2014 in review

What an awesome feature!! Thank you to all of you who read and interact and pray and support!!!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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!

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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. 

The Priceless Cost

Have you ever thought about the word ‘just’?  I think people use it too flippantly these days.  It’s used as an answer to almost every solution.  Here is a list of my favorite ‘just’ solutions for infertility:

  • ‘Just relax’ (been there)
  • ‘Just let go/don’t stress/don’t think about it’ (done that)
  • ‘Just drink a bottle of wine’ (drank LOTS of that)
  • ‘Just try artificial insemination/IVF’ (yup, done some of that, too)
  • ‘Just adopt’

Here’s my little nugget of wisdom.  Get a pen and a piece of paper and take notes…  Go ahead, I’ll wait.   Ready?

There is no ‘just’ about anything that has to do with any painful situation.

Any situation where a decision needs to be made that could significantly alter the outcome of an original perception requires intense discussion, pondering and most importantly, prayer.

As most of the people in our lives know (and heck, any stranger who will listen), J and I are in the process of adoption.  After our unsuccessful battle with infertility, we did some soul-searching and praying and decided that it wasn’t as important for us to be pregnant as it was for us to be parents.

November is National Adoption Awareness Month.  In 1976 in Massachusetts, Governor Mike Dukakis proclaimed National Adoption Week.  President Gerald Ford made the first National Adoption Week proclamation and in 1990, the week was extended to a month due to the excitement and participation by so many people and states.  There’s even one day of the month that is proclaimed as National Adoption Day and many adoptions are finalized all at the same time!  I just think that’s neat!

I have been criticized VERY harshly in the last couple days about the way I see adoption (as an amazing blessing), even to the point where I was told that I don’t deserve to have children and that me not being able to get pregnant must have been God’s way of telling us that we shouldn’t be parents and that there is no way that I could ever love an adopted child unconditionally because we HAVE to adopt and not WANT to adopt due to infertility.

The “conversation” – a term I use VERY loosely as it was more just overly assertive, opinionated people trying to get everyone else to believe exactly the way that they do rather than hear what anyone else has to say – escalated very quickly and left me feeling ashamed, embarrassed, scared, naïve and unprepared, to say the very least.

But as I remove myself from the “support group” – HA – that I got the criticism from, I realize that my opinion is just that.  MINE.

Every parent is frightened before they have their first child.  Ever parent wonders if they’ve screwed up monumentally along the way.  But every parent loves their child in an unconditional way that can’t be judged, deemed unworthy, viewed incorrectly or questioned by anyone else.

I say again:  Biology is the LEAST of what makes someone a parent!

I am beyond excited to meet the child that we will give a forever home to and love with every single nook and cranny of our hearts.  My heart pines and my arms ache for our child to come home.

To be woken repeatedly through the night to take care of someone who needs me.  To hear the pitter-patter of little feet.  To see daddy holding on to the bicycle seat while running alongside.  To wipe away tears after a broken heart.  To celebrate Mother’s and Father’s Day from the inside.

And to the parents who love their child enough to make the painful, selfless decision to entrust them to us to love them enough for all of us, my heart will be eternally grateful.

We all have learning to do, growth to be made, challenges to be met, disappointments to face, joy to share…  And in this month of awareness, I know that I am learning and growing.  I’m facing challenges and disappointment.  But the joy that I will be able to share will be so worth it.

Home Study:  $1,500
Background Checks:  $250
Legal Fees:  Cost undetermined
Having a child to call our own:  Priceless

Being A Miracle

For those of you that are friends with me on Facebook or follow me on Instagram, you know that I made a post a bit ago that alluded to an emotional decision.  This is the blog that is going to explain that decision.

I have ALWAYS wanted to be a mommy.  I remember as a little girl subjecting my dolls to diaper changes and baths and feedings.  I have worked with children in so many different capacities and it has always been the one thing that has made my heart feel full.

Infertility has attempted to take that from me.

It has attempted to take the excitement I would feel when I see a pregnant woman.

It has attempted to take the joy I would feel when I would go to see a friend of mine who had gone into labor or had a baby.

It has attempted to take the giddiness I would feel when thinking about a baby-making opportunity with my husband.

Infertility has attempted to replace those feelings with jealousy, anxiety, feelings of failure, sadness.

And most days, infertility has won those battles.  But infertility won’t win the war.

After 32 long months of prayer, heartaches and long conversations with J,  the fact remains that our calling in life is simple.

To be parents.

If there is one lesson I have learned REPEATEDLY, it is that biology is the VERY LEAST of what makes someone a parent.

After our 3rd failed IUI, as I was messaging J through the sobs and tears, he made a comment that I have never forgotten.  “I know how badly you want this, and I do, too.  But maybe there’s a child out there that needs US more than we need this.

And with that on our hearts, we have decided to stop pursuing the avenue of IVF and go full steam ahead down the path of adoption.

I can’t lie and say that there isn’t a small part of me that feels like I am “letting go” of the dream of seeing our biological child look at me through their daddy’s eyes.  It would have been a welcome miracle to get pregnant, but to have the opportunity to be a miracle to a child that otherwise may not have a chance?  Now THAT’S big!

We have changed our IVF fundraiser to an Adoption fundraiser and will hopefully soon be having a homestudy done in order to move one step closer to building our family!

Miraculously My Own

I have SO many emotions and nerves!  I constantly find myself wondering whether I will actually be a good mom…  But I guess it’s one of those things you can’t really study for.  You just jump in the deep end and learn to swim as you go!

I know that this process can take quite a long time, so J and I would GREATLY appreciate all of the prayer and good thoughts you can send our way!

If you’d like to check out our fundraiser (or donate!) you can find it at www.youcaring.com/munchkin-mcnabb

You can also “like” our Facebook page – Munchkin McNabb

Thank you SO much to all of you for your support and love through our journey!!  We are so amazingly grateful!!

NOT the Best Day Ever

Well, the suspense was short-lived.

Patience not being my strong suit, I checked my email first thing upon waking up this morning only to find an email from the foundation we applied through. I found this…

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I know God knows. I know His plans are best. I know in my heart that we will be parents. I’m just not sure how.

Today will be hard – as will many days after – but thankfully I have an amazingly supportive husband and great friends that are feeling my pain with me and we will continue to be surrounded by encouragement and love.

I felt pretty peaceful after reading it. Then as I read my devotional this morning, I was reminded that God wants me to fully trust in Him. So, I’m going to do that. I just wish it didn’t so often feel like I’m being left behind…

So, it may not be the best day ever, but it’s not the worst either.

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Tomorrow Might Be the Best Day EVER

Or, it could be one of the lowest.

For 8 weeks and 2 days I have been silently, anxiously awaiting news of the IVF Grant that we applied for.

piggy bank

Well, I was in contact with someone from the foundation this week and assured that I haven’t missed any previous announcements and that they were making their decision on Tuesday night and would be contacting the selected couples on Friday.

Friday is almost here.

This grant would mean SO many things to us. To even apply was a HUGE step.  Not quite as hard as it was to set up our YouCaring account, but same concept.

It’s not easy to ask for help.  Especially when it comes to something that most people don’t understand.

Things have felt like they are really looking up lately and I am nervously, excitedly, terrifyingly, anxiously, nauseously awaiting our answer.  I’m going to have to work really hard to not check my email every 15 seconds!  But with all the packing we have to do, I should be able to stay pretty busy!

Either way,  I know that we are strong.  We are resourceful.  And we WILL make it!!  I know that whether or not we are able to get pregnant, that we will be parents someday.

But getting this grant would ABSOLUTELY change our lives!

When you say your prayers tonight, would you please pray that first of all, I would sleep tonight!  And also, that we will have peace.  Regardless of the answer, that we will remember that it is all in God’s hands and He knows exactly how our story goes.

But mostly, please pray that tomorrow might be the Best. Day. EVER.

dear God

 

Big Announcement!!

SORRY!  It’s not what you thought!!!  (Although I wish it were!!!!)

There are SO many things going on in our lives right now.

Good things!  Potentially GREAT things!!

  • J and I are just waiting for the sellers to pick a firm close date.  We’ve already given our notice to our apartment complex.
  • We should be hearing ANY day now about the determination of the IVF grant.
  • AND we are up to $2,000 in our IVF fundraiser!  Almost enough for one round of medications.
  • I have finished writing a letter to my employer asking them to consider adding infertility coverage as a benefit to our health insurance plans (fingers crossed!!!).
  • To support a statement in that letter, I had to search Google for an article and when I typed ‘infertility 3rd most serious’ into the search engine, MY BLOG was the 4th top result on Google’s main home page!!!!  (I totally shouldn’t be geeking out about it – but I COMPLETELY am!!!)
  • During National Infertility Awareness Week, I was approached by a national fertility organization and asked to blog for them!!

Yup.  You read that right!  My little ol’ piddly blog somehow captured the attention of Attain Fertility and I was asked to blog for them!

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It is not a paid writing gig, but the exposure will be AMAZING!!  The blogs I write will be published on the Attain Fertility website, blog, Twitter, and Facebook pages.  Their Facebook page alone has over 30,000 fans!!

Plus, I will be able to more effectively promote awareness for this disease that NEEDS more attention!!!

So, I’m excited for all the things that are coming…  but I’m exhausted just thinking about it!!!!  What an adventure!!

If you’d like to keep up with the blogs I write on that website, you can always ‘Like’ our Munchkin McNabb page on Facebook for a really easy way to follow!

I just want to say THANK YOU to all of you that have read my blogs and are following me!  The support that I get from all of you is simply amazing.

I hope that you will stay tuned for my ramblings blogs on Attain’s website!!