Monday, July 30, 2007

Prayer and thanksgiving

Something to be praying for ... and something to be thankful for.

One of my very good friends called me a little over a week ago to say that her first ultrasound (at 12 weeks pregnant) showed a very serious problem. The baby has a cystic hygroma ... and the doctors couldn't tell her what it is likely to mean until next month when they can take another measurement to see if its growing or shrinking. It could mean a late miscarriage, Turner's Syndrome, or many other things ... or could just go away. Please be praying for their family and the baby. I found this video online - "A prayer for unborn children" - that same day and fell in love with it.


After about a year or more of looking, I finally found a book on infertility that I wanted to read. It took a while. I won't ever forget trying to explain to the salesman at the bookstore that "fertility" books are different than "infertility" books. Turns out that in this particular store, fertility books and parenting books are in the same section, while infertility books are in the health section ... assuming that a store even carries one ... which really isn't all that likely.

But I've learned that my husband is quite exceptional after reading through a chapter in "The Infertility Companion" that explained some the of differences between men and women and the struggle to have a child. Many couples struggle with infertility and are usually always in different stages. The authors explain that women usually read about it more, talk about it more and think about it more ... and also usually move to consider adoption first. They also say that women usually read more and talk more than men in general ... I guess they haven't met my husband. I know he beats me daily in both of those activites. However, with that being said, I know I read more about infertility than he does and I also connect it with more activities than my dear. But on the whole, I would have to admit we are pretty close to always being on the same page. He talks about, he's concerned about it, he is willing and open to discuss anything on the topic ... and never do I feel like I'm being rushed or held back by him. If I've read something on the topic that I want to share with him, I simply ask and its done. No questions, no problems. And every once in a while I decide to bring up a topic about a possible next step ... sometimes a little wary about his reaction ... and every time he is supportive ... and more importantly we are able to move forward together.

Infertility is by far the greatest loss I've had to deal with, some days I nearly want to collapse with grief. In many marriages it causes problems; but I am blessed to have a caring and understanding husband ... his support and love makes it all bearable. And every day I am thankful that we are able to move forward as a team.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Letting God Take Control

Our devotions together (Thomas and myself) were quite on target the next morning after my last post. The book we are working on together right now is titled "15 Minute Devotions for Couples" by Bob and Emilie Barnes.

The story goes like this ... at first I saw God as an observer of my life, and a judge. Then I noticed more that we were on a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike ride with God in the back helping to pedal. But at some point, we switched places, I'm not sure when He suggested the change. "When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable. It was the shortest distance between two points. But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, through rocky places, and at breakneck speeds! It was all I could do to hang on! Even though it looked like madness, He said, 'Pedal!' I worried and was anxious and asked 'Where are you taking me?' He laughed and didn't answer. I started to learn to trust ... I did not trust Him in control of my life at first. I thought He'd wreck it. But He knows bike secrets. He knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, jump to clear high rocks, fly to shorten scary passages. And I'm learning to shut up and pedal. ... And when I'm sure I just can't do it any more, He smiles and says 'Pedal!'"

It's a very good message for every one, but especially for us few lucky ones that face infertility. It was a blessing to see such an on point message. I was happy to see such a clear message that I could apply to my life and now I am trying more to let God lead and to trust in Him ... and that is not only a good thing, but a great and wonderful thing.

The scripture of course that goes with this is Proverbs 3:5-6 - "Trust is the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Praying for Peace

I've been praying for peace and comfort for myself this week. There have been a lot of ups and downs on this road. The first few months after our first failed IVF was heartbreaking. My poor pastor must have thought he was doing a miserable job at church because I left the service every week for months bawling.

It's been a little better. There's been less crying; which means I'm not crying every day ... maybe only every other. But there is stress in other ways. Our first FET is around the corner and what this means is another chance for success ... or for failure.

I've always been the sort of person to plan, prepare, and control a situation if possible. Unfortunately, on this road you learn way too quickly life is not simple ... and life is certainly not in your control. So I try to control what I can. Over the last few weeks this means what can I do to try to increase my chances of a successful FET. Lose weight, more tests, more exercise, more tests?? I honestly feel like I owe it to our babies. Their chance at life hinges on a successful FET ... and that is quite a bit of stress to put on yourself.

When you believe as we do, that life begins at conception, the road of infertility is only more complicated and harder. I remember three days after we the eggs were fertilized we had thirteen embryos! Wow, can you imagine, thirteen starts to life ... can you imagine 13 children! Those few days were rough, because while we waited for the most "viable" embryos, what it meant to me was more of our children were dying. And you can trust me when I say I had a lot of worries, concerns that we had made the wrong choice. By day 5 we were down to six, and now we are at four. And our chances are much less than when we started ... about 35% is what we were told for each FET ... we should have two if everything goes as planned. And for everyone who says you didn't really lose anything ... that is a load of crap! Because I lost a two children, and I certainly lost hope.

So I feel like I owe to myself, and of course to them, to be proactive in our approach. Should I be tested to see if I am lacking certain uterine proteins that will prevent a embryo from implanting. If I am, its a 3-month dose of medicine to help treat. Simple enough. Or should we try acupuncture. There are studies out there that show a better success rate when combined with a few needles. No problem.

I feel like if it may make a difference, and I should emphasize "may," then we owe it to these young little babies to make the effort. Unfortunately, the doc doesn't quite feel the same way. He thinks a healthy and vital embryo will grow just about anywhere. So, we have had to decide what to do ... should we push for more, should we trust the doc.

I'm starting to see why so many infertile couples end up changing clinics for their second attempt at IVF. You learn what you are looking for, and its a struggle, because not only do you feel like you just wasted $12K learning what you want in a clinic ... you lose the babies ... and there is nothing you can do about it.

So recovering from the heartache of infertility seems to be an ongoing struggle as we deal with these issues in our life. These past few months have definitely been better. And we are trying to move forward and focus on areas of our life that need improving. We have been setting more goals for ourselves in many aspects of our lives. One of which is to post on this site at least twice a week.

But the days, weeks and months remain challenging.

Every week, we see the sweetest little children at church with captivating smiles and laughs … and I hope that one day a young child will look at both myself and my husband the way I see other children look at their parents.

My dream is that one day we will be able to add our child's laughter to our home.