For some time, this post has been in the works. Others have had similar stories to tell and have shared them a lot sooner, or in different ways than I am now. Some have not shared them at all. This is what felt right for me and I hope that somewhere in this little slice of the world, someone will find encouragement in these words and my journey.
Love, Faith, and a Little Bit of Science
If you’ve followed this blog closely, you’ll remember I wrote an opinion piece for the Huffington Post about some of the controversy surrounding parts of IVF. I have a strong opinion in this area because infertility has been an ever-present companion since the beginning of my 4+ year marriage. Funny enough, when I planned out my life down to the last detail way back in high school there were a few major speed bumps that I didn’t see coming. Infertility and a miscarriage being two of them. Turns out there is only so much of your life that you can control ;-).
Honestly, as I sit here and stare at my growing belly, it still doesn’t seem 100% real. Even with all of her fabulous acrobatics going on. Sometimes it still feels like I’m in the middle of the fight and I guess in a way I still am. Battling anxieties that something will go wrong at any turn and that the struggle will continue. Infertility is a strange companion, indeed. But with those emotions also comes a flood of gratefulness that I’m at this place, and that this is actually happening. To me. And there are some crucial components that got me to this place where my dream of a baby is nearly a reality. Today, I want to share them (and my heart) with you, my dear readers.
Throughout this journey to motherhood, there are so many ways that support and love have been shown to us. Big ways and little ways that all add up to one truly incredible support system. During my miscarriage, the meals and flowers, ice cream, the fuzzy bathrobe (that I lived in for days on end), and cards were all forms of love that helped get me to the next day. Priceless are the countless hours and time that the people in my life let me vent and cry and vent some more. Every call, every text, every word of encouragement throughout these last few years has helped keep me going all the times I wanted to quit. It was love that opened the doors for us to make IVF possible because it’s something that financially there’s no way we would have ever been able to do on our own. Every time I think about the amazing people in my life, my eyes well up. For all of life’s negatives, this is one area where I have been abundantly blessed.
Then there’s this other kind of love. The love for this unborn child that has always been. It’s been there since the days of carrying around my mini-me Cabbage Patch Doll to when I picked my major in college due to its compatibility with motherhood. It was there when I first looked into the eyes of my current spouse and oh boy was it there when I had to inject myself with that first needle at the start of IVF. It’s crazy how much you can love someone without ever meeting them yet. Maybe love isn’t ALL you need but it sure can move mountains.
This one really can’t be emphasized enough. I truly believe that no matter what I tried, or how many times I tried it, if it wasn’t meant for us to have a (biological) child of our own then nothing in the world could have changed that. From the bottom of my heart, I believe that God is in control. You would think that belief would cause me not to worry at all, but that’s for another blog post ;). That being said, I also strongly believe that He gives us tools and enables us to make our dreams reality when they coincide with His plans for us. I’m sure you’ve heard the analogy of the people in the sinking boat that were praying for God to rescue them. Ship after ship came by to help but they refused, stating that they were waiting on the Lord. Later, the Lord tells them that it was He who sent the rescue ships in the first place that they ignored. Infertility can feel like that sinking ship, but God is good and opened many doors for us along the way to help get us to where we are today.
There were definitely times when my faith wavered and I had no words left to pray. But here’s the thing. Prayer is powerful, and we had so many people praying for us along the way. People that I had no idea we were even on their radar told us later that they had been praying for us. It’s an invaluable gift to know that we don’t bear these burdens in life all by ourselves. Besides my own personal relationship with Christ, the prayers of many lifted to the heavens along with our own and finally resulted in a resounding “yes”!
Last but not least is science. I’m so thankful that we live in the era that we do with all the advancements in healthcare. We did eight rounds of IUI at Pacific NW Fertility before moving on to IVF at Seattle Reproductive Medicine. The third IUI was successful but ended in a miscarriage at 10 weeks. After the next 5 rounds didn’t work, it was recommended that we move on to the next step of In vitro fertilization. I really did not want to face that option. Not only was it beyond our means financially, but all the injections and hormones and doctor visits, oh my.
There are also those that believe it’s unethical for a variety or reasons (which I would be glad to take on one by one). Regardless, we were at a crossroads of which direction to pursue. I’m not saying that IVF is right for everyone, just like I don’t think that adoption or fostering is right for everyone. What I am saying is that our hearts were drawn in this direction and that doors were opened to make it possible. That’s where the science comes in.
Did you know that IVF is not a guarantee? Many people think that it’s a for sure thing. This is definitely not so. We were given a 40% chance of it working the first time. If I was older that number would have been even less. The more times you try, the probability goes up but it’s in no way a guarantee. So you’re putting a lot into something that may result in absolutely nothing. I’ve never been a big gambler but we felt comfortable with our clinic and how far science has come to make things like this possible. Because for every story where it didn’t work, I also knew of ones where it did. However, we were mentally prepared for it to take a few rounds before moving on.
In future posts, I’ll go into more detail on the IVF process. For now, I want to give credit where it’s due. We weren’t able to conceive naturally and IVF was the means to help us do so. Infertility is a medical condition and like many other conditions, needed surgical intervention and medication to help achieve health. We are forever grateful to the doctors, nurses, embryologists, acupuncturists, staff and technological advancements that helped us conceive. I’ve always believed that God and science are not only compatible but complementary. Never has that been more obvious than during these last few years.
When I got the phone call congratulating us on a successful first round of IVF, I was ecstatic. However, I think both of us were a little in shock. As the weeks went by and we passed certain milestones, we were both able to breathe a little easier and finally marvel at what is happening. Life! Now in the start of my third trimester, I’m doing a lot of self-reflecting at how we actually did get here. It boils down to love, faith, and a little science.
Photo Cred Missy Palacol
Shirt – OhSewCharmingLA
Jeans – Motherhood Maternity Long Stretch Skinny
Sunglasses – Moorea Seal
Shoes – Toms for Nordstrom