MicroblogMondays: Three Years Later

Three years ago I went to a retreat for my bible study the day after we confirmed that we had lost our first pregnancy.  God was so good to me that the experience there helped me grieve and start healing for the loss.  This retreat occurs every three years.  Fast forward to right now.  Bob and I just attended the same retreat together in Southern California.  This time it felt so different. First of all I had my husband with me and it is such a blessing that we serve in the same bible study organization.  Second is that, we are in a vastly different position this time in terms of our fertility journey.  Three years ago we just failed our first ever transfer with a chemical pregnancy.  Our hearts were broken and we needed healing.  This time, we went with the news of expecting twins.  We don’t have the heaviness of waiting for something to happen.  Things are happening.  What a blessing it is to be here.  Bob was treated like a rock star when many of my friends from my bible study group came by one after another to meet him. It was so precious for them to congratulate him on the babies.  In my blog post about the last retreat three years ago I met a woman on the plane who experienced infertility and eventually adopted a little girl from China.  I shared with this random stranger (but not so random as it was a divine appointment) about our struggles and she promised to pray for us.  God has such a sense of humor (and it’s a small world).  My husband has been the bible teacher for this same little girl in the past year and has developed a close relationship with this family.  I bumped into this mother again at the retreat this time.  She told me that she had been consistently praying for us which was super sweet because she has kept her promise.  I thought that her husband would have shared with her our news of expecting twins (since my husband and her husband now serve in the same bible study) but he hadn’t.  So she was so surprised and happy to know that we are finally expecting not one baby but two!  Again, God is so compassionate and full of love. He allowed me to personally share this news with this lady. It feels like things have come in a full circle.  I just feel redeemed that we are in such a sweet position to be able to experience the joy of this monumental change in our lives and finally have good news to share on this twisted journey.  All I can say is that God is good and my heart is filled with gratitude for His provision.

Advertisements

MicroblogMondays: Clinging to the Positive

Microblog_Mondays

Last week was such a rough week.

Because of our donor’s cocaine debacle, both of us were extremely distracted from work and from life.  All the phone calls and emails with all the professionals, family, and friends were taxing our attention, time, and energy.  One day everything was going smoothly.  The next day, our life was turned upside down.  So many doubts, fears, and worries surfaced.  One person’s selfish act, lack of concerns for others, and lack of integrity wreaked havoc in our lives.  We were exhausted emotionally, physically, and mentally.  Extra courage and strength were desperately needed on those few days for us to function.

Amid the chaos, we see the love, beauty, goodness, and positive that were poured over us.

God is teaching us to hang on to the positive despite walking through the valley.

We see how truly beautiful our gestational carrier Annie is.  That morning I called her to tell her about our decision to continue our donor egg cycle despite our donor’s breach of our trust and contract, Annie was so calm, gentle, and full of reassurance.  She not only took care of me and my emotions that morning, but she also thought of taking care of Bob’s.  That night, Bob came home and told me that Annie’s husband Kenneth called him on his way to work that evening just to chat.  Bob didn’t recognize the phone number but saw that it was from Annie’s area, so he picked it up.  For someone who usually doesn’t pick up unknown phone calls, that was definitely a divine intervention.  Bob said that they had such a good chat about life, their work, family life, and a little about the donor’s choice.  This 20-minute phone call with a brother in Christ reflects the thoughtfulness and caring nature of our gestational carrier and her life partner.

We are so blessed to have them in our lives.

And then, there was my friend Jo.  She has been there every single step of the way in the last few years of our journey.  She knows the ins and the outs of our struggles.  The day I returned to work after taking a day off to take care of the mess that was caused by our donor’s positive drug screen was extremely busy with clients and a presentation.  Jo was so sweet.  She took care of me by ordering dinner and having it delivered to our house so that I could take a break from cooking.  And bless my husband’s heart.  He knew exactly what I had been craving so he clued Jo in on the type of food to order.  The sushi that night was truly a treat after a few long days of emotional exhaustion.

And surprisingly, I don’t feel anger towards our donor anymore.  Instead, my heart has been prompted to pray for her and for her salvation. This definitely is not my own doing.  The Holy Spirit is once again doing something that is so unexpected but beautiful.

And then, we also see how God has sustained us through all this.  After the decision was made to continue with the cycle, the peace that I have felt is unparalleled and is such a confirmation that this has been the path that aligns with God’s will.  Although we don’t know how this cycle will turn out, I no longer have that gnawing pain in my heart.  I am amazed at how quickly we bounced back from being at the bottom of the pit, but it is no coincidence or accident, and it is not our own ability or doing.  Nothing that we did could take us to that place of peace.  It is solely the Holy Spirit that took us to that space.

Later today we will know how many embryos are still in the running.  Fear comes and goes in my heart, such as the possibility of the embryos growing poorly or not having any blastocysts to test.  Fear is normal, but I have to remind myself that fear does not come from God.  Seeing the positive that God places in our life helps us move away from the space of fear and worry.

Despite this path to our baby that has been lengthy and grueling, it is a blessing that we can cling to the God-given beauty and positive in life as we wait expectantly for our journey to unfold in front of our eyes.

MicroblogMondays: A Man’s Pain

Microblog_Mondays

My husband is hurting.  And it sometimes feels so helpless to see him in pain.

His recent emotional experience reminds me of myself a couple of years ago.  At that time, I hated people.  I didn’t feel good at all when I was bombarded with birth announcements, pregnancy announcements, and adoption news.  I just wanted to hide from the world.  All sorts of feelings consumed me: anger, despair, disappointment, jealously.  You name it.  I had it.

Even though we just lost another early pregnancy, I am in a much better place emotionally and spiritually than my old self back then.  My relationship with the Lord is going strong despite all of this going on.  It is not the case for Bob.

Bob was strong for me the week we found out about the chemical pregnancy.  He comforted me.  He was there for me, smiling and cheering me up.  However, my poor husband has definitely been hurting.  The weekend after we lost the pregnancy, I found him home early Saturday morning.  He was supposed to be at his bible study training until 9am.  He told me he left early.  At first he wouldn’t tell me why he did.  Later, he finally divulged.  What happened was, during prayer time, one of the leaders gave thanks to the Lord for his wife’s new pregnancy.  Everyone else was praising the Lord and praying for the baby.  Bob told me that all he felt was anger.  Angry that it was supposed to be our turn as well.  Angry that this journey wasn’t any easier with donor eggs.  Angry that others got to celebrate their blessings but not us.  He lasted for another part of the training.  When he returned to the main room for the last hour of the training, he looked inside and saw that people were still talking about that pregnancy.  He did not feel that there was the place for him.  Instead of going in and enduring the silent pain of listening to others’ joy, he decided to pack up and go.  He went to a coffee shop, picked up a cup of his favorite coffee, and drove home.  He told me that he sat in our car in the driveway for a long time, thinking about our life and our journey.  Listening to him, my heart was filled with compassion for my dear partner in life who was hurting so badly.  His desires to be a father are so strong that this recent loss just pushes him over the edge.  It hurt me to see him hurt.  All I did and all I could do was just to hold him in my arms and to tell him that I understand 100% of how he was feeling.  Sometimes, just being there for him brings comfort.

The next day, we were at church for our greeting duty.  Bob was outside the church greeting people while I was right at the entrance.  A very good friend out ours, an American of Indian descent, came to me with a special smile on his face.  I had been anticipating his announcement of his wife’s pregnancy for months now, simply because he and I had a long talk about babies before he proposed to his wife.  After a year and a half of marriage, I knew that I would hear from him any time.  Plus a few weeks ago, after learning that she wasn’t feeling well, I had an intuition that she might have been pregnant.  This friend said, “We had some good news to share with you!” I forced a smile on my face and waited.  He went on to tell me that his wife is expecting.  I said congratulations with my forced smile and asked him how far along she was.  She is now about four months.  Then, there was this awkward silence before he walked away telling me that he would go and share the news with some other people.

This was the weekend after we learned about our most recent loss.  As hard as it sounded, I was doing okay with this news.  It wasn’t a great feeling to learn that yet another couple successfully became pregnant seemingly without any effort.  But surprisingly I was doing okay.  I knew how Bob had been with pregnancy news and I thought about not telling him until after the service.  However, I didn’t hold my tongue and shared with him when he came back inside the church.  I could see the hurt on his face, which broke my heart.  Pregnancy news from his guy friends two days in a row was just too much for him.  He asked if he could just leave right after our duty.  I told him to feel free to do whatever he felt like.  It was going to be very tough for him to sit through the service not feeling loved by God.  I didn’t want to force him to do anything as he had his way of handling and processing his emotions.  I think this one hit him hard also because our friend’s wife is Chinese, so the baby will be an Indian-Chinese mix.  We have always been the first Indian-Chinese couple who got married first and tried for a baby first.  I can imagine how difficult it is for him to be waiting for so long and watching someone else have their Indian-Chinese baby first.

Bless his heart.  Bob sat through service and even waited for me to finish my duty.  He went for a walk right after service.  We skipped the going away party for our close friends right after service.  Although I wanted to be at the going away party, I knew how much Bob just wanted to be left alone and not to be forced to smile when he felt like he was dying inside.  I really got it.  So we just spent the rest of the day at home by ourselves.

How has he been doing since?  I have never seen him so angry and sad in his life.  This failure of the first DE cycle has really pushed him over the edge.  He continues his ministry as a children’s leader at bible study, but he has just been going through the motions.  He has been angry with God for allowing us to be on this journey for so long without any results.  He does not feel loved by God.  He refused to talk to God.  He does not want to talk to anyone about his struggles.  He has not shared with any of his friends about them.  When he shares his prayer requests, he shares about mundane stuff.  I asked him about it.  He said that our loss and our struggle is just too huge for him to put into words to share with others who may or may not pray for us.  He even has an idea of us not sharing with anyone about any details for our upcoming frozen embryo transfer so that nobody would pray for us.  To him, clearly, prayers have not been working.  I have never seen his faith in God so shaken up.  But as a wife, I have learned to shut up about it because really, it is between him and God, and I have no place in talking with him other than prayers for him.

The Lord is merciful, full of grace, and full of comfort though.  Fortunately, when Bob is weak, the Lord has kept me strong.  My heart and my soul yearn for a baby, but I have not been pulled down by this failed cycle.  I still have faith that things will work out in the end, and I have seen the Lord’s hand in sustaining us.  I can be the strong one for my husband when he doesn’t have enough strength and faith to carry on, hopefully for this short time of grief.  Although emotionally I am doing better than he is, I am very attuned to my feelings.  Skipping my work holiday party for the first time in the 12 years that I have worked there tells you how meaningless I feel to be socializing with people who know nothing about our struggles.  I don’t feel sorry for skipping.  It’s our way of preserving our sanity.

The Lord is patient though.  Even though Bob is going through some very trying times, He is still speaking to Bob through his struggles.  The day after our weekend full of pregnancy news, Bob did his daily bible study and came across a passage that spoke to him.  He shared with me that morning, telling me that God has not given up on him.  This passage is from Ephesians chapter 4:

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

I am so glad that Bob did not just tune God out.  He is still receptive to whatever God has to show him.  This whole last week, he has been talking on and off to God about his feelings, his anger, his disappointment, and his pain.  I have never prayed for my husband so much in my life, but I know that I have to be the one praying if he is too hurt to pray.  I am glad that he is slowly coming back to an open dialogue with God.  I know that I cannot force Bob to feel better because he needs to sort through his feelings and reestablish his relationship with God himself.  But I am confident that with my patience and with God’s patience, my husband will return to the previous state of trusting and having faith in the Lord for guiding our path.

But, this time, it may really take some time.

Open and Transparent

In the beginning of my fertility journey, I would share about our struggles with a selected handful of friends.  I was not blogging back then.  I had made a few friends with a few ladies I met on an online forum who were over 35 and trying to conceive.  Other than a couple of friends and a couple of coworkers, nobody at church or at work knew that we were trying.  I was feeling quite lonely and scared.  It was a dark period of time.  I wanted to beat the odds and prove my OB/GYN wrong (because he recommended IVF following a review of the labwork that showed my extra high FSH and extra low AMH).  I was struggling emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Fast forward to today.  After two years nine months of this journey, I have come to a totally different place.  Every time I start a cycle, I email all the people I know will pray for us.  This group is expanding to about 15 people.  They include people in my bible study group, people who used to be in my bible study group, people at church, people in my family, and people I met online.  I truly feel that being surrounded by prayers and prayer warriors made a difference in our previous cycle.  Except for work, many people in our friend circle, church circle, and my bible study circle know about our journey.

I am a discussion group leader for an international bible study program.  I am part of about 30 leaders that meet every Saturday morning for training.  Every time we meet, we are given a piece of paper to write down our prayer requests.  We pass the paper to the lady next to us and the prayer will be prayed aloud during our 25-minute prayer time.  During the first training session a few weeks ago, I sat there and contemplated what to write down.  The most important thing back then in my life was for the mini-IVF cycle to go well and for the retrieval not to be interfering with the bible study schedule.  I looked around me and saw that three-quarters of the people in the leaders circle already know about my struggles.  I didn’t think I minded other new leaders knowing about me going through fertility treatment.  So I decided to be bold and wrote down my prayers request as “Pray for the upcoming cycle of fertility treatment to go smoothly”.  My friend next to me who got the slip turned to me and asked, “Do you want me to pray this aloud?”  I said, “Go ahead since most of the people already know about it”.  So she prayed aloud for me.

Fast forward this past Saturday at the leaders meeting, a brand new lady came and sat next to me.  Before the meeting started, she said she wanted to chat with me about my fertility treatment.  After the meeting, we stood outside of the church and talked for about 35 minutes.  She and her husband’s story is similar to my story with Bob.  She got married late.  At 38, she has been trying for the last 14 months but nothing is happening.  On that Saturday, she found out that her first IUI attempt had failed since AF just arrived on that day.  It seems like her AMH is fine though.  She poured her heart out and I tried my best to share my experience and my knowledge and to answer all the questions that she had.  At one point, she made a remark about the amount of knowledge that I have on this issue.  She said that she deliberately came to sit next to me because she heard the prayer request for me the other time and really wanted to connect with me.  She explained that this is still something that she and her husband have not shared with many people so she was very glad that I could talk with her.  I am so happy and grateful that opening up about my struggles appears to have helped someone else feel less alone in this very lonely journey.

As a group leader, I lead about 15 ladies in a weekly discussion group.  We also share our prayer requests with one another so that we can all pray for one another daily.  During our first round of prayer requests last week, I again had the choice of waiting to share or sharing immediately.  Last year, I did not share about our struggles and the cycles until after mid-semester.  After much prayers, I decided to be open about my experiences this year because I would really appreciate prayers from these group members.  So I put down “Pray for wisdom, strength, and peace from God during our fertility treatment”.  I sent out all the prayer requests to the ladies.  Two days later, I received an email from one of the ladies.  It said:

“I saw in your prayer request that you are going through fertility treatment and was wondering if you would feel comfortable if I asked you a few questions about it down the line. My husband and I met with a doctor at a fertility clinic to discuss the various options a few months ago. We are still praying and deciding when we should start the process.  Although I don’t feel comfortable sharing it with our group yet so I won’t request for prayers for it. We haven’t spoken with anyone about it since it has been quite stressful and discouraging. We are also trying to surrender it to God.”

I was surprised to have received this email and at the same time so glad that I was being open.   If I had not been open, this sister in Christ would not have anyone to talk about this with.  I am also glad that she opened up because it must have been hard for her to write to a stranger about her struggles.  I wrote her back right away and said:

“You can ask me any questions any time.  I am pretty open about my journey and my struggles.  I didn’t start out that way but after going through it for a a while, I have become very open about it (except for at work).  I am sorry that you are going through the uncertainty at this point.  My husband and I have been trying for almost 3 years.  We have done a few cycles of IVF and had an early miscarriage back in February after our first ever transfer.  It took us six months to feel ready emotionally and mentally to start all over again.  I know what you mean by it being stressful and discouraging.  I found that my first year of trying was the hardest.  It has actually gotten a little easier mentally, emotionally, and spiritually after I have accepted that this is our path and I have to trust God on it.  I would love to share with you my journey and answer any questions you may have if you feel comfortable with it.  We can talk over coffee or on the phone if you would like.  Just let me know. :)”

She wrote me back the next day with this response:

“Thank you for being so open and transparent with your fertility. This process can feel so lonely, especially since we are at the beginning stages. Our doctor presented us with several options to start and it completely went over my head because there’s so much information. I do know he suggested starting with Clomid. He also talked about IVF being one of the options after we tried everything else. However, what made me uneasy was that he said the clinic will make me sign an agreement to abort the third fetus if the treatment resulted in triplets. He said IVF sometimes but rarely result in triplets and he said it wasn’t safe or something so you have to sign an agreement to not keep the third. This is something we don’t feel comfortable with so we have been holding back on starting any treatment. We know the chances are very slim in it resulting in triplets but we are not comfortable with it.  Do you know if that’s a policy for all fertility clinics? We might wait until end of this year before we start treatment. I would love to hear more about your journey on phone or in person sometime. I am sorry to hear about your miscarriage. I will be praying for you as well. God is good and faithful. He always has better plans than we can imagine even if it doesn’t feel that way when we are going through trials and hardships. I will be praying for you! I’m also very grateful He placed me in your group this year.”

I saw her during our discussion group on Monday and made sure that I reached out to her.  We were making plans for getting together either this coming Saturday or some time next week so we can talk in person without interruption.

In this group there is one pregnant lady this year.  I am actually not bothered by her presence at all.  But I can only imagine what the sight of a pregnancy lady may affect this other lady with infertility issues.  The interesting thing is that these two ladies actually share the same first name.  I wonder if this infertile lady would have the “why me” mentality.  I am even more glad that she’s in my group so she really doesn’t feel that she’s all alone in this.

God works in very mysterious ways.  I am not sure why Bob and I have to go through this very difficult journey.  This is something that I probably will never understand until I see God face-to-face.  One thing I am sure is that God is with me every single step of the way.  He guides my path and allows me to be increasingly at peace with this path.  He gives me strength to live everyday.  He also gives me the courage to be open and transparent and share with others.  I did not know that my openness would touch another person’s life.  It appears that being able to be open not only touched one person but two people this week.  I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve these ladies and for them to feel less lonely.  God is amazing and He orchestrates every little and big thing in our life.  There is no accident that I encountered these two ladies this year.  God does not make mistakes.  I am excited to see how God can use me this year to help encourage them.

Divine Appointments, and I Am Doing Well

God has the perfect timing.  The retreat in San Diego was such a blessing.  The things that I learned, the friends that I got to know better, and the random strangers that i encountered were all a blessing to me.  This retreat couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.  All the encounters with different people were divine appointments.

I was doing fine on Friday.  When I arrived at the airport, I was still not in the mood to talk about myself.  The whole world was a still little grim to me.  But the Lord was good.  I saw my friends there at the airport and shared with one of them about what had happened the day before.  I was surprised that I could speak about it without tearing up or crying.  Big step forward.  I was quite late to get on the plane so there weren’t too many seats left.  My three friends who got on way ahead of me pointed me to a middle seat across from them.  I squeezed in and wasn’t planning on talking to anybody.  The woman next to me asked me how to change her phone to the airplane mode.  I still didn’t want to talk to her much.  But once I saw what she was reading, I knew that she was going to the same retreat I was heading to.  So I started striking up a conversation with her.  We ended up chatting the whole hour and a half nonstop.  Because we talked so much about my husband and her family, she asked if we were planning on having children.  I somehow felt very connected to her and shared our sad news with her.  That brought tears to her eyes.  Then I found out that her oldest boy’s name is the same name that I will give to my boy in the future!  I was very surprised by it because it’s not a common name.  I bumped into her many times during the retreat as well as on the flight back to SFO.  We talked about making plans to get together in the future since she lives about 15 minutes away from me.  Praise God that my sad news didn’t put me in a cocoon and didn’t stop me from connecting with people.

Throughout the whole retreat, I met many people, heard many stories, went to many lectures, and learned many things.  These experiences helped me put things in perspective that there are things that are so much bigger than me and my world.  It somehow really helped me to begin the healing process of my loss.  This was a retreat for about 3000 leaders for this bible study program in three states.  Nineteen leaders of my group attended.  We didn’t necessarily all stick together all the time. But I did bump into many of them in these three days.  Whenever I saw one of the leaders from my group, I was often asked how I was doing.  And I often shared about the pregnancy and the loss.  I didn’t know that one of the ladies who is in her 60’s also went through infertility in her 30’s.  She is currently widowed but is engaged to a wonderful man and is set to marry him in the summer.  But she teared up when she heard my news and was sharing about the devastation at that time when she couldn’t get pregnant or keep a pregnancy and her late husband did not want to pursue adoption.  It was a painful period of time for her but she finally had it resolved.  She does not have any children. The power of the experience was great though as she was still emotional talking about it almost 30 years later.

Because I was very open about my loss, I talked about it over twenty times during these three days.  The more I talked about it, the more at peace I felt.  I was grateful that the Lord gave me this time to share and to help me mourn, grieve, and heal.

I was very surprised to bump into a friend of mine at the retreat.  I didn’t know that she had also become a leader for this bible study program and she was also attending this retreat.  I was so shocked when I saw her.  I walked up to her and gave her a big hug.  This was a couple of minutes before the morning lecture began.  She asked me how I was doing.  I told her right then and there about the pregnancy and the loss, and also that it was after our fourth IVF.  Her first reaction was, I am so sorry about your loss.  A little background about this friend: she got married at 38, got pregnant at 40, and gave birth at 41.  She had a loss before her take home baby.  Then she told me that she had two more losses after the birth of her daughter. The last one was just in November at 9 weeks.  She then told me to think twice before I begin another IVF cycle and to pray about it because she got pregnant on her own and they were all natural conceptions.  Unfortunately the lecture was about to start and I couldn’t “defend” myself and my decisions.  I texted her later and asked if we could have lunch together.

I was frankly a bit bugged by her first reaction and her advice of what I should do or shouldn’t do in the future.  Thank God that there was a whole lecture of 2.5 hours for me to calm down and to think from her perspective.  I think people are just very quick to use their own experiences to give advice without having prior knowledge of what the other person has gone through.  After praying about it and thinking more about it, I was not bugged anymore.  Instead, I thought that she just needed a bit of education of my condition and our decision making process.  At lunch, we sat down and had a great chat.  We caught up on our lives and I told her clearly how we came to the conclusion of IVF (after a lot of prayers, seeking guidance from our pastor, and having peace in our hearts), how it had been difficult to conceive by ourselves, and how difficult the whole IVF process was.  I am glad that I cleared up any myths in her head and the confusion that she must have had about this process.  One thing that I stressed was that us taking the IVF path does not mean that we’re not depending on God.  I don’t have any less faith than she does who tries naturally only.  I am so glad that God gave me the courage to explain my standpoint to her without being defensive.  It was done out of love.  This friend and I hung out a few more times during this retreat.  I am so thankful that the Lord put us together at an unexpected place during an unexpected time.

The last divine appointment was on the way back to SFO.  I again was getting on the plane late so I had to go all the way to the back of the plane for a seat.  The girl in front of me took the seat that i wanted so I went even farther back and scored myself an aisle seat next to two ladies.  I recognized them. They were both bible study leaders that are from a class at a location 15 minutes away from my location.  I hadn’t really met them but I had seen them around at the retreat.  I sat down, said hi to them, and minded my own business.  The whole time they were chatting about various things about church, about bible study, about home, and about their kids.  I did my best to tune them out and just went on to read my own book.  When the plane was almost going to land, the lady next to me asked what book I was reading.  I showed her the title, she looked at it, and quickly pointed at her friend right next to her.  She said, You should’ve talked to her.  The book that I was reading was called “Moments for Couples who Long for Children”.  If you have never read this book, I highly recommend it.  It has helped me through many difficult moments.  Anyhow, from what I gathered, the lady who sat at the window seat tried to get pregnant for 18 years.  She went through four IVFs and numerous surgeries.  She finally adopted a baby girl at 10 months and now the little girl is three years old.  I shared my journey with her in the limited time that we had and how we experienced our first pregnancy and first loss.  This news brought tears to her eyes.  She asked for my name one more time, looked me in the eyes, and said, “I will definitely keep you in my prayers”.  That was such a sincere response and such a sweet moment, from one fellow sister in Christ to another, who understands exactly what the other one is going through.

I am doing well in general.  I get sad once in a while.  I pray and I have peace.  Bleeding started on Sunday, so at least my body is doing what it’s supposed to do instead of making me wait.  After crying my eyes out on Thursday, I didn’t cry until last night when the thought of the possibility of never having our own biological children sent me to a place of sorrow and I had to cry it all out.  That was good for my soul.  My husband is absolutely the best.  Each crisis we face together is a confirmation of the absolute best decision to marry him.  The Lord has brought us closer together because of our journey together.  That is my silver lining.  I think we’re going to take a break from thinking about IVF.  We just want to have a chance to grieve, mourn, and heal from this loss at this moment.

An Answered Prayer

We have been studying Matthew in the international Bible study group that I facilitate.  Last week’s lesson was in Matthew 7, which talks about how a believer is to ask, seek, and knock.  Specifically, in Matthew 7 verses 7 and 8, Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”  I have been greatly encouraged by this particular lesson especially about prayers.  I learned that to “ask” means to depend completely on the Lord, to “seek” suggests greater urgency, and to “knock” signifies to persist in prayer.  In the subsequent verses of 9 to 11, Jesus also directed us to pray boldly.  Through this lesson, I remind myself to not only pray for the big things (such as for God to bless us with our heart’s desire of a pregnancy and a baby) but also to be specific and persist in seemingly little things.  I fully experience God’s provision this week.

I am supposed to schedule an appointment with Dr. E this Saturday for a follicle check.  She had not been able to provide me with a time because she had not scheduled her other procedures yet.  I had seen Dr. E on a Saturday before.  It could be as early as 9am or as late as noon time.  I have my Bible study leaders’ meeting every Saturday from 6:55am to 9am (I know, very early, right?).  It takes about an hour to get from my house to Dr. E’s clinic.  I will have to go home and pick up Bob before we head over.  If I have to make it to Dr. E’s on time, I would need an appointment at 10:15 or after.  I would really hate to miss the leaders’ meeting because that would mean that I cannot facilitate the Monday night Bible study.  I remember that I have learned to ask God for specific things, even as tiny as a time for a doctor’s appointment.  This whole week I had been praying for Dr. E’s procedures to time in a way that I would be able to get a 10:30am appointment.  Not only had I been praying for this, I had also asked the Bible study’s teaching leader and one of my best friends to pray for the same.  My teaching leader wrote me back and said that by faith in God she would see me on Saturday.  Somehow I knew that God would sort things out so I wasn’t even worried.  

I just have to say that God is so good.  I wrote Dr. E to ask her for a time and got an immediate response from her.  She asked if 10:30am would work for us.  That was exactly the time that I had prayed for.  I never doubted that God would sort out the time.  When I experience His provision first hand, even when it’s such a small thing in life, being cared for by Him feels so good.  One of my Facebook secret group friend said it in the best way, “Sometimes it’s those little specific prayers that really open your eyes to God’s presence”.  I totally agree. 

Just thought I’d share. 🙂  As for the follicle scan, I’ll update you guys.  Hopefully we’ll see a few follicles and no cysts.  

Jealousy

I am not usually jealous of others for having what I don’t have.  Somehow infertility has turned me into a very different person.  When we began to try for a baby, my heart often skipped a beat whenever someone announced their pregnancy.  It could be a very close friend, an acquaintance, or a friend’s friend who announced her news on Facebook.  My reactions could range from wanting to cry, to feeling this tugging on my heart, to wanting to hide at home and not see anyone.  It would hurt the most when my close friends were expecting, especially when they conceived without even “trying” or it happened quickly.  The first twelve months of our TTC journey were somehow the toughest.  These pregnancy announcements coupling with BFNs or AF’s arrival could send me into a semi-depression.  From reading blogs and talking with fellow TTCers, these feelings seem to be very common.  I would think that I wouldn’t be jealous of those who found success after trying for a long time, but I was.  I didn’t like the person that I had turned into, but I couldn’t help myself feeling this way.  I had been praying for God to help me to remove the jealous feeling and to at least feel neutral if I couldn’t feel happy for someone.

Something in me has been changing in the last few months.  It begins to hurt a little less when I see pregnant ladies.  I can be in their presence again.  Ultrasound photos and pregnancy belly photos don’t bother me as much, although I still hide them on Facebook.  A very good friend of mine whose sister adopted a child after years of fertility treatment wrote me an email sharing her third pregnancy with me.  Because of her sister, she knew exactly how to best share her news with me.  It only took me a mere five minutes to mourn my own loss of natural conception.  I began to feel happy and excited for her.  What a welcomed change!  I really don’t want to become that person who is always bitter about others’ very happy news.  And I don’t wish this journey upon anyone, close friends or strangers.  I also began to feel instantly happy for those who found success in getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy after their long struggles.  I celebrate with my Facebook secret group friends who show that highly coveted BFP.  I want to know how they are doing and am truly happy to see their belly photos online.  Yesterday I was very very excited for a fellow TTCer who is also diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve with crappy AMH.  She got to the egg retrieval phase of her first IVF and got 14 eggs!  For someone suffering from DOR and often gets about 6 or 7 resting follicles each cycle, this is like a wild dream coming true.  Today’s news is that out of 14 eggs, 9 fertilized!  I really can’t begin to tell you how happy I am for her.  And I LOVE being in this place to be happy for someone else’s good news in their journey!  I am praying that all 9 of the fertilized eggs will get to the day 5 blastocyst stage.  And I am very hopeful that she’s get pregnant this cycle!

I am not saying that I have come to that happy point where I will be happy for anyone who gets pregnant.  But this is a very good starting point for me.  Like what my friend J said, “Don’t bear yourself up for needing to mourn or not wanting to be happy for them. You have/and continue to struggle with an unknown future for your family and that is rough.”  I am grateful for wise friends who have gone through this journey.  I hope that I will continue to move to that place where I am focused on my own fertility and won’t get affected by other people’s business.  Definitely can’t do it without God’s help.

Today, I am thankful for:

  • Being happy for friends’ happy news
  • Facebook’s chat so I can connect with friends instantly to discuss things
  • my husband for being such a silly character and comic relief
  • the weekend!!