Baby Dedication

My husband and I have never been on time for anything, so why start with our daughter’s baby dedication?  It is now more of a toddler dedication, but it is what it is and the whole purpose behind dedicating her to God still remains the same.  Our church asked us to be ready to explain why we want to dedicate her and to send a few pictures in before her dedication next month.  I couldn’t decide on a few so I sent almost ten, figuring someone, who is a little more objective than I can be, can filter through and find the few they think would be best.  The reason why is taking some more time to think through.

Those of you who have been following my blog know that my husband and I went through six years of infertility so our little baby girl, Grace, is nothing short of a miracle.  The doctors kept telling me that there was nothing wrong with my husband or I, which didn’t help really, and we did everything we could think of to bring her along.  I look back and laugh now about how I used to think I could manipulate God by saying that I would never talk to him again or try to get him to feel sorry for me by crying for hours, but that’s just not how it works.  Our daughter had a certain time and place and I just needed to trust in God and wait.  I hate waiting.  Even if my husband and I have been standing in a certain part of the store for too long, I go crazy and tell him I’m moving to the next aisle.  I was glad the wait was finally over and I don’t think I really breathed until she had made it through pregnancy and to her first birthday.

There’s many reasons we want to dedicate her to God, but I don’t think anyone will truly understand how excited we are to dedicate her to God unless they know what it was like to be in our shoes.  We didn’t just wait the nine months most people get to experience, we waited ten years after we got married to make sure we had a good home to bring a child into (my husband had an addiction for many years), and then we waited another six through infertility wondering if we would ever have a child.

Every moment I spend with her is like living in a dream and I’m so very thankful every day that I get to hear her laugh and feel her big hug when she’s drowsy in the morning after first waking up.  We are so thankful to God for bringing her into our home and for preparing us during the time we felt like we were walking around the same mountain for years.  I grew more during the time I went through infertility, than any other time of my life, even after the first year of sleepless nights from having a newborn.  That was a piece of cake compared to the monthly roller coaster and wondering if…

I want our daughter, Grace, to know that she is special and specially made by God.  I want her to know how beautiful she is inside and out because she was created by God and her worth is not based on anything we find on Earth or in anyone here on Earth.  We want to dedicate her to announce publicly that she is a gift from God and we will be a godly example so she will know how to be.  To symbolize that we are entrusting her life to God’s will.

“I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him.  So now I give him to the LORD.  For his (her) whole life he (she) will be given over to the LORD.” 1 Samuel 1:27-28

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Is Waiting To Have A Baby The Right Decision?

It’s amazing how 16 months have gone by so incredibly fast, not to mention the nine months before that.  How has it already been 25 months since I haven’t had to be on the roller coaster ride of infertility?  Before that time, it had been the longest six years of my life and my husband’s life as well.  You have to understand that before we even started trying, we had waited nine years after we married because my husband was in the military and we reasoned the longer we could wait, the younger our child would be when he retired.  Then we wouldn’t have to make them move around to so many different schools and have to make new friends all over again.

It was a choice that we made and almost regretted.  Nine years put us in our thirties and little did I know that it would be so difficult to become pregnant in my thirties.  I must have missed that part of sex-ed when they discussed how women are born with an x amount of eggs and lose them as time goes on.  After all, it seems like that’s what everyone is doing nowadays anyway, right?  Most people are getting a jump-start on their careers and putting off having families until they’ve achieved a certain element of success.  This was also part of our decision to wait also because it took several years for me to finally graduate with my bachelors degree.  Since we had been moving around every couple of years, I had to keep transferring my credits around and by the time I finally graduated with my bachelors degree three states later, I had enough credits for a bachelors plus another associate degree.

Thankfully, we were still able to conceive, but I think if I had the choice to do it over again, I wouldn’t have waited so long.  Especially if it meant we wouldn’t have had to endure those six agonizing years.  Yes, I did learn a lot about my marriage, myself, and my relationship with God during that time, but it was really crappy to say the least.  Another part of it was that I enjoyed being selfish and being able to go and do what we wanted.  It was great, but if I knew that I could have had the chance to bring Grace into our family that much earlier, I would have jumped at the chance.  Having a child completely erases all of those things that I thought I would want more, such as sleep.  Insert laughing and crying emoticon.  It’s true though, she makes me laugh more than I ever thought possible.  It’s amazing to see the world from her new perspective.  I would have given up the bar scene and weekend trips in a heartbeat, just to snuggle her and listen to her heartbeat.

If you are having trouble conceiving, one day it will all end for you as well and you’ll be looking back over the months wondering where they all went one day.  You’ll never forget the pain though.  Your child will be lucky because they will always know how much they were wanted and never be taken for granted.  If you are wondering about waiting to conceive or not, this is my story and I can’t tell you one way or another, but just share what had happened in my situation.  Would we still have gone through waiting six years to have a baby or would it have been even longer?  Would we have been able to become parents ten years ago and have that much more energy to take care of a baby, who knows?  I do know that I’m so blessed to be Grace’s mother and I don’t know how I ever thought not having to pay for a babysitter or sleeping in whenever I wanted was better than my little girl.

Featured image: Grace turning one years old

Illusion of Control

It’s been awhile since I have written a post.  The holidays consumed so much of my time that it was a relief when January came so I could sit back and relax again.  Recently, I had enough energy to put together a new list of goals for this year in an attempt to try and gain some control back over all of the chaos the holidays brought.  Control is only just an illusion and was one of the most difficult things to try to let go of when I was struggling with not being able to conceive.  I realized that I didn’t have any control over a huge part of my life and I finally stopped trying to control everything.

Before I found myself at that point, I remember that if there was a whisper of a way that would miraculously help me to become pregnant, I’m pretty sure I did it aside from going to witch doctors or standing on my head after sex.  I remember giving up coffee for years, which was probably the hardest thing to do.  I gave up alcohol, I ate way more green types of foods than a normal person should, and I spent a lot of time seeing infertility doctors.  I needed to feel like I was in control of something which I learned, after a very long time, was completely out of my hands.

Then I just gave up.  I wish I could say that I leaned in and trusted in God even more and that’s why I become pregnant finally.  I would love to tell everyone about the miraculous potion I found.  Instead, after six long years of being on a roller coaster, that no one can understand unless they’ve struggled with infertility, I started drinking coffee again, I worked out at the gym harder than usual, I drank again (moderately, I don’t want to sound like I became a drunk), and I just lived my life normally again.  The point I’m getting at, is that there just wasn’t any reason to it.  I had given up trying to be in control of my fertility.  One could speculate that it was when I finally relaxed about everything that I was finally able to get pregnant.  But honestly, only God knows.

If you know someone going through infertility, please do me a favor and don’t tell them that I said they just need to relax!  I remember hating to hear that and it usually had the opposite effect.  Just give them a hug and tell them that you’re there for them.  If you end up getting pregnant and know that your friend is still waiting to have a baby, don’t be ashamed to tell them.  Just make sure not to mention how you weren’t even trying or how easy it was to get pregnant, they may never talk to you again.  I have been on both sides of this matter and I remember that it hurt more not to be asked to someone’s baby shower than to be asked, at least then I had the choice to politely turn it down or not.

Oh control, I wish I had it, but I don’t.  I had the illusion and that made me go bat crazy.  If you are someone whose trying to conceive, the best piece of advice I can give to you this new year is to keep hope alive that maybe this is your year, but don’t get caught up in Pinterest or cookbooks focused on eating to conceive or any of those things that you can end up making a grocery list out of just so you feel like you will finally get pregnant.  If there’s anything I learned from my experience, it’s that I just needed to keep living life as I had been before I started creating a lot of rigid rules that centered around baby making.  I’m sure it made my husband a lot happier too when I finally threw out the list.

The way I see things now, as my daughter just turned 16 months old, is that for some reason God wanted her to be born on a specific day and on a specific year.  I may not know why right now, but I believe there’s a reason she’s 16 months old right now and not six years old.  I don’t care if anyone doesn’t agree with me, but that is how I feel.  I’m good with that.  I’m good with God being in control because honestly, he can see the big picture much better than I can down here, typing away on my computer in my room, in this little apartment that we now live in because we decided to move back to Southern California.  That’s another story for another time of giving up control and trusting God to bring us back to be close to family again.

So for now, I have my calendar planned and goals set for this year because I have to feel a little in control of my days, but I’m treating them more like a rough draft instead of a final copy.  I’m beginning to realize what’s more important in life and I’m slowly getting my priorities in order.  My New Year goal this year is to keep God first in my life so I won’t be inclined to try to control everything that goes on this year, like when I start looking for a new job.  What’s your New Year goal?

Faith Through Trials

There have been several times when I have doubted God’s word throughout my life.  Doubt would creep in and I would start to wonder if the Bible was true and if God really existed, which often times made the situation or circumstance that I was facing seem even more devastating.  The “what ifs” took over and I would spiral down into a deep pit of depression.  I would stay there for awhile until I thought about the times in my life when I was strongest in my faith versus the times I was the farthest away from it.
In the times when I was closest to God, I felt the most love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control, the fruit of the spirit from Galatians 5:22-23.  Even more importantly, there was something more than what I got out of being in close relation to my creator.  I was more in tune with wanting to give God glory in praise and in worship.  There was such a sense of wholeness that all doubt disappeared.
I needed those reminders of how God had worked in my life to stay strong during the years my marriage struggled through my husband’s pornography addiction and through the years that followed during our struggle through infertility.  No matter what I had gone through, I came to realize that it was all right to doubt.  It made me stronger in my faith having wrestled through my disbelief to find that God has always been there for me, even in those times of doubting.
During our most recent struggle with infertility, I kept this Bible verse close by and read it more frequently than any other verse in the Bible.  “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6.  During those times when I kept asking why or doubted God’s love for me, this Bible verse would remind me that I may not ever understand why, but I should keep trusting in God and putting him first more than anything else, including my own baby.
This is an excerpt from my first blog that I had posted April 30, 2015.  It really wasn’t that long ago, but it feels like an eternity has gone by since that time.  I’ve condensed it for this blog’s purposes.
Believing For a Baby 

My husband and I have been trying for a baby for several years now.  It has been one of the most isolating and painful experiences of my life.  I tend to be introverted so I don’t like to share with my friends and family about our struggle with infertility, especially when I know they try to sympathize, but they don’t understand because they haven’t had this struggle before.  I’m so happy for them when I see them with their children or pregnant with their own baby, but inside I’m jealous and coveting what I don’t have.  I realized that even though I may not know anyone personally who is struggling with infertility, there may be someone online who can relate to what I’m going through.

After two years of trying, I found out I was pregnant.  It was the happiest six weeks of my life imagining all the things that newly pregnant women dream of.  Then  a few weeks later I started bleeding and went to the E.R.  The doctor did an ultrasound and told us that he would neither agree or deny if I was still pregnant because it was so early.  So for weeks I was on Google trying to find out if there was still a chance that I was pregnant.  I was miserable.  Eventually I had to accept that my baby had gone away.  Since that time it has been a roller coaster of highs and lows every month starting with hoping that I might be pregnant to being let down at the end of the month when I start my period again.

I had made an appointment with a fertility clinic last year, but later on cancelled because I was still hoping that I could get pregnant for free instead of paying extra costs for a fertility specialist.  I bought a book about trying to conceive and tried to do everything in the book including staying away from caffeine, counting my days, drinking enough water, and exercising at least three times a week.  I finally gave in this year after not seeing any results.  We went to see a fertility specialist yesterday.  There was another couple there and I couldn’t even look them in the eyes because I felt like I would see our pain reflected back at me through their eyes.  I realized that I’m probably not as alone as I have imagined myself to be.

Who knew it would take six years before we would be able to have our beautiful little baby girl.  I held onto that bible verse every week and every day if needed.  During those times when I struggled with doubt during infertility, I remembered the amazing change he had done in my husband’s heart, breaking him free from pornography.  While we struggled with pornography in our marriage, I remembered how God had helped me raise above my social anxiety and anxiety attacks.  While I struggled with anxiety attacks, I remembered how he had been there for me while I dealt with being bullied at school.  He has always been there for me and has helped me overcome so many obstacles.  I may have doubts again, but they won’t last long.
I would love to know what Bible verse you hold onto or have found to give you comfort during difficult times.  God bless.