled and sleeps until her next feeding.

Well, after the 8pm feeding she was fussy. Little Bug typically doesn’t fuss unless something is wrong. I figured she had gas because her tummy was rumbling.

After trying to soothe her, Dave and I decided maybe she wanted more to eat. I went to make the bottle and Dave went to get her ready to eat. As soon as he put the bottle to her little mouth, she chowed down on another ounce of formula.

The little peanut was hungry for more. She downed that ounce and has been out like a light ever since in her bassinet.

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These days continue to just be surreal even though I know I am living the result of a miracle on a daily basis.

I was thinking today that if that IVF cycle had worked back in March I’d be about 3 months pregnant.

But honestly, I can’t even imagine that because Little Bug is the little girl that was to be my daughter from the very beginning of time.

I can’t imagine not having Little Bug in my life.

She is my girl.

And she is perfect in every way.

I wouldn’t change a thing.

God certainly knows best …100_5191 in all circumstances.

37 Weeks

Birth mom is 37 weeks today.

I am so ready for Little Bug to be here. Now that we’ve reached 37 weeks Little Bug will now be full-term, no matter when she enters this world.

Birth mom was 30w4d when I walked into the lawyer’s office, turned in the paperwork and learned of Little Bug that very day.

That will be seven weeks ago on Thursday.

Seven weeks?

Which means it was only eleven weeks ago today that I lay on that table in the RE’s office and learned our IVF cycle was a complete bust. One measly follicle. One harsh diagnosis. A dream of pregnancy and childbirth crushed.

Who would have thought eleven weeks from then the spare bedroom would be transformed into a nursery, a cradle would be in our bedroom, an infant car seat would be in the back seat of our car and we would be anticipating the arrival of our firstborn?

It will never cease to amaze me how we went from thinking children were still a distant dream for us to being catapulted into parenthood in a matter of one month.

Brings me to a sensitive subject for anyone going through infertility.

There were times (many times) throughout our journey that I despised hearing, “It will happen in God’s Time.” I heard it many times and even though I knew that was right, there were just times that was the last thing I wanted to hear.

I wanted things to happen now! Waiting was so incredibly hard. There were days that seemed like months and months that seemed like an eternity.

But, you know, now as I stand back and look at the entire picture of this journey, I know God’s Timing has everything to do with everything that has happened along the way.

Every heartache, every tear, every failed treatment and every failed pregnancy was leading to one thing: the miracle of Little Bug.

April 9, 2009, will forever be a very special day in our lives. I compare it to someone going through infertility and then finally seeing two pink lines on a pregnancy test. Our lives forever changed in the instant I heard the lawyer say, “We had an adoption fall through this week. If you want a baby in June you can have one!”

April 9, 2009, was our time for Little Bug to enter our lives. All along that was the day. All along it was a matter of faithfully pressing forward to the day that God had ordained from the beginning of time for Little Bug to enter our lives.

I do admit it is getting really hard to wait for that phone call that the birth mom has gone into labor. We have Little Bug in our hearts and we are so ready to have her in our arms.

But, again we will wait for God’s Perfect Timing.

He knows the day and hour that Little Bug will be born.

I cannot even begin to imagine what that day will be like.

Today

Today is Mother’s Day. Today my mind is focused on the many women who are walking the road of infertility.

Today their minds are filled with …

Why am I still walking this road?

When will I ever get to experience the joy of motherhood?

Will I ever become a mother?

What is the purpose behind all this pain and heartache?

Why are people who “aren’t trying” pregnant and here I am longing for a child for years and still with empty arms?

Why after everything we went through to achieve pregnancy did we miscarry?

WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY?

If I had a penny for every time I have asked “Why?” we could have paid in full for our IVF cycle up front!

When you are drowning the sea of infertility and forced to live through days like today, the pain and heartache is enough to make you feel as though you are suffocating and you won’t be able to take in your next breath.

It hurts. It cuts us to the very core of who we are. On days like today, we want to curl up in a little ball in a cave and hibernate until the sun goes down and all the “Mother’s Day” festivities are over.

I know nothing I can type onto the screen of my computer at this very moment can take away the pain people feel today.

But I would like to say a little something.

If you are a child of God He has a plan and you must trust Him with it. You must believe God will not leave you where you are today.

Things may not turn out the way you think they should or even the way you are praying they turn out.

I am living proof of that!

God had HIS PLAN all along and Little Bug was it. Adoption was certainly never my plan but I am living the miracle of adoption and I wouldn’t change a thing … not a thing.

I want to challenge you to do something today.

There are times (like today) when we need to curl up in a ball and hibernate as we cry and scream out in our anguish.

But then we must pick ourselves up off the floor and press on.

After giving yourself time to mourn today, meditate on God’s Promises found in Jeremiah 29:11 and Ephesians 3:20.

“For I know the plans I have you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”   Jeremiah 29:11

Glory be to God who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we could ever dare to ask or even dream of.        Ephesians 3:20

Allow those promises to seep into your heart as you read. In my journey, I have found that it is these two verses that act as a soothing balm to surround my wounded hurting heart. Take these verses today and bind them to your heart. Claim those promises.

Trusting God isn’t as hard as waiting on God. It’s the waiting that is so incredibly hard.

But realize you are waiting on something that is better than you can imagine today.

You are waiting on something more and if you are a Child of God and your trust is in Him, your something more is coming. 

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I placed a white rose on the table to represent Little Bug because to me white symbolizes redemption and only our God could take something as ugly as infertility and make something beautiful come out of it.

Even in the midst of today’s pain, believe that God’s something more for you is coming.