Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Let's Get Personal

What a title, right? It scares me a little, and I wrote it.  I'm not really sure how else to preface what I'm about to discuss, so here we go.

Last week I had every woman's favorite annual doctor's appointment.  You know the one.  Bleck.  I dread that day the entire month leading up to it. My first appointment was three years ago, which I had no choice but to make because I was doubled over in pain.  I returned less than a year later to learn I had six bursting cysts on my ovary, which explained why I had basically been crying through my last two weeks of college. As the doctor wrote my prescription, he asked, "So...were you wanting to have kids someday?"  I didn't like his tone.  

I'm not one of those people who feels called to one specific career for the rest of my days.  I want to do a lot of different things, and I change my mind often.  Poor Daniel--he gets so excited and supportive when I tell him about a new dream job, and then a week later it changes.  I'm so thankful for the stability and security his job dedication provides us, because I'm all over the place.

The one thing I've never questioned, though, is my desire to be a mother. It's more of a need, really.  One of my earliest embarrassing memories is of my adult male neighbor walking into my childhood living room while I was pretending to breastfeed a babydoll--I was probably four or five years old and quite bothered that someone would disturb such an intimate moment between my pretend child and me. 

When I learned I had PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome), I was preparing to move to Northwest Arkansas for a full time nanny job (and also kind of for my boyfriend, which I wouldn't admit then--but he's my husband now, so yay!).  Graduation was two days away, and I was pumped to do daily life with a couple of very cute little ones who I assumed would help prepare me for my future children. The thought of those children never actually existing broke my heart.

Daniel and I had already discussed where we thought our relationship was headed--I wouldn't have moved here if things weren't serious.  But all of a sudden I felt like I was being unfair to him--he had no idea he was discussing spending the rest of his life with a woman who may not be able to give him children.  He LOVES kids.  I was nervous.

I told him what was going on and that I completely understood if he wanted to rethink where this was going.  He didn't.  We weren't engaged or anything yet so I didn't want to freak him out with questions about his opinion on adoption, but I didn't have to worry about that for long, because he brought it up.

In the last two years, our hearts for adoption have grown from "This is an option." to "How many children can we provide for?" I was never against adoption--not at all.  I was just a young, single college student who didn't plan on thinking about raising children until I was happily settled into married life.  But the Lord had other plans for me.

In the year leading up to our wedding, we began researching the adoption process and talking to families in our church about what it looked like for them.  We are blessed with a church family full of adopted and foster children and are so inspired by what these parents go through to bring their kids home safely.  We are so excited to begin that journey in the future!

During my appointment last year, my old doctor told me I probably needed to start trying within a year if I was serious about wanting to have a baby.  This was two weeks before Daniel and I got engaged, and wasn't exactly the most exciting news for him.

"So we have to get pregnant on our wedding night, basically?"

We both see babies as a huge blessing on a marriage, but, like a lot of couples, we would like a little time to figure out and enjoy each other before we add more humans to the mix.  We agreed that I'd get a second opinion from a new doctor after the wedding.

A lot can change in a year, friends.  The first year I lived here, I was unemployed for almost five months, unsure of how to make friends my age since I didn't go to school here, and pretty dang depressed.  I did a lot of sitting and applying for jobs and eating like a college kid with Daniel.  I ran with Penny almost daily, but I got sick to my stomach all the time and didn't feel all that great in my skin.  That's me on the left that year:

Early last year, I ended up finding out I was gluten intolerant on top of being lactose intolerant (apparently they're often combined), and a lot of my issues were symptoms of eating against my body's wishes.  I gradually changed my diet, cut out fast food completely and eventually went almost totally organic and gluten free.  I had more energy and began working out twice a day, because I liked running to wake up before work and I liked doing yoga to relax after sitting most of the day.  I didn't realize how it was changing me until my bridesmaids got here two days before the wedding and asked where most of me went, haha.  It was then I decided to weigh myself (I don't like to weekly track my progress by the number on the scale because of past unhealthy weight loss obsession experiences)--I had lost 30 pounds.

I'll admit, feeling better about myself definitely made my wedding day more enjoyable.  I didn't eat any gluten or dairy in the three weeks before so I had no chance of getting sick to my stomach.  After that, I knew I needed to make it a permanent lifestyle change (which is why I keep posting all of these gf/df recipes!).  Instead of being frustrated with my limitations, I needed to start appreciating the body God gave me and what it was capable of and allowing it to feel its best by treating it well.

Fast forward to my appointment last week--this one was different than all the others.  I didn't go in because of pain, for one.  I also saw a new doctor, who was very pleasant and optimistic about the measures we could take to try and have biological children--we sat in his office and talked about them before my exam.

Afterward, though, he laughed and said, "You're very healthy.  Whatever you've done to improve your symptoms, keep doing it and I think we'll have a baby, no problem."

I hadn't changed my health habits with the intention of bettering my chances at having children, but apparently it did that, on top of all the other positives.  Not that I know how hard it will be to get pregnant yet--we aren't currently trying--but it was such happy news!

Even so, I'm so thankful for the past couple of years of uncertainty, because who knows if our hearts would have been so intensely opened to adoption otherwise?

Hooray for the Lord's healing, provision, and promises.  I don't know exactly when or how our children will join our little family, but it's crazy to think one or more of them may already be breathing somewhere on this earth.  I'm praying for them, and for those who may not exist in our physical world yet but have already been thought up by our great God.

Thanks for wanting to share in this adventure with us!


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