2014 – 1, Me – 0

I know I’m not the only one that is glad that 2014 is OVER.  It was a rough year!

The last couple months were especially rough.  Not just because of the holidays.

We hadn’t told anyone, but we had been approached with a private adoption situation and were OVER THE MOON about it!  It seemed that we were FINALLY going to be parents!  We learned early last month that that possibility was gone.  It was very heartbreaking.  You don’t realize how invested your heart becomes so quickly.

I’ve been fighting off depression pretty badly.  Some days, it seems like I’m winning the battle.  Other days, it seems that the light at the end of the tunnel is barely flickering.  My husband has been so patient and loving with me.  I’m not entirely sure how he puts up with me sometimes.  Of course, I put up with him, too so I guess we’re even!  Well, that and he’s working a second job so I think that helps, too!

With J working a second job, I spend quite a bit of time alone.  It’s not always so bad, but I do get pretty lonely.  He’s been saying that I need to find something to do when he’s not here and because a lot of my depression (I think) comes from hating my body so much, I have decided that going to the gym is the perfect answer!  I find a hobby AND I can get in shape while doing it!  Talk about a WIN-WIN!!  (And NO, it’s NOT a New Years resolution!!)

I blame a lot of the extra weight I’m carrying on the fertility meds that I took for our IUI’s, but having a somewhat sedentary job and not doing much physical activity when I’m at home certainly hasn’t helped that!

I’m a little afraid to share with the world that I need to lose weight, but let’s face it, anyone that looks at me knows that’s no secret!  And the reason that I’m telling the world – well, the part of the world that reads this and actually cares – is because part of the battle is admitting weakness.  And the other part is accountability.

I am making a valiant effort to kick 2015’s butt and not the other way around!!

Also, if you follow me on Instagram or we are friends on Facebook, I have been participating in a really neat 60-day challenge that has been designed to let people in on our lives and get to know us better.  Here is the list of pictures that I will be sharing!

hopingtoadopt60days

This is in the hopes that through word-of-mouth we may be able to find the perfect match to help complete our family!  If you’re interested in following, you can “like” our Facebook page “Bringing Home Munchkin McNabb” or follow me on Instagram – @neeners079!!  It’s been a lot of fun so far!

Hope to see you there!

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My Grown-Up Christmas List

It used to be that I REFUSED to put up my tree or ANY kind of Christmas decoration until the day after Thanksgiving.  Actually, it was ON Thanksgiving.

After I’d eaten (and then napped), on went the Christmas music, out came the decorations, and down went the Frothy Eggnog.  (Yes, I said Frothy.  It’s eggnog, rum and ice all mixed in a blender.)

I’d start with the Christmas village, and then moved forward with the rest of the decorations.  I’ve ALWAYS had an obsession with Christmas villages.  I LOVE them!

I love to sit and look down at them and imagine all the goings-on that are happening in the tiny little town.

Children giggling in bed until all hours.  Peeking down the stairs when they hear the floors creak.  Waking up before the sun to beg mom and dad to let them check out their stockings and open presents.

About 10 years ago or so, I found little ceramic houses.  I bought one thinking it would be good to help pass the time and little did I know that 10 years later I would still be collecting them and painting them one-by-one.

One painstaking, detail-oriented, OCD-in-full-effect house at a time.  Here’s a sneak-peek at a few of them!

They all start out like this!

They all start out like this!

IMG_4052 IMG_4051 IMG_4050

And then I add the details!

And then I add the details!

And then I add glitter for snooooow!

And then I add glitter for snooooow!

I think of those little houses like us.  Blank as can be, and then God fills in all the tiny little details – right down to the number of hairs on our head.

I found that when I got out on my own, my traditions changed.

My husband and I started our own traditions 7 years ago – it all started with a tree.  And it hasn’t changed since.  (It almost ended with a tree too, but that’s a WHOLE other story!)

The holidays have been kind of rough the last couple years.  I’ve always looked forward to the holidays with children.  While it’s not at all impossible for adults to enjoy Christmas without kids (side note: people who think it is are on my list of people I don’t want to hear comments from.  ever.)  I had just always dreamed about wrapping presents and filling stockings for our kids.  I had even hoped I would be able to do a creative, fun pregnancy announcement for the holidays!  But the last couple years, I haven’t much wanted to participate.

This year…  this year is different.  There’s a new sense of cautious optimism.  A tentative joy.  A watchful hope.

J and I have been ensconced in the process of adoption…  mountains of paperwork and doctor’s appointments and reference letters and background checks.  It’s seriously a LOT of work!

Part of all the paperwork are a LARGE list of questions that J and I have to answer separately.  Questions about the other.  Questions about ourselves.

Me being COMPLETELY OCD couldn’t just leave the answers in our own handwriting – noooooooo.  I had to type them up and then highlight my name in pink and his in blue for our respective answers.  (DON’T JUDGE.)

I answered my questions on my own and had J do the same.  As I was reading through his answers and typing them out – through tears – I realized something.

INFERTILITY SUCKS.  But if it weren’t for this trial, and for the amazing blessing we are preparing to receive, we would probably have never asked each other a lot of the questions.

  • Describe your personality
  • Describe your spouse’s personality
  • What’s your biggest strength/weakness?
  • What’s your spouse’s biggest strength/weakness?
  • What makes your marriage strong?
  • Describe your happiest/worst childhood memory

How many of you can tell me what your spouse’s favorite childhood memory is?

It sure does wake something up inside of you when you hear your biggest strength and weakness in someone else’s voice.  And it certainly does something to your self-esteem when you see yourself through someone else’s eyes.

I try SO HARD to be grateful for every situation we face.  Some days I fail.  Other days I fail MISERABLY.  Other days, I can almost feel the silver lining.  But I am SO GRATEFUL that I was able to learn those things!!

This year, as I was decorating our tree, the song “My Grown-Up Christmas List” sang by Michael Bublé came on.  And as he sang about wishing for no more lives torn apart, no war, time healing all hearts, everyone having a friend and love never ending, I wanted to write my own lyrics to the song, but my rhyming skills are SERIOUSLY lacking.

As I’ve grown older, my list has gotten smaller.  I’d like to say that the things I want can’t be bought, but as we all in the infertility world know, unfortunately they really CAN put a price on a child.

But they can’t put a price on happiness.

And after I finish my Grown-Up Christmas List, I won’t be sitting on any laps to tell what it is…  No, I’ll be reading it on my knees. 

Holi-daze – Resolve to Know More

Holidays are fun and joyous and exciting!

Loved ones gathered around – sharing stories and giving gifts and spending time together.

When one of those loved ones passes away, those holidays are now a sad reminder of all the good times.

Death is painful.  And while that loss is very hard, there’s a difference between the loss of a loved one and the loss of a dream.  When a loved one dies, there’s rituals – closure.  You go through the grieving process and, while you remember them on the anniversaries of those losses, the pain gradually recedes.

With infertility, there’s no closure.  Just when the wound of another negative pregnancy test has the time to heal, it’s reopened again the next month.  It’s like this constant revolving door of pain.

To couples struggling with infertility, holidays are yet another reminder of our unrealized dreams and memories yet to be made.

Children barely getting any sleep on Christmas Eve in hopes of catching Santa leaving presents under the tree.  Of seeing the Easter Bunny hiding eggs.  Of choosing a costume that transforms them into their favorite superhero or character.

When you get married and make the decision to have kids, you think about how you’ll decorate their room and what you’ll say when they have the cutest puppy EVER follow them home and how old they’ll be when you let them start shaving.

But you never think about how many cycles will pass that you get a negative pregnancy test or how good you’ll get at knowing down to the moment when you ovulate or that trying to make that baby just might not be fun anymore.

Maybe you’re the person that bought an ornament just for your child’s first Christmas.  Or you have a stocking that you have to keep in the boxes every year while you just hang two.  Or you have the CUTEST Easter outfit for church.  Or the perfect Father’s/Mother’s Day card stashed away in a secret spot.

But as the holidays come and go, you’re in a daze.  You go through the motions and smile on the outside.  But on the inside?  On the inside, your heart is just trying to beat past all of the broken pieces.

I’ve been asked why we even celebrate with just the two of us and was told that we should just enjoy not having to fill stockings and wrap presents and shouldn’t even decorate a tree.  Like there’s some unwritten rule that if you don’t have children, you’re not allowed to participate in the festivities.  THAT hurt.

holiday e-card

Mother’s and Father’s Day are especially hard.  It’s the time when everyone is celebrating motherhood and fatherhood.  While we celebrate our mothers and fathers, we are reminded that there is a void in our hearts that hasn’t been filled.

I can’t wait until the day that we will giggle like teenagers as we oh-so-stealthily put presents under the tree for our child.  I can’t wait for the day that we will dress our child up and take them door to door trick-or-treating.  I can’t wait for the day we find new creative places to hide the Easter eggs we’ve decorated.

And I especially can’t wait for every night that we will get to pray with our child and kiss them on the forehead as we tuck them in and wish them a peaceful slumber – and then stand in the doorway, arm in arm, and marvel at the miracle that we get to love for the rest of our lives.

Until that day – we will continue to smile.  And celebrate each other.  I may be in a holi-daze when those times come around, but I’m doing my best to make it through.  And sometimes, it’s okay to not be okay.

So, when those holidays come around and you know someone who is struggling with infertility – just remind them that you love them.  If you ask them how they’re feeling and they tell you that they don’t want to talk about it, don’t take it personally.  We always remember those who make a genuine effort!

For more tips on how to cope with the holidays, visit: http://www.resolve.org/support-and-services/Managing-Infertility-Stress/coping-with-holidays.html

http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html

http://www.resolve.org/infertility101

Can I Say That?

Well, its come.  And its gone.  Christmas is like a dream – it all happens so fast, that you can barely remember all the details.  All the hustle and bustle, hurry up and wait and then it’s gone.  *poof*

smoke

My poor husband and I spent this Christmas sick as can be.  We mustered the strength to spend Christmas Eve with his family, and that was very enjoyable – as always.  I had some trouble making it through the night without tears, but by about the 10th breakdown of the day, I was learning to hide the tears very well.  Plus, being sick, I had something to blame the sniffles on!  We did our traditional “Dirty Santa” gift exchange and I must say – we came out the big winners!  One of the rules is that, a gift can only be owned by 3 people.  Once the third person has it in their possession, it’s frozen!  When my brother-in-law opened a ginormous mug with Mickey Mouse on it, I KNEW it had to be mine!  I coolly waited my turn and then went in for the kill, making me the second owner.  Thankfully, my husband and I make the BEST team.  He stole it from me and – VICTORY!  (You know, what’s his is mine, and what’s mine is mine!)  When I say GINORMOUS mug, I mean GINORMOUS mug!!  After that we did our traditional, draw-a-name gift exchange hosted by none other than my husband – Santa Jon.  Seriously though, I wish he wasn’t trying to grow his beard out to truly fit the role.

mug

We made it home about 10pm that night and by then, I was MISERABLE!  I know that when we first got home, my temp was hovering around 100 degrees.  It was straight to bed for me, and straight to the couch for my husband – my coughing could have woke the dead.  It felt GREAT to sleep in on a Wednesday!  For a brief second after I woke up, I had to fight the urge to take down all of our Christmas decorations, but then my inner voice kicked my butt into submission and pushed me onto the couch – where I remained parked all day.  When hubby joined me, we began a movie marathon.  My only requirement was – NO CHRISTMAS MOVIES!

Then this morning, first thing at work, I decided to do some digging.  I know that Kentucky is NOT a fertility friendly state.  (only country I know that would rather give women free birth control than try to help a woman become pregnant.  But that’s another book blog.)  The company my husband and I both work for acquired a new insurance carrier this year.  As I started to look online at their policies, I saw a VERY promising line – one that made my heart & stomach collide and do a little dance.  “Covered Services: Infertility”  They continued to tango until I was on the phone with the agent from the insurance company and they assured me that, while the insurance company DOES offer those services, that our state doesn’t mandate that coverage and our company hadn’t elected that to be one of the benefits of the extra money we would be paying into our sub par policies.  I then proceeded to call 3 different supplemental agencies only to be reminded that – people don’t want to be REMINDED that there are women out there that have trouble getting/can’t get pregnant naturally, therefore there is no insurance to COVER it!  We seriously need to move.  But ANYWAY!

wish you were here

Some parts were not so great.  Some parts were really great.  I got to speak with someone who I hadn’t spoken with in quite a long time, someone who means SO much to me.  I always hear people say how they didn’t realize how much they missed someone until they talked to them again…  I don’t know HOW that can be true.  Speaking to this person only reminded me just HOW MUCH I had missed them.  What a blessing!

With all that said – I’m glad it’s over.  Can I say that?!  I feel like such a Scrooge!!  But it’s never been truer than this year!  I am SO ready for 2014 to start.  I’m ready for hope and blessings and maybe even a miracle thrown in.

always believe

3 Days And 4 Letter Words

I did something today that I do every day.  I looked at my phone.  But for some reason – about the 1,893 time I looked at my phone today – I could only see one thing.  The date.  Sunday, December 22.  SERIOUSLY?!  Surely my phone was lying!  I’ve even changed the mouse in our Countdown Calendar every day and it STILL didn’t hit me… THERE ARE ONLY 3 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS.

3 days til Christmas

My life isn’t counted by days or years anymore.  It’s counted by months – 25 to be exact.  25 long months have come and gone.  Some brought more pain than others.  Some have been bearable.  Some have been good.  Some have been miserable.  We’ve been waiting for one to be great.  I’ve ALWAYS dreamt of giving a card that said “Merry Christmas, Daddy/Grandma/Grandpa/Aunt/Uncle”.  Oh, how I prayed this year would be it.  But instead, in some cruel twist, I’m supposed to receive a “gift” that I dread on Christmas Eve.  Of all the family coming to town, this is the one that I would like to just skip this holiday all together.  My dreaded aunt.

dear tampax

You know how when you have allergies, you go in for shots to desensitize you?  I’ve been practicing that concept since the day after Thanksgiving, with Christmas movies and music.  I figured – the more I exposed myself, the less I would feel.   Part of me has wanted to fake some kind of illness to get out of the family get-together we have every single year, so I don’t embarrass myself in some sobbing, messy display.  (Although at the rate my husband and I are going with illness, I may not have to fake ANYTHING!)  Today, I realized that my desensitization process may have worked!  While I haven’t quite hit ‘happy’,  ‘numb’ is going to have to do.  Although, I feel the emotion building as I think about it.

Apparently, infertility is an invitation.  People come out of the woodwork with advice, ideas, opinions, diets, exercises, etc..  I appreciate the intentions behind (almost) all of them.  We’ve gotten support and love.  Recently, I’ve also gotten chastisement and scolding.  Some of it was directed.  Some of it was indirectly directed.  Some that know of our struggle, yet post about how people who complain or whine about not having kids not knowing how good they have it.  People are just plain mean.  And then there’s those who are supposed to be the closest to you that, no matter how many times or how many different ways you try to explain it, still just don’t get that just because THEY think that it should work a certain way, doesn’t mean that it WILL.  ‘Relaxing’ and ‘letting go’ works just as well for getting pregnant as it does for curing cancer.

nothing worth having comes easy

And then there are the days that my husband tells me that not everything has to be about that 4 letter word – “baby”.  I try SO hard not to make every day about that!  I wish I could explain to him just HOW hard I try not to make every day about that!  I know that he just wants his fun-loving, spontaneous, confident wife back.  I wish I could wrap that up and put it under the tree for him.  I wish I knew where to find her.  I miss her, too.  I had a friend that I’ve met through this journey tell me the other day that she feels like 2014 is OUR year.  It’s the year of the 4 letter word.  OH, how I pray she is right!!

2014

Sarah Laughed

So, my favorite Christian radio station that I listen to every day started playing Christmas songs the day after Thanksgiving and I LOVE it!!  This morning on my way to work I heard this song:

SUCH a beautiful song.  I’ve heard it numerous times, but this morning, it really reached out and grabbed me.  I found myself wondering if there were any women that were hurting when they found out that Mary, who was just a TEENAGER, was pregnant.  How could they have known that she was carrying my Savior?  I started to think about all the women in the bible that dealt with barrenness and infertility.  We modern women think that life is so hard when treatment is a year or two away – and it is, since we are no longer living for hundreds of years – but these women were THOUSANDS of years from that!  I found myself wondering if they felt the feelings of bitterness and jealousy and desperation.  Then, I did some digging.

bible

Elizabeth is Mary’s cousin.  In Luke 1 (NIV), it says that Elizabeth and her husband Zachariah “lived honorably before God, careful in keeping to the ways of the commandments and enjoying a clear conscience before God., but they were childless because Elizabeth could not conceive and they were both very old.”  It also says that when she was told she was pregnant, that she kept herself in seclusion for 5 months just to enjoy it!

In 1 Samuel, we are introduced to Hannah.  She is one of two wives.  The other wife, Peninnah, keeps popping out kids.  Not only does she keep having children, but she rubs it in Hannah’s FACE!  The story talks about how the families go to the temple together to eat and the husband serves Peninnah and all her children, but he gives an extra special helping to Hannah – because he loves her so much and because God had not given her children (can you say pity?!).  It says that Hannah is reduced to tears and has no appetite – year after year.  Sounds like infertility to me!  When her husband questions why she’s crying (sound familiar?!) she pulls herself together, eats and then quietly slips away for some time with God.  It says this in verses 1 Samuel 1:9-11 (The Message)  “Crushed in soul, Hannah prayed to God and cried and cried – inconsolably.  Then she made a vow:  Oh, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, If you’ll take a good, hard look at my pain, If you’ll quit neglecting me and go into action for me by giving me a son, I’ll give him completely, unreservedly to you.  I’ll set him apart for a life of holy discipline.”  That’s some serious pain right there.

We can’t forget Sarah.  She was 90 when she had a son!  But what’s great about Sarah is she seems so real!  It says in Genesis that God comes to visit Abraham and Sarah (how awesome is that?!) and tells her, that when He sees her next year, she will have a son.  SARAH LAUGHED!  At God!  Genesis 18:12 (The Message) tells us that Sarah thinks to herself “An old woman like me? Get pregnant? With this old man of a husband?”  Oh, I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for that!  But God just says “Is anything to hard for Me?”

We’ve all felt the same pain as these women.  We’ve cried and cried inconsolably – in bed, in the shower, in the car, in the grocery store, at work.  God sees it.  And He says “Is anything to hard for Me?”  Luke 1:37 says that NOTHING is impossible with God.

It’s somehow comforting to me to know that these women felt the same way.  While we may not be “normal”, we are certainly reliable!  Maybe I’ll never get pregnant.  Maybe I’ll get pregnant at an old age.  I can’t guarantee I won’t pull a Sarah if I do and laugh!  But shoot, we have to find SOME humor in our situation – or we will REALLY go crazy!!

humor