Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Turkey Baster

Today was the day.
I hadn't really put too much thought into any of the details of what would transpire, aside from asking people to pray for us.

Pray for us to know more.
Or to have clarity.
Or something. I don't even know.
We had been praying a lot ourselves. Looking back, I'm not even sure what we prayed for.

Lots of paperwork. Intimate questions. How often do you sit in a sauna or hot tub? (every day, people). How many caffeinated beverages do you have a day? How many times are you intimate with your partner each week? Medications. Surgeries. All the things.

A nice doctor man.
We sat down with him and talked through our history and where we were at, what we had tried, what we had come across.

"I assume you're here because you want to get pregnant."

Nice doctor man... while that might be the normal assumption of a couple at a fertility clinic, that's not exactly the case here. We just were hoping for some answers. Just to know if we even can have kids. I don't know if I'm really ready to pull out all the stops.

He described it as a journey and began to tell us the step by step process of how things typically go, what they'll try and a bit of what we could expect. Asked if we had questions. "Sir, we have a hot tub. Does that affect sterility?" "No, I think you're fine." I had asked my husband a few weeks ago, after reading online all the negative ramifications of hot tubs on sperm count, if he'd rather have a baby or a hot tub. He hadn't answered...

Before I knew it we were being given an ultrasound, tested for vital sperm and taken into a room with a nurse to sign my life away. More tests. Prescriptions. Specific days of my cycle to take medication, test for ovulation and come in and get a turkey baster of my husband's goods planted in utero (I promise that the doctor actually referred to the medical syringe as a turkey baster).

I remembered at this juncture that a friend had told me recently how, once you go into the fertility clinic, they just throw you onto the moving train of baby-making. I got a little panicky as I listened to the nurse's words. There was no, "If you want..." or "think about it...". Just, "do this" and then "do that". BUT WHAT IF I DON'T WANT TO!?!?!  My heart was racing.

"Could we just try the medication for a bit before jumping into IUI (in utero insemination)? My husband and I haven't had a chance to talk about all of this..."

Finally seeing my panic, the nurse backed off a bit. She assured me that I could take my time and that signing the papers was just a formality to get out of the way so we wouldn't have to worry about it later. I could just take the medications for a few cycles and see how that goes before coming back to the clinic for an IUI.

Next steps involve another blood test and a few more tests on me to see that no tubes are blocked. The good news is that I have healthy looking follicles and eggs (and no cysts). The bad news is that I still feel a bit lost as to what to pursue and how much to pursue it and how far is too far. We haven't even talked about the dollars involved in this entire process yet....

So, my husband and I left feeling a little more exposed, sat at the bar of Texas Roadhouse (they were giving away free appetizers if we sat there) and talked about our fertility treatment options. I'm sure it's perfectly normal to have a couple at a bar, drinking Dr. Pepper and water, praying and talking about IUIs.

I don't know if we have solid answers yet. Maybe my husband does and I don't. Maybe I just need some time to process and pray some more. I told Kel that I think I have this faulty expectation that if we go down this route, we will have a child.... and I'm still sometimes really not sure if I want one. But, I also realize that if we go down this route, we still might not have a child. And maybe that part is actually more unbearable to face. Pulling out the stops...and still being empty-wombed.

Keep praying, if you think about it.
We have some pretty decently quick decisions to make and I have loved hearing from those of you who have reached out (and in the very near future, once my classwork slows down, I plan on responding to all of you). I'm encouraged by the fact that there are others who have gone before me in this, others who are still struggling with it and others who are just here and with us, even if our battles look really different. I'm thankful and humbled by you all.

(Ironically enough, I am taking a Christian Ethics course this semester... which includes some content on reproductive technologies. So, that'll be fun).

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Sunday, January 14, 2018

To be or not to be...

I feel like for the last 3 years I have been slowly trimming out a baby-shaped hole from my heart. Every month that goes by is another cut in the paper heart. To be or not to be...? That is the question.

Right before Thanksgiving, I felt like it was the next to last snip before the baby-shape falls out completely.

And I lost it.

A tragedy about finding out that you’re not pregnant each month is also finding this out during your most emotionally unstable time each month. How can you ever trust what you’re really feeling in those quiet, lonely hours and days?

So I waited.
I waited because part of me couldn’t handle processing the emotions that were attached to that final cut. I waited because I couldn’t trust them. I waited because I certainly couldn’t talk about them. I waited because I was surrounded by friends and family who were raising up beautiful children and learning new things about life and the Lord and family and I knew that was factoring somewhere into the equation of my sadness.

I waited because I had never felt more alone in my pain. Realistically, I had never actually felt this pain before.

This was the first month that I had felt pretty hopeless, a little like it actually wasn’t going to happen, a little like I needed to start living life without this possibility that children may someday be in our future. A little like I needed to make the final cut and be done with it, learning to live life with this baby-shaped hole forever in my heart. A little like I needed to mourn the loss of never knowing what it might be like to carry a child in pregnancy. A little like I needed to stop thinking about what sort of cute pregnancy announcement we would come up with to share with the world that a miracle had truly transpired.

I still haven’t known how to talk about it.
Not on a real gut-wrenching, this actually hurts my soul, type of talk about it. Maybe it’s because those moments are few and far between. Maybe it’s because I still sometimes don’t know if I want kids. And maybe because sometimes I do. And maybe because sometimes I’m scared that if I say I do and it never happens, where does that leave me?

I don’t know how to connect with others and I don’t know how to let them connect with me. Instead, I find myself keeping them at an arm’s length: they don’t/can’t/ won't understand. Because…how could they? One day I think I want kids. The next day I don't think I want kids. One day I really want kids. The next day I really don't want kids. My journey hasn't been one of constant longing or undeniable desire. In fact, most days, as this blog can attest, I am content and absolutely grateful for the way this life is going. 

But then there's that day.
A day where loss seems inevitable, where mourning seems necessary, where moving on and letting go seems most wise.

My husband scheduled an appointment at the fertility clinic.
I suppose some of you are thinking, finally.
And maybe that's true. I sometimes think it myself, while also a bit in denial that we're here at all. If nothing else, we're just looking for answers. We'll both get some tests done at the end of the month and figure out where we want to go from there, if there's anywhere to go from there.

And so here we are.
In place I didn't think we'd be, but trusting the Lord in it--no matter how it continues to go.

Would you pray for us?
For discernment?
For wisdom?
For us to continue trusting the Lord in where He has us in the possibility as parents (even if that looks like us not being parents, or adopting, or pursuing some other options with fertility treatments)?

I'd also love to hear more from any of you who have been on a similar journey. We're entering into unchartered territory and the unknown always feels a little...questionable. And I'd love to hear from those who haven't had children (whether by choice or not)...and how that process has been for you.

There's the latest with us when it comes to this infertility saga.

(I wish one blog post could also sum up the hundred of other things going on in our life that are also on our minds and hearts...but I'll save those for a rainy day).

Thanks for reading.
Thanks for caring.
Thanks for praying.

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