What {IF} this is the end of trying?

Friday, April 30, 2010

Although I am squeaking in at the last second, I do want to recognize that this week is National Infertility Awareness Week. You can learn more about it here. And, over at Stirrup Queens, they are doing a project with Resolve that I really wanted to be a part of.

Because I am naturally an optimistic person (so I am sure that this IVF will work, ahem), it is hard (almost impossible?) to consider that we won't ever be pregnant. But after a year of fairly intensive treatments, we are almost out of emotional steam and actual dollars. So we are pretty sure that if this IVF doesn't work, we'll be taking an indefinite break from specialist-involved TTC'ing while we save up some more baby-making dollars. (Is that when we will get magically naturally pregnant??)

But, per my title, what if this is the end of trying?

I have wanted to write about this a couple of times before, but I always feel like it is so contrary to my natural state of being that it would be out of place here and taking up my time focusing on something that I don't really want to focus on.

But it's a possible reality that I have to be prepared for.

On the one hand, if this is the end of trying, there are some forseeable benefits. With having to drive 40 minutes one way to the RE at least once a week for the last 3/4 of a year, all the monitoring and appointments have wreaked havoc on my work momentum, and it would be nice to have that back. It'd be nice to not have a permanent bruise on my left arm where they draw blood. It'd be nice to not feel guilty about having a glass of wine or missing a day of prenatal's. We can schedule horseback riding lessons as our something-we've-never-done-before summer activity. I can put away the sharps box and clear off the dining room table of all the syringes and medicine boxes and alcohol swabs.

But on the other hand, I can barely imagine what my day-to-day life would look like. What will I blog about? How long will it take to save up for more treatments or adoption? Will I use my fertility monitor anyway? (Compared to the monitoring I've grown accustomed to, the fertility monitor is so elementary!) What will my mom say when I tell her we've stopped treatments? Will I have to learn to live childfree with a smile….forever? (My first "what if" question here!) How will I react to friends who get pregnant without trying while we're not trying? What will help me accept that we're not trying anymore? How will I hope for a miracle baby when my hormone levels aren't very good without medication?

I am big on hope, so the last one really hits me hard. I fully believe that God can create life whenever He wants to, but it is going to be difficult for me to hope for this because I have come to know that my hormones aren't really peaking as high as they're supposed to. How long will it take me to reach a balance of a bearable level of hoping while not trying? Is that even possible?

The first one is a biggie, too. I love this community and all the bloggers I have met!! Will they want to read my blog still, if it's not about meds and cycle days and hormone levels? Can I still call it an infertility blog if we're not actively trying? What will I write about? It has been so great to be able to use this as an emotional outlet. I imagine I will still enjoy having the emotional outlet, but about what?

As I just re-read this draft, I notice in a very big way that although I can pick out several "good" things about not trying, there are a seemingly endless number of questions that flood over when it comes to what if this is the end? And maybe that's what makes it so hard. Just as starting fertility treatments is stepping into an unknown world, I think stopping fertility treatments is similarly daunting. I don't know how I will cope. I don't know what is coming next. I don't know how we will shift our lives back to the way it was before we had an inch-thick chart at the RE's office.

I'd venture to say that I'm not the only one who's been at this crossroads. National Infertility Awareness Week (link here) shines such a needed light on those of us struggling in darkness. Infertility (link here) affects so many couples, and it's sad that in so many circles it is still treated as a lack-of-relaxing situation.

And so, to leave you with my positive (and more characteristic) "What IF" statement..

What if this cycle "ends" with our baby?

And going....

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I am back from my whirlwind work trip. It is so good to be home! And I am so thankful that home is a place I love to be.

But really, enough about home. I had another u/s today!

It's so nice to hear (again) that my uterus is beautiful and the lining is perfectly trilaminar. Now we just have to get a bugaboo in there!

My follies are all still growing, but some are not quite big enough to where my RE wants to trigger (21mm, 18mm, 2 14mm's, and 12mm). At first I was a little worried about this, but I had only taken 7 doses of follistim prior to the ultrasound and in all my other follistim cycles, I had stimmed for 9 or so days prior to the trigger. So for me, I think I'm still on track. Our goal (prayer request) is that at least four follies are at least 16mm by my next ultrasound on Saturday morning. I think we can do this!!

So, I wrote all the big checks and signed off on the anesthesia order and all that before I left the office. Whoa. I think my RE is encouraged by what he saw today and pretty much assuming things will look the way he wants them to on Saturday. Please Lord!

I am so grateful for how this cycle has gone so far and I'm still very hopeful and positive that we'll be pregnant this time! But I think I'm getting nervous! If all looks good on Saturday, ER will be Monday!!

Still going!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Had quite the busy day yesterday, so didn't get a chance to write a new post sooner!

The ultrasound yesterday went really well! Lining is already going trilaminar, and all follies are still growing (sizes in the Detailed TTC page over to the right)!! Since it'd only been two days since my last ultrasound, the growth wasn't a large amount, but I think everything is still going in the right direction! I started the ganirelix yesterday and am continuing on the follistim. My estrogen is still on the low end I think, but it's higher after 4 days of stims than it was last cycle after 5 days of stims. So I'm very encouraged by that!! I'm hoping it really takes off soon!

I have another ultrasound Thursday afternoon, so the earliest ER could happen is Saturday morning I think, based on me not doing my trigger till Thursday night. But of course that's not set in stone- we'll see what the follies look like on Thursday and then go with whatever my RE recommends! I don't mind waiting a couple extra days to let all the follies mature, although it would be nice to have ER on the weekend so Mr. A wouldn't have to take the day off to take care of his anesthesiaed wife!!

I am trying really hard to remain confident that these follies will be healthy and strong and mature and ready to become our baby. But let's face it, it is scary when most other people retrieve (way) more than 5 and only half of theirs end up fertilizing....but I know that God does not need any specific number or threshold to create our first little one(s).

I think my RE is pleased with how things are going this time, so that is encouraging! I am thankful he was up for trying a new protocol!!

It'll be a busy week the rest of the week for me- I'm travelling tomorrow and Thursday for work (let's hope there is no traffic on Thursday because I will have just enough time to make to my RE appt in the afternoon and if there is traffic, I'm gonna be late!!). I will update as soon as I can catch my breath!! Thank you all for praying for us- we're hoping for a much different (positive, duh!) outcome this cycle than last!!!

Is this happening?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Good morning, I'm coming to you live from I can't believe this is happening- another good ultrasound this morning!!! I now have FIVE follicles- 2 at 14mm and 3 at 10mm!!! I mean, can you believe it?! I know this is peanuts compared to y'all who end up with like 30 follicles or something, but relatively speaking for me, I am just incredibly thankful!!

My RE is actually a little wierded out by the big guys- I guess they should not really be so big already. But he said it doesn't necessarily mean they're bad, just unusual; the 10mm ones are right where they should be, and so we just have to pray that they keep growing!! He also said that more could pop up. Really?!

After what happened last time, this morning as I was glazing the cinnamon rolls that rose overnight, the evil thought that there'd only be two follicles this morning came fleeting by my brain. But I definitely wasted no time in booting that little guy out of my head, to be replaced with the prevailing good gut feeling this time. Take that, negativity!!

I am so thankful for this second chance. I am thankful that we had the guidance to not force the ER last time. I am so thankful for the feeling in my heart right now.

So, if you want, join us in praying that our little 10mm ones will grow healthy and strong! We have great faith that the Lord is going to do immeasurably more than we can think of!

I have another ultrasound (and bloodwork) Monday morning and expect to start Ganirelix also on Monday. My RE is estimating that ER will either be April 30 or May 1!! Praying the Lord will bless us this time!!

In other news, I think my nurse is pregnant. I don't think that should be allowed...

All systems GO

Thursday, April 22, 2010

To be honest, the last thing I feel good about doing is posting about my (very good) ultrasound this morning, after reading the heartbreaking news that Al lost another precious little one. Please go over and leave her a hug, if you haven't already...

But in the interest of documentation, it was a very good ultrasound for me this morning. If you can believe it, I already have 2 lead follicles and several other smaller ones! I start follistim 350iu tonight, and my RE (and I) are hoping that the smaller ones catch up soon. I think they will- I have a great feeling about this cycle!! I'll have another ultrasound Saturday morning because he doesn't want to start the Ganirelix too late and have me start surging on my own.

(Oh yah, I added a "pages" widget on my sidebar and put all the detailed cycle info on its own page...it was getting too wordy for just the sidebar!)

AND, I asked him for the PIO, and he said he'd have my nurse call in the prescription for it. The nurse told me like 3 times that the shot is thick, but you know what, I'm pretty sure it will hurt when I have to labor with this baby, so I think I can handle another injection. But I appreciate her concern!! For once!! Hahahahahaha :)

And I went to acupuncture after going to get the ingredients for some homemade granola! We are taking eating "whole" seriously around here! And that gal's blog is my new favorite thing to read- talk about oatmeal inspiration for me! I just started adding a teaspoon of our favorite organic strawberry and rhubarb jam to my oatmeal, and it is like heaven!!

Acupuncture was excellent, as usual!! I was picturing my small baby follicles getting ready to receive the follistim tonight!!

In the course of the last week or so, I have shared our struggle with a couple friends for the first time. It is so comforting to have fresh, new, and devoted prayer partners (in addition to you, long-hauler's!)! I am feeling so much more positively about this cycle, it's kind of amazing. And very cool. Let's hope it stays what way! Please, Lord!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lots to catch up on!! And I am so glad that song spoke to some of you- of course you're welcome to post it on your personal blogs!!!

We had a great weekend- of course it was over too soon. Had a sort of "pang of IF moment" while I was hanging up clothes and listening to the neighbors yell at their kids (our neighborhood is pretty much in the middle of what used to be a pasture, so voices carry really far....). I mean, God, I know that our kids will not be perfect and we will likely have to raise our voice at them at some point in their lives, but we are praying for a child to love and not one to yell at because they are squirming out of their car seat....

I took a test on Saturday (12dpo), and it was negative, so I pretty much had a chance to prepare myself for CD1, which finally came this morning. I am so thankful that I started on time, although I wasn't really expecting to. I am trying again to go cramp-pain-med-free this time!!! I'm hoping I can do it- I didn't get to acupuncture yesterday, but I'm hoping to go on Thursday.

And I wanted to thank you for all your comments and prayers as we decided whether to get a second opinion. We have decided to cancel the consult and stick with our current RE. We are encouraged that our RE has decided to change the protocol on his own (and who knows, he may have even consulted the other RE's about my case before talking to me about it). I really wanted to respect Mr. A's guidance on this one- he has been so supportive and awesome through all of these medicines and treatments, and so when he felt we could cancel the consult, that's what we went with.

(Funny story- well sort of funny anyway- my sister and her hubby just got news that he was selected to be part of the faculty on one of those seme.ster at sea programs in the fall of 2011. They were thinking of starting to try for kids this summer (GULP), but for the hypothetical child to be able to travel with them, he/she has to be at least 6 months old by August 2011. (I'll give you a minute to do the math.) Yes, that's right, they'd have to conceive by June (think, one or maybe two cycles) (ANOTHER GULP) for the baby to be old enough to get the shots required for an international tour. Mr. A and I were discussing this as we were making dinner last night, and he goes "Do they even know about how cycles go? Does she even know when she ovulates? Does she know about peak temperatures?!" HA!! SO stinkin cute. No wonder I married him!)

So anyway, my CD3 ultrasound is on Thursday, and I'm expecting to start stims that night like my previous follistim cycles. I'll be adding Ganirelix this time, but not until my follies are bigger. I'm so hopeful that I will have better follicle growth!!! I sort of feel like we cheated the system, since we said we were only doing IVF once. Although we didn't get to go through ER/ET last cycle, I still feel like we're getting a big second chance with this cycle. I know we didn't get an "official" IVF BFN, but it sort of feels that way, and before March, I would have expected we wouldn't get another shot, but here we are! We are definitely lucky.

Question for you: I have been taking progesterone suppositories after ovulation. Clearly my progeterone is still lackluster. My RE said he'd prescribe PIO if I wanted for this cycle after ER, but he doesn't think it necessarily works any better. I think I'd like to try it, but what would you do?

So I am estimating that I might be PUPO by Mother's Day. Does that mean I finally get a flower at church?


Friday, April 16, 2010

Thank you everyone for your comments! We are still praying about what to do next :)

One of my new favorite songs is "Before the Morning" by Josh Wilson. I was just looking it up on Yoo Toob, and I found the story behind the song...(deals with pregnancy/baby abnormality diagnosis)..... I just edited this post, because I immediately thought that watching the video would provide hope, but I was just now thinking that maybe it would be scary for some people to watch who are worried about their little ones inside.... I used to have the story embedded here, but instead, if you want to, you can go here to listen to their whole story- it is a beautiful testament to the preciousness of every life that God creates.

I'll leave you with the song, which is one of the most inspiring ones I've heard in a while. Be encouraged today!! This pain is just the dark before our morning!!!

Being Fickle...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

...aka: When your RE tells you (without you saying first) that he thinks the antagonist protocol is what he'd suggest this time, and that is the only reason you were going to get a second opinion (because you never thought he'd use antagonist), are you allowed to change your mind about getting a second opinion, even if you disagreed with your RE before, but now you are so happy that he is thinking what you're thinking, even though you have no medical basis for it?

Did ya get all that?

So anyway, as you might infer, at my consult this afternoon, my RE proposed (without any suggestion from me) that we do antagonist this time. He also said that if I want PIO (yes), he will prescribe it.

Both of which I "wanted", as Mr. A calls it, but putting it that way makes me feel like a spoiled brat who threw a tantrum until somebody caved into her.

And I only throw tantrums in my house, not the RE's office! HA! Hahahahaha :) Just kidding, of course...I never throw tantrums!!

Mr. A is now leaning towards staying put, now that my RE is willing to change up the protocols. Plus, Mr. A is somewhat of an armchair conspi.racy th.eorist, and so when my RE said that the shared risk programs are ethically controversial in some circles, Mr. A perked up. (Basically, practices only accept women with pretty good chances for success into those programs. And so people with pretty good chances have a better chance of getting pregnant on their first try, which means they just paid $20k for one IVF cycle, because you don't get a refund if you get pregnant once you have paid! And the people who would most benefit from the program (e.g., not so great responders) are not accepted because they are too much of a risk. Go figure! Mr. A said "I knew there was something sketchy about that thing." Ha!)

And I am leaning towards staying put mostly because I really do think this is the protocol for us (in my most uneducated opinion!), and he does seem familiar with it even though he doesn't use it as a first option, and if the other place is going to do the same one, why do the hassle of switching? But the fact that I have heard such great things about the compassionate nurses there is so inviting...

My friend K said that maybe I should go to the other consult because maybe they have seen more people like me. That is definitely possible, but my RE has been practicing for probably close to 30 years, so it's not like he's only done this a few times. (Hence, I think, his devotion to lupron, which has been out for almost as long!) And he said that there are very few people he's cared for who have never gotten pregnant. (I think some did more than 1 IVF/FET, but still, if that is true, that is pretty impressive I think...) But K is very respectful and encouraging and of course says that whatever decision we make, she will be behind us! (You're the best, K, in case you're reading!)

One positive about staying put is that we could start another IVF cycle right away next week (if we wanted to, it's not like we have to) (if I start a new cycle, heh heh). I guess the other place could hypothetically do the same thing, since we have all our testing done, but I'm not sure I could drop right in, not being an established patient and all.

So I just don't know. I'm hoping a positive pregnancy test will make our decision for us ;-) I told you, we are dreaming big!!!

One Year Later

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

One year ago today, I started this blog! Whoa. I've read my first post several times while reflecting what to say today. Above all, I am so thankful I decided to start writing here, because it has allowed me to "meet" all of you!! And I know we don't all have the same opinions on everything, but I am so glad that those of you who come here can rejoice and pray and give thanks for the baby blessings coming our way, in God's time and in God's way.

Alot has happened in the last year. We went from thinking nothing was wrong with me, to finding out that I seem to have low levels of hormones. As a result, we went from saving for adoption and resisting the RE, to wanting to work with the RE to overcome my issues. We went from using my fertility monitor, to using clomid, follistim, prometrium, HCG, lupron, and countless ultrasounds and bloodworks. We went from trying the old fashioned way, to trying with IUI. (I don't count IVF because we haven't really done that yet!!)

And now, it seems, that we have truly (remarkably? amazingly? weirdly?) come full circle, as we are again, exactly a year later, praying for a good old fashioned baby from this cycle. After all we have done in the last year! We went from being hopeful about how God would use IVF, to being excited about the chance for a miracle baby made in our bedroom (even though yesterday my 8dpo progesterone was an incredibly unimpressive 11.6- I'm not sure how rational it is to hope that there's a baby in there? Comments welcome...).

As I finished reading my first post, I noted my use of the phrase "slippery 'specialist' path". And I know that when I wrote that, I didn't know what I do now, and that it was (somewhat shamefully) written with most of the common overtones that you think of when someone mentions a slippery slope/path.

And I sort of regret writing that. But I think I have grown alot in the last year. (So please don't throw the rotten tomatoes!!)

Because what I have learned is that while the path is slippery sometimes, in that you can easily lose your footing with its confusing terms and levels and medications and protocols and procedures and terminologies and diagnoses and dosages and opinions, if you approach the specialist path with utmost prayerful consideration and a strong understanding of what values you hold dear, there is nothing slippery about it. If you let yourself be led by God on this path to parenthood, your steps will be sure (Ps 37:23). If you don't let yourself be swept into the fast-moving river of what-everyone-else-is-doing, and instead compassionately seek what God might have you do, your feet will not slip (Ps 17: 4-6).

I think some people would be really defeated by the fact that all of that has happened in the last year and we are still not picking out nursery colors. (And I have to admit that I'm a tad more somber than I had hoped, after my progesterone result....) But I am honestly not feeling melancholy about this at all. And maybe I am some kind of optimistic anomoly who has a smile plastered to her face all the time and some kind of out of this world faith in God's promises. I think it's a mixture of being excited (delusional?) about what this cycle might hold and truly feeling rooted in the fact that I'm pumped to see what God has in store for our family. I feel very at peace with this today. That is such a blessing.

And that being said, I'm not sure if next year, I'm still writing that we're not picking out nursery colors, that I will be so okay with it. Well, maybe I will be. God's grace is an amazing thing. But truthfully, next April, I pray that I'm out shopping for baby spring outfits. For our little boy. And/or girl. Haha!

Time to dream big!!

Jumping ship?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

It has been amazingly beautiful here this weekend. So much to be thankful for!

I am 6dpo and going for progesterone bloodwork on Tuesday. (Tomorrow is 7dpo, but I am just too busy tomorrow.)

Which brings me to my thoughts about my current RE practice. I'm almost surprised that they didn't give me any trouble about getting the blood draw. I am trying not to hold it against them that at least two times in the past (the progesterone issue, and the estrogen/lupron issue), I have had a gut feeling that something isn't (or won't be) right, and both times my worries have been minimized until I forced the issue and, lo and behold, it turns out I was right.

I am thisclose to cancelling my consult (semi-WTF appointment) with my RE and just scheduling a consult with the other RE in town. I know two people who have gone there (one went home with a baby, one did not), but they both spoke volumes about the compassion and care they received there.

And while I have generally felt cared for at my current RE, I have to admit that I am a little hurt that no one called me to see how I was doing after my cancellation last Saturday. When I left my nurse a voicemail to schedule the bloodwork, I said "You probably heard, I got cancelled for lack of response." And when she called me back she didn't even mention the cancellation or that she was sorry or anything! How would you have felt?

And, I am trying not to be too upset at the lupron issue because the more people I tell about it, the more people reinforce my conclusion that exactly what my fears had been actually happened. Okay fine, RE, the lupron only affects the pituitary, but guess what signals the ovaries to start making eggs?!?!?!?!?! And after searching for reputable studies online, it is widely known that the antagonist (or microflare lupron, but I am now anti-lupron) protocol is often times a better protocol for people with poor response. I am trying not to be too annoyed that just because he always uses lupron, he didn't look at my specific situation and see that maybe a different one would have been in order.

I don't know what to expect while talking to him on Thursday. I'm expecting him to restate that he doesn't think it's the lupron's fault. And then I will say, well, no matter if you think it is or isn't, I want a different protocol. The one concern is that I'm not sure he has much experience with any other protocol, another reason why I'm considering changing, because I know the other RE uses it often (both my friends used it). So even if he says, okay fine, we'll do antagonist, I'm not sure I'm 100% confident that he will be able to manage it correctly. I guess maybe that answers my question- if I'm not 100% confident, maybe we should switch.

(Plus, depending on my progesterone results, I'm asking for PIO next cycle. My RE has said that there really isn't a difference between suppositories and PIO, and PIO is more uncomfortable than suppositories, but if that is one of my issues, we're going to upgrade to the gold progesterone!)

I'm going to feel like a traitor if I leave my current RE. But people do it all the time, right? I don't really want to leave, but we can't keep having cancelled IVF cycles and borderline hormone results. Maybe training for 2 marathons and a handful of half marathons and other 10+ mile races made my body flatline in the hormone department, but that was almost 3 years ago, so let's kick start it again, shall we?

But what am I rambling on for. I'm pregnant this time, right?

Dear Fertile Friend

Thursday, April 08, 2010

You can spare me the emails with the lines "for those of you who haven't had kids, you don't know what it's like to be pregnant and feel xyz pain or discomfort" and "I'll spare those of you who haven't had kids the details of the labor".

Because, I already have a spear through my heart and it's stuck in there pretty good, so I don't really need any extra weapons piercing through.

I don't even know what makes you think that those kinds of statements are appropriate for even people who aren't trying to conceive a blessing. What if they have chosen to live child-free or if they are not married yet? Even if they aren't struggling with infertility, have you thought about how demeaning that is, to indicate that they're not worthy of the details?

I daresay that even people who are in the high-and-mighty moms club don't exactly need to hear the details of your labor. What, did you poop? Throw off all your clothes and scream? Did you get a tear that needed to be stitched up? Was delivering the placenta just as painful, or more, as delivering your baby?

As if the rest of the world hasn't heard of these things happening.

You don't need to lord your blessed secret delivery experience as the ultimate prize that some people can share in and some people can't. You don't need to make the rift between child-less and child-loving of us any bigger than the gaping empty chasm that it already is. You don't need to make those of us without kids feel any more left out (though I don't know if that is possible!).

And seriously, I'm pretty sure you had 30 seconds since she was born two weeks ago to send us a text, instead of worrying all of us sick that something was wrong. Even my battered heart was praying for you, in case you were dealing with a still baby or something.

But I probably don't understand how busy and tired you are, you know, since I haven't had kids.

And I think you left something out of your email- about how thankful you are, how humbled you are, and how amazed you are at this new little life that has been placed in your care. You forgot to say how amazing it is to be a mom, and how you just stare at your little one in awe of the beauty of life. You forgot to mention how lucky and how blessed you feel. The part about praising God for what He has given you got deleted I think....

But I'll still keep you in my prayers... That somehow something in your heart would turn to those who aren't in your coveted position. That you'd show them sensitivity and compassion. That you'd realize the amazing gift you've been given. That you wouldn't take it for granted. That when your cross is placed on your back, people in a position to minister to you would do so. And that in the midst of struggling, your faith in the One who suffered for you deepens and strengthens, as has gracefully happened to me while I pressed on with a weight on my shoulders, praying to hold our baby someday.

Back to Normal

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Literally- back to hey, let's do it and have a baby in 9 months! Awesome idea!!

QOTD: Has anyone actually rolled in the hay while, you know, "rolling in the hay"?? Time to spill the beans!!!

Had an excellent acupuncture session yesterday afternoon- she has changed up the points some, since we're not doing IVF anymore, but still points for relaxing of the fallopian tubes/uterus, increased bloodflow all around, a general spirit-well-being point, and the special mother/child points (I forget what she called them). I was in heaven lying there!!

I was telling her how I am surprised with how well we have dealt with this drastic change of (our) plans. I mean, if you had asked me 3 weeks ago how I would have been if I only would get two follicles and have our first shot at IVF cancelled, I would have estimated that I'd have been really devastated. After all, it was sort of the final frontier for us. But as it has happened, I actually feel so much at peace with how things have changed, I know for sure that God is working here. It's completely obvious how I want God to be working right now, but just as I didn't expect such grace to come out of a cancelled IVF cycle, I know that whatever He has coming will be very unexpected and very amazing!!


Saturday, April 03, 2010

Hey all, I forgot to write yesterday that I can't put into words how much I appreciate your support, and so I am definitely not forgetting that today!

At our u/s this afternoon, we saw a beautiful cushy lining (11mm) and two perfect 16mm follicles (one on each side).

We have prayed and talked and prayed and talked, and we have decided to forego IVF this time. It is a disappointment, but we feel led to excitedly anticipate what God has in store for us, instead of what we thought would be our last cycle to try! We will trigger tomorrow night and give it the old roll in the hay with these two!!

By the grace of God and thanks to my A-M-A-Z-I-N-G husband, no tears have been shed today. It is a huge blessing to be married to my husband!! God will sustain us, and we are actually pretty excited to try on our own!! God has not written "The End"!!!!

If anything, I think it would be so freakin awesome to have a pregnancy come out of this "cancellation". I mean, talk about beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61)!!!!


Friday, April 02, 2010

So, suffice it to say that it was very cathartic to tear out the old, dead, knarly bush and replace it with sweet strawberry plants last night. Except we broke our shovel in the process. Like, snapped the shovel off the handle. Does that tell you how stubborn and awful this bush was?!

It gave us a good chance to talk about our follicles, too.

I think at that moment in time, if we still only have two follicles tomorrow, we think we might bow out of IVF this month. (We reserve the right to change our mind as many times as necessary between now and whenever!!!) Heck, maybe we'll do timed BD and be one of "those" people who get pregnant waiting on IVF. We're not sure it would be a smart use of what we've painstakingly saved for this process if, in my RE's professional opinion, we really don't have the best shot unless we have at least 3 follicles.

The good thing is that we haven't paid any IVF dollars yet, and my meds are pretty much covered by insurance, so we can (hypothetically) just gear up for IVF again next month (or a month after, if we want to try on our own with these two) (which we do) (and I hate the fact that I'm assuming the worst and saying these "two" when there are quite possibly more right now!). If we decide to cancel, I will be making it very clear to my doctor that I want a higher dosage of follistim from the get-go, and possibly menopur (those of you who take it, do you know why they couple it with follistim? I have to research that...), and possibly with a lower dose of lupron or maybe even the antagonist protocol instead. I just don't know if it's right for my body to be suppressed before starting stims, when I don't respond that well anyway!!

The bad thing about deciding to cancel is that, well, emotionally and mentally, we saw IVF as an endpoint. Not that we want to stop trying, but it is wearing on us a little bit. And we thought that it would give us a decisive YAY or NAY. And although a NAY would have been unbearable to take, we are longing for direction and we feel that would have been a major "take a left here" sort of situation.

Of course there is always the possibility that our hearts will win over, and we'll bet $8k on our two little follicles. Of course I want to believe that those eggies are perfect and will become our little ones, but statistically there are no guarantees with only two (or three, or fifteen, for that matter), and although I hate it when reality is possibly negative, I have to prepare myself for reality.

So I called the lab today to inquire as to the refund they offer if they do an ER but no ET.


I haven't told Mr. A yet because we've both been in and out of the house working on a bunch of yard projects today (LOVE IT!!!), but I'm not sure if that will sway his feeling on whether to gamble with two follicles or not. Because the total cost is $8k, I can get $2k reimbursed from my HSA, and if (in the awful situation we have no embryo's) we get an additional $2k back, that brings the cost down to $4k. (Somebody check my math.) Since we had $9300 saved in the baby fund, we'd still have $5k to jump start any additional cycles we feel led to do. What would you do?

Yesterday, my friend T who is an amazing Christian inspiration to me, sent me this email:

This was on my calendar today, and I think it's for you!!

"It gives me a growing sense of inner peace to remember that God's chapters are still being written. He has not yet said "The End".
Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:22-23)"

As you may imagine, my jaw was pretty much gaping open after reading her email. This is not the first time this calendar of hers has pierced my heart! I have got to get ahold of it!!! These verses have been ringing in my head all day this beautiful day. I feel very confident and guided (right now) and sure and peaceful that what God has coming is the best for our family, and that we will get through it smiling and strong if we only trust His hand to guide us.

The other thing that made me smile today is the lady who answered the phone at the lab when I called to ask about the refund. After telling me how they calculate things, she goes (in her most patient Eastern European accent) "But why in the world are you thinking like this? We do not have our patients thinking the worst! Do not worry about this!!"

Touche. It was like my optimistic self transported to the other end of the phone line. Okay, okay!

Time to go do some yoga, some positive visualization (my acupuncturist advised me to picture my ovaries as little flowers who are drinking in all the good water and nourishment (i.e. meds!) and are preparing to flower and bloom!), and a shower after all the great work in the yard today!!

116 to 69

Thursday, April 01, 2010

This morning before my ultrasound I found myself at Psalm 116 with a very hopeful heart...

Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful
The Lord protects the simple; when I was brought low, He saved me.
Return, O my soul, to your rest,
for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
For You have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling.

After my ultrasound, which showed two lonely follicles (but two, nontheless, I suppose) (another u/s on Saturday afternoon to check the growth/recommend where we go from here), I found myself again with tears, repeating to my weary, scared, and disappointed heart, words of Psalm 69...

But as for me, my prayer is to You, O Lord.
At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of Your steadfast love,
answer me.
With Your faithful help, rescue me from sinking into the mire;
let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters.
Do not let the flood sweep over me,
or the deep swallow me up,
or the pit close its mouth over me.
Answer me, O Lord, for Your steadfast love is good;
according to Your abundant mercy, turn to me.
Do not hide Your face from Your servant,
for I am in distress- make haste to answer me.