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!

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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!