Saturday, November 3, 2012

"Struggles should be a stepping stone on our path with Jesus, not the anchor that drowns us."

Are you drowning or treading water instead of staying afloat? Read it twice, thrice, four-ice? Whatevs. It's a good quote! 

I have to selfishly admit that when I started to get a response from this blog, I kind of felt like I was drowning or treading water for a few days. The picture in my head was more like me in the middle of a large ocean with people all around me on rafts telling me they were here for me. I was so thankful. I just didn’t know who to go to.

If I could thank each person individually I would but I know whatever words I chose wouldn’t be able to express the gratitude and strength I got from each comment, like, and note. I got messages via Facebook and text that helped me connect with people one on one that I have lost contact with. I’m so eternally grateful for the love and response.

Please don’t get your feelings hurt that I didn’t respond right away. I appreciate you all SO VERY MUCH! I wanted to process the impact and reaction my blog received. I had no idea the overwhelming response of prayers and love I got via Facebook and Blogspot. I felt them I promise.

In four days I had 530 views! Now I’m close to 600 and it has only been two weeks. I know some people have read it multiple times, Lord knows I read it over and over, but I feel confident that I was able to connect with people in amounts that made me feel a bit anxious because I really didn’t hold back. The best, coolest part was that I feel even more so, I’m not alone.

My circle grew by the hundreds. Closer are those who are struggling, have struggled, or are starting their journey to parenthood. Some I had no idea about, some I knew about and just really prayed that I would be able to connect with them. While I want to be strong and honest, I still feel the need to have people to talk to who truly understand the pain and frustration. Just to turn to in those days where I want to just be like “You know what?? This freaking sucks!” and they get it. Those of you hurting, please know you are on my mind, daily. I pray strength. I pray that God brings us together. Some people are still in those stages of grief where seeing or hearing joy from others is like a dagger in their heart. I know that all too well and I think it’s a dangerous place to spend too much time in.

I pray for peace. I pray for peace. I pray for peace.

I’m so thankful to those of you who took a moment to write encouraging words. Some I would have never expected to hear from and those who I did….it is all the same. You made me smile. You made me stronger. You made me feel like the vulnerability that I shared was admirable. I felt proud of me. Lol! It’s kind of weird to type that, but it is how you made me feel. For that I am grateful.

Thank you , thank you, thank you!

The trying times of trying:

A little over a week ago, Matt and I went in for another type of test. This would be the last step in trying to figure out the simple reasons I am not getting pregnant. We went in for our results and were greeted with more good news and congratulations from our doctor. We are super healthy. Everything is …. strong and present. I left feeling so happy and hopeful, but I know I have to keep those feelings of joy in check in order to protect myself if this month I’m not pregnant.

So basically I’m waiting on the storm to come. It won’t be a bad storm though because I’m ready. I’ll stay afloat, because I’ve got you. I’ve got my friends, my family, and I’ve got God. This next month I’ll start taking a different fertility/breast cancer med called Femara. I’ll have more frequent ultrasounds that will hopefully provide helpful information for my doctor to diagnose what the situation is. Part of me wants a diagnosis just so I can be like, “Oh okay that’s what is going on. Now how do we fix it?” Another part of me is okay without a diagnosis because I think it keeps me looking forward and coming to terms with this being in God’s hands. I get my own peace from that thought.

The doctor I’m seeing is amazing. His name is Dr. Reshef and he is very popular in our area. I really wish he delivered babies but he devotes his life to getting women pregnant.

I turned 29 last week and I always have said I’d like to have a baby by 30. So with fingers crossed, hands clasped, and head bowed I pray that God can and God will.

BUT even if he doesn’t……I STILL BELIEVE!!!!

And, my friends, so should you!

Smoochie Booches!

Friday, October 19, 2012

I believe God can. I believe God will. And even if He doesn't, I still believe.

Please note: The intention of the blog is not be a "Woe is me, my life is tough, please tell me things are going to be alright" type of blog. It is coming from a place that is pure and honest. I know that it will help me continue to heal and have hope.

"Hi. My name is Ashley and I want nothing more than to be a mother to a healthy child."

The crowd responds: "Hello Ashley."

Although I am fully aware this is not an AA meeting or anything of the sort, I feel like I need to introduce myself to this new communication outlet. I think the best way is to start by admitting the number one desire of my heart and the reason I'm putting my fingers to work on this blog. As my heart races and my fingers shake, I know this weight I've been carrying around is best shared with the hope that I'll be able to help, counsel, heal, learn, and connect with others who have the same added weight.

Let's get a few things out in the open:

1. I am a Christian. I believe in God and His awesome ability to change my perspective and heal me through interactions with others, while still being present in those intimate moments of prayer. I'm a firm believer that Craig from Life Church delivers specific sermons during the most trying of times because of how awesome and loving our God is. Note: The title of my entry is from Craig and is now a mantra in my life.

2. I've got a ridiculously awesome life. I have the MOST amazing husband who is truly my rock, my strong foundation when I feel like my world is crumbling. Yes, it happens about once a month where I'm all Mopey McMoperson. (All the emotional women in the world raise your hand.)

3. I have a 72 pound, 2 year old, cuddly, golden retriever named Sierra who is spoiled and bossy, yet I wouldn't change a thing about her.

4. My family is beautiful, supportive, encouraging, accepting, loving...the list goes on and on.

5. Friends. Let's smoosh them in with my family. Anyone who knows me as a friend knows I love big and hard. It's not always the easiest to be close to me because I'm such an open book, and I use my friends as free counselors at times. I'm grateful for the friends who help protect my heart.

6. Teaching. I get to impact lives of children EVERY SINGLE DAY. (Well during the work week!) There is not a bone in my body that doesn't think that is probably one of the coolest things ever. I have high expectations for my "babies" to be successful, but I keep high standards for myself too. I'm not a great teacher, but I try hard. I don't do the coolest lessons, say all the right things, always react perfectly, or teach everything so well that my students will all get straight As. But I care a ton about my students and I take my job very seriously.

7. I'm so super proud of the place I work. The community that my bosses and coworkers have established is such a close knit group of people who seriously care about the well being of each other.

8. I'm honest and open to a fault.

The trying times of ... well....trying.

December of 2010 I was at Franchesca's shopping with Matt for an outfit to wear to my school Christmas party. Matt tells me then and there that he has been thinking about having a baby and wants to start trying that next September. OMGEEEE I got so excited. I want a big family and was just waiting for Matt to get to the point where little Ashley and Matt's running around the house sounded good to him.

We knew we didn't want to start trying right away so we put September 2011 as a date to get preggers. We listed baby names, talked about parenthood, planned some vacations to do before our family grew, went car shopping, discussed potential moving plans, spent time sleeping in, enjoyed being playful and silly..... and we dreamed....

October 2011 was the first month we made an effort to get pregnant. I seriously thought getting pregnant would be easy. After a few months with no results, I bought some ovulation kits to pee on every day. Romantic right? Those things didn't help. All they did was make me start obsessing about getting pregnant. With obsession came depression and questioning "why me?". I started to worry. I kept things inside. Times may have been tough internally but I kept a happy face, for the most part.

6 months in I got serious about finding out what we were doing wrong. Matt and I saw my regular OBGYN. She assured me I was fine but we would start running some tests to be sure there wasn't a problem. We started opening up to close friends and family about how surprised we were that it hadn't clicked yet. Everyone had an opinion. Try this, do that, just relax. We tried it, did that, relaxed.... nada.

Multiple tests later and lots of positive thoughts, everything came back normal. Each time we had a test, I expected to hear a result that would be an explanation for why we hadn't got pregnant yet. With an explanation would come a solution, right? Feelings of relief when the doctors told us everything checked out okay was the first flood of emotion, followed by anger. Yikes. Not good.

While Matt was encouraging me and helping me focus on how lucky we are to have the love we have, I didn't realize the spiritual war that was happening inside myself. Maybe I did realize it but I didn't want to go to battle. I started to shut out God, thinking "I've got this. I'll be in control of this. I say when." I still prayed about other things, just not the whole baby situation. It was mine.

June of 2012 I opened up to a good friend about how mad I was at God and how "I didn't even care". Talk about breaking His heart. Talking about it made me feel better so I mentioned it to Matt. It hurt him to hear that. Talk about breaking HIS heart. Two of the most important things in my life, were hurt by my negativity. Matt asked me to try and change my perspective. Man I love him so much. I told him I'd try....

That next weekend we went to a sermon that made an impact on my life. It was about putting things in a "God Box". Craig was talking straight to me. In a packed room via a television screen, He was trying to get me to wake up and prepare for battle. Much of my heart had been taken over with frustration, anger, resentment towards the happiness in others lives, and I didn't even care. Now Matt and God wanted me to change. WAKE UP ASHLEY!

I changed my perspective. I gave it to God. I let Him take it from me. I connected with people who struggled with infertility.

It's taken some time, some tears, some ups, some downs. I feel like I've been through the 5 stages of grief. I had to accept the problem and realize the problem didn't define me. I'm not ashamed. I'm not embarrased. Not anymore. Satan will not have that opportunity to get at me like that again.

Reading blogs from people who have been through infertility taught me that people often battle this alone. In silence. I don't feel like that is my story. I don't want it to be. It shouldn't be a silent group of people. We didn't do anything wrong! I would have NEVER chosen this path for myself. But, none-the-less it is. So I'm working on embracing it. I'm going to learn all I can so I can continue to heal and hopefully help someone some day.

I'm my own advocate. We recently saw a fertility specialist after a few rounds of Clomid proved ineffective. He is amazing and he gave me hope. I'm sure the road we are on will still have some twists and turns, but I have HOPE. I plan on using this as a source to document our journey to parenthood.

If you would have told me a year ago that I was in for a huge change, I would have told you "Duh, I'm going to have a baby in a year." No. But still my life has been changed. It's not all roses and puppies. There are bad days and good days. Who doesn't have those?

I've accepted that this OUR journey. And you know what???? I'm not alone. Not in the slightest.