We decided to wait a couple months before our second round of IVF. We went on a trip to China with our school and loved getting to pour out on our students and also on the kids at the orphanage that we went to work at. It hurt so much to leave the orphanage knowing that there were so many children there that needed parents and knowing that Derek and I wanted a child so badly. Again, I hated that I wasn’t old enough. I was 29 (You have to be 30 in China to adopt). So close, but not old enough. It really put such an ache in our hearts for adoption though. I really hope that one day we can be a part of a child finding a forever family. When we got back from China, we jumped right into round 2 of IVF. The fertility doctors suggested that we again only put one of our remaining 2 blastocysts in. IVF is a hard and long process. It’s expensive and is not usually covered by insurance. It’s painful physically and draining emotionally. Derek and I couldn’t be out past 8pm during the whole process because we had to be home for me to get my shot, or even more awkwardly…we carried the needle to strange places to give the shot while out. It never got easier or less painful to get my shot. I didn’t cry, but it wasn’t fun. However, in a weird way, it brought Derek and I closer together. There is nothing like having your husband stab you with a needle every night to create bonding time (ok no matter how I type that it sounds twisted…Im just going to leave it). Derek and I really did become such a team through IVF. We had our roles and we sat together every night allowing ourselves to keep dreaming about our family and encouraging each other on nights when it was tough. But we knew that no matter how long the day was, we would have this time together at night. Derek would tell me something he loved about me or was proud of me for each night he had to give me a shot. Again, I know this sounds weird, but I look back on those months with a happy feeling even though the shots freakin hurt. The second round was a little different than the first. We had our 2 frozen blastocysts so we didn’t have to do the retrieval part. I did have to take estrogen pills again. I had a lot more blood work (seriously I looked like a drug addict). And we started the big progesterone shots again. We talked at length about those 2 remaining blastocysts. We talked about only putting 1 in versus putting in both. The chances of getting twins was higher but the chances of it failing again with both was much lower. We were emotionally, physically, and financially pretty done at that point. We both decided that this was it for us. This was our last chance. If this round of IVF didn’t work, then we would focus on adoption only. We could have just put in one of the blastocysts and donated the other one for adoption to couples that want to carry a child but have problems with their eggs and/or sperm. We could have frozen one of them and come back to it later in the future. We could have even donated the other one to science. Contrary to some beliefs, fertility clinics never just dispose of blastocysts unless the couple directly asks them to. And we had to sign a mountain of paperwork designating exactly what we wanted to happen in case x,y, or z happened (Derek explained this in more detail in his ethical questions post). After a lot of discussion, we both felt very confident about putting in our 2 remaining blastocysts at the same time. Again, both of us had been through the ringer at this point and were completely on board with the possibility of twins. The emotional roller coster of infertility and of IVF is really really exhausting. And even though it is much cheaper to just transfer and not have to do the retrieval for the 2nd round of IVF, its still not cheap by any means. And finally, my body was physically tired of shots and drugs and tests. We really wanted a biological child and this definitely increased our chances of having just that. So, in went 2 blastocysts. We called them our blastosaurs (Charmander and Squirtel to be exact – Pokemon Go was a thing at the time). And then we waited.
We waited…again. Life is made up of many seasons, but a lot of them contain waiting and longing. I waited to be a teenager. I waited to go to college. I longed to start dating. I longed to find a husband. I waited as I searched for the right job. I waited to not be so busy. I longed to have kids. In between all of the waiting and tugging of the heart, there are brief periods of time when we think we have everything that our hearts could ever want. But then, we find something else to wait for. We find something else that tugs on our heart and draws us into longing for the next thing. It’s so hard to just sit in the waiting and be still. It’s so hard to let my mind rest in contentedness and invest in the season that I am planted. This is especially true when the thing you long for is a good and Godly thing. Waiting hurts. Having God say no hurts. Trusting and releasing control is way easier said than done. But there is something beautiful about the forming of the heart that takes place in a season of waiting. If we allow the darkness and the emptiness to be used by God to transform us into a better us, it brings purpose to the pain.
I read a book the summer of our 2nd round of IVF called Learning to Walk in the Darkness. In it the author explains that darkness, brokenness, and emptiness provide a new perspective on life in a way that normalcy never will. I am more aware of my pain and my joy while in the midst of brokenness. I am more aware of words and thoughts, more aware of my strengths and weaknesses in a season of pain. In fact, it frees me from my attachments to benefits promised for by believing in God. It forces me to really stop believing in a health and wealth Gospel, a Gospel where believing in God always brings physical and worldly blessings. I have stopped believing in God solely for the purpose of Him fixing my problems. It allowed me to understand God more deeply. It freed me from my devotion to spiritual practices and instead moved that devotion to a more real savior. It helped me stop speaking in Christianese (Jesus language that sounds really good but deep down doesn’t really mean anything) and learned to speak truth and be real and angry and honest. It has freed me from thinking that I already believed all of the right things about God. I will never fully understand Him, and I like it that way. It’s much more exciting to follow a God that is wiser and more powerful and mysterious then me. It freed me from trying to fix my doubt because it turns out that doubting is a really good thing if you use it to learn more about God and ask good questions and really figure out what you believe about God and who He really is. It freed me, but I am still daily in need of this freedom.