14 April 2014

The void inside

There's a giant new TV screen mounted on the wall of the ultrasound room at my fertility clinic. We women used to crane our necks to see the screen beside us as we got intimate with the ultrasound probe. Now, as we lie on our backs holding both our breaths and our hopes inside our chests, we can watch our uteruses on the big screen.

At midcycle, we're hoping for lining thicker than 8mm.

"You're at 10," says the nurse.

I breath a little.

She moves the wand to the left and to the right. Hazy grey waves roll over the screen until she finds what she's looking for: a mature follicle.

We're hoping for something larger than 18mm: a follicle ready to release an egg. Ready to be fertilized. Ready to become my child.

My follicle is enormous on the screen. To hell with 18mm; it's at least a foot long up there! And black. A big black hole of potential. It's the void in Genesis. It's the darkness, hovering over the surface of the deep. I wonder if the Spirit hovers over it, too.

"That's a big one!" My nurse smiles, "25mm! You're about the ovulate."

 I'm praying God's voice will speak into this void like he he did at the beginning. Praying he'll make something where nothing was before.

The nurse tells me we can schedule our IUI tomorrow. "Will it be your first?"

"My fourth."

I let a few deep breaths escape from my chest. A little hope escapes too. It scares me to hope again. Three failed IUIs. A surgery. Three failed cycles again. Now, a fourth.

Oh God! Please. Speak life into that void, deep inside me.



08 April 2014

Femara cycle #3 results

Another failed cycle. Not pregnant.

We are starting our fourth and final Femara cycle this month and have decided to add an IUI as well to increase our chances, even if only marginally.

I would really appreciate your prayers over the next few weeks for me and for John. We have a consult with Dr. Colbert at the end of the month to talk about next steps (if this last cycle doesn't work). Based on our last consult and some conversations I've had with his nurses in the past few days, it will either be injectable meds + IUI or IVF. A big decision. We've also been meeting/emailing/calling/researching different agencies to talk about domestic/international/embryo/foster care adoption.

I'm walking a line between feeling happy, hopeful, and excited about our options, feeling sad about not being pregnant, and feeling just plain overwhelmed! Where do we go from here? 

I'm so thankful for you all and the incredible support you have shown me on this journey! It means more than I can ever say. The clearest way God has shown me his loving kindness over the last 10 months in our fertility journey is though you, with all your comments and messages of support and solidarity. The Holy Spirit has used your fingers and keystrokes to buoy me up in my hardest moments. From my heart, I thank you for your love. You bless me. 

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

You truly have. You are my rose among thorns. The bloom on my cactus! I love you. 


06 April 2014


I lumbered into our house one evening in March, loaded down with the weight of too many grocery bags (because yes I can bring them all inside in one trip), when John greeted me from the couch with, "Hey do you want to go to Arizona next week?"

I set the grocery bags on the floor, my frozen fingers turning red as they warmed from the frigid outside air. "Um. What? And... YES!"

John's mom spends her winters in Arizona and offered to fly us down for a visit.

I may have mentioned once or thrice how eternally long winter has been here in Michigan and the thought of SANDALS nearly had me jumping for joy.

Only a few days later we were on a plane- John, Arie, and me- flying over mountains, into the desert, leaving our frostbitten state behind.

It was a gift: four days in the sun! Four days without hats and mitts. Four days without shivering. I almost forgot what it felt like.

We stayed with my mother-in-law outside of Phoenix where the time differs from Michigan by -3 hours. I'm not a morning person (understatement) but because of the time change our family was both awake and happy by 5am each morning. Not wanting to wake up my mother-in-law's entire complex with out noisy three-year-old, we enjoyed morning walks to the park and to the bakery for doughnuts.
Arie had very strict instructions for this game. John is riding his dinosaur away from a whale. 
Custard filled long-John with no custard!! 
I now understand why some folks claim the title of "morning person." Mornings are beautiful! The warm rising sun, the quiet, the chirping birds, the cheerful "Morning!" greeting from everyone you meet.

If only I could get Michigan mornings to arrive as late as Arizona mornings.

Arie swam like a "big boy" in Grandma's community pool, allowing us to let go of him in the water for the first time ever. With trepidation at first he clung frozen to his pool noodles but soon began to kick his legs and move around the pool beaming with pride!
The amount of crap you bring to the pool when you have a kid... it's ridiculous. 

My favorite part of Arizona is the landscape. I thought it would be super awesome fun to walk a few desert trails with Arie. We traveled to a nearby nature preserve and were directed to a mountain (ish) hike by the lady in the welcome building.

"It's level one," she said.
"For beginners!" she said.
"It'll be fun!" she said.

Truly it was fun and the views were incredible, but woah "level one" hikes up a desert mountain are a teensy bit hard. Especially for those of us who went in a skirt and Toms shoes or wound up carrying a sluggish three-year-old up (and down) the mountain.

We ended our visit with a trip to the Phoenix Zoo where Arie eagerly climbed aboard a camel with Papa and later a merry-go-round with Mama. I am amazed at his bravery; when I was three I was terrified at the idea of riding anything.

Friday- back home in Michigan- Arie asked to ride the penny horse at the grocery store. As he giggled in delight, high on the saddle, I asked him what he liked best: the grocery store horse or the REAL LIVE ZOO CAMEL?

"I like camel and horsey just same."

Of course. My little guy: taking the party with him wherever he goes.

Even though it's still cold here, I'm wishing a you happy spring (and happy spring break to my Michigan friends)! Hope you are able to escape somewhere warm if you are living somewhere cold. And if you live somewhere warm... well, an invitation to the rest of us would be nice.  Just sayin'.



28 March 2014

What's crackin' at the chiropractor

I apologize for my title.

I can't help it.

So about 7 weeks ago I wrote about my first few visits to the chiropractor for fertility related care. If you didn't get a chance to read that post, the summary is that I decided to try out this kind of care after a few different people in my life recommended it (some with personal success after infertility). I went in skeptically but open-minded enough to give it a try.

I've been going twice per week and I haven't noticed a difference in my quality of life in general, but the chiropractor has picked up on a few things like my hips being crooked and my neck being stiff on the left side. These are not issues that impacted my every day in terms of pain or discomfort, however they are "issues;" that is, they are abnormalities that shouldn't really be there, so addressing these issues could only be positive, right?

I started my visits at the beginning of my last cycle and as you know, that cycle did not end in pregnancy nor did I notice any changes in my cycle, physically or emotionally. This cycle, however, something very interesting happened! I ovulated early. Way early.

*The following may be TMI for some. If you don't want to know about my ovulation stop reading!*

Typically "on my own" (unmedicated) I ovulate anywhere from day 15-18.

I did one cycle on Femara before I saw the chiropractor and I ovulated on day 14.

Then I did one cycle on Femara and started seeing the chiropractor and I ovulated on day 13.

After 4-5 weeks of seeing the chiropractor I did another cycle on Femara and I ovulated on day 11! Day 11! That's the earliest I've ever ovulated in my history of charting, which is almost three years.

Normally a woman ovulating day 15-17 like I do wouldn't be an issue, but since I have diminished ovarian reserve, early ovulation is a really good thing because (as I understand it) the egg will be better quality. I am only going on intuition here, but I think it is the chiropractic care that allowed my body to ovulate so early.

My chiropractor was very encouraged by this, as am I! At my last appointment I had some scans re-done and the twisted-ness we saw when I started care has much improved. It is not perfect, but I'm making significant progress.

Last week we discovered another issue based on several indicators that my thyroid is not functioning up to par. I had a blood test done with my Reproductive Endocrinologist last summer which showed my levels in normal range, but my chiropractor still things it is functioning sub-par. Since I am past ovulation right now, he's not going to address is with me immediately, but if I'm not pregnant this cycle it will be the next thing we address, via chiropractic and a nutritional supplement (if I remember right it is something that contains iodine and seaweed? I could be wrong. I'll let you know).

So that's where we are right now. When I started care my chiropractor said to give him 6 months and we're about two months in. Four more to go... hopefully less.


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