September 19, 2014

Lifted Up


Wow. I am so completely overwhelmed and humbled by the love, prayers and encouragement I received yesterday. I wish I could reach right out and hug each and every one of you. Thank you so much. Truly. I am so touched by the stories that you have shared with me of your own struggles and moved by the way you are praying for us. I just don't know what else to say other than thank you.

We are off to Turks and Caicos tomorrow to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. This trip couldn't have come at a better time and we are both really looking forward to a whole week of peace and quiet and relaxation. And the crystal clear water.  And maybe those little umbrellas in our drinks made from pineapples. And making new memories together. And finding joy.

Your prayers and encouragement mean to much to us. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!



September 17, 2014

Six.

I had hoped, with every fiber of my being, that this time would be different.

While we were in Europe, I started to feel a little funny. I chalked the symptoms up to travel, but there was a place in my heart that knew. A few days after we returned home, I took a test.

Pregnant.

I am not exaggerating when I say that this was probably the biggest surprise of my lifetime. After every IVF, IUI, loss after loss, we were pregnant. And we were surprised. I've heard of that happening to people, but I had no clue if it would ever happen for us that way.

Our baby was, as all babies are, a miracle. I will go more into some other details later, but just know that I couldn't get over God's timing. And one of the biggest blessings? I was so calm. I did not feel fear. I felt like, this was perfect. We were going to meet this baby, due the week of my birthday, and take this baby home from the hospital. And, I was so thankful I could enjoy the time I had with this baby without fear. I cherished every minute we were given.

Then, I started spotting. I wasn't even concerned about it because the doctors weren't. They said it was "old blood" and I didn't have any other concerning symptoms. To be safe, they had us in for an early ultrasound. Relief washed over us as we saw our little babe in there, measuring 6 1/2 weeks, with a strong, rapid heartbeat.

We had my progesterone levels tested while at the appointment, and the next day got a call that they had dropped, though not dangerously low, and wanted to put me on a supplement. I got on it right away and the levels regulated during the week. Unfortunately, at this point, fear had crept back into my mind. When before I was at peace, now I was afraid. Such a big part of me wanted to believe this time would be different, but the seeds of doubt presented themselves and made anxious all week. I prayed for peace constantly, but my confidence had been shaken. I would remind myself that people get pregnant all the time. People have been having babies forever. I told myself that we were going to be those people this time. It was going to work.

It didn't work. A week later, we had a follow up ultrasound. The familiar silence as the doctor tried to find the heartbeart, but couldn't. The tears. The pain. The sadness. A nightmare we couldn't believe we were having to live again. The sick realization that we now have six babies in heaven. That this was my fifth pregnancy that failed. It's all too much.

I can't make sense of it. We so desperately wanted to keep our babies. Babies that are perfect. Babies that could have been teachers, or doctors or artists or simply wonderful people in this world. I try not to ask "why" too often, because it doesn't help. Being angry doesn't help, either. Being sad is inevitable, but it doesn't help. Nor does being frustrated, envious or feeling sorry for ourselves. This time it felt like an incredibly cruel, not remotely funny, joke. We became pregnant without trying, without hormones or treatments or "our timing". Our plans and life changed dramatically on the day we found out we were pregnant and we began to see our new future take shape. We hopefully and gratefully allowed ourselves to talk about our spring baby and what a special birthday present he or she would be. To have it all taken away from us, again, is more than words can describe.

We had started to tell our friends and family. You can only imagine how they shared in our joy. They were shocked and so thankful for our gift. Everyone felt hopeful for us. I imagined you all would have been so excited for us, too. It's sad to have to go through something like this, and pretend like you aren't. I could feel myself slipping into a "social media silence" because it took too much energy to pretend like we weren't going through something again. Working at a new school has been an interesting addition to this whole situation. Being new, most people don't know our story, which can be a good thing and a bad thing, too. This time, it was tough because I came back to work and had to pretend like nothing happened, that I was just out sick. One day pregnant, the next day, not.

We're very sad. We truly believed and prayed this time would be different. But here's the thing. . We are not giving up. The desire to be parents is real and is not ever going to go away. I will continue to write and share about our journey. It's not finished. We love you, dear baby.

What's God going to say to my questions? I'm braced for the worst. I'll climb to the lookout tower and scan the horizon. I'll wait to see what God says, how he'll answer my complaint.
 
And then God answered; "Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run. The vision-message is a witness pointing to what's coming. It aches for the coming-it can hardly wait!
 
And it doesn't lie.
 
If it seems slow in coming, wait. It's on its way. It will come right on time." Habukkuk 2: 1-3


September 15, 2014

Europe Trip-Loire Valley


Saturday, August 9th-Loire Valley

Probably our most favorite, or close to most favorite, part of the trip was our time in Loire Valley, France. We left Paris early Saturday morning and hopped on a train to Tours. We had reserved a manual car, which provided lots of entertainment in itself. TJ did great, once we figured out how to put it into reverse and leave. :)

Loire Valley is best known for it's incredible chateaus and beautiful French countryside. We began our chateau tour with Château de Villandry, which is best known for it's gardens. You'll see why. Oh my goodness, this place felt like a dream!




 




 










 









 

 




Most chateaus are in tiny, picturesque little towns, so after visiting we would stroll around town.
Here's how this lunch order went:
TJ: Bonjour, jambon-fromage, s'il vous plait
 Me: Bonjour! Do you speak English?
French Woman: No.
Me: {panicked, searching for a familiar sandwich I could eat}eh...tomate et fromage?
French Woman: blank stare.
Me: deux! {points to ham and cheese sandwich}
 
Please note I don't actually eat ham, although I did that day. Please also note that I do not expect French people to speak English, but was caught off guard having been able to mix-and-match French and English to get by in Belgium and Paris. I loved that in these small towns there wasn't any of that! 


How amazing is this? This is a "vending machine" which contains produce straight from the farm next door! Loved this.


Those pears were delicious, and we carried that little crate around with us all weekend. So good.
Next, we headed to Château d'Azay-Le-Rideau.







 



Wild sunflowers on the side of the road. Oh my.

The biggest, probably most well-known chateau we saw was Château de Chenonceau.









 


 

 


We stayed at Chateau de Pray and it was right out of a storybook. 


 


 


 


French wine (beer for some), appetizers and champagne for cocktail hour. 



 


 



 

 


We had the best meal. Every little detail was perfect, and it lasted three hours. We didn't have anywhere else we wanted to be.
 

 

 



                                  ...and we were the last ones in the restaurant. C'est la vie!
 
Sunday, August 10th                      The next day we headed out.
 We stopped at one more chateau before catching the train to Paris.





 

 a "tomato bar" is my kind of bar
 










 I can't even talk about these heirloom tomatoes that were picked from the garden and put straight on our plate. My mouth is watering thinking about them!
 

 Back in Paris, we were pretty tired from the all of the travel. We wandered around the city like worn out robots, but we enjoyed what was left of our vacation strolling around the city, eating an early dinner and crepes for dessert before taking a train to Brussels.






 Last picture of the trip was when we got to Brussels, TJ wanted to take me to a famous fry-maker (at 11 pm, mind you) and I didn't complain. This was a trip we'll always cherish!
 
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