Thursday, December 11, 2008

::are we seeing a pattern here?::

I have had exactly 3 cycles since my surgery (to remove right ovary/endometrioma and endometriosis, Aug. 21, 2008--in case you're new here).
Cycle 1: 27 days
Cycle 2: 32 days
Cycle 3: 28 days

Will Cycle 4 (which, granted is a month away) be another 30ish number? I'm worried that my remaining left ovary might not be doing its job of taking over for its bum companion that was removed a few months ago. My doc told me that instead of just ovulating every other month, my left ovary would actually take over and pop out an egg for both ovaries. Isn't that weird? It's cool, but it's weird.

And yet...I'm still a little worried. The thought of only having half the chances when we already have pretty low chances is kind of depressing.

Don't get me wrong, though. I'm ecstatic about normal cycle lengths. Pre-surgery, every cycle lasted at least 35 days. Usually it was more like 37, and sometimes it hit the 40's. Having a 28 day cycle actually seems magical for me.

I'm just really interested to see how this continues. Although a 9 month interruption would be very welcome. :)
::
I keep wanting to blog more here, but I am just not sure what to write about. I mean, I am a mom, which was the endgame in all this longing and waiting, right? And yet I am still infertile. It's a paradox, really...I'm not sure how to handle it. So that's why I've been a little skimpy on the posting.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

::good thing I wasn't pregnant::

Wanna know what's worse than two weeks of sore throat, sinus junk, incessant coughing, and a general feeling of what I like to call "blah", while surfing the crimson wave and taking care of a 5 month old?

Getting the stomach virus on top of the lovely rest of it. That's what's worse.

I think my immune system hates me.


I cannot tell you how sick I have been!



Thank the Lord, I am finally on the mend.

More bloggy-ness coming later.

-glenna-

Thursday, November 13, 2008

::no news::

Another cycle come and gone...this one a bit longer than the last, which of course makes me a teeny bit fearful that my trusty remaining ovary is not doing its job. Or that the endometriosis is coming back to life and taking over my insides. You know the little Mucinex man on the commercial that camps out in people's lungs until they take the drug and then cough him up? That's what I picture when I think about the endometriosis coming back, camping out in my reproductive organs, throwing parties, inviting his friends, staying up all night.

It's kinda stupid.

All that said, though, I am really looking forward to enjoying the holidays for the first time ever with a cute little baby on my hip. The past 5 holiday seasons were shadowed by our unmet desire for children, and although we always enjoyed our time with family, there were too many painful reminders that we were still childless. And since I wrote a Christmas letter every year to stuff into our Christmas cards (along with a picture of us, of course--yes, I am that person!), I always felt the need to say things like, "Well, while we would love to be parents, we ask for your prayers in that area, blah, blah...awkward silence...crickets chirping....oh and by the way, Merry Christmas" I guess I felt like we were standing still, which is a horrible way of looking at it, I know. Then last year, I just left the letter out. We had had a really hard year (for a number of reasons, but infertility and failed treatments were definitely key players) and I just didn't have it in me to write the letter, the same letter I felt like I'd been writing for four years.

But this year...it will be different, thank the Lord! We have been blessed through adoption, and I can't wait to finally experience the holidays as a mother. The Lord has poured out His grace on us...we are full to overflowing.

Oh, and our finalization date for Isaiah's adoption is December 22nd...just in time for the holidays! We get to make an quick trip to the state of his birth for quick court hearing, but at that point all the legal proceedings are DONE. No more red tape! All things will be official, and I'm looking forward to that day!

My cup runneth over.

Blessings on those who continue to wait....

-glenna-

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Whoa.....sorry for the lack of updates.

I've just not known what to write, honestly.

We're back into this up-and-down cycle of trying to conceive. But not. What I mean is that we are back into "TTC mode," but we are not obsessing about it. And some of that not-obsessing comes from already being a mom. Like, no charting for me because I have no real set waking time but I do have lots of random waking times throughout the night.....so temperatures are not really reliable. I thought about buying some OPK's but....gosh, I just get so wrapped up in it at all when I'm that invested and I just...don't want to go...there. Once my mind goes there, I'm stuck there, you know?

If I weren't already a mom, I would probably be soooo more into this, but I feel sorta guilty for jumping hard core on the TTC bandwagon because I already have this beautiful son. I mean, I'm a mom! That was the goal, right? No, I didn't get pregnant (which was sort of the goal), but I did become a mom (which was the goal). Which is why I'm not sure what to write here anymore.

What to do, what to do.

I should mention, though, (and this is where all non-female readers should stop reading), that I had my first full cycle since my surgery (told ya to stop reading, guys). And wouldn't you just know--I had a 27 day cycle. Twenty-seven days!! As opposed to 35, 37, or even 42 days (which I think was the longest cycle I've ever had). And wow...so that's what menstrual cramps are supposed to feel like?!?! Oh, that is nothing!! I guess I realized just how much pain I was in pre-surgery. In retrospect, the endometriosis had really caused a lot of pain...it was just my "normal" so I didn't think anything of it. Wow. I'm am so glad to be rid of the Stupid Tumor.

Since I'm still struggling with what to write here, since I'm still dabbling in both worlds--the world of motherhood and the world of infertility, since I just don't know where I fit....I'll leave you with this, because he's just so darn cute. And 4 months old now if you can believe it.


More to come...
-glenna-

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

::out of pocket::

No posts anytime soon....my hard drive crashed. :(

Thursday, September 18, 2008

::the old college try::

Last night during our prayer service at church, we read Psalm 113 right before spending time in corporate prayer. This is the first time I have read this passage since becoming a mom.

1Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord,
praise the name of the Lord!
2
Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forevermore!

3 From the rising of the sun to its setting,
the name of the Lord is to be praised!

4 The Lord is high above all nations,
and his glory above the heavens!
5 Who is like the Lord our God,
who is seated on high,
6 who looks far down
on the heavens and the earth?
7 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
8 to make them sit with princes,
with the princes of his people.
9 He gives the barren woman a home,
making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the Lord!

After my husband read that last verse aloud to the group, my heart was immediately overflowing with emotion. Praise God--that is ME! I am a barren woman whom He has given a home and made the joyous mother of a son! I know that this verse is not a promise for every barren woman, and indeed--I have not been made "unbarren" (although I pray He sees fit to do so one day), but He has still made me the joyous mother of a child. And this.....just astounds me! I feel very blessed.

:::

As far as how things are going post-op...well, I have had my first cycle since the surgery and I have to say....so that's what a normal cycle feels like! That's nothing! I didn't realize that my pain was so much greater than a regular person's cycles. I am so glad to be pain free, although I guess my pain tolerance was greater than I realized. We are doing everything within our power over the next 6 months to optimize our chances of conceiving.

Vitamins....they never sit well in my stomach. But, we are both taking a handful of vitamins that I have researched for both of our fertility issues. My husband is so good about the small army of pills he has to take. He happily downs them every night without a complaint. We are both exercising regularly, too, and trying to eat well. I don't really know what else we can do. I have a book on Traditional Chinese Medicine, but I don't have access to acupuncture or herbalists where we live, so please don't make that recommendation.

It feels strange to be thinking about all of this again. I had really gotten out of the habit once our adoption plan was well underway. I tucked my BBT thermometer into a drawer and stopped obsessing about charts and graphs. I don't know if I can do the thermometer thing with a baby who still wakes often at night, but I'm curious about what my chart will look like now that my endometriosis has been cleaned out. I used to have a saw-tooth like chart, but I read that that is very common with endometriosis or growths.

At any rate, we'll do what we need to do to try to conceive naturally...or, as my doctor says, "to give it the old college try." Please do pray for us over the next 6 months.

Also, you will really have to convince me to post the surgery pics of the Stupid Tumor; I will only do it if you REALLY want me to. I feel kind of strange exposing my insides to the world, yet it is strangely fascinating.

XOXO

Thursday, September 4, 2008

::demon of infertility, thy name is endometriosis!::

I had my post-op appointment today. I wondered what all my options would be considering that I wasn't conscious the last time I saw my doctor and my husband couldn't remember all the details. He was understandably focused on me and whether or not any cancer was present (thank the Lord, it wasn't!). One thing he DID tell me (& that I remembered from my pre-op appointment) was that medically induced menopause was a treatment option. Lupron (which many of you are familiar with). But....I just wasn't real excited about that being my option for the next 6 months. Understandably so since common side effects are mood swings, hot flashes, and weight gain. Bleh.

My doctor did an exam and checked all my incisions. Everything looks to be healing correctly and I was given the go-ahead to resume normal activities, minus any heavy weightlifting at the gym (because we all know there was a huge danger of that happening!!). No problem. Before I get to our options, I'll share about my pictures. I have two pages of pictures (in color!!) of my insides. It's a little gross, but kinda cool. What's weird about it is that the right ovary (which is no longer in my body, thanks to the surgery) was more than three times the size of the left ovary. I thought there had been a tumor growing like on the outside of the ovary, but actually the endometrioma had sort of "taken over" the ovary and had filled it with this nasty liquid (think melted chocolate; yes I know that's gross) that is endometriosis. For this reason, the ovary is gone. No saving it. The other ovary was a little enlarged, but was nothing compared to the right one which was almost the size of my entire uterus.

But let's not forget to mention that my entire reproductive area was a "mess," to quote my doctor. Endometriosis everywhere. Some adhesions in my uterus as well, but the D&C took care of that. My doc burned off nearly all of the endometriosis (which, by the way, is uterine lining that is growing outside the uterus. Right tissue, wrong location, in other words.) except for the little bit that was growing on the wall of my bladder, which I greatly appreciated. No holes in my bladder, please.


Now. Options.
  • A. Birth Control pills for six months or so to stop the growth of the endometriosis and to alleviate pain. Obviously, no trying to conceive.
  • B. Lupron for 6 months to essentially shut down the production of estrogen (which causes the endo to grow and spread), and to "kill off" the endometriosis. Also, no trying to conceive because I will not be ovulating.
  • C. Do nothing. Try to conceive "on our own" since we're not pursuing IVF or ICSI (if we were pursuing those things, now would be the prime time since I've been "cleaned out."). Re-evaluate in six months.
After talking with my doctor, we have decided to C. Do nothing. Why? Well, pain has never been a real issue with me. My endometriosis was not causing a lot of pain, which is the tricky thing about endometriosis. Some people have a tiny bit of endo, but major amounts of pain. Others, like me, have a lot of endo and no pain. Some have lots of endo and lots of pain. It's different for each person. My main problems were from the uncomfortable bloating that was a result of the endometrioma which was removed from my body. So, I don't need to take option A or B for pain management since I haven't had much pain. I REALLY want to avoid the drugs if I can. My doctor was okay with that, but I have to call her if I do have pain. So, for the next six months, we'll just give it the "old college try", as my doctor likes to call it. ;) And we'll pray and fast and hope that the Lord will bless us with pregnancy. Because, not only do we want biological children, pregnancy stops the growth of endometriosis.

It's strange timing of course since we have this precious little one at home, our miracle through adoption. And we haven't been focused on trying to conceive since we have him in our lives. He, in every way, is our beautiful child. We are already parents. And frankly, I'm a little overwhelmed at the thought of having another baby so soon, but, because of the diagnosis of endometriosis, we feel that it's a good time to really pray for a child through pregnancy. And pray we must since we already have male factor infertility throwing a mean left hook at us.
If, in 6 months, we have not gotten pregnant, we'll re-evaluate our options. If pain becomes an issue, we'll re-evaluate our options sooner.

But...for the record, that's what's going on. Endometriosis. We would not have known about it if I hadn't had all the bloating from the endometrioma. No wonder we haven't gotten pregnant. I mean, even with serious male factor infertility, there is still always a chance we could conceive "on our own", but with the mess that I saw on the pictures.....no wonder we haven't. I'm thankful it was discovered, that my doctor took my complaints seriously, that I took my discomfort seriously, and that much of the disease has been removed from my body.

All we do now......try and pray.

XOXO
glenna

**disclaimer: yes I know that I don't have all the terminology correct, but I am trying to explain this in a way that is not too full of medical jargon, that the average IF sufferer can understand, that makes sense to me. So....no comments about my kindergarten explanations, please. ;)

P.S. I am not opposed to posting the pictures of my insanely large tumor/ovary and the endometriosis that has taken over my insides. All you have to do is ask. ;)

Friday, August 22, 2008

::recovery::

Well, I am the proud owner of just one ovary. An ovary with some endometriosis growing on it at that! My right ovary, which was twice the size of the left one, was removed along with the tumor that was attached with it. The tumor was definitely an endometrioma, thank the Lord! No cancer. My uterus, which had had a thick lining and was worrying us about precancerous cells, was absolutely fine. So thankful for that! My left and only remaining ovary is in good shape, but does have some endo growing on it. I'm still kind of in a blur as to what will be the treatment options for that since yesterday was such a haze, but my husband tells me that when I go for my post-op appointment, the doctor will discuss putting me in medically induced menopause for a few months to stop the growth of the endo. After that, we have an optimal chance to try to conceive. We do have other factors in our infertility, so we would still be praying for a miracle, but we'll definitely try and pray!!

Thanks for praying for me! The recovery time yesterday was NOT fun, but I am at home now and resting. My have three incisions and the one that is over the spot where my ovary used to be is a lot larger than they had planned, and it is the one giving me the most pain, but we're getting through it. I'll be laid out on the couch for a couple of weeks, but my husband is a huge help and is waiting on me hand and foot. My mom is here taking good care of my little baby boy, so I am thankful for her. I don't have to worry about anything but getting better.

Speaking of....I just took some pain meds, so I better stop here before I start typing goofy stuff.

Thanks for praying, friends.

XOXO
glenna

Monday, August 4, 2008

::back to the infertility drawing board::

It's so time for a real post.

I was wondering what to do about this blog. I mean, I'm kind of in the "already-not yet" phase of my journey with infertility. Already a mom, not yet pregnant. I have been amazingly blessed by the adoption of our son Isaiah--I can't tell you how it has filled that need to be a mom. I AM a mom, even if I didn't give birth.

I was listening to a Caedmon's Call song recently titled "Sacred". For the first time, I listened to it as a mother (I used to skip it all the time), and I was so choked up I couldn't sing along.
Here are the words:

this house is a good mess
it’s the proof of life
no way would I trade jobs
but it don’t pay overtime
I’ll get to the laundry

I don’t know when
I’m saying a prayer tonight
cause tomorrow it starts again

could it be that everything is sacred?
and all this time
everything I’ve dreamed of
has been right before my eyes

the children are sleeping
but they’re running through my mind
the sun makes them happy
and the music makes them unwind
my cup runneth over

and I worry about the stain
teach me to run to You like they run to me for every little thing

when I forget to drink from you
I can feel the banks harden
Lord, make me like a stream
to feed the garden

wake up, little sleeper
the Lord, God Almighty
made your Mama keeper
so rise and shine, rise and shine cause
everything is sacred

and all this time
everything I’ve dreamed of
has been right before my eyes

Yeah, I'm a little sappy, but as I look at piles of laudry undone, stacks of unwritten thank you notes, mail spread out on the dining room table, and the tiny little guy lying next to me on the couch, I am thankful for my mess, for this little one who makes me a mommy.
:::

So I wondered what to do with this blog. I mean, technically we still try to conceive. There is still in my heart a desire to conceive and give birth. I don't know many women who don't desire that at some point in their lives. But, it's not at the forefront of my mind like it was. I struggle even to know what day of my cycle I'm on these days! I guess that's a good way to not stress about it, right?

About two weeks ago, I had a doctor's appointment with my obgyn for my yearly well-woman exam. I told her in passing that I had been having really painful cycles over the past 6 months or so, followed by intense, acute bloating like I've never felt before. I thought maybe I was making it up--maybe I was being a baby about the pain, you know? But, my doc decided to order an ultrasound just to be safe. I thought maybe she was blowing it our of proportion and I immediately thought, "great, I'll have to pay for a procedure that will show that everything's fine. waste of time and money. bleh." My doctor also ordered a lipids and glucose panel since I'm 27 and haven't had one of those done in a long time. (oh goody, now I'm a candidate for the cholesterol talk.)

Today was the day for my morning of appointments. I went in and had my blood drawn first while I was fairly bursting from all the water I was required to drink for the U/S. After having my labs done, I went for the U/S. The tech did the first part on my belly, and then I was thankfully allowed to empty my bladder and have the internal wand used for another angle(always a joy). When I came out of the bathroom wrapped in the sheet, I hopped on the table and got situated in everyone's favorite position: the stirrups. I'm used to them, so I wasn't concerned. What I did notice is that the U/S tech had turned the screen away from me so I couldn't see what was going on (not that I would have been real sure what I was looking at anyway). I thought, "hmm...odd." Then the U/S took a reeaallllyy long time. At one point I got a tiny peek at the screen and saw a plethora of measurements on the screen. Uh-oh.

I was allowed to clean up and leave for a while (to get a snack since I had to fast for my labs). I was to return in 45 minutes to meet with the doctor. Fortunately, Starbucks was only about two blocks away. I sat and drank my grande Caramel Macchiato and tried not to stress.

When I returned, the doctor came in pretty quickly and sat down. "Glenna, you have a mass on your right ovary. It's not a cyst, it's a tumor."

My heart stopped beating for a second.

She immediately said, "I can see in your eyes that your mind has immediately gone to ovarian cancer and that everyone dies from that." She handed me some tissue; I didn't even realize that I was crying.

"Don't freak out, " she said with her hand on my arm. "While I can't guarantee you that it's not cancerous, I really think it's probably an endometrial tumor. But we have to do surgery to take it out. And I don't really want to wait that long. You have to know that there is a good chance that I have to remove your ovary as well. I will try to save it, but I may not be able to."

By this time tears were streaming down my face. She started to tear up, too, and said she knew this was hard to take. She hugged me really tightly (I have a great doctor, by the way!) and tried to reassure me.

She showed me one of the 40 million U/S pics of my tumor and compared it with some pics of cysts (I apparently have several of those lovelies, also). The cysts were transparent and smaller. The tumor was a bigger (but still relatively small) solid mass. She went on to explain more.

"I think this is definitely a factor in your infertility. I know you have other issues, but I think this tumor is NOT helping. Your other ovary is healthy and you can function and still possibly have children with it (depending on the other infertility issues). I'm SO glad you didn't blow off the bloating issue. I'm really glad you mentioned that to me when you were in last."

She kept reassuring me and comforting me and then took me to the lab for more bloodwork in preparation for my surgery. My procedure is scheduled for August 21.
:::
I called my husband (my rock of a man who is always just what I need) in mess of tears and emotions, and he just wanted me to hurry home (I was a good 30 minutes away). After spending the day talking with him, family, and friends, I am feeling better about this tumor. Stupid tumor, but I'm coming to terms with it. The good news is that I am young, healthy, and my other exams were fine, so it is very unlikely that this tumor is cancerous. It's still a possibility, but I'm trying not to focus on it. I'm a little more concerned about losing my right ovary when we already about about 37 decks of cards stacked against us when it comes to conceiving. Thankfully, God gave us women TWO ovaries, so maybe leftie here will work overtime and give me a darkhorse chance to have a biological child.

Nothing like more infertility grief when I was conveniently distracted by the adoption of our beautiful son. But you know what? God was not surprised by this tumor. He can and will make good out of this situation, and I pray He receives all glory for whatever that is. While I struggle not to fret and worry, I repeat in my head the words, "I lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth!" Thank GOD I have a Savior who is alive and well and who will carry me through this.

He is good, all the time.

Even though I fret about losing any tiny chance I had left of conceiving, I get to look at this every day.

I covet your prayers.

XOXO
glenna

Friday, August 1, 2008

::for a friend::

Please pray for Allison!!


(A real update from me coming soon--I promise!)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

::long time, no post::

Sorry, friends!

Things have been a little busy, heh heh.

This guy takes up most of my time.

For those of you who didn't take the leap to our other site, let me fill you in.
William Isaiah was born on June 14 at 2:43p.m. He weighed 6 pounds, 12 ounces, and was 19 inches long.

The last days of our adoption process were full of ups and downs, but he officially became our son on Tuesday, June 17, 2008. We are thrilled to be parents, finally.

And as difficult a statement as it may be to read for some, I honestly feel in my heart of hearts--when I look into this little face that I can finally say....
Praise God for infertility.

If not for infertility, we wouldn't be holding this sweet little baby who has captured our hearts.


The Lord is good in His sovereignty. He is SO good. We are incredibly thankful for Isaiah.

And it gives me great pleasure to sign this as:
-the new mommy-

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

::27::

Hop on over to Aaron and Angie's site and congratulate them--they got THE call today stating that their birthmother's water broke. How exciting!!

Also, fellow IF sufferers Farah had her baby a couple of days ago, and Amy also gave birth last week. Babies abound!!

::

We are still waiting. Today is my 27th birthday, so it would be REALLY nice if baby boy decided to make an appearance today, but I know...that's stretching it a bit. ;)
I've kind of got it in my head that he's staying in there forever. That way, I'm not nervous all the time. It's flawed logic, of course, but it keeps me from losing my sanity. Hehe. In all honesty, I DO want him to stay in the oven as long as possible so that he's as healthy as can be when he actually IS born; at the same time, I don't want his birthmom to have to endure full-term pregnancy pains in this incredible heat for too much longer!

I was really hoping I'd be a mom before this birthday, and it's silly to be unhappy simply because I'm not a mom yet--I know that I'm about to be a mom (Lord willing). I was just kinda...hoping, you know? You can just ignore the sentimental babblings of a woman who is losing her mind waiting for her baby. ;) My husband will be 30 on the 26th. I REALLY hope baby is here by then!

I'll keep you posted!

-glenna-

Monday, June 9, 2008

::false alarm::

Okay, so by now you must know that last week's post was a false alarm. No baby yet.

To keep things simple, however, I'll still be updating our family blog, so please check for updates. When we leave for the baby's birth I WILL update there, but probably not here--it's just easier to update once, you know?

For now....I'm just waiting. Putting final touches on the nursery (click here for pictures), sorting a huge box of baby clothes that came in the mail from family (Thanks, Aunt Teresa!!!), writing thank-you notes (which I need to do more quickly), and trying to plan at least one fun thing each day to take my mind off of the waiting. Tomorrow it's going to the pool with some friends. Today it was walking to the library with my husband and returning with an armload of books (I know, we're nerds) and then going to catch a matinee. Anything to occupy my restless mind!!

Thanks for all your comments and prayers! Check our other site often for updates!!

XOXO
glenna

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Baby is on his way!!

So much for waiting!!!

Baby is on his way!

We'll update as soon as possible, but check our family blog for those updates.

Keep us all in your prayers!!

XOXO
glenna

::Limbo::

Yes, we are still waiting on this baby to make his appearance. We have heard from our social worker that the birthmom has had some pre-term labor (I'm not entirely sure that what means, except that is isn't the "real thing"), but nothing further.

How do I sleep at night, you ask?

I don't know. I just do. Most of my stressing is done during the day. See, I finished teaching for the year and since school's been out, I've spent my time getting ready for this baby's appearance. But now, everything is packed and ready to go at a moment's notice. There really is nothing left to do! So, my days are spent reading, mindlessly channel surfing, keeping the laundry and dishes up constantly so we don't leave a mess should the call come, and aimlessly wandering through the house. I feel like I'm wasting away while waiting for this most important event!! It's funny, really.

This morning I spent a couple of hours at a friend's house and had a cup of coffee with her. Spending time with others REALLY helps take my mind off of things, for the most part. However, our friends and family are just as anxious as we are... :)

I'll tell you what I haven't done much of--writing down all my thoughts about this huge shift. I am about to leave the non-mom persona for the mom persona. After all these years of longing and waiting, I'm (Lord willing...that all goes through as planned) going to be a mother. I can't quite get that through my head. I remembered today how I questioned myself in February--do I want to be pregnant or do I want to be a mom? After a good hard look at my life, I realized it was motherhood and children I desired the most, whether that came through pregnancy or adoption.
And now....I'm almost there.
It's amazing how the Lord has walked us through this adoption process. I still am in shock at how quickly it all has gone. Wasn't it only the first of February that we began this process?!?

...which helps me keep this waiting in perspective. If the little man decides to stay in his comfortable birthmom's womb for three more weeks, our adoption process STILL has flown by.

Someone joked that they bet I jump every time the phone rings. You have no idea!! It rings and my heart pounds nearly out of my chest; but that's not as funny as my husband's response. His eyes bug out immediately. I need to get a picture of that look.
So, every night we place the phone and cell phones on the nightstand. We put everything in order so we can leave should the phone ring in the middle of the night. Then, when we get up, get all our shower/toiletries out of our bags, get ready for the day, and then put it all back "just in case". It's like planning for a vacation but not knowing when you'll leave.

I've rambled enough. But now you get an idea of what goes through my mind during these waiting days. I cannot wait for the moment when I look into the eyes of a darling little boy who will make all these years of infertility seem like a vapor. Lord, please haste the day.

I promise to update as soon as I know something certain.
XOXOX
glenna

Monday, June 2, 2008

::Getting Close::

The baby will be here before too long!

Our social worker called this morning to give us an update. Without being specific, we have reason to believe our birthmom will have this baby before too much longer. Our social worker told us to get things packed; yeah....we've been packed for a week!

I'm tired and anxious and have been fighting headaches and nausea for the past week because of the stress and all the not-knowing. Don't worry....the nausea is NOT for any other reason--don't even ask! But, it's annoying enough that it prohibits me from doing everything I want to.

Anyway...sorry for the lack of updates. I've just felt like there's not been anything worth updating. But--now we're CLOSE!

Keep us all in your prayers!!

-glenna-

Saturday, May 24, 2008

::First Baby Shower::

I'm too tired to do a duplicate post; pictures take forever!!
Please visit my other blog to view pictures/details of our FIRST baby shower!!
www.williamandglenna.blogspot.com

Thanks!!!

XOXOX
glenna

Monday, May 19, 2008

::Great Day::

It was almost exactly 5 months ago that we were headed down I-55 from St. Louis after a devastating doctor's appointment with an infertility specialist. I remember that night clearly...it seemed that with every mile that passed, another tear rolled down my face. What a hard night that was. There were tearful phonecalls to friends and family members who had prayed and wanted to know how our appointment went. I'll never forget how hard that trip home was. It seemed like our dreams of a family were so far out of our reach that we would never be parents like we so wanted to be.

Tonight we road down that same interstate road. What a strikingly different trip home it was. With excitement and overwhelming joy, we realized that our dreams were unfolding right before our eyes.Thank you to all of you (and I know there were MANY) who were praying for us today. Our meeting with the birthmother went SO well. I was immediately drawn to this woman. For privacy's sake, there is not a whole lot that I can post online here, but if you want to know more details, free to call or email. What I can tell you is that this gracious woman is unbelievably excited about giving us the gift of her son. She is so excited! Both she and the birthfather (who was unable to come) are both African-American, but they are okay with their sone being raised by a Caucasian couple, which is a relief to us. Of course, we have been open to transracial adoption from the beginning, so this is exciting for us. Having had several other children, she knows what it takes to raise a child. She said that she knew the first time she looked at our profile that WE are the couple she wants to raise her son. After meeting us, she was even more certain. She is very committed to her adoption plan thus far, and is so eager for us to become parents. She asked that we be in the delivery room with her when the baby is born!!! We are overwhelmed at her gracious attitude towards us. We could not have picked a more sincere and sweet person!

Her decision is final, at this point. So, all we do now is wait for the phone call to tell us that she is in labor. She expects for that to happen over the next two and a half weeks, she said. (!!!!) We were instructed by the social worker to keep a bag packed with several changes of clothes, and all the baby gear (um....what baby gear? We have none of that yet! Thankfully, our church shower is this Saturday!) Because the baby will actually be born in Illinois, there is something called an interstate compact agreement which will delay things, but that's okay. Ideally, we will be able to spend the night in the hospital while he is there. It is our birthmother's desire that we are there for the whole birth--she wants me to cut the umbilical cord!!--and for us to care for the baby in the hospital. We will get to do the feedings and everything! This is just overwhelming to me...I may never get to give birth or do all of these things myself, so when she said that she wants us to have as much of the birth experience as possible, it just blessed me SO much. Again...can you tell how gracious she is?!

She brought a gift for us.
In a musical frame that played a fun song was this:



She had also enclosed a sweet little card about us becoming parents. Really...could she BE any nicer?!?! :) It was all I could do not to cry!

I can't believe that I'm looking at a picture of "our" son!!! Now, I am a horrible sonogram reader and since this was taken late in her pregnancy, he's almost too big for the picture, but that is a profile shot of his head and his hand is up by his mouth. I keep looking at it and saying, "William, I can't see it! What am I looking at?!?!" It's funny. On the computer, I can see it much more clearly when I enlarge it. ;)

We will definitely keep you all updated! We are amazed at how the Lord is working out every single detail of this process. And how FAST it is going!!! It's too much to take in right now!! We are going to go ahead and pack a few items tonight "just in case," although I hope baby boy stays put for a little while longer. ;)
We praise God for His wonderful blessings in all of this. We ask for continued prayer. Nothing is final until the 72 hour revocation period immediately following the birth is over. It won't be until then that the baby is really "ours". We feel that our birthmom is REALLY committed to this, but you never know for certain until it's all overwith. So please pray for all of this process. Pray for a safe delivery for birthmom and baby boy.
Thanks again for praying and thinking of us. We are humbled by the love, grace, and faithfulness of the Lord.He has done great things!!!
XOXOX,
glenna

Thursday, May 15, 2008

::oh yeah, sorry::

Sorry I left you hanging.

At your instistence, I'll give a tiny update. There's really just not a ton to say at this point. Our meeting got moved from next Tuesday to Monday (as if it weren't quick enough already!!). I'm working like mad to get our scrapbook done so we can show it to them when we meet. They, according to our social worker, are very excited to meet us...which makes me less nervous. Actually, I'm not too terribly nervous. I'm looking forward to it. I mean, these folks could be the birthparents of MY future son!!! How could I not look forward to meeting them?!? The due date is somewhere around the end of June. That's not that far away!!

Our homestudy documents were sent in for approval today, so even though it's really only a formality, it's an important formality! ;)

Other than that...gosh, there's not a whole lot to say. Our first shower is on Saturday, May 24th. Our church is throwing a big bash for us and not just women are invited to it--it's churchwide: men, women, and kids. I'm REALLY looking forward to it! Our church has blessed us SO much through this process. I am truly indebted to this wonderful body of believers.
The next shower is in our hometown and takes place on June 5th.

Thanks so much for your comments and prayers! It means SO much to me to have so much support, and from people who don't even know me in real life! What a blessing!!

Be sure to look for an update Monday night. ;)

XOXOX,
glenna

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

::Incredible News::

Today I had my last homestudy visit with our social worker (SW)--it was my individual interview. It went really well! I really think I would like seeing a therapist or something because today I got to talk about myself and my life while our SW listened and took notes!!! Ha!

Our SW said that she had shown our profile to a birthmother who really liked us (on paper)! This was great news! She is pretty far along in her pregnancy, but that was pretty much all we knew at that point.

After the SW left, I called William to update him on how things went. He was excited!! We thought our next step was to wait and see if the birthmother was further interested in our information.
So...it is a waiting game.

Then.......I got a call from our SW. She had heard from the birthmother. Both the birthmother AND birthfather want to meet us NEXT WEEK!!!!!!! The birthfather terminated his rights today, which shows they are pretty serious about their adoption plan.

And now....

(the best part)





It's





a










BOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So...breathe, people!!!! Take a deep breath and continue rejoicing with us!! :)

What's next?

Well, we have to get our scrapbook done so we can take it with us when we meet the birthparents on MONDAY of next week. Then we just see how it goes. And take it from there.

This is really fast. I mean, REALLY fast. Now, none of it is set in stone, of course, but it's exciting nonetheless.

We SERIOUSLY covet your prayers in this. The Lord has answered so many prayers up to this point, so we want to cover the rest of it in prayer. Please, please, please remember these birthparents in your prayers. While this brings us incredible joy, it may bring them incredible pain. Having both of them involved is a wonderful thing on so many different levels. So again, please cover all of us: birthmother, birthfather, William, me, social worker, and BABY BOY in your prayers.

I'm off to take some Tylenol. My head is splitting from all the overwhelming emotions! I've cried buckets and laughed and screamed with joy. We are amazed at how the Lord is working this out.

With much joy,
-glenna-

Sunday, May 11, 2008

::a Mother's Day to remember::

For the past five years, Mother's Day has been a painful reminder of our infertility. As we waited and prayed, this holiday (while I was thankful for my mom!!) always struck a painful chord in my heart.

This year...it's different.

For the first time, this day did not bring any hurt with it. Instead, my heart was full of excitement about our upcoming adoption.

::

When I woke William up this morning to get ready for church, he surprised me with my first Mother's Day gift. He pulled out a Mother's Day card and a onesie that we had registered for. He wanted to acknowledge that I am a mom-to-be and to celebrate our "paper pregnancy" as many people refer to the adoption process. It will not surprise you that I was in tears in a matter of seconds!! As I clung to my dear husband's arms, tears of hope and thankfulness streamed down my face.

I am blessed beyond belief.




The onesie says "Party at my crib 2 a.m."


A glimpse of the nursery.



I spend a few minutes in this room every day, sitting in my rocker and praying for our baby, the birth mom, and us as future parents. It is SUCH a relief to have hope for our future.

My last homestudy meeting is on Tuesday. We submitted our profile on Friday; the social worker says it all looks good. She has a potential match for us!! We are super excited. All our friends and family are planning showers for us--it's SO strange being on the receiving end of all of this!! So far, there are 5 showers on the roster!! We are blessed.

I hope you are all hanging in there on this day that can be so difficult for those of us who are infertile or who have recurrent pregnancy loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

After my husband (who is the pastor) had all the moms stand while he prayed over them, the teenage son of a good friend of mine leaned over to his mom and said, "This is the last year Ms. Glenna won't get to stand during this time."
I LOVE that our church, family, and friends are so excited for us!!!

Personally, I can't say enough how blessed I feel--how markedly different this day feels for me than it has for the past few years. The Lord has been abundantly good to me...I do NOT deserve it.

XOXOX,
glenna

Saturday, April 26, 2008

::adoption update::

We had our first home study visit last Monday. It went really well! It was uncomplicated and laid back. We simply chatted over coffee with the social worker. We ran through a lot of the questions we'd already answered on paper but needed to discuss together. We discussed some financial options, our openness questionnaire, and our infertility history. Our social worker wanted to go ahead and do the home tour (Eek!!) but the house was clean and nice, so it was fine. I'm kind of a neat freak at times, so I wasn't fully prepared for her to do her walk-through, but it was fine. I had cleaned, but those of you who know me well know that I'd have overdone it if I'd known for certain that she was doing her walk-through today! She mostly checked things like square footage, smoke alarms, exit plans in case of emergency, etc. It was no big deal. She liked the nursery, which is coming right along.

Our next step involves two more home visits which are individual interviews. William's individual interview is Wednesday, May 7, and mine is Tuesday, May 13. Between now and then, we have a reading list that our social worker provided. She complimented me on my organization and the speed at which we got our paperwork completed. Keeping that in mind, she said with a smile, "You'll have no problem getting the reading done; you both seem like overachievers to me!" She has us pegged. :-)

I found one of the books on the required reading list at Bar.nes & No.ble, Raising Adopted Children, by Lois Ruskai Melina. I haven't started it yet, but I will soon.

Yesterday our social worker called. She said that we need to start getting our profile together (the info about us with pictures--kind of like an advertisement that is shown to birthparents who are trying to choose adoptive parents for their child). She said that she had some "possibilities" that she'd like to show our profile to soon!! WOW!!! Now, technically, she can't show our profile until our homestudy is completed and approved. But, if we can get it put together and sent to her to look over during the next week or so, she can help us edit and then get a final copy ready so that as SOON as our homestudy is approved (Lord willing) she can start showing our profile. Listen up, people! This could go FAST! (Here's hoping, anyway!)

So, that's where we are at this point. We're excited!

XOXOX
glenna

Thursday, April 17, 2008

::4 years::

One year ago I wrote this:
It was April 19th, 2004.
We made a decision that we thought would quickly alter our lives. We decided that one purpose of marriage was to grow our little family of two. And so we began "trying", as everyone does. Being the researcher of the family, I did my homework and was soon immersed into a world of thermometers, BBT charts, ovulation prediction tests, and fertility websites. I thought, "6 months at the most--we'll definitely be pregnant by October." October came and went. So did November, December, January, February, and March. And then it was April again. And so, as all the books told me, after 1 year of unsuccessful trying, we were now labeled "infertile." Armed with a year's worth of monthly charts, I went to the doctor as soon as we hit the one year mark. A round of routine bloodwork revealed no immediate problems, so other tests were ordered. And reordered, after the results were poor. And again, the results were dismal. After saying that the chances of me ever conceiving "on my own" were slim to none, my doctor recommended a specialist in Memphis.
It was a cruel blow, I remember. I had walked into my doctor's office expecting to be handed a prescription that would fix all our problems. The diagnosis of infertility that required special doctor-assisted reproductive therapy....that was not what I had expected. Almost as soon as I got to the parking lot of the doctor's office, I burst into tears. And I sobbed and sobbed all the way to our house where my husband was packing our bags for our vacation (we were leaving in a matter of hours). It was hard timing. We grieved. Oh, how we grieved.
But we went on our trip, and the further we got from Jackson, Tennessee, the further away, it seemed, was our infertility. We returned with broken hearts, though, and packed up our house as we were moving in 4 days to Missouri where my husband would be taking a new pastorate.
So we packed.
And I pushed my heartache down into the deepest moving box I could find, with all my other belongings. It resurfaced when I unpacked in the house in my new town. And from then on, another year passed where I sought to shove away my sorrow while it was ever trying to resurface amidst other battles of ministry and the newness of our life in Missouri.
When we hit two years, we decided it was time to try the doctors again. I found a physician I loved, and had her take a look at our troubles. She ordered all kinds of tests (many were repeats). She even tried an invasive procedure that we were sure would help our chances of achieving the dream we ached for. The procedure gave some good news, but did not (obviously) bring our dream to life. Another round of repeat tests showed that our diagnosis was the same. We, again, were devastated. And my doctor who I had had so much faith in said there was no more she could do....we'd have to go to a specialist in St. Louis. And that was eight months ago (presently, 20 months ago). I've been holding on to that referral for eight months, but have been unable to pick up the phone to make an appointment. My heart won't let me go there.
And while my dear husband and I sit and grieve over a dream that may never come to life, we wonder what we should do. Should we pursue treatment? Should we give up on conceiving altogether? Should we adopt? Should we simply wait and pray? Do we limit our faith to "slim to none"?
We don't know what to do. Three years, while but a breath to some of you, have taken their toll on our hope. Funny thing, hope. You can squelch it down, but it returns at the oddest times. When your heart physically aches as you watch a young family pushing their stroller, when you can't breathe as your friends announce their pregnancy (or possibly their second or third), when sleep eludes you because your mind races with the possibilities of "never" and "how will we cope?".....hope surprises you. It sneaks up on you. Even when you don't want it to.
I have no idea what this fourth year will bring. I can't imagine it being any different than the last three have been. And yet, with all of our heart, we YEARN for it to be different. We ACHE to see our dream in person, wiggling and cooing, before our eyes. But because we sometimes seek to preserve our sanity, we have to limit how much we allow ourselves to hope. We ask that YOU not give up on us, though. Please do not let your hope for us run out. We need your hope to lean on. Please pray for wisdom for us. Pray for hope. Pray that God would bless us with children. But, pray that He would be glorified no matter what. In all of this, it is by grace that I can always say that God is good. Our life is but a breath; to Him be glory and honor forever and ever. Amen.

You know what the 4th year has encompassed if you've read the last 12 months of posts. I'm glad to be turning over the new leaf of adoption. It's hard to grasp that it has actually been 4 years and that we are beginning our 5th year of trying to conceive our first baby. That....astounds me. But, again, I say that God is faithful, even in His not giving us children....or maybe I should say especially in His not giving us children. I will never claim to understand the mind of the Lord, but I know that His Word proclaims His goodness and even in personal tragedy, I can see Him to be so.

It's funny to see how in the last few months our attitude towards trying to conceive has changed. The desire is still there, ever strong, to have a baby biologically. The grief is even still there--it resurfaces and rears its ugly head about once a month--but it has been largely eclipsed by the hope of opening our home and hearts to a child who may not share our DNA but will share in our name and love.

I pray this 5th year is the year I am called by the dear name of "Mother." But, more than that, may Christ be magnified in my life.

XOXOX,
-glenna-

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

::busy::

I'm really busy with work, redecorating stuff at home, and our adoption process.

Our first home study visit is this MONDAY, April 21st @ 4:00 p.m. Keep us in your prayers!!
I'll update sometime after our home study is done (either our first one or after all three are done).

XOXOX,
glenna

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

::oh, humility::

(Where did you go?)

Just when I think I've gotten this thing figured out, the end of a 40 day cycle finally comes and crushes any hopes I had of pregnancy. It wasn't so bad in all honesty, but it certainly was a dose of much needed humility that reminded me that I've not progressed as much as I boasted.

There are reasons to be thankful that God has worked out grace in my heart, though, and evidence that He has done so. Case in point, my close friend who has a darling three month old baby boy and who is now pregnant again. While I yearn to have one miracle like she has, I am really happy for her. Truly. She has had her own battle with endometriosis, so I'm thrilled that it is not impairing her ability to conceive this time around. It's still that balance of bitter and sweet, honestly. I guess it will always be that way, yes? I'm okay with that. On one hand, I swallow a bitter pill when I hear pregnancy announcements. On the other hand, the Lord has cultivated this tiny seedling of joy in my heart that grows every slowly and blooms every once in a great while with true rejoicing for a friend. I recognize that this is only of the Lord, so I must repent of my former boasting. Any progress is a gift of God.

Thanks to all of you who have emailed me recently. I'm sorry if it takes a while to get back to you; I want to provide thoughtful answers to your questions. I appreciate you reading my blog and for feeling like we connect on some level. My writing is for carthartic purposes, of course, but I also want to identify with women out there who are struggling through infertility alone. It can indeed be a lonely place when you don't know anyone "in real life" who is going through the same thing. I feel honored that you would reach out to me.
::
In other news, adoption stuff keeps moving on. We are held up a bit waiting for background checks to come back--not because we have questionable character, but because these things just take time. When those checks come back, the first homevisit will be scheduled. We got our TB and HIV tests done today, but have to wait on those results as well. Thursday we get our health screenings and drug tests. I'm starting to feel like a criminal.

Something that's fun is the STUFF. I've never had baby stuff in my house. Now, as you've seen from a former post, I've got a crib and a changing table in my house--in a room we now call "the nursery," no less! I've ordered a glider/ottoman set, I've got a stack of books coming in the mail, and I'm currently reading a book on infant toilet training (it's not what you think). This is SUCH a change of pace for me. Parenting and baby books? Weird. My mother-in-law sent this:

And now there's all this STUFF in my house for this tiny little person we don't know yet. I know it's okay to prepare, but it still feels strange for this long-time IF girl to be getting ready for the coming of the much-longed-for baby.

I'm not sure how I feel about it all. It's a mixture of emotions.

Will keep you posted...
XOXOX,
glenna

Friday, March 28, 2008

::progress::

So, here is what I have accomplished this week (thankfully I have been on spring break!):
  • Completed 48 essay questions (I deserve a medal!)
  • Acquired copies of marriage & birth certificates, 1040's for the past two years, & physician's recommendation
  • Had insurance affidavit signed
  • Finished openness questionnaire
  • Filled out numerous medical and family history forms
  • Filled out financial forms & budget sheet
  • Mailed criminal background check
  • Had fingerprinting done (no ink! digital scans--very cool! very CSI-ish)
  • Signed I don't know how many forms about fees, procedures, rights & grievances

Still left to do:

  • My husband has to finish his essay questions; he's about 2/3 of the way through
  • Get health screenings for TB, HIV, and drugs
  • Get guardian statement notarized

When my husband's essay questions are done, I can email them to the social worker this weekend and we'll schedule our first home visit for NEXT WEEK!!!

I can't believe how much we've gotten done this week; our first homestudy visit is so soon! I'm really excited that we're moving through this so fast. We'll get our health screenings next week, so I'm glad that won't hold up our visit. Gosh, I'm just SO excited! (I said that already, didn't I?)

::

Last night we visited some folks in the hospital who had just had a baby. For the first time in 4 years, I held a teeny tiny newborn without one single regret. My heart didn't hurt at all.

And that, my friends, is what they call.....PROGRESS!

XOXOX

glenna

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

::drowning in paperwork::

Hi friends.

I am TIRED of the paperwork already! I stopped after two straight hours of writing yesterday.
My husband took this picture when I was on essay question 20 of 48!! I ended up quitting for the day because my husband was working on something in the "nursery." I feel a little silly for having this already, but it has encouraged me so much to have something tangible to remind me that this IS happening!
I can't BELIEVE I have baby furniture in the "nursery" upstairs!! I've still got to order my glider, and I can't wait for it to get here so I can sit in it while I pray for the little one who will occupy that room. (The walls will eventually be painted green.)
Our background checks have been mailed, our fingerprinting appointment is set for Thursday, I'm waiting for the doctor's office to call for appointments for our physical exams, and I'm working my way through the paperwork.
As soon as the paperwork is completed, we'll move on to the homestudy visits, which should move pretty fast.
I'm sorry I've been lax about updating. I'm currently on spring break, so I'm immersing myself in my essay questions. Hopefully it will be done by the end of the week. You wouldn't believe what they ask you! I know they want to be thorough, but...good grief!
Anyway...that's what is going on in my world right now. I've been doing MUCH better in regard to infertility. Hope and excitement about our adoption is filling me to overflowing.
XOXOX,
glenna

Saturday, March 15, 2008

what can I say?

I'm still pulling myself out of a fog. Sometimes it is glaringly obvious that God is showing me He is faithful. The rest of the time I merely shut my eyes to His apparent goodness.

Things with adoption are going well...quickly, even. Our first homestudy visit (1 of 3) is tentatively scheduled for March 26th. That was a lot quicker than I was expecting, but I will most definitely take it. I have a lot to do to get the house in order, although I doubt our S.W. will take her walk through on the very first visit. Our guest room is in shambles since we've been giving it a much needed face lift. The walls are painted and the crown molding is back up (as of today), but I cannot say the same for the chair rail and baseboards that are laying across the coverless bed. The carpet is going to be ripped up as well to expose the hardwood beneath...and well, I can't imagine getting all of that done in addition to a thorough cleaning of the house before the meeting! Oh well. We'll just do what we can do.

I'm almost embarrassed to say that we went shopping for baby furniture last night! We ate dinner out and talked about our first purchase for "our" baby....it was exciting to finally be making this step. My parents sent a check to furnish the nursery (they are the greatest parents ever) so we were eager to go ahead and buy what we've been eyeing for a while. I still feel like a kid sneaking into the candy shop when we visit the baby aisles. We have nothing to show for being there--no registry in our hand that would signify shopping for someone else, no pregnant belly stating the obvious, no infant in our arms to show we really deserve to be there. It's still a bit strange.

Unfortunately, "out of stock" are my new least favorite words. Apparently what we chose is very hard to find, so we came home with nothing after shopping. I was disappointed. I had been looking forward to putting the furniture together and finally having something tangible to remind me that we are going to become parents. When I'm discouraged, as I've been lately, I'd like to run my hand over the rails of the crib and hope for the child who will one day sleep there. I want to sit in the glider and imagine what it would be like to rock our baby in the wee hours of the morning. But, that will come. I'm sure we'll find a store that is actually carrying what we want, and we'll get it home and set up long before the baby comes home. I've just been a little short on patience for the last 4 years.

Things are going, moving, propelling us toward the day that we long for. It's hard to believe we are actually going through with this. It feels like it's going by quickly...while at the same time not happening fast enough. I am still struggling with pregnancies and baby bellies and showers and all the like, but I'm trying to hang on to what I know: God's plan is good. I may not "get it" all the time, but I can believe it because His Word says it's true.

Happy weekend.

XOXOX,
glenna

Thursday, March 6, 2008

the baby blues (of the infertility variety)

I am very excited about our adoption. You all know that. At times my enthusiasm could benefit from a little suppression. But, for some reason, the baby blues still continue. Perhaps it's simply because, although we are expecting to bring a baby home through adoption, we still don't have a child yet.

Babies and pregnancies still send a pang of sadness through my being. I...still hurt. I think for a few weeks, I was leaning on the thrill of our plans to adopt. The hope of actually becoming a mother was enough to bring a smile to my lips. But, as reality has settled in I find myself chafing under the process of paperwork and screening and waiting. I go back and forth between the emotions of longing to bear a child and yet, I have become inexplicably attached to this--someone--whom we may bring home through adoption. In a sequential sense, adoption was our "Plan B," I guess. Not that we think one way of bringing a baby into the family is better than the other. We had always planned to adopt. I just thought one way would follow the other.

The other day I listened to this sermon by John Piper on adoption. I made the mistake of listening to it in parts while getting ready for work in the mornings. Try putting on eye makeup and listening to the beautiful way that adoption models the gospel!! I kept having to reapply. Piper encouraged me to see adoption not as inferior to biologically adding to one's family...it's just different. I know that. It's just good to hear it from a person who has done it both ways.

I know that adoption doesn't "fix" our infertility and that our adopted child is in no way a mere substitution for a biological child. The child we adopt will be the child that God chose before the foundations of the world to be ours to raise. Let that sink in. I have to stop myself and make statements like that so that I don't lose perspective. Oh, perspective, what a necessary friend you are. When I can step back and take a good, hard look at my life, I can see a beauty in what God has planned. In His wounding us with infertility, He has done the thing that HAS to bring Him the most glory, the thing that is best for US. And, I believe that He wounds that He might bring blessed healing.

It's in the little moments of pregnancy announcements and baby showers and unintentional painful references to our "free time" because we don't have children that I begin to doubt that any of this can be good.

And then, last night, I dreamt that I was holding our adopted baby. I was sad to wake up and find him to be only the substance of a deep sleep. Love doesn't come just because a baby is born of your body. Love is present because God--Who IS Love--graciously gives it to us.

A rambling post...but I was told I needed to update more regularly (Al!), so I thought I'd let you know what's going on in my mind today.

XOXOX,
glenna

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
We are in the midst of our paperwork. Conveniently, it is all done online which expedites the process. I'm not sure how much there is to do, but we are working our way through it.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

::first meeting::

(This is a duplicate post from our family blog. To skip down to new content, scroll down.)

We met our social worker for the first time on Friday (our previous meeting got snowed out) and got our required informational meeting out of the way. Normally, our info meeting would take place at the agency or another public place with lots of other potentially adoptive parents, but since our social worker lives near us, she decided to come to our house to give us a one-on-one presentation. Let me tell you, I could not have hand-picked a better person to work with through this adoption process!! She has the perfect temperament for her job--soft spoken, organized, gentle, genuine, encouraging, straightforward...she has a de-stressing personality, which is SO great for walking with us through our adoption process. And, she's a believer (which is not a surprise since our agency is a "Christian" agency, but still it is a blessing to have a genuine believer to work with!).

We walked through the process and we got to ask all of our questions. She gave us loads of info without "overloading" us, if that makes sense. Instead of feeling overwhelmed about it all, we just feel...ready! And excited!! She will be mailing our formal paperwork in the next couple of days, and then we'll begin filling it out. She said she could get our homestudy done in three visits, and she likes to do them all pretty closely together and to get them out of the way. She has a very "on top of things" demeanor about her. Nothing has lapsed in our process thus far, and I have a feeling nothing will in the future. The night before, I was cleaning the house like a fiend and baking cookies at 10pm! William laughed at me and said, "you made cookies for our meeting?!" I said, "Well, this lady is going to give us a baby!! The least I can do is serve cookies and coffee!"

Some things we found out about that we really didn't know about: tax credit. Well, we knew we'd get one next year when we file our taxes (assuming that our adoption takes place this year), but we didn't know it could be such a large number! That will go straight into the bank for our next adoption. Then our state government will give us a subsidy since we are doing the minority infant program. They'll reimburse us for a good bit of the legal fees. Craziness! Who knew the Missouri state government was so generous toward adoptive families??

There was lots of other information, but basically our next step is paperwork and then our homestudy which should happen in the foreseeable future. We were so encouraged by all of it. Several people have said to me, "Well, now you're 'paper pregnant!' " I guess in some ways it IS like waiting for our baby through pregnancy--we know we're going to end up with a child (Lord willing), but we do have to wait and prepare. I'm just hoping we don't have to wait 9 full months. :-)Thanks to those of you who were praying for us on Friday!! We're excited about how it's all going. We'll update on our process later as we get more into our paperwork and move on towards our homestudy. We are also encouraged that the Lord is providing exactly what we need when we need it, financially speaking. His grace is truly sufficient, and has been shown to us in the most unexpected ways.

:: (End of duplicate post) ::

What does it feel like to be here in this point of our process?

I've received several supportive emails from readers who are at the same point or just past where I am. I've also been emailing back and forth with some friends who are already mothers through adoption. It has been wonderful to connect with others so I can interrogate them! :-) (You think I'm joking, but they can vouch for me!) Sometimes I stop and think, "What in the world am I doing?" I don't know how to be a mom! I've spent the past four years trying to get pregnant and though my husband and I have talked at length about how we want to parent, the thoughts of actually preparing bottles for midnight feedings and diaper changes, for shaping the worldview of a little person, for teaching my child the gospel from the start, for playing and enjoying my little one, for enduring crying fits that I can't stop, for disciplining when they get a little older...all these things are as jumbled together in my mind as they are on this page. I've been so obsessed with becoming a mother that I've thought little about what kind of mother I'll actually be!

I guess that when trying to conceive was our main objective, I felt I never needed to think about this until I saw two pink lines. I've still never seen those two precious pink lines, but there is another beautiful option in front of me which will allow me to be what I long to be. So, now is the time to think about that person. What will I look like as a mother? Biblical, is what I long for that answer to be. Proverbs 31-ish, if you will.

I know my primary reading audience is still struggling through infertility. I'm still there with you. The tears still well up when one cycle ends and another begins. My heart still is pierced when I see pregnant bellies. I can't change that deep desire of my heart. In one sense I feel compelled to forget what is behind and press on to what is before us--and I do so with much excitement, but sometimes I wonder if I will ever let go of the desire to bear a child.

This won't turn into a blog about motherhood. It will still be a place for me to wrestle with my emotions and to affirm that you are not alone in your circumstances. God is good in His plans. I cannot attest to this fact enough.

Sorry for such a lapse between updates.

-glenna-

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Getting Started

I filled out our adoption pre-application yesterday! We have decided on our agency, and we are thrilled to find that Bethany has opened an office a mere 30 minutes from our house as opposed to the 2 hours we had expected to drive.

In addition to that, we were told by our church that they wanted to collect money on a weekly basis to put into an adoption fund for us...until it is PAID OFF!!!!!!!! We were floored by this announcement! I can't begin to explain how overwhelmed we are by this gift, this $20,000 gift! I had wondered where the money was going to come from, but every time I prayed about it, I really felt that God would provide. How He has answered our prayer!! I still can't quite verbalize how blessed we feel, and in fact are. As a pastor and his wife, this means more to us than we can express.

So, what's next?

Well, we have a meeting with the social worker next week. She will give us a presentation with all of the information about the agency, and she will take our pre-application. Then, we wait for approval, which I am hoping won't take long. Then we get into the formal application which is much longer and very detailed, with essay questions! (cracks knuckles) I'm ready! Let's put this English/Creative Writing degree to work! :)

I'll update as we move through the paperwork and into our homestudy.

As far as the emotional response of switching gears to adoption from trying to conceive, it has been....fine. I mean, the stress relief has been wonderful. I haven't worried about timing, temping, counting days, worring about caffiene intake, or anything. That's not to say that we will not try to get pregnant anymore. I think we always will. But, the pressure of making the most of every month seems to have left the forefront of my mind. I'm excited about adoption, really! Once we have stepped forward, I doubt we will look back with regret. I had to come to a point where I asked myself, "Do you want to be pregnant or do you want to be a mother?" You know what my answer is. And through adoption, I can be a mom and my sweet husband can be the great father I know he will be. I am thankful that God has given us grace sufficient to handle the blow of infertility, and that He is blessing us with the grace to move forward with adoption. He is faithful!!

XOXOXO,
-glenna-

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Encouragement from E. Prentiss

I read this today in a most beloved book, Stepping Heavenward, by Elizabeth Prentiss (who authored the hymn "More Love to Thee"). I read this book every year, and today some of the truth woven into the story was especially comforting.

"What [God's] methods will be with you I cannot foretell. But you may be sure that He never works in an arbitrary way. He has a reason for everything He does. You may not understand why He leads you now in this way and now in that, but you may, nay, you must believe that perfection is stamped on His every act." (p. 86)

If you've never read this book before, I highly recommend it. It was given to me by the dean of my college several years ago when I worked for her. It is a MUST read for the woman longing to pursue holiness with all her heart.


XOXOXOXO,
-glenna-

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

:: Explanation ::

I don't know if I'm ready to get in to all of this, but I feel like it's time to give you a real update on our appointment last week. Every time I have thought about writing it out, I have chickened out because I know it will take a while to sort out my thoughts, to say only what is necessary, to say enough without saying too much.

Let me see if I can do this in bullet form. That may be easier to read.

  • Before going into our appointment, we sat in the car and prayed that God would give us clear direction about our options. We prayed that there would be an option that we would pursue, but if there wasn't, that we'd know what to do. It was good to go into that appointment knowing that we had set boundaries and that one way or another, we'd soon know what our next step would be in growing our family.
  • After reviewing our medical records from our past doctors and tests, Dr. W. felt that our only option for conceiving was through ICSI. Click here for a short definition of this procedure. After he explained his reasoning, we knew he was probably right on his prognosis. "Can you get pregnant?" he asked. "Yes, with ICSI. Can you get pregnant without ICSI? You have probably one shot of pregnancy in 15-20 years of trying." I promise those were his words. It was really hard to hear that, to hear someone tell us that it is unlikely that we conceive without ART. From this point on, I listened with what I hope was a neutral look on my face all the while telling myself "Don't cry, don't cry, don't cry." When we were safely outside of the clinic, I immediately burst into tears. I just knew that ICSI wasn't for us, although we weren't going to make any decisions right off the bat. I could tell, though, that William was feeling the same way.
  • We drove around St. Louis and talked. (I cried a lot.)
  • We ate dinner at St. Louis Bread Co. (I tried hard not to cry a lot.)
  • We drove home hand in hand, in a silence only interrupted by my sniffling. (I cried A LOT.)
  • When we arrived home, we embraced and both wept. It was a hard night. We didn't have to say much to know what was coming. The unrest in both of our hearts was enough to know that we didn't want to pursue ICSI.
  • Now that a week as gone by, we have spent many hours talking about our options--both of them: ICSI or adoption. After praying and talking, talking and praying, we have decided to pursue adoption.
  • I know that there are many ethical ways of handling ICSI. Please don't think that I would criticize any of you who have utilized or are considering ICSI. We just decided that with all of the drugs I would have to take, with the actual science of it that we're a bit uncertain about, and the $10,000 price tag that it just wasn't the best decision for us. This is not to say that we wouldn't consider it in the future. Who knows what advances may be made in the next couple of years? We have many child-bearing years left, so there are still options in the future for us, Lord willing. But, for now, we are laying that to rest.
  • There is something so freeing in ceasing our pursuit of infertility treatment. Though we will still pray for natural children--because we serve Christ, who can raise the dead! With Him all things are possible!--it is such a release to let go of charts and temperatures, obsessing about timing and symptoms, and living my life in two week increments. Though I grieve the death of a dream in many ways, I can't tell you what a relief it is to move on. I didn't think I would be reacting this way, so I know that this peace is a gift of God.
  • After all of this happened, we received news of Amber's death (see previous post). Amber was a friend who had encouraged me greatly in my sadness and grief of infertility. She too had walked this road. Knowing that adoption was in my heart, Amber encouraged me in that area, as well. I have looked back over her emails from last year and can see how God is using her even now to nudge me down the road of adoption. Her death gave both William and me a sense of urgency. Not even knowing how many days she had with her sweet children (both of whom are adopted), she was a wonderful wife and mother. I know she loved her children immensely. That has given me courage to walk the road of adoption. I can't explain it, but I am thankful for the passion to pursue adoption. I know that the Father of Lights has put that in our hearts for a purpose.
  • Speaking of our Lord, I am so very thankful for the peace that is ruling my heart. I expected to be a disaster after all of this. I expected to wallow in grief at the prospect of being told we'll probably never conceive. And, don't get me wrong--I did grieve. I still do. I will continue to do so at times. BUT--He is FAITHFUL! Christ has given me hope in HIM, not in children or pregnancy. He is using infertility for GOOD in my life. I cannot explain it--it can only be a miracle--He has given me the ability to praise Him for His "no" to our prayers for natural conception. He has given and He has taken away, and He is blessed! My heart simply overflows with love and affection for our Savior who has carried my sorrows and my grief. I do now know how I would walk this road without Him. His grace astounds me.
  • So, what's next? Well, we are trying to decide on which agency we will use. We have narrowed down our options and are making our final decision soon. We decided on the domestic infant program, which means that Lord willing, we will be adopting an infant with the U.S. We love the idea of international adoption, but we feel for our first adoption that we will pursue domestic.
  • What happens to this blog? Nothing. I will keep on writing because this is my infertility blog, and I am still infertile! :) The venue may change as adoption becomes less an idea and more of a reality, but I will still keep up this site and write. I have had too many people email and comment about how they need a kindred spirit inside of the infertility world. I know infertility can be a lonely place. For now, I will not go away. :)

Thank you for commenting and praying. While it may seem that our journey towards growing our family biologically is over, it's not. We do know that God can do anything. We will still pray for that. But, we also believe that He has adoption in His plans for us. We pray that by His grace and mercy He will bless us with the child that we so desire and yearn to love--the child who needs us to be his or her parents.

Any questions? I'd be glad to address them. If they are more personal (in regards to our appt.) please email me at glennadmarshallAThotmailDOTcom.

Blessings. The Lord is good--trust in Him!!

-glenna-

O Love that will not let me go,

I rest my weary soul in Thee.

I give Thee back the life I owe,

That in Thine ocean depths its flow

May richer, fuller be!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Perspective

In another post I will address the specifics of our doctor's appointment. The death of a friend has largely overshadowed our grief. And yet....has also spurred us on to live the time that we have for the glory of God. Strangely, two unrelated events: Amber's death and the grief of possibly never conceiving...these two things coupled together have put our hearts in a place of peace and grace even though we grieve. Can these things be possible at the same time? Grief and joy? Suffering and rejoicing? I believe so.

As Amber said to me in an email a couple of months ago:
I believe He will make your path clear to you in His time. I know you believe that too. Isn't it solid rest to trust in a living God who loves His children so perfectly?

Just a short post to let you know that we are okay. I know from your emails and calls that our friends and family have worried for us. We have wept and mourned, and...praised the Lord. He gives and takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.


Father,
We step out in faith. We entrust ourselves to You--You who hold the stars in place and sing over Your children. You, who hurt when we hurt, who catch our tears and bottle them. We trust that Your "no" is Your most excellent way. Thank You for encircling us in Your love.
Your grace is still enough.


-glenna-

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I'm ready for this day to be over.

I can't really go into it now, but our appointment did not produce good results or options.

We are extremely discouraged.



More to come later.


God is still God, and He does ALL things well.



-glenna-

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Is it really tomorrow?

The past two months have sped by at an alarming rate.

Tomorrow is the day of our appointment with Dr. W. I can't tell if I'm nervous or excited or what. I feel a little numb, actually. When I stop and think about it, I'm shocked that we are going to an infertility specialist. Someone who specializes in people who can't get pregnant. We aren't that infertile, are we? The past four years beg to differ.
Before getting ready to leave this afternoon to run some errands, I took one last glimpse of myself in the mirror to tame down my hair and I had the thought, "I don't look infertile." As if looks have anything to do with it. I laughed at my silly thought. "I look like someone who wants to be a mom," I concluded.

Maybe one day I will be.


We ask for prayer for much wisdom tomorrow. Safe travels, too. Distance is not the thing I'm most happy about. Pray that whatever the outcome of our visit, whatever options are presented, whatever the next step seems to be, pray that Christ will be glorified in our lives. And that our hearts would be content with that alone.

I will update later this week.

XOXOXO,
-glenna-

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Empty Arms

One of my readers posted the link to this beautiful video in my last post's comment section. I think it aptly portrays those who have been through multiple years of infertility. I have posted it in the past, but it has been a while, and I find it to be worth re-posting. It might be a good link to send to friends or family who might be having a hard time understanding your struggles. Think of it as a way to share your burden with others who might not understand but who want to support you.

There is once section I really struggle with in the video. It is the part about not attending events that are hard reminders of our infertility, things like baby showers, dedications, etc. I have turned down invitations to these events in the past because it was just too painful to attend. I would definitely understand someone doing that because I have done it a few times. But, where the video (and many others, myself included) called it "self-preseveration," not to be confused with selfishness, I wonder if self-preservation is the godly response of believers who are infertile. I mean, what is the right response? I feel that God has used the past 4 years to teach me to truly rejoice with others instead of withdrawing as I would like to do when I see them living out my dream of parenthood. I lived for FAR too long in selfishness but justified it by calling it "self-preservation". It threatened my relationship with Christ, my marriage, my friendships. It was something I had to be rescued from because I was drowning in it. Praise God for He pulled from a depth of selfish despair I do not care to revisit ever again.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this, especially those of you who are professing Christians who are also dealing with infertility. What has been your experience? What do you feel God expects of us?

(Eleven days until my appointment at the Infertiliy & IVF Clinic.)

x0x0x0,
-glenna-

Friday, January 4, 2008

Where is the Line?

Where is the line between too much hope and not enough?

We did something stupid. It was about 2 weeks before Christmas, and it was about that time of the month where hope insiduously creeps in whether you want it there or not. You begin to question every twinge, every jumpy feeling in your stomach while praying with all of your heart that it is beginning of the coveted morning sickness. (Yes, IF women desire to throw up. I can't explain it.) You lay awake at night wondering if, after all this time, this is IT. Back and forth you go, hoping and doubting. Hoping against hope, doubting because history has made it seem so impossible. We wondered, we hoped. And, unwisely, we let ourselves go there.

You know the where that I'm referring to, fellow IF readers. The happy land of "What Will it Be Like?". We talked about how perfect it would be to tell our families over Christmas if we found out in the next day or two that we were pregnant. We considered with glee the stomach upsets I'd had all week. Then we did the unthinkable:

We strolled through the baby department at Target.

Wow, that was dumb. Really, really dumb. You'd think after nearly four years of infertility we'd know better. I reserve that action solely for the absolutely-can't-skip-it-because-I'm-the-pastor's-wife-and-must-be-at-this-baby-shower-shopping. But, we were dreaming, flying high on the slim possibility that my week-long nausea was due to a miracle.

We really enjoyed dreaming, I have to admit. Really enjoyed it. But, inevitably, reality came crashing in...despair waltzed in and sat down where hope had formally been trying to taking root. It was SO hard. I wept endlessly. Of course it hurt more because we had hoped more. It was nearly too much to take. I remember saying something to my husband about having "stupid hope" and "I'll never do that again." He wisely told me to keep on hoping. We hope because it IS possible because we serve a God who is not bound by crappy statistics. He is so ABLE. I know this, of course. I needed to be reminded again.

But where, I wonder, do I draw the line between hoping just enough to get by, not losing hope altogether and then hoping so much that the devastation each month is too much to take? I think I learned from last month that hoping that much was too much for me. Hoping so much that I feel free to touch and feel the softness of the baby blankets at Target is apparently too much for me to handle. But, no hope at all makes my heart feel dried up and numb. No hope at all makes me feel like I don't believe in the power of a sovereign God anymore.

Too much? Too little? All I know is that "hope deferred makes the heart sick." That is certainly the truth.

Christmas came on the heels of our deep disappointment. It helped to be distracted. Sort of. There was a moment where we were gathered with extended family. Sitting on the floor in front of me was a gaggle of little girls, age 2 and under, playing with their dolls. I watched them play until tears stung my eyes and that familiar knot clogged my throat. I felt the eyes of a relative on me and I thought, she feels sorry for me. I looked away and had to ignore the little girls for the rest of the day. The empty ache in my heart felt like a canyon, echoing deep and wide.

Infertility is such a time game. Give myself a couple of weeks and hope claws its way back up the steep walls of that deep canyon. Whether I want it there or not. A couple of weeks after that and despair will come rolling in right on schedule. I am tired of living my life in 2-3 week increments. Sometimes I think, I am ready to move past this. No more hoping for children for me. It's just too hard. And yet, even as I type that, my heart cries out against it. For me, infertility truly is hope and despair mingled together. For even when one tries to push the other out, they are always there, co-mingling, existing together. I can't imagine my life any other way.

But, oh how I long for it. Lord, please hear my cry.