Baby Steps 2016

I can’t let the year come to an end without posting about the annual Baby Steps!

Each year, the event is a little different and special in its own way, at the same time doing the best job of consistently focusing on the heart of Sarah’s Laughter- bringing infertility awareness and support to the area and never failing in giveaways to help couples in need grow their families. This year, the event was a 1 mile fun run on November 12th, 2016 held at Lamar Dixon. It reminded me a lot of the first year’s race because we walked in a circle around a lake (big pond? A body of water, however you classify it) At a point rounding the circle, you got a glimpse of ALL the people there in support of infertility and friends, you are left speechless at that very sight.

It feels like a big family reunion on Christmas Day. Lots of hugging and picture taking. Quick little catch ups from person to person. And never enough time! Can I tell you how much I love being a part of this group? Can everyday be a Baby Steps day?

This year Bennett & Eliza joined us! Talk about full circle moment. Looking back on our journey, the first Baby Steps represented the thick of the battle, freshly out of the infertility closet and wanting and needing that IVF giveaway badly. Showing up to the race in full force with the largest team, Team Stickle backing us. At last year’s Baby Steps, we were excitedly and gratefully expecting Bennett and Eliza. It was a day that reminded us how good God really is, how asking people to help carry us through this struggle the year before resulted in our biggest blessings, our prayers answered. And this year, we showed up holding our two miracles who we wanted to represent hope and participated in the first ever Miracle March to start off the walk. I still can’t believe how quickly life has changed, where it is hard to remember what life was like without Bennett & Eliza. What I do remember, and what I will never forget is how long and forever that road felt.

I also got to hop up on the stage and grab the microphone for a second to encourage every couple struggling with infertility. To thank loved ones present, letting them know their support really does make a difference. To tell each couple, that on that day they won. They kicked infertility in the teeth. To offer them the perspective that they were leaving Baby Steps a winner, whether they had a giveaway in hand or not. I hope each couple left the race with resorted faith and the perseverance to keep believing God for their baby. Friends, I don’t think three years ago, at the first Baby Steps, I could have ever imagined getting up in front of that huge crowd and sharing my story. Me, who at one point could barely say “We want a baby so bad. But we’re struggling” God is funny, right? Whether I am the most qualified or not, I have such a heart and love for those walking through infertility and any opportunity I am given to share God’s glory, I’m in!

Here are a few pics! Most of them are Melissa’s because she is an awesome documenter and she said I could share. Friends, can I ask all of you to keep Melissa and her husband, Brad, in your prayers? I know so many of you care about her because I get asked for updates on her journey often. They have an upcoming frozen transfer in January. After a very successful IVF cycle/retrieval there is a mountain of hope right now that this is IT for them! And y’all, I’m throwing it out there because God can do exceedingly, abundantly, above- we are praying for twins!

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Just Keep Swimming

This past weekend, life came full circle. I felt so honored to play a part at the Sarah’s Laughter Infertility workshop this year as a speaker. Sitting in that room with those couples, I was immediately brought back to when I first found the workshop years ago. After having an emotional breakdown heading to a baby shower, I realized I really wasn’t as okay as I had been trying to tell myself. Shortly after said break down, I heard about the upcoming workshop announced at a church service which is how I landed at that workshop a few years ago and how I would later join Sarah’s Laughter. On Saturday, I laughed and I cried throughout the time I spent with this group. Nothing will ever take away the pain and emotions of infertility. I was so proud to be there, so proud of Sarah’s Laughter, so proud to see graduates and current members there volunteering.  And I really think we all felt it, the hurting for a baby, the deep desire to become parents, the vulnerability of it all.

The workshop’s theme this year was “Just Keep Swimming.” I really feel like this year’s workshop takes the cake. Elisha Kearns who writes the blog, Waiting For Baby Bird was the keynote speaker. My friends currently in the group were super excited to meet and hear from someone that they find such encouragement from. There were breakout sessions throughout the day on loss, and for people interested in starting their own infertility support group. My friend, Kim, a family and marriage counselor, led a breakout session on keeping your marriage strong through infertility. I was so proud of her for getting up there (even after losing her house in the recent flooding) and offering such genuine advice and encouragement to couples. James Henderson led a session for just the men. I think this is such a needed thing! Yesterday, I caught up on the Sarah’s Laughter podcast and listened to the episode that he and his wife, Portia, recorded. Friends, it was good. I know he was the perfect person to lead the session specifically for men at the workshop, especially after listening to their podcast. I actually might just listen to the podcast again! Sarah’s Laughter Podcast, Portia & James The most unique part of this year’s workshop (to me) were the round table discussions (think speed dating) several tables set up around the room, each table represented a different topic (gestational carriers, adoption, perseverance in prayer, two different reproductive endocrinologists had a table, etc) Guests of the workshop could make their way around to the tables for a short little session. They received some very valuable information from such an expansive group of great resources. I can only imagine how much this helped people facing infertility. I think out of anything though, I was the most excited to see faces that I did not recognize. Their face might have been like my face a few years ago at the workshop. Not really in the deep end of infertility, but knowing they do not want to be alone. I really hope and pray each person, especially those sweet new faces, who attended left feeling understood.

I spoke about navigating through the sea of infertility.I wanted to share my talk with readers of this blog. Some of what I spoke about I have already written about in this blog. There are a few personal details/stories that I am not going to include (what happens at the workshop stays at the workshop right?) but I hope someone reading this finds the encouragement and that extra little push to just keep swimming.

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Podcasting

slpodcast

Sarah’s Laughter has a podcast! Yay! In March, I felt so special to get to sit down with Jason & Beth Forbus to record an episode with my dear friend, Melissa. We chatted about our own personal struggle with infertility, how infertility brought us together as friends, and how to remain friends when one becomes a mom, and one is still in the wait. Friends, this was so much fun! I told Melissa, I was either going to get a case of the giggles, or cry. My hormones were still all over the place so it dangerously could go either way. And I actually did both! Thankfully, I’m not a glass case of emotions anymore. We talked SO much, in fact, Jason had to cut half of what was recorded! I really can’t wait to do another one and drag my buddy along with me- she doesn’t have a choice. And actually Jason and Beth don’t either. I have caught the podcast bug! I drank the Kool Aid.

I really love how the episode turned out (thank you editing!) First, I had no idea I talked that slow. Friends, y’all are so patient to listen to me. Second, I’m going to go back and take a tally of how many times I say, “you know” “um” and “so.” Beth explained how she usually does an introduction on each guest at the beginning such as, “she likes long walks on the beach.”  I told her, I don’t like long walks on the beach, I like to sit on the beach. No exercise involved. So, that’s where that came from, just to give some context!

I met Melissa at the Sarah’s Laughter infertility workshop a few years ago and we became fast friends. She is the peanut butter to my jelly, the selfie to my selfie stick. Infertility is a journey we both share, but there are so many other things we talk about and do together that isn’t centered around infertility. I love to go to worship concerts with her. That girl gets that side step together, step and clapping her hands going. I just love it. She really gets a kick out of life. I’m lucky to call her my soul sista, and so thankful that we have remained friends.

To listen to our podcast click here or subscribe to the SL’s podcast on iTunes! The next infertility workshop will be held in Baton Rouge on August 27th, to find out more information on attending click here
Since we recorded our podcast, I have discovered that there is an entire world of podcasts that exists! It is my new favorite thing to do. I wanted to share my two favorites (besides Sarah’s Laughter, of course) that I love, because if I included them all this post would be way too long!

The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey I LOVE this podcast. I listen to it when I’m doing dishes, folding laundry, or sometimes out walking. I’ve told a few friends this, but many of the episodes I’ve listened to, the featured guest has struggled with infertility in some way. And I don’t know why, but it still surprises me how many people are impacted by infertility. It isn’t the purpose of the show, but it is a part of so many women’s stories that it is a subject that is often touched on.

The Popcast with Knox & Jamie Friends, this show is hysterical. Jamie B Golden (different Jamie than the above mentioned) I just wish I could shrink her and put her in my pocket. The banter between the two is the best. I don’t have cable so a lot of the time I don’t even know what they are talking about, but I still get a kick out of it. I used to recommend Episode 138 for anyone who starts it, but last week’s episode has trumped it and is now their best yet. So subscribe to their show on iTunes and start with Episode 151.