i need to hide in a cave…

… to get away from all of these babies.

today was rough.  i couldn’t get away from babies to save my life.  as some of my fellow bloggers undoubtedly understand, i’ve already cut ties with facebook for the time being.  every pregnancy announcement, status update, or photo about a baby hurts.  easy solution, just don’t look any more.  wish i could do that with my interaction with the outside world – just don’t look any more.  how simple.  while i’m pretending to be functional and productive through infertility, i have to face babies or the reminder of them daily.

today, it started with seeing someone i hadn’t physically seen in a while – she now has a baby bump.  then i overheard a coworker discussing his wife’s upcoming delivery.  then i got an email about someone from a previous circle going into labor.  then i got a text message about a friend in a current circle going into labor.  stop with the babies already {wish i could scream that}.

it’s not that i’m not happy for these lucky people and their babies.  but every time i have a run-in with a pregnant lady or a baby, it’s a reminder that i’m not yet in the place i so desperately want to be.  it’s a reminder that {at least for now}, my path to motherhood will likely come through multiple shots a day, multiple internal ultrasounds, and multiple vials of blood every cycle.  this brings me deep pain.  my emotions are raw.  they are like an open sore that won’t heal.  and all of these reminders of babies are like salt on an open wound, further burning and stinging and agitating my ailment.

at times like this, i try to remind myself that everyone has/had/will have a struggle that hurts as bad as my battle with infertility hurts.  while their struggle may not be over conceiving and bearing a child, there is something else that brings pain.  i also try to remember that someone who does not know about my struggle likely looks at my life and thinks “boy does she have it all,”  just like i look at many mothers and think the same.  life is hard.

moment 13 of the devotion couples who long for children, discussed finding a bible verse that reminds me of God’s loving and faithful ways.  it asked the question “do you have a verse for your life to remind you of the happy ending to your story?  pick one out today and read it as often as possible.”  two verses come to mind.  one has repeatedly appeared throughout this infertility journey, the other is fairly new.  but these are the two i’m clinging to:

for with God nothing will be impossible {Luke 1:37}

those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.  he who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.  {Psalm 126:5-6}

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a friday meeting

after last weekend’s crying fest, most of which occurred during and immediately after church on sunday, i decided i needed to talk to someone.  someone who knows God and who can help me sort through my anger, frustration, sorrow, jealousy, hopelessness, and hopefulness {all of which may occur simultaneously} from a biblical and spiritual perspective.  so i asked my pastor, who has also practiced counseling, to meet with me.  thankfully, he agreed, so we sat down together yesterday afternoon.

he was a great listener as i shared my {and hubby’s} journey so far.  i told him about all of my many emotions and how i’m struggling with them in the context of my relationship with God.  the bible, various studies, church, people i look up to, and countless other sources always teach about “being thankful in all circumstances.”  i imagine this looks like peaceful harmony as i wait for God’s direction in this journey and then a blissful, happy ever after ending with all smiles and no tears along the way.  if i’m worried, frustrated and sad, am i really expressing thanks in all circumstances?  and because i’m human and will be upset about the situation, will God choose not to hear my prayer and work in my situation?  these are some of the questions i brought to my pastor.

my pastor first told me that i’m grieving.  he explained that grief is not just experienced with a death, but it can also be experienced with the loss of a job or a hope/dream that isn’t fulfilled.  makes sense.  then my pastor explained that grief causes anger, sadness, and a whole host of other emotions {again, sounds like what i’m experiencing}.  and then my pastor talked about how all of this is ok and how he wants me to share my anger with God.  He knows my every thought anyway, so it’s better to just openly talk with Him.  my pastor assured me that anger and thankfulness are not mutually exclusive, he assured me that i could experience both and that this is healthy.  he stressed the importance of not obsessing about my situation and still holding on to hope.  finally my pastor promised that when God closes one door, He always opens another.

i don’t know why i’m not a mother yet, why i had a miscarriage, or why 3 cycles of fertility treatment haven’t been successful.  i don’t know when i’ll finally become a mom or whether that child will come from my womb or the womb of a stranger.  some days i don’t know why i bother praying, hoping, and trusting.  i am glad to know that it’s ok to be upset and that it’s ok to tell God i’m mad.  this doesn’t mean i’m not thankful or that i’ve lost all hope.  at least now i can breathe easy knowing my prayers don’t always have to be sunshine and flowers and happy thoughts.

 

tears and trust

dear baby g,

this weekend was rough.  there was too much thinking, which led to doubt, which ultimately led to lots of crying.  and ugly crying at that.  crying at church, in the car, at my mom’s house.  yikes.

i think i’m getting IVF jitters.  perhaps it’s easier to doubt and not believe so that i won’t be as let down when you are not conceived with this round of treatment.

i didn’t pray to our Lord as much this weekend.  i couldn’t bring myself to ask for you again.  i did, however, think about hannah and her story.  while waiting for her baby, she had a hard time praying too; her lips moved as her heart prayed, but no sound was heard {1 Samuel 1:12-13}.  i also had the third day song “cry out to Jesus” on my mind.  i’ve cried out so much for you, baby g.  waiting for you hurts.

after my weekend pity party, i cracked open my bible and devotion book this morning.  i have no doubt that our Lord hears me, baby g.  both readings delivered a special message and restored an ounce of hope yet again.

those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.  he who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.  {Psalm 126:5-6}

my favorite part about these verses is the little footnote my life application study bible includes with them:

our tears can be seeds that will grow into a harvest of joy because God is able to bring good out of tragedy.  when burdened by sorrow, know that your times of grief will end and that you will again find joy.  we must be patient as we wait.  God’s great harvest of joy is coming!

then i read moment 6, “trust in the Lord,” of couples who long for children, inspired by Psalm 56:3-4. the last 3 sentences of the devotion really spoke to me:

how and when and whether you will have children is at the sole discretion of your Lord.  only God can determine your future – not a medical test, or a lab result, or even a highly renowned doctor.  so trust in the Lord, and do not be afraid.

waiting for you is hard.  but i have confidence the God hears the silent prayers of my heart.  He is just waiting for His perfect time to bring us together, baby g.

i love you,

{can i sign this} mommy {?}

book review: the infertility survival handbook

as i previously blogged, a friend shared 5 books about infertility with me.  my first read was “the infertility survival handbook – everything you never thought you’d need to know” by elizabeth swire falker.

overall, the book was very informative.  i would recommend it for someone who is just beginning the infertility journey and who may not have an official diagnosis yet.  the author spent a fair amount of time reviewing basic terminology in the infertility world, various causes of infertility (in both females and males), procedures to diagnose, and treatment options.  having been on my journey for over a year now, these chapters were less valuable to me, but would be beneficial to someone just boarding the roller coaster.

one thing i enjoyed about this book is the author’s sense of humor.  she is very candid, like many of the blogs i follow.  it just feels better to say it like it is, and i found myself relating to many of falker’s witty remarks.  below are a few selections that really resonated with me:

through all of this, the important thing to remember is that you are not alone.  countless women have and will ride the infertility roller coaster.  they survived, and so will you.

when i say that being infertile is hell, i mean hell.  this has been the most physically grueling and emotionally draining experience of my life.

dealing with infertility is a lot like peeling an onion: there are a lot of layers.  nothing ever seems to be straightforward.  you fix one problem, you discover another… diagnosing and treating infertility is an incredibly frustrating experience.  and it makes you cry.  you just have to keep peeling the layers away, even though you’re crying so hard you can’t see how many more layers there are to peel and how much smaller the onion is getting.

i found the chapter on “becoming your own advocate” empowering {although this was the shortest chapter of the book}.  i definitely do not feel as bad for “bugging” nurse mary with my many questions {you can read about that here}.

finally, the chapter “beginning your infertility treatment” was useful as i’m currently embarking on IVF for the first time.  this chapter had lots of good information on the various types of fertility drugs, what they do, how you inject, as well as a “typical” protocol for an IVF cycle.

i think i will read “conquering infertility – dr. alice domar’s mind/body guide to enhancing fertility and coping with infertility” next.  also, i will start “moments for couples who long for children,” which is a devotional.  had i realized this book was a devotional, i would’ve started it the day i received it.  i love a good devotional, and i’m excited to read the nuggets of inspiration this book has to offer.

not another mother’s day post

instead of telling you about my mother’s day {which was relatively uneventful and less dramatic than i anticipated}, i’m going to share an update.  i haven’t really provided an update since my post about being ready, so here it goes.  i expected to be waiting for provera until this wednesday, but right after i blogged about being ready and having to wait for another 1.5 weeks, my uterus decided to shed a little blood.  i spotted/lightly bled for 3 days over the weekend before last, which was a huge surprise considering i did not ovulate last “cycle” {if you can call it that}.  i called my RE’s office and they did a “no cycle day 1” screening consisting of blood work and an ultrasound.  all was quiet, so i was cleared to proceed with our IVF protocol.  hooray!!

i’m currently one week into the “suppression” phase {birth control pills}, with one week to go.

today i had a trial transfer and a sonohysterogram.  the trial transfer helped my doctor “map” out the path to my uterus in preparation for the embryo transfer.  the test was mildly uncomfortable only because i had to pee the whole time.  i was instructed to have a full bladder as it helps straighten out the uterine cavity so my RE could see the best possible route.  apparently my bladder was borderline too full {what can i say, i follow instructions; they should really be more clear if full is not what they want}.  the sonohysterogram was to make sure my uterine cavity was clear and free of obstructions like polyps.  both tests went well.  my uterus is in a normal position as opposed to being retroverted {that’s a first on a test actually coming back with positive results}.  and my uterus appeared to be in good shape.  what a blessing.

after this next week of birth control pills, i will return to my RE’s office for another baseline ultrasound and blood drawing.  if all is clear, we will proceed with the big guns {yay tummy shots, but seriously, yay!}.

i’m hopeful and prayerful that this first round of IVF goes smoothly for us – that the right quantity of follicles grow and that they contain mature, healthy eggs that can be fertilized.  and, i have faith.

be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer {Romans 12:12}

a note to nurse mary

nurse mary,

you need a new job.

how you can go out of your way to be exceptionally difficult to deal with is beyond me.  you are my doctor’s IVF nurse.  this means you deal with those of us who are living in infertility hell {and probably have been for a while}.  this state of my journey is certainly not a cake walk, and i don’t need you to make it any worse.

be nice.  answer my questions.  if i don’t use the correct fancy medical infertility term, please ask nicely for clarification instead of making me feel dumb.  and for goodness sake, go ahead and send the prescriptions for my fertility drugs to the pharmacy – we both know the insurance approval process can take a while.

i haven’t decided if i’m going to complain about you to your boss or try to win you over with baked goods.  next time you have another rude response, i may just call you out on it.  just do us both a favor and be sweeter from now on.  my anxiety levels would appreciate it.

xoxo,

ALG

i’m ready.

i’m ready, ready to start my period so we can get this show on the road.  but my body hasn’t gotten the memo just yet.  it’s day 25 of my cycle and there’s been no sign of ovulation.  i’ve been charting during this break month so i could try to keep tabs on things.  day 25 and the only thing my chart has to show is an ugly, choppy, roller coaster-like pattern.  no smooth temperature rise here.  {i wish i could say this is} shocking.

what’s funny is that my new acupuncturist was determined to “get me pregnant” on my own this cycle before we moved to IVF.  i loved his enthusiasm, but with no results i’m questioning his credibility.  i wasn’t expecting it to happen, but i thought i would at least ovulate in my usual fashionably late fashion.  is acupuncture really worth $75 a visit?  there are two ladies in my support system who are both infertility “survivors.”  they’ve made it to the other side and now have beautiful babies {multiple children each}.  one is adamantly against it, and the other is all for it.  so far my sample is evenly split.  does anyone have experience with acupuncture and {in}fertility?  is it worth pursuing still?

i have another 1.5 weeks of waiting.  if there’s still no period, my RE is going to prescribe provera to induce my period.  bring it on!  i’m ready for the next part of this journey to begin.

i usually read my bible every morning before work.  i didn’t have as much time as i usually do this morning, so i pulled up the bible gateway app on my phone to check out the daily verse.  it was a good one, a gentle reminder to pray and keep the faith.  nothing is too hard for my Lord.

now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  and if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. {1 John 5:14-15}