Faith, Hope & Love

1 Corinthians 13:13 ” & now these three remain: Faith, Hope & Love, but the greatest of these is love.”

The final verse of a passage frequently read at weddings, a passage read at my own wedding, but so pertinent & beautifully applicable in so many different ways.

Faith, Hope & Love

3 words I try to apply to my everyday life, but even more so in times of despair. Let me tell you how I have clung to all three throughout this journey.

December 2017 – we trotted off to St. John’s with my mom & dad for our 5th try at IUI. I had spent the previous 10 days pumping myself full of medication, Chris injecting me with hormones, in preparation for the procedure. It was the first time we had introduced injectable medications into our routine after 4 previously failed IUIs. We sat in the waiting room anxiously waiting to be called in for the ultrasound that would ultimately tell us how many follicles were present & if my body was ready for potential implantation. Always the most nerve wracking part of the procedure as we sat there wondering and I thinking “I hope there isn’t too many follicles.” “I hope I’m ready.” “I hope they don’t tell me it’s a no go.” We thought for sure the injectables were the missing piece & this would finally be the one that worked. I lay on the table, Chris holding my hand as he always did, being poked and prodded once again, when the doctor hemmed and hahed and asked, “How old are you?” This was the first time she has asked this, I had no idea why & was feeling quite nervous over her reaction. I quietly responded “27” to which she replied “Unfortunately, your body loved the new medication we added this cycle. You have 4 large follicles present & the risk of multiples is too high and given your age you still have lots of time, so we will not be proceeding.”

Ummm… isn’t that the point of all this to have more follicles & increase our chances? Oh boy. We walked out of the clinic feeling absolutely defeated. We sat in the truck & for the first time I watched Chris cry as we tried to understand why this was happening. God had already told us we would have a child, so why was he allowing this to happen to us? I finally mustered up the courage & said, “Chris, He has never left us no forsaken us, so there is a reason we are here right now. Obviously, right now we don’t understand why, but maybe this is the month it happens naturally.” We pulled ourselves together, broke the news to my parents who were unbelievably encouraging & we enjoyed a few days in St. John’s.

Faith

That same night we went to the mall. I was browsing at a small kiosk filled with beautiful ornaments when I spotted 2 snowmen, expecting parents. I looked at Chris & told him I needed to have it. I had faith in God & at some point during Christmas we were going to use this ornament to announce our pregnancy because we serve a mighty God & he didn’t bring us this far to let us down. I had faith to move mountains that we were going to be pregnant without the IUI.

Hope

Christmas came & Christmas went with no pregnancy to announce. The decorations were packed away, the tree was taken down. I tossed the ornament in a Rubbermaid container once again feeling defeated & trying not to question God. I kept it in the bubble wrap it came in and thought maybe next year we’ll get to use it as I had intended. Maybe next year we’ll be sitting around our Christmas tree holding a baby and I’ll have a beautiful story to tell my baby about the faith I had in God & how He provided me with a true miracle. Without my faith & hope in God I am absolutely nothing. We were hopeful for 2018 that it would be the year we would be blessed.

Despite the defeat I felt I knew I had to continue to be hopeful. I knew I had to continue to have faith in God because I knew deep down in my soul that if I lost my faith & hope I would be in trouble. I knew the resiliency I had, the strength I had would slowly diminish until it disappeared if I let God slip away. I am positive that at least one person will read this and think what kind of God does she think she serves? If her God was real they would have their baby now. Let me remind you that if God wasn’t carrying us through this we likely wouldn’t still be married, we would likely be depressed, we would likely be falling to pieces and stuck in a darkness, but we aren’t & I firmly believe I owe that to Him.

Christmas 2018 arrived & still no end in sight. I dug out all our decorations and began to brighten our home for the season again. I opened the Rubbermaid container containing the ornament. I pulled it out, looked at it, scoffed, threw it back in the tub again & walked away resentful.

Love

In December one of my best friends confided in me that she was expecting her first beautiful blessing ♥️. My heart immediately overflowed with joy & love for her & her new husband. The moment she told me I knew the ornament I had bought the year before now belonged to her. It was useless to me, but was perfect for her. The resentment I was feeling for my own situation was immediately washed away as my love for this new baby that was about to become a part of our lives filled my heart.

2019 arrived & the first month has disappeared already & we still are not pregnant. I am reminding myself daily that I have so much to be thankful for. I have so many to love & so many who love me. We will falter & we will fail, but we still have Faith, Hope & Love to get us through because our journey is not over yet ♥️.

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Attitude of Gratitude

Since Thanksgiving & now Christmas,

gratitude & thankfulness

have been heavy on my heart & mind. I am thankful for my blessings every single day don’t get me wrong, but since the holidays I have been consumed with these words.

Google defines gratitude as “the quality of being thankful; ready to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”

Miriam-Webster defines the word thanks as “an expression of gratitude.” When googling thankfulness you see words such as pleased & relieved showing up.

Why are we so hesitant to be thankful? Why are we so hesitant to show appreciation? Why do we put extra emphasis on our blessings at Thanksgiving? Why aren’t we that grateful every single day of our lives? Why do we take the simplicities of life for granted?

I have recently had a couple experiences where I felt totally unappreciated and was really taken back by how people act. It blows me away how ungrateful people can actually be.

My job has also majorly changed the way I view life, people & my blessings. It has given me a new perspective & a new understanding that I truly am grateful for.

I once made a post on Facebook that said we should wake up each morning with an attitude of gratitude. Even prior to that post I had been practicing this. Waking up each morning saying thanks to God for the things He has given me, the beautiful people He has placed in my life, and yes, even the struggles I have because they mould & shape me into a stronger & more resilient person. I have always considered myself a glass half full person, but changing my perspective, changing the way I word things, changing my prayers has allowed me to view the world in a more positive light.

Back in October we made the leap. We finally made an appointment with our doctor to discuss & request a referral for IVF & that scares the absolute crap out of me. It’s been 8 months now since our last failed IUI. I’m scared because the outcome could still be the same. I’m scared because we could spend all of this money and still end up childless. I’m scared because, to be completely transparent, I haven’t figured out 100% how I feel about the whole process. BUT I am trusting, praying & leaning wholly on Jesus that if he clearly makes this path work for us then we will follow. If it is His will for us to do IVF we will and we will never second guess.

I originally wrote that paragraph in October. It is now January & we still have not made it to that appointment & we still are not pregnant. We made it for November & changed it of our own choice to early January. It then got changed to late January which we just could not make work. It is now scheduled for February.

While it hurts my heart endlessly that we are 4+ years into this struggle, I am thankful for all of the opportunities I have had to try to become a mom. I am thankful for the strength I have realized within myself. I am thankful for the support of my family & the never ending encouragement. I am thankful for the few friends who stuck by our sides & included us where we normally feel left out. I am forever thankful for the bond we have made as a couple.

I have took the last 8 months to be myself & not someone trying to have a baby. I have rested. I have prayed. I have enjoyed life. I have went on vacation. I have spent time with my family. I have spent one on one time with Chris. I have embraced a new job. I have gained a new perspective. I took a break from this blog.

It’s been almost a year since I wrote the first blog & what a ride it has been. I’m still not a mom, but I have used this time and my circumstance to learn so much about myself & my husband.

I am thankful for every second of life, every high & every low, every smile & every tear. I encourage you to be thankful too & find the silver lining in ever hill you face ♥️

Being a Godmother Through Infertility

November 20th, 2018 – National Children’s Day, I am celebrating today even though I do not have children of my own.

I am celebrating, enjoying & loving the children I do have in my life.

4 very special and ever important Godchildren.

The angel who made me a Godmother, Raelin. The angel who was my first Godson, Gregory & my 2 sibling angels, Quinn & Jake. And of course I can not forget the first angel to make me an auntie, Ryder.

Since realizing we couldn’t have children the traditional way I joined several infertility support groups on Facebook. Being from a small community there are obviously limited resources for support, none to be exact. I needed someone who could relate on the same level & understood exactly what we were going through.

I quickly realized that the demons some couples are fighting are far beyond what Chris & I are battling. While we are facing the exact same reality we have developed coping skills that some couples clearly only dream of.

On Halloween I read post after post of women and men alike hating the holiday. Some women turned their lights off and went to bed to avoid the ghosts, goblins & princesses knocking on their door. My heart immediately sank and broke for those women & men alike. As devastating as this rollercoaster is I could never fathom being so bitter. I could never imagine not opening my door, my home & my heart to an innocent child. The fate I have been dealt should not be reflected onto precious children.

Through this whole ordeal the highlight of my life has been being a Godmother. At this point it’s the closest thing I have to being a mother & it means the absolute world to me. It’s and honour to hold this title.

Nothing makes me happier than hearing “Auntie Stef” and seeing Ryder & Raelin come running, or hearing a little knock on my front door from Quinn asking me to come out & play.

As much as my heart hurts at times knowing I may never hear a little mouth call me mommy, my heart explodes knowing I have a role to play in the upbringing of these kids. No, they may not be calling us mom and dad, but they call us Auntie & Uncle and we hold that dear to our hearts. They are so important to us. They are everything to us.

We chose a long time ago not to let our infertility define us & make us bitter. I cannot allow myself to become one of those people who gives up going to baby showers completely, I cannot allow myself to become the person who cringes every time she sees a pregnancy announcement, I cannot allow myself to become the woman who allows the infertility to run her life & become overwhelmed with grief.

The worse thing in my life right now is infertility. I live with that everyday, I push past it everyday & my heart breaks for those like us who haven’t figured out how to cope yet.

The greatest thing in my life right now is being a Godmother & I will not allow that to be ruined by our infertility. I cherish every moment I get to spend with the 5 most important kids in our lives. I cherish each moment that I get to be auntie and do the things mom and dad won’t allow

My life is not currently what I had pictured 4 years ago when we decided to start trying to have a baby, but it’s pretty darn good & I am so thankful.

Thankful, Grateful, Blessed & Infertile

I saw a post on Facebook earlier this week that you shouldn’t share your personal problems on social media because personal problems require personal solutions. I instantly thought about my blog & how I have so publicly put the most intimate detail of our lives out there for everyone to read about. I felt overwhelmed with guilt for “airing my dirty laundry”, I felt like I had made a mistake. Then I thought about the women who have messaged privately, e-mailed me, & reached out in anyway because they have been so overwhelmed with the struggle of infertility and no one to talk to who truly understood. Women living on the opposite side of the country, women with no connection to me at all have entrusted me with knowing their deepest fears, their deepest desires, their greatest hurts, & what they long for so deeply. I realized I have turned my own sadness & hurt into something so beautiful in the friendships & connections I have made through all of this.

I have talked before about not letting your infertility define who you are; about not letting your infertility run your life & blind you from truly seeing the things you have to be thankful for in the midst of this searing pain.

We all have battles. We are all going through something. What defines us though, what builds character, is how we overcome our battles. What defines us is how we choose to overcome our battles.

I called this blog Thankful, Grateful, Blessed & Infertile. I could have put infertile first, or anywhere in the title really, but I chose to put it last for a reason. I included it, not because I felt the need to once again announce our problem, but because despite having this huge mountain in our relationship we are STILL

Thankful, Grateful & Blessed.

I am thankful every single day, not just one day of the year, but I think it’s fantastic to have one special day to declare just how thankful you truly are. I believe I wrote once before that no matter how devastating your circumstances are there is always something to be thankful for.

I am thankful that through our own personal turmoil, we were able to be a light for someone else who felt like they were the only couple in the world going through infertility. While I have to constantly remind myself this is not the end of life as we know it, I also remind myself that it hasn’t been a complete lost cause as it has most definitely made us stronger. 💯

I am so thankful. I am so thankful for this beautiful, hectic, colourful, rollercoaster life we have together. I am thankful for my husband & our supportive & encouraging families. I am thankful for Lucy. I am thankful for every friend. I am thankful for all 4 of our beautiful Godchildren. I am thankful for the ability to go on vacation. I am thankful for all God has provided for us. I am thankful for my job & my education. I am thankful for every ignorant comment someone has made to me because it has made me resilient. I am thankful for hope.

4 years ago this month we decided to start trying to have a baby. 1 year ago this month we received a message from God telling us that He indeed hears our prayers & feels every tear that falls. I believe every single day that we have not been forsaken & one day, on God’s timing & not our own, that we will be parents. I am thankful for that. I am thankful I have hope in God.

I encourage you today to be hopeful. I encourage you to find the light in whatever battle you are facing today. I encourage you recognize the strength in yourself today, a strength that grows with each hardship you face. I encourage you to be thankful ❤️

The Power of a Positive Friend

Yesterday was one of the days. Emotions were running high, CD 1 rolled around again & life was just dragging me down.

On most of those days I normally feel like I’m all alone, but yesterday was not one of them. I was walking in the house feeling a little defeated when my phone chimed. I looked & it was someone completely unfamiliar to me, no one I had met or knew of.

I opened her messaged standing on the porch & huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. Quite obviously unbeknownst to her I was having a down day. She had sent me a picture, that I didn’t even realize until I went back to read it again that it was actually from my blog, that said, “When you’re in a dark place, you sometimes tend to think you’ve been buried. Perhaps you been planted. Bloom”

Right in that moment, standing on the porch like a fool, I knew God was still in control. He knew I needed a gentle reminder to never doubt him. He wasn’t finished for the night either.

Later in evening I was chatting with another friend who, through simple conversation, encouraged me to never give up & reminded me even through the pauses there are still people thinking of us & wishing us nothing but the absolute best.

Then, as we were laying in bed getting ready to go to sleep, my phone dinged again. Anyone who knows me knows it’s incredibly rare that I ever actually have my ringer on. I opened the message to find a song I had never heard before called Trust in You. Tears rolled down my face as I listened & soaked in every word. The link is below.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qv-SXz_exKE&feature=youtu.be

I lay in bed thanking God for strategically placing people in my life. People who had no idea the kind of day I was having yesterday, but for whatever reason felt the need to be a light in my dingy day.

I lay in bed thanking God for never forsaking me & always carrying me at the moments I need it most.

I lay in bed thanking God for providing me with strangers who used my own words to remind me I am a warrior.

I lay in bed thanking God for protecting my emotions at the very moment they were about to break.

I lay in bed thanking God for providing the light in my darkness.

I lay in bed thanking God for reminding me that even though CD 1 rolled around that He has already told us we will be parents. On His timing, not ours.

I lay in bed thanking God for reminding me He is strong for me when I am at my weakest.

My positive friends & positive strangers lifted my spirits yesterday. If there is a time when you are thinking about someone, even if you don’t know why, let them know. For sure at that very moment is when they need it the most & they will be eternally grateful. I know I am. ❤️

5 Years of Marriage: the Best, the So-So & the Ugly

Wow.. it’s been a while since my last blog. We’ve been taking a break from all things infertility again since our last IUI in May (which failed .. again). Today is our 5th wedding anniversary which I think is deserving of a post. 5 years is obviously not very long, but it’s quite a significant milestone to us.

I will be the first to admit that while it may seem like it’s all been roses and butterflies on social media it’s been far from easy going.

I will be the first to admit that that we have had many challenges to overcome and didn’t always come out on top in the most tactful way.

I will be the first to admit that these last 5 years have been the best & worst of my life. I’m thankful to have had someone like Chris by side through everything. Even when the road was tough he never left my side despite me making it incredibly difficult.

August 16, 2013 – we had the most beautiful day, all sunshine, no rain surrounded by our family & friends.

We spent half of the first year of marriage apart while Chris was going to school in PEI. We both knew we loved each other enough that we could survive this. We FaceTimed every day & I visited twice.

We have been through a lot in 5 years. We have lost 3 incredible people; Chris’ mom, my Pop Wells & my Uncle Ford. From the day we got married until present time our families have constantly been battling sickness.

We have been battling infertility for the last 4 years. Ultrasounds, surgery, countless medications, trips to St. John’s, 5 failed IUIs. This has probably been the biggest test in our marriage. The cause for many screaming fights that have left me with migraines. Despite the hurtful words I’ve thrown Chris’ way, he’s always supported me & protected me.

A year a half passed by after Chris finished the ACP program before he was actually practicing. He worked hard every single day to get an ACP position in Baie Verte.

It has been tough for sure, but there have been many, many blessings & good memories in there too.

We bought our first home, we’ve gone on several vacations, we’ve had job changes, we’ve gained 2 incredible Godchildren, we’ve grown together & we’ve learned a lot.

I don’t believe for a second that we have it all figured out & there’s nothing left to learn. We learn new things about marriage & each other every single day.

We made a commitment on our wedding day to always put God first in our marriage. We have not always succeeded, but we have certainly tried our best. We wouldn’t be where we are today if didn’t. He’s seen us through some pretty dark times.

I have also learned that some of those cliche sayings are so true. I don’t always do well with following them, but I am working on it.

Never go to bed angry. This leads to anger in the morning & who wants to start their day of upset? I really suck at this, but I’m trying.

Always kiss goodnight. You can not go to bed angry if you kiss goodnight.

I have learned the importance of letting things go. There is no point in harbouring harsh feelings. It makes you & everyone around you miserable.

Chris & I are two completely opposite people. He’s loud. I’m not. He’s social. I’m not. I love to read. He does not. I love getting back scratches & he hates giving them, but he does it anyway. He vocalizes his strong opinions. I do not. I wear my emotions on my sleeve. He does not.

We work together to level each other out. I remind him to quiet down & he reminds me to stop crying over things that don’t matter.

I can’t imagine life without Chris. It has been a rollercoaster since day one, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

We have had our fair share of arguments, hard times & times where I felt like throwing it all down.

We have had a lifetime of wonderful memories, special vacations, love, and happiness.

We work hard at our marriage. It’s so much more than a piece of paper. It’s beautiful. It’s difficult. It takes a lot of patience. It’s precious. It’s imperfect & perfect at the same time.

I’m so thankful for my marriage, what it’s taught me & what it continues to teach me.

Unexpected Friendships

Have you ever picked up your phone or turned on your computer to find a message from someone that surprises you? A messenger that causes you to say, “Why in the world could they possibly be messaging me?” Only to open & read the message to be left completely speechless.

I have. On a couple of occasions. I have found myself completely overwhelmed with an unexpected feeling of sympathy, love & friendship from not one, but two beautiful souls who seem to know exactly when I am feeling down & how to pick me up and put me together again.

In the quiet moments when you’re just wallowing in your own self pity, when you haven’t let anyone know how you’re feeling, they just show up when they couldn’t have possibly known how you were feeling. When no one knew how you were feeling.

I must admit that I never dreamt I would ever have a bond with these people. I’m ashamed to admit because of my own fault & my opinions formed on the basis of what others had told me and past history.

I firmly believe God places people in your life for a reason. Wether you want it or not. You become obligated to open your heart and your mind & accept what He’s giving you. You are forced to forget what history may exist & think about the friendships that could be made. He always knows the exact time to throw you a curveball, to knock your pride down a notch & keep you humble.

All too often we hold grudges against people when we have no valid reason. We think we do & we conjure up foolish reasons in our heads & find ways to justify them.

Unacceptable.

My closest friends & my family all know how important they are to me on this journey. They know how much they’re appreciated. They’ve been in these blog posts. These ladies need recognition too. They need to know how important they are. They need to know their messages on Mother’s Day, their daily prayers, their pick me ups, their cheesecake dates & their beautiful hearts are a true blessing to both Chris & I.

Ladies, you have no idea the amazing friendships you are missing out on when you allow yourself to follow a path of how you think things should be, a path that society has painted of how your relationships should be. We are open minded about many other things & we should be accepting of all people and open to relationships with all people regardless of what role they may have played in the past. Those people may be exactly what you need in the most unexpected way & it may turn into the most beautiful thing you could imagine.

I’m sure these two ladies will know exactly who they are. I want you to know you are so appreciated & you always know the exact moment that my heart needs a simple pick me up. You always show up at just the right time. You are true gems & I cherish everything you are.