Friday, August 29, 2008

Great quotes from The Last Lecture

My boss asked the folks on my team to watch The L.ast L.ecture by R.andy P.ausch a C.omputer S.cience P.rofessor at C.arnegie M.ellon.

I found a few quotes from there that I thought were great:
"The brick walls are there for a reason, not to keep us out but to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough; they’re there to stop 'the other people'"

"Don’t bail; the best gold is at the bottom of barrels of crap."

"Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want."

~R.andy P.ausch, C.omputer S.cience P.rofessor, C.arnegie M.ellon

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Brace yourself for bad news ...

From the delay in posting, I'm sure you figured out that we did not get the great news we had hoped for.

Yesterday's retrieval yielded some bad results. From the many sizable follicles that we had developing, we only retrieved 5 eggs. From those 5, only 1 was mature ... only one is testable.

The doctor and Berilac were so disappointed - and it is disappointing news. Praise the Lord that although sad, I'm not nearly as devistated as I could be. I truly believe that God is in control and He has our best in mind.

Think about it:
-we've gotten pregnant every time we've attempted a natural pregnancy, we got pregnant the one time we attempted a medicated cycle ... history shows that in natural or low dose cycles my body has a 1 egg to 1 follicle track record.
-the hormone that indicates how many eggs I have left in my body is not normal, but it's not dismal either ... it's half way between the two - the way I'm responding to these meds would have you think I have no egg supply left.
-my body produces many follicles on a high dose stim cycle, my E2 levels are perfectly in line
... it wouldn't take a miracle from God to bless these cycles - my body seems to react perfectly right up until we count how many eggs we've retrieved and how many are mature. Perhaps God is closing this door ... or at least shutting it part way for now. We know we're not eager to move forward with the next like cycle.

Berilac and I have felt for quite sometime that this medical protocol for me is too much. That given my track record I shouldn't need to be taking 7 times the amount of drugs as the typical infertility patient. This even poorer showing has convinced us that God is not going to use this route for now.

We are taking a step back from medicated cycles for a time, while we allow my body to heal and to rest.

In the meantime, we'll be perservering and praying for continued soft hearts through this experience. God is doing something in our lives, we don't know what, but we know it's the best ... and so we look forward to that. We praise Him for what He's done in this cycle and what this means for our future.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts". (Isaiah 55: 8,9)

And so we will keep marching forward, knowing that God has the best plan for us - better than we could imagine.

"For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11)

Monday, August 25, 2008

CD12 Update

Things are still looking good. This time around, instead of having all of the eggs measuring 14-18mm they are measuring more like 16-20mm two days earlier, but I think there are fewer of them.

We trigger ovulation tonight at 12:30 and we're scheduled for our egg retrieval at 11AM on Wednesday morning. I go NPO tomorrow after midnight.

We are just praying for many mature, healthy eggs ... we pray that the doctor finds more than he thought possible!

Friday, August 22, 2008

CD9 Update

I know when friends are in the middle of cycling - I like to get updates, so I thought I'd oblige ...

Last night, as Berilac and I were heading to bed, preparing for the day ahead, I mentioned that I felt as if I am more bloated on the night before my CD9 appt than I was last cycle. I guess I know a little about my body ...

Today was my first monitoring ultrasound of this cycle. My endometrial lining was at an amazing 11.2mm and we had many follicles over 10mm. We had at least 4 that were >13mm. My doctor was very pleased and we might be doing the retrieval sooner than Friday. Last retrieval cycle on CD9 we had lots of follies over 8mm - so we've stimmed a bit faster this time - not too fast, but just right (so far). The doctor says that when follies are 10mm they are at a threshold, just b/c a follie gets to 10mm doesn't mean it's going to get to maturity in the end ... so the next couple of days are crucial. We go back on Sunday morning for the second monitoring appointment to see how many of those many 10mm follies will develop.

My doctor even went so far as to say - I think we can get 10 this time. And of course my cynical response (without skipping a beat) was "well I've heard that before" (and he knew that I meant I heard that from him!) and he responded with "I know and I still think we can really get 10"

I know I should be really focused on this cycle, but I'm not. Now, don't get me wrong I'm not missing doses - like I did last time! I'm really just focusing on knowing that God loves me regardless of what happens. Knowing God loves me is not something I feel in my gut (the struggle goes back to that dysfunction I mentioned in my last post) rather, it's something that I have to claim. So that's where I'm at emotionally.

Thank you for all your prayers. Please continue to pray for good progress, many healthful eggs retrieved, and most importantly my heart - that I'd persevere in this season of our lives with a soft heart.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It's been too long

Sorry that it's taken me so long to check in. I didn't plan to take time off and I didn't anticipate needing to be away for so long. And to be honest with you, I'm not sure that this post means that I'm back in full blogging swing ... we'll have to see how things go.

I did however want to let everyone know that I miss them. I want the best for Brenda and the decisions she's been making recently - I'm hoping she'll still visit me in a few weeks; I'm hopeful that Wendy's cycle will be successful; I'm excited that Joy has taken the next steps towards adoption, that Mandy is enjoying newborn Zeke, that MM is 14+ weeks along while Amy is 24+ weeks, and of course I'm freakin' thrilled for Pam! Thank you to everyone else who has commented, checking in on me. And thank you to all of my IRL friends who have gently asked me when I will update my blog ... a long time in the making, huh?

I've been thinking about why I abandoned my post. I think it was because I spoke with my RE after getting the diagnosis of the +AOA's and he concurred with everything the Endo told me. He also told me that I'm a "Category D" patient. What is a Category D patient? Fertility clinics categorize their patients usually by age, but if a young patient has bad problems ... she gets grouped with the 'seasoned clientele' ... basically I'm over 40, at age 31 and the stats are much lower for Category D. On the drive home from that appointment I told Berilac that I've been in denial all this time - really hoping that family building difficulties happen to "other people" and I was so hopeful that I would be the exception ... I think I had a hard smack in the face ("Category D") by reality. Among other things I've been trying to accept our situation - though, quite honestly, I think this is just another stage of this experience ... I don't really think I've accepted that we might or might not be able to have a child, that we might or might not be able to adopt, that we might or might not end up childless. I guess you could say this whole thing is a process. The one thing that is SO obvious to me now is that if this does happen for us ... there is NO DOUBT that God brought it about. We are an RE's nightmare, but God, He can do anything.

I would say that during this blogging break, I've experienced the lowest of lows in my walk with the Lord. I am really battling thoughts that God is punishing me and/or God does not love me. Berliac and I are putting together a "hope list" for me to look to when things get dark. At this point I'm clinging to the fact that God has put this desire on my heart to have children and if He is not going to bless that in some way - He will remove it. And so I'm looking to hope. I keep repeating to myself ... My God, He has not changed - He is the same Lord, Creator, Savior, Friend, keep em coming, that I knew when things in my life were going well. He has not changed, my circumstances have and in this time, I'm called to cling to Him - however weak and feeble that may be. So I'm doing the best I can.

I've been praying for perseverance and soft-heartedness. I know that we are nowhere near baby and negative thoughts try to get in and break me down - I need endurance for who knows how many more months or years. And, I have a tendency to get negative, cynical, jaded, bitter ... any other synonyms I've missed? I don't want to have these thoughts, I just do - so I have to fight that. I want God to be honored in my struggles and I want to stay just as close to Him as I have been in the past ... really, I want to be closer to Him through all this.

Miraculously, I've been able to see the many blessings that this experience has brought - when my friends recently asked me how I was doing, of course I broke down and cried. And I couldn't believe what was coming out of my mouth ... this struggle has been the worst thing and the best thing that has ever happened to me. The worst for obvious reasons, the best ... because God is so obviously working in my life. He is holding me close, He is sparing me from painful situations, He has put in on Berliac's heart to just cover me in compassion, He is using my openness to touch people's lives I never thought I'd impact, He is pulling on my heart strings to pray for babies in the arms of crack addicts (or the like), He has introduced me to some of the most amazing women who are also struggling and He has allowed me to love on them, He has allowed Berilac and I to laugh about our situation (Ever see Debbie Downer from SNL? We just saw a skit where she says ... "it's official, we can't have children" ... and instead of flying off the handle with offense, Berliac and I busted up laughing!!) ... God is using this situation and He is using me and I haven't even asked for that honor ... I'm going to start asking for that - and we'll see what kind of awesome stuff He starts throwing around!

I think the root of my recent low of lows ... is that during all of these struggles what surfaces is the painful dysfunction that I have dealt with all my life: I am a self punishing perfectionist. Deep down, I struggle with feelings of worthlessness (though you'd never know it if you were just my acquaintance.) I don't trust people. I think everyone is out to get me and/or is ganging up on me. I withdraw and isolate when I need people the most (ah, so that's why I've taken a break from blogging!) and what really hurts my feelings is that not only am I dealing with the pain that comes from struggling with infertility and loss (being reminded about it at every turn) but in the bottom of that pain - that oh so familiar set of issues surfaces ... the dysfunction that I have worked so hard on for so many years. That's when I wonder if God is punishing me or if He still loves me. It just seems cruel to allow me to endure the deep pain of the past while just trying to tread water in dealing with the fresh wounds of the present, you know?

Before I go ... a couple of other items:
  • I got a new job, a promotion. I'm thrilled. Maybe I'll talk more about that later.
  • Cycle update: My cycle started a few weeks ago. I finished my week of Lupron and I'm in the middle of taking my morning Ganirelix shots. We've done two IM estrogen shots. I start stims on 8/15. My CD9 appt is on 8/22.

As for future plans - and thinking about getting pregnant and transferring embryos ... I give. I'm just praying and waiting to see what God has for us in the months to come. (Yes, the other thing God has blessed us with in this process is my obvious obsession with planning/controlling, etc and my need to let go. I guess I also struggle with thinking that God can't do a good enough job ... not if I'm around to do the job for Him ;-)

I just can't believe the level of emotion this struggle brings - quite honestly I never knew it existed ... I think my absence here can be attributed to my adjustment to the twists and turns in this process.