We can’t pick our stories.

Six months after I was “healed” physically…I sat in a paper gown at my OBGYN’s office for my 6 month post-surgery follow-up. At that point in time, all it took was someone asking me how I was doing to break down into tears.

My doctor asked, “How have you been feeling?”

And the tears started flowing.

I poured my heart out to him about everything I had been feeling, experiencing, going through, and that’s when he said…

“I think you need to talk to someone. I’d like you to start seeing a counselor and I am going to set up an appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist that can let you know your options.”

Our options.

And there began the next chapter to our story.

Never had I dreamed that part of my story would be that I would get married, have a child and receive a hysterectomy all within the same year [of age].

Never had I dreamed that part of my story would be that I be diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Never had I dreamed that part of my story would consist of 10 months of counseling.

Never had I dreamed that part of our story would be that we would go through IVF and create 3 babies to later implant into a gestational surrogate in the hopes to have another biological child.

But that’s my story…that’s our story. I sure as heck didn’t pick it…but that’s what it is.

During my 10 months of counseling…one thing we talked about over and over was if I wanted to pursue IVF…if I wanted to take those steps to possibly have another biological child. Could I handle the devastation if it didn’t work…could I live not knowing what could’ve been if we don’t try? I would go back and forth every week…one week I would cry and say Avery is enough….I don’t want to even try. The next week…I’d want to try it.

My amazing counselor, a fellow Christian, helped me to accept both options…I wanted to try it AND Avery was enough.

My parents always said that I was their risk-taker…it didn’t surprise them that JJ and I decided to “go for it”. After much prayer and many, many conversations, we came to the conclusion that we did not want to ask each other “what if” some day.

“What if” we had tried…would we have another daughter? Would we have a son? Maybe both?

We didn’t want to carry that regret in the future.

And today…we don’t.

I know you all (all my readers and prayer warriors) have invested your hearts in this journey and have been along for the ride since the beginning. Friends and family were on the edge of their seats yesterday…waiting for the results of our beta. We were all ready to know…one way or the other.

And, unfortunately, I do not have a pregnancy to announce. Our beta results came back negative yesterday and Jessica is not pregnant. Our final embryo did not implant and the transfer was unsuccessful.

As I sat yesterday afternoon, yesterday evening and all day today and just allowed myself to digest this information, I am completely devastated. I am heartbroken…hurt…confused. And honestly, when I heard the news…I felt cheated.

Cheated out of my womanhood. Cheated from the children I had planned for us. Cheated from the happy ending I pre-wrote in my head about this journey. Cheated from the memories that the Marcantels and Robertsons would create for the rest of our lives together with this miracle baby. CHEATED!

And I know that is human nature.

But when I take a step back today…and I look at the journey we’ve been on…and I put aside all the “I’s, me’s, my’s, etc.”, I realize…what was really cheated was death.

I cheated death.

I am the miracle.

My husband is not a widower.

My daughter is not motherless.

My parents have their baby.

My sister has her little sister.

My friends have their friend….and I could go on and on.

Don’t get me wrong…I am devastated over this news. I am heartbroken to my very core. But there is no denying the miracle He performed in saving my life.

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And today, JJ and I sit here with no regrets. No “what ifs”. No “if we just would’ve tried…maybe things would be different.”

We did all that we could. We trusted our Lord and Savior in every step…and for some reason only He knows, this was the outcome He chose. But I truly believe that He hand-picked Jessica to be by our side. He knew the outcome before we pursued it. He knew we would experience loss and He put Jessica right there with us to encourage us and pray for us and hold our hands as we tip-toed forward.

We asked for prayer warriors and He gave us an army.

Jessica’s friends and family prayed for us daily.

And I know all of our friends and family did, too.

All of your words and prayers have been so encouraging and uplifting.

We are so very thankful for Jessica…without her, we would have never been able to work through this option. And honestly, I can’t imagine having anyone better than her. When I was down, she was encouraging. She lifted me up and was such a blessing throughout this journey. I am blessed to know her and am thankful for our new friendship. And although this was not the outcome we had hoped and prayed for, He answered. He gave us an answer, and we are thankful for that.

Over the past two weeks of waiting, I have been reading Philippians 4:6-7 over and over and over…

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The peace of God. There is that word again – PEACE.

You know, I can’t sit here and tell you I’m okay…I can’t say that I have accepted this fully…I can’t say that I’ve completely absorbed it…but He has been preparing me for this for the past 2.5 years. From the moment that surgeon walked into my hospital room and told me I needed emergency surgery and they “may have to take my uterus”…I knew that this was a realistic outcome. Of course, I hoped and prayed for otherwise…but I always knew that this was an option.

Last night, I hugged Avery a little tighter…a little longer. I cuddled her to sleep and stayed with her in bed for awhile.

Today, I called my husband more times than needed to “check on him”.

But I’m thankful that I can. I’m thankful to be alive. I’m thankful for my family of 3. And I’m thankful that our God is so, SO good and sovereign, and merciful, and gracious…and that He has saved my earthly life and eternal life so that I can enjoy my husband and daughter and love on them until I’m old and gray….when He calls me home to meet our other 3 babies.

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We can’t pick our stories, folks…each chapter is already written in His book. What is your story? What will you use it for?

Trust in HIM! Trust in the Almighty…

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” – Genesis 50:20

His will, His way…

Lisa

5 thoughts on “We can’t pick our stories.

  1. I’m so sad for you. 🙁 I have been following along and sending huge prayers your way. Your courage and strength and trust in God is AMAZING. I want you to know that by telling your story, you have brought me so much closer to God. Your stories and beliefs have made me research and read the bible more and trust in Him more and I know it must have been so hard to put your personal story out there for everyone to see, but I thank you. And I so wished it turned out differently for you, but God does have the perfect plan for you all and I will continue to send big prayers! You also put my favorite bible verses in this post. Ones I ALWAYS go back to. God bless!

  2. Wow, Lisa. Yours…is quite the story. As your earthly mother, it’s not the story I would have chosen for you either. My story would have been so much easier for you, with all of your wants and desires falling into place. One right after the other. But, who would you be if that were the case? I know a life like that could never have molded you into the beautiful, strong woman of faith that you have become! His ways are not our ways! Let’s be glad in that! Yes…it’s still all so hard to understand. I wanted your family to grow, too. But, the Bible tells us He loves you more than I do and has plans for you. Amazing plans full of hope. He has chosen you to share the story He gave you. Win souls for him, Lisa! Win souls! And, at the proper time, when you finish the race before you, He will say, “Well done, my faithful servant! Well done!” I love you…Mom

  3. You have certainly turned into a missionary for our Lord. Your story is certainly not one we would have chosen for you, but it’s your story. The Lord knows what he’s doing, He just doesn’t check with us first. He is going to turn your story into wonderful things, we just have to wait and see. I also feel He has led you and Jessica, somehow, into a very special relationship for His glory. I love you so much and I know that God is with us.

    Sent from my iPad

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  4. Staci,

    I’m so blessed and encouraged by your words. Knowing that through the sharing of our story, I have brought even ONE person closer to God, makes my struggles have a purpose…a reason. I am so incredibly thankful that you shared. And I am so happy for you to be gaining faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and trusting in Him more!

    God bless!
    Lisa

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