Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sleep Dep....

I have so many "blogs" whirling around in my head every day but no time or energy to write. And since I can hardly form a complete sentence or thought in real time, blogging probably isn't the best idea right now.  Yesterday I called a thermos and thermostat...twice. I read somewhere that doctors operating on little sleep were more dangerous than operating under the influence...I can see why. My hopes of recapturing last year's journey this year, are slowly fading.

I'm. just. so. tired.

This week Avi and Emmett both have colds which means the breastfeeding has just double timed, double time. The only way for them to clear out their noses seems to be nursing, so I'm waking to them crying with congestion almost every hour at night and giving them little milk snacks all day!

BUT, they are just so darn cute and such good babies that even my lack of mental capacity hasn't stolen my enjoyment of them. I'm just a babbling baby along with them!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

My heart felt like it would burst with thanksgiving yesterday. I just can't get over how incredibly blessed we are to have THREE healthy kids! The moms of E's classmates tease me about smiling so much. How can you look like "this" and juggle all of "that." They think I'm super woman for breastfeeding twins and expect that I should look sleep deprived and frazzled all the time. What they don't know, is that even on the days I'm overwhelmed, I'm just so stinkin' grateful for everything in my life, I can't help but smile. I don't know if I would have been this happy, had it not been for all the tears. I think the three years I spent crying inside for another baby, God used to prepare me to overflow with joy in caring for TWO.

They are a lot of's not X 2, it's squared...and some things are just plain impossible, but they are PRECIOUS. They are MIRACLES and I don't take a minute for granted because they are PURE JOY! They are also growing so fast. When I put away Ethan's baby clothes, I expected to fill them again soon with a sibling. When I put away the twins' clothes, I realize that barring another miracle, this is it. These little outfits will be hand-me-downs for another child in another family. BUT, my heart is okay, not because I don't want anymore children, because I'm just so overwhelmed with gratitude for the ones I've been given. Long before the twins arrived, I came to the realization, that we would always want more kids...that one would not be enough...and neither would two...or three...and it actually helped me accept the secondary infertility, knowing that my heart would always have room for more. I knew that I had to find peace with that space in my heart.

Anyway, Thanksgiving a year ago was a mixture of extreme thankfulness and much disbelief. I had my first ultrasound the week before....had seen two yolk sacs....felt the relief that the pregnancy was developing in the right place and that BOTH embryos had taken...but I still couldn't believe it. We stayed in Boston and I prepared a small little Thanksgiving meal for the three of us +two wee babes. A year before, at Thanksgiving with family in Nashville, I had burst into tears when a well-meaning relative had thanked God for Ethan and prayed for the siblings he would have someday. I couldn't hold it together and excused myself to dry my tears.

I often chided myself for being so emotional, for letting my heart hurt when I'd been given so many good things in my life. Why was desiring another child so painful?  Why couldn't I just be thankful for having a husband...a son...why weren't those two amazing gifts enough? Well, they were enough and one day when I was worshiping God I heard him whisper to my heart, "I am enough for you." It broke me---convicted me---changed me forever. That was the first turning point, recognizing that God had already given me everything I ever needed, and anything on top of that was just His grace, mercy, and goodness.

I kiss them goodnight and I'm just so thankful, so very, very thankful.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Why Write?

Sitting here with my watered down, second cup of coffee, a pile of laundry in the recliner, and a pile of toys beside me, I'm wondering how serious mommy bloggers have time to blog! Yesterday I made enchiladas and chili, and just those two events seemed to cause a chain reaction of piling laundry, toy clutter, and fussy babies. Granted I am nursing TWINS and, more and more, I'm seeing how that requires full-time devotion and a lowering of all other expectations!

Regardless, I still want to record the events of last year before they are lost in time forever. There are some priceless details of the twins' story that a fill-in-the-blank baby book just can't capture. The picture of the two embryos in the dish (I like to brag it's the world's earliest baby photo)...presented to us in a moment with a few minutes to decide if we wanted to transfer both of them or discard one. A relatively easy decision for us since we had already made the commitment to use all embryos offered to us in that cycle or future "from frozen" cycles. We didn't know there would only be two "viable" embryos...but more on all that later.

My desire in writing publicly about our IVF journey is to shed light on a topic that is greatly misunderstood, and hotly debated among some circles of faith-filled people. I don't want to persuade anyone; I don't need validation. We've accepted all the decisions we've made, right or wrong, and trust God to judge our hearts justly. I don't need anyone's approval....the smiling eyes of my sweet boys are totally enough. I just want to share how a couple can approach these grey areas of life with integrity and share how my own misconceptions led to a lot of judgmental attitudes in my heart, before I walked it out myself. Perhaps writing will encourage greater love, sensitivity, and unity on the topic. Perhaps not.

My writing won't be polished. It will be messy and full of grammatical errors. It will be a spilling of my thoughts on the topic... subject to future changes as I research the science behind it all and mature in my understanding of the spiritual and emotional consequences....and as I have more time--a precious commodity these days!  I fully admit that fertility treatment is not for everyone and everyone's infertility story is different....with it's own unique set of medical and emotional challenges to overcome. Many women have to walk away from the whole process because it is just "too much." Some friends have only experienced heartache and loss in hopes of creating a family.

Families are formed in many different ways. All I can do here is tell my own story of how a follower of Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, approaches ethical questions, takes personal responsibility, and walks by faith through the unknown. It is scary to put such personal information "out there", but as a friend reminded me this week, I'm choosing to write for "an audience of One", hoping it will encourage many more, but knowing that it may also offend some. Here goes my heart...more sweet boy just woke up!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Going Back a Year...

Emotion is so hard to capture outside a moment. I knew that when I decided not to write about the treatments in real time. I just couldn't. Once we made the decision to try one last time, to give IVF one shot, I just went silent. It was too emotional, too hard to put it all out there, too hard to even put it in "print" privately. It was all I could do to just walk it out and put my heart and hopes in God's hands.

It was a year ago today I took the home pregnancy test...or at least I think. I remember taking the test when I got back from Greatdaddy's funeral.  David was still in Oklahoma, flying back the next day. I had to get back for work on Monday. Two lines were visible immediately, not like the barely-there-had-to-imagine-line I got with Ethan. I wasn't scared with Ethan. I was immediately over-the-moon happy. I felt happy this time, too, but also strangely disbelieving and the fear was already creeping in.

In the IVF preparation class, the nurses advised us not to take a home test because you are scheduled for a more accurate blood test 2 weeks after the transfer, anyway, and they try to encourage couples to minimize the emotions...your body is high on hormones that might skew the test anyway. But there was no way in hell I was going to wait for a phone call after a blood test...I was grasping for anything that would make the process feel more normal again.

I had been doing injections and blood work and ultrasounds for weeks. Many days I had to be at the hospital by 7:00 am for a blood test and ultrasound before work at 8.  The injections were broken down into one week of suppressing drugs (one injection a day), 2 weeks of stimulating hormones (two injections a day), and one shot for the LH surge that would get the eggs ready to release--a hormonal and emotional roller coaster ride to say the least. The tears well in my eyes even to recall these small details. In fact, I've read many an infertility blog and I never could understand how women put every 1:_____, day 2____...this many eggs retrieved, this many mature, this many fertilized, and heart was too fragile for a play-by-play.  Still is.

I remember laughing one morning at the memory of being scared of needles as a child, "Wow, look at me now, giving myself a shot in my stomach!" I'll never forget the day of the egg retrieval...the horrible pain I was in for the next 24 hours, on heavy pain killers just to try to take the edge off enough to sleep through the recovery. It's not painful for everyone. You're put under for the actual procedure, but I had bleeding into the lining of my abdomen and I was in quite a bit of pain from the moment I woke. I remember joking with David in that super sterile environment, with nurses coming and going, that some people (actually, most people) get pregnant having SEX.
What a novel idea.

But even as I joked about the craziness of baby making in an IVF department, it still hurt. It hurt to be reminded that while others were upset when they accidentally got pregnant, we had come to THIS place...this far to try to make our dreams come true and pursue the creation of family we believed God wanted us to have. The whole process felt like the antithesis of intimacy. So many people and drugs involved in a miracle that is still ultimately in God's hands. We did love each other through it, loved and supported each other in ways that don't happen in the privacy of a bedroom. And you know, it was intimacy... intimacy of the heart and not the body.

...and though it may sound like we had faith, hope, and love, neither one of us thought it would work, but we believed we were supposed to do it anyway.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Dear Girl Without Voting Rights...With No Rights-This is for you precious angel.

I sat on the couch tonight with one of my twins in my lap, flipping through the channels, trying to avoid the last of the political ads before election day tomorrow. Elizabeth Warren promises to fight for equal pay for women and Senator Brown assures us he is on the side of women for their rights to choose. I'm so sick and tired of all the ads. I stumble through more channels and land on BBC World....and now I'm ruined. The story is short but so gruesome; I can't get it out of my head.
They interview the murderers. I've never witnessed humans so callus. There is no sign of remorse, no emotion on their faces. The father, in cuffs and chains, does weep when his younger children come running to him with tears streaming down their faces. What is going through his mind as he comforts the siblings of the daughter he has just killed? A 16 year old daughter killed at the hands of her cruel father and heartless the name of honor. Yes, by now, I know that we've all heard about these "honor killings," but tonight I'm beyond disturbed. 

I'm disturbed that this is our world and while I can exercise my rights as a free, educated woman tomorrow and go to the polls and vote, my vote won't stop these crimes from happening. In my country we aren't trying to insure women have access to education, we just want them to have access to contraceptives. And the right to vote? Well, women gained that years ago. We're on to bigger and better things. We aren't concerned about women being killed by their families, we're just trying to maintain a woman's right to kill her own babies. Am I insensitive, naive, not explaining the whole story? Oh, I'm just getting started. While untold numbers of women are beaten and killed around the world every day, we sit. 
          And we dance around the topic. 
We ignore their suffering, their entrapment in a culture where the men dictate it all and there is no escape for the women. 
And I just want to scream. I want to scream and cry at the total injustice, at the utter lack of respect for, "respect" doesn't even encapsulate it...

I can't fathom loathing life so much that you would commit something so cruel. The mother's words chill me to the core and wring in my ears over and over as I wash my organic, carefully-balanced snack for my son's preschool class tomorrow. 
You know what she said? 
The murderous mother said, "It was her destiny to die this way"...with no tremor in her tears in her eyes. 
I take a break from washing the fruit and I nurse one of my twins back to sleep, his soft warm skin, the innocence of a babe...he pulls off my breast and smiles up at me. 
                                                            And I'm crushed. 
Utterly crushed at the thought of this other mother, around the world from me, pouring acid on the head of her firstborn. Her firstborn, the one she should have shared a magical bond with, a love so deep that nothing could ever come between it...and she burned that precious skin. 

What was the girl's "crime"? She didn't run away with a boy and get pregnant out of wedlock. She didn't do drugs and no filthy language spewed from her mouth. No, her parents were too scared of these greater sins and thought best to preempt something so rebellious. So they killed her when she merely glanced at a young man as he approached their house. A glance...a look over her shoulder but in clear view of parents just waiting for her to "slip."

Her father began beating her, her mother ran to get the acid. Why in the world do these people keep acid on hand? For such a time as this.
She pleaded with her parents that it was an accident and as her father beat her, she promised that she would never do it again. The mother insured her promise by pouring the acid over her head.

There are things that compel me to write, things that haunt me until I purge my being from the thoughts and questions that won't stop.

I haven't blogged in a year...scared to offend. Scared to be vulnerable. But this girl rattles can I ignore the horrible agony in which she died? I won't. Not this time. I will repeat her story and I'll feel sick all over again. She deserves our attention, not our indifference.

And she deserves it from conservatives and liberals, democrats, republicans, independents and whoever else has a voice....she deserved it all. Oh, God, help me do her some sort of justice by repeating her story. And God you know I can only hope now that the life she stepped into is a paradise so wonderful that it erases the 16 years of torture she stepped out of.

I'm not scared of offending; I'm already offended.
I'm so offended that these killings go on. This family weren't radical terrorists, living in a training camp, plotting evil schemes. They were hidden away in a small village. In fact, that's what they did to their daughter, they hid her away and refused to seek medical help for her...they let her slowly burn for hours before she died. I can't stand this.

I can't stomach it.

Yes, her parents and OUR indifference, just offended me out of my silence.

* Editor's "reflections"*
I wrote my initial post in a wave of intense emotion after hearing about this young girl's death in light of my own freedoms as a woman about to vote in the U.S. As a VERY busy mom of twins, I also wrote quickly and with little editing.  My desire, in this post, is to raise awareness of women's rights globally while being thankful and responsible with our rights as American women.  My heart breaks all over again for this girl....trapped in that family and in that all that. I mean no offense to those loving souls in any culture; I do intend to offend our hearts into action when human rights are violated in any "setting."