appointed time · home · Infertility · iui

Brief update

Things have been busy around here; I haven’t even really had time to think about posting. But for the purposes of this blog/journal space…here’s a quick summary.

1-Currently in IUI cycle 2. My period started Friday, got in to the clinic that afternoon; and apparently everything was clear to go. So I have one more day of Clomid and a monitoring appointment Monday; but given that the maturation process for me even on Clomid was still on the slow side, I don’t anticipate much growth. But regardless, assuming all goes well, we could know by the end of the month if we are pregnant again. I told the doctor we were ordering twins this time; she laughed. (No significant side effects from Clomid noted this time around; maybe some sleep disruption? I’m usually able to fall asleep quickly, especially after a certain point in the night…last few nights it’s been really hard to go to sleep. Small price to pay I guess, there could be worse things!)

2-We are in escrow on our first home (no more apartment life)!!! We are due to close at the end of this month as well…so it’s going to be a busy few weeks. (On the bright side, it will keep me distracted during the wait for the IUI and the wait after the IUI). We are so….everything. Excited and still in a bit of shock (it happened very quickly), feeling the stress of taking on such a big financial burden (and a substantial increase to our monthly expenses), nervous about the responsibilities of maintaining a home, and just relishing the moments of planning what everything should look like and getting to imagine our life in our new home. It’s a three bedroom house; and everything really lined up so beautifully that it really seems that this is exactly where God wants us (I’ll write another post on this whole thing later even though it’s not fertility related)….so maybe this is his way of showing us that we just need to trust in him and that he does have children in store for us. I so desperately want that to be the case.

 

Infertility · iui

A miscellany

After a whole headache’s worth of phone calls on Wednesday between our medical group, our insurance provider, and the clinic…finally got all the authorizations we needed. Unfortunately we still have to pay 50% of everything, and insurance won’t cover the actual IUI procedure, but it’s better than 100% of everything.

It was probably the fastest “initial consult” of all time. Since I’m new to this clinic, I had to schedule an initial consult with the doctor. But she already knows me and knows our history…so it was basically a “well, the protocol we did last time worked well, so I’d like to just try that exact same thing again…call on the first day of your cycle and we’ll get started!” We chatted a bit about what could have gone wrong before (she still thinks it was most likely a chromosome issue, but assured me if it happens again that she’ll do a workup on me), but I was in there no more than 5-10 minute. She was happy to see me, it was very sweet and that made me feel encouraged.

Also just grateful to know that we can jump back in right away. I’m expecting AF sometime the end of this week or anytime next week…so assuming there’s no problems (cysts etc), we could maybe be pregnant again by the end of July? I guess in the grand scheme of things that’s really not that far away.

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Still just feeling super blah and disinterested overall. I was keeping a thankfulness and productivity log and after a stressful couple of work days last week I sorta got out of the habit. Maybe I’ll try to start again on Monday, it definitely keeps me more accountable. I’m keeping up with my chore chart and trying to occupy some of my time with productive activities but I just don’t see the point in any of it and I’m really struggling with a lack of purpose. Tried bringing that up in my most recent spiritual care meetings but it didn’t seem to get heard.

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Definitely had a very memorable highlight this week; my favorite artist was in the area (ish) and was going to be performing at a convention. He *never* comes to the West Coast, so I had made note of the event some time ago. I had forgotten to follow up on the dates of the convention or look into tickets or anything until Thursday…and as of Thursday afternoon I realized that his concert was *that night* and that I had no way to find out if there were even still tickets available; so I didn’t think it was worth it to make the two hour plus drive in the chance that we couldn’t even get in. I was so bummed out that I’d missed an opportunity to finally see him perform.

My husband is basically the greatest; he gave up his evening with no advance warning and drove us out there anyway. He has heard a song or two by this guy, but doesn’t really know his music so had no real interest in going other than to make me happy. We made it to the convention center (barely!); had no problem getting tickets and were able to get seats surprisingly close to the front.

So I got to see Andrew Peterson perform. It was so good. I especially enjoyed getting to hear him talk about some of the stories behind the songs that he played; it really gives them another layer of meaning.

And then at the end we were able to go through the book signing line and meet him. It’s one of those awkward “I have so many things I want to say but I have to try to condense it into a short couple sentences for the sake of everyone else in line; and chances are he’s heard this ten thousand times so I’m just another face saying the same things but I still want him to know his music has meant something to me.” So I managed something, he signed the book we purchased, husband snapped a photo of him signing with me on the other side of the table, and we headed back home.

 

after miscarriage · grief and loss · Infertility · iui · pregnancy loss · sermon takeaways · trying to conceive

The valley of “should be”

I can’t help but think about the fact that today I should be halfway through my pregnancy. We should already know our baby’s gender, we should be planning for baby showers and where to fit a crib in our apartment…I should be starting to show and…and…and…

I thought when my period came a few weeks ago that things clicked into place and that I was ready to be okay again. In some ways, I have been; I’ve at least been able to be productive and not zone out in front of the TV for hours on end (see previous post).

But every time I see a baby I want to cry. Every time I hear about another pregnancy it’s a gut punch. Every day of my cycle feels like it’s another day closer to be reminded of failure; because at this point I really don’t have a whole lot of confidence that we’ll be able to conceive completely naturally.

I’m just so tired of this being all consuming. But I honestly don’t know how to think about anything else.

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On a separate note, at least things are in process again with infertility treatments. It was super stressful for a couple weeks; I was beginning to be afraid that our new insurance wouldn’t be accepted anywhere (though technically I didn’t even know enough about our plan to get accurate information from any of the clinics I called).

But after a bunch of phone calls and (unnecessary) stress…I was able to switch our insurance ‘group’ to the one that is accepted at the clinic where our previous RE already works. I’m very hopeful that because she knows us she will just let us jump right in to another round of IUI with my upcoming cycle and not make us go through all the testing again; though if it’s a matter of getting insurance to cover things maybe she’ll still have to. I don’t know. I’m just grateful to be able to go back to her; it’s a small blessing in all of this.

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I’ll close with a couple reflections from one of my pastor’s recent sermons. He just finished going through Psalm 23; and the sermon on verse 4 (“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me”) had some especially helpful observations.

First was just the quote that he started with…an ancient proverb or something. “All sunshine and no rain makes a desert.” Enough said about that.

He also pointed out the following observation, something I’d never noticed before. The first three verses of the psalm refer to the Lord as “He.” (he leads me, he restores…etc) After the valley…after the first part of verse 4, David refers to the Lord as “you.” (“You are with me, you prepare, you anoint…). Walking through the inevitable valleys of life deepen our relationship with our shepherd and make it personal. We’re not just sheep being herded around…we are children walking through life with a father who pursues us with goodness and mercy. (that was in today’s sermon; the word for follow in verse 6 actually can be translated as “pursue.”)

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And as I pondered a title for this post I realized that the whiny first part is it’s own type of valley…so I guess I need to actually take what I just shared to heart. Hopefully it encourages someone else but apparently I also needed to be reminded of it again.

Infertility · journal entry · motherhood

Purpose

It’s been a harder week than I thought it would be.

I’m doing better on the outside overall; I actually started a “productivity and thankfulness log” so that I can keep accountable to do more than just sit around and watch TV. I write 5 things I’m thankful for and make notes throughout the day of what activities I’m doing. I’ve been reading, playing piano, doing puzzles, reading my Bible, cleaning…so I feel better at the end of the days because I’ve actually done things I enjoy or that I need to.

But I’ve gone back to being sad. My little niece was born on Tuesday; and initially I was okay (while sister-in-law was in labor etc) but after we saw and held her…it just put that ache back inside and I haven’t been able to shake it.

I think I’m just struggling to feel like I have a purpose right now. I’ve reflected on that before; that I believe motherhood is one of the things I’ve been called to do and until I’m able to fulfill that calling things it just seems like something is missing.

And so the days have an emptiness to them. I can do all the ‘wife’ things….I can do all the ‘nurse’ things…but I still have hours of time that I’m stuck just thinking about the ‘mom’ things that I want to be able to do.

Filling the time with hobbies is a distraction but it’s not a cure. It makes me feel productive, but it doesn’t make me feel purposeful.

I know my ultimate purpose is to enjoy (know) and glorify God. So obviously, motherhood or not, I have a purpose. But when I’m still working on getting back to a good place spiritually it’s hard to see how that would fill all the hours of the day. Especially when raising and loving children feels like it could be the best medium for me to do that.

Maybe I’m fooling myself there. Maybe motherhood is so much of an idol after all that this is the last thing that could help me know and glorify God and that’s why it’s being withheld for now. But I want to believe that I would seek to know God more if I had little lives to shape; that I would seek to glorify God in my response to the day to day challenges of motherhood.

 

after miscarriage · baby EL · grief and loss · missed miscarriage · pregnancy loss · trying to conceive

When AF arrived

Spotting started Wednesday night, full AF the next day.

I’m actually kinda amazed that it didn’t cause another emotional setback; in fact it did the opposite.

I think by my body physically telling me that it has moved past the pregnancy and is ready to try again…it somehow triggered my heart and mind to do the same.

I can’t forget what happened. It will always be a sad thing, I will always wonder about this child and grieve for the loss and for what could have been. March 6th (heartbeat), 21st (miscarriage discovered), 29th (birthday) and October 27th (due date) will always be days I remember.

But I don’t need to stay in the darkness. It’s time to move forward, it’s time to try again and hope again (scary as that is). And for the first time in 8 weeks, I feel like that’s actually possible and attainable; and it’s lasted more than part of a day so it seems that’s really where I’m at.

So while my uterus empties itself and prepares to rebuild; my heart and mind are doing the same.

I’m ready to live life again.

 

after miscarriage · grief and loss · Infertility

A catch up post

It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve written anything. And I guess several things have happened in that time that I probably should have posted about but since I didn’t…this will just be a summary of the ‘highlights.’

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I went to see a Christian therapist a couple weeks ago. That was a total bust. I wanted to have a Christian perspective on things, but was still expecting a fairly standard counseling session. I’m pretty sure she quoted more verses and cliche Christian ‘maxims’ at me in less than an hour than the combined conversations I’ve had with people that I’ve gone to for actual spiritual counsel. Things like, “This was God’s best for you,” “God works all things for good,” “He knows the plans he has for you”, “He is faithful,” and “maybe this was him removing an idol from your life because he is a jealous God.” I probably talked less than half the time.

So that was a bummer. I think by the time I finally got to see her though I’d already started to feel like I was making some sort of progress (and the meds had maybe started kicking in), so I’m not sure I’m going to try to find another therapist or just see how it goes.

It did lead me to reach out to my pastor again though and we had a very good conversation last week that I’m still trying to work on processing/applying. Next blog post, probably. It needs its own space.

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My sister had her baby. He’s beautiful, and they are so tender and loving towards him. It was neat to see my sister just take on that role; it wasn’t one I could necessarily picture her in so it was cool to see that side of her blossom.

And she handled my visit with the same grace she used when she told me about her pregnancy in the first place. She gave me permission to be sad and to feel mixed emotions. She acknowledged them without even being prompted, she guessed some of the things I might have been feeling and made it completely valid to feel that way.

It’s amazing how simply being given freedom to have negative/mixed emotions just kind of makes those negative emotions less intense.

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Mother’s Day. Meh. Not much to say there. I was on call all weekend so I kept somewhat distracted. But it was still painful and by trying not to think about it I probably thought about it more.

Had a few people reach out; they acknowledged the losses and reminded me of my valid claim to motherhood even if it’s not visible to most so that was very sweet. My sister-in-law even checked in with my husband to see if she should get me flowers; so I had to try to be less annoyed with her for a few days…though she’s continued to make that difficult.

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She is probably going to have her baby this week. She wants to be induced before her due date because she’s “so over being pregnant,” she exaggerates every contraction and bemoans every interrupted night of sleep, and now that things are getting closer to happening she is “so nervous about all of it.” I just feel like it’s really hard to be sympathetic, I want to just be like: “Last time I checked, you absolutely wanted this.” Though I guess technically she wanted the baby so maybe she didn’t consider all the aspects of the process to get there.

I just feel like she’s going to be over-dramatic about everything. The pain of labor, the pain of recovery, the pain of breastfeeding, the challenge of adjusting to life with a newborn. And it makes me angry because it feels like a slap in the face because I’m willing to take on all of that and I still don’t get to.

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Still no period. It’ll be 7 weeks since the D&C on Friday; I’m not sure at what point I start getting concerned…though we’re between health insurance providers this month so there’s not much I could do even if nothing happens for a few more weeks. I don’t want to get my hopes up that we somehow managed to conceive again already; I doubt my body figured out that it needed to ovulate and with his swimmers being on the slow side it would be highly unlikely that they made it to an egg without assistance. We haven’t been consistent enough either. So I think it’s just a matter of continuing to wait.

grief and loss · pregnancy loss

Names

I’ve chosen to give ‘baby EL’ a name. It’s something more for myself; I don’t think husband has any particular thoughts on the subject and I’m not sure bringing up the topic would help him in his own grieving process so for now I’m keeping it to myself.

After our first loss, I re-read “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp and this quote really impacted me. It basically speaks for itself.

In the Bible a name…reveals the very essence of a thing, or rather its essence as God’s gift. To name a thing is to manifest the meaning and value God gave it, to know it as coming from God and to know its place and function within the cosmos created by God. To name a thing, in other words, is to bless God for it and in it.

So I gave that baby a name. Husband was convinced it was a boy, so I stuck to that gender for names. I wanted a name that would reflect he fact that this child was a blessing from God and that it’s short life was ultimately always his.

-Timothy David. Timothy: honoring to God. David: beloved.

Since I gave the first baby a boy’s name, I chose a girl’s name for this little one. This name is one that I have loved for some time for what it represents, but also recognize that it would be a hard name to give to a child who would live a normal life. But every time I read David Copperfield I am inspired by the character of Agnes-she just embodies goodness, purity, and selflessness. And that’s what the name means: pure, innocent. Rather fitting for a little one whose heart only beat in the safety of a womb.

-Agnes Claire. Agnes: pure and innocent. Claire: bright

I just hope that I don’t find out some day that Timothy is actually a girl and Agnes is a boy. But I imagine they understand.

after miscarriage · baby EL · grief and loss · Infertility · pregnancy loss

And it’s over

Today my hcg is 1.

Most of me is relieved; I know it can takes weeks sometimes for those numbers to drop all the way, and obviously until it drops the body still thinks it’s pregnant and won’t initiate the regular cycles.

So we’re a tangible step closer to being able to try again. And that is a good thing.

But there’s still a new ache at having this final confirmation that the pregnancy is completely over. Obviously I knew that already. And I don’t want my body to think it’s pregnant when it isn’t. It’s not the same level of ache. It just marks the final physical end to this season and that makes me sad in a different kind of way.

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I’ve entered a “read everything and try to remember all the things I know to be true” phase and I’m trying to keep track of things that jump out to. Maybe I’ll post some of them another time. At least I’m wanting to do something again.

I’ve also gone back on antidepressants as of Friday night, and have my first counseling session and spiritual care conversation this week.

It’s beginning to feel a little less dark. So I am grateful.

after miscarriage · appointed time · grief and loss · Infertility · pregnancy loss

It’s not just our testimony

I read something last night that was really profound; and at least for the moment has pulled me out of my funk just a little bit.

Found a series of ‘letters’ on a blog while browsing Pinterest and what I discovered in the one written to “my future mom self” was this gem.

“I know you always imagined what an amazing testimony you would have one day, but it wasn’t just for you. It was for your children too. Because of their story, they will never doubt God as their Savior and King.”

That stopped me in my tracks. This journey of struggling to conceive and of now multiple pregnancy losses is only making it more and more evident that any children we may be blessed with are perfectly timed and perfectly planned by God.

And that’s not just for my husband and I to be able to say, “look at God’s faithfulness and goodness in what he did in our lives.” It’s so we can tell our precious children that not only were they wanted and prayed for and that they are loved by us more than they can imagine…but that God in his sovereignty has chosen them and has a very specific purpose for them that involved them coming into the world at the exact time they did.

I guess in light of that it’s a little harder for me to be angry that baby ‘waterbear’ was not that child. I can still be sad, and I still will be for a long time…but I think there’s a little less anger now and I can start rebuilding my trust in God’s faithfulness.

(Disclaimer: obviously God has a purpose for every life. Every child is ordained by him and is equally valuable in his eyes. I’m not discounting that. But it seems that this truth should sink a little deeper and feel a little more tangible for a child who comes after loss and after infertility.)

Link to article: https://www.in-due-time.com/fertility/a-letter-to-my-future-mom-self/

after miscarriage · grief and loss · journal entry · pregnancy loss

On the ugliness inside

I feel like I’ve moved into an ugly place.

Not only am I finding myself thinking and feeling some rather unattractive things, I’m also confused about why I’m still feeling so miserable. I wonder if there’s a sadistic part of me that wants to stay unhappy. I’ll have a good day that is followed by more than one bad day; almost as if I’m rebelling against the attempt at being happy by intentionally focusing on what is making me sad.

So that in itself is ugly. I mean, how shallow and pathetic is it to make myself think about how crummy everything is? I know I have so much to be thankful for, I know that my spiritual framework should be starting a rebuilding process and that I should be focusing on God’s blessings and goodness and leaning into him as I grow through this.

But I seem to be counting my misfortunes instead of my blessings. 

And on top of that, my attitude towards other people who have what I don’t is becoming callous and bitter. I found myself annoyed last night by my sister-in-law’s response to some painful Braxton Hicks contractions instead of compassionate and sympathetic. All I could think about was how selfish she was being by making a big deal out of something that I’d give an awful lot to have. And as she cried through the fear and the pain I was trying to keep from having a meltdown over the unfairness of it all and angered by her eagerness to have this part ‘over’ when it wasn’t all that long ago that she was desperate to have it too.

I don’t want to pray, I don’t want to read my Bible, I don’t want to try to journal and process this out (other than my blog posts) because I think maybe I’m not ready to let go of the hurt and anger.

Losing a pregnancy after infertility has revealed some really ugly layers of my heart and I’m not really enjoying that very much.

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But I have decided in light of all this that it’s time to make an effort to get “better.” There may be a sadistic part of me that likes being miserable but I know I can’t stay here. So I’m working on finding a therapist and going back to counseling, and have started the process of meeting with someone from my church’s care ministry.  I’ve also reached out to my doctor to ask if it’s wise to resume my antidepressants.

And maybe once we hit Thursday (the 5 week mark; the point at which the time of grief is equal to the time of joy) something will just shift and I’ll subconsciously just start to move on. Who knows. The mind and heart are strange beasts.