Missed Hope

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

I had planned on sharing this part of my story when I had the "happy ending" or when I knew that what I have been praying for is answered. But this is not the case.
My last post shared part of where I have been coming from, as this has been a long but good year for us. God has closed some doors, opened others, and has continued to sustain us in this season.
Expanding our family as I previously shared is something I have prayed about for months, knowing that in the right time, there would be peace in this decision and God's timing.

I'd like to preface all I share in my writings with this- I know that I cannot fathom some of the struggles my friends and some so close to me have experienced. Whether it's the struggle of infertility, loss, miscarriage, and so many other hard things that life brings at times, I would never pretend to understand something I have not gone through. I pray this writing in no way is a comparison to anyone or anything else, but simply and honestly to share part of my story.

While getting pregnant for Eleanor is for a different time, I will say there was no doubt she was part of God's plan for our family. When we decided to start trying to get pregnant, it was shortly after this we found out we would be having her. As a Nurse Practitioner, I know the statistics and realize, this was not necessarily considered the 'norm' so moving forward I did not have any expectation that we would get pregnant as easily for #2.

Last month came and went quickly. I felt nervous, hopeful, and honestly felt like this was a new experience for me. Waiting, counting down the days until I could take a  a pregnancy test praying I would see two pink lines.  A few days before my cycle, I decided to take a test. I thought I was crazy as I saw faint lines. I kept testing each day and at one point had a line that I felt was actually there enough to tell Andrew. It was not how I dreamed of telling him about baby #2, but I felt like my eyes were either seeing things, or this was actually it. I showed him the test, in real time he saw the line- and said yeah I see it. I hugged him and went into my bedroom and not bad tears, but happy tears. This was it! I couldn't believe I was going to get to do this again! I went and bought another set of tests including a digital test, and got Eleanor a "Best Sister" shirt and couldn't stop thinking about all the things ahead. I had to rush to small group, and while I did I stopped to do another test (yes, I was skeptical and couldn't believe it). My digital test, read no. I knew that these tests only work if HCG is detected at higher levels and so I felt kinda unnerved by this but still hopeful! The next day, I was scheduled to have a blood HCG test to confirm my pregnancy and that morning I got up to take another test, fully expecting the line to be darker. The line wasn't darker. In fact, I was squinting to see it. I went for my lab, internally wondering if everything was ok. This wasn't how it happened with Eleanor. That's all I had to compare this too. Fast forward a few hours. I got a call from my OB/GYN at work, and she called to tell me "Your HCG lab came back normal, your level is only 2." I was informed this was most likely a chemical pregnancy.  This reality was harder than I imagined. For two days, I had believed I was pregnant. I had started to think about what life was going to look like, and my heart hit the floor. I began to research more about chemical pregnancies, realizing how often this happens and just felt I truly couldn't believe this happened. I cried, talked through this, and just prayed that God would continue to help me in this journey and not to feel 'all or nothing' with this situation.

As I had some time to process this, I began to wonder moving forward what this would mean for me. Fear is something I struggle with to begin with and after this, my thoughts raced with things like "if i have a positive pregnancy test in the future, will I even believe it?" "Is this going to happen again?" "Will I ever get pregnant?" "Is something wrong with me?"

I processed this, cried when I needed to, but felt like I was hopeful to keep moving forward, trusting that God in His time had a plan for us.

A new month came. A fresh start. Praying that if it was in God's plan, this would be the month. I had calculated things like - "if I get pregnant this month, I'll be 12 weeks right around January first, and how cool it would be to announce it then."

The month was busy. Life is busy. It helped the time move faster.
This month, I decided after more research not to test so early.
I waited, I was proud of myself.
Day 29 came. I tested. I could not believe it! A faint faint line.
Due to last month, I decided this morning before work, to keep this to myself. I wanted to test again and make sure I saw this before telling Andrew. I didn't want anyone else to feel like what I did the previous month. For a few hours, this was something only I knew. I began to pray for this pregnancy. That this would be it. A healthy pregnancy. A sweet addition to our family. I even pleaded with the Lord to "protect this baby and please let me one day hold him/her."
I took another test when I got home. I saw the line again.
I knew I was going to wait longer to test with blood for HCG to make sure what happened the previous month might not happen again.
If my lines continued, and were getting darker, I would then go for blood work.
Friday morning came- another faint line.
Saturday- I struggled to see the line as well but still a faint line was visible.
Sunday- the line got darker.
Monday- the line was getting even darker and this was the day I went for blood work. HCG levels of 5 or higher are considered pregnant.  Waiting those few hours for the lab results to come back felt like an eternity. I got a call that my HCG was 6. I asked directly- Does this mean I'm pregnant or is this level a grey area?

I was told I was pregnant but that it was too early to tell more. A lab was requested two days later. I knew all about this- I did this with Eleanor.  A lab, two days later a repeat, and two days later one more- and after that...smooth sailing. This was gonna be it!

I was thrilled.

I even put the shirt on Eleanor the night I told Andrew and had her walk his Starbucks coffee to him in this shirt. She was going to be the BEST big sister.

It took forever to get to Wednesday, but it finally came. I got up early, went to quest, got my lab repeated. I got the results and when I opened them on my App, it read '8'. While the lab was increasing, something in my gut didn't feel right. I knew the lab was to at LEAST double for this to be considered a healthy and viable pregnancy. My mind began to think of the articles I've read about pregnancies where HCG levels do not double but yet resulted in normal pregnancies. Every pain, or twinge I felt in my body, I prayed was not something bad. My fear these two days felt crippling at times because of last month but this time, my lines were getting darker, I even had a positive digital test!

Wednesday afternoon came, as I was awaiting on a all from my provider to find out more about this result of 8, I started experiencing bad cramping and within minutes, I started bleeding. I knew what this meant. While I was at work, (thank God it was my lunch break), I sat in my office trying to figure out what to say, do or what to think. My provider called me, and as we discussed what the 8 meant, I told her what was happening. It was determined at this point that this was most likely a very very early miscarriage taking place, known as yet another chemical pregnancy, as it was so early, and  or the concern for an ectopic pregnancy based on my lab values was looming. I was told I needed to come in for more labs, a Rhogam shot, and that I had 72 hours to do this.

The next few hours felt like I was in a daze. I hadn't cried that hard in so long.
I literally couldn't believe this was happening again, and the fear of an ectopic and all that could mean for my physical health scared me.

I was thankful for the support I received during this time, but there wasn't much anyone could do or say to help me.
I made it to the doctor in about 2 days. I did more labs and thought I was just going in for a shot.

My friend graciously took Eleanor that afternoon so I could get there and back timely. I traveled to this appointment alone and thought nothing of it. When I got there, I was told I would be doing an ultrasound as well. I had done this plenty of times. Wasn't prepared for it, but I knew what to expect.
As I laid there on the table, alone in the room with the ultrasound tech, she asked me "is this your second pregnancy?" The reality of all that was taking place hit me so hard. I felt so empty. I wanted to cry. I wasn't quite sure what to say to this so I replied "yes, I think so, I have a 2 and a half year old little girl and my lab this week said I was pregnant."

As she got the images that she needed, again to verify that I was not having an ectopic pregnancy, I was reminded of something.
As alone, sad, scared, and devastated as I felt in that moment, the Lord reminded me of something I had told my Mom earlier in the week.

I'm going to rewind here.
In the week prior to this happening- prior to my blood test confirming pregnancy, I had three separate things happen to me.

A close friend/mentor of mine told me on Friday night as I shared last months struggle with her and my current situation that God had told her to put her hand my stomach the previous Wednesday after our bible study and to pray for God to bless my womb. She admitted that she didn't do this, out of fear that I would think she was crazy. Little did she know the journey I was on and where I had been the previous few weeks. That night she stopped what she was doing and prayed this over me. Deep in my heart I hoped and prayed this was confirmation that those lines I was seeing on the pregnancy test did in fact mean this was it. Baby Silvas #2.

That Saturday- the next day, I got a text from a dear friend and mentor of mine saying that they read an article, that they had been thinking of me and praying for my "present/future family." I felt encouraged by this and wondered again as I just said- that this was truly going to be it.

That same day,  Saturday, at a birthday party, someone that I do not consider very bold in asking things, asked me directly if I was pregnant, going on to tell me "for the last 3-4 weeks I don't know why but I have just thought that you are." I was taken back by this and again deep down hoping this was something pointing to the news I had been praying for.

All three of these things- in a 24 hour time period. This timing seemed interesting.

I had shared the news with my Mom over the weekend, prior to my blood work that Monday that confirmed I was pregnant. I also told her these three things and said to her- that while I hoped and prayed this was a sign and God confirming all I had been praying for, hoping for, and in praying against my fear that this was his way of comforting me, that I knew that even IF this wasn't it, that He loved me enough to bring people into my life to remind me that
I am seen.
I am heard.
I am not forgotten.

As I laid on that table in the ultrasound room, feeling so empty and broken, this is what came to mind, in my brokenness and my thoughts that it was not supposed to be this way.
I see you.
I hear you. 
And I have not forgotten about you.

I was thankful for no major findings of concern  on my testing but had to continue into the next week to get my blood work done to verify my levels returned to normal.

I always thought I would share this story when I had a happy ending to share.
With my pregnancy announcement.
With a picture of a sweet baby in my arms.

But I'm sharing this story, my story, while it's still real.
I completed my last lab today.

The sting of this loss, has taken me by surprise.
In my heart, I can't believe it, but the blood work confirmation and all this entailed felt so much worse than the previous months disappointment.
And as I said at the beginning, I cannot fathom some of the losses people I know have faced.

But my heart can now sympathize more with those who have lost.
For those in the waiting, in some ways, I get it.

I know the Lord is using this to shape me, and I pray that the brokenness in it all will someday be a beautiful piece of my story.

The hard part for me is the unknown. I'm fighting fear. Anxiety. What if's. Reliving all that happened, and wondering how I'll ever be excited moving forward because I'll feel skeptical that "its actually real" if I ever get to do it again.

My prayer is that in the waiting, that even if, that's right , even if, I never get to have another baby, that I will find my strength, my hope, and my confidence in Jesus.

Tonight, as I write this, I'm praying if someone needs to read this and know that they are not alone, that this will have been worth the risk of laying it all out there.
I pray that being real, and honest, brings healing into my own heart,  but most importantly moving forward, I pray that the rawness of this writing will always bring me back to the truth that God has been and will be faithful to me.

I don't know what tomorrow holds, but I trust Him.

A Life Update

Sunday, July 14, 2019

January is the last time I've written. I'm not sure I even realized how long its been. I feel like before I know it I'm turning the page in my planner to the next months calendar and it just feels like it's flying.
How I have a two year old already is beyond me.

If I'm being truthful, deep down when I've wanted to sit and write, I'm just not sure the words have been there.  Truth would be for me to tell you that I thought I knew what I hoped I would be writing about, because in my mind I had it all planned out.

Last July, I wrote a blog about 'Praying Through' and my journey at that point in not having all the answers, my struggles and where my heart was.
Almost one year later, and I can honestly say the last year did not pan out as I would have thought or prayed in many ways.
And I still don't have all the answers I was praying about.
I will be honest to tell you I think some of the whispers of the enemy have kept me from getting on here to write and share.

Fears have crept in.
Lies have tried to take over the truth I know deep in my heart.
Satan's crafty hand has made me doubt the beauty in the waiting.
But God is Faithful.
and oh, how patient He is with me.

I'm not sure that its been until the last few months that I would say I've come to a place where I am thanking God for the doors He has closed.

When on paper, certain things have looked so appealing, like it would be 'just the answer we needed' or the 'job' that would make everything better, His plan is better than anything I thought would work.

It would take me too long to share over the last year  all thats happened in my life, and in my hearts process of hoping, dreaming, and then accepting what life has brought.

To simplify the last 12 months or so, I would say it goes something like this.
My husband, who is incredible at his job, great with people and truly has a gift when it comes to hands on- skills in the clinic and in the operating room, had been looking to further his career.
There's many ways he could do this with his Bachelor's degree, paramedic license, and experience in the operating room.

More than once, various opportunities presented themselves, with almost promising words, only to have the door shut. More than once.

A 'dream job' that was a 'once in a lifetime' opportunity that, many would kill for, came his way. And might I add, they sought him out on this one, making it that much harder, when this door closed.

While all of this is going on,  Andrew has been working full time, and at home, still continues to be husband and father, and taking a final pre-req that was needed to apply for a nursing program at a school in Orlando.
Juggling all of it without complaining.

I'm not sure nursing was the back up plan, but after time and prayer, and various conversations, this seemed like something to pursue, and while it took 2 full semester to finish the class, turn everything in, complete orientation and all that's required, an application was completed.

If you know anything about nursing school, it is no doubt competitive to get in.

Another time of waiting, and in this waiting period, all these doors I explained above, were shutting right and left. I must say, some not so hard, and others, felt like a slap in the face.

I have to tell you, as a spouse, loving my husband and knowing how incredible he would have been at any of these opportunities, I wrestled with God.
I feel bad for questioning all I did, but I'm human.
Why? What do you have for him? What are you doing? Are you even listening? Why would you let someone seek him out specifically for something that never comes along, and that door just shut. Do you even see Andrew? Do you hear me? When are you going to come through?

What I haven't told you yet is that deep down in my heart, my struggle has been so much bigger than a job, finances, and life just 'coming together.'

You see, I'm about to let you into some of the deepest things in my heart.
Part of my praying through a year ago, involved the expansion of our family.
Andrew, even before Eleanor, patiently let me get where I needed to be in so many ways before we added to our family. This was a process for me, that I have written about before.
I cannot imagine our life without her.
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that in God's perfect timing, He chose her for us,  and the very day she would be born.

Those of you who know me, know that I am practical. In many ways to a fault.
I realize there will never be a 'perfect time', 'enough money', or a perfect scenario to have a baby. I have lived this now, and I hear it from everyone around me.
But in my heart, I want nothing more than the confidence to know we will be able to take care of and provide for all that God entrusts us with.
For me, it was getting to a place in my heart like I did, prior to have Eleanor ,where I felt peace about the decision to expand our family if God saw fit.
Maybe it shouldn't be a process, but for me, it had been, and was, but I had gotten there.
Months of prayer, writing on my own, asking God for His peace.
I got there.
Hopeful, excited, nervous about the unknowns in it all, but I had peace.
Finally feeling like I could say okay, this is it, trusting God that if He saw fit, He would bless us with another baby.

The closed doors.
The timing.
Confusion for me.
Hard conversations I dreaded.
Once again, God was faithful.

Not long after the door closed on the 'once in a lifetime' job, Andrew got an email that he got accepted into Valencia's Accelerated Nursing Program to become an RN.

God's open door.
It flung wide open.

I cannot tell you how proud I was/am of Andrew. I will have to write another time about this process, what it looks like, and specifically how God has provided for our every need during this season.
He started this program in May, and He will be finished this coming April.

While His closed doors were not easy to accept at the time, He had a plan for Andrew.
He's showing us daily, through His provision, that this is where He wants us.
While the no to what seemed to be the 'best thing'  was hard to accept. And at time confusing, it has now been made clear to us , that in all reality, the no, was God's way of protecting us.

We can see it for what it is.
I thank God for the closed doors, because what I thought was best, was not His best.

As far as my heart, and all I just shared, the open door for nursing school means, that sometimes the plan isn't a no, it just means wait.

The waiting.

He's changing me. He's creating a deeper/stronger faith within me.
I am living day to day, trusting God to provide for our every need and to meet us where we are.
I'm not sure I would ever choose to be here on my own because it feels so uncomfortable, but it's so good for me.

I don't know how it will all pan out,  but I know that God will be faithful.
It's taken me almost 6 months to be able to give voice to all of this.
Not just on paper, but even in my own mind.

As I sit here writing, I am overwhelmed at all the Lord's done in the last year.
I am so thankful for a husband who works hard to take care of us, sacrificing in many ways right now to get through school, while still working full time.
I am thankful that He follows the Lord's leading and guiding.
That he did not let the closed doors define him, but instead, trusted in God's plan, and His time.
I can't wait to continue to watch His plan unfold in my life and in our family.

"I can see the promise, I can see the future.
You're the God of seasons,  I'm just in the winter.
If all I know of harvest is that it's worth my patience.
Then if you're not done working, God I'm not done waiting.
You can see my promise, even in the winter.
Cause you're the God of greatness, even in the manger.
For all I know of seasons is that You take your time.
You could have saved us in a second, instead You sent a child."


Sunday, January 27, 2019

Since I've had Eleanor, I've learned more about the worst 'rest' than I think I ever wanted to.

I will say, prior to having her, I knew what it felt like to be tired, but I didn't realize just how much I took time for granted.

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't trade having our sweet girl for the world, but it changes everything. 
Being a full time nurse practitioner, wife, mom, friend, and worship leader does not come without its challenges in balancing time. Can I get an amen from anyone? Sometimes it feels like a circus juggling it all.

My type A personality at times struggles to shut "off." 
I don't think even when given the time that I slow down easily, because if something isn't accomplished that day, or if I can not highlight anything off my list (anyone else feel amazing when they get to check the boxes or highlight things off the list?!) I often feel it is a wasted day, but that is far from the truth.

Eleanor has a way of bringing things into perspective for me. Simple things like going to the park, bring me back to reality to remind me what's truly important. It's amazing how playing blocks with an almost 2 year old for 20 minutes can change the way you see the world.

So for me, I'm learning that 'rest' doesn't always translate to 'sleep' although a good nap every once is awhile is always welcomed. Im finding that within myself I have to practice this as a discipline in order for me to be the best me. It's is very difficult for me mentally to shut my brain off from all the choices I make on a daily basis for patients, to stop thinking about all the things in my inbox that need to be signed off, or not to keep stressing about the mounds of laundry piled up at home waiting to be folded. 

So what am I learning?

I'm learning that there are more important things than a clean house.

I'm learning that the work will always be there, and as long as I'm doing my best each day, I have to leave it at that and trust God with the rest.

The screen in my hands what feels like constantly, can do more damage than good and sometimes I need to have enough self control to just put it down for awhile. (This one really hits home and I feel conviction even writing this one. I know I'm not alone.)

Being present with Eleanor during the time I do have with her, is the best thing I can give her. It never feels like enough, but when I have it, she deserves my undivided attention.

Sometimes, it is okay to go through an entire day without checking anything off the  to-do list. 

Sometimes you just have to be spontaneous and say "yes'' to things more than you say "no." 

Balance is everything. It is hard. Without God's help, I will never be able to do this well. 

Finding rest mentally is crucial for me. I have to consistently bring myself back to the truth of the scripture. Resting in Him, instead of constant worry/stress.

I am certainly a work in progress, and this is an ongoing lesson but I pray that each and everyday I am making strides to be more like Jesus in my mentality, and my ability to practice resting. To just 'be' as His words commands us to "Be still." 

I'm thankful today for a husband who knows how important this time is for me, and watches our sweet girl while I take a little time for myself. 

If this resonates with you, I'd love to hear from you. How do you rest? What habits or practices do you have that help you to do this better?

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