The IVF process (round 1)

Once we decided to try IVF, everything started happening fairly quickly. We went to a special pharmacy and picked up tons of needles, syringes, medicine, alcohol swabs, gauze, and even a sharp’s box. It’s very intimidating and kind of crazy that they just hand all of this medicine and all of these needles over to people that have no medical training. I feel like you have to be fairly intelligent to do IVF because you have to mix each shot to the correct mL and measure it out with saline and then you actually have to give/get all of these hundreds of shots and put them in the correct spot. Thankfully, my husband is brilliant and an amazing partner. He took complete charge of the meds. He mixed and organized and gave me every shot that I had to have. First though, I had to take birth control pills to regulate my cycle, and I had to start having blood work taken regularly to check on my levels of all kinds of things. I had to plan my blood work appointments around my classes and even had to miss some school. The office was 30 minutes away, and I had to drive down there every time too, which ended up being a lot of driving. By the end, my arms where so bruised it looked like I had been shooting up drugs from all the times I had blood drawn. Then, I had to have some tests run to check and make sure my uterus looked ok. The HSC and trial transfer were actually pretty painful. I drove myself to this procedure and did not know that it would be so difficult. They found a polyp, and I had to have a small surgery to remove it a few days later. It didn’t affect my cycle thankfully, but was one more thing we had to deal with.  I think I only missed one day of teaching through all of this too, so I was still teaching and pretending like everything was normal at school. When it finally came time to start the shots, both Derek and I were so nervous. Derek always talks about how weird of a feeling it is to stab your wife with an inch long needle in the stomach. I’m glad that didn’t come naturally for him. haha Anyway, I started out with shots of Gonal F and menapur in the belly. Then we added centrocide and monostat the day before the trigger shot. This whole first batch of shots was so that my body would start and stop ovulating in order to produce multiple eggs at one time. On the night of the trigger shot, you have to give it at midnight and it is very precise. Derek accidentally drew out the wrong amount of the trigger shot and some shot out the needle so it was a few mL short. We were freaking out! Derek was so upset, he had to walk outside for a few minutes to calm down. Then, it ended up being a little bit late and the trigger shot is supposed to be right at midnight. It was such a stressful night. Again, it’s crazy that non medical people do this every day. Thankfully, it ended up not being a big deal at all that the trigger was a little late. The trigger shot made my body ready to actually take out the eggs. Two days after the trigger shot, I had a minor surgery to remove the eggs. I had 18 eggs taken out of my ovaries in the retrieval. This process made my ovaries so sore, but the surgery itself didn’t hurt. Next, I took a pill to get my body ready for pregnancy while we waited a couple weeks. We were so excited to find out that 11 out of my 18 eggs were fertilized. I then started taking estrogen (pill form) and progesterone (big shot) to further prepare my body for pregnancy. When you get pregnant your body naturally makes progesterone, but since we bypassed a couple steps (or did them in a different way) I had to have progesterone shots until my body realized it was pregnant. The progesterone shots were not small. haha They had to go in my hip (kind of in my butt). They hurt!!! They had to go in such a specific part of my hip that we drew big circles on my hip with a sharpie marker so that we knew exactly where it needed to go. I wore a bathing suit once in this time period, and it was really funny that I had these big sharpie circles showing. Then, just 5 days after the retrieval, they picked one of the 11 fertilized eggs to transfer into my uterus. At that point, the fertilized egg is called a blastocyst. Derek got to go back into the operating room with me and watched on the screen as they placed the blastocyst in my uterus. It did not hurt at all and was a really special moment. Out of the 10 blastocysts left, only 2 survived to be frozen for later. The other ones just stopped growing and would never be able to grow into a baby. I was really thankful that 2 had made it. Sometimes you only end up with 1 viable embryo even after pulling out 18 eggs. I continued with the progesterone shots and waited to see if the blastocyst would attach to my uterine lining. You have to wait 10 days and it was the longest 10 days ever. Sadly, we found out that our first round failed. I know that the blastocyst was not yet an embryo and that it is even different than a miscarriage. But it was so incredibly painful and felt like we had lost another child. We had lost the opportunity for that little one and it was very emotional. I still remember that I was sitting on the steps at our house when the doctor called. Derek was at work, and I immediately called him and just sat on the steps crying till he came home.

Even now as I sit here holding one baby with 2 more asleep in their cribs, it still makes my heart ache thinking about how hard that moment and this whole process has been. I’m just now able to process that I fully believe that God disappointed me. I still feel angry at God and don’t understand how His timing works. I don’t think that He caused the bad things, but He let them happen. Sometimes He intervenes and sometimes He doesn’t. Sometimes He heals, and sometimes the person you are praying for still dies. Sometimes the baby you pray for never comes. Sometimes bad things still happen after lots and lots of prayer over them. It makes me question prayer and how God listens and answers. It makes me not want to trust God because I trusted Him and He let me down. ya ya I know, I have my babies and they are seriously a miracle and beautiful, BUT I didn’t do anything to deserve them. I just cant believe that my prayers or faithfulness are the reason that they are so healthy and happy and wonderful. I want to trust God again and then as soon as I make peace with Him and peace with not understanding WHY, something else tragic in my life or in the world happens again, and I’m thrown all over again.

I need a new framework because the one that I keep trying to fit God into just doesn’t fit. I need to redefine prayer. I need to redefine answering prayer. I need to redefine success. I need to redefine what it looks like for God to be with me and what it looks like for him to fulfill His promises. Maybe, just maybe, He never really did let me down. Maybe, just maybe, He never left. Maybe prayer isn’t about me at all. Maybe Jesus isn’t as concerned about me as much as He is concerned about the world and His Kingdom coming more fully here. Maybe Jesus is more concerned about the Kingdom coming on Earth and in my life than about the things I want. And maybe I need to quit being selfish and start looking up and around. That may seem harsh, and I know that God does care about the details of our life and sometimes He answers with a big fat YES that makes everyone jump for joy, but sometimes He says No. The NO doesn’t mean that I have less faith or that I did something wrong. It doesn’t mean that God let me down or isn’t good. Life is full of messy, painful things. I don’t follow God because He makes my life full of good things. I don’t trust Him because I think He will make my life successful by the world’s standards. I don’t love God because I think He will take away my pain. I am a believer in Jesus Christ because in the most painful times, He promises that I will have the strength and the peace to carry on. I don’t want to be afraid of darkness and brokenness. Yes, it is going to hurt. Yes, it may last a long time. Yes, I will probably doubt and be angry and be sad and ask questions. But that’s ok!! If Jesus can be angry through the pain and beg God to take it away, then so can I, and maybe He will. But the real struggle comes from believing that even if He doesn’t, He is still good. He is still a God to trust and love even in the moments when I wish He had said Yes. His goodness is shown in the truth that love always wins and that Sunday (the Resurrection) is always coming. The pain is never the ending place. This is so much easier said than done. But If I keep speaking it over myself, then it eventually becomes truth.

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