Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Going Under the Laser

I've been working with a NaPro doctor for a couple years now. 

I've had panels of blood draws, glucose tests, thyroid tests, diet changes. 

I've recently even lost about 35 (!) pounds. 

However, on June 5th, I turned 35, and the volume on my internal clock has become less like listening to the end of an egg timer and more like standing inside Big Ben at midnight. 

Added to that, I've been having some pains I'd like to have investigated, so, I made the trek back down to my doctor. 

When I met with her, she told me I've done the medical side and what remained is the (gulp) surgical side. 

My next best course of treatment is exploratory laparoscopy. They'll put me under, make a few small incisions and poke around looking for cysts, fibroids, endometriosis, anything that could explain this unexplained infertility and pains. 

Since my doctor told me ago, I've been living with varying levels of anxiety. From full blown panic to a low grade hum in the background. 

Now, it's time for surgery. Tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, I'll be getting up bright and early for my husband to drive us down to the surgical center two hours away, sitting in prep for two hours, and then having surgery for however long it takes to fix or repair as best she can whatever is going on inside. 

I've run the full gambit of worst case scenarios. There's a little echo on my ears of the doctor telling me that, as with any surgery, there's a risk of death.  However unlikely, the words are spinning on repeat in the back of my head. 

There's also a niggling fear over why I've been having pains. Cysts? Fibroids? Something worse?

In all likelihood, I'll be uncomfortable for a few days and hopefully have more answers than before. I've been put under general anesthesia a few times and it's always been fine. 

As I was reflecting on it all, it occurred to me that my husband really has the worst end of this. I'm going to go to sleep and it'll all be over when I wake up. My husband, on the other hand, has to watch them wheel me away, wait as they do surgery and then wait to be let into the recovery room. 

Waiting is harder than doing. At least it always has been for me. 

So tomorrow, please keep my husband in your prayers as he waits. 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Today You Are Five

Today, Sweet Baby turns five. I should be buying her kindergarten uniform, brand new crayons, a backpack with matching lunch box, her favorite toys, a new bike.  But, I'm not.

We haven't seen our sweet girl in two years. It's now been as long without her as we had with her.  How could it be? I lifetime ago and the blink of an eye. 

Today will be one of the hard days. But, two and a half years later, the hard days are further apart and fewer.  On Tuesday, I cried in the shower. I cried for our broken world and a broken foster care system. I cried for her father's choice to cut us out of her life six months after she transitioned to him. But mostly I cried because I want to hug her, see her, hold her. Tell her that I never stopped loving her. 

Never. Yesterday, today and forever. 

I dream of a day I will see her again. A day where I give her the precious baby clothes she wore that I've saved. Where I can show her the photo albums from her earliest days with us. Show her that her picture hangs on our wall. 

Because she is a part of our story, as much as we are a part of hers. 

The gift of time is slowly learning that there is still more story. Our lives have more chapters to be written. For so long, I lingered on the final pages with her. 

Today, I honor her birthday by living fully in this new chapter. In this new home, leaving behind the little house where we shared our lives with her. 

Moving on to new adventures and dreams. All the while, thanking God for the 5 lb little miracle that came into our lives five years ago. 

Happy birthday sweet girl. I love you.


Saturday, April 30, 2016

Not Yet Fertile

I was thinking of laying low this Infertility Awareness Week. 

Because this is one of those ugly hard months. The ones where it doesn't feel okay that other women are pregnant, where I can barely manage a congratulatory "like" on yet another pregnancy announcement. Because why not me?  Why this cross?

I'm turning 35 in five weeks. Back when I was 22, engaged, and planning out my perfect life, this is the year I would have my final child, probably our fifth or sixth.  

Because surely I would be old and have a big family, so why risk anything less than perfection?

Man, that girl was not great. 

Instead, I'm watching my minimal fertility sputter out.  The cycles with signs of fertility are fewer. Every month, I watch the window slide a little further closed. 

My two girls will turn 11 and 4 this summer and I'm working hard to fully embrace this picture, without daydreaming of another. 

Every day, I pray for peace with my life just this moment as everything is. 

As I am. With the family size I have. I pray to dive down deep - not into accepting where I am, but actually reveling in where I am. 

I pray for joy, even as the crashing wave of another unsuccessful cycle swallows me whole. The cycle where all the things lined up perfectly....and still...no. 

I pray, as I ask you to stand with me just a moment and feel this crushing weight. Imagine with me a moment what it is to take a gift for granted, and then spend the next ten years begging for it. 

Like thirst for water in the desert, it burns. 

Some months, I find an oasis. In the midst of my desert, I find respite. I laugh and cheer those swimming in the ocean. 

I pray for them when the water is so deep it scares them. All the while, happily sitting next to my puddle. 

Other months, the sun has scorched the earth and I'm thirsty. I can see the water, but I can't have it. 

This is that month. Where I'm struggling to stay upright. Not because I'm depressed or unbalanced, but because this cross is heavy. This road is hard. 

Infertility is sad and hard and grief-stricken.  The desert can wither your soul, or that heat can become your refining crucible. 

It's who I take into the desert that matters. 

It changes who I will be when I emerge. 

To all my fellow desert wanderers, this week, praying for you is getting me through. 

To all my friends in the ocean, I'm loving you hard and praying you stay afloat. I'll find another oasis I'm sure. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Little Yellow House

We've been house hunting. Looking for something that meets the needs of our growing girls - like a second bathroom and a dining room for family gatherings. 

As we search, a little part of my heart grieves. 

You see, moving on to better things means parting with what we have here and now. 

It means washing away the crayon marks from the wall - the last tangible marks that Sweet Baby lived here - that she touched this space as much as she touched our hearts. 

It means leaving behind the home where I brought my babies home for the first time. One of those babies is no longer with me, and it's like losing her again to lose the place she crawled, walked, and laughed for the first time. 

LB said to me last week, "I just realized we're going to leave my childhood home. The next one will be the one Sweet Pea thinks of that way, but this one is mine."

Yes. We need more space. Yes. The new home will bring so many moments of happy life. Maybe there will be new babies. Definitely there will be new milestones. 

Still, a part of my heart grieves with every trace of our family I erase from this space. With every box I pack, and nail hole I fill. Every old crayon mark I erase, it stings a little. 

So many times in life, we have to say goodbye to something we love to grow. 

Leaving a home with parents and siblings to join our spouse in a new life. Leaving behind an old home to grow into a new one. Leaving our earthly bodies to embrace eternity. 

Every growing pain hurts. So, I'll cry sometimes while I pack. Not because I don't want to go, but because parting is such sweet sorrow. 

The crayon marks I need to erase. 

The ten years of memories wrapped up in this home we'll be leaving. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Weight: A Milestone

Today is a day I've been working for. 

Today, when I stepped on the scale, I was down to the weight I was before we lost Sweet Baby. 

All week, I've been anticipating this milestone, tearing up at the thought of all I've been through and what I've done to get to this milestone. All the emotions have swirled around me all week. 

Then, this morning, I stepped on the scale, and I didn't feel this surge of great emotions. I felt grace. I felt peace. 

It was a moment of quiet celebration, and a resounding sense of peace. 

The number on the scale reflected an internal truth, and it all just felt happily, calmly, right. 

I've been diligent in my nutrition, working out, and feeling better every day.  

It's fitting that on this day, I finished a project that's been swirling around in my head. Inspiring head wear for working out. Reminders that I'm not punishing my body, I'm honoring it and my Creator in my workouts. 

This new health journey isn't about punishing who or where I've been, it's about remembering I was always worth it. Remembering that I am beloved and wonderfully made. 

For all that "Sparkle" running down my face while I work out :)

You can find your own inspiring gear at www.etsy.com/shop/Anneryshandmade 

Blessings on your journey, whatever gear you go with ;)

Friday, March 25, 2016

God Blesses the Fiat

Today, for this day, Mary is young, unmarried and proclaiming her Fiat - all the while she is a mourning mother enduring the worst to honor that Fiat.  

The whole arc, from carrying the Son of God and feeling him kick along her ribs to losing a teenager on a family pilgrimage to witnessing the final pilgrimage, bloody and beaten to the cross. 

It was all in that yes. All of the weight in those first words of trust and acceptance.  When she gave herself fully over to love, to the love of God for humanity, she held nothing back from it. 

That's what love is. Holding nothing back. Not stopping to cover and hide the vulnerable parts of your heart. 

In 2011, we were called to our own fiat. Early in our placement with Sweet Baby, someone asked me how we were guarding our hearts for the possibility she might leave. 

She said it with true concern for our hearts, but I could only think to say, "we're not."  And we didn't, because that was our fiat. To dive into the deep end and trust that we wouldn't drown. 

Because we couldn't give her any less than all. Through the sleepless nights, the tantrums, the sensory processing disorder. All of it took all of us. 

After two and a half years, we were one hearing away from termination of parental rights....and then everything flipped. They found her father and we were suddenly in the process of separating our lives from hers. 

Watching her cry for us as she went away. Calling her a new name. Hearing her stop calling me Mom. And finally, being cut off from her completely. 

And then our heads went under the water, even as grace reached down to pull us through. We knew that's what our fiat could mean, but we didn't fully know the depth and breadth of it until we lived it. Until we walked our own road to Calvary. 

I didn't guard my heart, and it was destroyed. That heart was shattered, but in its place, grace grew a new one. 

Today, I think about the hardness of our story, and I think about the hardness of Mary's story, and I hope they both tell you the same story. 

The fiat is your whole self, it can be crushing, but ultimately, finally, it's the greatest story of my life. And infinitely forever worth every tear. She was worthy of every tear. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

All the Layers

 In January, my resolution was a commitment to health. To working on being the best version of me, mental health, emotional health, physical health. 

It's been like gathering pieces of a puzzle without quite knowing the picture...or even the number of pieces. 

My hormone numbers continue to look good with the intervention of bioidentical progesterone, low dose naltrexone was added to temper the hormonal mood swings and boost endorphins (best. thing. ever). 

All these steps and tests. Thyroid panel came back slightly off, but too close to normal for medicinal intervention. 

I'm waiting on glucose/insulin resistance test results, and hoping if there is a problem, it's easily remedied with intervention. 

In the meantime, I've started another journey.  Three weeks ago, I began a ketogenic diet with the blessing of my doctor and the support of a nutrition coach. 

The progress has been painstakingly slow....because three weeks...shouldn't I be done by now?!?! Such impatience. Much frustration. 

Still, the scale has been creeping down. And tonight I'm sitting just a few pounds above where I started before we lost our Sweet Baby.  

Over the last couple years, the layers of grief have enveloped me, and now, slowly slowly, I'm peeling them away. 

Looking forward more days than I look backwards. Dreaming new and different dreams again. 

A few pounds from here isn't my final milestone, but I'd wager it will be one of the most bittersweet.