3/13/14

Fertility update and our eternal winter

After I shared that our second cycle with Femara (fifth medicated cycle) failed a few of you messaged me to ask what our fertility plan is from here. We are doing two more cycles with Femara and if we don't conceive in those cycles, truthfully I don't know what we will do. The hope I have about conceiving is growing dimmer and dimmer yet I don't feel ready to give up either. It's been about eight months since we started seeing our fertility doctor and a combined 2 1/2+ years of trying; I'm weary.

We have options ahead of us like injectable ovulation stimulating drugs and more IUIs or even IVF, however the financial and emotional cost of more treatments are high. What I'm trying to decide is are they too high?

I was telling my friends last week that I am struggling to know whether the hopelessness I feel is a divine voice warning me not to move forward or whether it is simply my own grief and fear clouding the way. One dear friend told me later that she thinks its the fear- not the divine voice- that I'm feeling. I felt very emotional when she told me that and thankful beyond thankful to have wise voices in my life, shining a light when I feel like I'm walking in the dark. I'm hoping and praying that if we ever get to the point where it is time to stop trying, I will feel peace and not the dark and fear I feel now.

Even in the midst of the dark and the doubt, we are living life. We are having fun with friends, moving excitedly forward with our ministry at our church, and loving life with our little boy. Here in Michigan we are being held completely against our will in an eternal winter. It has been cold and snowing since the beginning of time and according to the 10 day forecast, it shall continue to be cold and snowy for all eternity.

We've been moving through the stages of grief about this eternal winter. John is currently in denial; a few days ago when it snowed for the trillionth time since November, he looked out the window and declared, "I'm not shoveling ANYMORE."

It's true. He hasn't. Our front steps are still covered in snow and I've almost lost my life at least four times on them just today. Our poor mailman.

He's not alone either. Yesterday a woman at church told me she washed and put away her family's winter coats. When her husband objected due to the fact that we're just barely in double digits, she just told him too bad.

We're halfway through March. It's not supposed to be winter ANYMORE.

Personally I've been stuck in the anger stage, groaning loudly and shouting expletives at weather.com on a near daily basis. Today, however, I did my best to move into acceptance and took Arie on a winter hike.

He will seem happy in these pictures, but you should know that he wakes up every morning, looks out the window and asks me, "Is it meltin' yet?" He literally cried this week when our first spring rains turned back into snow. Cried.

We feel you, Arie! We really do.

Seems a winter hike was much needed to lift our spirits. If only to remind us that spring is coming.... someday.


Arie's favorite part was standing on various bridges and exclaiming excitedly about the lack of ice on the stream. "It's WATER Mama! It's not ice! It's melting!!"


We found colorful berries hanging out on twiggy branches. Are they a sign of spring? Or are they there all winter? In any case, I told Arie they were growing for bears to eat when they come out of hibernation. He thought that was awesome, so no one tell him otherwise, k?


Speaking of eating, Arie ate snow. Not fresh snow, either. Snow directly from the path. Snow that had been previously trampled on by who knows how many boots and peed on by wild animals. This was his reaction to me shouting from behind the camera, "DON'T EAT THAT! IT HAS BIRD POOP ON IT!" 


Stinker. 

Besides eating snow, we threw sticks into the creek....


... and one of us fell down a lot


We had fun.

(Obviously didn't bring the right lens for selflies.) 

We are ready for spring. I am ready for some more sunshine in my life, to feel the warmth of the sun, and to move out of the fertility grief. I'm hoping they will happen together. I cherish your prayers for me and for John as we seek God's face moving forward. 

Onward.

xo

19 comments:

  1. I'm sure you've seen this - but it's worth posting again!!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXudpW1l5Mw

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    1. You could share that a 100 times and I would still laugh!

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  2. One of my favorite lines from one of my favorite songs is "I'm going to move out of this winter into spring." Such a beautiful metaphor for traveling a very emotional journey. I've been there. I know it's different for everyone but I can say, for me, I absolutely felt peace when I knew the time to stop trying had come. I wondered for year the very same thing. Is my feeling of defeat a sign that its time to stop? It wasn't. For us, anyway. I had to ask myself each month if I could take anymore of this. And each month I realized I couldn't stand the thought of not trying MORE than I could stand disappointment. Until one day, I knew. And I've been at peace ever since. (We did have our daughter after almost 10 years. When we thought all hope was lost.)
    So, in your journey and in your eternal winter, I hope that you're able to move out this winter into spring.

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    1. Staci thank you for sharing your experience; it helps me so much to hear from women who have walked this road before me!

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  3. Anonymous3/14/2014

    your pictures are always amazing .look that one with your kid. Wish you all the best but for me you are a model of courage ;determination; faith and love .keep fighting for what you deserve. Love you and still praying for you JOYCE88

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    1. I thought about you when I wrote this post Joyce! My encourager! Always cheering me on! I value your words; they are close to my heart!

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  4. Oh Jill,

    I know how you're feeling right now. DH and I moved on to injects in January after not responding at all to the femara.

    My ovaries decided they had ideas of their own and we had to cancel due to over-response. I got to deal with OHSS and the frustration of a cancelled cycle.

    But here we are, at the start of another cycle. And that's OK with me, because aside from the pain from the OHSS, and the gas (that was relieved by crop dusting my entire department) it wasn't that bad.

    Praying for you- whatever path you take.

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    1. Oh Becky you made me laugh out loud! Crop dusting. *sigh* As if we didn't have enough to cope with?? ;-) So frustrated to hear that your body is having those crazy ideas. I hope things get evened out and this cycle proves to be the ONE! Keep me posted!

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  5. Jill, I've been reading your blog for a while but I never comment (although I did write to you on facebook once and you were so kind when you answered my questions!)

    I have been trying to grow my family for 4 years and am now finally blessed with a pregnancy thanks to the generosity of a donor. I blogged about our experience going through treatments for a year and a half (2 IVF cycles before turning to a donor which was successful on the first try) and I just want you to know that everyone gets frustrated in this process. Everyone doubts whether they should continue and contemplates stopping treatments. I really believe that when it's time to stop you will know and your will be so sure in your decision. If you don't feel that way it's because it's not time to stop yet ;)

    I'm wishing for the best for you :)

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    1. I need to hear those words so badly right now. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with me. This journey feels so cloudy and unclear right now and it means a lot to have someone whose been there speak into it. Thank you!

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  6. You are beautiful and the windows into your soul and motherhood journey reflect this. Big time.

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    1. You always know just what to say. xoxo Leanne. <3

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  7. Praying, sister.

    For us, we knew it was time to stop treatment. But it wasn't time to stop trying{still isn't}. Every month we diligently attempt to recreate the situation that brought us our Abigail four years ago. But the medication, monitoring, and money portion of our TTC journey is done. After a year of paying for IF treatments, we just had to be done.

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    1. That is something I've been thinking about lately; whether I will be able to keep trying after treatment or if I will need to mentally just be "done." It is really great to hear your story. Thank you for sharing. Hoping that your dreams are soon answered!

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  8. I agree with so many others- I think that the fear and despair you're facing is a totally normally part of the process- it may be the hardest part- because you have to walk in faith, not knowing the outcome- not even being able to put your trust in a guaranteed result- but to walk in faith that your Father loves you and has good plans for your life- even when it feels like the plan right now is NOT good, because it isn't the one you'd have chosen at this exact moment (made even more difficult, for me anyway, in seemingly seeing everywhere that it was His plan for so.many.others- but just not me!) and you have no way to see what's beyond the mountain you're currently struggling to get over, step by painful and patient step. But even though fear and despair are normal emotions- I do not believe that they should be interpreted as signs of God's will for you. His way is peace. If and when the time comes when it is time to stop, or step away from treatment for awhile, I believe you will feel profound peace, and conviction, that it is the right thing to do. Stepping away, if it's what you're asked to do, would be hard- but for me anyway, it was also freeing and maybe the most peaceful part of the journey- one of the few times along the way when I knew for sure that what we were doing was the RIGHT thing to do at that particular point. I'll pray that you'll also have clear direction and peace.

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  9. will continue to hold you in my prayers ~ Emily

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  10. Thinking of and praying for you guys as you seek God daily for direction! Your answer will come and when it does, it will feel right.

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  11. Anonymous3/17/2014

    Thanks for the update! as I read this, I kept thinking/brainstorming what I would do in your shoes. So difficult re: "what next". They say that 3 cycles of IUI is all that you need to know if it will work or not. But you didn't have the endometriosis removed at that point, so would that make a difference? But they also said that John's sperm didn't wash well with IUI. If that's the case, then I likely wouldn't go back to IUI. And you've done injectables before with clomid, but again, that was when there was endometriosis. It's so tough to know! Not telling you what to do, but if it were me, I would likely ask for an injectable in addition to Femara for these last two cycles of Femara. That would help ensure the best shot trying with timed intercourse. For me, mentally, by adding the injectables, I'd be able to know that I tried all my options up to IVF. And since you have a short window of opportune time re: endometriosis (I believe a year since the removal is the best timing?), I'd personally want to try adding injectables now with the femara for my last two cycles on femara. Then I may take a break from treatments and discuss IVF, possibly for the fall. Or if IVF is off the table for whatever reason, I would start the adoption process. Again, not trying to tell you what to do!! Just brainstorming/thinking your situation through. Sometimes that helps in the decision process, I hope it's helpful for you!

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  12. Anonymous3/24/2014

    I check your page every day... and think of you multiple times a day. It's such a rough road you are trudging through. Know people who have never met you care! XOXO.

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