Our Journey

We are Jason and Christi and we are from Wisconsin.  We have been together pretty much since the day we met in October 2002, and we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary this past October (2016).  Many things have happened during our years together, both good and bad.  One of our biggest struggles was when we tried to start a family and it just wasn’t happening for us.  We saw an infertility specialist for a year, spending thousands of dollars, but had no success.  Christi went through many tests and was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and was told she had other complications that would make it difficult to conceive.  We took a step in faith anyway.  Christi went on different forms of medications, took basal body temperatures, charted everything, used a fertility monitor, ovulation kits, and the list goes on and on.  Still no luck. So instead, we decided to put trying to conceive on hold and joined the gym to focus on our health and fitness.  We signed up with a personal trainer and had great success.  After two months of working with a personal trainer, Christi became pregnant (of course when we weren’t even trying!).  I took a few weeks before she even saw a positive pregnancy test and by the time the test showed positive, Christ was already having complications.  She was put on progesterone to hopefully help save the pregnancy but was told that the chances of this pregnancy sticking was not likely.  A couple weeks later we had our first ultrasound where the tech told us that 2 eggs had actually released…twins.  We were told that the complications from earlier (before the positive test) could have been the  miscarry of our first baby and we were told Christi would then miscarry the second baby (which she did the very next day).  Our hearts were broken into a million pieces.  For once we thought things were going to finally go our way; our prayers were answered.  After this, life kind of tossed us in every direction.  Sparing you the details, we were both faced with a lot of challenges.  We held strong onto our faith that everything would be okay.  Everything happens for a reason, right?  We believe that God has a plan for us, we just have to be patient and allow him to show us his plan.  This is where our new journey begins.

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Faith Rebuilt

When I was younger, I believed in God, but never had a close connection.  I didn’t talk about my faith or share it with others.  In a way, I was partially embarrased of going to church or talking about God.  I didn’t feel comfortable praying in front of others, especially when out in public.  I can honestly say that a lot has changed over the years, and you will fully see that with this post.

I don’t know about you, but I am not the greatest at reading my Bible every day like I should.  I usually get into a good routine of reading my Bible and doing devotions or reading a Christian self-help type book, but eventually life gets busy and I lose sight on how to manage my time and what’s important in life .  This is not something I’m very proud of, but I’m here to be honest with you all.  I am very far from perfect, but I do strive to do my best in life (with the help of God, of course).

Have you ever noticed, that when times get tough and obstacles get in my way, you turn to God in prayer and start reading his word with hope to find answers to your problems?  Sadly, I do this often.  Why is it that when bad situations arise, we turn to God but when life is going well, we don’t dive into his Word?  We have this decorative sign hung up on a wall in our living room that says “Happy Moments, Praise God.  Difficult Moments, Seek God.  Quiet Moments, Worship God.  Painful Moments, Trust God.  Every Moment, Thank God.”  (pictured below) I love this sign because it is a daily reminder how in every moment, God should be our focus.  Jason and I have praised God during our happy moments, prayed to God during our difficult moments, and we thank God daily for everything he has done for us and continues to do for us. Trust… now that’s another story, sometimes.

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Now, I can’t speak for Jason, but for me, I will admit that trusting God is oftentimes a hard thing to do.  Life has always been a challenge, whether it had to do with my schooling, my health (mentally or physically), family life, friends, near death experiences, etc.  It almost seems like every time life would be going well for me, there is always something that takes place to tear me back down.  There have been many days/nights that I have cried to God to fix whatever is taking place in my life or asking why he allowed these things to happen to me/us.  Life just wasn’t being fair to us.  I went through the whole “why me?” or “why us?”.  Does the story of Job come to mind?  If you’re not familiar with this story, I encourage you to read this book in the Bible.  Anywho, back to what I was saying.  After eight months of being sick with a vestibular disorder after the miscarriage of our twins, I was praising God for making me close to whole again.  That was short-lived, as we learned of Jason’s diagnosis of his Leukemia the very same month I was able to walk again.  More tears were shed, and more prayers were said.  We did everything we had to do to help each other get through the next new battle in our lives.  Sometime last year, I threw in the rag; I officially gave up.  I decided I couldn’t be strong enough anymore.  I was defeated and I needed help.  I cried and gave everything to God.  I decided I needed him more than anything.  Infertility was of the past.  My vestibular disorder was of the past.  The miscarriage was in the past.  Jason’s cancer was in the past.  Everything was in the past and out of our control.  This does not mean we will not speak of these things or that we will forget.  No, this means we will learn from these situations and we can use them to share God’s word.  I strongly believe God was trying to use us as his examples.  No matter what was thrown at us, we still held onto our faith and believed God had a purpose.  There is a reason for everything.  Yes, we have stumbled and lost our sight along the way, but with our faith, we found our way back to God, again.

The many years of infertility we went through was one of the hardest things we’ve had to go through as husband and wife.  All the doctor appointments, tests, medications, schedules, etc. It was exhausting and it definitely tested our marriage.  Instead of becoming a team and praying together, we kind of drifted apart.  There were many days, months, or even years, filled frustration and wondering who was at “fault” for us not conceiving a baby.  Many hurtful words were said on both sides, followed my quick apologies and tears.  If you haven’t been through infertility, you will never fully understand the struggle.  You may want to roll your eyes and may think to yourself, “just get over it already”.  But, honestly, it’s not that simple.  Those years of infertility were a huge part of our lives.  It’s a chapter in our book that we can’t erase.  After we had officially “given up” with trying to conceive, we relaxed more and actually enjoyed each other’s company again.  We didn’t have the stress and pressure on us anymore.

Do Jason and I have a “perfect” marriage?  Absolutely not.  I don’t think there is such a thing as a perfect marriage.  I can say that we are the best of friends.  We enjoy spending time together, whether it’s building LEGO sets, putting together a puzzle, playing board/card games, or going out playing minigolf or bowling, etc. All of our struggles have brought us closer together.  After the miscarriage took place, and I got sick, then Jason got sick, we knew a few things for sure.  We were each other’s rock and foundation.  We knew we could depend on each other no matter what.  We re-learned how to communicate and to be the strength when the other one was needing it most.  Most importantly, we are learning to pray together and follow our faith in every aspect of our lives.  We’re coming up on our 15 year anniversary of when we met and starting dating.  A lot has taken place in these 15 years, but I am most excited for what is yet to come (with our adoption and all).

There are two songs that come to mind, that played a huge role in my life during all these hard times.  One is “Praise You in This Storm”, by Casting Crowns, and the other is “Through All of It”, by Colton Dixon.  If you haven’t heard these two songs before, I definitely recommend them.  ( YouTube videos are posted at the end of this post)  If you have heard them before, I suggest you re-listen to them; close your eyes and listen to the lyrics.  If you’re ever going through a hard time, the lyrics to these two songs may be very helpful. I still cry every time I listen to these songs.  The words, to me, are just so powerful and remind me to be thankful to God and always praise him.

If you are feeling alone or lost and need someone to talk to, we are always available.  We can pray with you/for you, or offer a listening ear. 🙂

 

Asking for Help

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As most of our friends and family know, we aren’t good at asking for help.

In fall 2012, after the miscarriages, I got very sick. I ended up getting shingles in my inner ear which triggered a vestibular disorder called labyrinthitis.  It happened completely out of nowhere; loud ringing in my ears, loss of balance to the point I couldn’t walk, dizziness, excessive vomiting, lost hearing in one ear, loss of head control (basically a bobble-head effect), etc.  It was one of the scariest moments I have ever experienced.  How you can be perfectly fine one moment, and then bam, this hits.  Through the tears and throwing up, I was questioning Jason as to what we should do. Something was obviously not right.  We decided on calling 911 to have an ambulance come and get me.  Once we got to the hospital, they ran a bunch of tests on me and couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong.  An Ears, Nose, Throat (ENT) doctor was called, and he kind of took thinks lightly, almost as if I was faking this.  I was sent home with a bunch of medications, a walker, and scripts for in-home occupational therapist and physical therapist.  Mind you, I was only newly 27 years old at the time.  After about a week, there was still no change.  I then had to see my primary doctor and was sent back to the ENT.  Once the ENT doctor saw me, his tone changed and he even said “Wow, this is much more serious than I thought.”  I did some research before I saw this doctor and saw that shingles could bring on labyrinthitis, so I mentioned that I had a rash on my hand after the miscarriage and that I have had shingles in the past.  He realized I was not given the right medicine and gave me a new one.  Some things started to slowly clear up, but still ringing of one ear, hearing loss in that ear, loss of balance and dizziness, which meant I was still stuck using that walker.  I did more extensive physical therapy and eventually saw a speech therapist because I was experiencing cognitive delay.  As you can imagine, this was a horribly difficult time.  Not only did I miscarry our twins, but my whole body was basically falling apart. I was beyond depressed, and was at a loss of what to do. I called our pastor and basically sobbed on the phone to him.  He was incredible.  He listened and he gave me wonderful words of comfort.  I decided, it’s not about “me” fixing things, it’s about me handing everything over to God.  I couldn’t do things on my own anymore; I needed God to “take the wheel”. I stopped saying, “I can’t do this”, and focused on “I can”.  After 8 months of using the walker and teaching myself how to walk again, I finally walked without the walker. Such an amazingly, proud moment.  Unfortunately, the tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and loss of hearing in that ear is permanent, but I am so thankful that I can walk and function again.  My labyrinthitis is considered “cleared”, but since it was so severe, it basically changed to a new vestibular disorder called Persistent Postural-Perceptual Dizziness (PPPD).  What I experience is far from severe; sometimes I will have random moments where I feel dizzy for a few minutes and my anxiety picks up.  I just need to sit back, breathe slowly, and relax and then everything kind of goes back to normal.  This disorder is very much treatable with medicine and would cause no issues with being a mother and raising a family.  I am not on medicine for this right now; mainly because my situation isn’t bad enough.  I have come to know what triggers my dizziness and try to avoid these triggers.

Now, as you can imagine, everything I went through was far from easy.  I had to get out of my comfort zone and accept the help from the occupational therapist, the physical therapists, speech therapist, doctors, and family.  My parents were awesome during all of this;  my parents made us meals and my mom came over to do our cleaning.  My mom drove me to all my appointments and hung out with me during the day before she went to work (2nd shift).  I had to get out of my comfort zone and Type A personality, and accept this help.  My husband…I cannot thank him enough for everything he did for me. He was my rock and strength. These eight, hard months, brought us much closer together. I learned, more than ever, that I can depend on him during hard times.  His encouragement and love was everything I could ask for, and more.  Not only was this scary for me, but I’m sure it was very scary for him, too, to watch his wife basically fall apart and knowing he couldn’t fix me.  He sat there, day after day, listening to my cry and yell and scream about how life wasn’t fair.  When I began to question God, he was there to help me through that, too.  I seriously could not thank Jason enough.

So what does this have to do with our adopting?  Well, we had to step out of my comfort zone of asking for help, and actually ask for help. We asked for help with donations for our rummage/fundraising event we’re planning. We asked for help with financial donations.  Asking for help from vendors/home sales businesses for our silent auction.  Talk about sounding like an annoying, pest.  This is not like us at all. We usually try to take care of our own business and do things on our own.  But, we had to realize that adoption isn’t about “just us”, anymore.  We do have to depend on family and friends to help us through this.  Adopting is a huge decision, and we definitely need the help and support of our family, friends, and heck, even strangers.  We apologize if we come off sounding annoying.  With that said, thank you to everyone that has been helping us!! We cannot thank you enough!

And So It Begins

From:  Thursday, March 16, 2017

Fast forward 7-1/2 years from when we started trying for a family and 4-1/2 years from our miscarriage, we have officially decided to adopt!  We’ve prayed and prayed that God would bless us with a family and place a little bun in the oven, but it’s not in the cards for us.  We’ve been feeling the tug on our hearts to adopt.  Who’s to say we can’t love and care for someone else’s little bun just the same?  We truly believe this is the plan God has for us.  There are so many children in this world that are looking for love and we’ve got a whole lot of love to give!  Over the years we have had so much fun with our nieces and nephews, and have been honored to be Godparents to three amazing little children, but we want more.  We so badly long to have children of our very own to love and care for.  So this is where our new journey begins.

Stick around and follow us through our adoption adventure.  We are so nervously excited for how this will play out.  Hang on tight; this is going to be an awesome ride!