Prayers, please

We would LOVE and appreciate prayers as we’ve officially scheduled our retrieval for Monday, November 6!¬†7698070e47f125cc0f451d562f10b582

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Let’s get personal. Personal!

I’ve been filling this blog with my thoughts and opinions so I figured it was time for a little update on our journey in basically every aspect. So here go…

Monday, October 23, I started my cycle which made it official CD1. {Cycle Day 1 for you commoners that don’t know infertility jargon ūüėõ }

I went to Cincinnati for a baseline scan on Wednesday and was instructed to begin my Gonal F 375iu that evening. From my research, 375 is a quite large amount and even increased from my first round 2+ years ago. All systems a’go.

So here’s my lineup so far of my meds –

October 25 – 28 : Gonal F 375iu
October 29 – Nov 1 : Gonal F 375iu + Cetrotide

Tomorrow, Thursday Nov 2, I’ll go back up to Cincy for a scan and hopefully my last blood work, especially since my vein busted on Monday. I’ll keep you updated if we get a set retrieval date.¬† Next up is Ovidrel and then Valium. Eye on the prize, #amirite?

Physically. I’m good! My stomach is full of bruises and welts but it was expected so no surprises there. Besides being overly tired, I feel prepared. I’ve had two times that I was doubled over from painful cramps that seemed like they’d never end, but only twice is pretty good in my book. In a weird way, I like having a little pain because it reminds me that things are workin’ in there.

Emotionally. I’ve been better. I started going to a new counselor to try to manage all these billions of feelings I have. My first session was a little overwhelming.. My words spewed out so fast that I’m sure her head was spinning, but I wanted to fully utilize every minute I have with her. Infertility holds so many emotions that I’m thankful for an outlet to process my thoughts and feelings with. If you’re in the Louisville area and interested, let me know and I’d be happy to share her info with you. No matter what the outcome is of this round, it’s going to change my life. I’ll either be blessed with a pregnancy or blessed with knowing God’s plan for me is to focus on Gus. It’s the closing of the door of is out of my control that I struggle with. Knowing within 4 weeks what God’s will is for me shakes me back to reality.

Financially. We’ve spent all our money on creating our babies. ‘Nuff said.

Spiritually.  The Lord is my light and my salvation Рwhom shall I fear? (Psalm 27:1)
I love being able to nudge deeper and rely more on God during these tough times and couldn’t imagine this, or life in general, without putting all my worries, faith and hope into Him. Pouring into my Bible is the most powerful outlet for me.

I’ll be back tomorrow with an update on upcoming procedures and dates, hopefully.¬† We’d love and appreciate any prayers.

XO

What infertility means to me

To you, infertility is the inability to conceive children.

To me, infertility is everything. It is the constant reminder of failures. It’s getting your hopes up and imagining how you’re going to announce your pregnancy only to be devastated as you see a lonely pink line. You¬†knew this test would be different, you¬†knew¬†your body felt different this time. Yet again, you find yourself with a negative pregnancy test and since life must go on, you tell yourself you’ll grieve later that night. You use the blanket you’ve been storing in the back of your closet to wipe your tears.

Infertility is suffering a miscarriage, the loss of this baby you prayed for and knew was made just for you. The tease of a miscarriage, knowing your body¬†could get pregnant but unable to carry and nurture a baby. Dealing with the loss and plaguing the rest of your entire life with milestones you should be celebrating instead of trying to not acknowledge. It’s watching your friends have babies on your due date, or seeing a family introduce a fourth sibling as you wait for your one miracle.

Infertility is exhausting. Month by month, TWW by TWW, you experience the ultimate emotional rollercoaster all. the. time.¬† You put your heart out there, put all your faith in Him, and you exhaust yourself with being filled with hope and crushed by heartbreak. Over and over and over again. It’s reaching the point of exhaustion that you debate taking next month off procedures, but convincing yourself you can’t waste a month of chances and you set yourself up again because through the exhaustion, you still have so much fight left in you.¬†

It’s sacrificing your body for merely a “chance” of conceiving. You take daily shots, 5 pills a day, insert¬†stuff, give blood, take blood, go through surgeries and acupuncture to get your body comfortable that an embryo will grow into a fetus and feel comfortable enough in your hospitable uterus to dig in deep and become a real, life baby.

Infertility is putting your life on hold. You postpone trips based on doctors appointments and procedures and can’t help but to immediately think, “eek! I could be 9 weeks pregnant on my next trip!”¬† Financially, you stop committing to dinners or buy less gifts because meds are SO expensive. The life you thought you’d be living is far from what you’re living now.

It’s surviving on hope, faith and the grace of God. You can tell yourself a billion times that His plan is better than yours, but it doesn’t mean you don’t pray a billion+one times to finally be on the same path. It’s reminding yourself that miracles aren’t performed without pain and frustration, while the idea of doubt creeps its way into your heart. It’s suffocating when I begin to question God because I know He’s all I got.

Infertility is being a part of a tribe of women you never wanted to be a part of, but can’t imagine life without them, their story and their support. It’s finding your daily prayers now include, “Lord, keep your hands on Andi and Katelyn’s embryos” and many other hopeful mommies you now walk this road with. It’s having a secret Facebook group of cheerleaders that share the secrets of an endo scratch and taking polls of how many couples tested their embryos.

Infertility is much more than the inability to conceive. It’s frustrating, lonely and steals the joy you have left.

But sister, take comfort, God shows us SEVEN times in the Bible that He WILL perform miracles on the barren womb. When grief consumes you, when you feel like you can’t continue on this windy path anymore, remember that every person that sought God to conceive and birth children eventually had a child.

Genesis 25:21 “Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant.”

While the struggles of infertility may be the greatest trial you and your partner may face, remember it does not have to be faced alone. Seek God’s will, pray to Him, and leave all the results up to Him.

{Please feel free to comment or email me with any prayer requests.}

Mercies

You know when you get in an argument with someone and you fall asleep thinking of the most perfect comeback hours and hours after the time it was relevant? I usually fall asleep making up situations where I can talk openly about infertility with even the most fertile women and never feel like I need to apologize for being open or making them uncomfortable/feel sorry for me.

But instead of changing the minds of people that will never walk this road, I want to write to you, I want to talk to you, the one that needs to hear from a girl that understands you and a girl that cries with you and for you.

This is so lonely, isolating and tough to navigate. It’s excruciating and constant with some waves stronger than others. Sometimes I convince myself I chose this life by deciding I want a family, realizing infertility isn’t life or death but making me feel alive or numb.¬† I don’t care if I’m misunderstood by women that conceive easily, but it’s my honor to stumble along side of the woman with the single pink line at the end of the month.

I’m constantly torn between enjoying this beautiful life God gave me without distraction and always feeling like something is missing. Guilt overwhelms me when I realize I’m asking for more when I can’t even appreciate what’s already given to me.

 

And today may have been a bad day. Maybe no one even knew you cried at your desk, but please, please know it’s okay. There’s no roadmap of how to deal with infertility and the emotions that go along with it, but I pray you’re never ashamed, embarrassed or sorry for being an irrational, hormonal, distant or transparent mess of a women.

Maybe your Facebook news feed included three pregnancy announcements that you weren’t prepared for and your heart felt such anger, pain and hope at the same time.

Or maybe today was tough because the thoughts of adoption that always terrified you became more and more real. As hard as it is to admit, that’s one of my biggest struggles. What a blessing adoption is, but I just don’t know if my heart is that strong.

But you know what you do. You grow, you get stronger every day and you fake it til’ ya make it… or fake it til’ ya don’t want to fake it anymore and you break your own mold by staying true to yourself and being real.

His mercies are new every morning. Lamentations 3:23

 

I never saw the importance of God blessing me with new mercies every morning until I realized I could release all the bad from the previous day and wake up to a fresh start, sun shining and knowing I’m still on the path of God’s plan for me. Without waking up to a new day, living life on a vicious cycle of Groundhog Day would take its toll. I don’t want to live in a constant state of darkness and sadness, and God doesn’t want me to live like that. He won’t let me suffer. But how am I supposed to see His new mercies every morning if I don’t allow myself to look for them?

I talk

Infertility is gradual. ¬†For a lack of a better explanation, let me draw this out.¬†With a cancer diagnosis, your whole life is flipped upside down in the matter of a few words. Words like “remission” and “relapse” make a timeline so definite and concrete. But with us, we didn’t walk out of a doctor appointment with a label of “INFERTILE” or with the flip of a switch, did we become “warriors” with an army behind us like other¬†sick patients. We received small bad news, one at a time. First, me. Then, John’s results.

I never set out to be¬†that girl that talks about infertility. In the first year of our journey (you know, the year that doctors arbitrarily dubbed as significant before you seek any medical help) ¬†I was surrounded by baby showers, birth announcements and first birthday parties while we continued to have negative pregnancy tests and began learning words like ovulation and Clomid.¬†It’s different, not easier or tougher, just different than other medical issues because of the blurry lines and social stigmas associated with reproduction.

My doctor wasn’t open to discussing our family planning difficulties until at least 10 months of “actively trying” and then nonchalantly wrote a prescription for Clomid after I worked up the courage to mention it to her. No directions other than to take the pill from Day 3 – Day 7 and prepare yourself for twins. {enter eye roll..if only it were that easy.}

I had no idea what I was doing in the beginning because I wasn’t diagnosed with anything. Again, with other medical diagnoses, you work with a doctor to begin a treatment plan and practice saying things like “oncologist” and “I have cancer” in the mirror as they become everyday jargon in your newfound life as a fighter.

Infertility, you slowly go through each day as you reluctantly begin to wrap your mind around a potential problem and when you finally Google it, you immediately close it and think, “IVF? That’s for desperate people that have real, serious issues. Not for me. We’ll never have to do THAT.” ¬†It’s tough to let people into the most intimate part of a relationship and as a woman, it’s impossible to accept that maybe, just maybe, you won’t be able to give your husband a child that your body was made to do.

It’s easy to not acknowledge a fertility issue if you don’t have a diagnosis.

It may be easier to go through life being numb, but it’s a lot better to feel. ¬†Singing praises when you’re happy and praying when you’re sad make more sense to me than never smiling just so you don’t have to sometimes cry.

Are you scared to take the next step in your infertility journey because you keep getting bad results and you feel like you’re too exhausted to continue? Guess what? You are exhausted, and it’s okay to be scared. But you’re not going to fix the problem, and you’re not going to fill the baby shaped hole in your heart by pretending it’s not there.

God made you strong and He made you human. If you think you can’t, remember that He can. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

I never dreamt that God would use little ol me to be a part of other people’s beautiful stories of becoming parents. How did He know, well before I knew, that my heart was yearning to be filled by something I didn’t even know existed of infertility? 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility which means a lot of people don’t talk about it.

So, why do I talk about it?

Because I can. Because I know what life looks like to question God and not understand what He’s doing. Because my plan was to get pregnant. But His plan? His plan for me was to open my heart to a gift that only He can give. It’s so much more than becoming pregnant, it’s about growing this deep relationship with my Father. It’s so much more than receiving a gift, but getting to know the Giver.

Because even in the midst of dark days, I have a Heavenly Father that I can talk to that provides more light in my life than any silence ever could.

Because I learned in the midst of my suffering, that I am strong. And so are you.

Because I felt misunderstood and alone. But when I found that there are other women like me, I knew I was exactly where He wanted me to be. Vulnerable, scared but ready to see the beauty only He can make from ashes.

Being vulnerable and transparent about our journey through infertility has made our struggles a blessing to me. I cannot help but feel excitement for women beginning their long road ahead because the ways God is preparing to make Himself seen through her is the most beautiful birth of all.

Even Jesus Cried

I cry a lot. Not the kind of you-should-feel-sorry-for-John, uncomfortable, ugly tears every single day type of crying, but not the sweet, delicate, I’m-so-pretty-when-I-cry type of crying either. Somewhere in the middle, but once I start, I can’t stop.

Even when my mind is strong and my heart is full, I cry. My mind tells my eyes to “GET IT TOGETHER!” but they continue to leak. I can be genuinely happy and in a strong spot in life but if the person I’m talking to blinks and even slightly resembles a red nose preparing to shed a tear, I’m done.

Crying is usually perceived as weakness, especially in men, because it makes a person vulnerable. To me, being vulnerable is one of greatest strengths a person can have. After a good long cry, I usually feel like a weight is lifted and a wave of peace comes over me. God hears my cry and then I start thinking about the way He hears me and how He has seen me in my darkest days and that He STILL loves me.

By now, you’re probably thinking, “Hey, Jayme. You need to chill and up your meds because you’re a hot mess. No one should be delving on tears on the internet and not expect a few red flags, especially when you’re always so open about your problems. Is this a cry (get it, cry, pun intended)¬†for help or are you just trying to redeem yourself after you publicly cried to strangers on Wednesday?”

My response to you: I promise, I’m mentally stable and not going to pull a Jesse Spano excited/scared freak out sesh. I just want to address the beauty of crying to try to take the stigma away that it’s a sign of weakness!

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:17-18

How do I know God hears me?

Psalm 18:6   In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.

THIS! One thing I cry about more than I thought I would is about the miscarriage. It catches me totally off guard, when I realize I should be prepping a nursery right now and reading books to Gus about how to welcome the new baby. My tears are not out of anger or even sadness, really. They are my way of connecting with my lost child and crying out to tell the Lord to give that baby a special hug and tell my baby I love him/her so much, that I’m so thankful to know my baby is in Heaven, where no pain will ever be felt and while I may cry, here on earth, I’m crying out to the Lord to say Thank You. Thank You for making my heart so open to know that You will answer any prayer I place at your feet.

What a beautiful gift from my Father that I may walk through tears and weeping, HAPPY.

Now what?

Our doctor has agreed to ONE more round of IVF/ICSI because my AMH levels are just too low to feel confident that any additional rounds would work if the first one doesn’t. From there, donor eggs would be a possibility but I don’t think I could handle that. I really struggle with having that type of pressure to carry another person’s egg with my husbands sperm… what if I miscarried? ¬†With pregnancy and delivering a healthy baby would be my only responsibility, I can’t imagine failing at that.

We were planning to start the final round of IVF in June but while I was on the phone with the pharmacy, I had a freakout and told the lady to cancel my order because I just realized I wasn’t ready to accept the idea that this could really be the end of this journey we’ve fought SO hard for. ¬†I’ve really enjoyed the summer of spending all my time with my family and not worrying about procedures, meds, appointments or anxiety over another loss.

Additionally, I don’t think I’m ready to be forced to end our story of growing our family. As soon as we do the next round, that’s it. No matter the outcome, the chapter is closed and I’m just not ready to admit defeat, although my defeat is God’s time to fill in my holes of loss with grace and gratitude. While unknowns are frustrating, scary and temporary, answers are definite, uncontrollable and so tough to acknowledge when it’s not the answer you’ve been praying for. I’m not ready to toss out the baby gear because my heart still holds a chance of using it again. But as soon as 20 days after the retrieval, I’ll be faced with making a decision of what to do with the storage bins. Facing that fear would maybe be as heartbreaking as the miscarriage.

Our new plan is to start our final round around October and I’m feeling a little more confident because I’ve been taking COQ10 and DHEA 5x a day in hopes to increase my AMH levels.

As always, we appreciate prayers and could not keep going without the army the Lord has placed to cheer us on.

Every single day, I think of I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)
The pain that you’ve been feeling can’t compare to the JOY that’s coming. Right there! The powerful, almighty Lord is telling me personally that this pain is worth it! And in comparison to the beautiful joy that I’ll be receiving, it is not even able to be compared. I’m suffering real, intense, daily, heartbreaking pain so knowing the depth of this valley, it excites me to even wonder the type of joy I will experience on the top of the highest mountain. How could I not find beauty in this journey when I know God WILL provide according to His plan?

Our God is an awesome God. He reigns from heaven above. With wisdom, power and love, Our God is an awesome God.