Hand In Hand

Hand In Hand

Monday, October 15, 2012

Being Strong When Inside, You Want to Crumble

It's not been the easiest of starts with TTC #2. Of course, I had the HSG back in August. It wasn't good. The results showed that something was wrong with my uterus. I was scheduled for a hysteroscopy in September. I had the hysteroscopy done and as it turns out, everything is okay. There was nothing wrong with my uterus after all. No scar tissue. No fibroids. No polyps. Surprising to all of us, yes. But great news that was much welcomed. I was quickly given the all clear to start TTC #2 and a rush order was placed on securing my injectables. I got my injectables and was strangely excited to break out these needles every night in the hopes of what was to come. 

I stimmed on my injectables for a total of 11 nights, the whole time trying to stay optimistic. But my hope and joy was quickly fading as each ultrasound showed no growth of my follicles at all. I knew I had high FSH and I knew my egg quality was severely compromised. But I dealt with that the very first time around and God blessed me with my beautiful daughter. Fast forward to today. After eleven nights of high levels of Menopur and Follistim, I am staring my now canceled cycle in the face. I refuse to let it get me completely down. It will not cause me to crumble. It will not own me. 

A canceled cycle, the first cycle back on the journey. I will not lie about it. I'm scared. I'm scared that my egg reserve is so low and such poor quality that I won't be able to conceive another child. I'm scared that I will never experience the joy and beauty of pregnancy. I'm scared that I may never have the intimate relationship of breastfeeding again. I'm scared that I will not be able to give my husband another child. All these fears running through my mind. I'm frustrated, I'm annoyed, and I'm scared. But I will not let it own me.

I have to come to a place in my heart where I can fully say that all I have is more than enough for me. I have to accept the richness of God's blessings and know in my heart that they are more than enough for me. I may want another child, but I do not need another child. I have been blessed so very much with my daughter. She is the delight of my heart. God made me a mother and I don't ever want to seem ungrateful or unhappy with what I've been given. I've been given so much. My husband is amazing. He is so patient. He is so understanding. This can be such a lonely process if your spouse doesn't get down to the heart level to know how things are. But my husband does. He prays with me, encourages me, comforts me, dries my tears, eases my fears. I could not ask for a better partner in this journey. And my daughter. She is beautiful. I love watching my toddler run around, barking orders at everyone. She really is the delight of my heart. Her cuddles are the best. Her kisses make my heart melt. And that loving look she gets in her eyes, I couldn't ask for anything more. I must be content with what I have been blessed with. Anything I get beyond this will certainly be extra blessings.

If only my heart could understand all of that so easily. I want to be content. I want to appreciate what I have and not want for anything more. I want to be strong and brave. I want to stare this setback in the face and take it head on. But inside, I am crumbling. The thought of not having more children scares me. It breaks me down. And then, instead of the contentedness I need to have, I have this longing in my heart. And with each fear, I crumble some more. 

I know I will get through this. It's not my will that will be done in all of this. God's will trumps mine any day, any hour. I need to trust that His will is being done, whatever it is. And I need to be content in that alone. I can be strong in Christ, even when I want to crumble on the inside. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Guest Post: Support in My Darkest Days

*This is a guest post from Heather Von St. James. She is a strong, courageous woman, a mother, a wife, and a cancer survivor! I am so glad I am able to share her story with all of you!

Support in My Darkest Days

We have all heard the old saying "It takes a village to raise a child." Before I became a parent, I did not understand what that really meant, but I now believe it with all of my heart.

August 4, 2005 was one of the happiest days of my life. That was the day that I became a mom after a wonderful pregnancy. The days that followed were filled with joy. My "village" began to form as my parents, in-laws and other wonderful friends and family came by to meet our sweet Lily. We never could have guessed the trials that were ahead.

After I returned to work, I realized that I was feeling awful. I had no energy and was breathless many times throughout each day. I thought these problems might just be because I was a tired new mom, but I decided to see my doctor. I will never forget November 21, 2005 because I received my diagnosis on that date. When I heard that I had malignant pleural mesothelioma, I realized that I was not just the mom of a 3 1/2 month old baby girl. I was now also a cancer patient.

Pleural mesothelioma is a cancer of the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos. I was surprised to find out that I was accidentally exposed to asbestos as a child. Over 30 years later, this exposure had manifested into cancer. My prognosis was not good. The doctors told me that I had 15 months to live without treatment. My first thoughts were for my baby girl, so I decided to try the most intensive treatment for mesothelioma possible. This involved flying to Boston and undergoing a extrapleural pneumenectomy, a procedure that removed my left lung. After my surgery, I was in the hospital for 18 days. I also went through both chemotherapy and radiation.

All of this occurred when I was a new mom to my sweet baby girl. There is no way my family would have survived without our supportive village. While I was undergoing treatments in Boston, Lily lived with my parents in South Dakota. I know it was challenging for them to move from being grandparents to parents, but many wonderful people stepped up to help them. Some of my childhood friends watched Lily during the day so my parents could continue to work.

My little girl kept growing and developing, but I was not able to witness these things firsthand. My parents did their best to keep me informed. They would e-mail me pictures, and my husband would print them out on the hospital's low quality printer. I would proudly share these new photos with my nurses, but inside I was crying for everything that I was missing. When I became discouraged, I remembered that I was fighting for my life for Lily. She needed her mom, and I was going to do everything possible to get well for her.

I would not have chosen to have cancer, but I learned so many things throughout my journey. I am blessed to know there are people in my life who would do anything for my family. I appreciate my village so much more now that I have experienced cancer.

You can find out more information about Heather Von St. James here.

Show our guest poster, Heather, some love and leave her a comment! ♥