Posts Tagged ‘God’

Over

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Today would have been transfer day.  Our two retrieved eggs were mature and fertilized, but didn’t make it to day 2  Here’s how everything went down:

  • We started out with 5 follicles
  • 5 follicles grew to 6 within one day
  • 6 follicles grew for a long time and we ended up with two more the last two days, making it a grand total of 8
  • After 13 days of stims, we trigger
  • Retrieval takes place Tuesday where I am told that they retrieved 2 eggs (even under anesthesia, I know that this is not good)
  • The next day I am told that the 2 eggs were mature and fertilized (hope begins to spring again)
  • The day after (which was yesterday, Thursday, I was told that both embryos had arrested)

I can honestly say that I was surprised and shocked that I had only two eggs retrieved and that the two embroys (if they even made it to that stage) died.

I’m not stupid.  Statistically, even before this whole process started, I knew the odds were against me, but I had faith. Real faith. Probably more than I had in my entire life for anything. I had courage. I was positive.  It was 100% authentic. I felt like it was a gift from God–that he had brought me to this and was all over everything, even months in advance. But, I’ll save all of that for a future post which will come soon, I assure you.

I have to take God out of the equation and look at my reality.  I’m 37, (almost 38 in less than two months) and my eggs are just plain bad. How do I know this? The only two times that I achieved pregnancy (which I have no idea how they happened in the first place given my husband’s male factor issues) they have resulted in chromosomal losses. Where do chromosomal losses come from? The woman’s egg!

Plus, there is the issue of my FSH of 12.8 which basically means a lower number of eggs which translates to a low number of bad eggs. Research says that this is not necessarily true, but I guess it is true for me.

Then take the issue of this IVF.  It took forever for my follicles to even grow and I only got 8 (which I could have lived with) and this was from a very high dose of medication. But–it took me 13 days to even get there.  Then, we get to retrieval and they are able to only extract two eggs. The nurse said that she thought the other follicles were probably empty and maybe they were, but I don’t think she’s correct based on everything I’ve read about empty follicle syndrome. Chances are they couldn’t get to these eggs because they were probably misshapen or something equally bad.  The two that were retrieved arrested, of course, because they were crap.

I just don’t have any good eggs and I have to learn to live with that.

It Takes Two

It takes two to tango–two to make a baby!

Except, it doesn’t.  It takes a doctor, a nurse, the makers of Follistim, and a host of others.  No, I’m kidding. It takes God, actually.

All of my medicines have been injected (with the exception of tonight’s trigger shot–please don’t let me fall asleep and forget), all blood work done (why hello there bruised arms and stomach, you are looking lovely today) and ultrasounds performed (Thank goodness).

I have two follicles that are “ready.’  From my understanding, this means that these two have a good chance of being ovulated and fertilized.

I am slightly disappointed, though.  I can admit that.  Yes, I’m crazy but the point of this IUI was to have more follicles reach the mature size of 16.  I actually have two additional ones, both being 12.  They may or may not catch up to the dominant ones before Saturday’s IUI.

It’s ok, though.  I am enormously grateful for what I have.  I realize that there are many, many women who get no response from these types of drugs.  I wanted more because more follicles increase the chances of pregnancy.

But, I have two and maybe that’s all that it takes.

So that’s my update for now.   These days, I have made a lot of progress finding serenity with IF.  I try not to obsess and scour the internet for hours on end looking for the one cure that will fix me.  I’ve tried to come to terms with the pregnancies and babies around me, without feeling anger or negativity towards parents or parents-to-be.  This has been a huge challenge for me.  My negativity and worry do nothing for me or those around me. Most importantly, I am learning to trust God.  I try to thank him for everything I have each and every day and yes, I am blessed.  IF wreaks havoc and emotional devastation, but there are a lot of things that are worse in this world.

Thank you for your prayers and support and please keep those prayers coming.  I know they are being answered.  You are all in my thoughts.

Love,

C

The Pope Thinks You’re Arrogant

I was dozing off this afternoon for a nap with the TV softly playing in the background, when a news correspondent uttered a word that snapped me back to full alert:  infertility.

Pope Benedict has attended a 3-day conference on infertility in Rome and has one piece of advice for couples: shun IVF treatment. 

Most couples do, indeed, already do this.  They are super fertile as they have so shown the world.  Many other couples have trouble, but manage to conceive by drugs or surgery.  Yet others shun infertility because they simply cannot afford it.   But, the Pope has other reasons why a couple should refrain from artificial procedures:

“The human and Christian dignity of procreation, in fact, doesn’t consist in a ‘product’, but in its link to the conjugal act, an expression of the love of the spouses of their union, not only biological but also spiritual,” the ‘Daily Mail’ quoted Pope Benedict XVI as saying.

He also told the specialists in his audience to resist “the fascination of the technology of artificial fertility’, warning against “easy income, or even worse, the arrogance of taking the place of the Creator”.

He suggested that this was the attitude that underlies the field of artificial procreation. The emphasis on science and “the logic of profit seem today to dominate the field of infertility and human procreation”, the Pope said.

I feel like these words are a slap in the face to anyone who has ever suffered through this disease.  These words coming from a spiritual, well-respected man only add salt to the wound. 

I have said it once and I will say it again:  I did not choose this!  It happened to me.  I bet the same can be said of you all as well.

The Pope’s words are demeaning on so many levels, I do not even know where to start.  Does the Pope really think that I seek the help of an RE and artificial inseminations because I am merely fascinated with technology?  Am I just bored or something?  Does he really think that I prefer needles, medicines, ultrasounds, blood work, and inseminations over “conjugal relations” with my husband?     Am I so “fascinated” with technology that I can’t wait to fork over money for an IVF?  I think the Pope thinks so. 

The Pope’s words also imply that I haven’t tried to do things the natural way with my husband.  Newsflash:  we’ve tried it that way for over two years!  We tried it last month and we tried it this month.  Yeah, just have sex and you’ll get pregnant.  Relax and it will happen!  Sound familiar, anyone? 

The most damning implication here is that people who have IVF’s or other procedures lack faith, do not persevere,  and do not trust God.  Yeah, try telling this to the infertile couple who have spent years in prayer, begging God for that one special blessing.  Has the Pope ever considered that God leads couples (some Catholics, I’m sure) to and through the path of IVF?  Can God not work through science?  The only thing I find arrogant here is the Pope’s limitations he seems to be placing on God.  I can’t quote the Bible verse, but I’m pretty sure limiting God is a big no-no, no matter what your denomination or rank in religion.

I can’t help but think of all those babies born because of IVF procedures.  Those babies and those mothers who fought with every ounce of their being just to bring their children into the world.   God did not say to those women, “Your ovaries are bad, so forget it!”  He did not say, “Oh, your faith isn’t 100% perfect, so you lose.”    He knew that those women cried, prayed, and endured and he answered those prayers in the way he saw fit.  Most importantly, he knew those women were not trying to play God but merely had enough faith to walk down a path that was unfamiliar and frightening to them.

In my opinion, IVF and other procedures simply level the playing field.  We all have the right to create our families.  We may not have been blessed with working equipment, correct hormone levels, and a perfect reproductive system, like most people on the planet.  It is our absolute right and privilege to try to make things as they should be without suffering the judgement and scorn of others.     

These days, I’m trying my best to stay positive, although that’s hard to do.  Stories like this really negatively affect me because it reinforces the idea that society just does not understand.  But that’s ok.  The Pope will never have to walk in my shoes as most people won’t.  I have to hold on to the faith that I have even it is the size of a mustard seed.

A Woman Named Duggar

As most of us know, Michelle Duggar suffered a miscarriage a few weeks back. I was reminded of her loss when I read a blog post by a fellow IF blogger who posted her own thoughts on the situation.  I thought her perspective was a bit surprising.  I expected more compassion, but realize from first-hand experience that we infertiles should, no, need to, express the full-range of hellish emotions, whatever they may be.  However, I wanted to compare her response to the responses of ”non-IF’ers”.  Here is a sample from the news world:

*  “Maybe this miscarriag­e was God’s way of telling her to stop trying to have kids!” (maybe your ignorance is God’s way of telling you to shut-up)

*  ”Yikes, her last baby was premature and almost died. I don’t think it’s going to getter any better for her in the future. I think her body is telling her something and she should listen to it for the sake of the whole family.” (didn’t know bodies could speak, but ok)

*   ”Think the almighty might be trying to tell you something. It is wrong to have so many kids, there is no way you could give all of them an appropriat­e amount of attention.”

*  “That’s what you get for treating your uterus as a weapon of culture war.”  (huh?)

“I still don’t understand why they would try to create another life, after they saw the suffering of the last baby they had.”

*  “She and her husband have made a spectacle of themselves and their procreativ­e promiscuit­y by putting their family in a reality TV show.” (promiscuity–are we even talking about the same show?)

“In the article HP printed yesterday, it said the Duggars wanted privacy in their time of grief. Yeah, right. I’ll bet my Bank of America debit fee that there will be a thousand TV cameras just waiting for Michelle Duggar after the funeral, while she cries a bunch of crocodile tears for her loss of this child.” (hmmn–“loss of child” and “crocodile tears”-didn’t know someone was low enough to put these in the same sentence)

 

Honestly, I am not surpised by their responses.  I am pissed though.  Not because their reactions only validate the notion that the world at large cannot relate to the IF community.  People cannot help their ignorance.  What bothers me the most is the cruelty behind the words.

In the eyes of the public, Michelle Duggar and her reproductive abilities are critciized for three main reasons 1) She has 19 children.  2)  She is 45 years old and 3) She suffered a life-threatening pregnancy before she became pregnant with number 20.

I’ll be honest: when she annouced pregnancy #18 and #19 my reaction was similar to the comments above.  I thought she was “too old” to have any additional children.  I wished, or rather demanded, that she be happy with the number she already had and believed she was a fool for not sterilizing herself after her difficult pregnancy with Josie.  Then, infertility entered my life and my world was changed. 

I find it interesting that so many people correlate the number of children she has had with this miscarriage.  It’s funny how everyone becomes an expert when fertility is involved, isn’t it?  The truth is that she could have one baby or 30 babies at this point; none of them caused her to miscarry this child. Neither did her tumultous pregnancy with Josie.  If the pseudo-doctors of the world are going to make a diagnosis, they should at least get their facts straight.

Perhaps what is so damning about these comments is how they imply God caused the miscarriage because he knew no other way to tell Michelle Duggar she shouldn’t have more children.  I find it ironic that these people are likely the same who have never cracked a Bible or attended church a day in their life.  Yet, in the world of fertility, they seem to be divine prophets from God.  As an infertile, hearing a comment from someone that ‘God doesn’t want this’ or ‘God doesn’t want that’ from me is treading on hallowed ground.  Like many of you, my relationship with God is intimate, personal and intensely trusting.  Someone who maliciously intrudes upon this relationship is abominable.

So, should Michelle Duggar have more children?  Is she a fool for having the number she has had?  That is not for me to answer, simply because I am not Michelle.  I have tried to put myself in her shoes;  Does someone have the right to tell me I shouldn’t have children because I am 35 and my husband is 42?  Do I have the “right” to seek infertility treatments when I have bills that are unpaid?  Should I not consider IUI or IVF because it is not natural?  I don’t know about you, but no one has the right to make these decisions for me except myself, my husband, and my doctor. 

I know the pain from not being able to conceive a child.  It is a devastating, deplorable condition I would not wish on anyone, even if they already have 19 children.  If I grieve every month for the child I have never created, doesn’t Michelle have the right to grieve for the child she carried three months in her body,even if she is 45?

Is it fair that Michelle has 19 children when I (and others) have none?  No.  Is it fair that she can conceive a baby by merely thinking about it?  No.  Will it hurt like hell when she makes her next pregnancy annoucement?  Yes, definitely!  Though I am a bitter infertile and seem to lose a little more of my ability to stay logical and rational every day, I must hold on to my empathy for others.  It is part of what is left of me.

What makes God decide who gets a baby?

Have you ever browsed through your Facebook feeds from your “friends”” and stumbled across something like this?:  “Five years ago today, God blessed me with a beautiful baby girl. . .(blah, blah, blah)”.  Normally, I roll my eyes at these posts and hit the hide story/ person button, but these posts really got me to thinking recently (not that I don’t normally have thoughts or anything).  

Naturally, when I read posts like these, I feel like this smug fertile is bragging, rubbing it in my face (even though she has no idea of my situation).  What hurts a hundred times worse than the boasting though, is that she puts God into the equation.  She doesn’t say, but implies: God must love me.  After all, he has given me this child.  

Being an infertile (which by definition itself skews my logic and wreaks havoc with my emotions) I can’t help but wonder: Does this mean God does not love me?  Wouldn’t he surely bless me in the same way if he loved me as well?

The sometimes logical part of me knows that God does love me.  Those Facebook updates, the ones that attribute God with fertility, man, they hurt the worst though, but I am digressing here.  

So, how does God choose those who are to be mothers?  Do you have to be a once-a-week or more church goer?  Do you simply have to be a “good person?” Does the gift of motherhood go to those who never gave their fertility a second thought?  Is motherhood something you have to earn by suffering through other things in life?  Does everyone have dues in life to pay and some get infertility?

I think all of us have asked ourselves these questions hundreds of times.  Our deepest fear is that this whole selection process is simply arbitrary–there is no rhyme or reason to it.  We look for causes as to why things happen and when we can’t find a reason we are frightened. 

For me, I refuse to believe that things are just the mere results of chance. I have to believe that there is a reason for everything.  It keeps me going.  I just hope that I am one of those chosen ones, who gets to hold a baby in her arms.  It is not a desire nor is it a want.  It is a need; a biological one that cannot be explained with words.  Since God takes care of all our needs, I have to believe that he will take care of this one as well.