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

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Our IVF Journey Part 3: A little hope goes a long way

Again, I feel the need to clarify something before entering part 3..  I do not want to make this post about the many ethical issues involved with in-vitro.  God leads individuals and they must respond to His leading.  I will say, that many of the things we were prepared to deal with involving multiple embryos, we did not have to face.  My body did not exactly cooperate.  I never had more than 3 eggs and they were not able to harvest more than 2 at any point.  We were good with those numbers...  

So here we go again!  Another order for the "boys" put in to the California storage lab.   Delivered easily and without intervention on my part directly to the lab at the American University in Beirut (stay tuned for why this needed to be mentioned to begin with...)  And time to try again...

And what timing!  My procedures were scheduled for the beginning of December.  At this rate, we would do the procedures, I would stay off my feet for 3-5 days, then the horrific two week wait and then the pregnancy blood test on Christmas Eve- the day after my family arrived from the states.  What an amazing Christmas surprise!  See, this is what we've waited for!  What perfect timing!  

Indeed.  Except that the Christmas Eve blood test was not positive.  Negative.  Not the Christmas surprise we hoped for.  Not even close.  Wow.  We did IVF and it didn't work??  Wow.  Now what?  We weren't supposed to even have to result to IVF and it didn't even work.  Talk about a swift kick to the gut...

Time to back up a little and re-evaluate, Lord.  Did I/we misunderstand?  Weren't you leading in this direction?  What gives here?  What in the world, now?  And to add to the confusion- I mentioned the blessing of fertility procedures being less expensive over here.  While very true, at that point we had done A LOT of fertility procedures so things were starting to add up a bit.  We had to face the reality that it might not be financially possible to proceed.  Enter unexpected financial blessing #1 which meant that we did not have to evaluate things from a financial perspective.  That was good for my peace of mind.  But still, re-evaluate we did.  We prayed, we sought God's heart, we waited, we listened.  And God continued to speak and teach.

"To a man belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue.  All a man's ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord."  
Proverbs 16:1-2

Help me purify my motives, Lord!  I thought.  Is my heart in the wrong place?!

""Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails."
Proverbs 19:21

God, I"m desperately seeking you, here while at the same time trying to balance that with something I/we desperately want!  What is the right balance?!

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland."
Isaiah 43:18-19

Ok, I like the sound of that...

"I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name."
Isaiah 45:3

Now do me a favor.  Please don't lecture me about taking a scripture out of context.  I am fully aware that in Isaiah 45 God is talking about His anointing of the Gentile king, Cyrus.  But believe me when I tell you that God used the above verse as balm to my hurting soul.  He reassured me that the "treasure of darkness"- the darkness of the human womb was one that He fully intended to give me again.  He had already numbered the days of my unborn child according to His word and I clung to that promise with all my might, and again, I had hope..

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."
Psalm 138:13-16

Hope can be a dangerous thing.  Hope placed in doctors, dreams, other people- that kind of hope tends to disappoint.  But hope placed in God?  Can be one of the most freeing, exhilarating things we have the privilege to experience this side of heaven.  I am selling myself way short if I seek to put my hope in anything but in my Heavenly Father.  The hardest part of that lesson is putting that hope in him and fully trusting him with the results of what I am hoping for.  My tendency to control remains.  My need to verbalize reminders to Him of what I think would be best.  But, as He said from the beginning, I need to learn to remain silent an trust the end results to Him.  He does not need my reminders.  

"I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.  My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning." 
Psalm 130:5-6

And sometime in the midst of all the waiting, combined with hoping, he allows us and even leads us to act.  That's what he did for us.  He led us again to act.  So we did.  And as I had thought many times over the last year and a half or so, on June 6, 2005, once again I thought,

here we go again...

IVF try number 2. 

Got a little complicated there for a bit.  In leading up to the actual procedures for IVF, there are many shots that must be given at precise times, ultrasounds taken to check the success of the shots etc.  Well, in the midst of these preparatory shots, my precious Papa John passed on to heaven and I flew home to Memphis for the funeral.  WITH all of my IVF drugs in my carry-on, thank you very much.  See, in Lebanon, you don't have to go into the doctor's office for the shots.  What I actually did, was walk into the pharmacy and say, "these are the drugs I need and I need the materials to give myself these shots" (or something like that), and I was handed a brown paper bag full of needles, syringes and medications.  Not kidding....   So I then received a prescription from my doctor (after having all the drugs, mind you), packed up my little drug arsenal and flew from Lebanon to Paris to Atlanta to Memphis with all of my meds.  Just a wee bit stressful.  Don't even want to think about the royal fit I would have pitched at the airline employee who attempted to come between me and my baby making meds....  But God took care of those details and besides a minor hiccup in Paris customs, me and my meds made the trip just fine.

And then the big day.  Meds were taken, ultrasounds completed, egg withdrawn and fertilized.  I  remember every little detail of that day. The day I would have 1 harvested embryo implanted into my uterus.  ONE.  Not 2, not 4, not 6.  (yes, people do that).  ONE.  Any idea what that does to the "odds" of success.   I have an inkling of an idea (but only a small one) because I made the rule for myself not to look at the multitude of fertility websites "out there".  They are not encouraging to me.  I don't want to hear that the odds of successful IVF are less than 10% on a good day (ok, I looked a little at the websites), and let's just say that ONE embryo in the eyes of the fertility world does not equal a good day.  So every detail- I remember having coffee at my favorite Beirut coffee shop.  I remember the skirt I was wearing and the pink shirt.  I remember arriving to the hospital to find that my doctor was gone but the doctor on call for him was amazing and turns out, she did her residency in Labor and Delivery at Methodist hospital in Memphis, TN where I used to work!  Details.  I remember them all.  

I remember the verse I underlined 2 days later as I stayed off my feet and waited the 2 weeks that seemed an eternity...

"Sustain me according to your promise and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.  Uphold me, and I will be delivered;  I will always have regard for your decrees."
Psalm 119:116-117

Please God, do not let my hopes be dashed!

I've waited for many things in my life, many times.  But let me tell you that until you have experienced the dreaded "two week wait" that comes along with IVF, you have not truly waited...  And of course, in true Kelli fashion, I could not bring myself to wait the full amount of time.  So 2 days before my doctor told me would be the right time to come in for a blood test, I bought a home pregnancy test.  Knowing full well that it could very likely lead to a false negative as I was taking it way too early but I simply could not stand it any longer.  

positive.  positive.  POSITIVE!!!!

Tempered hope due to history, but joyful elation none the less. 

And this was a lasting hope.  

Naomi Amal (Arabic for hope) joined our family 8.5 months later on February 21, 2006

and THAT, my friends, is NOT the rest of the story..

Stay tuned for part 4!


Jeni said...

I know that wait very well. Thanks for sharing your story. I'm anxious for part 4! :)

Tara G. said...

:) That's all I've got!

Alison H said...

I'm studying Nehemiah right now and I'm encouraged, again, by your story...by the story in Nehemiah. I think it's so important for us to remember and reflect on God's mercy and grace in our lives...Just like Nehemiah did for the people. Again, thanks for sharing.

Kendra said...

So glad you're writing this all down - enjoying all of the verses intertwined in your story that point to His faithfulness! All I could think about when I saw that picture was 'What!? Those girls are 13,11,and 6 now. When did that happen!?!' And 'Wow, have we really known them that long??' lol Where does the time go?