I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord
Psalm 27: 13-14

Monday, November 25, 2013

New chapters...

Wow...it has been a while for sure.  I'm sure that any people who have been faithful in following my blog are probably wondering if I've brought it to a close.  And to be honest...it likely won't be as faithful as in the beginning.

HOWEVER, as the post heading states...today it is about new chapters.  Whether I want them or not.
Life has changed.  Parts have come to an end.  Other chapters are just about to begin.

In the fall I accepted treatment to proceed with our very last frozen embryo transfer.

I had gone in to this believing that no matter the outcome, I would be ok.  And that I would just be relieved to finally put this long journey to a close.  I told myself that I would just be content to GET to transfer since my lining issues.  That I would embrace whatever life brought.

So, I began my meds.
I went in to this cycle trying to be calm and focused and not stressed about the thing that I could not control.
I went RELIGIOUSLY for acupuncture to assist in my cycle and lining issues.
I ate right.  I exercised moderately.  I cut back on coffee and anything that MIGHT be a blocker.
I did my "Bend, Breathe and Conceive" yoga DVD religiously.
I did castor oil packs with fertility massages.
I devoured prenatal vitamins and Folic Acid.
I tried to sleep well.

And I prayed.

But not your typical "please, please, please let this work" kind of prayer.

Lets not dance around it.  My prayers in regards to conceiving and having a healthy, living child are somewhat shall we say, jaded.
I know the pain of praying with "certainty" and claiming healing and the desire for a child only to be left with confusion and hurt and a multitude of "why?  Why not us God?  What did we do so wrong?"

I know God is not there to be my magic genie to grant my wishes.
I know that God is good, and that He has a plan for me, for my husband, for Evan...and for us as a family of three.

So I just prayed that He would help get me through in one final piece.  
And that I would have some level of PEACE.

I prayed that I would just have a lining good enough to get to this transfer.  That this transfer wouldn't leave us with no hope in even proceeding.
And even though my lining still did not hit that magic "minimum 7mm" lining...it was close.  My first check was 6.3mm.  And from my history from last October's transfer we knew it would likely thicken more given a few days of grace.  So, I was not subjected to a repeat ultra sound check.  It would have been irrelevant anyhow.  We weren't going to cancel the cycle, and we knew we just had to go with what we were given.
For that I was relieved.  In all of this, I have hated those ultra sound checks.  Continually being faced with the reality of a body that does not do what the typical woman body SHOULD do.  I was tired of being faced with a body that doesn't meet the norm and continually hearing "not good enough".  Ones self esteem can only hearing that so much before believing that ALL of her is not good enough.
So hearing that the first lining check was CLOSE...I figured since I got pregnant last year with an under 7mm lining, that it could happen again.

And so our FET was scheduled.  For October 31st.

I won't lie...I teared up when I heard that date.  Because exactly one year prior...TO THE DATE...was when I both learned I was pregnant and also realized our baby was also in a world of trouble with the pregnancy.
October 31st last year began my own physical Halloween horror show and also hearing I was pregnant with a super amazing HcG (Beta...otherwise known as pregnancy hormone levels).
And then that November seeing our sweet little Faith's heart beat, only to have it stop one week later.

We hoped that the date would not be an indication of things to come.

This time we hopped a plane to head to our clinic.  We've never flown before.  But this time I figured since it was our last shot, why not go out in style!

The day of my transfer was so emotional for me.
The last time I would be in that city for THAT reason.
The last time we would be hoping and praying over this little life as it thawed from it's deep slumber.
The last time we would drive up to the clinic with my bladder on the verge of exploding.
The last time I would be in the waiting room with other couples with the same look of either new and excited anticipation...or worn and tired experience.
The last time I would gown up and Brett and I would try to keep the mood light.
The last time I would endure the physical discomforts of the transfer.
The last time we would feel that...hope.  As we would see our little embryo on the screen.  As we would watch on the ultra sound as that little life was being placed back in to my body.
The last time I would wonder if my body would accept, or reject another little one.

I was SO excited that it was our initial RE doing the transfer.  It truly felt like a closure day, and it was just too perfect when I heard that it would be Dr. Greene doing our transfer.  It was just how I hoped.

And after the transfer was complete and I was to remain laying on the table for 10 minutes, Dr. Greene came and put his hand on my shoulder, and he shook Brett's hand and wished us well and talked for a little bit...I lost it.  The second he left the room and it was just Brett and I and our newly transferred child...I lost it.
I burst in to tears for so many reasons.  6 years of IVF/FETs alone.  13 years of desperately praying and trying for a family.  So many losses.  One amazing living miracle.  Every visit to that clinic.  EVERYTHING came rushing to my mind in that moment.
And the realization that it was now truly...over.

There is no more.  Our last little one was now inside of me.  And all we could do was hope and wait.

We left the clinic and I felt so confused.

Relieved to have this journey come to an end.  Relieved that we had made it through, together, with our marriage still in tact.
But also so very sad.  Up to this point I had always had "well if this one doesn't work, maybe next time!"  I no longer have "next time".

During our waiting period we went to a service on healing one night.  The pastor prayed for us after.  And told us to "send a picture of the baby".
We struggled going to that service.  We have struggled with so many moments of being told "I know this will work out this time", "everything is going to be ok"...even that I was going to have a baby girl.

I often want to ask now...how?  How do people genuinely believe that they hear God assuring them of something?
I'm not trying to be negative here and say that God does NOT speak through people...I know that He can and He does.  Just, in my situation where things have gone quite the opposite to what people believed God was telling them...I just wish I could have an answer.  How did they know?  And how do they explain it now?
Again, I'm not saying that in a bitter way or negative way.  I'm genuinely interested in wanting to know the how.  And I most certainly do not doubt or question God and His goodness.  
Sometimes people mean well, and believe that they have been told something.  But sometimes it just isn't correct.  Again...I'm not saying I feel angry or hurt.  Just confused.

Well, back to the current transfer.
We waited our 2 weeks and then it was off for the blood test.

I have to admit something here.  These last few FETs I did my best to emotionally distance myself and not try to guess the outcome.  That is a very dangerous emotional game to play.  I've always waited for "the call" to hear yes or no.
But this time..without meaning to, I actually genuinely thought it had worked.
I would get so excited at the thought of hearing my Doctor say "positive" that I would get butterflies.
And the morning that my Doctor DID call...I just about jumped for joy.  Because my doctor has never EVER called to give me the negative news.  So I knew if her assistant called it would be negative, but if SHE called then it would be good news.
Well, she tricked me this time.  My Halloween "treat" turned in to the "trick" I so badly didn't want.
I heard her voice and my heart took off soaring.  And then it was shot in mid-air and came exploding to the ground.
She said "I'm so sorry bud, it was negative.  I've been sitting here for 20 minutes trying to work up the nerve to call you.  I just didn't want anyone else making the call this time."
She knows this was our last transfer.  Our last hope.
I calmly hung up...and then did something I never wanted to do.
I broke down right in front of Evan.

He crawled up on me and asked me why I was so sad.  And I gently told him...the truth.
Mommy had hoped we would be able to have another baby one day, but it wasn't going to happen.
He got a sad look on his face and said "aaaaaaw mommy, that is not fair!  Didn't Jesus hear you when you asked Him for a baby?"
We have never explained the whole FET journey with Evan.  Good grief...what 4 year old should have to learn about the science of trying to have a baby.
We never told him WHY we had to go for an appointment for a couple days.
We've always kept him protected and sheltered from it all.

Other children just get to be told "You get to be a big brother/sister!!  There is a baby growing in mommy's tummy!"
They get the joy and innocence of something natural exciting.  They get to be dressed by their parents in the "Best Big Brother/Sister" t-shirts.  The cute Facebook announcements and emails and mail outs.

All Evan has known is that his big siblings are in heaven.  His twin brother is in heaven.  His baby sister is in heaven.  And now this.

And it makes me so angry.

I am angry.  And yes, even JEALOUS.  Yes, I said it.  Jealous.

And then I am mad.  Mad at myself for even letting my mind go to the possibility of this transfer working.  Mad that I almost pulled out my maternity clothes.  Mad that I pictured next summer with a new born at the lake with us.  Mad that I saw Evan with a proud look of love on his face doting over a baby sister or brother.
Mad that I let myself believe that it could happen for us.

And now I have to work through that mad, angry and jealous emotion.

And more grief...

I now grieve not only another loss of a transfer and child and dream.  But also grieve the knowledge that there is no more.  There will be no more treatments.  There are no more little lives waiting.
It's over.
And sometimes finality is far too bitter to want to accept.

I don't feel "bitter".
I feel grateful that we had the chance to go through 2 full IVF cycles and all of our FETs.
I am grateful for the positive pregnancy test phone calls I did receive.
I am grateful as we were able to watch Ethan and Jack's hearts beating at that 7wk ultra sound.
And for seeing Faith's heart beating, if only the one time.
I am grateful for knowing what it was like to be pregnant, if only to a max of 28 weeks gestation.
I am grateful for precious moments with Zac.
I am grateful for life with Evan.

I am grateful.

Though I still grieve.
I grieve that I watch others so easily get pregnant and have healthy living babies.
I grieve the dream of how I had pictured life.
I grieve that Evan won't have an earthly sibling, and that hurts my heart.
I grieve that I don't have the strength to believe that God could still preform a natural miracle.  I guess that comes from 13 years of this journey and never ONCE having a natural conception.  I guess I just don't see how it would happen now.  And I can't even let myself go there.  Because if I do, and if it doesn't happen...I will be angry.  And I don't want to be angry.
I grieve that my heart has not found peace in the closure of treatments.
I grieve that my heart still aches for another living child.

This has been a closure chapter for sure.  But I honestly wasn't prepared for how much I would grieve it.
I thought it would bring some peace to this long journey.  But I don't feel the peace yet.
And I feel like I'm kind of floating right now trying to figure out myself now.
I've been so focused on building a family.

My focus now?
Well of COURSE it is my family that I DO have!  
And that is my greatest pleasure and honor!!  
I get to pour even more of myself in to raising Evan in to the man he is meant to become.
I get to pour even more of myself in to the friendship and relationship of my marriage, that has often times been overshadowed through this journey.
I now need to learn who I am outside of the desire to have another child.
I want to build a bucket list, and start checking those things off.

Most importantly...I need to come back to my relationship with God.  Knowing and believing that He does have a plan for my life.  So much of my life and the pains of it seem so senseless.  I can't imagine how He could use any of it.  
I need to come back to the beginning.  
I need to trust.
I need to believe.  Truly believe.

This has been the most intense chapter of my life.  
And even though it is hard to close it...I know it needs to happen to fully embrace all that is to come.

Don't get me wrong.  It doesn't mean the pain of pregnancy and birth announcements don't hurt any less.  I don't know if that will ever happen.  
It doesn't mean that the tears for my heavenly children won't fall.  They will.  No one could expect that they wouldn't.
It doesn't mean I just forget everything.  That is impossible.

But I am opening myself up to the future.  And what may come.
And becoming the best mommy I can to Evan.  The best wife to Brett that I can be.
And the best to myself that I can become.

I honor the past, and I open myself to the future.