Archives for posts with tag: Reproductive health

Most of us have heard the story.  Most of us have been annoyed with how simple it seems.  Many of us are just fed up with anecdotes that friends and family use as tools during the discomfort.

Maybe God put a fireman at our window.  Why turn it down?  Do we have more faith by staying in a fire or climbing down the ladder?

That fireman just so happens to have a bag full of shots, pills, appointments, and ultrasounds.  Is my desire to use a doctor out of less belief or out of gratefulness at what he has provided? So how does that fit with my belief that God will provide?  487fb1eac0d6825658bf69e2ed7849d7

I think it fits well.  God is big and has the capacity to move mountains.  He is the immeasurably more.  But the real question depends on what my faith is in.  Is my faith rooted in what my current situation is or in what he has already done?

True faith is rooted 100% in what God has done through Christ.  My redemption has been accomplished and my faith is that I have been saved.  I can have the richest of faith that does not depend on any current circumstances.  As I have come to make that realization I have come to accept that my faith in God is not rooted in whether or not we conceive.  It is rooted in the place that is being prepared for me.  If my faith waivers in times of infertility it is not a true faith.  It is a conditional faith that is rooted in  something that has not been promised.

So when it comes to anecdotes that question what God provides I can be confident that my faith does not waiver when I accept the hand of the rescuer.  I am reliant on a miracle to get me through infertility.  Only God can create life.  Science may be a tool he uses to do so.  That cannot lessen my faith in him………..especially if my faith is wholly in him.

-“Abram”

 

 

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This past weekend was Easter, and if you’re a Christian you probably spent Sunday morning at church celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus. You also probably spent some time at church on Friday remembering the Crucifixion. The days are only 2 days apart yet they feel so different. One is quiet, introspective, and broken while the other is joyful, social, and, for many, full of chocolate. But until this year, I never thought about the day that falls between those two.

It’s easy to skip over Saturday. From our perspective of the Resurrection story, nothing happened that day. Jesus was in the tomb waiting for the next morning when He would rise from the dead. But can you imagine what that Saturday was like for the disciples? These were men who had quit their jobs to follow Jesus. They had left their homes and their families and their belongings to be a part of His story. Clearly, they believed in Him. What would it take you to give up your job and your home to follow a stranger? Now imagine the despair they felt on that Saturday. Everything they believed in had died. Their hope for a future was gone and the disappointment they felt must have been unbearable. They knew Jesus had said He would rise from the dead, but I’m sure the situation felt pretty hopeless on Saturday. Life didn’t go as they had planned.

Do you ever feel like you’re stuck on Saturday?

You know what God’s promises are, but they seem pretty impossible. You want to believe His words, but you’re overcome with disappointment.

Unlike the disciples, we know the end of the story. We know what happens on Sunday. We see that every word Jesus said was true. And in the light of Sunday, Saturday doesn’t seem so bad.

Maybe you’ve been stuck in this infertility journey for too long and you’re having a hard time seeing the hope of Sunday. Maybe you feel like you’re hanging by a thread. I’m there with you and I know how hard it is. Let’s continue to remind ourselves that God’s promises are true. In your hardest times and disappointing months, cling to the promises He’s made. He is the God of the impossible and we can trust that He won’t break a single promise.

Thanks to a song by All Sons and Daughters, I learned this Easter that God has a lesson for us about that Saturday. When you have a few minutes, listen to this song and their commentary about it. Be encouraged, Sunday is coming!

numb-er

i am not sure if numb-er is a word, but it works better in my little play on words so i am going to go with it.  i added a dash so you wouldn’t think i was counting.

i have abandoned this community that i was growing.  i know that.  i am just going to pretend you are like old college roommates and jump right in where we left off; minus the cheap beer, video games, and staying up until i normally wake up for work.

i just had hoped that maybe by not writing so much as someone going through infertility that i would somehow not be defined by it.  somehow infertility problems would just slowly shrink down and nuzzle themselves somewhere in-between my lesser problems like being a people-pleaser and not being able to pick up after myself (im sure “Sarah” will give an AMEN to that). 

the slow fadeImage

(and yes, i am going to pretend nuzzle is the proper term here.  it is a great term for all married people to learn)

the problem i am finding is that i am denying my story; my part in an epic novel that is ultimately not about me.

i am so afraid of the “scarlet letter” or the “infertility goggles” or “coming out of the closet” that i deny what is going on here.  i am not owning the fact that all things are from Him, through Him, and to Him.  i am not owning up to the fact that i will never know His ways.

and the more i have ignored my story the more numb i have become to how this can change and shape me.

i care about all of you going through this.  i also need to go through this with others.  let’s dive into how to have faith and be men and women of prayer when faith and prayer haven’t seemed to work in our favor.

this has been a nice chat

– “Abram”

what do all of you think absence does to the heart?  does ignoring infertility make anything better?

Hey fellow star-counters,

I think that’s what I’m going to call you guys. Star-counters. It’s a reference from the story of Abram and Sarah and you should totally check out the full thing in Genesis 15. But in my own words, Abram is having a hard night and he cries out to God, “Why haven’t you given me kids?!”

Been there? I have.

Many times.

So God tells him to go outside and look up at the stars. The God says to him;

“Look up at the sky and count the stars- if indeed you can count them.
So shall your offspring be.”

In the midst of Abram’s hopeless situation, God gives him a promise. God shows him hope. He causes Abram to look beyond his current situation. And I believe that God wants us to experience that same hope. He wants us to know He’s in control even when our hormones are not. He is the Prince of Peace and he wants us to know His peace even when we get another negative test result.

God may not have promised each one of us that our children will be as numerous as the stars in the sky. Or that we’d be able to have children naturally. Or even that our children will be perfectly healthy when we finally get them. But he has promised to be in control. One of my favorite promises that He’s made comes from 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 a hope and a future.”

So if the challenges of today are more than you can bear, take time to look up and count the stars. Remember the promises that God has made to you. He wants to prosper you and He has plans for your future.

I’ll be counting stars with you.

-S

Tired of seeing negative pregnancy tests. Alone. Surrounded by baby bumps. Overwhelmed. Desperate for a baby. Struggling not to be jealous.

I find myself with these feelings all too often. And from the sounds of things, you probably have too. This journey through infertility isn’t easy. Actually, it sucks. And a lot of our friends and family don’t get it.

Which is why we started this blog. We’re eager to connect with other couples who are going through the same struggles and heartbreak. We want to know that we’re not alone. But we don’t just want to talk about our problems and wallow in our sadness, we want this to be a place of hope.

So a couple weeks ago, we secretly added another page. If you’ve already noticed it, good job. You’re probably great at “I Spy” games. If not, look up to the top of our homepage and you’ll see a link that says Prayer. We believe that prayer is powerful and effective. In the Bible, it says:

1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

James 5:13 Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray.

James 5: 16 Pray for one another so that you may be healed.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and discouraged, we’d be honored to pray for you. There’s also an option to share your prayer request with the community. If you choose that option, we’ll share your prayer request in a weekly prayer post. How cool would it be to know that 100+ people are praying for you? But you don’t have to share it with the community. We understand that infertility can be a pretty private issue (we’re keeping our identities annonymous for a reason!).

So check out our new page and let us know how we can be praying for you.

And remember, you’re not alone.

Some day, God is going to reveal the fact to every Christian, that the very principles they now rebel against, have been the instruments which He used in perfecting their characters and molding them into perfection, polished stones for His great building yonder. — Cortland Myers.

Suffering is a wonderful fertilizer to the roots of character. The great object of this life is character. This is the only thing we can carry with us into eternity….To gain the most of it and the best of it is the object of probation. — Austin Phellps.

by the end of this i will surely have a lot of character!

Hope these help with the Monday blues.

– Abram

it was not easy, but it was progress

i am back!

please excuse my longest absence on this blog to date.  i hope you understand why.  i had quite the weekend last weekend and needed to pretend this was not my situation.

what a weekend indeed

for those that follow us on twitter (twitter.com/stillcountingst) or read this week’s post from “Sarah”, you may have seen that thanksgiving brought a very big announcement:  our sister is pregnant.  we knew the announcement was coming and knew that thanksgiving is going to be a celebration of new life and pregnancy; just not ours.  Wednesday night i was a bit of a mess.

this is supposed to be our announcement.  we are supposed to get everyone excited.

on Friday we had a close couple come in from out-of-town with their 4 week old adorable daughter.  let’s call her “wedding night surprise”.

on Friday night we met up with our favorite couple in the world who have been so supportive and prayed so much for us.  in between beers, BBQ, catching up, and laughter we started to discuss their recent miscarriage and how it is shaping their faith.

on Saturday my fertile brother came into town with four children under the age of seven.  him and his wife met about the time i was engaged and they are way ahead of the game

how this could have gone// what i could have missed

this could have been a weekend i totally missed.  if i thought internally, if i thought only about my current “crisis”, i could have been shut out from the world for three days.

i could have missed out on being excited to have a brand new niece or nephew in the family.  i could have totally missed how cool and fun it will be to play around with the little ones once our sisters start popping out kids.  i could have made it awkward so that no one was excited.

i could have been bitter about the “wedding night surprise” and not been totally excited that one of our friends is a mom.

i could have made my friends’ tragedy and heartache be about what i am missing.  my heart could have been hard and pushed them out rather than grieving with them.  i could have missed a chance to be there for two people i really care about and want to pray for.

i could have held the super fertility against my out-of-town relatives and ignored them.  i could have missed a huge chance to get closer to my nieces and nephews just because i am waiting to add to the group.

i could have put back on my “infertility goggles” (see prior post) and looked at how everything affects ME

my conscious decision to hit pause

i hit pause.  i told myself i had to.  it was extremely difficult to do, but i knew that this is a very exciting point in our lives that i might regret missing when i look back in 20 years.  i spent most of Wednesday and Thursday answering comments and emails and getting strengthened by this new community surrounding our blog.  i was amazed at us breaking 400 views 3 days in a row as a new blog and spent time knowing we are not alone.  i released as much of this pain as i could and then i looked at my situation and told it that the pain is going to have to wait until next week.

i spent time wondering what would have happened if Moses was so distraught over his flock or lack of eloquence that he never stopped at the burning bush and found God’s calling for an entire nation.  i wondered what it would have been like if David focused solely on his small stature and never fought the giant.  i wondered about Abraham, who could have only focused on the infertility and never truly trusted God with Isaac.  What would have happened if these people did not know the pause button?

and in the midst of the craziness i felt a little bit of joy

i actually was happy for my friends and family and made it a little more about them than myself.

it was not easy, but it was progress

– Abram

Let’s face it.  there are not a ton of books out there for us guys.  i have had a hard time finding a ton of guys even talking about this topic.  i especially have not found a how-to manual.  since my wife and i are very open about the process, i have gotten some pretty good feedback from her as to what she expects. Hopefully some of that will pertain to the rest of you.  (i have also chewed on my fair share of shoes)

“Sarah” is one of the most loving people I know.  She is one of those people that lights up a room: big smile, long brunette hair, fashionable, superhuman white teeth.  She is a fighter with a knack for the delicate.  She has a high tolerance for pain and a good eye for decorating a house.  A Jane-of-all-trades (if that is a phrase).  Believe it or not she is also the emotionally stable one of the marriage and we laugh about that all the time.  (I can’t help crying.  I am an artist)

I am one of those guys that just accepts the fact that somehow I landed her.  It doesn’t make a ton of sense that she married me, but I’m not complaining.

I am especially reminded of how I won the marriage lottery when I have to take my size 10.5 shoes out of my mouth.  Here are some ideas of conversations to stay away from:

1. Probably do not mention that she is being hormonal.  This is especially important when she is taking medicine that is a depressant or is specifically designed to play with her hormones.  No matter how much your current argument makes no sense, it will not make it any better to point out that her emotions are out of wack.  she is trying to help you become a father and screwing with the chemical makeup of her body.

2. Mentioning that she gets to be a hot skinny mom if you have to adopt sounds like a good idea, but... she is going to be a hot mom either way.  This is not motivation for your wife to adopt.  This is motivation for your wife to have self-esteem issues.  There is a big difference there.

3. She most likely isn’t the person to tell that they do not understand what you are going through.  I know as a man we keep this bottled up inside and pretend we are not victims, but if our wives are going through all of this medical trauma on top of not being able to have a kid, they MORE than understand what we are going through.  We have a unique set of circumstances, but i am pretty sure she can understand.  Go get some support from friends or family.

4. Probably don’t talk about having a long-term perspective the day she gets a negative test.  Timing brothers, timing!  This is probably a time just to love her and tell her that.  Probably not a time to break out pamphlets on adoption and show her blogs about adopted infants.  Usually not a good time to say “maybe next time”.

Hopefully these quick and easy steps can help your stressful holiday weekend go a bit smoother.  I am going to take a short weekend from the blog and get back to all of you next week.

If you have any advice you would like to add, leave a comment to help us guys out.

– Abram

it has been very interesting in this long process finding out who my wife has told and realizing who i have told about what we are dealing with.  the random people who are keeping our secret are a unique mix of people.

we feel this overwhelming shame of telling people we can’t get pregnant.  there is a fear that they will judge us, tell us what we need to do, get weird around us, or keep secrets to protect us.

it is almost as if we did something shameful to put us in this place

but we haven’t done anything to put us in this situation.  this is the hand we have been dealt.

to be honest i am extremely scared of telling my parents.  i have let them in on glimpses of what we are going through, but i have always hated their reactions and it is putting a wall between us.  they tend to react with all the wrong clichés and do not seem to understand how hard this is.

my wife has told her mom but it seems like her mom, who is typically incredibly supportive and thoughtful, has no idea how to respond.  we get cards in the mail to get over colds or do well on tests, but never to tell us she is praying we get better.

i really wish infertility could be seen as a disease.  i wish people understood we are handicapped by this.  i wish people understood how many couples are struggling with infertility because their bodies aren’t functioning properly.

maybe then i could come out of the closet and let everyone know that our bodies need healing and that we are struggling to make this work.  that same confusion that people get when they find out they have cancer is the confusion that i live with; why me.

maybe someday this blog will not have to be anonymous.

but for now i want a get well soon card.  i want to be told it is o.k.  i want to be told that I am o.k.

until then i will continue to put up a wall and keep this secret to myself.

how have all of you decided who to tell and who to not tell?

– “Abram ”

Schwimmbrille

Image via Wikipedia

This is everything

let’s face it

this is the issue that is in our face on every webpage, Christmas card, night out for dinner and discussion with friends that are parents.  this is the issue every morning that my wife has another ultrasound or blood work.  this is the issue at every family gathering or party where we get the questions.

this is our current struggle.  this is not the same struggle, but this is the MAIN one.

this defines the angle i look at every sermon or worship song about healing. this is our blindness; our invisible leprosy.  the current stage of infertility grief makes it into almost every quiet time or nighttime prayer.  this is what i define myself as.  everything goes through my “infertility goggles” where i stretch and skew every comment to pertain to one single part of my life.  each bible verse i read is about how I can’t have kids.

“Ohhhh, the parable of the sower is about plants? not reproductive seed?  The parable of the laborers isn’t about drinking wine to help have children? Why all the talk about the vine and bearing fruit?  God actually wants me to bear fruit other than children?  The parable of the good Samaritan is definitely about my acupuncture specialist though.”

okay, maybe a little far fetched from what i was going through.

but i know we need to embrace this struggle.  this is our story.  this can be used for good or bad because we are part of this club and experienced it first hand.

Yet this is not everything

 this is not who we are

we are full of other stories

i read many of these infertility blogs and i feel people have just tagged themselves like they are just another lab rat with a single purpose.

we need to get past this.  i know it is difficult.

our interactions with friends and family go beyond us not having children.  our purpose here goes far beyond changing diapers and watching a child graduate.  we can contribute tons more to this world and grow in a ton of different ways.

i made a conscious decision to go through church services and meetings with friends in the last month focusing on other areas of my life. i was amazed at what i have been missing. my friendships go beyond fatherhood and i needed to realize that i cannot put God, family, friends, my job, and my hobbies on pause.  God is not done working in them yet.

My story is not who i am

my hope is that this infertility becomes my story and not just who i am; that i can still deal with every other issue in life and grow in all areas.  whether it be music, friendships, my career, my faith, or anything else i am passionate about, i will combine them with my current struggle to help determine who i am and who i am becoming in all of this.  i will take on situations as they affect me, not just as they affect my infertility.

i will break my infertility goggles and live life to the fullest in ALL areas

– Abram –

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