Sunday, February 28, 2010

Name that pain

Every cycle, I see the same emotional roller coaster. This month is no different, although it is heightened by the fact that the IUI created more hope for us. It begins with disappointment with my period, but that disappointment actually disappears quickly. The reason is the hope of a new cycle is here! The first two weeks are usually exciting and peaceful. This is when I do my ultrasounds and Clomid and Ovidrel, all things that point to the grand possibility that exists.

Then the day of ovulation comes (which with the help of Ovidrel, I always know the exact date). You would think the excitement would continue, but strangely, there is always a huge dip and a bit of depression. This is because it is over...the anticipation, the hope. Ovulation has come, and it has either worked or it hasn't.

Then come the incredibly emotional days following when I scrutinize and cry over every pain and cramp. I am used to having extreme pms symptoms, pms symtpoms that occur early in my cycle. I have never been that lucky girl who is shocked that her period has come each month. Oh no. I've been the one who has been in pain (and not to mention a witch) a week and a half before the day. This week and a half--the time when I know my pms symptoms are here, but I am still trying to hold onto the slight hope that they are pregnancy symptoms that look a lot like pms symptoms--is always the most depressing.

That is where I am right now. Cramps have never really stopped since the IUI a week ago, and since my body acts exactly the same every single month (well, minus that horrific cyst experience last week), it's hard to keep hope. This feels like any other cycle for me.

The worst part is that because of the progesterone supplements, my period is always pushed later than when it normally would come, so I feel these pms symptoms forever, but keep a slight false hope because my period won't come. It's a cruel thing, actually.

So...I have another week (a week!) before I can take a pregnancy test. This is going to be a very very long seven days.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

It's not about me?

I want to have a baby.

How many times have women thought that, even said those words. I know I have said them many times and would often follow them up with some condition: I want to have a baby by the time I'm 25. I want to have a baby after I teach a couple of years.

Somewhere in the last year, an understanding has dawned on me. It isn't about me getting a baby. It isn't about me getting to complete the picture I've had in my mind. It is about the baby.

I don't think I ever fully understood the truth that God is more concerned about the child's life, and how the child will be part of his kingdom, than he is with me getting a baby. Of course, God gave women the desire to have a family, and it's a good desire, and he teaches and blesses mothers (and fathers) through the raising of children. But it is not merely for their fulfillment that he does this, and this is a good thing to remember.

God has a purpose for the child I will one day have. He has a year he wants it to be born, a class he wants it to be in, teachers he wants it to have, friends he wants it to meet, and so much more. There is a purpose and a plan in every month that I am not pregnant, because it is God saying, It's not the time for that person to come into the world yet.

This is hard for me, of course. I do want to have a baby, just like I wrote at the beginning of this post. But I'm guessing that this--the understanding that the child truly belongs to the Lord and has a purpose completely apart from its parents--is a lesson that parents have to learn everyday, at every milestone. We are God's children. We are here to do God's will, not necessary our parents', though hopefully the two will most of the time align.

So, if this proves to be another empty month, I can hold on to this. I can know that it's simply not the time for that life to enter this world. Not yet.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A rough beginning

It has been a little over two days since I've had my IUI. The day of the procedure was full of hope and excitement with the possibility that things could have worked out. The next day, as cramping set in more, the hope wavered. Was my period coming already? Today, the cramping got even worse, and about 10:00 today I was ready to cry, quite sure that my period was coming. And then, 1:30 hit, and the cramping was so terrible, I couldn't stand. This was occuring right at the beginning of my 6th period class, and I wasn't sure I could make it through the rest of the day. Luckily, I managed to continue my lesson while sitting down. I found that as long as I didn't move around too much, I could handle the pain. After school, I called the doctor, and they believed that it was a large cyst I had (she actually used the word gigantic) finally rupturing. I am now lying on my couch with my sweet husband waiting on me. Hopefully the pain goes away soon. I have things to do!

Monday, February 22, 2010

An IUI and a dose of humility

Today was the big day for our IUI, and it was a success, as successful as these things may be. Of course, we won't know if it is really a success for another two weeks, but things looked good today. As far as the experience, it wasn't the worst. It was like a combination of a pap smear and the HSG I had done back in August (the dye test to check my fallopian tubes), but the good part was, it was relatively quick. I have had quite a bit of cramping today because of it, but besides that, I feel fine.

The last two days have been emotional for us, but in a good way. Last night Robby and I were able to talk a long time about the procedure, and although neither of us said anything new, I felt like we had even more peace about it. Today, I feel excited and nervous: excited of course with the possibility that this could result in a life; nervous with waiting for the results and then dealing with them.

There is also is another response I have that I wasn't expecting, and that is humility. For many people, having a baby is easy (relatively speaking), and it doesn't require much extra effort. A decision is made, and within a few months, the couple sees the result of that decision. For us, it's been different. We've had to ask everyday for God to give this to us, and we've had to commit ourselves to others for help, physically and emotionally. It's very humbling. I am unable to do what comes so naturally for most women, and that has made me recognize my dependency on God and those He will use. It also reveals to me the lack of dependency I have in other areas of my life, and this should not be so. Whether something comes as easily as breathing or not, God is the giver of everything and is the one who is all-sufficient.

I will use the next two weeks to think and write about what God has been teaching me through the last few years during this process, so read if you would like. Otherwise, you can wait to hear from me--either through this blog or through a call--in about two weeks. Thank you for your prayers and support.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A New Step

As I mentioned briefly, Robby and I are going to have an IUI (intra-uterine insemination) done. Although this does fall under the umbrella of artificial insemination (AI), and although AI is a very frightening term, this procedure is actually more routine than it sounds. All it means is that sperm is washed and, using a catheter, placed directly into the woman's uterus. It's the next logical step for us, and truly the next spiritual step, as well. Perhaps a year ago doing something like this would have meant I was putting more faith in science than in God, but I don't feel that way at all now. Now, more than I ever, I realize that technology is still fully under God's control. It is still God who allows new life to come. My prayer right now is that God grants this for us, that God works the miracle for us to have a baby.

Let me tell you what this will entail for us. First, I have been taking Clomid toward the beginning of my cycles. Clomid is a medication that increases follicle development. Mature follicles are what turn into cysts that release eggs each month. Typically, women have one egg released each month, so they usually have one, maybe two follicles. Clomid makes more, so it makes it more likely that one of them will produce a mature egg during ovulation. It does follow that the chance of multiples are increased from using Clomid. (And I say to that, the more the merrier!)

After I finish my round of Clomid, I go in each month for an ultrasound. This is where they see and measure the follicles I have. At my appointment today, I had four follicles ranging from 14 to 15 mm, which is still relatively small. They usually have me wait a few days, and then I give myself an Ovidrel injection. (Seriously, I have to give myself a shot! It's crazy.) This triggers ovulation to occur exactly 36 hours later. I am scheduled to give myself my Ovidrel injection on Saturday.

This has been where our routine has pretty much ended each month. Besides taken estrogen and progesterone, we left the rest of it up to ourselves. Now, we're ready to take a new step. We both feel at peace about the decision to have this procedure, and we know that no matter what, God is with us and God has a purpose for our life.

We appreciate your prayers with us, and we look forward to sharing the news with you, whatever it might be.

Something New

The blog I have kept for the last three years has been personal in that it has concerned my and my husband's life together, but it has also been something I was comfortable with anybody reading. I still enjoy keeping that blog going, mostly for myself and for my family and friends who read it. However, I wanted to have a place to share what I am learning through the struggles we've faced regarding infertility.

There, I said it, the dreaded word. Infertility.

Why have I all of a sudden decided to do this? The main reason is we are headed in a new direction with our fertility treatments. Next Monday we are having an IUI done. So, there are two possible outcomes: first, I get pregnant, and my struggle with infertility is over (at least until I try to get pregnant again); second, I don't get pregnant, and my struggle continues. Either way, I want a place to remind myself of what God has taught me and is teaching me through this whole process. We know that nothing happens without reason, so it would be a shame for me to go through this trial in my life without taking the time to recognize what I'm learning. I also want a place to keep those who are interested in this aspect of my life updated.

So, here I begin. My first post (see below) was a poem I have just finished. It's been in my head a long time, at least the image of it, and I decided to finally sit down and write it. As much as I am dying to give a disclaimer, I'm not going to. (Wait, is that a disclaimer? Well then nevermind.) It helps paint a picture of what I've felt, that I had in my head the "lives" I'd be fine with living. This life--this waiting, this wondering--is not what I had planned. And yet, this is what God has for me, which tells me that this is the best for me, the loveliest way my life could take.

The Loveliest Way

I stood before the paths I paved
And smiled, very pleased.
One trailed through a garden,
And one climbed to a tree.

The garden path, all bright with life
Had room for tiny feet.
The tree-bound way, a clearer route,
Gave promise of something sweet.

Both were fine, and both would be
Acceptable to take.
So, (feeling gracious), I said to Him,
This decision you can make.

Choose which one you’d have for me,
For either one will do.
I’d gladly climb the highest tree
To shine a light for you.

Of course, I’d walk among the flowers
And happily watch them grow.
Either way, my heart waits
To hear your word and go.

I held my breath, and stared down both,
But neither was made clear.
I’d nearly made up my own mind,
When something strange appeared.

The sunlight floated down to me
And a path began to form
It rolled like gold along the ground
And at once my heart was torn.

Another way? How could that be?
I gave the two I’d take.
Must I really consider this?
No doubt there’s a mistake!

The golden light passed both my paths,
And then before my eyes
Flowers grew, and trees came out
And stretched up toward the sky.

All at once, the paths nearby
Seemed sad and all too safe.
So which would it be? The stones I laid,
Or something that required faith?

A tiny step, and so began
My journey for today
No simple way or end is in sight,
But that’s part of the loveliest way.