Saturday, January 01, 2011

2010 IN REVIEW: The Best of Times and the Worst of Times, but mostly the Best

First Off, Happy 40th Wedding Anniversary to my awesome parents! I'm so thankful to have grown up in a loving home and I deeply appreciate your commitment to each other and to your children!

Now on to 2010, where, oh where to begin?? In the big picture I certainly can't complain, we've had a full year with lots of family adventures. I have a husband that loves me, puts up with me, and works hard every day to provide for us.  I've watched my precious children grow from toddlers into young boys. They've accomplished so much in their development and personalities. This has definitely been the boys' healthiest year, and for that I am SO grateful.  

When they were once so tiny and sick and there was so much uncertainty for their future, my biggest prayer was that they might could at least give and receive love. This prayer has been answered 1,000 times over. I've never seen a child that so easily declares his love for others as Adam does. And Andrew shows his love through words and affection. They fill and melt my heart every day.

In pictures it's easy to show what a happy and joyful year we've had, and we certainly did. It would be easy to stop right there but that wouldn't be an accurate depiction of this year from where I sit right now. This has also been a year of sorrow for me, one for which I'd rather forget certain parts of. If not for my boys, I don't know where I'd be right now.

It's no secret that we've struggled with infertility throughout our 6 years of marriage. And truthfully, without it, it's unlikely we would have these twin boys right now, so God has definitely brought good out of it. But this past year has definitely been full of frustrations and loss.  For 5 months straight I drove several times a week back in forth between my town and Houston for doctor appointments, acupuncture sessions, surgical procedures and what not, plus Andrew's weekly therapy at Texas Children's. We had just purchased a new car when we started this and according to my odometer, I've basically driven clear across the United States about 2.5 times. That's a lot of driving! And a lot of gas expense. And a lot of leaving my kids with babysitter expense. And a lot of time invested. 

And all the daily injections of crazy inducing hormones, and steroid induced infections and pneumonia. Throw in a a cracked rib, two trips to urgent care, and the enormous financial investment for drugs and procedures. Plus three rounds of total bed rest, Kenny taking off work to care for me and the children.

And well, you get the point. And it would absolutely have been worth every minute, mile, and penny if I actually had something to show for it. 

Instead, here we are three cycles of IVF later, 2 fresh and 1 frozen, and one very heartbreaking miscarriage later and we are no closer to bringing another child into our family. And my heart hurts. Each time I was given a picture of our transferred embryo I could imagine placing the photo in a baby book someday and wondering who this next baby might look like. When I got my first positive pregnancy test, I cried tears of joy and fear and I begged God not to let me get hurt. And then my numbers were good and I was already in love and I could picture the rest of our lives with this child in it.

And then they weren't anymore.

With IVF you don't get the luxury of waiting until ultrasounds and trimesters are completed before safely sharing the news because your family and close friends already know where you are and are walking right along side you. There really isn't any way to hide something that takes so much out of you.

I was honest with the boys from the beginning because I wanted them to share in the excitement and learn through the loss. And it's been a good reminder to me to speak the truths to them that I need to say also to myself. "God is still good. Just because we don't get what we prayed for doesn't mean He doesn't love us. God has a plan. There is more to life than the here and now." Even though it's been two months, Andrew still brings it up. He has always been the most interested in being a big brother and he'll ask me why God took his baby away. There have definitely been difficult but teachable moments come out of this.

And as thankful and blessed as I am, it doesn't take away my longing for another child. I love this quote from Laura Bush who struggled with infertility before and after her twins too:

 "The English language lacks the words 'to mourn an absence.' For the loss of a parent, grandparent, spouse, child or friend we have all manner of words and phrases, some helpful, some not. Still, we are conditioned to say something, even if it is only 'I am sorry for your loss.' 

But for an absence, for someone who was never there at all, we are wordless to capture that particular emptiness. For those who deeply want children and are denied them, those missing babies hover like silent, ephemeral shadows over their lives. Who can describe the feel of a tiny hand that is never held?"

I honestly don't know where we are in our journey at this point anymore and I don't know what this next year will hold for us. But I know that I can cling to the cross of my Savior and that God has not forgotten us. I didn't think I could appreciate my boys more than I already did but I've imagined so many scenarios now of what if they didn't survive and I could never get pregnant again. Or what if we didn't have twins and could never get pregnant again. I know the "what if" game doesn't help matters but it definitely makes me more thankful that God provided for us and delivered both the boys from a tragic outcome. 

I'm so very thankful we have them and that they have each other!

"So the ransomed of the LORD will return
         And come with joyful shouting to Zion,
         And everlasting joy will be on their heads
         They will obtain gladness and joy,
         And sorrow and sighing will flee away." 
Isaiah 15:11

So when I think of 2010, these are the moments and images I want to remember in my mind, days so full of joy I thought my heart might burst. 

We have so much to be thankful for!


Lindsay Newcomer said...

Thanks for sharing. I hope (for both of us) 2011 will be a year of countless blessings and steady assurance of God's goodness and love.

Amy said...

You have had some beautiful blessings this year. And because I have walked the infertility journey, I know that there isn't anything I can say to make it feel better so I will just say Love and God Bless you and yours in 2011.

Rachel said...

My heart hurts for you and I am thankful that the Lord is sustaining you and comforting you in the midst of the journey. I love all the pics and am glad that 2010 held lots of joy too! Oh, and I really like that Laura Bush quote too.

lmworley416 said...

Know that I'm praying so at this end!
Revelation 7:16-17 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
Prayer Bears
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lmworley416 said...

Keep your eyes on the only true source of peace and strength. Praying!
Isaiah 26:3-4 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.
Prayer Bears
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lmworley416 said...

Continuing to pray!
Psalms 27:1, 4-5 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?...One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
Prayer Bears
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lmworley416 said...

Know that I'm praying!
Psalms 27:13-14: I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
Prayer Bears
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