it’s all a dream….

IMG_3359(photo credit: Christin Armstrong)

It’s easy to take this belly for granted or to complain about the daily nuances of a baby belly… It’s easy to get so used to it that you begin to believe that it is deserved.  That it’s just “normal”, a “regular” thing. It’s easy to feel far removed from a past that was still very much a part of who you are. Although, the evidence of this pregnancy has become my norm and is the very beginnings of being defined as a mother, I make sure to keep at the forefront of my mind how spectacular a blessing it is.

The saddest part of this experience is that I don’t feel as if my heart has completely softened or slowed yet… I don’t feel as if I’ve caught my breathe or truly grasped the reality or heaviness of this pregnancy – which is insane. And, truly heartbreaking for me.

But, infertility will do that to you. It has a way of changing your heart and the very essence of who you are, how you relate to others, and deal with life. Some lessons of this journey are definitely beneficial, others I can definitely do without. Like, the numbness that results from constant disappointments. The roller coaster rides. The ups and downs of medications. The never ending poking, examining, and prodding. The adoption paperwork, meetings, and packets. The anxiety, fear, and difficulty in trusting what actually is or your gut feelings. Never knowing what’s coming next. The heartbreak of every failed attempt to just breathe. The empty desire to live each day without the worry or stress or chaos… because you know that that’s just not a part of infertility-trying to conceive-trying to adopt journey.

While an upside of being on this journey lends itself to the possibility of growth; in the moment, that reality doesn’t seem to matter in the moment. But, if you keep moving forward you realize that it’s the growth that has kept you going.  You don’t immediately see how you’re torn down while simultaneously built up, reinforced, and strengthened. You are stripped of everything you “knew”or “wanted” and given (without permission.. rude) completely new perspectives and desires. And, that’s frustrating. On many days I was angered and frustrated at how these past four years of infertility have negatively impacted my life. Bitter towards the seemingly most insignificant and most glaring ways it has impacted my marriage and my relationship with my husband. The wasted money, the wasted hours at doctor’s appointments, pointless injections and medications. The guilt of the twinge of jealously and sadness felt when you’re out and about and it seems that every other woman on the planet is expecting; it forces you to reckon with your inabilities and circumstances. And, dealing with it is hard. Balancing the thin line between the unmistakable joy you have for friends and family who are expanding their families and the unmistakable pain you feel when the next cycle begins or you’re in purgatory wanting to just give up but still wanting to soothe that ache in your heart. Or, issues with an adoption agency slow progress or things just aren’t going the way you feel they should. It all seems purposefulness.

The disappointment, guilt, fear, sadness, and pain colors and consumes so much of your life…. It’s easy to lose hope, to accept that it’s “never” going to happen, and to begin to believe that “expansion projects” just weren’t for you. Easy to succumb to this inner defeat that you truly don’t want to give in to but seems to be swallowing you whole.

So, you let it go. You move forward and begin to revamp your life plan. You begin to hope for new things and believe that there’s more than one way to live this life with purpose and experience fulfillment in ways that didn’t include a house full of children, noise, and sleepless nights.

And, then…..IMG_3310-Edit(photo credit: Christin Armstrong)

…. you realize that every single moment you thought was wasted is redeemed…. the humiliation, let downs, and devastations of every experience are being traded for crowns of beauty and you see with your own eyes that God really does make everything beautiful in his own time. That all things truly work tougher for good, that our Father in Heaven truly is the giver of really good and incredibly perfect gifts.

…. you learn by experience (which they say is the best teacher!) that God’s plan for your life truly is much greater than anything you could ever consider. You’re able to look back and see the struggles you’ve gone though and it pales in comparison to what is coming.

…. you are grateful for every experience meant to hurt you and break you because they drove you to the cross and positioned you to be vulnerable and open to the people put in your life to support and love you.

…. you learn that God can restore. That He gives you the desires of your heart. That your soul truly can trust in the Lord and rest in his goodness.

…. most of all, you recognize that these experiences, these years were not wasted, the circumstances not created to break you, but rather to point to someone much greater than ourselves.

This dream…. these girls…. didn’t happen because we finally “stopped trying” or because I “did things God’s way”….. This happened in spite of us  with the purpose of glorifying God alone. Our story happened the way that it did because God planned it that way. The worst of it shows God’s goodness and faithfulness, the best his grace and love for us.

Infertility isn’t the easiest life experience to walk through. Treatments and adoption aren’t either. While neither brought us children, I know how difficult they both can be. The most comforting part of walking any road is that you aren’t the first nor will you be the last to walk that same path. You aren’t alone. Finding, building, and engaging with women who have and are experiencing what you have is a blessing. Being able to walk along side other women who know that struggle is the most encouraging and comforting opportunity.

Share your story in your own way, in your own time. Other women and couples need to hear your voice…. even if it’s a whisper.

 

These little girls truly are a dream come true and I’m so thankful for all of you who have come along side of us, who have stood with us, prayed with us, cried with us, and who are finally rejoicing with us. This is a big deal. I am absolutely looking forward to celebrating our children (whoa.) with our closest friends and family this weekend. It’s going to be so special.

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annnnd, twenty!

20wYes. We are that huge… measuring at 7 months (!!!),but thankfully we are  all belly!!!

How are we feeling??!?!?!
Good!!! Getting out of bed is interesting and sleep is getting difficult to fall peacefully into but we’re doing pretty good!!

What’s going on with the bump?!?!
This bump is growing and growing and growing…. And, I’m thankful I’m not too concerned about my size because this side view is pretty much panoramic. LOL.. We had our anatomy scan this week and it was so very fun to watch the babies for about two hours! We got a 3D scan of our babies and they were positioned so sweetly!!! Completely snuggled up and moving about! lol. They’re both head down with their feet in my riiiiiiiiiibbbbbbs…….. The optimum position (AT THE END!!!!), but I’m pretty sure they’ll turn quite a few times before it’s time to deliver! I can feel them moving now and so I do feel kicks daily (eeek!!!). For now, they’re soft little thuds…. and, we can handle that!

So, how are you feeling?!
So good…. So thankful. I loved, loved, loved seeing their little faces and that combined with finding out their genders made this whole experience so much more real. They have the cutest features and they actually look like babies now!!!!

Aside from baby feelings, I’m happy with the weight I’ve gained. But, it’s weird…. I get so anxious to get on the scale because I want to know how much I’ve gained…… but, then for a split second I cringe at the number! I’ve never weighed what I do now and don’t care because, hello… I’m pregnant. But, at the same time, it’s still a bit shocking!

Anything else?
ehhhhh……. I’m really digging canned fruit still and Strawberry Limeades from Sonic. I mean, it’s like heaven.

From mommy….
you guys….. mama is thrilled to reveal your genders this weekend! I’ve been working hard to create a “simple” little brunch for you guys and so far I’m quite proud of myself. lol….

Everyone, and I mean so. many. people. are so grateful for you, they are praying for y’all, and are eager to find out what you are! LOL.. It’s so exciting to hear everyone’s guesses of your genders and talking about your personalities. It warms my heart that you are so loved!

– mommy

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… “life’s tough”

Last night, I was on the last lines of one of the most candid posts I’d written in a very long time when my internet does what it always does and crashes without WordPress doing what it always does – saving my draft.
***** cue a flood of literal tears ****

I had a rough night and that post was what I needed.

A post I wish I could have kept for myself, even if I couldn’t have shared it.
One that described the random, untimely emotions that hit me perfectly. One I could never duplicate. One that spoke of drawing lines in the sand, struggling to decide whether balloons should be let go or kept around until they could no longer drift throughout the house…. one that captured moments of the infertility stories of a random husband-father at Jury Duty, an old high school teacher, a family we met on vacation…. stories of random people I would never talk to because no matter how much I talk or randomly burst into song on a regular basis, I am an introvert to my soul who doesn’t talk to people I don’t know. (I’ve tried… it’s just an awkward mess. lol)

Writing that post made me realize that so many of these “coincidences”  were really an introduction to an incredibly difficult life that I never in a million years thought I’d experience first hand. The number of friends who’ve been placed in my life across spans of time have gone through or are going through the same thing as I am is too much to wrap my head around. But, who are in my life for the greatest reasons – to be supportive and understanding. To share, to encourage, to love on, and cry with.

It was that post that made me realize that no matter how far away God’s love feels, no matter how unfair and unpredictable His plan may seem at the time… nothing surprises Him and it’s all for our good. He orchestrates so many wonderful things in your life to help you get through hard times even if His will doesn’t call for getting you out of them.

A post that is probably better lost in cyberspace…..

A post that I’ve tried with fervor to avoid writing for about a week…

A post that made me deal with where I was….

Unsure. Sad. Always sad but more like heartbroken.

And, struggling with what to do, when.

One that probably shared too much.

Over the past couple of months or so I’ve been asked lots of questions, had many conversations, and heard lots of encouragement about where I am.  For quite some time, I’ve been able to speak on and deflect lots with ease, without a second thought.

I was given a book that has made it’s little home on my nightstand…  I’ve truly been too busy to read it but I also can’t even bring myself to read the summary on the back cover. A book I fully intend to read and one I know I need to make time for but I just can’t bring myself to do it…..

One of my favorite, favorite teenagers told me, “Life’s hard… ”
And, heavens, is it.

You become a pro at shutting of tears at a moment’s notice because you’ve reached your destination and it’s time to smile…… at turning away because you just can’t hold it in any longer…. you get used to falling alseep with a stuffy nose and a wet pillow case, waking up with a headache…. the pain never goes away, the mourning of all of these dreams and ideas is never ending, and the pain relentless.

“life’s hard”

But, what do you do? How do you decide that enough is enough? Or, that this is the “last procedure” or that you shouldn’t take this herb or drink this tea?? Get this massage, endure another surgery, take this pill and this injection? Do this test, take these vitamins??

This path is full of steep ups and downs. One that can only offer  a promise of nothing more than the knowledge that you gave your best shot at an attempt…

This life is full of random good days and bad that you come to expect…. the two steps forward and one step back dance through the stages of grief that make you feel emotionally unstable.

This life pushes you closer to whatever God you serve or whatever keeps you grounded and sane because you know you need something. An intangible something that gives you a hope because there’s just about nothing that can comfort you.

….. here’s to just enduring.

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