Surgery and Looking Forward

First of all, I'd really like to thank everyone for their texts, messages and responses yesterday! 
It means a lot to have such a supportive community that is on our side and rooting for us :)

I've been having a lot of questions about the surgery and what comes next, so I thought I would explain more details here!

So to bring everyone up to date: 
Last time I wrote I had just had my first surgery, a diagnostic laparoscopy and HSG, where they told me both my fallopian tubes were completely blocked, and they thought I had a medium sized septum coming down from the top of my uterus. We were told IVF would be our only option to get pregnant. (IVF= In Vitro Fertilization. Minimum $15,000, very invasive, involved lots of needles and hormones)

Since then, I was referred to Heartland Fertility clinic where we met our new Dr! Dr. J! She is great and thorough and very good at explaining things to us. Dr. J wanted to do another HSG and an MRI, so see could see for her own eyes where the tubal blockages were, and get a better idea as to what we were dealing with. At this point, if everything was still the same (tubes blocked, medium septum), we were aiming to start IVF in September. 

About a month later, when I had my second HSG, she confirmed that my left tube was actually OPEN!!! WHAT! First good news EVER! She also confirmed that it looked like I had a complete septum going all the way down my uterus, basically splitting my uterus in half. She wasnt even able to access the right side of my uterus, because the septum was so long. 

Having such a long septum in my uterus is problematic for recurrent pregnancy loss, preterm labour etc. Interestingly enough, Dr J said the septum is not what is causing the infertility however, as I should have still been able to get pregnant already. So we would still have to remove the septum to make a pregnancy more viable in the future, but Dr J was very clear that were no guarantees of success with this surgery.

So an MRI and tonnes of blood work later... SURGERY DAY came yesterday! I had been waiting a while for this surgery, and my expectations were to get that sucker out of my uterus! But when I saw Dr J  before the surgery, she kept reminding me that it might not work. That was hard to hear. FORTUNATELY, I woke up a few hours later to have her tell me they got rid of the septum and I now have a normal "house"!!!!! PRAISE THE LORD!
The biggest surprise, was that they found out I have TWO cervixes! This is extremely extremely rare. She couldn't tell me much more about this as I was still waking up from the anesthetic, but I'll know more on Aug 19. I have heard of women having two cervixes and two vaginas, or two cervixes and two uteruses, but I have one uterus, one vagina and two cervixes (sorry if this is TMI... this is just my life now, ha!) My first response when she told me that was "So I won't be able to conceive naturally then?" and she said "oh no, of course you still can!" So that's all I know. Of course I came home and googled it (shame on me), and I don't see it being a problem for conceiving, because both cervixes go to the same uterus. Ryan likes to say I now have a "open concept house with two entry doors" lol!
**If you know anyone with a similar situation, I'd love to know more about this! There is not a lot of information on on the internet about this rare mullerian abnormality!** 


So where do we go from here? Well I'll spend the next week or so resting and recovering, and then go to my post op with Dr J on Aug 19, where she will go over all this again with more information, and make a plan moving forward. Because we know my left tube is open (and I'm guessing my right tube is too!), Dr J recommended going straight to IUI, instead of IVF. (Remember, even though I have normal uterus now, chances are super super minimal we will be able to conceive on our own. The septum didn't cause infertility, so something else is wrong which they can't pin point. )

But IUI is way less invasive, and WAAAAY less expensive!! They basically control exactly when I ovulate, and take Ryan's swimmers and put them in exactly the right spot, at exactly the right time. The perfect blind date, as Dr J likes to say. 

At this point, this honestly seems too good to be true that IUI would actually work. Deep down I don't believe this will work, and we will have to IVF anyways in the end, and that its going to take years and countless tries and suck our bank account dry. I have been struggling with staying hopeful, and always thinking the worst is going to happen to me. My heart has become so tainted with disappointment and hurt, that I am struggling to trust God, because He no longer seems trustworthy. My perception of Gods character is covered with lies, I know that. It is my prayer for the last few weeks that I would see the true character of God again. That those false beliefs I have of Him would be washed away with His TRUE Character! I would love it if you would join me in prayer on this journey. Slowly my perception is changing, but I need help. 

"You, O God, are both tender and kind, not easily angered, immense in love, and you never, never quit" Psalm 86

A fellow infertility blogger recently said "For us, infertility was about much more than having a baby. It was a means by which our loving Father birthed in our hearts a life-giving trust that is bigger than children. Indeed, this trust allows us to rest in His arms" I am not nearly there, to that place of trust, but it is my prayer!

laparoscopy results

Hey everyone!

First of all I want to thank everyone for sharing in the enthusiasm of my new website! It was a much needed over-haul, and I'm so pleased with the finished product!

I know a lot of you are curious about my results from the laparoscopy i had a few weeks back, and I am ready to share now. But I want to make one thing clear first: it's not easy for me to share such a personal, and often painful journey. I love it when Brene Brown says "share with those who have earned the right to hear your story". While there are some details of our journey that I like to keep private, among close family and friends, I feel deeply compelled to share with you, because I know what it's like to feel alone. In my walk with bipolar, and now infertility, I am very  aware of how much we hide, and cower, in fear or shame over our stories. So I share my story with you, in hopes that it will help you feel like you're not alone, or provide validation or encouragement in YOUR story, whatever that may be. 

So, my results: I was told by my gynaecologist, right after surgery, that there were some abnormalities when looking around my uterus with the camera. When the proceeded to pump the blue dye through my fallopian tubes (this is to help them see if there are blockages, or junk in the tubes, or if they are twisted etc), NO DYE was even able to make it into my tubes. So, both tubes are completely blocked. And well.... if you're not familiar with female anatomy, it basically means none of husbands little swimmers are getting where they need to be! Crap! My gynaecologist then went on to say she would refer us to a local fertility clinic and IVF would be our only option. There are SLIM chances they could remove the blockages in my tubes, but because the blockages are so major, it is not likely. So.... IVF....
Up until the day of surgery, I had been quite vocal about not wanting to do IVF, I didn't want to have to pay 10,000 (minimum) or go through that whole process and then NOT BE GAURANTEED a baby at the end of it all. But suddenly, after hearing that we cannot have children, without the help of modern science, it became an option. 
The past few weeks have been filled with a lot of pain, both physical and emotion. My body did not heal quickly after surgery and it was quite discouraging for a while. With the focus being primarily on feeling physically crappy, it delayed emotional processing for a while. But once I started feeling better, the sudden, tidal-wave like emotion of grief swept over me. The emotional pain was so strong, it took my breath away. I was realizing there would now be NO HOPE during the two week wait, that my dream of having a baby would be prolonged greatly (if it was even possible), that I would have to endure injections and pain and bruises and emotional instability, and financial stress, all to receive something some people get for free, with little effort. It doesn't seem "fair". 
One of the hardest pieces of the last few weeks have been talking to people about the results. It is SO, SO painful when someone replies with "But at least you can still carry babies"...."why don't you adopt?"... "At least there is such a thing as IVF" .... "the positive thing is that...." Now I know they probably have good intentions, but all I hear when someone replies with fluffy positives is "it's not okay to be sad"... it's as if they take away your permission in that conversation to grieve and be real and be sad. 
For those first few days of strong grieving, I didn't want to be grateful! I wanted to FEEL, and allow myself to be sad. I KNEW that gratitude and hope would come, but for that time, I needed to cry without judgment and without restriction. This was an experience that really taught me how to respond to someone going through pain.... the best thing someone could say to me was "I'm so sorry to hear that, that must be so hard". I am also TERRIBLE at asking for things, so people just RESPONDING with action (like bringing supper, flowers, a bottle of wine etc) means a GREAT deal to me. 

So where do things stand now?
I am still waiting to hear when my referral to the fertility clinic will go through, and then we wait to get an appt with the fertility clinic where hopefully more questions will be answered and we will see if IVF really is the next best step for us... You guys, I am not going to lie, the road ahead seems LONG and it seems HARD and some days I don't feel like I have the strength. But other days I am able to find gratitude, I am able to find the courage to stop comparing my journey to those around me, I am able to feel JOY when snuggling with fresh newborn babies. I have doubted and I have questioned, but my foundation remains. I believe in God's soverign and perfect timing, and I will trust Him, whatever comes my way. 
This song has been on repeat for like 6 days (Ryan can testify, and complain), but it SUMS UP MY VOICE TO A TEE! My prayer for this journey is these words...

"I have no words to say
Don’t know what I should pray
God, I need You
God, I need You
Oh Lord, my faith is tired
And tears fill up my eyes
But I will trust You, I will trust You

Whatever comes my way
You have taught me to say

Amen, let Your kingdom come
Amen, let Your will be done
And through the rise and fall
You’re God above it all
Amen, we’re singing Amen

When I can barely stand
You strengthen me again
I will seek You, I will seek You
Though troubles may arise
My hands reach to the skies
I will praise You, I will praise You

Whatever comes my way
You have taught me to say

Amen, let Your kingdom come
Amen, let Your will be done
And through the rise and fall
You’re God above it all
Amen, we’re singing Amen
We’re singing Amen

From everlasting to everlasting
From everlasting to everlasting
From everlasting to everlasting
From everlasting to everlasting

Amen, let Your kingdom come
Amen, let Your will be done
And through the rise and fall
You’re God above it all
Amen, we’re singing Amen
We’re singing Amen"

Amen by I Am They

deep joy and immense hurt

Small update:

I had a pre-op yesterday in Winnipeg for an upcoming laparoscopy I'll be having in January. A laparoscopy is a surgery where they make a small incision by my belly button, inflate my stomach and go in with a camera to look around and see if there is anything wrong that would be causing infertility. At the same time they will be pumping a dye through my fallopian tubes to see if there are any blockages there. I'll be under an anesthetic the whole time, thankfully. This will be my first ever surgery, and though it is a minor, small procedure, I am still quite nervous. 

Yet, honestly, I have been really happy the last few months. It feels kind of strange and unfamiliar for me, to be happy. I don't even know if I would call it "happiness". I hate the word happy. To me, happy has selfish, circumstantial, and evaluative roots. Joyful is perhaps a better word to describe my emotion. To me, being joyful is beyond any evaluative form of thinking, beyond circumstance, and sometimes even beyond what we would call a "positive" emotion. It is about one-ness with the universe, having soulful connections, and finding gratitude in things small and large. I'm joyful, content, grateful, mindful. I've been reading a paraphrase of Julian of Norwich's book "Revelations of Divine Love", and it's been quite inspirational. I'm only a few pages in, but keep re-reading them because they offer so much to dig into.
"Christ is everything we need
He is our clothing, 
wrapping us in love.
Christ embraces us,
shelters us,
surrounds us,
with His tender love.
Christ will never desert us"

"For as the body is clad in clothes
and the flesh is covered by skin
and the bones in the flesh
and the heart in the body;
so are we,
soul and body,
enclosed in the goodness of God"

And in the same hands that this joyfulness rests in, there is also a deep, aching hole of hurt. The hole of my pain only grows deeper. I am often caught off guard with the thought "how would life be different, right now, in this moment, if I had a baby?" It's often a sharp, stabbing awareness that causes immense grief. There are many moments in the day when tears appear from any reminder great or small, that we don't have kids, that we want a baby, that we're trying to get a baby, but our arms are still empty. It's in these reminders, in a moment of deep awareness, that my arms have never felt emptier. The work of turning the mind from emptiness to gratitude is a hard skill to master. All the while, validating and affirming my emptiness, my sadness, my longing. For these are beautiful emotions, even if they feel uncomfortable, or painful.
This is my work.
This is my world.
To hold joy and hurt in the same open hands.
To cling to neither.
To receive and release.
And to trust, that no matter what, "all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well" (julian of norwich)

Father, speak peace over me

The last few days have been HARD. Like, really hard. Yesterday especially, I felt like I lost all hope. I felt engulfed in fear. It was such a struggle to not let everything bring me down. I lost to worry yesterday. Oh the worries. The unknown. Will I never be able to have kids? Will I have to wait another year or more? It hurts so badly. So badly do I want to hold my baby in my arms. I want to experience the love of a mother. Yesterday evening I just wept and wept and wept because it physically hurt in my gut how much I wanted a baby. I just felt hopeless and EMPTY.

Today is a new day, and His mercies are new every morning. I didn't wake up feeling awesome, I still don't felt awesome, but I spent my day intentionally reading words of truth, listening to music, and taking some time to get outside with ruby and lay in the sun. It's by no means a "cure all" remedy, but as I lay here in the grass, I am made aware of how completely needy I am for my Father. I have no strength to question and ponder anymore, no strength to talk to Him, but I can lay here and allow his peace to not only wash over me, but to enter inside me and fill me.

This song

is helping me deeply today.

"Father, Your peace surpasses everything

All thoughts and understanding

As I trust upon your name

And even on this ocean

With the waves all crashing over and around me

I will put my trust in your love

For your voice has stilled the savagest of storms

So let your voice that stills the raging seas speak over me

Lord let your voice that stills the raging seas speak over me.

Lord let your voice that stills the raging seas speak over me.

Lord let your voice that stills the raging seas speak over me.

Lord let your voice that stills the raging seas speak over me.

Lord let your voice that stills the raging seas speak over me.

Speak peace

Speak peace

Speak peace

Speak peace"



Giving thanks in all circumstances

"Give thanks to The Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever" psalm 136:1

It makes sense to me why thanksgiving would be hard for me this year. After a year of feeling the lack and desiring something so badly and never getting it, it makes sense to me that THANKING god may not come easily.
But that's not my experience. It is beyond me, but somehow I feel overwhelmed with blessing this year. This last year has taught me to be thankful in many small ways. All too easily I can become focused on my desire to have a baby, comparing our story to that of friends who conceived easily, or took time to conceive but now have a baby. I can get consumed with thoughts of WANT. But when I catch myself feeling the LACK, and shift my perspective on everything I've been given, something switches inside of me. I begin to feel joyful. I am thankful for my husband (oh the days I spent worrying I would never get married, how I didn't want to be alone! But now I'm married!! That in itself is a miracle :) I am thankful for my cozy home, my safe place of comfort and warmth. I'm thankful for real relationships. I'm thankful I'm alive, that I survived the battle with mental illness.

"Be thankful in all circumstances" 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Not FOR all circumstances, but IN all circumstances! Am I thankful that we're struggling with infertility? No. But in the midst of this struggle I am finding very real things to be thankful for.

"I'd say you'd do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious - the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse" Philippians 4:8 the msg

I love that verse and feel its truth in every day. For me, this means to put away the pregnancy apps on my phone, to stop reading forums of people struggling with infertility, to stop comparing our journey to those around me, and to focus on all things beautiful. To meditate on truth and grace and praise. The mind is a powerful tool, friend, what we think about is very powerful in how we act, respond, worship, connect. It is so much easier to give thanks when I'm filling my mind with truth, instead of hopelessness and worry.

One last thing I'd like to say is a huge and meaningful THANK YOU, to everyone who has texted, messaged, commented, emailed etc. You have all impacted my journey and made me feel so loved and encouraged. It is honestly amazing what can happen when people join together and encourage and support one another. I have felt such warm fuzzies from all your prayers, they are just so powerful! You guys are awesome!

A blogger I follow, Ruth Simons, recently said " it's not our mutual circumstances that bind us together, friend, it is our mutual hope". We are ALL going through something, we all have a story, a unique story, that deserved to be heard. What binds us together is our mutual HOPE, hope that there is something more to this present suffering, hope that this struggle with push us closer and closer into the arms of Jesus.

With love,

my infertility meditation, hope and hurt

I have been meditating on these lyrics for weeks now. This song, oh, it is so powerful. I remember being SO touched by these words when I was in the trenches of bipolar. And now they are speaking to me on a whole other level.

You call me out upon the waters

The great unknown where feet may fail

And there I find You in the mystery

In oceans deep

My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name

And keep my eyes above the waves

When oceans rise

My soul will rest in Your embrace

For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters

Your sovereign hand

Will be my guide

Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me

You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name

And keep my eyes above the waves

When oceans rise

My soul will rest in Your embrace

For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders

Let me walk upon the waters

Wherever You would call me

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander

And my faith will be made stronger

In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your name

Keep my eyes above the waves

My soul will rest in Your embrace

I am Yours and You are mine

You guys, this is my prayer!

God is the ONLY one who can calm this storm. When the waves are crashing all around me, just when I think Im going to drown, I see Him, walking on the water towards me. He has invited me to TRUST HIM in this incredible MYSTERY. It is so beyond me.

So I will call on Him, I will cry out for Him, I am desperate before the only one who can comfort me. When oceans rise all around me, I will keep looking at Him. Questions? Yes. Doubts? yes. Unbelief? Yes. But I am asking Jesus to enter into my unbelief, to change me, to make my faith stronger.

And you guys, when FEAR SURROUNDS me! When fear surrounds me, I am reminded HE HAS NEVER FAILED!!! And HE WILL NOT START NOW!

It is my prayer, my longing, to have a trust in Jesus that is without borders. To have a trust that doesn't stop at the border of a negative pregnancy test. A trust that goes further than the border of jealousy, a trust that goes further than the border of infertility, a trust that goes past EVERY border. I pray that the Spirit would LEAD me there, it not somewhere I can go on my own. I do not have the strength or determination or faith to go there on my own, but I believe He can get me there, if only glimpses here and there, I will cling to those glimpses. 

I keep getting this image of what goes on in the early stages of pregnancy. After the egg is fertilized it makes its journey to the uterus, where it spends the next 9 months. The fertilized egg (now called a blastocyst) implants itself into the wall of the uterus. This is how it receives oxygen and nutrients from the mother in order to grow. In a healthy pregnancy, it will create a safe, warm, perfect environment for the baby to grow. That is the image I have continually about what it means to be in the presence of my Saviour. I am IMPLANTED in Jesus, and His arms are warm and safe and heavenly. 

I read a quote today that made me cringe when I first read it, but after sinking into it, I saw its truth. Its terrible, wonderful truth....

"I have learned to kiss the wave that slams me into the Rock of Ages" Charles Spurgeon

It is my desire, that our struggle to have a baby will only push me closer to Jesus. I want Jesus.

And you guys, I can say all this, and it sounds so "Holy" but I am saying this with a HURTING HEART. it HURTS LIKE HELL! It is SCARY! Right now, I am in the two week wait. Which is the time after you've ovulated and had a chance to conceive, until the time your period does or doesnt come. It is the worst. I hate the TWW. But there are some things I know about myself now. I know that during the TWW I am usually filled with hope that this will be the month, I try not to let myself go there and get false hope, but as much as I try, it's always there somewhere. As hard as these 2 weeks are, I am usually in a positive, good state of mind. But then, Aunt Flo comes around and I AM CRUSHED. And I mean CRUSHED. That is the day when all the real shit hits the fan, all the big questions and doubts arise, all the anger at God comes out. That is the day I buy a box of wine and listen to loud music until I collapse on the floor in my own puddle (literally) of tears. 

Maybe this is all TMI for you, but maybe this is true for you, or someone you know. This is why I share, to let those people know they are not alone, and even on that dreadful day when Aunt Flo comes, God is good. He is good even when we can't acknowledge it. I'll leave you with one other quote I heard recently. 

"When you hide your weakness, you hide His strength"



our infertility journey

There is something I have had on my heart to blog about for the past number of months. I didn't know at first if it was important or not, but I kept getting little nudges from the Lord reminding me of the idea to once again be vulnerable on my blog, for all to read. I'm not trying to "air my dirty laundry". But the truth that I am reminded of time and time again is that this is BIGGER THAN ME. There are things happening in this journey of mine that are so much bigger and greater than me. In the end, it is not about ME, it is about JESUS.
Last week I was doing the dishes and felt OVERCOME by the need to write and share and let it be known what the Lord is doing in my life. I wept. At the same time, I got a text from a dear friend saying she was thinking and praying for me. I got goosebumps because the kind of CLARITY I was currently experiencing was so beyond me, it was something that could only be brought on from prayer. So here I am.

Last October, Ryan and I decided we would like to try to have kids. We began trying immediately. We had NO IDEA what we were in for. I was finally in a healthy, stable place after suffering from bipolar for years. You can read about that here. Little did we know this next year would be so difficult, filled with endless tears, disappointment and worry.
This month marks month 13 of our trying to conceive journey, with no success. At times throughout the winter the journey was so hard that we "took a month off" here and there, but really, we were still hoping it would happen.
13 months filled with hope and let down, hope and let down. 13 times I felt like I lost something every month. Every month it feels like a piece of me dies. Every month I grieve and cry and suffer great disappointment. And every month, woman all around me announce they are pregnant and give birth.
It has left me with so many questions. Why do some people get pregnant first try and others take years to conceive or can never have children? Why do some woman get pregnant as a result of rape and yet others live their whole lives wanting a baby and can never have one? Where is God's hand in this? How can God allow this to happen? Is God even good?
Is GOD even good?
Is God even GOOD?

Many months I questioned and doubted God's goodness and God's provision in my life. I was filled with uncertainty. Could I really trust God?
So I prayed. I prayed God would change my heart to see His goodness. It was my goal to declare that God is good BEFORE I got pregnant. I didn't want to only be able to proclaim His goodness once I got what I wanted, once I got pregnant. I kept having this image of a little girl throwing a temper tantrum because she wasnt getting what she wanted. That was me. I wanted to enter into a place of trust that my FATHER KNOWS, my Father knows best, my Father LOVES me.
I can't remember a time in my life where I surrendered so completely to God. I surrendered my long, drawn-out, perfectly worded prayers, and collapsed into Jesus' arms just as I was, speechless, heart wrenching, filled with desire to see His goodness.
And you guys, this crazy thing happened! He answered my prayers! Slowly, here and there, I would find myself thinking "God IS good". The breeze coming in through the window that was warmed by the sun, setting my eyes on all my real close friendships, moments of overwhelming intimacy with my Lord. It is happening, the Lord is strengthening me like never before. Is it still painful? HELL YES! Does my heart still ache when I see friends pregnant bellies grow? YES!
But I now have this HOPE and TRUST in God.
To me, hope is not only that we will one day soon have a baby of our own, but that even if in 5 years from now we are baby-less, I will be able to say that GOD IS GOOD, He is good amidst the pain, He is working in this journey of infertility and changing me, growing me, strengthening me, teaching me, revealing Himself to me like never before.

So here I am.
I've collapsed into the arms of Jesus. I am in pain, but I am healing. I am struggling, but I am trusting in His timing. I am worried something serious is wrong, but I will focus on the present moment. I am jealous, oh so jealous of pregnant ladies and mommies, but I will not let my desire for what I want make me forget the things I have.

Im inviting you to journey with me, to pray with me, and to be encouraged. Whatever you are facing today, rest in the truth that God is good in the painful unchanging.

"Whenever we begin to feel
as if we can no longer go on,
whispers in our ears
to remind us that
we are 
-Robert M Hensel