Category Archives: Peace

For Today I am Pregnant

However short-lived, this we do know today.

We got a text from our doctor this morning letting us know that of the four embryos, two were healthy blastocysts, the other two were at earlier stages.  At the appointment I first had an acupuncture treatment (yum), then Dr. C and the embryologist came back and showed us a picture of the to blasts.  They were beautiful (in my humble opinion).  I asked why they were oblong — more like a figure 8 than a circle — and the embryologist said it is because they already have begun to hatch, even better!

The other two are still hanging on, but one seemed to be stalled in its growth and would not result in a baby, and the other they are going to let grow through tomorrow morning and then check in.  If it has reached blastocyst stage (they estimate about a 50/50 chance) we will be able to freeze it for a later transfer.  You know what I’m praying for.

So, in the end, having two healthy blasts, we decided to transfer one and freeze one for a later transfer.  Both Dr. C and the embryologist were fine with whatever we wanted to do but felt more comfortable transferring one.  The likelihood of either of them becoming a baby is the same whether they’re transferred at the same time or separately.  So transferring one does a couple things for us: it reduces our likelihood of multiples, it gives us more than one transfer (praise God!!), and the second transfer may even be slightly more optimal than this one because the uterine lining tends to be healthier when your body has not just undergone stimming and retrieval.  This second transfer could always even be for our second child down the road, if all goes well this go round!

All in all, the disappointment from the low fertilization rate has been quelled a bit and we are very grateful to likely get to have one other transfer from this IVF/retrieval process.  I have to admit, physically I feel pretty cruddy right now.  No one warned me how rough it can be post-retrieval!!  This is the worst part by far!  My ovaries will continue to be enlarged for another couple weeks, my digestion is whack thanks to the anesthesia and progesterone (which was so high it didn’t register on the clinic’s machine — just what they want to see), I’ve been sleeping terribly thanks to those symptoms and the side effect of the steroid, eating isn’t sounding so great but I’m guessing is kind of important for staying pregnant, and I overall feel like I just might pop.  Of course it is all worth it to give the little pearl babies a fighting chance but I will say I am glad I’m taking off the remainder of the week from work to rest and recuperate.

So tonight I am more pregnant than I ever have been (or known I have been) before.  Our embryo is with us, the beginning of a baby.  I’m imagining it continue to hatch and slowly make its way to a comfy spot in my uterus to hang out for nine months.  (We will know a week from Friday.)  I’m connecting with it and praying for him or her.  Trying to be at peace and in the moment in this emerging relationship.

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Today I Had Zero Shots

After the four yesterday, and the fourteen(ish) the week
prior, I am glad that part is over.  My ovaries are officially
giant, last antagon and stimming are finished, trigger has
happened.  All is quiet tonight. Tomorrow morning is our
retrieval.  I can’t believe it.  I feel like I’m in some
kind of whack time warp where tomorrow can’t come quick enough and
yet I can’t believe it is here.  Tomorrow our follicles will
leave the warm comforts of my body for a hot date in the lab with
some stud sperm.  Hopefully they have sharpened up on their
pick-up lines and are ready to make some magic. Tomorrow night our
potential babies will be made. It really is awe-inspiring.  It
can be easy to lose sight of the miracle of it all amidst the
logistics of the past, well really, two years.  There is so
much striving for a baby, so many things to pay attention to and
keep your eye on, appointments to go to, research to complete, that
those details necessarily come to inhabit more space in your mind
than that elusive baby, child.  But tomorrow really is the
beginning of life.  (Not intended to be a political
statement!) I am feeling good, a bit anxious about the process,
tomorrow’s news, the news Saturday morning with the fertilization
report, the news two weeks from tomorrow when we learn what has
come of this all.  How could I not be, with all that is riding
on it all?  I’m worried I won’t be able to sleep tonight but
am remembering all of the prayers being spoken for us tonight and
am finding peace amongst the internal, excited clamor. Goodnight
Moon.  Goodnight Hubs.  Goodnight sweet Pearls.
 Tomorrow night we’ll be apart but you’ll be well on your

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Today Our Dog Got Neutered

Oh, the irony of all ironies.  We dropped the little meatball off at the vet on our way to our first monitoring ultrasound of IVF.  He is back tonight and all is well, although he appears quite drunk from the anesthetics, whimpering excessively and his legs sprawling out with every attempt to sit up.

While his fertility was being compromised, we were getting a good look at my ovaries on steroids and were pleased with what we saw.  About 13 leaders ranging from 7-11 mm, and several others trailing behind, about where it should be for day 5 of stimming.  No cysts, lining looked good, and estradiol was in the 300s, so we’re staying on our course and will do it all again in two days to check in on those little pearls.  Which my doctor refers to as chocolate chips and, today, chocolate chunks.  I guess it didn’t take her long to realize cookie metaphors were what I needed to track with the medical jargon.

My week in TIBWM speak:

Monday: Today I Met Hapa!
She and Monika put the pieces together that she was in our area a few months ago and we finally made it happen to celebrate Hapa’s pregnancy.  She had her first ultrasound yesterday and got to see the heartbeat!  So exciting.  I think she was the first blog I followed so I’ve been rooting for her for a long time, and meeting her only further confirmed that she is a fabulous woman who would make a great mother.  Go Baby Hapa!

Tuesday: Today I Know the Meds are Working
As I was driving home from class I suddenly felt a pang in the ovaries and was kept awake that night by that pressure and a pretty rough headache.  I caved and took Aleve and finally went to sleep, but the headache is getting harder to fight each day since.  In my RE’s words today, I have hopped aboard the hormone roller coaster.  Acupuncture today provided some relief and I continue to find it fascinating how complex our bodies are.  Working on a point in the leg can address throbbing in the temple, how wild is that?

Wednesday: Today I Turned 31!
We were on our way to dinner and realized we’d forgotten to do our nightly injection and had to run back home.  I take it as a good sign (albeit a little concerning) that we forgot about IVF for a few moments in the midst of celebrating.  Also, as I opened my card from my husband I read that he had addressed it to my name and “Team Pearl,” causing me to cry and struggle to compose myself.  Further evidence that the meds had kicked in and that I have the best husband ever.

And now, today.  We’re primarily feeling hopeful and excited, save the headaches.  We have a host of people in this with us and it is palpable.  I feel at peace and attribute that to their prayers and support.  The meals friends have brought have been an enormous help as we juggle work, appointments, scheduling injections, and real life.  I can’t begin to describe the peace and comfort their support and presence bring us.

When we had our first IUI the doctor told us about a study in Israel where pregnancy rates were higher in patients who watched a clown performance post-IUI than those who did not.  She encouraged us to find something funny to entertain ourselves with for the wait after, and today’s video is one we watched for at least one of our IUIs, maybe more.  In honor of the pup’s anesthesia and mine upcoming, one of my top five youtube videos to share with you:

And I’m off to the pet store to buy a cone!

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Today I Clipped a $4400 Coupon

Last Monday I got a glimpse at the team.  I was in for my saline ultrasound and as I saw the round black spaces show up on the screen, I was taken aback.  There they are, I thought, in awe.  Those are our little guys.  That’s who we’re going to be watching the next several weeks.  That’s them.  I spoke this aloud to my doctor — because I can be candid like this with her — and she replied, with excitement, “There’s Team [insert last name here]!  Go guys!”  Yes, there’s the team.  What a wild thought.

How very “pre” this experience is in so many ways.  That has to be the earliest look at one’s baby possible — if, of course, this results in a baby.  Telling my dad about this he again confidently assured me that it would and hinted at wanting a copy of such a photo himself.  If this works out I will certainly make that happen.  So pre, too, in that I’m in on this early stage of conception which most couples are oblivious to.  So pre, in that I’m talking to my dad about my ovaries, which I can say with certainty I never have done before.

The past two weeks have been so full of infertility and IVF advancements.  My thoughts have been spinning and I’ve written many a blog post in my head, but time and access to my computer can’t seem to keep up.

Perhaps the hugest update to share is the gift that came in the form of an email last week from our IF pharmacy’s patient coordinator.  At our nurse training last week we went over the various medications, learning how to time and mix and inject them, and the nurse called in the thirteen prescriptions I will be taking the next few weeks.  It was overwhelming, and as we walked out I realized that, oh yeah, we need to pay the clinic!  It’s surprised me lately how my mind is so all over the place that I’ve been overlooking some very obvious details about the process.  Hubs and I discussed how to move money around from our various accounts to pay the different folks involved: the clinic, the acupuncturist, the pharmacy.

The email from my pharmacy came in and stated that our total came to $317.  I knew this was not right and immediately was on the phone.  Our plan covers $5000 of infertility diagnostics, but nothing else.  We had planned to pay this all out of pocket.  In speaking with her, however, she explained that they had submitted it to insurance and that our plan would be covering $4400 of the meds.  I was stunned and told her there must be a mistake, but she assured me that it had been submitted and this was final, this was what they were paying.  What a gift.  $4400 we expected to pay was taken care of, just like that.  I’m still having a hard time believing it.  We met with the financial coordinator at the clinic Monday and she was in disbelief herself, saying it must have been a fluke and she has no explanation for it.  This feels like reassurance and just a mercy and gift.  And I’ll try to keep my skepticism at bay.

Another enormous thing is just how attentive and caring my doctor and fertility center are.  I don’t know how to capture it here, but one example is that they give out journals to all of their IVF patients.  I could feel her hope and excitement for us as she let me pick out the color — green, of course, for new life and the color I’ve dreamt of painting a nursery one day.

And then there’s the care package from my friend Laura, well into her health pregnancy with her little angel after her fourth IVF.  She’s rooting for me and “here” via her texts and phone calls, and the package’s bubble bath and inordinate amount of chocolate.  And the bag of Hershey’s kisses that came in the overwhelming box of meds last Friday.

All of these little things accumulate, and for me are adding up to a place of peace and a feeling of being held and contained in this scary, surreal process.

Seeing the team again this Monday — I’m calling them “Team Pearl” because 1) that would be a sweet last name and 2) they looked like perfectly round pearls huddled together, ready to go — I already felt attached.  I’m noticing more of the hope than I’ve had in a long time, noticing myself follow the fantasy a little further of a child who could come of this process.  I stay in it for a moment, but gingerly, and then tiptoe backward out.  Not wanting to get too at home there, nor wanting to disturb it or shake it.

Today I’m thinking about them, all lined up.  Healthy, rested, energized, and ready to receive the nourishment coming their way.  The gate of birth control is up and they’re off to the races.

We’re all rooting for you, little pearls.  We are rooting for you.

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Today I’m Rich

“And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” -Rev. 21:3

This verse is giving me great comfort today, as I’ve realized lately that much of my questioning and struggle boil down to the question, is God good?  Scripture says it outright countless times, yet I still find it hard to believe.  Believe at a heart level.  I question how a God who is sovereign and good could allow the kinds of suffering that I see and that I experience myself.  My own suffering pales in comparison to some of the horrors occurring in others’ lives and around the world.  How do sin and the fact that we live in a fallen, broken time and place factor in?  It feels easier to swallow that sin and brokenness are the default for now but that Jesus is entering into it and redeeming it all even now.  It somehow feels more compassionate — but perhaps just easier to swallow — that this suffering isn’t what the Lord wills, that He wants something different for us, wants us to not have to anguish for the past two years, wants our bodies to be working, wants us to be parents already, wants to take away the pain, is crying with us and wants to wipe our tears.  Can He be as good and as compassionate if He is willing this suffering and this situation for us?  For others around the world?

Not easy questions, not ones I am really trying to answer here.  And maybe it doesn’t even matter.  If I play with the ideas in my mind, I tend to think so — think in my head — but in my limited human-ness it seems to break down somewhere, leaving me wondering about a sadistic god who would will such pain for greater good.  I hate to even write the words.  Could there be a greater good?

For the longest time that has felt impossible and at the very least, trite.  But I dare say I’m beginning to experience some of it.  See it, taste it.  Taste and see that the Lord is good.

I’m coming out the other side.  It sounds crazy to say when we haven’t even started IVF yet, we haven’t a clue what the outcome will be.  I’m feeling more like myself again, only a more mature, seasoned version.  A little deeper, a little more dimensional.

My friend Katherine, someone I’ve grown closer to only through this time of suffering, is one of those people who just gets it.  I can pick up with her and instantly feel understood, not to mention less like a crazy person.  Katherine wrote me after our final IUI attempt failed and I asked her if I could share it here on my blog.  It is just too beautiful to keep to myself and I hope some other infertiles can find it useful.  Her words encouraged me greatly at that time and continue to as I’m beginning to experience some of what she talked about.  (As an aside, her email is also a perfect example of how to be an amazing friend to an infertile.  I keep it in my inbox and about five other cards in my journal, all containing priceless words my amazing friends have sent me the past year.)

Hey –
Just wanted to drop you a line and let you know that we’re thinking about you guys.  [My husband] told me that you came in for prayer about next steps, which was sad news (since I was a little behind on the blog and hadn’t heard about this month yet) and also so encouraging that you guys are doing things like getting prayed for.  I can think of about 1000 times we should have done that but it never occurred to us.

I am so sad to hear that your little one did not arrive this last month.  We really mourn with you, my friend.  Such an exhausting and grueling process. It’s very exciting news that you’re moving forward with IVF, though.  On to a new adventure.  🙂  I know it may not feel like it, but you are in the thick of something big in your life.  If you were to graph your growth over time (the inside kind, of course), it is taking a steep upward turn these days while you gain a treasure-trove of experience, wisdom, future empathy for other women going this path, and all sorts of other things that you might not have wanted, but are getting nonetheless.  Count on it – if you hang in, you will get your baby one day – and unlike all those other lamos who got pregnant on the first try, you’ll have that treasure trove to go with it.

Needless to say, I hope and pray that you have both of those things very soon.  🙂  We’d love to see you guys sometime soon.  We can talk and lament over this stuff, or just ponder the final scene of DA.  Either is fine.  🙂

How beautiful is that?  (And great that she deeply empathizes, mourns with us, has faith for us, and relates to the feeling that super-fertile people are lamos. 🙂 )  I replied to her that I would hang on to this image because, at that moment and for a long time before, I was not feeling an ounce of growth or feeling God’s nearness.

I am beginning to get a very real sense of this treasure trove, though; I think that day is coming.  I’m increasingly aware of a feeling that I’ve gained something the past two years.  In a time that has felt so dry and agonizing and empty.  I think that depth and dimension are exactly what she was talking about.  Maybe He can use this — whether He willed it or not — maybe this treasure trove is worth the suffering, and that He, in fact, in all His goodness helped me in the suffering and brought and is bringing this treasure into fruition without an ounce of my own effort.  I never thought I would say that and really mean it — not as a defense against my pain and confusion — but I don’t think I imagined what and how good the treasure could be.

We still await a child.  We still do not know how or when the Lord will bring him or her to us.  We wait and we wait.  We wait and are in anguish and are comforted.  We wait uncertain and fearful and aware that He desires to wipe away our every tear.  We wait, praying He continues to build that treasure trove, praying that above all on the other side the treasure is good and that we will know and taste His goodness.

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