Funny. Real Funny

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. :-)


Fear Isn’t An Answer

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.


I Shouldn’t Make Plans…
I Shouldn’t Make Plans…

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 an MRI
Once Upon an MRI

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.

Doctors, Adoption, Doctors

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.



My Favorite Story (It’s about us!) Part 2

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.

Double date with our mutual friend Barry, who ensured we met at church.

Double date with our mutual friend Barry, who ensured we met at church that day in August. :-)

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I thought he was SOOO handsome! :)

I thought he was SOOO handsome! :) And he thinks I am SOOOO ridiculous. He’s pointing and laughing at me. Rude. Haha!

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. :-D 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.

Birthday dinner with the family Nov. 18, 2008. I'm 23!

Birthday dinner with my family Nov. 18, 2008. I’m 23!

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!****

Let’s Have Kids!
Let’s Have Kids!

We were married on June 5, 2010. It was a perfect day! We were finally married!

I was on birth control and hated it. In August, my dear, sweet, wonderful friend Jenn told me about an alternative. We took her classes, learned to chart my cycles and observe the body’s natural signs of fertility. We learned how to prevent pregnancy without birth control or other barrier methods. It was awesome! No artificial hormones! Woohoo! :)

Those who’ve known me a while, know how crazy I am about babies. I have loved them since I was a little girl and my dream job would be to sit in the nursery at the hospital and snuggle those newborns all day and all night! So, it wasn’t hard for me to tell Jeff in October I wanted to have kids! He said he wasn’t ready and accused me of being baby hungry, baby crazy, and just crazy. Me!?!? Crazy!?! I mean, really. ;-) He was right though. After some personal prayers and study, I agreed. It wasn’t time. We decided we’d wait until we’d been married a year. So we enjoyed the next few months of newlywed bliss. In March of 2011, I brought it up again because “it might take a few months to get pregnant.” I didn’t suspect it would be hard, considering my mom was super fertile (ask her if I was planned!). I am always super regular in my cycles. My cervical mucous (yes it’s a thing. A very necessary thing) wasn’t as good as it should be, but it was good enough we thought.As far as I knew, my charts looked fine! Doctors all reported I was healthy and all was well inside. He agreed that we could stop preventing pregnancy by skipping certain days and we went on our merry way, hoping we’d be pregnant by the end of Summer.

In June we celebrated our 1 year anniversary and subsequently started to really time “things” well. I started experiencing unusual mid cycle pain and spotting and the nature of my monthly cramps were changing. Nothing to worry about, we were sure it was fine! Just to be sure though, we started using Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPK). I always had at least one positive. Fast forward 18 ish months…

October 2012 I started to worry. But, after several visits to the temple and many, many prayers I was convinced Heavenly Father knew what He was doing with us. We didn’t need help. We just needed patience and more faith in our God. He would surely bless us as we continued to live good lives. He knew the desires of our hearts and the things we longed for. I wrote this (click to read) post on our blog. It was going to be OK. After I posted that, my aunt reached out and suggested we go to a doctor. She said it was ok for us to get help and still rely on our faith in God. Doctors know a lot of stuff. I spent a few months thinking about it and in the meantime, had a few different friends suggest we head to the Reproductive Care Center in Sandy. I was hesitant, nervous, scared, and I don’t do phone calls. So I started small and made an appointment with an OB/GYN. Of course, he said everything was fine. But he scheduled me for an HSG because that’s all he could think of doing for us.

So in February, we went in for the procedure. An HSG is an uncomfortable x-ray, during which they fill your uterus with gas to blow it up like a balloon, inject iodine through a catheter, and watch it flow through your uterus and tubes through x-ray. They do this to check for abnormalities and to make sure the tubes are clear. The dye shot through the right tube beautifully. Hooray! But…the tech said my uterus was “tipped” and that the left tube was blocked, or at least the dye moved through very slowly. Great. What does that even mean?! Of course we didn’t ever hear from the OB/GYN about those results and he seemed rushed and uninterested anyway, so I just moved on.

I finally got up the courage and made an appointment at the Reproductive Care Center. We went in and met with the doctor for a consultation in March/April (2 years infertile). We filled out a bunch of paperwork online to give our background. He sat there and explained the process of conception. The hormones, the development of follicles, the timeline, and all the stuff I already knew. Frustrating, but he was just doing his job I suppose. I explained that we’d been charting and had done our research. We knew what we were doing and what was (or should be) happening. I told him about my symptoms (the pain, the spotting, the change in my cramps, the consistency of my mucous etc.). His responses weren’t helpful. “You’ve only been trying for two years.” “You’re still so young!” “You probably have endometriosis, but it’s not a big deal. It doesn’t cause infertility. It’s not worth the expensive surgery.” Um…ok?!?! So he laid out a plan. “First, we’ll do 3 IUI (inseminations) without drugs, then we’ll do 3 with Clomid. Then we can do 3 with Clomid and Femara. Then we’ll do IVF. Sound good? Don’t worry, we’ll get you pregnant.” Needless to say, Jeff was unhappy. He felt like it was a wasted trip and a waste of money (our insurance didn’t help). I, positive me, said it was fine and we’d give them a chance. Incidentally, we got a positive ovulation test that same day (Friday) and we went in on Saturday for our first insemination. They tested Jeff’s sperm that day as well and he got an A+. We put the report on the fridge for a few months. He was so proud. :) Anyway, the IUI obviously didn’t work. We called the doctor back and insisted on doing some testing. Something wasn’t right, we felt it. We wanted to fix the issues, not just cover them up and ignore them. We weren’t cool with the “checklist” approach and the attitude of “we’ll just get you pregnant.” We wanted answers. So we did some blood tests and an ultrasound to count how many follicles I had. The first round of tests came back normal. Excellent even (according to the nurse), considering I hadn’t taken any drugs! So far, so good!

And then there was another round of tests in May….

My Favorite Story (It’s about us!) Part 1

So I’ve been feeling a strong desire to write down the history of us (No pictures this time, sorry!). The finer details may be a little shady (it has been 7 ish years) and my journals (which aren’t that detailed anyhow) are in storage. So in honor of our failed first date this month, here is us! It’s a long story, but I love it (well…most of it)!

The Beginning

In November of 2007 my good friend Aaron married another good friend Keri. They moved into a basement apartment on Forest Ridge Dr. in Layton, UT. The owner of that home was on a mission in Chicago and her 21 year old son was holding down the fort. Aaron met him and almost immediately started trying to get us set up on a blind date. I was not terribly interested in blind dates at that point in my life and neither was he. He was still an awkward returned missionary and I was a 22 year old mega flirt. :)

Aaron kept on about how fun he was and how perfectly he matched my personality. I told my friend Marci about this “Jeff Hicken” I kept hearing about. He was in her singles ward at Weber State and she had good things to say. Another friend Barry found out (also in his ward) and as it turns out, they were best friends in elementary school. And then Jeff started hearing my name more and more, from Aaron, Marci, Barry, and other mutual friends, and he happened to mention my name to a girl he worked with at Tanner Clinic. That girl, Anne, went to high school with me. We were in show choir together and of course, she had good things to say about me. ;-) He was being bombarded by my name.

My reaction during this time was casual. Everyone I knew, knew Jeff and told me he was wonderful and hilarious and a great guy. Meh…I’ve heard it before.

Jeff’s reaction was this: “How come everyone I know also knows this girl?” And this: “She has a weird name. I don’t really want to date her. I’ve dated too many girls with weird names recently.”

The First First Date (August 2008)

Summer went by and I was dating someone else. I liked him, my family liked him, and it was going really well! We weren’t serious and we hadn’t had “the talk” to define our relationship. So in August when Aaron planned a double date and conveniently arranged for Jeff and I to both be there, it wasn’t a big deal. We had been hearing each other’s names for a while, so I was mildly curious but I didn’t expect it to amount to anything.

Sometime around midnight the day of the date, Aaron and Keri (remember, they lived in the basement apartment) woke up to the smoke alarm. Jeff was cooking chicken and burned it or something. They ran upstairs and as they chatted and laughed it came out that Jeff was going to Bear Lake with his singles ward. Aaron was like “Uh…you have a date tomorrow with Bobbie-Jo.” Oops. Jeff forgot about it. Nice one, huh? So he went to Bear Lake, and Aaron had a friend come down from Logan (maybe?) to be my date.

We had a BBQ in Jeff’s backyard. We swam in Jeff’s pool. We watched the teen boys in Jeff’s neighborhood film their own remake of the famous pool scene from “The Sandlot” in Jeff’s pool (don’t worry…we popped popcorn). I was fun and flirty and had a great time! I even gave the boy permission to call me (he didn’t). It was a wonderful night! The only thing missing on my first, first date with Jeff…was Jeff.

At Last, We Meet

So after our failed first date I was done with hearing about Jeff and Aaron was done pushing it. It was a fun night, but it was a little annoying that he ditched. Sounds like a winner, I thought. We tried. We failed. Whatever.

Since Marci had become one of my best friends (we met in 2005 and it was love at first sight for us), she invited me to hear her sing in church on the Sunday before the semester started. I wanted to, but I was so worried about running into the famous Jeff Hicken. I told her I would go, but she was not allowed to introduce us. I secretly wanted a glimpse of him, but that was it. I met her at the institute building on campus. We sat down to enjoy the meeting and she said she hadn’t seen him, so I was feeling pretty good. Until…Barry (remember Barry, my good friend and Jeff’s childhood best friend?!) saw me. He grabbed Jeff and they came and sat right behind us. I didn’t turn around, but I heard. As they sat, Marci noticed a new girl sitting alone, so we got up and moved a few rows up to sit by her. It might’ve seemed kinda rude, but whatever. I was relieved to have avoided Jeff and Barry. The meeting started, Marci sang beautifully, and we got up to leave after the prayer. Barry, sneaky, persistent, Barry immediately called my name “Bobbie-Jo! Come here, I want you to meet someone!” Marci stepped away, Barry stepped away, and Jeff and I stood there looking at each other. After hearing each other’s names for almost a year, this was finally it! The first words out of my mouth were “Welp…this is awkward.” His: “Yep.” This was followed by an entertaining 2 hour conversation in the parking lot, an exchange of phone numbers, and a date set up for the CES Fireside in September. I drove home thinking “well, he has a really fun personality and I think we’d have a great time together, but meh. He’s cute, but not dreamy.” I found out later he looked at me and thought “Hey, she is a really cute girl! I want to get to know her.” I wouldn’t say love at first sight, but he was interested, and I was polite.

The Second First Date

So he called me and we agreed to meet at the institute building for the fireside. He offered to pick me up, but I told him it was inconvenient for him to drive to West Point and meeting was just fine. I arrived, sent him a text to find out where he was sitting, and never heard back. I sat down and enjoyed the fireside by myself. Apparently, he didn’t hear his phone. We’re off to a great start, right!?! On the first first date, he ditched. On our second first date, we didn’t even sit together. So how did we end up together? This is how.

After the fireside, he saw my text and we met at the back of the gym for cookies. We immediately started goofing off and being silly. (I saw the boy I was dating nearby watching, and I felt a twinge of guilt. He knew I was on this date with Jeff and said it was fine, but still…sad) We drove to Jeff’s house on Forest Ridge Drive and we spent the rest of the evening listening to music on Youtube, making the most ridiculous faces (the kind where you stretch our your extra chin skin), discovering that neither of us wears matching socks and that we both had/have vintage ninja turtle bedding, watching Church History DVD’s, and then ended the night sharing our favorite scriptures and experiences with each other. And that was it. I remember writing in my journal “he’s like me, but a boy!” It was easy. It was comfortable and non-judgmental. We opened up so quickly and so easily. He was (and is) the most genuine and real person I have ever met. No need to impress or put on a show to make me like him. He was a “take me as I am” kind of guy and it was refreshing and comforting. I was hooked. He was hooked. And as much as I wish I could say we fell in love, got married, end of story, I can’t. This is not the end. Not even close.

Stay tuned (if you’re interested!)…

A Piece of My Life…and the blue book

I have been wanting to write something about what my experiences have been over the past several years. I haven’t had the time or energy to do it just yet, but today I saw something that I need to share because I needed to see it. So, I’ll give a short version of my life since sometime around 2006.

Fear. It started with fear. I was afraid to do something that would have changed my life and hopefully, someone else’s. I wanted to go on a mission. I had always wanted to go. My bishop approached me and told me I was ready. But fear stopped me and I didn’t go. Since then, I have struggled with fear, anxiety and depression. It was very slight at first and I didn’t recognize it for what it was. Certain events, those involving BIG changes (graduating college, relationships, marriage, teaching, infertility) contributed. In the past year or so I have realized what’s been happening to me. I try not to let it define me. It comes in waves. Some days I am me…happy, positive, sunny, and free. Some days I am trapped. I am lost. I am confused. Some days I am at peace. Some days I am in turmoil. I have managed it and feel like I am coming through to the other side of this and I have more good days now. But there is still one thing that lingers.

I have never in my life doubted my faith. I have been diligent in study and prayer and service to God. I knew who I was. I knew God. I knew Jesus Christ. I knew they were real and they loved me. But depression and anxiety do funny things to the brain. For the first time in my life, I doubt. I struggle to believe, and to feel anything. This is harder for me than dealing with infertility. How can I, Bobbie-Jo, who’s always found it easy to believe, who’s always been happy and positive and found joy in the gospel and knowledge of Jesus Christ, struggle like this? I never thought depression or anxiety would take hold of me. But it happened and I assure you, I’m fighting my way out. This is what I want to share: there is one thing that has helped me hold on to my testimony. One thing that keeps me feeling, when my brain suppresses emotion. One thing I cling to. The Book of Mormon. When I pray and don’t know if anyone is hearing me, I can read the book and know it. When I feel empty and lost, I can read it and find my way, even if it’s just for a few days at a time. I am not my best in study and prayer, and some days I REALLY don’t feel the desire or motivation to do it. But this video reached me today and reminded me of something I know. The Book of Mormon is a testament of Jesus Christ and His love for all of us, regardless of who we are, where we are, or how we feel. He loves us and the book can prove it to you.

Tender Mercies
Tender Mercies

Oct. 2013

I’m just going to say it…infertility sucks. BUT we have been very blessed through this whole process and most days we don’t feel anything but peace and happiness. Occasionally, we get frustrated, but not because of our infertility, because of our desire to have children, and because of the finances required to get there.

During General Conference a few weeks ago, I wrote down specific questions and prayed for specific answers. Specifically, I prayed about our family. What do we do now? More tests? Treatments? Adoption? Wait it out? Nothing feels right yet. So here we go. Ask. Seek. Knock. Open. Listen. TRUTH. The most direct (indirect) answer to this very important question about our family, came in a talk not about family or marriage or children, but about tithing. Read the whole thing here: The Windows of Heaven

“Sometimes we may ask God for success, and He gives us physical and mental stamina. We might plead for prosperity, and we receive enlarged perspective and increased patience, or we petition for growth and are blessed with the gift of grace. He may bestow upon us conviction and confidence as we strive to achieve worthy goals. And when we plead for relief from physical, mental, and spiritual difficulties, He may increase our resolve and resilience.”

I wasn’t told what to do about starting our family or which direction to go. But it was pointed out to me that the greatest blessing we have received through this is peace. That is our answer. Heavenly Father has blessed us both with incredible peace in what could have been an incredibly difficult journey. We are doing just fine and that is a tender mercy.

Speaking of tithing and everyone’s favorite…finances, here’s another win. We have been very blessed with Jeff’s work. He has such a strong skill set and he is in the right industry, so I know we are luckier than most in this area and we can’t/don’t complain! Even still, Heavenly Father takes care of us and gives us blessings we don’t expect or feel like we deserve.

When it came time to renew insurance with Overstock, we stuck with the high deductible plan because for our purposes (maternity, we thought) it was about the same as a the regular plan, except that monthly premiums were less. So it sounded like a good deal! Then after months and months of no pregnancy, we started infertility testing and we starting paying for it, all of it, out of pocket. It adds up pretty quick and we were worried about paying for treatments (if we decided to go that route) or adoption. And then, Jeff got a new job, which means new insurance, which means for us…more coverage. :) Tender mercy.

Earlier this week, we received another one of those bills. It was pricy. We went through upcoming expenses (including tithing) and decided that if we are careful with extra spending, we’d be fine, so the bill got paid. It should have stressed me out (I am a financial hoarder…I dislike watching money disappear), but it didn’t. “We’ve been so blessed” I thought. “So lucky that Jeff has such a great job and we will never have to worry about finances.” We pay our tithing faithfully and we have always been taken care of. That feeling: Tender mercy.

Literally, the day after I paid that hefty bill, I got a phone call from the medical lab. Apparently there was a glitch in the system and my bill was going to be 85% LESS than what we thought. Huge refund check will be in the mail. WHA!!?!?!?! I don’t know why we deserve it, when so many people can’t pay their bills and we can. But still…tender mercy.

In the smallest and simplest ways, I have felt Heavenly Father’s awareness of us. It’s not overwhelming. It’s not a spiritual experience that is “Ensign worthy.” It’s gentle, it’s subtle, it’s simple, and it’s beautiful.

Heavenly Father loves us. He takes care of us. He blesses us in undeserving and unexpected ways. Tender Mercies.