Monday, December 17, 2007

All Quiet on the IF Front

Well.... after my last post I don't have anything else to add. Except that sometime around Wednesday/Thursday there was a turning point in my spirit (mind, will, emotions). I had the grace necessary for each day. I had the grace to smile and laugh and my spirit wasn't weighed down anymore. I call it a spiritual breakthrough. It's nothing I did differently than any other day. I think I just had to persist and wait for it. I think God will offer us grace, but then we have to receive it. I can be so caught up in my own pain that I don't see it or don't want it when it's there. There is a fine line between being genuinely discouraged and then having an opportunity for release from it - and refusing to take it. A funny situation that occurs and gives you impulse to smile or laugh (when you haven't in days). An offer of kindness by a husband or friend (Starbucks, Target shopping) that is turned down because if you leave home people might forget you're sad (and yet you do want to go). Maybe just a feeling that life isn't so bad, and yet inside you are afraid of life without the pain, so you deny that feeling. Whatever it is, I know the moment I have the choice to make. I know when I'm refusing to partake of the grace offered to me. This time, I didn't refuse.

In Polishing God's Monuments (a book I can't recommend enough), the author states this, in reference to having a huge loss come into your life:
"We feel overwhelmingly sad and empty. No matter how much we still have to be thankful for, the loss of what we value is so crushing and the relative value of everything else is so diminished by the price we put on what is gone, that nothing could offset our pain enough to alleviate it. Once we had the little world we wanted and now it is gone. Thereafter nothing would satisfy but to have things back the way they were. Our emotions balk at any relief less than a return to the status quo."

I know this has been me at times. Nothing less than having my pregnant state back and my baby returned to safety in my womb would make me content. The "status quo." It's painful to realize that I have to settle for less than that. It's been ordained.

So, I am trying to now receive the grace that comes to me. Though outwardly I have no more hope that I did a week ago when I was so lost and distressed, inwardly I have hope in God's working. I am ready to return to prayer with faith, prayer for a miracle this month. And if He doesn't give it, I pray I will be able to be content to wait, in expectancy of a good work sometime (just not my time).

Friday, December 14, 2007

Thanks, Wonderful Blogger Friends!

Well.... I'd like to thank you ALL for commeting on my last entry... I'm shocked at how many of you have to deal with SO MANY pregnant people in your friend groups and work. I know one couple in my company of 60-some employees who has trouble conceiving. Everyone else, no problem... As in, we have a father of 12, father of 8, another father of 8, father of 7, father of 5, and so on. Oh yeah, no fertility problems there. The good thing is, most of them work in the Illinois office, so apart from ultrasound/baby pictures and announcements, I am very shielded from it becauses I work alone in a home office. I ignore the "it's in the water" comments (how I've wanted to beg publicly for that water!).

The pregnancies that hurt the most are my close acquaintances/friends. And I told my husband, I watched all these women get pregnant with thier first or second born children spring '06 and now many of the moms with one baby are trying for number 2. I had a hard time then since we'd been TTC ~6 months, but now, this spring it'll be ~31 months. I just am not ready for that yet. I know SO MANY of you have walked through this. I only have 2 of those so far (friends pregnant with #1 & now #2 all when we were TCC before #1).... I love my friends and they are very kind to me. I am happy they don't have to experience the awful pain of IF. I'm glad to see their families grow and be so happy. But envy sneaks in and I just want it too. Yes, envy. Ugly, isn't it? And I don't want to be forgotten (which naturally happens). But I have to make myself stop comparing them to me. My life is different and I can't make it what it's not. I'm trying to love them, they're trying to love me, and we're in different seasons. I can't share all their motherhood joys while I'm in my time of pain, and vice versa. So I am going to have to keep pushing on, whether or not I'm pregnant when they all get their #2's.

Now, I would like to say I have incredible parents. When I was at the end of my rope earlier this week, I wrote them an email about my pain, my doubts, my feelings of dispair. And Dad & Mom got on the phone and called me, just to love me. Dad knows where I am. He has had deep, dark times of pain and confusion and one bad thing after another at seasons in his life. He told me that he can't offer me anything I haven't heard yet... That I will have to find this place so deep down inside of me, and find out truly what I believe. He said that these are questions my very life is hinged on... life or death type of questions. And he just struck such a chord with me.

C.S. Lewis is a writer I never tire of reading. He is logical, clear-headed, and has the ability to put into words the things we don't even know we have thought. One of his books, A Grief Obsered, was originally just a diary after his wife's untimely death. He wrestled with whether or not God was even good. Here's a quote:

“Bridge players tell me that there must be some money on the game, ‘or else people won’t take it seriously.’ Apparently it’s like that. Your bid – for God or no God, for a good God or the Cosmic Sadist, for eternal life or nonentity – will not be serious if nothing much is staked on it. And you will never discover how serious it was until the stakes are raised horribly high, until you find that you are playing not for counters or for sixpences but for every penny you have in the world. Nothing less will shake a man – or at any rate a man like me – out of his merely verbal thinking and his merely notional beliefs. He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. Only torture will bring out the truth. Only under torture does he discover it himself.”

That's what Dad was talking about. This is an experience in my life where I have to really discover what I believe. At one point in his struggles, Lewis said, "Not that I am in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I dread is not ‘So there’s no God after all’, but ‘So this is what God’s really like. Deceive yourself no longer.'" Yes! When I'm so tied up in my own pain and other's joy, it is a real question to grapple with!!!! I know the truth about God, but my circumstances and definitely my feelings are telling me it's all been a deception.

And yet, I just know, even in my pain, that I believe something different about God. I don't believe he tortures as a vivisectionist. I believe He is the good surgeon, gently cutting out something dreadful out of me. He is working for my good. Not because it even looks remotely like that, but because I have to choose whether to believe His word about Himself, or my feelings/temporal circumstances.

Ah how far I have to go.... But at least I know what I'm up against.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I received a call from a good friend today... You're right, she is pregnant. Her second. They started trying before us, had a miscarriage, then got pregnant & have a 1yr old. Now another coming. Hm.

Make this my 3rd pregnancy announcement in a week. My 4th friend to enter that realm.

Am I being sorely tested???? You bet.

Monday, December 10, 2007


So... Saturday my body was giving me all the signs of beginning a new cycle. This usually includes an acute lower back pain, slight skin breakout (seriously, this time it was ONE bit of acne, but since impending period or ovulation are the only thing I've ever pinpointed to bring this on, well...), and negative HPTs. I'd taken 3 this month, each stark white. Of course, looking at them I knew they had evap lines, but still, we all hope maybe we're just not seeing that pink line but it's really there. But from my one pregnancy, I know that once you see the line, you know. No ambiguity. My first positive that month was at 10dp3dt (i.e. 13 dpo) so I rarely bother with testing very early anymore.

Saturday I also got a call from a longtime friend, Anna. This friend has suffered twice from Hodgkins Lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system) by the time she was 21. She is now 26, cancer free, and married 2.5 years. She has always wanted kids, but the cancer stopped her cycles completely. She was told she'd gone through menopause. Yet she still prayed. We prayed for one another. I used her as a prayer-target, so that when I felt really depressed about my own situation, I thought about hers and prayed for her instead. Well... she got a period and is now pregnant! This news just was the best thing I could have heard. I was SO happy for her. I had not gotten around to telling her about my pregnancy (I was waiting to tell most people until our 1st ultrasound), but she learned about it & the miscarriage from my mom a few weeks later and called me. She was one person I was afraid might never have her own children. I remember wondering how I would tell her I was pregnant without hurting her. I just felt like to have to suffer from cancer and losing your fertility was too much for one person (they told her they couldn't save/freeze her eggs, which I know there's not good technology for yet). Anyway, I was really happy for her. I didn't even think of being sad/envious. Until I saw my husband. He took it unusually hard. And my heart broke, because I wanted to be pregnant too. And somehow I feel like it must be my fault that we can't get pregnant and that I couldn't keep the baby. So I feel somewhat responsible for his pain. I know this is a lie.

So, Sunday my new cycle did start. And though I took it well almost the whole day (determined in church that I would sing praises to the Lord because He is worthy). Then at dinner it hit me, and I snapped emotionally. (My poor, sweet husband has to be dragged along these roller-coaster rides. He is so incredibly sensitive and strong.) After a while, I just decided I'm making this month my cry out to the Lord month. Maybe it won't change anything but my own spirit. I'm not trying to manipulate God ("Well, Anna didn't try anything medically. She just believed. Maybe if I do that too you'll bless me!"). I truly just want a different month. I don't want to live as I have been... "There's so little hope this month. Sure I ovulate and everything looks perfect, but it's never happened before. But I'll still pray, it could happen! But I just can't wait for IVF#2." Nope. I just want to live IN this month. And to pray like it's my only hope. To pray like I have no hope in anyone but God. I can so easily forget that some people have no medical recourse. I don't really remember to cry out as if my life depends on it. Maybe I just need a re-focus. So that's what I'll attempt this month.

And that's all I have to say today.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Thanksgiving Flight

I just wanted to brag about what an awesome wife I am... *grins* Actually, not really, but I figured you guys might find it funny to see how we traveled this Thanksgiving from Georgia to North Carolina. The drive is approx 8 hours, so when we're making a short weekend of it (4 days), flying is the better option because typically it's only a little more expensive and it saves you a good bit of time.

When we flew up Wednesday we got there in a record 2.5 hours. Sweet! However, Sunday we had to leave NC early because weather was getting bad on the east coast. That took 4.5 LONG hours! It's not nearly as comfy to be in a plane as a car, you have to wear headsets (that give me headaches after a few hours) and well... it can be tense for the pilot on days like that. There was about ZERO visibility. Anywhere from 3000-6000ft we were totally IN a cloud & rain & bsome turbulence. You just had to trust the instruments. Plus all the airports kept re-routing us because they were too busy to have us flying directly in their airspace (Greensboro,Charlotte,Atlanta). So as the passenger I just had to hope the Air Traffic Controller knew what he was doing and we wouldn't midair crash with anyone. (I know, silly, but you have little else to think about up there.)

Now you may think I'm being over-reactive. But by being in the copilot's seat I have an up-front view of everything. Sometimes you'd rather not see the conditions you're in! Any for your viewing pleasure, here is our aircarft. After landing, I was praised on not showing any fear (under the circumstances, because I'm not normally scared to fly in anything).

Monday, December 3, 2007

Back! And Back to Updating!

Well, I have finally experienced something many of your talk about. I cried at a pregnancy announcement that was in front of my face. I've actually been able to avoid this so far, receiving announcements via email, phone, or blog, so I've had my own sweet time (or been able to hide my face) if I struggled. Ah, but last night I was caught unawares. Let's get some background.

I love our Life Group. To understand what that is, it's basically a group of about 5-8 couples, of various ages and stages of life, that meet once a week for a meal, fellowship, a Bible/book study, and prayer. Our church encourages you to join one so that you don't get "lost" in the big church as a whole. It is helpful for discipleship, for friendships, and for true help in need. We have had great ones in our previous churches in Charlotte and San Antonio, and were so happy to find one here in Georgia.

Our LG does happen to have 3-4 couples with kids already. It also has 4 couples with no kids (we are included in that figure). I knew one of them was trying and going in for an IUI b/c of previous chemo treatments on the husband. I prepared myself that they may announce a pregnancy soon and I really wanted to be happy, b/c they've been married 4 yrs and really want this, and um, if anyone's had to go thru chemo they deserve not to have other medical trials! Plus, c'mon, an IUI is not nothing when you're new to IF. It may seem non-invasive to a veteraned IVF'er, but I still remember the lack of privacy it introduces to what should be a lovely intimate time between a husband and wife. Anyway, they actually didn't show up. Another couple who joined more recently, been married 8 months, came. I met the wife at a baby shower and when she asked if I had any kids, I truthfully said I'd miscarried our baby a week before. She shared they'd been trying 6 mos, and at her annual the week before she asked her dr was she doing something wrong. The dr recommended OPK's, but she really didn't know how many to buy, etc. I told her I'd recommend her reading TCOYF, b/c she seemed to know nothing about her body. I guess I assumed it'd still take a while.

So at LG last night, all 4 of the ladies & me were sitting down to dinner and this girl then asks the new momma, my friend Kristy, about caffiene consumption and makes a comment about not knowing what she should eat or not eat, etc. And then I knew. She was avoiding saying she was pregnant (& we had talked one-on-one before LG & she did tell me what was new in her life was she got a job). So of course, knowing the reason she didn't tell the whole table was b/c of me, I just said, "Are you pregnant" and gave her a warm smile and congrats & asked the due date. Of course I'd already cried twice that day, feeling so down and sad for my dead baby and our lack of options for treatment. So tears were already just seconds away anyway. I choked them back, but I was bottle-feeding the 2-week old and couldn't just leave. The entire remaining 20 minues at the table was about ob's, deliveries, etc. I felt suffocated. I tried to burp the baby so I could give it back to its mom and go someplace quiet before I made a fool of myself. But in the midst of the stories, Joy (has 2 live kids, but had miscarried her 2nd child) shared about her 5 yr old son's delivery. She already had a girl by c-section and wanted to do a VBAC. After 25 hours of labor she asked for an epidural and then 2 hours later got the most excrutiating pain she ever had experienced. Her dr came over and then rushed her to the OR. Without even asking if she was numb (though she was), she saw him slash her stomach and pull her son out. Her uterus had ruptured and they had only minutes before her and her son's life were possibly lost. SUCH a sad story and yet redeeming. I immediately knew a ruptured uterus meant no more kids, and so I start weeping (silently) as she shared this. And she did mention that in the weeks of recovery she held her son extra close, knowing it was her last. She & her husband had wanted more. Anyway, yes the story was a sad one, but I think the proportion of my tears wasn't quite right for it, so I finally returned the baby and went to "get a drink." I found the laundry room and huddled in the corner, crying out bitter tears of pain. I felt a knife had been pushed in me when we lost our baby, and it remains, and certain things twist and grind it in even more. I held this woman no grudge, I am GLAD she doesn't have to experience IF and losing a child. But I am dumbfounded why I again and again must be tried and found wanting. I thought it a merciful thing that though I started TTC before all my Charlotte friends, we moved before they all started trying (and succeeded their 1st month), so that I didn't have to live with my failure in the face of their success.

Anyway, I tried to compose myself eventually, but I know after crying that w/o makeup you can't really hide it well. So I didn't rejoin the women but went to watch the Steelers vs Bengals. And Joy, bless her heart, came up to me and said, "Have I shown you my daughter's redecorated room? Come see!" I knew, without a doubt, she knew I was in pain from the conversation and she was purposely distracting me and removing me from it. I almost wanted to thank her for it, but every time I tried to, I got too choked up. I figure it's just as uncomfortable to be the preson trying to be sensitive, so I knew I didn't need to mention it at the time. But I felt so grateful for her. Something about the pain she's had herself makes her more attune to others' pain. I so want to be that woman: looking not to myself buy looking out for others.

Of course, on the way home, J asked me how I felt about it. And I spewed out all my frustration, hurt, etc. And you know what? He felt the same way. Bitter, angry, frustrated. He told me, "I don't know why I'm so slow on the uptake, but I finally understand how you have felt over all our friends' pregnancy announcemnts." (Every time before, he didn't "get" why I was hurt at their pregnancies - he thought if they were my friends, I should be glad and that should be the end of it.) It feels so good to at least be in unity, even though it manifests itself differently in each of us. He tends to want to ignore it and get fed up, whereas I just want to try all the harder. So there are still plenty of things to talk about, but at least emotionally we connect on that level. He was super sensitive toward me and while I cried he energetically did the dishes (I think it was pent up frustration!). No matter what, I am grateful to have this kind, wise, and gentle husband by my side through such a hard trial.

So I'm back and will post more often. The RE appt went ok, but basically I was told IVF is our best option, since IUIs haven't worked yet. IVF w/them is 11K plus meds. Can't do that, it's the cost of two at WH. IUI is 1K plus meds (which I need little of & have a little leftover from IVF). We're just praying and considering Dec/Jan, but we may just stay put and wait, or we may not even have dates that work. I have a hard time thinking if I pray I'll get an answer, but all the same, I pray for wisdom. I think my husband will get a clear yes or no, and I want to abide by that, as hard as it may be. More later!