Friday, April 29, 2011

Nursery Advice Needed

I need some advice for what to do for the baby's nursery! As of right now, we are having Jumper share a room with J. My sister is living in our spare room and unless we get around to finishing our basement, there isn't another place to put her. Plus, the two kids are going to need so much of the same stuff, I figure that for right now, it makes sense for them to share.

Anyway, I didn't have an opportunity to do much decorating before we got J since we had such little notice. I bought this JJ Cole bedding set, and figured that I would actually decorate the nursery when things calmed down.

Well, then I found out that I was pg, and figured that it might be best to wait and decorate until I knew if we were having a boy or girl. I didn't think it made much sense to do a boy room if there was going to be a little lady joining us.

So now I am trying to figure out the best way to decorate. I really don't want to have to buy another crib set for J, but I am having a hard time figuring out/finding a good set that will go with it for Jumper. I think that J's set is a little too masculine to use for Jumper, but what do you guys think? Any suggestions? I have thought that maybe if I could find some bedding that matched, I could take the circle theme from J's bedding and do some vinyl art, but that is as far as I have gotten. I would LOVE any advice/suggestions that anyone has.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Weekend

We were able to get away for a little while over Easter weekend, and it was SO nice to enjoy some warmer temperatures and sunshine. My FIL and his wife invited us, DH's brother's family, and step-siblings to come down to southern Utah for the weekend. Having that many people around made things a little chaotic, but it was still good to get away.

Most of the activities that were planned were geared more towards the older kids, so on Saturday, we decided to take a driving tour of Zion's National Park. I was a little nervous about how J would do in the car because it ended up being quite a bit of driving, but he did great. He absolutely loved being outside and looking around.

On Sunday, J got to "participate" in his first Easter egg hunt. Good thing dad was there to help him! The hunt was right during his nap, so he wasn't too excited about what was going on, but he still was pretty happy. He "found" some new toys, and the Easter bunny brought him a new outfit, movie, and his first sippy cup!

Although it went by pretty fast, it was still good to get away. I loved being able to dress in my summer clothes and enjoy the sunshine. It was at least 20 degrees warmer where we were than back home, which was perfect!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Happy ICLW!

Welcome to my blog! It has been a while since I participated in ICLW, but I am excited to be back in the action and hopefully meet some new blogging buddies. The past year, and especially the past six months, has been a huge whirlwind for me that have brought so many good changes. I COMPLETELY understand if you are struggling right now and don’t want to deal with a pg woman’s blog. But, if you want to get to know me better, here is my story in a nutshell:

About a year ago, I was diagnosed with a chromosome insertion. We were told that we could pursue IVF with PGD, but there was a chance we would not get any viable embryos. DH and I decided to pursue adoption instead of fertility treatments, and I am so glad that we did! We were approved for domestic adoption in August 2010. At that time, our agency told us that the average wait was about 18 months, so we were prepared to be patient for a while. However, we got a phone call on October 28 saying that a birth mother had chosen us to adopt her baby and that she was due within a week! Our son, J, was born November 8, 2010, and we couldn’t imagine life without him. Fast forward to December, and I noticed that I wasn’t feeling too well. DH convinced me to take a HPT, and it was positive! I was pretty skeptical at first, since I have been pg before and always had a m/c, but here we are…I am just about 21 weeks pg and we are expecting a little girl on September 2. We are definitely excited for our new addition, but feel a bit overwhelmed at having two kids that are ten months apart.

So, that is my story…I am so grateful to be where I am at right now. I will never forget the hard times and the bitterness that I felt, but now I have to say that I don’t know if I could imagine it being any other way. I am so grateful to be J’s mom and I am looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cutting the Apron Strings

When we first adopted J, we weren't really sure what to expect in the way of post-placement communication. When K first decided to place J, she wasn't even aware that open adoption was an option, let alone face-to-face visits or anything like that. DH and I told K that we were flexible and were willing to play things by ear based on what she wanted. We eventually settled into a pattern of me e-mailing her a picture and quick update once a week.

Our communication from K has never been very consistent, but we used to get e-mails from her once or twice a month. However, we haven't heard anything from her since we went to dinner with her over President's Day weekend. I know that is only two months ago, but if you figure that J is only five months old, that is a big chunk of his life! There have been a couple of times when I have asked her specific questions in my e-mails, such as wondering if J's biological dad was tall and thin (like J), but I haven't received a response.

In my last e-mail, I decided to ask K if she is okay with going to monthly e-mails, and I still haven't heard anything from her. It makes me wonder if she is even reading my e-mails anymore. I am glad that she seems to be moving on, but in some ways, it makes me a little sad for J. I feel bad that there will only be a little bit of information about K that we will be able to share with him, and that if things keep going the way they are, that he will never be able to meet her in person. At first I thought I would be grateful for a more closed adoption, but now I worry because I don't want J to feel bad about anything. I know that it will be up to DH and me to teach him about how he came to be part of our family, how much K loved him, and how special he is to us...I just feel bad that I don't think K will be as big of a part of that as I had originally thought.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Jumper is a...

First, THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who left me those kind, encouraging words on my last post. It felt really good to be able to process my thoughts, and I really appreciate your support. That is one of the (many) reasons why I love this blogging community!

Anyway, we had our big anatomy ultrasound yesterday, and Jumper is a GIRL!!!! We are so excited! I had kind of had a feeling throughout my entire pregnancy that I was having a girl, but I knew that it wasn't for sure. As soon as the tech started the u/s, that was the very first thing that we saw...even DH and I could tell. She was positioned head down with her face toward my back, so it made it a little difficult for them to get all the measurements they wanted. Because of that, I get to go back in a few weeks for another u/s, but I am not complaining about that. Both the tech and the doctor said that everything looks great and I am still right on target for a September 2 due date.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Feeling Overwhelmed

I have been debating over the past few days whether I wanted to write this post. I REALLY do not want to come across as being ungrateful, complaining, or selfish or anything like that, because that couldn't be further from the truth. I don't want to offend anyone by sharing my feelings, but at the same time, this is my blog, and I should be able to post what I want. With that said, please feel free to skip this post if you are having a hard time right now.

I have been feeling really overwhelmed for the past week or so. I feel like I need a break. I am sure that it is a combination of a lot of things...lack of a good night's sleep, pregnancy fatigue, all of the changes that are going makes for a lot of stress! The thing is, I feel SO GUILTY about feeling overwhelmed, and that makes it even worse. All along, I have always said that I would be so grateful for the chance to be a mom or be pregnant, and that I wouldn't complain about it. It was like because it was something I wanted so badly for so long, I didn't have a right to complain. Now, I feel like it is hard for me to admit any fears or frustrations that I do have.

I love J so much, and I absolutely love and adore being his mom. I am so grateful that he was sent to our family. But I feel like I need a day off. I want a night when I can sleep through the night, sleep in, and then spend the entire day doing fun things that I want to do, while not worrying about if J needs me and knowing that someone else is taking good care of him. I love my days home with J, but man, it is hard work! I am sure that being pregnant doesn't make taking care of a baby any easier.

I am so excited to meet this new baby, but I am also terrified for what changes September is going to bring. I worry about adjusting from one baby to two, and how that is even going to work. I know that there are plenty of other people out there who do it everyday, but it still seems so overwhelming at times. I worry about how much time work will let me take off - I already took 9 weeks of FMLA when we adopted J. I also worry about being able to afford taking time off work. I used up all of my PTO and most of my sick time when I was home with J. I worry about childcare, especially if my sister decides that taking care of two babies is much more than she bargained for. I could always take the kids to the daycare at my work, but that is much more expensive than paying my sister. We are trying to save as much money as we can right now so that our savings will be a little more padded in the fall, but then that makes me feel guilty for spending money on myself for things that I need, like maternity clothes.

All of these worries and emotions just pile on together to where I feel like I just need a break. I need to take a deep breath and tell myself that things are going to be okay. I am trying to hard to enjoy this stage of my life, but it can be hard to just let go of all the worries. I know that part of it is also the weather. Maybe that sounds crazy, but I hate winter, and we have had so much snow lately! It has been to the point that I have looked for other jobs and houses across the country so that I can get away from these Utah winters.

I know that once I see that new baby and have both Jumper and J in my arms, it will all be worth it and that things WILL turn is just getting there.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Random E-mail

The other day I was checking my e-mail, I noticed that something had come from one of the websites DH and I had used to post our profile. I opened it up and was surprised to see that it was someone contacting us because they were interested in placing their child with us. The e-mail was from the father and basically said that his wife had died during childbirth. His child was now a year old and he realized that he wasn't able to keep taking care of her, so he was looking into adoption and saw our profile.

This struck me as odd for a couple of reasons. First, the e-mail seemed a little bit fishy. I know I shouldn't judge, but the grammar was horrible and something just seemed a little off. Second, I had requested that my account be cancelled and our profile be removed months ago. I headed over to the website, and sure enough, there is our profile for people to view. I contacted the website again, and now our profile should hopefully be removed.

I told DH about the e-mail and joked with him that we should call this guy...we could get done having all of our kids in less than a year! He didn't think it was too funny. :)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Faith and Infertility

Every month, my church publishes a magazine called the Ensign. I was so excited to see that there was an article about infertility featured in the April issue, so I thought I would share it here. I liked how the article talked to real couples who shared their feelings and that they didn't all have these miracle endings where they magically got pregnant and never had a hard time again. The information they presented was real, and it is nice to know that my church is aware of this problem and wants to be supportive.

Here is a copy of the article. You can also check it out at this link.

Infertility can be heartbreaking. Four couples share how they maintained faith and hope.

Infertility: it was the last thing Brenda Horrocks ever expected to hear from her doctor. She and her husband, Brad, had been married for four years, and although she had experienced complications with her menstrual cycle from the time she was a teenager, doctors had told her and Brad that with “a little help,” they would be able to have a baby. “A little help turned into a lot of help,” Brenda says, and after multiple fertility treatments over several years, the Horrockses were told that the likelihood of their being able to conceive was extremely small.

Infertility is not uncommon—some 15 percent of couples in the United States have difficulty conceiving a child; 1 other countries throughout the world show similar figures. In 40 percent of instances, the wife is infertile. In another 40 percent, the problem rests with the husband. In 10 percent of cases, both are infertile, and in the remaining 10 percent, the cause is unknown. 2 In the context of the Church, where the family is celebrated as the fundamental unit of society, 3 not having children can be an especially difficult challenge.

Yet as Brad and Brenda and many others can attest, God does not leave His children alone in their trials. “Never give up,” Brad recommends. “There’s always hope. Heavenly Father always has something in store for us. We have found that over and over again.”

Here, the Horrockses and three other couples who have dealt with the challenges of infertility—Dave and Angie Belnap, Phil and Valerie Hochheiser, and Curtis and Melody Linton—share how they saw the Lord’s hand guiding them through their challenges.

Dealing with Grief

Brenda’s grief at the diagnosis was so overwhelming that she began questioning her mission in life, she says.

“I felt lost for a long time. I felt I had no purpose. That’s the ultimate goal, isn’t it, to get married and have a family? I still knew I was a daughter of God, but I hated that I couldn’t be a co-creator with Him. I felt broken, like I wasn’t a real woman.”

Brenda tried “swimming through” her grief for several months and even years. At one point, it became so severe that she felt prompted to seek professional counseling.

“I realized the grief was inhibiting my progression,” she says. She asked Heavenly Father to guide her in a search for the right counselor and began meeting with one who was able to offer the help Brenda needed.

“As I went to my appointments and continued to do my homework [usually assigned reading], my heart was being prepared for healing,” Brenda recalls. “Many of my fears and pains started to subside, and a new person was emerging.”

Brenda notes that while some well-meaning people tried to assist by suggesting what might be wrong with her or what she could try, that didn’t help. “I just needed people to buoy me up as I struggled and to acknowledge that what I was going through was difficult.”

Angie Belnap and her husband, Dave, learned after four years of marriage that they most likely wouldn’t be able to conceive. Angie recalls going through all of the stages of grief but finding herself returning over and over to the anger stage.

“I remember wondering how something that was so important in life could be denied me,” she says. “My feelings of hurt and what seemed to me to be spiritual abandonment manifested themselves through anger. I was very angry. Angry at myself. Angry at my husband. Angry at God.”

But Angie started working through her grief by focusing on aspects of her life she could control rather than on those she couldn’t. Angie, who worked as a third-grade teacher, looked for ways she could improve her skills at work. She also read a lot—“there was always a book on my nightstand,” she recalls—and pursued other self-improvement projects. “I couldn’t change the infertility, but I could progress in other areas of my life,” she says.

She also found it helpful to keep a journal. “I didn’t always feel that I could talk to people about what I was going through, but I could get my feelings ‘out there’ by writing them down. That helped a lot.”

Debunking Spiritual Myths

Angie’s husband, Dave, grew up with four sisters and two brothers and always expected to have a large family of his own. However, when years passed without any children for him and Angie, Dave began to wonder if it were a consequence of inadequate spirituality.

“We tried to stay positive,” Dave says, “but it was hard. I knew the importance of starting a family, but because we weren’t able to have biological children, I felt like I was being punished or short-changed.”

Like Dave, many people facing infertility look for the reason behind the struggle and sometimes blame themselves. Such thoughts and feelings can sting even more when others make well-intended but hurtful comments, often laced with misguided beliefs.

For instance, Melody Linton recalls sitting in testimony meeting and hearing new mothers say things like, “God trusted me enough to bless me with this baby.”

“I can understand why they said it,” Melody admits. “It’s a fair statement. But in my situation without a child, I couldn’t help but think, ‘God doesn’t trust me.’

“I don’t know that I felt angry at Heavenly Father, but I felt forsaken by Him,” she continues. “I felt so left out. Why were all these other women getting to experience pregnancy? I had tried to live my life worthily and do things I knew to be correct. So why wasn’t it happening for me?”

Eventually, Melody found solace in the writings of Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) on adversity.

“The tables turned for me,” she says. “I began to think, ‘Why not me?’ I’m strong enough to handle this.” She knew that with the support of her husband, Curtis, and in the strength of the Lord, she could face her challenges.

Brenda points out that it’s important to continue to trust in the Lord, even when what is happening isn’t what we want. “For a while, I thought if I had enough faith, I would be cured,” she says. “But sometimes having faith means trusting in and listening to the Lord even when we are not cured. What we want won’t always match what He has planned for us.”

She recalls a Sunday School lesson in which a bishopric member shared an important message about faith—one she’s clung to ever since. He said, “When someone has an ailment or an illness and they are healed as the result of a blessing, their faith is being strengthened. But for those who aren’t healed but continue faithful, their faith is being perfected. The first is a faith-promoting experience. The second is faith-perfecting.”

Turning to—Not Away from—Each Other

Infertility can cause a lot of couples to reevaluate their plans for their lives and in some cases, their very relationships. When Curtis and Melody’s doctor suggested a particular fertility treatment—one of their last options—Melody was ready to move ahead, while Curtis had significant reservations. At this crossroads, Curtis recalls, he retreated deeper within himself and escaped by exercising and working more.

Melody, meanwhile, felt stagnant. “While we were trying different procedures, I felt productive and proactive, and that brought a tremendous sense of hope,” she says. “But when we were stalling and nothing was moving forward, that killed me.”

The couple had worked hard for years to encourage each other in their education, careers, and other interests. This had carried over into their infertility challenges as well, such as when Curtis went to doctor appointments with Melody or she supported him as he sought refuge in bike rides and other physical activity.

“Trying to support Melody is what had saved me through all of this,” he says. But as Melody sunk deeper into sadness, Curtis felt powerless in knowing how to help her. They were, it seemed, at an impasse.

That changed, Melody says, when she ultimately realized that they needed to be united as a couple. While she did not share her husband’s reservations about the proposed procedure, she could respect them. “One no meant two no’s,” she says. Together, they began exploring other options.

Phil and Valerie Hochheiser discovered that when the stresses of infertility were too much—especially because, like the Lintons, they came to stages of understanding at different times—they could find relief in focusing on their marriage.

For instance, varying the routine gave the couple something besides fertility testing and treatments to think about. Phil says it was helpful to break away by going to the movies or taking a walk. He and Valerie also “took a couple of trips to put everything behind us for a bit. Otherwise, infertility could have run our days and nights,” he says.

To further strengthen their relationship, the Hochheisers wrote each other notes, went on dates, made anniversaries or other dates special by splurging on a hotel room, made efforts to look attractive for each other, sent flowers, and started saying “I love you” more often. “It’s easy when you’re feeling depressed to let some of these areas slide—or to not try anything at all—but by making a conscious effort, we were able to handle things with a better sense of well-being and unity,” Valerie says.

Physical intimacy also played an important role, Valerie adds. “Intimacy in marriage has several ‘functions’—procreation, yes, but also bonding and unifying a couple in their marriage. Going through infertility reaffirmed in my mind the importance of intimacy in our marriage.”

That stronger marriage, in turn, brought blessings of its own.

“It helped me realize amid a lot of unknowns that I was really blessed to have a husband who is good to me, who loves me, and who was willing to work through this together,” Valerie says. “It didn’t mean that we got rid of the ups and downs. It didn’t mean that there weren’t times that were scary. But we’ve learned so much and grown much closer because of what we’ve been through.”

Serving Others

Phil and Valerie readily acknowledge that it took more than turning toward each other, important as that was. They also needed to turn outward to others in the healing process.

Valerie remembers finding joy in her service in the Young Women organization. Focusing on those she served helped her deal with her own challenges, and occasionally, she even found personal solutions in the process.

“I remember one particular lesson teaching about having an eternal perspective. We discussed how different our own view is from Heavenly Father’s. For some reason, that particular lesson—while I was in the middle of serving others—had a big impact on me. It helped me see a little bit more clearly that my struggles were only temporary ones.”

Phil, too, had significant experiences reaching out to others. He remembers finding—and later sharing—Alma 26:27: “Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.”

“I identified with the ‘when our hearts were depressed,’ phrase,” says Phil. “Dealing with infertility is such an up-and-down cycle, and you feel that way a lot of the time. But I learned to ‘bear with patience’ my afflictions and, as Ammon and his brethren were instructed to do, serve others. So that’s what we did. We found ways to reach out to others and lift them up. We didn’t yet know what the ‘success’ would be, whether it would be pregnancy or adoption or something else, but we trusted that it would happen.”

Reaching Out to a Support Network

Because of infertility’s personal nature, some couples may decide not to talk about it with other people. The Hochheisers, for instance, waited until Valerie was about to undergo surgery before they brought it up to their families. “

It was hard for my family, my mom in particular, to have not been informed all along,” Valerie recalls. “She felt I hadn’t wanted to include her and let her be my support. But we were struggling to figure things out ourselves. It would have been really hard to answer questions when we weren’t yet sure what we were dealing with.” Moreover, they didn’t want to trouble others with their struggles.

Of course, people handle unexpected situations differently, Phil points out. “Later on, I realized the biggest help was having a strong support group outside of the two of us—people who could see the whole picture, or even someone who had been through what we were experiencing.”

Once they started talking to other people, Valerie and Phil realized they weren’t alone.

“There are people out there; there are support groups, both in person and online,” Phil concludes. “Look for help.”

Curtis and Melody found some of their greatest strength in such support groups, specifically Families Supporting Adoption through LDS Family Services. Although they were nervous about going to their first meeting, when they walked into the room, Melody says, “I saw in every woman’s eyes what I felt in my heart. I felt safe and knew that I could share what I was experiencing.”

“Within the support group,” Curtis adds, “we were Curtis and Melody dealing with this challenge of infertility, not infertility in the form of Curtis and Melody.” That realization, he says, was paramount.

“There’s nothing in the scriptures or anywhere in the gospel that teaches us to suffer in silence,” Curtis continues. “That’s a cultural thing. When you suffer in silence, you suffer more deeply. We went through periods where we were waiting for someone to take the first step to us. Be willing to approach others first. Share your story; you’ll find that others will often open up after that.”

Looking to the Lord

Eventually, the paths of the Belnaps, Hochheisers, Horrockses, and Lintons led them all to adoption. And while their children have brought great joy to each couple, healing, they say, comes from the Lord—not from adopting or conceiving.

“I finally realized that infertility wasn’t a punishment,” Angie says. “Once I was past the point of anger and bitterness, I was willing to hear the Spirit and receive direction about what we were supposed to do. Of course, that comes at different points for everyone. Infertility was my refiner’s fire. My faith was strengthened through those difficult years.”

“I had never really thought about adoption, but when Dave and I had been married almost five years, we moved into a ward where we met a couple who had adopted, and we started asking them questions and learning about the process. In receiving direction from the Lord that adoption was the path we were to pursue, I felt physical and spiritual weights lifted from my shoulders. The realization of God’s plan for our family gave me peace.”

“One of the gospel principles I’ve learned to appreciate through our experience is that Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us,” Dave adds. “Sometimes we get caught up in the one-size-fits-all mentality, and we feel that our lives should look like other people’s lives. But that’s really not true. Everyone has different trials, and Heavenly Father is aware of those. If we are humble enough to follow the plan He has for us, we’ll be happy.”

Valerie Hochheiser agrees that relying on and trusting in the Lord is crucial. “I learned that we had to do everything in our power but then ultimately turn it over to Him,” she says. “Sometimes that means letting Him tell us which direction to go. Other times it’s a matter of choosing a direction and letting Him confirm the decision.

“I think that was part of our learning process,” she continues. “I remember at one point telling Heavenly Father that we no longer knew what to pray for. We could pray for this to work or that to work, but mostly we just wanted to be ready for the blessings that Heavenly Father was ready to send us.”

Seeking Heavenly Father’s comfort and guidance will help us make the best decisions regardless of our circumstances.

“I have learned to trust in Him, to follow the Spirit, and to feel at peace because God’s plan is the one that will benefit me the most,” Brad says. “There’s more to life than we can imagine.”

Brenda agrees. “His gifts are the best gifts,” she says. “He loves us so much. What I would have planned for our life would pale in comparison to what He has given us. We need to trust and know that He will give to us immeasurably. What He has in mind for His children is better than anything we could ever design.”

For additional information on this topic see Ana Nelson Shaw, “Being Sensitive to Couples without Children,” Ensign, Aug. 2000, 61. You can also visit the Counseling and Resources section of For more from each of these couples—and others—on the topic of infertility, and for ideas for friends and family, please visit

“I couldn’t change the infertility, but I could progress in other areas of my life. … I finally realized that infertility wasn’t a punishment. It was my refiner’s fire.” –Angie Belnap

“What I would have planned for our life would pale in comparison to what God has given us. What He has in mind for His children is better than anything we could ever design.” –Brenda Horrocks