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.

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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.

From My Mother

I am dreaming with you my child…

So I get a text: “Are you interested in writing a post for my blog?”  My heart comes up in my throat and a wave of nervousness comes over me.  I’m not kidding!  I have been here with you, Stefanie and Chris, but I always fear that my actions, words and presence are far from adequate.  As a mother, you want to shield your child from pain.  But this time I can’t!  I can’t put a band-aid on it.  I can’t talk your way out of it.  I can’t pay your way out of it.

First of all, let me apologize if I have ever ignorantly said or done anything throughout the infertility  journey that may have been the least bit inappropriate.  I have never meant to but hope that I can always be that person who understands (although I knew nothing really about the road you travel through this journey)… I want to be the person you can talk endlessly to about every detail, even if you’ve said it a hundred or more times before…  I want to be the one you can share every step with from beginning to end, even if it means long road trips sitting in the back seat catching up on office work…  we’ve learned to laugh a lot though haven’t we?

Stefanie and Chris, you both never cease to amaze me!  I have always had a huge sense of pride in the children I have raised (well, Lorne helped too lol).

I am very proud when they call me mom, mommy, mudder and matka (love that one too J).  AND if I had to search the whole world over and specifically pick a husband for Stefanie I could not have outdone you Chris.  For you I am also very proud!

I have learned that every couple who faces the infertility journey has a different set of boundaries, preferences and dislikes.  I am not saying anyone is right or wrong in their approach, nor am I saying that one is better than another.  But I do want to 100% commend both of you for your openness, honesty, perseverance, positivity and strength.

I see your willingness to care for Ryder and Raelin (cousin’s kids) as you spoil them with treats and toys and everything nice.  I see you when you eagerly hold the newborn babies as you share the joy with the new parents.  I see you hosting baby showers for your friends.  I see you standing up as Godparents. There are countless examples… I can only say I admire your strength!  Despite the fact that research indicates that infertility may cause anxiety and even depression comparable to someone facing a cancer diagnosis, you have been emotionally strong.

Infertility has become a part of our family.  It has affected all our lives.  Just to know what to say, how to say it, or even if it’s ok to say anything at all can be a challenge.  However, because you have chosen to take the most positive approach possible, we have grown nothing but closer and tighter than ever.  We have kept the lines of communication open and the games and activities ongoing.  We have used laughter as the best medicine.

Although you have entered a world of tests, medications, surgery and procedures, loads of long trips, financial and emotional strains where some feel a sense of out of control, out of place and out of luck, you have not lost the faith.  I am deeply touched every time I see you put all your trust in God and through Him you find the strength you need to continue your journey.

And through the journey we have made memories that have given us strength and encouragement.  I remember the time you asked me to come to St. John’s.  You had plans to stay at your friends Dave and Colleen’s so you tell them we’re getting a room.  They insist you bring your mom, they have an extra room.  I will never forget the hugs from Colleen and the Tims coffee Dave delivered even though he was working lol.

I remember the trip to St. John’s for surgery.  We bring Ryder and he’s so exited to go to Axtion.  Surgery done and a couple hours of resting we are out to the stores.  We’ve always said shopping is the best therapy.

Then there was the St. John’s trip (6 hour drive) for your fourth IUI only to find out there are too many eggs to go ahead with the procedure.  My insides are ripping apart wishing once again I could fix this.  I know I said words but I can honestly say I don’t know what they were.  You were encouraging me, “this is not the time, mom, but I still believe it will happen.”  Then Chris figures we’re in the city we may as well bury it with some good food and more shopping.

As I said at the beginning I always had the notion that I should be able to fix things.  I felt that in order to be helpful I had to eliminate your pain.  I later opened my eyes to the reality that this is impossible, caring people cannot take away the pain but can only help you to manage it.  I love you both beyond comprehension and although I can never fully understand what you are going through I am going with you every step of the way.

I will book hotel rooms.  I will play endless games of cards.  I will plan showers with you.  I will go to St. John’s.  I will go to New York.  I will go to Barbados.  I will believe with you.  I will DREAM with you… miracles do happen!

All my heart & soul,

Momma

For My Mom

There is no way possible to adequately thank my mom for all she does to hold our family together. There are no words to adequately describe just how phenomenal she is.

I can already hear her response to this in my mind. She’ll tell me I’m foolish & that she’s not really any of the things that I say she is. But anyone who knows her, anyone who truly knows her, knows she is indeed every single thing I’m about to say. She deserves more recognition than I could possibly ever give her. She deserves to know how much she is loved & appreciated on every day of the year & not just once a year on Mother’s Day. Surely she tried to rear us better than that, to show our thanks & appreciation to everyone all the time, but I think we fell a little short on that end through no fault of hers. Growing up in Wild Cove I had to take the bus to school everyday. I can guarantee you that if there was a day that I left for school that I didn’t hear “Be kind to everyone” it’s because she wasn’t home.

If someone asked me to choose one characteristic to describe my mother it would be that she ALWAYS puts everyone else first. Her needs and wants always came second & she never asks for anything in return. I know everyone is thinking well that’s what being a mother is. I agree 100% that when a woman becomes a mother her needs & wants automatically become second as nothing else in the world matters as long their child has the necessities & is happy & content. But my mother never ever limited her generosity to only her children. Her entire family, her children’s friends, & strangers alike all know how gigantic and selfless her heart is. Growing up my friends, friends of my cousins, my brother’s friends all called my mom “Aunt Michelle”. It didn’t matter who they were or where they came from she loved them and treated them like they were her own.

Mom, you have always encouraged us to be the best versions of ourselves. You have have always encouraged us to reach for the stars & grab the moon while we were at it. You always encouraged us to never give up on ourselves. You always encouraged us to never settle for anything less than what we deserved. You always encouraged us to work hard. You always encouraged us to be kind to everyone.

Mom, you have always been there for us. You have always been there to keep us in line. You have always been there to give us brutal honesty. You have always been there to support us in any way. You have always been there to drive us where we needed to go & to pick us up when we were finished. You were there when we started this infertility journey. You were there when I had surgery & just needed my mom. You were there for moral support & encouragement when we went for our first IUI & you have not stopped supporting us since. You have always been there to pray for us when we were uncertain of which life path we should choose.

Mom, you have taught us that it is never too late to shoot for the stars. You went back to college & killed it at 40+ years old with two young kids at home. You have taught us that regardless of a person’s social status, their financial situation, their religious background, their beliefs, their lifestyle, or their personalities they are ALWAYS deserving of our respect & love & they ALWAYS deserve our kindness. You have taught us unconditional love because let’s face it we have tested you at times. You have taught us perseverance. You have taught us compassion. You have taught us how to be good people even when we fail at doing so. You have taught us how to be joyful in the midst of pain. You have taught us decency. You have taught us how to be there for each other. You have taught us forgiveness which I’m absolutely terrible at but you love me despite that & so does Chris thank God.

Mom, you have taught me how to be a good mom. You have set a path before me that is going to be incredibly hard to live up to, but I know that if I ever get to be a mom I have the ability to teach, mould & love my children incredibly because of the mentor I have had in you. I am grateful every single day that I get to call my mom my best friend. We don’t always get along, we have differing opinions, and we have arguments every now and then, but we always work past it.

Mom, we could never give you or do for you what you deserve. You are the glue that keeps us all together. You keep us grounded. You keep us on the straight and narrow. You protect us. You drop everything at a moments notice to help us. You bake for me when I don’t have time. You clean for me when unexpected company shows up. You would go to the end of the Earth to see us happy. And what makes you different from everyone else is that Joe Blow could knock on your door & you would take him in no questions asked. You go above & beyond for everyone. You have raised children that aren’t yours. You care for nan beyond anything expected of you. You make all our dreams come true. You take us on trips. You ensure every occasion is celebrated. You are a rare kind. You are precious. You are so loved & appreciated more than you could possibly know (probably because we don’t tell you nearly enough).

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.