Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Over Coffee

This post is inspired by other bloggers who have regular "over coffee" type posts.  My drink of choice is usually just a warm decaf coffee with a splash of cream.  But now that the weather's getting warmer, maybe an iced decaf americano with a splash of cream.  And vanilla flavoring if I'm feeling indulgent.  What's your drink?  My treat ... 

Life has been moving along quite nicely for us.  Josh is settling in well at his new job and really enjoys the autonomy that comes with being a certified professional and not a student still under the microscope.  And I don't blame him.

Micah's been good.  He's such a little character and we love him more each day.  He is very, very excited about a new baby sister that he can help with.  As much as possible, I try to talk with him about what it will be like to have an infant in the house.  I made some burp cloths for Joci a few weeks ago and Micah was totally weirded out by their purpose.  I told him that sometimes babies spit up, which is sort of like throwing up just a bit of the milk they drank.  He said, "That's weawwy gwoss mom."  Haha, I guess so.  What a guy.



Joci and I are growing nicely.  Only one more trimester!  I'm really looking forward to having two kids at home to kiss and love every day.  Always wishing there were three, but thankful for the two I have with me.

In other news, I am going to be an aunt for the first time in just a few months!  My brother-in-law and sister-in-law are expecting their first, a sweet baby boy, in mid-September.  I really can't wait to meet the little guy and watch two people I love very much grow into the parenting role.  Such a blessing.  Some free time recently has been going to planning his baby shower, so that's been fun too.  I love me an event to plan!  Especially something so wonderful like a baby shower.  

I'm also working on some things for Joci.  She and Micah will have to share a room so there's not a ton of redecorating going on, but some!  I'm currently working on a fabric mobile idea that I can't wait to post about.  My husband was watching me work on it and said it started out looking like trash but now it doesn't look as bad.  Ummm ... thanks?  

My heart?  My heart has been satisfied lately.  The Lord has really been impressing on me just to be very thankful for all the many blessings happening to us and those we love.  Did I mention my baby sister locked down a fifth grade teaching position with our public school system for the 2014/2015 school year?  Yeah, big amazing stuff is happening.  



I've also been praising the Lord for sparing us from sickness.  For the last two years our little family has been unaffected by the flu, stomach bug, or anything more than just a cold that left us feeling a little extra lazy for a couple of days.  Nothing.  That is amazing to me and something I am very grateful to the Lord for.  He even fights microscopic battles for me :) 

Also ... we got a new camera!  Well, new to us anyway.  And from what I've read, it's a pretty great one so I'm very thankful and excited to share pics from it.  If things start to look nicer on here, you know why ... 

Well anyway, that's me.  But I feel like I've been talking on and on.  Please tell me, how is life going for you?  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Rugged Topography of a Rainbow Pregnancy

I stared at it.  The overpriced, white stick of plastic that now bore two pink lines.  Two very distinct pink lines.  There was no denying and no wondering and no thoughts of, I guess I'll take another one in a few days.  No sir.  I was pregnant.  

You'd think I would have been jumping for joy.  It was something I had wanted so desperately for six months, and as each month passed, I was growing more and more desperate.  You'd think this news would be a sweet relief to my weary soul, my still-grieving mama heart.  But no.  I felt ... nothing.

Maybe it was my sense of desperation; maybe it stole the potential for true joy.  Maybe it was the fact that my then two-year-old was being especially two that day.  Maybe it was the sense of sadness I felt for the person in the difficult predicament with whom I had just ended a phone conversation.  I really don't know.  All I know is the relief and joy I thought I would feel when those twin pink lines appeared wasn't there.  And the only thought I had was, here we go again.  After losing Evie it was so hard to imagine another pregnancy ending well.  I was fearful.  So fearful.

Fast forward about three weeks.  The pregnancy seemed to be going well.  First trimester symptoms started to set in, which, despite their unpleasantness, are always reassuring.  And in just a few short weeks my husband would be taking final exams for the program that had consumed our lives over the last twenty-eight months.  It all seemed too good to be true.  And I told that to the Lord. 

Really, Lord?  Can I believe that all these good things are coming to pass?  Is something crushing waiting around the corner?  

Of course the sovereign Lord who knows my every thought had the perfect thing waiting for me that evening.  As I sat in the bathroom while my bathtub boy splashed away the dirt of the day, I read these words from Jesus Calling (Nov. 12):

This is a time of abundance in your life.  Your cup runneth over with blessings.  After plodding uphill for many weeks, you are now traipsing through lush meadows drenched in warm sunshine.  I want you to enjoy to the full this time of ease and refreshment.  I delight in providing it for you.
Sometimes My children hesitate to receive My good gifts with open hands.  Feelings of false guilt creep in, telling them they don't deserve to be so richly blessed.  This is nonsense-thinking, because no one deserves anything from Me.  My kingdom is not about earning and deserving: it's about believing and receiving.
When a child of MIne balks at accepting My gifts, I am deeply grieved.  When you receive my abundant blessings with a grateful heart, I rejoice.  My pleasure in giving and your pleasure in receiving flow together in joyous harmony.  

That helped a little.  At the very least it stuck in my heart and became something to strive for.  Rejoice in these gifts.  I was allowed to rejoice in these gifts despite all the heartache I had endured and all the heartache of loved ones around me.  God was giving these things to me.  And it was ok to be happy.

Just a couple weeks later I was on the ultrasound table again.  The same table where I first learned something would be terribly wrong with my sweet Evie-girl.  It took everything in me to stay calm.  

When I saw that sweet little figure on the screen, a tiny gummy bear baby, I wanted to cry.  I wanted to, but the tears wouldn't come.  I wanted to rejoice, but something inside stopped me.  I wanted to feel, but there was just a haze.  And the thought ... everything is ok ... for now.  We'll see ...  

Shortly after Thanksgiving we told our families.  And then friends.  And then the world.  As the weeks passed and more people congratulated us on our special news and the first trimester "danger zone" was over, I started to feel a little more reassured.  This could happen.  If things go well and we follow this to the logical end, a baby will be coming home with us this summer. How wonderful.


Joci and Me, 11 weeks <3 

I was pretty emotionally well for several weeks.  Thanks to the tone of my stomach muscles being something comparable to that of a snack-pack, I started feeling the baby move somewhere between eleven and twelve weeks.  That was a really special blessing.  I was feeling so positive.  That is, until about nineteen weeks, one week before the twenty week appointment where we would find out this baby's gender.

After what I'd been through with Evie, one would think I would just be happy to find out we were having a baby that would be well enough to come home with us.  But instead, I was a bundle of nerves, not over the baby's health, but the baby's gender.  I felt so lame.

Truly, I had just assumed this baby was a girl.  I dreamed of it, planned her name, imagined Micah with a real live baby sister.  But exactly one week before that twenty week ultrasound I realized I had to come to grips with something: this baby could be a boy.  

I wrestled with this for some time.  There were tears.  The wrestling with God kind of tears.  The ones where I poured my heart out honestly and told Him all the reasons I desperately wanted another daughter, but one I could keep and grow memories with here on earth.  It was truly my heart's desire.

After all of that I felt the Lord prodding my heart to answer just one simple question.  Sarah, if this baby is a boy, are you going to be ok?

Phrased like that, the answer was easy.  Of course I would be ok.  I would love another baby boy just as much as I loved his big brother.  I would be more than ok!  And I truly felt at peace either way, pink or blue.

Februrary 14th, 2014 revealed that we were having a healthy baby girl.  I was so very happy.  But I was also, again, wrestling with some things.

It was so hard for me to wonder why, when I prayed so desperately for Evie to be healed, the Lord chose to answer those prayers with a very loud no.  And yet, my prayers for a healthy baby girl this time were answered with an easy yes.  Of course I was grateful for this, but it just felt confusing.  What was the difference?  Why now and not then?

At the same time, people all around me were rejoicing and saying that God knew the desires of my heart.  True, these were the desires of my heart.  But it was absolutely never the desire of my heart for Evie to die.  So ...?  Again, confusion and more wrestling.  

After more tears and prayers and deep talks with my husband, I felt at peace with these two big questions.  The Lord still answers our prayers according to His will.  No matter my heart's desire, if it doesn't match up with what works best for His kingdom, it will not come to pass.  That may be incredibly oversimplified, but it helped me, and continues to help me to know these things, these requests, are out of my hands on whether or not they are "granted".  God's sovereignty still reigns supreme, and I can be ok with that.  Father knows best.  And one day I am confident I will see all the reasons why.


Me and the kids at 23 weeks gestation.  For the record, I'm now one day away from 25 weeks ... not that anyone is counting ;)


It's been about five weeks since that day and I am really doing just fine.  Reconciling life without Evie is still hard - everything about my little family just seems a little more complicated.  This is my third pregnancy but only my second child that I get to keep ... Joci is the first girl to be born in our family except not really ... things like that.  But really, life feels very sweet right now.  I am so very excited for this summer and to experience life as a mommy of two.  I can't wait to see Joci melt her daddy's heart and bring out even more sweetness in her big brother.  I can't wait for bows and swaddling blankets and footie jammies.  And sweet baby baths.  I am hopeful.  The topography of a rainbow pregnancy might be rugged - certainly the journey is far from over - but right now I am strolling through sweet green valley grasses.  And I think the best is yet to come.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Pressing On

You may have noticed some changes around here.  Things look a little different, hopefully a little neater (yes, spring cleaning has even hit the blog!).  I'm also hoping to make this more of a lifestyle blog - home stuff (recipes, DIYs, etc.), family stuff, kid stuff, mom stuff, still lots of faith stuff.  And now there is also a new tagline: living. loving. pressing on.  You might remember the tagline once read: trusting the Lord to live and love after loss.  I still like that line, don't get me wrong, but I feel very much like it doesn't define me anymore or what I want this blog to be.  

2013 felt very much defined by my loss.  And I think it was a healthy part of grieving to define it by such.  I needed to say, my name is Sarah and this is what happened to me.  I was the girl who lost a baby.  And I needed to be that.

This year feels different.  It is very true that losing Evie will always be an incredibly defining time in my life, but I don't want it to define my whole life.  I want to do what Paul says,


source
Of course, I will never forget what happened in November of 2012.  It is impossible.  In November 2012 I met my sweet daughter, a sweet life, a part of my own heart, an eternal soul that now exists in Heaven, and I will see her again one day.  Not a day goes by that I don't think of her or how life would be so wonderfully different if she were here.  For this mother's heart, there is no forgetting.  And, on another level, I think the Lord had me walk this road so that I could always and forever reach the hearts of hurting mamas everywhere.  And I still feel very privileged and more than ok to do that.  The part of this verse I feel connected to is the pressing on part - taking what the Lord has done in my life and moving forward, changes in tow.  

Truthfully, life after losing Evie isn't as simple as it was before.  I still have moments.  I still struggle through so many things.  It's easier to hide the moments and struggles, and the good days far outnumber the hard days, but there is no denying that I am different inside.  But I feel the Lord gently nudging me to press on.  Press on for the benefit of all three of my children, my husband, and and lives I am meant to touch.  I walked through fire and parts of me are still raw and tender from the burns.  But the view ahead looks promising.  I am pressing on.  

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Sweet New Ride

Well, we did it.  About one week ago we became (drumroll please ... ) a family with a minivan!  A shiny, new, charcoal-colored Honda Odyssey now finds its home in our driveway.  Oh yeah.



With another baby (and baby gear) on the way, and hopefully more to come, we needed a vehicle that could comfortably seat an armful of carseats.  And with Josh's commute to work, including a ride through a very large tunnel where vehicle breakdowns are strongly discouraged, he needed a much more reliable vehicle.  So after much research on his part, we decided to buy an Odyssey, he would get our current Yaris, and we would sell his '92 Camry, which proudly boasted over 250,000 miles, for a whole whopping dollar to our friends with rapidly growing vehicular needs (teenagers, anyone?).  

My absolute favorite thing about the van?  The rearview and right side mirror cameras that make backing up and changing lanes foolproof.  There happens to be no left side mirror camera, a fact that I wasn't aware of and had a mini freakout panic moment on the way to the library one morning trying to figure out how on earth I had broken/disabled/deactivated the left mirror camera in the two minutes I had been driving the van, and how on earth I was going to explain this to my husband.  But after thumbing through the manual (yes, I was so desperate I whipped out the manual), and seeing no mention of a left camera, I determined that all was well.  And maybe I should have been checking my blind spots a little more thoroughly ...

The first time I drove the van Micah was all buckled in his carseat and looking at me with raised eyebrows.

"Mom, are you excited?"
"Yeah buddy, I'm pretty excited."
"I think you're a little nervous ..."

Haha, he was right.  I was sightly anxious about making the jump from my zippy little Yaris to a bigger, less agile vehicle, but the Odyssey drives so smoothly that it really has been completely fine.  

So there you have it.  The end of my era with the car that used to drive me and my sassy black heels to work, and the beginning of my career as a minivan-driving soccer mom.  Or baseball mom.  Or whatever sport type of mom.  The only thing missing?

Mom jeans ;)



How about you?  What gets you around town these days?  Do you love it or less than love it?  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Showing More Love: Validate

It's amazing what a few simple words can do to your heart.  Carefully chosen ones can transform a tightly closed bud into a blooming beauty.  But a few ill-timed words or ones spoken out of haste can build barriers capable of keeping any inquisitive intruder out.  And out for a long, long time.  

For some reason, probably because we have a much loftier view of our own abilities than we should, when we hear of a difficult issue a friend is dealing with, we tend to want to put some reasoning behind it or offer some fix-all solution.  We want to say what's on our minds and think, there!  Now they won't struggle so much anymore.  I feel better about this already ... 

But what often happens in those instances is that, in an attempt to make our friends feel better, what we've actually done is discounted all the pain and struggle they are enduring, and replaced it with a just-add-water-and-be-done sort of solution.  What we've done is tried to make sense of it in our own minds and attempt to fix it how we, from the outside looking into the epicenter, feel the problem could be alleviated.  What we've done is neglected to validate that the circumstance our friend is in is hard and tricky and confusing and life-changing and faith-shaking.  And when we neglect to validate, we give an air of something most of us would never want to give - an air of superiority.  And that type of air will always suffocate.  

As with pretty much any aspect of life, looking to the example of Jesus Himself can give some clarity on how we should approach this subject of empathizing/sympathizing with and validating our friends who find themselves in the wild throes of life.

In John chapter 11 we see Jesus in the company of two women who were very dear to him, and these women were freshly mourning the loss of their brother, Lazarus.  

Now, even on earth Jesus possessed omniscience.  He had knowledge of everything that was, and is, and is to come.  Jesus knew full well that shortly after meeting up with Mary and Martha and being taken to Lazurus's grave, that He would raise Lazarus from the dead.  He knew that the sisters' mourning would turn into laughter in mere moments.  He knew.  But, when Mary ran up to Him, tears streaming down her face, do you know what He did?

Jesus wept.

Jesus didn't scold Mary for not having enough faith or for not coming to get Him sooner.  He didn't remind her that in Him there is no real death, only delay until eternity.  He didn't tell her that losing Lazarus would make her stronger and that she should be thankful that she had her brother for the time that she did.  No.  Even the God-Man with implicit knowledge of the workings of the universe wept when His dear friend wept.  That's huge.

Maybe this should be our reaction too.  Not that I'm encouraging fake tears and insincere hugs and a wide combination of cookie-cutter, drippy, sappy, hallmark-card words.  No, no.  What I'm saying is, instead of approaching a friend with an immediate solution or a trite comfort-esque phrase, put yourself in that person's shoes.  And not just the shoes, but the socks and jeans and sweatshirt as well.  And imagine exactly what your friend, with all the different aspects of her life and personality, must be feeling in the midst of this heartache.  And go up to her, with arms open wide, and admit that you don't really know what to say but that you are so sorry she is facing this.  Tell her you wish you could take it away but instead, you offer her a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, and many, many prayers.  Validate her in her situation and all the feelings and emotions and questions she is undoubtedly facing.  And feel comfortable sitting with her in silence or walking away after giving her hand a gentle squeeze.  

Bottom line: be ok with not fixing it.  Because you can't.  And even the Man who could decided that the best thing to do in the moment, was to weep.  And in weeping, we validate our friend and show them how deeply we really do love.  

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.  Romans 12:15



This will be the last post in the Showing More Love series.  Thank you so much to those who contributed and to those who followed along.  I hope it has challenged us all to think a bit more about how we can show more love in our relationships.  I know it definitely has for me.  

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Showing More Love: A Rainbow Pregnancy

Today's post comes from Larissa who blogs at Deeper Still.  Larissa has also experienced the pain of infant loss, and writes beautifully of the pain, but also of her hope in the Savior.  Today Larissa shares how to show love to a mother pregnant with a rainbow baby, a journey that is filled with many mixed emotions.


When my first child Ariella Jade was stillborn last January, I knew that I wanted to get pregnant again and have another baby. My arms felt so empty and while no subsequent children could replace Ariella, I believed that having a living baby in my arms would bring me immense healing. And I was right – the birth of my son Levi on January 4 has helped me to heal in ways I didn’t imagine. But my pregnancy with him was without a doubt the most worrying and anxiety filled weeks of my life. You see, it was hard not to expect history to repeat itself and for that pregnancy to also end in loss. The only way I survived those intense 38 weeks was through prayer and the support of my family, medical staff and friends. Here are some ways that you can show a friend L.O.V.E.  if you want to support a friend who is pregnant after a loss (please excuse the corny acronym, but it fits!)

Love her other children – I found that after I announced my pregnancy with Levi, people stopped talking about Ariella, which was very hard to deal with. It was as if people thought that my second pregnancy and baby would remove the grief and sadness over the death of my first baby. Perhaps the best example of this is when, upon being told of my pregnancy, someone said “it’s time to be happy now”. I needed people to still love Ariella, which meant still talking about her and acknowledging her ongoing impact on my life. Please, keep mentioning your friend’s deceased child or children; knowing you still love the child will show your friend that you love her.

Offer practical help – pregnancy is physically draining, there’s no doubt about it. But a pregnancy after loss has an added aspect of emotional draining-ness (yes, I did just make up that word!) that can impact on your friend’s ability to do practical things. On top of the morning sickness limiting my ability to get things done, I felt so on edge emotionally that it was hard to go shopping even for basics like groceries – what if I ran into someone who thought it was my first pregnancy? I was physically exhausted from the worry about my pregnancy and was so appreciative of friends who brought food or offered help in other ways.

Validate her feelings and concerns –when your friend voices her concerns, please allow her to be concerned. Don’t try to fix the situation, rather, please acknowledge that your friend’s concerns are valid even if they don’t make sense to you. I remember telling my midwife that I felt relatively confident that things would be ok but until the baby was in my arms, I wouldn’t be completely at ease. And do you know what? She agreed with me! She said that even the medical staff feel the same slight uncertainty and hesitation about pregnancies after loss, even those that are medically simple and straightforward. I cannot describe the relief I felt when my midwife and doctor said they felt the same as I did. I felt validated instead of silly for being concerned. It is also likely that your friend will not have the same excitement that she has had about other pregnancies. In fact, you may be more excited than she is! It’s not because she doesn’t love her growing baby, it’s simply because her excitement is tainted by worry. Don’t make her feel guilty for this, instead try to understand why she feels how she does. Your friend is going to have more concerns than in her previous pregnancies, which leads me to my final point.


Encourage her – due to the increase in concerns, she will likely need extra encouragement. There is no point in telling a baby loss mum that “it will be ok this time” as there is no way you know this for sure. She knows more than most that there is no guarantee of a living baby at the end of her pregnancy and hearing “it will be ok” really isn’t a comfort!  If she says she is concerned because she hasn’t felt as many movements that day, let her know that it’s ok to be concerned and encourage her to get checked by her midwife if it will put her mind at ease. Encourage her to take whatever steps she needs to cope with the pregnancy and remind her that she is doing a good job. Even if you don’t think she is doing extremely well, keep in mind that it’s a brave and even risky decision to have another baby after the death of a child, so even getting out of bed each day can be an achievement.

There you have it – four ways that you can show L.O.V.E. to a friend experiencing a pregnancy after loss. I hope you find this helpful as you think about ways to reach out to your friend. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Showing More Love: Through the Struggle of Infertility

Today's post comes from Courtney Spena, who blogs over at A+ Life.  On her blog, Courtney shares very honestly and openly about her struggle with secondary infertility.  It has been a long and painful road for her, but the Lord is writing beautiful things into her story.  Today, Courtney shares how we can show love to a friend struggling with infertility.  

"Secondary infertility is when a man and woman do not conceive after one year of trying, despite having conceived children in the past without any problems. While primary infertility gets the most media attention, secondary infertility is as common as primary infertility. According to statistics collected by the Center for Disease Control, 11% of couples who already have a child go on to experience secondary infertility. That's approximately 4 million families, or about half of all infertility cases." source

4 million families.

That is a lot of men and women grappling with the same thing that I've been dealing with for the past two and a half years.

 And yet? Somehow, I only "know" of one other person who is dealing with it too. {and I just "met" her last week. So. There's that}

Secondary infertility is a giant unspoken disease. Which is what it is. A medically diagnosable disease that can sometimes be corrected. And it sometimes can't.

Secondary infertility is a walking contradiction of frustration and grief coupled with insane happiness because of my daughter. I find myself floundering because secondary infertility is NOT primary infertility. And therefore, I don't know where I fit in.

I have gotten to experience 40 weeks of pregnancy, labor, delivery, and breastfeeding. It is not the same as primary infertility and I don't pretend to claim that it is.

And yet, the same feelings of loss and grief every.single.month. are present. Except, now, my questions are different. The question isn't, "Will I ever be a mother?" Instead, they sound like, "Will my daughter ever get to be a big sister?" "How old will she be by the time it happens?" "Will I ever get to experience pregnancy again?"

{Yes, this is me immediately after IUI #1 in January of 2013. Try not to think too hard about what is happening in this picture, por favor}

If I didn't have any children I could at least avoid baby showers, birthday parties, and other child related activities.

But, I do have a child{she is 3 and she is amazing and unbelievably awesome}. But, that means that I am constantly surrounded by other mothers. Often, who are pregnant or nursing. Children with lots of siblings.  And situations like this:

"When are you going to have another one?"

"Why do you only have one?"

"You're lucky to just have one"

And countless conversations about ideal family size{because most people have a choice}, the perfect age gaps{because most people get to choose}, and how to raise siblings.

And let us not forget the nurse at my OB/GYN office that stated, "well, it happened for you once so it can happen again."
 

Dealing with secondary infertility is hard, hard, hard. It is the most painful thing I have ever had to walk through. I have already talked about things not to say in my "What Not To Say To Someone Struggling With Infertility" post. I don't want to talk about that now. I want to talk about the things that you CAN DO. There have been a few ways that my friends and church members have reached out to me that I want to share with you, so that if someone you know is dealing with secondary infertility{although most of these would work for primary infertility as well} you can reach out and encourage them.

*caveat* If your friend has NOT told you that she is suffering from infertility, I would humbly suggest that you don't do these things. It is really, really hard to talk about something like infertility because it is so painfully personal and graphic to explain. Some women just aren't comfortable discussing it, and therefore, don't put her in a position of having to be made defensive/uncomfortable/upset because you put her on the spot. She will share when she is ready and you will be ready to encourage her with these tips once she does!

Send them cards/emails/texts and let them know you're praying for them- I have kept every single card that I have received ever since I went public with my diagnosis. They not only mean the world to me, but they validate me. They let me know that what I am experiencing is real. It isn't in my head. It isn't made up. It is a grief and a loss and to know that others are walking with me in it. Praying even when I can't. Lifting me up and helping me carry this heavy, heavy burden, means more than I can say.

Send them a gift-
Some of the absolute sweetest things that have shown up in my mailbox{or inbox!} have been thoughtful gifts. Friends who have said, "I have nothing that I can say. But, I want you to know I'm thinking of you. Treat yourself." or "Take some time for yourself this week. This one is on me." Something small. A five dollar gift card to a place that you know your friend loves to go. I promise, she will break down in tears of thankfulness because of your thoughtfulness and love towards her.

Acknowledge their loss-
The best words and the most touching moments have come from when other women sorrow with my sorrow. When they share their own stories of loss and struggle with me. And when the ones who haven't experienced what I am going through, still acknowledge that the road I am walking is unbearably painful. There is no belittling. There are no clichÈ and pacifying statements. It is only, this is so hard. I am so sorry.
 
Babysit- This one is obviously specifically for those dealing with secondary infertility. I have a 3 year old. When I spent a year going through infertility treatments, she had just turned 2. I had a two hour drive to my RE office. I felt guilty always taking her with me and needed help. The women who came alongside me to offer their {FREE} babysitting services, so that I didn't have to take my daughter for 4 hours in the car multiple times a week were such a blessing in my life.
 
Learn her schedule. Know when her appointments are and take her children as much as you can.
 
Let me also add, even if they aren't pursuing IF treatment, still offer to babysit. The toll on a marriage from infertility is inescapable. There is an unspoken strain from worry, grief, and guilt. Couples need time together to work through things and the ability to get away for a few hours together without the extra financial stress is an unbelieveable blessing.
 
And one last thing, after our IVF and miscarriage this summer, my husband and I needed to see a counselor for a few months. Already feeling guilty for the money that was going toward a counselor, I only felt more guilty having to pay for a baby sitter too. There were two specific instances that really blessed us: One, an older woman in our church took Abigail for the evening so that we could drop her off on the way to our appointment and didn't have to spend anything extra. Two, my mother in law gave us money to cover the cost of one of our appointments and the fee for hiring a babysitter since she couldn't be there physically to help us with that burden. Both of those things blessed us greatly and I know would help any family dealing with the same thing. 
 
As a woman who is still dealing with secondary infertility every day, who has no other available alternatives left to increase my pregnancy chances- other than waiting and hoping, this post is written almost directly to myself and my family and friends. Secondary infertility is really common and really painful, but there are things that can be said and done that really help lift the burden. I pray every single day that He will open my womb, and if you are dealing with secondary infertility I pray that He opens yours as well.
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