It feels slightly surreal to actually be blogging in the MIDST of a new cycle! The time has finally come! Yeah! Today was day 7 of my Lupron shots (the shots to suppress my ovaries) and so far, so good! It’s been nice knowing what to do, I am a pro at drawing the needle now, wham bam, it’s over. It’s so exciting and a little nerve wracking too.
I have found that the hardest part of this cycle already is one I didn’t anticipate … comparison. Oh my word. I have found myself in a constant battle of comparing each day, every side effect, ache and cramp to what happened that the last cycle. The hard part is that things have been SO different and my brain wants to run away with thoughts about the medicine not working and a million other “what if’s”. Why am I not getting hot flashes this time? Why do I have a weird dull ache in my abdomen? Why am I not spotting? Why am I crying? Why am I not crying? Why am I tired? Was I this tired last time? And the really tough medications – the stims – haven’t even really started yet! (Saturday) I am nervous about each appointments, every lining number update, ultrasound follicle count, blood work lab result, will be compared to last cycles. The last cycle, I got pregnant and am now worrying that anything less than or different than my first cycle will be a “bad” thing. The logical side of me knows that EVERYTHING can and will be different and that isn’t a bad thing. The physical and mentally-tired side of me is exhausted already fighting this battle.
I thought it would be so nice going into this cycle knowing what to expect. And a lot of it is nice. I don’t have to worry about that first time mixing the Menopur vials and using those tricky Q caps. And I won’t have to terrifyingly wonder if the horrific injection site burn is normal or if I did something wrong. I don’t have to worry about whether I am strong enough to give myself the injections everyday or if the egg retrieval will be painful or not. I know these things now. But now I am faced with a constant reminder that I am not the one in control.
Hebrews 10 (MSG) paraphrases a message that my heart needed to hear today: “Remember those early days after you first saw the light?…Nothing set you back. So don’t throw it all away now. You were sure of yourselves then. It’s still a sure thing! But you need to stick it out, staying with God’s plan so you’ll be there for the promised completion. It won’t be long now, He’s on the way; He’ll show up most any minute….But we’re not quitters who lose out. Oh, no! We’ll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way.”
God is on the way! I am called to stay with it, to survive, to trust in Him completely throughout this wild unknown adventure. I keep reminding myself that any side effect, any ache or pain – or lack thereof – is entirely already known by God. He knows the outcome of this cycle. He knows the worries of my heart, He hears the prayers that have been raised, and He has already conquered this battle.
This week marks an important one in the world of infertility – National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). This week is used to spread awareness of infertility and I have loved reading some many amazing blogs and posts written by fellow women struggling with this. Did you know 1 in 8 couples will struggle with infertility? That’s about 7.3 million people in the US and about 12% of women of childbearing age. Typically about a third of the time it’s attributed to the female partner (as it is in our case), a third of the time the male partner, and the last third, a combination of the two or is unexplained. Now, I don’t mean to just throw a bunch of stats at you, but It’s still amazing to me that so many people don’t realize that infertility is an actual disease that results in the abnormal functioning of our bodies. A disease. It’s not something that simply relaxing will fix. Would you say that to someone with cancer or diabetes? “Just relax! You’ll get better!” It’s not something that is easy to just “accept”. “Maybe you just weren’t meant to be parents.” There are so many medical interventions now, many of which you have seen us try, and the great news is that 65% of women who seek medical intervention end up giving birth. What’s even crazier is that less than 3% of those struggling with infertility require advanced treatments like IVF. (What what!? Way to be a rebel and stand out from the crowd, haha!).
One way that people show support during NIAW is by wearing pink and blue. You may see women with pink and blue nail polish on this week – a common demonstration during NIAW – and if you do, say a silent prayer for them. This is a disease that far too little insurance companies support and is easily written off. But it’s not that easy. It creates such a physical, emotional, spiritual and financial burden on those suffering from it. And all we want is to be parents. Bah, it’s tough.
Anyways, like I mentioned, the Lupron shots are going well so far. I have to laugh, last time I was so focused on the exact minute, location, and perfection of each shot and that hasn’t been as possible this time around. On Friday morning I drew my needle in the basement bathroom stall at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport as a child cried outside, complaining about really having to go to the bathroom. (I walked out with my needle to drop in the sharps container and felt like a junkie while the mother glared at me.) On Sunday I was in the handicap stall in a McDonald’s in Orlando making my needle up on a diaper changing table while people kept trying to open the door. “Just a moment please!” I carried around a lunchbox for two days with medication refrigerating in there and a doctor’s note tucked inside my purse in case anyone asked why I was carrying around needles. (No one did, kind of disappointing.) This cycle feels much more laid back. Yes, I am still giving myself my shot at the same time of day and have the same nice lovely bruises on my tummy, but it’s not as rigid. It’s kind of nice.
I have had 2 Instagram friends – Rachel and Kristen – send me packages filled with lucky socks to wear to doctor’s appointments (among other fun girly thins!). I can’t wait to slip my feet into the stir-ups and see my anchor socks, or pink glittery socks stare back up at me, reminding me of all the prayers and support we have. It’s such an incredible blessing. An extra special thank you to them!
My first doctor’s appointment is on Friday morning and its there that they will look to ensure the suppression medication has worked, that my body is quiet and my lining is thin. They will do blood work to ensure everything is at a good baseline to start the quick stimulation process. They need to make sure none of my cysts have changed or grown since a month ago, as a change in that would likely result in a canceled cycle. It’s a big appointment. It’s the first big clearance and I want everything to be perfect. Please join us in saying a prayer that it goes well!!
“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart.” (Jeremiah 1:5) God knows my baby/babies right now. Even before the follicles have formed, before the uterus is ready to carry them, before the embryos have been created. It’s amazing. He really is in control of all of this. Now just to remember that on a minute by minute basis …. ;)