Thursday, October 31, 2013

Giving God All the Glory Part 1 (Dealing with Infertility)

Well, I’ve had it in my heart for a good while now to share our story. It’s a long story, one that spans almost our entire marriage, but definitely one worth sharing. But, please, bear with me. Who knows? It might be that there is someone who needs to hear it all, in its’ entirety, because they need to find hope for what they are facing. I will break it up into smaller sections simply for the sake of making it easier to follow. We had been married for approximately one year when we decided to start a family. After a few months of “trying”, we found that we were still not expecting. I tried not to let this bother me, as I knew it sometimes takes a while. In the meantime, we were seeing all our young married friends getting pregnant without much trouble at all. ~ I guess that I should probably insert here that I had never been very “regular” with my cycle. Really all of my teen years, I typically stayed “messed up”. In other words, it was nothing unusual for me to go months and months before my “time” came. Still, I didn’t expect this to cause problems (na├»ve, I guess). Anyway, after several months passed, I was starting to get a little discouraged. Each month, when I didn’t get a “visit”, I would run right out and buy a pregnancy test. (this was at a time when you couldn’t just pick one up for a buck—it was quite costly). And since my husband and I were on a very tight budget back then, I began going to our family doctor office for one (it only cost a few dollars to go and just do a urine test) But, after a few months of this, I just couldn’t take going in that office and having those nurses look at me and have to shake their heads “no”.  Several more months of this passed and I just wasn’t sure what I should do. A friend recommended to me that I should go to an OB-GYN in our town so I made an appointment. We went, he ran a few tests there in his office, and just like this—I KID YOU NOT—he said, “Oh, I see the problem. Your husband has low count so you wouldn’t be able to conceive”. Also, it should mentioned here that he never offered to run any further tests… on me. Since this was obviously not what we expected to hear, we were, to say the least, a little taken aback. So, I asked him what we could do. He said that there was NOTHING that we could do and we should probably just look into adoption. Keep in mind now that we’ve only been married just a little over a year and we are not much more than kids ourselves. (probably around 20 and 19)  We were just floored! We went home and cried and prayed but couldn’t find much comfort. We had some very kind friends who came over to house that night and just cried with us. When we had pretty much cried out, they suggested that Bret see a urologist. We felt very uninformed and ignorant but we were willing to do anything that we could. So, we got an appointment for Bret and he went to see a doctor.

***From this point on, we never focused on me or any problems that I might have. We were simply going on the information the first doctor gave us.

Bret did see a urologist and he confirmed that he did have a low count. But, he told us that there were options; all sorts of different things we could try. So, finally we felt we had some hope. One of the first things he had us try was to have Bret take a prescription. (it was actually a fertility medicine that women take except that he would take them daily instead of just once a month as women do)  This was a VERY expensive medicine and we were on a VERY limited budget. But, we wanted a baby so much that if we had to eat rice and beans, that ‘s what we would do. So, we got the first prescription filled. The cost of that one month prescription was about a third of his entire monthly paycheck! You can imagine how difficult it was to mange that but we did it. Then came the wait for “time” of the month. We were so hopeful. And of course, as always, when I was “late”, I ran right out and bought a test. And as always, the test was negative. (and this may seem like a totally stupid thing to think about but I have never ONCE had the joy of looking at a test stick and seeing a positive)  Yes, we did have Emily but I am not going to give all that away yet—you’ll just have to wait) ;)  Anyway, the doctor said that was normal, that sometimes I took a few months to help. So, for several months, we spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars, trying the medicine. But, finally, the doctor told us that it just wasn’t working. So, next, he advised us to have a biopsy done on Bret to check to see if there were any blockages that could be causing our problems. He said that this was pretty common and could be pretty easily repaired. ***this would mean a day surgery, hospital and lab bills, plus the cost of the surgeon. Bret did have insurance through work and so it helped with some of our bills. We still had the cost of the deductible to come with and then the 20% balance that insurance didn’t cover. All this after having just spent all that money on expensive prescriptions the last several months.  They did the surgery, found NO blockages, and no physical reason why he should have a low count. (this might have made us feel better except that if they can’t see a problem, they can’t find a remedy). So basically, this put us back at square one. The next several months were spent waiting, for no better reason other than that we had to make monthly payments to pay off all those medical bills. After a few months, we were able to finally pay all that off, so we went back to see the urologist. This time, he felt like maybe Bret should see a different urologist, one who specialized in the things that we were facing. We went to him for a few months, did several more tests, piling up more and more bills, and still, NOTHING. We had come to a place where we felt we needed to take a break. We needed to pay off these medical bills and try to save up some more money before we could do anything else. So, we waited. In all honesty, I can’t even remember how long we waited. It was at least several months, maybe even as much as a year. When we finally felt ready, we went back to our original urologist.  This time, he sent us to Vanderbilt hospital. Same thing. Tests, tests, tests, and more tests. With no results except more bills that had to be paid. So again, we waited…while paying off medical bills. These were some seriously discouraging times for us. We just a young married couple, trying our best to build a life serving the Lord, and not understanding WHY we were going through this. We had friends who were having babies right and left, acquaintances and colleagues who didn’t even go to church, and they were having their babies and starting their families with no problems whatsoever. It seemed so hard to comprehend. Trying to have faith and believe that all things work together for good, but not seeing how any good come from this. It was hard. Very hard. But, somehow, His grace was sufficient. We literally, just tried to live one day at a time and not think about all the sad, lonely days ahead of us.

I am going to stop here for today. That’s a sad place to stop I know. But, for sake of time, I will continue in the next post. I hope with all my heart that some of what I am sharing will be a help to someone out there who needs to know—there is hope. I promised the Lord that I would always share it—with everyone who wanted to hear. I’ve shared bits and pieces on my blog in the past, but now, in the famous words of Paul Harvey, you get to hear “the rest of the story”. Lol.

So, be watching for my next post. J

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Continue On by Roy Lessin

I have just finished reading the book A Love That Mulitplies by Michelle &Jim Bob Duggar.
We (Emily and I mostly) love watching their show. It is a blessing to us to see a family (on tv)
with many of the same values and standards that we practice as a family. And for a young lady
who is trying to love God with all her heart, obey and honor her parents by living by the
standards and convictions they laid out for her, and be DIFFERENT in a world where it
seems everyone (even in the Christian realm) are all the same-- it is a blessing to be able
to see that there others who are aren't caving in to the pressure of the day.Anyway,
I digress... this is not the point of the post. :)

While reading their book (which I LOVED by the way), I ran across a poem that was such
a blessing and just thought I would share. Many times as wives and mothers, we feel inadequate
or like, somehow, we are just not making a difference. Whether we are stay-at-home wives with
children, stay-at-home wives (without children)(I have been both), or working wives and/or
mothers. Either way, it seems we are always second guessing ourselves or questioning our
value. I am convinced that this is just another tactic Satan uses to get us all bogged down
worrying over insignificant matters that keep us from doing our best and being content in the
place He has us. So, here is a copy of the poem. It was a blessing to me. I hope it will be to
you as well.

"CONTINUE ON" a poem by Roy Lessin

A woman once fretted over the usefulness of her life.
She feared she was wasting her potential being a devoted wife and mother.
She wondered if the time and energy she invested in her husband and children would make a difference. At times she got discouraged because so much of what she did seemed to go unnoticed and unappreciated. "Is it worth it?" She often wondered.
"Is there something better that I could be doing with my time?"
It was during one of these moments of questioning that she heard the still small voice of her heavenly Father speak to her heart.
"You are a wife and mother because that is what I have called you to be."
Much of what you do is hidden from the public eye. " But I notice."
Most of what you give is done without remuneration. "But I am your reward."
Your husband cannot be the man I have called him to be without your support. Your influence upon him is greater than you think and more powerful than you will ever know. I bless him through your service and honor him through your love.
Your children are precious to me.. Even more precious than they are to you. I have entrusted them to your care to raise for me. What you invest in them is an offering to me.
You may never be in the public spotlight, But your obedience shines as a bright
light before me. Continue on. Remember you are MY Servant.
Do all to please me.