Saturday, February 18, 2017

Review: Of This Much I'm Sure

Nadine Kenney Johnstone author of: Of This Much I'm Sure NAILS IT!

I am not sure what else to write or how else to say it. I read this book simply soaking it all in. I was nodding and crying and smiling and completely and unbelievably blown away by how every single feeling I have ever felt could be included in this one book. 

I was so excited to be chosen to receive an advance copy of this book signed by the author in exchange for my honest review. I honestly feel like I am THE PERSON to review it. My journey to motherhood ... sucked. And Nadine's did too. But in the end, oh these beautiful miracles. So worth every single second of that pain.

Now let me pause for a moment to tell you that Nadine Johnstone and I are not at all similar in many other ways. She is a big city gal who does not share my faith. She likes yoga and sitting in coffee shops. However, we both did infertility and so, somehow, I feel we are long lost sisters. As she writes in the closing pages of her book:

But I do feel something else: camaraderie. Despite our various backgrounds, we all share something. And so, as they speak of the testing and the disappointments, I nod and pat their arms. I hug them -- friends and strangers -- because we are all soldiers in the same war.

Yes! This is how I feel when someone understands what I did and how incredibly painful it was for me. 

So to tell you the other reason I absolutely LOVED Nadine's book, I want to quickly recap my journey.

You can read my story in pictures here

For those of you who are new to my Blog, let me recap my journey for your first.
  • 4 failed artificial inseminations (IUI)
  • 1 cancelled IUI cycle
  • 4 failed attempts at IVF
  • Quit trying: adopted our son Isaac
  • Conceived two times miraculously (the first just 8 months after Isaac was born)
  • Went back for last embryos and had our one shooting star: Hannah
But here is the part I often don't spend a lot of time talking about. Not only did I have one heck of a time having my children, but I really struggled with how unfair it was that even in the little things, I seemed to get the raw end of the deal. 

I mean how can one person be allergic to all things conception, pregnancy, and delivery?

During Elijah "Sidge's" birth, I was rushed in for a stat c-section, and we spent ten minutes clinging to an Apgar of 1 while we waited for them to save his life. I then spent a week in the hospital battling infection after infection. During my pregnancy with Abigail, I had an emergency appendectomy while awake on an operating table in Turkey. And then my pregnancy with Hannah left me doubled over from depression and incredible illness for 39-weeks, and I birthed her hanging onto mere shreds of my former self. But in the end ...
  • This is my adoption miracle.
  • This is my first natural miracle.
  • This is my second natural miracle.
  • This is my IVF miracle. 
Okay, now back to why I loved Nadine and her writing. I don't want to ruin the book for you, but when she finally gets pregnant and goes into have her son and draws out this beautiful natural childbirth plan, I couldn't help but think, okay. Here we go. Here's where it all changes. She's going to get the baby and the beautiful birth story too.

And she doesn't! I hate to say that I was cheering for things to go badly, but I was so relieved to read that I wasn't the only one who just seemed allergic to everything surrounding children and families. It isn't just me. It happened to Nadine too!

Oh and our other similarity: Nadine wrote about her journey, and I am about halfway through my book on a similar topic. Here's a link to just a sample of my book. (My book will be surrounding our Dalmatian's role in the decade we struggled to start our family.)

To close, I want to say this. Nadine is an incredible writer. Not only is her story just plain good, but she truly has a gift. I honestly thought to myself while reading: if it wasn't for the fact that my story is more about my dog, I'm not sure I would need to write it because Nadine said every single thing I've wanted to say.

Because many of my Blog writers are pretty conservative in their language, I did want to say that there are a few choice words scattered throughout the pages. However, I must say that they didn't bother me greatly. I've read other books where the bad language was a distraction. But in this case, I felt that Nadine usually reserved for a time that sort of deserves it. Close to bleeding to death? You may cuss.

I want to close by saying how PROUD I am of Nadine. From what I can tell, this is her first book. It is simply outstanding. And while I think every woman who battled this ugly disease (I've written about how I feel about infertility in a letter to its ugly self here) should read this book, I really, really, REALLY want to encourage individuals walking alongside women on this journey to read this book. It will give you such an incredible understanding of how hard infertility is on every single area of your life.

Bravo Nadine. YOU NAILED IT!


Anonymous said...

Great review. I am looking forward to reading your book on Scrubs and your life beside him.
-Deirdre Van Amberg

Nadine Kenney Johnstone said...

Wendi, thank you so much for reading and reviewing my book. I never imagined that my words would touch another human being in such a profound way, so this right here feels like the BEST reward for all those days spent writing in solitude. I'm sending you a giant hug from Chicago. Yes, we are all soldiers in the same war.