Spring, 2017

It's spring.  Spring, has arrived.  After a long and difficult winter, we have made it through.  The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, the backyard is a muddy mess.  New life has sprung.

May 5 marks 18 months since we lost our baby girl.  It's hard to believe that she would be a walking little toddler.  My heart is sad to think that if I saw her, I might not recognize her. Babies change so much.  She would most likely still be bald, blue-eyed and chubby.  As I watch my friend's little ones take their first steps, it feels like a lifetime ago, like a bad dream.  I have changed, Mark has changed, our relationship has changed, our perspective has changed.

Some days are still hard to get through.  It's almost like a cloud will come hang over me, and I lose my sight, my cheer.  Those days come, sometimes they stay for a few days.  Then they go.  But most days, my heart is so filled with joy and thanksgiving at all I have.  My incredible, hard-working husband who dreams with me and makes everyone laugh.  My two beautiful, perfect, and absolutely incredible daughters, who fill my life with giggles and snuggles, crafts and snack making, comfort and a sense of purpose.  My friends who I can depend on and confide in and just enjoy life with.  My freedom.  This country full of opportunity and potential. A healthy body and sound mind.

This winter, we went through the long and tedious process of 'trying again'.  I've mentioned before that our babies are in-vitro babies.  IVF is a tough thing to go through.  This time, the layers on top of the general toughness made it almost unbearable.  I chose to bring a few close friends along with me in the journey.  We still had two frozen embryo's left from our initial IVF round.  While we knew our chances weren't great, we were optimistic and hopeful.  We transferred both of them at the same time.  The waiting to take a pregnancy test was excruciating.

Most people don't take a photo on their day of conception.  But we did.  Here's our two little air-bubbles that are a collection of about 4 cells.

I wasn't bold enough to ask God for a successful transfer.  I didn't want another reason not to trust Him.  Instead, I prayed that God would help me deal with the outcome - whatever it may be.  I'm not sure how or what my friends and family prayed for.  But in the back of my mind, I thought, 'Surely God, after going through such a long dark valley, now is the time to start climbing up the mountain'.


The whole prospect of another pregnancy brings a complete new level of anxiety and emotions for me.  My pregnancies are awful, to put it lightly.  I am very sick throughout the entire 9 months.  To add the new level of anxiety about the birth was pretty daunting.  But I wanted a baby so, so very badly.  I wanted to heal after losing Rose.  Everything in me hoped.

That was the name we had chosen.  Our baby would be named Hope.

The week after the transfer, I was playing keyboard at an event in Hamilton called True City.  True city is a movement in Hamilton to unify all the churches.  It's pretty cool.  It was such an honour to be asked to play at such a powerful festival gathering.  But I was unsure if I should commit.  Would I be able to stand in front of an audience and praise God, if it was negative? I took the pregnancy test two days before the festival.

It was negative.

In life, there are many disappointments.  I was prepared for a deep disappointment.  And this, was the deepest, most heart-wrenching disappointment I have ever faced.

As I was driving home from the appointment that day, I stopped at a stoplight, and before me, spread across the Hamilton mountain, the rain clouds had parted, and this magnificent beam of sunshine was splaying through.  God was with me.  He was.  He was so very near to me.

Life isn't a series of high's and low's.  It's often lows - that spiral into even deeper lows.  And then we can't even be certain if we might go even further into the low, or if we might start working our way up again.  Practicing an attitude of gratefulness is a way I get through my lows.

Yes, I can praise and worship God through it all.  Sometimes, that is the only thing I know what to do.  Prayer is difficult.  Reading the Bible is hard.  But music makes everything flow, and for it I am grateful.  

At this point, Mark and I have decided not to move forward with another round of IVF.  The government has started to fund rounds.  My doctor put me on the wait list.  I am young so less of a priority, the wait list is about 3 years.  We feel at peace about closing the door on this, and prayerfully moving onwards.  It's a really difficult decision to make, but we feel that time will heal our broken hearts, and maybe one day we can step forward confidently again.

Something that has come out of this has been my ability to be bold.  Lately I have begun to bring up Rosie's story more readily, to strangers or new friends.  It's taken me a while to tell her story without dissolving into a blubbering mess.  I've had some opportunities to speak.  On grief, and on other things - infertility is a big one.  I've discovered there's such a blessing in connecting people and challenging others to serve and grow.

I started making signs, as a fun, side-hobby that makes some extra cash on the side.  I love coming up with new designs.  I sell them directly from my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/balsamavenuedesigns/?ref=bookmarks

This spring, we are planning to build an addition for our house.  A friend of mind is an architectural consultant, and we spent a few evenings together drawing up the designs.  I made him dinner, he taught me about site elevations.  And I came up with some sweet-looking drawings that look pretty impressive to anyone who doesn't know anything about what a wall-assembly looks like.

I hope to add progress reports of this summer addition project on my blog.  I'll start with ground zero.  Here's my current backyard. 

I spent all week digging it up.  The top foot of dirt was completely embedded with garbage.  The house was a really run-down rental when we bought it.  The addition will go against the house (not shown), so to the right in this photo.  Here's what my driveway looked like this week.

Mark is pretty busy this spring with work.  I'm hoping to do much of the work myself.  We shall see how that goes. :)

My little miracles.  The delights of my life.  They are turning 5 this summer, and are the most perfect age.

It is spring.  And with spring, comes hope.  This cold, dead and broken winter is slowly awakening and bringing forth new life.  So we have hope that one day our brokenness will blossom into something so much greater than ourselves.

That is all for now, dear friend.  May you find joy and delight in your journey.  May you have the opportunity to pause and count your blessings.  And may life give you a reason to believe in hope.  


  1. how nice to hear your voice again - to share your joys and sorrows and mundane ploddings is a great encouragement to all of us. much love, Sherry

  2. I have missed your posts! The story of your little Rose is so beautifully written! God Bless! Pam

  3. I love you and I love to hear you finding joy in the midst of sorrow. Gratefulness in the midst of loss. You are brave and I am proud of you.

  4. Hi Jen, I have missed your posts. It is fun to see what new adventure you all are up to with the house. can't wait to watch the extension go up. I think you are amazing and so honest on where you are on the journey. We had our babies through IVF too. The first two didn't make it and then we did three frozen. God has a sense of humour cause the Dr said we had 1% chance and God said let me show you what I can do. You guessed it.. we have triplets, 2 boys and a girl. We have two embryos left and can't afford to do it again. It is a hard journey no doubt. I am so glad you have your sweet girls to love on. May your heart be healed as you share your journey with others and may they be blessed and strengthened by you sharing Rosies story. God Bless