second trimester

Ohmygoshyall.

CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!

We’re one week from the third trimester. (Or less depending on when you count it starting exactly.)

Crazy. Just crazy. 

A few months ago it felt like days were crawling and we’d never get here, and suddenly here we are! Scheduling doctor’s appointments every two weeks instead of once a month, signing up for birthing classes and baptism classes, discussing parties, getting questions about contractions… Already?! The time is speeding up and I’m so excited! 

But, before I get ahead of myself let’s talk about how things have been going and have a picture or two. Okay? Okay.

Has a baby skeleton ever looked so cute?! Say no. That’s the cutest skull you’ve ever laid eyes on. Amara weighed 1lb 10oz in that photo, nearly two weeks ago. So maybe she’s getting close to two pounds now. She’s head down and turns right to left occasionally, I can tell when her wiggles change direction in my belly. 

Occasionally, I can see them ripple in different spots, though never when anyone else is around. She moves so much for me, it’s like we have a secret code, and then the second I want to share it she stops. Her dad got a good swift kick once, and then we waited and waited but she didn’t do it again. I think she knows when we’re alone, or when he falls asleep, or when everyone else is distracted. She likes to thump my bladder; empty this thing already! she says. She moves just so when I’m leaning over too much; sit back I need more room! When my stomach growls that’s another wiggle of impatience; where’s my spaghetti?! 

Her bones are getting too strong for the perinatalogist to see all that he wants to see. We tried for better/more views of her heart this last time but she didn’t want to move to make it any easier. Again. He said we’d try once more but wasn’t confident with her growing that it would be any different. Not that he has anything he’s concerned about, but just that he’s not satisfied. Which is fine by me; more pictures are always fine by me! He told me to quit eating ice cream… Ha! Sorry I cannot help you, Sir, her bones gotta grow somehow. 

Here’s the photo I think looks like a dog snout, I turned it so maybe you’d understand the orientation. It’s her nose and mouth kindof like she’s pressed them up against glass. Or -blowing us a kiss- Dr Schneider likes to say. I don’t often recognize all her bits and pieces right away during the scan, but this I knew when I saw it and asked for a copy. The doctor looks to see if she’s got a cleft palate with this photo (she doesn’t), I just think it’s so cute. Of course I think everything on the scan is cute… Her belly, her leg bones, her gal bladder, her liver… Whatever, it’s all cute. It’s all amazing. I think about how she started out as just few cells and how now she’s a little person and I can’t hardly breathe for the amazement.

I’ve had another OB appointment since then, a long appointment to see if I have gestational diabetes. I don’t have the results back yet but am praying hard that I pass. I also got the flu shot and t-dap while I was there, and a whole bunch of blood work. I asked about my weight gain, since I haven’t been paying attention. I’m doing well; still have got several pounds for her to grow before I get near the limit they like to set for plus size moms. 

Just this last week I’ve developed this fun symptom -hello, swollen feet! It’s not all the time, this photo was after two days of standing/sitting and not much resting, so it’s not usually this bad… But it is a thing now. I’d like to say I’ve stopped throwing up… But I did that this morning… About once a week now I get to do that, so it has improved, but I don’t really expect it to stop all together. Other than the occasional aches from being on my feet too much I mostly feel really good. The tiredness never really went away, but I don’t feel overly cumbersome or awkward yet. I told my nurse it’s because I had half this belly to start with so I’m used to working with it. Ha! 

We’re mostly just celebratory over every little thing around here. OK… I’m emotional over every little thing, too. Soon I think I’ll be able to share nursery photos and talk more about the ‘getting ready’ bits. I feel like there’s lots to do and maybe not enough time..but I also think that it’ll all be okay. If the timeline isn’t perfect, if things get ‘finished’ while we get this parenting business started… It’ll all be okay. We’ll figure it out. Babies have come into homes with much less perfection than ours and life just gets on with itself. Even imperfect, we are so ready. Ready for the sleeplessness, ready for the cries, ready for every new thing to marvel over… Just ready for this little life and all that it’ll do to change ours. 

Next year, y’all, is gonna be all kinds of awesome. And I say that fully amazed at this past one. He is faithful.

Advertisements

What’s in a name? 

I’ve always thought names are important. They can come with a history, a heritage, a wish, an expectation…they can be a first impression or a lasting one, and they can be used to build you up or tear you down.

Even before I was a Mrs, before we were on this long road to parenthood I kept lists of names I liked. I sometimes had pictures of the people those names belonged to in my head. I worked out their stories and struggles in my writing, I imagined their lives. So, you can imagine I have not taken the naming of my children lightly. I have written lists of names for them, imagined what traits their name might bring to their life, what story it tells about them. I’ve looked up meanings, thought about nicknames, and considered they way it sounds mixed with our last name. I think I’ve taken this naming business much more seriously than my sweet husband and possibly more than is really necessary, but this little birthday gift has always been high on my priority list.

IMG_3760

Amara Joy is the name we’ve chosen for our girl. OK, admittedly, I may have insisted. 😉 I knew her first name long before she was created, I knew her first name without a doubt long before I could settle on a boys name. When I said before I might have called her from heaven by her name I truly meant it. This is that story.

I believe I’ve mentioned before the importance of my maternal grandmother in my life. The memories I have of her are some of my most precious, the summers I spent with her instilled in me a sense of love and acceptance I will never forget. I can close my eyes and stand on the front porch of her small trailer as though I was there yesterday. I can walk my way through that home touching the kitchen counter smelling the cinnamon sugar pie crust she saved for me. I can picture her in her chair, tatting away with hands swift and sure as lightning while baseball plays silently on the TV. I can move down the wood paneled hall, stopping to visit my bedroom, smiling at the bags of yarn in the closet and know the solid peaceful feeling I’d have resting my head on that pillow, listening to the train whistle in the distance. I can walk farther down the hall, visiting the mustard yellow stack-able washer and dryer in the bathroom, just my size I always thought. I can visit grandma’s bedroom with the floral bedding and curtains my mom and her sisters replaced one summer as a gift for her. My grandma went to be with the Lord when I was 14, but those memories of her linger stronger than any in my life.

During this infertility process when I sometimes found it hard to talk to God I would talk to my grandma instead. She raised six girls, persevered after her husband’s death when the youngest of which was five and the oldest sixteen. Of course I knew her as a retiree, without the pressures of providing for teenagers and young children. I knew a woman passionate about church and singing loud and proud even from her place beside me in the pew. Who was known for her making to both family and friends. She made layettes for all the babies, slippers, blankets, hats, quilts, dolls…her hands did not know how to be still. She taught me a lot, but mostly she just loved me. It’s the kind of relationship I hope my mom and her granddaughter have. So, when in this difficult journey I felt abandoned I called out to her. I can lay in my bed 20+ years later and listen for the trains in the dark and feel myself back in that little bedroom safe and comforted.

IMG_3735

I’ve always known it was her I wanted to name my daughter after. Her name was Martha -and though I don’t love the name Martha I set out to find a name that could both honor her and celebrate the unique girl she would’ve called great-grand-baby. I went looking for variations on her name and my first consideration was Mara. I like the name Mara a lot, but I don’t love that I remember Ruth 1:20 every time I hear it.

“Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter.”

I definitely don’t want to give my girl a legacy of bitterness, so I looked a little farther. I found that if you add an ‘A’, and the name becomes Amara, it changes the meaning to ‘eternal’. Now that’s a name I’m happy to bestow on my little love. So Amara it became, and since I’ve found it there has been no other name.

IMG_3753

Amara’s middle name was harder to settle on but has a less dramatic history. I tried out the middle names Faith and Hope first, but they left me feeling unsettled and not quite right. A few years ago I chose the One Little Word for myself of Joyful; a word to think on and bring into my life for the year. I made a banner and hung it up in our hallway, and at the end of the year I didn’t take it down. I don’t think I chose another word after that, it just lives with me all the time. When I think about what the infertility process required -Faith and Hope- are at the tippy top of the list. But when I think about what I wish for my girl it’s that when her faith and hope are called upon to be active hardcore that she find joy in whatever she’s going through. My cousin Meredith would say “Find joy in the journey.” And that is the dream. A verse that’s stuck with me through all of this is Psalm 27:13-14.

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord  In the land of the living.

Wait for the Lord;  Be strong and let your heart take courage; 

Yes, wait for the LORD.”

That is the truth. Not to say I didn’t have hard days, but the hard days did not beat me, they did not break me. Which leads me right to the verse that is my wish for our girl; Nehemiah 8:10.

“Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

That’s it. I pray the joy of the Lord is her strength; Amara Joy it is. Our daughter has a name that satisfies the part of me that puts too much weight on two little words. Added bonus -her initials are A.J.- my father’s first initial (A) and my mother’s (J). It’s also a pretty great nickname should she be a Tomboy and prefer something more neutral than Amara…or Mari…or cuddle bug…or snuggle bear…or any of the thousand other cutesie things she may be called by those that love her.

IMG_3746

As you can see she’s already brought so much joy to her parents.

It’s a girl! 

Here we are -HALFWAY to welcoming this little Bean into the world. Twenty Weeks feels SO good!

We went to see a perinatologist (aka a maternal-fetal medicine specialist) for our anatomy ultrasound. Something they like to do for IVF babies since there’s some concern they are more prone to heart defects. We spent a lot of time with the ultrasound tech trying to see all that there is to see of this somewhat uncooperative kiddo. There were head measurements, arm and leg bone measurements, and estimates for weight. All her measurements are right on track for her gestational age, and her weight is estimated at 13 ounces. All great news!

Here’s Baby Bean with knees to nose:

They took a picture of Bean’s belly, showing us this tiny stomach and organs. Diaphragm, liver, loops of small intestine; it is so cool all the things they can show you on that muddy black and white screen. They checked her nasal bone, if it was short or missing that would be an indicator of Downs Syndrome, we were happy to see a proud white line just where it aught to be. They looked close at the upper palate in the mouth, pointing out to us a solid white mass to show there’s not a concern for a cleft palate.

They also checked blood flow in the umbilical cord, and spent lots of time attempting to get every angle of the heart. Here’s where we found out we have a bit of a stubborn baby, with little arms tucked in close the arm bone shadows obstructed some of the heart views. We poked and prodded, rolled side to side, and tried all we could to get her move and allow clear pictures. We saw lots of kicking but those little arms didn’t move away long enough to help us. What we did see was there are four chambers and they seem to be working just the way they should. Her heart rate was 151. And, I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a little happy that they feel we didn’t get every angle, that means we get more pictures in five weeks when we go back to check again. Let’s not forget that little heart is only about the size of a nickel and will grow a lot in the next five weeks!

IMG_3688

We also didn’t hesitate when the tech asked us if we wanted her to tell us the gender. Oh yes! She got a great picture of a leg and tiny butt and the three little lines that tell her we’ve got a little girl growing in there. She checked twice and said she was extremely confident Bean is a girl! We are obviously thrilled! Of course we’d have been thrilled if we’d had a boy growing too, but the knowing makes it so exciting! I called my mom as soon as we left the appointment to tell someone out loud -It’s a girl!

IMG_3701The doctor came in after the ultrasound and went over the images again with us, slower, pointing out details. I got a chance to ask him if he had an opinion on my birth options, something I’d been warned he might have. There was some talk at a previous OB appointment that he may recommend I have a c-section or be induced at 39 weeks due to my advanced maternal age. (They use that term for mamas over 35.) I was beyond happy to hear him say that if I  was 40 early delivery would be standard protocol, but that I’m young (haha!) and unless I develop something in the next 20 Weeks indicating otherwise he sees no reason I can’t go the full 40 weeks! He said they wouldn’t have me go past 41, but that gives me a chance for a natural rather than induced labor (or scheduled cesarean) and that is music to my ears! So, if I could humbly ask you to add that into your prayers for this little adventure -a healthy uncomplicated pregnancy, and a body ready to do the work when the time comes- I would be so grateful. I think I’ve said before how much this process means to me, and that doing each thing is important to me. This process includes birth; the labor and pain don’t scare me, but not having the option does. I’m fully prepared going into this with an open mind that says however this birth happens is OK. In the end the healthy arrival of our Bean is what matters most. But, I’m not wishing away any part of the process, and I am passionate about having the chance to do labor and delivery au natural if my body cooperates.

I’d already made plans with a friend to take the hand print gender reveal photos that evening. There was so much laughter, so much excitement to share with our friends who feel this utter joy with us. There was also some teasing of daddy -who’s daughter with have him sucker punched right from the beginning I am sure. It was so fun to go pick out pink paint for that occasion. To pass the bows and flowers and ask my guy Do we need those, too? How girly do we need to be to share our news? We opted for just the paint, though he tried to convince me to get yellow or green and make everyone crazy building the suspense. You’re welcome from my impatient self that I didn’t agree to that! 😉 He also let me get pink glittery stickers to make a sign for our girl to reveal her name. And that, my friends, you will have to wait on! Though not so long, soon we’ll talk about the story behind those choices. I just really wanted to give this moment, this story, its time. Because IT’S A GIRL is so big and awesome, and It’s a HEALTHY girl all that much more big and awesome. Let’s just celebrate that for a minute or two, OK? OK!

IMG_3707

Since April?! (1st trimester catch up)

I haven’t written here SINCE APRIL?!

That’s what I thought when I finally came to check in. Surely it hasn’t been that long.

Oh, but it has.

Oops. Sorry. Let’s catch up.

All that praying everyone was doing for our last frozen embryo transfer was worth it’s weight in gold.

We have a little bean growing!

I dunno why I’ve taken to calling the babe -the bean, but I have. Hopefully it won’t be too long before I get to call he or she by their actual name.

I’ve successfully made it into the second trimester so I can tell you all about the first!

There was a lot of nausea, and some vomiting, and all the tiredness. There were mountains of worry, and many doctor appointments. There were needle sticks and ultrasounds, and many bathroom stops. There was monitoring and marveling over size and what’s-happening-now; from an apple seed to a blueberry and then a peapod. Little lives grow so quickly! We saw a heartbeat at 6 weeks, SIX! This tiny being measured in millimeters had a beating heart. And so fast it had little arms and legs that kicked and waved at us on the ultrasound. Our bean already has fingerprints. The whole thing just blows my mind.

All during the process I kept thinking -I need to write about this- and then didn’t. I’m not sure why that is. Too tired and sick to work up the energy? Probably. Too anxious that we’d never make it to the second trimester? That too.

We’ve transitioned from seeing our fertility doctor to seeing a regular OB. The process was bittersweet.  I tried to convince Dr. B he could just run the whole show beginning to end but he didn’t take me up on it. I found a doctor’s office I really like (thanks to a nurse friend), but I don’t think we’ll have anything quite like the relationships we developed at Rocky Mountain Center For Reproductive Medicine.

My mom and I were on a trip when I got my very last shot. It was a thing to be celebrated! Just as soon as I quit throwing up. I looked forward to days without extra hormones thinking the sick would get better. Imagine my delight when it actually got worse! The occasional vomiting turned to every day. And all the things the doctor said to try really did not help. When I spent a day unable to keep anything down and not even wanting to drink water because I was so tired of throwing up I finally gave in and asked the doctor for a prescription. Thankfully, that made a big improvement. Not prefect, but so much better.

I keep getting told it’ll get better so I’m waiting for that little blessing to come upon me. I hope I won’t need the prescription for long. Right now everything feels like it’s moving so much slower. I only see the doctor once a month, and the bean isn’t big enough for me to be marveling in kicks and squirms yet. I can tell you it likes to swim and delivers swimming dreams to me a lot. Bean also likes pasta. You know how they tell you to eat the BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) diet when you feel sick? Yeah, we’ve thrown up all the things at one time or another. Pasta though? Big fans. All the things I was eating to manage symptoms early on have eventually been rejected -yogurt, peaches, crackers, granola bars, oatmeal…finding food I want to eat, enjoy after the smell or first taste, and can keep down has been a fun experiment. Which, if you’ve met me in real life you would know, is downright hilarious.

We haven’t worked on the nursery any more yet, I’m hoping I’ll feel more inspired to do that if we learn if we are having a he or a she. We do have a fun stash of mixed gender clothes started, a few toys, and little things already collected I just couldn’t pass up. There’s time, I keep telling myself, it’ll eventually feel like it goes so fast but I need to pace myself. We also have some home improvement projects on the agenda for the summer. It feels slow going now, but oh-so-soon I think it’ll feel like we’re full steam ahead!

The Long Wait

image

We’ve been taking a lot of naps around here.

Hello, friends.
I’d like to say -I have so much to tell you!
But, I really don’t.
So much of this process is rinse and repeat that there’s not much to report. And there’s the waiting…seemingly endless amounts of waiting.

Here’s what I can tell you:
While the Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) is different from a normal round of IVF it’s not so different you’ll need a step by step.
I’ve been taking my meds like a good girl. I stuck to the complicated schedule and all my ultrasounds and blood work over the last couple months have looked great.

I had one intense day when I switched to progesterone shots and about an hour after my first one I got nauseous and fainted in the bathroom. I was only out for a minute and I did make it back to bed on my own. (D was at work) I tried to sleep, felt pretty awful, vomited over the side of the bed into a trash can. D came home early and I was supposed to be driving him to the airport that day…it took a lot of convincing but he did make his flight thanks to his sister. I eventually called the doctor’s office to make sure it wasn’t the meds; which would’ve been unlikely since I’d done this before with a different brand but same drug. It wasn’t.  My elevated temperature was a sign to my nurse friend that I had a stomach bug. Luckily, it was mostly kicked in two days. Two very sore and uncomfortable days.

That fear though, that it might have been my meds, is great way to illustrate that this infertility stuff doesn’t get easier the longer you’re dealing with it.  For me, it feels like it gets harder. The stakes get bigger. The fear of something going wrong gets bigger. The I’m so tired of this gets much bigger.

That’s my truth -I’m so tired of this.

So, my regimen of 5 estrogen pills and 1 progesterone shot a day has been my normal for a while. And, the number of alarms in my phone has gone from a dozen to just those 6. Yay!

The day of transfer I was pretty nervous waiting for a phone call expecting our embryos not to survive the thaw. I even got a phone call that had nothing to do with the transfer but freaked me out in the moment the phone was ringing. I was so surprised and relieved and thankful when Dr Sharry came out with this photo:

image

Yes, that’s D’s hand holding it, yes it looks rough, he’s in construction, that’s his normal.

The exciting news is that both embryos survived and looked really good! Hallelujah!

I never thought I’d say to a doctor “I’m really looking forward to that catheter.” But I did. And I was. Full bladder + ultrasound + speculum = thankful for the catheter. It’s amusing the things you get used to when you see doctors and nurses for so long. I remember the first transfer during IVF the catheter was my biggest concern since I’d never had one before. This time it was the second best part -after that photo above!

Everything else has been the same as last time.  The transfer went great, followed by bedrest for 3 days -I have the best family and friends who came and hung out with me on the couch, made my favorite foods and continually pray hard those embryos are making themselves at home.

So, now we wait. The longest weeks of our lives to find out if we’ve finally come to the transition part of this journey. The transition from infertility to parenthood. I’m anxious. I’m doubtful. I’m hopeful. I’m hanging on. I’m leaning in….
I’m complicated.

(Infertile) Bookish Thoughts

image

I haven’t read very many books on infertility, in fact this is the first. If you know me you might think that’s odd considering I do a fair amount of reading. I’ve just always preferred to read about the baby part, What To Expect When You’re Expecting, rather than the struggle part. I get all my struggle knowledge firsthand, thank you.

A couple weeks ago I came across an article talking about link between infertility and PTSD… Post Traumatic Infertility Stress Disorder or PTIFSD.

“Infertility awareness requires not only an understanding and recognition of the disease itself but of what that disease can do to us.”

I found validation in that article and discovered the author had also written a book -so I ordered it.

Enter The Infertility Survival Handbook.

Firstly, it was written in 2004. You and I both know medicine advances can change dramatically in that amount of time, the same is true for fertility medicine. However, most of what’s written is still relevant even if not perfectly up to date. If you’re on the fence or confused about what procedures come with signing up for infertility treatment this is a perfectly good place to start. It breaks things down and gives you a good foundation to begin to ask your doctor informed questions about your health and what you might be getting into.

There’s no sugar-coating here; in fact, the author is afraid of needles, she might have you unduly worried about needle size and placement. While she gets you concerned over drug side-effects, which DO happen but don’t ALWAYS happen (I have had very little), she also tells you it’s okay to have bad days. To be devastated and excited in turn as you go through this process. It’s very reassuring for someone who’s gone through things multiple times to say “you can do it” and also “you don’t have to do it”.

She talks about the money involved in treatment, navigating insurance, managing stress, telling your family and friends, and even about choosing adoption. I also like that there is an entire reference section of resources to help you with what’s next; be that support groups, immunology, adoption, surrogacy, etc.

My biggest peeve with the book is actually the way the author constantly reminds us of how smart she is, especially during the first several chapters. There’s multiple mentions of “putting on the white coat” so she can explain these complex medical procedures with big words. I find that totally unnecessary. I also disliked later in the book where she talks about marriage trouble and assumes her four years of therapy are enough to allow her to comment on your marriage. There are many instances of her joking, sarcastic, snarky inserts added to the writing in parenthesis where I rolled my eyes, or sighed in frustration.

Advice to milk your treatment trauma with your husband who has gotten off easy during this process bothers me. She does later talk about being a support for your guy if you’re dealing with male-factor infertility but I find it insulting to assume husbands need you to use your bad days as leverage for pampering. Maybe I’m over-sensetive to husband criticism or over-optimistic about the majority of the husband population. I do believe that this process makes you more intimate on an emotional level and simply asking for what you need is usually enough. Don’t underestimate the toll it takes on a man to see his wife go through this process. He’s not blind to that or immune to the excitement/devastation rollercoaster.

So, if you’re on Goodreads (let’s be friends) my review rating is 3 stars. I liked The Infertility Survival Handbook. I didn’t love it, though it had very good info, and I didn’t hate it, though it had some problems. Also, if you’re really wanting to read it, let me know, I’ll gladly send you my copy!

Is  there an infertility book you think I should read? Recommended away!

Until next time -♡.

On Creating Your Own Safe Space

I want to chat for a minute (or ten) about safe spaces.

Sometimes the places you think you should be safe aren’t, and the places you are afraid to be vulnerable are the best places to do just that.

Have you ever noticed how like attracts like? People with similar (I’m going to call it for the sake of this discussion) trauma seem to find each other. Sometimes people on the outside of your hurt, no matter how close to your heart, cannot understand what you’re going through. There’s a reason humans create support groups, that we seek experiences like our own.

If you are going through something painful, difficult, confusing, or emotionally draining I want to encourage you to seek out a safe place, with safe people, to talk about all that these kinds of life experiences encompass. You might be surprised what and who that looks like.

Your safe place might be with family members. Or it might not. It might be with close friends. It might not. It could be that your safe place is with a professional counselor, or with a group of strangers…gathered because they share a similar need. Someone to understand.

There should be no judgements in your safe place. Dirty laundry isn’t dirty in a safe space. You’re allowed to be selfish, angry, hurt, raw, or whatever you need to be in your safe space. You’re allowed to not make sense, you’re allowed to say bad words, to ugly cry.

Sometimes our traumas need to be held by more than one body. Sometimes we need to spread the burden a little and hear we are not alone in order to cope day to day with the huge thing overshadowing everything else in our lives.

When you start to look around you and decide who is allowed access into your safe space I want to encourage you not to allow guilt to follow those people in. In your safe space there’s no room for guilt over who’s included and who is not. It could be just one person, or it could be a whole group of people. Size doesn’t matter; that’s true for so many things and especially here. What matters is building a trust that gives you the freedom to get brutally honest. What matters is people who love you no matter what ugly stuff you have to say in the moment. Let’s face it -trauma is ugly, pain is ugly. People who hear you and let all of that be ok -that is beautiful.
That is a safe space.

Even if you are thinking you don’t need that, you’ve got this thing handled. Let me just say, oh friend, we all need it at some point. And the blessing of needing a safe space is that when the tide turns you have become someone else’s safe space in the process. That is surely an amazing calling. Being trusted that much, loving someone through the most difficult days of their lives…well, there’s divinity in that, and we might all pray to be so blessed.

Don’t be afraid to mindfully create your own safe space. Don’t let past let downs keep you from trying to find just the right people to let in. Sometimes there’s set backs, no body is perfect. But when you find just the right people, when your safe space comes together and actively holds up that burden for you a little…well, there’s magic in that. I hope everyone is touched with that magic at some time in their lives even when it hurts to get there.

To the people who make up my own safe space -thank you, I love you, I’m so thankful for each and every one of you.

Here and Now

image

Hello friends!

After a long and much needed hiatus I’m back…here to keep you in the loop…and in that office I spent so much time in last year.

We met with Dr.B last week, got the low down on what we do now, and signed a stack of consent forms thick enough to give us hand cramps.

image

Today I had my baseline ultrasound; everything begins here, same as before. And, thankfully, everything was still utterly normal. I also picked up my calendar and prescriptions to get filled. The calendar is already up and ready to begin the count down. Here’s a blurry look at that:

image

Schedules. Schedules.

So, the simple way to explain all these drugs is that the Dr. shuts down the part of my brain that runs my hormones and then supplements, monitors, and controls my body’s natural rhythm. The goal for IVF was to get my body to make eggs, lots and lots of eggs, and we manipulated my chemistry to accomplish that.

For a FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer) our goal is to control and balance my chemistry to create the best possible home for those little embryos. Last time the focus was on the ovaries, this time all the focus is on the uterus.

Some people say that a frozen embryo cycle works better than a fresh embryo cycle (FET is better than IVF) and this switch in focus may be the key.
Please, God, let it be the key.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. We only have two frozen embryos, it feels like our last chance. We are praying when the time comes both those little seeds survive the thaw; there’s always a chance one or both may not. We’re praying those little seeds continue to grow, and eventually take root in this perfectly welcoming environment we will be creating.

Want to pray for us?
Pray I can be diligent with my complex drug protocol (Good news! Only two shots!) and pray I have the willpower to treat my body well to prepare it in every way possible.

We’re marking off our first of many days committed to this next thing. Thanks for hanging in there with us!

Did I forget something you’re curious about? Just let me know and I’ll address it in another post.

(If you’re new here Welcome! and wondering what you’ve gotten yourself into you can scroll back in time and catch up on all things infertility HERE.)

Trust

image

Not too long ago I wrote a letter to Dr. B. I’d run into him out shopping one evening and got to give him a hug and wish him Merry Christmas. I hadn’t seen him since he called to say the IVF didn’t work; I had been expecting to feel…upset or sad, maybe sorry or guilty…like we worked really hard, prayed really hard, for this thing to happen and maybe it was my fault it failed.

I didn’t feel any of those things though, I just felt joy. Seeing him for the first time out of the office, realizing I missed the people we’d spent so much of our time with this past year. And later, knowing I needed to tell him that the year, though difficult at times, was all part of the plan -I wrote him a letter.

Here’s what it said:
After our disappointing IVF I was having a hard time wrapping my head around all the whys and how comes. It’s been a hard 8 years hoping for this dream, and so much hard work by so many people this last year chasing it. It feels like God keeps asking me to walk toward a cliff and put my toes over the edge. That’s scary, I’m tired, it hurts, I’m a slow walker.

So, I was doing a Bible study called Discerning the Voice of God. I’m pretty sure in the 12 weeks we took to go through it people are generally supposed to learn something new every chapter. Things about obedience and seeking and whatnot. But my study was full of one thing: Trust me. Trust me. Trust me.
And arrogantly I think ‘that’s what I’m doing! ‘.

Then He got really real…
He asked me -If I offered to turn your fertility over to your best friend would you want me to?
I’m, of course, saying -Yes! Let’s do that! I trust her, she wants what I want, we’d have this fixed by dinner.
And the response I get is -Why do you trust your fallible human friend more than your infallible God?
Ouch.

So, back to my cliff, I was talking to someone recently about this image of God asking me to put my toes over the cliff and do that hard trust thing, and it brought up yet another question from God.
-If Dr. Bachus asked you to jump off a cliff would you do it?
And my answer was -Yes! Of course! Because I trust him. I trust if he asked me to do that then I would be tethered.
The response to that was simple and profound -Then trust me to have you tethered and keep walking.

So, I’m not trying to raise anxiety about this crazy patient with too much trust in you, but rather to reaffirm the importance of the process.
It’d be great if God let you be in charge of our infertility, we’d have this fixed by dinner, right?
But it’s not up to you.
You just get to do your part, bring the science! And turn the whole thing over to the only One who knows the reason for the journey. Maybe, we hope, it’s a baby. But maybe it’s something we can’t see yet because our toes haven’t found the edge of the cliff. Frustrating that the answer can’t be even an inch closer.

Sometimes, I get questions about if doing these treatment things are really trusting God.
Well, there can be no doubt when each moment -from admitting to my heart that adoption was a means to an end but not a solution to a problem, to right now- doors flew open before us. Some opened with a tragedy to lead us to a blessing and on to days of frustration. But, the doors haven’t closed yet so we keep going where they lead. They may not lead in the direction I want, but I can’t doubt the leading for my own expectation. Of course it’s trusting God, the dude invented everything science is based on!
Sure, He could snap His fingers and make this easier -but dang it if easy is not the point. Father’s are so like that.
*insert my teenage eye roll here*

It’s not a Christmas miracle, but a Christmas blessing instead…tears don’t make for a bad year, sometimes they’re just growing pains.

Grief

Grief is your doctor saying his prayers weren’t answered; hearing his disappointment before he speaks the hard truth aloud.

Grief is trying to hold it together long enough to finish the conversation so you don’t blubber into the phone.

Grief is curling up in your bed and sobbing until it feels like your head and chest will explode with the pain.

Grief is wishing you could sleep until it doesn’t hurt anymore.

Grief is clinging to a photo of your babies and knowing they’ll never be more than those few cells but it feels like a miscarriage all over again.

Grief is putting on makeup and sunglasses and hoping no one asks how your day is going.

Grief is giving into the ugly cry when you need to; pulling over to sob until you can see to drive again.

Grief is letting tears fall when they need to, packing extra kleenex, and knowing you have to let the pain in for it to get better.

Grief is feeling angry when people want to comfort you; even tender words to a wounded heart can hurt.

Grief is praying for acceptance of whatever happens; praying the pain doesn’t harden your heart.

Grief is time. The oblivion of sleep, the stray tears of insomnia, moments of distraction, moments carried under by the waves.

Grief is waiting; choosing to move slowly, being tender with your body and your heart. Allowing the weight and truth be what it is and not trying to rush to cover it or push it away. It’s knowing those sparks of life deserve to be grieved just as they were loved; wholly and completely.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Archives

enJOY it by Elise Blaha Cripe

A journal for a girl who likes words + photos.

Lucie Loves It

Parenting & Lifestyle blogger

Inspired Mom Diaries

A journal for a girl who likes words + photos.

AubreyLida

Life in words and pictures

A journal for a girl who likes words + photos.

Stitched in Color

A journal for a girl who likes words + photos.

comfortstitching

A journal for a girl who likes words + photos.

enJOY it by Elise Blaha Cripe

A journal for a girl who likes words + photos.

Brett Bara

A journal for a girl who likes words + photos.

Raising the Barrs

Our Journey to Wellness on the Last Frontier

In Color Order

A journal for a girl who likes words + photos.

a cuppa and a catch up

tea + craft = bliss

A journal for a girl who likes words + photos.