Amazing Grace

This past month I have been focusing on self-care and loving my body well. I have been relaxing (as much as I can with the realities of life), taking care of my body physically, my mind with emotions and my soul with my spiritual connection.

From a medical standpoint, I switched out .2mg patches every 2 days for the last 30 days added progesterone these past 10 days. It’s the same routine I have been through multiple months before. Same reactions, same sleepy eyes and weird dreams mixed with sensations of hormones racing through my veins at 2am.  

We wait for my body to release all the buildup of the past month for us to begin our next, and possibly final, round of IVF stimulation.

dance with God | The Sophia Center for Spirituality
Dancing with God

I am ready. My body is ready. I have been praying for whatever is left inside of my body to be given up to this upcoming cycle. For my body to release the perfect follicle(s) and for God to show off, once again.

It has become abundantly clear that I am not in control of this process. Medicine is not in control of this process.

There are many nights I think about those who become pregnant when they don’t want to be or when they are not trying to be and think how drastically different my experience has been. I wonder what it would feel like to become sick and take a pregnancy test and be utterly shocked that there were 2 lines starring back at me.

Yet, I find something incredibly beautiful about the IVF process and feel undeniably lucky to have the opportunity to dance so intimately with God in the step-by-step process of bringing a human into this world.

Amazing Grace is playing in the background of my room as I write this. “It is well with my soul”, how true those words feel to me today.

I pray I may carry this same peace as we begin the medications and turn my fears and ‘what if’s’ into prayers of surrender, faith, trust and gratitude.

In the vein of humor, I ordered my medications for overnight delivery because the Gonal-F has to be refrigerated and here we sit 3 days later and the shipping notification on my phone reads “delivery undetermined”. This ol’ cowgirl has been through a few rodeos by this point and am grateful that my reaction is laughter and not fear or anger. I know I will call the pharmacy tomorrow and get it all straightened out. I know there is not much to worry about when it comes to the steps that are ahead. God is bigger than anything that is brought before me and my only prayer is that I may keep him in my sight and front of mind as I experience these upcoming 14-18 days.

Thanks for the chuckle, God.

Preparing the body… and the mind

My body is tired.

I am tired. My body feels worn out. Used.

It has been through a lot this past month and it’s taking a bit of time for it to feel calm again.

I have returned to acupuncture to help support the regulation of my hormones and restoration of my body.

The hot flashes at night were intense and then inability to get a good night sleep impaired my daily responsibilities.

I get it, I had a lot of medication pulsing through my body for over two weeks.

That’s a lot to put on my body. Especially when it’s not used to having much hormone interaction in my daily, weekly, monthly living.

Now is the time to treat my body with love and respect.

It just went through a big procedure and we are gearing up for it to go through it one more time.

Prep the Body

In preparing for our next egg retrieval, Dr. B keeps me on estrogen patches.

This time they are .2mg and I change the out every other day.

This will help keep my estrogen levels high so that when we begin the next cycle, my body will already be primed for the medication.

I am altering my workouts from intense, heart-pumping, feel-good cardio (jogging & spinning) to flexibility and muscle holds (yoga & pilates).

Adding an extra healthy fat into my already balanced food plan will also help support my body with what is about to occur.

I have also returned to the full supplemental regimen that is coined the “IVF Cocktail” to build up all the good stuff to try and maximize this next cycle.

With less than four weeks until we begin the next stimulation (stim) cycle, I am anxious, nervous, excited, hopeful, and curious.

What are you going to do this time around, God?

Prep the Mind

Those are just the outside things though.

What I am really battling with is this evil little voice telling me that I haven’t done a good enough job with my daughter to ‘earn’ a second child.

It’s horrible to even write that thought out but this is what plays over and over in my head.

“You are not doing a good enough job with what has been given to you so why would you get another one? You can’t handle it? You won’t be a good mom to two kids. It will be too much and it will break your marriage”.

I begin to think, maybe God is not pleased with me and doesn’t trust me with another one of His babies because of how hard it has been for me to learn how to parent the one He did give me.

Icky, icky, icky. Shake that out of my head and out of my being.

Take Care of Yourself

I don’t like the way that feels on my skin and I want to believe that I am doing a great job with what I have.

Talk about a dose of humility for parenting.

Aren’t we all just doing to the best we can with what we have?

At least, I hope we all are doing our best.

The days are long… sometimes the minutes drag on and I think, it’s not even lunchtime yet.

And yet, when she is down for her nap or in bed for the night, I miss her and I love her.

I capture those little amazing moments that make me so happy and full of joy to see her learning this world. I love being with her as she learns and grows and want nothing more than to have another to be able to experience more of the simplicity of life.

The years are short… and I know that before I know it, she will be all grown up and I will miss her even more.

God, I pray we can enjoy what we have while hoping for an addition to our family.

Receiving the Genetic Results

In the very late afternoon, an ‘Unknown Caller’ is ringing my phone.

 “Hello, this is Hilary”, I answer.

“Hi Hilary, this is Dr. Bhrama from SGF, is this a good time?” I hear.

Oh, my goodness, it’s her!

She is calling with the PGT-A/PGS/CCS report.

“Yes, of course. Let me get Hubby on the line”, I respond.

With Hubby on the line, she begins to share the news.

By the words she selects to use to begin the sentence, I knew our blastocyst/embryo is not chromosome normal.

She soon confirms my guess.

We learn that there is an extra chromosome on the first chromosome and if we were to transfer it would not remain a viable pregnancy.

We would miscarry.

We spend the remainder of the call discussing what this means for us and what our next steps will be.

I will spend this cycle maintaining and building a healthy hormone reserve to prepare me for our next stim cycle which will begin next month, at the start of my next period.

She will put us on a different medical protocol with the hopes of a better outcome.

I want to trust her.

I do trust her.

I am just sad.

We get off the phone with a plan in place.

The processing of this information begins.

Through my rollercoaster of emotions, I am recognizing how much God is showing me.

When we began this IVF round a few months back, I was fearful that our decision to do IVF again was taking the control out of God’s hands and forcing ‘my will and my plans’ to happen.

I was fearful that I would be pushing my agenda upon God and telling him what was going to happen.

As I sit here this morning, I am filled with humility.

No scientific procedure will make a child without God’s help.

I can take all the medication, eat all the right food, take all the right supplements and have eggs taken out of me, sperm washed and specifically chosen and put into the egg, have cell growth occur and look under a microscope like it’s the best grade blastocyst… and it not be God’s will.

Science can bring us closer to that point of creating life.

Ultimately though, it’s God who is the giver of life.

As we begin our focus on this next egg retrieval round (which will most likely be our final IVF round), I turn my eyes to God and open my hands.

Lord, if it’s your will for us to bring a child into this world, please grant us this gift.

Lord, I give you control over my life and pray to release my hands from the grip I have had on my wants and desires.

I surrender to you, I trust you. Please be with me as we walk through this next round together.

More waiting makes more planning

I’ve been patiently waiting for my period to come and for the genetic testing report.

The genetic testing report takes about 10-14 days so I have plenty of time to fill with fruitless worry.

In order to calm my mind, I begin to plan out different scenarios of what could be.

Thinking positively, I am assuming the report will come back with a huge green light.

“Why wouldn’t it?” I think “Dr. B thought this blastocyst looked really healthy, even better then when we did our first round and had our sweet daughter”. I’m almost convinced.

Thinking my period would come on Wednesday, I get all prepared and start counting the days to when the FET would take place and what the due date of our baby would be.

Yes, me and my calendar again. Making trouble.

It doesn’t come.

I look to Thursday and move the FET date and due date one day.

It doesn’t come.

I think it must come Friday and move the FET date and due date one more day.

It doesn’t come.

I try to rationalize why it must come of Saturday and move the dates once more.

Each move of the day means another move to the due date for our hopeful baby. With that thought then comes all the others like, what months will I have pregnancy sickness, what months will I feel too swollen to move, what months will I be up all night with a newborn… you get the picture.

Future-tripping. Living in the future and planning, worrying, getting excited over the things that are yet to come and that actually may not ever come.

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My period still doesn’t come.

I am so frustrated at things I cannot control.
If it would just come so I can start the protocol and meds then it would feel more like a guarantee that we will have a baby.

That’s it! I’m looking for some comfort and assurance that we will have a healthy pregnancy and baby.

I’m looking for some solid ground to stand on when I feel like everything is up in the air.

My period doesn’t come.

I wake up on Sunday, defeated and decide to delete all my potential dates from my calendar.

I surrender to the process and to the timing God has for us.

I even begin to think that God is protecting us from starting the medications because He already knows the outcome of the PGS testing.

I prepare myself for this potential reality.

My period begins to come.

Monday morning, I wake up and I have my period.

Was it the letting go of control or was this just the plan all along.

All that mental energy I spent leading up to this day.

Can I bypass all this next time I’m going through something that has a bug question mark in the middle of it?

Either way, I am thrilled.

I call Conceptions to schedule my outside monitoring baseline monitoring appointment.

Conceptions will do outside monitoring for other IVF clinics in the country. I will go there instead of flying back to Atlanta for the 30-minute appointment.

I have a spring in my step.

We are starting this whole next phase and I can’t wait to get this going and on to the transfer!