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.

 

appointed time · baby EL · pregnancy

112

We had our first prenatal ultrasound yesterday.

Baby EL is measuring exactly at 6 weeks, 4 days (as it should be) and we got to see and hear the tiny heart beating at a rate of 112.

And there’s only one. (I’m secretly a little disappointed; I was kinda hoping for twins. I mean, I liked the idea of it…I guess the reality of carrying two and raising two for the price of one would have been a significant challenge. And I can’t be greedy; I’m over the moon that there’s even one; one with a steadily beating heart.

I know there’s still a lot of risks; I know there’s quite a few more weeks to go before it’s “safe,” but I also know that once that heart starts beating the risk drops dramatically. So I breathed a huge sigh of relief yesterday and have been just on cloud nine ever since. And it definitely feels a lot more real; even with a lack of any significant symptoms.

We’re having a baby!!

I guess I should probably change my blog tagline. I mean, this is still a journey of trusting. It’s just trusting for something different.  And while it’s still a journey of hope and fear, it’s hoping for new things and fearing new things. Interesting how those emotions don’t go away; they just change.

after miscarriage · appointed time · Infertility · iui · pregnancy · Uncategorized

Updates

My repeat labs a week ago showed an increase in HCG (from 80 to 252 in 3 days!) and a very comfortable progesterone (44.2). My first ultrasound is scheduled at the clinic on March 6th; I’ll be 6 weeks and 3 days.

Symptoms so far have included mild cramping, sore breasts, intermittent fatigue, and a desire to eat constantly. In a twisted way I’m eager to at least have the morning sickness start (though it doesn’t have to stay!) just so I’ll feel more pregnant.

I’ve continued taking tests every couple days just to monitor the lines (I know, I should stop…it won’t do anything either way…but seeing them get darker is just so reassuring). The line yesterday was almost identical to Friday’s line, but I think I’m more on a ‘every 72 hours’ sort of schedule so I’m hoping tomorrow’s test is darker.

At this point, I’m pretty sure that I’ve already made it farther than the first time. I thought I was 5 weeks and change when I miscarried based on my period dates, but given how faint my tests were (and never got any darker all week), I’m beginning to think that the fertilized egg attempted to implant, released a little bit of hormone, and didn’t stick. Just enough to register on a test, but barely. Hence the light tests and the low blood levels the day I started bleeding. I can’t have even been 4 weeks; it must have been a true chemical miscarriage.

So if I’m already at a definite 5 weeks (since I know my ovulation date this time), the embryo has already firmly implanted. So that risk has already gone away. The question now is whether it’s growing. And there’s no way I can know that until next Wednesday. I’m so desperately hoping baby EL measures where it needs to be for 6 weeks and change, and that maybe we’ll even get to see the heartbeat.

I wanted it before; I’ve wanted to be a mom forever. But I want it so much more now that we’ve worked so hard to get here. There’s a deeper attachment to this little one already. I know I’ll be okay even if things don’t go the way we hope…I still trust that God is good and faithful…but it’s going to be so much deeper of a loss since this one feels more real and more sure somehow.

In the meantime, all I can do is try to stay as calm as possible (which work is making difficult…I need to talk to my manager this week and explain my situation so she understands why I’m pushing back on taking certain assignments), eat as healthy as possible, and stay hydrated.

And be grateful for each day that I am still pregnant. We’re at 12 days of knowing. Already 5 days more than last time. So every day is a gift, every week is a new milestone and I’m trying to rest in that.

appointed time · iui · pregnancy

4 days later

I am still pregnant.

It is kinda surreal to write that. After infertility goes on long enough (granted, I know our journey has been short compared to many), it’s hard to imagine what it will feel like to finally get to say that.

My bloodwork on Friday (13 dpiui) showed an hcg level of 80. I repeated a first response test this morning and the test line was the same color as the control, so it seems as though levels are still rising. Each positive and darker test makes me feel a little more sure that at least this one has a chance.

I need to get a doctor to order a repeat hcg (and progesterone!); but it was Friday afternoon when the results posted so nothing has happened yet. I’ll call again in the morning; and probably also will try to contact my OBGYN to set up my first appointment.

I’m trying to take it one day at a time. Even if my levels increase, it doesn’t mean the embryo will continue to develop. Even if it develops, it doesn’t mean it will stick. Even if it sticks, it doesn’t mean something might not still go wrong. But I’m trying to not obsess over the ‘ifs’ and just enjoy the reality now that baby EL (who is the size of a ‘waterbear’) is inside of me.

(EL: first initials of the boy and girl names we’ve chosen.)

 

appointed time · Infertility · journal entry · trying to conceive

On bitterness

I found something out this week that made me feel very bitter. I had to have a long talk with God about it to even start to come to a place where I can be at peace with the situation. In the event that this blog somehow does not remain anonymous I cannot share any more than that. I wish I could, but what I found out is not my story to tell. I’ll touch on that again at the end of the post.

I went through the list of things I know to be true; then proceeded to have it out with God for the ‘unfairness’ of it all (which turned into a general meltdown about being so worn out from this journey of infertility and just crying out that frustration and pain). Then I cycled back to the initial truths and let them ruminate a little, and this is what it boils down to.

1) Blessings from God are not dependent on our behavior. Thank goodness for that; if it was, none of us would have anything good. We’re all pretty broken and rotten…my very bitterness and negativity already merit some degree of punishment. We may not understand why God chooses to give blessings to certain people who have done ______, and we may not understand why God doesn’t give us certain blessings when we have done ______, but at the end of the day; any blessing we are given is God showing his grace to us.

And I of all people should know that to be true. I was ashamed to realize that if it came down to not deserving something because of a previous action or decision…I should not be married right now. I rushed into my first marriage, disregarded my parent’s wisdom, and ended up getting divorced. Yet I got a second chance, I was given so much grace…and have been blissfully married for 17 months to a man who is everything I could have ever imagined. But some people, especially those who may still be waiting on their first love, may look at my story and think, “seriously? She gets that? Look what she did!”

2) I am only living in my story. I don’t get to know all the details of everyone else’s. I kept thinking of something Aslan says to Shasta in the Chronicles of Narnia…in fact, it’s so succinct and appropriate that I probably won’t even say much else. Shasta wants to know why Aslan wounded Aravis earlier in the story, this is the response. I imagine he says this very gently and kindly, but also in a no-nonsense, firm tone.

“Child,” said the Voice, “I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own.”

And honestly, we won’t even get to know all of our story until it’s done. How silly am I to think that I would ever be given the inside scoop on someone else’s. I can’t know what’s going on inside their heads or hearts; and I am not privy to what God is choosing to work on in their lives. If I truly believe that his timing is perfect, that doesn’t just apply to my story.

So I’m trying to let the bitterness go. I’m trying to rest in how God showered blessings on me when I didn’t deserve them, and letting him gently but firmly remind me that he doesn’t tell me any story but mine.

family · Infertility

On family

I ordered a book a few weeks ago that finally arrived the other day and I’ve basically just been inhaling it; it’s got short chapters so it’s hard to not just go on to the next and the next even though I should probably let each one ruminate for a while. The downside of being a fast reader *shrug*.

Anyway, the book is “Empty Womb, Aching Heart,” and it has stories and reflections from multiple women (or couples) who have struggled with infertility. Once I finish my first read I’ll probably go back and take each chapter a bit slower and write down the takeaway/lesson/attitude adjustment technique in each one…future blog post, perhaps?

One of the chapters especially jumped out to me yesterday. The writer was reflecting on how hard it is to be childless in a church community that is centered around the “family,” family ministry/resources/events were all geared towards the typical parents/children structure.

She went on to share that she taught a Sunday school lesson on the 6th day of creation; and the children drew pictures of animals and then Adam and Eve on a large piece of butcher paper. She told them that this was the point at which God said it was “very good,” and then rested. One of the little girls pointed out that there weren’t any children in the drawing.

“No children, not yet…and still God called it very good. Not….’good-but-it-would-be-better-if…’ After he made man and woman, he proclaimed his work finished. It was complete. They were complete.” 

She comes to realize that a family is not formed once children arrive. The family of two is just as valuable, just as complete.

And she closes the chapter with her new response to those prying “when are you going to start a family” questions. Her answer is essentially this:

“We already have. We’re just waiting to see if God chooses to add to it or not.” (my edit)

-quotes and paraphrases taken from Empty Womb, Aching Heart (chapter 10); book compiled by Marlo Schalesky

appointed time · Infertility · trying to conceive

Waiting

Two weeks ago I was convinced that tomorrow (assuming AF hadn’t arrived) I’d get up in the morning and get the best birthday present ever.

With the delays in ovulation (again) I’m likely only 6-7 dpo, so testing tomorrow is not the best idea. I’m planning to wait until the end of next week. Granted, we follow up with the fertility clinic on Thursday so I imagine they’ll run a standard test anyway if I haven’t already started a new cycle.

But I found something out yesterday that freaked me out a little (honestly, a lot) and I don’t want to even wait to go back to the fertility clinic…or rather, I do want to wait because I don’t want to know what I think I know.

My AMH level is 9.927. This hormone measures egg reserve and can indicate how much longer you may be fertile. Our doctor told us she wanted to see something above 2, anything below 1.5 is concerning. I was initially excited to see such a high number then thought; ‘wait, if 1.5-2 is considered low normal…what would cause it to be as high as 9?”

Turns out, the primary reason is PCOS. It’s actually one of the main ways they diagnose PCOS in the absence of other clear indicators, from the little research I did. When the number is high, usually it’s because there are high numbers of eggs in the ovaries that have started to develop but didn’t finish.

So that was a great discovery. I know I’m not the fertility doctor, and by scouring the internet and self-diagnosing I’m doing the very thing that bugs every health professional…but I’m a little freaked.

I’ve thought it was a possibility before given my irregular cycles, but I’ve always convinced myself I didn’t have it because my cycles are still within a fairly normal range (usually not more that 45-50 days, and that long only happening every 3-4 cycles), I usually confirm ovulation with opks and a temp shift, and I don’t have any of the other obvious symptoms associated with PCOS except for excessive chin hair, but that’s partly due to the fact that I pluck anything that looks slightly dark like it’s going out of style and hair tends to grow back in darker once shaved/plucked.

But it might explain why my OPKs do such weird things…like almost being positive for days in a row, or having several sets of positives interspersed with negatives. And slow/irregular temperature rises. And 16 months of infertility.

So I guess now we wait. My favorite thing ever.

I’m still hopeful that we still get a positive and go on to have a healthy pregnancy. Even if I do have PCOS I know pregnancy isn’t impossible…and as I have to keep reminding myself, even with PCOS God can bless us with this in his perfect timing.

 

appointed time · baby dancing · Infertility · trying to conceive

And then the opk was positive

Yesterday the OPK was absolutely, 1000% positive. Blazing. Jumping off the test. No doubt about it. I saved the image of said positive test and edited it to read “THIS is a positive” in case I forget again and think other tests are positive when clearly they are not.

And as luck would have it, we haven’t had sex since Sunday. We got a session in last night after the positive, and we plan to go for the next several days…but my temperature is already starting to rise so I probably ovulated last night.

I flipped out. I’ve continued to test just because I feel better once the negatives actually look negative…and the lack of temperature rise made me question if ovulation had occurred…but to confirm that it hadn’t yet occurred did not make me happy (especially given our unintentional 3 day break).

I was mad. I was discouraged. I was disappointed. I still am. I’m not handling this very well. I was so excited to possibly get to test on my birthday…so hopeful that this cycle would be it after the HSG and the great timing we had around in what I thought was my window…and now, if we’re lucky we may have gone once in my window and most of the semen leaked out afterwards since I had to get up for worship practice (TMI, sorry). And my two week wait just started over.

I know that God can make anything happen regardless of the number of times we BD’d in my fertile window. Perhaps this will still be our cycle and this will be his way of making it completely obvious to both of us (well, me) that this was absolutely nothing that we did.

Because if I ovulated last night…scientifically the odds are very much against us getting pregnant this cycle. But if this is God’s appointed timing, then science doesn’t matter. I guess that’s the lesson I need to rest in during the next two weeks.

Uncategorized

Always Good

Do you remember how Mary was grieving?
How you wept and she fell at your feet?
If it’s true that you know what I’m feeling
Could it be that you’re weeping with me?
Arise, O Lord, and save me
There’s nowhere else to go

You’re always good, always good
Somehow this sorrow is shaping my heart like it should
And You’re always good, always good

It’s so hard to know what you’re doing
So why won’t you tell it all plain?
But you said you’d come back on the third day
And Peter missed it again and again
So maybe the answer surrounds us
And we don’t have eyes to see

You’re always good, always good
This heartache is moving me closer than joy ever could
And You’re always good

My God, my God, be near me
There’s nowhere else to go
And Lord, if you can hear me
Please help your child to know

That you’re always good, always good
As we try to believe what is not meant to be understood
Will you help us to trust your intentions for us are still good?
‘Cause you laid down your life and you suffered like I never could

And you’re always good, always good
you’re always good, always good

appointed time · Infertility · trying to conceive

On an infertility consult: part 2

My husband was a lot more overwhelmed by our experience at the infertility clinic yesterday. He was much less prepared for the invasive/personal questions, the rapidity with which we moved forward with testing, and the unfamiliarity of all the medical (and infertility) terminology.

Once we got home and he’d had a chance to process a little bit…in addition to sharing the above he went on to express some of his emotions. The most prominent theme was sadness and burden. After all, this is not how babies are supposed to be made. It’s supposed to be fun and romantic and the result of two people’s love for each other. Turning it into a science experiment (IVF)…or even just removing the component of intimacy (IUI) just feels…sad.

There was also a heaviness on his heart in general that this has been something I have focused so much on (ouch!). He expressed missing the times when we just spent time together and enjoyed being us…when every conversation didn’t revolve around having/making a baby…and when having sex was only meant for fun and romance. He expressed sadness at watching my cycle of emotions every month. He has verbalized this before but somehow it felt deeper last night; and in light of suddenly being realistically presented with these new options for conceiving a baby….I suddenly felt as though I have to a degree forced us to this point.

Thankfully he puts no burden of blame on me. He just wants me to know how he feels. We were (ultimately) able to have a good conversation about these emotions, and we prayed together last night which was really helpful for both of us. I will try to let go (again) of the excessive tracking and work on my trusting…and hopefully have a good month of just enjoying each other.

And while we likely will have some decisions to make in the next couple weeks…if everything comes back normal I think we will both be on the same page with waiting a little longer for God to bless us with this in his timing and praying we will have the privilege of making a baby without any assistance.

But if we end up requiring medical and scientific interventions at some point in the future, I will be infinitely grateful that we have these as options. I just so deeply wish that it didn’t have to be this way for anybody.