1st Year in Review: Trusting God and Answered Prayers

Right around a year ago, I started this blog. And boy what a year it has been. 

I thought I would take a moment to look back on what all has gone on in that amount of time. What prayers have been answered and what we have had to trust God for every day.  

When I started this blog last March, my husband, Brett, and I were just coming through a major transition. Brett had just gotten out of the military the month before and we had moved to Florida and both started new jobs at Disney. We were also in the process of building and buying a house. (Which, if you haven’t ever done that before, it can be a pretty stressful process.) After a miscarriage the October before and with the anticipation of the up coming move, our journey to starting a family was put on hold until we could get settled here in Florida. 

Even though we were not actively “trying” I really needed an outlet to be able to process all that had happened with our infertility journey and be able to answer questions a lot of my friends and family were asking pertaining to the subject. I thought what better way to do that than a blog. So I sat down and put this blog together. To help encourage others who may be going through similar situations and to keep everyone up to date on our story. 

In the mean time, there were plenty of prayers and tears by myself and my husband not really know where to go from here. Multiple failed fertility cycles, 2 miscarriages, and no real hope for anything happening in the future. We were crushed inside. 

Then the miraculous happened…

About a month after I started this blog, I found out I was pregnant! To say I was shocked would be an understatement! After all we went through for the past 4 years, we get pregnant without any form of treatments or tracking. All I can say is God can do anything, and one of the biggest things I had been praying for had finally been answered. I was going to be a mom. 

Now, with that news as excited as we were, I did have a thought. “What am I going to do about this blog I just started a month ago to help encourage people going through infertility?” “The last thing they are going to want read about is that yet another person got pregnant and they didn’t.” 

But something inside me said to keep it going. To encourage others of answered prayers. That is when I also started adding testimonies and stories of others who are walking this road as well. Making this a community. And what a rewarding journey this has been! Reading couples’ stories and being able to share them has brought so much joy to my life. And the response of others has been amazing. I am so thankful I kept this going and I hope you all have been encouraged by it as well. 

This past year since starting the blog we have gotten pregnant, had our beautiful baby girl, moved into our own home, my husband started his Master’s degree program, and we started up as the youth pastors at our church. Phew! Through all of this I can’t help but praise God in the crazy. I am ready to see what this next year will bring. How about you?! 

(Side note: if you have a story you would like to share on this blog, feel free to email me at fertileatheart@gmail.com!) 

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A Labor of Love


48 Hours…

That is how long my labor and delivery lasted…48 hours.

I ended up having to be induced because of multiple reasons. This was not a good start for my “ideal” labor and delivery I had dreamed of having. I was 10 days past my due date with no end in sight. I had no dilation or effacement and so for that and a few other reasons we had to resort to the induction process. 

But that was ok. As long as our baby was coming out healthy I wanted to do what was best.

Dec 20, 2016. 5:00pm

At this time we showed up to the hospital to start the process and get the medications going that were needed to induce the labor. The first medicine was a cervix softening medication that was to be given for 12 hours and was to jump start the dilation before the Pitocin was started. After 12 hours of continuous mild contractions, and a very restless nights sleep, the doctor came in and checked me. 

Dec 21, 2016. 7:00am
No dilation, no effacement.

They were expecting medication to dilate me to at least 3cm by that point with no such results. So, the Pitocin was going to have to do all the work. Thus, the Pitocin was started and we were off for the hardest part…so I thought. 

Dec 21, 2016. 7:30pm

After hours of grueling contractions that were literally off the chart on the monitors, I was checked again and was only dilated to 3cm by this point. The 3cm that I was supposed to be dilated at the end of the first 12 hours there. The pain levels were so intense that I could hardly breath and the contractions were back to back. My goal and yet another dream of doing it without pain medications was going the window with every contraction that came on. Being that I was only at 3cm by this point, I knew that contractions were only going to get worse. So in the end I did end up with an epidural that was probably my life saver. 

One thing that I didn’t even think about with having an epidural, is the fact that since you are numb, there is no way to move, so the nursing staff had to come in and rotate me side to side every hour or so. Talk about no sleep that night. But at least there was no pain involved so I was thankful for that. 

Dec 22, 2016. Morning time. (I don’t remember the exact time)

The medical staff came in and did the morning check. I was finally dilated to about 8cm I think. It was a relief to see progress. At that time as well, they broke my water. More progress. Yay. 

Dec 22, 2016. 12:00pm

At this time I was checked and fully ready. 10cm dilated, 100% effaced.

The time had come to start pushing! That was a somewhat scary moment for me in many ways. I suddenly had thoughts going through my head that I never imagined would be there during that moment. Thoughts like, “Is this really happening?” “Am I even ready for all of this to happen?” “Am I really ready to be a mom?”  

In that moment I knew my life was about to change forever and there was no going back. I am no longer that girl that had dreamed of being a mom her whole life with no end in sight. I am no longer that wife that had been trying for what seemed like eternity to a baby with no success of treatments. I am now about to be a mom. A title that had seemed so far out of reach that I wasn’t sure it would ever be in my life. But we still had one hurdle to get over. The actual pushing part.

The next 5 hours was the hardest and most exhausting thing that I have ever done. They were even saying that after all the hours I had gone through with labor that I might end having to have a c-section if the baby wouldn’t come out faster. But every time they checked her, she had moved just enough more down the birth canal that would let me keep pushing a little bit longer. Making the total pushing time about 5 hours.

In the end though, her shoulder was stuck behind my hip bone. So, yet another item I was not wanting to happen, happened. They had to use the suction cup on her head to get her out. I ended up with a fourth degree tear and countless stitches. 

Dec 22,2016. 5:13pm

Millie Anne Gilbertson was born. Weighing in at 8 pounds and 20 3/4 inches long. 

Due to the nature of my tear and the repair work that needed to be done, I was not that first one to get to hold her. But my husband was. And what a sight it was. It made me fall in love with him all over again. He is such a proud dad. 

As traumatic of an even as this experience was, and having absolutely none of it go as I wanted it to or had planned, I would do it all over again for her. For my little rainbow baby. She is a dream that has come true and an answer to a prayer that has been prayed since I was about 14 years old. There are a few details here and there that I have left out for the sake of not boring you all to death. Just know that even through the most difficult times, God will get you through. 

He got me through the time of infertility. He got me through this pregnancy. And, He got me through a very tough labor and delivery. He is always there. All of this experience has stretched me, grown me, and brought to a place where I am stronger than I have ever been. Don’t give up! He is there!

Ready and Waiting

Just over a week until my little rainbow baby will be in my arms! A miracle that my husband and I have tried for over 4 years to see come to pass will be wrapped in a blanket all sweet and ready for mommy and daddy cuddles. 

I am so ready.

I am “patiently” waiting. ( ok, let’s be honest, patience in this case is a little hard to come by, but I am trying! šŸ˜‰)

Our journey to this point has been full of ups and downs. Times of doubt that maybe we weren’t meant to be parents. At least not in the traditional sense. I questioned my motives, a lot of the time. Thinking that maybe I was just being selfish for wanting to have my own biological kids and not moving on to other “options.” But then I kept going back to a dream that God gave back when I was 14 that I was to be a mother. That would be my number one calling in life, to raise my kids to live for Christ. 

Needless to say, every time I thought about that dream, I would pick myself back up again and keep plugging away towards this calling that I had on my life. And God came through in the most unexpected way! And it was at a time in my life that I thought maybe I should just give up, just be a “mom” in a different sense. God truly gave us the biggest gift that I could have ever asked for.

I am ready.

I am waiting.

It was almost 4 years exactly from the point we started trying to have a family to when we found out about this precious gift we had been blessed with. That is a good amount of time in and of itself to be wanting something so dear. But, for me personally, my waiting started back when I was 14. I am now 28. 14 years of waiting, praying, hoping, and trusting God for something he had placed on my heart as a child. 14 years of knowing that it would happen…eventually, but not knowing when was the hard part. Seeing couples that just got married get pregnant all around me and I am still over here not knowing when my time would be. At this time..

I was ready.

I was waiting.

For pretty much any sign that God was even there to bring this dream to a reality. At least through all of this, I didn’t realize what was going on around me. How much I was growing. The people that I was meeting through the process. Friendship bonds that were forming with other ladies that were going through the same treatments, the same emotions, or the same struggles that I was going through. It wasn’t until my eyes were opened up to this around me that I realized that maybe I wasn’t as ready as I thought. I wasn’t waiting on God’s timing as well as I thought I was. I was wanting my timing not His. I took a deep breath that day and closed my eyes and prayed…

I am ready for Your will.

I am waiting on Your timing.

And my whole perspective shifted to God focused from self focused. From that moment until we received this gift, was a little over a year. So it didn’t happen overnight. I still had some waiting to do. However, this time of waiting was done focusing on my husband and our relationship and relationships with the friends around us. Now…

I was ready.

I was waiting,

In such a freeing way that I could not explain. A peace that was given to me from God himself. 

So, after 14 years of waiting on a dream that God had given me as a child, we are in the home stretch of receiving that blessing. 

Sweet sister, 

God has a plan and purpose for all of us. It may not seem like it all the time, but He does. There will be days of doubt. Days of emotional overload. Days of feeling like you are alone through this process. Know that you are not alone! God is there for you to call on and know that I am praying for you everyday. Never give into the lies that are put at you that you are not good enough, because you are! You are the daughter of a King in heaven and He has his arms wrapped around you all the time, holding you close. 

For Every Woman


I reached out to a sweet friend from college, Mindy, and asked her to guest post on my blog. What I got back was something written so beautifully that it really doesn’t need much introduction except that I believe that every woman out there, whether or not you struggle with infertility or not, should read it. Be encouraged. So, without further ado…

In Mindy’s words…

They say 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. That’s 2 in 10 women. 

Friends, that’s a lot. 

As a little girl I dreamed of one day being 3 things. A Jesus follower, a wife and a mother.

I’ve served Jesus since I was 5. I was married at 20. My first baby came when I was 24. My second baby came when I was 27. I’m currently carrying my third due in 4.5 months…I’ll be 29. 

Jesus. A husband and 3 babies. 

Although challenging days come, I can’t express how thankful I am. In fact, “thankfulness” is the theme of this pregnancy.

Because, I’ve had friends whose stories have been unlike mine. The dreams they carried didn’t come to fulfillment as they envisioned. 

First trimester losses…

Second trimester losses…

Many haven’t been able to conceive at all. A lot of mommies haven’t held their baby yet.

So now that I’m in “mommy land” and have heard the stories…and walked with some friends through some real pain…I’m aware. I’m aware that not all wishes are granted. Sometimes hope isn’t so present. Sometimes fear and sorrow are a close companion.

So, I will never take a pregnancy for granted. 

And my thoughts are cluttered yet real…here they are…

I don’t know why I’ve been so “lucky”…”blessed”…”fortunate”…(I honestly don’t know what word to use sometimes)…

Why her? Why not me? She would be a wonderful mother. She’s a natural. Look at that longing in her heart. Jesus, you see it, don’t you? Your sweet daughter…her grief…you bore it on the cross…I know you did. So why? 

How do I serve her? Do I bring a meal? Do I write a note? Do I try to come up with something to say? Say nothing at all? Listen? Pray? Talk about the baby? Lots of questions. How do I be the friend she needs?

Friend, if you have been through deep grief, loss, fear, pain and you spend much time questioning…please know that I don’t really know what to say. 

Just this…

Beautiful girl,

You are seen. Your cries are being heard. You are not alone. Your Heavenly Father, He’s so good. Very, very good. He cares. He has a plan in the storms. I want you to know that as scary as the storm is…you are never ever ever alone. Keep hoping. Keep praying. Joy is coming. New days are dawning. You have not been forgotten. Jesus, well He thinks you are lovely, and worthy…and knows that “momma desire” deep in your heart. He put it there. He has a plan. Trust Him.

They say that struggle can make us stronger. I see that strength in you. It inspires me. Keep going.

And to the one who like myself hasn’t walked in those shoes:

Sweet girl, 

What you have…some would nearly die to have. Be so grateful. Your role matters, as her friend. Be there. Pray so so so diligently on her behalf. Believe when she doesn’t. Speak the promises of God over her. Let her be herself. Serve herbut mostly, just keep loving her.

Hope has a way of amazing us. Your Heavenly Father is hers also. We all fight a different battle…but with Him by our side it won’t overtake us. You are strong…so is she. You are even stronger together. šŸ’š

With love,

Mindy

Joy Comes With The Mourning


Let me preface this post by saying, I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to share this with anyone. I wasn’t sure how I could handle it let alone opening up to anyone else about it, but I really felt the leading to share. So, here I am sharing a moment in time that I felt a little overwhelmed and had very conflicting emotions about…

—————————–

As I have stated in a past post called The Hope Chest I have been acquiring baby things here and there for the past few years. Diapers, bottles, onsies, wipes, etc. Just whatever stood out to me at the time I was at the store. Having just recently moved into a new house within the past few weeks, I was finally got the privilege to unpack that box of baby things in an actual nursery for my little baby that will be coming this December! It was so exciting, after almost 4 years of collecting these items, I finally had a reason to unpack them and put it all in a neatly organized closet for use in the very near future. Then, a very overwhelming moment came over me when I came across these items pictured above…

You see, these were the little onsies we used to announce to our family that we were pregnant the last 2 pregnancies. 

My heart stopped. My eyes filled with tears at the thought of what these tiny little baby clothes represented. I thought to myself, I would give anything to have those two precious babies back and meet them and hold them in my arms. But I knew that wouldn’t happen. 

I sat in the nursery for a few moments just thinking about who those two babies might have been. What they might have looked like, talked like, laughed like. I just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. But then the words to a worship song that we would sing in church a lot came to my head and made me realize that even though there were times of sorrow and pain, the Lord brings joy through those circumstances. The song, you may ask? 

Trading My Sorrows.

Some of the words that stuck out to me in this song go like this..

“I’m trading my sorrows

I’m trading my shame

I’m laying them down for the joy

of the Lord

I’m trading my sickness

I’m trading my pain

I’m laying them down for the joy the Lord”

*Then it goes on to say… 

“I am pressed but not crushed

persecuted not abandoned

Struck down but not destroyed

I am blessed beyond the curse for

his promise will endure

And his joy’s gonna be my

strength

Though the sorrow may last for the night

His joy comes with the morning.”

For some reason, when I thought of these words it calmed me. Even through mourning the loss of these precious babies, I could joy in the fact that God has it all under control. That His timing is perfect. That I have a perfectly healthy baby growing inside of me with an almost flawless pregnancy to go with it. And, that those little baby clothes, will no longer have to hide in a box. They will be used by this precious little rainbow baby. And that brings me more joy than any time of mourning can take from me.

Huh? What is a rainbow baby? (Is probably what some of you are thinking right now.) 

Well, I am glad you asked! šŸ™‚ 

A rainbow baby is a baby that was conceived and given birth to after a miscarriage or infant loss. The rainbow in the Bible was shown to Noah as a sign and promise that his family is blessed and that God would no longer bring such destruction on the world. So, a baby born after a storm of miscarriage or infant loss, is a blessing from God. A way that He shows He will always come through on His promises. It just may not be in a way that we thought it would. 

So, in everything you do, even during the hard times, always look for the joy that comes with the mourning. Always know that God has and will never turn His back on you. He loves you! You are always in my thoughts and prayers! 

Announcing…!!!


We have known for a while now, but I thought I would write a post announcing to all of you out there that follow my blog.

We are having a girl! 

To say we are excited would be an understatement. Children are such a blessing either way, but I am excited to bring on the pink and frills. My husband has not taken that bracelet off since. He is just a tad excited too. šŸ˜‰

When we first walked into the ultrasound room that day, I felt so overwhelmed with emotion. Knowing we were going to be finding out the gender was exciting. Yet for some reason it was hard to believe that we had reached this far in the pregnancy to know what the gender was. My heart raced as I got up on the table with the anticipation of what was to come. I was so thankful that not only did my husband get to be there but so did my parents to join in the experience. 

The ultrasound tech put the wand on my belly, and there it was, plain as day. A baby girl! I wanted to cry. God is so good. 

We waited a few days to officially announce the news to our family and friends just to enjoy the little secret ourselves. And about a week later we announced the name…

Millie Anne 


Millie meaning Strength 

Anne meaning Merciful/Graceful

Our little one has already shown so much strength getting this far and through God’s ever present grace He has blessed us with this little one. 

Just hold on to your dreams. God is there. He is listening. His timing is perfect. 

Halfway to My Dream!

Wow! I am right around 20 weeks! How could this even be possible? Something that I thought was not in the near future for us or even at all happened out of no where and we are already half way through this pregnancy! At times it doesn’t even seem real. Like it’s all a dream and I am about to wake up from it. But then in the same breath, I am know it’s real. I know that God has truly blessed us with this miracle and am ready now more than ever to hold my little angel in my arms and be a mother. 

We halfway to the biggest life changing event to ever happen to me and my husband and we are on cloud nine. To summarize the first half of this crazy adventure here is a a quick overview…

-At the very beginning: when I decided to just take a home pregnancy test “just for the heck of it” and it was positive, I thought that I was going insane! I got another one just to make sure, and then low and behold, there it was clear as day. That was when I set out to find a OB as soon as possible to confirm the test. 

I found one that was covered by my insurance and the soonest they could get me in was on the fifth day after I took the at home test. This was a little scary to me because the last 2 pregnancies I miscarried on the fifth day after finding out we were pregnant. But it was confirmed and we were off to a great and healthy start! 

-Week 12: Up until this point, everything was uneventful. Checkups were good. Ultrasound good. Nothing to be concerned about whatsoever. Then while I was at work one night, I got a sudden sharp abdominal pain that I ended up leaving work early and went to the ER. In an ultrasound, They found bleeding in my uterus which could be nothing but could also be an early sign of miscarriage. This scared me to death. The doctor put me on bed rest for a week and my follow up was all clear and everything was back to normal. Thank you Jesus! 

-Week 19: Another uneventful few weeks leading up to probably the worst back pain that I have ever had in my life. I called my OB office and talked to a nurse and she told me there really isn’t anything that they could do about it. All the treatments that are done for that kind of back pain I couldn’t do because, you guessed it, I am pregnant. But, she did say that I could go to a chiropractor as a pregnant person and referred me to one that they send there patients too. And now, about 3 days later, almost no back pain! The Chiropractor said I had a displaced nerve that was causing the pain. Now the nerve is back in place and I am functioning once again. 

-Week 20: Week 20 officially starts this Monday! 5 months! Really! I can only give thanks and credit to the Lord for this gift. And I couldn’t be happier. 

Although the waiting was and is hard, I learned a lot in the process. About myself. About my husband and our relationship. About God and His perfect timing for everything. All those lessons I would not trade for the world. Going through the journey of infertility also brought me into a world that I knew very little about. That I didn’t really think much about at all. This community of ladies are truly a blessing and encouraging and I wouldn’t trade anything for the opportunity to get to know, encourage, and love on every person that reads this blog. Something I wouldn’t have if I didn’t go through what I went through.

I would be lying if I said that I didn’t want to yell and scream from the rooftops how excited I am for everyday that I have with my little one growing inside me. One day closer. One more day with no problems. It’s pretty exciting! 

Be encouraged sweet sister, as you go through your own unique journey to becoming a mommy and holding that sweet child in your arms, that you too WILL reach this point. After close to 4 years for us, I didn’t think it would even happen and it did. You are closer to your dream than you know. God is there with you to help you through and so am I. Don’t loose sight of that. 

Worth the Wait

This is a phrase that I thought I would never say when it comes to our infertility journey and wanting to start our family. After close to 4 years of trying, both on our own and with medical help. I was probably one of the most impatient people when it came to wanting a baby. There were many nights that I would cry myself to sleep thinking about the fact that I may never be able to have kids of my own. Also the thought of the 2 little angels that I had already lost in the process. 

This past February, my husband just got out of the Army and we relocated to Central Florida. We had decided that with the move, transition, and new jobs we would just take a break from all fertility treatments and not even try on our own. At least for a few months anyway, until we could get settled. But God had other plans for us. 

In March we found out that we were pregnant! It was quite the shock and I honestly didn’t believe it at first. It wasn’t until I went to the doctor and got it confirmed there that I really believed it. After that appointment, it all started to sink in little by little. 

I AM GOING TO BE A MOM!

The first trimester, to say I was nervous, would be an understatement. After loosing my last two angels at about 6 weeks, every day to me was a victory. I was even thankful for my constant morning sickness and vomiting, because that meant that baby was growing like he/she should. 

I am now close to 17 weeks and have just recently started feeling little baby move and kick here and there. Those movements and flutters make me just beam every time. The reality of what is coming my way is just a joy to think about. Every little change that happens makes me smile. I just love this little one more than words can say. And feelings those movements and going through these changes, knowing what is to come in the very near future made every trial and waiting period worth it. 

It was all worth the wait. 

No matter what kind of ‘waiting’ that you are going through right now, allow yourself to grow and learn from it. I know that for me, having to go through all of this waiting with infertility has allowed me to open my eyes to others that may be hurting in ways that no one really thinks about in the day-to-day. It opened my eyes to a group of ladies that could really use the encouragement, support, and prayer that I could give to them and to you! I pray for each of you every day. Every time I see another view that came across my blog, I say a prayer for that person. That he/she will find hope in our story and never give up on their dreams just because those dreams might seem impossible at that moment. So just know…

You are loved. You are cherished. 

And,

It will all be worth the wait!

Bed Rest, Rest for the Weary

“Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

A few weeks ago, I ended up in the ER for severe abdominal pains. I couldn’t stand up straight. I couldn’t walk without pain from each step. I was just overall in a lot of pain. Through an ultrasound, the doctor said that they found bleeding in my uterus that was the source of my pain. He said that it was probably nothing, but put me on best rest for 7 days just to be safe. 

To say I was very nervous about it would be an understatement. As much as the doctor thought it was nothing, he did say that there was a chance that bleeding is also a sign of an impending miscarriage. 

There was that word again, “miscarriage.” 

The thoughts that went through my mind as that word came out of his mouth were that of dread and anxiety. 

“Here we go again,” I thought to myself as I was trying to hold back the tears. I knew deep down, though, that we hadn’t come this far into the pregnancy for it to end, yet again. The last two pregnancies got as far as about 6 weeks each. Both ending before I got to ever see them on an ultrasound or feel them moving in my belly. But both, just as precious to me as this one. I was not ready to loose yet another baby. 

I started praying. 

A lot!

And everyday of being on bed rest, I started to realize something. God started showing me what true rest really is. All the anxiety and stress about the pregnancy and the burden of always thinking the worst will end up happening was taken away. Through my prayer that week, I was given a peace that only God can give. A peace that truly put my mind, not just my body, at rest. 

Sometimes, when we think of rest we think of a physical rest. Which is true at some points in life. But have you ever thought of the fact that maybe He was more talking about putting your mind at rest? I know that sometimes my mind will go a thousand different directions going from one thought to the next about the future, about jobs, about the baby, etc that it never slows down to reflect what is going on in that moment and all that God has brought us through already. 

God showed me that week, that slowing down my mind and giving all those thoughts to Him, will be the most restful thing that I could ever do. Like it says in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” If God has already worked out a plan for our lives, then why should we worry about and be distraught about the future? Why not just lay it down and accept the gifts of peace and rest that He is so willingly able to give and know that He has it all worked out? 

The rest I now feel in my mind about the duration of this pregnancy is something that I could have never come to on my own. God has been with me through and I am daily reminded that He has never left in the first place. 

No matter what you are going through, know that God is there and ready to give you peace and rest in any situation. Just lean on Him and lay it down before. He has been there and always will be there for you!