On Monday March 28th, my grandpa’s life on Earth ended. I’ve been thinking about him a lot this week and these are a few things that stand out.
Hugs. The ones you have to pull out of because he doesn’t let go easily.
“I love you”
“So darn (damn) proud of you.”
Hats. So many hats.
“Old McGrandpa Had A Family…”
Talking about guns.
Showing me his collection of guns.
He really loved his guns. Almost as much as he loved his family.
Tomorrow we will lay him to rest and I am not ready. I don’t want it to be over…part of me still expects to see him at a “family party” tomorrow. My heart is full of wishes…
Growing up, he made sure we girls knew how to fish and shoot. He taught me to aim a gun and was always impressed and giddy when I hit something. He treated me like I was a dead-eye, sharp shooting, sniper in the making (I wasn’t…I’m terrible!), but he was so proud. I remember fishing with him at Flaming Gorge and he taught me how to troll. I got a fish or two and his face lit up. To him, I was amazing. I wish I could go out in the hills and shoot his guns with him again or to the lake and cast a line.
We grew up riding in grandpa’s boat. He took us skiing and tubing and swimming. I was afraid of getting tossed out of the tube and he was gentle, but made sure I had a good ride. I wish I could sit on the boat and enjoy a ride with him.
Every time we went to a restaurant or anywhere public, grandpa would flirt and tease the waitress or anyone who would humor him. He made me laugh. He made the world laugh. He charmed his way into the hearts of everyone who interacted with him. I wish I could see him flirt and tease. I wish I could see him smile and laugh while the world laughed with him.
Grandpa was uncomfortable in churches, on temple grounds, at choir performances and shows, etc. He didn’t want to go to places that made him uncomfortable, but if it meant being there for one of his grandkids, he came anyway. He may have been in t-shirts, jeans, and a hat, but he showed up. He supported us and made sure we knew, again, how proud he was. On the day I got married, he was in one of his “moods” and wasn’t going to be in any pictures, especially at the temple. I can only find pictures with the back of his head, proof that he was there because he loved me, even when he was being ornery. I wish I had pictures with him on my wedding day.
I admit that I didn’t visit him often enough, but when I did he was full of hugs. He was full of I love yous and I’m proud of you. He really wanted us to know how he felt. I wish I would’ve seen him more so he could feel my love for him. I told him whenever I saw him, but I worry he didn’t feel it as deeply as I meant it.
Before he passed, he had a stroke and I was privileged to spend a few days with him in the hospital. Before the stroke, I felt a new desire to get over to their house more often. I tried and I saw him more in February than I had in a while. It felt amazing. He was amazing. I wish I had more time with him.
In the last few visits before the stroke, he talked to me about how proud he was of this grandkid or that grandkid and how happy he was to see everyone raising good families. In the hospital, the last time I saw him, he told me how proud he was of me for choosing to foster parent. His face was pride and joy. I wish I could see his face again and feel that pride he had in his family.
The Saturday before he left us, I intended to take our new family over to see him. In the busyness of the Easter holiday, I forgot. Completely, 100% forgot. I made a new plan to swing by on Monday after the kids’ naps. But it was too late. He was gone. I wish he would’ve stayed a little longer. I wish I would’ve made it over to see him a little sooner. I wish I could hear him praise me for “doing a damn good job with these kids.” 😉 Haha! I wish a lot of things as I prepare for this weekend, for the last goodbye on Earth.
I wish he was here.
I wish his life didn’t end the way it did.
I wish I would’ve been able to say goodbye.
I wish I could yell in his deaf ear that he is a lucky bastard and that I love him and tell him not to go.
But he did go. He is gone. Wishing won’t bring him back or change what happened. We have to focus on the good
I wish for him to be remembered as the grumpy, flirty, lovey guy he was.
I wish for him to finally understand that he is a child of God and that he is loved in Heaven and on Earth.
I wish for him to have happiness and peace as he reunites with God, with the Savior, and with his family there.
I wish for him to see me. To watch me as I grow in my new role. To be proud of me from where he is.
I wish for peace as we learn to be ok without him.
I wish for all of us to do more to connect with family, before it’s too late and you’re left wishing for things that can’t be.
“End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take.” -Gandalf the Whit
“To the well organized mind, death is just the next great adventure.” -Albus Dumbledore
“To one as young as you, I’m sure (death) seems incredible, but to (others) it really is like going to bed after a very, very long day.” -Albus Dumbledore
Goodnight, grumpy old man. We love you and we’ll see you in the morning.
Holy moly. That’s all I have to say. Thanks for reading.
Just kidding. I actually have A LOT to say because I need to remember this, so pop some popcorn and try to keep up.
This is the mushy, gushy side of the our story. The “real” stuff will have to come later, in another post.
January, we waited to get licensed because our licensor was out of town when our background check came in. Boo. As soon as she was back in town, she was speedy and we were licensed before February rolled in.
February started…and continued. We hadn’t heard from DCFS, so I emailed the RFC coordinator and guess who was out of town for a week? Yep. January on repeat. More waiting. In the meantime, our stake created a new ward and we are in it! The bishopric came to visit and they brought an incredible feeling of peace and happiness into our home. We visited, didn’t get callings, and then they asked what they could do for us. Jeff, jokingly, said “you could help us get foster kids faster!” We chuckled because at this point, we weren’t even being considered because we hadn’t heard from DCFS yet, so it wasn’t a “real” request. But hey, if you’ve ever questioned the Lord’s hand in choosing our leaders, you can be assured that He is involved…very involved. They came. They brought us a message of happiness and joy and patience. They prayed with us. And do you know what happened after they left? Less than an hour later!? We got an email from our resource family consultant at DCFS. She came to our house four days later and was the final check mark on our list. We were now being considered for placements.
Unfortunately, she told us it takes an average of 6 months to get a placement, for good reasons. DCFS tries to keep the kids with their parents as long as possible while they receive help and counseling. Removals are taking longer than in the past because the ultimate goal is to keep families together. I’m not going to lie, I was a little disappointed. I am sure my face showed it, but I tried to stay positive. I had been waiting SO long for an opportunity to parent and I thought for sure we’d have kids within a month or two. Just kidding. I get to keep waiting. After 5 years, what’s 6 more months, right? Lesson learned. Patience is a lesson I will always be learning. 😉
I accepted it and started planning to continue my life without kids. I made plans to start volunteering in my old classroom again. I pulled up applications to volunteer with women and children in other crisis centers and at schools/libraries. I picked dates to go on a girl’s trip with my sister in law. I agreed to babysit nieces and nephews for a few days. I got a major (and I mean major) case of wanderlust around Valentine’s Day and pulled up dozens of locations I wanted to visit. I felt grateful for the drive to find other ways to serve and keep busy. I felt the same peace I’ve felt the last 5 years as I’ve waited for my kids. And then…just like that, my wanderlust disappeared. I knew it was too late to travel. I put away travel plans and prepared to start volunteering. I was a little upset because we did get new callings (Jeff is the Sunday School Pres. You can call him Mr. P) and decided not to go anywhere over President’s Day so we could be around to serve in our brand spanking new ward. I was bummed because for whatever strange reason, I knew I’d missed my chance for a vacation with Jeff for a while.
And this is why wanderlust left. On Sunday, Feb. 28th, my grandpa had a stroke. My heart told me I needed to be with them, so I spent the next two days driving my grandma to the hospital, sitting with her, watching him rest and complain about his “damn hand” (the complaining was a good sign, very characteristic of my grumpy old man, don’t worry!), and talking with them both. I felt fortunate to have the free time to spend my days with them, not worrying about any responsibilities because well…I had none. It was incredible to watch my grandpa progress and gain his strength back. He was a miracle and we all knew it. He hated the attention, he hated the visitors and told us all to go home. My aunt (who can get away with anything because she’s so cute) called him a “lucky bastard” because he was surrounded by family and friends who loved him. Seriously, if you’ve ever met my grandpa, you love him instantly. He’s a flirt, a tease, and he never ceases to express his love and pride in you. He is a lucky bastard. So lucky in fact, that by Wednesday we decided he didn’t need us at the hospital all day, so my mom told me not to pick grandma up that morning. She told me I had earned my “angel wings” that week for spending so much time with my grandparents. I kinda rolled my eyes, because I didn’t feel like I was doing anything extraordinary. It’s just what you do for those you love and it wasn’t a sacrifice for me to do it. It was a blessing. I was humbled. I was grateful for the opportunity to spend so much time with them. I will admit though, that a little, tiny, selfish part of my brain hoped I would be blessed in some way. I didn’t expect it, but the thought crossed my mind.
Here we are at Wednesday…I slept in, I was getting ready to finish a quilt (still not done!), and my grandma called. She couldn’t stay away from the hospital. So I showered and went to pick her up. On my way there, I got a phone call. Not just any phone call. THE phone call. It was DCFS. They had 3 kids in an emergency shelter home and they were looking for a permanent foster home. Let’s just say, I am lucky I didn’t crash while I finished driving. I told her we were interested, but I needed to call Jeff. He didn’t even hesitate. “Let’s do it.” I pulled up to Grandma’s house, told her the news, and she waited and cheered while I called them back and accepted the placement. We went to the hospital. Grandpa was so excited and just “tickled” for us. He couldn’t wait to meet them. **Sidebar, we also found out he’d be going home that evening! YAY!** We hugged and cheered, and I cut my visit with him short so I could call my mom and head home to get ready. She and my dad came down that night to help us set up beds and get organized.
On the way home, I prayed in my heart, expressing gratitude, excitement, and terror. And then I burst into tears as realization came to me. Heavenly Father gently and lovingly (and I imagine with a smile on His face) said “This is what you wanted.”
What I wanted. In 5 years, I’ve never gotten what I wanted. No easy answers. No easy fixes. No pregnancies. Not much progress. No more teaching school. No “miracle twin (girls, specifically, haha!).” I honestly felt that I always got what I needed, which was peace. Patience. And Peace. I always, always knew that God’s hand was in our struggle. I knew undoubtedly that He had a grand plan, but it just wasn’t what I wanted it to be. But He gave me what I needed in the peace and reassurance that He was in charge. And that’s what carried me through. I got what I needed.
This time was different though. When we started this journey back in November, I continually said the most ideal situation would be a 2 or a 3 year old and a baby. Two young kids. A toddler for Jeff and a baby for me. When I received my calling to serve in the new ward, the counselor told me the bishopric was praying that the Lord would bless me with what I wanted. Did you read that right? He said what I WANTED. Not what I needed. I chuckled, I laughed it off and told me I never get what I want, but I always get what I need. I left and forgot about it until Wednesday, March 2nd when the call came. I was getting what I wanted, plus one.
A 2 year old boy. A 3 year old boy. And a sweet, 4 month old baby girl.
Still don’t believe our leaders are chosen and called by God? For the second time, our bishopric prayed and were blessed. Coincidence? Nope.
Now, are you ready for the real kicker and testimony builder? I always say I don’t care about gender. I say it to you. I don’t say it to Heavenly Father. I tell Him specifics I won’t admit to anyone else because I don’t want to seem selfish. I pray often for a baby girl. I tell Him “You know what I want and what I need. I want a baby girl. But more than that I want to be a mom and teach and love Your children as my own. So, if You can, get me a baby girl. BUT IF NOT…I will be ok. I know that You know what’s best for me and for those kids out there who need our family. Help us find them and teach them.” Sometimes, I am pretty casual in my prayers. 😉 See, Heavenly Father knows my heart. He alone knows I secretly wanted a baby girl to love. So you see…
I got what I wanted.
Blessings were fulfilled. If you’ve ever doubted whether or not Heavenly Father knows you, hears you, loves you, watches over you, I hope you’ll believe me when I tell you He does. He knows you. ALL of you. Every secret part of you. He hears you. He loves you. He watches over you. He blesses you. Sometimes, He gives you what you need. Other times, He gives you what you want. But He always gives.
Fast forward 4 weeks…all my plans were cancelled. I didn’t submit any applications. I only made it to the school once to volunteer. I cancelled babysitting for nieces and nephews (ironically, when she asked me I responded “I’d LOVE to! If we don’t have kids by then…wait, you need me in like two weeks. We for sure won’t have kids by then. I’ll do it.). My whole life changed overnight and has been a crazy, wild whirlwind ever since! The boys are…boys. We have some work to do, but they are so loving and kind (most of the time). The baby is so happy. She’s all smiles and giggles (unless she’s hungry, tired, or in her carseat) and we love them.
Parenting is hard. I miss sleeping in. But we are finally doing it! We love it. Jeff is AMAZING with the kids. I can’t say enough about how wonderful he is! I’m getting tired and fuzzy, which means it’s time to end. One last thought:
On that Tuesday, my mom said I’d earned my angel wings. The next day, we got the call to be parents. I certainly don’t feel like an angel and I think my wings are still on the shelf waiting for me, but I do believe angels have come to me. They give me energy when I am exhausted. Wisdom and inspiration when I don’t know what to do. Patience when I feel like I want to run away. Peace and humility as we figure this out. Joy in the journey. I am being carried on angel’s wings.
***I will not be posting pictures of the sweet littles on the blog or social media. If you want to see them, I’ll email you pictures. Or you can come over. ;-)***
So how about that time gap, huh!? A lot has changed for us since the last post in October. Catch up, with me please.
My thyroid is alive! The radioactive iodine imaging scan thingy showed a healthy organ. It works, just a little too hard. Kinda like Jeff some days. 😉 So for now, we are trying a medication and getting it adjusted to the right dose. My symptoms are improving (kinda), which is nice. Less shakes, less heart flutters, more motivation, but I am still just as tired. I hope they get the dose right soon, because I am so ready to stop sleeping in! 😉 Just kidding. I love to sleep.
We are not going back to fertility doctors anytime soon. We shifted our focus to getting my thyroid regulated. And in the meantime we were led quite obviously down a strange new path:
Yep. After all the problems we kept encountering with my health, I really started thinking about other options. We still have confidence in my body and in modern medicine, but it’s time to take a “time out” and let the stress and toxins of the last few years seep out. So we talked about adoption. We talked about foster to adopt/foster care. We prayed. We went to the temple. And the more we did that, adoption drifted to the back of my mind and foster care floated forward. We were planning to wait for a while to decide because we were moving into a new house and we weren’t sure what would happen with my thyroid. And then…on November 11th we went to the temple as an extended family to honor our Aunt Pat for her birthday. She passed away a month after Jeff and I were married. She was a big part of my childhood, particularly during the Easter and Christmas seasons. And as we sat in the celestial room, I knew. I knew that we have children waiting to be in our family. I knew that the priesthood blessings I’ve been given about being able to have children are real and valid. But I also knew that right now, Heavenly Father wants us on a new path. This path. I let those thoughts simmer. I shared them with Jeff. And on my birthday, we made the call. We called Utah Foster Care.
The rep came the next day and we started the application the following Sunday. We met with our doctor. We updated our vaccines. We wrote down emergency plans and phone numbers. We went to 32 hours of class in person and soaked in another 4 hours online. We made our home as safe and child friendly as possible without knowing exactly what situation we’ll be in. We spent a lot of time talking and dreaming and analyzing. And today, we completed the home study. I was terrified, but we impressed the heck out of our licensor, which means it’s OFFICIAL.
According to the state of Utah, we are licensed foster parents!
I wish that meant we could accept children into our home tomorrow, but it doesn’t. DCFS has one more thing for us, and it’s a good thing. We will be assigned what’s called a RFC: Resource Family Consultant. My understanding is that she will basically be our personal advocate. She will be the one helping us and presenting our names to be considered by DCFS as children come into custody. It’s a really good thing actually, to have the extra level of support for our family. So in 2-3 weeks, we’ll meet with our RFC and explain who we are and why we are doing this. And then, once she’s fallen in love with us, she will be putting our name out there for consideration.
On this path, we have the wonderful opportunity to serve the children and families in our community. And while we would love to grow our family and hope that an adoption opportunity will come from this, we understand that in reality…it isn’t about us. It’s about the kids. It’s about love. We will love them, but their families love them too, regardless of the choices being made. And if we can help reunite a family by serving them in this way, we are happy to do it. We might have to let them go and we will miss them. We will cry for them. But we will be happy for them. Because that’s what love is.
Wish us luck!
What did I tell you? Making plans is not a good idea for me. There is always something.
Sept 20, 2015–My mom, always inspired, suggested a priesthood blessing. Jeff, my dad, and Ben participated and it was powerful. Jeff said he had a hard time because there are things we really want, but he focused on clearing his mind so that the Lord could speak, and speak He did. I’m not ready to share those words just yet, but it was pretty powerful and encouraging. It gave me hope that everything will work out. Peace. Ahhhh.
Sept 22, 2015–We went in for the appointment with the IVF doctor (Dr. M) and it went really well. So well in fact that he started me on birth control two days later and I got on the calendar for the next IVF cycle. We would take birth control for 3-5 weeks, start the shots, and harvest the goods in November. Jeff was ecstatic. I was…going along with it. I was trying really hard to have faith in Jeff that this was a good path. I have a tendency to let fear and change crowd out my faith, so I committed. I wasn’t going to not make progress because I was afraid of the process. Plus, Jeff was so confident and excited about it! He really, really wants his baby girls (or boys, but he’s kinda loving the idea of girls right now). I had ups and downs, because of course I want kids, of course IVF would get us there faster, and of course it’s a really good next step (says the doctor). So despite my discomfort, I started the birth control.
Sept 23, 2015– We found out Dr. M isn’t on our insurance. Boo. We didn’t even think to check because he works in the same clinic a Dr. S, so we assumed. And we all know what happens when you ass-u-me things. Jeff said we’d figure it out and Dr. M said he’d help us switch providers if necessary. I prayed a lot this day. I told Heavenly Father I was committed. I told Him that I wasn’t sure if fear was making me uncomfortable or if it was our decision to move forward with IVF. I asked if He would please stop us before we got too far if there was another way, or ease my anxiety if it was OK. I know God answers prayers.
Sept 24, 2015– I woke up feeling 100% sure that IVF was OK. I was feeling really energized about it (Not excited, but motivated). We were going to give it a go and see if we could be pregnant by Christmas. Jeff was happy about that attitude! Then, we got lab results back. Everything was normal, except for TSH. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone. TSH tells your thyroid to produce or not produce other hormones that regulate metabolism and other functions. My TSH level was >.01. A year ago it was around .5 so it’s dropped a lot. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. My sister has/had hyperthyroidism and she’s not the only one in our family with thyroid problems. If mine is hyper (which I suspect, based on the TSH) and we take the same treatment route she took (radioactive iodine), it means we can’t get pregnant for a while. Grrr.
Sept 25, 2015–We had an ultrasound on with Dr. S (the one we’ve been seeing for over a year) to check on the cyst. He said the left side looked awesome, but couldn’t find the right ovary. There was no sign of a cyst, so he said he’s confident it’s gone. He gave me a new approach to consider (no more letrozole/femara, just an HCG injection around ovulation to ensure the egg releases). He still doesn’t like the idea of IVF, especially with the new thyroid issue, and suggested we hold off. I really wanted to take his approach, it does sound easier. But I was committed to IVF, so I thanked him and told him I’d keep in touch. I really like Dr. S and the natural procreative technology branch of reproductive medicine. It’s helped in many ways, but it’s a slower process.
I got home after the ultrasound with Dr. S and kinda fell apart. Crying, anxiety, the shakes, chills, fatigue. I was miserable. What do I do? Can we still do IVF? Do I really want to? Which doctor do I call for the thyroid? I didn’t even know where to start and I was one frustrated girl. I spent the entire day on the phone with clinics and our insurance trying to find an endocrinologist. The ones Dr. S recommended don’t take our insurance. The others don’t have appointments for new patients until December. I gave up and let Jeff snuggle the anxiety away. He’s really good at that.
Sept 26, 2015–I saw a Facebook post with this talk But If Not… and man was that something I needed to read. Here’s just a sliver, but seriously, read the whole talk!
“When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego refused to bow down and worship a golden image set up by the king, a furious Nebuchadnezzar told them that if they would not worship as commanded, they would immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. “And who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?” 2
The three young men quickly and confidently responded, “If it be so [if you cast us into the furnace], our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand.” That sounds like my eighth-grade kind of faith. But then they demonstrated that they fully understood what faith is. They continued, “But if not, … we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” 3 That is a statement of true faith.
They knew that they could trust God—even if things didn’t turn out the way they hoped. 4 They knew that faith is more than mental assent, more than an acknowledgment that God lives. Faith is total trust in Him.
Faith is believing that although we do not understand all things, He does. Faith is knowing that although our power is limited, His is not. Faith in Jesus Christ consists of complete reliance on Him.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego knew they could always rely on Him because they knew His plan, and they knew that He does not change. 5
I feel like that kind of faith, the “God will deliver…but if not…” is something I had lost sight of that week. But not anymore. After that talk, the wonder that is General Conference (check it out here), and the words of the priesthood blessing that keep running through my mind, I am confident in my new plan:
Sept 27, 2015– Dr. M confirmed what Dr. S said. IVF is put on hold until we work out the thyroid issue. I have an appointment in mid-Nov with a specialist.
We wanted to be pregnant by Christmas and I had faith that we would be, but if not….
I am absolutely 100% positive Heavenly Father has a sense of humor.
We just got back from our cancelled appointment. The doctor got caught up in surgery, so we have to reschedule. We were warned this morning we might be pushed back, but didn’t hear anything else so we went in at 1:00. The doctor rushed out and apologized and rushed back to surgery. Good for him. Those women need him more today than I do.
The nurse assured us this RARELY happens. It just so happens that today…the day I decided to be courageous and take a step forward is one of those rare times. And look at me! I am not mad, I am laughing! I think it’s ironic and pretty hilarious.
We’ll try again Tuesday. The plan is still in motion.
Have a baby.
IVF has been tossed around since Jeff got his job at Adobe a year ago. The reason why: Adobe rocks my freaking socks and after we meet our deductible, IVF is covered 90%. Did you read that? NINETY PERCENT COVERED. We were super excited, but I was certain it wouldn’t come to that. After all, we had just done surgery to clear out the endometriosis (one year ago today!). We’d be pregnant in no time! **If you’ve read the earlier posts, you know how that’s worked.**
After I turned in my resignation in February, Jeff started talking about it again. We could start the process in the Summer, after school is over, we’ll have met our deductible, and I’ll have time to be sickly (do you know how much medication you take for IVF?!? The side effects sound awful). Then I got asked to go on the Pioneer Trek in July, so we decided we’d wait until after trek. Then they found the cyst. So we held off an making the appointment. I was relieved in a way, because IVF doesn’t sound fun and I’d rather not do it. So despite the crazy, I was glad it delayed the IVF consultation. It didn’t come up much anymore. Until last week.
I had been telling Jeff since June that if we were going to do it, he had to make the appointment because I wouldn’t. Well, he surprised me last Tuesday (Sept 8, the day before the second cyst was found) by asking which doctor he should call and then with a “You have an appointment with Dr. M at 1:00 on Friday Sept. 18th). Yikes! It’s about to get real.
The next day, we found the other cyst. So naturally that night after a super fun Paint Nite Date Night, we talked about our options. I once again voiced that I really wasn’t sure I wanted to do IVF, because it’s scary. “What are you really afraid of?” he asked. “Is it really the procedure, or something else?” I hadn’t even thought about it being anything else, because obviously I am scared of all the needles and chemicals and side effects of IVF, plus, what if it fails? But, he (as he often does) made me stop and think. What am I afraid of? And the truth came out. Yes, I am afraid of IVF. But I am also terribly afraid to let go of the hope that we can do this on our own. That we can get pregnant with the help we’ve been getting. That it will all just finally work out. I don’t want to let go of that hope that we can do it. Then Jeff, brilliant Jeff, said “fear isn’t an answer (my mom says that to me too!). You can’t make decisions based on fear. That’s not faith.” He feels very strongly that we must do everything in our power to obtain our goals and the Lord will bless us along the way and in reaching our destination. We aren’t there yet, but we have felt His blessings. Jeff feels we have been stagnant with Dr. S for a few months and it’s time to try a different path. We’ve done so much and Dr. S did wonders for my cycle, but we’re stuck now. Together, we decided I needed to let go of my hope in my plan, in the path I wanted to take, and find hope in another. Jeff expressed deep sympathy for me and my fears, because he doesn’t have to go through it physically like I do. He wished he could take some of the burden off of me. We might have cried a little. Or been allergic to the drive home. Who knows. He is so anxious to be a dad. He wants our family to grow and progress. He wants little girls to spoil and love and protect (and teach to code). He is ready.
So, together, and largely because of his wisdom and strength, we are moving forward. We are going in today to see if IVF is an option for us (with these pesky cysts…I’m not so sure, unless that’s fear speaking). That’s as far ahead as I am allowing myself to think. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Maybe we stick with Dr. S and try his new treatment plan, and maybe we do IVF. Maybe we don’t do anything medical and we’ll actively pursue adoption. We have a lot of choices before us. All of them will lead to the same end. Our one simple plan.
Have a baby.
So remember that big cyst they found in August? We did the MRI, it wasn’t a big deal, but we had to make sure it was gone before moving forward? Remember that one? Yeah, me too.
Well, last Wednesday we did an ultrasound to make sure it had resolved. And, YAY! It was gone! That’s the good news. The bad news is that Dr. S found another one the right. It wasn’t quite as big and it looked different, but it was still too big and not supposed to be there. Dr. S ordered some blood work, said he needed to consult with his colleagues on it, and he’d be in touch. Since we didn’t take the Letrozole, he wasn’t sure why it was there. I was discouraged. Mad. Sad. Totally Bummed Out. Whatever.
I talked to my mom who was being positive for me, because I didn’t want to. She always says the right things. Love her! She also did some research and said cysts are totally normal when taking ovulation drugs (I’d been on Letrozole/Femara for the last 12 or 13 cycles), even a couple months after you stop. It doesn’t affect pregnancy. So this was no big deal! We went with it because it felt good and made me feel hopeful. And I made a plan…
I’m basically an expert on my cycle and timing “things” just right, so I knew we had a chance, even with the newly discovered cyst. Jeff really wants to do IVF (more on that in the next post) and I’m scared of it. So, in my head I decided we were pregnant and I would be able to get out of IVF. Sounds good, right? We’ve been at this for a long time. Heavenly Father knows I really don’t want to do it anymore, so He’ll throw me a line. Trouble is, I’ve made this plan before, “we’ll be pregnant this month so I don’t have to do surgery.” “This month so I don’t have to do another ultrasound series.” “This month because I finally quit my job so I could be home.” “This month because…” See, lots of plans and all of them obviously failures. Same story every time.
My hormone levels indicated a “hormonally active” cyst. The doctor also called it a “complex corpus luteal cyst.” I thought I knew what that meant and kept on with the plan, but I guess I was wrong. He messaged me a couple days ago and said “A corpus luteum is what forms after the egg releases from the follicle. (I knew that) Usually it is pretty simple cyst with a little bit of blood or debris in it, but it can in some cases look more complicated, like we have seen twice now with you. Sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between it and an endometrioma (hence the MRI). The fact that the one on the left shrunk by the time the MRI was done and then went completely away confirms that it was a corpus luteum cyst. The fact that it showed up new on the right (somewhat different appearance) but had a progesterone level of 10 means that’s what it probably was again. When the corpus luteum is a bit larger and more complex appearing, it suggests that maybe the egg wasn’t actually released. Sort of a “pseudoovulation” if you will.”
Um…what!? So I may not have even ovulated this month. Plan ruined. I may not have ovulated last month. Or the few other times we’ve seen cysts (normal sizes) that didn’t collapse right away. He said it changes our course of treatment if we continue with him. We have another ultrasound next Friday to check on the cyst and discuss. Boo.
Moral of the story: Don’t make plans. Ever.
Just kidding. We need to have goals and a reason to move forward. Make plans, please! However, we need to understand that we cannot force our plans on God, when He may have something different, something better in mind. Sometimes, we have to broaden our view and expand our plan to include a variety of possibilities that all lead us to the same end, trusting that God will help us no matter which path we choose. So we have a new, simple, plan.
Have a baby.
Once Upon A Time…
We wanted to have kids. We tried and we tried with no success. 4.5 YEARS. Doctors were trying to help, but it just wasn’t happening. So one day in early June, we decided IVF would be our next step. The doctor said “hey, we’re so close! Give it some time.” So we let the Summer move on by, hoping a few more months would do it for us, just like magic. But still…nothing.
In August, we went in for a regular check up and planned to tell the doctor we wanted to start IVF in September with my next cycle. We answered the regular questions, Dr. S looked at my charts and said “we are so close! Only one more thing I want to fix.” We were supposed to talk options for the pesky brown bleeding and then we would bring up IVF, but instead I mentioned that I had some pain, which isn’t too unusual for me, but this pain had already persisted for 6 days. Dr. S usually says ‘ovulation pain’ and that we’ll watch it and let him know how it changes. But for whatever (divine) reason, he suggested another transvaginal ultrasound. We were all sure it wasn’t a big deal, but he wanted to look “just in case.” “Play it safe.” And that is when he found THE MASS. If you read my last post, you know all about THE MASS. It shouldn’t have been there. It was huge. It came out of nowhere. It freaked us all out a little bit and an MRI was scheduled as soon as we got home.
We had to wait 8 days for the MRI. 8 DAYS. I consider myself a patient person, but those 8 days were LONG. I couldn’t get a handle on my feelings. One day I was sure it was nothing. The next day I was sure it was cancer. What else grows that fast?! Jeff was certain it would be gone and the MRI would be clean. I didn’t know what to feel or say or do, so I tried to ignore it all. Put on that happy face. It’s all going to be a-okay!. That didn’t work so good…
I had a few breakdowns. I was angry at everything…life, my body, Jeff (for what, I don’t know. Stupid anxiety). I was sure my body was ruined. I was sure we’d never have kids and he’d get bored with me and our life and everything was just going to fall apart. I felt like I was going to explode and I really wanted to punch stuff and throw things and SCREAM. It was a little intense and I got a little dramatic. I wanted to feel better, so I tried to talk about it. Unfortunately, as wonderful as he is, Jeff is a creature of logic and problem solving, and his “Don’t worry, it’s going to be fine. We’ll deal with it no matter what happens. It’s all going to be ok. Whatever the problem is, we’ll fix it.” didn’t help. He’s right of course, as he often is. Wonderful, smart, beautiful man! But when anxiety takes over, it’s hard to be sensible. He could see his words weren’t reaching me (told you he was smart!) and so was extra lovey and huggy and we spent a lot of quality time together. We went to the Hicken’s family cabin and tried to escape. That’s what helped. Not the words. The time. The love. The hugs. With his love and patience, I began to calm down and feel that familiar spirit telling me and gently reminding me that it really WAS going to be ok. No matter what happens, it’s part of God’s plan for our family and so it’s going to be ok. I am grateful I was finally able to sense and recognize that spirit and underlying peace amidst all the confusing and frustrating emotions. Heavenly Father does love us. He does take care of us. He does know what we’re feeling and He does send us quiet reassurances that He is there. When the anxiety hits, it becomes almost impossible to feel it. But as it subsides and you reach for it, you feel it. And you know that His love and peace and understanding were with you all along.
We received a lot of love and support from family and friends. One sister in law in particular shared the right words and helped soften my heart so I could be taught. They are also infertile. Infertile in a different way than us, but even so (they are in the middle of IVF…pray for them!). In a really sweet email she said: “…coming from someone who has had to think about this topic a lot… I believe God’s hand is in this. He’s protecting you, and you will be okay. The blessings of the challenge will outweigh the negatives, in time, and one day you’ll see the whole picture and marvel at the miracles that took place on your behalf.” Beautiful words from a beautiful person.
It took me a few days to reply, because I was a wreck (see above). I re-read her email on Monday, 3 days before the MRI and it really sunk in. God is the gardener. He is in control, and that’s a good thing! I had been struggling to find a balance between my hope and faith in a good outcome, while “keeping it real,” because it might not be the “ok” we want. It was knowing that “God is the gardener here” (listen to that talk by Hugh B. Brown. You won’t regret it), trusting Him, even if the outcome is not what we wanted, that helped. His hand is in this, no matter what. And being “OK” might not mean what we think it means. Being “OK” might mean the mass is gone or benign. Being “OK” might mean it’s cancer or endometriosis and we’ll need surgery again. Being “OK” might mean we don’t get to have children in this life or by our own conception (Adoption is beautiful and we are absolutely open to it, so if you or anyone you know has a spare baby…wink, wink!). Being “OK” might mean getting the positive results we hope to see on the MRI. Being “OK” might mean we get pregnant. Being “OK” could mean anything, but whatever it means…God’s hand is in it and He is guiding our lives. We choose to let Him lead us. We choose to let Him take control so that we can fulfill His purposes for us on this Earth and be what He needs us to be.
In any case, we are OK. The MRI was easy (except that I am apparently too small. They had to stop and change machines after a few images and the table shook me which messed one up). I just laid still for an hour and a half and listened to the Beatles. Can life get better!? Easy procedure, but we didn’t get the results right away on Thursday. The MRI techs aren’t allowed to share since they aren’t doctors. Depending on how long it took the radiologist to review the images and send results over, we were told we’d hear from our doctor either Friday or Monday…….probably. (I hate probably.) Friday came. Nothing. I think this waiting was harder than waiting for the actual procedure! We were leaving for Florida Monday night and I needed results before we left, just in case we needed to cancel. Fingers crossed! And then Sunday at 10:30 PM I got an email from Dr. Stanford. He’s amazing at communicating, but I was concerned at his timing. Was it so serious he couldn’t wait until Monday?! Yikes! Jeff and I opened and read the email together, preparing for some less than desirable news. And…
It was reassuring news. Apparently, I have a cyst that filled with blood, which in my doctors words “happens sometimes.” He gave us the all clear to travel, but said we still can’t take any medications until it resolves. We have an ultrasound scheduled next week to check on it to see if it’s shrinking or disappeared. YES! It’s not gone, but it should go away on it’s own hopefully. I was grateful he contacted us first, because the radiologist’s report was confusing and would’ve freaked me out. It had words like “hyperintense” and “hypointense” and “adnexal cystic mass” and “hemorrhagic ovarian cyst” and then a confusing “cervix unremarkable.” Thank goodness for a great doctor who communicates in non-medical terms and quickly! It gave us peace of mind to enjoy Florida, Family, and Harry Potter World.
So there you go! We are in good hands. We are still on hold as far as treatments/meds, but it’s not as big and scary as it could’ve been. No surgery required and nothing to worry about for now!
As stressful as the last few weeks were, I am so grateful for the learning that took place for me spiritually and emotionally. It’s ok to be scared and uncertain. Process the emotions, don’t ignore them. It’s ok to have a sad face once in a while, even in public. It’s ok to not be ok sometimes. But remember, God is in control. He is the gardener, and with Him, even when you are not feeling ok, it will be OK.
And we will live Happily Ever After.
We just got back from a follow up with our current doctor (8/12/2015) and it wasn’t great. I figured I’d better catch up on our story so we’re up to date. This is going to be a LONG post. If you choose to read to the end, I get a little mushy. You might cry. I did.
So I got a little mixed up in the last post. We did the IUI and a progesterone blood test in April, and everything was looking good. IUI failed and we didn’t feel comfortable doing another one without getting some tests done. I called the doctor and we insisted he do some tests before we did any more procedures.
THEN CAME MAY…He said we could do an ultrasound and some blood work to check my eggs. So we went in and he did the ultrasound, took some blood, and sent us in for another HSG (the uncomfortable x-ray where they fill you with gas and iodine dye). The frustrating thing here is that he didn’t remember me. He came in and said “you don’t have anything abnormal going on, right?” Um…yes. Abnormal bleeding, pain, and my cramping has changed. You suspect endometriosis. Seriously!?! He was starting to bug. Anyway, the ultrasound was good. The HSG was fine. The blood results came in the mail in a nice packet with charts and colors. I googled the test results and all hormones were normal…except for one. My FSH came back really high. FSH is the follicle stimulating hormone. It jump starts your ovaries to get those babies (follicles) growing. Less than 8 is normal. Mine was at 11.9. This particular assessment, called and OAR (Ovarian Assessment Report), gives you an egg retrieval score and is designed to help assess whether you’d be a good candidate for IVF, to be a donor, as well as overall egg quality. Based on my age and my results, I landed in the “fair” zone. Not good, not excellent, but fair. I was super bummed. We waited and waited to hear from the doctor so he could explain things to us. We heard NOTHING. I saw my results get posted online, I had the charts in my hand from the lab, but I didn’t know what they meant and nobody at the Reproductive Care Center had called. He was REALLY starting to bug.
After a week or so, I called and asked if I could meet with the doctor about the results. The nurse sounded surprised I wanted an appointment, but scheduled it anyway. I was scared that it meant we wouldn’t be able to have our own kids. Jeff rocks though, and said “It doesn’t matter how we get our kids. They will come from Heavenly Father, and that’s all that matters.” He’s awesome and so positive. I love him and I am grateful for his attitude! So…this email I sent to our moms sums up the appointment.
“So…we visited with the doctor today to follow up on my blood tests and the second HSG. We learned a lot more this time! My left tube wasn’t blocked this time, but it was still slower to move the dye through. Could be scar tissue, mucus, or back flow from regular bleeding. That’s not necessarily bad news on it’s own! Tubes are still open!
My blood work came back normal, except FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) which is at 11.9 (less than 8 is normal, and 12 and higher indicates a poor prognosis for IVF). That led to an egg reserve score of 9. (16-20 is excellent, 10-15 is good…so we’re are in the fair zone). After the ultrasound he said the egg count was fine and since all the other blood tests were normal, he suspects endometriosis (which could explain the pain on my right side every few months). The high FSH could mean a decreased ovarian reserve, meaning there are less follicles developing so the brain is compensating by creating more FSH. Or, and this is what he suspects, the endometriosis leaves scarring and that may have “kinked” the tubes and stuff so the blood/hormone flow to my ovaries isn’t great…so again, the brain compensates by producing more FSH. He also said when you have endometriosis the body’s immune system creates chemicals to fight it and keep it from spreading to other areas in the body. Those chemicals can also attack sperm, which obviously creates a problem. As far as treatments, we can keep trying on our own (duh) but chances are lessened because of the high FSH, we can try medication and shots followed by IUI, or we go for IVF. It’s going to get pricy no matter what we do. …. For now though, we are planning on doing the Clomid Challenge Test in July (ish) to make sure FSH isn’t too high for IVF (if it’s goes above 14…the doctor kinda shudders) and then the next cycle we’ll try medication/shots and IUI. Maybe in the next month or so we’ll just get lucky…before we give away our entire savings account! Haha! If not, Jeff thinks this may be why he’s been so blessed at work.
So that’s what we know now! Not awesome, but not terrible I guess. It could be worse! We aren’t feeling too worried about it, which is nice. I was kind of freaking out when I saw my blood results because I didn’t understand them. But after talking to the doctor, praying a lot, and reading my patriarchal blessing…we feel ok about everything. Somehow it’s all going to fall into place. We don’t know when or how, but right now it doesn’t really matter! We’re just happy we’re healthy (mostly) and grateful for a good life.
Anyway, we just wanted to update you! Thanks for the prayers we know you pray for us! We appreciate it a great deal!”
So…again, endometriosis. But again, it’s not a big deal and shouldn’t cause infertility. You don’t need surgery. Right!?! Are you as impressed with this doctor as I am? We went ahead with the Clomid Challenge Test (I took Clomid for a week and then they tested my blood again. I hated the way Clomid made me feel, ps). I got the second OAR results in the mail with the fancy charts and colors. I saw the results posted online. From our conversation with the doctor and my research, everything was NORMAL. My egg score was Good/Excellent. We were so excited. But guess who NEVER called? That’s right. The doctor. We had been frustrated with him long enough. First, he jumps to treatments without any testing, he disregards my symptoms, he doesn’t call and explain results, his only concern (so it seemed) was to “just get us pregnant.” So we decided we were taking a break. I stopped charting, I never called the center to follow up,…I just quit.
Sometime in October/November, we started thinking about adoption and foster care. We tossed the idea around for a while and on Christmas Eve decided we were moving forward with adoption in 2014. Happy New Year! We told my family on Christmas and went to orientation at LDS Family Services in January. We got our letters from the Bishop and got assigned a caseworker. She was impossible to get a hold of so it wasn’t until mid February we finally met with her. She said everything looked good and we should get approval to start our application in a couple weeks. YAY! We were sooooo excited. Then came the hoops. They needed Jeff to meet with this counselor and they wanted more information about things. We had just gotten a new bishop in November, so they wanted a new letter from him. All this stuff took forever (not on our end…we were anxious and ready. It was all LDSFS being turtles). Our caseworker was hard to communicate with. We rescheduled a few times and each time it took a few weeks to set things up. Then in April/May, we met with our caseworker and her supervisor. More hoops. I was mad. I was mad about their requirements and their lack of understanding for who we are and our situation. Once again, we felt thrown into this “one size fits all” protocol, just like at the RCC. In May, she called and asked if we were going to follow through, and we said we weren’t sure. Then in June, they announced the change to LDSFS involvement in adoption. We were frustrated. If we had been approved (we should have been) we would have been able to remain in the pool and they could have matched us with a baby anytime until the end of 2014. At that point, it wasn’t worth it for us to continue with them. It would’ve taken too long to jump through their hoops and get approved. We were stopped in our tracks again. Shortly before the announcement, they asked me for a review of LDSFS and I wrote my feelings out plainly and boldly (which isn’t like me…I tend to sugar coat). I told them we were frustrated with the time it took to hear from our caseworker and the lack of communication. I told them we were unhappy with their one size fits all approach. I bore my testimony about the power of the atonement, forgiveness, and repentance. I told them I felt that since we were sealed in the temple, worthy to be in the tempe, and living worthy lives, we shouldn’t have been delayed and forced to jump through so many hoops and now, we were out of luck. Obviously, I never heard anything back, but I felt good about and supported in my testimony to them. We went to an adoption fair in July, hosted by LDSFS to help couples like us who were getting the boot, and gathered information from as many agencies, lawyers, and home study groups as we could. It was fun, but something had changed. We chose not to pursue adoption at that point.
In April, as we were trying to navigate the frustrations of adoption with LDSFS, we also started seeing our current doctor. He was recommended to us by my good friend Jenn who taught us how to chart my cycles 4 years earlier. Dr. Stanford works under a branch of medicine called Natural Procreative Technology. More Info Here He is very passionate about treating the underlying causes for infertility. PERFECT for us. We met with him and after looking at my charts, he immediately pointed out some problems. Pain, bleeding, poor quality cervical mucus, all the things I tried to tell the other doctor. He started regular blood tests, ultrasounds to track ovulation, and Letrozole (Femara) to aid in ovulation. We learned within a few days I was low on Vitamin D and my progesterone is borderline low. We started supplementing immediately. He put us on Letrozole instead of Clomid because Clomid dries you out and I already didn’t have good mucus. Smart man! He also recommended surgery for endometriosis right off the bat. It DOES interfere with fertility and hormones. DUH. I was relieved and I was in love with his methods already. This is what we’ve been waiting for! A doctor who can see and treat the issues, not just mask them.
So we did ultrasounds in June and in July. I was for sure ovulating, but occasionally a follicle on the right takes a few weeks to collapse. No big deal he said. Things were looking better already. Some of the mid cycle bleeding that shouldn’t have been happening was going away with the progesterone. My hormone levels were starting to normalize. Yay! Then in both July and August, I was a few days late (that never happens to me, I’m super regular). I didn’t get a positive pregnancy test, but I did pass two tissue masses each month. He said it could’ve been an early miscarriage or just large blood clots. Without a positive pregnancy test, we couldn’t be sure. So we moved on and got surgery scheduled for September.
The pre-op meeting was interesting. The surgeon (Dr. Arrington in Ogden. AMAZING) did a pelvic and a rectal exam and said he felt the endometriosis was pretty serious. He couldn’t tell for sure, but thought it might be on my appendix and rectum, which meant they’d have to remove the portions of the rectum affected by the endo and then stitch that back up as well. It was already going to be painful enough, and now he’s talking about cutting apart my poop tube!?! I was freaking out a little. He said they’d take my appendix either way because who needs it anyway? He was very comforting and entertaining and encouraging. He assured us he’d be extra careful not to damage any of my reproductive organs because he knew we were doing this for infertility. He billed the surgery as “pain management” because the insurance covers 80% if it’s not classified as infertility. That was a HUGE blessing. We were expecting to pay at least 50% if not more for this. Hooray!
So surgery…I had to fast the day before, which is really hard when your teaching. I am always starving after school. But somehow (prayer I am sure) I fasted and didn’t feel hunger pains almost at all! I also had to use enemas to clear me out all the way. I couldn’t do it alone, so Jeff had to help insert and squirt. That was the most awkward moment of our married lives so far, but it worked! We were cleared for surgery and things went as well as they could have. Dr. Arrington (and Stanford) was right, the endometriosis was pretty severe, but he got most of it. He had to burn a little off my ovaries, but he said they were fine. He did not find any on my rectum, so my pooper remained in tact. It was as good as we could have hoped for. Jeff was so sweet and took such good care of me as I recovered. My school got me a candy bouquet and were so helpful as I tried to teach without using my stomach muscles. Recovery was smooth, except for the fact that I kept hitting my left hip bone on counters, which reopened the wound and hurt like he…ck.
After surgery, my cramps were worse than ever for a month or two, but they’ve gone back to normal for the most part. In October, I got a UTI infection, probably due in part to surgery. I’d had a couple before, but they always went away on their own with extra water and cranberry juice. Not this time. After a week, I went to instacare. They did some tests and didn’t find anything, but I was still symptomatic so she sent my urine to an outside lab for a culture test. I called a few days later. No results. I was ok, but not better. On Sunday, Jeff left for a thing with Adobe in San Jose and I was running YW in Excellence (I created a whole “Newsies” themed program and it ROCKED). During the program, I started to feel sick. Feverish, headache, body aches, the whole works. We cleaned up and I went home and got in the bath. I called Jeff in tears because I was in so much pain and discomfort. I didn’t sleep much that night. Or Monday night. The pain spread to my back and I tossed and turned and went from heating pad to ice all night long. Nothing was helping. I called the Instacare back on Tuesday and in tears asked her to please figure something out because I was in pain and running a fever. She looked and found that they had misplaced my results (which is why they couldn’t find them when I called the weekend before) and sure enough, I had an infection. It had apparently spread to my kidney (hence the pain and fever) so she put me on heavy antibiotics. I was frustrated, but grateful because the antibiotics started working immediately. I am sure this was made worse because my pelvic area was still recovering from being scraped and burned in surgery.
In November 2014, we did more ultrasounds. All was well! The doctors were pleased with everything except my mucus. After Christmas, we started a 6 week round of antibiotics (Jeff too!) just to make sure we were both clear of any infections. Right away my mucus improved in quality, consistency, and amount. We were stoked, except for the fact that the antibiotics made me nauseous and my mouth tasted like metal ALL THE TIME. Yuck. In January, the doctor said things looked awesome and we could get pregnant any time! Everything was almost perfect. We continued with Letrozole and progresterone and I finally felt like it was possible. I finally let myself get excited. But January ended with another late cycle and passing of large tissue masses. No positive pregnancy test, so we still can’t say if it’s early miscarriage or blood clots. Bummer. We continued on with our routine and follow ups. In February, I made the incredibly hard decision to quit teaching. Everyone said “now that you’ve quit, you’re going to get pregnant. Just you wait!” I believed it. Then March. Then April (another UTI and possible early miscarriage/blood clots). Then May. People said “You’re going to find out your pregnant on the last day of school!” Then June. At our appointment, the doctor was concerned that I still have several days of brown bleeding after my period. Double the progesterone he says!! That might help. He did an ultrasound, just to check some pain on the right. There was a follicle that looks a little big on the left. Hmmm… Then July (another early miscarriage?). Another ultrasound to check on that follicle. Good news! It looks fine! Keep doing what your doing! We’re SO close to getting you there!
We mentioned IVF to him at this point, and he’s not a fan. Because he’s natural, he doesn’t do traditional infertility treatments. He really wants to fix the underlying problem and so far he’d done a great job with making sure we did surgery, with the medicines and vitamins, and the antibiotics that helped with my mucus. We have been impressed with him and so grateful for him. We left that appointment and I was feeling pretty good. We’ll get pregnant this month. Or next month maybe. I was/am hesitant about IVF. It’s hard on your body, but Jeff was still set on IVF and I told him September was when I’d be willing to start. Adobe has the best insurance and since we’ve met our deductible, they’ll cover 90% of IVF. AMAZING. So we thought we’d wait until our next appointment in August and we’d move forward with IVF after talking to Dr. Stanford once more. Then August. Today. 8/12/2015
We went in for a follow up. Dr. Stanford wanted to see if the doubled progesterone took care of the brown bleeding. It didn’t. I have also been experiencing pain on my left side the past 6 days. It’s got worse around ovulation, but it’s still there. He thought it would be a good idea to check it out with another ultrasound. Everything on the right was fine, but he couldn’t find the ovary on the left. There was a large mass of some kind. He couldn’t tell if it was my ovary (enlarged obviously) or something else. He pushed around and felt around and still wasn’t sure. He hurt me in the process, but he said it was my uterus that was causing pain as he pushed. Weird. He left the room to analyze the pictures of my goods and I got dressed. When he came back in, he explained that he and another doctor looked at it and suspect it’s endometriosis growing on the ovary. The odd thing is that it grew so large, so fast. Uncommon for endo. He said it could also be a rare type of benign tumor/cyst, but it’s also uncommon for it to grow so fast. He just doesn’t know. So the next step is an MRI in a week to investigate it. We had originally planned to tell Dr. Stanford we wanted to start IVF, but with this new development…we just don’t know where we’re headed. All treatments and medications are on hold (except progesterone…I’ll still take that) until we figure this thing out. We’re a little worried, but one thing we’ve learned through all this is that whatever happens is part of God’s plan. He’s in control and He’ll make sure it all works out the way it should. He is constantly sending me reminders and peaceful, reassuring feelings that He’s there. I feel and sense Him saying “Shhh….it’s alright. I’ve got you. It’s going to be fine.” And here we are again. It’s going to be fine.
So that’s it! Almost 4.5 years of trying, being poked, prodded, cut open, and drugged. And we’re still not there. We often pray for a miracle. For our baby (ies) to join our family. Most often we pray for patience and for peace and I know that prayer has been answered. I have mentioned that a few times to people. Our prayer for peace and patience is answered. Thus far, we haven’t been blessed with the miracle of a child (I’ve dreamed about them!). But I realized while on Pioneer Trek this Summer, that sometimes we don’t get the miracle we want, but if we pray for a miracle…we get a miracle. I reflected on the past 4.5 years while I was sitting around the campfire listening to the amazing youth bear testimony of God and His goodness. And it hit me. The Spirit taught me something. We have been blessed with the daily miracle of patience and peace. It’s not just an answer to our prayers. It’s our miracle. We carry a heavy burden. A burden that brings many to tears, to depression, to anger, to isolation, and to bitterness. While we’ve been sad and frustrated at times…we mostly feel peace. I can count on one hand (plus a finger or two) the number of times I have broken down and “lost it” in the last 4 years. And even when I lose it, it only lasts a few minutes before I am back on my feet and ready to face the world again. We are being blessed every day. We are not carrying our burden alone, of that I am certain.
Mosiah 24:10-16 (Click the link to read the whole thing)
“Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know the covenant which ye have made unto me…And I will ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage…” **Note that the Lord didn’t take away the burden, the people remained in bondage.** “…I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions. …the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren (us) were made light; yea the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.”
We are not done carrying this burden. The Lord has not taken it from us, but He has made it easier to bear. That is one of the great miracles of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He suffered not only for our sins and weaknesses, but for all our pain and suffering and infirmities. Alma 7:11-13 My favorite part of those verses is the wording “according to the flesh” in verses 12 and 13. He suffered according to the flesh. “Now, the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh…” He knows. Heavenly Father knows. In their spiritual minds and bodies, they know what we suffer through. However, that the Savior could more fully understand how to help us, how to succor us, He came to Earth in a mortal body and suffered in his mortal body so that He could better understand our mortal suffering. He suffered according to the flesh. That is love. That is a miracle. We’ve been praying for a miracle and we’ve got it. We are experiencing it every day as we rely on the Atonement and love of our Savior Jesus Christ.
So…you’ve heard about how we met and our first date(s). It’s a pretty great story, right!? The next year or so was a gigantic bag of trail mix. Sweet, salty, and full of confusing and kinda gross raisins.
After our second first date, we sent texts back and forth and Jeff said some pretty cute things that made me swoon and say “awe!” (I’ve written a few down in some journals, I’ll have to update after we move and unpack) and I agreed to go out with him again. This time, I let him come pick me up. We got Jamba Juice (we both had the same favorite smoothie! Berry Lime Sublime!) and then headed to Guitar Center to mess around. We went in to the instrument room and started playing on the drums and guitars. He must’ve been real “impressed” with my skills, because he left almost immediately to use the bathroom. He was gone for a good 10 minutes. He came back and we went to look at the sheet music. Again, he left me to use the restroom; this time for a little longer. Eventually he came back and bought some guitar strings and we left. He apologized and asked if he could take me home. I was a little disappointed. I thought maybe he wasn’t interested and was just being polite by asking me out again. Maybe my mediocre musical abilities are not good enough for the mighty Jeff. But no, he explained to me that he was experiencing “bowel problems” and he wasn’t sure why. It hit him out of nowhere and he wasn’t sure he’d make it long before he needed to hit the pot again. I was laughing sooooo hard! He took me home and drove off pretty quickly. We are really good at this dating thing! Haha! First date he didn’t show up, second first date we didn’t sit together, and then this. We were off to a crappy start. 😉 [pun intended]
Despite his embarrassment, he did call again. We went on another date and I decided it was time to make a choice. I sat down with the boy I had been dating over the Summer and told him I didn’t think our relationship should continue. In all fairness, I had been feeling uncertain about where I wanted things to go with the other boy BEFORE I met Jeff. Anyway, I was interested in Jeff and I didn’t want to be leading two boys along. He understood and we were actually able to remain friends! So Jeff and I dated some more and I thought things were awesome. One day in September, I met him at the institute after his class. He was playing ping pong with some of our mutual friends (all girls) and when I walked in and greeted them and Jeff, the girls gave me such dirty looks and wouldn’t talk to me. I was confused, but blew it off. I later learned that Jeff had kind of been dating one of them. He really liked her and had taken her out a few times. He loved her personality, and shortly before we met he held her hand, which is all kinds of exciting for a girl! He said when he held her hand, he got a bad feeling and knew he couldn’t date her. The only problem was that he forgot to tell her. So when she saw us together, I am sure she thought I had “stolen” him away. I felt terrible and I chewed him out real good for not telling her he wasn’t interested. Yikes! He apologized and I decided he was still an ok guy and we kept on dating.
He met my family for reals not long after. The first time my sister Kat met him, he was snorting a spaghetti noodle through his nostrils. She watched him move the noodle in one nostril and out the other and was a little appalled. When he was gone, she said “You stopped dating Kolby for him? He’s so weird and Kolby was so nice. I really liked Kolby.” At this point, Jeff was not sister approved, but I didn’t care. (She did eventually grow to love him, don’t worry!)
We went out every week, sometimes more. We hiked, star gazed on the roof of the pool shed at his house, went to General Conference (after which we walked around my neighborhood “puddle jumping” and came home soaked. One of my favorite memories!), explored Temple Square, watched outdoor movies, went to institute activities and Halloween parties, made leaf piles, and had other crazy adventures. We spent a lot of nights just sitting in the car talking until 2 or 3 AM. Good thing my parents trusted me! I was falling for him.
We were having a blast together! And then one night in October, he took me on a hike to the water tower in East Layton. We climbed on top (somehow we made it up the ladder with blankets and pillows??) and star gazed. He showed me where he, Blake, and a girl he dated carved their names. Smooth, Jeff. Why’d you have to point that out!?! So we were chilling on the water tower wrapped up in blankets and he suddenly got really quiet. After a while he turned to me and said something about how he liked dating and going out with lots of girls because he had only been home from his mission for 15 months (again…real smooth). I wasn’t sure where he was going with this, but I was nervous. Is he about to tell me we’re getting “too serious?” That sucks! Then he said “But I find myself liking you more and more and I don’t really have a desire to date anyone else.” YES!!!! I win. We win! Obviously, I felt the same way. We walked home and I was giddy!
A few weeks later, the Saturday before my birthday, so Nov. 15 or 16th, maybe? we were out on another date. I have no idea what we did, but I do remember how the night ended. We were sitting on the couch in my parent’s living room chatting and enjoying each other. Again, he got real quiet. He looked at me for a while and then said “Bobbie-Jo, I’ve been thinking about you and us.” Again!?! Stay calm. “You make me really happy. … And I don’t know what it’s like to be in love, but I imagine this is it.” Just let that sit. Aaaahhh. 😀 I don’t even remember how I responded, but it must’ve been ok because he leaned in and gave me the sweetest, gentlest, and smallest little kiss…our first. It was a tender and beautiful moment.
Things went on all happy and stuff. We went to dinner for his Grandma’s birthday, we spent Thanksgiving with both families, and I was preparing to graduate from college. Life couldn’t have been better!
Then things started to get a little weird…
****We are getting ready to go camping (8/6/15). I planned to write more today, but I really need to shower. Sorry! Except not. I love cliff hangers!****