Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Finding The Silver Lining

It's not always easy to do.

The day before our beta, I knew I would be working and didn't want to receive a call while in the office, so I hastily left my cell phone number in an email to my nurse and asked her to leave a message for me when the beta results came in. I spent the entire day dancing around the office, with my spirits high and my heart prepared for the best, but still hadn't received a message come early evening.

After I had left work and attempted to occupied my time with grocery shopping, my theory that no news is good news started to dwindle and I began to worry that something was wrong. I finally gave in and made the call to the office, where I got the receptionist because my nurse was in a meeting with another patient, but she did pass along the information that a message was indeed left earlier at the number that I had emailed her.

I thanked the receptionist and tried to calm my nerves as I hurriedly checked back at my email to see what number I had sent to the nurse.

Sure enough, it was off by one digit.

Unable to wait any longer, I frantically dialed the incorrect number I had given the nurse, and was answered by a sweet older gentleman. After I explained myself as quickly and sanely as possible, he assured me that he had indeed received a strange voicemail earlier in the afternoon, and put me on hold to find the details for what felt like an eternity.

Upon returning to the line, he repeated bits and pieces of the message that he'd heard, but didn't understand.

Your number was less than 1. I'm sorry, you can stop your suppositories...

And that's how my cycle ended, from the mouth of a complete stranger who had no idea how devastating his mysterious message could be on my fragile, broken heart.

It was a hard day, although the tears I shed were few and far between. I suppose I was in a state of denial, and still am to an extent. My husband pulled into the driveway just as I received the news, and he could tell the outcome of our cycle by the look on my face through the dirty, rain streaked windows.

We didn't talk much about it, but it was heavy in the air for the rest of the night. We picked at our dot cake, but neither of us had the heart to eat it all. We tried to make a pizza for dinner, but somehow managed to break the door lock which disabled the oven, so we headed over to my parents house to finish cooking it and attempt to break the silence that was clouding our heads and slowly suffocating us from the inside.

Being around family eased the pain, and we returned home late that night feeling almost normal again. As I crawled into bed I thanked the Lord for making the pain bearable, and asked him to give all of my babies a kiss goodnight for me.

I woke up in the middle of the night to my husbands shallow, uneven breathing, and a few sniffs that confirmed he wasn't taking the news as well as he had earlier. I felt somewhat emotionless as I held him and comforted him, wondering why I wasn't crying with him.

Why I couldn't let myself feel the pain just yet.

Since then, I've made my way slowly through to acceptance, as well as the usual roller coaster of emotions and questions. By nature I'm a planner, so I immediately did all that I could to help "fix" the situation. I threw away old drugs, hid the schedules, heating pads, and pictures of our precious embryos, started looking up acupuncturists and purchased DHEA vitamins. Bought some new workout shoes, rid the house of all sugars and white flour, and prepared a list of questions for the follow up appointment that will be scheduled soon.

But there was one burning question that I knew the Dr. couldn't answer.

If God really has no intentions of giving my husband and I our own biological children, then why in the world would He not have instilled in either of us the desire to adopt?

I don't believe for one second that God intends for us to be childless; the Bible is full of verses and bits of wisdom about family and the importance of children and what a blessing they are. But I've struggled for a while with the fact that so many couples-fertile and infertile alike-hold the desire by either one or both parties to adopt children. Yet for us, although we believe that adoption is an amazing and wonderful act of selflessness, it just isn't something that speaks to our hearts.

Now I could argue that this could be because we haven't opened our hearts to it, but I just don't think that's the case, especially after praying profusely about the matter. Both of us so badly want our own biological children, that there is a very real possibility that we could be pushing away the idea of adoption, looking at it as a sort of settlement for the failure of what our true desires are.

Or it could just be that settling for adoption would mean giving up, and I can't do that yet.

We still have one more try. I still have hope that God has something amazing in store for our lives. And while at times the possibility of the future can be so terrifying that I have to fight off a panic attack, the fear still isn't strong enough to stop me from moving on.

From finding that silver lining.

More often than not, this entire situation seems insane. Although our first cycle was canceled and in reality doesn't count as a full try, we've attempted IVF a total of three times so far with nothing to show for it besides some grainy black and white photos of some precious embryos that were too beautiful for this earth. It's still hard for me to believe that we've come this far, and even the most evasive medical procedures available to us in this day and age aren't able to produce a valid pregnancy for us.

A normal, healthy, young couple.

It just doesn't make sense.

But my silver lining in this dark, menacing cloud is that where medical miracles may fail, God never does. And although we have no idea what the future holds, we know who holds our hands. And although it may be strikingly painful right now, I know He is in control and He has a plan for us, one that we want to follow, no matter where it takes us, because we both trust fully in Him and we want what He wants.

I've found that it's near impossible to stay frustrated and depressed about this unwelcome situation when I believe this to be so true. It's almost as if focusing on God's promises, and knowing that with Him, anything is possible brings alive a part of me that is just too excited to be overcome with fear of the unknown.

It's like I'm caught in the midst of a horrible storm, but floating safely on a life raft. And even with no idea where I'll land or how long it will take me to get there, being on this raft is far better than drowning in a raging sea.

That, mixed with the countless prayers, support, love and encouragement from the few family members that know about this cycle and the community of women that I've never met but have grown to love, is what keeps my hope alive.

And that's my silver lining.

“Clouds may come, but clouds must go, and they all have a silver lining.
For behind each cloud you know, the sun, or moon, is shining.”
-Author Unknown

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Waiting For Our Shot

Monday, 2-1-10 (Day 34) 4dp6dt

Dexamethasone (.75mg, oral pill): Still taking them, still on the diet, albeit at a standstill in weight loss.

PIO (1ml, IM injection): Easy.

Progesterone (50mg suppositories): Just the usual; small amount of pinkish red discharge when I wake up, and a tiny bit throughout the day.

4dp6dt-At four days past my six day transfer, the implantation process should continue as my morulas bury deeper into my lining.

I'm experiencing some very dull cramping, and I just can't decide if that's something to be excited about or something to loathe. I know every pregnancy is so different, I just wish someone could respond-when I tell them that my back is aching and that's not normal for me-that I'm for sure pregnant for that reason alone.

But we all know it doesn't work that way, so I'll just try to ignore the twinges, cramps, and dull aches, and not look too far into them.

Because they could be growing babies.

But they could also be from my body preparing to start my period.

Tuesday, 2-2-10 (Day 35) 5dp6dt

Dexamethasone (.75mg, oral pill): Check.

PIO (1ml, IM injection): Because of earlier events, tonight's injection was hard to take.

Progesterone (50mg suppositories): Remember how I said that despite my morning and mid day spotting that was most likely related to these nasty suppositories, I would remain calm?

That all went out the window-or flushed down the toilet-today.

Amidst a busy day at work, I rushed to the bathroom late afternoon for a quick potty break and found that my pantyliner had completely soaked through with a pinkish red discharge. Not quite blood, but not quite not, either.

Just enough to assume that despite the insane amount of PIO I'm consuming, my body was still attempting to start my period. And even after contacting the nurse just to ease my mind, all I was left with was a nurse that was just as apprehensive and confused as I was. Oh, and instructions to continue all meds and keep her updated.

Fast forward to several neurotic trips to the bathroom later, and it's still there, along with a very light, dull cramping that I may not have noticed had I not been leaking pinkish red fluid like a stuck pig.

5dp6dt-At five days past my six day transfer, my morulas should be completely implanted into my lining, and have developed their placentas and fetal cells.

God, I trust you.

Wednesday, 2-3-10 (Day 36) 6dp6dt

Dexamethasone (.75mg, oral pill): It's day eleven of a twelve day diet, and after holding steady at an unideal weight for the past few days and feeling discouraged, this morning brought the loss of two more pounds.

PIO (1ml, IM injection): Check.

Progesterone (50mg suppositories): After the unwanted blood tinged discharge made it's major debut yesterday afternoon, I spend the rest of last night drinking water like a fish and praying for a miracle.

This morning, I didn't wake up to the usual pink and red tinted gunk that's haunted me the past few days, I simply found a dark yellow mess instead.

6dp6dt-At six days past my six day transfer, the placentas cells should begin to secret HCG into my blood.

Technically, I could have tested this morning like most girls would. But after yesterdays bleeding scare I much more prefer the blissful state of ignorance that I'm floating in as of late, and I can't bare to spend the money on a home pregnancy test anyway.

I'm slightly crampy, accompanied by a very dull back ache, and the constant flutter of nerves paired with a heartbeat that suggests I'm about to die.

Other than that, I'm good.

Thursday, 2-4-10 (Day 37) 7dp6dt

Dexamethasone (.75mg, oral pill): And I'm down one more pound on the last day of my diet, bringing the grand total of weight loss to seven pounds, which I'm very happy with. Tonight, I will make myself a dot cake with dot frosting and refrain from licking the spoon and the bowl, and come this time tomorrow I'll be eating that entire cake out of either sorrow, or pure bliss.

PIO (1ml, IM injection): It makes me sick to my stomach to think that this could be my last PIO shot. I'd much prefer to continue them for months to come, despite the pain, the bruising, and the hard lumps that have formed all over my behind.

Progesterone (50mg suppositories): I should have known yesterday was too good to be true.

I remember waking up sometime in the middle of the night to an extreme burning sensation where I knew my suppository was setting inside of me. I took it as a good sign, assuming that meant that my cervix was indeed being irritated and drifted off back to sleep.

I woke up again around four am and drug myself into the restroom, praying I wouldn't see red, so when I looked down and saw the pinkish discharge in such a small quantity in my underwear I was actually grateful.

Until I looked in the toilet and saw pink water.

And then at the toilet paper that was soaked with the color red.

I sat there for a few minutes longer, until I decided that it was best to go back to bed. I crawled in, curled into the fetal position and fell asleep as I fought back the tears and prayed over and over again that the morning would bring better news and less blood.

When I woke up this morning to get ready for work, I found a clean pantie liner but still experienced blood in the toilet and on the toilet paper. As the day had progressed, I've seen less and less on the toilet paper every time I use the restroom, but it's still there.

I'm not entirely convinced this is my period, because it just doesn't feel the same, so I'm praying that it's irritation, although my mind is telling me that just doesn't fit either. I know that spotting is normal after IVF, and even throughout the first trimester of a pregnancy.

But this isn't spotting. It's bleeding.

7dpt6dt-At seven days past my six day transfer, more HCG should be produced as my fetus(s) continue to develop.

And so begins the end to my oblivious state of purposed pregnancy. Come tomorrow, I will know the final outcome of this cycle, and the present state of my uterus.

For those of you who are curious as to how I'm holding up, I'd say I'm simply holding on right now. Following this weeks numerous bleeding scares, I'm just so torn. I know I serve a God that can make anything happen, so I'm wishing, hoping and praying continually that He will choose to bless us with a pregnancy despite the strange and disturbing pink and red discharge issues. I know I have a sensitive cervix, so the simple explanation of irritation causing the bleeding would make sense if it was a small amount, but it just seems like too much to be justified as irritation.

Meanwhile, my heart and mind are kicking themselves into survival mode. All I've ever known is negative results from any kind of infertility treatment you can possibly think of, so while I have faith, it's still so hard for me to wrap my head around seeing blood and picturing a positive result after tomorrows beta blood draw all in the same brain wave frequency.

I want to believe so badly that this is our time. I want to imagine myself receiving a phone call tomorrow that includes a super high beta number, a congratulations, squeals and happy tears. I want to know what it feels like-for the first time in my life-to truly be pregnant and know that inside of me is growing a child that is half mine, and half my husbands.

I want to look for baby cribs, diaper bags, walk into my own baby shower and decorate my own nursery. I want to see an ultra sound screen that holds a heart beat or two, instead of multiple follicles and a rock star lining.

I want so badly to be pregnant.

But I know that all the positive thinking in the world won't will that to happen, it has to be God's will, not my own. I want God to want me to be pregnant, I want Him to will me to be pregnant, I want Him to let me be pregnant.

All of the above, please.

I could just leave work, purchase a home pregnancy test, and bring all of this mindless waiting and billowing anticipation to an end here and now, but I just can't do it. Because if I take the test and it's positive, I'll be ecstatic, but still won't be able to believe it until the beta numbers come back nice and high. And if the test would come up stark white and negative, I'd still hold on to the hope that it's defective, because I'd fall into denial.

All signs point to wait until beta.

God, I trust you.

“If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm, you'll never enjoy the sunshine.”
-Morris West