Thursday, April 28, 2011

Our Story: Part 4, The Tumor Miracle

I closed Part 3 by saying we were done with treatments but promised our specialist we would come in for a final closing visit.  At that appointment in the summer of 2008, he suggested I undergo a procedure that would look more closely for endometriosis than the ultrasounds had before (there was no indication in my ultrasound over a year ago that I had anything to worry about).  This would require anaesthesia, but it would be an outpatient procedure so I could return home that evening.  He said that was the only thing left he could think to try since we'd undergone all the other testing.  I was hesitant, I mean we had already decided we were done, why would I want to take the risk of being under general anesthesia?  Bray and I talked about it, and finally agreed to do this one LAST thing.  I scheduled it for the end of October because I wanted to travel with Bray to Nashville for my 10 year law school reunion first. 

All our families knew was that we had not been successful with fertility treatments and we'd decided to stop them.  I really did not want to tell anyone about the procedure, but at the last minute I told my mom just in case something happened.  On the morning of October 29th, Bray drove me to the hospital for the early morning preparations.  I remember telling him that once they were in there, Dr. C might call him and ask for permission to cut me open if they found something (they were only doing two small laser inserts on either side of my uterus, no cutting).  I told him that he could agree to anything they asked for except removing my uterus - I did not want him holding the weight of that decision should it come to that.  This was very unexpected information for him, he didn't realize the procedure could turn into more, but Dr. C forewarned us that morning "just in case." 

Instead of waking up an hour later, I woke up several hours later in post-op recovery.  Bray and my mom were there.  Apparently, shortly after the procedure began, a nurse came in with a telephone and called Bray's name.  Dr. C was on the other line and informed him they had found a tumor in the wall of my uterus and he needed permission to cut me open so he could cut the tumor out.  Needless to say (from all accounts I hear - obviously I wasn't there), Bray was very upset and called his mom to update her on what was unfolding.  Who wants to hear two years into your marriage that your spouse has a tumor?

So Bray began telling me, in my groggy state, what had happened.  "They found endometriosis, but they also found a tumor.  They had to cut you open to get it out.  The doctor believes it's benign but has sent it off to the lab.  You'll have to stay in the hospital a few days to recover...."  Something along those lines, I still can't remember much of that day. 

In the midst of all the pain as the day wore on, I do remember this.  I remember having the most amazingly supportive loving husband in the room with me, sleeping on the hospital couch next to my bed that night.  And I remember Dr. C walking into my hospital room that afternoon to check on me and give me a full report: (1) The tumor was benign, (2) Had I gotten pregnant with the previous IVF attempts, the tumor would have grown rapidly because of the hormones and would have caused me to miscarry, (3) There was widespread endometriosis, they had been able to remove it all, (4) We're going to do everything we can now to make sure you have a little pumpkin next Halloween. 

I would have lost the baby.  We don't always know why God does what He does, but He knows best.  How much worse would my heartache have been had we gone through all that and then had one or two or more miscarriages?  I have people close to me that have endured that heartache, and I don't know why I was spared, but I do thank God every day that I was.  So I began to heal.  And we began to discuss whether we might try one more time.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

On the Lam

They're out!  Or at least the eldest is.  I thought I wouldn't have to worry about them sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night until they were 16, but apparently I have to start worrying at 18 months.  Last week, he unlocked the door (lock on the knob), turned it, and proceeded to start walking out onto our driveway!  Mere days later, he learned how to crawl out of his crib!  Thus, logic would suggest that one of my 18 month old triplets can now escape from his crib, unlock the door and walk outside.  I'm waiting for him to figure out how to reach the keys hanging near the door and go hot-rodding in the middle of the night. 

Alas, the other two will be following in his evil genius footsteps in mere days because once one of them does something, the other two quickly learn to follow suit.  My quick-witted nanny has turned the cribs around so the back is in front (and the back side of the crib is much higher than the front) which has temporarily stopped his stealthy escape.  We've also dead bolted the doors & purchased a gate for their nursery.  However, I know I'm in a losing battle.  It's only a matter of time before he scales the higher crib side, which will have given him the tools to then scale the nursery door gate, and then use his monkey long arms to reach up and unlock the deadbolt.  He's a madman.  The cutest darn madman you've ever seen, mind you, but a madman none the less.  If you live in West Houston, I'd be on the look out for a roving adorable toddler - here's his mug shot, call me if you see him :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Earthly Easter Exhaustion v. Heavenly Hallelujahs

I realize that as Christians, any blog post on Easter should be joyous and at the height of spirituality.  You feel like you're slacking as a Christian if every line isn't Hallelujah.  Now don't get me wrong, this is an amazing day for believers.  I went to two church services this morning and was able to greet fellow celebrants with "He is Risen," "He is Risen Indeed!"  I love that.  But Easter is also quite the popular holiday here on Earth unrelated to Christianity.  And for anyone with young children and family nearby, holidays can zap it RIGHT out of you.  Your "Hallelu" turns into "Whew!"

I knew in advance it would be a rocky day because in addition to hosting 18 people for Easter lunch we had sick kids.  So even though it was fabulous to get a date night out with my husband last night, the late night combined with middle-of-the-night fevered children left me exhausted for my 6 am wake up call.  The plan was for me to attend one church service solo at 8 am at my regular church and then attend another church service at the Vincent family church at 9:30 am with the whole family (mine plus in laws).  Because of the sick kids, we skipped the nursery and attempted three 18 month-olds at the high holy day, standing room only, service.  Needless to say, I was thrilled I'd already been to one service because I didn't see much of the second. 

Then fast forward to post church mayhem - absence of a long enough nap, lack of interest in meals, generally feeling crummy and teething, and a house teeming with adults and children (ages 5 months to 70).  The nuttiness that is my normal life is nothing compared with a busting-at-the-seams house complete with hyper kiddos and tossed away schedules.  My trio was in tears most of the entire day and simultaneously acting like Velcro to my (and ONLY my) leg.  I KNEW that they were overwhelmed and not feeling well, but it was still all I could do not to scream at them to give me FIVE minutes of peace.  I literally walked away at dinner for five minutes and left my husband to manage all three of them screaming.  Exhausted.  Drained.  Frustrated.  Out of control.  At the end of my rope. 

So I sat down to write tonight & couldn't muster up the normal effusive praise and harmonious melodies about Easter.  I love that we have a day to celebrate the most amazing gift that God or man could give - He took on our sins to give us the way to an eternal life in Heaven with God and our loved ones that have gone before us, but I have to admit that I wasn't feeling all that holy today. 

But....that's when God reminded me this is the place that He loves me in the most.  My desperation is His delight.  My overwhelmed-ness is His opportunity.  He takes my inability and turns it into His immeasurable indescribable miracle.  A Gind who is in control and feeling together and on top of the world and without need of help is not someone who needs a risen Saviour.  I could do it alone.  But I am not together or full of confidence or even aware of what to do next, so being reminded today that I serve a God who overcame DEATH - let me just repeat for emphasis, my God overcame DEATH - He can intervene in a life that is grappling with a handful of sick kids and a little measly exhaustion.  What is THAT to HIM? 

So let me come full circle - Hallelujah, Christ is Risen, He is Risen Indeed.

Luke 24 - Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.
John 20 - Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Luke 1- Nothing, you see, is impossible with God.
Matthew 19 - Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday and the Hole

Today is supposed to be a day you contemplate your faith.  This is after all the day when we remember Christ's death on a cross.  This isn't Easter Sunday - yet.  It's a somber day.  Maybe it was with that in mind, or maybe it was by complete chance, that I picked up a new book I'd received called The Hole In Our Gospel by Richard Stearns.    A pastor at my church had mentioned how it had flattened her and made her realize we are not called to a "comfortable" faith.  Her message was compelling so I'd ordered the book.  Then I added it to the top of my "stack" (I'm a reader but I've found in the last 18 months almost NO time to read anything other than a short article out of Parents) and grabbed it when I treated myself to an early morning breakfast out. 

I'm going to be reading this book for the next 20 years.  That is how long it will take me to finish it.  I had to keep setting it down.  I had only made it to page 7, of the PROLOGUE, before tears sploshed onto my pancakes. 

On this Good Friday, I was captured by this passage:
Bob Pierce, the founder of Word Vision, once prayed, "Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God"  But who really wants his heart broken?  Is this something to ask of God?  Don't we pray that God will not break our hearts?  But as I look at the life of Jesus, I see that He was, as Isaiah described him, "a Man of sorrows...acquainted with grief."

Never has that been more true a statement than on this day.  A man, a Saviour, without sin took on every single sin that had ever been or ever would be committed and bore it to his death so that we might have the opportunity, the choice, to spend eternity with Him.  The ultimate sacrifice.  And yet here I sit with a VERY comfortable faith.  I give to church, without sacrificing any of my wants.  I help those struggling, if I can find time in my very busy schedule so not to be inconvenienced.  I share about God's grace, if I know my audience and won't offend anyone.  I've grown increasingly comfortable as I've acquired more things and received a bigger paycheck.  My faith doesn't rock the boat.  This book, these few pages, are rocking the boat.  And I'm seriously concerned that if I finish it, my boat might just capsize, and I may see there's a lot God has called me to do but most of it won't involve me being comfortable.  And I'm just not comfortable with that yet. 

On this Good Friday, I challenge you to pick up your Bible and read John and Romans and look at the gospel with fresh eyes.  Maybe pick up The Hole...  Pray.  Spend some time without the noise of your life blaring in your head.  See if you're comfortable staying comfortable.  If you dare.  Easter Sunday is around the corner and ready to be celebrated.  But I hope this Easter is the beginning of an annual anniversary for me - one where I make sure that the gospel I know doesn't have a gaping hole but rather is the whole picture of what Christ is calling me to here and now.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Happy Marriage = A Bunch of Kids?

Seriously?  That's what I heard on the radio coming into work the other morning & almost spit my coffee onto my dashboard.  If you didn't read yesterday's post, I can assure you happiness does not ALWAYS equal a bunch of kids.  And apparently my paltry three kids don't even tip the scales (the Duggars must be the happiest people on the block). 

According to the Journal of Happiness Studies, I couldn't make this up if I tried, being married with a bunch of kids equates to greater life satisfaction.  The guy sitting behind us at lunch Saturday must have known this.  He was probably about 80 and began chatting with us and said, "you're going to have more, right?"  What is it with all these comments making me spit my beverage across a room?!?!  I politely said that no, this was our entire family.  But he pressed on, "Oh, that's not enough.  I had 6, you should have more."  With all deference to his more senior wisdom, I think we're as happy as we can stand :) 

Despite all the messiness of our life though, I have to say, I was pretty darn happy this morning.  They all woke up in good moods, even the baby temper tantrum menace was all smiles and kisses, and I got armfuls of hugs and big wet kisses and loads of lap time with my every growing bundles who I'm going to have to stop calling babies soon.........that Journal of Happiness Studies might be on to something.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Raving Lunatic

You know what we women don't talk about much?  The fact that once a month we become (at least I do) a raving lunatic.  Seriously, that's not putting it too dramatically.  We took a road trip and spent the weekend in Austin with my husband's sister and her family.  This is a stretch for me anyways because I tend to be, gasp/shock, a bit of a control freak.  It's actually why I think I was given triplets, I can manage them pretty well most of the time because I'm VERY schedule oriented.  Trips away are trying for me.  I'm sure they are tools to help me learn and grow, but in the midst of it, I tersely whisper to my husband that we're never leaving home again.

It gets easier, I know.  One and a half year old triplets are hard at home so you can imagine what a struggle they are on the road.  Even the sweetest kids, which two of the three of mine are these days, get overtired and scared at new surroundings and frustrated that they can't communicate what they want. 

So here was the formula for my weekend:  3 somewhat uneasy 18 month olds + 2 families co-habitating, each with three kids + one triplet mommy whose time of the month had arrived = RAVING LUNATIC. 

Friday was sleepless.  The baby of our family decided to toss and turn in bed with Bray and me all night, REFUSING to sleep in the pack and play.  Saturday morning was an early morning family photo shoot with my wedding photographer in chilly temps and summer clothes, all my genius idea.  Driving and back and forth and changing schedules, so by Saturday night I was a very unpleasant person - I'm sure some might even apply a curse word here but I'll refrain (though not defend myself as its use would be appropriate). 

The weekend itself was fine.  It was great to see these in-laws, they are a really cool fun family.  The kids did well overall.  My husband was a trooper and managed to let me flip out at least two times a day without flying off the handle - he should get a medal.  But this morning, I find the whole thing fairly humorous because even though I was FULLY AWARE by Sunday morning that there was a hormonal invader causing me to be less than pleasant, instead of trying to correct for it, I just allowed it to wreak havoc.  Even when my husband tried to attribute some highly impatient behavior on the ride home to this hormonal invader, I swore up and down that it had nothing to do with that but rather the fact that we were trapped in the car with toddlers for nearly four hours.  Not that the latter was uninvolved in my behavior, but my actions were not commiserate to the situation. 

Women have to deal with a lot.  And it's slightly unfair that we have some monthly hormones that make us act rashly, even when we are aware of what's going on.  But I wonder if I should at least take a little more responsibility for my behavior and try to mitigate some of the craziness so my sweet husband and kids don't have to live with the Tasmanian Devil for 48 hours...........

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Being the Joneses

I grew up lower lower middle class.  My mom doesn't like for me to say poor.  But let's just say there weren't any extras.  After my parents divorced, it was even tighter.  However, mom always admonished me against trying to keep up with the Joneses. 

I don't know who started that saying, "Keeping Up with the Joneses," but it's become even more and more accurate as the decades fly by.  Everyone is trying to not just keep up with the guy or girl next door, but surpass them.  Your car has leather, well mine has heated seats and a fancy sound system.  Your shoes are suede, well mine are designer suede with embossed stitching.  Your husband manages a company, well my husband owns a company.  Your kids started talking at 10 months, well mine knew Latin at 11 months. 

Sound all too familiar?  I like to think that I'm above all this, but I'm not.  We're not very tech savvy so we don't own an i-anything and we don't drive Mercedes and we don't own a half a million dollar house but I've found that I struggle (aka envy) in more abstract areas.  Our little neighbor friend, a month younger than the kids, stopped by to say hello, and say hello he did!  He waved and said hi and bye and mommy and daddy and all sorts of other stuff.  My genius children stared back - I picked up their little hands to get them to wave & the second I let go they fell limp at their sides.  I panicked - oh no, my children aren't advancing quickly enough, aggghhhh, help, we're falling behind.  I wrote about how I went to a barbecue alone because my husband was out of town and then stared enviously at all the other wives accompanied by their husbands.  THEIR husbands made it but mine travels. 

Oh, the green eyed monster.  It may not be material things that you're after, but I would hazard a guess that the other things are more insidious.  And it's nothing new - these cravings have been worming their way into peoples' hearts and minds since the beginning of time.  That's why so many of the commandments in Exodus deal with wanting other people's stuff.  Beyond the obvious one, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house....nor any thing that is thy neighbour's," are others: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me," "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image," "Thou shalt not commit adultery."  The translation of this in The Message says simply, "No other gods, only me." Exodus 20  And all of this envy, this lusting after things or people or situations, it's just saying I want something other than God - God's not enough. 

But as I was struggling with this last week, I had to remind myself that everything is not as it appears.  Just as a bunch of crazy people think I'm supermom, which I think we can all agree couldn't be further from the truth, they aren't the Joneses either.  Those children outtalking my kids may not run as fast or have the same sense of humor or be able to lift large objects with Hulk-like strength :)  And those husbands walking into the barbecue may be in town but they may party at night with their buddies or play on the computer at all hours or struggle with pornography or spend all the family money. 

That's when it hit me - I am the Joneses.  I am married to a wonderful man who loves me.  I have three children who are the most fun little people I've ever met. I have a great job and friends and parents.

You are the Joneses too though.  Stop looking at the green grass next door and check out the bounty in your backyard.  If you're single and lusting after that marriage you see, then know that there's a woman trapped in a loveless or abusive marriage that's lusting after your singledom and the first chances you still have ahead of you.  If you're married and lusting after that fun single life, know that there's a single person who would love to come home after work to a house with a husband or children.  If you want kids and don't have them, then know that there's a mom crying because the cops told her son was just jailed for drug use.  If you have kids and are stressed out by finances or disabilities, know there is a couple that is undergoing their third IVF treatment with their hearts breaking because they can't get pregnant.  That doesn't make your situation less hard.  It just means that Mr. Jones and Ms. Jones don't have it any easier. 

You are the Joneses.  I am the Joneses.  If we could just get on board with being the Joneses, maybe we would be transformed and spend our time thanking God for his abundant blessings instead of "coveting our neighbor's house...."

Psalm 68 - Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the LORD.  A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling....When you, God, went out before your people, when you marched through the wilderness, the earth shook, the heavens poured down rain, before God, the One of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel. You gave abundant showers, O God; you refreshed your weary inheritance. Your people settled in it, and from your bounty, God, you provided for the poor.

Psalm 49 -Do not be overawed when others grow rich, when the splendor of their houses increases; for they will take nothing with them when they die, their splendor will not descend with them.
2 Corinthians 9 - And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lonely in a Crowd

I went to a barbecue this weekend.  Bray was working at the family ranch and I had the kids.  I was apprehensive about going out with three speedy toddlers solo, but I was assured by the event organizers that there were plenty of adults who would be there to help me.  And because I am SO tired of spending weekends trapped at home when Bray's out of town, I allowed myself to believe that she was right. 

But after 18 months, I should know better.  I arrived, got the boys in a double stroller, the diaper bag hooked on the back and little sister on my hip, and headed into the lovely park area.  The kids were thrilled.  There was lots of new space to explore, kids of all ages running pell-mell, and a fun adventure ahead.  Mom, on the other hand, was stressed out.  There's no way to say this without sounding like I'm having a big of a pity-party, but I've found we're a bit of a novelty on our outings.  EVERYONE is interested in helping for the first 10 minutes, come see the triplets, aren't they cute, what fun, but as you know if you've ever seen a freak show at a circus, you can only look at the three headed man for so long.  Then you go get your cotton candy and head into the big top.  Well, that's what happened.  Everyone got their food and drinks, the husbands took their single child down the slide while the wives visited and fixed plates.  And I was running three different directions chasing pretty fast and independent toddlers wishing someone would notice I'd kill for a sip of water. 

You're probably reading this thinking, "how self-involved?"  There are people with no food and water, people with diseases and heartache, and you're bothered because you didn't get enough support while having a fun time at a park with your kids?!?!  You would be right.  But as this is a blog about the stuff that goes through my head, I write about things sometimes that even I acknowledge are a little selfish. 

I love these children with everything in me.  And I love my husband and wouldn't want anyone else.  But I felt lonely.  Everyone was there with their spouse, relaxing, kicking back, and I was there, well, alone with three kids.  I felt it so acutely.  I wished in that moment that Bray was there.  That things were easier.  That my mom wasn't sick and my friends weren't far away, or occupied, or overused already.  I knew everyone in the crowd but felt like I didn't know a soul.  So I packed up the kids and went home. 

I know it gets easier.  And I know I'm not always solo.  But if you're a mom that has to take on stuff on your own at times, I thought it might help you to know that you're not alone in your loneliness.  And maybe that helps you feel a little less lonely.

Monday, April 11, 2011

More Than I Can Bear

In twenty-four hours, I had two friends contact me to utter a version of these words, "This is more than I can bear."  One has a strong faith.  One believes there is no God.  But each of them is struggling with truly overwhelming life circumstances.

I rarely find myself speechless.  Words come naturally - my husband might say too naturally.  But I have found myself blindsided by these calls.  And rendered speechless.  Two friends at the end of their respective rope, albeit ropes tethered to very different things.  Hoping to find some hope at the end of the other line. 

One crying out, "God, you're wrong, I am not strong enough to bear all of this suffering."  The other saying, "If I believed in a God, I would think that he hates me."  What do you say in the midst of tragic circumstances?  What comforting words would offer peace to a wounded spirit, or at the very least fortitude to ride out the hurricane?

I still don't know.  I went to the Bible, automatically turning to Psalms.  But all I could think was that one woman knew most of them by heart while the other one wouldn't hear the words because of their source.  I'm not writing because I found the right answer. 

I sent songs.  As you may know from previous comments, God uses music powerfully in my spiritual journey.  And on may way home from work, shortly after both of these phone calls, I heard these two songs:

One by Matthew West called Strong Enough:
You must
You must think I'm strong
To give me what I'm going through
Well, forgive me
Forgive me if I'm wrong
But this looks like more than I can do
On my own
I know I'm not strong enough to be
everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up
I'm not strong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me
Lord right now I'm asking you to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
For the both of us

Another by JJ Heller called Your Hands:
I have unanswered prayers
I have trouble I wish wasn't there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That You would take my pain away
That You would take my pain away
When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

And in the end, that is the message of our Saviour.  That is the hope on the other end of the line.  You are not alone.  But you are not strong enough to carry it, whatever it is, on your shoulders.  He is.  And He is holding you.  When everything around you is shaking.  When you believe that it's more than you can take.  He is there.  Whether you believe He exists or not, He's still there.

Jeremiah 29 - "I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 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. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity..."
Job 5 - But if I were you, I would appeal to God; I would lay my cause before him. He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. He provides rain for the earth; he sends water on the countryside. Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal.
Isaiah 49 - In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you...See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.
Matthew 10 - And He took the children in his arms, placed His hands on them and blessed them.

Friday, April 8, 2011

She Dances

Our family, sans Bray, loves to dance.  When the trio were just babies, I'd put on the CD player and dance around the play room with them in my arms.  They now dance to everything.  Music from CDs, their toddler guitars, little pre-recorded tunes on drums and maracas, dancing in the funniest little ways you've ever seen.  The little lady is more of a swayer and has been known to throw her arm up in the air as if to say "heeeeey-hooooo-heeeeey-hooooo...."  The boys tend to bounce up and down to the music by bending their knees back and forth - though recently they've begun to imitate their sister more. 

This week, she's started dancing upon my arrival at home.  It. Is. The. Best. Thing. Ever.  Our game room is completely glassed in so they can see my car pull into the driveway.  As I exit the car, and start waving at them through the windows, she starts to dance.  She dances me in the door.  There's no music playing - she's just dancing because I'm home.  She then runs to me and throws her arms around me, as do the boys, and it's pell-mell, down we go, save the jewelry if I can. 

I have to tell you, you can have the crappiest day of your life, but when you arrive home to a toddler dancing with sheer glee at your return and it all turns around.  Life is bliss.

Our Story: Part 3, The Dark Year

After a year full of failed IUIs, we had some serious conversations.  Apparently, our odds would go from 15% with the IUI round to 40% with an IVF round.  We had previously been uncertain about wanting to do something more invasive, particularly Bray, but faced with the prospect of no children, we were reconsidering.  After late night talks, lots of prayer, consulting with family and friends, we decided around the holidays to try a round of IVF.  That Christmas, surrounded by kids in the family, and a pregnant sister-in-law, was tough.  

I started meds at the beginning of 2008.  I continued to gain weight - partly from the medication and partly because of depression eating.  We planned a trip to the Hill Country, a long Valentine's Day weekend, for the day that we were set to get our IVF results.  I'd been on bed rest for a week after the procedure.  Three embryos were transferred and according to the doctor they were perfect.  We had a 60% shot.  Shortly before heading out of town, we got the call, I wasn't pregnant.  There was apparently some very small amount of the pregnancy hormone hCG (my hCG level was 2 - you have to be over 25 to be pregnant) which meant that they might have briefly attached, but I was not pregnant.  We were both crushed.  I was heartsick.  That trip ended up being a brilliant decision because the last thing we wanted to do was look around our big empty house and answer questions.  We called our parents, told them, and then just spent all weekend goofing off together and had fabulous time.  It still remains one of my favorite memories. 

Because there had been so many eggs, we had a number of frozen embryos which they could thaw for another transfer.  After recovering from the sadness of yet another negative pregnancy test, we settled on doing a transfer around the 4th of July so that I wouldn't have to take as much time off work.  (I was spending a week on bed rest after the transfers.)  Our embryos didn't thaw well.  The doctor said that happens to some couples.  They transferred four embryos in pretty pitiful shape and we were given optimistically a 20% chance.  A week later - another negative pregnancy test.  We were at the end of our rope.

I had gained almost forty pounds since my wedding day two years before.  I had never weighed this much in my life.  My girlfriend, who'd been going through the same thing, on about the same calendar, gave me the news that her frozen cycle had worked and she was pregnant with twins.  My sister in law had a new baby - her third.  Everyone I knew was pregnant.  I must have gotten a baby shower invitation every other week that summer.  I had to stop going.  Everything was painful.  I cried through the baby baptisms at the church.

We were going to stop.  I decided.  I had known too many couples that fertility treatments destroyed.  I had an amazing husband and a strong marriage and I wasn't going to let these efforts submarine the gift God had given me.  We'd be cool Aunt Gindi & Uncle Bray.  I joined Weight Watchers and started losing weight.  We would be okay.  And then we went for our closing appointment with our fertility doctor........

You don't know YET

Jesus replied, ‘You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” John 13:7

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Our Story: An Interlude

The picture I posted yesterday for Wordless Wednesday was this month's Easter photo.  Bray and I just stare at that picture in amazement - at these beautiful wonderful children that we couldn't have imagined.  When I left off in our story, at Part 2, we had endured three failed IUIs.  Before we started down the IVF path, my college roommate came for a visit.  She's one of the most amazing people I know.  Despite all that life has thrown at her, and it has been unreal at times what she has endured, she has such a positive outlook on things and a strong resilient faith.  I don't know if I would have been as strong in her shoes.

So this unbelievable person who's been in my life since 1991 came for the weekend.  We had such a great time hanging out at my house and catching up.  I shared a lot of my struggle with her.  She said something that really stuck with me.  I had pulled up to the airport drop off and she said, I know this is hard.  But God has the exact perfect person that He's going to bring into you and Bray's lives.  Each month is a different egg and a different sperm and they would make a different baby.  Each month it's a different person.  God is waiting because He already knows which egg and which sperm He needs to make the baby to bring into your family. 

This picture, this description, rooted in my soul.  It's what I held onto in the months and years of disappointment to come.  I knew that God had a plan.  I fought it sometimes.  I struggled immeasurably.  I became depressed and faithless at times.  But I always heard her voice in my head.  God used her to tell me that the people He wanted to join our family just hadn't arrived yet. 

As I looked at that picture last night, I still heard her voice.  And as I saw their little faces shining back at me I knew that these were the EXACT people that were supposed to be a part of our family.  These were the babies that God wanted me to have.  He designed them specifically for us.  And I couldn't love them anymore.  And I couldn't love Him anymore for making me wait for them.  They were worth every single heartache and disappointment that we suffered.  They are worth all of that and more.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Big Apple Weekend Away

Well, I have returned.  From a three day (my FIRST) weekend away with my best friend to NYC for her 40th!  We'd planned it for months & boy it flew by.  I missed my kids but it was good to get away and celebrate with her and remember what I was like before multiples.  We saw shows (and movie stars!), shopped all over town - in new skinny sizes, toasted her birthday at a beautiful roof top bar, and ate at hot spot restaurants.  We WALKED - uptown, downtown, and across town - so we earned that yummy cupcake from Magnolia Bakery :) 

But most of all we reconnected.  It's so hard to have any time to carry on a long conversation when you're rushing home or have antsy kids trying to hang up your phone or are just watching the clock.  But here was three days of off-the-clock laughing and talking and comparing notes on work and marriage and living life.  And after all these years we STILL learned new stuff about each other - so cool.  So even better than sitting three rows from the in person version of Chris Noth and buying that gorgeous Sue Wong cocktail dress was hanging out with my friend.  Here's a few pictures that capture our days in the Big Apple........