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 ;)



  1. Carrie, thank you for starting this blog and being willing to share these details of this tender part of your life. we've been thinking of and praying for you both often. this is a wonderful tool in helping us to do that more intelligently.
    We love you!!
    Sophia (btw, only I will see this blog

  2. Dear friend,

    I am praying and will pray until I hear more news. Words seem so inadequate at times to express how I feel. My heart mourns with you for the loss and disappointment of the last year and a half. Hope seems so delicate and yet it hangs on...just like Ryan said. May your hope be found in our powerful Jesus who loves you deeply and longs to be WITH YOU through all of this. It is my prayer that you can rest in His arms when you are tired or worn out or feeling excited. Whatever you're going through. I admit, I'm not very good at this. I often run away from Jesus, especially when I'm struggling with trusting Him.

    Thank you for continuing to share this journey with me. I agree with Leanna, you are so eloquent and I don't think you over-write at all. My heart resonated with so much of what you said. We are standing with you!