Thursday, April 04, 2013

Life, love and infertility...

I haven't blogged in such a long time. I've missed it! It's pretty therapeutic for me to sit and write out my thoughts...

We are settling in fairly well in Nairobi. It's really beautiful here. Nairobi is a bustling city but at the same time, you aren't so far removed from gorgeous nature. Right outside the city is a national park (with lots of animals). Last weekend, we went for a lovely drive and explored so much of the rural landscape right outside the city on our way to do a tour of the Kitengela glass company (very cool place to visit by the way). The weather is ideal in Nairobi--it's 66 degrees right now as I write this post. :) We are loving it here!

Climbing Mt. Longonot here in Kenya! 

At the Kitingela Glass Company last weekend

We moved here almost 7 months ago now...I can't believe it! We have some good friends already, mostly because Samaritan's Purse is so much like a family to us, and when we are working for SP we have instant family/friends built in. However, we still feel like we have a long way to go to really make Nairobi home. We recently heard about a married couple's bible study that meets on Thursday nights. I think becoming a part of this group will help us feel more settled as we get into the Word with good friends! God always provides a family for us wherever we live.  The first couple of moves we made, I always worried about that. Making friends was always at the top of my worry list because relationships are so important to me. But honestly, I don't worry anymore. Like I said, God has always provided for us.

We love living closer to Tred again!!!!

My sweet friend Heather! Thankful for her friendship here in Nairobi!

Ruco travels a lot with his job. I have also been working with SP on a project in South Sudan so have done a bit of traveling for work too. So, we are just trying to get used to being apart more frequently as part of our work. This doesn't come easy to me (or Ruco), as we sincerely love being together. But I am praying God also makes this aspect of our lives easier for us too and just allows us to immensely enjoy the time when we actually get to be together! 

A photo from my recent trip to South Sudan for work 

Visiting Ruco's parents in Swakopmund, Namibia for Christmas! 

I also have spent A LOT of time in the US recently. I went for the first time in November for my youngest brother's wedding, and stayed for maybe 4 weeks or so. Then I went again in January for a big family vacation (Disney) for my nephew's 3rd birthday and stayed once again for about a month! I wasn't planning on being in the US for that long, but had some health issues come up so had to stay around longer.

My brother and beautiful new sister in law! They got married end of November!  So happy for them! 

While I was in the US, my doctor actually did a laparoscopic surgery to check out some pain issues I was having and found that I have stage 4 endometriosis. :( During the surgery, the doctor has a tiny camera to take photos and also a laser to remove any endometriosis he finds while doing the surgery.

My mom was with me for that surgery and my Grandmama drove all the way from Lousiana to go with me to my follow-up appointments. I was so thankful that they were there to support me emotionally. At my first follow-up appointment after my surgery, my doctor showed me what a normal woman's insides/photos look like and what my photos actually look like. The endometriosis has made my reproductive parts and intestines all stuck together and not where they should be at all. The doctor was actually not able to laser off any of the endometriosis because of the severity and location of the endo, and explained that in my current state, there is a 0% chance of Ruco and I conceiving a baby. It was all hard news to hear, but I was so glad to have my Mom and Grandmama close to support me.

Mom and I at Disney! 

My sweet Grandmama and I

My doctor suggested I have a second more invasive surgery to clear out the endo, but sent me to a reproductive specialist first for a 2nd opinion.

When I went to see the specialist, he confused me and stressed me so much that I just scheduled my plane ticket to go back to Ruco in Nairobi! He recommended IVF and not the surgery. He said before they always recommended the surgery because that was all they had to treat endo. However the surgery creates scar tissue and endo to grow back worse. Also it can harm my eggs because even the most skilled doctors have a risk of cutting off blood supply to the ovaries, and so then we wouldn't be able to have biological children. So doctors now recommend IVF.

Its been hard news. I never thought we would be an infertile couple. You just never think it will happen to YOU. We've been trying to get pregnant for a really long time, and it's an extremely painful process. Each month feels like a loss.

However, I'm thankful to know now what the problem is and can move forward with a decision either for the 2nd surgery or start figuring out the finances for IVF. We are praying hard and trusting that God has a beautiful plan for us. He's never failed us, and I am resting and trusting that He is faithful and knows what is best for us. Even if we NEVER have biological children, I know that He is God and He is faithful and loves us SOOO very much.

Thanks for all my friends/family who have prayed and written us personal emails to check on us. I wasn't sure about sharing the news of our infertility in a public arena, but it seems like infertility is more common than I ever realized, and its been amazing to receive support from other women going through the same thing!

While I was still in the US, I was sitting at a Starbucks working on a paper for my Masters program. I was really struggling as I'd just received the news about the severity of the endo when a friend I hadn't seen in YEARS walked up to me to say "hi." Within a few minutes of our conversation, she shared with me that she and her husband have also been struggling with infertility. It felt like such a divine appointment considering I don't live in the US, and she said she rarely gets a day off of work. It was so nice as I realized, "I'm not alone!" and God can use this trial so that I can encourage others with the encouragement He gives me. Since that meeting, I've had countless conversations with women also going through infertility. Most recently, I've found out that American friends here in Nairobi have also been trying to conceive for the same amount of time that Ruco and I have. Hearing the wife tell their story and the way she has dealt with infertility encouraged me so much!

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive form God." 2 Cor. 1: 3-4

I'm so thankful for the opportunities that God has given me to be comforted by Him and by the women He has chosen to use in my life. I also pray that I will be a comfort to others! Our God is sooo good and we are leaning on Him during this time, and I know we will get through it together.

Phew, so that's mostly an update. There is more to share, but this is turning into a book! I will try to do another update soon! Thanks again for all your love and prayers...we miss all of you!



Melany said...

We're praying for you guys! Thanks for sharing your story!

The Reeds said...

I'm so so sorry. we've had our own long months of stressful and disappointing waiting and many friends with infertility. I really am so sorry. I'm sure your sharing and openness will bless others who have walked or are walking the same path. I know He has something beautiful planned for you and Ruco.

Sharon said...

I know how hard this must be for you two, but am sure your sharing will be as balm to your worries as much as it has helped others, because that's how God works. I love you and anxiously await your posts as I enjoy so much being included in your lives and your walk with God. You are an amazing couple! Love Sharon

Kambugu said...

Kristi and Ruco this is heart breaking story to hear! But it is very good that u believe that GOD the Almighty has more plans for you. I will not get tired to always put you in my prayers.....even if it is IVF still we need God's grace to see things happening the right way.
May God protect and bless you.

Isaac SP Uganda

Kristi Van Der Merwe said...

Thank you very much everyone! We so covet your prayers, which is one of the reasons I decided to share our story! I do believe that God can do a miracle for us! We love you all!

Unknown said...

Your story and your struggles are brave. I am struggling myself with the big bad word of infertility and until you've said it outloud a million times, it feels like it can't be happening right? I have to constantly remind myself that as our friends post pictures of their growing baby bumps and growing families that they aren't rubbing it in, and that each time a pregnancy announcement is made, it's not a personal attack on me. Everytime someone asks my husband and I "when will you have kids?" and I fight the urge to burst into tears and remind myself, they're not insensative, it's just not a struggle they've ever had to endure. I am proud of your openness and send you the best jujus for whatever this road takes you to next! Xoxo Emmalee

Kristi Van Der Merwe said...

Aww, Emmalee. I understand exactly what you are saying. Infertility is such a painful thing. I know exactly what you mean about friends posting photos/updates about their pregnancy! You are happy for them, but it is also a painful reminder of your own situation. I will be praying for you, friend. Praying God gives you a peace that passes all understanding! xoxo

Anonymous said...

Awww Tori one of my BFF had the same issues and I am happy to say her son is now 12 years old :) You will be in my prayers every day. Love and miss you. Xoxoxo Wendy (Aspen & Brennan say hello too )

Kristi Van Der Merwe said...

Thank you, Wendy!!! I miss you so much!!

Nishanath Whiteraven said...

Beautiful photos :)

Jenny Bakos said...

I just stumbled across your story, and it is truly inspiring! Keep up the great storytelling, and awesome photography!! Best wishes :)

Bryn Moody said...

I just came across your blog on Bloglovin and totally love your life. My dream is to travel the world, and I think it is SO cool that you and your husband are living that life! My husband and I also struggle with infertility, though it's different from yours. We struggle with unexplained infertility, so every month we're hopeful, but every month we don't conceive, we struggle to figure out why. It's frustrating. I'm so sorry you're going through this struggle. Good luck on your journey, and feel free to come on over to my blog for support as we trek through similar terrain.

Arthur and Janet Harper said...

Kristi and Ruco, I read your blog and cried...your good friend Jody Is a miracle baby. I had very severe endometriosis with no hope of ever having a baby. I had consoled myself with our news and decided that if God did not want me to have a baby; FINE! After a laporotomy and a course of "Danocrine" I was very surprised that God had changed his mind. At the age of 29 I gave birth to a bouncing baby Jody. Now after all these wonderful years I fill that God is preparing my heart to distance my 31 year old baby. So you see, even your wonderful travels are great for me to read. My prayers are with you.