Tuesday, November 26, 2013

To ICSI or not to ICSI?

Do we do ICSI or not? That is the question Chad and I wrestled with last night and this morning. As I was praying this morning, I really felt like God was telling me to trust Him. At the beginning of this year, 2013, our pastor asked us to choose a word for the year. The word I chose was trust, and it has been impactful countless times. I've learned a lot about trust over the past year, and really felt like God has been teaching me. So, we decided that we would tell the doctor that we were choosing not to do ICSI.

I asked the doctor what his thoughts were on whether we should do ICSI or not (before telling him the conclusion Chad and I came to). We talked about our past cycles of IVF, and the doctor said he would double check my chart.  He said he thought we did not need to do ICSI. That was encouraging, especially since we already had come to the conclusion that we were not going to do ICSI. 

I have all of my instructions for the coming days and weeks. My egg retrieval is tomorrow morning. I have to be there at 9 a.m., and the retrieval should happen at 10 a.m. They did a blood draw today to make sure that the trigger shot I took last night was working, and the nurse called and said that everything looks good for tomorrow morning!

We appreciate any prayers!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Trigger Shot - Tonight!

I just heard from my doctor that I will be taking my trigger shot tonight at 10 p.m. That means that I'll have to be at my doctor's office at 9 a.m. on Wednesday for the egg retrieval. My estrogen and progesterone continue to be right where they need to be.

I have an appointment tomorrow morning to go over everything I will need to know before Wednesday. We have to make the decision, along with the doctors, on whether or not we will do ICSI. That is where they take an individual sperm and inject it into the egg. If they don't do ICSI, then they let the sperm fertilize the egg on their own. We've had good fertilization in the past, but there's always a possibility that without ICSI, none could fertilize. However, at the same time, ICSI is another form of manipulation between the eggs and sperm. So, please pray for wisdom as we make this choice by tomorrow morning.

Thanks, too, for the continued prayers. We continue to pray for a miracle! 

The nurse seems very upbeat about how things have progressed this cycle. 

One bit of good news about taking the trigger shot tonight is that I will not have any shots or needles anywhere in my skin for about 36 hours! I'll go all day tomorrow without a blood draw, shot or IV. Also, it will be the first time in several weeks that I haven't had to get up for a 6:30 a.m. shot. I'm feeling very excited about that! 

We are trusting that the Lord is holding each of these moments in His hands. We know that He is in control, and we are so thankful that He loves us. Whether this cycle of IVF ends in us having a biological child or not, we are in awe of all that He has done for us. We are thankful that He has allowed us to grow, as individuals and as a couple, over the last 10 years. I can see the many ways God has been there for us, and am in complete awe of the fact that He loves me enough to care about every detail.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Emotional Roller Coaster

I meant to post this yesterday (Saturday)...

I've had an emotional 24 hours! Last night I realized that I only had enough medication to get through Monday morning and evening. When I was in yesterday, they asked if I had enough medication to make it through the weekend. I told them that yes, I did, and what I had left. They thought that sounded fine. Then, I started to realize (after the pharmacy had closed) that if I ordered medication on Monday, I would not get it on Tuesday in time for my 6:30 a.m. shot. So, I had a hard time sleeping last night. I was trying not to worry, but sometimes it can seem overwhelming. 

So, this morning I had my blood draw and ultrasound. As we were driving in, Chad and I were talking about how I could get rid of the anxiety. Chad asked if I could think of a BIble verse that could help in the situation. My first thought was Philippians 4:6, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." So, we talked about it, we discussed the importance of both parts of the verse, not just not being anxious, but also being thankful. We were thankful to have the time in the car to be able to pray with one another. 

We had to wait nearly an hour and a half at the doctor's office, and the longer I waited, the more I'd sit and hope and pray that all would work out with our medications. It's such a precise science, that we know we have to be careful. On the other hand, we know the Lord is in control. So, as we're waiting, the nurse came in to let us know that the doctor would be in shortly. We asked her about the medication, and let her know that we'd be willing to replace it if only they could give us a couple vials. They did not have any, but they found a specialty pharmacy that deals with IVF medications in Lake Mary (only 20 minutes from our doctor's office). You can't buy the medication we take at CVS, Walgreens or any local drugstores, so that was a miracle in itself! So, we were able to get the medication that we may (or may not) need on Tuesday. The prices were also competitive with the mail order pharmacy rates...which is helpful (the cost of the medication is extremely high). Praise God for that!

We also found out that we have about 18 follicles. Some are very small and will most definitely not have mature eggs. However, that's a great number at this point. They've asked me to come in again tomorrow to have a blood draw and ultrasound again. We're getting closer each day to the egg retrieval. My estradiol continues to climb (it was 987 today), and that is a good thing!

When we got in the car after getting the medication, I told Chad it was all I could do to keep the tears from pouring down my face. This journey has been such a roller coaster...not just this cycle, but over all of the years we've been trying to conceive. We trust in God, His plans and we are so thankful that He is with us always. 

I know that was really long, but we are feeling so thankful that the Lord worked everything out!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Barren, Infertile & Childless

Barren, infertile, childless…these words are some of the most painful I’ve ever encountered. Call me a word that would make your grandmother blush, but please don’t call me one of these. The problem with that logic is that any one of these words actually describes where I am today. I am barren, infertile and childless.

Nothing I do can change that. Only a miracle from God will provide the opportunity for me to become a mother. As we’ve entered into the part of IVF where I am taking more shots each day, I am reminded that so many people are not even aware of the process of IVF. The thing is, there are as many protocols as there are doctors. I have been through 5 rounds of IVF, and the protocol on each round has been different. The doctors learn from past experiences, as every woman’s body is different, and make changes for each new round of IVF. For this round of IVF, I’ve been taking shots for weeks. As of last Saturday, I went from one shot a day to 3-4 shots a day. Chad and I also take an antibiotic twice a day for 10 days. I will have a blood draw and ultrasound nearly every other day as I progress through the protocol. I don’t know about most women, but I know the shots I take bruise my stomach and I look as if I’ve been punched several times. I wake up and take my shots at 6:30 a.m. I have to get up early enough to have time to mix my medications and draw them into the syringes. Then, my sweet husband gives me the shots, while telling me to relax. Then, at 6:30 p.m., I have one more shot that I take.

I have learned that infertility is something that can break you or make you stronger. I honestly cannot imagine walking along this path without the Lord. It has been such a comfort to know that no matter what the future holds, whether we are blessed with a biological child or not, we know that our Father will be right there with us.  I’ve told a few people that without God, I’d find it impossible to wake up and face each day. How do you lose children that never got to take a breath on this earth, and go on? The only way you can do that is knowing that they are in Heaven with God and that you will have a day when you can hold them in your arms.

God has blessed us so incredibly, and I am thankful for all He has given us. I often remind myself that even though we have not been able to conceive and carry a child to term, it does not mean that we haven’t been blessed beyond anything we could ever deserve. May you take time today to be aware of God’s amazing love and be thankful for the blessings in your life. If you have time, I’d love to hear about the ways God has shown His love to you or ways that He has blessed you!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Decade

10 years. It’s such a significant amount of time that it’s given a name…a decade. Envision having the greatest desire you could imagine tugging at your heart for a decade. Over 3,650 days hoping and praying for something you so desperately want. Not the latest video game, not a new car, not the latest fashion trend, but a biological child who resembles you and your spouse.  That has been my heart’s desire for over a decade. My husband, Chad, and I have tried desperately to conceive a child that we can teach to love Jesus and love others.

I’ve spent a lot of time hoping and praying, seeking what God would have me learn in the waiting, shedding tears and feeling hope all along the way. Chad and I are in the beginning steps of our fifth, and final, round of in vitro fertilization (IVF). We have had four failed rounds of IVF, and lost all of the children we have conceived thus far. One day, after I’ve met Jesus, I can’t wait to meet our children! How amazing it will be to meet my Heavenly Father and my children!

We have come to realize, through information provided from our doctors as well as our past experiences, that the only way we will conceive will be through a miracle. We are certainly hoping and praying for that miracle, but we know that no matter what happens, we will never stop praising the name of Jesus!