Going Public

Not a lot of people know about what we’re going through.

Every now and then the discussion comes up – should we tell more people and if so, how?

It came up recently after we had our housewarming party. As people checked out our place there were the questions and statements….
“which room will be the babies room?” And “now that you have a house it will be time to start having babies” and “when are you going to have babies?”

I know I’m in a good place when someone asks me these question and I don’t want to
A. Rip their heads off
B. Run away, hide and cry
C. Awkwardly announce that we can’t have children and make it so horrible they never ask anyone that question ever ever again
D. All of the above

It didn’t grate my nerves at all. Rather it felt more like an annoying big brother poking a two day old bruise – uncomfortable and tender but entirely bearable.

(Although Grant is currently in the a,b,c,d phase, so while I can grin and bear it, he struggled with it. Luckily he doesn’t normally get the ‘questions’ nearly as often as I do.)

But it still raised the question – do we expand the circle of those in the know? And is there any point with our hiatus from actively trying until April 2015?

There are some friends and family members who know and they are amazing. They know us and know how we work. They can sense when to ask about the journey and when to leave well alone. They know how to broach the subject in a way that is sensitive and with care and understanding.

Then there are others who either insensitively ask and push, even when politely told that we don’t want to talk about it yet because we aren’t in that space. It’s hard because these are people we love and when they push it hurts. It hurts us because it’s painful to talk about and it hurts our friendship.

There are others still who ask question after question after question. Repeating again and again. It’s tiring. I know they’re trying to understand but it’s draining. They question the doctors, the information, the tests. Everything. I want to avoid these people permanently. But you can’t when they’re family.

Others just don’t get it. They are the complete opposite to the previous groups of people. It just doesn’t register with them the emotional, physical and spiritual toll this journey can wager. They know what’s going on yet they talk to us like nothing is going on. They still ask when we’re having kids or make jokes about me being pregnant, knowing full well the situation. They don’t ask how we are going, show any interest or concern about us.

This makes us want to not tell people. It’s hard enough dealing with my own issues, and my husbands, without the minefields that our friends and families make us walk through.
I totally understand that some people just don’t know how to act or what to say, and it’s their awkwardness that can cause them to unwittingly cause Grant and I discomfort. But why would I want to open that up to more people? People see it as an invitation to share their opinions, faith, quirks and to have an input that’s not always wanted.

Also, why make colleagues, extended friends and family feel awkward around us? And us around them? Where do we draw the line of who knows our personal business? And once we’ve decided on who to tell, how do we tell people – in person? How do you work it into conversation naturally? And if you do manage too it’s a real buzz killer. Consider your fun, entertaining night over. What about on Facebook – that really takes the privacy away but it does spread the news in one foul swoop. But then, it spreads the news far and wide… I don’t want everybody knowing our business.

I also struggle with telling people in a positive way. In that, I don’t like saying “we can’t have children” as it seems so negative and I don’t want to speak that over my life. I’ve previously tried wording it so it wasn’t put across this way but I guess the intended message became too obscure and they didn’t get what I was trying to say or the gravity of the situation. So it raises the question of how to tell people as well.

It’s a hard call to make.

Right now we are going on a case by case basis – as the need to tell someone arises we do, otherwise we just keep it quiet. So far this system is working, and with time to spare with the ivf waiting list I think we will employ this strategy for a little while longer. When we get close to April 2015 ivf time maybe more people will need to be in the know. I guess time will tell!

It’s Been a Year

A year ago today I stood in the resource room at work and took the phone call that rocked my world.

Although I knew I wasn’t pregnant a small part of me was still hoping that I was. Hearing “you’re not pregnant” out loud was waaaaay worse than I ever thought it could be. It was a punch to the guts. The knock out punch was “and you have pcos.”

Like I said in an earlier post, I actually didn’t know what this was but I knew I didn’t want it.

I stood crying in the resource room for a while that day. Trying to get it together so I could go back to work and no one would know. I wasn’t very successful.

That night I rang my mum (who is a nurse) and cried to her. My world was over and I was never having children.

So a year later here we are.

It’s been a roller coaster of emotion. Which I don’t think everyone can understand. It’s not cancer. It’s not a death sentence. It’s not the loss of a limb or brain function. Yes, all those things are terrible, horrifying and tragic.

But I was still devastated.

Pcos comes with its own problems. It means I’m far more likely to get diabetes, heart conditions, or cancer. I will forever have to monitor my health, my exercise and eating. If I do get pregnant I have a slightly higher risk of miscarriage. If I get pregnant I could pass this onto my children. I may never get pregnant.

I may never have children.

And that’s the hardest thing of all.

I’m the girl who has wanted to be a stay at home Mum since I was a child. I’ve always looked after children, even when I was a child. My career is looking after other people’s children. I’m passionate about children and enjoy looking after them. And I really want to do that with my own.

I feel so lucky to have some amazing support from my family, friends and husband. Grant has been my solid supporter, comforter, listener, and encourager.

Now I’m working through this roller coaster of emotions and hope to come to a place where I’m happy and content whether we have children or not. Some days I have this nailed. Other days, not so much.

And I’m learning that this is ok. It’s ok for me to feel upset, scared, hopeless, doubting, overwhelmed and sad. Because my God can handle all that. And when I give it to him the burden of these emotions lifts and my perspective changes. When I’m feeling these emotions He is my rock, my peace, my hope.

With my head held high I’m looking forward to this next year and all that will surely come. This journey is far from over.

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(Thanks Pinterest for this!)

The Cost of Infertility

So far I have had four rounds of ‘treatment’ over six months. Six months of taking tablets, having blood tests, scans, meetings and appointments, prayer and acupuncture.
With very limited result.

So far its been an interesting journey, especially for a control freak like me.

You can believe that I have asked many questions in an effort to understand. I have tried exercise. I have tried dietary changes. (According to numerous sources I shouldn’t eat gluten, sugar, foods with a high G.I, fast food and a whole host of other things. It really doesn’t leave much. Especially because I’m a fussy eater anyway. It got to the point where I was loosing a lot of weight. A lot. As a small, slender person I didn’t have much weight to loose. So I’ve just cut down on these foods instead until I can meet up with a nutritionist). I have tried acupuncture. I have tried praying and fasting (and continue to do so).

I have tried many, many things.

Infertility is not cheap.
It costs money.
It costs strength.
It costs hope.
It costs thinking space.
And it can cost relationships.

Some days its hard to be joyful with others who are pregnant, or have just had a baby. It can be so so hard. It can take a real effort to not go down the “why them and not me?” path. It takes a conscience effort to remain positive some days. But deep down I know that there is no life, no hope going down that path. It can only led to more heartache and bitterness.

Do I want people to shy away from telling me their news? From inviting us to share in their family time? No. And No again. And. Sometimes yes. But I want to be told anyway. I want to be invited anyway.

Because on other days it takes little effort to share in the joy of others. I really cant predict how I will feel on any set day. On these days its like a beacon of hope – this can happen to me too. I can share in their joy because my answer is prayer is just around the corner. I have to believe that.

I want to choose to be joyful in other peoples pregnancies and children, regardless of whether I ever have children or not, because I don’t want to become bitter and resentful. I want to share their joy because I want to celebrate the beauty of life with my friends. I don’t want to hide away in pain and sorrow.

Does that mean I fake being joyful? No.

I never want to be fake, I never want to pretend to be or feel something that I don’t. I want to be authentic and real. But at some point I must choose to shake the sorrow and pain and choose to be glad. Right now that is a daily, sometimes hourly, task. A task that I sometimes fail at. But I will continue to try.

In time, with Gods grace and mercy, I believe joy and gladness will no longer come about because of an active effort, but it will be second nature. I will be joyful. I will celebrate with others. I will hope. I will trust in God.

I will rejoice and be glad.

Blessed Obedience

Deuteronomy 28:1-68
โ€œAnd if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. …”

Being obedient to God can be hard.

But I have learnt that
– Being obedient unlocks blessing and favour.
– Obedience is a sign of respect and honour.
– Being obedient shows you are trustworthy, faithful and a good listener.
– Obedience is a sign that you are ready for more responsibility and ownership.

Before I was married I felt, on several occasions, to bless people with money or a particular gift. Early on in my christian walk I decided that if God asked me to do something, even if I was unsure, I would do it.
Better to have been generous and it not be from God than to not do it and be disobedient.

On one occasion I felt prompted to give a set amount of money to a leader and friend for an unknown period of time. I approached them and told them what I felt God had told me to do. They were quick to thank me, but refused to give me their bank account details so I could put the money in. (I had only asked for the bank account because I knew it was going to be a weekly thing for an extended period of time.)

When they said no I was confused. My confidence in whether God had spoken to me was knocked.
Do I listen to my leader who says no, or do I find a way to do it anyway?
Is just offering, with the intention of following through, enough to show obedience to what God had spoken to me?

I wasn’t sure. So I decided I would continue with blessing my leader with the amount God had told me.
Each week I would withdraw the money and put it into an envelope. I would then hide the money – sometimes in their handbag or car, other times in their bible or wherever. I continued to do this until God told me to stop.

I’m not telling you this story to make myself sound oh so generous and holy. Because really I’m not.

Its because, for the first time I understand what it is like to be on the receiving end of someone else’s obedience.
I now understand the reluctance to take the money.

I mentioned earlier how blessed Grant and I were when our friends Leo and Fi gave us a large sum of money to pay for a round of treatment and some acupuncture appointments. It was a ridiculous amount of money and it really helped Grant and I out a lot. We were seriously overwhelmed and unsure how to act.

And now, tonight my dear friend Jesse rang me to tell me that I had been on her mind a lot lately. I know that she has been praying for Grant and I, and my complex health issues. She relates in a way that none of my other friends can as she has been down this path too, and has a beautiful baby girl as the result. Tonight she rang to say that they felt God had instructed them to pay for our next round and she just wants to be obedient.

Leo and Fi, Jay and Jesse – these are my friends, my dear, God fearing, obedient, faith filled friends. Who I know could use this money for a hundred other things. I know this because we are close. They have bills to pay, dreams to fund, a baby to provide for. And yet they choose to hear God and obey.

Tonight I stood there with my phone to my ear, mouth open, locking eyes with Grant. He knew with one look on my face what the conversation was about. Yet again someone was supporting us financially. “We cant” he whispered.

And that was when I remembered when someone said no to me. And how it knocked my confidence in whether I had heard God or not. And I thought of how it felt to be obedient and be used by God. And what God had done in me as a result. And how God moved and my leaders testimony that came out years later about what God had done through my obedience.

So it was an awkward conversation. Because how do you express the magnitude of gratitude that you feel without it sounding hollow? How do you say anything when you are in complete shock? I stood there making sounds, attempting to form words coherently.
Because earlier today I really was unsure how we were going to pay for the next round, and here was the answer.

Grant doesn’t like taking money from people for our treatment. He sees it from the perspective of, what if it doesn’t work? That is good money wasted. Money that could have been spent on a hundred different things.
And its true, it was so horrible having to tell Leo and Fi that although they had been faithful and obedient, the money was gone and there was still no baby. It was an awful conversation. And I wanted to avoid them, run away and hide in shame. Its hard not feel like its my fault. But I have no idea what God is doing in Leo and Fi’s lives, what I do know is that God works in everything and that they will be blessed because of their obedience.

So it was an awkward conversation with Jesse, because I wanted to say no. I wanted to spare myself the embarrassment of taking money from a friend. I wanted to spare myself the horrible conversation I may or may not have to have again if it doesn’t work. But I said yes and that we would talk more about it this weekend.

I said yes because I didn’t want something that made me feel embarrassed get in the way of what God wants to do in our friends lives and our lives. And I will always want to champion their faith and for them to be obedient to God. I know its up to Grant and I to decide whether we are going to let money affect our friendships. We will not let this become awkward or embarrassing. But rather we will celebrate in what God is doing, and be thankful for supportive, faithful friends who love us.

Leaving a Legacy

In the last few months I have had to attend two funerals. Two funerals of people who were larger than life. They were both people who impacted the lives of so, so many people. Regardless of age, gender, race – they just loved people. And they served them the best way they knew how. They served people just by being all that they were called to be. They didn’t try and be someone who they were not. They just did their thing and hundreds of people were impacted by it. Both funerals were packed out. Screens and TV’s had to be put up so the overflow rooms (yes rooms, not just one overflow room but many) could see and hear what was happening. They were both incredible, inspiring people.

Cancer is an evil b%^&@. I don’t understand it. And I probably never will. Its awful watching the one you love slowly slip away. Its hard to stand beside friends and family and try and support them as they watch their love ones fight for life.

Their funerals made me want to be a better person.

A person who is selfless
A person who lives to their full potential and encourages others to do the same
A person who uses their talents to help others
A person who encourages others
A person who loves others selflessly
A person who lives a full and happy life
A person who has an open home
A person who is generous
A person who leaves a legacy
A person who does mission work

Rest in peace, I look forward to seeing you again x