Doing What We Say

I KNOW!  It’s been FOREVER since I’ve posted a blog!  I hope you all don’t hate me!!

There has been SO much going on!  I can’t share it all just yet, but it’s REALLY exciting!

(**Disclaimer**  I know every time an infertile uses the words “It’s REALLY exciting” people’s minds wander, so let me put that question to rest now – I’m NOT pregnant!)

Fair Warning:  This blog might make you uncomfortable, and that’s kinda the point.  It might seem like a total rant, and that’s okay.  My goal is to challenge you – to make you think twice or even three times before making some decisions or statements.

I’ve said it before – this journey is hard!

It’s difficult to try SO hard for something, to want something SO badly, to pray for something SO fervently, to fight for something SO passionately …  and not get it.

And when you find a way that you MIGHT get the chance to realize that dream but have no way of affording it,  it’s even harder to swallow our pride and ask for help.

I’ve had people be so much more incredibly supportive than I ever could have imagined.

I’ve also had people tell me that if I can’t afford to do IVF or adoption, I shouldn’t be a parent at all.

I’ve had people tell me that because I can’t get pregnant, it’s God’s way of telling me that I shouldn’t be a parent at all.

I’ve had people tell me that asking others for money to be a parent is a selfish thing to do and if I’m selfish maybe I shouldn’t be a parent at all.

 If it’s in an email or a message, I simply ignore it.  If it’s said to my face, I simply smile and nod.  (I may or may not say something equally inappropriate sometimes just to embarrass people and make them realize they are out of line making certain statements.)

I know I’ve shared a friend’s blog before that was SO important to me.  She talked about how doing something – even something small – can go such a long way.

We have people telling us all the time how much they support us.  And how they pray for us.  And how they hope we raise a lot of money.  We appreciate it ALL!

There are people who will pray with me in person and there are those that share our story or YouCaring link every single time I post it.  And that’s amazing!!

But I often wonder…  When people say they pray for us, do they pray for us by name?  Do they say they’re going to pray and then forget?  ( I’m guilty of that and even wrote about how I get caught in the “I’ll pray for you” web here )

Almost every day,  I see some of the same people – friends and family – who tell us they support us sharing link after link of crowdfunding accounts for people they may or may not know.  But I’ve yet to see our link shared.

I’m not saying that our story matters more.  Or that anybody else’s story matters less.  Everyone deserves the opportunity to receive the help that they’ve asked for!

I don’t mind that these people share those links one bit!  In fact, on most of them, I think it’s a great way to raise awareness, and I pray that they receive their miracle – whatever it may be!

What I DO mind is feeling that our story just isn’t important enough to share.  Or that declarations of support are simply lip service or “saying the right thing”.

Listen – I’m NOT saying that we expect you to donate a million dollars, a hundred dollars or even ten dollars, we understand that times are tough.  I’m NOT saying that we expect every person to drop everything to pray with us right that second.  I’m NOT saying that we expect people to go out of their way or over the top to show their support.

What I AM saying is,

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

If you tell someone you support them,  show it.  Send a card.  Offer to help where it’s needed.  Take them out for coffee.  Let them cry without offering advice.  Share a link.  Like their post.  Participate in their trials & joy!

Maybe there’s someone in your list of friends that is suffering with something silently, and seeing you share something that lets them know they’re not alone is just what they need.

When you tell someone you’re going to pray for them, say a little prayer silently in that moment.

It’s a hard thing to do, I know.  But it only takes doing something 28 times before it becomes a habit!  And having the opportunity to bless 28 people?  Wow.

If I made you uncomfortable, good.  If I made you think, good.  If I made you say to yourself ” I will say a prayer for someone right then when I tell them I will”, good!

I’m not just preaching here, I am working every day at doing what I say!

Will you practice doing what we say?!

 

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FroYo, Pancakes & Puzzles! Oh My!

Wow.

It’s been almost a month since I’ve posted anything.  Time sure does fly!

It’s been a combination of crazy busyness from the adoption process and all that’s going on with that and a lot of other things that are going on in our lives right now!

We are excited to be moving along pretty quickly in the process!  There is really SO MUCH to do!  But I wouldn’t change any of it, since it puts us one step closer to being parents!!!

We’ve done most of the required background checks.  Thank goodness they didn’t find that one thing from that one time!  (Totally just kidding.  You should know that by now.)  FBI fingerprinting, state background checks, home study.  Still LOTS more to do!!

Now, we are into the fun part…  FUNDRAISING!!

We had a fundraiser today at Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt here in our town and the response that we got from it was absolutely humbling.  Orange Leaf has a program in place that allows people who are raising money for causes to choose a certain day, create a flyer and then when friends and family and whoever else comes in and shows the flyer, 25% of all the sales will go to that cause!!  Which is seriously generous considering most of the other places that I’d contacted were only allowing 10%!

People at work rallied together to make sure that every one knew about it and had access to a flyer.  Friends and family shared it repeatedly on their Facebook pages.  People made multiple trips to get FroYo!

Seriously.  Humbled.  A SINCERE THANK YOU to those of you that went today!  Your support means the WORLD!

We have a few more fundraisers in the planning stages at this time (like Yard Sales, Pancake Breakfasts, etc), buuuuuuuut – here’s the next one!

I’ve seen all kinds of awesome ideas on the internet about ways to raise money for adoption, but one really caught my eye!

I’ve always felt like a piece of our family is missing…  SO!  In an attempt to raise money to FIND our missing piece, I have created a puzzle, had it printed and shipped and it’s just WAITING to be put together!!

The puzzle is 500 pieces and we are going to sell each piece for $5 – for you math whizzes like me, that’s $2,500.  When you purchase a piece, we will write your name on the back of the piece and then when all the pieces have been purchased, we will glue it together, frame it and hang it in the nursery!!  You can purchase just one piece, more than one piece or even just throw a little extra in for good measure!

You can either go to our YouCaring account and donate, or you can email me at munchkinmcnabb@gmail.com and I will give you an address to mail your payment to! (Just make sure if you do it through YouCaring, to mention ‘puzzle’ in the comments!)

Just like we don’t know yet what our child is going to look like, we are going to leave it a mystery as to what the finished puzzle will look like!!

Puzzle 1

Has your curiosity been peaked yet?  Are you excited to see what the end result is?!

SO ARE WE!!!!!!

Resolve to Know More…

This week, in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, I will be blogging about the facts of the disease of infertility.  That’s right, disease.  In fact, an article I read recently stated that it’s the 3rd most serious health condition after heart disease and cancer.  Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples of reproductive age.

We are 1 in 8.

We are 1 in 8.

 

According to RESOLVE,  infertility is a disease of the reproductive system.  Infertility is often diagnosed after a couple has had one year of unprotected, well-timed intercourse, or if the woman has suffered from multiple miscarriages and the woman is under 35 years of age.  If the woman is over 35 years old, it is diagnosed after 6 months of unprotected, well-timed intercourse.  One-third (30%) of infertility can be attributed to male factors, and about one-third (30%) can be attributed to female factors.  In about 20% of cases infertility is unexplained, and the remaining 10% of infertility is caused by a combination of problems in both partners.

My husband and I are in that small 10%.

There are many different risk factors that can contribute to infertility.

  • Weight
  • Age
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
  • Tubal Disease
  • Endometriosis
  • DES Exposure
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol

I struggle with PCOS and him with MFI (male factor infertility).  We’ve been trying to get pregnant since we got married in November of 2011.  We had a miscarriage in August of 2012 and in March of 2013 my OB prescribed Clomid, which hyperstimulated my ovaries (OHSS).  I ended up needing emergency surgery to drain the cysts that had grown.  In June, July and August of 2013 we went through medicated IUI cycles (one pretty heavily medicated), which were all unsuccessful. We are currently saving money for IVF through an online fundraiser – www.youcaring.com/munchkin-mcnabb – which our RE feels is likely the only way we will get pregnant.

There are often no signs or symptoms that will indicate a problem with fertility.  But getting to know your body and understanding patterns it’s set will make that process easier.  If you feel there is a problem, seek help right away.

This week I’ll discuss family building options and the emotions that come with this journey!  I am so grateful for the awareness that is being raised and the opportunity that I have to take part in it!!

2014-niaw-image

http://www.resolve.org/infertility101  (Basic understanding of the disease of infertility.)

http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html (About NIAW)

Hope – Noun or Verb?

Some days are easier than others.  Some I can plaster a smile and crack jokes and laugh louder than anyone.  Other days it’s all I can do to not cry.  Some days, hope is one of those words that I hold tightly to…  and other days, it hides.

hiding_bear

In school, we learn that a noun is a word used to describe a person, place or thing, while a verb is an action word.  Hope, as a noun, means “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.”  As a verb, means ” intend, if possible, to do something.”

Infertility is a noun.  But my response?  A verb.  There’s no ‘if possible’ about it – I intend to be a mother.

Women who battle infertility have to do things that we never expected to have to do.  We take our temps first thing in the morning before we even get out of bed.  We chart our cervical mucus (*ewww*).  We have way too many different people explore our sacred places in hopes of answers.  We have an intimately familiar love/hate relationship with Mr. Dildocam (ultrasound wand).  We take pills that give us bad mood swings.  We inject ourselves with medications that give us WORSE mood swings.  We risk damaging, or worse yet losing, our reproductive organs in hopes of reproducing.  We shatter when our dreams slip through our fingers.  But – we get up, dust ourselves off and try again faster than most kids can get over dropping their ice cream off the cone on a hot day.  And if you asked any one of us if it was worth it… we’d all say yes before you finished the question.  Otherwise, we wouldn’t keep trying again and again.

fall down

It’s a pricey process – emotionally and financially.  Some women are extremely lucky, and others – not so much.  Unfortunately, we fall into the latter category.  The multi-billion dollar corporation that my husband and I work for has got just about the WORST insurance coverage when it comes to infertility.  Which leaves us in a spot that – quite frankly – makes me kinda uncomfortable.

A few months ago I wrote a blog about something that we are doing in order to make hope a verb for us.

I try so hard not to inundate people with the link.  I don’t want to be that annoying person that is asking people for money every day.  But really, that’s what we are doing.  And the response has truly warmed my heart.  These days, it’s not easy to part with a hard-earned dollar.  But every single time I log onto our YouCaring account and see that someone has donated – I am reduced to tears.  Every single contribution makes us feel like YOU believe in our miracle as much as WE do!  And that is an indescribable feeling!

Hope isn’t just something that we have in our hearts.  It’s something that we see every time someone sends an encouraging word.  Or reminds us that they are praying for us.  Or tells us how our strength is inspiring.  Or adds a dollar to our fund.

We TRULY, TRULY thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!!

thankyou_heart

I’m still here

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written.  If I’m being honest, it’s kinda been nice.  It’s nice to step back for a while and just be me.  To not worry about exactly when I’m ovulating or if this is going to be “our month” or if “that symptom” means something.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s always in the back of my mind… but it’s been nice to not have it be the ONLY thing on my mind.  I guess there has been a part of me that has thought “Maybe, even as much as I HATE hearing ‘just relax’, is exactly what I need to do.”  And then one cycles passes.  Then two.  And I remember – it’s a medical condition, not a mental condition.

November 4th was my husband’s and my 2 year wedding anniversary.  We made it 2 whole years without killing each other!!  We had talked about taking a small vacation – Lord knows we needed it, especially after the last few super emotional months – and after talking with his parents about it, his mom actually decided to purchase plane tickets and even go with us!  I know, most people would think that In-Laws on an anniversary vacation would be a major buzz-kill, but that wasn’t the case at all!  I’ve been very blessed with the in-laws that I have!!  We went to Ormond Beach, Florida and it was AMAZING!  I knew that we needed a vacation, but I didn’t realize just how much until we actually got there.  Surprisingly, I didn’t think about work at all!! Tough to imagine, I know.

waterfront

While we were there, we spent 2 nights at the Royal Floridian Resort RIGHT on the water.  The weather wasn’t perfect while we were there but it by NO means ruined our time.  There was quite a bit of rain, but we got to enjoy the sunshine as well and one day, as we sat on our balcony, I noticed that a break in the clouds had the sun casting a ray in a direct line onto the water.  My mind started to wonder about what was going on beneath the surface of the water in that spot.  Were the animals that lived there basking in the gift of warmth that the sun was offering, or were they content in the icy waters?  I often find myself wondering what is happening beyond what my eyes can see when I stand in front of the majestic sea.  Life scurrying about.  Animals seeking shelter and food.  One of the days that we were in St Augustine, I was able to sit and watch about 10-12 dolphins jump and play and toss fish back and forth – and I can’t remember a time I felt more at peace, even with all the emotions I was feeling at that moment.  I’ve always possessed a great passion for the ocean.  There is just something about it that is so peaceful and calming.  Strong, unrelenting, ever-changing – yet remaining the same.  I could sit and listen to and watch the waves roll in for hours and never get bored.

ray of light

The last couple months – like the many before – have been filled with pregnancy announcements, news of loss and all the other happenings that comprise our daily lives.  I can’t quite use the word “normal”, as our normal is so different from most.  I’ve had some time to search my heart some in the last couple months.  My heart still hurts when I hear of a woman who is pregnant or see a woman with that telling bump, but accompanying that ugly green monster lately has been a new perspective – Did she struggle with infertility? Did she get pregnant naturally or have to deal with medical procedures also?  For most women I see, I may never know the answer, but it’s made me feel as though I’m actually making progress in the war against bitterness.

think positive

The emotions that I felt after learning that my best friend was pregnant still shock me beyond belief when I think about them.  A friend of mine called it an “a$$-kicking surprise” and I can’t think of a better way to categorize all the emotions!  But lately, a new feeling about it has been creeping in…  a feeling I expected to feel right away.  I’m excited!  I’m going to be an aunt again!  I’m going to have a precious baby to spoil, and then send home!  I’m going to be able to kiss and hug and love and overall smother this child!  But as strong as those feelings of excitement are, they still wage war with the emotions I’m trying my best to tamper.  I haven’t told her about the excitement yet, and I hope that she will forgive me for having to read it here instead of hearing it from my mouth – although I did warn her (again) that I was blogging in part about her.  I guess it’s easier for me to keep my emotions in check when they’re shared in a broader range – plus I’m sure she’s TIRED of hearing me trip over my words in an explanation of what I’m feeling and how it isn’t her fault!!

We started a YouCaring account a bit ago in hopes of lightening the burden of IVF, and have had some wonderful people donate.  We are saving and adding to it as we can.  My husband has an amazing talent for woodworking and will be selling the projects he’s done, and is going to do, in order to donate to our fund.  I also have discovered a passion for photography that I am going to be using to donate to our fund also.  God is so awesome that He already had something lined up for me before I even knew it!  We also started a Facebook page that tells a little about us and references to this blog and our donation account.  If you are interested in checking any of them out, the links will be at the bottom of this blog!

piggy bank

Speaking of this blog – what an amazing outlet this has been for me.  I love that I can write what’s on my heart for all to see.  People always say that think I’m “amazing” and “so strong” for dealing with this… and I know I am.  I may not feel amazing and strong as much as I do broken and discouraged, but what I want people to take from this more than anything is HOPE.  We know that God has a plan for us.  He reminds us every day.  His plans are better than our dreams, and that is what keeps us going.  Thank you for being a part of this journey.  And this blog.  And my life.

hope

www.facebook.com/munchkinmcnabb

www.youcaring.com/munchkin-mcnabb

Swallowing Our Pride

So – after our interview with the adoption agency the other day – and finding out how much money they want up front – I decided to call my RE’s office and inquire about IVF.  Much to my surprise, it was actually CHEAPER!!

In speaking with them, I found out that they offer a “money back guarantee” IVF program.  For $17,500 (minus the cost of meds) a couple gets 6 fresh IVF cycles and if at the end of the 6 cycles there is no “live birth”, then the couple gets 70% of their money back!  SIGN ME UP!!  So, as I looked into it, I realized that one of the qualifications – an AMH of >1.2 – might exclude me from that program.  My AMH levels are 0.6, so I am, in fact, disqualified.  BUT!!!  They also have what is called a “multi-cycle package”.  For $16,000 (plus the cost of meds) a couple gets 2 fresh IVF Cycles and 2 FET’s (frozen embryo transfers) – provided there embryos to transfer.

ivf baby

After discussing it with my husband in length (and often heated) we decided that if we didn’t at least attempt IVF that there would always be the “what if”.  While we understand that there are a lot of risks of failure with this procedure, we also know that there is the risk of a MIRACLE.  We are asking friends, family and whoever else would like to be a part of this, to please check out the fundraising page that we have started!  We know it’s a big number!  It’s all overwhelming, that’s for sure!  Please don’t feel obligated!  If you can’t give money, we will accept love, support and prayers!!

motherhood miracle