Saturday, December 22, 2012

A bittersweet graduation

Well, we've graduated from Shady Grove. The verb graduated sounds odd in conjunction with a fertility clinic. It just does. While we were smiling and authentically thankful to be taking the next step toward a regular, traditional pregnancy experience, it was sad to say goodbye to Dr. Sasson and the nurses whom have walked with us through the past few months.

We were able to see the baby via ultrasound again today and we could hear the heartbeat too--- 170 beats per minute:) Today we could see legs, arms, and the beginnings of a facial profile. The creation and growth of human life is absolutely miraculous; tears all around again today. I don't think I will ever get tired of staring at the image of our future baby (even if it does look a bit like an alien).

We were given exit instructions and a medication protocol. I will continue until January 3rd with the estrogen and progesterone meds and then wean off them completely. Dr. Sasson said, "You guys have to realize that you have now made it to the 5% miscarriage rate time; this is about as good as it can get for you. You need to have faith that the baby is not going anywhere. You should start treating this pregnancy in the same way any other person who did not go through fertility would treat it. The bottom line is that you guys are now completely normal!"

Of course he said the last line with a smile. He was trying to ease our fears and get us to view this pregnancy as not being a high risk one. While I am comforted by his optimism and encouragement, it is hard for me to look at this experience as anywhere near normal.

I guess the best way for me to view it is that while the journey to conception was a difficult one, the actual pregnancy is the same as any other, but still unique and new to us.

A few of my close friends have asked if I am going to tell more people about the pregnancy yet. Shockingly, internet world, we have not told our siblings and families beyond our parents to this point. Christmas is only three days away and it would be a fun time to share the news. At the same time, we are not to 12 weeks yet (the suggested milestone when couples should feel safe to share). But then again, not every pregnant couple has had perfect embryo selection and three confirmation ultrasounds by week 9.

What is the final verdict? I think we will tell our siblings but still keep it under wraps from anyone else until week 12. But who knows... my overwhelming Christmas spirit might dissuade our plan:)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

'Tis the Season

'Tis the Season... for laziness! I apologize; I have not posted in over a week. I have a lack of ambition when it comes to basically anything. It is so weird! Normally, I can be compared to a tornado, constantly moving and aggressively working to wipe out my to-do list.

For about the last week, I have napped almost every day. For me, this is extremely strange. I am not a napper! And what's even more crazy is that I don't even intend to nap; I sit down on the couch and in less than five minutes, I'm out!

My nausea is still hanging around; I don't really feel hungry for anything. This friends, might be the biggest change of all! I am such a foodie. I start thinking about what delicious meal I plan to make for dinner at around 10 AM. With regard to Christmas meals, I usually start dreaming about prime rib and shrimp at the beginning of November. Now, even as I type, the typing of the word shrimp makes me scrunch up my nose in disgust. What is going on here!?

Just to solidify my point about my laziness: it's 4:19 PM and I am still in my pjs. Yes, this was one productive day. However, I do not want to complain; this is the best nausea I've encountered in my entire life! And, I've never heard of anyone dying from too many naps.

We had another check in with Dr. Sasson on Friday. The second ultrasound was even more fun because the baby doubled in size in just a week. The very second Dr. Sasson turned on the machine, we were able to see the "blob" on the screen. Hearing and seeing the heartbeat again solidified the truth that there is something in there!

We head back to Shady Grove this Friday for one final visit. It is bittersweet for sure. I have grown so attached to Dr. Sasson and the staff at Shady Grove, yet I am thrilled to be at the point where we are "graduating" from that clinic.

Chris and I were talking about what we could give to Dr. Sasson and the nurses as a thank-you. What do you give to people who have given you such a gift? I have a difficult time even expressing my thanks verbally let alone a tangible gift.

In the same moment, I think about my Heavenly Father who orchestrated it all, the mastermind behind IVF and our journey to parenthood. What can I give Him? How can I praise Him enough for the joy that He has allowed us to experience this Christmas?

I can give Him Baby Knipe. I promise to raise this child to have a heart for God and to glorify Him in all things. That pledge is about the best that I can offer.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Teeny, tiny, blinking heart!

It's been a few days since I have posted. The combination of holiday busyness and the general feeling of nausea that I have been experiencing of late can be be attributed to my lack of blog productivity. Sorry!

To get you up to speed, I will recap Friday's visit to Shady Grove. To be honest, Chris and I arrived to see Dr. Sasson with the almost certainty that we were pregnant with twins. I didn't post much about this just because I wanted to wait until we had ultrasound confirmation. Dr. Sasson told me multiple times that my high HCG levels were indicative of multiple births. That added to the known fact that we chose a two-embryo transfer contributed to Chris and my near certainty that I was carrying twins.

We arrived at the office and were taken back to the ultrasound room. Dr. Sasson eagerly greeted us; he said that if we were lucky, we would get to see a heartbeat on the screen. Apparently, at around six weeks, the heart starts beating. Last Friday, I was six weeks and one day, so we were hopeful that we would get to see an actual heartbeat.

The more pressing question was how many heartbeats we might be able to see. For a solid two minutes, Dr. Sasson looked around my uterus and didn't say anything. I was rigidly staring at the screen, praying that something would be in there! He kept telling me to breathe.

Breathe? Yeah, right! I was staring at the screen, anxiously awaiting some blob or mass that could be a baby.

And then, I saw it--- a teeny tiny flickering heart inside a sac. Even though I could barely see the form of a baby, seeing a beating heart was enough to bring us to tears.

Dr. Sasson did some more searching and didn't see another sac or another heartbeat. He did believe that two embryos originally implanted because my early HCG numbers were so high. However, at some point in the last week, we lost one of the babies.

I wrote in an earlier post that I never imagined I would be disappointed after hearing I was actually pregnant. But to be honest, my heart did sink a bit because Chris and I so definitely thought we would be adding two babies to our family this summer. At the same time, we were thrilled to have seen one heartbeat. It was such an odd, contradictory, happy-sad emotion, one that I have not exactly felt before.

Dr. Sasson spoke with us a while longer and covered the medications I need to continue to take (continue Estrogen and Progesterone twice daily until I reach eight weeks) and he went over my restrictions. At this point, he advised that I not do an strenuous activities, especially any activity that could be jolting. So it looks like I am going to be a walker for the next few weeks.

We will have another ultrasound this Friday and then another next Friday. After our third total ultrasound, we will "graduate" from Shady Grove. Weird, but good. I can't imagine not having Dr. Sasson be a part of my pregnancy and delivery, as he has been such an integral part in getting us to this point. However, he assured us that he will be speaking with my Williamsport OBGYN to get him/her up to speed.

Today, a few days after our first ultrasound, Chris and I have been able to process and work through our sadness over the lost baby, and we have been able to start gearing up for the unbelievable, incredible realization that I AM pregnant; this summer, we are going to hold a real, live baby!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


It's been about ten days since we got the official word on our positive pregnancy. I still pause throughout the day to revel in the joy that we will have a new addition to our family this summer. I have to say, it's been hard keeping my joy from bubbling up to the surface publicly. This secret-keeping thing is hard! I can keep secrets when they are serious, or when they must be prayed over. However, it's the exciting secrets that are hard ones to keep.

I actually had a flashback to age eight, when my parents told my brothers and me that they were pregnant with my sister. I so vividly remember the conversation. It was a weeknight. We were eating spaghetti and meatballs. My parents were seated at opposite ends of the table, whilst Ben, Dan, and I fought over who would get the last piece of garlic bread. I remember my parents being particularly quiet.

Mom: Your father has something he wants to tell you.

Dad: No, your mom has something to tell you.

Ben: Tell us what?  Are we finally getting horses for in the barn? (Side note: Prior to my parent's announcement of a new baby for our family, my brothers and I spent weeks cleaning out the barn with the promise of two horses and a pasture being held over our heads by our parents).

Mom: No, you're not getting horses. You are going to get another brother or sister. I am pregnant.

Neither one of my parents looked overjoyed at this proclamation  Instead, they sat at the table, quietly, still in disbelief that they would be adding a tag-along-kid to the Meckbach clan.

I, conversely  jumped out of my chair and proceeded to do cartwheels in the kitchen, screaming at the top of my lungs! At last, after years of being beat up, tortured, and teased, I would get to have a younger sibling to smother-mother. Both Dan and Ben seemed less than amused. In fact, Ben, being thirteen, was able to connect the dots that yes, his parents, actually did have sex. Gross. Dan, on the other hand, demanded that this new baby be a boy; if it was a girl, he was having no part in it. And, he insisted we better still be getting the horses.**

I remember my mom tucking me into bed that night. She talked about secrets and how this new baby was going to be a just-for-our-family-to-know secret for a while longer. I promised not to tell ANYONE, not even my bus driver, or my grandmother. 

Well, I was able to successfully keep the secret for nine hours (while sleeping). The next day, I announced to everyone at Loyalsock Valley Elementary School that my mom was pregnant!

The next night, after getting multiple congratulatory phone calls, my mom sat me down and asked me if I had told anyone that she was pregnant. Yikes. I was caught. I told her that I did and waited for some kind of punishment.

It never came. I think my mom realized that the secret of a new life added to our family was just too big for an eight year old future-older-sister-to-be to keep.

And so here I am, twenty years later, attempting to keep my own secret. 

Tomorrow, we head down to Shady Grove for our first ultrasound. I am excited to for once, actually see something in my uterus! For months, I have been staring at an empty uterus on the screen, looking at a literal void that I so figuratively felt. I have a feeling that I will be talking to the screen, similarly to the way I spoke to the Expectant Mother Parking Sign: Take that!

We will also be finding out whether we have one or two babies. I have been praying that God would help us get a handle on this situation. Never in a million years would I have thought I would be disappointed at finding out I was pregnant with one baby. It is hard now, however, because we know there is a chance that two babies are growing inside of me. It is difficult to control our expectations when we know way more about embryos and the reproductive process than we should.

And so the reminder hits me once more, that God has so perfectly carved for us His plan for our parenthood. He knows what we can handle and what is best for our lives, right here and right now. Even in our unknown, He is there and He knows all.

**Just in case you were wondering, we never did get the horses. But to this day, my sweet Carolyn is a way better gift! 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Expectant Mother Parking

My HCG numbers (the pregnancy hormone) are continuing to steadily rise. I am definitely still pregnant! 

I talked with Dr. Sasson on Wednesday and Chris and I are going to head down for an ultrasound next Friday, December 7th to check up on our baby or babies... 

I had few people email me asking me questions about how I feel physically this week. I don't feel any different other than the fact that I've had slight cramping a few times per day (Dr. Sasson says it is my uterus stretching as the uterus grows at a faster rate than the baby) and some spotting (sorry if that is too much info, but I told you I'd keep it real. If spotting happens to you try not to worry too much. Dr. Sasson said that as long as it is just spotting and not heavy bleeding, all is well. The spotting comes from blood vessels popping as the uterus stretches). 

Other than that, I feel totally normal. Well actually above-and-beyond normal as I still smile at the thought of being pregnant! Sorry if this is overkill, but have I said lately that I am in heaven?

Also, tonight Chris and I went to Wegman's and I made him park in the Expectant Mother parking spot. I have been staring at that spot with disgust for the past three years. I don't think I'll be parking there every time I visit Wegman's (well, maybe I might) but tonight it just felt like I had won the battle, sitting in the spot that has haunted me for so long. I know it's just a parking spot, but for me, it is more like a box that we can finally check off in our journey to actually having a family. So take that, stupid parking spot!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Yesterday began at 6:00 AM when Chris and I sprinted into the Divine Providence Hospital lab for my blood work. Dr. Sasson did request that my blood work results be sent to him STAT, but I didn't exactly know what STAT meant in the Williamsport blood work world. STAT could mean immediately, or in a few hours, or sometime that day. Needless to say, I came home from the lab and tried to busy myself with work, waiting for a phone call from Shady Grove. 

At around 10:45, the phone rang. I could tell by the caller ID that it was Shady Grove. I took a deep breath, and answered the call. 

I immediately heard Dr. Sasson's voice.

"Rachel? Hi, it's Dr. Sasson."

 "Hi." (At this point, I was on the verge of crying, sweating, and vomiting simultaneously)

"I am standing here with Morgan and Stephanie and Jamie and we all want to tell you congratulations because you are pregnant! You did it!"

"What? Oh my gosh. No way!" (Insert blubbering crying, hysterical screaming, crying some more, and a few "I can't-believe-its" and "Praise Gods" and I think you can get the picture of my response). 

"I will wait a few minutes for you to catch your breath. Let me know when you are ready."

"Ok, I'm ready."

"Your levels look great and you are definitely five weeks pregnant. I want you to do repeat blood work on Wednesday and Friday, just make sure your levels continue to rise. I will see you for an ultrasound in a few weeks to make sure that everything is going smoothly, and then you will be formally discharged from Shady Grove to your own doctor in Williamsport."

This is the best I can do to recount the conversation. I just remember sitting at my desk being in complete shock that it really was happening, that finally, we had confirmation of a tiny life or lives that would be added to our family.

After I hung up the phone, I quickly changed and ran out of the door. I wanted to tell Chris immediately but I didn't want to do it over the phone. The whole way to his office, I was crying and smiling, in a state of pure joy. I am surprised I was able to navigate and make it there in one piece!

I texted Chris and asked him to come out to the parking lot. I saw him push open the door of the Children's Development Center. He wore a look of concern, but as soon as he saw me smiling, he started running to the car. He jumped in the passenger seat and grabbed me. 

"I'm pregnant. It worked. Oh my gosh, I'm pregnant!" 

We bawled our faces off for about fifteen minutes, sitting in the parking lot. He asked me to recount, word for word, what Dr. Sasson told me. I did my best. 

After about twenty minutes of in-the-Subaru celebration, Chris thought he should probably go back in to work since no one knew why he had flown out the door earlier. I will never forget seeing him practically skip back into work. 

While we are absolutely thrilled beyond words, we do realize that we can't tell the world right away. Heck, if it were up to me, I'd be telling anyone, whether I knew him or not!

We did tell our parents last night, however. My parents have really been on this journey with me and have been supporting us spiritually and emotionally for over three years. 

Upon telling my parents, my dad stood up slowly and walked toward me. He hugged me for a few minutes, tears streaming down his face, saying, "Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus."

My mom jumped up and down and hugged Chris and then me and then both of us.

Next, we drove to Chris's parent's house. While his parents were aware that we were facing some fertility issues, they did not know the extreme to which we struggled. 

Chris told his parents and his mom and dad just sat still for a moment in disbelief and then they jumped up and started hugging us. I think his dad was at a loss for words, and so all that came out was, "We're so proud of you guys," which immediately made me laugh because it sounded so funny! Proud of us for what? We should all be proud of Dr. Sasson and proud to be children of a miraculous God! 

I made them all swear to secrecy that they would not tell anyone else until we decided it would be a safer time to tell the masses. That goes for you too, cyber world! We are really pushing to wait to tell everyone until January. Here's to hoping we can hold out that long! 

All in all, it was such an emotional, memorable day for us. I climbed into bed last night, emotionally exhausted, yet indescribably content. I woke up several times throughout the night to Chris, grabbing my hand and whispering, "Just in case you forgot, we're pregnant."

Heaven. Pure heaven.

Monday, November 26, 2012

November 26th

Wow! Even though each day lately has felt 100 hours long, we've miraculously made it to November 26th, the day when we can hear officially if the first round of IVF was successful. Over the past week, I have been doing everything I can to stay busy, including some odd tasks:

Leaf blowing the yard, vacuuming (three times last week), cooking Thanksgiving dinner for Chris's family, putting up two Christmas trees and a Christmas village complete with two train sets, re-caulking the bathtubs, practicing the piano, putting up my parents' outside Christmas lights, hosting a group from our church for fellowship and brunch, folding laundry, lint rolling the furniture, and organizing the hall closet.

Yep. I am totally sane.

At 6:00 AM this morning, Chris and I strolled into Divine Providence Hospital's outpatient lab so I could get my blood work completed.

And now, it's 9:08 AM,  and we are waiting to get a phone call from Dr. Sasson. That's all I've got for now.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Patience is a virtue...

...that I have yet to conquer!

Remember my earlier post about being patient? I just want you to know that I haven't mastered it yet.

I called Shady Grove yesterday to schedule my pregnancy bloodwork appointment for next Monday (approximately six days and twelve hours from now, but who's counting?). Chris and I clearly would do anything to find out if we are pregnant or not, but the thought of driving six hours roundtrip down to Philly for a needle stick seemed a bit annoying. I asked if I could get the blood test done in Williamsport somehow. A few phone calls later and it's a go!

Dr. Sasson sent me an order for bloodwork via email and he marked that the results had to be sent to him STAT--- as in, the same day. He will call us as soon as he gets the results on Monday. I checked the hours at our local hospital lab, and it opens at 6 AM on Monday. I'm not saying I'll be there at 6 AM... but I might be.

Even now, as I type, I am giddy and delirious with nervous energy.... and yet, it's only Tuesday.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

In the fullness of time...

This waiting game thing is for the birds! And as I write that phrase I wonder, where did that expression even came from?! A quick Google search and: 

In the days before automobiles, the streets were filled with horse-drawn carriages, and these animals quite naturally left behind deposits from their digestive systems. These emissions contained half-digested oats that attracted swarms of birds, which took nourishment from the deposits. The people of the time coined the expression “for the birds” as meaning anything of the same value as these horse-droppings.
We say that something that is worthless is “for the birds”.
While I think that waiting stinks (not literally as in horse-droppings), I know there must be some value to waiting. We see many examples of people in the Bible waiting on God---waiting for a miracle, or waiting for direction, or waiting for a promise to be fulfilled . My two weeks is nothing in comparison to Abraham and Sarah's waiting 100 plus years for a baby. Even though I might feel like I am wandering through a 40-year dessert, I'm not. 
What value comes from waiting? With regard to my current situation, I am not exactly being patient. I want November 26th to be yesterday. Regardless, God is working to increase my patience. And maybe, I will need to reference this time later, when I am exhausted, running around cleaning up twin messes! (I can only hope!) Or, when a sibling is predictably unconcerned with helping clean up after  the family Thanksgiving feast, or when a visitor wants to talk with me after church and my stomach is growling for lunch. We can all think of instances where more patience could be so valued.
I don't think we ever master the art of waiting. However, I do think God gives us the tools to handle the wait. He offers unimaginable strength and fortitude to help us when we feel like time or answers evade us.
James 1:4
But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing 
Psalm 40:1 
I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry
 Isaiah 40:31 
But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint

Romans 8:24-25 

For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience

Romans 12:12 

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 

Romans 15:4-5 

For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus.

Galatians 5:22-23 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Unfailing Love

This morning I write with both a sad and hopeful heart. Mentally, I go from one end of the spectrum to the other, and here's why: 

Yesterday, Shady Grove called to tell us that none of the remaining embryos made it to the point where they could be frozen and stored for future use. We left Shady Grove on Tuesday knowing we had three in the running, hopeful that at least one would make it. 

I probably seem like a weirdo, but those embryos were precious to us already, literally tiny pieces of us. While I am overjoyed that two of the embryos were transferred Tuesday, I'm saddened at the thought that the remaining three didn't make it. 

I've caught myself smiling at the thought of two baby Knipes, potentially our future family, growing inside of me. And then, only a moment, later, I am saddened as I remember that they are all we have left at this point.

If I do not get pregnant this month, we will have to start from scratch next month, shots and all. This is something that I am willing to do, but it is something that I do not want to do. I am praying that I will be able to get myself mentally in the "best place" during this two week wait: Should I be 100% optimistic, believing that I am pregnant with twins? If I'm not pregnant, I'm going to be devastated. Should I be cautious, already outlining Plan B should this not work? I don't know if that' a healthy outlook either. The reality is, I will be heartbroken if I do not get pregnant, but God has not forsaken me this far. He's not going to leave me in the middle of a trial.

On Sunday, our sermon outlined a Biblical approach to handing the unknown. The speaker said, "God has never given me the ability to see what is coming down the pike. I never know what is headed my way next. But, I always know who is going to be there. God has always been at every event, good or bad, in my life. Focus on who is going to show up for you, not what is going happen."

God has so graciously and amazingly paved the way for us to be where we are right now. As I think back over the past few years and the struggles we have encountered, He has shown His power and been so gracious to us. He has shown up in the very minute we needed him (Hello! Read Tuesday's transfer day blog!). 

I know I get too much into my own head. I over think. I question. God knows that. He knows me. And I am so loved by Him that He would never abandon me. That, friends, is how to walk through uncertainty---- look at what you know to be true and unfailing---- His love for us.

Romans 8:38-39

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Peace and Hope

Chris and I went to bed last night having not fully resolved the one or two embryo transfer decision. We decided that we would pray more and hope that clarity would find its way into our hearts and minds prior to the 11:30 AM transfer.

I kept waking up throughout the night, opening my eyes fervently asking God: What should we do? God, please give us a nudge one way or another!

Anyone who knows Chris and me knows that we are pro/con people, chart makers, spreadsheet specialist... nerds who make most major decisions logically (Chris) and decisively (Rachel). For the three hour ride to the doctor's office, we talked in circles, paused to pray, talked some more... We weren't frantic, but we just didn't feel peace about which decision to make. 

Added to the decision tango was the fact that I had to arrive at the clinic with a moderately full bladder--not so full that I would be doing the potty dance in the parking lot of the clinic, but full enough to feel it. Attempting to find this urinary balance was a feat. I've never really paid attention to my water intake and subsequent bathroom usage before so I didn't know how to reach the right balance. Two bathroom breaks later (I think I was too overzealous with the water drinking in the first part of the trip), I started fresh with a new bottle of water around Allentown. I sipped it periodically and we arrived in the parking lot of the clinic, full bladder and all. 

Before heading in, Chris grabbed my hand and we prayed a final time. We prayed that God would give us peace and clarity. A hug and a kiss and we were on our way.

We were called back quickly and asked to change-- me into a gown, and Chris into this "awesome" outfit!

Yep, he is one cool guy.
We sat down with the embryologist, Maria and Dr. Munabi. The embryologist updated us on how our embryos were doing: two were "absolutely perfect" and three were still underdeveloped. The three underdeveloped embryos were still in the game, but were not ready for a transfer today. The two "absolutely perfect" embryos were ready, if we wanted to choose two. 

We talked to Dr. Munabi about the risks, benefits etc.---- all information we had already known coming in to the conversation. We asked medical professional their opinions. Each said they would lean toward two embryos because of their superior grades. It is not often that two embryos are ready and have the same grade at the same time. 

Well, we asked for a sign. And we got one. Two medical professionals, encouraging the transfer of two embryos. 

Dr. Sasson, our primary doctor at Shady Grove, was away today. I wondered, what would he think? He had been encouraging us to only do one... (see note at the end of the post).

Chris and I talked for a minute more and then both firmly decided that we wanted two. 

We headed back to the operating room and things went smoothly from there. Dr. Munabi made me feel so relaxed and told me what he was doing before he did it. What was super cool was that we got to watch the transfer (the embryos coming out of the catheter into my uterus) on a screen. We were able to see everything. It was the best show I've ever seen! 

After the transfer was over, I rested for a while, and Chris and I chatted with the embryologist. She was so sweet; she brought us a photo of the two embryos that she had taken with the microscope, right before the transfer: 
Unbelievable! Embryo 1 and 2.  

We drove home, pretty much on cloud nine, thankful that we felt at peace about our decision and hopeful for what is to come!  

Note: Dr. Sasson called this afternoon to check on us. He said had he been at the office this morning to see the two best embryos, he would have encouraged the transfer of two also. 

You might be wondering about the three remaining embryos: We will get a call tomorrow from Maria letting us know if any of them made it to the final stage, the stage where it is safe to freeze them for future use. We could have three remaining, two, one or none. I will post tomorrow with that update.

Monday, November 12, 2012

And then there were five

We received a call from the embryologist this morning giving us a time for tomorrow's transfer: 11:30. I am glad it's not super early as we can now sleep at our house and drive down in the morning in the light! This might be our first morning trip not in complete darkness.

The science behind choosing which embryo(s) are best is somewhat above me, however I will try to give you the basics. 

Essentially, each embryo receives a grade on a one to five scale (1= great, 5= not so hot). Embryos get their scores based on symmetry, size, etc. Today, we have four embryos that received grades of 1 (I'm so proud! Ha!) and one that has a grade of a 1.5. Unfortunately, we did loose one embryo over the course of the past  twenty four hours. 

The embryologist discussed our options for tomorrow, not knowing how many embryos we will have prior to the morning transfer. We could still have five, or we could have four, or three, or two. She was positive that we would have at least two remaning, worst case scenario. 

This whole thing is nerve-wracking! Nothing like planning for your future family over the course of twenty four hours! 

The embryologists asked if we wanted to implant one or two embryos. Previously, we were thinking we wanted two, but after discussing the risks with our doctor and my aunt (seasoned labor and delivery nurse) we decided to implant just one. However, learning that we might only have two total embryos to deal with tomorrow, we are thinking we might do two. I don't know. To be honest, our minds change hourly. 

I think my transfer procedure will actually be closer to noon tomorrow, so the embryologist blocked off time for us to sit and chat with her and with Dr. Munabi, the doctor who is doing the transfer (Dr. Sasson is out of town tomorrow:( ). We can't really make a super informed decision regarding the number we want to transfer until we know tomorrow's information. It's not exactly like we can flip a coin on something so huge... 

It's funny-- we always want to take control and dictate what the outcome will be in our lives. We want to make God's decisions for Him. And now, that Chris and I have the ability to make the decision of one or two embryos, one or two babies, we are scared out of our minds. 

As this situation comes to mind today and through the night, I am going to continue to pray for clarity and direction so that we can go into transfer tomorrow at peace. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Embryo Update

Let's start with this: I should have paid more attention in ninth grade biology class when we learned about cell division! Each day since the egg retrieval, Dr. Sasson has called to update us regarding the number and size of the embryos. We can tell the strength of the embryos based on how many times each has divided. The following is a timeline that outlines the information we have received from Shady Grove regarding the embryos:

Basic Timeline

THURSDAY--Egg Retrieval: Thirteen eggs retrieved. The eggs were fertilized Thursday PM.

FRIDAY-- Two eggs were not large enough to fertilize, three did not fertilize at all, so that left us with eight embryos remaining at the very beginning stages of division/growth.

SATURDAY-- Six of the eight embryos were two cell embryos, meaning they divided once. Two of the eight were four cell embryos, meaning they divided twice and were a bit "ahead of the pack". Dr. Sasson advised us that there was a small chance we could be asked to come in on Sunday for a Day 3 transfer, but he said it looked like a Day 5 (Tuesday) transfer would be more likely.

SUNDAY (today)-- Dr. Sasson called at 7AM to let us know that we now have six embryos remaining. All of them are eight cell embryos. This is good! He told us we are going to push for a Day 5 transfer; he said the embryos looked "gorgeous"and that they are chugging along!

It is so strange; I already feel like they are ours. When I hear that an embryo is no longer viable, I honestly feel a bit saddened. I don't even know them, yet I know them. God knows them. Chris and I know them more than parents who conceive babies the traditional way... We have some extra science knowledge on our end. They are teeny tiny specs in a petri dish... but they are inconceivably more to us.

Some of you have asked about my meds: I am now taking estrogen and progesteron three times a day to get my reproductive system restored and back on track. No negative side effects to report to date.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Close to Parents?

The egg retrieval yesterday was a complete whirlwind, but it didn't really seem like one to me because I was drugged up for the majority of the day--- which was fine with me! I need to back up a bit though as I want to recap everything, even the little things, that God placed in my path over the course of the last two days. 

Chris and I drove down to Philadelphia last night and stayed over at The Valley Forge Casino Tower so we could be close to the clinic in the morning. I know what you're thinking: Casino Tower? Yes, due to a huge convention in the area, multiple hotels were already booked, which limited our options. I was hesitant to book a room at the Casino Tower, but hey, we were rolling the dice with this IVF procedure, why not stay at a place infamous for dice rolling?! As an English teacher, I could not walk away from the symbolism and irony....

You should have seen us: two stragglers, rolling in from the snowy PA Turnpike, dressed in sweatpants and sneakers. 

As we checked in at the front desk, Chris says, "We don't exactly look like high rollers, Rach. I think people are looking at us!" 

I didn't mind. All I was looking for was a clean room with a soft bed. However, I was a bit nervous and wasn't really expecting a grand hotel stay as I had booked our room at the discounted rate. 

We sloppily plowed into our room, bags, disheveled hair and all, and were completely shocked: the room was huge! Pristine linens, a huge jacuzzi bathtub, immaculate carpet and sinks... This couldn't be right.

"I think they gave us the wrong room," I said, still standing in the doorway, taking it all in. 

Chris checked with the front desk, and yes, we were in the right room. Thank you God!

I am not a high maintenance gal; if I were asked to vacation in a tent or a hotel, I would pick the tent.  But last night, I just needed a no-worry, relaxing, clean place to sleep. Thank you God! I slept like a rock until my alarm at 5:30. God knew I needed recharging before the day ahead! 

As we walked out of the hotel to our car, we looked up and saw a huge letter "V" atop of the hotel. It stood for Valley Forge, but of course, Chris says, "Oh yeah. That's a good sign. 'V' for victory for us today!" ... I told you he is always Mr. Optimism.

Once we got to the clinic, things went quickly. I changed into a gown and started IV meds. I was so glad that my nurse for the procedure was Stephanie, a kind, funny nurse whom I've grown to love. I immediately was comforted knowing that she was going to be with me for the morning. Thank you God!

As I was rolled back into the operating room, I started singing a song from my childhood days at Agape Fellowship-- the core verse is Joshua 1:9:

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

It was perfect timing for some mental song and dance! 

To be blunt, there was a period of time prior to being completely put under where I panicked, as I was strapped down and prepped. Still, Joshua 1:9, Joshua 1:9, Joshhhhuuuuaaa 1 ..... and I was out! 

I woke up in recovery, feeling pressure and cramping, but feeling relieved it was over. Stephanie and Chris were right there, giving me extra blankets and watching me wake up.

Apparently, Chris said I was somewhat emotional, crying softly, telling Stephanie: "I am not a wimp. Really. I'm not. I'm tough." 

I don't remember this at all. Will confirm with Stephanie at my next office visit. (I think Chris just likes to finally have some ammo against me...)

Dr. Sasson came into recovery and told us that he retrieved 13 good eggs. He seemed happy with that number and told us that the eggs would be fertilized that day. He would call us tomorrow, and each day until transfer, with the total number of viable embryos. 

When I was awake enough to leave, I was given some more pain meds, wrapped up in warm blankets, and put into the car. After yesterday, I am convinced that heated seats are the best invention of all time, with Vicodin in a close second.

We got home and I slept on and off throughout the day. La la land is a great place in which to recover! 

This morning (morning after) I am feeling good. I still have cramping, but Tylenol is enough to cover it. 

As I was writing this post, Dr. Sasson called. He said that of the thirteen eggs retrieved two were too small to fertilize, and three simply did not fertilize at all. So, we have eight tiny Knipe embryos at this point. He still cannot predict a Day Three or Day Five Transfer; he should be able to predict that, based on the strength of the remaining embryos, tomorrow. He said that they would watch the embryos closely and call us if there are any changes. 

In this moment, I am overcome with emotion. This is the closest thing to being parents that Chris and I have ever felt.  It is unbelievable, terrifying, thrilling... To someone outside of the IVF experience, we might look strange, looking longingly and lovingly at the mention of our petri dish children. But really, this is the closest we have ever been to the realization of parenthood. 

Looking back over the past two days, I see how God hand picked each person (Chris, Dr. Sasson, Nurse Stephanie), each place ("Victory" Valley Forge Casino Tower, Shady Grove Fertility Center), and each thing (drugs and heated seats!) into our paths. 

Now, we anxiously await more news from the embryology lab, and are once more reminded that He is a God who loves us so deeply that He knows what we need before our minds conceive of it. Now that's inconceivable! 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


My appointment this morning went well-- my blood work and ultrasound results looked good.

Tonight at 8 PM, I will take my trigger shots--- the shots that will trigger ovulation. Dr. Sasson is using a dual trigger protocol, so I will do a shot of Lupron and a shot of HCG. The ovulation timing is very important with regard to the egg retrieval. I was bummed to hear that I had to go back tomorrow morning (I am getting tired of car rides!) for a quick blood work appointment, just to check my levels post trigger. 

My dad is going to drive me down again though; I am so grateful to him, as he will have taken three days off to chauffeur me back and forth! 

I wish I could just stay down there after my appointment tomorrow, but logistically I can't. If Chris were to drive down after work, we would have two cars in Philly. As I am not able to drive after the procedure on Thursday, two cars would be an issue. So, my dad will bring me home in the early afternoon tomorrow, and then when Chris gets done with work, we will head back down. It's crazy, but hey, at this point, what's another trip!?!

We are going to stay in a hotel a few miles from the clinic tomorrow night. We didn't want the stress of an early wake up and a three hour drive on such an important day! Egg retrieval is set for 7:30 AM on Thursday.

I learned today that after tonight, I won't have to do any more shots! After tonight's triggers, we are done with shots! I will take a precautionary antibiotic but that is it! 

I am not sure if I will be able to post tomorrow, or Thursday for that matter. I am going to try though! 

Here is my disclaimer, however: My nurse told me I will be taking Vicodin for a few days after the procedure, so I'm going to apologize now for any typos or discombobulated verbiage that may occur! 

So Far, So Good

This morning, I had the pleasure of my dad's company for the car ride down to Philly and back. For a man who is awkward at the discussion of reproduction/women's physical issues etc., it was shocking that he actually volunteered to be my chauffeur! We are both political news junkies, so we spent the six hour car ride listening to political commentary and solving the world's problems. Election Day is tomorrow, so we had to give our two cents... 

Also popping into our conversation today was mention of God's faithfulness during times of trial, Throughout my whole life, I have idolized my father, to a certain extent. He has had his fair share of struggles. It has only been within the past few years that he has opened up and discussed some of the hardships and insecurities he's faced in his life. Today, he lamented that he wished he would have allowed more of his struggles to shine through and be visible to our family--- he wished that he would have been more open with us when we were younger about some of the difficult things he and my mom have faced in their thirty five years of marriage.

I didn't initially understand why he would have wanted to share hardships with us, his children. What parent would want their children to know the struggles of their parents, I wondered. 

Our family is so incredibly blessed. We have never wanted for anything, and have been raised to know Christ. However, my dad told me he wished he would have shared more during difficult times so that we, as a family, would have been able to see God's hand at work in the outcome. So often, we think that our hard work or our genetics are what help us through difficult trials, when in reality, it's God, guiding us to His perfect plan. 

My dad knows me. He knows I'm a control freak. I am a product of him, after all. He knows this is a private, tough struggle, not exactly the kind you want to broadcast to everyone. It's ironic that that is exactly what I am doing via this blog.... but from the safety of my home, with distance between the my words and your eyes.  

Even though it was slightly awkward, driving to a fertility clinic with my father, today was a special day, as my dad was able to share a piece of this vulnerable time with me. 

And of course it wasn't all serious talk today; as soon as we walked into the waiting room at the clinic, I'm pretty sure everyone thought my dad was actually my husband--- it was awkward, yet really funny. We got some odd looks. 

My dad commented, "I think they think I'm the sugar daddy who is too old to impregnate his wife." I wanted to laugh and vomit in my mouth at the same time! I left my dad in the waiting room in the awkwardness alone; I owe him one, for sure! 

With regard to the actual appointment, everything seems to be on track for a Thursday retrieval. My eggs measured even bigger today, which was good. My hormone levels are a bit elevated, so Dr. Sasson is going to lower my Menipur and Follistim to 150 iu each. 

I head back tomorrow morning at nine to make sure everything still looks promising.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Final Stretch

Well, we've made it to the final stretch-- one week from today (assuming all goes as planned) I will be undergoing embryo transfer, where two* embryos will be put back in my uterus---  we pray one or both will result in a baby or babies! This week should prove to be a whirlwind, but I am glad for it as I hope I will be so busy that I won't be counting every minute that passes.

This morning, Chris and I woke up early to drive down for another monitoring check up. Thanks to daylight savings time, we did get an extra hour of sleep, but it was still pitch black and about thirty degrees as we pulled out of the driveway. Before I know it, Chris puts in a CD and pumps up the volume--- the theme song from the movie "Rocky" begins to play. 

"We can do this! One more week!" Chris chanted along to the corny, yet motivational music. 

I started laughing immediately. Reason # 498 why I love my husband.

Our check up went more smoothly today. It was Dr. Sasson's weekend off so we had another doctor at Shady Grove. At first, I was nervous because I have become so accustomed to Dr. Sasson. However, I was immediately put at ease as Dr. Munabi walked in, smiling warmly. 

My estrogen levels are rising over 1,000 so that is good. Dr. Munabi checked out my egg supply-- the shots are really working because the eggs are increasing in size and there may be more than previously thought. All in all, Dr. Munabi said we should feel really good about where we are at this point. 

I have to be monitored tomorrow (Monday) and again Tuesday. Because I am tired of driving myself (and because I am getting behing with my work!), my dad is going to serve as my driver for the next two days. He is always a force for comic relief, so I am looking forward to spending twelve plus hours with him in the car. 

It is looking like the egg retrieval will be Thursday; Chris will take off to come with me that day. The nurse gave me a script for Vicodin and told me to fill it prior to Thursday's appointment... I'm not feeling too hot about that prospect, but hey, as my aunt who is a nurse would say, "Better living through drugs!"

Oh and I almost forgot: My meds did get here. The pharmacy that was affected by the hurricane referred us to another pharmacy who overnighted my next batch of shots. All is well in hormone-ville. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

On the Mend

I am in a better place this morning, thanks to a good night's sleep, encouragement from Chris, and a better outlook on this coming week.

One of our worries as we approached proceeding with IVF was what to do with any remaining embryos that we didn't end up using. For example, if we had ten viable embryos, and only decided to have four kids, what would we do with the remaining embryos? The aforementioned question has caused a heated debated between Christians and non-Christians alike. I don't even want to go there because I know everyone has an opinion and that's not the purpose of this post.

Shady Grove presented us with a few options for the remaining embryos:

1) Donate them to research-- research that would further IVF procedures and increase the odds of pregnancy for other couples in our shoes down the road.

2) Give them to couples who are not able to produce embryos-- essentially embryo adoption. I know-- a difficult concept to grasp, but one that could be really meaningful to a couple who wants to have the experience of pregnancy and birth, but who can't otherwise.

3) Implant the remaining embryos into my uterus during a time in my cycle when odds of conception is low.... essentially, let nature take its course within certain parameters. (I was not a fan of this one-- it seemed like another way to dispose of the embryos, but more naturally? I don't know...)

4) Literally dispose of them. 

As you can imagine, Chris and I have been grappling with what to do with remaining embryos since day one. We won't know how many remaining embryos we have until the end of next week, when we will know how many viable embryos there are to begin with.

God gave me Chris because he is the silver lining guy. The glass is most always half full with him. Last night, Chris said something that made me feel so much better: Dr. Sasson told us we don't have many eggs to begin with. Fewer eggs means fewer fertilized embryos, and fewer fertilized embryos means, perhaps, no remaining embryos to agonize over in the end.

Again, it's like God is asking: Do you trust me now, Rachel? Can't you see I've got this master plan that is so beyond what you could wish for? 

So yeah. Today, my stomach is sore, but my heart is on the mend.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Waiting for Dawn

When I started this blog a few weeks back, I promised that I would candidly discuss the IVF process and that I would really keep my heart pried open, so you could see all if it--- the good, the bad, and the ugly. Well folks, here is today's dose of reality, not masked as anything but what really happened today:

This day was such a whirlwind, and it's not even over yet! This morning I went for monitoring at Shady Grove. My bloodwork showed that my hormones are right on track but my egg count is down from where Dr. Sasson would like to see it. He counted and measured the eggs in my right and left ovaries, indicating that I had about eight to ten total. After the exam, I got dressed and he pulled me into his office. I was uneasy, not knowing what he was going to tell me, and I felt really vulnerable without Chris with me.

Dr. Sasson sat down next to me and told me that in all honesty, he was disappointed that my ovaries have not responded more this cycle. He said we still have good odds, but he said he would have expected to see fifteen to twenty total eggs today.

I stated back at him, still groggy from my three hour early morning drive.

In my head, I was thinking: Seriously. You do not know who you are talking to.

No amount of my Type A, overachiever, OCD mindset could miraculously produce the results Dr. Sasson wanted. I felt totally inadequate. I know he didn't mean to make me feel that way, but let's call a spade a spade here--- I'm a hormonal mess. Inadequacy+fatigue+hormones= a bad day.

"So where do we go from here?" I asked.

Dr. Sasson advised that we ramp up my meds, starting tonight. My Follistim will stay at 225 iu. The Menipur will be tripled. I will also start taking Gonirelix.

All of the shots should encourage maturation of the eggs I do have. Dr. Sasson did end on an encouraging note, saying that I am young, and that I might not need to start out with twenty eggs prior to fertilization. Because my eggs are young (28 years old!), my odds for fertilization are better than someone older.

Dr. Sasson gave me a hug and said, "I told you at the beginning that we learn something from every cycle. We learned that your right ovary just isn't liking the meds as much, and we learned that we need to up your dosages earlier."

And then the doubt crept in: Was he really insinuating that we would learn from this month's cycle when we start again next month? Was that the underlying message?  Is he trying to prep me for disappointment? Rachel, you are so dumb to have allowed yourself to get so excited over something that might not even work...

On the ride home, I started blaring Christmas music (I know it's November 2nd). I wanted to feel happy; Christmas music usually does the trick.

Not today.

At around mile marker number 31, I pulled the car over, and began sobbing---the gross, mucus inducing, red eye making, stomach heaving sobs. Then came the stream-of-consciousness ranting:

Why is this happening? I thought this was going to finally mean things would go my way. I hate people who can just have sex with their husbands and get pregnant during month one. Stupid **** people. Stupid. God, what are You doing? I'm so tired... Help me... 

I am glad that everyone on the PA Turnpike drives between 70 and 80 miles per hour. If they were going any slower, they could have looked over at me on the side of the road and seen the jumbled mess I was today.

I made it home and got a call from Dr. Sasson's nurse, checking in. She went over my new medication protocol and then asked me to check to make sure that I had enough medication to get through to Wednesday. Because we are tripling my dosage  I will not have enough. I called the specialty pharmacy who had delivered the meds to my door last week. They are based in New Jersey. Due to Hurricane Sandy, they are wiped out. I did get another number and left a message there; I am waiting for a call back as I type.

It's like God is asking, "Do you trust me yet, Rachel?" 

I told you this would be a candid post. I am not a solid rock today.

I am going downstairs now, pjs already on at 4:00 PM... Tomorrow is a new day. I do know His mercies are new every morning. I can't wait for dawn. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Monitoring Mania

I am already feeling like my car could literally drive itself to Shady Grove. This morning, I woke up and headed town the PA Turnpike once more for an appointment. I was supposed to go yesterday, but due to Hurricane Sandy's arrival, Shady Grove pushed my appointment back a day. 

The office still had no power today, but they did have strong generators which enabled the essential machines to work. I had bloodwork and an internal ultrasound to check out my egg stash. 

For the past few days, I have been feeling slight cramping, almost like bloating, on my left side. The Follistim and Menipur are working; I have eleven eggs on my left ovary and three on my right. 

Dr. Sasson said it looks good but he would like my eggs to be a bit larger and more numerous. He is increasing the Menipur from 75iu to 125iu. 

I head back for another monitoring appointment Friday and then another on Sunday. 

I asked Dr. Sasson if he could ballpark the egg retrieval and the embryo transfer dates. He estimated that retrieval would be next Wednesday or Thursday (11/7 or 11/8) with the embryo transfer the following Sunday or Monday (11/11 or 11/12). 

Side note: Sorry if today's post is a bit jumbled. As I sit to quickly jot down the past days' events, I am constantly jumping up to head to the door to great trick-or-treaters! Tonight is our first Halloween on Grampian. It is so fun to see so many families come out in this area. Even though I am not a huge fan of Halloween, I love seeing so many families out together! Perhaps next year we will have a chubby baby to dress up in some hysterical costume... We will see! 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Two heads are better than one... right?

Last night, Chris and I met in the kitchen to get all of my meds ready. I am currently taking Menipur and Follistem- two injectable ovary stimulating hormones. I am supposed to take them each night before bed. Talk about a fun routine! While we did sit through an injection class at Shady Grove two weeks ago, apparently we forgot what we "learned". 

We picked through all the meds the pharmacy sent to find the Follistem and Menipur. The Follistem was pretty easy to get ready-- we just put the vial into the shot pen and dialed up to 225 miligrams. The shot didn't hurt at all; the needle was so small I could barely see it!

The Menipur was another story. We had two vials-- one with liquid in it and the other with powder. We mixed the two together. We were supposed to draw 75 miligrams from the mixed vial. To be honest, I think there are multiple ways to go about this process; Chris is a firm believer in only ONE right way. He was disinfecting everything with alcohol and was ranting about reading the instructions. We truly are the tortoise and the hare. He is Mr. Slow-And-Steady-Wins-The-Race and I am Hurry-Up-And-Get-It-Done! 

After a ten minute debate about proper injection protocol, we located the correct needle for the Menipur shot. The needle was so much bigger than the Follistem needle. The shot burned during injection, but it only lasted a minute or two. 

Each night, I am going to alternate which side I inject into so that my stomach won't be too sore. No one told me to do this, but I feel like it makes sense.

I have no doubt that mixing and administering the shots will get easier, especially now that Chris has written down a step by step guide for his own reference (diagrams included). I'm not kidding.

Where did I find this guy? :) 

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Drugs are Here

My fertility medications/shots came today via Fed Ex. Just in case you were wondering what $5,543 of medication looks like, check this out: 

As I take the meds, I will update you as to what each is specifically. I'll also let you know how each is taken. 

I am not afraid of the needles or side effects; I am afraid that I will miss a dose or mess up the drug progression. Shady Grove gave me a chart with all of that information on it, so that does make me feel a bit better. 

It's funny. Today I've had a song from one of my childhood Agape Fellowship church musicals stuck in my head. It is a catchy tune, one that can be borderline annoying. The key verse from the tune is Philippians 4:13: 

"I can do anything through Him who gives me strength."

I'm guessing God doesn't think He's annoying me with it today... He's just reminding me that I'm not alone.

 More updates to come soon.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

In the Thick of Things

I think it is easy for Christians to speak of times of insecurity AFTER they know the outcome. I hear it all the time: "God is so good! I got the job!" or "God is so faithful. My test results came back negative."

Is it necessary to speak of instances where God has blessed us and answered prayers? ABSOLUTELY. Is it easier to share about those instances after the fact, when a favorable outcome has occurred? ABSOLUTELY. 

Contrary to those instances, I have found the greatest solace and encouragement from those rare gems who share what God is doing, or maybe not doing in their lives, right in the thick of it.

Chris and I got back last night from a whirlwind trip to New Orleans. I attended an education conference during the days and Chris took a much needed break from work and toured the city. Each night, we went out on the town, exploring and eating melt-in-your-mouth, classic New Orleans' cousine. 

I was thrilled to have Chris with me on the trip, even though I did have to work for some of the time. It was a much needed change of scenery for us, and a way to help time pass more quickly as our IVF anticipation continues to grow.

We got back around midnight last night. This morning, I woke up at 5: 30 and drove to Philadelphia for a check in with Dr. Sasson. I had baseline ultrasound and blood work. Everything looks within the normal ranges and we are going to START. Finally, the real deal! 

On Friday morning, I will begin taking the new meds: Menipur and Follistem. Both shots will get my ovaries working overtime, hopefully to produce many eggs for retrieval. These stimulatory shots will last between 10-12 days. 

During the 10-12 days of shots, I will have frequent visits to Shady Grove for monitoring. Dr. Sasson will count and measure the eggs, and make sure I am responding appropriately to the drugs (we want multiple eggs, but not too many). 

Of course I will be writing with extensive updates about each phase, but here is my tentative outline:

  • Friday, Oct 26: Start stimulating shots (appointments every few days for monitoring)
  • Sunday, Nov 4: Trigger shot (to cause ovulation)
  • Wednesday, Nov 7: Egg retrieval 
  • Saturday, Nov 10: Embryo Transfer!!

As I was driving back from Philly today, I was trying to uncover what I really think of everything:

I am thrilled that things are finally getting started. I am scared that I will not fare well if we are not able to get pregnant during this round. I am fearful that it will never work. I am hopeful that this will be the final fix. I am nervous that something might go wrong as I start the new meds... It is a continual cycle of hope and dread.

And where is God in all of this? 

I keep reminding myself of the truths about God-- He is constant. He is faithful. But what if that doesn't manifest in the way I want to see it? 

Even as I write this, I have fallen into the trap of what ifs. I continue to fall intro the trap of needing to know what is coming down the road.

In moments of pure panic, (like the one I sense coming on now) I have to remind myself of this: He never promised a blazing spotlight at my feet, outlining every crevice and encounter I will face. He promised a lamp to my feet; He promised to light my path just enough for me to know what is coming just ahead of me, just at the next moment. In truth, He has never failed to light the path. 

I feel embarrassed and ashamed that my faith is not stronger right now. I'm clinging to a nightlight for heaven's sake.

At the beginning of this post, I admitted that people who share peppy, positive post-struggle stories are not necessarily the ones that help me get through tough times. It is not that I do not appreciate their stories, but as I am currently facing a mountain of insecurities, it's not exactly the Positive Pegs who make me feel better. 

The people who openly divulge their hopes and insecurities while they are in the thick of struggle are those who inspire me to hold tighter to my Savior. 

One of my favorite songs has a line in it: He uses the weak to lead the strong... It's certainly something to think about the next time you attempt to put up the traditional facade instead of sharing your heart. He wants to speak through you, even if it feels like you're the only one in the audience.