Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What Infertility Feels Like

It feels like a bully.

Not that one that says crap to you at your locker every day. 

You can take care of him (or her) with a smart phrase or two.

No, this bully is a tormentor,
and - perfect.

It makes you believe that everything is perfectly wrong at just the worst time.
It gets you right after you think you finally did it.
Yes, you finally did it! actually didn't.

It feels like discouragement.

It makes you believe that you're

It tells you that you've got something wrong with you.

It tells you that you can keep trying,
but it's probably not worth it.

It feels like a thief.

It robs you of your joy.
It robs you of your hope.
It robs you of your future.

It makes you question proven solutions,
question any alternatives,
question everything you do.

It makes you question your past.

Why did you wait to try at all?
Why didn't you try as soon as you could?
What's the purpose of doing "what's wise" when
       you don't even have the self-experienced wisdom
       to know what the...what you are doing?

It makes you feel like you've been a disappointment.
    Why didn't you give your dad a grandchild?
    You know, your grandpa will never know your kids now that his memory is going.
    Will your sister ever get to be an aunt?

It makes you doubt your whole future.

You were supposed to be a great mom.
    Will you even be a mom?
    What says you can get pregnant?
    Who says you could ever afford (or achieve!!) adoption?
    Why do you think you're special enough to have a family?
    Why do you think you're special enough to do...anything?

It feels like you've lost a part of you:
    -An arm
    -a leg
    -your hearing
    -your sight
    -your heart.

... ... ... ... ...

It'd be great never to have to deal with these things,
but this is my lot in life right now. 

Nothing is impossible with God,
nothing at all.
Yet, even He knows that this pain is insufferable.
Proverbs 30:15b-16
 “There are three things that are never satisfied,
   four that never say, ‘Enough!’:
16 the grave, the barren womb,
   land, which is never satisfied with water,
   and fire, which never says, ‘Enough!’  

I love, love, love kids.
It's amazing to be there for them,
to play with them,
to imagine with them,
to help them understand life on earth.

But with as much joy as I get from kids,
                          -and trust me, there is plenty of it-
I can't ignore this hurt,
It's been 2 long years,
including these last 6 particularly long months.

Insufferable as it may be,
I still have hope: 
hope that there is still a chance,
hope that it's just a matter of time,
hope that somehow, this blessing will happen.

Here's to hope - in God - that things start looking up  -
                                                                         hopefully soon. 

Romans 5:1-5
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Tomorrow I'll be publishing a post about what infertility feels like.

It's something I've googled before, and why?

Well, infertility - the feeling of enduring it - is hard to put into words.

So I want to write this post beforehand to let anyone know who wants to know
that there are plenty of things for which I am thankful despite
the very difficult experience of trying to conceive.

I am so thankful for the kids who live on campus here and in our community.
There are just some precious little ones who light up my day,
and they are the cutest things.
When my friend Heather's girl, Rachel (2 years old) remembered
my name after not seeing me for almost a month,
well, that just lit up my day.
Not only that, but it really lit up my day when she then
proceeded to tell me where babies come from:
"My baby brother will come out of my mommy's tummy!
And you - when you were a baby, you came out of your mommy's tummy!"
What a cutie!

I'm thankful for the blessing of John's brother and his wife being pregnant
and due this summer.  We are excited to be aunt and uncle, and
it's nothing but surreal for us.  This little one will be smart as a whip
and tall as a bean stalk.  The doctors already have him or her measuring about
a week ahead of schedule.

I'm thankful that I have my husband.
He's been more than encouraging these last several months.
He also does great at putting up with me and my...crap.
Crap is the easiest way to say it.
Anyway, he's a winner, that's for sure.  I'm so glad he's my husband.

I got to talk to my sister twice last week.
That's getting into record-breaking territory!
I'm thankful that we are able to talk more now that
her college schedule is winding down.
That, or I was thankful to talk to her because she was
still on break!

I'm thankful for my mom.  She has been
really compassionate throughout this whole infertility ordeal,
and she is patient with me when I talk about the same things
for the 200,786th time.

I'm thankful that we're here at TIU.
It's hard to imagine a more encouraging environment,
and it's incredible to feel that after a difficult start last year.
I have a distinct feeling that, as challenging as this place can be,
it also has a "cradling" effect; once we're back
out in the real world completely, it will be
quite the transition!

I'm thankful for God,
that, no matter how far away I get,
He's there.  He's there
and I'm pretty sure He's just waiting for me
to take some kind of leap of faith into his will for me.
Don't ask me what that would be; I don't know.
I just feel it.

So those are some things I'm thankful for.

It's good to write this down when it's hard to see the silver lining at times.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

a first!


Four exclamation points worth of excitement is welling up in me, and why?

We have lived in this same one-bedroom apartment
at Trinity International University
in Deerfield (really, Bannockburn), IL




Ok, for most people, that's no big deal.
For us, it's a first.  We've never lived in one place for over
a year since we were married just under 3.5 years ago, and
today we realized we had moved here a year ago
after we remembered it's Saturday, not Friday, and
that we moved here a year ago this past Thursday. 

                                       Yes, that's almost a run-on sentence,
                                                                           and no, I'm not fixing it.

So, after we exchanged high-fives and I said "I'm going to blog about this!",
John came up with the good idea to highlight the places we have lived so far.

No pictures of our apartments for now, although I am
sure I can add some some other time,
but here's a little run-down of all the places we have lived since the summer of 2008.

Twin Cities, MN (our engagement)
I lived in Chaska, MN, and John lived
in Dinky Town of the University of MN campus in Minneapolis.

Chaska highlights: I lived by a nice little lake that had some good trails around it, although way to many bugs.  That's a lake for you, though, so no big deal.  The old part of the town was historic and pretty, and I should have spent more time there and explored around their old buildings and parks near the MN River.  Also, I only lived about a quarter mile from where I worked, but was still far enough away that I didn't run into students every minute.

Dinky Town highlights: Lots of restaurants, close to everything you need to see in Minneapolis, and right near a bunch of other cultural highlights.  What I liked best is that John lived in a legal fraternity (he was in law school) that was in an old historic mansion.  It had nice architecture and was a welcome escape from suburbia (I needed it!).  Once you got over the frequent gun shots heard from not-at-all far away, you began to appreciate the awesome music scene and tasty hole-in-the-wall cafes that were just a block or two away.

NW Wisconsin
John worked at a boy scout camp and a chaplain and an instructor.

Camp highlights: this city boy with a country boy heart got his fill of manliness that summer before we got married.  He also had an awesome time working with kids and preaching God's Word.  This place had plenty of bugs, no air conditioning, and the same food every single week, but John loved it to bits.  I got to visit him that summer, and it restored my faith that teenage boys could be acceptable citizens in society.  John talks about going back from time to time, and he usually is smiling when he does it.

Ames, IA
Our first apartment

Ames highlights: We got hitched in August '08 and settled in to a two-bed, one bath, galley kitchen apartment.  This was the biggest place, save "The Center" - see below, that we have yet to live in.  We packed everything we have ever owned and wasn't still at our parents into this place and still had room to spare.  The kitchen was tight, and I'll admit that I hardly cooked in it compared to what I do now, but the place came with every amenity we could have possibly wanted: new carpet, new paint, free internet, free cable, all utilities included except for electric, a deck, a nice bathroom, and a stones throw from a Walmart.  Yes, this MN girl would have never conceived having a Walmart in her backyard as a good thing, but I'll tell you - it provided for great late-night entertainment and wallet-friendly purchase.  Plus, we didn't waste gas driving there, even in the winter. 

Newton, IA
"The Center"

Newton highlights: Without firm employment in Ames and a new 12-month lease waving in front of our faces, John wisely decided that we should live in Newton.  Living with his parents was a little daunting conceptually, but that's not what he had in mind.  We ended up living in his grandpa's office building/warehouse, which housed his old electrical contracting business when it was still operating.  Meisner Center, which has the creepiest shadows I've ever had to live with, was set up for four months as our apartment.  How did we do it?  Well, pictures from that I do have somewhere, but we used a conference room as our living room, the main office as our bedroom, the break room as our kitchen, and the secondary entryway as our computer room.  The last one was because it was the only place with a window close enough to the WiFi one of the center's renters let us use for free.  The bathroom had a shower (for mid-day golf outings by the boss - used once, ever), and we did laundry at John's parents house.  We also watched TV, cooked, were ate dinner, and played games at John's parent's house.  We basically lived there and slept at "The Center."  It was a good place to live, save a few break-ins that happened while we were asleep in a different part of the building.  I only found out about the second one this past Thanksgiving because John and his Dad didn't want to freak me out anymore than I already was.  Overall, though, it was a safe, fun place to live for the fall. 

Des Moines, IA
Sherman Hill

DSM Highlights: I'll try to make this shorter than "The Center," but it will be hard.  We LOVED Des Moines!  We lived the oldest historic neighborhood in DSM, Sherman Hill.  The houses there are amazingly beautiful, and it was a pleasure just to take a walk whenever we were able.  We lived in an apartment complex with great neighbors and an incredibly nice landlord named Dan.  Dan would do a great job attending our needs, and he also helped facility a nice community! Oh, and we got to paint our 2 bed, 1 bath apartment, too.  It was fun, but made us never want to paint an apartment again!  :) In addition to a nice apartment experience, we were walking-distance from Downtown DSM, as well as some awesome restaurants and a fancy schmancy grocery store.  Finally, we had a community garden here at the local elementary school, from which we learned what to do and not to do when it comes to growing your own things.  SO fun and such a great experience overall.  We'd suggest this neighborhood to anyone.  Finally, we attended a wonderful church. Grace Church in East Des Moines, where we met awesome people in and out of our small group, were a part of Awana, and grew more in our faith than we had in a long time. 

Newton, IA
John's parent's house

Newton, again!: Well, due to several events all colliding at once, we ended up deciding to attend seminary here in Chicagoland.  The trick with that was that we had a month in between when our lease ended in DSM and when we'd be moving to IL.  Thankfully, John's parents are great, and we got to stay with them in their 3-bedroom, 1.5 bath house for that month.  Now, we'd be heading up to MN for Christmas anyway, so we weren't there the whole time.  That being said, we were in tight quarters for a while, but we got used to it.  It was fun spending time with them, particularly when you compare that to purging through every single item you own in order to downsize for a big move.  Lots of games, food, and good memories came from that month.  His parents are very generous and hospitable, that's for sure!
         ---- A little aside: this past summer we lived at my parents house, too, until my dad passed away. 
                While it was definitely difficult considering the circumstances, it was a great experience doing life
                with my mom and sister.  I deffintely miss seeing them every day, and I don't take it for granted
                when I get to.  In addition to spending great time with my mom, dad, and sister, I also got to see
                 my friend and her husband bring their son home from Ethopia, another friend's little one-year-old
                 boy, have coffee and late-night walks with my best friend from HS, and see many family
                 members throughout those weeks. Plus, my dad affirmed his faith in Christ - praise God!

Deerfield, IL

And that leads us to our little apartment in Bannockburn, IL, with a Deerfield mailing address and an incredibly expensive overall price tag.  We've met great people here - great, GREAT people who have awesome hearts for God.   We're still figuring this area out, but these 12 months haven't been without some fun discoveries of what the North Shore has to offer.  Hopefully we'll be able to get to know more people, both on-campus and off, and we'll continue to appreciate this place as our home more and more. 

So there you have it - everywhere we've lived in the last 3.5 years.  It's been good training for the potential future of living as an army wife, I'd have to say!