"Neither are your ways my ways"

WARNING:  This post is long. Really long. If you only read one paragraph, make it the last, not the first.  Here’s the short version if you don’t want to read it all:  We struggle with infertility.  We’re doing IVF at the end of the month.  We’d love for you to pray with us.  If you want the details, by all means, continue.    

About two and half years ago Mitch and I decided it was time to grow our little family.  Obviously, given the fact that we remain a party of two, things didn’t go as planned.  I could go into a lot of details about the ins and outs of our infertility: the frustration, the tears, the hope, and the incredible blessings we’ve received, but that’s a very lengthy story for another day.   Basically, we focused on trying to figure out what was going on with me for about a year and half before we found out that Mitch’s “normal” semen analysis actually wasn’t so normal.  Then our efforts turned to him, but there was a lot of waiting involved with insurance changes and moving.  After lots of testing and several doctors, we’re now looking at infertility issues coming from both sides and a whole lot of inconsistent results that leave us wondering what’s really going on inside these otherwise healthy bodies of ours.   

We were blessed to find that a well known infertility specialist was in our ward (church congregation) here in Reno, and we quickly got in to meet with him.  I wasn’t prepared for the news we received that afternoon.  I was sure that Mitch’s results would be normal and we’d be scheduling a round of IUI.  But, Mitch’s results weren’t normal and IUI wasn’t an option for us. We were told In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) with ICSI would be our only course of action.  I cried in Dr. Foulk’s office, much to his bewilderment.  “You should be thrilled!” he said.  “30 years ago you’d have no choice but to adopt.  You’re young and healthy, and have great odds for success.”   He seemed incredibly confident that IVF would work for us despite the fact that success rates overall are really quite low. 

He was right; we are incredibly blessed. But, what he didn’t know—and I didn’t either in the moment—was that I was finally being stripped of my pride.   God was asking me to really rely on Him, not just pretend I was.  It took several days, a lot of prayer, scripture study, and profound conversations with Mitch for me to start realizing this.  I thought I had been relying on the Lord.  I thought I trusted Him, and had faith that He knew what was best.  I thought I was working on utilizing the atonement to help get through our adversity.   I suppose that I was trying to do those things, and I certainly was putting in some effort to seek the Lord’s will.  But God has a way of showing us how much more profound His grace can be and how much more wholly we can trust in Him. 

As I pondered on my attitude toward our infertility and the answers I was seeking, I realized that I had been looking for the Lord to deliver us in the way I wanted Him to, not in the way He knew was best.  I was set on being healed naturally.  Being a bit of a granola girl, I love green cleaning, herbal remedies, and food fresh from the garden.  Though I’m incredibly grateful for the advances of modern medicine, and the many life saving procedures and medications we have available, I typically view those as a last resort.  I virtually never use over the counter medications, as I prefer more natural healing methods.  In the beginning, I was determined to cure our infertility issues myself.  When nothing seemed to be working, I decided to meet with an OB and eventually an infertility specialist.  I thought maybe we would be able to pinpoint a problem, or perhaps just a round of Clomid would work for us (that wouldn’t be SO bad, I convinced myself).  As things began to appear more dismal, I decided that I would resort to IUI if necessary.  Anything for a baby, right?  I actually prayed that something, anything, would work before IVF was brought up.  Please don’t ask me to do IVF I thought.  I prayed for the will of the Lord to be brought to pass, but secretly hoped that His will was something non-invasive and toxin free.  God wants me to have a baby the way He originally designed it, right?  Babies aren’t supposed to be made in a lab. I was drowning in the sea, praying with faith, sure that the Lord would magically deliver me either via miraculous transport, or granting me strength to swim.  But, sometimes God sends a boat instead; a little boat called IVF.  I had a choice to make.  I could accept the rescue efforts of the boat, or wave it along, announcing I was sure God would save me any minute.  We climbed aboard. 

For all of the goodness and beauty in natural living, and for all the miracles of western medicine, we are not saved by what school of thought we employ.  Herbs and oils won’t get me to heaven, but trusting God will.  The issue is not one of natural versus conventional healing.  The Lord is not trying to tell me to stop making my own lotion and laundry detergent, he’s trying to tell me that He knows what is best, not me.  From the time we left the doctor’s office, until we had made our final decision, the words of a familiar scripture echoed in my mind, and surfaced in more than one lesson, conference talk, etc.: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

We are currently in the middle of our IVF cycle.  The retrieval will happen between the 28th and the 2nd with the transfer five days later.  As we are swiftly approaching these dates, we extend the invitation to anyone interested to join us in a fast this Sunday, September 22.  For any who are unable to join the fast, we would be incredibly grateful for added prayers.  We know that there is strength in numbers and that collective faith can bring about miracles! Here’s to hoping we got on board the right boat! 


Part Dos - Update Pics

Here are some pictures from our time in Portland, OR. We loved it there, even though we picked the worst time to go (Fall, Winter). The green, the produce, the people, the weirdness, the restaurants, the smell of rain, and family; we enjoyed it all . . . just not the traffic. We are grateful to Mom and Pops Banks for letting us crash in their "North Wing" for the seven months.

We enjoyed the 2012 holiday season up in Oregon with Angela's parents, and then rang in the new year as the Smith clan visited Kimber's family for Eliana's baptism (Mitch's sister and niece).

Mitch cut down his first real Christmas Tree!

Here are more Portland Adventures including our Valentine's party, our favorite restaurant there (Trebol), Mitch's clinical rotation site on the waterfront, and Wakeena Falls Hiking. 

We took our three year anniversary trip to the place where we first met, Tacoma. It started off with a stressed Mitch taking (and Passing!) his boards in Puyallup, but then followed with a relaxing vacation where we enjoyed our bed & breakfast joint, good eats, beautiful scenery, and fond memories by the Puget Sound.

 The Restaurant of our first date (Anthony's)

Above is UPS where we were EFY counselors, as well as the steps where Heath Ledger once sang. Below is the highlight of the trip for us: a picnic on a random secluded beach we found on our way to Seattle!

In mid May, it was back to Vegas, where Mitch graduated from UNLV's Doctorate of Physical Therapy program. Can't believe three years came and went so fast.

And then, in June, came our fresh, new start in Reno, Nevada . . . 


Two Year Update - Part I

Well, since it's been over two years since our last post, I think we are due for some updating. A lot has happened in the past two years, but we thought a few pictures and explanations of the major stuff would give enough detail to fill people in. I (Mitch) thought I'd give it a shot to get the ball rolling, and then Angela can get back to her regular (regular for us is like every few months) blogging soon without people wondering what the heck happened in 2012 and 2013. Because, of course, everyone is so curious and intrigued by our lives . . .

To start off, a quick reference to the last post we put on here back in August of '11. Some of you may be wondering if we actually stuck to that weird diet thing, and the answer is "You Betcha!" We continue to love our plant-based, minimally processed food as much as ever. We've added many more ideas and recipes over the past two years and are always (sometimes maybe more than necessary) looking for more or trying to stay current with nutrition research. Our odd way of eating has become something we truly enjoy together.

~A recent homemade pizza we made: Half barbecue chickpea with sweet potato, corn, onion, and pineapple; and Half tomato, basil, and mushroom, with hemp hearts and nutritional yeast in place of cheese and fresh avacado placed on some pieces. We thought it was quite delicious!~

Now back to an update of special events for us in the last two years. Shortly after our last post, Angela accepted her first (and only to this point) full-time teaching job at Somerset Academy - a charter school in North Las Vegas. She taught 1st grade to a class of 25 students. It was stressful at times, but rewarding at others, and we are grateful now for the experience and the financial support it was with me still in school.
She had a great class!

In October of that year, we completed our 1st triathlon as mentioned in the previous post. We were satisfied with our times even though the bike trail slowed us down a bit. We had foolishly trained on flat while the course was all up and down small hills. It was still memorable and something we hope to do again.

As 2012 began, Angela continued working hard at Somerset, and I finished up the classroom part of my graduate schooling and prepared for PT clinical rotations. We enjoyed finishing that busy and stressful school year by taking a few trips that spring and summer.

Mesa Pageant with Parker and Steph


Our 2 year Anniversary trip to Southern Cal. We visited Malibu, went to the beach, attended a few concerts, and finished it by attending Parker's graduation from law school in San Diego. 

Angela took two trips by herself to her last girl's camp as ward director and to her sister, Melanie's sealing to her husband, Brian. 

But the biggest trip of all in 2012 was our move to Portland, Oregon in October where we spent the next 7 months as I finished my final two clinical rotations. Check out all that stuff in our tiny Accent!

Well, Part II picking up from Oregon should be coming in the next few weeks.