He Has Made Everything Beautiful

everything beautiful

Looking back over the last year, I don’t think I could be in any more awe over God’s grace and provision than I am at this moment. I’m sitting here, 38 weeks pregnant, waiting on the arrival of our daughter who just a year ago was considered by the medical community to be impossible. But God makes the impossible possible in His own time.

Here are just a few highlights from the last few months:

*Carolina is a growing little bean. At our 32 week ultrasound she weighed 3lbs. 12oz. and they say is in the 39th percentile. She is head down and the placenta moved! The ultrasound tech felt so bad for all of the appointments we have had that she gave us some 4D images of her.

Carolina 4D

We cannot wait to see this precious little face in person!

*Daniel and I were blessed with a whopping five baby showers!  Yep, you read that right. Dear friends hosted showers in Birmingham and Auburn, we had a wonderful shower in Grove Hill at Daniel’s family church, a sweet shower in Greenville hosted by my Godmother, and a surprise shower at work that I never expected. To say this is one spoiled/blessed little girl is an understatement. We could not be any more grateful for all of the sweet gifts!

Auburn Shower

My sweet friends (Deanna, Olivia, and Sydney) who hosted my shower in Auburn.

Grove Hill Shower

My sister-in-law, mother-in-law, and grandmother-in-law at my shower in Grove Hill.

*I gained a sister (in-law) in early July when my older brother Preston got married. I was so touched to get to be a part of such a special day in their lives. I could not be any happier for them!

Agnew Wedding

My new sister-in-law Catherine who cannot wait to meet her new niece!

*We have steadily been working on Carolina’s nursery and are almost done, which is good since she’ll be here any day. I promise to share pictures once it is complete! Daniel has done a great job of putting everything together and putting up with my very particular taste, haha!

*I am still working and plan to up until I go into labor. It is hard, there is no doubt about it, but I want every day of my maternity leave I can get to spend with her after she is born. My ankles have officially turned into swollen hoofs, but I keep reminding Daniel that he married me for better or for worse. He has been so sweet and helpful and tried his best to make me feel as loved and beautiful as possible. I married a winner!

*As of last Friday everything is looking good for a healthy baby that could be born any day now. I am 2cm dilated and 75% effaced. It is such an amazing/crazy feeling to know that it’s just a matter of time before we meet our daughter in person!

38 week bump

And the obligatory 38 week bump shot.

So it’s prediction time. Carolina’s due date is August 5th, but when do you think she will make her arrival? Feel free to leave your guess of due date and birth weight as a comment below or on Facebook. It will be fun to see who gets the closest.

The Joy That’s Coming…

The pain you have been feeling cant compare to the joy that is coming. Romans 8:18:

I know it has been a while since I have updated and I do apologize.  March and April have been such busy months, but filled with a lot of fun and excitement.

First things first, we found out we are expecting a girl…Carolina Charlotte Clarke! We could not be any more excited than we are and cannot wait to meet our little miracle. Charlotte is my 93-year-old grandmother’s name, whom I am very close to. She was overjoyed to hear we were using her name as Carolina’s middle name and she cannot wait to become a great-grandmother. She claims she’ll be the best great-grandmother out there, and I don’t doubt that for a minute.

Cha and I

Charlotte (or Cha as we call her) and I on my wedding day. This may be one of my favorite pictures!


Carolina at our 23 week ultrasound.

However, at that same ultrasound we found out that I have marginal placenta previa. They played it off like it was no big deal and that we would go back a few weeks later to confirm it had moved. Well, we went back five weeks later only to find out that my placenta hadn’t move one bit. It was disappointing, I’m not going to lie, but I’m over that now and we are standing in faith that everything will work out. Regardless, she is healthy and that is all that matters. I will go back for another ultrasound in six weeks to see if it has moved. I am no longer praying for a specific outcome, but instead for God’s will in the situation and a happy healthy baby in the end no matter what. Oh and little miss was still breach too. I told her she needs to get it together in there, haha!

I am 26 weeks along now and feel her kick/punch/twirl around a lot. Daniel has been able to feel her as well. I feel pretty good these days and the only real pregnancy issue I’ve had up to this point is that my ankles and feet have been swelling pretty bad. The swelling goes down during the weekends when I am able to rest a bit, but Monday-Thursday while I’m working they go from slightly swollen to my 600 lb. feet. Oh well!

26 weeks 2

Many of you have asked, so here is my growing bump at 26 weeks along.

In none pregnancy related news, here are our highlights from March and April.

*Daniel and I attended two concerts in April and had a blast!

mumford and sons

At Mumford & Sons. We went with our good friends J.P and Kristin and had so much fun!

kenny chesney

This is at Auburn University’s football stadium where we saw Miranda Lambert and Kenny Chesney perform. It was a charity concert called Music & Miracles Superfest that I hear will be an annual event with different performers.

*We celebrated my 31st birthday at the end of March with good friends and great food!

*We also had visits from several friends over the last two months which has been a lot of fun. It was great seeing Blair & Charles as they get ready to get married themselves. I met up with my sweet college friend Amanda (Hotmanda!) one day in Pine Mountain, GA. My good friend Erin Weissman stopped in for a surprise visit (so much fun!). And our dear friend Lucy O’Kelley (who is also Erin’s roommate) came into town for a short visit. We are so beyond blessed to have the amazing friends that we do.

blair and charles

From left to right, C.J. & Lauren, Charles & Blair, Daniel & I, and of course Abe! The guys cooked us ladies dinner. So yummy!

*Our sweet friends Ben & Deanna dedicated their son Henry. It was such a precious moment and we were blessed to get to be a part of such a special time.

henry dedication

Henry and Carolina will be 10 months apart. We cannot wait to see them grow up together!

There are tons of other fun moments over the last two months, but I’d be here all day if I listed them all. Instead, I will end on this note. Since starting my new job I have had two co-workers open up and share their hearts regarding their fertility battles. Both are going through IVF and neither has had success yet. One even experienced an ectopic pregnancy as a result of her latest attempt. My heart breaks for them in one moment and fills with joy for them for what is to come in the future the next moment. I am believing for both of these women that God will answer their prayers and I ask you to do the same for them! I am so grateful that the Lord has put me in these ladies lives at this specific moment in time to be a living breathing symbol of hope for them! Because…”The pain that you’ve been feeling, can’t compare to the joy that’s coming,” – Romans 8:18


Blessed is she who has believed…

First, I would like to apologize for not updating sooner. The last few months have felt like we have been on a real life version of the game of Life. Needless to say, this will be a long post. So, grab a bag of popcorn and nestle in for the latest chapter of A Clarke Family Journey.

"Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her." ~Luke 1:45 | Second time God has reminded me of this today.:

The biggest news…we are expecting! Baby Clarke is due August 5th and we feel overwhelming blessed by this miracle God has given us!

After so many months we assumed my remaining fallopian tube was blocked due to the last ectopic pregnancy. So when I tested positive the last week of November I was shocked. We knew there was a high chance it was another ectopic pregnancy, but this time there was no fear or worry. God’s peace is so good!

After blood work to confirm my levels we went in for an ultrasound. The tech, who is familiar with our journey, immediately began looking for an ectopic pregnancy. After not finding any evidence after 15 minutes or so, she “just in case” checked my uterus and said “well, there is a little black dot in there”. Little black dot? Little black dot! She confirmed that she thought it was an early stage uterine pregnancy, but we would need to come back for further ultrasounds to confirm. I should know by now that those moments in life that I expect to play out a certain way, never do. I have decided that God has a really good sense of humor!


Over the next few weeks, we returned for two more ultrasounds to confirm that we were in fact pregnant with our miracle uterine baby! We even heard the heartbeat…so magical! After the journey we’ve gone through to get here it all seemed so surreal. The world’s odds were against us, but God had different plans for us.

It was such a special moment to get to share the big news with our families for Christmas! We were with Daniel’s family in person when we presented them with the picture frame of the ultrasound. Daniel’s dad had the best reaction when the first words out of his month were, “Judy (Daniels’s mom), I told you last week when I was feeling nauseated that I thought Brandon or Christy (Daniel’s sister) must be pregnant. I told you!” They could not be any more excited than they are. We were unable to be with my family in person but mailed the same picture frame to my mom and an image to my Aunt and Uncle. This will be the first grandchild on either side. Daniel’s parents have already picked out names for themselves and the baby planning has begun!

So that brings us to today. I am 17 weeks along. I had morning sickness early on, but that has since passed and I am feeling pretty good these days. And the baby bump has started to grow. We go back to the doctor the afternoon of March 7th to find out if Baby Clarke is a he or she. Woohoo!

Also, we sold our house in Birmingham! As many of you know, when Daniel and I moved to Auburn we quickly rented our house to a young couple we trusted. They planned to rent for two years, but the husband got a job offer in South Carolina in the fall and they asked to be released from the lease early. It was not the right time of the year for us to try and sell, but having been in a similar situation ourselves we completely understood. When I was laid off a few weeks later we were a bit stressed about having to cover both mortgages, but God had it all figured out. We listed it for sale by owner at the beginning of January, showed the house a week later, and had two offers by the end of the week. A week later we closed on the house with an all cash no inspection needed offer!

In additional news, I got a new job! Last month I started my new job as a manager at a big box retailers distribution center. The hours are long and odd, but I’m adjusting. Plus, it’s a Monday-Thursday job so I am enjoying my three day weekends! We are beyond grateful for my new position. We actually found out I was pregnant in the middle of the hiring process. Not ideal timing, but everything worked out. My employer has been overwhelming understanding and are working with me on time off for appointments and maternity leave.

Lastly, I will sum things up with a list of additional highlights over the last few months.

*My mother had a health scare back in November, but seems to be doing better now.

*We have had some amazing friends, Adam & Olivia Ficken, live with us for the last few months. Adam got a job down here and they are closing on their new house in Auburn today! They are also expecting their first child this May. We could not be any happier for them and can’t wait to raise our little ones together! Abe may be devastated when they leave though. He has grown so attached. I see a lot of hang outs in our future!


*My older brother, Preston, got engaged to a wonderful girl named Catherine! They are getting married July 3rd. We are very excited for them! I will be a 9 month pregnant bridesmaid, so be on the look out for those humorous pictures.

*My sweet 93-year old grandmother, Cha, fell in her home recently. She is sore, but thank goodness didn’t break anything. After spending a few days in the hospital she has been transferred to a rehab facility. I am so grateful she is alright and I cannot wait for her to meet her first great-grandchild. She can’t either!

*Daniel and I attended the Ignite Marriage Conference at our church last weekend and it was wonderful. Investing in our marriage is so important. I am so incredibly blessed to have an amazing husband in Daniel!

Daniel and I are beyond thankful for all of the prayers and kind words over the last year. Your love and support makes sharing our good news all the more sweeter.

His Tomorrow Is Greater

There is hidden beauty in each season of life.  In our season of waiting I am constantly reminded of God’s grace and will for our family.

We have been co-leading a small group for 18-25 years old’s called “Making God Your #1, So You’re Ready For Your #2”. Basically, how to prepare your heart for marriage. I figured God put us in a college town, so we should take advantage of the unique position we find ourselves in. It has been so wonderful! And the funny thing is, I find such encouragement from these guys. I will find myself encouraging a young lady on being patient for her future husband and I’m instantly reminded that I too have to be patient for our future family.

Last weekend, I attended my church’s annual women’s conference, reCreate. It was fantastic! Not only was it so nice to spend some time with my girlfriends in Birmingham, but boy were the messages exactly what I needed to hear. Two of the speakers Charlotte Gambill & Karol Hobbs, as well as, Natalie Grant who led worship shared about their struggles with infertility. All three of these ladies have their miracle families now and it was so incredibly encouraging to see women who have walked down the same path and made it to the other side! I am so grateful these women shared their hearts, it blessed me more than I can say.

I also recently ordered a new daily devotional book Living Life Undaunted: 365 Readings and Reflections by Christine Caine. I actually heard Christine speak at last years reCreate conference and absolutely love her. Ladies, this devotional does not disappoint! Today’s reading was right on point with what I needed to hear.

“When we enter every season of life understanding that it has been carefully designed by God as a vital step on our journey and part of our ‘all,’ we can then live each one with purpose and passion, whether we fully understand God’s plan or not…Some seasons are more enjoyable than others; some more difficult; some dry and some abundant; but all are necessary. Don’t despise the season you are in; instead step into all that God is doing in and through you during the season.”

So incredibly good! So in this season of life I will choose to not soak in sadness, but hold true to the promises God has given me. My today may not be exactly what I would have chosen, but His tomorrow for me is greater than anything I could imagine.

Season of Waiting

My grandmother, who turns 93 next month, once told me to be content in every season of my life, because it was just that – a season. There are good seasons and bad seasons, busy seasons and seasons that seem to last a lifetime. For the last few months we have been in a season of waiting; a season to pause, pray, and anticipate. We have no idea how long this season will last, but I keep reminding myself of my sweet grandmothers advice…be content, every season has a beginning and an end.

I have to admit, part of me thought that maybe if I waited long enough to post that something (anything) would happen and there would be news to report. Instead, it’s more of the same and I have become okay with that.

The hidden blessing is that this season has allowed Daniel and I to settle into our new home. We’ve also filled our time with good friends and family. Below are just a few highlights of the past few months.

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Our friends Tyler & Alissa and their dog Harper stopped by for a quick visit on their way down to the beach. Abe desperately wants to be best friends with Harper, Harper desperately wants Abe to give it a rest.

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Our friends Sydney & Jeremie helped us host a baby shower for our dear friends Ben & Deanna who are expecting little Henry next month. We had a great time and even the guys said the shower was pretty fun. We all can’t wait for Henry to get here so we can love on him!

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My college roommate Amanda (or Hotmanda as I call her) came down to visit while her husband was on a mission trip in Uganda. We had a great time hanging out and I was very sad to see her leave.

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Abe became best buddies with Amanda’s dog Dude. They were two partners in crime and really milked their cuteness for all it was worth.

We also participated in our church’s semi-annual 21 Days of Prayer. It was a great reminder that while we don’t have the answer for when and how our future Baby Clarke will arrive, God has the answer. We just have to trust in Him and His timing.

Be Anxious For Nothing; 15 Scriptures To Soothe An Anxious Heart.:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

Wherever You Go…

Be Strong

I want to apologize for not posting for so long.  As some of you know, over the last seven months not only have we been walking through our family journey, but we’ve also been building a house.  We started building at the end of December before we had any idea what lay ahead for us. It is finally complete and three weeks ago tomorrow we closed on our “for a long time” home. We are in love!


On move in day.

Unfortunately, because we are the first house in the new subdivision internet has been a challenge. Our wonderful builder loaned us his hotspot for me to use for work (since I work from home), but I didn’t want to use it for personal use and take advantage of his generosity.  I had to make an exception to my rule though, since yesterday was our appointment with the Fertility Specialist, Dr. Bates.

Since my levels have finally gone back to normal (!!!!!!) the doctor was able to talk to us about the next step. We had so many questions and he did a great job of trying to answer them as honestly as possible while being considerate of our emotions. He told us that it really boils down to two options; IVF or trying naturally one more time. He explained to us that we are wonderful candidates for IVF and he truly thinks it is our best option. However, he also talked to us about trying again naturally. While this was our desire, my concern was that if we had another ectopic pregnancy I wanted my remaining tube to be removed. He assured me that would in fact be the plan as he didn’t think I was a candidate for any further Methotrexate shots

I am fully aware of the fact that when i mention wanting them to remove my remaining tube it sounds harsh. And it is harsh! But I don’t apologize for feeling this way. The last seven months have been exhausting; physically, emotionally, just plain exhausting. The idea that we would have a third ectopic and they would not remove my remaining tube and we could face that risk in the future again is where I draw the line. Others faced with the same situation may choose differently and that’s okay.

We went ahead and discussed iVF with Dr. Bates. He said given our fertility this far he sees no reason why we wouldn’t have fantastic success.  Our risk of another ectopic while higher for the general population is lower for us. Basically my odds of having another ectopic trying naturally at this point are between 1 in 3 up to a 50% chance. However, with IVF we drop to a 1 in 20 chance. We had researched the option of having them remove my remaining fallopian tube before starting IVF. Unfortunately if we jump straight to IVF insurance will not cover the removal of my fallopian tube. But also at the end of the day IVF is expensive. We are on the lower cost end of the scale and he told us to expect between $10-12,000 in costs for the first cycle.  The good news is that he thinks he would be able to harvest enough eggs for at least one (if not more) frozen cycles and those only cost between $2-3,000. Having just signed mortgage papers though both of those figures seem pretty scary right now!

So, Daniel and I have decided to give it another go naturally. We know it is risky, but at this point we don’t feel like we have much to lose. Hopefully, we will succeed in having a healthy uterine pregnancy. If that fails and we do in fact have another ectopic then at least they’ll remove my fallopian tube and we are back to IVF with not much other than time lost. Dr. Bates was supportive of this decision and they will monitor me very closely looking for signs of an ectopic the second we find out we’re pregnant.

These are big decisions. Life changing decisions. But God continues to provide reassurance and comfort. He continues to show us the path forward and give us the confidence we need to get through the journey. And Dr. Bates is on board. He ended the appointment saying “Leave here knowing it’s not if you will get pregnant, but when and how.” Only God knows the answer to that question, but we can’t wait to find out!

Without Fear Of The Future

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Future is a big word; full of hope, possibility, fear, worry, the unknown. If I spend too much time thinking about our future it can consume me, so instead I have to choose daily to focus on the here and now.

Daniel and I went for my follow-up last Thursday and it went about how we expected it would.

The good: My doctor felt confidant that my HCG level will finish going back to normal on its own and released me. So for now, we can get back to normal (or at least our new normal). I will go back next Monday for blood work that will hopefully confirm my HCG level is at zero. She referred us to a fertility specialist Dr. Bates in Birmingham at UAB and we have our first appointment scheduled for June 24th.

The bad: She prepared us for our visit with the specialist and explained what we should expect going forward – IVF.

We were in no way surprised by this news, but that doesn’t make it any less abrasive.  No one expects to go from “let’s make a baby” to “IVF” in six months. We fully plan to discuss all options with the doctor at the end of June and there’s still a chance that he will allow us to try one more time naturally. However, we have full peace and confidence that things will work out the way they are supposed to. We know that He has placed a desire for children in our hearts for a reason. Our future may take a path we did not expect, but we will not let the fear of the unknown stand in the way of the promise that He has given us!

Patience is a virtue, and I don’t have it.


Patience is something I struggle with, daily.  I want to see where I am heading, know how I’m getting there, and take the quickest path there. However, I am constantly reminded that my timing may not be God’s timing. So I wait.

The last week has been calm and wonderful.  After the great news that I didn’t need a third Methotrexate shot last week we slowly got back into our normal routine. Most notable was that I could finally enjoy a meal that consisted of more than bagels and rice. Woohoo! While I am still on some restrictions (no alcohol, exercise, etc.) we are basically back to normal.

So we headed to Birmingham for the long weekend and spent some long needed time with friends. Let me tell you how nice it was to just relax and enjoy ourselves after the last few weeks. It was also a great reminder of the amazing friends God has surrounded us with who are continuing to pray and support us through this process.

And PROCESS is the key word. Yesterday’s blood work results came back and while they showed progress they weren’t at the ZERO that I wanted to see. They went from 69 last week to 8 today. I know, it’s so close and I should be ecstatic about that, but all I could think about was how it wasn’t at zero and I had prayed so hard for it to be zero. Then I stopped and reminded myself once again that my timing is not HIS timing. And so I wait. Patience.

Thursday Daniel and I will go to a follow-up with my doctor and hopefully get a clearer picture about what the coming weeks will look like. I will then go back next Monday for more blood work to confirm that hopefully my HCG level is finally at a zero.


Wonderful Joy Ahead!

Yesterdays blood work came back and the last round of Methotrexate shots seems to be working!  My levels haven’t gone back to normal (0) quit yet, but they are definitely on their way.  We are so thankful for this, since the shots gave me some pretty bad side effects.  The only foods I was really able to tolerate were bagels and rice. Yum. Yum.

I will go back for more blood work next Monday and then a follow up appointment with my doctor next week.

God is good!

Wonderful Things

Someday You Will… (Ectopic Pregnancy Saga, Part 2)

You Do Not Understand

God has a much bigger plan for us than we could ever imagine. It’s this truth that has kept me grounded during the last few weeks. The first ectopic pregnancy was tragic, but I thought it was just a stepping stone on the way to our forever family. I remember all of the people who told me about their ectopic pregnancy, or their friends, or cousins who went on to have healthy pregnancies. This comforted me at the time, but in the back of my mind I wondered if that too would be our story.

I felt relieved when the dye test they performed at the end of March showed no issues or blockages with my remaining Fallopian Tube and we were cleared. My doctor sent us on our way, “Hopefully the next time I see you in a few months you’ll be pregnant!”

We knew it might take longer to conceive this time around since I only had one Fallopian Tube left and while hoping to conceive quickly we were prepared for a longer wait. So a few weeks later when I tested and it came back negative I was not surprised and shortly thereafter my period started right on time. Two days after my period was over I started spotting and immediately thought something was not right. Of course I did what everyone shouldn’t do and Googled possible causes, one of which was an ectopic pregnancy. We decided I would take another pregnancy test just to clear my mind. I took the test fully expecting it to be negative, so what a surprise when it came up positive. I immediately panicked. It’s that moment when all of your fears start coming true and while you want to trust that everything will be okay all you can do is panic.

I went to the doctor’s office that morning for them to draw blood and was told not to worry that they were sure everything would be fine and to wait for them to call with the results. The next morning when they called they said my HCG levels (the level that indicates if you are pregnant) was low, but that it could still be very early and they wanted me to come back in two days for them to recheck things. It came back lower and I was told I was most likely having an early miscarriage.

Now, let me stop here and say that miscarriages are horrible and sad and I don’t wish them on myself or others. And the idea of having one was sad, but in the back of my mind I was just so thankful that it wasn’t another ectopic pregnancy.

The roller coaster of blood work continued for two weeks and then everything changed. This time my HCG levels came back higher, which is a sign of an ectopic pregnancy. An ultrasound and more blood work later, it was confirmed. My doctor wants to do anything possible to save my remaining Fallopian Tube. They started me on Methotrexate shots, which is a chemo drug used to attack/kill off the failed pregnancy tissue. They can give me up to three rounds of shots and unfortunately we are finishing up our second round of shots today. We are waiting for the test results to come back now, which will determine if a third round of shots are needed or not.  I am really hoping that this last round of shots worked, as the medicine has not made me feel good at all! I’ll post later tonight or tomorrow with an update.

It’s hard to see how things will work out when you are in the thick of a bad situation, but Daniel and I just have to keep holding on to the hope He has put in our hearts. We know we are meant to have children and so we will journey on and let Him figure out how we get from here to there.

Jesus replied, “You don’t understand what I am doing now, but someday you will.” John 13:7