Sugar, Sugar

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We went on a Candida Detox diet several years ago in hopes of becoming healthier and improving our chances of carrying a baby to term. I’d had had four early miscarriages and was done with doctors. I had tried a natrupathic doctor also, but the help she gave only treated the symptoms.

I had prayed for some way to help my body heal and be able to carry a baby full term. I did not feel that further fertility treatments were the way for us to go.  Then, one Sunday at church in the nursery there was a lady who told me about what had helped her. I was so excited! I knew this was an answer to my prayers! My husband and I decided to both go on it. We dragged on for the first couple weeks and then felt more energetic! We ate the same but I took garlic, oil of oregano(FYI; Never  use while pregnant!)  and bentonite clay supplements . We avoided all sugars  (fruit, milk and sugar), yeasts and white flours for 3 months and then the next 3 months we added the milk and fruits back in.  The detox diet helped my body heal and function normally. It was what my body needed.  I felt better and actually got sick less as well. My hormones regulated themselves for the first time.

After going through the 6 month detox, I became pregnant! I carried our baby girl, Karin, 16 1/2 weeks before she died due to a fatal chromosomal issue. BUT my body was finally doing what it was supposed to do!

Seven months later I became pregnant for the 6th time and this girl made it! Other than some progesterone supplements in the first trimester, I had a perfectly normal and healthy pregnancy. I went on the diet to loose baby weight  and my 7th pregnancy (I expected it to take years to have another baby since the my first live birth took over 9 years to have!)  was also completely normal and resulted in a healthy baby girl.

In view of my last pregnancy ending in miscarriage, I need to start on this diet again to get healthy.

It’s a tough diet. It requires lots of discipline, but it was truly worth the effort!

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This Baby

 

This picture is not an announcement. It’s a memento.

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Last June I discovered I was pregnant for the 8th time. I never imagined I would see 8 positive pregnancy tests in my life. We were excited to be welcoming another little one into our family! Maybe this one was a boy? That would be so fun!!!  I’d be due around Valentines Day.

We kept our little one a secret and were waiting till our first Doctor appointment and ultrasound before spreading the good news…but that day didn’t come. Instead I sent a few messages saying “I’ve miscarried…again”. Not the news I wanted to share.

This was the first miscarriage after my live births. I have lost 5 babies and then had 2  live births.  Just when you think you’re past fertility challenges,  it happens again…

I’m not angry or mad at God. I know this loss was not inflicted on me… it just happens. I’m not perfect and that means my body isn’t  functioning perfectly either. Growing babies just isn’t something my body is great at.  It has taken a long time to get to this point. But I am sad that this baby left us too soon, I had lots of dreams already in the making.

Why do I bring this up now? I think I just want to acknowledge that we did have another baby even though we never saw this baby. This baby was wanted and loved. This baby will never have a replacement.

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So this little one may be gone but this baby will not be forgotten…

I’m in a hurry

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It was exactly what I had feared. It was 3:40 AM and I got up again to empty my bladder that was squished in my pregnant abdomen. I thought I didn’t make it to the bathroom in time! (blush) My 3 little girls were fast asleep in their beds and my husband was just starting work 25 minutes away….and my water had broke…. and  I was ALONE!

First, I called my sister…I felt slightly panicked and she was about 8 minutes away and could get here quick. Then I called my husband (I should have called him first! Oops!)  and no answer…call number two…still no answer…then my cell phone rang and I told him to come  home now. The contractions were starting! Ach! My sister arrived and loaded up her car with all my things and put the waterproof pad on the leather passenger seat, that way we could leave our car-seat laden mini-van for her. My husband got home and changed and off we went!  I called the hospital and told them we were on our way (the nurse later said I didn’t sound like I was that far into labor).

I couldn’t walk into the labor and delivery ward, so my husband wheeled me inside. The receptionist started asking me for all our information and never in my life did I feel like yelling at somebody ever! I still think I held my patience pretty good.  I was able to tell her that my contractions were less than a minute apart fairly nicely….

Well, half an hour later my little girl was born…I didn’t get the epidural, I didn’t get changed into a hospital gown, but the OB doctor did make it on time! Phew!

And that, folks, is my hour and forty minute labor story.

Take my hand

Since it is National Infertility Awareness Week, I thought I would share some thoughts on ministry and infertility;

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Ministering To Those Struggling With Infertility

As I write this, my four daughters lay sleeping in their beds. The quiet is a nice change from our rambunctious day! But this wasn’t always the case, a silent house used to cause sorrow.  Years ago, my husband served as children’s pastor at our church and I helped him while we struggled with infertility and loss. Ministering to other people’s children when you long for your own was very challenging.  Many of our friends from Bible College were already having babies while we waited, took costly fertility drugs and then miscarried our first five babies.

Many infertile couples don’t talk about the challenges they face. I found it hard to get support in the church. Eventually, I found support from an online forum called Hannah’s Prayer (http://www.hannah.org) to help me through the joy of positive pregnancy tests, numerous doctor visits and tears of losing babies. They celebrated the adoption and births of our daughters with me. They allowed me to ask questions that I could not ask anywhere else. They encouraged me when my faith was weak.

It’s estimated that one in six couples are dealing with infertility.  Infertility is described in Webster’s dictionary as: “not fertile; especially: incapable of or unsuccessful in achieving pregnancy over a considerable period of time (as a year) in spite of determined attempts by heterosexual intercourse without contraception”. So, whether you realize it or not, someone in your church may be dealing with infertility and/or loss.

Eventually we became foster parents and adopted a beautiful little girl.  Adoption opened my eyes to how God sees us as His adopted sons who have a full inheritance.  Our daughter filled a huge void in our hearts and arms.

Our sixth pregnancy was successful and brought us a live baby girl right before our tenth wedding anniversary. Eleven months after that we welcomed an eleven month old girl into our home through foster care. We recently adopted her. Our seventh pregnancy brought us another little girl last July.

Though the experience of infertility and miscarriages has made me stronger in my faith and helped me minister to others more compassionately, it is a journey that will never be far from my heart.

Here are ten ways you can minister to a couple struggling with infertility and pregnancy loss;

1. Don’t compare my barrenness or loss with anything. Having no money, being spiritually dry or losing a pet you loved does not compare to the desire for a child. All my future hopes and dreams of motherhood may never become a reality.

2. Being infertile or miscarrying my baby doesn’t mean I lack faith or I haven’t reached a certain level of maturity. Most likely, I am already having a crisis of faith and struggle with this area. Reassure me that God does love me.

3. Keep away from clichés like “its God’s will”, “it’s probably for the best” or that you know “God will answer your prayers”. You don’t know the answers or what God has planned for my family’s future.

4. If I lost my unborn baby at six weeks, six months or six days after birth, don’t compare the level of grief I may be suffering.  Saying things like “at least you weren’t far along” belittles my child’s value as well as my grief and pain.  A child is a child no matter how old he or she is.

5. Do pray for me, and tell me that you do. There may be days or seasons when I feel like I can’t talk to God because of my heartache and grief.  Knowing someone is lifting me up in prayer encourages me.

6. If I share my struggles with you keep it confidential. Please ask permission to share it with others or before putting it on the prayer chain. I may still be dealing with the situation and need time to process it before facing others comments and questions.

7. Please remember to be sensitive on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. I may skip the day to avoid the topic in the sermon, being the only one sitting while all the parents stand up or hearing someone who doesn’t know what we are going through say “When are you going to have a baby?” If I do come, there may be tears as I see other’s whose dreams for children have come true, while I still wait. Baby dedications are also hard for us and even Christmas where the focus is all on a baby (even though we know it’s baby Jesus).

8. Fathers have a hard time too. They also long for a child and daily see their wives hurting and longing for a baby.

9. Let me say ‘no’ to situations I may not feel strong enough for. Working in the nursery or children’s ministries may not be the best place for me now. I may not feel able to face attending or helping to host a baby shower either.  Churches are very family orientated and just being there can be a challenge for me, I may struggle fitting into typical peer groups.

10. Acknowledge my baby if I miscarry. Let me talk about him or her. It’s okay to say something or send a card. Knowing that someone remembers that I carried a life and that this little life is gone helps me grieve.  I’ll probably keep the card and tuck it in a memory box.

I will carry you

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“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”
― L.M. Montgomery, The Story Girl

I have a box where I’ve tucked away precious mementos from a little girl I didn’t get to know as much as I wanted to. I carried her for 16 1/2  weeks and was just starting to feel her flutter in my belly when her heart stopped beating. Her name is Karin Lily. That she lived that long was a miracle in itself. I had lost four previous babies through early miscarriages and with Karin, I grew more and more hopeful that she would make it.  But Karin’s little body was not able to carry on and she died. I went through labor and delivery one Sunday morning in June and counted her toes and fingers. We could see that her footprints were already formed! Later we found out she had a rare chromosomal issue (69xxx)  that is fatal and she would never had lived after birth.

Every now and then I pull out the memory box and look at the sweater set and blanket she never used. Sometimes I add some little thing that reminds me of her.  I look at her ultrasound pictures of when she was alive and kicking and it’s bittersweet…I’m thankful for the time I had with her and yet I still miss her.

Somewhere over the rainbow

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“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

Hebrews 11:1 New International Version (NIV)

Our first biological baby came as a rainbow in the midst of a storm. My mom was battling the effects of cancer and nearly died when we discovered our little girl…our 6th pregnancy… was on her way. She would be arriving just before our 10th wedding anniversary, later, much later, than we had planned, but very welcome!  Those days of waiting were not easy. They weren’t the joyful experience I had always envisioned. They were filled with the fears of pregnancy after loss (PAL). Each day brought a greater measure of hope, but also of fear. I knew anything could happen at any time through the pregnancy and birth. I was not naive about it.

She made it, though, and is a healthy and active little girl. It was not because I had faith she would, it was because I had faith in Who had a greater plan for me, whether she made it or not. That is where faith lies.