Understanding More of My Why While Practicing the How

It has been a whirlwind of a few weeks for me with the birth of my namesake and newest chosen child Abigail, the signing of my book contract for Ever Upward and my first podcast interview for infertility advocacy with Julie at Fertility Revolution. It has been a few weeks full of fear, exhaustion, love, excitement, pure enough moments and a sense that my ever upward is truly settling into my core, my spirit, my everything.

Building the platform for the book and doing my first interviews for infertility advocacy and for marketing Ever Upward has forced me to zero in on my message (more to come on this in a future post). It has also helped me to continue to wholeheartedly own all the parts of my story with brazen courage. It has also lit a fire inside of me that has brought me some considerable clarity.

Telling my story has brought me this clarity and the words to understand more of my why. This sense that even the painful, unlucky and just plain crazy parts of my story are okay; they are my path. They are simply my puzzle pieces of life.

These crazy twists of my life:

  • not one, but two, back surgeries both with a body cast.
  • IVF and gestational surrogacy not working for us and losing our three babies.
  • and the unexpected expansion of our surrogate's family, and therefore, my chosen children family.

are really enough to make anyone bitter, angry and forever scarred.

However, on this side of surviving infertility and recovering thereafter, I have come to embrace that I may never get the good enough reason why these things have happened to me. And I don't have to have this understanding to be okay or to even be fulfilled and happy.

And, as I have worked within my faith recently, I am also realizing that perhaps this is simply meant to be my story while also having the faith that it is not the end of it. Because I know with my whole heart that I have never done anything to deserve this amount of hurt and pain in my life. And even though I've always deemed myself as just unlucky, on this side of recovery I can truly say that this has nothing to do with luck at all.

 
 

Because as this light becomes more and more clear within me, what I am finding is that this is simply the reason I am here. This is my star soon to shine. I have loved which means I also have to choose.

I have to choose what I do with my story.

I have to choose what I do with my soul scars.

I have to choose to make it ever upward.

So, it is with more and more clarity and understanding of my why that I am still figuring out the how. Because, really, it is the how that everyone wants to know.

How did you survive two back surgeries? How did you survive living in a body cast? How did you survive losing three babies?

How have you not only survived but thrived?

In all honesty, I am not sure.

I have survived by fighting.

I have survived by practicing recovery.

I have survived because I didn't give myself any other choice.

I have survived because I have let go of needing the complete understanding of my whole why.

I am surviving because I am here; writing, struggling and owning it all every single day.

I am surviving, recovering and thriving because that is the light, the love, the soul of ever upward.

Not Just Another Birth Story: A Letter to Abigail

Had our IVF worked with our surrogate Michelle, I would have gotten to be in the delivery room to see our babies be born. But that was never my path to experience. I sincerely thought the only births I would ever see would be the ones in that terrible 5th grade sex education class we all had to take and the sensationalized ones shown on television and in the movies. So, when my oldest friend, my true witness of 30 years, asked me to be one of her delivery coaches when she delivered her first baby I cried with tears of honor and joy.

My friend who has seen me through my darkest of times and literally helped me through life in a body cast when we were much to young to handle such difficulties.

My friend who also knows the pain and losses of infertility.

My chosen family who I love so dearly.

Last week my friend gave birth to her daughter and I had the honor in helping her through her difficult delivery and being a witness as their family grew by one beautiful baby girl.

It is with much excitement and love that I (and her parents of course) welcome Abigail to the world! And with a full heart, I write her these words to hopefully last her a lifetime.

Dear Abigail,

Your mom and I have been through 30 years of friendship. We have been through things that really no two friends should ever have to see within a friendship. Your mom helped me through some of the hardest times of my life. I am sure we will one day share with you the stories of how she used to care for me as my nurse as I suffered through two back surgeries and lived in a body cast. She loves telling the stories of her helping me go to the bathroom, as I will admit they are pretty hysterical.

And on the day you blessed us all by coming into this world, I helped your mom through your very difficult and scary delivery. So, I now have my own stories to tell of things I simply can never unsee.

And yet, it was one of the most magical days of my life, as I know it was for your mom and dad.

Abbie, your mom and dad fought so hard to bring you here. Through three years they fought through frustrations, waiting games, anxieties, medical procedures, terrible side effects, misunderstanding from loved ones and the public and, especially, their fears; all to find you.

Your mom and dad continued this amazing fight through their difficult pregnancy and on the day of your mom's labor and delivery, their fight only continued.

Scared of my own limitations, fears and queasiness I pushed through to allow my anxiousness to become excitement and I fought alongside your mom and dad. I fought for them and I fought for you.

I was so proud and honored to be there supporting, helping and distracting them throughout your mom's labor.

But mostly, I was so proud and honored to simply witness them in their fight. Your mom's diligence in containing her anxiety and fears for your safety. Your dad's advocacy for you and your mom's care and safety. And, especially their ownership in how you came to be whenever any doctor or nurse asked about you.

Simply, profoundly and wholeheartedly, I am just so proud of them.

 
 

We all worked together as a team to bring you into this world, your mom definitely doing the hardest work of all. And at 4:40 pm you finally graced your mom and dad with the joy they've been fighting and hoping for for three long years; your peaceful and perfect face, your dark hair and your healthy cry brought tears of joy to all of us.

Throughout your mom's labor, of almost two full days, your mom and dad lied to me about your name, even though I asked them a million times (as you will get to know I never give up easily). Finally, the morning after your birth, when your mom was feeling better, they gave me the best surprise of my life, your name. I was truly surprised and completely honored to learn your name was Abigail Justine.

It is with a heart full of love and honor that these are my promises to you, Abigail Justine, my namesake:

I promise to always do my very best to be that person your parents believed in and loved enough to name you after.

I promise to always be here for your mom and dad, for whatever they may need.

I promise to always be here for you, no matter what.

I promise to always be your soft landing spot but to also always guide and push you when needed.

I promise to love all of you, always accepting you and honoring you; with me you will always be seen, known and loved.

Because being there with your parents throughout their journey to conceive you and being able to be present for your entrance into this world is my ultimate enough moment.

Because you, Abigail Justine, are my ultimate ever upward.

With much love,

Your Aunt Justine

 
 

*This post linked to Amateur Nester's Tuesday Link Up.