Monday, July 25, 2011

He is not oppressing me …. He is stretching me

The message from the church pulpit this past Sunday could not have come at a better time. Funny thing is… I was not supposed to even be in church this past Sunday. That was NOT the plan. The plan was for me to be at home, on the couch, watching movies and endless hours of The Food Network while simultaneously reading the latest issue of People magazine.  Yes total bed rest was the plan going into last weekend. Why? I had made it all the way through my egg retrieval (on 7/17) and the embryo transfer was scheduled for 1:00pm on Friday the 22nd. Well (long story short) the transfer did not happen. For some reason God had another plan and wanted me at church, not reading the latest celebrity gossip. He wanted me to hear the message, specifically titled Is Your God Too Small???

I will be quite honest and say that laying in the OR bed on Friday with nurses surrounding me, seeing Brandon in a while marshmallow jumpsuit (yes it was rather humorous), and the nurses explaining to me exactly how the doctor will perform the transfer (while they are making sure I am comfortable and hooking up all the machines, equipment, etc) can build up quite a level of anticipation and excitement.  Oh and they had already given me a Valium. So yes, I was starting to feel a little relaxed. The nurse joked that after transfer was complete I would be considered PUPO (sounds like poop-o, an in house term meaning “pregnant until proven otherwise”). Then in a matter of minutes the conversation turned serious. The Dr arrived and was started to explain to us the possible risks if he preformed even a single embryo transfer. Excuse me what? Are you serious? Are we really having this conversation as I am lying here seconds from seeing my little embryos on the ultrasound machine?  Honest to goodness I  was laying there thinking I was on the craziest episode ever in the history of Punk’d and that Ashton Kutcher was going to jump around the corner (also in his white marshmallow jumpsuit) and then we would all laugh and get on with business. For real I started looking around for TV cameras. Yet Ashton never made an appearance and the Dr wasn’t joking. Wow. OK so we have a decision to make… like now. Apparently my ovaries are severely inflamed and the follicles that were not retrieved are still growing strong. Proceeding with a one embryo transfer could put myself at risk, again, for ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome. So we either take that risk, or do nothing today, freeze the embryos, and do a frozen embryo transfer cycle (FET) in August or September.  Now you can imagine that at this point in a treatment cycle I am one big walking hormone waiting to explode. Literally. So I was no where in the right frame of mind to make said decision. I looked at Brandon and told him (well more like sobbed through my tears) to make the call and I will respect whatever he decides. That is when the Dr looked at Brandon and said “If this was my wife, I would not even put one embryo in her right now.” And with that comment the decision was made. Ten minutes later I am getting dressed (still loopy from the Valium) and being wheeled to the car in a wheel chair for a procedure that did not even happen.

So as I sat in church on Sunday listening to the message I could not help but think it was directed at me. God knew what I needed to hear that day. One comment was made in the sermon about how God does not put us through trials to oppress us but to stretch us. When I was wheeled out of the surgery center on Friday afternoon I knew God was with me and that He was still my biggest fan… but let’s be real… I was mad, frustrated, confused and hurting. Everything in this treatment cycle (attempt # 5) had gone perfect. To. A. T. And then the big shocker on Friday. Yet as I sit here writing this out, four days later,  I can say with confidence that God is not oppressing me in this struggle to conceive; He is stretching me. He is stretching me to handle more than ever thought possible; He is stretching me to love deeper and give bigger and practice more patience & empathy with others. He is stretching my marriage (for the better). He is stretching me to know that regardless of my plans and expectations He is the only constant. He is the only master planner. His stretching allows more of me to cling to Him. And that is what life is all about really… isn’t it…clinging to God in each and every happy, sad, joyful, unexpected and tearful moment? So while I am still sad from the letdown of Friday (and I still cry off and on… yes hormones are still raging...just ask Brandon!) I can rejoice in knowing that God is not my oppressor, He is my stretcher.  And for that I have much to be thankful for.  

So now what? I wait for God to do His thing. And pray. Pray without ceasing. 
Pray for His perfect plan and for my little (frozen) embryos that I can't wait to meet. 

"For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their prayer..." 
I Peter 3:12
"Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear to dull to hear..." 
Isaiah 59:1
How is God stretching you? 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Recovery cards

I mentioned in a previous post that one recommendation from my therapist, early on in recovery, was to write out both the psychological and physical benefits of life without an ED. At the beginning I was basically "faking it" and I needed some quick reminders as to why in the world I was choosing to walk away from ED. When I started to increase my caloric intake and pants started to get snug, I would pull out the cards below & read them to myself (OK... sometimes out loud). This was SUCH a helpful tool.  I definitely recommend this exercise for someone who is in recovery from an ED but honestly it can apply to any area of life that needs attention. We all need reminders from time to time as to why we are choosing a certain path. Life gets hard. It can get ugly, messy and far from fair at times. It is imperative in moments of doubt and weakness that we are able to redirect out focus back to the positive. That is what these cards did for me. And take note - none of them say anything about weight. (I apologize for the poor photo quality. Still trying to learn all this blogging business.)

psychological benefits 

physical benefits 
(Yes - I just mentioned sex & constipation on the blog. TMI? Maybe...but I did not want to alter the recovery cards in any way. Just keeping it real my friends...keeping it real.)

Have you ever developed or incorporated a similar tool?
If so, what was the purpose? 
Were your "recovery cards" helpful to you in the long run? 

Make it a great day!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Reflections from the waiting room

Over the last 10 months I have spent countless minutes (hours!) in the lobby of my fertility clinic. I say hi to the front desk receptionist, sign in and then wait to be called back. Some days I read a magazine while I wait. Other days I choose to text message my mom or add notes to my never ending to do list. Yet today was different. I guess my mind was in a different place all together. I signed in, plopped myself down on the couch and began to look around. As I began to look around, wonder & amazement filled my mind. The clinic was especially busy today and many others were also waiting. Infertility is all around us. Really it is. Until I began this process I never truly grasped just how many couples face infertility challenges. Infertility is not limited to a certain race, ethnicity, body size, body shape, religion or economic status. Infertility has no bounds. In a way this realization provides me with both comfort and heartache. Comfort to know that I am not alone in this struggle, yet sadness that so many are desperately longing and pleading for the chance to bring life into this world. 

I was in my daze when I heard the following from said receptionist "Congratulations!" A young woman approached the front desk with a huge silly grin plastered across her face. "Thank you, we are so excited" she replied. She is pregnant. At that moment I literally wanted to run up and throw my arms around her neck in celebration. I wanted her to know that despite not being there myself, I am genuinely happy for her. I wanted her to know that God has a wonderful plan for her life and the precious new life inside of her. I wanted to ask her a million questions (how long has she been trying, how many cycles did it take, what all did she try, etc). But I didn't. I didn't at the risk of looking like a crazy person. I mean come on, I don't even know this girl. But in that moment I didn't care. I just wanted to celebrate with her & share in her joy. So (instead of looking like a crazy person) I looked straight at her, smiled a bigger than average smile, whispered "congrats" and prayed for her & her future family. While I do not know her personally I know that she deserves this chance. The chance to be a great mother.  The chance to share the Lord with her child (I hope). The chance to start a legacy. My heart remains full of joy for this mystery woman; Hours have passed and I am still smiling. 

James 1:17 "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created." 

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