Friday, June 21, 2019

Our First Fertility Appointment

I haven't decided yet exactly how often or how much of our fertility journey I will share here. I'm pretty much an open book but this is a different situation and I guess I'll figure it out as we go. But I did want to share how our first appointment went because several friends have asked and I figured this is a good space to share it for friends who want to know. We have the best friends and family walking beside us and I'm so thankful.

If you were around two years ago you know I wasn't thrilled about how our first appointment went. $950+ later I felt like we had wasted our time and our money. We knew if we ever pursued this road again we would change practices and see someone new.

I was really nervous I would pick a place I didn't love and we would waste more money. When choosing a practice I heard a lot about two places but one was our old doctor (that we didn't want to see again) and one I just didn't feel drawn to. So I went with one our nurse midwife recommended and made an appointment. I felt at peace with that decision but still really hoped we weren't wasting our time.

About a week before our appointment a friend I used to work closely with at my obgyn's office messaged me about how she worked at the office that we chose. 

I started thinking about how Jesus can see our future and always knows what's coming. I think about him knowing me as an 18 year old and knowing that this friend I met through my job would one day be my fertility nurse. How crazy.

So she gave me her number and was so encouraging and helpful. I was so grateful that we chose that practice and doctor, and grateful that Stephanie reached out to me. It gave me so much peace and was a total God thing.

Our first appointment was better than I could have imagined. We didn't wait long at all, the visit was so much cheaper, we had bloodwork done while we were there, and we got so much information on what's going to happen next.

One huge thing I was insanely impressed by was the doctor herself walking out to the waiting room to meet us and bring us back to her office. Working in healthcare you don't see that often and we were immediately impressed by her and the way their employees did their jobs. 

The whole visit with the doctor was great. She let us explain everything we needed to, she explained everything well, she made sure we didn't have any questions, and we left there feeling super at peace with our decision, which is huge when you know you're going to be there a lot. 

We have both our our tests scheduled and should have a follow-up visit shortly after we finish all the testing. We won't know until we get results from our tests what road we may be walking to get a baby Hodges (IUI, IVF, etc.). We're excited to have some answers and move forward. We appreciate all your prayers!

Sweet Lincoln asked us when I picked him up after the appointment, "So are you pregnant now?" Sweet boy!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

When Hope Shows Up

Today was a really bad day. I woke up to a text from my husband that made me sick on my stomach. Long story short, we thought we paid something off but it never went through and now we owe two payments and late fees and where we thought we had walked into freedom with this particular debt, there was still bondage. 

This paying off debt thing is hard. And we thought we were farther than we were. And the money needed for the collective payment we didn't have. On top of that, we were going to have to dip into our fertility account to pay it, and I was devastated.

So I met my mom for breakfast and while I waited I got a text from a friend saying "hey you were on my heart and I just wanted you to know I was praying for you."

WHAT JESUS. 

I was so overwhelmed. How much must God love me that He would put my name on someone's heart to let me know I was being prayed for. To let me know that in the midst of a terrible morning God was sending me a friend to give me some peace. Epic God.

Then on top of it I had some Young Living essential rewards points that I cashed in last week. My box was supposed to get here yesterday but it didn't and got moved to today. I had completely forgotten about it it the midst of the mess we were in but there it was at my front door.

Now before I go any further I have to share that the recurring theme Jesus seems to be shouting to me about during this infertility season is the word hope. Not just 'I hope we have a baby' but so much deeper. I've had some big God encounters about this and He seems to be weaving it in often. I'm actually planning a blog post on it soon and I'm really excited to share it.

So in my box that I ordered last week? Hope oil.



Hope showed up right when I needed it. My word Jesus. 

So while I thought the post office had jacked up my package time God had it all planned out to be here the very day my hope began to waiver. The day I needed Him to remind me, "Hey, I'm still here in this with you. We're not done yet. And my timing is better than anything you could plan on your own."

I hear you loud and clear, God. Keep hoping. Keep seeking. Keep praising. Let the rest work itself out.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Choosing Faith Over Fear

Infertility is unbelievably overwhelming. I don't think it's possible to convey the feelings you have while going through unless you actually do experience it.

June is the month we go see the reproductive endocrinologist and as we get closer, the what ifs pop into my head. What if we never come up with the money to pursue treatment? What if we spend this large amount of money and never have a baby? What if I always have this desire for a baby but never actually have one? What if we get pregnant and have a miscarriage?

So many fears. 

When we walked down this path two years ago I was consumed with worry. Consumed with sadness. I let me fear of never having another child take over my entire life. 

This time I've said I will not let my fear be greater than my faith.

I will not let doubt take over what I know Jesus says to be true. 

This time I've said I will look to what Jesus says and not what my heart says.

I will claim Jesus' promise over my life, my husband's life, my son's life, and even my future child's life.

My Jesus said "my peace I leave you. My peace I give you." I'm claiming peace.



My Jesus said "I am the one who goes before you and I will be with you. I will not leave you, I will not forsake you. Do not fear nor be dismayed." I'm claiming that Jesus was in that reproductive endocrinologist' office long before I ever was. I'm claiming that He is with me and He will not leave me. I will not fear.

My Jesus said that "I did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but I received the spirit of adoption by whom we cry out 'Abba, Father.'" I'm claiming that my heavenly Father is the best dad there is, and He loves His daughter.

As sons and daughters of God, we have been given so many gifts to deal with the difficult things in this life. He left us His peace. He left us His word. He gave us the Holy Spirit. And if my Jesus told me not to fear, then I'm going to trust that He's giving me the tools to help me do just that. I'm claiming peace in a situation that isn't peaceful. I'm claiming that Jesus knows what He's doing and He's not going to leave His children. I'm claiming that my faith is going to be bigger than my fear.



Sunday, May 19, 2019

Infertility Update

How do you even start a post like this? Um, hi. I'd like to bare my soul. Enjoy!

I've started this post too many times to count and I've really spent a lot of time thinking and praying about when I should share, and now seems like a good time.

If you've been around here for a while or we're friends in real life, you know Michael and I have always wanted more kids. It's been something we just assumed would happen and something we've been trying for since we got married in March 2016.

When we were coming up on about eight or nine months of marriage I saw my doctor about it and we tried about four rounds of clomid (aka, satan's drug) with no results. After that we were referred to a reproductive endocrinologist and saw them in June 2017.

From the beginning that process and season was ROUGH. The testing alone to figure out what was wrong was going to be $2,000+, and that was after we had spent over $900 on our first appointment. It wasn't financially doable in that season, I was an emotional wreck (God bless my husband), and in all honesty I just don't think our marriage/bank account could withstand the storm that infertility treatment would have put on us.

So with that in our minds, we backed off. We didn't see the doctor again. We stopped all the cycle tracking. I went back to drinking all the coffee I wanted (praise be).

I was so sad. Looking back, I realize that was one of the darkest seasons of my life so far. I was so focused on the lack of a baby that I wasn't enjoying much of anything.

I did a Bible study for women going through infertility and/or infant loss that snapped me out of it. What followed that was a season of learning how to enjoy the gifts that God had given me. I started working on loving myself. I took small steps at taking care of myself. I drank more water. I made myself exercise. I spent a lot of time alone, processing everything, and I spent a lot of time alone doing things I loved like reading.

It was such a good season for me and I realized in that season that God had given me so many good gifts. God gave me a peace then that if our family stops at three, that is so much more than enough.

With that being said, we've talked about it, prayed about it, and decided to start the process of infertility testing and treatment.. Again. #heavenhelpus

We have our first appointment in June and we are so excited and hopeful. We are hoping to have testing done by July or August. I've been amazed at the way this process has started this time. I feel at peace and know that whatever way this goes, God is in control of all of it. He is so much bigger than an infertility diagnosis. So much bigger than a bank account. He is not limited by our worldly limits and He is always enough.

I share this for a couple reasons:

The more people I share with, the more prayers we have covering us. I fully believe that when God's people stand in faith and pray, God moves in big ways. It excites me that although I never wanted to go through this, I'm seeing God in a whole new way through it. And for that I'm grateful. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers as we navigate what is sure to be a very emotional and financially stressful situation.

And two. I realized the first time we went through this, I kept it to myself and felt so alone. When I shared what I was going through I felt empowered and loved and seen. It feels less big somehow when I talk about it. I don't want anyone to feel alone if they find themselves in a similar situation. If you need to talk, to share, to complain or cry, I'm here. I know how hard it is to long for a baby and sometimes it's nice to have a person who's been there on your side. We are always better together.

I want Jesus to be glorified. Whether he gives us a baby or not, I want people to know that He is who sustains us, even when life seems unfair or hard or too much.

We've had so much support from our family and friends we've already shared this news with and we are so, so thankful. We are so blessed!

If you've read it to the end of this, you're the real mvp. 😉 Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to support us by reading these words.

If you're here reading this, thank you! It means the world to us. We are so excited to possibly grow our family and we can't wait to share how this process goes. Thank you so much for your support and prayers for our little family!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Five on Friday

Happy Friday, friends!!! It's been a good week and I'm pumped to only have to work Saturday this weekend.

It's almost Mother's Day Weekend and I hope you have something great planned. This weekend is always bittersweet because as much as I love all the celebrations, I also understand there are so many people that feel pain this weekend. Michael and I are walking through infertility so while it is a joy to celebrate being a mom to Lincoln, there's also the sadness of wanting another child in our family. So to the moms waiting on their babies, I see you. I understand your sadness. I pray peace for you Sunday.

To the moms who have lost mothers, I hope your memories bring you a smile this weekend. 

To the moms who have lost babies, I can't even begin to understand you're pain. I'm so sorry. 

To the ones away from their moms and all the other people who are struggling today, I see you. I love you. And most of all I know Jesus cares for you. I hope you see that today and that brings you peace.

Here are all the randoms floating around my brain.

{One}



So we've never seen the Avenger movies. I've seen a few, but not all of them.

We decided this week we would introduce Lincoln to them and watch them in order and I'm so surprised but I am LOVING it! 

We watched The Hulk on Wednesday and Iron Man 2 on Thursday. So far The Hulk is Lincoln's favorite movie, so we'll see.


{Two}

For a long time I worked every other weekend and would only get to church twice a month. I really hated it but it was what was best for our family at the time. But I think my schedule is going to start changing a little bit and I'll get to go to church every week again!

We ended up trying out a different campus of our church a little closer to home and are loving it. It's actually the church building I grew up in which is the coolest thing ever. Walking through those doors with my son and husband is wild. God is so good to show his faithfulness like that.


{Three}

I had the sweetest moment with Jesus the other morning at 4:15. Obviously it was divine intervention because I don't believe in "sweet" moments anytime before seven am.

If you've ever been one to feel like you're just not "good enough" for Jesus, this is for you.

{Four}


Michael bought me just because flowers the other day and it made my whole week. Marriage is not always rainbows and butterflies and just because flowers. It's hard work and saying sorry A LOT and praying even more, but it's so good.

{Five} 

My goals for May are going strong!

I'm considering starting to blog monthly goals. Still deciding, but maybe.

This month some of my goals include:
cooking dinner 3x/week.
exercising 3x/week.
eating healthier.


no sweets (I'm going to let myself half lots of sweets in NY though!).
taking all my supplements daily.
being intentional to have a quiet time with Jesus every day.

I'm pretty excited about those goals. Pretty excited to see how they grow me this month.

What are some of your goals recently?!

That's it for this week! I hope you've had a good week and found some joy!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

I'm Just Glad You're Here

Friday night I went to bed knowing I was getting a sinus infection. I felt sick at work all day and by the time I got home my face hurt so bad. I fell asleep around ten and woke up at 11:20, feeling terrible. After I fell back asleep I woke up EVERY. HOUR. AFTER. 

Until 3:15 of course when I woke up with chills and a fever and couldn't go back to sleep. It was terrible. I knew I had to work all day Saturday and I knew if I didn't sleep I would be no use to anyone at the hospital.

So I tried my best to fall back asleep but I just couldn't. Around 4:15 I decided to just go ahead and get up. I figured making a hot cup of coffee for my throat would be good and I was debating going ahead and reading my Bible.

Before I finish the story, you've got to know something about me. I'm not a wake-up-at-five-and-read-my-bible type person. I'm just not. I'm tired. I rush through it. I don't give as much attention to it as I feel that it's due. So I'm FOR SURE not going to read my bible at 4:15 in the morning. Except I felt like God was telling me to.

One of my goals in May is to read my Bible every single day. I can get on Facebook/Instagram/social media every day. I can spend time with my family every day. I can prioritize so many things, but sometimes Jesus just isn't one of them and I've been really convicted of that lately. 

So as I was getting everything for my quiet time I was thinking of all the reasons I shouldn't do this at 4:15 am. I feel terrible. I am extremely exhausted. I'm so tired I won't be able to focus on Jesus like I've been trying to. 

But as I sat down and opened my Bible, I felt God say I'm just glad you're here.

Oh. Dang. That stopped me in my tracks.

I felt like God was telling me, you don't have to clean up to come spend time with me. You don't need more rest or to feel better or to fix yourself before you come into my presence.

We get so laser-focused on getting better to come to Jesus. If I can just quit this habit, I'll finally go to church. If I just am more patient at work today I'll read my Bible when I get home. If I can be a better Christian maybe I'll join a group at church. If this, I'll be "good enough" to approach God. 

God doesn't care for your perfection. He knows you'll never achieve that. At your lowest, God chose YOU to die for. God doesn't care if you try to clean up your act before approaching Him. Go ahead and approach Him. He'll figure out the rest later. 

Jesus is not asking that we be smarter/wiser/richer/more patient/etc before we spend time with Him. He's just asking that we come. That we make time and room for our Creator. There's not a soul in the Bible that didn't have a mess before they met Jesus. And frankly, even when we meet Jesus, we've still got messes. We just have someone to walk with us through them.

When life has you broken down, go open your Bible. When you're struggling with some sin and you're ashamed, God read a verse about Jesus' love for you. Go sit in a church and listen to someone talk about the greatness of God. Sing a song about God's faithfulness, even when maybe sometimes you doubt that.

So with all your mess, with all your brokenness, with all your baggage that you feel is just "too much" for God, take it to Him. Pack it up and walk towards Jesus. He's big enough to handle it and big enough to unpack it with you.

After all, He'll just be so glad you're there.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Best. Birthday. Ever.

The Saturday night (two days) before my birthday, Michael looked at me and said, "It's supposed to snow in North Carolina tomorrow and Monday. What would you think about going to find some snow?"

UM ABSOLUTELY.

So we headed out Sunday morning with plans to stay in Travelers Rest, SC. We even took the crazy dogs. This was our first trip with the dogs, we drive a small car, and it was packed, but so much fun.



The best part of the whole thing was that NC had called a state of emergency but we were absolutely going to find some snow. #yolo



Hodges family road trip tradition: dunkin.



Blue teeth for the win.


We stopped in Colombia, SC to grab some shoes for Mikehodges and some gloves for us, because floridians.


Brinx sat on Copper the majority of the ride which I'm sure wasn't annoying at all.


Seeing Linc's face when we started seeing the snow on the side of the road was the very best!



When we drove through Travelers Rest it was covered in snow, and super dark. You could tell the power was out most all places.



We got to our hotel and Michael went inside to check us in, while Lincoln got his first experience in the snow. It was THE. BEST. EVER!







After Linc played for a few minutes we let the dogs out. Neither dog had ever experienced snow so that was so funny to see what they thught. Brinx LOVED the snow. He would absolutely live in the snow. Copper HATED it. I will never forget how uncomfortable he looked.







Brinx tried to attack the snow at all times.


Snow was EVERYWHERE and so thick and my little heart was THE happiest!





Finally Michael came out to let us know that the hotel had no power and we could either stay at that hotel or we could drive fifty miles to the nearest one with power, but we weren't sure if they allowed dogs. In the end, it seemed smarter to stay and hope the power came on later. Bold move, y'all.



Look how happy our boy was!



Short story: I've always wanted to take Copper on a trip to the mountains before he died. That sounds morbid, but he's ten and has Addison's disease and we were sure he was going to pass away over four years ago and he's still here. This trip gave me the joy of seeing him go on a roadtrip, even if he absolutely hated it the snow.


Favorite picture of them EVER.



Sweet guy who made it all happen.


One of my very favorite pictures from the trip. I was SO happy.



We happened to have an open grocery store next to our hotel, so Michael headed over there to find us food. I (stupidly) told him, "get some bread and maybe some lanterns!" Yeah right, like they had any of that left.

He came back with little debbie birthday cakes, crackers, poptarts, and candles, which we later used to set off the hotel's fire alarm. Go us.




Linc and I had to go out to the car to get some things and had a mini snowball fight.


He made his first snow angel!



We snuggled up on the bed to get warm, thinking we were in for the night.

And then the power came on!!!! Praise be.


It ended up starting to snow, so we headed outside to enjoy it!


We must have slid down this hill a hundred times.


And fell down it.



We had another snowball fight, all three of us.




We almost made a snowman and named him "Dabbin."




We headed back in to get showers and head to sleep.




The sweetest day with all my favorites.


We got up bright and early to go explore Asheville!




It was snowing so we stopped on the side of the road to enjoy it!



Copper was worn on and fell asleep sitting up.

Michael made all my dreams come true and drove us to Brevard!! Brevard is basically my favorite place in the world and getting to see it in the snow was the best.


We went to the same park we went back in 2018 on our trip to the mountains.


Boy was made for the snow.








We took a picture in this exact spot last trip here.


One of my very favorite things in the world is watching Lincoln explore new places.





My four boys.







Snow in some places was up to Lincoln's waist. It was so cool!






Two out of three happy boys isn't bad.


After that we headed home! We got to drive through the mountains was awesome.







 It was the best birthday gift ever, and a trip I will never ever forget.