The Journey Continues

We have taken an officially unofficial break. 

Oh hello my blogger friends. It seems it has been a while since I've posted anything on here. I would like to take a moment to congratulate each of my fertility-challenged blog followers who have finally experienced their BFP (big fat positive) moments. You each have given me an ounce of hope that I too will finally see two lines or "Pregnant" on one of those sticks I pee on every month. 

We have taken a break. I wouldn't say it is a break from trying. It has just been a break from life. It had become so overwhelming answering questions and receiving the "so have you started your period yet?" "how long until you know if you are pregnant?" text messages, phone calls, etc.  Each time I would have to answer those questions, it was just a reminder that I did not have good news to share. It was also creeping me out that people other than me were counting the days of my cycle. That's just weird. Please don't do that. That being said, I'm not going to tell you what day of my cycle I am on. It really does not matter at this point because I don't ovulate regularly, and I didn't really feel like testing this month. I know I should start my cycle sometime between today and February 1st. That's all I know. I have quit trying to figure out when to expect my cycle. It shows up when it wants. 

So what do I mean by this "break"? Well we aren't telling anyone when we go to the doctor or what the doctor says. I started a BBT (basal body temp) chart for this cycle but stopped after about 10 days because my temps were all over the place. Clearly I wasn't doing something right.  I had an OPK left from two cycles ago. I thought, "what the heck?" and gave it a go this month too. When it gave me a smiley face on day 8 of my cycle, it just made me mad. Day 8? Really? There's no way that is possible! So I threw the rest of the kit in the garbage and went along my merry little way. So now we wait patiently. It is funny to say that. I mean, haven't we been waiting patiently this entire time? Yeah. So Patiently.  

The good news is I have been given a new game plan. The bad news is.... I'm 99% sure my new game plan is going to cause me to (a) lose my job (b) go insane or (c) all of the above. So that's that. 

If you have some extra time in your prayers the next few weeks, please pray for my sanity. I have a strong feeling I will in fact have to resort to the new game plan. I'm anxious. I'm nervous. I'm heartbroken. Please pray for a miracle. Please pray for me to be strong. I've begged my husband before to let me quit. I've begged for him to just let this madness be over and we can travel the world and buy pretty things. I didn't mean any of it, but I still begged. He said we would do whatever we need to do. I know he wants children though, and I know I want to be the Mommy to his children. We will continue to press on. 

I'm at a complete loss right now. It makes my heart sad to think of the women who get to roll around in the sheets with their loving husbands and conceive a beautiful biological child after only trying for two or three months. They make it sound so easy. Why is this so hard to us?!? Why?!? It makes me sad.  I know God has an amazing plan for us. I know his plan is way bigger and way greater than anything I can ever imagine, but right now I'm just sad. I feel like I've been through a lot already and it isn't even over yet. 


Here We Go... Again.

God's Timing is Right.... 

On Saturday, November 30, 2013 at around 9:37AM I received the phone call nobody is prepared to receive. My brother was in Murfreesboro (30 minutes from me and an hour from our parents) and had received a phone call from our Mom that our Pa had been found in the parking lot of the Co-op in our hometown of Lynchburg ....unresponsive. Immediately my heart broke as I felt the past 28 and a half years of memories with my grandfather flashing before my eyes. I couldn't even make words to tell my husband we had to get to my dad. All I could say was, "I didn't get to tell him bye. I can't let him go without telling him bye. I have to get to him."  I'm sure my husband was just as panicked as I was since I was not clear at first as to who I was rambling about. After throwing on some clothes that I'm not even sure were clean, I decided to call Mom myself because the anticipation of the next phone call was killing me.  As soon as Mom answered the phone, I knew. She had to tell me anyway, but I knew before she even spoke the words. He was gone. He was suddenly called home by Jesus that Saturday morning after he paid for his gas at the Co-op. 

It all makes sense now. Seriously. It does. If we had become pregnant when we felt we should be pregnant, I would have been toting around a newborn during this stress, mourning, and sadness. I would not have been able to run out the door and drive home entirely too fast if I had a newborn in tow. I would not have been able to sit quietly in my Pa's porch swing and bawl my eyes out. God knew exactly what He was doing. God also didn't want me to experience the loss of my Pa while I was pregnant. The stress, mourning, lack of sleep, lack of appetite, and sadness would not have been healthy for our growing Baby Bell. Once again, God knew exactly what he was doing. 

I would be lying if I told you this is easy. It isn't. Our family has endured so much loss in the past 2 years. First my cousin, Chris at the age of 29 in 2011. My aunt Corine who was like a grandmother to us passed away after a short battle with cancer in July of this year. Now Pa has suddenly passed away. That is A LOT to take in. It is a lot to process. Some days I feel like we are all going to make it. Then, I feel the pain in my heart and am reminded just how hard the next few days, weeks, months, and years are going to be. I know with the love and support of my family, close friends, and even some strangers we will make it through this trying time. 


My Broken Heart

I did three things yesterday I never thought I would do.... 

  • Screamed at my husband to let me give up. 
  • Reflected on how painful the Holiday season has become in the past 3 years.   
  • Deleted my Facebook account. 
Maybe one day I will be able to share what drove me to the point of throwing in the towel.... today is not that day though. 

I just want to thank those who gave me words of encouragement throughout our journey. I suppose I should thank those who drove me to insanity and tears over their insensitive, unfiltered comments too. So thanks to everyone. I appreciate the prayers, thoughts, and hugs. 

The. End. 


Trust in the Lord....

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take."  Proverbs 3:5-6

Over the past week, I have had a lot of time to read. There is absolutely nothing worth watching on TV, and I was bound to a chair or couch for almost four days. Reading became my friend. One book I spent some time with was  When Empty Arms Become a Heavy Burden by Sandra Glahn and William Cutrer, M.D. There was a paragraph that really grabbed me by the collar yesterday. Well, it grabbed me by the neck of my hoodie maybe. Read this and ponder on it a minute....

"Tell God how you feel. So often we lick our wounds, calling friends who will help us bash any insensitive brutes who hurt us. Yet the psalmists express their anger, frustration, and pain to God."
The paragraph goes on to discuss how Hannah cried out to the Lord when the other mother she lived with taunted her while Hannah dealt with her own fertility issues. If you aren't familiar with Hannah, I encourage you to read her story in 1 Samuel. Back to my point... God wants us to bring our anger, frustration, and pain to HIM. God offers a remedy for all of our pain. That remedy is prayer. Fervent prayer. "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." (Phil 4:6-7) 
Can you say, "Wow!"? I'm so guilty of harvesting my feelings on the inside, when really all I have to do is lay it all out there for God. Someone once told me  God would not bless us with a child since I had such a negative, angry attitude. I'm not sure what scripture that person was using to back that statement, but from everything I've studied in the past several months... God wants to know when I'm upset. God wants to know when I'm sad at Him. Yes. I said sad. I've been sad he has blessed others and not us. I have felt like He hasn't heard my prayers. *Stay with me here. I have a point.* I have felt like I was being punished. I have felt like maybe I was unworthy. I have felt like nobody understood. I have hit what I thought was THE BOTTOM only to find out I had not quite reached THE ABSOLUTE BOTTOM yet. Ladies and gentlemen, I have sat in my bathroom floor and held so many negative pregnancy tests as I wept. I didn't cry. I wept to the point I felt like I couldn't breath. I wept to the point I felt too weak to even wipe the tears from my face. This has been hard. This has been a very hard, lonely, challenging journey. How can someone expect me to walk around with a permanent smile on my face as I spout stories of rainbows, sunshine, unicorns and marshmallows when that IS NOT what I'm experiencing? Did God instruct me to put on a fake smile and be tough? No. Did God instruct me to be something I'm not? No. God instructed me to trust in Him. Have I done that? Yes. I've often wondered if He could speed up his plan a smidge, but I've still trusted him. God also instructed me to bring my anger, frustration, and pain to him. Have I done that? Yes. I have brought it to Him over and over and over again.
I've told you all of that to tell you this. You might want to have a seat. This is kind of a big deal. I've been praying over this for several days. I can't think of a better way to share my "ah-ha" moment than through this blog. I. Am. At. Peace. The prayer I said before the nurse inserted my IV last Wednesday sealed the deal. I prayed for God to give me the strength I needed to accept the things I am not able to change. I now accept the fact I cannot conceive nor carry a child at this point. I prayed for God to comfort me. I prayed for God to watch over me. I prayed for God to let his will be done in this journey.
If we are on this journey solely for the purpose of sharing God's message with others and giving others encouragement and hope, that is ok. If we are on this journey so we can help others, that's ok too. If we are not able to conceive our own biological piece of heaven, that is God's will. Maybe He has a bigger and better plan for us. Does this make me sad? No. It humbles me. If I do not give birth to a little Trey Bell child, it is because God has something better in store for us. . . something grander than anything I could ever imagine.  
Tomorrow holds a new beginning. Fasten your seatbelts. 


The Doors Have Opened

Well, if you have not been hiding in a cave the past few days, you've probably figured out I have had some excitement. Let me preface this by saying, I am on pain medication. I hope this post makes sense. Ha. 

On Tuesday I was feeling worse than ever and had a lot of pressure on the left side of my pelvis. Due to the news I received last week, I was a little worried. I called my doctor's office in hopes I would get a prescription for nausea and pain meds. Much to my surprise, Dr. W called back and said, "How much notice do you need to give your office if we need to do surgery?" I went into panic mode. Trey was in Kansas on a hunting trip he had planned for almost a year. I felt like I barely had time to think. I told the doctor that I would be ok if I told my boss that I had to have surgery since she knew I was having problems. He said he would check the schedule for the next day and call me back. My heart sunk. I had never had any type of surgery before other than when I had my wisdom teeth removed. My husband was 13 hours away. I sat on the sidewalk outside of the bank and cried... And prayed... And cried some more. I prayed for God to give me the strength I needed to get through the next 24 hours because I was terrified. 

I was so nervous on Wednesday as I went from the lab to the surgi center, back to the lab, and then to pre-op. During an hour and half surgery, Dr. W removed a cyst the size of an orange from my left ovary, 2 smaller cysts from my right ovary, and some--but not all-- of my endometriosis. It is scary to think how big the left cyst would have been if we had waited until the end of the month to remove it. It had grown 2cm in a week already! I'm blessed to have a doctor who did not want me to wait it out any longer! I do not even want to imagine the level of pain and discomfort I would have been in. He also checked my tubes while he had me opened up. I had specifically prayed for my blocked tube numerous times, so when my mom told me that Dr. W saw flow through both tubes--one slower than the other--it was yet another answered prayer! No more blocked tube!!

So here we are. Trey made it home late Wednesday night and has been a wonderful nurse aside from his urge to constantly be up and doing something. I guess that's ok though. I've been forced to get out of this chair on my own a few times while he is outside or in the shop. It took me a while. It wasn't pretty, but I did get out of the chair on my own! 

Our prayers have been answered. I have put off going to Nashville Fertility for several months. Dr. W originally gave us the option of going to Nashville in August; however, I felt like I wasn't ready to leave him yet, so I insisted we try a few more rounds with him and an IUI. He wasn't ready to give up and we weren't either. Now, Dr. W is pretty confident we will not have to go to Nashville. Praise God!!! 

I know everything we have gone through was just preparing us for the blessings God has in store for us. For that I am truly thankful. I know He did not enjoy watching me suffer and cry, but I know He will rejoice with us when we finally hold our precious child... The child we have fought so hard for the past 14 months! God's timing is perfect. He had to bring us through those dark, miserable days to prepare us for our blessing. 

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:4


Has Anyone Seen A Lost Stork?

Ok. Where is that stinkin' bird? 
Just a heads up, this has been a ROUGH week. If you came to my page expecting rainbows, sunshine, and happiness today... please come back another time. Today is not the day. I'm upset, CRUSHED, hurt, discouraged, anything BUT pregnant. I have chosen to change the name of my blog and make it public in hopes I can help someone else. I have read SO many infertility blogs in the last month. My heart feels it is time I share my story and not sugar coat it. This journey is filled with tears, joys, and heartbreak. I have cried with strangers in the last month as they have so bravely shared their struggles, heartbreaks, and joys. I want to share our journey. I want to help some lonely woman out there who feels like our journey mirrors her journey. I want people to read our journey and better understand how their words, actions, and prayers impact couples who are on a fertility-challenged journey. 

In the past, I have felt as if I needed to be careful how I shared our journey because I knew I would be vulnerable to criticism. I felt like someone may read my words and think, "Gee. That Kari is so ungrateful for the other blessings in her life." I am in fact NOT ungrateful though. The past 14 months I have prayed harder, loved stronger, and smiled bigger. I'm aware I have so many blessings and positive things in my life. For that I am grateful. That being said, I also long to raise a child with my husband. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Please don't make me feel like I'm an awful person for wanting to do so.

I was so full of hope as this week began. I tried so hard not to let myself get my hopes up too high though. TCB (my hubby) and I had discussed when I should take the home pregnancy test. Since our IUI (intrauterine insemination) was just over a week prior, we knew it was only a matter of days before we knew if it had failed or if we would be PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise). Just like the previous 13 months, I had labeled each day on my calendar with the number corresponding to the day of my cycle. On Tuesday morning I was at day 24 of my cycle. I was experiencing quite a bit of lower back pain when I woke up, but I dismissed it. I thought I had probably slept wrong. I continued getting ready for work. I noticed some spotting when I went to the bathroom. My heart immediately broke. Does this mean the IUI failed? Is this implantation bleeding? No. It is too late for implantation bleeding. As the day progressed, my back pain got worse. On my lunch break I climbed in the back of my SUV and tried to take a nap. I could not get comfortable and the pain was getting worse. I just laid there and prayed the longest prayer I've ever prayed. I asked God to take away the pain. I prayed He would give me peace and strength go face the next couple of days as I waited for my period and prepared for whatever the next step was. I thanked Him for loving me....and so on. When I returned to work, it was hard for me to sit still in my chair. The pain was becoming unbearable. I just wanted to lay in the floor in the fetal position and cry. I called my doctor's office and spoke with the nurse. She offered to get me in that day and asked me if I had taken a pregnancy test yet. I told her I had not. I told her I would take a test the next morning. I decided I would take the test the next morning and call her if the pain was worse. She advised me to go to the ER if the pain got worse before the morning. After pushing through the pain for a few more hours, I began to get light-headed and nauseous. Something was wrong. I was scared. My first thought was an ectopic pregnancy. My second thought was my ovarian cysts were back. I called my husband to tell him something was wrong. He left work to come get me and take me to the ER.

When my husband picked me up, I thought we were going to Murfreesboro where my doctor was; however, he said he would take me to the local ER. I had a bad feeling about going to the local ER, but at that point I was in enough pain to not even care. I knew something was wrong and I was terrified. I just wanted someone to "fix" it. The next 2 hours were a nightmare. I explained to the triage nurse that my husband and I had done an IUI in Murfreesboro 11 days prior. I told him about the fertility drugs I had taken this round. He then walked us down the hall to the restroom. I had to pee in a cup so they could test me for kidney stones, an UTI, and pregnancy. I've done this song and dance enough to know that mid-day urine on day 11 after an IUI would not detect pregnancy. I knew I was not in the right place. After laying in a hospital bed curled up in a ball for almost an hour, a doctor finally came in the room and my fight began. The doctor asked me what I had done to my back. He asked a series of questions about if I had lifted anything heavy, etc. I responded with, "It is internal. I don't believe I have done anything to my back muscles." He then said, "Well you aren't pregnant. Your urine was clear for kidney stones and a UTI. If you are bleeding a little, you are probably going to start your period soon." Those words stung. "You are not pregnant." I've been told, "the pregnancy test was negative" before, but never has someone so insensitively told me, "you are not pregnant". I told him, "You don't know that! It is too soon for a positive urine test! You don't know if I am going to start my period!" He told me he couldn't do an x-ray since we weren't sure if I was pregnant or not. He couldn't do an ultrasound because "it wouldn't show anything". He couldn't give me pain meds because it would be bad for the baby if I was pregnant. So what DID he do? He advised me to be on bedrest the remainder of the week and follow up with my doctor. I felt like I had argued enough with him. Clearly he was like other local doctors who are insensitive and unsympathetic to the fertility-challenged. He probably didn't even know what an IUI was.  I was done with him.  I was done with that hospital. I was done with the doctors in that town. Done. Done. Done. My crushed heart and awful back pain left the hospital that night.

I slept awful that night. I woke up early the next morning so I could take my 10 year old to school. When I returned home, I counted down the minutes until Dr. W's office in Murfreesboro opened so I could fill the nurse and Dr. W in on the hell I had experienced the night before. Shortly after leaving a message with the receptionist, the nurse called me back. I explained to her what the ER doctor had said to me. I told her they didn't even do an ultrasound! She scheduled an ultrasound for me and a followup with the nurse practitioner immediately. She said, "I'm so sorry you had to go through that. We will get you in here and get you taken care of."

I went to that appointment alone. My husband had some stuff going on at work and I didn't want him to miss anymore this week because of me. I went to the radiology department first. The radiologist was so bubbly and kind as she escorted me to the room where she would do my ultrasound. She asked a few questions about why I was in, asked me to empty my bladder, and undress from the waist down. I told her I had some issues with cysts in the past few months and Dr. W was probably trying to rule out that as the source of my pain. AS SOON AS she placed the transvaginal ultrasound wand thingie (for lack of a better description) inside me, her mood changed. She was no longer bubbly. She pushed and poked around for a few minutes, then said, "I'm going to show you your ovaries."  She moved the wand around to the left side. She showed me a large black blob on the screen as she clicked and typed away. She then pushed the wand to my right side. My heart sunk. She said, "This is your right ovary." The screen showed 2 black blobs. I responded with, "Wow. My left one is a lot bigger." My heart was breaking. I knew she couldn't tell me anything else. I just laid there on the table as she did her job. I had tears running down my face. My cysts were back. I just knew it. She finished the ultrasound. I got off of the table, dressed, dried my tears, and headed upstairs to OB to see the nurse practitioner for my results.

The wait in the waiting room was the longest 30 minutes of my life. The room was filled with women with pregnant bellies. I sat in the furthest corner away from everyone as I gathered my thoughts. I had spent the past month praying for our IUI and for God to give us a healthy child. It had never even thought to pray for my cysts to not come back. As I was beating myself up over not praying for the right things, a young girl approached the front desk. I tried not to listen to her conversation; however, she caught my attention when she said she was having some cramping. She told one of the receptionists that she had been taking birth control, but stopped and "boom" got pregnant. Hello knife in my heart. I lost it. I cried so hard I could barely catch my breath. I went into the restroom, gathered myself, and dried my tears. It was time to get over it. I hadn't seen the NP yet. I didn't know if I would get good or bad news. I needed to stop beating myself up over it.

My name was finally called, and I was escorted to a room to wait for the NP. When she entered the room, I knew she did not have good news to share with me. She said, "You are in a lot of pain, aren't you? You have a pretty large cyst on your left ovary." She said I have a 5.5cm cyst on my left ovary and 2 smaller 2.5 and 2.3cm cysts on my right ovary. No wonder my belly looked like I was 3 months pregnant with twins. No wonder I was in such awful pain. She also informed me that I have a uterine fibroid. It is small, so they aren't too concerned with it. She ordered we repeat the ultrasound in 4 weeks and put all fertility treatment on hold. . . again. My heart was shattered. Not only had we spent over $1k on an IUI that failed, now I have these huge cysts on my ovaries. The NP advised me that the size of my left cyst could cause my ovary to twist, which would cause me severe, excruciating pain and I would need to get to the ER very quickly. Great. She walked me to check out so I could schedule my followup and sent me on to the lab so they could do a blood pregnancy test. Up to that point, I had only taken Tylenol because I didn't want to harm our baby if it was trying to find a cozy spot in my womb. If the pregnancy test was negative, I could actually take pain meds that would give me some relief.

I threw a fit in the parking lot that day. Up to that point, I had never been upset with God or asked, "Why are you doing this to me??" That day I did. I cried. I screamed. I hit my steering wheel. I begged God to just take away my desire to have a child because I was done. The physical and emotional pain were just too much. My heart was in pieces. I was upset. I was angry. I was disappointed. I felt like I was being punished. I dried my tears, asked God to forgive me for being so selfish, and started my car.

Where do we go from here? Well if you are reading this, I ask you to please remember us on November 25th as we return to the doctor for my follow up. If my cysts are not gone, I will face surgery. If they are gone, we will be back on track to Nashville Fertility in the spring.

Never in a million years would I have imagined we would have to fight SO hard to bring a child into this world. Never. We are blessed to have a doctor who had to fight equally as hard to bring his own children into this world though. He and his staff are so careful with their words. On Friday, Dr. W. called to check on me. He told me not to give up because he isn't giving up on me. He reassured me that Nashville Fertility would take great care of me. He told me if my cysts are not gone at the end of the month, he will remove them and NOT take my ovaries. That was a concern of mine since the cysts were so large this time.  He said he would also check my blocked tube and see if there is anything he can do to "clean that up". Can you say answered prayers? God is good. Even in this dark, miserable time, God is still showing me that it isn't time to pursue another path yet. God has placed Dr. W in our lives to give us the pep talks I need when I feel like I've hit the wall and can't push forward anymore.

If you are reading this and you feel like you've hit a wall in your journey to bring a child into this world, please find comfort in knowing you are not alone. Please don't ever let anyone tell you that you aren't allowed to own your feelings. If you feel like crying, cry. If you want to scream, please do so. Scream a little extra for me while you are at it.  Don't ever let someone's "my neighbor's cousin's wife" story get you discouraged. Every journey is different. Everyone handles grieving differently. Yes. I said grieving. Every month you probably grieve over the child that you had prayed would be in your womb that month, but instead you are greeted by Aunt Flo. It is ok. Just don't allow it to consume you. Keep pushing forward. You are not broken. Keep going.

Until next time... I will be praying for this blog to reach the hearts it needs to reach. Yes. You. I pray this blog touches your heart and gives YOU hope on your darkest, loneliest days. We are all in this together. You are NOT ever alone.


Finding Hope

I've thought about this blog so many times over the past several weeks. A part of me wanted to share the latest news and setbacks, but a part of me just wished to keep it silent.

I've come to the point in our journey where I no longer use the term "infertile". I prefer to use the term "fertility challenged". According to all of the medical professionals and research, after one year of actively trying to conceive without success, the journey to become parents is then referred to as infertility. It is such a yucky word. Fortunately for me, God pointed us in the direction of a doctor who not only is a Fertility Specialist, but he also traveled down the same path as Trey and I. Not once in the seven months that we were under his care did he use the term "infertility". I used the term like crazy until I realized I was allowing the term to define ME and not the situation (...errr journey?) I have been faced with. In an effort to find the root of my frustrations, I turned to a blog my friend Kenzie had directed me to a few months ago. I had read a few of the posts, but had not really dug into the meat of the blog. One day, in pure desperation for God's hand to take away my emotional and physical pain, I turned to the blog again.

This is what I have realized in the last few months while reading this blog and studying... 

People say stupid stuff. They don't say stupid stuff on purpose. They just open their mouths in an effort to "fix" things and stupid stuff comes out. Over the past year I have learned to brush off such comments and keep pressing on. I would be lying if I told you I haven't had my feelings hurt by the stupid stuff some people have said though.  I have cried a few times after reading so-called helpful remedies for infertility that people have directed me towards. Example: "You should eat God's way and pray for God to forgive you for the things you have done to and with your body." This one was a hard one to just brush off. I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on my nutrition and exercise, so this was quite the jab in the stomach. After reading what exactly it means to "eat God's way", I quickly decided I don't have the time nor the resources to raise my own animals, fruits, and veggies. I then considered the source and felt much better about my decision to continue doing what I am doing.  I've seen plenty of pregnant people shopping at Kroger or Food Lion. I'm sure God will understand if I don't choose to boycott grocery shopping at the local Food Lion. In addition to that, how many times do you see pregnant people at Burger King and McDonalds?  You see my point. 

I am not a patient person. I have prayed and prayed and even prayed some more for God to give me patience. I almost feel like each month is a constant countdown. I hate feeling that way! It is so hard to be calm and patient when I have to count my days! On day 1 of my cycle I countdown until day 3 when I start my Clomid or Femara --whichever is prescribed for the month. On day 8 I start using my predictor kits and wait for that "yes +". IF I get a "yes+", then the 2 week wait countdown begins. It is exhausting. I've said all of that to say this. It has been a challenge for me to be patient and calm during the aggressive treatment months since every twinge, pain, day of spotting, predictor kit result, and so on has to be recorded. I know God has to get so frustrated with me sometimes because I will pray for patience, but then I don't pause long enough to accept it. 

Letting go of control is hard. In the past few months I have prayed for God to give me patience, understanding, and hope. I know in order for us to receive the blessings God has in store for us, we have to stop trying to take control of the situation and GIVE IT TO GOD. So many times I have said, "I'm letting go and giving it to God." It sounds really awesome, but in reality I'm not fully giving it all to God. I'm still holding on to bits and pieces of my worry and stress. I'm sure God is thinking, "Kari Elizabeth, I've got this! Trust me!" When I look at it that way, I feel so selfish! God has been so patient with me each time I have made a mistake or gone astray, yet I won't trust Him to take full control. Ouch. I have tears pooling in my eyes as I say those words over and over.... "I won't trust Him." Look at everything He has done and everything He is capable of doing! If I just let go and give him full control, I will feel so much more at peace.

I love my husband more than I ever imagined I would ever love anyone. A friend of mine has said, if you can survive infertility, you can survive anything. It is a true test of your relationship. As cheesy as it sounds, he is my best friend. When I'm having a fall apart, he is the first and only person I want to talk to most of the time. He doesn't have to say a word. He just holds me as I cry. Occasionally he will say, "We will have a baby one day. It just isn't time yet." God knew I needed to have someone who would be strong on my weak days. After one of my procedures, he prayed the most precious prayer over me as I laid on the table. I'm certain I fell even more in love with him that day. As we wait for our perfect little blessing, we are enjoying our random date nights, early morning hunting trips, and vacations. I cannot imagine what my life would be without Trey. He is already a wonderful step-dad and puppy parent. I know he will be a wonderful, Godly father for our children one day.

So what is this amazing blog that has opened my eyes? The link is below. Check it out and read about Caroline and Colby's journey.

Caroline also refers to the book Pregnant with Hope in one of her posts. Trey and I have both been reading this book and it has really opened my eyes and my heart to all of God's blessings during this journey.


Roadblocks, Detours, and Acronyms

"There is a difference between giving up, and knowing when you have had enough." 

As September fast approaches, I am reminded of what I was doing a year ago. A year ago I was planting the thought of a Baby Bell into my husband's mind. I had baby fever, and it was NOT going away. We got a puppy thinking it would cure my baby fever. Wrong. I would see babies in public, babies on Facebook, babies at church. Babies were everywhere and I was ready to make the next step in our marriage. I was ready for our family to grow 2 extra feet. I was ready for a baby. 

One year later... we are still waiting. We are still ready one year later. One long, trying year later I sit here trying to convince myself that it will ok if we do not have a biological child of our own. One year later I log in to Facebook to see pictures of 3 month olds who were just a mere blob on an ultrasound a year ago.  I am facing the reality that I may never feel a baby kick inside me ever again without going to the extremes that I promised myself I would never go to. 

Over the past several months, a few people have commented on how open we have been about our journey. Honestly, if it wasn't for other women sharing their journeys via blogs, books, notes on Facebook, etc... I would have gone crazy long ago. I am not alone. I never want a woman to hear the word "infertility" and think she is alone. I never want a woman to feel like it isn't normal or ok for her to kick and scream as she reads about  the procedures and cost associated with intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilization. It isn't a journey filled with rainbows, sunshine, and warm, fuzzy feelings. It is a journey filled with pokes, praying, shots, tests, more tests, more praying, transvaginal ultrasounds, HSG tests,  predictor kits, thermometers, tears, screaming, praying, praying, praying and screaming some more. 

The day Nashville Fertility and IVF were laid out as options, I lost it. IVF is expensive. IVF is time consuming. It would require a lot of missed work days. It would involve me handing over $10,000 and hoping I wouldn't be buying tampons in the next 9 months. I'm not a risky person. I don't like to gamble. I don't like to take risks. Ask my husband. I don't just toss $10k around like it is nothing. I save and save and save just in case. I like black and white. I have to see what the end result will be. I like to have everything laid out and planned in front of me. You get the point. IVF involves me taking a risk and praying I'm making the right decision. 

I've often caught myself making bargains or deals with God. I've promised I will do better this time around if He would just give me one more chance. I have said I will be a better mom and not let work get in the way this time around. I have hit my knees in my bathroom floor while holding so many "not pregnant" pregnancy tests while I prayed for patience and strength to get me through the day. I have hidden in the bathroom stalls at work just so I wouldn't have to see a newborn baby or a pregnant woman. I have laid in bed on a heating pad while giant tears streamed down my face as I read my Bible. I have called my mom while she was at work and begged her to come hold me. I have sat in the parking lot at work and thrown my phone across the car after getting bad test results. I. Have. Hit. Bottom. 

On the flip side of all of that... I have attended a handful of baby showers. I have shopped in the baby section. I have celebrated friends' pregnancy announcements and offered a helping hand to friends who were expecting. I have rejoiced at first words, first steps, and first birthday parties. I have listened to Gavin pray sweet, precious prayers over me. I have become closer to God. I have become closer to 5 little 4 year olds at church. I have become a better wife. I have become a better friend. I have learned patience. I have learned to turn things over to God versus trying to carry the weight of the world on my own. 

According to several medical professionals, it is a pure miracle I ever got pregnant with Gavin. God has a HUGE plan for Gavin. He is almost 10, but sometimes acts 30. I'm blessed to have the chance to spend 3 days a week this precious gift. 

I've often asked the question, "Why me?" I know this is not my will. This is God's will. Maybe one day this will all be worth the wait... Or maybe one day God will take my longing for a Trey Bell baby away. Either way, God chose us for this journey and we will glorify Him through the way we handle it. I'm not giving up... 


1 Samuel 1:27-28

How Much Patience Do You Have?

I have started this post at least five times in the last 8 months. I would get a few paragraphs written, then I would decide "Nobody will want to read about this".  There's too many happy, warm, and fuzzy things going on. Nobody will want to read this.  Well. Here I am. I'm sitting in my chair pounding out my feelings on my laptop. There might be one person read this or there might be fifty.

Here goes nothin'....

In 2006, shortly after I graduated from Motlow, something didn't seem right. I was going longer than normal without having a period. When it would come, I would be in the most awful pain. I had given birth to Gavin just three years before. At times, I would compare the pain to the moments before I told the nurse I needed my epidural. It was bad.  In November of 2006, my nightmare began. I had gone longer than ever without a period, so I called my OB/GYN to make an appointment. I was ready to get some help. I was tired of it. After explaining to the receptionist why I needed to get an appointment as soon as possible, she scheduled an appointment for the following week. A few days after scheduling my appointment, I woke up to what appeared to be my period. "Oh now you decide to show up?" I almost cancelled my appointment, but something told me I needed to go in anyway. Shortly after my exam began, the doctor started asking a series of questions that made my heart stop. He told me to get dressed. He left the room quickly. I was terrified. What is going on?  After what seemed like an eternity, the doctor finally returned and instructed me to go across the hallway for an ultrasound. The tech poked and pushed around as I had tears running down my face. I caught a glimpse of a dark spot on the screen and started to panic. "What is that? Is that supposed to be there?" Of course, he wouldn't tell me anything. He just did his job and told me the doctor would discuss the results with me in a few moments.  At this point, I wanted to scream.

I sat in the hallway staring at the floor for several minutes. I probably sent a few texts to friends and my fiance at the time. I can't remember.  Eventually the doctor came out in the hallway, placed his arm around me and told me, "It appears you are having a miscarriage. This happens to a lot of women. It isn't something you have done. It just happens sometimes."  As I sat on that chair in complete shock, I couldn't make words. All that came out was, "Why?".  He couldn't give me an explanation. He had his nurse give me a piece of paper and directions to the lab for blood work. I had so many questions, but I couldn't make complete sentences at the moment. All I could think about was how empty I felt.  The week before, I was pregnant. Today, I'm losing a baby. 

Fast forward a year or so....  It was time for my annual check-up. Since I was working and going to school in Murfreesboro at the time, it made sense for me to find a doctor in Murfreesboro.  After doing some research and talking to a few college friends, I decided Dr. Kelly Williams at MMC would be the doctor for me.  I called and made an appointment. Due to him being such a busy guy, I had to schedule my appointment for a few weeks out.  No big deal. I could wait.  When my appointment finally came, I loved him. He showed so much compassion for his work. He asked a lot of questions. I told him about my miscarriage in 2006. He looked me in the eyes and told me, "It doesn't just happen. I want to do more tests."  I was at a point in my life and marriage that having another baby wasn't on the radar at the time, so I was hesitant. A part of me wanted to know why though, so I agreed to the tests.

The Day I Will Never Forget...

Two weeks after my first appointment with Dr. Williams, I returned for a follow-up. Alone. Big Mistake. Dr. Williams came in with an odd look on his face. He read off a bunch of test results that might as well have been in another language. After he finished reading the results to me he said, "So what does all of this mean? It means when you are ready to have another baby, you will have trouble." He said there were medications and treatments. Once again, I felt like I wasn't at a point in my life that I wanted another baby, so as tragic as the news was... I was ok.  I was still in college and didn't have a well paying job. I had a 4 year old and my husband at the time wasn't in a hurry to have another baby.

In 2010 I lost another baby...

As most of you know, I got remarried in May of 2012 to the man I had hoped and prayed for my entire life. In October of 2012, I started having strange symptoms. I was exhausted, had pain in my lower back and abdomen. I would need to pee every 30 minutes it seemed. I have UTIs quite often, so I went to the local walk-in clinic to get checked out and hopefully get some antibiotics. The doctor (or PA or NP whatever he was) tested my urine and told me it was clear. I did not have a UTI. He asked a series of questions, then said "Could you be pregnant?" My heart started pounding. I got a little excited. I WANTED to be pregnant! This is amazing.  He tested my urine again for pregnancy. The results were negative, but he said it might be too early to tell. So he told me to see my OB/GYN ASAP.  Since I had begun working in Tullahoma, I had recently switched doctors and was seeing an OB/GYN in Tullahoma now. I made an appointment with her as soon as possible, but tried not to get my hopes up.

I was literally crushed at my appointment with her. My husband had gone with me; however, he was not allowed to go back with me. The doctor did an exam, asked several questions, and "assured" me that I was probably not pregnant. She told me I probably had a little cyst or something. She ordered an ultrasound, some blood work, and told me to come back the following week to go over the results. In the meantime, I was miserable. My symptoms were getting worse. I was in so much pain, so tired, had NO appetite, and was nauseated most of the day. When I went back for my follow-up visit, the doctor told me it looked like I had a kidney stone and some small cysts on my ovaries. She said the cysts might be from where I was about to ovulate though. I asked her if the cysts would cause any problems since we were trying to get pregnant. She looked me right in the eyes and told me, "NO".  After 2 months of ovulation predictor kits, fertility tracker iPhone apps, irregular periods, big fat negative pregnancy tests, PMS symptoms that gave me false hope of a pregnancy, I decided it was time to call my doctor again. She kept suggesting I take birth control to make my periods regular. I didn't want birth control! I wanted a baby.

After a meltdown that lasted for what seemed like days, it was time to get a second opinion. I had stopped having periods. Something wasn't right. I made an appointment with another doctor in Tullahoma, even though my gut feeling kept telling me I needed to go see Dr. Williams in Murfreesboro. I was working in Tullahoma and my job doesn't exactly allow for a lot of time away. I convinced myself that sticking with a Tullahoma doctor was my best option at this point. This doctor gave me a tiny bit of hope and a lot of frustration. After a full blood work-up and 2 ultrasounds, she gave me three options. Two were very expensive options  that involved checking my tubes and uterus and one was to take birth control for a couple of months to get my cycle back on track, then we would see if I could ovulate on my own. In the heat of the moment, I caved and chose the birth control option. I was terrified. This was what I had a feared was wrong the entire time....my body wasn't doing what it was supposed to do. I'm a woman. I'm supposed to have babies! Why is it so hard for me to have another baby?!

After a few days of talking it over with my husband, I felt like the birth control was NOT the option for us. I cried and cried and cried. I hated people. I hated Facebook with a passion. I removed the app from my phone because I was literally crushed everytime I saw a new "Woo hoo we're pregnant!" post.  I lost friends because I was dying on the inside and didn't want to talk to anyone about it. I was tired of hearing, "Stop trying so hard"  "Oh it must be stress." "God has a plan and maybe this isn't in his plan." "Oh but you already have a baby".  I was over it. I had been a positive Polly long enough. I had dismissed my inner battle and put on a happy face long enough. I was done. I was angry. I was frustrated. I felt like it wasn't fair I had to go through so much. I got angry with people who called me a "bad friend".

I called the doctor's office after a few days and left a message with the receptionist telling her we wanted to try another option. I didn't want to do the birth control. Somewhere in the relaying of the message, the nurse thought I wanted to just stop taking it. So she called me back and left a message for me telling me that "this is just temporary to try to get rid of the cysts." I tried for 2 days to call her back and tell her, "THAT'S NOT WHAT I CALLED YOU FOR! The doctor said I had other options, why do I not have options now?"  No response.

Weeks went by and it was time for my 6 week blood work. The nurse came in and told me she would schedule my follow up ultrasound for mid-May. I lost it. I demanded a sooner appointment. I was not waiting until May to find out if cysts were gone. Especially since I had people tell me, "Oh I have cysts too and I got pregnant!" Clearly, I could get pregnant. I can't get pregnant on birth control though!  I left the doctor's office that day hysterical. I called my husband crying, then I called my Mom crying. I called my sister-in-law crying. I hit my breaking point. This was it. It was time to call the person who I should have called months ago, Dr. Williams.

I called MMC OB/GYN that afternoon. It was a scary feeling making an appointment for a fertility consult, but I knew this was the next step and our only option.  On March 27th, our journey took a new path. Dr. Williams told me everything I had wanted a doctor to tell me. There isn't anything wrong with me. I'm not broken. He would do everything in his power to try to get me pregnant, I just had to trust him. He told me he isn't God; therefore, he doesn't have the right to tell me I should try for a year before we do anything. We wanted a baby now, so there was no reason for me to be on birth control. After almost an hour, we left MMC with a prescription for my first round of fertility treatment, directions on how to take it, and two pamplets. One was for infertility and one was for PCOS.  I read as much as I could about the drug I had been given. I prayed and cried that if it is God's will for this work, please let it work.

So here we are today, 1 month after the day Dr. Williams gave us a lot of hope. That's all I had needed all along... Hope and a plan.

This journey has brought my husband and I closer together. It has shown us who our true friends are. I have made new friends and developed an amazing support system. It has been a hard, trying journey but it will be worth it one day... hopefully sooner rather than later.  I see pregnancy announcements now and I just smile. Hopefully one day we will make a pregnancy announcement of our own. Hopefully one day I will get to experience the moving and kicking of our little miracle baby. Until that day comes, I will hold on to my hope and the fertility bracelet that someone who has felt the things I am feeling gave me. 

"I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For this whole life he will be given over to the Lord."
1 Samuel 1:27-28