I wasn't sure if I was going to write about this on my blog, but I'm not keeping it a secret from family and friends whom I've spoken with in the past few months, so I figured I might as well let the rest of you into the loop as well. (Plus, I could really use all the prayers I can get.)
In the next few weeks, I will be undergoing the process of invitro fertilization (IVF) in an attempt to add Nielson Baby #2 to our family. It's exciting and scary. Though I have done lots of fertility treatments over the years, I have never done IVF. It's the most physically invasive and expensive type of fertility treatment, and I think I have been a little afraid to try it before now. But the chances of IVF working are better when you are in your 20s, and since I turn 30 this year, we figured now is as good a time as any for us to move forward with this.
I have so many emotions as we head into this procedure. I'm somewhat hesitant to share what I'm feeling because I may come off as overly dramatic--but the truth is, the past few weeks have been tough and the next few will be as well. Sometimes I lie awake at night thinking about my fears--my fear of the physical and emotional side effects of the hormones and medications that they are putting into my body; my fear of the injections, which will be several shots a day by the end of the process; my fear of being away from Ryan during most of this, as there is no fertility doctor in Twin Falls and thus I will have to stay in Utah for a week or two while they are monitoring me and completing the multiple steps of the process; and most of all, my fear that, at the end of all of this, I will not be pregnant. I have had several dear friends undergo IVF, and many of them did not get pregnant as a result (at least not the first time that they tried it). One of my very best friends did IVF several times while I was living in Buffalo, and watching her endure months of physical and emotional trial and disappointments made me slightly terrified to ever try IVF. (Interestingly, she felt the same way about adoption as a result of watching our struggles and disappointments.) I've heard that the success rate for IVF throughout the nation is about 40%, which means that it doesn't work more often than it does. I know there is no point in worrying about the possible heartache at the end of this journey, but sometimes it's hard to keep my mind from going there.
But on the other hand, sometimes I lie awake at night thinking about a new baby. I can't sleep because I am giddy thinking, "In one month, I could be pregnant!" "By next August, we could have a new baby!" I think about Noah as a big brother and Ryan as a father to a new baby again. I think about what it would be like to feel a baby kick inside of me. I let my mind wander to the little details, such as how we will need to turn our guest room into a nursery. I know this is getting way ahead of myself...I know I probably shouldn't let myself think this way...and yet I feel like it's much better to lie awake feeling hopeful and excited rather than scared and discouraged, right?
There was some question as to whether or not I would even be able to pursue IVF right now because my ovarian cysts have been out-of-control this past year, and they can't stimulate my ovaries if they already have dangerously large cysts on them. I've been on birth control the past two months to try to calm down my ovaries, and today was the deadline for me to be cyst-free if I was going to do IVF before the holidays. It seemed like the doctor was skeptical that my cysts would be controlled by this point, but I had an ultrasound this morning, and for the first time in six months, I have no ginormous cysts! Hallelujah! I feel so grateful and happy today.
And that's what I am going to try to hold on to and focus on this next month: my gratitude. Gratitude for modern medicine that makes it possible for women like me to even try to get pregnant. Gratitude for Ryan's job that makes it possible for us to pay for this type of procedure. Gratitude for my doctors and nurses who devote so much time and energy to their high-stress job. Gratitude for my body that it doesn't give out during all of these procedures and under the stress of all of these medications. Gratitude for family and friends who have always supported me and who are praying for me now. And most of all, gratitude for my Father in Heaven who I know is aware of me. This past Sunday, I taught a lesson to the teenage girls at my church about patience and trusting in the timing and will of the Lord. (This just happened to be my assigned topic--crazy, huh?) I read them the letter that I wrote to Noah on his second birthday about how he is "the best thing I ever had to wait for." It reminded me all over again that God "has a plan for our lives and for our families." So important to remember that.
My dear friend in Buffalo who went through many failed IVF attempts and years of heartache...she has her perfect baby boy now, conceived during her fourth IVF procedure. And Ryan and I got our perfect baby boy as well, placed in our arms by the eighth birthmother who contacted us about adoption. Though our journeys took a little longer than we had anticipated, both of us agree that our boys were worth every moment of the heartache. I am going to try to remember that in the coming months.
I may periodically write an update during the next six weeks about how the process is going...or I may not. (I have no idea how I will be feeling or what I will want to share). But I just wanted to let all of you know now what is going on and ask for your prayers.
Thanks for reading and for caring about us. xoxo