Connecting With Family

Welcome to Day 8 of 31 Days of Connection (we’re only a quarter of the way through)! Remember, stop by Day 1 to catch the links to all 31 days.

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Connecting With Family

I know, you’re thinking, “Hello, Lisa – I’m around my family all day. Don’t you think I’m already connected enough?” Maybe. But maybe you could connect more, better, deeper. Of course you’re connected – you’re related and you love each other and there’s a connection between all of you that won’t ever go away. Have you been intentional about your connection with family members lately? I know that we tend to get comfortable and familiar and get to that point where we don’t really work at it anymore. But it takes constant effort if you want that deeper level of connection. And by developing that deeper connection at home, we’ll be better prepared to connect with those outside our family circle.

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Connect With Your Spouse

Connecting with our spouse should include connection through intimacy and touch, but we should also be making time to “date” each other. It’s important to have one-on-one time away from the distractions of children so you can talk about your dreams and goals for your family or work through issues together. It doesn’t have to be an expensive night out with a babysitter at home, though I recommend saving up and doing that at least once in a while. It can be time together at home after putting the kids to bed early – that might mean you have to stay up really late, but it’s worth it for some time alone together.

Connect With Your Children

Connecting with children happens all day long, but this is about taking extra, intentional time to connect with them one-on-one. Make it a priority to fit in or schedule time with each child without the other children. Maybe that’s a parent/child “date” or maybe it’s just time together in the child’s room. It’s certainly easier to achieve this with younger children as they usually love to cuddle and read stories together. It gets tougher as they get older and requires you to figure out what ways they prefer to connect. Is it playing a video game together and talking about what’s happening at school? Is it shopping together and laughing about your day? When you have teens, it’s harder still.

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Connecting intentionally with a teen may mean perseverance on our end. Just because a teen seems outwardly not to care about connecting, don’t believe it. Teens want love and connection but won’t always give you the satisfaction of showing that they care. But if we give up, they will assume that we don’t care enough to keep trying. Don’t give up! Make a coffee date and talk about their day or hang out at the mall to people watch and share some of your wisdom at the same time. Keep things low key and no-pressure. Developing a deeper connection with your teen may take more effort now but it they will appreciate it as they get older.

Connect With Other Family Members

Connecting with other family members outside of your immediate family is important, too. Whether it’s grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, or in-laws, make time during each year to connect or reconnect with them. This probably won’t be able to happen as often but make that effort to rearrange your schedule once in a awhile to visit your other family members or attend a family function. Not only are we developing a better connection, we are also setting the example for your children on how to connect with family.


Make taking time to be intentional about connecting with family members a priority and you’ll see the benefits not only with your relationships with family, but with your own ability to connect with others. This will mean planning ahead. Being intentional means working to make it happen rather than waiting for the right moment to spontaneously occur.

Day 8 Daily Connection Challenge:
Schedule some intentional one-on-one time to connect with family members. Start today if possible. Plan ahead and schedule time with each one as well as commit to a family occasion or event coming up in the next month or so.

Thank you for joining me for Day 8 of 31 Days of Connection! Make life easy and click here to sign up to receive each post as it’s published – right to your inbox!

Connecting Through Touch

Welcome to Day 7 of 31 Days of Connection! If you miss any posts, stop by Day 1 for all the links to the 31 posts as they are published.

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Connecting Through Touch

Touch is one of the ways that we communicate nonverbally and is another way that we connect with others. Think about the different ways that we touch people in our lives and how many different messages we send using touch. Holding hands with a loved one communicates closeness and trust. Shaking hands firmly with a coworker communicates confidence and assurance. Putting a hand on a friend’s back communicates helpfulness and togetherness.

Touch helps create a connection. If we go through the day and never touch anybody, we are missing out on another layer of connection with others. To work on improving that connection, try using touch throughout your day. Some of us naturally reach out and touch others all the time. But others will need to get past the uncomfortableness of touch. It takes practice and stepping out of your comfort zone. But in order to connect better, it’s worth stepping out. And there are so many ways to do that, depending on your relationship with the person: shaking hands, holding hands, a hand on a shoulder or the back, a hug, an arm around the waist, a fist bump, and more.

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Day 7 Daily Connection Challenge:
Reach out and touch someone! It could be holding hands with a family member or touching the back of a friend or shaking the hand of a stranger. But make it something that you don’t normally do or with a person you don’t normally touch (unless you know it would make them feel uncomfortable).


Thank you for joining me for Day 7 of 31 Days of Connection! How are you doing with the challenges? Have you been able to keep up? Let me know in the comments! And make life easy for yourself – click here to sign up to receive the posts in your inbox as they’re published.

 

Connection Through Intimacy

Welcome to Day 6 of 31 Days of Connection. If you miss any daily posts, just stop by Day 1 where you’ll find all the links in one place.

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Connection Through Intimacy

Intimacy is extremely important for connecting with those closest and dearest to you. There is intimacy in marriage, including sexual intimacy. And there is intimacy with other family members and friends. One of the meanings of intimacy is a close, familiar friendship or relationship. Intimacy with someone turns into a deeper connection with that person. Without that close connection with at least one family member or friend, it’s harder to understand connection and to reach out to connect with people around you.

I’m not here to go into any detail about sexual intimacy in marriage. All I’ll say is that it is extremely important, even when one or both spouses do not feel like being physically intimate. If a marriage is struggling, often connecting through physical intimacy can begin to help the struggle. There are a few blogs that actually do discuss sexual intimacy – we should not be embarrassed to talk about it! Here are a couple you can start with: To Love, Honor, and Vacuum and Intimacy in Marriage.

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Intimacy in our closest relationships with family and friends takes some effort and takes being intentional. An intimate relationship with a family member or a friend might mean one-on-one time discussing fears and dreams, praying together, crying and laughing, and include holding hands or hugging. The more emotionally unlocked and vulnerable you are willing to be with a person, the more intimate the relationship and the deeper the connection. Intimate relationships and deep connections help us to be healthier and more fulfilled, which usually means that we will be better spouses, parents, and friends.

Day 6 Daily Connection Challenge:
Choose your spouse or a family member or close friend and take time today or schedule time now for sometime this week to work on intimacy with that person. That might be an unexpected date with your spouse, a private talk with a family member, or a quiet coffee date with a close friend. If you don’t already have a relationship like this in your life, reach out and take a step toward making it happen. 


Thank you for joining me for Day 6 of 31 Days of Connection! Leave a comment and let me know if you’re following along with the daily challenges. See you here again for Day 7! Don’t forget to sign up below to receive all the posts right in your inbox!

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Connecting With a Smile

Welcome to Day 5 of 31 Days of Connection! To find links to all the posts in the series, stop by the first post and get all caught up.

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Connecting With a Smile

By now everybody knows that there is plenty of research to back up the importance of smiling. Even if you’re not using a smile to connect with somebody, you should be smiling for your own benefit. Smiling is linked to releasing endorphins which make you feel good, decreasing stress, longer life, increased confidence, and more. Even faking a smile has physical benefits, so if you’re not in a smiling mood right now, fake a big old smile while you read the rest of this post and you’ll actually be helping yourself out. You’re welcome.

Studies also show that smiling is considered contagious. The brain reacts when it sees a smile and gives you the urge to copy that facial expression. It’s very hard not to smile back at someone who smiles at you. And that’s why smiling is a fun way to connect with people. How does it make you feel when somebody smiles at you? It makes me feel like people are generally good, the world is not such a bad place, and gives me a little boost of self confidence all at the same time. But more than that, it’s a moment of connection. A smile shared between two people can be a passing moment of connection, but has the potential to turn into friendship, romance, new business, and new opportunities. One never knows where a smile may lead.

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Let’s make that effort to start connecting with a smile – a simple task that doesn’t even require words. Try smiling at everybody and see what happens – your family, friends, coworkers, strangers at the store. If you’re not a naturally “smiley” person, it takes a little practice, but it’s worth it. You’re connecting and making somebody else feel good when they see you smile and they smile back. Plus you’re doing something good for yourself at the same time. Win, win!

Day 5 Daily Connection Challenge:
Smile at as many people as you can today, even when you don’t feel like it, and see what happens.


Thank you for joining me for Day 5 of 31 Days of Connection! Picture me smiling at you right now! Leave a comment and let me know the results of smiling at everybody. Come on back for Day 6!

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Connection Begins With You

Welcome to Day 4 of 31 Days of Connection! If you have missed any of the posts, hop on over to Day 1 and you’ll find each post linked up there as they are published.

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Connection With Yourself

What do I mean by that? Am I saying you should sign up for your own email list and follow your own Facebook page? You should do those things (hey – you should be your own biggest fan), but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about connecting with your inner self. The inner self that gets neglected and is probably part of the reason you’re drawn to a series on connection, actually. I’m suggesting to you that you should put some effort toward yourself first before making efforts to reach out and connect with others. If you neglect yourself, your efforts at connecting with others will still work, but may fall a little short or feel a little hollow.

Connecting with yourself is about taking a timeout from your busy day (I know, I know – easier said than done) and thinking, planning, dreaming. It’s asking yourself questions and actually listening to the answers. If you’re Christian, it involves even more – reading and listening to Scripture and praying – self can’t be trusted without some guidance from the Holy Spirit.

This timeout for yourself needs to have as little distraction as possible and as much quiet as possible in order for you to really be able to think. That may mean getting up earlier, going to bed later, locking yourself in the bathroom, stepping outside, sitting in your car, or an extra-long shower (not really recommended when we are in a drought situation). I’m not saying it needs to be an hour though that would be great. Try for just 15 minutes each day. If you’re in a season where even 15 minutes is almost impossible – then try for 10, or even 5. Make it a priority.

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How to Connect

This is the time to ask yourself all sorts of questions, like: Why am I overreacting to certain things? Why do I keep struggling with this one issue? What about myself have I been neglecting? What help do I need and how can I ask for it? What would I most like to do if I had a full day of doing anything? What dreams have I been pushing out of my mind? Are there baby steps I could take toward making those dreams a reality someday? But it’s not just about trying to answer questions.

Questions help you get to the root of things you are struggling with or missing. But you should talk to yourself as well and remind yourself of a few things, like: I am precious. I can strive to do better than yesterday, but do not have to be perfect (perfection is impossible – only Jesus was perfect). It’s okay to admit that I need help and that I need connection with other people. I can set goals and make plans and take small steps to move forward. I can love myself and love others, in spite of any faults.

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How you connect with yourself is up to you – questioning, talking, praying, reading, crying, dreaming, planning, writing, or some other way. There are so many ways and it will look different for each person. The point is to take that time and do it. Then you’ll be in a better position to work on connection with others and to improve your personal and professional relationships.

Day 4 Daily Connection Challenge:
Take 5-15 minutes as a timeout today to connect with yourself. If you’re Christian, you get an extra layer to the challenge – use your timeout to also read a Psalm (if you need a place to start, try Psalm 34) and pray.


Thank you for joining me for Day 4 of 31 Days of Connection! Are you signed up to receive these posts in your email inbox? Click the link today and git ‘r done! Come on back for Day 5 and a way to connect that anybody can easily do.

The Daily Connection Challenge Checklist

Welcome to Day 3 of 31 Days of Connection! Find all the posts in the series linked up to Day 1, as they are posted.


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The Daily Connection Challenges

If you’ve been following along since Day 1, you know that I have a simple daily challenge to go along with each topic. So far, I’ve been easy on you. But as we go through discussing how to work on connection in our lives, the challenges will get a little tougher. Not tougher because they are very time-consuming tasks, but because they may take us out of our comfort zone and require a little extra effort in our day. The challenges that are already in your comfort zone will be easy to cross off your list, but I think you’ll find a few things that you will try and talk yourself out of doing. I want to encourage you to use these daily challenges as a way to hold yourself accountable to put forth that extra effort.

In order for me to make the effort to work to improve something, I find that accountability really helps me. Use the daily challenges and me as your accountability partners. Document the day’s challenge, what you did and how it went and then come back and comment on a post or on Facebook and let me know. I have a couple of printables to help you (because printables make it all better, right?!).

Day 3 Connection Challenge:
Download the Daily Challenge printables and start using them to keep up with the Connection challenges.

Daily Connection Challenge Printables

Printable #1: This PDF has all 31 days listed on one sheet with a spot to list that day’s challenge and a spot to list what you did to accomplish the challenge. Print out and keep track in writing or save on your computer and track it there. Just click on the image to take you to the download!

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Printable #2: This PDF is to help you focus on just today’s task. Print out and trim it. Grab an old 5×7 frame or find one at the dollar store, get some dry erase markers and write your daily focus right on the glass. Click on the image to get the download!

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Thank you for joining me for Day 3 and I hope you find the printables helpful! Let me know what you think in the comments. Now you’re all set up for success with the rest of the 31 Days of Connection. Come on back for Day 4! Let’s do this together!

 

Connect with Lisa Marie

Welcome to Day 2 of 31 Days of Connection! Stop by my Kickoff Post to get links to all 31 days as they are posted.


 

I’m glad you’re here! I’m looking forward to going through 31 days of finding new ways to connect and improving our efforts at connection. The first part is easy – connect with me!

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Connect with Me

I would love to connect with you in the way that works best for you and your online life. Let’s go through these 31 days together and help each other get better at achieving Connection (hey, I’m writing this to help myself too, you know!). I want us to feel like we are working through this as a group of friends rather than as strangers stopping by to read another stranger’s posts. What way is easiest for you to keep up with the 31 Days of Connection Posts?

connectSign up for my email list. You’ll receive each day’s post right in your email inbox. Super easy! Or just use the inbox delivery to check out the title and come on over to the blog to read it.

connectFollow my Facebook Page. I’ll be sharing the links to each day’s post on my Facebook Page so you might see it in your timeline or can stop by the Page to get the latest link.

connectFollow me on Instagram. I’ll be posting each day’s graphic and title there. If you click the link in my Instagram profile, it will take you to the home page of my blog where you’ll find that day’s post.

connectFollow me on Twitter. A link to each day’s post will be showing up on Twitter as well. If that’s where you like to hang out, then I’ll see you there!

Or if you prefer the fun of blog-hopping, stop by each day and say hi! I’ll be right here waiting for you.

Day 2 Connection Challenge:
Pick a new way to connect with me if you haven’t already so we can journey through this series together.


Now wasn’t that simple? I’m going to ease you into the tougher stuff. And hey – I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment and tell me where you spend most of your online time during the day.

Come on back tomorrow for Day 3 of 31 Days of Connection and a helpful printable just for you!

31 Days of Connection

Welcome to 31 Days of Connection! It’s been a while since I jumped on board with #writing31days (actually I only did it one other time 3 years ago on my other blog). The posting on this blog has been scarce lately but what better way to get back up and running than with daily posts for the month of October!

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31 Days of Connection

What do I mean by Connection? When we look at all of our relationships, whether with our families or friends or with strangers or customers, we see that we need good relationships in all of these areas in order to have a meaningful life. Good relationships happen because of connection. Though connection can happen instantly, it usually comes from putting forth effort and needs continued effort and improvement in order to sustain those connections.

Brené Brown has a great quote about Connection:

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”

If you take a step back and look at your life, I think you’ll see that focusing on connection in your personal and professional life will yield growth for you and richer, stronger relationships all around. I’m writing this series for myself as well. I can see that I need to put some work into achieving and maintaining connection in many areas. And I think we should work on it together!

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I will be posting about the many different ways we connect and how we can work to improve those. Some ways will be obvious; some will be more subtle; and some will overlap with each other. By breaking this topic down into daily chunks, we can take just a few minutes each day to think about a way that we connect and focus on it for that day. Each day I will be including a challenge related to that topic. This is to help us get out of our comfort zone a little and work to improve our many relationships.

I will be including the links to all the posts right here for you, so if you miss any along the way, just come back here and click on your favorites. Are you ready? Let’s do this!

Day 1 Connection Challenge:
Go to write31days.com (Go to “Linking Up” at the top, hover over it and click on the category you wish to start with – you’ll find everyone who has linked up in that category so far. I’m listed in Personal Endeavors.) and pick out some favorite 31 Day series that you want to follow in October.

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31 Days of Connection Post Links

Day 1: You’re here!
Day 2: Connect with Lisa Marie
Day 3: The Daily Connection Challenge Checklist
Day 4: Connection Begins With You
Day 5: Connecting With a Smile
Day 6: Connection Through Intimacy
Day 7: Connecting Through Touch
Day 8: Connecting With Family
Day 9: Connecting With Friends
Day 10: Connecting By Phone
Day 11: Connection Through Love Languages
Day 12: Connecting Through Acts of Service and Kindness
Day 13: Connect Through Hospitality
Day 14: Connecting at Social Events
Day 15: Connecting at Work
Day 16: 10 Ways to Connect Through Employee Appreciation
Day 17: How to Connect Through Exceptional Customer Service
Day 18: Connect by Sending Cards and Letters
Day 19: 10 Best Practices for Connecting Through Email
Day 20: Connect by Writing Books and Stories
Day 21: Connect by Blogging
Day 22: Connect by Commenting
Day 23: Connecting Through Images
Day 24: 10 Ways to Connect on Facebook
Day 25: How to Connect in Facebook Groups
Day 26: Ways to Connect on Pinterest
Day 27: Connecting on Instagram
Day 28: Why You Should Connect on LinkedIn
Day 29: Connecting Through Video
Day 30: Connect Through Public Speaking
Day 31: Keep Working on Connection


Thank you so much for joining me on this journey through 31 Days of Connection. Leave a comment and let me know what your personal connection goals are. See you back here for Day 2! Click here to sign up to receive all the posts right in your inbox.

My Infertility Story – Part 2

WarningI share my full infertility story here, including miscarriage details. This may be too emotional for some people and disturbing for others.


If you have not yet read Let’s Talk About Infertility – please read that first as an introduction to the subject. And then read Part 1 of My Infertility Story. The story continues and finishes here. Why am I sharing it? By speaking up and sharing about my own struggles, I hope to show you that you are not alone in your struggles and to encourage you to step forward and share. Infertility shouldn’t be a secret subject and we should feel comfortable telling others that we are struggling and that we are not okay! My story is actually about secondary infertility but I hope that you find value in it if you are experiencing infertility of any kind. Here is Part 2 of my own infertility story.

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From Part 1:

And then, out of the blue, we were surprised by a pregnancy. My cycle was late and I took a test which turned out positive, much to my great surprise! We thought we would finally have another baby, since the pregnancy happened without us stressing or any help from medication. The baby checked out okay at our appointment as well, so we were cautiously optimistic. Everything changed just a few weeks later…

My Infertility Story – Part 2

We had an appointment scheduled near 12 weeks into the pregnancy. If everything checked out, we planned to start telling people that I was pregnant. We did end up telling close family only at this point. Sadly, at the appointment, the doctor and nurse discovered that the baby had already passed away – probably around 10 weeks. It was harder to cope with than in the past because this particular pregnancy had seemed like it was progressing better than any in the past.

At that point, I had a difficult decision to make – either to have a procedure done to remove the baby and scrape the uterus or to let the body miscarry the baby when ready. With either choice, there was risk of hemorrhaging. I decided that letting it happen naturally when my body was ready sounded like the better option. I now wish I had decided differently.

Over 2 weeks went by and I did not have any miscarriage. We had a vacation already scheduled and hoped everything would be okay until we got back from our trip. We left on our already-planned vacation to Montana. While there, we took a side trip through Glacier National Park and enjoyed ourselves. On the drive back from Glacier Park to my parents’ house, I started feeling miserable and realized that the actual process of miscarriage was beginning.

When we got back to my parents’ house, I went immediately to bed, bleeding and in pain. Later, I had to stay in the bathroom for a couple of hours because of the almost non-stop bleeding. We were very concerned about hemorrhaging but I wanted to hold off for a while since the hospital was only a 2-minute drive from the house if we needed to go. Finally, the bleeding seemed to slow just the smallest bit so we decided that I didn’t need to go to the hospital.

The whole process was not only very painful, but very scary, especially the fact that we had to go through it while not being at home. It was emotionally exhausting for both my husband and me. It really was horrible and I wouldn’t want to repeat that experience. Thankfully, at some point I was able to rest and then stayed in bed the next day. I felt sorry for my father and stepmother, though they were very sweet. It’s awkward going through a personal and painful experience in someone else’s home, even if they are family.

That miscarriage affected us more than the others. We had our hopes up that this pregnancy was going to be a successful one. This miscarriage was far more traumatic than the others had been. One of the after-effects, and I’m guessing it’s the same for many women who go through this, is that I developed a fear of getting pregnant. Though on the one hand I wanted to get pregnant and have another child, I also secretly hoped that I would not get pregnant again so that I wouldn’t have a chance of experiencing another miscarriage.

There are definitely psychological issues that go along with infertility – don’t beat yourself up thinking that you should be handling everything well. Don’t feel guilty when experiencing feelings of resentment, anger, heartbreak, fear, failure, low self-worth, and more. Having these feelings while struggling with infertility does not make you a bad person. It’s important to be honest about your feelings (they are normal and you are not the only one experiencing them) so that you can deal with them and ask for help, if needed.

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One of the issues that comes up and catches you off guard when you are struggling is hearing a friend or family member announce their pregnancy. I still remember a couple of announcements happening while I was in the midst of infertility. Though my mind knew that I wanted to be happy for them, my heart could not catch up. I faked my smiles and hugs as my thoughts went to wondering why them and why not me and why would they be so bold as to announce a pregnancy so early, when a miscarriage could happen at any time. The things that helped me were prayer and time, but I think if I had opened up and discussed these feelings with somebody, that would have been very helpful as well.

After going through that hardest miscarriage, my medical provider had me listed for three “official” miscarriages (I know that I had more early ones but never officially documented them). This fact triggered genetic testing, which I went ahead and did. When the results were in, I got a phone call. The lab discovered that I had a Protein S deficiency. While not as serious as a protein C deficiency, this does mean that I have an increased risk of developing an abnormal blood clot.

The counselor went over behaviors I should change, medications I should avoid, and recommended that I take a baby aspirin every day as a preventative measure. She said that it may have been a contributing factor in the miscarriages though not the only explanation for not having another child as we also should have conceived more often. The protein deficiency is important to know about for any possible future surgeries I have. It actually was a blessing to have discovered this important health information.

I never had another miscarriage like that one. I had one or two very early miscarriages sometime after that, similar to my first ones and so early that I hadn’t tested for pregnancy yet. There have been no other pregnancies that I am aware of for the last few years. I assume that due to my age, there is not much chance of getting pregnant anymore, though technically it is still possible.

I can’t just say “The End” and leave the story there because you will think this is all so sad and feel sorry for me. You need to know that I’m not sad anymore. I did not pray for God to make me pregnant, but rather prayed for His will to be done – no matter what that was and to give me contentment either way.

I don’t know the reasons why we were only meant to have one child, but our son is certainly a fabulous child and would be hard to top! And we have been able to bless others in many ways over the years, with babysitting, giving rides, making meals, helping financially, etc. that we may not have been able to do as easily if we had a larger family. Over time, God did help me find contentment – it was gradual until I realized one day that I was perfectly happy with and thankful for my little family.

Infertility

If you are in the midst of struggling with infertility right now or are still dealing with the pain of it from the past, I pray for peace and contentment for you. And I offer you a giant virtual hug! It is not easy and it is painful and often feels lonely. Do reach out and talk about it with family and friends, even if you feel like you’ll make them uncomfortable and they don’t know the right things to say. Ask for prayer and ask friends to just be there for you to listen to you and support you. I’d love to hear from you – I welcome your comments right here on the post as well as on my Facebook page.

Thank you for being here to read my story. Click here to sign up and receive my blog posts by email so you’ll know when I post and we can stay connected.

My Infertility Story – Part 1

Warning – I share my full infertility story here, including miscarriage details. This may be too emotional for some people and disturbing for others.

If you have not yet read Let’s Talk About Infertility – I encourage you to read that first. I said in my previous infertility post that “Sometimes we don’t like to make others feel uncomfortable by discussing our own struggles.” But by sharing about our own struggles, we open the door for others to feel brave enough to speak up and share. We also help each other with the comforting fact that we are not alone. My story is actually about secondary infertility but I hope that it feels relevant to anybody experiencing infertility of any kind. Here is Part 1 of my own infertility story (I’m too wordy as usual and had to split into two parts – Part 2 has been published).

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My Infertility Story

We didn’t have any fertility issues as far as we knew before having our son. We did wait a few years as we were busy finishing college and working full-time. When we were ready to try to have a child, I got pregnant without any issues and had no complications during the pregnancy. The only crazy thing that happened was that he arrived exactly four weeks early! (So the whole relaxing while taking four weeks off from work before giving birth was not to be. Thus I had a messy house, nothing prepared, and was completely exhausted!)

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We didn’t give much thought to when we should try having our next baby. We figured it would happen when it happened. I was so busy taking care of my son that I didn’t think too much about it. When he was between one and two years old, I experienced some strange spotting, unrelated to my monthly cycle. I spoke with a friend who said she had experienced something similar and that it was the fertilized egg implanting. I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. I began the process with my medical provider – an official urine test, paperwork, a class I had to attend, etc. But sometime after that I had a menstrual cycle and wondered what was going on. A followup test revealed that I was not pregnant.

What had occurred is that I had conceived, then began the process of miscarriage early on (the spotting). I tested positive for pregnancy at that time because I still had high levels of the pregnancy hormones. What I thought was a menstrual cycle after that was actually the miscarriage finishing. It was very disappointing news, but we assumed it was a fluke thing and tried not to dwell on it.

I experienced more of these early miscarriages but did not go to the doctor each time because I was able to recognize the signs on my own. Eventually I went to a fertility specialist. We completed paperwork and they ran all sorts of tests on both of us. One of those tests was to check my uterus and was much more painful than I anticipated. But thankfully all tests came out perfectly fine/normal. We made the decision to move forward with taking the mildest fertility drug which would just increase my natural ovulation and allow us to have better timing.

That was a rough few months. Taking the drug for infertility was similar to having pregnancy hormones all the time, so I was stressed and emotional. I had to go in regularly to see if I was going to ovulate. If I got my menstrual cycle after that, it was assumed that I had not conceived and the cycle started all over again. We had a couple of disappointing months with nothing happening or eggs ready but then not conceiving. Then we were informed that there were four eggs ready to drop at once.

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This completely stressed us out, because it meant a possibility, no matter how slight, that all four eggs could be fertilized at once. That would mean quadruplets! I did not feel ready for quadruplets. The doctors told us not to worry about it as we could simply choose not to carry all four if that happened. Our personal beliefs were against that, so we knew if we had four fertilized eggs, then we would carry all four babies!

We started to wonder if we were doing the best thing by taking this medication. We were stressing out about possibly having multiple babies but the multiples were only occurring because of the drug I was taking. We thought maybe it would be better for me not to take the drug. After all the stressing out, I had what seemed like a normal menstrual cycle, which meant I was supposed to start the next round of medication. I started the medication again, as usual.

About a week or more later, I had more bleeding. When I went in to get checked, it turned out that I was pregnant after all (and the medication should never be taken if pregnant). What had most likely happened was that I had three fertilized eggs and miscarried one baby, then lost another shortly after. I had one baby left, but we were excited about that!

I started going through the required pregnancy appointments and classes. Unfortunately at my next checkup, the doctor determined that the baby was too small for its age and that it was not thriving. I was told that I would miscarry. It was my choice whether to end it then with a procedure and lower the risk of hemorrhaging or let the miscarriage happen naturally at some point. I chose to let it happen naturally.

As difficult as it is to have an unexpected miscarriage, it is almost worse walking around knowing that at any moment you will miscarry. I miscarried a few days later. This had been the longest of my pregnancies since our son was born, but had ended at about eight weeks. At that point, we felt that taking the fertility medication while pregnant may have led to the miscarriage. So I decided to stop taking any medication.

It was at this time that we decided to look into adoption – mainly adoption through foster care. We did thoroughly look into it, but I’ll leave that part of the story for another time. We made the decision not to adopt at that time. That decision caused me to experience guilt, which added to the level of stress. It was also stressful listening to my son praying for a brother or a sister and explaining to him that not every family has siblings.

For a year or two, I counted days of cycles and tried ovulation prediction tools. Every time my monthly cycle was a day or two late, I started wondering if I was actually pregnant. If it went longer than three days or so, I took a pregnancy test. The tests were always negative. I had one to two more very early miscarriages, but didn’t go to the doctor for those. I didn’t hold out much hope that I would ever have another successful pregnancy.

infertility

I finally made the decision to stop worrying about it and stop counting days, etc. I focused on the blessing we already had – our amazing son, and the many ways our little family was blessed. And then, out of the blue, we were surprised by a pregnancy. My cycle was late and I took a test which turned out positive, much to my great surprise! We thought we would finally have another baby, since the pregnancy happened without us stressing or any help from medication. The baby checked out okay at our appointment as well, so we were cautiously optimistic. Everything changed just a few weeks later…


I’ll publish Part 2 of my infertility story as soon as I finish it. Since I don’t know exactly when I will publish it, I recommend that you click here to sign up and receive my blog posts by email. Then you don’t have to wonder if I have finished the story – you’ll be in the know!

Thank you for stopping by to read my story. If you are experiencing or have experienced infertility, I would love for you to share in the comments. It helps us all to know we’re not alone in our struggles as well as to share encouragement.