Tuesday, April 25, 2017

National Infertility Awareness Week

While I like that special week designations shine a spotlight on specific causes, I find myself disliking "special" weeks too. The attention, awareness, and education that these weeks offer is encouraging; unfortunately, the spotlight shining and "acceptance" sometimes seems to last only seven days.

At the Christian college I attended, we had a Spiritual Emphasis Week every year. The idea behind it was to take a week and bring in special speakers to engage our campus in further dialogue about our faiths. In theory, that doesn't sound bad. But really, Spiritual Emphasis Week? Do we only want to emphasize spiritual things for a week? For seven days? What about the other 51 weeks of the year?

Remember Red Ribbon Week at school? Say that fives times fast. I'm certain it's still around. The week where we talked about not doing drugs every single day. We wore red and had crazy door decorating contests. You remember that?

These themed, titled weeks are not bad. Really, they aren't. They do have value. I'm not a total pessimist this morning! But I think my main beef, the thing that leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth for these "special" weeks is the idea that usually, after the week is over, the topic or cause goes back in the closet or is seen as taboo again.

I understand that certain topics make us feel uncomfortable. We feel challenged by our naivety, or our lack of knowledge on the topic.

This is okay.

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week, the one week where it's more permissible to dive into that uncomfortable conversation. The week were couples can open up about the deep valleys they've traveled with the hope of coming out on the other side, baby in hand.

Still, I am not so naive to think that once this week is over, society will embrace infertility as a topic that is fine to bring up at the family dinner table, or in the faculty lounge, or in the cubicles at work. I doubt that insurance companies will see this medical condition as one that warrants funding for treatment. Unfortunately, the need for awareness about infertility will still exist.

You know what though? One thing this week has brought to my attention is the fact that I am okay talking about the valleys and the hard stuff, beyond this "special" week. Chris and I have walked through some dark places on our path to parenthood. And God has and will use them. All of them. None of our pain or discomfort or embarrassment is a waste. God will use it.

When life doesn't go the way we want it to, or the path in front of us does not align with our dreams, we doubt God. We doubt His goodness. Even in those bleak, empty places, He is with us, working out a plan for us. He is FOR us.

You may be in a dark place where you can't see Him. He's there.

And if you want to talk to someone who gets the pain of the void of a failed pregnancy, a failed plan, I'm here. And not just this week. The other 51 too.

Simply complete the Contact Form below. Let me know how I can pray for you.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

1 Year Post Transfer

I can't come up with the right words for this post. Saying I'm "thankful" doesn't even cover it. Praising God for Benjamin today and every day.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Benjamin is here!

Benjamin Craig Knipe

October 7, 2016 8:03 AM
7 pounds, 10 ounces

Oh my goodness. I don't even know where to begin. It's been a week and a half since Ben arrived, and I am still in awe of this sweet boy! Everything with the c-section went well; we arrived at the hospital at 5:30 AM and by 8:03, Benjamin was here and healthy. All of the little details were so reviewed by God. Seriously. My nurses were friends, my surgeon endearing... just so many little things that made the process smooth and made me feel at ease.

I remember saying to Chris (about thirty times just that day alone): "I am so relieved. Thank you God. I am so, so relieved that he's here and he's okay."

The c-section and the recovery has been much easier this time compared to Gabe's. Also different is the fact that so far, we have a CHILL BABY. As long as his basic needs are met, Ben is one cool cat. He is just so calm. And he sleeps. Just typing those words freaks me out because I don't want to jinx this experience, this sweet newborn experience. I feel stronger and more rested at a week and a half out than I did with Gabe one month post delivery. 

Right now, we are soaking up these days. I want them to just last and last... new baby smell and snuggling, and sweet Gabe comments about all-things baby and big-brotherhood... Oh, I wish it would last forever. I am thankful and praising God for this experience and this miracle. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Conflicting Emotions

Knowing with certainty that the events of tomorrow will be life-changing has made this day one filled with emotion. I'm so anxious to see this baby. I want him/her to be healthy and I want to see the physical manifestation and validation that yes, there was a baby growing in my stomach these last months. At the same time, I wish tomorrow would wait a bit longer to arrive; time can slow down a bit.

I just put Gabe down for his nap and sobbed through story time and singing. The whole time, he kept asking, "You okay, Mom? You crying, Mom?" He'd pause, nuzzling in closer to me. "It okay, Mom."

I wish I could just freeze moments like that. Moments where I'm so present in my life as a mom.

Why the heck am I bawling my eyes out?! Good question. It's one I've asked myself a few times today already. Answer: It's because today is the last day with just Gabe. It's the most bizarre experience really, to feel so sad today, especially considering the effort, prayers, and angst we've been through these past two years just to get to this place of almost-delivery again.

I have no doubt that we will embrace this baby with open arms, arms eager for this next phase as a family. I'm so curious to know what this baby will act like, who he or she will grow into... Who are you in there?! 

I know that down the road I'll read this post and roll my eyes. I'll think: How could I ever have been SAD over the arrival of ___________ into our family?! Still, I'm pausing today to write so I can remember this odd feeling of both sadness and joy.  If it is possible to feel like I'm mourning something while also eagerly anticipating what's coming next, that's about where I am today. And that's okay.

Monday, September 26, 2016

37 Weeks

I realize the picture above more closely shows our toothbrushes than my belly... Sorry. I was trying to snap a quick picture before heading out the door to church. Still, here's my belly at 37 weeks. Documenting for posterity's stake! 

Next Friday, the baby will be here. I can't believe it. We have reached 37 weeks today and I am once again in that place of being super excited to be so close to delivery while also wanting time to crawl so that I can experience the feelings of pregnancy a bit longer.

I've tried to steer away from thoughts like This could be the last time I'm pregnant. to Okay. Enjoy this. Be present in this gift.

Gabe has been practicing pregnancy too... Either that or he's mocking me. Regardless, he's getting closer to being a big brother!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

33.5 Weeks

Wow. We are at 33.5 weeks! Praise God!

Life has been a bit hairy lately; a good kind of craziness, but craziness nonetheless.

I started twice-weekly non-stress tests two weeks ago. So far nothing of concern has been noted. The baby is healthy and active. We had another ultrasound last week to check for growth and everything looked good on that front too.

We met with our doctor would recommends a C-section for me before my due date. I had wanted to avoid another C-section, but he was concerned that the scar tissue and trauma my uterus has faced so far may cause some barriers to a successful traditional birth.

At this point, we want a baby; however that baby gets out is in God's hands. C-section it is! We will head back to set a date for the section in two weeks. Our doctor would prefer I deliver before my due date so as to not have any complications from the two-vessel umbilical cord. He wants to ensure there isn't any deterioration or problems that could arise from a large baby and an "old" cord.

Honestly, we are just going with the flow at this point. We are grateful to be at 33.5 weeks with a baby still in my stomach!

In case you were wondering, the baby in Gabe's belly is also growing. He tells me that his baby is going to come out soon, so that should be interesting...

Saturday, July 16, 2016

27 Weeks

First bump pic of this pregnancy; the baby is still in there!