I cried over some sippys. And by cried, I mean ugly-face bawled. Toddler B’s dentist said it was time to switch sippys. No more spouts, it’s time to move onto the big-boy trainer cups. In the dentist office, I was as cool as a cucumber. In real time, as I took the sippys off the shelf to pack them away it hit me that we may never come this way again… like ever. That realization was crippling to my soul.
I haven’t written about our struggle with infertility in about 8 months and the well-meaning yet insensitive, “Soooo, when are you having Baby #2?!” questions keep coming. For us, infertility isn’t an anonymous or taboo topic. It’s a topic that Hubbz and I are so open and honest about. It’s a topic that we must talk about. Too many people are struggling in silence and alone. We share our journey because infertility shouldn’t have to be lived in painful anonymity. What follows in this judgement-free place are bits of our story…
Rewind the calendar to May 31st…
It was one of those moments that you keep it together until you get off the phone and then crumple into a heap on your bedroom floor. You sob into a pillow so your son doesn’t ask why Mommy is crying and your sweet Hubbz doesn’t have to know yet that your body failed him… again. My body shook as I sobbed. My heart broke wide-open and my mind raged with anger. It felt like part of my heart was literally breaking in my chest. I had so many questions for God. I had so much sadness. In that moment of heartbreak I felt the feeling of total despair. I took the blood test early that morning and we had been waiting all day for the phone call. The phone call that would tell us I was indeed so very pregnant. The fertility cycle in May was incredible- every step in the process being successful. The doctor maxed out my medication doses and I did every injection on myself like a boss. We saw the cute little egg follicles that would eventually become our next baby(ies). We prayed, I did acupuncture, I took care of my body, I meditated. I literally did everything I was supposed to do to make this work…
and it failed.
May marked month 18 of trying to conceive baby #2. Month 18 of paying attention to cycles, peeing on sticks and tracking ovulation dates. Month 18 of ultrasounds, pills and aggressive injections. Month 18 of terrifying procedures where they put you in stirrups and fill your uterus with a solution that produces “mild cramping” (side note… they lie. The cramping is 700% never mild, I digress). May was supposed to be our month. We were ready mentally and physically. Everything pointed to success. Hubbz and I decided going into this fertility cycle that it would be the last cycle that we would rely on modern medicine and science to help us conceive- which was fine because it was going to work. We were both seeking a sense of normal and peace- and fertility cycles don’t offer much of either. Hubbz’s Mama very unexpectedly left our world to go meet Jesus on May 1st. The timing of the cycle felt right to us both. We were hopeful in the middle of a devastating loss, God would come through like he said, because how could He not?
We decided to do our 3rd and final IUI and had SO. MUCH. HOPE. (For those of you who don’t know what an IUI is, it’s an intrauterine insemination… think turkey baster not petri dish. The sperm are delivered right to the uterus where they can meet the cutest little egg and hug and create a human… #yeayscience.) Mother’s Day landed in the middle of the month and was bittersweet. We were mourning the sudden loss of Hubbz’s Mama, yet celebrating our son that made me a Mommy, and felt the hope of the fertility cycle we were in the middle of. My birthday capped off the month and it was amazing. We were feeling so cautiously optimistic and I was feeling so pregnant! This was the month our dream of expanding our little family of three would come true. We both truly felt it and our support system of people turned prayer warriors did too.
“Wait I am sorry, I am so very sorry. I think maybe you have the incorrect chart pulled up are you sure that’s mine?” The nurse confirmed my name and birthdate. My heart sank. “I apologize, what are the levels again?” I asked hoping I could decipher a way that the numbers confirmed a pregnancy. The nurse repeated the levels. My heart sank deeper and a lump formed in my throat. I wasn’t sure if I was going to dry heave or sob. I hung up the phone and remember standing there in my bedroom not feeling anything… and then feeling everything. Every pill, every doctors appointment, every injection, every invasive test, every ultrasound, every thought, every prayer. Every second I tirelessly devoted to the past 18 months. I felt it all in that moment, and I crumpled into a sobbing heap on the bedroom floor.
May began with a devastating loss and ended with what felt like a sucker-punch.
Fast-forward back to the sippys…
In the storage room, I put the top on the plastic bin that holds my breast pump, our son’s old bottles and now the spouted sippys. I look around at bins of clothing our sweet little guy has grown out of. Toys that he once played with but has gotten too mature for. I take a deep breath that feels labored. I am so completely grateful for our sweet boy that brings us so much joy, while my heart aches so deeply and yearns for another child. I have so many questions in my heart as to why this is happening but somewhere mixed in with all the questions, there is a peace knowing God has a plan and a purpose for it all. I guess maybe that’s part of what makes him God And not me. It’s His plan. I close my eyes for a moment and hear Building 429’s lyrics in my head.
We will trust in you.
We will not be moved.
We will trust in you.
And we won’t be shaken.
Feeling such intense sadness and a mixture of hope as we pray for Baby #2, while feeling so much gratitude for our incredible son. Feeling joy in hearing friends announce their pregnancies while my heart is breaking and yearning for another of our own. It is a dichotomy of feelings I wish I never, ever had to feel. And yet here we are, feeling all those feels. Isn’t that so much of life sometimes? There is a reason behind it that right now, reason doesn’t understand.
We will trust in you.
Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:10
We will not be moved.
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13
We will trust in you.
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3
And we won’t be shaken.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8
Friends, if you are the praying type, we ask that you pray for us and our journey. Storm Heaven’s gates in prayer on our behalf. If you are the good vibes and fertile energy type, we ask that you send us all the love and light. Hubbz and I have closed the chapter of fertility doctors and medicines. It was so very hard to accept, but it was time. Full disclosure? Some moments I still look back and think maybe just one more cycle but the reality is, I will always push for one more cycle. We close the chapter and step into total surrender to the God we serve. Is it weird that it makes me feel like I might puke because it’s that scary? One thing I know is that God is bigger than the medicine and the injections and the cycles. If He wants us to have another child, we choose to believe He will make it happen for us regardless of circumstance- after all, none of our doctors can find a reason for the infertility. (Which is both comforting and maddening- another dichotomy of feelings.)
In the end, I don’t know how this life is going to end up. I am unsure if our Toddler B is going to get a sibling, but here’s what I do know, there is a God we serve that is good. He sees far greater than we as humans ever could. Maybe you’re struggling with infertility or maybe you aren’t. Maybe your tear-stained spouted sippys come in a different form. Regardless of the struggle and heartache, sweet friends, please know that God is good.
All the time.
Through it all.
He is good.
I don’t understand it right now, but I know He has his hand on this situation for us, and I promise you, as sure as the air I am breathing, He has you too. Wherever you are, whatever you are going through- He’s got it. While our burdens seem crushing to us, there is nothing too big for Him.
Though we don’t always see it on each others social media highlight reels, sometimes the struggle is real. I have a bin of tear-stained spouted sippys to prove it.
I write this with my feet lazily tucked into a mound of warm sand. I feel it sift between my toes. I have needed this feeling for far too long. The heat of the sun seems to thaw my body and then work its warmth right down to my bones. The water crashes against the shore, and then lazily meanders up the beach. Each crashing wave sharing secrets that refresh my soul.
This kid-free vacation has been a long time coming – almost 2 years – which Hubbz and I have decided is far, far, too long. Life, as it does, got in the way over and over again. Before we knew it, it had been a lot of days since we made time to fall in love with each other again. At the end of May, I told Hubbz I needed to go somewhere to fall in love again, he informed me that he was good because he was vested. I punched him in the arm and he winked at me- I am confident under his jokes (because the man got jokes) he felt the same. Not because anything was wrong or bad but because we just needed to get re-centered. I look over at Hubbz lazily laying next to me soaking up the sun. His eyes are closed and his breath is slow and peaceful. There is something about the rest and relaxation of the beach that puts both of our souls at ease. The past few days our laughs have gotten a little bit more joyful and our burdens a little lighter. The demands of the world have begun to fall away, or at least put back into perspective.
I still my mind to listen to the sounds between the crashing waves. A child’s laughter in the distance, a seagull’s squawk overhead, and then silence. A silence that is far from deadlines and distractions. A silence that is far from demands of our jobs and family and friends. A silence that is far from the chaos that life sometimes brings. I breath in the silence and my soul sings a little… full disclosure, girlfriend was having Dance Party USA in my head over all this zen.
There’s something profound that needs to be said about having “toes in the water, ass in the sand, not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand” (thank you, Zac Brown Band). The beer has been replaced with a hot tea and a bottle (or few) of wine, but the sentiment of this whimsical little song holds true. “Life is good today.”
It is here in this space that the real work begins.
Life is good today. It is so very easy to see life as good when zero ‘effs are being given. A warm beach, amazing company and a blue sky make a stellar perspective pretty simple. Keeping this framework firmly intact as we head back to our everyday… there is where the real work begins, Friends. Keeping the perspective through the deadlines and distractions, through the chaos and the demands on our time, through Toddler B’s very independent 2 1/2 year old antics. #realtalk This is where the real work begins. We came to the conclusion that we keep this framework solid through intentionality. Through keeping the main thing the main thing. For us that main thing is the God we serve, the marriage we vowed our lives to and the son we are raising into a man. In that order. Here is what we discovered after 17 years together. If any of those things are in the wrong order, life doesn’t work. It doesn’t flow smoothly and it doesn’t feel like it’s good. Of course there are seasons where work is pure insanity, a loved one is sick or our kiddos require more time and attention. Priorities in our lives shift and move but that is why we need the God we serve at the center and quickly after that, the partners we vowed to do life with. God’s got us covered in the spiritual and our spouses have us covered as our helpers and partners.
I look back over at Hubbz, who is now watching me and smiling. I feel like he is no longer annoyed that I got him out of bed at an insane hour of the morning only to bundle up and sit on a beach until the sun wakes up. I offer up a prayer of gratitude for this man. It’s time to sign-off and enjoy every second of this vacation with him.
Friends, take the vacation, get off the grid and do whatever your version of toes in the water, ass in the sand looks like. Before I go, can I go ahead and quote a little Ferris? “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Don’t miss it, Friends. Whatever you do, don’t miss it.
Meet you back here next week, same time, same place,
Life is crazy, insane and completely weird. It’s also incredible, euphoric and amazing. I have spent 36 years on this planet and through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, I have miraculously learned a thing or two. What follows are my 5 tips to living a happy life.
- Love your body. When I say “love your body” I literally mean love your body. Treat your body like you would treat something you love. Love your body by treating it with kindness and joy. Take care of it. You wouldn’t put gasoline on a plant or water in a gas tank, why would you put toxic fuel in the form of excess calories and fat into your body? Exercise 30-45 min a day, drink a gallon of water on the regular, keep your weight and your blood levels within a healthy range. So many times I see humans “love their body” which is covert for accepting bad habits and calling it love. You guys, I can say this so blunt because I lived it for soooo many years! I am an emotional eater. I am like master-level at eating my feelings. I know what it’s like to feel terrible, eat a pint of Talenti and then feel even worse. Sweet friends, it’s not worth it. EVER. When life happens, our bodies aren’t the enemy to be punished. Our bodies are the vessel to be loved, cherished and respected. When we start loving our bodies, our brain starts to believe that we will protect it and we can be trusted. Imagine hanging out with someone who always put you in harms way- I venture to bet you wouldn’t hang out with that person after a while. Our bodies and brains are the same. Start living a happier life by loving your body and caring for it like it is your most treasured thing.
- Tell the Truth. So often in this world we are deceived. I have lived long enough to realize that things aren’t always as they seem. Not on Instagram and Facebook and sometimes not even in real life! There are so many lies we believe and buy into. Lies like, “you aren’t good enough“, “you aren’t smart enough“, “the grass is greener on the other side“, “so and so has a better life than me“. I know for me personally, on even my best days I will believe a lie at some point- for this, I need truth. I need to seek the truth and then I need to speak that truth over my life. Truth for me comes in the form of my Bible. On those pages are the blueprints that I strive so hard to live by. Don’t get me wrong, most days I suck, but I strive to be a truth teller because for a long, long time I lived with those words not being the backbone of my life and 99% of the time I got myself in trouble. Live a happier life by telling the truth over your life.
- Give Grace. Grace? Who’s Grace? Grace is that thing that someone doesn’t freakin’ deserve… but we offer it anyway. We offer it because we were given it when we didn’t deserve it. In keeping with the truth telling theme, I love me some grace. My ego? Not so much. Mostly because my ego is a jerk face who likes to be right about basically everything. I decided if I had to be friends with my ego… I wouldn’t. My ego doesn’t give a lot of grace. I am willing to bet if you have been human for any amount of time there are people who have showed you grace. People who have been nice to you when you were less than stellar. People who have forgave the unforgivable in you. People who have showed kindness when maybe you didn’t deserve it. All of these things are examples of grace. Something happens when we freely offer grace to others… we stop being right about things and start living happier lives. Grace just feels good, Y’all!
- Be Grateful. Being grateful is one of the most profound keys to a happy life. You guys, what we focus on we find. When you walk around focusing on the negative, on what you didn’t get, on what isn’t good enough, all you are going to get is evidence to prove that. When we walk around with a grateful heart, we are going to find more things to be grateful for. Gratefulness breeds more gratefulness. In our deepest hurts, there is an opportunity to practice gratitude. On our terrible days and bad moments, there is an opportunity to practice being grateful. It might feel weird at first… even kind of like fake it till you make it- but I promise, eventually it will click and gratefulness will flow even when you don’t necessarily feel it. I heard once that gratefulness lightens the load and makes your soul sing… ok, so I totally made that up just now but regardless… I am taking it as truth!!! If you want a happier life, throw gratitude around like confetti!
- Say I Love You without Reservation. What I really mean by this is love with reckless abandon and with zero ‘effs given. Seriously? Yes, seriously! But what if I get hurt? So what. You get hurt. At least you will hurt knowing it’s because you put yourself out there and loved. There is something about loving without reservation that allows us as humans to leave it all on the court. We can go all out and throw caution to the wind. Loving in such a way that cracks our hearts wide-open leaves the door open for hurt, betrayal and a broken heart- I know. I have lived it. But you know what? Shutting yourself into a prison of unsaid feelings leaves you with inconsolable regret. You guys, I get it, there are people who will hold your body but never your hand or your heart. I could say don’t fall in love with those people, but it turns out you end up falling in love with those people. When this happens, feel the heartbreak, learn the lesson, and know that you will never be the same because you left it all on the court when you chose to love. When you look back on the story of your life, which would you rather have? Moments of love purely given to others or inconsolable regret because you lived in fear of getting hurt? A life of true happiness happens when we open our hearts and love fiercly.
Life is crazy, insane and completely weird. It’s also incredible, euphoric and amazing. Living a happy life doesn’t have to be rocket science. Love your body. Tell the truth. Give grace. Be grateful. Love. Start today and focus on one of these things everyday for a week. I am venturing to say that by the time this week comes to a close you just may have a better, happier human experience because of it!
Meet you back here next week, same time, same place,
Another Monday Musing is on deck but this morning I feel as if I can’t find the words. Surely I have things to say but today, this day, I don’t feel it. My soul feels heavy. My body is tired. Despite knowing in my gut exactly why I am feeling this way, I feel the need to pinpoint a lighter reason for this heavy tiredness. I pick the weather because that is the easiest scapegoat. If Milli Vanilli can blame it on the rain, surely I can too. I giggle at the thought and shift my focus back to my thoughts.
I inhale and breath out the heavy in my soul.
I inhale and breath out the fatigue in my body.
I focus on my thoughts waiting for words, a sentiment, anything.
My freshly manicured nails hover over the keys waiting for the words.
This morning the words aren’t there to greet me.
What do we do in this life when words escape us?
We begin anyway.
I force myself to sit at my desk, strengthening the muscle of self-discipline.
The lamp offering a soft glow in my home office.
My diffuser humming, filling the room with the scent of invigorating citrus.
A cup of warm lemon water steaming beside my laptop.
The hum of the sound machine coming thru the monitor showing our sweet Toddler B fast asleep and cozy in his bed.
Hubbz already gone for the morning, off and running, well into his day.
I think of my sweet readers.
What is it they need to hear on a Monday? What is it that is going to resonate in those places deep in their soul?
Then it hits me. Just write.
Write when the words aren’t there. Write when you don’t have anything amazing to say. Write when you don’t feel like it’s any good. Pick a place, start somewhere and just write. It sounds so simple- trite even. Just write? What is this, the Nike of the written word? I laugh out loud at that thought. But then- maybe there is something to that…
On this Monday, I leave you with the sentiment to, for lack of a better phrase, “just do it”.
(Reader’s note… it’s okay if you rolled your eyes because I just rolled my eyes at the amount of cliche that last sentence held. I’ll make you a deal, we can roll our eyes together but then let’s promise not to judge each other.)
In your life, wherever you are right now, whatever you are doing, whatever is set before you- just go do it. There is someone that needs to hear this today. Someone that needs to hear that you have to show up in your life- even when you maybe feel like you don’t have a thing to offer. Show up even when you feel like what you are offering isn’t really that good. Show up even when it’s hard. When it doesn’t feel good. When you would rather be doing something else. Anything else. Show up. Just go do it.
The steam has stopped rising off my lemon water and Toddler B starts to stir in his crib. These are my cues that it’s time to wrap it up. My quiet time is over for the morning and now it’s time to go be Mommy to our sweet Toddler B.
Sweet readers, go do that thing today- don’t think too hard about it- just go do it. Show up where you need to show up. Write the page of your day. Write something funny or mundane or spectacular. Regardless of what you write on this page of your day, write something worth it!