Baileys Adventures

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…-Proverbs 17:22

Where God Comes In June 11, 2013

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In February Brian and I took B3 to church for the first time in…well, let’s just call it 3 months or so.  It’s really hard to keep a 4 year old happy and occupied during an hour and a half of church!  He doesn’t know the songs yet, so he doesn’t sing along and he can’t figure out why I make him wait for the sermon to gorge on Pirate Booty and Angry Birds.  But I’m learning that at this point I should just give him his snack and tablet as soon as we walk in so I can enjoy my time, and  last time he did a great job, so hopefully we can start attending on a more frequent basis again.

Our church is absolutely beautiful.  It was almost overwhelming the first time we visited.  The sanctuary is a beautifully made of wood with a vaulted ceilings and a wall of windows.  It’s routinely filled with 350-400 people comfortably and everyone is welcoming and kind.  In the center of the sanctuary’s ceiling the vault opens into a recessed skylight that fills the whole room with sunlight.  If you click the link you’ll see it on the outside picture, and the website header is the view looking up at it from an angle.  Sitting under it is amazing, and our usual seats pre-B3 are almost directly underneath.  On the Sunday in February we were running late (as usual) so we missed out on the coveted spots on the back rows for people with children and instead sat in our customary spot.  B3 flopped into his seat and looked up.  His brow wrinkled up and he pointed to the skylight.  Not-too-quietly-in-the-middle-of-singing he asked “What’s that?”

Now, we didn’t attend Lindale when it was first built so we don’t know how this came about but the whole church refers to the skylight as “where the Holy Spirit comes in”.  I was so excited to lean over and whisper in his ear for the first of many times “It’s where God comes in, looks at us, and see us worshiping Him!” His eyes lit up and his mouth dropped open as he craned his neck completely back, taking in the sun and the view.

“I don’t see Him!” he whispered back.

“See the sunlight?  That’s Him!  Remember how God is always watching? He is now, too,” I replied.

Throughout the rest of the service he would pause, look up, and look for God.  And over the next week he mentioned “the window where God comes in” several times.  I so look forward to raising him in a place and in a manner where he’s always watching for the Lord.  He’s starting to ask questions about Heaven that I hope I can and have answered in a way that leads him ever closer to Christ.  His little soul is a huge responsibility, but an absolute treasure to get to guide.

 

Thank God…It’s Friday May 27, 2011

Filed under: Prayer Requests,Thank God...It's Friday — andreabaileys @ 8:00 am
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Cancer has been heavy on my mind lately.  So today, please pray with us….

For people facing biopsies or awaiting results.

For our friends’ family and our family’s family starting chemo and radiation this month.

For a woman diagnosed with breast cancer who hopes that’s as bad as it gets, because the biopsy could show even worse.

For several family members and friends receiving treatment for brain cancer.

For a friend’s elderly mother battling pancreatic cancer.

For a complete stranger with lymphoma.  Mama and I met her mother, and the lady with cancer has no insurance.

For a friend whose parent is making end of life decisions, but still praying for a miracle.

For two people I know of who have just beaten cancer, and are succumbing to something else entirely.

For friends and family members who have beaten cancer and are now picking up the pieces and learning how to be survivors.

Brian and I have heard so many cancer stories lately that it’s overwhelming. There is no common demographic here, no common age, no common circumstance.  From people in the prime of their lives to people who have lived through eight decades only to be taken down by this horrible disease.  From parents of little children to the grandparents of our friends, from people we know and hold dear to people we only hear stories of.  Little children, elderly people, healthy people, people for whom cancer is the latest in a long line of health problems.  Pray for them all, please, today and in the future.

 

There But For the Grace of God March 14, 2011

Filed under: Faith,Family Stuff,What's On My Mind — andreabaileys @ 8:00 am
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When I was a kid, my mother taught me a very important sentence:

There, but for the grace of God, go I.

She would remind me of this when we saw someone less fortunate, or someone who was homeless, when someone’s family died or someone divorced.  She would use others’ misfortune or bad decisions to quietly remind me that we were all just a small distance removed from such things and could be in the same situation in a blink. Except for the mercy of God allowing us to be okay.

My parents taught us that we were not better than someone else, no matter what.  We may have had better circumstances than some, but we also had worse circumstances than others.  We may have had food to eat and clothes to wear, but we didn’t have excess.  We were and are well-educated, but that doesn’t make us better than someone who is ignorant or uneducated (ignorant as in not knowledgeable , not ig’nrnt as in being an idiot.  There’s a difference in the South).  Our choices may have worked out for the best — we were not to consider ourselves superior to those whose choices had led to disaster.  We were safe through God’s grace, not because we were better.

In addition, because we were able, we should help those who were not.  Many times I saw my parents help family members who were having financial troubles, even if they couldn’t really afford to do so.  Many times I heard the phone calls or conversations putting in a good word for someone who needed a job. Family members were rescued from abusive situations and troubled lives.  A homeless man was paid for painting our house (painting it badly, I might add).  The children of friends were bailed out when they were too scared to call their parents, and other friends were picked up when they needed a ride (or bail money).  My parents are generous to a fault.  No one has ever left my parents’ house hungry unless it’s their own fault, and if you don’t go home with a bag of food it’s because you were too quick for my mom.  If you were moving, they were helping. No Girl Scout ever went away without a cookie order, and we had lots of wrapping paper and frozen cookie dough from every kid with a fundraiser who crossed my parents’ paths.

I can never remember my parents ever judging someone because they had been in prison, or because they were poor.  They never judged someone because they were unemployed, or because they had made bad decisions.  There, but for the grace of God…went us.

Recently Mama and I have seen a trend in some friends.  They seem….classist.  Elitist.  And definitely biased against anyone who is not wealthy, upstanding, and blameless.  We’ve been noticing people who judge others for their choices or the choices of their family members.  People who just can’t imagine how So-and-So could possibly show their faces in public. Who can’t move past someone’s felonious history to mourn their passing.  We all know these people, don’t we?  The people who judge others because of foreclosure or hard times.  The people who can’t look past someone’s criminal history and take a chance on someone who needs a second chance.

I have to admit that it’s becoming hard for me not to judge those who judge others.  I hate that I am feeling that way — but I do.  I cannot wrap my head around that level of “I am better than you”-ness.  It disturbs me to my core when people like this have children they are raising to judge, even if it’s subconscious.  Children who don’t know how to donate their unwanted clothes and toys to Goodwill, who don’t know how to put a few coins in the envelope of the schoolchild collecting for a literacy project.  Children who will think that people whose parents are less than upstanding are to be judged for the sins of their fathers, and vice versa.  Or children who think that their “good works” or actions will garner them favor with God.  When in reality they need to teach their children a simple rule of thumb to dictate how they interact with all people, always:

There, but for the grace of God, go I.

 

Wednesday Prayer Requests March 9, 2011

Filed under: Faith,Prayer Requests — andreabaileys @ 10:00 am
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Happy Hump Day!  And while I’m at it, Happy Ash Wednesday.  If you’re giving something up, make sure it’s something you actually like.  Unlike the year when i gave up potato chips….which I rarely ate anyway.  Easy Lent, I can tell you that! I’m thinking of Lent this year as a chance to start new habits, and give up old ones.  I have two really bad habitsI’m giving up but don’t want to go into detail.  But I’m determined!  And I have a few habits I”m hoping to pick up, particularly spiritual habits and personal attitudes.  We’ll see how 40 days goes!

I’m publishing this post a bit earlier than usual today because of some time sensitive things that are going on.  Please be in prayer, if you will.

My sister-in-law is having surgery today.  It’s a big surgery – actually a double surgery.  She’s having a hernia removed and then some girlie surgery.  On my blog I call her Anchor Girl — say it like a super hero!  She has super powers, of course, but also great faith in the Lord.  Please lift her up today around 11:30 and for the next few weeks as she heals.  We’re praying the surgeries are a success and she can be pain-free soon.

One of my students is very ill.  This is a constant struggle for her, as her immune system is pretty weak thanks to Lyme.

The grandson of one of our church family is very, very ill with pneumonia and sepsis.  Please pray he can come off the ventilator and that his kidney function will return to normal, as well as strength for his mother and his wife.

Brian has had several interviews in the past two weeks.  We are praying for good results all around, and for patience.

My brother, creatively blog-called Little Bro, had an interview with a fabulous new school on Monday.  I really pray he gets this job — I think it would be an amazing opportunity for him.  Also, he and Sweet Lizzy became an aunt and uncle again this weekend.  In addition to two cute nieces, they now have a nephew!  Yay all around!

My Mama is still peaked. She’s pretty tired of being sick, so prayers are appreciated.

Brian has something big to deal with today.  It’s kind of a confidential issue (not for us, but for the others involved) but it’s certain to be a giant hassle and make him really angry before the day is over.  He hates injustice and certainly wants no part of this mess.

I need Wednesday to be less crazy-making than Tuesday.  Just saying.

 

Finding Our Path February 1, 2011

If I’m honest with myself, this is a post I’ve actually been looking forward to writing for some time. Have you ever felt a certain way but tried to convince yourself you felt something different because you thought you were supposed to?  I guess it’s lying to yourself, isn’t it?  I’ve been doing that.

At this point, we’ve been “trying” for three years, including two and a half years on some form of medication and treatment.  With 13 rounds of clomid and two cycles of injectible drugs to prepare for artificial insemination, it’s been a long road of trying to find the right combination of things to achieve pregnancy.  Obviously, we haven’t found it.  Now, I’m waiting on these stupid cysts to resolve so we can begin our third IUI cycle, a gracious gift from my parents.

Friday I went to the doctor to find out if my cysts were gone (they’re not) and to see if we were good candidates for a third cycle (we are).  Something strange happened there.  As he gave me bad but improving news about my cysts and good news about our chances for success, I realized that I was….disappointed.  Not that my cysts weren’t resolved, because I could have told you that already.  No, I was disappointed because he didn’t give me an out, and excuse, a reason not to go on with Round 3.  I realized that I had been pinning my hopes on the possibility that these cysts were a sign that I’m not cut out for gonadotropins.  I realized that I had been hoping that our success rate would be so low that it would be silly to go on.  I wanted to be able to say “We can’t do a third IUI.”  Because I didn’t want to do it.  I don’t want to do it.

That’s hard for me to admit.  It’s not hard for me to accept that I don’t want to — it’s hard for me to admit that to other people.  I’m supposed to push on, to persevere.  I’m supposed to stop at nothing to have my baby with Baileys eyes, good Hill teeth, and a brilliant little brain.  I’m supposed to strive toward a baby with my mama’s nose and Brian’s sisters’ figure.  A child who can sing but understands the writings of Hawking like his daddy.  I’m supposed to do it all for my possible child.  But at what cost?

Infertility has nearly destroyed us emotionally.  It’s tested our marriage, and it’s obliterated our finances.  When you add the other things that are going on in our lives, it’s nearly tipped the already precarious balance to a very scary place.  Some days I’m not even sure who I am anymore except in relation to infertility.  I’m learning to live with a load of guilt that I don’t anticipate will ever go away.  I’m learning to accept failure at something so basic it’s literally instinct.  As it stands right now, we can’t afford the scary stuff — a spate of bed rest would mean lost income that we can’t cover anymore because we spent all our savings.  A baby in the NICU could mean bills we would have no way to pay.  Physically, I’ve allowed PCOS — a disease, mind you — to have free reign in my body for three years.  I’ve gained an inordinate amount of weight from that, and on top of it I’ve added many cycles of what are basically steroids.  My health is great, but my body is a wreck.  At this point, I have to ask myself if being pregnant would be the best idea.    That’s a big question.

This isn’t a new thing.  Every few months we’ve made it a point to touch base and see if we felt that we were following God’s will and if we should continue. Obviously, if it was God’s will for this to work, I’d be pregnant, right?  Every time we’ve tried a new treatment or a new method, God has thrown up a road block.  Some we’ve told you about, some we have not.  Some have been minor — here’s six cysts for you! — but some have been major things.  Each time we’ve been able to see a road block pop up, either derailing us or sending us in a new direction.  Unfortunately we’ve usually seen it in hindsight.  This time we just had the foresight to stop and consult God before we jumped into IUI #3.   I talk a lot to Brian about the still, small voice.  This time, the answer was loud, and it was clear.  The relief we felt upon truly hearing Him can only be described as the peace that passes understanding.

10% of all couples who are of child-bearing age experience infertility.  Two thirds will go on to have biological children.  We are not in that group. At this point, we have made a very important decision and want to let our friends and families who have been involved in this process know where we are headed from here.  At this time, we will not be pursuing any further fertility treatments in hopes of pregnancy. While we will probably return to treatment in the future, it is not the path we are going to continue down in hopes of our first child.  We definitely want more than one child, and know that they will not all come to us in the same manner.  We are feeling very definitely led in this direction, and are making this decision after much prayer and discussion.

Instead, we will be taking a few months off to process and heal, and to generally give ourselves a break.  At this point our plan is to then pursue adoption through foster care.  We would ask that you continue to lift our family up through this process as you have through our infertility.  While it’s exciting, we know that it will also bring with it hard work and possible heartache, and a whole other set of circumstances.  I personally can’t wait.  I feel like I am walking the path the Lord has laid out for the first time in months.

After we decided this, I sat down to write a little note to our families and friends who had supported us.  As I told them, we want to take the time to thank you for supporting and praying for us for the past three years as we have tried to start our family.  This whole process would have been so much harder if we hadn’t had the support of so many of our friends and family, without the constant encouragement and interest.  This definitely includes my bloggity friends who have been just as instrumental in my survival.  I know that at times people haven’t known what to say, or haven’t understood what we were going through, but the fact that you were there has been more important than you will ever know.

As we move forward, first taking care of ourselves and then trying to find a small person to take care of, we’ll need you.  I’ll still need to vent, to think “out loud”, we’ll still need prayer.  This decision will never take away my passion for infertility and breaking the silence that surrounds it.  Infertility, baby loss, barrenness, childlessness — all these things still weigh heavy on my heart and I will never stop listening, posting, advocating, and praying.  Share your stories with me or ask for prayer.  Let’s just add a new facet….let’s learn about foster care adoption, y’all.

And from the very bottom of my heart — thank you and God bless every single one of you.

 

Reclaiming Christmas December 20, 2010

Filed under: Infertility,TTC — andreabaileys @ 8:00 am
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Christmas has always been one of my favorite holidays.  What’s not to love?  A chance to decorate, good food, family being extra-nice, and all the awesomeness that comes with Advent and the birth of Christ. The whole winter holiday line-up has always thrilled me, starting with Halloween and ending with New Year’s Day. As we’ve tried to simplify our lives in the past few years it’s been a fun challenge to condense all those good feelings into simple gifts and activities that leave us time to focus on the waiting of Advent and the celebration of the Nativity.  We’ve enjoyed our simple Christmases even more.

Except last year.  Last year, Christmas sucked.  Royally sucked.  I always put our tree up the first Saturday in December, or the last Saturday in November if it’s one of those years when December comes in on a Monday, and take it down in mid-January.  Last year it was up the week before Christmas and down the following weekend.  I put up almost no other decorations, and did the minimum work necessary for the whole holiday.  I enjoyed gift-giving, but only because I always like that.  In general, I couldn’t have cared less about Christmas and just wanted it to be over.  I cried through most of the season.

Why was one of my favorite times miserable?  Infertility, of course.  I hate hate hate that so many areas of my life are colored by that horrible concept. As much as I have come to terms with my infertility and the likelihood that we won’t have biological children, it still tears my heart open sometimes.  Here’s a little insight into why…..

In 2007, Christmas was exciting.  I was going off the pill at the end of January, and we were going to start “trying” in April 2008.  We were optimistic!  In 2008, Christmas was full of possibilities.  We had been seeing our gurus since September, and I was finally responding to Clomid.  December was the first month that I ovulated well, and we were excited about the possibility that I could be pregnant in the near future.  I was so excited that next year we could be either expecting a baby or celebrating our child’s first Christmas.  Nothing brings home the feeling of Advent like the possibility of a child.

Fast forward through six months of failed cycles and the decision to take a “break” since we had no idea what to do next.  Then that break just got longer and longer.  By Christmas of 2009 I had absolutely no hope.  We couldn’t figure out my fertility, we couldn’t afford to adopt, and we had nothing to show for all our time.  The idea of a lifetime of childless Christmases seemed…sad.  Don’t get me wrong — if you choose to remain childless for any reason, more power to you.  Having children in no way defines your life or your value.  It doesn’t even define your holidays.  But it’s not what we want.

I had trouble finding the will to prepare for the holidays, and I skated through with as little effort and enjoyment as possible.  Needless to say, it was a rough time.  I cried on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and plenty of times throughout the season.  I was so glad to pull that tree down and put the reminders of my failure away for another year.

This year, I’m determined it will different.  This year I put our tree up at the beginning of the month, I made half the ornaments myself, and I’ve been busy for a few weeks making cookies and candy.  Our gifts are bought, the wrapping paper is ready for tomorrow, and I’m enjoying every minute of it.  Through a dead strand of lights on the tree, a broken clay roller hindering my ornaments, and the peanut brittle that is flexible, I’m immersing myself in the holidays.

What’s different?  My attitude.  Granted, Brian is working about 80 hours a week this Christmas again and I’m doing it all myself, and granted we’re still childless, infertile, and undergoing treatment.  But I’m okay with most of that.  If we never have children and can’t adopt, at least I have a fabulous husband and a close family.  Over the past year I’ve started to wrap my head around never having children.  While it’s not what I want, if it’s God’s will I’ll do it.  If the treatment we’re doing now works, we’ll have a baby by Christmas 2011.  And if it doesn’t, at least we tried and I’ll have closure, and we can move on. Either way, this Christmas has information, hope, and possibility….for peace. I’m enjoying every minute.

 

Tiny Glimmer of Hope October 5, 2010

Filed under: Faith,Infertility,TTC — andreabaileys @ 9:00 am
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I’ve told several people in the past week that I fully expect our upcoming gonadotropin and IUI cycle to fail.  There’s absolutely no medical reason for me to think we’ll fail.  99% of women respond to gonadotropins, according to my doctors, and they tell us that IUI raises our chances of conception about 10% above the old fashioned way.  So the likelihood that it will work is pretty high.

But if I let myself believe that it might work then my heart will be broken if it doesn’t….again.  And if I let that happen, then I have to let myself look at all the reasons why.  And if I let myself look at all the reasons why….well, I just can’t even bear that again.  So it’s easier to tell myself that it won’t work, so that when it doesn’t I can say “see I told you so”.

But when Cycle Day 1 arrived on Sunday, quietly and with no more than a whimper….something happened.  A teeny, tiny little green shoot of hope appeared.  As I sat in church on Sunday and prayed for a baby, I had a tiny little belief in my heart that God might just grant my request.  There’s a chance it’ll work.  Maybe I’ll get to be someone’s mama by next year.

I can let myself hope, just a tiny little bit.  It’s scary, but it feels okay.  New cycles are like spring — little green buds that are in danger of frost.  So easily destroyed, but just as easily successful.  I haven’t felt any hope in this process in about six months, so it’s a nice thing to feel now.  If this works, it will be all God.  Via modern medicine and doctors, yes, but the will of God nonetheless.  I’m just trusting Him to know best.