Thursday, January 28, 2010

A blank page

I believe God is in control of all things and directs our steps. He knows the story of our lives intimately from beginning to end. He has already planned our family and knows what children (if any) will be a part of it (how exciting is that?!).

Mixed into that belief of God's plans for me are my own hopes, dreams, and plans. And, very often, my dreams have matched God's plans for me in some way, and I hope they are always seeking to be aligned with his will. For example, I dreamed, hoped, and planned to get married, and God graciously gave me that gift. I may not have known the details like who I would marry or when, but I had some ideas penciled into the story of my life that included marriage. God could have come and erased those pencil scratches I wrote, crossed out certain details, or written over my pencil marks in his beautiful permanent marker at any point in my story. But the pages in earlier chapters of my life have always had some of my own ideas describing what I thought my life *might* look like.

In the chapter of our life story about trying to start a family, nothing has really gone according to my plans. Much has been crossed out and erased, but I have always had a new piece of penciled in writing that I hoped would match with God's plans. Not conceiving right away? We'll just write in that it took longer than expected. Found out we have a diagnosed infertility issue? Add a surgery that corrected everything. Started treatments with an RE? Surely God will use that to bring conception. Four failed IUI's? Well, there's always IVF as an option...

And that's where I think Part One of our trying to conceive chapter ended. After our 4th failed IUI and DH & I both sensed God leading us away from IVF (at least for now), I turned a new page in this story. And this time, I have nothing written in. I have no idea what to expect and what will, in fact, become part of our story.

The image of the page turning and a new section of our story beginning has been comforting to me. Some days the blankness is utterly terrifying, and the planner in me has such a difficult time being in this unknown place. But, overall, I do have a great sense of awe that whatever happens from here will be so clearly God's leading and working. I know that he is faithful and will be writing on the blank page that is before us...and there is something exciting about that. It is profound to sit here and wait on God with my broken heart and open hands laid out before him in anticipation of what he will do.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Left the real world

Hello everyone! As the title says, I felt like I left the "real world" for a few days, and it was so nice. DH and I went to S.anta F.e, NM for a long weekend. A college friend of mine got married on Saturday there, and we met up with some other college friends for the weekend, so it was a lot of fun. It SNOWED while we were there - wow! :) It was cold, but a beautiful landscape and a neat little city.

Leaving behind our everyday life for a few days and being with friends made me (mostly) able to not think about our infertility much. I also got lost in Jane Eyre, and every free moment while traveling or in our hotel room I was happily reading away. I didn't even check my email last night when we got home...partly because I didn't want to enter back into "real life" yet, and partly because I just wanted to keep reading.

It is such a beautiful and entertaining story! I don't know how many times I have read the novel, but it moved me uniquely this time around. Jane suffers much throughout the story, and yet she is faithful and perseveres. There is a scene where she leaves all she knows, broken hearted, and wanders aimlessly to a new destination. She has no money and no place to go, and she has some very dark days where she sleeps outside in the rain and practically starves. As she is almost on the verge of death, she sees a light in a window and is drawn to seek refuge by following that light. And I could relate to Jane there - I am not physically wandering, but my heart is broken, too, and in such unknown territory. I don't know where the path will lead me, but (as cheesy as it sounds) I continue to look for and follow the Light.

As we went to bed last night, I felt the usual "Sunday Blues" as the weekend came to a close and were heading back to work the next day. However, these are usually not too difficult for me, as I generally like my jobs and day to day life. But last night it was magnified by the fact that I was also re-entering our infertility struggle, which is now such a large part in our "regular life." I started crying, and I hadn't done that in a number of days. But I am hopeful that Jesus will guide us, and DH said that God is taking care of us. I know he is.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Prayer and fasting

Last night was the first of what DH & I hope will be a weekly Tuesday night time of fasting and prayer as we wait on God's guidance. I must start by thanking and praising God - he encouraged my soul. What a gift!

I have very little experience with fasting, and have only done it a handful of times, but I read an amazing article about it last year that helped me understand more about the discipline. And DH & I are in such a challenging and amazing place of having NO plan and NO idea what comes next, that it seemed like the perfect opportunity to develop this discipline.

We fasted from dinner only, and spent the time we normally would have used to prepare and eat dinner to pray instead. We thanked God, confessed, asked for a baby, and sought guidance about what - if anything - we should do next. And how sweet is this - my IL's fasted and prayed with us remotely at their home.

We didn't end our time with any answers, but my spirit was so encouraged. I walked into last night feeling beaten down and tired, but left uplifted and strengthened by the power of God. God is with us and has a plan and purpose for us. I hold onto this truth! This verse came to mind:

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. 2 Corinthians 4:7-12

After our time of prayer we listened to a couple of talks by Mike C.handler, a pastor of a large church in Texas. I had never heard of him before until recently, but my FIL pointed us to his story. He was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 35 (I think?), and is currently undergoing radiation and chemo after a major surgery to try to remove the tumor. In some ways seeing his story and what he and his family are enduring gave me some perspective in my own suffering, and I am encouraged to suffer well. To suffer in a way that God is glorified. I'm learning what this means.

So thank you for your encouragements and prayers in my last post - God is so good and faithful. He will answer us and make himself known when we seek him!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Disappearing hope

DH and I are volunteer youth leaders in our church. We have been with our students since the summer before 7th grade, and they are now in 10th grade.

Last night at Sunday School, a couple who are also youth leaders walked in and I suddenly became very anxious. I had observed and heard little clues here and there that made me guess she was pregnant...but as I saw her walk in the room I knew it was true. She was starting to show a little.

At the end of the evening they announced their news. I was sitting behind my girls, and got to see them squeal in sheer delight. My sweet, dear girls who have been asking me when I would have a baby almost from the very beginning 3.5 years ago. My loving girls who are also earnestly praying for me to conceive and do care about my struggle. Immediately they, along with many of the other girls in the youth group, circled the mom-to-be to excitedly ask about the baby growing inside of her.

I managed a small, "Congratulations," to her before I moved to the back of the room. I busied myself picking up papers, pens, and Bibles that had been left on the floor so I would look productive and helpful rather than insanely jealous and hurting.

Pregnancy announcements have always been difficult. I felt the sting, the reminder of what I so earnestly longed for, the jealousy, and the loneliness. But it was always also mixed with a small amount of hope that perhaps this next cycle, surgery, appointment, medication, or treatment would allow me to join them in their pregnancy joys. That God would hear my cries and answer my prayers with a yes.

But last night, the pain stood alone and I didn't have that hope anymore. Will it ever come back? Should it?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Baby steps...

Progress that has been made this week:
  1. The simple realization that last week/weekend I was PMSing. I don't get major PMS or anything, but the one and only "symptom" I tend to have is an utter, depressed meltdown if something sad happens. I'm not sad every month, typically, but I am easily set off in that week leading up to my period and can spiral downward quickly. Not to say that those feelings weren't real, but it helps me to see the effect that may have had on me and gives a little perspective. Hmm...
  2. It's probably not a good idea to try to make a huge decision (such as whether or not to do IVF) while in said PMS state and also facing the devastation of a 4th IUI failure.
  3. Thanks to a recommendation by my friend Melody, I ordered the book Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God by Dallas Willard. I'm excited to read this and hope God will use it to help me discern whether or not he did speak to me that night and/ or what to do with that experience.
  4. I've heard the expression that laughter is the best medicine....and while I don't know if it is indeed the best, I can say that it sure does help. DH and I had a couple moments this week of deep belly laughter together. It felt heavenly.
*****

Posting that book link reminded me that I wanted to share a couple books that I read while thinking through IVF as a Christian. I added this to my IVF post in case you are looking for resources.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Rest

Thank you to all of you for your thoughtful and sweet comments, emails, and prayers. It was so wonderful to be able to turn here and share this pain with a group of women who understand how much it hurts. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I also want to thank the lurkers who came out from hiding to wave hello. What a treat to "meet" you and hear some of your experiences! It was especially nice to get those comments over those rough few days. I want to respond to as many of you as I can (if you have a blog or some other way to contact you), and hope to do so in the next few days. For those of you who commented anonymously or without a blog, I will just say thank you one more time here: thank you!

Regular life has resumed. By Monday I was just so tired of being sad and felt physically exhausted from it all that I just prayed for a break from the emotions and have sought to not think about it. We did think about things A LOT last week and will continue to do so in a few days, but for now I am just trying to live my regular ol' life. I have been going to bed pretty early and we have tried to keep our social commitments to a minimum.

My period arrived yesterday, and I did not call the RE. We are taking an elective break from treatments, and for the first time ever I WANT to. We need time to process and heal a little. I'll still use the progesterone in my luteal phase and we'll "try" on our own this month.

We are continuing to pray for guidance in our next steps, and for confirmation or clarification of what God may have said to me. We are planning to fast from a meal once a week, too (as a couple of you suggested!).

Again, thank you. And let me know if you hear anything from God on my behalf (haha, just kidding!).

Monday, January 11, 2010

God's faithfulness explained

Today I attempt to write a post I have no idea how to write. This will probably be long, and I thought about breaking it into multiple parts, but I think I just need to write it all down.

As I alluded to in my post yesterday, God has been very faithful to us in these last couple days, and we have been filled with humble thankfulness that he would be so good to us. At the same time, our hearts have felt like they are breaking and grief has become a new part of our lives.

The grief began on Wednesday when DH dropped the bomb that he was leaning against us doing IVF. He had no specific reasons, but said he somehow felt that perhaps God was calling us to not take that step and to trust him in whatever that meant. I don't think DH could even fathom what that would mean for us in our lives. That night began my deep, deep sadness as I realized that could truly mean God is calling us to not have biological children. The weight of that, the hopes and dreams crushed, and the uncertainty of the life ahead has felt like my heart is breaking into tiny, sharp pieces.

However, as I sobbed DH reminded me that we had not decided AGAINST IVF. He said we may still do it. But that grief had already been unleashed. In my heart I wanted to hope that we would do IVF, and that God would bless us with a pregnancy through it. But the reality of no pregnancy felt more real, more possible.

On Saturday I took a home pregnancy test for IUI #4, which had also suddenly felt like it could be our last IUI. While I waited for the urine to pass through the test strip, I decided to grab something I needed out of my purse to distract me. As I came back into the bathroom, DH was hunched over the test. He wanted it to be positive so badly. We both did. We wanted to leave the grief behind us. But he looked up at me and I knew the answer. I examined the test myself to make sure there was no faint, faint line, and then tossed it in the trash.

We had to continue walking this road.

Later in the day DH brought up the topic of IVF again. We had decided to wait to talk about it until we knew the results of the IUI, but DH actually bringing it up was surprising. He is incredibly supportive, but somehow has the special (male?) ability to just not think about this stuff on his own. But he had been thinking, and he has continued to do so. This has all become more real to him in this past week, too.

DH told me that he does think we should do IVF. You would think I would have jumped for joy and began planning my next cycle - that's what I thought I would do! But I didn't. I did feel a little hope return to my heart, but I wanted to take small steps forward. I knew nothing was decided and that we could very well swing back to the non-IVF side, so I guarded my heart in this discussion.

I asked DH why he thought differently, and he said it was simply because he knew we had to take a step in some direction. And deciding to NOT do IVF would most likely set us on the path towards adoption, but he didn't feel like God was calling us to that yet. The flip side would be moving forward with IVF, and since he has not sensed God saying "no" to this that it was logical to move forward. I agreed, but did not feel much joy. I felt pained that we were even in this position, and that we were in a lose-lose place. Proceeding with IVF does not feel like a "winner," nor does giving up on trying for biological children. I believe that no path that God would set us on is ultimately a "loser," and that we have hope in him on either path...but in that moment I couldn't feel that.

Later that night we again had a discussion. We toyed with the idea of more IUI's as we waited on the Lord to make a decision about IVF. My main prayer for those last few days had been for clarity. I did not know how this decision would be made clear to us, and I asked God to guide our steps. I felt like we had a long wait of uncertainty ahead of us.

Now, I must stop here and say that if you are not a Christian, this is going to sound really weird to you. Even if you are a Christian this is going to sound weird! I have never had an experience like this, and while I know God speaks to us in many ways, I can't say he ever spoke to me like this. Bear with me.

We got ready for bed really late that night, tired and worn after an emotional day of wrestling with this large decision. As DH took a shower, I stood in the mirror flossing my teeth. Suddenly, a thought popped into my mind. Treatments won't work.

I stood staring at myself in the mirror. Was that God speaking to me? Did God just answer my prayer for clarity so quickly and specifically? But if it was him, I didn't like what he told me. I wanted God to speak to me with encouragements and hopeful things - not this. This was not the answer I wanted.

I asked God if that was him, and tried to push the thought aside. Surely you wouldn't tell me that, Lord! That statement felt like God was saying to stop treatments, and I just felt like God couldn't ask that of me. I didn't want to be done. I started crying. But how could I not be done if he had just told me treatments won't work for us?

I got in bed and kept trying to forget about that thought. Maybe it wasn't even from God - maybe it was just my fears. DH came into the room, saw me crying, and asked why. My first reaction was to not tell him what I had thought, because that would make it real. He might believe that God said that to me and agree we should stop treatments, and I wasn't ready to accept that. But I knew I couldn't withhold this from DH, and I needed him to help discern if that was indeed God speaking to me and what it would mean for us.

DH didn't really have much to say about it, but we prayed for confirmation of what I had heard and went to sleep. I attempted to sleep, at least, but I couldn't stop crying. As much as I tried to push the thought away and deny it, I felt like it was from God. And it hurt. I finally drifted off to sleep but woke far too early and was again crying.

That morning DH held me like a baby as I sobbed. I was curled up in a ball on his chest and DH just kept telling me he was so sorry and that it broke his heart to see mine breaking.

In the midst of my sadness I tried to express to DH the profoundness of what had happened. That God had heard my cries and confirmed this by speaking to me so clearly. And if it was his will for us to not conceive via fertility treatments, then what a blessing to know now than after failing 3 IVF cycles that would be expensive, emotional, and physically demanding. It felt like he was protecting us. And DH said that God will be faithful to us. As I cried in his arms, we spent some sweet time remembering other hard decisions and places we had been in our lives, and how God had always been faithful. Granted, none of those decisions were even close to the magnitude of this one, but if God had been faithful in a series of small things, we knew he would be faithful in this. I still don't want to hear what God told me, but I am thankful for the confirmation that he is actively working in my life, that he hears my prayers, and he is guiding us. What a blessing.

I wish I could end this post and tell you that DH & I feel tremendous peace, we are stopping treatments, and moving on to something else. But I can't. We have been in utter turmoil, and in the last 24 hours doubts have crept in. I think as DH has more emotionally faced the reality of not having biological children, he doesn't feel ready to give up. He has suggested we do more IUI's. I don't want to stop, but in light of what I believe God said to me I cannot muster the strength to do an IUI. We shared a lot of this with DH parents, and they don't want us to stop treatments. And I wonder if I really heard God? How do I know it was God? My best friend said, "What if it was Satan?" Or I think in a more "spiritual" way that perhaps God is reminding me that it is HE who creates life and not treatments - but maybe that doesn't mean we shouldn't DO treatments. See, I am all over the place!

We have thrown many ideas out there: adoption, embryo adoption, more IUI's, a second opinion with another urologist, acupuncture for DH, or just doing nothing. We have no idea. And so we wait for further guidance from the Lord.

I do feel peace and certainty about NOT returning to the RE when AF comes this cycle. And I believe that God will continue this work he has began in us. He will be faithful. And I cling to this promise:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Sunday, January 10, 2010

God's faithfulness

Hi friends,

Sorry to leave you all hanging - I tested negative yesterday.

There is much to say, but I have no energy to write anything. Crying is exhausting.

God's faithfulness has been very apparent to me and I know he hears my cries. Thank you, Lord.

xxoo

Friday, January 8, 2010

Waiting to test

Thank you so much for your amazing support and encouragement yesterday. As each comment popped into my email throughout the day I felt like I got a virtual hug from a friend. They were touching and made me cry...each of you has experienced so much in your own journey, and I thank you for sharing your experiences and advice with me.

I am feeling stabilized but fragile. By yesterday afternoon I could function without crying - praise the Lord. :) However, I do feel like anything could set me off, so I'm moving along carefully. We are continuing to pray, and I am attempting to trust God that he will guide us clearly. I don't know HOW he will make it clear, but I trust that he will.

I am nervous about testing. A negative HPT is pretty much at the top of my list of "things that could set me off on another cry fest", and like I said at 10dpo, I have no symptoms to indicate that I am pregnant. But it's much easier to be here in the probably-not-but-maybe point of the cycle than to face that single line. Especially since our future trying to conceive efforts are so up in the air.

Today is 13 days past ovulation, but I am definitely not testing today. We are going to a funeral this afternoon, and although the person who passed away was not somebody I was personally close to, I'm sure you can imagine how an already emotionally fragile person could meltdown at a funeral. In the evening we are going to a belated holiday party for one of the {small} companies I work for....and one of my coworker's wives is 6 months pregnant. You can guess what will be the small talk amongst the ladies. So yes, testing today is most certainly out.

Saturday will be 14 days past ovulation. I am more open to testing on this day but it is also a little tricky. We will be at a youth ministry meeting from 9-12 in the morning, and then leaving straight from there to drive an hour and half to see one of DH's high school friends who is visiting (and will probably end up seeing a group of his high school friends). Not much room there to cry, but maybe that's a good thing?!

******

This week is blog delurking week. If you're out there reading and have never commented before, I would love to "meet" you! Maybe you could let me know where you're at in your infertility journey...or if you're an infertile veteran...or that you're interested in reading this little infertility blog just because. Feel free to delurk and wave hello - I was a lurker for a long time, too, so I totally understand where you are coming from.

Actually, I have a confession: I lurked/ read two infertility blogs for about a year before we even started trying to conceive. I seriously don't really know why (and I know that sounds so crazy!) - was it prophetic?! Ha! But it was fascinating to me. And if you have yet to start trying to conceive, don't think that just because you are reading this that you, too, will be an infertile. The odds are clearly in your favor. :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Breakdown

Last night DH said he was leaning against doing IVF. No decisions have been made, we are still praying, but hearing those words was like getting punched.

It is one thing to know cognitively that we might not do IVF. It has never been for sure. It is also one thing to cognitively know you might not have biological children. But to face those two possibilities much, much closer to reality has been completely overwhelming. I lost it. I spent a few hours sobbing - started off in the living room on the blue chair, then in the shower trying to calm myself down, and finally as I laid in bed willing sleep to come, but instead there were just more tears.

I don't want to make this decision because I emotionally can't handle one of the options. As I sobbed I felt guilty that I might sway DH towards IVF simply because he can't bear to see me like this. But I thought I would feel more peace about whatever decision we made. And that whatever path we ultimately would end up on would feel right, even if it was hard. But I just feel like a giant, tangled ball of confusion and angst. I don't know what to do.

I can't bear the thought of not having biological children.

I do see adoption as wonderful and beautiful. I could see DH and I adopting in some way. But I feel like I can't let go of the dream of being pregnant, giving birth, and having the child that is part me and part the man that I love. Of giving our parents a grandchild that carries on the family bloodline, that they could see their parents in. You know, the usual stuff. But that usual stuff feels so incredibly huge right now and I can't really face it. And then I feel guilty, like I don't deserve to adopt and would be so selfish in doing so because of these feelings.

I don't know how to function at work today. I look like a mess. Please pray for me - pray for God's peace in my heart and trust in him. And pray for clarity in this decision for DH and I. We may take awhile to get to a decision, but I also can't imagine how long I can sit in the unknown.

I know this post is dramatic, and trust me, I hope these are passing dramatics.

xxoo

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Us, IVF, and the Pastor

Where to begin? This post has been developing in my head for the past few weeks. We are nearing the end of our 4th IUI and suddenly IVF is before us. What will we do?

Of course, IVF has always been in the back of our minds. On the day we got our male factor diagnosis I remember thinking, "Will we have to do IVF?" and wrote about it in my first ever blog post. But it was such a huge, complicated, and expensive thought that my mind only went there on rather desperate days.

I have read so much about IVF through blogs, message boards, and books, so I have seen the joy of pregnancy and how God used that medical intervention, but I have also seen the devastation of negative pregnancy tests. These are deep waters and I tread lightly and cautiously.

As I'm sure you can tell from posts on this blog, my husband and I are Christians who believe that life begins the moment a sp.erm fertilizes an egg. We believe this life is a precious gift from God and is to be treated with the utmost care and value. Thus, the topic of IVF adds extra layers of concern for us as we would potentially create embryos. Can we do IVF and still honor the sanctity of life (and God)? If so, how?

Our prayers and research have led us to believe that we could do IVF under specific parameters. We are not at the point of saying we will, but we could. And while I do believe there is right and wrong, I must say at this point that these are the conclusions my husband and I have prayerfully come to - I do not expect you do to the same. I would hope that any Christians out there DO give much prayer and thought to every decision they make in regards to fertility treatments, but I humbly will not go beyond that and say I know what Christians should do.

First and foremost, we would never 'discard' or 'donate' embryos to science. If we did have extra embryos - what if DH or I died before we could give them a chance at life? I know it is unlikely, but I feel like we must examine all possibilities. We could donate them to another infertile couple, but we feel like that is easy to say now when it is not a reality, but would be a much more difficult thing to face if one of us passed away. It reminds me of saying in premarital counseling, "Oh, if we can't have kids we'll just adopt"....glibly and easily. But here we are and there is nothing easy about it.

But more specifically, we do not want to create any extra embryos that would potentially be frozen. Our main concern is the "thaw rates" that clinics advertise for frozen embryos. This is not 100%, and while I have read arguments that the embryos that do not survive the thaw were simply not viable embryos anyway, I have to ask: how do we know that? How do we know the freeze/ thaw process itself was not difficult for the embryos? If there were some reason to "freeze" a birthed baby and there was a 5% chance it would not survive the freeze/ thaw process, we would certainly not do it. Even if that baby was sick and weak, we would want it to live. So that analogy is the same for us and our view of embryos.

Also, I have read that some clinics do have fairly high thaw rates, but there is also the possibility that they only freeze the "strong" embryos. To some extent I just don't trust an embryologist to determine which embryos are "good enough." If the embryo has clearly arrested and stopped dividing, that is one thing. But what if there is just a lot of fragmentation? Or it grew slower? We would want all of our embryos to have an opportunity at life.

With that in mind, we would do a limited fertilization of 2-3 embryos so that if any of them do fertilize and grow, they could all be transferred to my uterus.

I know what you're thinking: this will lower our chances of success tremendously. That 50% success rate that couples are given for traditional IVF would be lowered by I don't know how much. I know. And perhaps you're remembering your own cycle, or that of a blogger friend, where they got 15 eggs, 10 of which fertilized, 4 of which developed, 1 of which made it to transfer, and then the cycle resulted in a BFN. I know. You don't need to tell me. Or the fact that most couples don't even end up with frozen embryos. I know. But we have to plan for all possibilities, and in one of those we would have embryos to freeze.

But all I can say is that, as terrifying as it is to lower our odds, we could not proceed any other way with a clear conscience. We believe this is what God would want us to do. And while I don't have any clear communication from God that he WILL bless us with a pregnancy if we do a limited fertilization, and I honestly know there is a very high likelihood we could walk away from IVF without a pregnancy, I do believe God will be honored and pleased at our obedience to him. And that he CAN create life even out of only two fertilized eggs.

We have also toyed around with the possibility of freezing any remaining eggs to get more bang for our buck, so to speak. Since eggs are not life, we have no issues freezing/ thawing them, and if we did not use any/ all they could be discarded. We would then be able do a frozen egg cycle in the future, rather than a full-fledged IVF, which would be easier and cheaper. However, this is still very speculative and there are many unknowns. Egg freezing success is rather low, so we would have to get a decent enough amount of eggs to make it worth it, and the amount of eggs is such an unknown. We also don't know how much it would cost to freeze/ store the eggs and do a frozen egg cycle.

I should also add that if we do proceed with IVF, we would do up to three cycles. It is a pay-as-you-go plan, but the second and third cycles are discounted. With our lowered odds of success, I don't think I could emotionally handle our last chance being only one cycle. Of course, the money is DAUNTING, but we have been saving for over a year and have been blessed with a few extra chunks of money this year, so we could afford it. If you could call it that, haha.

*****

We met with our pastor this morning over coffee to share our journey with him and seek his counsel as we face this large decision. He has known for some time about our infertility, and has been praying for us. I was so blessed by his compassion and conversation this morning!

I do think, in a way, I wanted his blessing before possibly moving forward. I don't believe his blessing would 100% give us a green light - pastors are sinners just like the rest of us and could lead incorrectly - nor did I think he would "ban" us from doing IVF. But I do believe God has set leaders over us to guide and instruct us, and we wanted to respect his role in our lives.

After a detailed discussion of our journey thus far (which was filled with such compassion and care), he ultimately said that from what we have explained to him he would see nothing unethical about proceeding with IVF. However, he said that the few people he has known who did IVF walked away sad and and without a baby, so as a pastor and in a fatherly sort of way there was a part of him that would not want us to go down that path.

DH & I walked away from that meeting encouraged and cared for, but we also felt very somber. This is a huge decision with huge ramifications. His words of caution rang true to us to attempt to really consider even the most difficult possibilities.

Our next step will be to meet with the RE. I have told him twice that we do not want to freeze embryos, but I know it will be somewhat difficult for him to wrap his mind around. We need to know what he would place our odds of success at.

But as I feel the weightiness of all of this today, I am all the more wanting this cycle to work. To find out I am pregnant in a few days and put all this discussion of IVF behind us. Please, please, please.

****

In case you interested, these are two books that helped us think through IVF from a Christian perspective:
  1. The Infertility Companion: Hope and Help for Couples Facing Infertility (Christian Medical Association) by Sandra Glahn (Excellent book all around)
  2. Right Thinking in a World Gone Wrong: A Biblical Response to Today's Most Controversial Issues by John F. MacArthur (This book only has one chapter that discusses IVF, and it is lumped in with contraceptives and other infertility topics. But it was concise and helpful)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

10 dpo

Well, I'm at 10 days past ovulation today. This is the point that I typically start going a little crazy, because *maybe* anything that I feel *could* be a symptom.

However, it's surprisingly easy to not go crazy when you don't feel a single thing. Ok, I take that back...I have barely there br.east tenderness. But I have had that "symptom" much stronger before and not been pregnant, so the fact that I have it so mildly this cycle seems telling.

I'm not feeling pessimistic, just realistic. I don't feel pregnant at all. And, odds are, I'm not pregnant. However, I will very gladly be wrong and find out a miracle occurred in a few days!! :)

*****

Wow, I had no idea how many of you lived in San Fr.ancisco! If I would have thought ahead I would have arranged more of a get together, but it happened rather spontaneously after Melissa commented about meeting the night before we left town. Sorry I missed some of you, and in the future I will have to make travel announcements earlier - I would loved to have met you!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hello, 2010!

Happy New Year! Happy 2010!

Sa.n Fr.ancisco was A-MAZ-ING! We had such a fabulous time in the city, and it was such an exciting way to ring in the New Year. We had a nice dinner, walked around Union Square, and then watched the ball drop on TV in our room while drinking champagne and watching the city from our beautiful view.

While in the city, I got to meet up with a blogger friend, Melissa, from Banking On It. This was my first time ever meeting up with any of my "internet friends" (as DH jokingly refers to all of you as), and it was such a wonderful experience! Melissa was just as amazing in person as she is on her blog. She's tall, beautiful, honest, and open - so easy to talk to. It was amazing how we could pick up right where we "left off" on our blogs and share our journeys from the past year as well as our hopes for the year to come.

It was powerful to reflect together at the start of a new year. Both of us will potentially and hopefully be starting a new set of treatments within the next few months, and as we said good-bye and hugged outside of Starbucks in Un.ion Sq.uare, I was so excited and thankful to think ahead to where we will be a year from now. That perhaps we will both be pregnant (or with a baby already!), but if we are not we might be done with fertility treatments and setting out on the new path of adoption. As difficult as it would be to let go of my dream of pregnancy, I felt a sense of elation in knowing there is an end in sight - and in that ending, we will be mothers.

Thank you, Melissa, for sharing those moments of hopefulness with me! I am cheering you on and am excited to see what 2010 has in store for you (and me :)).

And to all the rest of my "internet friends" out there - I hope and pray for many blessings in your life this year as well!