Pause within the Journey

The quiet brings peace.

Like a fine wine, I gave myself permission to let this information breath.

Give this decision some space in my mind.

When I quiet my mind and body, I can hear that small voice.

It is clear that going abroad is not sitting well with me. Doing IVF stateside is my truth.

Hubby is clear that doing IVF here in Colorado is not an option. That is his truth.

Shady Grove in Maryland is our only option for IVF.

If we do not agree with this, then we will have to agree to disagree and move onto adoption.


We have a phone consult with Dr. O’Brien at Shady Grove Fertility in Maryland. We had heard of this clinic at the 4th of July party we attended in July and kept is as an option for a few reasons, they:

  • have high success rates (higher than CCRM & Conceptions in many categories).
  • offer a shared risk program where we could pay a flat rate and receive up to 6 embryo transfers, if we do not have a live birth then we are refunded 100% of our medical costs (not including medicine). Other clinics offer a shared risk, but they only return 60-80%.
  • are in a Mandate state. There are 15 states that are “Mandate states” which cover infertility treatments. This helps keep the out-of-pocket costs low.

The conversation was a breath of fresh air.

Her review of my labs and all that we have already done up until this point helped me relax into what her recommendations were for how she would proceed.

She impressed me.

She confirmed that although I do NOT have PCOS, I have many symptoms that would lead people to believe that I do.

She is not going to diagnose me as the goal is to get pregnant, not figure out my issues.

I understand this and I would agree that although it would be great to ‘fix’ me, I just want to become pregnant and have a healthy baby.

Interestingly enough, Dr. O’Brien and Dr. G. completed their Fellowship together. Small world!

Her approach to ‘pull out all the stops’ with me is also calming.

We aren’t here to mess around.

The phone consult ended with her giving follow-up action steps and before the end of the day, my inbox was full of information from her nurse.


I return to my peaceful place.

It’s not the time to make any decisions.

We have 3 months before we would need to take any action- at CCRM or at Shady Grove… or adoption.

I give this back to you God.


When I close my eyes and quiet my mind, I hear God say, ‘trust me, you don’t need to do IVF, you will have your own children.’Still-Small-Voice.jpg

What does this mean?

Can I trust this?

I’m scared to write this as I don’t want to commit myself to anything certain.

I don’t want to do IVF if, in the end, we won’t get pregnant and God knows this already and is trying to tell me.

I also don’t know how much I trust this voice.

As I look back over my life, I know the voice is there but have I always trusted it?

Have there been times when I’ve trusted that voice and made a decision based off of it, and then regretted it?

I can’t remember.


Taking some time away from all of this and just sitting quietly for the next few months will be a good approach.

If there is any way for us to do it earlier, then I will take action, knowing that God is with me.

 

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Disconnected

We have become information gatherers.

Clicking through websites, reading reviews, talking with friends and friends of friends, scrolling through Reddit posts, praying, journaling, and just waiting.

Side note: Through our visits with different doctors, I was diagnosed with PCOS (again). I’m over the idea of diagnosis. At this point, I don’t really care, as long as we can get pregnant.

I am tired.

I know this is a big decision and it would be so much easier if someone would make it for me. It doesn’t work that way.

I am an adult and adults make decisions and learn to live with the outcomes.

I just don’t want to make a decision because I don’t want to be wrong and I certainly don’t want to regret the path we decide to take… wondering, what if…

As I mentioned, we have done our research, from Colorado-based clinics to North Carolina, Maryland, New York, Barbados, Mexico, Canada, Israel, and the Czech Republic.

There is no shortage of IVF clinics around the world.

The question is which one is going to be our best option for becoming pregnant and carrying a baby full-term?

We have learned that the percentage of success with a fresh transfer is much lower and therefore it would be recommended to do a frozen transfer… meaning at least 2 cycles and 2 separate visits to whichever clinic we decide upon.

The lingo has become second nature to me so let me share the process:

  • Since I don’t have a period to even begin this process, that is where they will begin.
  • I will start birth control to get my body onto a cycle. I will take medication for 21 days and then go off to create a bleed. Day 1.
  • Starting on Day 2 or 3, I will begin follicle stimulating medications (these are shots) on a daily basis for upwards of 10 days.
  • Doctors will monitor the medication through bloodwork and ultrasounds, measuring the size of the follicles. The goal is to get as many follicles growing as possible.
  • Around day 10-12 of my cycle, I will give myself an HCG trigger shot to force ovulation.
  • 36 hours after the shot they will put me under (with anesthesia) and surgically remove the eggs from my body. They do this by sticking each follicle-cyst with a needle that drains the liquid carrying the egg into the doctor’s care.
  • From here they will use Hubby’s sample and fertilize all the viable eggs.
  • Watching the eggs for 5-6 days to see which are growing healthy cells they can insert an egg back in me. This is a Fresh transfer.
  • The remaining eggs (now called blastocysts) are tested for proper chromosomes.
  • The healthy blastocysts are frozen to be used another time.
  • When we were ready, doctor’s would then recreate a cycle through medication and by suppressing ovulation would then transfer one of our eggs back into me. This is called a Frozen transfer.

There is a higher success rate for Frozen transfers based on a variety of factors.

  • The blastocysts used are chromosomally healthy
  • The body is clear of the medications used for stimulation

All this makes me wonder if I’m trying too hard to make something happen that clearly is not in the cards for me.

Meaning, this whole process is supposed to happen naturally. Instead, IVF is the process by which doctors take over the whole conception process and MAKE it all happen. (Although they don’t make the baby stay in… meaning there is still a whole lot of God in all of this process of the baby attaching and growing healthy to full-term).

Since my body doesn’t do it naturally then maybe I need to simply accept that my body is not created to do this whole getting pregnant thing on its own and to let it be.

I am wrestling with this.

I know God created women to carry babies and even commanded that we be fruitful and multiply. God, we are trying! WHY don’t you help us fulfill this?

I know that my body has not ‘worked’ normally for years:

  • So is it MY WILL trying to have my own baby?

OR

  • It is for me to be grateful that modern science has closed the gap for those of us whose bodies don’t work as they are supposed to?

When I sit with this, I am torn. I just want God to bless us with children.

But I want so badly to have a family and to have my own babies. When I sit quietly, I know God is with me and that He is pleased with either decision (IVF or adoption).

So what is the next step?


We sit on opposite sides of the street, disconnected. With all the research on which clinic we would go with, Hubby and I are split.Image result for disconnected

Currently, I feel comfortable with the two Colorado-based clinics (CCRM and Conceptions). Hubby feels comfortable with a clinic abroad.

I don’t like being disconnected. It’s much easier when we are on the same team and the same page moving forward. So does this mean we are at a wash? Needing to agree to disagree on how to move forward with IVF?

Possibly.

What this means then is that I am going to have to move on from IVF and begin looking into adoption.

Am I ready to move on from IVF?

No

But if Hubby and I aren’t able to be on the same page, I might have to.

Plans derailed… or just as it is to be?

There’s always a wrench thrown into the mix of plans, right? Is it a wrench though, or is it a way of creating space for God’s timing to play out, just as it’s supposed to?

I’m grateful to have this happen at this stage as we are still making decisions.

The healthcare coverage we have is through a co-op of sorts. It’s not actual insurance. We pay into a pool with our monthly fee which is much less than what it would be for health insurance and we are 100% covered (no deductible) for emergencies that arise.

It’s been great for us up until now.

Here’s the issue. We came across these two bullet points in the guidelines under Ineligible bills:

  • Bills for fertility procedures or treatments, or bills from any complications arising from such treatment.
  • Bills for gestation or surrogate maternity procedures, including but not limited to in vitro fertilization (IVF) and pregnancies resulting from IVF, embryo implants or transplants, and gestation or surrogate procedures.

Bottom line: We cannot move forward with IVF until I am on another insurance.

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We put our brainstorming caps on.

How can we get insurance coverage?

  1. Hubby’s work is a possibility but they are about to be acquired by another company so the HR aspect of what is offered is up in the air.

    He sends an email to his current HR to get some more information. They don’t know much and are going to have to do some digging.

We wait.

2. Shifts are happening at my place of work. Can this be a sign and ‘coincidence’ that God is working in this?

I am open to what is being revealed.

Currently, I work there part time and have my own practice part-time. Maybe this is the time to go fully into the job where I could get insurance coverage.

I can’t find peace as there are a few priorities that I am balancing.

God, I am open to what you’re trying to reveal to me. Show me what you want me to do.

In my quiet time, I see the need for an increase from 50% to 75% time for multiple reasons (for the place of work and for me) that would help the entire cause.

I ask my place of work.

I am asked to be patient.

As I wait, Hubby finds out that his old HR plan would not allow him to go onto insurance (because he’s also part-time), but that the new HR plan would!

Wahoo! Thank you, God! That’s incredible timing.

The one downside is that he won’t have access to the new HR insurance plan for 5 months.

Everything gets put on hold.

Why God? Why do we have to wait another 5 months before we can even start the procedures?

Turn it around Hil.

Be grateful for this opportunity. What an incredible blessing that at this exact time of needing insurance, Hubby’s place of work is going through this acquisition. An acquisition that was just announced a few weeks ago.

Turn it around to see that God’s timing is perfect and He is working in all of this.

There is a story to tell, a testimony to give. Let this be a part of the story of God’s ultimate plan.

I am not giving up on the fact that I might be able to get insurance through my place of work and then we can do IVF in the next few months.

I leave this in your hands, God. If this is your will, enable the increase, God.


Although my work is valued at my job, they cannot grant the increase of hours.

I understand.

My heart breaks, the lump in my throat forms.

They don’t know what this decision entails for us as a family. I do trust that it is what is supposed to be.

I spend the weekend processing this as I was hoping the doors would open and this would just be a sign that we are to proceed.

Maybe I can ask to go on the company insurance and pay full price at the group rate?

I can always ask.

God, why are you doing this to me? Haven’t I waited long enough?

Why are you placing us in a holding pattern to start our family?

Is this your way of creating a pause in our lives to see something we haven’t been looking at until now?

Do you not want us to do IVF and this is your way of creating a roadblock?

Or are you going to create a miracle in me in the next few months and give me a baby without needing IVF and this is the time you’re going to show me your all-powerful ways?

I am open to being humbled.

Take the IVF away from me if that is not your will for us, God.

Can Someone Tell Me What to Do?

It doesn’t feel right to continue. We have been praying over the past 8 cycles for God to gift us with a baby and the answer has not been in the direction of my desire. Is it me? Might I be too stressed with other responsibilities and commitments in my life that I am holding myself back from being able to conceive? My drive to create and do in life is a beautiful thing. Yet, it can quickly move into overdrive as I commit to doing too many things at one time, not leaving as much time to sit and be, rest and relax. Although I feel I have been slowing down so much more than I have in my previous years, I question if it’s been enough.

I can’t go down that road of ‘what if’ and so I will stop that line of thinking.

I emailed Dr G., asking his guidance as to what to do next. This downtime has been good for me to gain neutrality and a little perspective as I’m not ‘in’ the mix of medications and doctors appointments. It feels good to relax from it all.

Quite honestly, I was relieved when I received the response from Dr G.

It’s time to move forward into IVF, per his recommendation, stating we have tried many times and with the results thus far it’s the next step.

Not what I want to hear as I’m not sure I can justify spending the amount of money that has been quoted for IVF here in the States.

What I do know is that a child is a priceless gift and $20-50,000 may seem like pennies in the long-run. How will this work? I am still torn with what to do.

Why can’t someone just give me the answer? To do IVF or to adopt?which-direction-640x375.png

Hubby and I share opinions around IVF and come to the same conclusion, that we are both open to exploring the idea.

I can’t say I don’t feel uncomfortable as I know IVF is taking fertility to the next level and I want to be careful not to be putting my hope, fully into the world of medicine.

It’s a miracle that we cannot place an egg and sperm together

Now the options are between adoption and IVF.

I will begin my research on the varieties of clinics and pay scales associated with IVF.

This is where things stand:

We have looked into the following clinics and have set up consults with doctors in each clinic. Gather as much information as possible, that’s what I know to do.

  • CCRM (Colorado)
  • Conceptions (Colorado)
  • Dr. Trout (Colorado)
  • Shady Grove (Maryland)
  • ReProfit (Czech Republic)

We shall see what each says.

God help us to know your will and direction in this process. There are so many decisions to make and I don’t want to go down a road that is not going to be fruitful. I surrender this to you, Lord.

The Longing Grows, but I Need to Change

The time away from medication has been a delight. Over the past 7 weeks, I have felt my body deflate from the bloating, my mind rest from the thoughts and my heart calm down from the emotions. I am moving back to what feels normal again and I am grateful for the breath of fresh air. It is indeed a much-needed break.

For the most part, I feel calm about our journey. I know we are in the process of gathering information for our next steps and know that we will be at peace whatever we decide.

Do we go for IVF or do we begin the process of adoption? The golden question with an unclear answer at this point.

My heart does hurt to have a family. I was with my little nephews and it stirs my heart to want to have some of my own little people to help guide, grow, nurture, and teach.

Yes, exhausting as it seems to be, my heart is slowly nudging me in the direction of having kids and seeing the abundance of life that comes with having them in my life.

This process is a messy one and I don’t expect to have it all figured out before the little ones come, but I do see that I am more prone to want a family than not, and this is something I cannot ignore.

When we started this journey back in December 2014 (that’s when we pulled the goalie, so to speak), I thought I wasn’t ready and needed to get a better job that had more flexible hours that would support me working from home. I was kicking myself for not choosing a better major in college or career path after college that would support me being a working mom. Why couldn’t I make more money to be able to work fewer hours a week?

I began trying to change my life in order to fit the kids I was hoping to have… and what I have found is all these new adventures in trying to figure it out has left me putting the cart before the horse. Maybe it’s time to just slow down my ‘figure it out’ side of my brain and just relax.

I always hear relaxing is what helps people get pregnant. Might this be a key ingredient I have been missing?

Simplifying my life and slowing my mind down.

I’m prone to ‘go’.

My entire life has been a to-do list, moving from one stage of my life to the next, packing in as many experiences as possible in each season. Might this be a season for me to take things off my plate and just ‘be’ for a while?Image result for change

 

Letting go of the commitments I love to be apart of might be more painful than not being able to get pregnant, but what if this is going to help me become pregnant?

Maybe all the things I’m committed too need to be put on hold for now and can be picked back up later, when these little humans have arrived and are napping, playing, or at school.

I haven’t been willing to really change, until now. (I hope).

My heart swelled with emotion as I saw my nephews playing mixed with the background of other families engaging in laughter while the little ones shouted ‘look at me, dad’ from the distance.

Will I get to experience this? Am I too late?

Sometimes it feels as though I have missed the boat and I will never be ‘there’. It’s easy for me to wallow in the ‘if only’s’ and the ‘why not’s’.

Why is this road so much longer than other people around me? Why didn’t the medicated cycles work for us?

The WHY’s never really seemed to be wise questions to ask.

Would they work if we give it another couple of rounds?

Thankfully, at least for today, I feel at peace knowing that the medicated cycles are not an option for us anymore. I know we gave it a good try and with Dr. G’s support, we are moving on from that.

It’s time for the next level, may it be IVF or adoption, and the next level of surrender in my own life. I can’t do it all right now and the tears are flowing a little more often now, as I desire a family.

Even though I am scared, I am beginning to look at having kids as an opportunity for adventure and growth instead of a scary unknown. Maybe it really is the best thing that will happen to me. I have got to give this a shot because my heart hurts too much not to.