To the Woman Dealing with Infertility: Don’t Feel Guilty

To the woman struggling with infertility of any kind, whether it be not being able to conceive, miscarriages, or early infant loss, don’t feel guilty.

When you see a birth announcement and feel sorrow.

When you get a baby shower invitation and RSVP no.

When you see a newborn baby and think, “Why not me?”

When you see a child that would have been your baby’s age and start to cry.

When you get another negative pregnancy test and stay in bed the rest of the day.

When you’re getting poked and prodded and having things stuck in you that make you feel less than human and want to give up.

When everyone tells you to be thankful for what you already have but you still miss what could be.

When you’re feeling downright sorry for yourself.

DON’T FEEL GUILTY. For whatever you feel or however you react to your journey in infertility, you have every right to feel that way. Life is hard, and it isn’t fair. So feel all the feelings and feel them hard. For when you come to end of yourself, when you expend all of your energy and strength, something extraordinary happens. You find Jesus.

Ask him the questions and tell him your doubts. Cry out to him. Stomp your feet and throw a toddler-sized tantrum if you must. He is big enough to handle it. And when you are exhausted from the fight and you have no more tears to cry, his loving arms will scoop you off the floor and into an embrace. And just like a mother to her child, he will soothe you and comfort you and hold you. He will give you the strength to continue this battle that is so worth fighting.

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You are loved, and you are not alone in this journey.

Lessons From T-Ball

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We weren’t even half way through her first T Ball practice when Charlotte wanted to quit. She did well with hitting and fielding, but when it came time to practice throwing the ball, she melted. I knew this time would come. The time when we discussed finishing what we start and following through on our commitments. But I certainly didn’t think it would happen 20 minutes into the first practice.

We had this conversation about 148 times during T Ball season. It was her first group sport, and it was a little bit of an adjustment for her. It was easy to be frustrated with her. It was easy to be annoyed and wonder why she just couldn’t go have fun like the other kids. And maybe the reason why it was so frustrating was because I felt like I was staring right into a mirror.

Inconsistency is a problem I have dealt with since I was young. I would start projects and not finish them. Bible reading? It would last about a week. Workout program? Maybe a month. Cleaning schedule? I’m surprised I lasted a day. I was very much like the seed that fell on rocky soil in Matthew 13. “The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow” (13:5). Jesus later explains the seeds on the rocky soil represent those who receive the message with joy. “But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution come because of the world, they quickly fall away” (13:21).

Bingo.

But instead of letting Jesus transform my heart, I began to make this seed on rocky soil my identity. Any time I would start something and quit, I would think, “Here I am being the seed on rocky soil again. Why can’t I get it together? Why can’t I ever follow through??”

But over the past three years, Jesus began to transform my heart. Like, big time. Simply (and surprisingly), recurrent miscarriages have brought me closer to Jesus. First, it started with doubt and anger. Then, it went to questioning everything I believed since I was born. Later, it was a complete breaking down of every misconception I had ever believed. My main focus became loving Jesus with everything I had in me. How is this possible? Well, if it were just in my power, it would be impossible. But we all know with God…

It started little. In March of 2016 I became a Beachbody coach. Though I didn’t stay an active coach for long, I knew it was something God had put in my life to hold me accountable. Not only did I become consistent with my workouts and nutrition, I also became consistent with my time in the Word. These are things I am still doing to this day, over a year later. As I grew my roots down deep into his truth, my soil became richer and deeper. As I focused more on his great love for me versus the guilt I had become consumed by, I found obedience becoming more enjoyable and natural.

Of course I still stumble and have doubts. There are many times I struggle and question God. There are SO many things I still struggle to be consistent in. But that rich soil, the more solid foundation that began to form points me back to Jesus every time.

So what is my point in this post? Well, blogging was one of those things that I started over and over and always quit. This will be my THIRD blog I have started. My past inconsistencies can be pretty discouraging, but I feel the Lord stirring my heart about this. And after a recent lunch with a friend where she gently nudged me to get started again, I knew I had to take the next step. So here I am again, ready to share my story, my life. I’m a mommy, so I’m sure you’ll hear a lot about that. I’ve had three miscarriages so that will probably come up as well. I don’t know how much my husband will let me write about him, but I will probably sneak him in here, too. But, mostly, I love Jesus and want to share how I find him in my everyday life.

As for Charlotte, she ended T-Ball strong. She finished what she started and even enjoyed herself while doing it (most of the time). Next up is soccer in the fall… and I’m sure she will need a little reminder about following through then, too.

Matthew 13:8 and 23

Our Journey Through Multiple Miscarriages

(Note: This was featured on my other blog about 2 years ago. Since this struggle is such an integral part of my story, I added it here. This covers 2 of my miscarriages.)

The other day a friend reminded me how we only (mostly) see the best of people’s lives on social media. That struck a chord with me, especially with all that my family and I have been through in the past year. My Facebook page is filled with sweet smiles, beautiful flowers, date night selfies, and the happenings of my little one. There is barely a hint of the heartache we have faced.

So, I decided that it was time to share my story. I don’t know if anyone will read it, but even if one person is touched or encouraged in some way, it is worth it. I figure publishing it on The Happiness in Christ Project blog was only fitting, since I believe it was this first step of obedience to God that led me to get pregnant with my precious girl. The most amazing thing I have found through this process is seeing how God was with us each step of the way.

Let me give you a quick run down of my first pregnancy. My husband, Randy, and I found out in February of 2012 that we were expecting. Due to some complications, I had to have surgery at 14 weeks to remove an ovary. Baby Girl came out of it unscathed, and on November 24, 2012 we welcomed Charlotte Eve Fuqua to our world. So, we had a little drama with this pregnancy but still ended up with a little bundle in the end.

Let’s fast forward to July of 2014. We again discovered that we were pregnant! We were so overjoyed and ready to welcome another Fuqua to the world. I dealt with horrible “morning” sickness that led to Randy working, cooking, cleaning, and tending to C. I was thrilled when it started fading at the end of the 11 week mark. One day before I was to be officially 12 weeks pregnant, I had a regular check up when I would hear the heart beat for the first time. After using two types of dopplers, my midwife failed to find our little one’s heartbeat. She suggested that I go for an ultrasound but only had an appointment the next day. She seemed very calm and not worried about the situation, so I didn’t think anything of it. I was just excited to get in another scan!

Through a series of events that I will forever thank the Lord (and a good friend) for, Randy and I were able to go to the ultrasound appointment together while my friend watched C. I patiently waited as the tech swirled the wand over my belly… and said nothing. I frantically searched her face for any kind of sign to what was going on. I knew that techs weren’t supposed to say anything, but come on! Finally, I asked, “Do you know why we are here?” and she said, “Yes.” I knew right away, and the flood gates opened. I sobbed on my husband’s chest as he held me close.

The usual question, “Was it my fault??” spun through my head. I begged God for an answer. The doctor who broke the news to us and performed my surgery assured us that there was nothing we could have done to cause this. Over and over I questioned why this had happened. I thought it was God punishing me for not being excited about the pregnancy because I was so sick. I thought it was because I had rushed it. I thought so many things. I know now that the questions are totally normal, but, no, I was not being punished.

The night of the surgery and subsequent nights afterwards were hard. I sobbed into my pillow. I remember having to turn on the TV to distract myself and falling asleep to The Golden Girls. I remember sad and sweet moments with my husband and baby girl. I remember feeling so grateful for my little C.

Looking back, I can see traces that God was with me. As I mentioned earlier, my husband was able to be with me the day we found out. We were able to get the surgery over with the same day. We were given many cards, gifts, texts, calls, and flowers. We have wonderful friends who were able to watch C during the surgery. God’s hand was over us this entire time.

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We decided not to have any extensive testing done since it seemed like just an unfortunate situation. We thought it was not likely to happen again. In April of 2015, we received happy news yet again. I was pregnant and due around Christmas.

This pregnancy was much like my first two with intense morning sickness. Maybe even worse, really. You know what they say; morning sickness is a good sign. We were hopeful yet a little fearful at the same time. The mark we were waiting to get to was 12 weeks. If we heard that sweet little heartbeat at 12 weeks, we could relax. And we did. It was the best moment in my life. My midwife found that strong heartbeat right away! We were so relieved. We could finally start planning for this baby.

My morning sickness went strong until about 14 weeks. I was relieved when it started dissipating, as it was a normal time for it to do so in the second trimester. So I thought nothing of it as I entered the building for my 16 week appointment, my toddler in tow. I was trying to keep her interested. “Do you want to hear the baby’s heartbeat?” I asked. She smiled and seemed excited.  I remember laying on the table as the midwife took the doppler to my belly. I smiled excitedly at C, and she at me. Seconds went by. Hope was still there. More seconds. Maybe minutes. Tears started sliding down my cheeks.

“Let me go get my other doppler. I may be able to find it better with that one.”

She was gone for less than five minutes when she popped back in and told me the ultrasound tech was free. Why don’t I just go ahead and get it done to make sure everything was ok? She sweetly offered to babysit my girl as I was led to the scan room. I once again frantically searched the screen and saw no signs of movement. This tech at least spoke to me, “I’m so sorry.” Tears.

Even in the midst of this heartbreak, I know God was near. The tech came back because she didn’t want me to be alone while waiting for the doctor. The doctor came in and gave me a hug. She was unabashedly heartfelt and compassionate when she spoke to me. Since my husband wasn’t with me this time, it was their comfort that pulled me through those moments.

The next days dragged by. I had to wait two days to get the D&C. It’s hard to explain the feeling you have in your soul when you are pregnant with a baby but know it is no longer living. It was an emptiness like I have never felt before. But then… so many traces of God’s love. Randy’s parents were able to come down and be with C during the surgery. Randy was able to have the week off after just being off the week before. The nurse whom we spent a lot of time with before surgery was such a doll. She was so sweet and caring. There were so many people who reached out to us, cards, texts, calls, visits, and much love. It has been a devastating time, but these glimpses of God’s love have made it more bearable.

And my husband. He was so attentive, so caring, and so full of love these days, as he was dealing with his own grief. I texted him not too long after all of this and said, “If we have to go through this, at least we are going through it together.”

There was darkness also. More questions. More whys. More falling asleep to a show on the iPad so I wouldn’t have to cry myself to sleep. Lots of tears.

The hardest part for me has been having to make a fundamental change in my view of the future. Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I would have two or more kids. And, now, the future is very unsure. And that is scary and sad for me all at the same time.

Through this heartache,  we were given words of encouragement by those who had been down this road. I think that was another shock: SO many people have gone through this. If you are one of those people who have dealt with fertility issues of any kind, you are not alone. It’s not a club any of us would choose to be in, but there are countless others to lean on and help us get through this time.

So, how does this relate to my blog’s theme, happiness in Christ? That’s something I would like to talk about on another blog post. I would love to share the steps I have taken to restore my soul and my joy. Will you join me then?