Archive | May 2014

Raining on a Sunny Day

sunshine

Gazing out my window, I am shocked to see an amazing site… a torrential downpour has invaded my lovely day.  Earlier today little J and I were enjoying a peaceful sunny day 25 degrees Celsius, slight breeze with many chirping happy birds all around.  Within just a few hours, the clouds rolled in, the sky grew dark and the rain came, hard, straight down with thunder.  The sun was gone, the birds silent and the storm raged.

Infertility can be like that too.  The sun shines.  You have found your soul mate.  Marriage is the next logical step.  All is well.  The birds chirp sweetly around your head.  Your love is warm and only small breeze of a problem or two come to challenge your almost perfect life.  No problem.  These are the minor things you expect in a marriage.  You are eager and prepared to share your love with one, two maybe three little people who share your DNA.

After six months you begin to wonder and after a year you decided to try various methods for pregnancy.  You tell yourself it’s probably timing or stress.  The first year of marriage can be filled with a lot of adjusting. The clouds are rolling in.  Now at 18 months you are really concerned.  Doctor appointments and tests follow, even a specialist is called in for assessment.  The sky is growing dark and the birds have ceased their happy song.

Then the words that you have been too fearful to voice, “You cannot conceive.  You are infertile.”    The storm is ranging.

Photo Courtesy of Bing Images

Photo Courtesy of Bing Images

I can remember I first heard those words as an unsuspecting 19 year old.  I was unmarried and visiting my new Doctor for a throat infection.  In one moment of waiting for a prescription to be written, she eyed me and blurted, “Oh I guess you know with this condition of the pituitary you cannot have kids.  I guess you knew that.”

“No I didn’t know that,” I responded.  I was sort of dumfounded.  If there was a course for my Doctor to have taken called, ‘How to tell a patient she is infertile, ‘my Doctor had missed that class.  I’m not certain what I felt as this news was just dropped into my lap.  Those of you that have had this experience remember hearing those first words of diagnosis.

The pituitary condition she was referring to was called, HYPOPITUITARISM, a rather rare circumstance where the pituitary cannot make the hormones necessary for the body.  In my case all of the reproductive hormones were non productive.  In addition, I was lacking the hormone needed for growth.    I had just completed five years of Growth Hormone Replacement Therapy.   I was looking forward to leaving my teen years to enjoy my life without medical issues.  As time would tell it was not to be.   The storm had begun.  To be continued…

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Stay Calm on High Alert

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Photo by Paula

squirrel picture 004

Photo by Paula

You have seen them.  Squirrels I mean… they are always moving.  They dart from tree to tree.  These squirrels dash across the lawn and then stop, gazing at you from behind the flowers.  Chitter chattering and fidgety, they eye you… warning you not to come any closer.  In many ways they are the epitome of activity. I wonder what goes through these silly squirrels minds sometimes.   Are they constantly moving because they have some inner push to do more?  Are they concerned about the day’s food supply?  Do they scamper because they need to loose the extra five ounces they have put on because they ate too many nuts yesterday?  Have they inner turmoil or anxiety because they have not given birth to their quota of pups each season, or in some cases cannot bear at all?

I identify with the squirrel.  At least for me personally, I have been in such a state of high anxiety at times with the whole idea that somehow I could not manage to produce one tiny baby.  This idea consumed my life.  Constant anxiety frenzied me when I tried to make things happen.  My chitter chattering and fidgety prayers rose heavenward.  Each week, something reminded me of my failure.  Some days it is the shopping mall with children at every turn.  Another day it will be the ads in the paper or the television commercials with healthy snacks for toddlers, or the dreaded Mother’s Day tradition.  These were like strangers invading my peace and quiet time alone.

This past week, I was honored to meet the little fellow pictured above.  I was about to exit onto my deck when I stopped in my tracks.  There on the BBQ, a tiny red squirrel sat with it’s back to me, simply warming in the sun.  When he (I assume it was a he) heard my approach, he simply turned to look and re-positioned his body to face me.  He was no more than a  youngster and all the while as I snapped the photos he just sat there eyeing me, calm but on high alert, in case my intentions turned violent.  I know this is bad, but my heart had compassion for this lonely little friend so I brought him some nuts to munch.  Throughout this time, he never moved and never took his eyes off me.  His little body was tensed ready to spring into action.  I admired his alert calmness in the middle of what could have been his last meal.  He never succumbed to the  desire for food.  He just watched me.   He was in peace.

I can learn from this little guy.. in the midst of any challenge it is not easy to stay calm, cool and collected.  Yet the alternative of chattering and springing about is no life of peace.  I also see that it is good to be alert and aware of what the triggers are that can begin a torrent of tears any given night.

The Bible is so clear on how we should view anxiety and stress.  “Be anxious for nothing, but by everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God which passes all understanding shall guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

So peace to you my friend and may your requests for a child be made known to God, so that peace will return to your heart and mind.

Tonight I open another page on my blog to invite  you to do just that.  If you or someone you know are looking for a little one through conceiving your own child or are hoping to adopt, I would like to stand with you in prayer for your desire.  I will have a contact form here on the tab called “Heaven’s Requests”, a separate prayer page.  Together we can agree for your breakthrough.  Sometimes it’s just nice to know someone is praying for you.

 

I Cannot Bear It

bear

Photo Courtesy of Bing Images

 

Okay  I have been thinking about cleaning and reorganizing my second bedroom for a couple of weeks now.  I am not sure if putting it off means that I have really made the decision to just stop the crazy life of waiting for a child.  It’s been a very long process to have gotten to where I am today.  I have been in the process of reorganizing it, but this past weekend I finally have moved somethings out of this room to signify the decision is final.  We are moving forward and have decided to stop trying to find a child for our family.  We have decided that we already are a family, my husband and I.

I began with the chest of drawers that had blankets and extra bedding for the little single bed in the corner.  Some I am giving away and some I’m keeping in the cedar chest for company.  I removed the “rock you to sleep” rocking chair into another part of the house for the sheer joy of reading.  I have boxed and stored some toys that will be used for a future possible Child Care business.  I am an Early Childhood Educator you know!

I had adjusted the location of a new pen holder several times on my writing desk.  No corner or area seemed fitting.  All was going well.  Then I looked heaven-ward to the top of a bookshelf and there he was.  A small sized fuzzy chocolate-brown bear with big brown eyes and a sad sort of turned down pout stared back at me.  His expression seemed to be mourning the change in me and the function of the room he observed.

“What are you doing?”

I was shocked how loud his imaginary voice sounded to my ears and the immediate sense of guilt that this voice implied.

“I… um… just cleaning a little and moving a few things into storage.”

“Well, I’m sure glad to see that Cabbage Patch Doll get boxed.  She was so annoying.  Where did the other things go and what happened to the rocking chair?”

“Well, Mr. Bear” I stammered, “I am reorganizing things to make this room more purposeful.  You see it’s time to move on as my husband and I are becoming child free.”

The stunned silence that followed gave me the opportunity to contemplate whether or not this curious little bear needed a place to rest for the time being in the special plastic box for stuffies that I kept.  I wondered how this fuzzy friend would handle it.  Seeing my chance I snatched the bear, he somehow missed my full grasp and tumbled to the floor.

“Hey, that hurt!!  Pick me up!  Put me back!  Put me back!”

“Okay little bear, simmer down.  You know you have always stood by me and all our children’s bedroom things for 7 years now.  You’ve grown a little dusty and a little cranky.  It’s time though to put aside this constant struggle of finding a child.  We cannot put our lives on hold inevitably.  It’s time to let go.  This room will be a music room and office now. ”

“A…a…are you letting go of m…m…me?”, he asked.  His imploring eyes went through my heart.

I thought for a moment.  I’d held him in my hands far too long and I couldn’t just let him go could I?  He stood for my hopes and what my dreams looked like.  He had been with me a long time and I couldn’t just toss him in a plastic box with mere stuffed toys for storage.   Yet my rule for all my things to have a purpose seemed suddenly cruel.  Two little bears appeared on each of my shoulders whispering opposing views. One carried a tiny pitchfork while the other angel wings.  I brushed them off and returned to gaze at the frozen stare of my bear.

“You and I have been together a long time haven’t we buddy?”  At this his tiny face softened as I squeezed him close.  Enough cleaning for now I thought as I placed the bear down.  Walking out of the room, I smiled.

This little brown bear will always remind me of the struggle and pain and cost of infertility and searching for a child.  Looking at him I realized I cannot file it all away and put it all out of my mind.  This would be a process… a slow letting go of what was.  A grieving of what could have been and moving forward.   For now my little brown bear sits smugly on my desk, almost clutching the pen holder there.  He too has a purpose. He fits perfectly.

 

To the Babe I’ll Never Hold

babe in arms

Photo Courtesy of Bing Images

I have never had the heartbreaking experience of miscarrying a child,  or of deciding to abort a child in the womb and I don’t pretend to fully understand.  This poem however speaks for itself.  I have kept this poem in a book for many years since a dear friend of mine had a miscarriage.  I like the poem for the comfort that it may give to someone like her.  I offer it to you to be encouraged by or to encourage another.

 

If I knew then what I know now,

You never would have died.

I’d have held you close and nurtured you,

And kept you by my side,

I’d have sung you songs and treasured you,

more than silver more than gold.

But this song is all I’ll give to the Babe I’ll never hold.

 

I’ve never written poetry, that hasn’t been a praise,

to the Lord Who wept with me and held me through those days.

Jesus, now I’m asking, I know You hear my plea:

Won’t You take that child into Your Hands, and hold my Babe for me.

Author Unknown

First Steps Forward

faith

Photo Courtesy of Bing Images

 

At this very moment, whatever you have done in the past 60 seconds is past.  You cannot go back to the beginning.  You cannot somehow say, “Wait a sec, I want a redo.”  It’s over… those sixty seconds are gone, never to return.

Does this sounds kind of glum?   It doesn’t have to be.  Although I have found myself recounting the past a lot lately.  I have been looking at what I could have done, should have done, would have done… if this or that.   The truth is I feel the pain of regret in this journey of infertility and adoption pursuits.  I have looked at the past years of my marriage and realized that I haven’t spent one moment just “being”.  I have been so consumed with trying to make a family that I didn’t just live life.

I am also looking at the future.  I am thinking that there will be a large empty place where I cannot love, comfort, guide, and parent another little person that was wonderfully “ours”.  I am wondering what it would look like and how the end will be without anyone to be there for us, make decisions for our elder care or hold our hands as we slip into eternity.  There is a certain rawness in emotion in knowing that we have let go of our own plans.  Those plans were for a younger version of ourselves with more resources.  Yes I am sad.  I am experiencing a sadness that has me retreating and coming up for air, enough to focus on work, and our home and our church.  I am holding it all at bay for now, although at times I weep for what could have been.  I am concentrating on smiling for and with others, because my friendships are important.  We are all going through something, are we not?

Yet there is hope for today, for the now.  I am redefining the word “Mother”.  Actually I am discovering what the Bible has to say about the definition of Mother in the way that the authors, (read AUTHOR/GOD) have used this word.  I had always assumed that the definition of ‘Mother’ was only defined as one having given birth to a son or a daughter, and with a bit of stretch defined in terms of legal adoption to become ‘Mother’.

As an uniquely inquisitive person, I love to research.  The thought occurred to me to hunt out the word, “Mother” in terms of it’s Greek or Hebrew origin.  So I headed straight for the Strong’s Concordance.  I was so shocked to find that “Mother” in the original Hebrew (517) meant ’em a primitive word: a mother (as in the bond of the family) in a wide sense (both literally and figuratively).  This is an Old Testament translation.  In the New Testament the Greek word (3384) meter, meaning the same thing.  Reeling with the possibilities that what many have said to be in the effort to comfort may be true I searched in Vine’s Expository Dictionary of the Bible.  Is it possible that God had already answered my prayer to be a mother, by His definition.  In Vine’s,  the word Mother is defined this way:  a) of the natural relationship and b) figuratively of ‘one who takes the place of a mother.’ 

Jesus referred to this open definition in

Mark 3:34, 35 KJV

 And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother a my brothers.  For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

I am not a Bible Scholar and do not claim to be a teacher, however by this definition, anyone who nurtures, teaches, and trains a child has already experienced Motherhood.  Someone once told me that although I have never given birth to a child, I have a ‘mothers heart’.    Seeing that God thinks so too gives me much hope.

This Bible verse is one of my favourite’s:

Psalm 133:9 KJV

He maketh the barren woman to keep house and to be the joyful mother of children.  Praise the Lord.

That word ‘mother’ is 3384… of natural relationship and ‘one who takes the place of a mother’.  As I write this, I write it in faith, in the hopes that I can get to this place of peace.  I have not arrived as of yet.  However, with this hope I can take a breath, breathe, grieve the past, deal with the here and now and once again trust God to take care of me my whole life through.  Anyone who has nurtured a child through providing Child Care, hugged a niece or a nephew, gave guidance as a coach or has given love for any child qualifies.  He cares for me and He cares for you, my friend.  It doesn’t change the baby cravings in our heart.  That is simply part of being a human female.  God wants to bring fresh hope to aching hearts and fresh encouragement to those who find it hard to face another day.  You and I will make it, He has given us great peace.

Letting Go…

letting go

Photo Courtesy of Bing Images

There is a defining moment, I think when every person comes to a crossroads in their life.  It really doesn’t matter what the issue is.  It could be a relationship, change of employment, or terminating attempts to conceive, or adopt. Normally there is a catalyst for a decisive moment to occur.  The “Straw that broke the camel’s back” , so to speak.  According to Wikipedia, ” The idiom the straw that broke the camel’s back is from an Arabic proverb about how a camel is loaded beyond its capacity to move or stand”  These moments come to all of us at some point or several times in one’s life.  One moment you are travelling along in a clearly defined direction, then in the next moment the road separates into two unknown paths requesting, no, demanding a decision.  A time when what you’ve thought so clearly defined you becomes the very thing that condemns you.  The threat of living without, becomes very, very real.

For my husband I, the decision to terminate the attempts to conceive was made for us.  In the announcement, from our reproductive physician that we didn’t qualify for IVF treatment, she had sealed our fate in the medical sense.  Without Divine intervention, we would be childless.  Although I wanted so desperately to give my husband a family he wanted, I could not.  Although I yearned for a medical breakthrough to heal my body, it was not to come.

We switched our efforts to investing in adoption.  The longings never really changed.  I had just swapped sources of how our dream of having a child could come true.  I continued to pepper heaven with requests for healing, never really understanding the complex reasons of how I was hindering Him.  I was still in control and I wasn’t giving it away.

The adoption process seemed very straight forward at first.  Application, paperwork and more paperwork.  Our first visit turned to tragedy when after being interviewed we were told that our lives needed time to heal from past situations and stabilize.    Once again we were devastated and angry.  Although it was the truth for us, so many emotions rocked our boat.   During these few years of waiting, I felt that once again I had failed.  So many tears and so much longing for a miracle.  There wasn’t a lot we could do, but maintain  our hope.  So we waited and in this waiting period, we healed and I prayed.   We allowed our application to stand for a few years before we were asked to join a PRIDE Class with Children’s Aid, (Parent Resources for Information, Development, and Education.)  We found the classes so informative, and supportive and so enjoyed connecting with other couples that had the same longings that we did.  A very intense six weeks followed with our Home Study interviews.  We felt like open books, but because it was for a great cause, we opened our hearts.  We qualified!!  We were approved!!   After such intensity, it felt like everything came to a screeching halt.  We waited for a match.  A child, whose needs we could meet was in the process of being searched for.  So once again, we waited and I prayed.

We are still waiting.  It has been 7 years and we are accessing whether there is any “wait” left in us.  Every two years, the documents like Vulnerable Sector Screening Police Checks, Profile and Medical reports become outdated and need to be redone.  This is important to insure nothing has changed.  Another delay as this paperwork is updated.  This and a misunderstanding with our family physician has caused us to soul search and at this time are facing the painful reality of our preparedness to parent at age 50.  We are looking at the possibilities of just letting God be in control and releasing this area of desire and fear of childlessness.    You see from the moment I married my husband, I took charge of the child producing process.  I tried all I could to make what I thought the route would be for us to have a child.  I never considered what God’s ultimate plan was.  He is faithful to always ensure we have strength for this journey and that His love can carry us through every sorrow.  We are at a crossroads.  One path is marked our plan, and the other is marked His plan.  Which one will we take? What would it take to let it go?

 

A Song of Comfort

song

Photo courtesy of Bing Images

I never expected to write a song.  I had been going through a terrible break up with a boyfriend of long ago, and while I rocked myself through tears, a simple melody and words came in the form of a prayer.  It was here that I prayed to be held and and comforted by the only One who truly can walk me through times of trouble.  It is offered for those in difficult moments on this journey:

Holy Spirit, You’re my comfort, my consolation in Christ

You’re my standby, faithful Helper, always near my heart and mind.

Heavenly Father, You’re my refuge and the God of all comfort,

Holding me, holding me in Your arms.

Jesus, Master You’re my Savior, my help in time of need,

I hide Your word, it’s my heart’s treasure, planted deeply as a seed.

Heavenly Father, You’re my refuge and the God of all comfort,

Holding me, holding me in Your arms.

When I walk through times of trouble, You preserve my heart

You will fulfill Your purpose for me, we will never be apart.

Heavenly Father, You’re my refuge and the God of all comfort,

Holding me, holding me in Your arms.

by:  Paula Hernando ©