Two Different Birthdays-The Birth Story

hospital4Their birth story. I’m going to touch on it! I think with twins there is a natural curiosity about a lot of aspects, including the birth, and I absolutely do not mind sharing. I never understood the swapping of birth stories. Now having experienced it, I think it is because not one is the same, and they are each very beautiful. Which is unique and cool and neat. Walking through infertility, I really didn’t care to hear about birth stories. So here is your pass if you do not want to read, I get it sister. I’m going to leave out some specific, not so pretty, details but I will include certain medical terms, so if that makes you uncomfortable, again I get it, do not pass go. This is such a good way for me to be able remember what I haven’t already forgotten. Here is your out! Continue reading

Bennett & Eliza

They are here!!DSC_0318e


Eliza Claire Stickle, born December 23rd, 2015 at 10:43 pm

Bennett Atwood Stickle, born December 24th, 2015 at 12:01 am


 

I have so much to share with you friends, so put on some comfy pants because I have a feeling  I know this is going to be a very lengthy post.

Let’s start with their names, my favorite part! And because I’ve always been a name person. Seriously, if you want to talk for hours about your baby names, or debate the middle name of your future third child, when the first and second haven’t been born yet, I’m your girl. I.love.names. When I was little I used want more dolls and stuffed animals just so I could name them. Remember the Pound Puppy Surprise or The Quints dolls? I loved those because it was more for me to name! I went through a phase in the 90’s where I wished my name was Michelle because of Michelle Tanner on Full House, duh. I even remember when playing whatever pretend games with my cousins, Margo & Lindsey, they would fight over the names Summer and Cricket.  It’s weird that I remember that, I know. I spent hours scrolling through school year books and the church directory just reading peoples names. I have also held many of my friend’s baby names close to heart because it’s a “secret” for a while.

ELIZA: When I first started working at Gymboree over three years ago, there was a beautiful little girl named Eliza. She was funny, spunky, and had a love for learning. It was then that I fell in love with the name and dreamed of one day having an Eliza of my very own.

BENNETT: I loved Bennett even before Eliza. A long, long (maybe even ten years ago, that long) I came across Will’s birth certificate, and saw Bennett was his Dad’s middle name. And just knew that was it.

Beth, and the pastor at my church, encourage thanking God in advance for what he is going to do in your life. By doing this, you are attaching your faith to it. You are believing God for those promises that He will fulfill. For me, it was thanking Him everyday for my Eliza and my Bennett. Walking through years of infertility I would wake up every morning and say, “God, thank you for my Eliza. Thank you for my Bennett.” I knew that when He gave us our miracle if it was a girl, her name would be Eliza. And if it was a boy, his name would be Bennett. I prayed for them specifically by name. On some days this was a very hard thing to do. And never did I imagine he would give me both at the same time.

DSC_0350.JPGe

It’s funny how God will reveal himself in ways that are important to us. For some of you it may be finding a penny, or a quarter in a strange place. Hearing a certain song, spotting a rainbow, or having a butterfly cross your path. My baby names were important to me, therefore they were just as important to God. Throughout the years of infertility God would drop little signs my way to let me know that I was not forgotten, that He had not abandoned me. It was also during this time that I learned the name, Eliza, meant, “pledged to God.” Her name meant even more to me than ever before. She turned into a promise. I promised God when He gave me my Eliza I would tell her what a miracle she was. I would tell her every single thing God did for Will and me. I promised her to God. And in return, God promised her to me. I was reminded of this one day at the dog park. A pretty Dalmatian came running up to me. Dalmatians are dogs that stand out, right? And this sweet dog was named Eliza. I’m sure her owner thought I was crazy when I almost hugged her and explained, “that’s my baby name!” One day, flying home from a friend’s wedding in California when exiting the plane, a man a few rows in front of me stood up wearing a puff painted shirt made for him from his kids. And you probably already guessed it, his little girl was named Eliza. During the two weeks of our Go Fund Me fundraiser, I received two emails from a baby name website that I hadn’t visited in over a year because it became an unhealthy obsession for me with the subject line, “news on the name Eliza.” It gave me chills. I just knew this was God’s way of telling me that He had not forgotten my Eliza.

God also revealed the name Bennett in small ways. I remember booking a birthday party for a little boy named Bennett at Gymboree, and telling the mom over the phone that was my boy name if I ever had a boy. However, when I was pregnant we did go back and forth on a few boy names until officially deciding on Bennett. I felt so convicted with the name, Eliza. But with Bennett, we also considered doing a junior and calling him by his middle name, or the name Isaac. Isaac was Will’s grandfather’s name and I loved the association between Sarah in the Bible, who struggled with infertility, and her son named Isaac. One morning before church, I asked God to help me feel strongly about our baby boy’s name as strongly as I felt about the name, Eliza. During the pastor’s sermon (it was close to back to school) he was preaching on God’s supply list and how God wants to supply us with favor. He said that God releasing a blessing in your life that you can’t explain why you ended up with it, or how it happened, is God’s favor. Bennett means, “blessed,” and right there I knew that was it. Just like I knew that was it years and years before. There was no way for me to explain the blessings over our life of the past year from having the largest team at the Baby Steps 5K, to the Go Fund Me fundraiser, to being fully funded in less than three weeks for IVF, to a cancelled IVF cycle turned into an IUI, to being pregnant with our two miracles other than God’s favor. I shy away from using the word, “blessed,” because I think it can be overly used- I mean come on, #blessed. Similar to the word, “amazing,” or I tend to say, “hilarious,” a lot and also apparently, “awwwww.” But there is absolutely no denying that God blessed us with our Bennett. And in that moment, I felt one thousand and fifty percent certain that was his name.

DSC_0545.JPGebw

During one of our PAIL meetings, each girl was gifted with a certificate for a Fresh 48 video from birth photographer, Joylynn Breaux, of Cher Bebe Birth Stories. Since we are using the word, “blessed,” these days, this girl is such a blessing! For a person who has not gone through infertility personally, to show such compassion and generosity towards those walking through it, speaks volumes. I knew that I wanted to share the story of their names in our video. Joylynn has such a sweet spirit that when I told her this story during our phone interview, the first time I had ever even said it out loud- Will didn’t even know it- we both got a little teary and I had never even met her! I wanted to share the video with you friends! It could not have turned out any more perfect. This is something we will forever treasure.

Shortly after this years Baby Steps 5K,  I was asked to speak at one of the Sarah’s Laughter support group meetings. Can I say what a huge honor this was. I wanted to do such a good job for these girls, knowing how much encouragement I received from the meetings when I attended not that long ago, how much I needed them in my life, and how much I looked forward to them. I was asked as a non-winner from last years 5K to speak to those who did not win at this years race- because when you think about it there are more couples who do not win, than win- and speak about how God used not winning the IVF giveaway for my good and His glory. I only recognized a few sweet faces, but the room was full, and it made me so proud of Sarah’s Laughter for continuing to minister to those in need. If you are reading this and are still waiting on your miracle, I want encourage you like I did at the support group meeting, to look for God in your everyday. To look for the small ways He reveals himself to you and hang on tight to those as proof that He has not forgotten you. To keep believing, praying, and thanking God for your miracle because when the day comes where you receive a positive pregnancy test, or hear that heartbeat for the first time, or hold that baby in your arms you will realize everything leading up to that very moment had meaning, that there is purpose in all of your pain. That THIS is the child you prayed for. He will take a barren woman and make her a joyful mother. At the meeting I met Lauren Best, the winner of this years Baby Steps IVF giveaway (yay!) and not even thinking that this is the person who may need to hear what I had to say, she did. And if one person heard me that night, I feel like I did something right. Lauren and her husband are currently going through IVF. Friends, can you please keep them in your prayers? Pray that this is IT for them, that they have perfect embryos, that their genetic testing comes back with no red flags, and that they have a successful transfer. Check out Lauren’s blog: http://www.hopingforabest.com

index

 

Goodbye Gymboree!

Or should I sing
“Hi ho, hi ho it’s time for me to go. Let’s clap our hands. Clap, clap, clap, clap. And stomp our feet. Stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp. And wave bye bye. Bye, bye! I’ll see ya next time! Hi, ho. Hi, ho. Hi, ho.”

It’s a goodbye in a sense of how we’ve known each other over the past 3+ years. I won’t be a stranger but I will no longer be an everyday presence. We may run into each other at the grocery store (Target to be specific, Target could hold a Gymboree mom’s reunion with the number of you I’ve run into recently) or even at church. Stop and say hi, update me on your family, give me hugs! I’ve jokingly said with a few of you I might just show up to Gymboree and give you each a baby to hold while I go crawl inside one of the tunnels to take a nap. I will definitely be popping in for classes, this time to join in with you and your kids, instead of as the teacher.

To all of my Gymboree families, past and present, thank you for allowing me to be a part of your child’s younger years. Thank you for letting me love on your kids when I longed for my very own that on some days stealing a hug or a high five from them was just what my heavy heart needed. Thank you for always making me feel appreciated. Gymboree is such a melting pot of different family dynamics- single parent households, international families, grandparents, working parents, stay at home moms, full time nannies- the one common factor that is shared by all is the love and investment of the child. It has been such a neat experience getting to know your families, in the many ways they come and in the many ways you parent. My phone is consumed with way too many Gymboree videos and pictures to count. I have a box exploding with cards and drawings (I save them all) reminders of how much you matter to me. You are who I will miss the most.

To my bosses, Ashley and Debbie, thank you for your unending support. I feel like Ashley saw me through infertility and Debbie saw me through this pregnancy. Ashley thank you for allowing me to take off of work for every fertility procedure, no questions asked. Thank you for being there on hard days after all the kids were gone and I would have a little cry. Thank you for letting me quit the baby class when I wasn’t in a good place to be around newborn babies and new mamas, find a teacher to take my place, and leave an hour early. Debbie thank you for letting me have the one and only desk chair to sit in. Thank you for letting me call in as often as I did when I had those intense second trimester headaches. Thank you for taking over a handful of my classes and allowing me to go down to working part time with Wednesday’s off to be able to make all of my appointments.

To my coworkers, I’ll be honest being your manager has been the biggest challenge while working at Gymboree. I’m not sure I’m even the best suited for it, but it was a job that needed to be filled when I stepped into it.  I tried my best, even though I would much rather be your friend, and with many of you we were able to find that balance and I am. I can’t say I will miss hearing your reasons for quitting, needing off, being late, or just not showing up. There is nothing like managing 18-26 year olds that will make you truly feel old- like needing to leave work to make a meet and greet with Flo Rida. Thank you for letting me boss you around. Thank you for reading (or pretending to) my, very bulleted, staff emails. For taking every bit of constructive criticism I gave during your training, or even when you thought you were done and I pulled you aside after your class with a few tips- remember I am always listening! Don’t ever forget to sing with a smile!

To Will, thank you for working so hard for our family that I’ve been allowed to work at Gymboree. A job where I get to sing and play and teach kids in such a creative environment each day where the uniform is yoga pants, a Gymboree tshirt, and playful socks. How fun that I work at a place where, “no shoes,” is a policy.

It was never my long term plan to stay at Gymboree for as long as I have, and I don’t think I would even be making this transition if it were not for being pregnant. I have stayed because of each of you. I have been the one to cheer you on as your child ages out of Gymboree and starts full time school, or when your family gets a job promotion and moves, or when you graduate college and leave to begin your career. And now I am the one saying, “goodbye,” moving on to the next chapter to stay at home with my babies and who knows what’s next! What I do know for sure is that I will always carry a little piece of Gymboree in my heart.

Baby Steps 5k, 2015

What a year it has been!

From last November’s first ever Baby Steps 5K to this November’s Baby Steps 5K, our life has completely been changed. Friends, I should not be allowed to drive in the car alone by myself these days because the tears just sneak their way in. Overwhelmed. Overwhelmed. Overwhelmed. You would not believe the number of people who came out in the rain to support infertility this year! The venue changed to accommodate a larger crowd. The donations given made it possible for multiple drawings, giving even more couples in need the chance to win and help build their families. This year exceeded last year and was yet another Ephesians 3:20 event!

On Tuesday this past week when I got word the race hit 2,000 registrants, I just could not stop thinking how insane it is. How much bigger this is than just our story, how much bigger this is than the little idea than it started out as. When I pulled up to Beth’s house to help put together race packets like I did last year, just the number of cars parked outside from volunteers increased from last year. Sarah’s Laughter in the past year itself has seen changes. It has a center of it’s very own and meetings are no longer at Beth’s house. The meetings are much larger, reaching and touching the lives of so many more than ever before.  A selfish part of me will always love and miss the small, tight knit group that met at her house. And the warm snuggly couch that I always sat next to Melissa on. But even Beth’s couches are new. And many of the group members have experienced miracles, like us, starting new chapters of their lives, “graduating” from meetings. And these are all very good and God driven changes.

This week talking with my PAIL group, we offered up our prayer requests for the race. Most of the time our discussions are heavily revolved around baby gear, nursery decor, pregnancy symptoms, and upcoming appointments. But when we get down to the good stuff, and share what God has put on our hearts, I am reminded just how special this group of women is to me. Just how much these girls want this for everyone facing infertility. Where we all were a year ago, where we are all now, and just how thankful for everything (including the not so lovely parts) we are!

I wanted to share with you my prayer request that I sent to them. This is what I have prayed for all week and what I will continue to pray for after race day. My prayer is that not only are the lives of the winners changed, but the 5K changes the lives of all the couples facing infertility. That the support they are given on race day by their loved ones continues after the race, like it did for Will and me. That the race gives those facing infertility the courage to be brave and share their story. I pray that the internet is taken over by infertility blogs! That every person facing infertility leaves the race feeling like a winner.

If it were not for the 5K, I would not have reached out to family and friends asking for help. The inspiration our friends felt to create the Go Fund Me that financed our fertility treatment this year would not have happened. I would not have stood next to my friend Katie, who recently became a mama, lucky enough to start the race in front of a crowd of people both of us on the other side of it. I would not be in my third trimester of pregnancy with twins. I know that our story is not the only incredible product of the race. I encourage each of you to share how the race changed your life, and how God is in the center of it. Even if you cry or your voice gets shaky, even if it makes your heart race a little faster or your palms a little sweaty. Share with others what He has done, or is doing in your life. Share your pain. Allow others to help carry your burden, because look at what could happen.

To read my post from last year’s race click here

 

untitled (4)

untitled (9)

untitled (7)

untitled (8)

untitled (6)

Believe

unnamed (7)I can’t stop looking at this picture. And each time remind myself, pinch myself, that pregnant belly belongs to me. That is me. The key on my bracelet says, “believe,” and was given to me a year ago. I have worn it almost everyday- on days when I really needed the reminder to believe, and especially on days during this past round of treatment that resulted in the pregnant belly that you see. I wore this bracelet as armor. As protection over my heart. As a statement. And on this day, a day for remembering pregnancy and infant loss, I take this bracelet off and extend it to the wrist of those who have experienced loss. I strap this armor on those of you who have holes in your hearts and to those of you who are still waiting on your miracles. I pray that when you look at this picture you feel covered in hope, encouragement, and belief that that pregnant belly will one day belong to you. God will get you there.

unnamed (8)

unnamed (10)

I wanted to share this message from Charlotte Gambill.  https://vimeo.com/131033579

I listened to this particular message several times while walking through infertility, and she is just so smart. I feel like there is someone who could use this message on this particular day, just like I did on many difficult days. Some journeys involve an instant and some involve going the long way round. If you find yourself going the long way round, make it your business to believe that God’s schedule is better than yours. If you are reading this and have experienced pregnancy or infant loss, I am so sorry you lost your baby.

I collect the strength that I would never have found in the instant. I collect the relationships that I made that I would never have made. I collect the tenacity. I collect the insight. I collect the wisdom. And when I actually add up my miracle, I have double for my trouble. – Charlotte Gambill”

Halfway

Last week marked the halfway point in twin pregnancy! As exciting as reaching that maker is, it came with a flood of anxiety. Will wanted to wait to open a box “just in case” and a twin blog I read (and love) did a series in August on birth stories, that I clearly was not in a good place to be reading all of the complications and NICU stays each story told. In trickled fear little by little. It’s crazy to me how all of a sudden that sneaky little fear can grab a hold of my heart. And how easy it can be to give power to it. We opened that box anyway, and I stopped reading all the stories. The most recent pregnancy after infertility and loss (PAIL) support group came at just the right time. Being in the same room with those friends made me feel better, without even having to say anything. Each person in that room wrestles with fear and anxiety. Loren said, you can’t put your faith in your body, you have to put your faith in God. And oh my gosh when she said that, I knew that’s exactly what I needed to hear and be reminded of. Since then, that fear has slowly trickled away. Kim gave everyone in the group pregnancy prayer cards that I have used every single morning the past two weeks to put my faith in God with this pregnancy. To take action each day and declare God’s word. To kick fear in the teeth. To steady my heart. To trust.

Father, in Jesus’ name, I confess Your Word this day over my pregnancy and the birth of my children. I stand in faith during this pregnancy and birth, not giving any room to fear, but possessing power, love, and a sound mind, as Your Word promises in 2 Timothy 1:7…”

I have been very conscious about posting too much, or sharing too much. I pause because all I see are the faces of friends, or comments from readers of this blog, and their tender hearts. My infertility wounds run deep, I remember the pain. The last thing I want to do is have my happiness be a slap across the face of someone else who may be in a season of wait, experiencing loss, facing another failed cycle, or strain in their marriage due to infertility. Since we are at the halfway point, I am going to share a few pictures for your halftime entertainment. This is your out if you want to stop reading! Continue reading

Really Real

IMG_1704

I’m pregnant!

I’ve wanted to make this announcement for almost three years. And now I’m at a complete loss for words. I haven’t even wrapped my mind around all of it. But its real. REALLY REAL. After three months short of trying for three years, three failed IUIs, one 5K, one Fundraiser, one failed IVF cycle turned IUI, I am going to be a mom. Will is going to be a dad. God turned an impossible situation and made the possible happen.

He took our failing IVF cycle that my Dr. made the call to cancel and instead move forward with our fourth IUI, and turned me from a barren woman into a future mother. I was devastated when our IVF was cancelled. I have never cried so hard about anything in my entire life. It was truly a loss that I had to grieve. I just wanted to get the IUI over with so I could go home and lay on my couch to feel sorry for myself. I wanted the two week wait to be over with so I could figure out how to put myself back together and dig deep for the strength to try it all over again.

A few people have asked me why this IUI worked when the others didn’t? My only answer is this is what God had planned out long ago for our journey. Our story isn’t over, but how we got here to this point is proof that even when your faith and your trust is a little shaky, God is always faithful. He is steadfast. I prayed so hard for my body to work how it was designed to. I prayed so hard for the medicine to work. I prayed for my Dr. to do the job that God put him on this Earth to do. And God answered my prayers, all of them. Each one of them.  Just not in the way I expected Him to. He answered them in the exact way he saw fit.  God does the craziest things, huh? I won’t even pretend to have Him, or the way He works, figured out. This goes beyond anything I could have ever imagined to happen. There really isn’t much different on paper (besides the medication) from this IUI than the others, except one thing. We have never had more people praying for us in our lives. This was the first round of fertility treatments we returned to after opening up about our struggle with infertility, where before we were very private- only confiding in a small group of people. So my friends, your prayers were not ignored either. You have taught me about God’s faithfulness through the power of prayer, and in the power of carrying the burden of others. We believe in your prayers!

The person in my support group I was the most nervous about telling was my friend, Melissa. I love this girl. She is my #soulsista. I could not walk through this journey without her by my side. We have been so close over the past couple of years, I want this just as bad for her as I want it for myself. She, of course, responded with genuine happiness and excitement for us. Which was such a gift to me, to be able to feel relief. Our news is encouraging, however there are also the other very human emotions of feeling forgotten, or left behind. I know this because I would feel them too. So my prayer warriors, can you please pray for my friend Melissa, and all of my  Sarah’s Laughter buddies? Every single one of them deserves to be a mother as much as anyone else. Melissa’s word this year is Believe. Pray that she and all of the support group girls continue to BELIEVE in God’s promises. To BELIEVE that they will one day hold their miracle in their arms. Thank God for giving me my soul sister Melissa, and for each of the girls I have been special enough to walk along side this journey with.

Last week, I officially graduated from my fertility doctor and released to my OB. This was a milestone to celebrate, but a bittersweet one. I definitely cried for the very first time in that office hugging everyone goodbye. Out of every piece of news they have ever had to give me, this was the one I couldn’t hold back the tears until I got in my car. These people have taken unbelievable care of us. They have seen me at 7am on a Sunday for blood work. They have returned my numerous phone calls answering questions to many things already told me. They held my hand and told me to “keep my chin up” when the IVF was cancelled. They cheered for us when our pregnancy test was positive. They are a part of Team Stickle.

I read the book, Finding Faith in the Dark, by Laurie Short during the two week wait. So, so good! I have way to many sentences underlined. This book hit home and was exactly what my heart needed at a time when I felt our journey turn down a road I didn’t want, or plan. If you are reading this and struggling with infertility, I am so sorry. If you are reading this and feel that very human little sting of jealousy, bitterness, anger, or sadness prick you in your ribs. It is okay. I know how you feel. Those feelings do not vanish with a positive pregnancy test, my infertility story is not over. And I don’t want it to be, I want to remember all of it so I can be there for others, so my pain has a purpose. Pregnancy announcements hurt. Use my news as one that tells how even in the dark and unexpected, when your circumstances have the best of you, God is able. God is faithful. He is always there even when He seems silent. I’m going to leave you with a few quotes from the book that I pulled strength and encouragement from:

When we give up on our story before God has finished writing it, we miss out on what our story has to give us. Sadder still, we miss out on what our story can become.”

When God does not show up the way we expect or hope, we are disappointed. At worst, we lose faith. But the very thing that can cause us to lose faith can and perhaps should have the opposite effect.”

We have to be ready to embrace circumstances we don’t want, combined with timing we wouldn’t choose, all wrapped up in an inability to see what lies ahead. But faith is believing that God is doing things we can’t see in ways we can’t imagine. Waiting to see what it will be is how faith is lived out.

Trust

Proverbs3.5

Here I sit on my couch marking the first day of a two week wait. A two week wait not after the IVF cycle we were geared up for, but an IUI performed this morning. I wish I could put our story in a cute, neat little box tied with the most perfect color coordinating ribbon friends, but I can’t. I wish I could wrap it up nicely for you and tell you everything worked out as planned, but I can’t. These past few days have been tough. This is also the hardest part about being so open with our story, the sticky parts, the falling short, the admission of failure, is not easy.

“Trust God, not Google”- something I told my support group last year. Not realizing then, how much I would be repeating it to myself over this past month preparing for IVF.  God has been whispering everywhere I turn to trust Him. Last year’s round of treatments, I found myself researching everything. Through Dr. Google, or course. I clung to every single follicle I had each cycle and their measurements, every estrogen level, every progesterone level, you name it I knew my numbers! I would enter these numbers into Google and for hours compare my results to the results of other women posting on message boards going through fertility treatment like me. This did nothing but induce anxiety. I also had in my perfect plans we would do so many cycles, all back-to-back by a certain time before Will headed off to a work trip in Japan. When going into what would be our last IUI cycle before his big trip, I had a collapsed corpus luteum. If this was producing too much estrogen, the cycle would be canceled. Yeah, that can’t happen. God, remember about the back-to-back plan? And it didn’t because it wasn’t producing too much estrogen and we were able to move forward with the IUI. This collapsed corpus luteum threw me off my game. I could plan all of these cycles and have a perfect timeline, but I actually have absolutely no control over any of it like I think I do. My body proved that to me. God is the one who does. This is when I decided, “I’m trusting God, not Google.” I stopped Googling every single symptom. I wrote down my test results, but stopped looking them up on the internet. A huge weight of responsibility, and pressure, that I didn’t even realize I was carrying was lifted off of my shoulders. I wasn’t the one who had to be in charge. Throughout my walk with infertility I have been faced with trusting God. Not just a little bit, trusting Him with everything. You are not alone if this is tough for you. This is tough for me. It does not come naturally, or easy for me. I like to plan…everything! I like to be in control of… everything! This is an area that I still need to work on. That I will probably never be perfect in. I said it on that night at our meeting a year ago because I am the one who needed to hear it the most. I needed those words, and still need them, to help me. And when trust was discussed at my last support group, it built upon what had already been stirring in my soul. It hugged my heart and God said, “this talk on trust tonight was for you.”

Continue reading

Rescue

In August, a mighty force swept through and shook up the Stickle household, changing our lives forever. 53 pounds of chocolate love joined our family. We named her Roux. She is our wild woman.

"Went to PetSmart and came home with this!"

Text: “Went to PetSmart for cat food and came home with this!”

We walked into PetSmart to pick up cat food and left with her in tow. CARA- Companion Animal Rescue of Ascension had their adoption day banner posted outside of the store and I found myself saying to Will, “I wonder if they have dogs today?” Never before have I ever wondered this when we happened to be shopping on an adoption day, or have we actively sought out looking at the dogs. If anything, I always found a cat that I left begging Will to let me adopt. But on that day, I wondered. And that is the first thing we did, we walked in and went straight to the dogs. We got our cat food and got in line to check out. I looked over and saw a crate sitting by itself in between a couple of sales racks and pointed it out to Will. “Look we missed that one.” So we stepped out of line, walked over to the crate, and there she was! The dog Will dreamed of. I promised him throughout the years that when we had a house with a yard, I would get him a big dog. A big dog he could run with and wrestle with. His answer was a chocolate lab. I tried to steer him in a direction of something mixed with a poodle. You know, any kind of big dog I could think of that did not shed. But his answer never wavered. Chocolate Lab. And there she was, right there in front of us in need of a home. “Do you want me to get her for you?” He seemed torn. We got our cat food and left. In the parking lot I asked him again. His, “no,” wasn’t as confident, as definite, as it usually was all the times I’ve tried to take home every single cat. I could tell she was tugging at his heart. We got in the car, and I pressed it again suggesting, “let’s just turn around and ask if she can come out of the crate to pet her. Let’s turn around to find more about her story and her disposition. If we wait to see if she’s there next weekend, we’ll lose her.” He said yes! I spun that car around so fast and we went back. CARA is a wonderful organization and passionate about their calling. The foster mom, Susie, wasn’t there volunteering at the time we were in the store, but she drove from her house to PetSmart to come talk to us about Roux and tell us all she knew about her. They allowed a “sleep over” so we were able to take her over the weekend to see how she did with Sassy and June Bug before officially committing to the adoption. Susie even came to our house once we got home to bring the food she had been feeding her, and copies of her paperwork just to make sure we had everything. It amazed me how invested she was in this dog, when she has several of her own to take care of.

christmas

I love how a word can just grab a hold of you and sink down in your soul with its meaning. At the beginning of the year, my support group chatted about having a word for 2015. Patricia’s word is powerful to me. Rescue. I wanted to submerge myself in that word, rescue. Dig in a little deeper to its meaning- to reclaim, deliver, redeem, set free, save. Words can be excellent reminders. When I heard her say that word, the first thing that came to mind was, Roux. She has helped heal a broken heart from a year of failed fertility treatments. She has breathed life back into our house.

willandroux3

My friend, Heather, put it perfectly when she described the reasoning behind her and her husband’s decision to start fostering dogs again, “I just needed something to mother.” God saw my need to mother and placed her there on that day for us to find. God didn’t just see my need though. He saw Will’s need too. He brought us THE dog that had been on Will’s heart. A dog for us to rescue and one that would more importantly rescue us.

He grants the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cries for help and rescues them.” Psalms 145:19

Bethel Music is a new discovery of mine. I went to their night of worship with Melissa, and they prayed for infertility. You heard me correctly friends! A concert so big there was a line of people wrapped around the entire building long after the doors had opened. Out of anything in this world that they could have prayed for healing over, they chose infertility. Melissa said, “it’s like God saw us.” And it just slapped me right across the face. He did. This entire time he has noticed me! He’s noticed us! They even sang a song that night with the lyrics, “what a mystery that you notice me. And in a crowd of ten thousand you don’t miss a thing”  Duh. Hello Mary Claire. Out of the thousands of people in the crowd that night, he noticed Melissa, me, and any other person standing in that room struggling with infertility. It shook me to my core. I needed my friend Melissa there to point it out because, otherwise I would not have recognized it as being noticed unless she phrased it in that way. I did not realize how much it mattered to me, to matter to God. Right there I was reminded of that word again, rescue. He will rescue me. He will set me free.

Her red ball.  All day, everyday

Her red ball. All day, everyday

You know, Hannah, in the Bible? We talked about her story recently in my support group. About her feelings and her actions. Despite her desperation for a baby she continued to pray, to worship. God rescued her and redeemed her tears. He answered her prayers and gave her a son, Samuel. It’s so meaningful to me that Hannah’s story was included in the Bible. Through Hannah, God wants anyone struggling with infertility to know that we are not forgotten. Infertility is important to God. God sees me, and He sees you! Even though I may at times feel forgotten or abandoned, my feelings and my faith are not the same. Despite my sadness, I need to press on. To continue to pour my heart out to God. Despite my bitterness, I need to press on. To continue to thank God for my baby. God knows that I need constant reminding of not being forgotten. I just have to notice Him! To look for Him in my everyday, because he is right there. To look at Roux right in front of me and be reminded of, rescue.

sassycarseatunnamed (5)

Roux has not come without challenges. She is a patience builder! I grew up in a family of animal lovers, however, I’ve never had a big dog. She’s a completely different world. And quite the opposite of my sweet, perfect, angel Sassy who can win a gold medal in the sleep olympics. I did obedience classes with her because I knew with Will working out of town so much, I couldn’t have a big dog drag me down the street when I’m walking her. For five weeks my mind was focused on training this dog. We had daily homework. If anything, she was the best distraction from the recent decision of a “break” from treatment we were stepping into and had know idea how long it would be before we could go back. She returned me to feeling a little bit like my normal self again. She can throw a ball (her beloved red ball) for hours and still have energy. She has gotten me up and out of the house for her daily walks. I gave up on the couch battle after fighting her off of it for four months. As crazy as she is, and I mean wild. She is the most affectionate and loving dog I have ever had. She’s Will’s best buddy. They wrestle, and run, and love on each other. There is a Roux story everyday. My neighbor called me one day as I was stepping out of the shower, “are you missing something?” Roux had broken out of our house, ran over to their house & broken in, where she found her eating their dog’s food in the kitchen. Typical Roux. I bring her once a week to Camp Bow Wow, which is worth every penny, and think this is what being a mom doing carpool must feel like. When Will is out of town, she wears me out completely. But all of it is worth it and not for a second have I thought about giving up on her. Just like God has not given up on me. On her walks, she’ll look up at me with a thankful smile and I return the same smile while resting in that powerful word, rescue.

happywalk