Sunday, August 8, 2010

{Day 26} Holding On

It's been a crazy few days, but I'm still holding on.

I was woken up on Friday morning to several texts and missed phone calls from the few friends that actually know what's going on. These girls-most of which have never even met me in real life-were throwing out scripture, words of encouragement and prayers like it was no body's business. So while I was still a bit anxious for what was to come in the next few hours, my heart was too full of love and thanksgiving for the unbelievable support I was undeservedly receiving to be anything less than hopeful.

And as I started to get nervous while in the clinic bathroom, swapping out the perfect retrieval day outfit for my fourth over sized SIRM shirt, booties and cap, another quick out pour of texts to my girls delivered me several responses that once again calmed my heart.

I sat on the small cot, getting my blood pressure and temperature taken, when the newest IV nurse came in to do her thing. Having sat through this before, with three different nurses previously, my mind raced back to all the times they've said I've had beautiful veins, but because I'm not allowed to eat or drink anything for 10 hours prior to surgery, looks can be deceiving. I was relieved however when this nurse, with her bright orange lipstick, decided to torture a vein in my forearm instead of my hand. She tied the giant blue rubber band above my elbow, wiped me down with an alcohol swab, and marveled at the size and availability of my best vein.

Things were looking good.

But as she stuck me with what felt and looked like a much larger than normal needle that she called the "old school" method, nothing happened. She then proceeded to turn and twist the needle several times, attempting to hit my rolling vein that refused to cooperate.

She then broke the cardinal rule of blood draws when she admitted she was nervous, she'd been running late this morning, and she'd already downed two highly caffeinated monster drinks prior to sticking my arm with a large needle.

And just as I was about to scream desperately for help, she somehow managed to twist the needle in enough of an awkward position to bring on a fountain of blood that was meant to be controlled, but was instead spurting out of my arm and saturating everything in sight; turning my tiny cot into what looked like a murder scene.

And instead of trying to stop it, she just looked at me like it was my job to take care of this mess, exclaiming that I had a huge, healthy vein and she didn't have enough free hands to fix this.

It's a good thing I don't pass out when I see blood, especially when it's my own and it's all over the place.

Eventually, the nurse had completed her task and my IV was pouring a liquid diet of sodium, potassium, and other concoctions I can't pronounce into my blood stream as I waited to be wheeled into the room. And as my nurse continued to talk about her kids, her job, and everything else under the sun, my chest began to tighten and I began an extremely dramatic coughing fit.

My husband and I have had a chest cold for about a week now, but I'd never experienced anything like that before. I immediately thought that something in my IV was causing a reaction, but the nurse insisted that she was most likely the cause because she lived with several cats and I was probably allergic to cats.

So in between my painful coughing bursts, she continued her life story from a few feet back so that my cat allergies that I don't really have wouldn't be disturbed. In her defence, she was a very sweet lady and she's not the first nurse to bleed me out as they attempt my IV on retrieval day; it's actually a regular occurrence around these parts.

And she did say we were a beautiful couple several times, and flattery always fairs well with me when I'm in an unattractive outfit and a hair net while coughing my lungs out.

So with all of the drama going on in the back waiting room, I didn't have time to be nervous or over think our situation. And after a quick kiss goodbye for luck-as instructed by our nurse-I was sent into the tiny retrieval room and placed on the table, shifted around several times, and given a sleeping potion. I remember verbalizing that the walls were awfully pink in the room and arguing with the nurse when she referred to them as violet, because they were most definitely pastel pink, until my eyelids grew heavy and I drifted off.

I woke up alert as usual, and Dr. Greene was right there to let me know that we retrieved twenty six eggs. I remember giving him a high five, and asking how many were mature before he ran off to find out.

He came back with the news that we had fourteen M2's (mature eggs), six M1's (almost mature but not quite) and six that were no good.

Even in my loopy state of mind, I could comprehend that there was a possibility of up to twenty fertilizable eggs in that equation, and I was thrilled.

Never one to have a week fertilization report, I slept well that night, and was woken up to a phone call from my nurse then next morning. She informed us that out of the eighteen eggs mature enough to fertilize, every last one of them took.

100% fertilization.

However, two of them fertilized abnormally, and two more didn't survive. But we were left with fourteen perfect, precious, seemingly healthy and miraculous embryos growing in culture, and the most we've ever had before was eight.

But here's the problem. While I was amazed, full of awe and so very thankful for our fourteen embryo blessings, I was still slightly disappointed. Sad that we already lost four, and terrified of loosing more. These are already my babies, and while I know that God is holding them in His hands, I'm scared to death of the past repeating itself.

Tomorrow I'll get the call that in the past has brought us some bad news. Where they like to see embryos developed to at least six to eight cells by day three, we've never had more than a six celled embryo, and very few at that. And while a logical part of me is hoping and praying that our accusations a few days ago were correct and I've been producing over mature and less healthy eggs the past few cycles that very well could have led to our slow growing problems, I'm still scared that it will happen again.

I have no idea how my precious little ones are growing today. They won't look at them until tomorrow, for fear of disturbing an already unnatural process any more than necessary, but I'm trying to remain optimistic. This has been an amazing cycle full of countless blessings and numerous little miracles along the way, and I'm ashamed to be anything less than ecstatic at this point.

Because it wasn't the vitamins, the yoga, the diet or the acupuncture that gave us fourteen embryos this cycle. It wasn't coincidence that Dr. Sher was visiting and chose to stick around for our specific case, providing one more head to evaluate our every step. And it wasn't luck that every single one of our mature eggs fertilized.

It was God's plan.

And while I'm still very much aware that everything going perfectly this cycle certainly doesn't guarantee a pregnancy, I have to let go of my fear and understand that we have been amazingly, wonderfully, and miraculously blessed. No matter that this wasn't in my plan, that infertility has been a thorn in my flesh and that we are on our fourth and final cycle of the most evasive medical procedure imaginable after almost four years.

None of it matters.

All that matters right now is that we have fourteen of the most prayed for, loved, and desired embryos developing in culture, and even if this cycle doesn't result in a pregnancy, we've already been blessed beyond measure. We've seen the power of prayer, we've felt God's love, and we know He is faithful to continue the work He has began in us.

I've been told that God understands my fear, and that He accepts it. He knows I'm only human, and that not only am I pumped full of hormones and drugs that can have a major altering affect on my brain wave capacity, but that it's alright to be scared of what the future holds because those are my babies that are fighting for their lives in a petri dish right now.

As long as I hold onto a childlike faith. As long as I glorify Him for all He's done. And as long as I understand and believe that God is holding every single one of our precious embryos in His hands.

So as I wait and pray to hear tomorrows report and do my best to grasp desperatly at faith, I'll remember that my body is not my own. I am not my own. And these embryos do not belong to my husband and I; they belong to God. And if He allows them to flourish and develop inside of this vessel, I will still acknowledge that they are His, not mine. And if He allows them to be born onto this earth, to grow and experience life here with us, I'll still know that they never really belonged to me.

They always have been, and always will be, His.

Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing Psalms.
James 5:13 (KJV)

Dear Heavenly Father,

As I struggle with fear of the unknown, help me to glorify You instead, praising You for the miracles You've already performed. Give me that perfect balance between being afflicted and merry, pouring my heart out to You in prayer for our embryos, and thanking You for the miracle that they are at the same time.

God, I know these potential babies are not mine, and that they belong to You. You have your hand over them and are protecting them every step of the way as You implement Your plan. If it be your will, Lord, please allow them to develop into healthy blasts that can be transferred back inside of my body, and turn them into beautiful children that we can raise up to honor and glorify You.

And if it isn't Your will Lord, please prepare our hearts and strengthen our faith as we continue to look to You and Your plan for our lives as we wait on You,


"When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on."
Franklin D. Roosevelt


Robin said...

Oh sweetie! Grow babies grow!!! What kind of miracles does God have planned for you tomorrow? I can't wait to find out!

Life Happens said...

Praying for those 14 embryos! I hope they continue to grow and stick around!!

Jennifer said...

Praying!!! Grow little embies, grow!

Hillary said...

Amazing news Tab! SO thankful to God for these 14 and embryos, and I am praying they continue to GROW!

Suzanne said...

How exciting! What a wonderful fertilization report! Grow embies grow!!! I'm hoping and praying that this is successful for you, Tabitha.

A.E. said...

...and all 14 kept dividing : )

A.E. said...

Yay for today's report. I nearly ran off the road I was crying SO hard. Looking forward to the next report!

Sarah said...

Praying for you!! I have a good feeling about this one! I can't wait till transfer day for you!!!!
Big Hugs Tab!!!!!

Mrs. Hammer said...

So amazing to see all that God is doing. Praying that you had a wonderful Fert report today! Tomorrow your babies get to snuggle in, so exciting!