Wow. It has been a hectic past week. I want to take a second to explain what I mean by that and then I will update you on our journey! If you have not yet read our story, I encourage you to do so here before reading on!
After sharing our infertility story to … well…the world, the outpouring love was just huge. We received calls, texts, messages on all social media outlets, cards, small gifts and SO many prayers. Austin and I both shared everything we received with each other and it bonded us in a whole other way. We spent all day sending each other the messages and explaining who each individual was in our life. Just when we think we are “close as can be”, LOVE and support from others brought us even closer. Thank you for that.
I didn’t set my phone down for almost 24 hours after posting our story. Besides the love and prayers for Baby Andress, I also started receiving messages from other women from all walks of my life sharing that they are in a similar infertility journey. Some women I haven’t talked to in over 10 years, some from college and some that are very close to us, that we simply had no idea. As each story came pouring in, I started a list to pray for all these courageous women (and couples) who have also shared their story WITH ME. When it got a little overwhelming wanting to give them all the love, scripture, personal stories that I could think of and that I had been through… God whispered, “I am up to something bigger.” I knew immediately I needed to start a safe/private group for all these girls to grow together. Some have never talked to anyone about their trial. Some are years deep in the journey and can give much needed advice. But we are all doing one thing in this trial…establishing fellowship to glorify Jesus more!! The scripture shared, the bible studies, the stories, the love, the support is all in his name! Can I just get an AMEN!?! I guess that’s the way things work when you say USE ME for you glory! It ripples and ripples!! Let me just tell you how much God is working in this group. We are sharing our stories long and short. We are sharing words of courage and advice! We are asking those scary questions that you don’t really want to ask in a group of 1000+ where you still feel so small. I see lifelong friendships forming. I ask that as you pray for Baby Andress and our journey, you also pray for these women. These women who also want to find joy in their trial. These women who also want to stand strong in their trial. These women who also want to love more in their trial. These women who are selflessly GIVING in their trial.
We learned quickly that sharing our story wasn’t just about us. It was about so much more! Getting into my upper 20’s…ok fine I turn 30 next year… I really took a look at my life this past year. My surroundings, my thoughts, my actions, my reactions… all of it. I started actively trying to take a step back in places that I had been needing to in order to make more room for God to write his story and in order to live a more positive life. When you move across the country from everything you know or have ever known, it really gives you that opportunity to double check your “lifestyle” and habits. Let’s call it trimming the young adulthood fat? It has been hard at times but it has also been so rewarding to concentrate on our marriage! With the extra room it did allow for some loneliness in my heart. One thing I literally told my husband the other day is that I am really craving a group of strong Christian women to challenge me in the word, in my walk and in my daily life. I had no idea that sharing our infertility story was going to fill part of that room and challenge me so much more! I asked the girls to give words that describe how they feel within the group and words came about like; Fellowship, Hopeful, Outlet, Support, Comfort, Community, Vulnerable!
I started my last period a few days early right after sharing. Maybe it was all the extra emotions and hormones but I think it was God meeting us in our plan and giving us more confidence to forward.
We had our first appointment where we started the whole process of IVF. It was interesting walking into the fertility clinic again. I didn’t find myself shaking as there wasn’t as much fear of the unknown. We knew why we were here this time and what our plan was. (BTW if you are in DC area or heck even the East Coast, Dominion Fertility in Arlington with Dr. DiMattina is amazing and he actually founded Dominion!) We signed a bunch of papers, reviewed all the payment options and gave more blood for more testing.
The whole process will be approximately two-three months and if all goes according to “plan” and is successful, we are looking at being pregnant around April. WOW, right? The timeline was a shock to us. I won’t jump into too much lingo but due to FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer) they wait around 7-8 weeks after egg retrieval to implant. They do this basically for my body to return back to normal before trying to implant. Statistics have shown that if they try to put the embryo in me right after my body went through hell and back the chances of conceiving are a lot lower. It makes sense… I will be bloated, filled with meds, poked a ton and with a distended belly from the whole process. I have two weeks until I start meds and my official “IVF calendar” on January 22nd. Apparently, yet again, my cycle was pretty spot on (no pun intended) allowing us to start everything this cycle.
We sat down with the financial planner and let’s just say we had to go for a drink after this. I won’t go into too much detail but starting tomorrow I am going to be calling our insurance and trying to find every loop hole possible to help us out ANY! Please pray for guidance on this because dealing with insurance claims…woof. We chose a “plan” that includes two trials to play a little safe and not put so much pressure on first trial. After retrieving the eggs, they will wait the 7-8-week time frame and then place one embryo inside me. If this doesn’t catch, we have one more try the next month in our “package”. If this doesn’t work we are going to cross that bridge if (and hopefully it doesn’t) come. Our goal is to collect as many eggs as possible to make a whole family this FIRST RUN. In a perfect world, we will then have frozen embryos for future children if needed as well. This is critical in terms of my body, as my ticking time clock says we aren’t sure when I will run out of eggs. I have a much older “age” in terms of egg count than my biological age 29 (Doc estimated 35). Austin and I have always wanted a big family and a house full of kids. If we produce plenty of healthy embryos, we can have hope to have more children in the future, despite what my body may do in between that time. Ok, maybe this is confusing but I am really trying to not put too many extras in this to keep it simple to understand. If you have questions feel free to ask.
After a few hours of all this crunching numbers and timelines and tests and making more appointments, we left mentally exhausted. It was exciting moving forward but man is it complicated. Then we had a couple of not 100% days, which is why it took me so long to update you. I say this because for all those other women struggling, I want you to know I still struggle sometimes. With an extra hard cycle this month combined with extra blood drawn, I was simply drained and exhausted. I caught myself frowning in the grocery store when normally I have a smile on my face and didn’t even have the energy to correct it. Austin and I had some tough conversations filled with extra emotions that weren’t as healthy as we aim for. It’s ok, as my friend says… this is tuff stuff! The trick, which I will continue to reiterate, is not to allow yourself to stay there. I drank some extra strong coffee this morning, worked out and trying to put my best foot forward again.
Thank you again for all the support through this journey! We are hopefully for Baby Andress and know they will just have an extra special story when we meet them.
Sending Love, Stacy & Austin