April 23-29 is National Infertility Awareness Week, #NIAW. The theme this year is Listen Up, and I thought I’d share a bit of my story.
I call infertility the sorority no woman wants to join. When my doctor explained that the pelvic pain and irregular periods I was having was most likely PCOS, polycystic ovaries, I was naive. He sat me down and talked for 45 minutes about his wife’s experience with endometriosis. He let me know there was a good chance that I would not conceive on my own. When it was time to leave, he made sure I knew that he wasn’t the final say. He had a strong faith, and he gave me tips on what to do.
I didn’t feel the reality of the diagnosis right away because I was engaged. I was busy preparing for a wedding, so the impact didn’t hit immediately. But like the forbidden fruit, I never really considered motherhood until there was a chance I might not experience it.
Once we were married, it became an obsession.
My full story is included in the book, A WALK IN THE VALLEY, so I’m limited in what I can share. But for those of you that know us now, we have two kids together. Most people don’t know as newlyweds, my husband had to learn how to inject progesterone in my backside. He was so nervous he often hit muscle, and that left me bedridden. The pelvic pain was so bad that I needed surgery, and they discovered my ovaries were 5x the normal size. I have a high tolerance for pain to this day because of it.
I left conferences that focused on parenting, and I had the shaky-lip-trying-not-to-cry at church when moms had to stand up on Mother’s Day to receive their flowers. It was more than an ache. It was a cavern of pain.
In posts earlier this week I shared infertility etiquette, and I made mistakes, too. I shared with people who couldn’t handle my reality and their responses or lack of one made things worse. I hid. I felt so “less than” that I shut my husband out most nights, hiding upstairs as soon as dinner was over. I was attached to the internet, looking at all forums and articles that had anything to do with infertility. It wasn’t healthy and only kept my anger in a spiral.
If you are going through infertility, my prayer is that you don’t isolate yourself or use your computer as your only source of hope. I am not being commercial in recommending A WALK IN THE VALLEY, I truly believe in this book and wish I had it back when I was hurting. It contains my entire story from diagnosis to where I am today, but it also includes five other authors who share their entire stories. Not one of us has the same experience, so it is a transparent, comprehensive look at infertility.
If you need someone to talk to, I’m not a counselor, but feel free to contact me.
My prayers are with you.
Struggling with infertility? As a Christian, how do you work through the hurt, anger, frustration, pain, and sorrow? Where is God’s hope and joy?
This devotional workbook features the stores of real women, and helps you reflect on your experiences via journaling prompts, prayer exercises, and Scripture. Explore topics such as: *infertility testing *diagnosis *decision making *infertility treatment *miscarriage and pregnancy *pregnancy and childbirth after infertility *remaining childless *adoption *foster care, child sponsorship, and orphan hosting *and healing emotionally.
Written by six women who have completed their journey through infertility. Some eventually conceived and gave birth, others adopted, and others remain childless. But all of them have found peace in the loving arms of God. And you can too.
April is Infertility Awareness Month and the release date for A Walk in the Valley: Christian Encouragement for Your Journey through Infertility. I am one of the authors and I thought today I’d give a snippet of my life as an infertility patient. The book takes each author’s story from diagnosis to where things are today. None of our stories are the same, especially the endings. I believe any woman who has experienced infertility and/or miscarriage at any time, even years ago, would be encouraged by this book. It’s real, but infused with hope from God’s Word.
I was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries in 1995 but looking back, I had symptoms not long after puberty started. I had pelvic pain. Acne. Depression. As I grew into my twenties, each symptom became much worse.
I was engaged when the diagnosis came and the book goes into detail what life was like. But a typical wedding planning and newlywed experience wasn’t mine. Imagine monthly shots in the backside administered by someone scared to death to give them. The wide mood swings that took me very dark places. Pelvic pain so bad I had trouble walking.
My answer to prayer came in a surgery that is rarely performed anymore. I had a wedge resection where half of each ovary was taken out. At the time I thought that would end my chances to conceive. My surgeon explained it would enhance them. I was so desperate for relief from pain I surrendered it all. I just wanted to live.
After the surgery my doctor let me know why I was in so much pain. My ovaries were each 5x the size of normal. His words? “You were walking around with whoppers.”
I was pain free for years.
To pre order A Walk in the Valley, click here.
Believe it or not, my schedule is already opening to May. June. July. Even August is filling up. Although as I type snow is falling, I’m planning ahead to days where tulips will be out, lilacs will be blooming and grass will need to be cut.
I’m a planner by nature and some of my events revolve around Mother’s Day. That used to bring about a dread and anger because I wasn’t a mom.
And I was told to plan for the fact I may never be one.
My infertility story centers about my PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) diagnosis. I miscarried. I truly thank God that I have two children but I will never forget those feelings. And I wanted God to use that story to encourage someone else.
A Walk in the Valley: Christian Encouragement for Your Journey Through Infertility is a transparent look at not just my story but Heidi Glick’s, Elizabeth Maddrey, Kym McNabney, Paula Mowery and Donna Winters. All of our stories are different but center around our infertility experiences. They are not happy-hold hands- cliche filled-pat answers stories. We were angry. Scared. Faced with expensive treatments. Given terrible news. And yet there is hope. We take each facet of the story and share how we made it through. We have Scripture because honestly, we’d still be in the pit of emotions had it not been for God’s love and Word. There are places for the reader to journal her feelings.
The book will be available April 28th but you can pre order now. If you are or have walked this road of infertility and miscarriage, I strongly suggest you consider ordering. If you love someone who is struggling or has, this book will help. I tell people it is the book I wish had been available for me.
Many have asked for my full story and A Walk in the Valley has it. May God take what I consider my broken place and create something beautiful for someone else.
To Pre Order A Walk in the Valley, click here.
A Walk in the Valley, Christian Encouragement for your Journey through Infertility, Now Available for Pre-Order
I interrupt the winter weather buzz to share something very close to my heart—A Walk in the Valley, Christian Encouragement for your Journey through Infertility, is now available for pre-order through Amazon.
Everyone’s journey through infertility is different. Even women who have the same physical problems will have different courses of treatment, different responses, and different emotional ups and downs as they walk this path. But we also have so much in common: the hurt, anger, frustration, pain, sorrow, hope and joy that we have experienced along the way.
We are women who have experienced infertility. Some of us have gone on to conceive, others have adopted, and others remain childless. All of us have found peace in the loving arms of our Father God at the end of our journey. We want to share our experiences and thoughts with you. It is our hope and prayer that you’ll be encouraged.
This devotional workbook starts with how each woman discovered her infertility, then explores the diagnostic testing pursued, how they processed the official diagnosis, what decisions had to be explored regarding treatment, their experiences during infertility treatment (including pregnancy, miscarriage, and childbirth), and finishes with their experiences in remaining childless, adoption, foster care, child sponsorship, and the emotional healing regardless of the outcome of their infertility journey.
Each devotional has a Scripture focus and questions for thought and discussion.
This book started as a question on the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) loop and quickly evolved. What I love is none of our stories are the same. Our endings are all different. We are all transparent in our experiences. The one thing I detested in trying to find something, anything that would help me in my pain was patronizing books or authors who were painting a picture that life was rosy, even in this hard time.
It. was. not.
And thank God, our stories reflect that so readers won’t feel alone.
Yet, we also give hope through Scripture and what we learned along the way.
I can’t wait for everyone to read this.
If you or someone you love is walking or has walked through infertility and miscarriage, please pre order this book. When you aren’t sure what to say, I believe this book will do the talking.
Pre order by clicking here.
My new year started off with a pleasant surprise when Paula Mowery nominated me and other bloggers with the Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award.
Here are the rules:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2. Put the Award logo on your blog.
3. Answer 10 questions you’ve been sent.
4. Make up 10 new questions for your nominees to answer.
1. What is something you would count as a “success” from this past year?
Seeing Entrusted published.
2. Who has had the biggest influence on your life?
Obviously, as a Christian the immediate answer is Jesus. When I finally surrendered everything to Him beyond salvation, I embarked on a relationship full of friendship and intimacy I never would have imagined. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my mom. She had so much adversity growing up and challenges as an adult. She’s got tenacity and faith.
3. What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Have the heart of a dove and the skin of a rhino.
4. If you could have a week to retreat, where would you go and what would you do?
Adirondacks to write, read and refresh.
5. Looking back on this year, what are five things you are especially thankful for?
Family. Our home. Health. Writing direction. As much as he drives me crazy, our 80 lb puppy, Tucker.
6. What is one lesson you feel you learned this past year?
I keep referring to it, but the picture on Facebook where Jesus is asking a little girl to give up her teddy bear. She’s telling Him she loves it, not knowing Jesus has an even bigger and better one for her. We were on a faith journey for a new home last year and thought we found “the one.” It fell through and I was so angry. That picture came to mind and helped me surrender that anger and home. In less than a month we had “THE home” and it was so much more than we prayed for, for less than what the first house was. It’s cozy and a sanctuary for others to be encouraged.
7. If there were no limits, what is one goal you would like to achieve this year?
I’d love to have control over what my kids have to deal with and hand them the tools to succeed. With a tween and teen I know that’s not possible. There are times I have to let go of some rope and see what happens, within reason. There are choices I’d love to jump in front of, not bad ones, but ways they could go about things a little better.
8. What is one Bible verse that is special to you and why?
Hosea 2:14. It absolutely delivered me during a wilderness season and I refer to it again and again.
9. Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Why or why not?
I don’t. I think they set me up for failure. I do, however, pray for a word for the year and will listen all year long for the ways I’m to learn from and utilize the word. This year is revive.
10. Do you set goals for yourself in your spiritual life? Give an example.
I do. I’m working through a Bible study, Red Hot Faith by Cindy Bultema, to get that kind of faith back. I let life get in the way and put time with the Lord down on the list, and it showed. I was getting burned out. I set a goal to do things to work on putting Him first and keeping Him there. I’m also journaling, doing a plan on Bible.com, and set a timer to make sure I do these things.
Here are my questions:
1. What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned?
2. What temptation is hard to resist?
3. If you weren’t doing what you do weekdays, what would your life look like?
4. What book could you read over and over?
5. What motivates you?
6. What are your pet peeves?
7. What are your goals for 2015?
8. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
9. Would you rather stay in a five star hotel, a bed and breakfast, or a cabin?
10. What’s your favorite season? Why?
I’m nominating Jill Barlow, Holly Hrywnak, Penny Frost McGinnis and Jennifer Slattery! I enjoy your blogging!