Fertility Journey

It’s been a while.

Sorry our posts have been so few and far between!

We have had a very active and great summer, and I haven’t set aside much time to sit down and really write.  What a blessing to have the summer to spend more time together as a couple and TRAVEL! We’ve been traveling for missions, family vacation, business, and weddings. I think our big travels are complete for the summer, but we had such a wonderful time. Here is a brief overview of our summer:

Andover, NY – Bachelorette/Bridal Shower for my (Shelly) cousin, Patty!:
Such a blessing to shower her with love that weekend! The Bachelorette consisted of a painting party and then checking out a few bars – favorite being Cider Creek Hard Cider. I highly recommend making your way there if you’re up that way!

It was so wonderful to catch up with my sweet cousins, cry, and laugh. These women are near and dear to my heart. ❤

 

Washington, DC – Missions trip with our youth through Experience Mission:
Jake and I served in the mission field for our very first time TOGETHER. We have both gone on missions trip in the past, but never together. It was such a joy to serve alongside of each other for a week in Washington, DC. We painted, ran a kid’s club, yard work, cleaned the streets, fed the homeless, and so much more. 

Cape May, NJ – Family VACATION for a week! 
First time in a while we’ve gone on a long family vacation. It was such a wonderful time spending quality time with our precious niece for her first experience at the beach/bay. She bonded a lot with Jake over this trip – what a joy to watch that unfold. Each morning we would wake up to her coming out in to the living room and squealing at us, <3.

We went to the bay and beach, learned new games, checked out local antique shops, enjoyed crabbing (caught 30 crabs), walked around at the Cape May Zoo, played mini golf at an awesome location, and so much more!

I could not just pick a few photos from our trip, so enjoy!

 

Duluth, GA – trip with our company to our Home Office.
Such an incredible experience! Jake and I have been in the business since 2011, and had never made it down to our Home Office. We had the opportunity to meet many influential individuals, and learn from some of the best in our business. Opened our vision even wider – educating and helping more families around the US, Pennsylvania, and Lancaster!

We stayed with our great friends, Jason & Christi. Reconnecting with them was so wonderful! Our company does a weekly live broadcast, and we were able to be a part of it! 😀

Bliss, NY (and Rexville, NY) – Patty & Darren’s Wedding:
Oh what a joy to be with family! We love spending any chance we have to be with them. Laughing, dancing, and playing games. Such a great celebration of MARRIAGE!

…and any opportunity to hold a precious little one, I’ll take it! Lots of baby snuggles!

 

As you can see, it’s been a whirlwind of exciting adventures. Have we forgotten about our fertility journey? No. However, it was nice to have a healthy break from dwelling on it daily. Distractions can be good, at times – and this summer has been a healthy distraction.

Please pray for us as we make decisions on how to move forward in our journey.

Fertility Journey

Acupuncture: First Visit

Tuesday, January 9th Jake and I celebrated 14 years since we first started dating! How cool is that?! This year, today, I had my first acupuncture appointment and loved it. I was slightly nervous about it before arriving, but also very excited to start down our new path towards fertility health. I have heard many success stories with fertility, and I could not wait to get started.

I arrived at the location, took my shoes off, and filled out some paperwork. I sat with the Acupuncturist, Nick, for about 30 minutes to discuss my life, background, goals for acupuncture, etc. Nick was very kind, down to earth, and showed a caring spirit. Through talking he expressed his desire for me to begin exercising. He encouraged me to find something I’m passionate about to help with motivating me to exercise – that was a nice perspective (rather than just telling me to work out).

Then, it was time to begin! (Yay!)

Many people have wondered – “what should I expect at an appointment.” I suppose that depends on the Acupuncturist and the specific technique they are doing or area they are focusing on at that visit. For my first visit he needed my feet, and my entire back. The room was kept at a warm temperature, so that made it comfortable. Once he came back in, he began. I cannot even begin to explain how amazed I was that I didn’t even feel the needles! I truly thought he was just tapping on my back at first, until I realized he kept doing it so it must have been the needles. Nick started with my back, placed a few there. Then he placed one on the top of my head (was nervous about this one, but again felt nothing), and one on each of my ankles.

He made sure I was comfortable, and left the room for 5-10 minutes. He returned to check on me, and then left the room for another 10 minutes (or so) to allow me to continue relaxing. Trust me when I tell you, it was relaxing. On a side note, my face always has an itch when I’m getting a massage or now, Acupuncture. (haha!) After returning again, he removed the needles and let me get up in my own time. The most I felt the needles was when he removed them – however, that still was an incredibly minor twinge.

What have I noticed since the appointment?:

I really did not expect to notice anything immediately, but I did. It is amazing how you have a symptom in your life for so long that you seem to become blind towards it. I have regularly been getting headaches/migraines again. I really am not sure why. I know gluten is a main cause, but I have eliminated that from my diet. Stress is a leading factor as well, and Jake has honed in on his skills of massage to release the stress in my shoulders/neck. I am getting adjusted at the Chiropractor regularly and taking supplements from my Nutritionist (maybe not as well as I should be) – so those have helped. I didn’t notice how foggy my mind had been until today – when it finally cleared. About an hour after leaving the appointment my head felt less foggy – like I could focus more. My energy level had increased significantly – which has been pretty low lately. I had a minor headache before the appointment, that went away. I don’t even know how to explain it, really, but I did notice those few “symptoms” going away!

What is my follow-up?:

I have my next appointment on Tuesday, January 23rd. He recommended weekly for the first month and then bi-weekly following, but with our two schedules the 23rd was the earliest I was able to get in there. With Chinese Acupuncture it is recommended to do at least 3 months in a row for fertility.

I hope this post can bring some encouragement to someone who has been contemplating Acupuncture (for whatever reason). I am excited to see what is to come with this! I have linked Nick’s page up above in you live in the Lancaster, PA area!

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Events & Family · Fertility Journey

Celebrating Another’s Child

May 6th, 2017 I had the opportunity to bless my brother and sister-in-law with a beautiful baby shower. Honoring them as parents, and anticipating the arrival of our sweet little niece or nephew!

Was this process always easy? – No, but we have grown through it and developed an even stronger understanding of the Lord’s love for us and our TRUST and FAITH in Him.

Are we excited for them to be parents? – Absolutely!

Are they supportive towards our fertility journey? – You bet! They love us, hug us, ask how we’re doing, and PRAY for us.

Exactly one month later my beautiful and precious NIECE was born. (She is now over 7 months old!)

 

Please enjoy the decor photos of this very special day. They don’t know the gender, and don’t want to. SO I went with a deer theme – gold decor – and live plants.

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BABY word frames.
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Advice For Mama
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Self Addressed Thank You’s
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Baby Food Challenge
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Wishes For Baby and Pool Game
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Photobooth/Gift Opening (the backdrop was the same from their wedding photobooth – how cool!?
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Centerpieces
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Gluten Free Cupcakes and Marshmallows dipped in chocolate
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“Happy Labor Day” cake made by my Aunt
Fertility Journey

Shelly Turns 30

My (Shelly) 30th birthday was yesterday. I was blessed and surrounded by dear friends and family at a surprise party. Jake took me out bowling beforehand so they could set-up – he kicked my butt! (Oh my, it’s been a while since we’ve bowled.) I am reminded so often that I need to continue to date him. It is so easy to get caught up in life, and forget the special relationships we have in life. Jake loves me, he REALLY loves me. He loves me during the exciting times, fun times, sad times, sick times, and ugly times. He loves me regardless of my emotions, and cares for me and our home. I am blessed beyond measure by him. Yesterday, his pure love for me made me cry. I so often find myself engulfed in “not being pregnant”/”not having a child” that I can forget how much I am loved. My Jakob, thank you!

Thirty is exciting to me! We have such an amazing life ahead of us with so much to yet accomplish and do. I know that age is only a number, and we have so much in store for our future with the goals and dreams we’ve set. One goal in particular being that we set a goal for saving for IVF/adoption. We want to be prepared in advance if the Lord leads us down that path. Our hearts still beat at the tune of being parents. Although thirty excites me, I am reminded of my empty womb. Please pray with me as I work through this emotional pain.

I have been absolutely blown away with how much of a blessing our niece, Melanie, has been in our life. She has shown me how to love all over again and how to have JOY! I have grown an even greater love for Jake as I see him interact with her. Melanie and I truly do have a special bond, and my goodness I sure do love it! 

“Happy Birthday Aunt Shelly!” (Little did I know that part of my party decorations we’re in the background of this photo! 😋)
Sweet Melanie and Uncle Jake relaxing after they got to our place one day, ❤️

I will write a post soon about goal setting – make sure to stay tuned!

Also coming up: First Acupuncture appointment experience and WHY I pursued Acupuncture.

Fertility Journey

Slow Down – Take Inventory

Just a little update on our journey:

We have decided to, again, take a break from the medications/testing. My body does not respond well to medications, and I really need to focus on my health. Our focus is to continue Chiropractic, Nutrition (supplements), and to pursue Acupuncture. I also would like to get back in to a healthy habit of exercise and eating healthy.
Please pray along with us as we seek out an Acupuncturist who specializes in infertility AND someone who we really like. Also, for me to be motivated and encouraged to get my butt in gear with exercise.
I am sure you have noticed me posting a lot of photos of our niece – oh how we love her! When we first heard of her coming arrival, I was nervous. Scared that I would hurt when I saw her, and that I would be bitter towards Bobby & Faith. THANKFULLY, she has been a pure blessing during this journey, and Bobby & Faith allow me to have special time with her. She has caused me to slow down, and enjoy each and every moment. I have a special connection with sweet Melanie. ❤ I never really was able to experience being an Aunt at this stage with Jake’s nephews/nieces because they were older when I came in the picture.
A few of my favorite things with Melanie:
1. Singing to her – ALL THE TIME! She loves “My Girl” by the Temptations, “I love you, a bushel & a peck” with motions, “Head Shoulder’s Knees and Toes”, “Father Abraham” and just recently – “Little Bunny Foo Foo”.
2. Changing her diaper – Any time she’s over and her diaper needs changed… Aunt Shelly is ready to snatch her up. She loves her diaper being changed, and I make sure to raspberry her belly each time!
3. Rocking her to sleep – the one night she was refusing to fall asleep (football was on, and she loves it). I took her back to our guest room where it was quiet and dark and rocked her while singing “Father Abraham” (twice).
4. Watching Jake interact with her – what a joy. She loves her Uncle Jake.
5. Watching her smile – at everything and everyone.
6. Photo shoots – I enjoy finding cute clothing/bows and doing mini photo shoots with her. They’re usually done outside, and she’s a trooper!
7. Quite accurately – everything about her!

 

Sometimes in life we just need to slow down and focus on what’s right in front of us. I am so often caught up in our journey that I forget to notice what’s going on around me. Friendships, relationships, business, my spiritual life, physical health, etc.

I am reminded in one book I am currently read “Grace Not Perfection” by Emily Ley: “Give yourself permission to slow down. In fact, give yourself permission to just stop. Press pause on as much as possible, and take inventory of your life. What are your commitments and responsibilities? What can go? What are you priorities? What can you say no to?… What are you missing? What makes you feel deeply alive? And how can you fill your heart up with that, even if just a tiny bit?” Then she encouraged us to write out a list of things we LOVE.

Here is mine:
I love… being a wife, daughter, sister, and aunt. I love moments with my two best friends – Amanda/Leah, time with Jake – special moments. I love traveling, staying in luxury hotels, swimming (ocean or pool). I love sipping on tea – all year long. Changing Melanie’s diaper and bonding, singing, rocking, and snuggling her. Baby smiles/giggles. Checking out new destinations. Shopping for home goods items/furniture. Decorating the house. I love Fall/Autumn – pumpkins, leaves, cider, hayrides, orange, flannel, and everything else Fall. I love the way Jake cares for me and loves me. (I ran out of space on the page in the book, but I know I could come up with so much more.)

 

“So how do we tactically set ourselves up for joy? It starts with grace, continues with a plan, and ends with grace. When you make a plan, wrap it up in a giant hug of grace, because it may not happen, or it may not happen the way you intended. Let go of the perfect plan, and pursue a good and flexible plan – one that will give you the freedom to go with the flow and find the joy hidden in the in-between moments….” – Emily Ley

Encouragement In Life · Fertility Journey

Attitude Check.

“Many times people who have suffered adverse situations in their lives become bitter and angry. Over time, their lives will be negative and hardened towards others. The tendency for them is to point back to a difficult time and say, ‘That incident ruined my life.’ What they do not realize is that the incident called for an attitude decision – a response. Their wrong attitude choice, not the condition, ruined their lives.” – John C. Maxwell, “Developing the Leader Within You”

We have to ask ourselves: Will we allow our fertility journey to harden our attitudes towards life and others, or will we allow it to shape us into making a right attitude choice? We choose to let it mold and shape us into better individuals – it’s a journey, but we are choosing that path. We want to look back 20 years from now and be able to say, “that challenge changed our lives for the better and molded us into the people we are today.”

Often, we see individuals going through this journey [or other journeys] who have chosen the path of negativity towards life, friends/family/people, and God. I know the struggle, thoughts, hurt, pain, and confusion – BUT how are you letting that affect your life? When it’s raining are you complaining, or are you thankful for the fruit and vegetables that are being nourished? Are you approaching situations as “I can do this” or “There is no way I am able to complete this task”? When you hear another pregnancy announcement are you bitter or thankful for their blessing? [It is okay to still hurt, but bitterness only destroys you more.] It is amazing how much your thoughts affect your day, week, month, and life.

I challenge you – regardless of what you’re going through in life right now – to go through each day starting on a positive note – like listed below. It will help you build your mindset and attitude. This is not something that comes naturally. Instead, it is a DAILY CHOICE.

When you wake up in the morning:
1. Read self-improvement/ Bible
2. Pray/meditate
3. Write out affirmations

Throughout the day:
1. Encourage others
2. Pray/meditate
3. Connect with someone who encourages you

At end of day:
1. Pray/meditate
2. Self-improvement/Bible
3. Affirmations [again]

John C. Maxwell had a conversation with his Dad:
“Dad, you’re seventy years old. You’ve always had a great attitude. Are you still reading that stuff?”
“Son, I have to keep working on my thought life. I am responsible to have a great attitude and to maintain it. My attitude does not run on automatic.”

Perhaps today is a day for an attitude decision – response. Are you ready to change your mind, heart, and attitude. Jake and I are committing to making positive attitude decisions. Will you commit to that, too? — This does not determine your road to be easy, but it sure does secure it to be mentally and emotionally improved.

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Encouragement In Life · Fertility Journey

There Is Beauty In the Weeds

Weeds grow rapidly, spread all over, pop up where unexpected, and choke out other plants – much like the struggles in our lives, right?

The struggles build on top of each other and grow quickly. You’re reminded often by the things around you, and hurt often.

The pain spreads into other areas of your life. You often let it affect your work, home, spiritual, and physical life. You take your hurt, anger, and frustration out on the important people in your life (spouse, parents, siblings, children, etc.) – even when you try not to. It spreads like weeds – fast, wide, and sporatic. You don’t always know when it’s going to affect you – where you’ll be, who you’ll be with, and what’s going on around you.

BUT through it all, there is beauty – if you allow it.

Beauty in the pain and suffering. Beauty in who you become when you come out on the other end. Beauty in the relationships built through it – the ones who love you, support you, and pray for you. I am thankful for our fertility struggle. “Wait, what did she just say?!” Yup, I just said that. I am thankful. I still struggle, I still have pain, and I still hope and dream of becoming pregnant, soon! BUT I am thankful the Lord is using our experience to help others through theres. I am thankful I have a better appreciation and understanding for others who go through infertility as well. I still have REALLY rough days, and events, words, etc. that trigger my emotions, but I am THANKFUL!

1 Thessalonians 5:18: Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (NLT)

Philippians 4:6: Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. (NLT)

Psalm 106:1Praise the LordOh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! (ESV)


Psalm 28:7: The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. (NLT)

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Check out those “weeds” above – they aren’t actually considered weeds, but they sure are invasive. Each year we pull as many as we can find, but somehow they come back in full force the next Spring. They reproduce and spread like crazy. All through our yard and garden (much like dandelions). This year, I chose to let them be with my tulips. They are beautiful – if only for a moment. I cherished them this Spring, and will appreciate them each year for the reminder they bring to me.