He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress and for his children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

Monday, October 8, 2012

Our IVF Journey Part 2: Wait, our WHAT journey??!!

Before I start part 2, I feel the need to say something.  When I refer to the frozen "boys" in case it is not quite obvious, yes, I am referring to my husband's frozen sperm.  Let me just clear the air- this is not something that makes me uncomfortable.  This is not something that makes him uncomfortable.  We've learned to joke about it, and laugh about it, and it is something we have to refer to in order to tell our story.  If it makes you uncomfortable, I apologize from the get go, but it's kind of hard to tell this story without that little reference every so often.  So there.  I will continue to refer to the "boys" and hopefully you can smile with me.  If not, well, maybe come back for the next story because the "boys" were an integral part of this particular journey.  And come on, give us a break- we don't get to talk about boys much in this house!  Glad we had this little talk...

Waiting, yeah, not very fun.  And I didn't mention in part 1 that not only had God told me to "be silent" and "wait" but when he said "be silent", I understood that to be starting right then.  Which meant I couldn't go to Jason and say something along the lines of, "hey, you know the whole having another baby thing that I've been dropping hints about?  Well, God told me not to bug you about it anymore until you bring it up, so the ball's in your court, dude."   Nope, couldn't say that.  Couldn't even give him the slightest hint that I was now, perhaps for truly the first time ever, waiting on him.


You get the idea right?   So, in the meantime, we pack up our happy little family of 4 and move to France.  Fun!  Truly it was.  Such a neat time in our lives.  Jason worked and I studied French.  Maddie was in a nursery school at my French school and Abbey went to French kindergarten.  And then one day, out of the blue, Jason says (something along the lines of), "Hey, what do you think about talking about having a baby again?"

Bombs explode in my head, fireworks explode in the sky!!!!  

"Huh, we could talk about that.  Good idea, sweetie,"  I very calmly reply....   (8 months, people, I waited SILENTLY for 8 months-- I know, really not that long in the grand scheme of things)

So let me tell you a little about what was going on in my head at that point (as best I can remember).  First, I felt very led to fast and pray about this whole thing for 3 days.  That was new for me (more than a day long fast) and oh so very challenging.  It would, after all be our third baby who would be arriving in the not too distant future so a 3 day fast seemed appropriate.  So I did that and God confirmed.  Yes, now is My timing.  So, back to my mental state (hopefully this will explain the title of this post a bit).  Ok, so this was going to have to be a fertility treatment baby.  That much was a given. However, in my head, this was going to be a very easy process.  We had, after all, never had any trouble becoming pregnant in the past.  We had been told that fertility treatments, for us, should be fairly easy, given my history of easily becoming pregnant and the high quality of Jason's "boys".  Yes, so easy.  That's what this would be.  Yes, there would be another step involved of course.  A doctor would have to be involved in the process of getting things to where they needed to be in order for said baby to be created but in the scheme of what so many people have to deal with when it comes to fertility treatments, this was going to be cake...  One maybe two tries of artificial insemination and we'd be good to go!  After all, I was in the middle of learning a foreign language, the last thing we needed was to walk down some emotionally exhausting path that would cause additional stress.  According to our calculations though, the timing would work out just about right for a new baby to be born AFTER a year of language study was done and we were settled in a new location.  

So, Jason and I pray together, gather information about doctors, hospitals, shipments of "boys" that would need to happen, and off I head to the American Hospital in Paris to my English speaking, American OB-GYN.  (keep in mind that each time I refer to making this trip, it involved 2 separate metro train rides and 2 buses and a good bit of walking- no car for us in Paris)  Plans are made with my doctor, "boys" are shipped from the lab in California to the lab in Paris via FedEx. ( I only THOUGHT that part was complicated at the time.  I had not yet tried to make such a shipment happen in the Middle East- that came later and let me tell you was oh so fun.  and funny)

(Side note- we had 18 vials of Jason's "boys" stored in a lab in the US.  I believe at this point, we had 8-10 sent to us- don't remember exactly)

(Another side note- one of the ways God blessed us in this process is that fertility treatments while INCREDIBLY expensive in the US (even the simple ones we started off with), are actually quite inexpensive in other parts of the world)

Ok, so doctors visits, timing discussions, medications....  We opted for Clomid, counting days and me coming in at the appropriate time for a quick and easy procedure hopefully with the result we wanted.  

Try #1.  Negative.  

Try #2.  Negative. 

 Try #3.  POSITIVE!!! 

Whooo hooo!!!  It worked!!   Hooray!! Celebration!!  Share the news (a little with family and friends who babysat kids during multiple doctor visits).  That was easy, right?!  See, we knew it would be.  

Wait.  2 days later.  Bleeding.  Lots.  NO!!  STOP!  This is not supposed to happen!  This is not our plan!  HOW and WHY can this be God's plan?  Why would it be this hard to get here and end like this?  STOP!!!  (please....)

Didn't stop.  Heartache.  

Questions.  Guilt. 

Guilt?  Over why am I not content with the 2 beauties that I have?  Of course I am content.  I adore them.  But I know God is leading down this road.  Leading down a road that many walk without already having children that they can hug and tuck into bed every night.  Truly empty arms.  I don't know THAT heartache.  I am thankful.  Incredibly.  But sad.  And confused.  

I don't really remember all the details (and I don't have my journals with me from that season of life- yes, I'm old school and actually WRITE in journals....), but I remember very specifically being absolutely and completely overwhelmed by a sense of God's love.  I mean completely knocked off my feet in a sense that it really didn't matter at that point what happened because the King of the universe loves ME and is grieving for and with me and hurts for me because of His AMAZING LOVE.  I could do nothing but meditate on that love...

"By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me-- a prayer to the God of my life."
Psalm 42:8

"Why are you downcast , O my soul?  Why so disturbed with me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."
Psalm 43:5

My HOPE could be in nothing but my God.  Not in the results, not in the doctors, not in the odds of this or that happening.  Only in my God.  

Now what?  We try again.  Ok, one last time in Paris we say.  We're about to move again so this will be the last try.  We're almost out of the "boys" in Paris anyway.  Artificial insemination uses a lot each time.  

Try #4.  Negative.  

Wow.  Things weren't really going according to plan.   Our plan.  We moved.  Not where we were expecting to move.  Things were busy.  REALLY busy, which in our minds explained a bit why the timing was not yet right.  So we waited and we prayed.  

I looked into fertility treatments in our new home.  (Beirut).  Turns out we lived within walking distance of the American University Hospital which was home to quite a nice assisted reproduction facility.  Contacted doctors, made appointments, discussed next steps.  

My doctor was a fertility specialist trained at Yale.  He talked about things I didn't fully understand and things I never thought we would have to consider.  In-vitro fertilization.  Wait.  That's for people who REALLY can't get pregnant.  (ummm, hello?).  You are running out of options he said.  You might eventually get good results with artifiicial insemination if you had an endless supply of "boys".  You don't.  They wasted them in Paris, he said.  Shame on them.  The "boys" are liquid gold.  You don't have much left.  You must use at least 2 vials with each try that we.  With IVF we can use 1 "boy" from the millions in 1 vial.  Shame on them for wasting them.  You want more than one more child?  Odds aren't good.  Let's see what we can do with IVF.  You are an excellent candidate.  There is no reason you should not get pregnant this way with your history.  

Hope!  That's what we'd been looking for.  Again, excitement.  Moving forward..


Tara G. said...

We had friends who had 22 viable embryos and not one "took." They had the most amazing attitude through the whole thing, and now are parents through adoption. Loving your story!

Ann Cameron said...

It was on our last visit to your former home when i asked what the big box in the back of the car was. since we kept shuffling it around. I was informed by Jason that it was 6,000,000 of his close personal friends. So, no, calling them the boys doesn't bother me!

Kendra said...

I enjoy your storytelling - hanging on the edge for part 3...Oh, and now I'm laughing hysterically at your mom's comment! LOL

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Loved your story

So glad that I stopped by....Blessings