We Fight On!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Self portrait with boxing gloves.

There are moments in our life’s that change everything. These moments alter the way we see the world around us, how we understand other people, how we walk, talk, and breathe…moments that change us to our core. April 2nd has become one of those days in my life.

A year ago I lost a piece of me, I lost a chunk of my heart, my faith, my hope…myself. We learned that the two embryo babies didn’t make it. You can read about the day that changed us here.

In some ways it seems like April 2, 2015 was forever ago, other days it feels like I’m still re-living every second of it. In the last year I have fought demons and internal battles I never dreamed I would. I have always considered myself to be a strong woman, I’ve always confronted challenges and obstacles head on, and eventually rose through the ashes. Infertility however, infertility has broken any sense of “strength” I once thought I had—it has broken me! I have questioned my ability to rise up at every turn since.

Anyone close to me knows I’m different now. I haven’t been the strong, kind, determined, energetic, optimistic, fun-loving, confident woman I spent so much time working to become, even if I am still her, I don’t feel like it. I have been fighting tooth and nail to “find myself” again this year, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Many days I’m furious with myself for “breaking” for letting the cracks show through this year…for letting this BREAK ME DOWN.

I have been fighting…hard, to get myself back. I see a mental health counselor often, I hired a personal trainer that I go to once a week, I have stepped back from many projects, I have changed my diet…I am fighting to get myself back. I may not feel strong anymore, but when it comes to fight or flight, I’m naturally a fighter.

Since April 2, 2015 I have become a bully. I beat myself up mentally and emotionally to the point I’m unrecognizable to myself. I tell my body and my brain how much I hate it, and I have become the mean girl in my own life. I am working on this and trying hard to love myself, broken or whole.

Along with being a fighter, I’m a creator. I love finding old, “unusable,” uncommon, broken things, and making them something I can show off in my home or my life. Nothing brings more joy to me than finding something “plain,” slapping a little paint, or glitter, or modge podge on it and making it special again. Our house has few things that are store bought, or in their original state, I’ve “Deja-ized” (as Lucas says) nearly everything to make them something meaningful to me. I’m working hard now to do the same with myself. I’m not the same, and that’s okay, I just have to find new way to Deja-ize myself into something I’m proud of again.

It’s been a hard year, but it’s always been pretty remarkable.

I have grown to love my husband in a way I never dreamed imaginable. Our love has hit a new level in the last year—I have developed a new love and appreciation for him, more than ever before. He loves the BROKEN Deja in ways I can’t love myself. I have grown closer to my family and friends who have truly stepped up, been patient with me, loved me at my WORST, and have been unconditionally patient with me. Friends who have sent me care packages, texts, emails, and love when I didn’t even realize I needed it. In times of darkness those who are truly there to light your way, show up brighter than ever before.

Many have asked what’s next for us…

Lucas and I spent much of the last year focusing on ourselves and our marriage…trying to get back to some resemblance of a normal life. Lucas got a new job, I finished my PhD coursework and started my dissertation, we have grown new friendships, and have worked on establishing a positive routine in our lives.

Just three weeks ago, we both felt we were ready to finally address what was next. After lots of prayer and conversation we made the decision to try again with IVF.

I’ve heard it ALL at this point: “Why would you put yourself through that again?” “Why don’t you just adopt?” “Why would you do this again when you are always saying how hard it is?” “Why do something again that will break you, when you’re finally getting back to normal?” It’s really a simple answer, hope.

No matter the pain we experienced we have hope, even if hope is microscopic most days…it’s hope and it’s always there nagging at us. I suspect that when you want something bad enough, no matter how beat up you are, how damaged you feel, you can’t give up, because somehow giving up is even more painful.

For reasons personal to us, we made the decision to find a new IVF doctor, to seek a second opinion, and to consider a different fertility clinic. We scheduled an interview with a new clinic this last week (per the recommendation of my sweet cousin Tiff), and on Thursday we had our meeting. I was SICK as could be right before our appointment because I WAS FREAKING OUT about throwing us into the depths again…but I also knew it was the right time no matter how scared I was. It was an INCREDIBLY POWERFUL experience for us.

We walked into our new clinic and we both felt so peaceful, instantly, it was magic. It’s a small clinic, MUCH smaller than our last one, and the atmosphere is completely different…and we loved it. I have NO DOUBT in my mind, that despite my struggles spiritually in the last year, that the Lord lead us to that clinic that day.

We met with a new doctor, Dr. H and we felt an instant connection with him. He had some unique ideas for us, was upfront with us, and had done all his research on our case beforehand. He spent over an hour talking with us, answering our thousands of questions, and didn’t seem the least bit annoyed or rushed. He was thorough and thoughtful, and we were beaming when we left.

So here it goes, our plan.

I am going to try to carry myself this time. No surrogate, me! Of course this has always been our ideal plan, but I have been told in the past I couldn’t carry because of my uterus. With our last round of IVF however, we learned my eggs were more the problem than my uterus, and Dr. H. has reviewed all my scans and thinks it might be possible. In order to carry, I do have to pass a series of tests, some of these tests I have not passed in the past. I, however, have already miraculously passed a few of these tests yesterday. I have several more to go, and there is always a chance I won’t pass them all, but we’re taking the optimistic approach.

There is also a small possibility I will be able to use my own eggs too—how great would that be!?! We are considering some options to improve my egg quality—including using human growth hormones to improve my egg quality. All of this is still up in the air, but the clinic also has one of the largest databases of egg donor in the world if we need them.

Yesterday, I passed my uterus quality test (yes there is such a thing) meaning preliminary tests show my uterus is in good shape to carry a baby (size, shape, etc.), which we are obviously thrilled about! I also gave about 15 vials of blood yesterday which is still being tested—I will update you when I hear back on this.

There is an area of concern that I need you guys to pray and cross your fingers for…

My ultrasound yesterday shows my ovaries are in pretty bad shape. I have cysts on both my right and left ovary, and they aren’t small cysts (which I have had plenty of in the past, and cysts are not uncommon for most woman). The cyst on my right ovary is fairly large, but the ovary itself appears to be in fair shape. To give you guys a quick lesson in ovaries (lucky you), an average woman’s ovary is usually between 3 and 8 mL in size (this can vary greatly depending on a woman’s age—this is a general guideline). My right ovary, with the cyst on it, is measuring at about 23 mL, so significantly larger.

Here is where things get a little concerning, my left ovary is in far worse condition. I have a cyst on my left ovary that is 86.2 mL’s, it gigantic (remember the norm is between 3 and 9)! I’m thanking the Lord that I have not been in a lot more pain than I have been with a cyst this size. The point in me telling you all this is that both ovaries have to be 100% clear of any cysts before I can do anything with IVF, including determining if it is possible to extract my own eggs. Most cysts go away within a couple of months on their own, without needing surgery. If these cysts do not go away, they will have to be surgically removed. Many times a cyst the size of the one on my left is operated on right away, but because surgery can cause scar tissue (which I already have a lot of), and can damage the ovary, we are going to give the sucker two months or it will be evicted.

Overall, the great news now is that we have a plan. We are ready and willing to give it another time. Answers to how exactly we are going to do this are still up in the air…but we’re optimistic.

In conclusion, thank you all for your continual love and support in our journey. Thank you for loving us through all of this, for listening and sharing our story, for believing in us, and most importantly for continuing to pray for us.

We love you all and hope you will join us on the new phase of our journey—I promise to keep you posted. You’re comments, thoughts, and kind words are what keep up going—we need you and love you!


Below is a picture of gift I made for Lucas today. It’s a shadow box with a picture of our little embryos that says, “A person’s a person no matter how small,” a newly favorited Dr. Seuss quote I love. The frame has two little butterflies in it, and glitter in the bottom…I was going for a snow globe effect. This will hanging in our home as a sweet reminder of our journey, your love and support, and hope.

Broken Hearts and Broken Crayons

Sunday, December 27, 2015

This Christmas I decided I wanted to make most of my niece and nephew’s Christmas gifts, instead of just buying them at the store. Lucas always looks at me with questioning eyes when I tell him about my crazy plans, I’m sure he wishes I’d just go to the store and buy stuff. Our house was in chaos the week before Christmas trying to finish everything, and we made about 50 trips to the craft store.

One project was my idea to make homemade crayons, now when I say homemade I mean semi-homemade. I bought some cute candy making molds (animals for Gavin, and butterflies for Maycee). I then gathered broken crayons I had lying around my craft room, put them in the mold, and baked them (find the directions for this here). It turned out to be an easy and super fun project, and they turned out so cute (sadly I did not take a picture of the finished product).

It’s been month’s since I’ve shared anything on this blog—it has not been months since I’ve wrote for the blog—those posts just never seemed to make into the public eye. I felt they were too dark, too pain-ridden, too whiney, too everything but hopeful, to share.

I thing this blog has saved me, because it has given me a reason to write, to open up my heart (broken as it may be), and to face my reality. My honesty and freeness in my writing has hurt people I love dearly in the past, which has made me question everything I’ve gone to share.

I’ve shut down for months now, I have rarely cried, I have begun swearing a lot more than I ever have, I have thrown myself full force into ANYTHING that could distract me from the pain. I have faltered as a wife, a sister, a daughter, an aunt…I have dropped the ball in regards to my responsibilities. I have tried to shape myself in a whole new way (physically, emotionally, and mentally). I have tried to numb the pain with nearly any method I could think of.

The truth is, the pain CAN be numbed, attention CAN be re-shifted, and your heart CAN be put on auto-pilot…but only temporarily.

December…as I sit here typing I can’t help but think what might have been.
This month, right now as I sit here typing, we would have our baby, had either of our embryos taken. We would have woken up on Christmas morning with a baby!

It’s hard for me to understand that it has been nine months since embryo transfer, it feels so fresh in my mind, it feels like I’ve had zero time to heal when in reality, it’s been nine months. I wish I could tell you that time has healed me, that I’ve gotten stronger with each passing day, that Lucas and I have only grown closer, that faith has pulled me through, that time has begun to heal my wounds…I wish so badly this was the case.

I wish I could FINALLY update you with glowing news that we have a plan, that we know our next step, that we are stronger than ever because of went we went through. This isn’t the truth though, and this blog has always been about sharing our journey openly and honestly.

I hold on to a seed of hope that someday soon, this will be our story.

I’m in a dark place in my life. I’m fighting to understand God’s plan for me, and I struggle to reach out to Him in my heartache. I know He loves me, as I have seen His tender mercies, (although I’m sure there are many I’ve missed). I know He’s there and loves me, even when I lack the strength to reach out to Him.

Many ask what they can do for Lucas and I, and the only answer I can think of us is to pray for us, because that is something we are struggling to do for ourselves right now.

Somedays I feel completely forgotten about by He who created me and loves me—I know I have not been forgotten, and I strive to feel His love a little more every day—every so microscopically. I’m a broken soul right now and I’m slowly finding new ways to fix me.

Lucas is struggling, the heartache is very real for him. I see the tears well up in his eye, I see his anger seep in, I see the heartache that he carries with him and yet I struggle to carry some of his burden and he mine…we’re both hurting.

The options are still the same, what’s on the table now is adoption, or using an egg donor through IVF, neither choice we hoped for, but it’s our reality. We both have to be ready for the next decision, we have to be on the same page, and God’s timing will dictate that.

There is this though, we will continue to fight, to hang on to ourselves, our goals, our hopes, our dreams, and most importantly…our marriage. We don’t know what’s next but we cling on to hope that we will find our way out of the darkness and find the answers we long for.

Any kind of loss is a battle. It’s going to war everyday with yourself, hoping that you will be properly armed against the daily reminders of what you can’t have, what you can’t control, what you can’t fix. Like this post, it’s not pretty, or elegant, or hopeful…it can be discouraging, and exhausting, and sad. I have faith that this will change, that someday we will understand the pain we feel today, that we will know the path designed for us.

I have learned that my timeline for healing is not reality, that my idea to set aside 9 months to get back to me is not long enough. I have learned that my healing might be a much longer recovery. No matter what any of us may be going through, we must learn to be patient with ourselves. We must take the time to heal, as long as that takes. We must be kind to ourselves in our broken state.

So what the heck is the homemade crayon story about, well it motivated me to write this. I am still very broken, but I’m still “coloring”, even in my broken state. I have grown to love a quote I discovered through this journey, it hangs in my office, and in my home, as a gentle reminder that it’s okay to be broken.

“Broken crayons still color”.

My Open Letter

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Recently I was quite moved by a celebrity. I recently read a letter Bill Rancic wrote to his beautiful wife Giuliana on an important day in her life. It touched my heart because I have felt much of the pain they have gone through in recent years...the heartache of infertility.

I have been silent on my infertility blog now for a while. The pain I have been going through the last several months has shut me down, totally and completely. I have felt like I've had to take all my broken pieces and try to re-construct something that resembles me. I have felt ANGRY, more anger has come out of me than I ever knew had in me. I've snapped at people I love and care deeply about, even to my own surprise and shock. The anger element is something I didn't expect to hit me so hard. I'm working on overcoming this and am trying to find new way of coping with my heartache.

I thank all of you have been around me and have been able to sense my heartache, anger, and resentment and have loved me anyway.

Bill's letter to Giuliana prompted me to write a similar letter to my husband. An open letter of love. I cried writing this letter, but smiled too to know I have found the one person who will love me no matter what (he's proven that the last few months). Poor guy deserves a break, but he doesn't take it, he's by my side every pain-staking day.

So here's my open letter of love to my Sweet GQ

Dear GQ,
I realized tonight that it has been far too long since I sat down to write you a letter. I need to do better about letting you know how much you mean to me and how much you make my life better. This year has been one of the hardest of our relationship together, yet one of my favorite’s so far. We have hit the peak of our struggle with infertility-finding out that we lost our final two little embryos-and that my eggs are not even viable. Infertility can be absolutely draining on a marriage, it’s exhausting, it’s defeating, and it’s painful in every way. If anything can break a person/couple down, it’s infertility! Infertility has just been the biggest of our trials this year, there have been many others little things that have tested us individually and together. We always try to focus on the positive and stay strong, but we’ve come to realize that falling apart, together is okay too.
Instead of dwelling on the hard parts of our year, I want us to always see the good parts too. I have grown to love you on a whole new level this year. I have never felt so broken in my lifemy body is broken, my positive attitude is broken, my strength is broken, and my heart is brokenbut you love me like I’m WHOLE. You wrap your arms around my broken soul every day and hug me until I feel a little less broken. You stop me in the middle of a study session or tear-soaked Netflix fling, and you dance with me. You dance with me like it’s our wedding day and we’re dancing for the first time as husband and wife-you hold me so tight and I feel safe for a minute. You wrap me up like I’m the most precious thing you’ve ever held, and you take away some of my deeply-seeded hurt. I love you!
I know this journey has been hard for your too, and I haven’t always been there to wrap you up because of my own hurtI’m sorry for that. I will try harder to be there for you when you are hurting and love you with the zeal in which you love me. I often lately feel forgotten by God, like why is he giving me this kind of heartache, but He always reminds me, “Deja, I gave you Lucas!” I know you’re my gift, always have always will. Thank you babe! :):

Always & Forever
I love you and I like you,