Thursday, June 29, 2017

Radio Silence

To say "it's been a while" since I've last blogged would be a serious understatement.  It's been over eight months.  And I needed a break - from everything.  We needed to just be.  We needed to be okay with not being okay.  And, honestly?  We're still not okay.  Not when it comes to the emotion of the loss and trauma we've experienced the last four, almost four and a half, years.  We waffle between grief and depression and anger and frustration when we talk about our babies and our loss or when we see others living our dreams of starting a family.  Don't even get me started about my feelings on people complaining about pregnancy/motherhood/children on social media.

We just needed time to grieve.  We needed time to recover (at least a little) emotionally, financially, spiritually.

Infertility has been the sole focus of our marriage from virtually day one.  I can't begin to describe for you the stress and pressure that puts on a marriage - just consider the loss, the trauma, both of you dealing with that emotion in completely different ways, and then add on to that the financial burden of being buried under $100K+ of debt.  It's a lot to handle.  The last eight months have been so good for Michael and me to just push pause, put the baby dream on the shelf temporarily and focus on us.  I'm not ashamed to say that we have been seeing a counselor on and off again since we lost our baby girls, but pretty consistently since we lost our boys.  Not only were we heartbroken, but our marriage sucked.  It just did.  There's just not a pretty way to say it.  Thanks to an amazing counselor, some hard work on our part and the grace and mercy of Jesus, Michael and I are in the best place relationally that we have been in five years.  Finally.  Praise the Lord.

But with all of that, the dream of being a mom - that one that we put on a shelf eight months ago - is calling to me again.  I'm feeling restless and anxious about taking our next step.  And that, in and of itself, is so scary!  We are considering getting back in the game of infertility and IVF, and that decision will lead us down one of two paths:

  1. We transfer our last embryo (I try not to think about the financial stressor that will be) and we get pregnant WAHOO!!!!  At long last we have a baby!  
  2. We transfer our last embryo and we lose that baby, too.  Which, honestly, is the most likely of the two scenarios.  Then what?  Our dream of a biological baby, my dream of carrying my child for nine months, is dead.  To voluntarily put ourselves back in a situation where this outcome is likely, is terrifying.  The thought of reliving that devastation and heartbreak is almost debilitating.  What kind of crazy people are we that we are going to walk, eyes wide open, leaving all the ignorance and naiveté of four years ago behind us, down this path???  I guess we're the kind of crazy people who have an embryo left and can't not transfer him/her.  We're the kind of crazy people who are going to pray our guts out that somehow, some way, this transfer will be different.  Lord Jesus, we beg you!
So here are our next steps, although none of this will be a speedy process, so don't expect news of a transfer any time soon.
  • We've been working with a naturopath to try to naturally balance my hormones and make my body work at it's optimum level.  I want to have the coziest, most welcoming uterus in the history of uteruses (uteri?) when we finally transfer our last baby.
  • There are several sets of tests (I'm affectionately referring to them as our "Hail Mary passes") that I still want to do before we transfer our last baby.  I'm learning about something called epigenetics (Google it) that I'm hoping will hold a key for our fertility.
And that's it, really.  Our options for a biological baby have withered down to two bullet points.  We're throwing the Hail Mary pass and praying that Jesus catches that ball!  If you want to know what to do, here's what we would love for you to know.  
  1. Please don't ask us about our next steps or bring it up in passing or in small talk conversation.  Even though I blog a lot about it, we are more than our infertility!!  We have lots of other things going on in our lives than infertility and nine times out of ten we'd rather talk about all of those things than the trauma and heartbreak of the last four years!  If we want to talk about it, it's likely we will bring it up.  
  2. Pray for us.  Petition God to bless us with the family we've always dreamt of.  Beg him to open my womb so that I, too, could know the joys of pregnancy.  So that I, too, could experience my baby moving inside me.  Pray for courage and strength as we walk down a road that we anticipate being incredibly difficult.  Pray for our marriage.  The enemy wants nothing more than to tear us apart.  The enemy is strong, but, praise the Lord, Jesus is stronger!  Pray that He would use our story, our wounds, our walk to His glory.  That even in the midst of the storm, His name would be made great.
  3. Be grateful for your children and your family.  Stop complaining about them on social media! There are so many people who are in similar circumstances as me who would love nothing more than to have exactly what you have.  Be grateful.  Thank Jesus that He gave you those beautiful babies and the stresses and frustrations that come with them.

This season of rest and recovery and grieving has been so good for us.  We needed this time of radio silence more than we knew or realized.  Thank you for walking alongside us and loving us through it all.

Monday, October 10, 2016


Boys.  For a split second I was pregnant with two baby boys.  There's something deeper in our grief knowing the gender of our babies, and I knew it would make the hurt hurt even more. But it's a part of the grieving process that I needed

I needed to know them.

I needed to connect with them in whatever way I could.  Today I got to know my babies a little more, learning they were boys.  I won't ever get to know the color of their hair or the color of their eyes.  Or their favorite food.  Or what makes them laugh.  I won't ever get to hear their voice or their cry.  I won't ever hear them call me "Mommy."  Knowing the gender is all I have.  And I know them more today than I did yesterday.
If I close my eyes and picture a different life for us - a life with our arms full of the baby girls we lost the first time and the baby boys we lost this time - I can see our boys.  They would be rough an tumble boys.  Dare devils that stress their mommy out at every turn!  I'll bet they would have loved football like their Daddy.  We would have dressed them from head to toe in Alabama gear and taught them to say, "Roll Tide!"  We would have giggled and wrestled on the living room floor.  Bear would be their fiercest protector and favorite playmate.  They would love to snuggle with their Mommy (or I would have made them snuggle whether they wanted to or not!), and I would kiss them and squeeze them until they couldn't take any more.  

I never knew them, and yet, I miss them.  Your Mommy and Daddy love you and miss you, baby boys.  

Miss you everyday 
Miss you in every way 
But we know there’s a
day when we will hold you 
We will hold you 
You’ll kiss our tears away 
When we’re home to stay 
Can’t wait for the day when we will see you 
We will see you 
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you
‘till mom and dad can hold you… 
You’ll just have heaven before we do 
You’ll just have heaven before we do

"Glory Baby" by Watermark

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Weeping May Last Through the Night

I don't know how to start this post, so I guess I'll just say it.

We lost two more babies to heaven.

Our second IVF failed.  We found out yesterday that we aren't pregnant.

And we are devastated.

Somehow we know that God is working through this.  We know He is sovereign and He loves us and He is wring a beautiful story with our lives.  But right now we hate this story.  We want a do-over. We want someone else's story, please.  Someone who gets free-to-make babies and has the family they always dreamt of and isn't in crippling debt.

I started reading a book called "Laying My Issac Down" after our first failed IVF.  For some reason I never finished it and started reading it again on our way back to Colorado this time.  There's a part in her story where she has hundreds of people praying for her family and yet they still received devastating news.  In the midst of her heartbreak she says, "With the network of friends and family across the country who have been praying, we know this judgment is not a mistake."

We have had people whose names we don't even know praying for us.  Knowing that and believing that no matter what, God is good and He loves us....somehow we know this failed IVF isn't a mistake either.  It sure feels like a mistake to me (How can this be?!), but I am believing that God hasn't forgotten us and is going to bless us with a family.  After all, He makes beauty from ashes, and we are nothing but ashes right now.

We are beyond heartbroken and confused and not sure of our next step.  We have one embryo left, but is it insanity to transfer that one to me knowing we've had two failed IVFs?  Clearly my body is incapable of carrying a baby - the biggest hallmark of what it means to be a woman.  What would be different this time??  Do we use a surrogate?  And who?  Do we start looking at adoption?  Every one of these paths is overwhelming, and quite frankly, heartbreaking because it's not what we wanted for our family.  This isn't how it's supposed to happen.  But we are clinging to His word and forced to remind ourselves of His goodness every minute of every day.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

Weeping may last through the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.

Psalm 30:5b

Thursday, September 15, 2016

An Email

I know it's been a while since I've written...partly because life has been insanity and partly because I just didn't have a ton to say.  I have a post I want to write that's been on my heart lately, but I'm not quite there.

But, y'all.  

I received this email today, and my heart leapt.  He is so good to remind us that we are not alone in this journey, that we have people we.have.never.met. praying for us and thinking about our story and hearing about His goodness, and that our story is truly making a difference if for no one else, for at least one young lady.  I am just about undone.  

Hi Lauren,
I've followed your blog since before you met your hubby! Crazy. Anyhow, I wanted to pop in and tell you I've been thinking about you a lot. You have inspired me in being brave. We started our journey at CCRM last month and am anxious to have our regroup with Dr. Schoolcraft.

I just felt like I should check in on you. Remind you of your braveness too.

I know you were planning to do one more transfer and I just keep thinking of you and your hubby.

Even in the desert, He is there.  And what a blessing it is when He reminds us of His presence!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Just Another Update

Well, we finally have our transfer calendar!  WAHOO!  While we know many who love us and are following our story would like to know our transfer date, we've decided to keep this one, for the most part, to ourselves.  We are so grateful for everyone's thoughts and prayers, but some things you just wanna keep for yourself!  Do you know what I mean?

So, we're back in the waiting mode, but feeling really hopeful.  We are guaranteed two transfers now that we have our third embryo, and we have higher quality embryos than either of the embryos we transferred last fall.

If you would be willing to pray for us (even though we're being stingy the details of our calendar) here's what we need:

  • Babies.  Clearly, we want babies.  So if you could be praying for us to have at least twins with this pregnancy, that would be awesome.  We have both always wanted a big family, and our infertility almost killed that dream.  We don't just want baby.  We want babies
  • Finances.  Always finances.  Michael just started a new job a few weeks ago.  He was laid off two days before we left for our retrieval and has decided to get out of project management altogether.  So, he's working now in sales for a company that fixes foundation problems.  (If your basement has water in it or has cracks, give Michael a call!)  Anyway, his job is 100% commission now.  I know he will be amazing because he works so hard and puts a gazillion and one percent of himself into his job.  He's a rock star.  But it would just be nice if we could have a consistent income to be able to pay off our mountains of medical bills and sales is hard...especially at the beginning.  Plus, there's more financial commitment that comes with the actual transfer.  If it tells you anything, our Plan A for paying off our debt is to win the lottery. So while you're praying for our finances, could you just pray for my husband?  He's such a gift to me, and has been under a lot of stress with our debt and wanting to be able to provide for us.
  • Faith.  Pray that we would continue to put our faith and trust in Him.  This morning at church I wept at the realization that these three babies...the only three babies I will likely ever be able to create with my husband, the most precious things I will ever have in this life...aren't mine. They belong to Him, and somehow He loves them more than I do.  And I have to trust that His ways are best. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Place Where Hope Lives

Yesterday afternoon my IVF nurse called with the news we've been waiting for.  The results for our third and final embryo were in.  In my quiet time that morning I had prayed specifically for our third baby, that it would be transferrable and that God would be willing to bless us with our only AA embryo.

Each embryo is graded once is reaches day 5 or 6 which is the blastocyst stage, and AA is the highest grade.  We never even dreamed that we would be capable of creating an embryo of that kind of quality.  So when in June we were told we actually had an AA, we were beyond ecstatic.  When we receive our CCS (Comprehensive Chromosomal Screening) results, we are only told the grades of the normal chromosomes (ours were an AB and a BA, both better quality than what we transferred last year). We had no idea the grade of our third embryo that was being rebiopsied, but I was silently, hesitantly hoping we hadn't lost our coveted AA.

When I answered the phone yesterday afternoon, some of the first words out of our nurse Cindy's mouth were, "Your embryo is normal!"

Our embryo is normal.  We have three.  We have enough for two more transfers.  I made her say those words again just in case I had misunderstood.  My obvious next question?  What's the grade of that precious embryo??

It's our AA.  Typing those words right now brings me to my knees in tears.  Thank you, Jesus.  Thank you for giving us all three.  Thank you that our AA survived.  Thank you for hearing the desperate cries of our heart, Lord, that you would bless us with this baby, too.

In my quiet time, I almost couldn't bring myself to ask Him for that AA.  I was afraid He would let me down.  I was afraid of more disappointment.  I.was.afraid.  But instead of disappointment, I find myself today in the place where hope lives.  Hope for a family.  Hope to be a mom.  Hope for biological babies. Hope to carry my babies and protect them inside my own body.  Hope for answered prayers.

Honestly, this is a strange place, this place of hope.  For the last three and a half years, we have lived in the place of frustration and disappointment and bad news.  I almost feel like a foreigner here.  But it's also a place where fear can sneak up out of nowhere and whisper "what ifs" in your ear.  What if none of these embryos transfer successfully?  What if you are in this crippling debt and end up childless at the end?  What if after this joy of three amazing embryos, you still never get to be a mom?  Satan can turn this place of joy and hope into a place of fear and doubt in an instant.

But today I refuse to go back to fear and doubt.  Do you hear that, Satan?!  I. REFUSE.  I am letting go of the "what ifs" and the fear of what's to come, if only for a day.  Today I want to rest in this place of hope.  Today I want to cry happy tears.  Tears of gratefulness and joy.  Today we get to truly rejoice in His love and His goodness and His provision in this place where HOPE lives.

We wait in hope for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.
In Him our hearts rejoice,
     for we trust in His holy name
May Your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
     even as we put our hope in You.

Psalm 33:20-22 (NIV)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Next Steps

  • Wait for CCS results of our last embryo.  We had two embryos come back as chromosomally normal and one that was undetermined.  We thawed that embryo and rebiopsied it to be tested.
  • Depo Lupron shot.  We will be extending our transfer calendar this time in order to take the Depo Lupron shot.  This shot should temporarily eliminate any endometriosis in my body to help give our embryos a better chance at sticking!
  • An actual transfer calendar.  We have to wait, of course, for my next Cycle Day 1 before anything happens!  Then I'll do the Depo Lupron shot.  If you've watched any of the Inside IVF videos, this shot will be like the trigger shot.  Which is a serious bummer.  Then I have to wait 30ish days before our transfer.  This definitely prolongs our timeline, but hopefully gives us a better chance for success!