Devastation. Tears. Crushed. Oxygen leaving my chest. Then the only words I had, “I think I’m gonna vomit”. As the doctor said the meds aren’t working. My ovaries are acting old and aren’t responding to the meds. My old gymnast bones aren’t the only thing acting way older than my age, go figure. Today being day 7 of injections to stimulate my ovaries to ovulate as many eggs possible (the normal woman ovulates one egg a month) was scheduled with another drive into town, more blood work and another sonogram. On a day where we should see close to a full count (anywhere between 20-50) of follicles or early eggs forming…he saw 2… maybe a third if it grows more. Three. That was my number on one ovary. On the other? None.
I spent the whole drive into my appointment brainstorming baby names. Called Austin 4 times to get the go ahead to add to our list or VETO. I didn’t need Harry Potter book 6 audio tape to entertain me, I was having a great morning. I had my pineapple socks on from a dear friend and I had actually put on makeup before my drive at 6am so I was feeling pretty good. I didn’t know it would be the day I would cry harder than I have in a long time. I didn’t know it would be the day I had to walk through the waiting room on my way out of my appointment… with big tears all over my face… past all the women in the waiting room knowing with their glances what those tears meant for me.
I had a feeling something was weird, I knew my stomach was too flat after being warned it would be distended and my body not swollen at all after being told I would be bloated. I knew my emotions were calm…maybe too calm… I just thought that my body was handling it well! That God was answering a prayer to my concerns about my emotions. Turns out, my body just wasn’t really responding to the medication. My doctor told me to prepare myself for whats to come the next few days. That’s when my heart sank. That the odds are highly against me but he still is going to try for a baby. We aren’t stopping treatment and we are going to keep preparing for egg retrieval but our chance for a group of embryos for future babies is about out the window. It only takes one. Yes. One healthy egg. The thing is, through retrieval, fertilization, testing, and freezing… the numbers statistically (and typically) decrease by half with each step. So, for example, if they were to get 20 eggs from me on retrieval day and they all are successfully viable, the next step is fertilization where maybe 10 would fertilize properly. Then, they go onto testing to make sure no chromosome imbalance and that number would half to about 5 healthy enough for implant. So, if you are reading this right, in the case of 20 eggs retrieved…. you most likely end up with around 5 healthy embryos. Give or take. Have I lost you? My odds starting at 3…are low. Very low. He told me we are still moving forward with the rest of the process, so that hope is still there even though his eyes told a different story filled of doubt. He already started talking about round two of stimulation “after this try” and upping the dosage quite a bit “next time” to try to get my body to respond more. Wait wait wait. Round 2? You mean paying for and ordering this medication all over again? Paying for another round of IVF (without insurance) and starting over injecting myself from the 19 times I already have? You are already talking about that? The nurse with him stayed behind after he left the room to clean up my tears and give me what he didn’t in those moments… hope. “Don’t lose hope yet, I have seen worse cases.” I asked if this is normal for day 7 and her response was, “Not at your age, but I have hope”.
Three is my number.
I sat in my car for a good 30 min crying. A lump in my throat not even close to wanting to fight back the tears. I’m thankful for my neighbor who cried and prayed with me the whole way home. Who literally played Christian music through the phone and told me when things like this happen, GOD IS UP TO SOMETHING BIGGER! How amazing is that sheer thought? He has chosen us for this trial and our trial is nowhere near over I cannot abandon now and cave into my fear. I hear on the Message on Sirius every day, “People who say the sky is the limit don’t look high enough.” We hit the sky today. My doctor told me to prepare myself for the worst. The sky to him. But my God is higher than the sky. He is sitting on his throne in Heaven above that sky. My God performs miracles from nothing. My God is faithful and loving. My God knew this news before my sonogram. My God made my ovaries and body exactly how he wanted! My God knew and created these 3 chances for growing our family. You may be thinking the medicine did, but it is God who designed my body to work and form the way it does.
If God can fill the womb of Sarah at age 99, then there is great hope to have in our 3! “Is anything too difficult for the Eternal One to accomplish? At a time that I will determine, I will return here to you when life emerges from her womb. I am telling you, Sarah will give birth to a son.” (NIV Genesis 18:14) What is important about this scripture is the key phrase, AT THE TIME THAT I WILL DETERMINE. It was still all in his timing. God may have led us here and we may or may not get pregnant on these 3 chances and a whole slew of things can go wrong to not even have those 3 possibilities of embryos. I won’t even go into the chances Mary had at giving birth a Virgin. But this is HIS timing. I cannot abandon and try to hop in the driver’s seat. I cannot welcome Satan and his lies into the car traveling on our journey.
When we took our Christmas pictures this past December, we decided to add some unique photos. I simply told my photographer that I have been waiting and waiting to do pregnancy photos and I feel the need to just take some “waiting, trusting, praying, hoping” photos. Through each season of last year, I visualized and planned our pregnancy photos. But the end of each season came an emptiness that I know many women in the trial of infertility feel. “I thought I would be pregnant by now”, I told her. “I thought I would get to cup my hand around my growing belly. I thought I would have had a baby shower and decorating their room.” I wanted to capture that feeling. She called them Rainbow Baby photos. This picture above was us praying over my womb. After we got the pictures back, I saw “an empty womb” as the captain for it and it stung a little. But I knew we were called do them for a reason. Now I see us praying over these 3 possibilities. Three.
Austin has been switched to night shift again last week at the worst possible time, so by time I got home from my drive he was sleeping. He had JOY Young Living essential oil diffusing, a powerful handwritten letter for me to read and these notes written below on our fridge. I’m so thankful for his strength and love. I’m also thankful he was still able to go to sleep after this news in order to keep up his health through all this as I insisted he did rather than drive to meet me. Ya’ll, when it rains it pours and it just so happens to be pouring outside. But, I also just so happen to love the noise, smell and sight of rain.
I’m currently writing this with a huge headache from crying for a solid three hours as I called with updates, naked in the bath, with the windows open, listening to the pouring rain. I feel his love above the pounding in my head that Tylenol will soon fix. He is whispering to keep trusting him. Realizing we’re not broken but simply cracked today, we still stand on a solid rock with Jesus. We still stand on his path and we are still living our story. I’ve been preaching in my posts all this faith and trust in God and our story is now requiring us take another deeper step into those. We gotta buckle the seatbelt in the passenger’s side and keep trusting God to take the wheel. He has a beautiful plan for our family to grow. Austin and I will be parents someday. The details in between are for only God to know and us to trust how it will play out.
I hope that you will join me right after reading this in praying for those 3 follicles. Pray that there may be more, but if not, that those 3 stand strong. Pray for our hurting hearts today and the fear that is trying to toss my breakfast. Pray for my appetite to grow stronger these next few days, so I can keep the nutrients I need to fuel these follicles. Pray for us to glorify him more in the midst of the rain. And pray for a baby to come at the rainbow after the storms.
Thank you for your love, support and prayers.
Sending love, Stacy & Austin