Friday, June 25, 2010

Behind The Scenes

And so begins the drama of our fourth and final IVF.

In preparation the big show, I've started working on a new layout to accompany my daily documenting of all things IVF, and not just because I've pretty much exhausted every title that has anything to do with the word "shot" or "shoot", either. I'm just going to take it day by day and spend this last cycle really examining every step, trying my best to find the beauty and miracles hiding behind every aspect of this glorious process.

And to get myself stage ready, acupuncture and vitamins have given me the energy to tackle what used to be the daunting task of yoga and jogging, and have helped me to come just a few pounds short of my goal weight. Granted I'm weighing myself early in the morning after emptying my bladder and stripping down naked, but numbers are numbers nonetheless. And while I'm aware that stressing over the number on the scale is anything but healthy, I've come to a place-as on obsessive compulsive individual-where there is very little in my life that I can control.

And so far, the scale is (the only) one of them.

As for hair and makeup, I needed to go for something big; something of epic porportions. So I broke every one of my self inflicted organic only rules and poisoned my scalp with hair dye to transform my twenty-seven year old sun kissed California blond locks into a vibrant, fiery auburn mane instead. It was a huge and unexpected variance from normalcy, but I love the bold, dramatic new color.

And as far as costumes go, I start birth control pills tomorrow, which means it's also time to sport the precious "twin pin" that my dear friend gave me. She donned the tiny little hand print- about the size of a 10 to 12 week old fetus-every single day of her third IVF cycle, throughout her pregnancy, and even on her hospital gown the day she delivered her precious little boy and girl twins. And as soon as those babies had safely entered this world, she surprised me by sending that pin in all the way from Minnesota to California for my own personal use during my fourth cycle.

Sort of as a good luck charm, though we both know luck had nothing to do with it conceiving her delicious twins, and God had everything to do with it.

Still, the sentimental value behind the tiny trinket and the precious memories of hope that she has invested in it makes me so honored to wear it myself as a reminder that I'm not alone. There are so many wonderful, beautiful people out there praying for me and cheering me on as we take the stage this one last time.

So from the outside, everything looks perfect. I'm healthy, happy, excited and ready to get this party started. My lines have all been rehearsed, roles have all been cast, and we're ready for production. But even though we've been preparing for opening night for at least five months now, behind the scenes shows a whole different story.

Behind that thick curtain-waiting to go onstage-I'm freaking out. I thought I'd be calmer then ever, because this time, it just has to work. There is no way that God would test me and let me go through so much fear, anxiety, pain, and suffering, and then not let my final try work. He just wouldn't do that to me, to my husband, to my entire family. Not when we've invested so much time praying, thinking positive, and trying our best to trust His perfect plan.

Would He?

I don't know His plan, I can't predict His will, and the fear of the unknown is overwhelming at times. I try to find comfort in practicing what I preach, in remaining positive and knowing that God has a perfect plan for us all that's bigger and better than we've ever imagined, but sometimes that truth is a far cry away from enough to snub the pain and fear of possible failure. I'm much to aware that the last five months of acupuncture, vitamins, yoga, weight loss, organic living and other insane preparations don't guarantee me the pregnancy I've been yearning for, years in the making.

But I guess that's where faith comes in.

I know better than anyone that God is good, He will provide, and He wouldn't have brought me this far if He didn't think I could handle it mentally, physically, and spiritually; but sometimes I'm tired.

Tired of trying to look so perfect on the outside, while I'm falling apart on the inside.

I really am happy, I really am blessed, and about 90% of the time my outside reflects my inside. But there's still that 10% that questions why I'm here, why I have to go through this, and why God hasn't watched my heart break in a million pieces and chosen to intervene on my behalf yet. Why He hasn't given me what I want, when I know it would be so simple for Him to do so.

Actually, who am I kidding. It's more like 60%/40%.

But as I lay out my fears, concerns, and desires in the midst of this post, I remember why I'm here. And it's not only to get pregnant, to receive the long awaited title of a mother, and certainly not to always appear perfect on the outside.

It's to glorify Him.

However that may be.

For some reason He wants me here, broken on the inside, in this exact place. He specifically chose me to be on my fourth and final IVF with almost four full years of trying to have a baby under my belt, and He wants me to be still and know He's God. To listen for his still, small voice even when I feel like I'm drowning in the darkness of uncertainty and blinded by doubt. And to know that even if this cycle doesn't bring a baby-even if my dreams have all died-I will still praise Him with all my heart and I will survive.

He wants me to have faith.

And I've been through this before-three times, actually-so I know what to expect, and I know how to handle it. I've dealt with a canceled cycle, a perfect cycle with a negative result, and a not-so-perfect-cycle with a negative result. I've pretty much been through it all, and by the Grace of God I've survived and come out on the other side in one piece; and this time will be no different.

So it's time to roll my shoulders back and take on that strong mountain pose, the starting pose that begins all yoga goodness. God already knows how this cycle will end, and He knows the next steps, even if I can't see them yet. So instead of being fearful, tired, and brought low by fears of the unknown, I'll continue to set the stage and prepare my mind, heart and body for this last cycle.

Because I'm blessed to be here.

And if I acknowledge my fears instead of hiding them, if I can manage to confess them and give them back to God, then He will bless me and I will be able to walk through this performance knowing that the show will go on weather I receive a standing ovation at the end or not. I know deep down in my soul that I need to stop trying to control the future and just trust God to have His way because He is faithful, He is just, and He will provide.

Even if it's not the way I would have wanted in the end, it will all turn out perfectly because God isn't just sitting in the audience watching as we get ready to begin this cycle.

He's with us, behind the scenes.

"Even if the hopes you started out with are dashed, hope has to be maintained."
-Seamus Heaney