Tag Archives: #infertilitysensitivity

Today There are Still Four

Just got the update and all four embryos are still moving forward!  We have two 8-cell, one 7-cell, and one 6-cell.  Dr. C said she thinks we’re looking at one to two blastocysts on transfer day Wednesday and that she would be surprised if there were fewer, ecstatic if there were more.

I will continue to pray our four embryos fighting in the incubator down the road and that there would be four healthy blastocysts on Wednesday.

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Today Commences My Leggings-a-thon

We did it folks.  First injection!  (100 IU Follistim, 75 Menopur.)  Our amazing friend Monika came over to walk Hubs through it and they both did wonderfully.  Monika is a newer friend who has adopted me as her IVF friend after she saw the process through for our mutual friend Laura (referenced in my last post).  She is the sweetest and so generous with her time and listening and baking skills just because she wants to offer support and because she is addicted to hope.  She is the epitome of how to be a good friend to an infertile person (maybe I’ll have her write a guest post on the topic sometime.  You up for that, Mon?).

I used to be nervous about the injections but thankfully I’ve gotten over that-ish and now I’m just really eager for our first monitoring visit later this week.  I know the next few days I’m going to be thinking, “What is going on in there?”  I’m feeling good about it all and ready to get this show on the road after all of the waiting and preparing.  I’m sure there will be many emotions and not all so optimistic, but I’ll take the good cheer for now.

Speaking of good cheer, leggings are my comfort clothing and what I plan to unapologetically don for the duration of stimming as my ovaries progress from almond-sized to peach-sized (according to the nurse at our training last week).  Except for going to work, which I think is lame that I have to continue doing, but, whatever.  Yesterday was Hubs’ birthday and so I wore my tightest pants possible out for our night on the town with our buddies, bidding them farewell for the next couple weeks as we welcome the peaches.  And hopefully for longer if this all works out.

I’m going to try to blog daily-ish through IVF with brief updates, and they probably won’t be very profound, I’m just accepting that now.  But I think it’s worth chronicling a bit of what a couple experiences in this process.  I’ve also decided to include in each post some form of hilarity procured from the internet because of its power to help me step back from IVF tunnel vision.  Feel free to share any that you love in the comments section; that would make me really happy.

Happy Lenten season!: 

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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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Today I’m Buying Out Whole Foods

So I have been a big-time grumpy grouper this week.  My mental life has been a bit of a wreck.  I’m playing some quite destructive mind games, like defending myself over and over in my mind to a colleague who had a negative response to news about my infertility (downplaying it, weighing whose suffering is worse, and criticizing my financial decisions).  Doubting and feeling guilty about my efforts to make life more manageable right now and worrying others also believe things about me and infertility like aforementioned colleague.  And premourning next week and already freaking out about it.

Throw on top of that unexplained snippiness with my husband, likely related to both the hormones and these bad thought patterns, and uncomfortable physical symptoms (including terrible breaking out and weird uterus feelings ever since the IUI — is this normal?) and I can hardly stand myself.  Thank goodness I did actually get decent sleep this week.  (And that my candidate won the election!)  I guess the unifying theme is that I’m feeling alone, feeling some distance between me and the world.

As someone in a helping profession I’ve always had difficulty feeling comfortable talking about myself, and with infertility I find it really hard to know how to convey to others how I’m feeling or doing on any given day or at a meta level, how awful infertility is.  Sometimes, then, I end up feeling down and a bit stuck inside myself, believing others don’t understand or care enough to understand.  I wish there were a book out there to give to others explaining infertility, the work it requires, the continuous feelings of loss.  Maybe some of the IF community’s blog posts could be compiled someday to create this.

At the support group I recently joined (yep, you heard that right) one of the women mentioned how her doctors consistently remind her that her stress is real and legitimate and that research shows that stress levels in women with infertility are equivalent to those with cancer or HIV diagnoses.  These days I’m really wishing people got that.  I worry that others might see my feelings as overblown or overdramatic, so really, I wish someone else would communicate this for me.  Having research saying it helps.  I guess I’m wanting both understanding and validation of my pain from others.  I want them to say, “I know this is terrible for you.”  And maybe “What do you need?” like we do when people get a scary, life-changing medical diagnosis.

I ended up realizing slowly over the week that some of my thoughts are askew and that there really are a lot of people in our corner.  My friend Wesley faithfully sent another email checking in on me, I remembered a few people Sunday really meaning it when they asked how I was doing and in fact noting how awful this process is, a friend let me cry to her and followed up with a card the next day asking how she can advocate for me, my dad texted yesterday to let me know he was thinking of me, my co-worker left delicious toffee in the break room for me with a note.  Why do I continue to feel all alone and doubt whether others care when I can recount things like this almost every week?

No idea, but I think it shows the depth and power of the fear and longing and deep need.

I realize that this long road takes a good deal of endurance for our support systems too, and I of course do not want to wear people out as they walk with us.  I hate being grumpy with my husband and not knowing exactly why.  I hate the feeling of needing to explain myself and not being able to do it.  And honestly I hate needing things from other people.  If I’m learning nothing else in this process, it is that I am desperate and dependent and that is something I’ll never escape, even and especially if a baby comes along.

As I’ve begun to let in these kind things from others this week, I’ve slowly felt a little lighter.  I spent the morning dropping off canned goods people from our church gathered and talking with some dedicated people there who care a lot about homelessness.  I prepared for the arrival of my pal since 5th grade, sat in the sun that’s back in town, and let myself go wild at Whole Foods.  Pear cider, ginger dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds…so excited.  Today I’m choosing not to believe everything I hear — from others or myself — and today I’m choosing joy.

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Today’s Metaphor

Ahhh…a week at the beach, amazing what it does for the soul.  I had a great week on vacation and away from technology.  It also was full of lots of observations and realizations, many difficult ones which made me all the more thankful that I was on vacation and had some space to take it all in.  Several of these observations came as a result of an unfortunate incident on vacation, so below I will share with you Today’s Metaphor.

Ways Infertility is Like Your Husband Losing His Wedding Ring in the Ocean:

1) Oh, crap.  Really?  That easy?  It was just here, within grasp, and now it’s gone!?
We assume all our lives that we will have a biological child, and yet seemingly so quickly the idea of that happening (or happening easily and naturally anyway) can slip away.  Seriously?  We’ve tried almost everything already?

2)  And there’s a sting ray in my face?!
And yes, a sting ray appeared right after he lost it.  Turns out you don’t just get dealt one bad card in your life, or in a month for that matter, like I used to theorize.  None of the other things this year have been dire, but I’m kind of ready for the poopy stuff to quit happening.  Don’t kick me while I’m down!!

3) This search is even more serious than “finding a needle in a haystack.”  It’s a gosh darn vast ocean, after all — that moves.  And titanium is light as all get-out.  This feels entirely impossible.
I will say it again, this feels entirely impossible.  That feeling of searching the water, the sand bars, the shores, the shells, it really was useless.  And felt all too familiar, too similar to our infertility journey.  Just standing there, searching feebly, getting hit by waves, sad and helpless.  If this is going to happen, it’s going to be completely the Lord.

4) “Nephews, we will give you whatever toy you’d like if you find the ring!”
Bargaining.  Third in the stages of grief, typically occuring after denial and anger.  Wishful thinking bordering on superstition, but it feels like it’s worth a try.  There was also something really comforting about having our family involved, everyone jumped in (literally) and helped with the search.  This, too, is what we need for infertility.  For folks to say “we’re in it with you,” to ask us about it, to not be afraid of our feelings, to get wet and maybe even knocked around in the waves with us a bit.

5) I’m grieving but it seems like everyone around me is frolicking happily along.
What an odd feeling to be searching for that symbol that has been a part of his everyday life in a physical way and a central part of our vow for so long, panicky and sad, but looking 20 yards over at people laughing and enjoying a beer and playing in the ocean.  It’s just an odd part of infertility, going along in your day and operating normally with grief close within reach all the time, but most people have no idea.

6) You could just stare at the ground the rest of your life and miss the beauty around you.
It was hard to not continue to keep one eye out even after we’d given up the search, and I would catch everyone else doing the same.  I’m trying so hard not to be obsessed with trying to conceive or all that I feel daily about it being so difficult.  I think there’s a real balance between glancing down occasionally, doing our part, but also remembering there’s a great big world out there for us to enjoy and engage in — the sun setting on the water, the enormous horizon seemingly all around us, family there, other things to talk about.  We don’t have to deny, but we also don’t have to let it rule us or (dare I say?) be an idol.

7) It could ruin your day (or vacation or life) if you let it but at some point you just have to accept it and say good-bye.
I wish I could say we found the ring, but no such luck.  There was something peaceful about accepting it was gone and that we could stop the search, say our farewells to the vast ocean that contains it, and mourn it.  (And I personally liked to imagine dolphins playing with it along with the four pairs of sunglasses, power ranger, headband, and goggles we also lost that week.)  Good-bye ring, and good-bye anguish with it.  No, we’re not there yet with fertility, we’re still hoping against all hope we will get pregnant, but I do continue to see the need for accepting where we are and even that conception likely won’t happen for us without IVF.  We are having to say good-bye to that picture we had in our minds.  There is something different for us and no matter how hard we fight it, we can’t make that easier path be true.

So those are my musings on those terrible moments, but really I felt like I was seeing a ton in them about infertility and about myself.

Other highlights of vacation, however, included riding waves on the sea kayak and toppling several times in front of hundreds of people on the beach.  I like failing when I don’t care, not to mention Hubs and I laughing a ton together.  We needed that.  I also got to talk to my dad more about what we’re going through and it was a really sweet moment.  I rarely in my life have cried or been very vulnerable with him, so it was good to let go and also to be comforted by him.

Perhaps the best moment, though, was taking the kayak out really far off the coast and Hubs and I screaming at the top of our lungs to infertility.  Don’t judge.  A hearty “F— you, Infertility!” or two works wonders.  I highly recommend it.

And finally, I put this label on myself about a year ago, but it is official: I am a severe pre-mourner.  As my sister and I planned the meals for vacation a couple weeks ago and we talked about our Friday meal, I started to feel sad already about the vacation coming to a close.  That was TWO weeks before the vacation even started!  I have a problem!!  She was kind to point out to me that there’s no wonder why I’m a pre-mourner as an (in)fertile woman.  Expecting you probably won’t get pregnant two weeks before it’s even possible — that’s the name of the game!  I guess to counter-act any potential hope crash.  So as I’m awaiting Thursday and the likely negative news (especially since we didn’t do an IUI this month), I’m trying not to feel sad about that yet or frustrated by all that’s ahead of us the following month.  The bigger deal is not pre-mourning a “no” with our final IUI and having to decide about IVF vs. adoption.  I want to strike the balance of thinking ahead enough to know where we’ll go next but also not borrowing feelings from tomorrow that do me no good today.  We’ll see how that goes.

So today my vacation is over and it is time to mourn that, but it’s also nice to be back to the pup, a warm fire in the fireplace, and the return of fall.  Maybe #6 is already sinking in!

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