Monday, August 30, 2010


The blood test confirmed the news- I really truly am pregnant!!! The nurse said the hormone levels were "beautiful for this stage" :) I'll test again on Wednesday since the levels are supposed to double every 24 hours- and that will yet again confirm that things are going the way they're supposed to! And then in just a couple more weeks I'll have my first ultrasound to see how many babies are in there! Eeek! Since there is a higher chance of multiples due to the infertility treatment, they do that first ultrasound early (although they've really tried to limit the risk of multiples as much as they could).

I called Ryan right away with the results and he was finally freed to say "Ok. We're having a baby!" It's so insane!!!! Now we can finally talk about all of this as reality and not just a far away dream or something that's too painful to even mention.

Lord Jesus what a gracious gift! I know I have done nothing to be worthy of this or to deserve this more than any one else. Your timing has always been perfect and I know that even the times of pain and tears and darkness were for your purposes. You have always been good and perfect, even when the plan wasn't how I wanted it to be. I'm so humbled that you'd choose to give us a child. May we know you more and love you more and see more of your glory through this experience. Thank you Jesus!!!!

Thank you all for your prayers and compassion and notes and for being part of this journey with me. It was a great blessing and source of support to have a community tracking with me through this- even if just through the blog and emails :) I guess since I started this thing that I'll keep it going with more updates as they come.

Love you!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Blood test tomorrow

Alas, I could not have the blood test done over the weekend so tomorrow will be the day. But pretty much everyone we've talked to has said- if the home test was positive, then it really means you're pregnant. But still, the blood test will be the ultimate proof in our book and then we'll really unleash the celebration!

Most of our sentences the last two days have started with "So, if you ARE pregnant....." or "Ok, if I really am pregnant..." and then we dare to wander in to the world of baby. It's just so crazy we can barely believe it!

A lesson learned has been that this process of waiting really never ends. Ug. Waiting to get pregnant. Waiting for my period to start. Waiting for the next doctor's appointment. Waiting for the ovulation meds to work. Waiting for the IUI. Waiting to take the pregnancy test. Waiting for the blood test. Waiting for the first trimester to pass safely. Waiting to give birth. Waiting for everything!!!!!

And I only come through as a sane woman because Jesus is with me and I can sense him here and he carries me through.

Not sure if we'll get the blood test results right away or if we'll have to wait- so I'll post as soon as we have those results.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Still holding our breath, sorta

I took 2 tests and they both were positive. Yes I said positive! But.....Ryan is reaaaaallly leary of believing the little white sticks only to have our hopes dashed later- so he doesn't want us to really say it's all true until I have a blood test to confirm. I'm waiting for the doctor's office to call me back to see if I could get that done today (yes, infertility clinics are open on the weekends). We're afraid to celebrate just yet. And the possibility of this really happening is so surreal I don't even know what to think or feel or say. Stay tuned....

Sunday, August 22, 2010

One more week

Time is passing sooooo slowwwwwlyyyyy. Aaaahhh! One week down and one more week to go until I can take a pregnancy test. It seems like forever ago since we started this process. I can't believe it was just a week ago.

The past week has had it's ups and downs. Like I mentioned in the last post I can really sense God's grace on me because I really thought I'd be this insane ball of nerves during these two weeks and that I'd be sorta freaking out with anticipation and worry. It's definitely on my mind constantly, but over all I'm doing pretty well. It was a very busy week and there were some really fun things that happened so that helped keep my mind occupied.

Our friends Dallas and Sophia had their beautiful baby girl last Sunday- a perfect homebirth (good work mama!)- and we got to meet little Shea on her 3rd day of life. Nothing like the scent of newborn baby, that peach-fuzz skin and the comforting rhythm of their breathing against your chest to make you just fall in love! :) Then our family celebrated my niece Lydia's 3rd birthday. That made me all nostalgic remembering the night she was born- also a perfect homebirth- and how blessed I was to be there witnessing her arrival in to this world and the strength of my wonderful sister to make it happen. Our sweet, spunky Lydia is fast becoming her own little person with a huge personality- but I do miss the snuggly baby with the silky black hair. Why do these babies have to grow up so fast? :(

And then on Wednesday I got to accompany Ryan to the English class he's teaching in the Somali-Bantu refugee community in Phoenix with Peace Catalyst International (the ministry we're joining). He started doing that about 4 weeks ago and I've been anxious to have the chance to be part of that with him and see him in action interacting with his class. It was wonderful and I instantly liked all of them (and my husband did a great job as a teacher)! The women were warm, smiley and dressed so colorfully. I'm so thankful we have this opportunity to serve the Bantu who have been so persecuted, oppressed and ravaged. God has brought refugees in to my life a few times before and so I have a particular passion and tenderness toward them. It brought back memories of being in Iraq and how the times we spent with internal refugees (people who have lost their home in their own country) were literally some of the best experiences of my life. Those are the days I daydream about. So I'm very thankful to be back among refugees with lots of opportunities open before us.

So in between all of that there were some quiet moments to think about all that's going on and what this means for us. I can imagine the moment when I take the pregnancy test and then look at the result and what it would feel like if it was positive and if it was negative. I know what the disappointment already feels like to find out I'm not pregnant, except that this time we've put a lot more work in to it than normal, so there's more expectation built up. But if it was positive I have no idea what that would be like. I almost can't imagine that.

I've actually never taken a pregnancy test at home. My doctor had me take one at his office once but I already could tell I wasn't pregnant. I always have really bad cramps that start really early, so they're usually the giveaway that there's no baby going on in there and then I don't bother taking a test. So this one moment of super hype and expectation is gonna be pretty crazy. And the bummer thing is that Ryan works on Saturdays so he wants me to call him in the morning when I take the test so at least he's sorta "with" me when I get the results. Lord help us get through this!

This morning at church my pastor mentioned the baby boom happening right now in our little church and he named all the ladies who are pregnant and then had us pray for them in small groups. This is the type of scenario that's sorta a nightmare for women dealing with infertility. When you're single it seems like everyone around you is engaged and planning weddings. When you're struggling to conceive it seems like everyone is pregnant and celebrating growing bellies. So times like this, or when you get stuck in the conversation where women are talking about their pregnancies and birth plans and their baby's growth- part of you is happy for them, yes. But the other part wants to cry, run away, get mad and who knows what. It's so, so painful and yet you know that none of those women know how you're feeling in those moments- except maybe a few people who really "get it"- and today one of them was even a man. It was my friend Dallas who I mentioned above who is a brand new dad. We gathered in to the circle to pray for the expectant moms and a few people prayed and then Dallas prayed- and without mentioning my name he prayed for women who desire to conceive but who haven't had that blessing yet and asked for the Lord's healing and peace on them. It was simple, but so touched my heart. Thank you dear friend! (Sophia- you can pass that along to your husband.)

This is getting long so I'll sign off. Oh wait, by the way, this Tuesday is my last day at Frontiers. There has been so much other stuff going on that I don't think I've really processed what that means in my life yet. So you may find me back on here later this week processing some of that, though that's pretty much unrelated to anything about trying to get pregnant.

Thanks all!


Sunday, August 15, 2010

And now we wait.....

Yesterday was the big day. But it was definitely one of those things that was sorta like "That was it?" It's about a 2 minute procedure and then they have you lay there for about 10 minutes and then you leave. That's it. The hard part isn't the actual insemination, but the two weeks of waiting that comes after that. And the even harder part will be taking that pregnancy test 2 weeks from now. Ug. Just thinking about it makes my stomach flop.

After the doctor's visit we just came home and I chilled out the rest of the day. I wasn't feeling too hot, since any time they do something like that to your uterus it causes cramping, which was just on top of the cramping I was still having from what they did on Thursday, plus ovulation pain was in full swing. Then apparently I really needed sleep because I went to bed at 10pm and didn't wake up till 10am. Sheesh. I planned to skip out on church to get some extra rest and I'm glad I did because I guess I really needed it!

It's weird to finally be here. Through this whole process I always wondered if we'd get to this point and that if we did, what it would be like. And now we're here and of course it's not like how I thought it would be. Isn't that always how it goes? I think the dread of it was worse than actually being here. I'm doing ok and I didn't think I would be. God's grace is all over me right now, and it sorta took me by surprise. It overwhelmed me today, and what a balm of Gilead it was! I've been in one of those stages where God has seemed far away and I haven't fought for faith or joy. So to have him so near and comforting and promising and tender was a surprise. I don't deserve that. It was so life-giving and restoring and so opposite of how I've been viewing him lately. Surprised by grace once again.

Today I went to my go-to preacher, my all-time fave: John Piper. No one else speaks the Word to my heart and draws out the truths so relevant to my life experience like he does- and especially no one preaches on the glory of God as much as that man does! His teachings on suffering (ok, as well as pretty much every other major topic in scripture: missions, glory of God, Jesus as our treasure etc) have completely shaped my theology and my heart on that issue. So today I watched a DVD of a conference he did on the topic of "When I Don't Desire God- How to Fight for Joy". How relevant! Ha!

I won't relay the whole thing, but just this one little tiny point. 2 Corinthians (my very favorite book!) 6:10 "....sorrowful, yet always rejoicing" How thankful I am for a God and a Bible that makes sense with human experience!! He doesn't call us to put on our happy face and suck it up and everything will be fine. He understands "the dark night of the soul", the depths of agony and sorrow, shattered dreams and broken hearts- and in the midst of that he calls us to rejoice in Him. He doesn't call us to rejoice in Him when the sorrow is over. He doesn't call us to pretend the sorrow isn't there and rejoice in Him. He doesn't act like the sorrow isn't a very real and valid experience for us. God is talking about this very otherworldly, Holy Spirit carried, grace endowed rejoicing in Him in the midst of sorrow. It's rejoicing in all that God is, even when we are hurting because of the things he allows in our lives and we don't understand the ways he works- rejoicing in the glory of all that He is that never changes even in our darkest experiences of sorrow. I want to walk in that.

So, it's stuff like that that's holding my heart up right now. It's a process. I'm not done going through this and I'm not "all better" and my theology hasn't fixed it all- but at least today I felt God and heard him and was with him. So what ever is going on in my body right now- cells dividing and an embryo implanting- or nothing at all- I have Jesus today and every day after this. So may he be glorified as the one who is able to soothe an aching heart, calm an anxious body, preach truth to this soul, and carry me through another day of this experience. At the end of it all, having Him is all that matters.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sooner than expected

Today was our visit to the doctor for all the tests. Everything looked good actually. And we were surprised to hear from the doctor that we're ready to do the IUI this Saturday! I wasn't expecting it would be that soon at all.

The ultrasound showed that the fertility drugs have done their job well and there were several follicles on each ovary that were big enough and ready enough to pop eggs soon. And then the two other tests were totally clear and positive and showed that there are no growths or abnormalities inside my uterus or with my fallopian tubes. Ryan was with me during all of that, holding my hand, and watching it all on the screen (it looks like an x-ray image) as they pointed everything out and what the doctor was seeing. He's getting quite the education on the female system! All of the results were great news and helps us have more of a complete picture of how my body is operating and what we have to work with. I think since I was distracted by the discomfort the tests were causing that it took me awhile to realize that it actually was a big relief to know that they didn't find anything bad. Praise God for that!

So to time everything just right to be ready for the insemination on Saturday Ryan had the honor of giving me the "trigger shot" tonight- an injection with the hormones to cause my body to ovulate and make those ripe follicles release the eggs. It's pretty amazing how the doctors can calculate everything and utilize the drugs just right to try to create the most ideal environment for conception to occur. It's amazing and also weird at the same time. Yes, all of this does feel very strange. And we remember that we can do all of this and yet the miracle of conception and that moment of life is only in the hands of God as Creator. So we're waiting on Him. My body is His and our dreams of conceiving are His.

Once we do the IUI on Saturday then we'll have to wait 2 weeks- a very looooong 2 weeks- until we can take a pregnancy test and see what happened. Like I said last time, I'm bracing myself for a disappointment, while also trying to have some hope that this could possibly work.

This is a lot to go through, physically and emotionally, and I'm really feeling that today. Ryan's taken care of me and we've just laid low at home as I have not felt good at all. My body feels yuck from the procedures and the enlarged follicles and I'm ready to have this part of the process over with. And emotionally, well, I think it's too late and I'm too tired to even put that part in to words.

Off to bed now. Thanks for tracking with me. More updates to come. Pray, pray, pray for Saturday!


Monday, August 9, 2010

For you- and for me

I've been thinking about starting a blog for a while to share with you what's going on with us in this journey through infertility. I told Ryan tonight in the car, "I think I'm gonna start a blog so people can know what's going on with us with all of this." He got really excited at the idea, and said "I think that would be really good for you." Funny, because I thought I'd be writing this to help all of you, but I think he's right- this will be good for me too. So- this blog is for you, but it's also for me. This way when you wonder what's the latest in the process for us, you can check here. Also, it's often easier for me to write about this than to talk about it, and it's easier to write about it once than to repeat it in several emails to several friends (not that I don't want to talk to you or that I don't want you to write me emails!)

So the title: Feast or Fallow. It's the name of a Sandra McCracken song. I first heard it when we went to see her and her husband, Derek Webb, perform a few months back. So the first time I had ever heard the song was that night, live, and I sat there with tears welling up in my eyes as the lyrics touched my heart that was feeling so tender and aching.

In Feast Or Fallow

When the fields are dry, and the winter is long
Blessed are the meek, the hungry, the poor
When my soul is downcast, and my voice has no song
For mercy, for comfort, I wait on the Lord
In the harvest feast or the fallow ground,
My certain hope is in Jesus found
My lot, my cup, my portion sure
Whatever comes, we shall endure.
Whatever comes, we shall endure
On a cross of wood, His blood was outpoured
He rose from the ground, like a bird to the sky
Bringing peace to our violence, and crushing death's door
Our Maker incarnate, our God who provides.
Repeat chorus
Come, oh come, Emmanuel
Come, oh come, Emmanuel
When the earth beneath me crumbles and quakes
Not a sparrow falls, nor a hair from my head
Without His hand to guide me, my shield and my strength
In joy or in sorrow, in life or in death

We've been trying to get pregnant for a year and a half now. These lyrics so resonate with my heart because it definitely feels like "when the fields are dry and the winter is long", and "in joy or in sorrow, in life or in death". We've been seeking the "feast" (a baby!), but have instead been in a time of "fallow" (infertility). Fallow, for those who may wonder, means: "land that has been plowed and left unseeded for a season or more; uncultivated". It speaks of seasons and future hopes and life that could be- but it means dry, barren, dusty soil for the mean time. But we don't know really if this is just a season, or if this has more of a finality to it. So, step by step, day by day we're trying to get some answers, try some options and all the while pleading- pleading!- with God for the miraculous gift of a child in my womb- a child in our arms. "For mercy, for comfort, I wait on the Lord."

And through it all I do want the declaration of my heart to be "In the harvest feast or the fallow ground, my certain hope is in Jesus found", but I will confess that at times in the agony of this trial it seems my faith is barely there, barely hanging on. That's how it feels anyway. I've questioned and pleaded with my Lord, sobbed my eyes out all over my dear husband's shoulders, felt numb to the world and wished I could just get away from this barren body somehow. Month after month of blood- not conception- has wreaked havoc on the hope in my heart. My hope is so tired. After so many months of crashing disappointment, I'm just not sure what to do with hope anymore. But obviously, my husband has pointed out, it's there somewhere or I guess I would've just given up completely on all of this months ago!

I know I can't place my hope in pregnancy- or in a doctor- or in a procedure. The reality of those statements causes me to tend heavily toward pessimism. The only solid hope is in God. But he does not promise children. And he does not promise that I will be delivered from this. So how do I maintain hope in God alone, but still be optimistic and hope-ful about this desire of our hearts? There's a real tension there that I haven't sorted out yet.

On the practical side- what are we doing next?

For some of you the last you heard from me on this topic was that we had gone to an infertility specialist (reproductive endocrinologist) and his only recommendation for us was to do IVF (in-vitro fertilization) based on the fact that I have endometriosis. This was devastating news since IVF costs about $20,000+. No joke. Oh, and that's only for about a 50% chance of it even working. Fun. We pretty much knew that was way out of reach for us.

We started looking in to foster care and adoption. I talked with several women who are foster and adoptive moms and we even went to an orientation for an agency. However, it became very apparent that it was not the right time for us to seriously pursue that and my heart would have to really change to get to the point where I would truly desire to adopt. I had a huge breakdown one night and was finally honest enough to say that at this point I still just want our own baby- conceived by us. (I say "at this point", because I fully realize that God could cause me to feel much differently about that at any time.) And I realized that I wanted to get a second opinion, to see what a different doctor would say about our situation.

Praise God for second opinions! We went to a wonderful doctor a friend recommended and we had a totally opposite experience from what we had with that first doctor. She had a very different approach and it really resonated with us- especially the fact that she is a mother herself and was so warm and empathetic. There were several tests she wanted to do to try to see and find out what's really going on in there and then she suggested we try IUI (intra-uterine insemination). Of course she doesn't know if it will work, but she made the point that it made much more sense to start with something much less expensive and less invasive and see if it CAN work! For the first time in a long time I felt like maybe there was hope for my body and that it wasn't as screwed up as it felt.

So this month is the month. We're in the early parts now of preparing for the IUI. (Warning- this is the part where I share more than you've ever wanted to know about my reproductive system. This is why I've only invited ladies here ;) ) I've been on fertility meds for the past 5 days and on Thursday I'll go in for my Day 10 ultrasound and two tests. The ultrasound will show how the follicles are reacting to the meds and how many eggs are looking ready. One test will be an x-ray of my uterus to see if there's anything funky in there- fibroids or other bad stuff growing. And the other test will put dye through my fallopian tubes and we'll watch on a screen how it flows through to determine if there are any blockages or something making it slow down, etc. All of these things are like puzzle pieces and help provide info about this big mystery of why I haven't gotten pregnant yet.

The rest of the process for the IUI will be determined after that and is all dependent on just how my body is reacting and preparing for ovulation. So that's where this blog will be handy. I'll update you about the next steps, especially when we know the date of the actual procedure.

Because I so loathe the disappointment each month, I find myself just expecting that nothing is going to happen. This obviously is not a very good state of mind, however. So while I'm trying to work on being more positive and not always being Miss Gloom and Doom about all of this- I do think that not many people have much success with their first IUI. I want to ask the doctor about the stats for that, but just from what I've heard- I've never heard of someone getting pregnant the first IUI go-round. We're thinking we're up for trying this three times, and that's what the doctor suggested too. But hey- God's the one who makes the baby and it's all up to him- so maybe we will be among the few who get pregnant the first IUI! Yes Lord!

So for those of you who have actually gotten this far in reading all of this (sorry, I'm a horrible over-writer!) would you please pray for me and Ryan in this time? Pray that my body would be well prepared to conceive and carry a baby. Pray that Ryan and I would communicate well and stay united and close. Pray that I would choose to fill my mind with the Truth of Scripture instead of the dark lies that hound me. And pray for my heart, that it would find healing and rest in our Lord.

Thank you for reading! I won't have quite so much catching up to do in future posts, so hopefully the rest of them won't be so exhaustive ;)