Time to Go

September 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

I am in a waiting period in my infertility journey, but many of you are in a season of going. Going involves a different kind of waiting. When we are going, we wait for doctors, test results, social workers, or parental rights to be revoked. This waiting is filled with hope, expectation, and possibility. During my go times, I found myself desperately beyond comprehension hoping. Yet I was holding my heart back for fear that my going would result in nothing. Going was wonderful because we had a plan and a direction. Oh, but going was painful because we never knew what the result would be. Could we get pregnant with IVF this time? Will a birth mom finally choose us, or will IUI work this time?

So how do we get through the waiting while moving ahead without turning into lunatics? Practically, we don’t allow whatever “going” we are doing to consume us. There is a great big world out there beyond whatever road we are pursuing to have children. We have a spouse to love, respect, and encourage. There are friends to encourage, dishes to wash, stories to tell and hear. There is more to life than our going. In fact during this going season we can pick up a new hobby. Knitting. I love to knit. While I waited at doctor appointments, lab draws, and ultrasound checks, I knitted. I made things for friends, family, teachers. Maybe you are a technophile and filling your waiting with time on facebook, blogging, or video games is up your alley. I have also learned that memorizing God’s word is a great way to fill the time that could be squandered in waiting. Perhaps a verse on God’s faithfulness would be a good place to start.

When we start out on the direction God has given us for our infertile journey, let us not forget waiting is a big part of going. As we wait, let us rest in God knowing that; “The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 God is before us leading us down the path, waiting with us and never leaving us. He is telling us to trust Him with the results and not be afraid or discouraged. He promises to never leave but more than that to never forsake us. Amazing but true. God is in the midst of it all.

Are you going? Are you waiting? Tell me about what you are doing. I would love to pray for you.


Strength in Waiting

September 6, 2010 § Leave a comment

Isaiah 40:31 “but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

So we are waiting for God to perform a miracle. Right? A miracle in our bodies, so we can have a child, a miracle in circumstance so that a precious child who needs adopted comes to our door, or a miracle in our hearts so that we are content with our current situation. As we wait, we pray. We sometimes beg, other times we timidly ask, still other times we may practically yell our requests. However we wait. We wait for God to move.

The amazing thing is that God promises to renew our strength as we wait on Him. More than that, as we wait, God wants to give us a new perspective of Him. So He mounts us on eagles wings. He promises that we will run and not be weary. Ladies, He wants us to serve Him as we wait. Whatever form it takes, let us be faithful to run hard after God. Let us never waste our waiting on sitting like a bump on the log.  However God isn’t done with us yet. On those difficult days when we just don’t have the energy to run, God promises us that we will walk and not faint. Ladies that means that on those hard days when we are struggling with God over our infertility. When we barely have strength to put on foot in front of the other, God is going to sustain us to keep us walking in Him.

In other words, as we wait, we grow in Him and we become stronger. I don’t know about you all, but I certainly could use more strength for the journey.

Father, thank You that as we wait for You, You will renew our strength. Father help us to wait on You and not on that pregnancy test or the next exam or the next blood draw. Help us to wait on You, on Your wisdom and Your direction. Father that our strength for the journey through infertility will come from You alone. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Dodging Arrows

September 3, 2010 § 2 Comments

I confess I am not always eloquent, nor do I much grace. I am a klutz who is too familiar with the taste of foot because I often find my foot in my mouth. When it comes to infertility it seems the world around us has foot-in-mouth disease. People say things that must seem funny or insightful to them, but feel like arrows piercing our aching hearts. At least that is how I have felt lately.

I have been dodging arrows. People hear I have three kids or see me with them and jokingly ask, “Are you ready for another.” They think I will quickly say, “NO!” They don’t know that I desperately want more and that I am sad that I have lost so many. I try to dodge the arrow, to pretend I didn’t hear or to laugh it off. Some days I answer, “I would like more, but I can’t have more.” Other days I even explain myself further. “Two of my three are IVF babies, but we don’t have any more embryos, so we can’t have more.” The explanation could drag on and on about the miracle I am praying for and waiting on God to accomplish. In the mean time I am dodging arrows.

Sometimes those arrows hit home and hit hard. I get mad or frustrated. I can really let those emotions drag me somewhere I don’t want to go. So instead I have been praying for wisdom and discernment. I have been praying that as I don the armor of God, I use it wisely. That the belt of truth will be my foundation, that the breastplate of righteousness will guard my aching heart. I pray my feet will be ready to go to spread the gospel regardless of my unruly emotions. I hold high that shield of faith because it helps me ward off the fiery darts Satan throws at me. I pray that my salvation will guard my mind as my helmet and that I will use God’s word as the sword of the Spirit in gentleness and love. (Ephesians 6:10-18)

Sisters, infertility is a battle we are walking through, but God didn’t put us on this battle field helpless, defenseless, or offense-less. We have Godly armor available for our use, as others toss hurtful, crazy, off-the-wall comments toward us. We have to choose to wear it and pray for wisdom about how and when to use certain parts of it.

Father God, we are longing for children and You have said no, at least for now. So we pray that You will give us the strength to don Your armor. Help give us wisdom about when to use Your sword and when it is time to dodge arrows. Father, we thank You that through Your power and wisdom, we do not have to face these hurtful comments alone. Thank You for Your love and provision. Amen.

What are some arrows you have and thrown your way lately? Share with me some of the crazy or even uneducated things people have said to you.

Anchor in the Storm

August 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

While trying to conceive, each month feels like a storm. The storm starts brewing as you plot and plan, watch and wait for the “perfect” time to baby dance. The clouds get darker and stormier as your hope increases because the timing was perfect. The winds start to howl as your hormones are whipped into a frenzy. The day has come and there is no sign of your monthly flow, you celebrate. As you head to the store (or cabinet) to get a home pregnancy test you ignore the first drop of rain, deciding it was only your imagination. As the urine dries on the stick, and there is no second line appearing, the storm breaks loose. You feel as if the walls around your house are closing in and a stick that says you are not pregnant is battering you. What is there to keep you safe from the storm of raging hormones, dreams deferred, and dashed hopes?

We who know Christ as our personal Savior, who trust in Him for our eternal security, have an anchor to keep us from being knocked off course. Despite the storm of possibility and dashed hopes, we have a hope that is secure. In fact Hebrews (ESV) 6:19-20 says, “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf..” Our hope as children of God goes beyond ourselves and this world. This verse says we have a hope that is beyond the curtain, in the inner place. That is referring to the Jewish temple and the Holy of Holies. The Holy of Holies was where a holy God met with unholy man. After Jesus died for our sins, God tore the curtain to the Holy of Holies. Through Christ’s sacrifice everyone could have a personal relationship with God. Therefore our hope and our anchor is the cross in the most holy place, God’s dwelling place, heaven. We have the hope of eternal communion with God. That anchor, that hope, can keep us from dashing into the rocks of bitterness, anger, and self-pity.

When we cling to our anchor despite the storm, we can find true hope. Not hope that we will one day hold of child of our own. No, a hope that does not disappoint. The hope of eternity with a loving God who comforts, loves, protects, and understands our pain.

Thank You God for true lasting secure hope. Help us to hold tight to the anchor of hope you have for us, as the storm of being unable to conceive rages around us. Help us to rest in Your anchor, trusting You for our future, knowing You have a plan for us that is better than we could dream. Thank You for Jesus. Amen.

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Infertility Isn’t Fair

August 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

Infertility isn’t fair. Especially since we want babies, we would be great moms, so why can’t we have children? That question has been bouncing around in my brain lately. Especially after news that a sweet friend has finished her journey of fertility treatments unsuccessfully and another sweet friend is feeling that baby hunger again years after her unsuccessful treatments. It just isn’t fair.

So what do we do with these facts: the fact that there are children born to people who do not care for

Plants Growing in the Geyser Basin at Yellowstone

them and do not take care of them or that women are willingly aborting precious ones? My human brain cannot compute the injustice. I do not understand. Yet God is good, He is just, He is faithful, AND He is all-powerful. So we have some options. We can stew in our whys, our fist shaking, and our bitterness. We can become women no one wants as a friend. We can hold on to what we think are “our rights.” I am a woman, it is my right to bear children. We can stand in defiance, but will bitterness or claiming we deserve better change our circumstances? No.

Ladies, we live in a fallen sinful world. God who is all-powerful and all-knowing allows the injustices of the world to happen. I will not pretend to know all the whys. I believe God uses all the bad stuff and hard stuff to create change in our lives (Ro 8:28). He allows testing of our faith, He uses pain to get our attention, He always has His reasons (1Pet 1:6-7). We cannot understand His ways (Isa 55:8), nor understand all the whys, yet God promises that we will one day fully know (1 Cor 13:12). Instead of allowing our whys to change us into bitter women, we can allow our whys to point us to heaven.

Heaven, where there are no more tears or mourning (Rev 21:4). When we are heavenly minded, we are able to put our hope in God. For those of us who have conceived only to lose children, we have the hope of seeing them in heaven. For those of us who have never conceived we have the hope of having spiritual children with us in heaven. Those people we have discipled during our lives and encouraged to grow in Christ. Heaven where God lives. When we are heavenly minded, we are Godly minded. Being Godly minded reminds us that our pain and mourning are only temporary. We find our hope in the joy that is to come, just as Jesus did when He went to the cross (Hebrews 12:2).

Ladies, let us use those feelings of injustice and unfairness to retrain our minds to focus on God. Let us not dwell on what we do not understand allowing a root of bitterness to grow. Instead, let us dwell on what we know, that God has a reward waiting for those who know Christ Jesus as their Savior. Heaven. Praise God for His provision.

Father God, help us not to allow our whys to pull us into the abyss of bitterness. Help us use our feelings of injustice and questions of why as cues to turn our thoughts heavenward. Help us to think on You and on the glory that is awaiting us in heaven. Lord we give you the pain of grief, mourning, and injustice. We lay it at Your feet and we pray You will help us to focus on You. Give us an eternal worldview that we may continue to grow closer to You. In Jesus’ precious and holy name we pray. Amen.

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The Final Three

August 11, 2010 § Leave a comment

I left you hanging with my final three babies. As I mentioned earlier, I never planned on transferring more than two embryos for fear of high order multiple pregnancy. All of my embryos were “high quality.” ***Side note*** Yes, the embryologist actually grades your embryos. I have found it interesting that the quality doesn’t seem to matter. In fact I have had a friend get pregnant with triplets when all the embryos the doctor transferred were of “poor” quality. God decides which babies will be held outside the womb and which ones won’t. ***End side note*** Regardless, I felt compelled to NEVER transfer more than two embryos. God has a way of changing my NEVER’S. He did it again. In order to explain, I have to go back in time….TIME WARP HERE….

I am in the Labor and Delivery getting ready to give birth to my second child. I had developed a high amniotic fluid leak. In other words the bag that breaks when a woman says, “My water broke,” had a leak up high and so I was leaking some fluid, but not much. This meant that even though she was three weeks early, she was coming. Around 3 o’clock in the morning, despite maximum dose pitocin (the medicine given to induce labor), my contractions were getting “farther apart and weaker” according to the monitors. According to my failing epidural, I was in significant PAIN and they were NOT weak. ***Side note again*** My sister was told the same thing, but given birth naturally with contractions that aren’t “strong” enough. ***End Side note*** So my doctor gave me the option to wait it out on maximum dose pitocin for another hour, with the failing epidural, or have a c-section right then. That wasn’t a difficult decision for my husband and I to make. I said, “GET her OUT of me.”

So I had a c-section and because I had a c-section with baby number 2, my doctor and I decided it would be safer to have a c-section for baby number 3. All was normal with my third child’s delivery until my doctor attempted to deliver the placenta. At that point my placenta did not want to detach from my uterus. My uterus actually flipped inside out and my doctor had to cut the placenta away from my uterine wall. When a placenta attaches too firmly to your uterus, it is called a placenta accreta. More than half of all women with placenta accreta lose their uterus and those who don’t have an increased risk of having another placenta accreta with future pregnancies.

We have three precious frosties (tot-sicles, embryos you choose). If I only transfer two, and I get pregnant, I run a risk of losing my uterus and not being able to take home the third. However if I transfer all three, I could end up with triplets or more if one decides to split into identical twins. So I freaked out. I didn’t want to transfer more than two, but my hands were tied. I had in my mind no choice because I could not run the risk of not being able to take one of my babies home. In some ways I loathed the idea of transferring more than two embryos, but I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had to do it. I had no choice in the matter any more. I HAD to transfer three embryos or run the risk of not being able to take them all home.

I was fearful and a worried over that fact. I knew it was tomorrow’s worry and so for several months after giving birth to my third child, I stuffed that concern. About seven months later, God and I started discussing the issue of transferring more than two embryos. I told God I felt scared, I didn’t want a high order multiple pregnancy, so why did it have to go this way? He being ever patient said NOTHING. However over the course of a month or so, He gave me a peace. He told me that He was in control. That if I had a high order multiple pregnancy that He was able to keep me healthy and my babies healthy. He told me His grace was sufficient and that if triplets is what He wanted to give me, Dan and I could handle the realities of the situation. As time for the transfer drew near, my heart changed. I was hoping and praying for all three to make it. I prayed for healthy full term babies, a healthy pregnancy, that they would all survive the thawing process, and the list goes on.

I have admitted that I am a planner. So I started looking at Dodge Sprinters, triplet strollers, and other triplet items. The transfer was emotionally exciting. I told my husband that God could do whatever He saw fit, but I was giddy to finally get to carry all our babies home in my womb if not in our arms. I had prepared, so I thought for anything God may do. Oh, but the negative pregnancy test and the confirmation blood test, I was not ready for. Ending this journey on a note like that broke my heart. I knew God’s ways are not mine. I cried, I mourned, and now I wait.

I have said it before, but I’ll say it again. I am waiting for God’s miracle. He can do a miracle in my body and give my husband and I another child (my tubes were tied and wrecked from the tubal pregnancies); He can do a miracle and practically place a child that needs adopted on our doorstep (our sweet family cannot handle the ups and downs of trying to adopt); or He can do a miracle in my heart and take the longing for more children away. Regardless of which miracle God does, I rest and trust in Him. He knows what is best for me and my family.

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Ten Things I Didn’t Know About IVF Until It Was Too Late

August 9, 2010 § 1 Comment

  1. Artificial hormones are harder on my body than my regular ones. More nausea, more pregnancy-like symptoms do not necessarily mean you are pregnant. So I had to learn to hope in God not my body. “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
  2. Getting pregnant did not bring joy. Getting pregnant brought more anxiety about whether I would miscarry and how much longer I had to take shots. I had to find my joy in God alone. “Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10b
  3. Artificially stimulated ovaries HURT. My physical pain echoed my emotional and spiritual pain. I struggled that getting pregnant should be natural, but for me it was not. I learned to trust God, even though His “…thoughts are not [my] thoughts, neither are [my] ways [His] ways..As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are [His] ways higher than [my] ways and [His] thoughts than [my] thought.” Isaiah 55:8-9
  4. Loss, loss, and more loss. W amount of eggs did not equal W amount of fertilized eggs. X amount of fertilized eggs did not equal X amount of embryos. Y amount of embryos did not equal Y amount of mature embryos able to be transferred. Z amount of embryos mature enough to transfer did not equal Z amount of pregnancies or babies to hold in your arms. Loss is inevitable, and it is difficult. I had to learn to give our (my husband and mine) embryos to God and trust Him to keep His promise for all of us. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Jeremiah 29:11
  5. Artificial hormones take being hormonal to new lows. I had never experienced true mood swings until IVF. Tears one moment, laughter the next. I had to remind myself that my heart and emotions often try to tell my brain lies. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9 So I had to learn the lesson of 2 Corinthians 10:5, “…we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” I had to tell my emotions the truth from God’s word.
  6. Part of my heart was in the freezer for four years. God is clear in His word that He loves the unborn. Psalm 139 tells us how He knits babies together. Since life occurs at conception, I had babies in a freezer two and a half hours away from my home for four years. The day I brought home our final embryos I was giddy. A weight was lifted. I mourned the babies I never held in my arms, but at least I got to hold them all in my womb. Jeremiah 1:5 helped me rest in God during those difficult times. It says, “Before I formed you in the womb [or petri dish] I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” God had a plan for those precious babies. I was able to be a part of that. I do not understand it all, but I learned to trust in His plan.
  7. Telling others was a double-edged sword. IVF is a mystery to most people. When you mention it there are many details people want to know and understand. In order to explain, you must share difficult stories. Then if the cycle is unsuccessful, you have to tell everyone you are not pregnant. However there is also a group of people praying you through each step of the way. They encourage you, sometimes while placing their feet in their mouths, but being held up in prayer is worth the pain. James 5:16 says, “…pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”
  8. There was grief in the excitement and possibility. I was excited about the possibilities that IVF offered. I may get pregnant! However I grieved the loss of getting pregnant the easy way. I learned that often grief and joy go hand-in-hand. That isn’t a new concept. Hebrews 12:2-3 says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Jesus for the joy before Him endured the cross and He did it so that I won’t grow weary! Jesus knew the grief and pain, but willingly went to the cross for the joy. If Jesus did it for me, then I can do it for the possibility of having children.
  9. Loneliness is a lie. The stark statistics are that 1 in 6 couples experience infertility. The most recent statistics from the CDC say that 7.3 million women in the US alone went to their health care providers about infertility issues. Not all of them used IVF, but we are NOT ALONE. It is possible that the woman with three children in your church used IVF. Maybe that sweet couple is longing for kids and has failed multiple IVF attempts. Satan will try to make you feel isolated, alone. We have to remember “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8
  10. IVF changed me forever. I always thought IVF would be a tool to get me more children and then be discarded. I would leave it in my past and continue life as if IVF had never entered it. Instead, I have discovered that I am forever changed. I am not the same woman I was before IVF, I am better, I am different, I am more compassionate. God used this experience to teach me to say no to myself, my desires, my plans, and say yes to Him, His desires, His plans. Much like Jesus in the garden prayed, “…not my will, but yours be done.” I learned to say no to myself and yes to Him regardless of the price.

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