Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sometimes It Feels Like They Know

Sometimes little kids look at me funny. I know, little kids make a lot of strange expressions that maybe don't mean anything. But, sometimes it feels like they know. They know that I long to have kids, and they are sad that I don't.

Last week, a friend came over with her one-year-old son. The minute he walked in, he came to me and extended his arms to be picked up. I happily complied, and he was content to sit on my hip for quite a while. Before they left, he held his arms out to me again, even though he was already in his mom's arms. Again, I happily complied.

The other day, I enjoyed spending time with a new friend and her daughter, who is nearly two. Her daughter came to me on multiple occasions wanting to be picked up. Once up, she had no apparent plan. I felt special.

You know those babies that have "wise old soul" written all over them? They seem to look at me with compassion.

I'm not suggesting that these little ones ACTUALLY know, but that it sometimes feels like they do. Either way, I'm enjoying the toddler hugs. Can anyone relate?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Minor Update

The next test has been scheduled for Monday at 4 p.m. This one is just a blood test for hormone levels: progesterone and prolactin. I'm not sure if they are testing anything else.

Historically, Needles and I have not been friends. As a child, hysterics were definitely involved in any meeting. As long as we continue the infertility testing and treatment process, Needles and I will be meeting frequently. If you are praying for us, please pray that this aspect of our testing would be no big deal.

When I had my progesterone checked last year, the phlebotomist (an awesome word for an awful job) was really good and quick. I hope for a similar experience this time around.

Monday, February 24, 2014

That Elusive Baby Bump

Hearing the stories of other women, I am amazed at what we put ourselves through in pursuit of children. We endure invasive tests, extensive blood work, personality-changing hormones, and even surgeries. All this for that elusive baby bump (and the baby that comes with it).

Pregnancy is a mystery to those of us on the outside. We idealize pregnancy, looking forward to having "the glow." We want the excitement of seeing our baby on an ultrasound and feeling it kick us from inside.

And then, I think about what pregnancy actually involves: aches and pains, nausea, stretching skin, squished organs, giving birth to a melon. When looking at pregnancy that way, I start to think that this infertility journey is silly; adoption is clearly the better way to grow a family. At least the children come pre-made. I could get behind that.

Except, I would miss out. I want to see a positive pregnancy test and to share the results with my husband, family, and friends. I want to be unable to button my jeans because of the life God is knitting together inside of me. I want to shop for maternity clothes. I want to experience the aches and pains of a body bulging as it forms a human that didn't exist before [What a miracle!]. I want to see what our babies would look like. Would they have my nose and C's eyes? Would they have my blond hair, C's darker hair, or red hair like other family members? These are things I would miss and will surrender if the Lord wills.

As I have mentioned before, adoption is not a second choice for us. We have always planned to adopt at some point. What we didn't plan for was the possibility that adoption might be our only option. If that's where we end up, we will mourn for the things we missed, swallow hard, and then get excited.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

One Reason Conceiving Is Not Ultimate For Us

We love adoption.

Through Christ, we have been adopted as children of God. Our family may or may not include biological children in the future, but we look forward to adopting at some point either way.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Grass Is Always Greener...

One of the hardest parts of infertility is being in the "wrong" life phase. All of your friends are in the parenting life phase; you are left behind.

I was reminded today that this feeling is not unique to infertility. Many people in other life phases long to be in a different one:
  • Kids long to be grown up.
  • Single people long to be married.
  • Parents long to be past the  (teething, Terrible Two's, teenager, etc.)  phase.
  • Empty nesters long for their kids to be young again.
The old adage seems true: "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." For those of us in the midst of infertility, having a baby will not end our longing. This side of eternity, we will always have something else to long for. 

This morning, I came across 1 Corinthians 7. Paul was writing about marriage and singleness, saying that both are good. In verse 7, he says, "But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another." Our current life phase, no matter how difficult, is a gift from God. Paul goes on to say, "Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him" (1 Cor. 7:17a).

We do not get to pick a life phase and stay there. Life is fluid, changing continually. Let's live fully now in our current phase. Today, I long to have children, but don't. Instead, I get unlimited time with my husband and best friend, just the two of us. There was a time in which that's all I wanted (ahem, when he was in law school). After children arrive, we might miss our time alone together. So, as we take steps toward that next phase, let's soak up today!
1 Corinthians 7:7b

Friday, February 14, 2014

IVF: Not for Us

While exploring other infertility blogs, I have been amazed at how far some couples go in pursuit of biological children. Some people have been doing tests and treatments for ten years, others are finally pregnant after multiple rounds of in vitro fertilization (IVF), and many have suffered miscarriages.

At first, I was a little discouraged. Then, I remembered that everyone has a different story. For every couple whose infertility journey stretches several years, I am sure there are many who experience a "quick fix." The couples who conceive after an HSG or one round of Clomid likely see no need to start a blog or even share their story. So, it makes sense that many infertility blogs are about longer journeys. That doesn't mean ours has to be.

Even so, we could reach a point at which IVF is the next step. We officially decided today that we would not take that step for several reasons:

  1. We are seeking answers. Obviously, we would be thrilled if our infertility tests and treatment helped us have biological children. If we chose not to seek a diagnosis, we may regret it in the future.
  2. We love adoption. Actually, we always planned to have a few biological children and then adopt a few more. As a result, having a biological child is not ultimate for us. Adoption is a powerful display of the Gospel, and we would be thrilled to expand our family in that way.
  3. We could not justify the expense for something so unsure. My understanding is that one round of IVF is around $12,000. Many people who eventually conceive through IVF experience several failed rounds first. From what I have heard, the success rate is supposed to be about thirty-three percent. While our financial needs are met, our bank accounts are not exactly overflowing. If we are going to spend $12,000 to $36,000 (yikes!) on potentially building a family, we would rather choose adoption.
I can see how couples go the IVF route. The desire to experience pregnancy and have biological children is strong and good. When doctors recommend the next step, it is hard to walk away. While I have some ethical concerns about the IVF "industry," I am not condemning people who carefully go that route. We simply have set our limit somewhere before IVF.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Our Infertility Theme Verse

We have selected Romans 12:12 as our infertility theme verse. The hard part will be to do what it says.

Romans 12:12

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

So Much for "Aggressive"

We've hit a snag in our "aggressive" plan.

In any cycle, there are five days during which an HSG can be done. As a result, I am supposed to call the clinic on Day 1 to schedule the HSG for a day between Days 7 and 11. It just so happens that Days 7 and 8 are over the weekend, so we are down to three days.

This morning, the clinic called to tell me that the hospital facility was only available one day and that my doctor is not available that day. So, we have to wait until at least next month.

While I wasn't exactly looking forward to the HSG, we were excited to do something that could actually increase our chances of conception. Now, we are back to observation.

Delays like this bring to mind all the "helpful" stories I have been told:
  • "I know so many people who got pregnant as soon as they started the adoption process." 
  • "My friend got pregnant as soon as she scheduled an infertility appointment."
They make me wonder if God will come through with a last-minute miracle, if He just wanted us to take steps in obedience but really planned to have us conceive naturally anyway. 

He could do that. Or, He may not be done refining us through infertility yet. With a mixture of hope and reservation, we endeavor to trust Him as we wait.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Hope Mixed with New Fears

Dear Lord,

I need to call today to schedule the dreaded hysterosalpingogram (HSG). As miserable as the test/procedure will be, I am hopeful that it will be successful. If it's Your will, may we conceive right away as a result of the procedure. Do I dare to hope?

Now that we are taking aggressive steps, the concept of actually being pregnant brings more fears:
  1. Miscarriage - Not getting pregnant is painful; getting pregnant and losing the baby would be heartbreaking.
  2. Identity - This one surprised me and seems ridiculous, but is real nonetheless. Now that I've started a public infertility blog, infertility has become a bigger part of my identity. If I become pregnant, I will no longer fit into that category. 
  3. Changes - I have never liked change. I am used to my infertile self. What would I do as a pregnant self? I don't like infertility, but at least it is familiar.
Lord, please pluck the lies and fears out of my mind and leave only Your truth.

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14

In Jesus' Name, 

Psalm 19:14

Sunday, February 9, 2014


Infertility is not a problem to be quickly fixed.

Any attempt at "fixing" infertility involves a lot of waiting. Even though we have a plan now, we are waiting. Waiting for the right cycle day on which to call the clinic to schedule an appointment that we will have to wait another week for. Then, we will wait for another day to do one test and a later day to do another test. After the tests are done, we will wait for results. Based on the results, we will wait for the next cycle to try medication or schedule more tests.

I am tired of waiting.
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Thursday, February 6, 2014

10,000 Steps? Unlikely.

I was remembering back to an infertility consultation last year. I asked the doctor if exercise could be a factor and if I should exercise more. She said, "As long as you take at least 10,000 steps per day, you do not need to add exercise."

"Fabulous," I thought. Working full time with a long commute did not leave me eager to work out.

Having no idea how many steps I took daily, I bought a pedometer.

No matter how many trips I made to the copier, I was nowhere near 10,000 steps most days. Taking a walk with a coworker at lunch helped, but I usually ended up jogging in place at home to hit the goal.

I concluded that exercising would be easier than trying to get 10,000 steps every day. It wasn't, and I didn't. And thus began my lack-of-exercise guilt.

Since moving last summer, I have been more regular about working out...kind of. In a good week, I might do 13 minutes of Wii Zumba three times.

This week, my new doctor removed the guilt. When asked if I should work out more, he promptly responded, "No." I explained to him that I am thin only due to genetics, not lifestyle. He wasn't swayed.

No more guilt! I can now do my best to eat right and stay active without trying to reach arbitrary numbers. I feel so free!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Doctor and a Plan

We now have a doctor and a plan. Our appointment yesterday went very well. Praise the Lord!

I was very nervous before the appointment, but felt a lot better after leaving. We chose an "aggressive" plan, so unpleasant tests are before me. Somehow, it still feels good to have a plan.

The doctor was very good. He listened well and presented options, but made it very clear that the decisions are up to us. Unlike our last appointment, we did not feel pressured in any particular direction.

My husband said it felt like the three of us were a team making a game plan together. What a blessing! When asked what our chances of conceiving are, the doctor replied, "Well, you are two healthy young people, so that's in your favor; however, you are two healthy young people who have been TTC for three years, so that's a strike against you, too." We are thankful that the doctor is realistic rather than a self-proclaimed miracle worker.

I have decided that a great doctor will listen to your questions about alternative medicine, discuss the possibilities with you, and then humbly give a recommendation. Rather than disregarding my question about chiropractic care, our doctor acknowledged that volumes have been written about infertility and that factors are complex. He said that it might be helpful to receive chiropractic care; however, if our finances are limited and we have already tried chiropractic care, he recommends focusing on testing for now. I was relieved, because chiropractic care was expensive.

For those of you who want details, the next month will involve an HSG, ovulation prediction, and blood work to test progesterone and prolactin. Onward we go!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Today Is the Day

We've been TTC for so long, that I can no longer imagine actually being successful. A few years ago, pregnancy seemed just around the corner. Now, I do not expect it at all. I can no longer even imagine a positive pregnancy test.

I have the first appointment with a new doctor today. This is the day we resume testing and pursue treatment. I expected to be excited, but fear is winning. I feel nervous about many things, and some of them surprise me:
  • Hope - I am afraid to begin hoping again. Hopes can be crushed. Skepticism feels safe. Expecting nothing and getting something good is great. Expecting something and getting nothing is painful. 
  • Pain - The medical community has devised several methods of torture (also known as tests and procedures) to identify and treat fertility issues. I don't know which ones will be prescribed for me, but they will almost certainly involve physical pain. I'm not a huge fan of pain.
  • Decisions - How far are we willing to go in the process? How many thousands of dollars are we willing to spend? How much will we put my body through? Which medical advice to we listen to? Infertility is a constant web of decisions. Decisions are hard.
  • Answers - We have tentative limits for how far we will go in the testing/treatment process. If my husband would not be willing to undergo a procedure recommended for me, we say we will be done. If I am put on hormones that make me crazy, we say we will be done. We say these things; however, the decision to actually stop and walk away would be SO hard. Heartbreaking. So, I am afraid of answers.
  • No Answers - I think that my worst fear (maybe after pain) is that we will not receive any answers. Many people fall into a category called "unexplained infertility." Their tests come back normal. Doctors cannot find anything wrong. And yet, they are unable to conceive. They have reached "the end of the line." I don't want to get anywhere near the end of the line. I want them to do one test, see a problem, fix it, and be done. Is that too much to ask? (Probably).
So, with much trepidation, we prepare for the appointment. Prayers are appreciated.

I'm not sure how many details I will post, as I have no idea what to expect. I will try to share what might be appropriate and helpful. Thanks for reading. Please feel free to comment.