A HUGE thank you to everyone who continues to follow our journey, leaves us comments, prays for us, etc. We are still in a holding pattern awaiting news. We will update as soon as we know. We're doing our very best to stay upbeat and optimistic. We can feel your prayers, well-wishes, good vibes all around us!! Keep 'em coming!!
Just a quick update...
It has been 2 weeks since we were informed that 2 of our embryos made it to blastocysts. We may have to wait up to 2 more weeks before we hear the final results.
We appreciate all the prayers, positive thoughts, good vibes, etc. you are sending our way!!
WHAT AN AMAZING DAY!! We've made it to our goal thanks to our wonderful friend and cheerleader Tiffiney Gray...and of course, EVERYONE ELSE who brought us through since July 29! Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude!!
Additionally, I've posted a video on our blog about the meds I'm taking each day, in case you're interested. The blog can be found here: http://hopeisouranchor.blogspot.com/2013/11/morning-meds.html
Day 2 of stim meds and I feel like I've been hit by a Mack truck. I'm guessing it's the new med I take in the morning, as I've never taken it before, nor have I experienced feeling so wiped out during this process. A video update is to come (hopefully tomorrow); I let Chris sleep in this morning, so no pics/video. We're also pulling everything together for Wednesday. Thank you for the continued prayers, words of encouragement & shares of our story!! We're almost there!!!!
I know it's late, but the past two days have really wiped us out! GREAT NEWS: NO CYSTS!! I was relieved to hear my ovaries were clear, so I thank everyone for all the prayers sent upward! I was especially nervous because I have had cysts on several occasions. My body cooperated with our plan!! The blood work also came back showing my system had been suppressed, so I was given the go-ahead to start stim meds in the morning. I will be injecting Menopur in the morning, and Gonal-F in the evening. I'll be sure to take pictures and explain the process to you in tomorrow's update.
Again, thank you for the prayers and positive thoughts. Keep 'em coming!!
Sending you our love and thanks--
Tara & Christopher
Tonight, I'm reminded that when we face adversity, we must do so with as much patience as we can muster. This is so much easier said than done! But, if we take a deep breath, and trust everything will come together as it should--we just might be surprised. And, if it doesn't go our way, well, at the very least we've kept our chin held high and provided a good example for others. It's worth it in my book!
For whatever adversity, obstacle, or struggle you face...keep your eyes on the prize!
Sending our sincerest thanks and love to all of you
Good evening, All! Tonight, besides offering our continued thanks, we'd like to boldly ask for prayer/positive thoughts/good vibes...whatever you feel comfortable with.
On Friday, I will have an ultrasound to check my ovaries. As long as there are no cysts or any areas of concern, I will begin my stim meds on Saturday morning and we'll head to Colorado next Wednesday!!
When we did our first IVF (the one during which we became pregnant with our Ro), I had a rather large cyst at the first ultrasound appointment; we thought the cycle would have to be cancelled, but subsequent blood work revealed the cyst was not giving off any hormones, so we were able to continue. And what a blessing that was...as it resulted in our sweet angel in Heaven!! This time, we are praying there are no obstacles to moving forward.
We thank you for continuing to lift us up in prayer and good thoughts, and for sharing our story. Reaching our monetary goal will really be something, but attaining our ultimate goal of bringing home our living, healthy HOPE baby will be the MOST AMAZING THING EVER!!
Woohoo!! After only 1 day, we have $275 toward our match goal of $500!! If we receive $500 by Thursday, it will be matched by our amazing friends from back home. THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH to EVERYONE who has shared our story!! I began blogging about our treatment tonight; you can read all about it here: http://hopeisouranchor.blogspot.com/2013/10/its-prime-time.html
I will continue to do updates like this on the blog whenever we have a new step of treatment to share. In the meantime, we will never cease to be thankful for all of your prayers, love and support!!
I LOVE this artwork representing the Holy Mother and Child. His birth was the greatest miracle of all!! Seeing any depiction of the Mother and Child fills me with the grandest hope imaginable.
The weekend is coming to a close and we have a GREAT announcement!! Our generous friends in SB who did the $500 match earlier in our fundraiser have offered yet ANOTHER $500 match!!! So, starting tomorrow (Monday) until Oct. 31, all donations to our GoFundMe will be matched up to a total of $500. That means, if we get $500 Mon-Thursday, by Friday, it will equal $1,000!!! We will be RIDICULOUSLY close to our goal!!! A HUGE THANK YOU TO OUR SPECIAL FRIENDS and to YOU for spreading the word!!
On another note, it has been such a busy weekend, we haven't done any updates or blog posts, but I'll be back on schedule with that starting tomorrow. Thank you for sticking with us!!
Love, Tara & Chris
The idea was presented to accept offers of donation matching in any amount...and we say ABSOLUTELY YES!! "With only a couple thousand to go, let's make the most of every donation!" I love the enthusiasm and creativity! So, to kick off this idea, there is a match offer on the table to match any donations up to $50 by the end of today, Friday. This turns a $50 donation into $100!! Thank you soooo much for continuing to share our story. We will have another update later today :)
Thank you for bringing us closer to our goal...we're really almost there!! The picture I'm sharing tonight is from an outing we took this past Spring. Yes, I'm skipping in the picture! It's pretty much the way I'm feeling right now as we prepare for what lies ahead. THANK YOU, again, for the role you have played in helping make this happen for us.
Tonight, special thanks go out to the 15 people who have donated to our fund more than once, and the many different members of the same families who have supported us!! It is so amazing to see a friend's name show up on our scroll bar, followed soon after by their brother or sister, mom and dad, aunt and uncle...
Your prayers and shares mean the world to us, and we thank you all for being a part of our story of HOPE!!
Tara and Christopher
I was sitting here at my computer wondering what will I write about tonight? And then it hit me...like, DUH!! It is the perfect opportunity to write an update dedicated to giving thanks to God!! Sure, Chris and I thank God in our prayers for all the blessings he has brought to our lives, especially since the day we lost Rowan. And we thank Him here, and when we speak to people about our experiences.
Tonight, we thank God for...
Bringing our family even closer together, reconnecting us with our friends, and introducing us to new ones as we move through this loss and infertility journey. We thank Him for the opportunities that have arisen from our loss--from having the chance to be treated by one of the country's best doctors to being able to raise awareness about stillbirth. We thank Him for the opportunity to be thankful!! I hope that doesn't seem odd, but too many times, we neglect to see the little things for which we should give thanks; God has opened our eyes to being grateful for ALL things both little and big. I thank Him for my husband, Chris; for bestowing patience upon Chris on the days I've been difficult; for helping us hold our marriage together when everything else seems like it's falling apart. We thank Him for the kindness and generosity of those of you who visit our site to leave us words of wisdom, encouragement, or financial support--regardless of your beliefs, something beautiful sent each of you us--for this we are humbly grateful. We are thankful to God for YOU!!
I love this section from an Emily Dickinson poem:
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all...
Chris and I have been on a journey of HOPE for a long time. Hope to have a family. Hope to live the best lives possible while being the best people possible. Hope to be positive examples in all we do. Rowan was the achievement of our biggest hope--having a child. But as you know, he isn't with us. However, he left us the legacy of hope which we carry with us always.
Having hope does not mean everything will work out the way we want it to in the end, but it does mean we're committed to believing it can happen; sometimes, that's half the battle!
Chris recently posted this on his FB: "There is no better day than today to take those first steps and make your move toward whatever goal you want to achieve; it's time to carpe your diems!" Our third and final round of IVF is about to begin, thanks to the love and support of family, friends, and people we've never met. Although we haven't completely reached our goal, we have faith and hope it will work out in the end.
This thing we call HOPE can see us through the most traumatic of times...
Hope is our anchor.
Yet, Hope floats.
As long as there's a dream,
Don't lose it.
It's the little voice that whispers 'Maybe'
when the world seems to shout out 'No!'
Hold on to something to hope for.
Hold on for a brighter day.
Hold On, Pain Ends.
THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH!! Please continue to share our story of hope
Yes, we're still here, and YES...we are so very, very close to our goal!! Your shares will get us there...we just know it!! The past (nearly) 3 months have been AMAZING!! Our blessings are endless, and we are on HOPE overload! Wait, is that even possible? One can never have too much hope! But, one maaaaay have too many exclamation points ;) (sorry I'm not sorry about those!) We just cannot thank you enough for your continued support and encouragement. We know if you stick with us, we can make it all the way!!! Hope everyone is enjoying a beautiful fall weekend...
Love, Tara & Chris
Earlier this week, I received the results of my Day 3 blood work (the sample taken here on base, frozen, and then overnighted to Colorado). Courtney (our nurse) called to say the results were EXCELLENT! She almost acted pleasantly surprised with my numbers. Here's what we learned:
Test: My result: Range:
E2D3 33 pg/ml 19-50
FSHD3 6.7 mIU/ml 3.0-10.0
LHD3 3.2 mIU/ml 2.0-6.0
First, Day 3 blood work is used to determine ovarian reserve.
The first result listed is the estradiol test; this number is used in conjunction with the FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) level to help determine egg quality and quantity. From my reading and understanding, I want to have both a low estradiol and FSH reading. According to the ranges provided, I did pretty well in achieving that! The last result listed, LH (or luteinizing hormone), should be lower than the FSH level; again, these numbers work for me!
Just wanted to provide an update for those of you following our journey regularly. We really appreciate you!!
AND, a huge shout out to EVERYONE willing to share our story--especially those of you who have given of your time (and a little effort!) by re-posting our story.
I'm doing my best to take care of some stuff around the house before I head off for Flag Football tonight, while Tara is getting her acupuncture on. So here's what has been accomplished. I've taken care of the laundry, the dishes (unloaded and what was left over from making dinner put in the dishwasher), cleaned the patio table so we could maybe eat outside and made Chicken Bacon Avocado Salads for dinner. I can't wait to see her face when she comes back home.
Things have really been looking up lately and I cannot believe how nice the weather has been here. We should be seeing some of the trees change colors and how pretty the sunsets get in the fall. Not only that but we have also started our medicine and received our newest calender that lays out the blueprints for our treatment. So things are REALLY looking up for us.
Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read about our journey, who has donated and those who have reposted our story to help us out. You ALL are truly amazing and we would not be anywhere near our goal without YOU!
Experiencing fall in New England is a dream! The colors, the smell of the ocean in the air, the foghorns blowing in the night, the perfectly cool temperatures and sun-filled days. There's just so much to be thankful for as we travel along on this journey: the wonderful people we have met, the stories they have shared with us, the sense of community and caring from our supporters, the continuation of HOPE...
A huge thank you to those of you who lift us up and surround us with positivity! We appreciate you so very, very much!!
In honor of Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day, we lit a candle for Rowan at 6:39 (the time he was brought into the light). At 7 pm, we joined millions of people around the world by lighting 7 additional candles for the precious babies of those we hold very dear.
Sending peace and love to ALL parents who have lost a child...our hearts are with you.
October is both Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness and Breast Cancer Awareness month--both causes very special to Chris and I. Chris was 3 years old when he lost his mother, Gina, to breast cancer. We both know the pain of losing a child, but Chris also carries the pain of growing up without his mother. I obviously never knew her, but know in my heart she would be so very proud of the man her son has become; warm, loving, generous, and kind are all qualities that come to mind when I think of my husband.
Tonight I'm sharing a very special image I had framed for Rowan's nursery; it is Chris and his momma. I know exactly where he gets his smile--the one that lights up a room.
Thinking of her, and hoping, one day, no child has to lose their mother to breast cancer.
I love the Wizard of Oz, and it's nearly that time of year when they play it on the tube! I was never as freaked out by the flying monkeys as some people seem to have been when they were kids (ahem...my hubby). There's something so nostalgic about the film, and of course, this song. My HOPE just amps up listening to it.
Have you ever heard the version by Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwoʻole? If not...Please. Listen. To. It. Now! It will do your heart and soul sooooo much good :)
Here's to all the dreamers out there; no matter what you are going through, continue to hold on to your dreams, and do not ever (I mean NEVER!) give up HOPE!!
I recently posted on Twitter about how it makes my heart soar to hear of IVF success stories...especially from those who have struggled for years and years to become pregnant and those who, like us, have suffered the loss of their precious miracles. I am particularly excited for a Twitterpal who is smack in the middle of an AMAZING chain of events. Hers is one of those stories that will bring hope to those who think they face insurmountable obstacles. I think she's going to inspire many!
So, today, I'd like to share some words of encouragement to those on the journey of infertility--whether it be their first procedure or their tenth...
I hope these simple words are a boost to you, regardless of where you are on your own path. By lifting each other up, we create a bond of humanity that can inspire endless HOPE as we move forward toward our dreams.
Love, prayers & sticky vibes (as they say) to all of you fellow dreamers
BIG UPDATE!! We received our treatment calendar today...GAME ON!!
Our first step is to begin taking doxycycline for 10 days (both of us). I will also need to get my flu shot sometime next week; Chris already got his.
Then, I will have to begin doing an ovulation predictor test starting Monday. As soon as I get the smiley face, I wait 10 days and then begin estrogen priming (wearing an estrogen patch). There is an injectable medication I will begin at this time, too. I need to learn more about that from our nurse, Courtney, on Monday. Taking the stim medications will begin with my November cycle. It looks like the next Colorado trip will be approximately November 11 for an estimated egg retrieval procedure on November 18!! This is subject to change depending on my cycle. As it has regulated the past 2 months to 30 days, these should be pretty accurate dates. Now, once the retrieval is complete, our Dr. will be doing all kinds of miraculous things for the embies and they will be frozen. Approximately 4-6 weeks later, my calmed down body will be ready for implantation of an embie (or two??) This most likely will be sometime right after Christmas. Our current calendar gets us to the retrieval step. Again, the dates are determined by my cycle being 30 days, so it is subject to change. Our plan is that I will go to Colorado on my own, and Chris will meet up with me closer to the retrieval date. We will be able to spend some time with my brother who lives in Colorado, too, which is a huge bonus!!
Yes, we still need your support through the sharing of our story...our goal is within reach and the financial need still exists.
However, WE REALLY NEED YOUR PRAYERS AND POSITIVE THOUGHTS!! Specifically, please pray I will respond well to the medications (the more follicles and eggs produced, the better our chances for quality embryos), that travel will go smoothly, that the doctors and nurses will do what is best for my body and the success of our journey...that God, in His infinite goodness, will bless us with our HOPE baby!!!
Now that we have a treatment plan in place, we will be focusing on reaching our goal and writing thorough updates. WE NEED YOU NOW MORE THAN EVER!!!!
Thank you, so very much, for joining us on this journey...HERE WE GO!!!!!!
Hello supporters! Guess who it is this time... it's Chris!
So here we are literally on the verge of reaching our goal and I got to thinking, "What could I post to make people laugh but help to get to know us a little better?" Then BAM! I knew what I could post. So I'm going to post pictures of us being goofy and having fun.
Tara's picture is from Christmas. It was pretty late at night and I ended up playing Beastie Boys "Intergalactic." I don't know why but she did the entire dance and sang along with the song. The whole song! I couldn't stop laughing and I'm pretty sure Tara laughed until she got the hiccups.
My picture is the day before we got married. My Corps School Class decided to all grow "Freedom Staches" because I was getting hitched and it sounded like a fun time. We started the Grimy Mustache Brigade and long story short, Tara was not too pleased to see that dirt squirrel grace my face. As you probably guessed by now, she married me anyway.
And the final picture is us being goofs at New Years together. We had a blast, rang in the New Year and even got to spend some time with some good friends.
Sometimes I just feel like it's important to shine a little light on us as a couple. I knew I loved her from Day 1 and here I am at some-large-number-that-I-don't-feel-like-doing-math-to-get day and I'm still in love with her.
Thank you again for taking this journey with us and bringing us closer together. God bless Everyone of you and thank you for getting the word out!
Today was such a busy day for me, and I really loved it! It's nearly 9 pm, and I'm wonderfully exhausted. I'm looking forward to tomorrow because we will get our official treatment calendar and the results of my most recent blood work. It just makes our journey feel even more real!! We're getting so close to our goal, not only monetarily, but our goal of giving IVF one last try.
I want to face the weeks ahead with HOPE in my heart and JOY in my soul knowing Chris and I are doing everything we can to have the healthy, living child of our dreams!! I know we are able to do so thanks to all of you. You've given us so much through prayers and words of encouragement; we've been so blessed every time you've shared our story or offered a donation.
Thank you, once again, for sticking with us!! You've added to our HOPE each and every day
Good morning! I enjoyed a nice walk earlier, and kept thinking of how lucky I am to have my health, to have a wonderful family, to have fabulous friends, to be a mom even though my boy isn't here with me, to be a wife to an admirable, awesome man...
My blessings are endless!!
I know EVERYONE who has read and shared our story is on a journey of her or his own. That is why I wanted to share words of encouragement and HOPE.
Today, this is the blessing I'd like to share with you; may you find this to be true each and every day of your life
I love hearing of others' success stories! Whether they are shared with us here, in person, on FB, or on Twitter, it makes my heart happy to know another woman or couple struggling with infertility and/or loss is overcoming their fear and sadness, and are embracing HOPE! It leaves me encouraged and all the more hopeful myself! It's excellent to be caught in a cycle of positivity ;)
Thank you, All, once again, for the support!! We feel privileged to have such an AWESOME team on our side!
Tara & Christopher
It is so true that we are able to choose happiness. As difficult as it may be some days, choosing happiness tends to make difficult spots easier to handle. Do I always choose happiness? Heck no!! There are days when it's easier to be sad or down. But I nearly ALWAYS regret that decision. There's ALWAYS some little thing to be happy about. Maybe it's as small as NOT stubbing my toe on the way to the bathroom in the early morning! I rarely took this approach before losing Rowan. Sure, I was a positive, up-beat kind of person before, but I reacted more rashly to the bumps and bruises of life than I do now. I used the toe stubbing example because I actually did that last week, and you know what? I said OW, but I also allowed a grin to cross my face. WHY? Well, that's an easy one...I grinned because I was alive to FEEL the stubbed toe. I am completely serious. I distinctly remember thinking to myself immediately after kicking the side of the bed, "I'm alive."
Yet another blessing to be counted.
Thank you, All, for sticking with us and continuing to support us with words of encouragement, sharing of our story, prayers, and donations.
May you wake up tomorrow feeling the joy of LIFE and HOPE!!
Although the day started out rainy, it soon became a beautifully sunny autumn day!! I've always LOVED fall: cooler weather, college football, cozy clothes, and comfort food time!! Unfortunately, Chris is feeling very under the weather today (he had a flu shot just yesterday...hmmmmm...), but he's still managed to crack a few jokes and make me smile.
I am so lucky to have him as a husband and best friend! Is he a bear when he's sick? Well, yes! But, we all have days when we aren't feeling our best. These are the days we need the most love and encouragement!
Although we may be hard pressed, offering kindness and compassion to someone who may not be very friendly or seems to be in an off mood is always a good idea. As a common saying implies, we never know what hardships another person may be enduring in life. Everyone has a story. A blessing our loss has brought to my life is to be more open to others' stories...to listen with my heart.
We hope you all enjoyed a beautiful Saturday, and bid you a very good night!!
(The picture I'm sharing tonight is one of my FAVORITE pictures of Chris as a baby; it just makes me smile! His personality was already evident at a young age. I like to imagine our Ro would have had his sweet disposition!)
Tonight, I'd like to share an illustration with you that brings me so much peace. The realistic illumination of the stars and moon make for a dream-like setting. I imagine a soft breeze blowing through the autumn leaves as the swallows flutter around the woman in the tree. I imagine I am the woman, gazing at the beautiful night sky, and thanking God for all the gifts He has given me...the greatest of these gifts being Ro. I feel so much hope when I think of my baby boy. Yes, of course I feel sadness, but the unending love I have for him brings me so much joy, the feeling of hope overpowers any sadness.
The love and support you have all shown us gives me hope, as well.
In remaining true to our pledge to give you our endless thanks, I'm going to settle down for the night with a good book and gratitude for all of you in my heart!!
Tonight, I go to bed with a thankful heart. We are so close to our goal, and we know it is thanks to all of you.
I'd like to honor the special babyloss Mommas and their precious jewels who are all very special to me. Each one has been an encouragement and support to me during the past nine and a half months. Sending so much love and peace to each of these wonderful ladies...
Lindsey, mommy of Nora
Elizabeth, mommy of Hudson
Bodi, mommy of Letley
Sarah, mommy of Mia
Laury, mommy of Alex
Angela, mommy of Owen
May the love of God, in whatever form you invite into your hearts, surround you with the beautiful spirit of your cherished children. You will always hold a special place in my heart
Today marks our 3rd Anniversary and the weather could not have been any better. I was unfortunately stuck on duty all day but I was able to see Tara as she stopped by to see me. Today was a good day! I know that I have been somewhat slacking but as we all know, life slows for no one.
I've been racking my brain lately for some sort of inspiring message or maybe a good story to tell on here. And then BAM! I had that light bulb brighten up over my head and I realized what story I should tell. I don't think the story of how Tara and I met has been told. So here we go!
Back where we grew up, I used to work at a restaurant that sat as close to Notre Dame as you could get without being on campus. It was a football weekend and it was packed! I had spent most of the morning enjoying the sunshine at tailgates and then went into work, and who did I see? My cousin Stella of course! (Don't worry I'm getting to the seeing Tara for the first time part). I hugged Stella and you know what happened, I ended up seeing this smoking hot blonde sitting on a stool. I asked Stella, "Hey, who's your hot blonde friend?" And Stella said, "That's Tara" (she pushes me pretty much into her lap) and said, "You should say hi!"
So there I was, pretty much falling all over Tara, bumbling and stumbling to find some sort of good ice breaker to make up for my clutziness, but I'm sure I said something pretty lame. I attempted to chat and she was cordial. As the night went on, I was able to chat with her a little more between taking care of my tables. Finally we broke open the conversation when we started talking about books. After a while it was time for her to go but I asked for her phone number. She laughed when I said I would give her a call but she gave me her number anyway. Later that night I ended up texting her that it was really nice to meet her and that I hope we get the chance to meet up again. And now the rest is history.
So here we are, three married years and one year of dating behind us"¦ and forever to go. Tara made a great dinner, we're getting ready to exchange cards and probably have a scoop of ice cream to celebrate.
Thanks again to everyone who has taken the time to help us get this far. As Tara would tell you, I love the number 17, not just because it's the number of one of my favorite baseball players (ahem"¦ Mark Grace) but Tara and Rowan's birthdays are on the 17th of July and December, respectively. So reaching $17,000 was such an awesome thing to see. And remember without YOU we would not have this opportunity.
We've reached 85% of our goal which is cause for celebration!! Our goal is well within reach, and we want to thank EVERYONE who is sharing our story...it is why we've come so far!!
To top it off, we enjoyed another beautiful day in RI--toasty warm with blue skies all around. It's so lovely to sleep with the windows open at night and hear the foghorns on the bay, especially during the autumn. We know we are extremely blessed in all things, and we are very grateful for the role you've played in our lives; whether it's been years of friendship or as a family member, or since we began this site on July 29...only 2 months ago!!
Here's to all of you helping to make our dream come true!!!
Another amazing day of love and support nears an end. We are so grateful to the new visitors to our site...whether it's to give us words of encouragement or to donate, we are appreciative!! And to those who follow our updates regularly, thank you for sharing our story with others; you have blessed us richly. Tomorrow begins a very important time for the babyloss community: Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness month.
I will be participating in CarlyMarie's 'Capture Your Grief' project (you can learn more by visiting her site: carlymarieprojectheal.com).
I will be posting about the project each day on FB and our blog: hopeisouranchor.blogspot.com; I hope you will visit to read more about how I am continuing to heal.
Again, we express our never-ending gratitude to you All!!
Love and hugs--
Tara & Christopher
As the weekend comes to a close, we want to thank everyone who has joined us on this very important journey. As I mentioned yesterday, Chris and I wanted to do something different on the site and today is the day! We've added incentive levels to our fund in the hope that we will soon achieve our final goal. Chris is a genius, and came up with most of the ideas; I think they're pretty fun and hope you do, too!
For those of you who have already donated, we'd like to offer the incentives to you, as well. All you have to do to let us know you are interested is email us; we have a record of your donation total.
On October 1, we will be offering an additional perk. Please check in to see what we have planned!
We continue to be grateful for all of your well-wishes, prayers and shares!
Wishing you a beautiful and joyous week ahead
We are so very fortunate to live in such a beautiful area of the country and to be able to enjoy the change of seasons (yes, Tanja, it is GREAT!); today was an exceptional Autumn day for us! This morning's market was busy, and we met so many friendly folks while out there. We definitely look forward to Saturday mornings at Mt. Hope!
There's such a camaraderie among the market goers; it's so much fun to meet new people and learn a little about their lives. It is energizing to refill our hopeful attitudes after a busy week.
We are so close to 80% of our goal!! And it's all due to those of you who share our story, so we thank you with joyful hearts!
Before the weekend is over, Chris and I are going to add a new feature here on the site that we are really excited about...you'll have to read tomorrow night's update to learn more!!
Until then, I'm going to leave you with some words of wisdom useful in any situation we may face in life. Yes, it's easy to share these words with others, but sometimes difficult to follow them ourselves. Chris and I do our best to remind each other that our attitudes really do make a difference. Hopefully, these words are an encouragement to you!!
Happy Friday evening, All!! I got off the phone with our nurse Courtney about 30 minutes ago (she's in Colorado, so while it was 8:30 here, it was 6:30 there...she's working hard!) She had an update for us based on the lab results from the blood work done here in RI. Everything checked out well, but I need to do 2 things: the first is to take an over-the-counter Vitamin D supplement (1,000 IUs) starting tomorrow; the second is to get into the lab on base Monday to see if they can provide a number and reference range for my Rubella screen (this information was not provided on the report they sent to CCRM). Both very easy tasks to accomplish!
Courtney will be speaking to the doctor to see if a protocol can be determined before my Day 3 labs are received (with any luck, my Day 3 will be here within a week or two). If he gives the okay, we will get our treatment calendar very soon!! Such exciting news!
Additionally, I wanted to share information about a fundraiser being hosted for us by my friend, Laury Allen. Her sister, Beth, owns 'Boomers in the Know'--an online resource for fashionable, affordable eyewear. Besides passing on some great savings to YOU, she will also be donating 20% of the sales to our fund!! We are so grateful to Laury and Beth for extending this opportunity to us! If you need some new readers, bifocals, safety/sport bifocals, or sunglasses...check out her site! I've included the flyer she created for the fundraiser here...feel free to share the information with anyone you know who may be interested. We love mutually beneficial opportunities like this!
Thank you, once again, for all of your positive energy, words of encouragement & prayers!!
Good evening, Everyone! I want to return to a regular posting schedule after our one-day Colorado trip and our road trip to visit family and friends back home. We made a decision to jump in the car and drive home (saving TONS of money) since we will not be going home for the holidays. We weren't able to see everyone we would have liked to see, but it was a lovely trip. We were able to visit Ro's quiet place, and were featured in a news segment on Fox 28 News (station in our hometown).
I was able to speak with Courtney, our lead nurse at the Colorado clinic, who told me about some of our test results from our one-day work up on September 11. I'll share with you some of the highlights...
The genetics panel revealed neither Chris nor I are carriers of any of the conditions tested (EXCELLENT news!). Additionally, we both tested negative for any communicable diseases (this is required testing).
My Antiphospholipid Antibody screening (APA) came back normal. They check for these antibodies to rule out instances of inappropriate blood clot formation, recurrent miscarriages, low platelet count, and to check for autoimmune disorders...all of which can affect the success of implantation. The test result I am perhaps most excited about is my AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone) level: 4.1! This test determines ovarian reserve. As women age, the pool of primordial follicles (the only type of follicle present in the fetus) shrinks due to degeneration. As a result, the number of follicles awakened from the dormant state decreases. As the size of the cohort of antral follicles (a stage of the follicle that lasts about 50 days) decreases, the total amount of AMH produced by those follicles also decreases. That is why older women will usually have lower AMH levels than younger women. The clinic is looking for a test result above 1.8. My 4.1 certainly exceeds their target number, and indicates I will respond well to the fertility meds.
All of Chris' results came back with excellent numbers, too; I'll just sum it up by saying he has MILLIONS of swimmers, with a great percentage of them moving, and normal morphology.
We're still awaiting the results of the blood work I had done here in RI, and I have to have Day 3 blood work frozen and sent to Colorado when the time comes. As soon as all that information has been received by our new doctor, we will receive our official treatment calendar!
We thank you for your continued prayers, shares, and support!!
Sending everyone love and well-wishes
Please visit hopeisouranchor.blogspot.com to watch our video segment from Fox 28 News which aired in our hometown Monday night. We are unable to upload it here, as it isn't a YouTube or Vimeo file. Stay tuned for a regular update here later today. We've missed writing to all of you with our busy schedule the past 2 weeks...back in FULL FORCE!!
Hello, Everyone!! We haven't gone away, we just made a short, surprise road trip "home" to visit family and friends since we more than likely will not be able to be home for the holidays. We are heading back to Rhode Island tomorrow, so our updates will be back on track very soon!
I wanted to share with those of you who are following our story about the amazing opportunity we were given to speak with the lovely Amanda Johnson of Fox 28 News in our hometown. I received an email last week from the news station (the day before we left on our road trip!) about the possibility of meeting with someone to talk about Rowan and our journey so far The message relayed to us that someone had read our story, and shared it with the station via email.
Today, we were able to meet with Amanda at my parents' home to share our story. She also accompanied us on our visit to Ro's quiet place...it was such a sunny and beautiful day!! We could definitely feel our guy's special love shining down on us!!
Our segment will run during tonight's 10 pm EST broadcast! We will share the video segment here and on our blog when it is available online later this evening.
A HUGE THANK YOU to the special person who initiated that email to Fox 28 which resulted in this opportunity for us. We are immensely grateful to you!!
It's time for an update from Chris!
Hello again! It's been such a whirlwind of days lately and with work being extra busy I have not had a chance to post an update, so here we go!
Colorado is definitely a beautiful place. I have never been there and it lives up to its reputation of being beautiful and spacious. I will say after meeting our nurse and doctor, I have a great feeling about this treatment cycle. The doctor was exceptionally nice and informative as he explained the steps he wants us to take and even called us "kiddos." It's nice to hear that and to be honest, I feel like he's going to help us fulfill our dreams.
I want to say thank you again to everyone who has helped us on our journey! It means a lot to us. Nothing is impossible when people come together!
"The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man's determination."
Monday morning...wooootwooooot!! I've never been much of a morning person, but since Chris and I share a car, and I ride to work with him at 7 am before turning around to drive home, I have been more of a morning person than I'd like to be. The upside to it is I get so much accomplished before noon! Although it's dreary outside, and I'd like to snuggle back into bed, I'm going to begin knocking out my to-do list right away. No case of the Mondays here!!
Wishing you all a wonderful, productive, BLESSED Monday!!
As this beautiful fall weekend comes to a close, Chris and I would like to give extra-special thanks to our military family (including those we personally know and love, and those we've never met) who have re-posted our story, prayed for us, sent us words of encouragement, or graciously donated to our fund. One of the most special things about serving our country is the camaraderie and lasting connections formed with other service members. To our Navy family we send much love and thanks; to our Marine, Army, Air Force & Coast Guard friends, we are so very grateful to you, as well.
We have had such a GORGEOUS day in RI today!! We woke up early to head to the Mt. Hope Farmer's Market to share some amazing honey with the patrons. I think our market neighbor, Kate, put it best when she said you meet the nicest people at the market...we most certainly do!! So much warmth and lovely conversation about food and life in general. It's such a positive, uplifting environment. With the beautiful fall day we had, there was even more to love about living here on the island.
I remember when being so joyful was more difficult. When I didn't know if I'd ever be able to enjoy being outdoors, or chatting with new people. I didn't know if I'd ever enjoy anything again. Luckily, during the past nine months (I cannot believe it has been nearly nine months since we lost our Rowan...) God has carried me through the very darkest days I've ever lived. I already knew He brought an amazing man into my life years ago (my husband). I knew He brought the right kind of friends to my life over the years (especially those who have rose to the occasion during our saddest moments). He blessed me with the most supportive, loving, and magnificent parents just over 42 years ago, and a feisty, talented younger brother 35 years ago. It's always been easy to thank God for these blessings.
It's not always so easy to bless God when life as you know it gets turned upside down... when all your hopes and dreams are crushed in a matter of seconds...when you don't know how you'll ever make it another day without crying yourself insane...when the hope you want to cling to is slipping away because darn it, it seems like everything has been lost. BUT DO IT ANYWAY!! Give God thanks even in your darkness. Keep hold of that HOPE even when you think you just cannot hold on any longer because He WILL BRING YOU THROUGH.
Today, we give thanks to God, who has brought us through our darkest times, and cares for us each and every day! We know there are many possible outcomes to our journey, but we also know that whichever comes to pass, God will be with us. And we thank you for being with us, too :)
Here's the awaited update...finally! Thank you for being so patient with us! As you could probably guess, the past few days have been full of hopeful anticipation as we traveled on Tuesday to Colorado for our first appointment with our new fertility doctor not-so-bright and early Wednesday morning. The day began with a group meeting of several couples for an overview of the clinic. After that, it was a day full of appointments for both of us. We were on a tight schedule, as our flight out of Denver left at 5:25! Jen, the patient care manager, suggested we continually check-in early for each appointment, in case we could sneak in during a lull in the schedule.
We met with the business office to discuss finances. Chris had to go to another floor for various male-specific testing, and I was able to get a bite to eat from the cafe. It was important we stay hydrated due to the altitude and to make the blood work go more smoothly (being well-hydrated makes the search for a suitable vein easier, and the stick itself is less uncomfortable).
We met our lead nurse, Courtney, one of a 3-member team with which we'll work closely. Chris and I had a fabulous rapport with Courtney and feel we are in great hands with her. She went over the blood work I needed to get that day, and gave me instructions about testing I'll be doing back here in RI (including the blood work I had done this morning). If there was a test that was not required to be done by their lab, I opted to do that here in order to save money (blood draws at the clinic here are free). I'll need to do another draw in early October, freeze the specimen, and send it to Colorado. Overall, the session with Courtney was very informative.
While waiting for one of our appointments, the doctor himself came looking for us because he had heard we were in a time crunch; he had an opening in his schedule and was able to see us early. Knowing how busy he is, we were very grateful for this! We weren't scheduled to meet with him until the end of our day. I already had it on good authority that he was amazing, but meeting him in person was such a relief! We could feel his warmth, compassion, and knowledge immediately; it's an added bonus that our new doctor gives us an overwhelming feeling of confidence...we are in exquisite hands for this big opportunity!! Immediately following the meeting, I was taken to a procedure room for my hysteroscopy (done by the doctor). It is a fairly quick procedure that scopes out the uterine cavity and checks for fibroid tumors, polyps, intrauterine adhesions, or other pathology. I was able to receive results immediately: ALL CLEAR!!
We rounded out the day with consent signing and the blood work necessary for both of us. Thanks to the advice of Jen at the beginning of the day, and the doctor's willingness to fit us in to a break in his schedule, we were out of the clinic by 2:15! We easily made our flight and had a pleasant, but long trip home.
By 1 am Thursday, we were in bed, and poor Chris was up again at 5:30 to make his important exam!
While it was a busy, information-filled 48+ hours, we encountered kindness around every corner!! The flight attendants and pilots of all our flights were light-hearted and entertaining. We had great conversations with the young woman attending our first flight, and with the man attending our long flight back; Michelle and Stephanie, members of the ticketing staff of the airline, were super-helpful & friendly, too. We LOVE Southwest Airlines!! The staff at the hotel check-in were friendly, and the "regular" who was at the check-in desk gave us a great recommendation for a quick bite to eat that night.
So, you may be wondering where we stand. Great question!! We have to wait about 1 week for all the test results to be summarized, and for the doctor to review them and make a plan. Courtney, our nurse, was able to give us a general time-frame for our treatment which we will share with you once it is more concrete (which should be in about a week to a week and a half).
We'd also like to share with all of you the utterly amazing feeling, the ABSOLUTE JOY! of being blessed so richly by Everyone who has been a part of our lives either from the very beginning, or more recently...I sometimes need to pinch myself because I wonder, "Is this for real???"
We are so grateful for all the prayers & shares, and financial support you have offered to us!!
In the end, we know there are no guarantees on the outcome of our journey, but from where we stand, there's absolutely nothing but HOPE in front of us. That HOPE comes first and foremost from above, but it also comes from all of you! THANK YOU!!
As an important side note, we'd like to say that our prayers & thoughts are with those in the beautiful state of Colorado who have been affected by the flooding...
Okay everyone! We're headed out and will be back on Wednesday night, early Thursday morning! We'll be posting an update about everything on Thursday to keep everyone in the loop. More pictures from our trip to come when we get back!
This is a quick update from Christopher.
What a great start to this week! We've had the most overwhelming support over the weekend and the good vibes just keep rolling in. The power of positivity is incredible and the fact that people who have never even met us have taken the time to read our story and go on this journey with us"¦ it really leaves me speechless.
Who would have thought that all the tough stuff we have gone through together would be overcome by the kindness of strangers and the loving warmth of closest friends and family? We never wavered in our thoughts of wanting a family, even when times were dark. And due to every single person reading our story and pulling together to help us, we have this unbelievable opportunity.
Will it be tough to fly the 3,500 miles in two days and then turn around and take a test for my career? Will I be exhausted on Thursday? Hahaha! Of course, but all the important people in my life have always told me, "Nothing good in life comes easy." So all the hard work, all the blood, sweat and tears, the nights where I laid awake even though I was exhausted, the countless times I picked myself up, brushed the dirt off and kept on going was all worth it to have this culminate into such a joyous couple of days.
Sure we're going to "just" get some tests done and meet our new fertility doctor and his team, but to me"¦ this is a time to celebrate Life and all the wonderful chances, opportunities and good fortune that can occur when everyone joins together and moves toward a goal as one!
Thank you and God bless everyone!
We had over 6,000 visits to our site on Friday alone...what an OUTSTANDING weekend this has been for us! Thank you, Everyone, for your re-posting, shares & uplifting messages! We appreciate every single thing you've done for us. The upcoming week is an exciting one for us, as you know. We will be traveling to Colorado on Tuesday followed by a day of testing on Wednesday. In a whirlwind, we will fly back to RI Wednesday night so Chris can make an important exam Thursday morning. We'll be tired, but gosh are we grateful for this opportunity!!
As you know, we were at the Providence Seafood Festival yesterday (after a morning at a Farmer's Market in Bristol). It was so much fun to mingle with festival-goers! Chris debuted as Buzz the Bee and did a great job entertaining people...especially little kids! It made my heart smile to see little ones go up to give him a high five or even to wrap their arms around his legs! I know it was challenging for him emotionally, but he really enjoyed himself! We were meant to return today, but not only were we completely wiped out from yesterday, I got a case of the sneezes as soon as I got into the car last night. It was like an insta-cold. Thank goodness for a Benadryl and lots of sleep! I'd like to share a few photos of our day with you to wrap up this post. We look forward to sharing our quick trip to Colorado with you later in the week.
Your continued prayers are most welcome as we move forward. THANKS AGAIN, EVERYONE!!
It's a bright, early & beautiful Saturday morning here in RI! We're getting ready for a long day at the Providence Seafood Festival. We will be with Jeff from Aquidneck Honey and we really look forward to meeting new people and chatting about the health benefits of honey! We will be away from our computer, but we will be THANKFUL ALL DAY for the re-posts of our story, the words of encouragement and support, but most of all just THANKFUL for all of you being there for us!! Today is going to be an EXCELLENT day!!
It has been the MOST AMAZING DAY!! Thank you so much to everyone who is praying for us, sharing our story, or has made a donation. Our hearts are filled with love and appreciation for you. We will keep posting updates, and of course, as our journey progresses we will have many more postings on our blog: hopeisouranchor.blogspot.com
We will be spending time with our local beekeeper Jeff from Aquidneck Honey this weekend at the Providence Seafood Festival; if you're in the area, stop by to say hi! Although it's a busy weekend for us, we'll still be back to communicate our thanks to everyone, and to post words of hope and encouragement.
We will never tire of saying thank you...
OVERWHELMED with gratitude!!! There's so much joy in our hearts, and tears in our eyes as we read your uplifting messages and respond back to each of you! There has been such an abundance of support today, the site cannot keep some of them in the system for us to read your comments & respond personally, but were trying to find a way to do so! THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH, EVERYONE!!!
Here it is! We wanted to make sure everything was in place before sharing our update with all of you. Since starting this site and our blog, so many amazing events have taken place it's difficult to know where to start. We've received several messages from encouraging, loving people who are really cheering us on in this endeavor. During this time, we were given an opportunity to possibly work with one of the best (if not THE best) fertility doctors in the country. Long, INCREDIBLE story short, this is how we came to have a phone consultation yesterday.
The consultation went GREAT! After a review of my medical records, we've been told I am a candidate for treatment. This means we have a new fertility doctor! We are thrilled to know we will be working with a team that will maximize our chances for success with this round of IVF.
There's just SO MUCH TO BE GRATEFUL FOR!
The next step for us is to travel to this clinic for a one day work-up which includes several diagnostic tests. This will help determine the most effective plan for treatment. We are infinitely HOPEFUL!!
As it turns out, we will be traveling to Colorado next Tuesday, undergoing testing/evaluation next Wednesday, and then returning to RI that very night because Chris has an advancement exam early Thursday. Whew! What a whirlwind!
We are preparing ourselves for a wild ride...are you buckled in and ready to join us? ;)
Thank you for your continued support, words of encouragement, and prayers!!
Sending love back to each and every one of you
We have a huge day tomorrow! At approximately 1630 (4:30 PM) we will be having our phone consult with the doctor who we might be seeing for our future fertility treatment. I just want everyone to know that we would not be where we are without your love and support.
If you could find time in your busy schedules to say a prayer or keep us in your thoughts tomorrow, it would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you, All, for taking this journey with us.
PS In case you couldn't tell by the writing style, this is Chris.
Happy Labor Day! Chris and I have been enjoying a quiet extended weekend of relaxation. I have spent some time contemplating how awesome Hope is Our Anchor has been for us. We've had a total of 6,159 visits to our page in the one month we've been here; we've had 2,300 shares of our story. Doing a little guesstimate math, that means for every share, 3 people have visited our site! All I can say about the power of social media and your willingness to share: AMAZE-BALLS! ;)
On top of the already outstanding support of family and friends (both old and new), our second fundraiser is underway thanks to a generous visitor to our site, and our friends from SB who made the mind-blowing $500 match donation in mid-August have pledged even more support to us in the future. We are just SO GRATEFUL TO EVERYONE for every little thing you have done for us--prayers and shares are among the greatest gifts we have received!!
Although I haven't read it for quite some time, there is a beautiful paragraph at the end of Elizabeth Gilbert's 'Eat Pray Love' that sums up how I feel about all the love and support this site has brought to our lives. I'd like to share it here with you...
"In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it's wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices."
Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you...
Here is something to think about. We are more than half way there and we have done this together in just about a month! Without the support, the repostings, the donations and the positive words of encouragement we would have never gotten this far. God bless you all and I hope that your Labor Day weekend is filled with rest, relaxation and quality time with friends and family.
It's college football Saturday! Chris and I are watching the Irish beat Temple back in SB wishing we were there in person, but knowing we're there in spirit. Several of the ladies who purchased refashioned tees from my auction fundraiser have posted their pics to FB so I could see them wearing my shirts; the ladies really make the shirts look AWESOME! It was so nice to hear from one of the donors that she told people a little something about Chris and I when asked about her shirt...THANK YOU, LS!! ;)
We continue to be blessed in many, many ways, and thank you ALL for sharing our story. This continues to be a beautiful journey for us both. Our lives are FOREVER changed by your kindness, words of encouragement, expressions of love, and of course, prayers.
Oh man! It's Chris again!
Tara just had another soothing session of acupuncture and I got a chance to cook dinner tonight. I think I might have actually figured out how the oven works. I know it sounds silly but being able to prepare a whole meal (steamed veggies drizzled with a honey butter sauce and lemon peppered fish) was an awesome feeling. I honestly feel like I was able to do something great where I had struggled before.
So here's where I tie this all together with the manliest bow in the world... I don't think I could do the things I do today without the support of those around me (whether it's coworkers, leadership, friends, family and even complete strangers who have stopped by this website to donate).
Every single person that has come into our lives in such a time of hope has strengthened me, has given me joy and has shored up my defenses when I feel incredibly weak.
Without YOU, we would not be half way to our goal. Without YOU, we would not have this shot.
So again, thank you for giving me hope!
Today was a tough day, I won't lie. Life has been somewhat of a roller-coaster, but even on the downswing you have to remember that there will be an upswing soon enough. Often times we get stuck in this feeling of "when will things turn around" or "what am I doing wrong?" And that kind of thinking can apply to anything that we/you are going through. We're doing our best to stay positive, and to get ready for our big phone meeting with our doctor on 04SEP13. But like I said at the beginning of this post, today was tough.
So what did we do? We hugged each other, we gave each other encouragement, and we made sure that we both knew how much we loved each other. Using that positive energy and feeling rejuvenated after such an emotionally draining day, I went to play in the Naval Station's Softball Championship. My team had fought hard all season; we had only lost two games and we were the underdogs in the final game. I played my hardest and I know that Rowan was there to help me out on a couple of crucial plays; because of my Angel in the infield (Haha I play 2nd Base), WE WON 11-3!
It was such an overwhelming feeling to come out a winner. I wish Rowan could have been there to see me play so I could have hoisted both him and the trophy together in the air, but I know he was smiling down on me.
Long story short, anything is possible when you have a positive attitude and a little help from above.
Yesterday was a busy day for us; Chris had a softball tournament out of town early in the morning, and I spent the day running errands and such. It was a quiet day from us, as we did not post here, on FB or Twitter. However, it was a great day of motivation. Let me share with you our little graces...
While I do not spend money on treats very often, if I go through the drive-thru at Dunkin Donuts for a little decaf sip, I will (more often than not) pay for the person behind me (usually when I notice it is one person ordering only for themselves...I mean, after all, I'm a penny-pinching gal). I'm always struck by how shocked the drive-thru attendant is when I do so, but hey, whatever. YESTERDAY, I stopped by DD for just one of those sips, and when I got to the window, the girl said, "The gentleman in the car ahead of you paid your bill." SQUEEEEEE!!! How cool to be on the receiving end of such kindness!! I was able to wave and mouth "Thank you" to the older gentleman ahead of me as we were stopped to pull out of the parking lot. What an EXCELLENT start to the day...and MOTIVATING! Yes, that's right, motivating. It was a simple reminder that the positive we put out into the world comes back to us, even in little ways. So I kept thinking, what can I do today that benefits someone else? Sure enough, dare I say it?? GOD provided an opportunity to do something for a stranger.
I heard about a 33-yr. old woman in our community who has brain cancer. A huge benefit is being held today in her honor and it is hosted by the salon where I get my hair cut. They are known for their excellent fund-raisers, by the way...they go ALL OUT! I wondered, what can I do to help? Answer: I called on our favorite island beekeeper from Aquidneck Honey to see if we could find an economical way to donate something healthy and sweet for the auction being held at the benefit. Sure enough, the Bee Man could hook us up with a nice gift basket to donate...plus, he pitched in 1/2 the cost himself!! What amazing synchronicity of positive energy to pass on good to others we don't even know!
To all of those who have donated or shared our story even though you do not know us personally, today we express our gratitude specifically to YOU!!
Thank you for sharing your beautiful spirit with us...WE ARE GRATEFUL!!
It's Chris again! I would like to give thanks to someone who has been a great source of hope through their anonymous donations and words of encouragement. Today's message to us was Galatians 6:9... Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. This confirmation of never giving up, not even when we feel like there is nothing else we can do, is a great reminder for all of us (no matter what we're going through). I want to pass this encouragement on to everyone who has taken the time to read our story, donate to our future or pray for us... You have no idea how much hope you give us.
It's been 3 weeks since we kicked off our GoFundMe campaign...and we're knocking on the door of meeting 50% of our goal! With your help, we could actually attain our goal in another 3-4 weeks!! Holy cats, that's incredible ;)
We know many people are reposting; many of you may be a little tired of hearing from us, but...PLEASE, don't give up on us just yet!! If any of you haven't reposted, now is the time! We are experiencing a connection with people far and wide because of your willingness to share our story. You share, your friends share, and then their friends share...it is so POWERFUL!
We believe we have to stay positive and remember how far we've come. Thank you for bringing us to the brink of 50%! Woootwooot ;)
When I share about the joy and peace surrounding me on the day I brought our Rowan into the light, I often get a look I can only describe as pity, as if the person on the other end of my story thinks I'm trying to convince myself of those feelings. But, it's true; the 5 days between learning Ro had passed and delivering him were reserved for my excruciating pain, my animal-like wails of sorrow that my boy would not be coming home with us. Did I cry that day? Of course I did! But they were tears of love and admiration as I saw our baby for the first time. I hope this picture, the first taken of the three of us together, illustrates the unwavering devotion and love Chris and I have for our boy, and ultimately, each other.
Rowan was so beautiful and perfect; he IS beautiful and perfect. We have to believe he's looking down on us and is proud of all we are doing to make him a big brother. We love and miss him so very much...EVERY. SINGLE. MINUTE.
Thank you for joining us on this journey; it is one filled with joy and peace, pain and sorrow, hope and love.
Just a quick thank you to everyone who has shared this journey with us. Every single person that has taken the time to help us or just read our story has given me a renewed sense of hope. God bless you all!
I love this picture because it was our first Christmas together after we were married.
Chris wrote a new post about strength and resiliency when it comes to things he enjoys doing. I'm so proud of how willing he is to share his thoughts on our blog, Hope Is Our Anchor.
Thank you all for a great weekend of sharing our story. We wish you a wonderful new week ahead!
-Tara & Chris
We've passed the half-way mark! Thank you to everyone who has passed along our story or donated...every little bit is a blessing to us! We spent yesterday volunteering by helping out the local beekeeper as he promoted Aquidneck Honey, so we were pretty quiet on all social media. Nonetheless, we are super-excited about getting closer to our goal, and all the wonderful opportunities before us.
The picture I'd like to share with you is something I found in the weeks just after losing Ro; initially, I saved it because it hit home for what we were enduring. Now, it takes on another meaning and I offer it here as a sentiment to all of you...
We continue to be grateful for all you've done for us and hope you are blessed in return for your kindnesses to our little family.
My thoughts today turn to beauty, and what we find beautiful in our world. I'm talking about the real deal, not what we see on the surface, let's say, on someone's face. I'll be announcing a new blog post later tonight that speaks about the new eyes we look through when we are grieving. Here's what sparked the idea for tonight's post...
Here's the message from our friends:
"A big THANK YOU to those who stepped up to the $500 Weekend Challenge! The goal was surpassed!"
What a great weekend it was...PLUS we're in the middle of an excellent week!! :)
Okay, so to change things up, I just want to thank everyone who has donated, tweeted our story, shared this journey on Facebook or has just spent time learning about us. Now for my update...
Today was one of those days where I felt pretty beat down. I didn't sleep well and because of what I do for a living, I couldn't let it show. And that's when it hit me. I needed to find something to motivate me. At work, I keep a small journal of quotes that motivate me, inspire me or just make me laugh. So here is the quote that pulled me out of my funk today:
"It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it." - Lou Holtz
There was just something magical about this. It took all the negative thoughts, emotions and just that overall "blaaaaaaaaaah" feeling and sent it on its merry way. Maybe it was reading this and hearing good ol' Lou's sweet, cheery, and lispy voice that made me smile. Maybe it was being able to just take a breather and read something inspirational. Or maybe it was the fact that we've had 228 people help carry this weight and bring us closer to our dream.
Without every single person pulling together, carrying what they can and taking just a little time out of their day to give us a hand to help us back up when we were feeling down, we would NOT be this close to our goal of having a chance at another miracle.
We have received $315 in donations since the matching challenge was announced!! AWESOME! Thank you so very much!
The ND t-shirt auction is going well on FB, too! Here's the link if you'd like to participate: https://www.facebook.com/events/480705658686284/?ref=2
Auction ends at 10 pm tonight!
Well it's about 9pm where we are and Tara is still upstairs working on her write ups for her tailgating shirts. For those of you who don't know, Tara plans on auctioning them off tomorrow on Facebook to raise money for our GoFundMe. I tried my best to help her but I wasn't blessed with that type of creative talent, so I figured the best thing I could do would be to handle the update today.
I'd like to end my post by saying thank you to everyone. The support we have received has been incredible. The messages, emails and quick chats I've had with some people are always good for the soul. Stay tuned because I have a feeling Tara will be posting again tomorrow to fill everyone in on how her auction went.
The picture that I included is from this really cool wildlife preserve that's about 10 minutes away from our home. It's a great place to just gather your thoughts or have a long walk with someone you love.
A challenge has been presented...
We received an AMAZINGLY generous message from our friends in SB who would like to remain anonymous. The message is as follows:
"God has put Chris and Tara Williams upon our hearts. After much prayer and discussion, we decided that we would like to challenge anyone reading this to donate and to be a blessing to these two wonderful people. It has been our experience that when you focus on being a blessing and putting your faith in God's plan, that God in turn will bless YOU in abundance. God calls us to love our neighbor as yourself. Whatever that love looks like to you, we are challenging you to give it away. In doing so we are willing to match each donation given on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday up to $500.00. It is our hope that donations will exceed this amount and what we are willing match, but if we meet our goal between your giving and ours that is $1000.00. Thank you for your love and kindness in advance. God bless."
The impact of my recent post about gratitude bringing joy has hit us full force this week...a $500 donation today, this beautiful gesture by a lovely couple from our hometown, and other amazing blessings this week have brought us to an all-time joy overload!! Don't misunderstand, there could never be such thing as too much joy; I can also say there's no such thing as too much gratitude...CHRIS AND I ARE SO GRATEFUL FOR YOU ALL!! Whether you're sharing our story, or donating $1 or $100...you are an important part of our journey!
Obstacles in the path are not obstacles, they ARE the path...
This really hit me this morning--the idea that obstacles aren't in your way, they are the way. Something to remember when I think I can't get through; I'll just have to haul my arse up and over ;)
Luckily, I've got this great guy to hold my hand as we go...
"...it is not JOY that makes us grateful; it is GRATITUDE that makes us joyful." -David Steindl-Rast. Today we are joyful because of the gratitude that fills our hearts. Wishing everyone a great Monday!! Here's another picture of us from time spent at the lake house of family friends. It is our happy picture of the day :)
We've woken up to a gorgeous day on the island. The sun is showering us with warm rays, and we are filled with love and hope! While listening to my Pandora stations yesterday, I heard the song 'The Heart of Life' by John Mayer. These lyrics stood out:
Pain throws your heart to the ground
Love turns the whole thing around
Fear is a friend who's misunderstood
But I know the heart of life is good
I know it's good
After one fantastic week of being open to receiving blessings, I am so happy I let go of the fear and took Leah's advice to share our story here. And tonight, we will overcome another fear as we post our first video on our new blog...stay tuned for the web addy & time!
THANK YOU for all you've done or are doing to help us...EVERY little bit matters. We are grateful for you!
Ahhhh...Saturday! It's the perfect day to relax and renew our spirits after such a blessing-filled week. We would never be where we are in our quest without you--our family and friends (brand new and old). We are learning the impact of your sharing; because you have visited and passed our story along on FB, Twitter, by email and word of mouth, we are closer to our goal.
I had no idea we could do Twitter without a smartphone, but since we can, Chris set up an account for us! (We give you permission to chuckle at our naivety.) Please follow us @ChrisAndTaraW.
The lovely picture I'm sharing with you includes an African Proverb that states our current feelings perfectly.
Thank you for all you've done and continue to do!
As Day 5 of Hope is Our Anchor begins, I want to share with you how we decided on the name for this site. I have this thing for 'words of wisdom'; I have notebook after notebook filled with quotes from various sources: people, books, films, etc. interspersed among my writing, and I have to admit, I collect them on Pinterest, too. The past nearly 8 months have been difficult on us both. Chris has remained the eternal optimist and has always clung to hope...I do mean ALWAYS. He is steadfast and determined to be hopeful 24/7! I so love that about him. I am almost embarrassed to say, I despair. I have times when I just cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. Luckily, I have THE PERFECT partner in life; Chris pulls me out of the dark pit into which I occasionally fall, and reminds me of HOPE. It only seems fitting that this simple phrase sums up our rally cry: Hope IS our anchor. It is what keeps us solid, keeps us from straying from our dreams and each other (many marriages fall apart after such a loss as ours). While it is our anchor, which paints a picture of being held in one place, hope also allows us to soar. It allows us to be lifted up. Those of you who have supported us in any number of ways have become part of that hope, and WE THANK YOU! As we head into the weekend, we'd like to ask visitors to the site, as well as supporters who may not have yet shared our story with others to do so over the next few days by Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, email, word-of-mouth.
Tara is away at her acupuncture appointment so I figured I could be the one to post this time. I had a pretty decent day today. After I left work, was able to volunteer about an hour trimming the grass at a local pet rescue and then cooked Tara dinner. (Don't ask how dinner was; just know that I didn't catch anything on fire) Sometimes it gets pretty hard to stay positive (especially after that dinner fiasco) but at the end of the day, we at least have each other.
I want to share with everyone who has graciously donated, re-posted this website and/or given us words of encouragement a picture of Tara (pregnant with Rowan) and myself, when I was on my 96 in Jacksonville. We took our picture in a photo booth and had a lot of fun posing and being ridiculous. I don't know why but whenever I'm feeling extra crummy or just need a little boost, I look at this picture strip and it makes me happy. I hope that seeing us together as a family happy, can bring you joy as well.
Thank you again for taking the time to share our journey!
We woke up to a quiet morning. The lawns are being mowed right now, so the scent of freshly-cut grass wafts in the windows. The sun is shining. I have a great feeling about today...don't you? Thank you for continuing to share our story! We are grateful
Another emotionally beautiful day comes to a close. Tonight, as the sun set over the bay painting the sky various shades of pink and purple, we stood outside and just soaked in the awesomeness of it all.
The picture I'm sharing tonight is one my FB friends have seen; it was taken in Perth, Australia by the lovely Carley Dudley.
I'm going to ask you to spend the end of your week noticing all the small things in life: the feeling of a gentle summer breeze on your face, the shape of the billowing white clouds, the sound of children laughing at a far off playground...ain't life grand? (wink, wink)
One more thing before I go to bed: I'd like to say a special thank you to the marvelous Jodi Adkins; she is running a marathon in October and donating the money she raises to our fund. We are very fortunate to have her as a friend. Love you, Jodi
What a glorious whirlwind the past couple of days have been! I'm going to start the day by sharing a quote with you from Mary Oliver: "I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable, beautiful, and afraid of nothing as if I had wings." One of the most difficult aspects of babyloss, grief, and infertility is fear. Fear that this was your only chance at a miracle. Fear that people will avoid you, as if what has happened to you is contagious. Fear that the tragedy will happen again. Fear that you or your partner will give up when the going gets tough (and yes, it gets really tough). Fear that you will never hold a living child in your arms, watch in wonder as he or she grows up, leaves for college, gets married, has children of his or her own. There are countless fears; they can eat at you, break you down, devastate you. Or...you can choose to not let them. I'd be lying if I said I have conquered fear because I have not. BUT. Hope makes its way back into the big picture, and I am renewed. We can invite hope in on our own; it's more difficult because we forget, or just allow any negativity that's happening to have its way because darn it, it's exhausting to fight it. The very best way is to reach out to the universe and ask for hope, and to then be fully open to receiving it when it comes.
Chris had the idea of sharing pictures from our lives with you, and I really love it. I chose my picture today to go with Mary Oliver's words because it is from our tailgate wedding reception at Notre Dame; it is a time we were light and frolicsome...afraid of nothing as if we had wings.
Thank you, again, for being here with us...
Hello to all, this is Tara's husband, Christopher. Seeing all the love, the words of hope and even having those who have heard from "a friend of a friend of a friend" reach out to help us is incredible! Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that so many people would want to share this journey with us. Every single post, donation and even messages of encouragement on Facebook has left us feeling blessed, loved and energized! We could not do this without you! That's right, YOU! (Tara said I should yell that)
This was our pregnancy announcement from when we were expecting Rowan. It was such a hopeful time, even though I was so far away. Thank you for giving us hope like that again!
Please continue to share and spread the word, thank you.
Once you choose hope, anything is possible!
And this experience has really driven the point home. We have spent a great portion of the day reading messages and sending thank yous to friends, as well as strangers. That seems so wrong, to use the word 'strangers'. Let me correct that to people we've never met in person. We are so profoundly touched by the outpouring of support from every stage of our lives. Chris has former classmates, neighbors, and friends from childhood contacting us; I have former classmates, former students/cheerleaders/volleyball players, friends of my parents... It is truly awe-inspiring what human connection can do. We are eternally grateful for all who are sharing our story...it is reaching FAR AND WIDE (there I go, yelling again). And that hope that I mentioned up there? That hope is making the reality of our goal a real possibility. I'm just going to say again (and be prepared to hear it lots more) thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! The beautiful vision I had of 20,000 people donating $1 to our fund in a synergistic act of goodwill has reminded us: ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!
What an emotional 24 hours this has been!! We are OVERWHELMED with gratitude to those who have contributed to our fund. Amid tears (and a little snot, I'm not gonna lie!) I told Chris, "Oh my goodness, we might actually be able to meet our goal, Honey!!" All of your kind words and generosity just confirm what I already knew...we are SO VERY BLESSED!!! Also, a huge thank you to those who are sharing our story/site. It has been amazing to "meet" new people during our loss-grief-infertility journey!
A friend since childhood, a "stranger," a friend-of-a-friend, and a former student/friend...what a wonderful start to this journey! We're .68% to our goal (don't you love statistics?) ;) Please continue to share our story; hey, we'd love a shout out on Twitter!!
A Mother's Story December 17, 2012 is a day I will never forget. How could I?
It is the day I brought my precious son into the light. To share my story with
you, I have to go further back in time to December 12, the day the world
stopped... My 38-week appointment was pushed back about a half hour
from 8:45 to 9:15 because of a change in the doctor's schedule. I was feeling
lucky to have my mom with me; she had arrived on the 8th to stay until late
January or February to help me while my husband was still away on assignment
with the Navy. We arrived at the office and did the usual chat with the doctor
as we prepared for my check-up. I remained worried about the nagging cough I
had developed which was especially problematic at night, and reported the
baby's movements were slowing down (the doctor attributed this to the
decreasing amount of room he had in the womb as his due date drew nearer). Warm
gel was applied to my swollen belly, the Doppler wandered across the
gel...silence. "Do you remember where we caught the heartbeat last
week?" asked the doctor. "Not exactly," I said, shakily.
I was sent into the waiting room until the ultrasound tech
could finish up with another patient. I was horrified. I knew. Somewhere deep
inside of me, I knew. And within 10 minutes, my deepest, darkest fears were
confirmed. After 38 weeks of a healthy pregnancy, my son did not have a heartbeat. My precious miracle...he was gone.
I remember very little after looking at the tear-stained face of the ultrasound
tech (who just one week ago had cheerfully chatted with me about how healthy my
baby looked) as she slowly shook her head no to the doctor. My mom stared at
the screen in silence as I lied there on the exam table staring at the ceiling
barely illuminated by the glow of the machines. A Red Cross call was made to my
husband's command. My mom and I left in silence. I walked like a zombie through
the waiting room filled with expectant women. Was this really happening? Could
it be true?
My husband called knowing something wasn't right; his
command was sending leaders to his room to speak with him. I shared our
Later that night, my father arrived. By the next morning, my
husband was strapped to a pallet in a cargo plane and on his 15 hour journey
home. He arrived Friday morning at 2 am. Originally, I was scheduled to report to the hospital Friday
at 7 am, but we desperately wanted more time to talk, mourn, and plan. In order
to be attended by my own doctor, who would be out of town during the weekend,
our only option was Monday, December 17. I had to go to the hospital Friday
night for blood work to make sure waiting was a viable option for us. The
results were good; we agreed to wait the extra days. They were days filled with
grief. I moaned and wailed. My family held me. I vowed not to be angry, bitter,
or blame God.
Monday morning came. We (my husband, my parents, and I)
headed to the hospital. More blood work. Cytotec. Waiting. Quiet chatting.
Unbelievably, a sense of overwhelming calm and peace. From what I know now, we
were being lifted in prayer by many, many people; it made all the difference
between a doomsday and a beautiful, yet tragic day for all of us. Especially
me. The doctor suggested heavy pain meds to make it through the
delivery, yet somehow, I wanted to stick to my original birth plan which
included no epidural. Taking the physical pain away would not lessen the pain
in my heart. I used an "om" or humming breath to make it through
contractions, with the idea that a pleasant hum would release endorphins to lessen
the pain. When active labor began, the humming breath joined with a moaning
wail as I struggled to deliver my sweet angel into the world.
At 6:39 pm, Rowan Christopher arrived; 7 lbs. 5.8 oz. and 19
inches long. Button nose. Dark hair. Perfect little lips, hands, feet, fingers,
and toes. A gorgeous baby boy. I held him close. I kissed his forehead, his
nose, his lips, his hands. For hours we fawned over him, his sweetness, his
innocence. His daddy held him close and cried upon his soft cheeks. His nana
and papa held him; they were so proud, yet so heartbroken. The cause of our son's death was determined to be due to a double nuchal cord; his umbilical cord was tight to the point of full compression. We were told we won the "bad luck lottery."
Our precious miracle. Our sweet, sweet boy. We love you so,
so, so very much.
My dear friend said in a lovely email, "You will
mourn your beautiful child. You and C. brought him into your womb and his life
has been cut terribly short. You are a mother. You can do this. Even this. You
can labor and sweat and cry and moan and bear his small body into the light.
You can do this. And you will honor him all the days of your life." She was right.
December 17, 2012 is a day I will never forget. How could I?
It is the day I brought my precious son into the light.
The idea to raise money for another chance at IVF came from my close friend, Leah. After a pep-talk from her I asked Chris, "Do you think we could get 20,000 people to give us $1?" He was a little thrown off. "Well...maybe? But we don't know 20,000 people." And he's right, we certainly don't! I said, "What if 4,000 people gave us $5, or 2,000 people gave us $10, or 1,000 people gave us $20?" He got a little look of interest (I could see the wheels a turnin') and said, "Hmmmm, we might know 1,000 people."
The fertility doctor is very optimistic about our chances to conceive through IVF again. I am extremely healthy and have an excellent ovarian reserve; the doctor has said I am not a typical 42 year old when it comes to my fertility. Because of my age, however, we have a limited time frame to achieve our dream of having a living child before pursuing other options. It would take us approximately 2-2.5 years to save the amount we need to continue our journey. Although we have good insurance, it does NOT cover fertility treatment or medications required. Our attempts (6 IUIs, 2 IVFs,1 FET, and 3 medicated "natural" cycles) have all been self-funded, and as you may or may not know, it is quite expensive. We do not have any major credit cards; in fact, we have ZERO credit card debt. I have a student loan debt on which I pay $100 per month. Because we chose to be buried one day next to our son, we pay $800 per month for our adjoining resting places (it is an interest-free payment). We own one car (over 10 years old), and we use standard cell phones (not smartphones). We are very frugal with our money and follow a strict budget.
We would like to make 2 pledges about the money we receive through this donation site: first, this money will ONLY be used for our fertility treatments and the medications required for them; second, ALL unused funds at the end of our journey (if we are successful or are told we can no longer continue) will be RE-DONATED to another couple with similar needs. We thank you for taking the time to read our story and for considering our fund.
I CAN believe your progress and in such a little time! You two seem to be so loving and have a wonderful support group/system around you! I'm not sure how much total we have donated to you both, (if we qualify for any of your awesome prize packages..) but it is our blessing to you both & that you both can experience IVF Again and praying it all is His will for this cycle to be a BFP! Thanks for allowing us to share your journey over this webpage and even better...over fb. So glad I found you on here! God bless you both and I hope this small amount of a donation gets ya one step closer to FULL FUNDS being met!
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