For This Child We Have Prayed

Maternity_14wks_005I have longed for years to be able to make this kind of announcement. Every year I prayed…. hoped… believed that this was our year, only to watch another year sneak by. But this IS our year!

It is with great joy that I can say that I am pregnant! Baby Ward is due October 1 after almost 4 very long years of waiting. God is good.

“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her.” Luke 1:45

Some of you have been following our journey since I opened up about our fertility struggles a few years ago. You can read about how the Lord opened up my blocked fallopian tubes that I was told were diseased and damaged here. We fully expected that the end of the road was close after that. Yet one year and then another slipped by and my womb was still empty.

But God is SO good.

We had friends who decided to walk this journey of prayer and believing with us, and faithfully prayed and fasted on our behalf. Amazing. God showed Himself so strong to us over and over again. So while the years passed I didn’t become depressed but instead I became more certain that we would end our story with a baby in our arms. Our baby.

Last November we were feeling a bit weary in the journey and for the first time in almost 4 years I felt the calling to go to a fertility doctor. Before that I avoided them because they will 99% of the time just suggest IVF without offering any other suggestions. We weren’t ready to consider IVF so what was the point? But I felt some peace about going so I made an appointment with a doctor that had been recommended.

We told her our medical journey and that we would like to try IUI, the least costly and invasive fertility treatment available. For most, it’s the step before IVF. In her kindest tone she warned us that she didn’t believe IUI would work for us. In fact, she gave us a 8% success rate and suggested IVF instead (like I said, the choice of every fertility clinic it seems). We were crushed. Deflated. Sad. But told her that we still wanted to proceed.

I ran to the restroom before my ultrasound and took a deep breath. And for the first time in my life I heard God speak SO clearly to me. He said, “It’s not impossible for me.” Seriously. It was as clear as day. In a bathroom. Right after the doctor basically told me that is was impossible. Isn’t God so good?

So with this new assurance I proceeded to the exam room for an ultrasound to take a look at my ovaries to “see what we were dealing with.” Well imagine my relief when my doctor gasped in awe — my ovaries were like follicle factories. 25 on one side and 35 on the other. In other words, my “old” body (doctor’s lovely words not mine) looked a bit like a 25 year old’s. Abundant. Praise the Lord.

And can we pause here on the word abundant? Around Thanksgiving J and I realized that the word for the season in life we were in was abundance. We could so clearly see abundance in our lives… in J’s new job (amazing in-house photographer job paying above asking salary), in the selling of my Nashville condo (sold in one day above asking price), in our friendships (seriously above and beyond what we had been praying for) and so much more. So why wouldn’t my ovaries be abundant as well, right? And to make things even more crazy, for most of 2105 I was working on logos and design pieces for an event called…wait for it… Abundance. Yep, for most of last year not only did I have the word abundance right in front of me as I worked, but also this amazing verse that has become the theme of this season of our life:

“You crown the year with Your goodness,
And Your paths drip with abundance.” (Psalm 65:11)

So there I am, end of the year, with abundant ovaries, the word of the Lord in my head, His promise in my heart and the doctor’s 8% chance in front of me. I was feeling confident.

We did IUI #1 in December. Everything went smoothly. We found out on Christmas day that it didn’t work. I wasn’t pregnant. We were devastated.

In January we learned that our church was doing a 21-day Daniel fast for women who have been trying to conceive. I was so thankful and humbled. I know that prayer changes thing so a whole church praying and fasting? Amazing. All month I kept saying that I felt their prayers. I couldn’t explain it, but I felt a peace.

We tried IUI #2 in January. Again, everything went smoothly, but we both didn’t expect it to end positively. After our Christmas disappointment we were definitely guarded. The doctor told me to take a pregnancy test on January 21– the last day of the church-wide Daniel fast– so I did and the faintest of faint lines showed up. You almost couldn’t even see it. I showed Jason and we both cautiously shrugged and said we’d test again the next day. We just couldn’t bear getting our hopes up (false positives tend to happen in IUIs due to the hormones that you take). I told a friend who was certain I was pregnant (“A line is a line!” she said) and she ran over with more tests which I took almost as soon as she left. About 3 seconds after taking the pregnancy test two dark lines appeared. I seriously couldn’t believe it. As in I didn’t cry, didn’t scream. I just starred at the test in disbelief. I’d walk by the test every 30 minutes to see if it was real, to see if the line was still there. Could it be?

Almost 4 years of waiting can make it hard to believe that your time has come.

But here I am, 14 weeks pregnant with morning sickness, a growing middle and printouts of ultrasounds on our fridge door excited to say that YES, I am definitely pregnant! The reality has finally sunken in and we are truly overjoyed! This baby has been prayed into being and so we know that he or she is so special. Our miracle baby! And there is NO DOUBT that while we used medical help to conceive this child, God’s hand was at work throughout the whole thing. We can say with confidence that the prayers of our friends, the fasting of our church and God’s word being alive and active is what conceived our child.

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I know that some of you are still waiting for your own miracle baby so to you I say don’t give up! Set your eyes on the Lord and His promises. Claim them for yourself and believe that what he has done for others he can also do for you! He doesn’t pick favorites! God is forever faithful. I know — oh how I know — that the waiting is so hard and sometimes you feel like you are overlooked. But God has not forgotten you! He knows the desires of your heart and wants to give you good gifts. Please let me know if I can pray for you.

I also urge you to find a friend or two who can share your burden. I can’t even begin to tell you how much it helped to know that we had friends and family who not only knew what we were going through, but were praying for us and believing with us. And the best part is that when I became pregnant, our miracle became their miracle. Our joy became their joy. So don’t go through this alone.

Thank you, to everyone who has prayed for us and believed with us. Your faithfulness has helped us stand when we were weary and believe when we should have doubted.

Currently: 14w2d pregnant!

Cravings: Caesar salads, watermelon and junk food chips (like doritos) — an improvement over my early cravings of bagels with cream cheese, chicken fingers and tacos.:)

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Introducing Lex+Sea!

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Guys! For a while I pretty much abandoned this blog and I’m so sorry! But it’s Spring of 2016 and I have some fun things to share, the first of which being my new Etsy store, Lex+Sea! Some of you might remember my old Etsy store which would have a few screen prints from time to time, but Lex+Sea is entirely new. My dream is to have a full line of paper goods and home decor items… everything from prints, cards and wallpapers to fabrics, dish towels and pillow covers.

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As most of you know, I’ve been a graphic designer and illustrator for about 15 years now. I’ve been blessed to work on everything from CD covers to movie posters to tote bag designs for festivals. I’ve worked with some of the best clients in the industry. And I’ve loved it all. But along the way I began to miss the chance to design things the way I want to design them, without a client telling me what they want or need. I felt like a part of my creative self was getting lost.

And so it was time for Lex+Sea, a store where I can create whatever strikes my fancy. It’s a small start but I hope you’ll check back often as I plan to be adding new items to the shop pretty regularly.

Pretty please check out Lex+Sea and let me know what you think. I’d love to have my friends and readers purchase some items and leave my store some reviews to get my started. To celebrate the launch of my new store, I’m am offering my readers 15% OFF your order now through April 15! To receive your discount, please use the promo code CELEBRATE when you check out.

Getting Healthy With Thrive Market

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Have you guys heard of Thrive Market yet? It’s a new membership-based online market full of all the natural, organic and non-GMO food, beauty items that you love at 25-50% off retail prices. I decided to give it a try when I discovered that they offered a free one month trial PLUS an extra 25% off your first order PLUS free shipping for orders over $50. I liked the idea of it even more when I discovered they followed a one-for-one model — for every person who subscribes to Thrive Market they give a free membership to a low-income family giving them access to great nutritional items for less. What a great thing!

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On Friday I placed my first order. We’ve started a new gluten free, dairy free, non-GMO eating plan so this was a great place for me to stock up on some great pantry basics. We’re also trying to avoid toxins, chemicals and parabens in our hair and skin care as well as cleaning supplies so I decided to grab a few things that I was out off.

In full disclosure, I ordered 16 items for $109 — with 25% off and free shipping my grand total was $84.25. I had a few higher priced items including some moisturizer, almond butter, organic raw cashews and organic grass fed ghee, so I felt like this was a good price. We have a camping trip coming up in a few weeks so I also wanted grab a few items for hiking snacks thus the granola bars and jerky treats. They’re aren’t things I would normally buy but I wasn’t sure how hard it would be to find gluten free granola bars and I knew that the jerky was a great deal. You can see everything I got here.

Thrive-inthebox Thrive-stuffSome of the other things you can find at Thrive Market includes:
-canned fruits and veggies
-non-GMO corn items
-baby food
-diapers and baby accessories
-vitamins
-makeup
-hair and skincare
-home cleaners
-spices
-baking supplies
-teas
-shop by category such as paleo, gluten-free, raw, vegan, moms, staples

I also thought it would be fun to do a bit of a price comparison to see if I really saved money. Check it out: PrintAs you can see I save money on everything other than the almond butter which cost about $1.50 more on Thrive than the price I found on Amazon, but overall the savings were pretty significant! And I didn’t have to leave my house! I love the thought that I could get all my pantry staples this way and save my grocery runs for things like fresh produce, meat and cheese. I’ll definitely be keeping my membership to Thrive with this kind of savings.

If you want to give Thrive Market a try just use this link (http://thrv.me/34RJTo) to their page and then let me know what you think! Remember, your first month of membership is not only FREE but you also get an extra 25% off your order plus free shipping over $50. Try it for yourself!