Saturday, February 26, 2011

One Year

I just realized that it has been a little over a year ago that I began this blog. Time sure does fly, even when you're in the midst of an unwanted struggle. I have continued to grow over this past year and continue to see God's goodness in allowing this struggle in our lives. Maybe I'll take some time later this week to write more about this, but I am finally getting to the point where this journey with infertility has become so vital and indispensable to my spiritual growth that I thank God for it. Am I still heartbroken each empty month? Of course. But am I recognizing that God's goodness is seen in how he is changing us through these trials? Absolutely.

I can and will make it through this week. I will, I will!

Distractions please!

Last Saturday was my IUI, so one week down, one week to go before we get to see if it was successful or not. We felt really good about the procedure, especially the timing. We were so glad that the office was open on Saturday, as waiting until Monday just didn't seem to be an option.

I spent the last week visiting Kelly, which proved to be a wonderful and fun distraction. However, all good distractions must come to an end, so on my way home, the pain game began. Many people have told me not to stress too much when I feel cramping, but it is really hard not to do that. If there is any positive thing that has come from going through this infertility struggle, it is that I have learned about my body very well. I know every twinge, cramp, and bloat. I know the difference between ovulation pain and pms, regular cramps and progesterone-induced cramps. As much as I want to believe that this pain could be related to a pregnancy and not a menstrual cycle, I can't. The only thing I can do is distract myself from the cramps, so I can get through this week without melting down prematurely.

It seems the word "distraction" always connotes something negative, but sometimes, distractions can be positive. Distractions can force us to stop thinking about ourselves and our situations for a moment and focus on someone or something else. This week, then, I'm welcoming the distractions! I want to sew and think about the person for whom I'm sewing, play piano and sing, spend time with family and friends, get out of the house, read a good book, and do anything else that happens to come my way. As long as I allow God to be some of my distraction, I'm pretty sure He is all right with it this week :)

Thank you so much for keeping us in your prayers. I know many of you are right there with us, waiting impatiently to find out if this month is the month. The burden of this struggle has been lightened because of you and your love for us.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

#4 or more accurately #1

We are on our way to having our fourth IUI done. Just a recap: last week I went to my doctor to see how my first month since the surgery was looking. Overall, things were positive except for an unwanted cyst on my left ovary. Because it was just a normal cyst and not an endometrioma, my doctor said we could go ahead and do the medicine.

I took 50 mg of Clomid on Days 3 through 7 on my cycle, which would help with follicle development. Sure enough, I found out at today's appointment that I had a few follicles, five total, though only two of them were big enough to mention. Both are on my left ovary, which is good since that is the ovary that didn't have the giant endometrioma removed, and overall my left ovary looks a bit healthier. The two follicles were right around 18 mm which is not ideal but decent. Also, even though that cyst isn't gone, it is far enough from the follicles that my doctor said it wouldn't impede ovulation. The next step is to wait another day to give my little tiny follicles time to grow, do the Ovidrel injection tomorrow night, and then head to the doctor Saturday morning for my IUI.

I am very excited about all of this, and I am just getting more and more excited as the day goes on. At first everything just felt like it always does. Just another doctor's visit. Just another IUI. Then I realized this isn't "just another" anything. This is the first time I've ever had a healthy and happy body! For all I know, this is the first real chance I've ever had at conceiving. So, this IUI is not just another one. It could be the one. So exciting.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Here we go again!

It's been nearly five weeks since the surgery. Amazing! I am on Day 3 on my new cycle, so this morning we headed to the doctor to find out how things look and if/when I can start treatment. Besides feeling like a guinea pig for the new ultrasound machine at the office (along with Robby and me, there were three other people in a tiny closet sized room learning how to use the machine), things went pretty normal. There was one cyst on my left ovary that my doctor was a bit concerned about, mostly because it's larger than what he would like to see. The good news is it doesn't appear to be an endometrioma, but just a regular fluid-filled cyst. This does mean that this cycle of treatment is going to be less aggressive, which is fine by me. Instead of taking 100 or 150 mg of Clomid a day for five days, I am only taking 50 (one pill). I'll go in next Wednesday for another look. If things appear to have gone well and I produce good follicles, I should be able to do the Ovidrel injection that night and have the IUI within the next couple days.

Thanks for your prayer and concern today!

A Lesson in Hope

This morning, we are headed to my doctor to have my first ultrasound since the surgery and discuss our next course of treatment. We don't have to leave until 9:30, so my hub is catching up on his sleep, and I'm getting a few moments to pray and read.

I read Psalms 4-6, and once again I am amazed by the mystery of Scripture. How does Scripture speak so appropriately to each of us in the very moment we need? I am sure I've read these Psalms before, but I have never noticed the emphasis on hope.

Psalm 4 begins with David saying, "When I called upon Thee, O God of my righteousness, Thou didst hearken unto me." David recognizes in these first verses that God has heard Him and God has saved Him. Later he then says, "Sacrifice a sacrifice of righteousness, and hope in the Lord. Many say: Who will show unto us good things? The light of Thy countenance, O Lord, hath been signed upon us; Thou hast given gladness to my heart." He ends the Psalm with this: "For Thou, O Lord, alone hast made me to dwell in hope."

Psalm 5 continues in the theme of trusting and hoping in the Lord. David contrasts the man who is hated by the Lord with the man who is shown mercy by the Lord. David says, "And let all them be glad that hope in Thee; they shall ever rejoice, and Thou shalt dwell among them. And all shall glory in Thee that love Thy Name, for Thou shalt bless the righteous."

Psalm 6 seems to begin with a different emphasis, but really it is simply David in his weakness crying out for the Lord to save Him. Again. By the end of the Psalm, he again knows God has saved him and heard him: "The Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping. The Lord hath heard my supplication, the Lord hath received my prayer. Let all mine enemies be greatly put to shame and be troubled, let them be turned back, and speedily be greatly put to shame."

I said these psalms were mysteriously appropriate to me this morning, and this is why: I have been thinking a lot about hope. I've been asking God how I am supposed to do this thing called "hope" - how do I have hope about a baby when I know that there is the possibility that it may not happen? How do I live in hope of a future when plenty of women have remained infertile after these treatments?

These verses reminded me of something. I hope in the Lord. My hope is not in a baby or in an outcome. We are unlike the world because our hope is unlike the world's. We hope only in one thing -- the Lord. And about the Lord we know this: He is good. He makes us righteous. He never leads us to evil. He never troubles us. He never leads us to shame.

When I begin to hope in an outcome, I begin to temper my hope because I don't want to be let down. Hoping in an outcome always has the possibility that we will be disappointed. The beautiful thing about hoping in the Lord is it doesn't have to be tempered with reality or lessened with caution. God will never let me down. He will only lead me to good. He will only lead me to righteousness.

And so I hope in the Lord and only in the Lord. I know He has brought me to the place I am today. I know He has guided each of my steps and has loved me and refined me as I've walked in them. I know He is with me this morning, will be with me at the office, and will continue to be with me every day of my life. And I know He only has plans for good, not evil, and never shame.

For thou, O Lord, alone hast made me to dwell in hope.