A Time of Thanks

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Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. What better time than the present to acknowledge all that I have to be thankful for.  I sigh writing as I feel a piece of me still deeply misses her mom (and likely always will).  She’s the one who I felt most connected to. The one I WAS physically connected to for 9 months. The one who brought me into the world and I was lucky to have for 41 years. She gave me the gift of life. She helped give me the gift of becoming a mother. It’s my first big holiday without her. Nearly 3 months have passed and time is gradually having a way of helping heal.  My neighbor shared this quote with me and it rings so true –

“Grief never ends….but it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith…It is the Price of Love.”

I sense a lot of love in the air.  Growing stronger and stronger.  At this time of year I can’t help but reflect on so much I have to be grateful for.

My daughter.  Each night I get the privilege of putting our girl to bed, I am reminded of the miracle of life.  At 14 months old now, she is everything and more than I wished for. As I rocked her to bed tonight, our fingers laced together for what I believe is the very first time.  Her sweet, tiny hand was locked with mine and it just solidified the bond I have with her and always will.

My husband. I’m grateful to him and the wild ride of ups and downs for the past 6 ½ years. He is an incredible provider and one amazing daddy. Tonight I watched time stand still seeing him sit at the small “kid” table with our girl- his eyes light up around her and it is most heartwarming thing to witness them play together. He puts me in my place when needed and pushes me to carry on…what my mom would like to see in me too.

My friends. True friends of mine know they are more like sisters to me. Being an only child, I look at friendships as an essential part of the puzzle of life. Lately I’ve had some visits and encounters with friends who have helped restore some of my “broken-ness.” They’ve helped bring me back to myself. Whether it’s feeling the magic all around while making mala necklaces together, diving into deep talk about who we are at our core, sharing stories where both of us have lost a parent approximately a month apart or the fun in seeing where an unplanned night on the town can lead— it’s all of this. The rich, complexity of friendship for which I am thankful.

I’m grateful for the beauty I find in nature every day. I notice heart shaped rocks a lot more. I notice colors in the sky more. I look for signs that speak to me every day, guiding me and helping show me I’m on the right track. Just the other day I saw 11:11 in the morning and then another 11:11 at night. My heart skipped a beat. I’m not kidding. I’m paying attention. I continue to practice what I preach and that is when you’re in alignment, things keep showing up, keeping working out and keep moving us in the direction we’re meant to go.

Living life on purpose.  There is such gratitude in living a life of our choosing.  I think all my life has been leading me to this point. As my personal and professional endeavors expand mentoring others in their IVF journeys, I feel immense awe and gratitude that I get to walk alongside others during a very difficult, personal time. I am using all my years of experience as a practitioner of creative intention, in manifestation and purpose driven living to help serve others. I definitely feel being an Occupational Therapist has been an asset and the most fitting profession for me.  Thankfully I followed that call in my later teen years, and with the guidance of a few individuals was led to what OT was all about.  Occupational Therapy– The integration of art and science. A mix of human development and psychology, physiology and arts and crafts. It’s all integrated into helping individuals lead their best, most fulfilled lives. We emphasize what is most meaningful to the client or patient and believe in the value of the therapeutic use of self. In OT it’s all about, “What matters to you?” I honestly cannot think of a more rewarding profession than the one I’ve been a part of for the last 18+ years.

Recently I came across a moving quote.  It speaks of gratitude, the simple pleasures, and such a good reminder as we celebrate Thanksgiving.

“As the years pass, I am coming more and more to understand that it is the common, everyday blessings of our common everyday lives for which we should be particularly grateful. They are things that fill our lives with comfort and our hearts with gladness — just the pure air to breathe and the strength to breath it; just warmth and shelter and home folks; just plain food that gives us strength; the bright sunshine on a cold day; and a cool breeze when the day is warm.”

 (Laura Ingalls Wilder, Writings to Young Women from Laura Ingalls Wilder)

My mom would have so loved this quote;  It’s exactly like something she would say.  Thankful for these ongoing signs–  I feel and know.  There is so much to be thankful for.

xo
Lisa

Reflections of a True Warrior – My Hero – My Mom

IMG_3168It’s been 3 weeks since my mom passed away.  I have been deeply introspective, remembering her and the gift of having her as my mom. I’ve been even more in tune with beauty around me- sunsets like I’ve never seen before, the radiant glow of the moon, light bursting from clouds in the most touching way, even a visit from a beautiful grasshopper…signs of her presence everywhere.

With tomorrow being my daughter’s first birthday I felt called to write; Honoring my mom on my daughter’s special day.  The two of them shared a bond that to witness it you could see the twinkle in not only my daughter’s eyes but my mom’s too. Her only granddaughter brought her the biggest joy this last year.

Anyone who is going through a long-term, chronic illness, like my mom had, is a warrior in my eyes. Those who may have discovered a late stage condition and going through the fight are warriors.  All my sisters around the world going through infertility challenges are warriors.  I am an IVF warrior.  Interestingly enough my high school mascot was even a Warrior- an Arapahoe Indian Warrior. YES.  I believe in signs and they are here to guide us.

What my mom went through in her struggle to breathe is something I wish for no one to have to endure. The simple act of breathing became her biggest challenge.  She described this moment-to-moment essential part of life much like “breathing through a straw.”  In her early 60’s she was diagnosed with bronchiectasis and then at the age of 70 a test confirmed a rare gene linked to cystic fibrosis.  The amount of medications and breathing treatments she had on a daily basis is just more than most can imagine.

As I reflect on the lessons my mom left me, (and she’s still teaching me every day), I feel full of gratitude for the incredible person she was and how I still feel her presence guiding me as I move forward in life.

One of the things I know my mom had a hand in is the strength she passed down to me.  Being the example of a strong woman is probably one of the single, biggest gifts a mother can give her children.  I know I got much of my strength from her.  Fortunately I was able to tell her how much I admired her…how much she was loved.  Not everyone gets the chance to do that.  Somehow I was able to stand strong and give her eulogy at her memorial service and I couldn’t have felt prouder standing at the pulpit, with my husband by my side and honor my mom as her only daughter.  One of the stories I shared was about a Christmas gift I gave her in 1997.  It was a blank journal in which I asked her to share anything- favorite things, what she’d learned, and to one day give it back to me.  She wrote an entry and it was dated on my 21st birthday.  We chuckled as she wrote only 1 entry, but the message she wrote, (four pages in all) can apply to anyone at any stage of life.

“If there is one thought I would share it is –

It’s not what happens to you in life- it’s how you deal with it.

You have a lot of inner strength – use that to guide you.

Take responsibility for your own life. 

No one can do to you what you won’t let them.

Be your own person but be open to learning from each new experience. 

Life is full of change, growth and new insights! 

Remember that happiness comes from within.

What is most valuable is not connected to material things. Your good name, feeling proud of the way you live your life, valuing friendships of those who are important to you – this is what brings you peace and contentment.

Life can be simple or complicated- I choose to keep it simple- and fulfilling!”

How thankful I am to have found this journal in her closet before she passed away.  I read it with her and believe that was a gift from above.  She lived a very fulfilled life and was the best example of that for me.  One of the things that stands out most on how I benefited from having a mom like her is the way she handled her illness.  Her attitude of positivity, perseverance, and even some acceptance when one is faced with a challenge was truly admirable;  She dealt with it the way a warrior would.

In thinking about my IVF journey, I recall times where I could have let fear take over. It would have been easy to surrender to a limiting belief mindset, but I chose not to.  I stayed focused on the outcome I envisioned and knew what was waiting for me.  I did not lose hope on our one viable embryo;  Now that sweet miracle of ours turns one tomorrow.

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There is change in the air- the leaves turning color, the weather turning cooler, celebrating my daughter’s first year of life, and starting a new chapter of life “without” my mom.  I put “without” in quotes because I know deep down that she is always WITH me; It’s just a different kind of presence.  Not the physical kind.

There is so much of my mom’s gifts left to discover.  I treasure the books she inscribed to me with personal, heartfelt love notes.  As I look back these books connect the dots in my life- different stages growing from childhood to adulthood. Especially now with my daughter, she will continue to be a guiding presence in my life.  I hear her voice saying, “Livy has part of me in her.” My mom does carry on in my daughter and she lives on in me.  A true warrior who lives on forever in the hearts of all who loved her.

xo lisa

 

 

 

 

 

A Mother’s Love

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As I write my heart feels full of hope and yet breaking a little at the same time.  I can hardly believe our daughter is approaching her 1st birthday.  IVF brought us a precious new life.  A new little one who has completely captured our heart.  We’re embracing each stage of our evolving journey, taking it one day at a time.  As excited as I am for all to come in her sweet life, my heart feels an ache… a deep ache that’s been ever so present … my mom is dying.

It’s an interesting place to find yourself in the middle of caring for a young infant, and caring for your ailing mom.  If you know me and my family well, you’ll know my mom has been sick for quite a while. It’s been a constant on my mind wondering if she would make it to the day I would get to tell her we were pregnant. Wondering if she would make it to her only daughter’s baby shower.  Would she be there to hold her only granddaughter for the first time or share in her first Christmas?  The list goes on, but I count my blessings and can’t say enough how special this first year has been. My heart still has a bit of an ache as I can’t help but worry and think…will she make it to her first birthday?

I think what gives me so much comfort is we’ve been able to say the things we want to say… to express how much we truly love one another.  She reminds me, “The love will always be there. It never goes away.”  Tears are welling in my eyes as I write this, but she is so right.  Love lasts forever.  There’s immense comfort in the joy I get seeing my mom in my daughter. Her eyes twinkling…her sweet, endearing smile.  Olivia has so much of her Grammy in her.

My mom is one of the most joyous people you will ever meet.  She has been the best example of what a mom is, what a loving, devoted spouse is, and what a true friend is.  Despite battling her chronic respiratory condition that spans at least 10 years, and more significantly in the last 3 years, she has been a person who does not complain.  She accepts “what is” and lives her life each day with a grace I can’t help but have deep admiration for.

This personal entry is one I wanted to share.  By sharing our heartbreaks and struggles we help give permission for others to do the same.  I believe in using our life to the fullest – if that’s living a life of authenticity and vulnerability, one where we share our joys AND our sorrows…not sugar coating and talking surface level talk, but living with our WHOLE selves, then that is the life I want to be a part of.

As I embark on my new calling to be a voice for others with infertility, I get a rush of excitement following this new passion.  Yes, life is challenging me in many ways –  chasing around a 10 month old while doing my best to be there for my mom and give support to my dad, while pursuing my dreams as an IVF mentor, writer, and creator of the life I desire.  This highly reflective time is one where motherhood is at the forefront.   I’m a new mom seeing my own mom nearing the end.

When people ask what they can do for me at this time- I ask for love, light and prayers for our family.  Prayers for my mom to pass at the right Divine time, without pain, with all the love of those she has loved and who have loved her.  My tears are frequent these days.  I know for sure I wouldn’t be nearly as strong if I didn’t have the kind of mom who raised me.

Now go call your mom – Whether here or in heaven.  I know I’ll still be calling her, talking to her and feeling her loving touch as my husband and I raise our daughter to know the woman I call Mom and the one she calls “Grammy.”

 

 

 

Happy 40th IVF

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Today I learned IVF is celebrating it’s 40thbirthday!  The first IVF baby, Louise Brown, was born on this date.  It’s hard to imagine how revolutionary this procedure was just 40 years ago — So much advancement for reproductive science and a gift of hope for those experiencing infertility.

I’m incredibly grateful for IVF.  Where do I even begin to give thanks for this miraculous procedure?  For my husband and I it was pretty much our only chance at having a biological child of our own.  We went down the road of testing and IUI was not advised for our situation… IVF was it and we put our energy there.

As one starts down the path of IVF it often feels very overwhelming.  One piece of advice I would give others beginning this process is to stay off Google.  You will make yourself crazy looking up everything you possibly can.  My advice to you is DON’T DO IT.  My doctor and even my acupuncturist recommended laying off the computer and to follow  their guidance.  I will say I stuck to that about 90% of the time.

Here’s a little birthday gift to you in honor of this special day-  Be good to yourself and try as much as possible to LET GO. Let go of trying to control everything. Let go (as much as you can) of your fears.  Let go of the negative thoughts running through your mind.  It’s by no means easy- BUT I know from experience that the more you can SURRENDER and put your faith in the belief that “IT’S ALL WORKING OUT FOR MY HIGHEST GOOD,” the more you can relax and actually appreciate the journey.

For the most part I experienced an EASE going through IVF and that is one of my wishes for you.

If you’re the type of individual who is open to new ideas and ready to manifest your miracle, then you’re in the right place.  I’m so passionate about helping those who are willing to join me  – your miracles are waiting for you.

Now, let’s make that WISH!  Happy Birthday IVF.

XO- lisa

 

Worldwide Reach – a dream coming true

I can’t help but hear the song “How far I’ll go” in my mind.  Thanks to Moana for this catchy song, but truly I feel so inspired!  Looking at the reach my website has done since yesterday and I am BLOWN AWAY-  France, Turkey, Indonesia, the UK, the U.S. Australia, China, & South Africa!  Time to get writing and no better time than the present.

It’s a bit scary putting yourself out there. I’m not gonna lie. BUT the risk is worth it when I think of those I can help serve.  They say there really are no failures in life… just lessons learned to get you closer to where you’re meant to be.  I’m looking at this new endeavor as one where I have the potential to help A LOT of people.  The number of women undergoing infertility treatments continues to grow every year.

IVF is no joke.  No one is really prepared for the amount of Dr. appointments you have, the number of medications, the shots you give yourself in both the abdomen and buttocks, blood draws, ultrasounds, constant monitoring, and Oh did I forget? —  all the fun side effects of the medications – (That’s for another blog), but truly it is a rollercoaster of emotions.  In addition to the “cray cray” there is lots of waiting, and waiting, and more waiting.

How ironic one of my nicknames I received nearly 20 years ago from a dear friend was “Turtle”… It’s all coming full circle now!  I’ve embraced the name lovingly and can’t help but think how appropriate that name was (and still is) for me.  Long and slow… patiently waiting for 2+ years as we went through IVF and various surgeries to prepare my body for our embaby…. Patiently waiting for the “right” time to put up a website.  Well, that turtle kicked into high gear and is going full speed ahead.

Thank you for joining me on this ride.

XO- lisa

What’s calling you?

If you are reading this, I want to first say THANK YOU and welcome!!

Have you felt that tapping on your shoulder to take action on something?  I felt that tap,  which turned into a nudge, which turned from a whisper into a loud “DO IT,” and I couldn’t wait any longer.  That call for me was to start that business, create that blog, and create that website.  Here it is– I’m SO excited.

My intention behind creating “IVF: Manifesting a Miracle” is to fulfill a calling I’ve felt to support other women going through IVF.  As someone who has gone through it I understand the emotional stressors and pain one often experiences going through this process.

Each woman’s path is individual however we all share one common desire….to become a MOTHER.

What I aspire to create is a community where others feel — SUPPORTED, INSPIRED, and EMPOWERED.

You do not need to go through infertilty challenges alone.  No more suffering in silence.

I’ve learned you have more control in this process than you realize.

There is SO MUCH ahead of you and this is just the beginning.

Stay HOPE-FULL.

Let me help guide you as your IVF mentor and share some of my personal strategies I used to help manifest our miracle.

I invite you to follow your own calling inside and join me in this journey of a lifetime.

XO- lisa