Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Faith As Small As a Mustard Seed


Can we take a minute to talk about how adorable this sign is?! Our friend Gina created it for us & I love it so much! We worked with her to customize it & she absolutely nailed it. Gina has been crafting & woodworking for years. She recently opened an Etsy shop! Here's the link: WanderingHartDesign
She will be adding more listing to her shop soon & can create pretty much anything you have in mind. Y'all be sure to check her out! I’m looking forward to having her create a custom sign for the baby’s nursery! :) 


I am excited to share the inspiration behind our sign. About a year ago, as we started to talk about & make a plan for revisiting fertility efforts again, the Lord put the word "hope" on my heart. Throughout the past year, it has been the word He has continued to speak to me. 

God put hope on my heart in three-fold. He wanted me to truly learn to place my hope in Him. He wanted me to become hopeful that we would be able to conceive. He wanted to remind me to keep sharing my heart, our story & His goodness, because He was wanted to continue to use us to spread His hope to others. 

 In the months leading up to our fertility appointment (after a 3 year break from doctors) I wrestled with fear, doubt & anxiety. I didn't want to jump back into the world of TTC only to find my heart crushed & disappointed again. In those emotional moments, God always met me & softly whispered, "hope."  And so I did. When I became overwhelmed I would remind myself my eternal hope is in Him. I started hoping for what could go right, and less time worrying about what could go wrong. Whenever I heard a story of someone dealing with infertility conceiving, instead of brushing it off as, "well, that's not our situation", I started to find hope from those stories. I began to allow myself to hope this new journey would lead to a pregnancy. 

In May, I had surgery to remove endometriosis. A few weeks later, my doctor cleared us to start trying to conceive again. I found myself feeling more hopeful & excited about trying to conceive than I had been in years. At the same time, doubt & fear fought hard to rise up in my heart & mind. Back in June, before we conceived, I wrote a post about the journey God had taken me on to get to a place where I was genuinely hopeful about conceiving. To read my emotional & raw post, click here

One morning, as I was praying & having a really honest conversation with God about believing for a biological baby, He put Matthew 17:20 on my heart:
"You don't have enough faith," Jesus told them. "I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it would move. Nothing would be impossible." 

Boom. So convicting & just what I needed to hear! That day I made a choice to let go of doubt & step forward in faith. I humbly handed God my tiny mustard seed of faith & believed that He would be faithful to move mountains for us.

The next month, after five years of infertility, we found out we were pregnant! I’ve written about our initial reaction to the pregnancy news here & here
One of the first things I read was that at 4 weeks pregnant, our precious baby was only as big as a poppy seed. Immediately I began to cry as I remembered the verse the Lord had given me. He took my tiny seed of faith & moved big mountains to bring us our third little miracle baby. We are amazed & so grateful! I pray our story will continue to bring hope to those in their own seasons of waiting.  

If you're struggling with hoping & believing for your own miracle, I totally get it. Infertility & adoption are emotional & complex. There are so many valid fears, deep hurts & big questions that come along with the process. 
I want to encourage you today to have that honest conversation with God about where you are in your journey of hope & faith. Ask Him to step in the gap of your unbelief & help you to begin to trust Him again. I don’t know all the ends & outs of your story or what He has planned for you, but I do know walking with Him through the struggles as well as the triumphs will bring healing, hope, peace & joy back into your life. 


Today I encourage each of you to step out in faith today to put your own little mustard seeds of hope & faith in His hands. 

I love looking at the Hope sign hanging up in our home! It is such a powerful & sweet reminder of the journey of faith God has taken us on to add our three precious babies to our family. If you’re interested in your own custom sign or want to order this specific sign, be sure to check out Wandering Hart design on Etsy to order: 

 Pregnancy update: I am 18 weeks pregnant now & baby is doing great. As always, thank you for continuing to follow along & celebrate with our family!

With love,
Tyler 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Pregnant: Receiving Our Positive Part 2

If you haven’t already, be sure to read Part 1 here. 
To view our pregnancy announcement click here. For a recap on our entire 5 year journey to grow our family, click here

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On Saturday July 8th, I woke up & took a fourth pregnancy test…positive
Finally it truly hit me that this was happening! As that realization washed over me, joy flooded through me!


Sadly, my joy was quickly replaced by panic & fear. If I was pregnant, why was I still bleeding? All I could think about was something going wrong. After waiting for five years to experience pregnancy, I was not prepared for the roller coaster of emotions & fears I would face once experiencing it. Unfortunately, my fears & feelings wouldn’t subside anytime soon. 

Even after seeing my doctor a couple days later & confirming through blood tests that my HCG was rising, the fear continued. Even after hearing that bleeding can be normal, the worry continued. Day after day I continued to spot, bleed & pass clots. Some days I moved through my days like a robot. Some days the anxiety & fear left me feeling paralyzed yet simultaneously spinning out of control. Some days I was full of hope & faith. I learned to take one day at a time…& also one night at a time, as I was often awake at night watching the hours pass. 

Our family beach trip was such an incredible escape during this time!

Anxiety is a tough beast to fight. I absolutely hated that I was feeling this way. I hated that I couldn’t fully celebrate or truly connect with this baby in the way I longed to. I hated that Cary couldn’t understand how I was feeling. I prayed constantly for the Lord to fill me with peace. Yet every time I went to the bathroom & saw red, a new jolt of fear shot through me. At times, I felt like a failure for not being stronger & more faith-filled. I struggled to feel God’s presence & often felt like He was so silent during this time. At the same time, there were days I knew He was carrying me through. There were moments of crying out to Him in prayer when His peace was evident. I had to choose to believe He was with me, even when I felt so alone.



Being involved in the infertility community has revealed to me just now common miscarriage is. 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. I know that all too often, babies slip away, hearts are broken & dreams crushed. Many around me have suffered the heartbreak & loss of their babies to miscarriage. The thought of losing our baby scared me more than anything ever has before. 

I thankfully dealt with pregnancy symptoms very early on & throughout my first trimester. I say thankfully because each bout of nausea, every bit of painful breast tenderness, every food aversion spoke to me that things were happening as they were supposed to. I literally thanked God each time I threw up. Still, I struggled with deeply allowing myself to believe everything was going to be okay. I went to bed every night holding my stomach & thanking God for giving me another day with our baby. 



I clearly remember my lowest point in those weeks of fear. At six weeks pregnant, after a few days of only having light spotting, the return of red bleeding & clots sent shock waves running through me. That night I laid awake for hours crying & praying as I wondered what was to come. My doctor was concerned as well & asked me to come in for an ultrasound immediately to make sure our baby was still alive & to rule out an ectopic pregnancy. In the shower on the morning of our first ultrasound appointment, I found myself unable to stand as I fell to my knees, crying & shaking uncontrollably as the water washed over me. I begged God to let our little baby hold on & for us to see a heartbeat that day…

Thankfully, as y’all know, this story does have a happy ending. As we sat in the ultrasound room waiting for our answer, a tear slowly slid down my face. Ready or not, we had to face whatever would come next. The screen popped up & before we could hear it, I could see it…our tiny baby’s heartbeat blinking on the screen. It was a surreal & beautiful moment. Cary squeezed my hand, as more tears slid down my face & relief spread through every part of me.

That day, I was able to finally able to take a big step forward in hoping & believing our baby was going to make it. The fear, worry & bleeding continued until week 10. For those of you wondering, they were never able to identify the source of the bleeding. Originally, my doctor thought it was a subchorionic hemorrhage, but they never saw any evidence on the ultrasounds. 
I continued to deal with everything the best I could & tried my best not to let fear steal my joy. I decided I wouldn’t let worry rob me of connecting with my pregnancy, but it wasn’t easy. I started to fight the fear by speaking life over our baby & imagining who he or she would grow to be. I began to find the strength & discipline to take every thought captive. In my mind I began to picture Isabel, Noah & this baby walking…hand in hand in hand. 

A couple of the weeks passed before we saw our sweet baby again on an ultrasound screen. In the meantime, we began sharing our pregnancy news with family & friends. Sharing our miracle helped usher in so much healing & joy! It’s safe to say we shocked pretty much everyone with the news! The reactions were priceless! Many tears were shed & praises to God offered up. We plan to put together a video compilation of the reactions soon because they are just too sweet not to share. 

I am now 14 weeks pregnant, praise God! 

The past month I have been doing much much better. Sharing our pregnancy news publicly was a huge step forward emotionally for me. I have been deeply touched by the response & love we have received since sharing. I am beginning to show & am so excited to watch my budding bump grow! We will be sharing gender in the next 2 weeks! It’s so fun to talk about baby names & make plans for another addition to our family. Cary & I could not be more grateful or amazed to be experiencing this precious miracle! Izzy & Noah love lifting up my shirt to "see the baby" & give the baby kisses...cuteness overload!


So, why share all the messy parts of this journey with you? 
Why not just share the positive, happy parts & keep the not so pretty parts to myself? 
The whole reason I first opened up about our struggles with infertility was to let others know they aren't alone! While it’s not fun to remember or share these struggles, I’ve found that when I share my struggles, there are always others who step forward and say, “me too.” Vulnerability invites those around us to step into healing with us. 

I share because I want you to know that if you are struggling with fear & anxiety, you’re not alone. I know it’s hard, I know it’s scary…I know some days you’re barely making it. But I also want to remind you that you will make it! I want you to know that you aren’t a failure when you experience struggle, doubt, fear or anxiety. On this side of Heaven, we will face many battles. We will fail, we will hurt, we will experience hardship. 

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." ~2 Corinthians 12:9-10 


Let me remind you, the most beautiful thing about being weak is that He is strong. Let the Lord’s strength carry you through the hardest days. There is nothing shameful about coming to Him & asking Him to carry you. In fact, that is what our Father longs for…to be our strength, our hope & our provider through every season of life.

"Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." ~Matthew 11:28 

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." ~1 Peter 5:7


Breakthrough & victory come when we fix our eyes above our circumstances, on the One who never fails us. When we are filled with His strength, we can face any battle that comes our way. Maybe someone reading needs to be reminded of this truth today, just like I needed to be reminded when I was struggling. 

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For those of you reading who have experienced a miscarriage, my heart hurts deeply for you. I can only begin to imagine the depth of heartbreak you have experienced.  Please know I mourn your loss with you. 

Thank you for following along. I look forward to continuing to share my heart & our story with y'all. We are grateful for the prayers & love so many of you send our way!  

With love,
Tyler 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Pregnant: Receiving Our Positive Part 1

Hi, y'all! I'm excited to finally kick off a series of posts sharing more about our pregnancy & all that's been on my heart the past couple of months. 

If you missed our pregnancy announcement you can find it here:
To catch up on our entire five year journey to grow our family, click here: Full Circle

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The first week of July was a hard one for me. 
I knew “testing day” was quickly approaching & with it came wave after wave of emotion. I tried to keep my hope in check & not read too much into any "symptoms" I thought I was experiencing. The morning of July 6th, two days before testing day, I woke up nauseous. The hope I had been holding back leapt in my heart. A few hours later, I started bleeding. All those hopes came crashing down as I faced the reality that this month wasn’t “it” for us. 

That evening, I shared on my Instagram (@theadventuresofbabyk - account dedicated to all things infertility, adoption, faith & family) that I wasn’t pregnant & would be attending a Sarah’s Laughter infertility support group meeting that night. The meeting was so wonderful & just what my heart needed! Sitting in a room full of women who understand your struggle is a powerful thing. I left feeling filled up, encouraged & focused on trying again.

Over the next 2 days, I continued to bleed but noticed it was different than usual. I remembered my doctor telling me my cycles would be a little off in the months following my endometriosis surgeries, so I assumed that was what was going on. However, Cary wasn’t convinced! He thought I should go ahead & test anyway, but I resisted. Testing was the LAST thing I wanted to do! It had been 3.5 years since I’d last taken a pregnancy test. In the past, taking a test was a huge trigger for me. I knew God had done so much in my heart over the years, but I still wasn’t sure if I was prepared to face the emotional rollercoaster that ensues after a negative. After giving it some thought, I decided I would go ahead & test, mostly so that we would be able to fully move on.  

I sent Cary out to pick up some pregnancy tests & then it was time for the moment of truth. Cary & I sat together on our bed as we waited for the 3 minute timer to go off. We had been in this position so many times before...
 The alarm went off. Slowly, we walked to the bathroom together, picked up the stick & stared in disbelief at two dark pink lines…
positive. 
Stunned, I looked at Cary…I saw tears in his eyes as he started to laugh. After a moment I heard myself saying, “Wait…what?! This can’t be right. Can it? Oh my gosh… What is happening right now?!” We were both in shock to say the least! After nearly 5 years of infertility, we were holding a positive pregnancy test in our hands for the first time ever

Cary accepted & celebrated that we were pregnant right off the bat, but emotionally, I couldn’t go there yet. I had heard too many stories of false positives. The possibility of this being a false positive scared me to my core. 
I chugged some water & took another test. Positive. 

At this point, I couldn't hold my emotions back anymore! I was shaking, smiling, crying & totally overwhelmed. I’m pretty sure I was near the point of having an out of body experience. Cary & I laid on our bed & let the reality sink in. We smiled, we cried, we hugged & thanked God.



That night we went to bed filled to the brim with emotion. In the middle of the night, I woke up & fear took root in my heart. From 3-5 a.m. I prayed over our baby & asked God to calm my heart & mind. 
Finally at 5 a.m. I got up & took a third test...Positive. 
I sat in the dark on the floor in our bathroom & let the tears flow. I jumped back in bed but laid awake for a couple more hours with my mind racing & heart exploding with emotion…finally, I drifted off. 

As soon as I woke up, I took a 4th test…Positive
Finally it really truly hit me that this.was.real. 

To be continued...
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We have been blown away the all the sweet support & love we have received since sharing our pregnancy news! Thank y'all for celebrating with us & praying for Baby K #3! I am currently 13 weeks pregnant & feeling great. Our baby is developing & growing right on track. We are overwhelmed with gratitude & joy to be experiencing this miracle! 


I'm so glad to finally be re-visting & sharing the details of our pregnancy story with y'all! My next post will cover the days & weeks after we received our big news. A time I had always dreamed would be filled with joy & celebration was instead consumed by fear & anxiety... 
More coming soon!

With love, 
Tyler