Friday, April 23, 2010

Cycle Update and Hope Retreat

I was supposed to be coming home from NYC and my Intralipid infusion right now, but the pharmacy messed up and didn't ship my Intralipids to the Dr's office. So now my appointment is Monday.

I have two follicles (that's it?) this cycle, 1 on the right, 1 on the left. They are at 15 and 16 mms, and I am to do 2 more 50 iu injections and then trigger Sunday evening. BDing is to take place Monday and Tuesday as per the Dr's orders, and we may just do that. In the past I have not "waited" until after trigger, but have been practicing the "get as much sperm in good cm as humanly possible" self-devised protocol. Since that hasn't worked, maybe this time I'll try the RE's suggestion. Not like they have a lot of "natural BD" success, nor that they know anything about CM... but I'll still give it a whirl.

Last weekend was the Hope Retreat that a dear friend of mine helped to organize with another lovely young woman, both FertilityCare Practitioners. It was really a nice experience, though I did have a few suggestions of how to make it even better in the future. I would have loved to have a priest as one of the speakers, for example.

The best part of the day for me was when guest speaker N.eal prayed over us individually as couples. He did so quietly so that the other couples in the room did not hear the prayers for the couple receiving the prayers. I was under the impression he was saying the same thing to everyone. That is, until it was our turn.

When we got up there, we told him our names and closed our eyes to receive the blessing. The other group facilitators were also there, with their hands over us - it was very much like our Sacrament of the Sick which we received at our Marriage Encounter weekend (did I ever post about that??)

Then he began to pray. He said RIGHT off the bat, "God, please bless TCIE and TCIE's DH (ok, he didn't say THAT, but you get the gist) in the area of their physical relationship especially. May they come together only in love and be able to leave behind all of the negative feelings they have come to associate with their lovemaking..." I'm paraphrasing, but seriously, it was as if he had read my diary, er, blog before giving us the blessing!! I was so taken aback I started to cry, and then he directed the prayers more towards me: "Please help TCIE, and may she know that IT IS OK TO HOPE. She has been so very disappointed in the past, and she may feel like there is no reason to hope any longer, so please come to her in a special way and bring her the hope she needs."

It is ok to hope.

Words I desperately needed to hear.

With all we are doing to try to bring a baby into our lives, it may seem to an outsider that we are full of hope. But that could not be further from the truth. The truth is, we have been beaten down to the point where we are empty. There is no hope, no light, no joy. I think the reason I'm working so hard now is so that when we are DONE done and living our childless lives (shudder), I can look back with no regrets. I won't need to wonder, what if we had tried that treatment, or that medication? What if we had seen that Dr?

The prospect of it all is pretty scary. But without hope, of course it's scary. When hope is alive and well, you know and believe in your heart that miracles can and do happen. When it's gone, you may feel safer, more realistic, and honest (with yourself). By taking away hope, you take away the lows of the fall... but you also take away the highs.

I am trying to allow this prayer for me to accept hope into my life again to work in me. I am asking St Gianna to help.

I was watching "City of Angels" last week, with Meg Ryan and Nicholas Cage (well, I wasn't watching it WITH them... that would have been cool, though), and a line in the beginning really hit home for me. The Meg Ryan character is a surgeon, and a patient had just died following one of her operations. She had done everything right. Everything. She was distraught at the fact that she had no control. (Gee, sound familiar?)

And she said to her friend the next day, "I realized that all this time, I thought I had the control. But I never did. I NEVER did. It was never in my hands. What do I do with that?"

Last cycle was a CLASSIC, textbook cycle. If you took the most fertile woman in the world and followed her with b/w and u/s during her cycle in which she conceived natural triplets, her cycle wouldn't have lit a candle to mine. It was THAT perfect.

And yet, it was never in my hands. The perfection of that cycle had NOTHING to do with what I was doing medically (well, ok, it was helped along by meds, but I had taken all those same meds before and had different results). And the failure of that cycle had NOTHING to do with anything I did.

I never had the control. I never did. It was never in my hands.

I can continue treatments in the hopes of correcting known, diagnosed issues that I have. I don't think that God is giving me the message to stop everything. Not yet. But He is CLEARLY giving me the message that, no matter what I do and no matter how wonderful a cycle is, it is going to be in HIS time, not mine, when I become a mother.

And isn't that the whole point of why we practicing Catholic IFers avoid IVF? So that we can invite God into our bedrooms and into our family by giving Him the ultimate say in how and when the three of us procreate a new life? I am embarrassed now to think of how I reacted last cycle when it failed. Sure, disappointment is a given, but I literally threw all hope out the window with that BFN. And in throwing that hope out, it's almost as if I was throwing God's "invitation" out, too.

Christopher West gives a great analogy in his purple book on Sex and Marriage about the way we invite God into our bedrooms being like an invitation to a wedding. I'll continue that analogy here in saying that when I abandon the HOPE that God can and does work miracles even in the crummiest of cycles, it's like not sending a family member a wedding invitation because you assume they can't/won't come anyway. Only to find out later, this family member loves you SO MUCH, they would have moved mountains to make sure they were there.

So with that, I am sticking my invitation to God back in the mail. I "HOPE" that in His time, He will respond.


JellyBelly said...

"It's okay to hope."

It will become my mantra.

I need to get me to one of these retreats! Sounds like a great experience!

... said...

I’ve thrown my share of “I’ll never hope again” temper-tantrums at a BFN . . and been embarrassed later. We all need to be reminded that it is okay to hope. The retreat sounds wonderful and I am sure they always want to know how it could be improved. They did a great job (it sounds like) getting this started and organized.

I just had 2 over 1.8 follicles, too. A couple were borderline (1.6 & 1.7), but I was like, that’s it? I don’t mean to be greedy and all, but I’m shooting up like a regular drug addict (you know, if follistim were the new thing) and I get two follies to show for it (all on the same ovary by the way).

Sew said...

I hope you overnighted that invitation so it gets there by Monday! ;)

I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!!!! Heck, I love you more!!!!!!

Joy Beyond the Cross said...

I really like the analogy about the cousin / relative you didn't invite because you didn't think they would make it. Great stuff! God Bless and have a good weekend!

Life In Mazes said...

Love all the hope I hear in your words.

I do beleive that God shows up even in the crummiest of cycles!!! Praying for you!

Thankful said...

"He is CLEARLY giving me the message that, no matter what I do and no matter how wonderful a cycle is, it is going to be in HIS time, not mine, when I become a mother." Love it, even if it's hard to swallow.

Percolating Petals said...

Wow, what a great retreat!! Neal Laz.aro (sp?) wrote a book called "Unbound." He has worked in spiritual warfare for a long time. Sounds like the Holy Spirit was working through him quite a bit.

Hang in there and keep going. God picks you up every time you fall and sets your feet back upon the path. I'm sure He will be thrilled to receive your invitation. :)

(side note: a friend of mine who is a mega prayer warrior actually sprinkles his and wife's bed every night)

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

With urine?

Hahaha, I'm so sorry, I couldn't resist :P

Hebrews 11:1 said...

Sounds like an amazing retreat! I hope God answers your prayers for hope (and babies!)!!

It's amazing how a message so simple, like "it's okay to hope," can affect us so profoundly. Thank you for sharing this, I love your posts!

Karey said...

Yes, have hope! And you hit the nail on the head - we are not in control (but really, no one is.. not even fertiles). And while the loss of control can be tough, it can also be beautiful when we remember just who IS in control. We're not relinquishing it to just anyone, but God. Therefore all the more reason to hope!

T said...


Kaitlin @ More Like Mary said...

Wow-so much to say to this post. If you haven't posted about receiving the Sacrament of the Sick-you should. I would love to read about it. And that prayer brought me to tears. I just could feel the way that it made you feel at that moment. Someone giving you permission to hope-affirmation to hope! That's powerful.

You are still in my daily prayers! I'm trying to give you the little hope that I have left.

Shannon said...

OH my gosh... this post is one of my favorites of yours!
This was so well written, A.

So you're on my mind all of the time. And every time I think of you I literally see the word "hope." It's all I can think of when you pop into my mind.
I was surprised to see your post so focused on HOPE!

Praying for you...

[email protected] said...

This is absolutely beautiful. The depth of what you write is astounding. Seriously, there is so much hope abounding!! God is good!!

Sew, ha ha on the overnighting the invite!

mrsblondies said...

Wow, how amazingly perfect what he prayed for you was; he was definitely guided by the Holy Spirit. Your reflections are wonderful. I definitely need to remember that "it's ok to hope" and that we have no control- God does.

Hafsa said...

I'm so happy to be reading this, we all have our ups and our downs, but when we invite God back into our lives even after the shortest absence, hope remains burning. I am praying for you to keep hoping and never give up. Love this honest post.

barbie said...

It's ok to hope,

sounds like we all needed to hear that, thank for sharing!

WheelbarrowRider said...

Beautiful. I am so glad you had the opportunity to attend that amazing retreat. Welcome back, Hope! I would love to hear your sacrement of the sick story. Also love love love the Christopher West book you mention. I am currently reading it again with dh and boy is it needed. :)

Sew said...

Love it!!!

Shannon said...

love your new look love love love it!!

Thankful said...

Great post! That prayer was perfect for you (and many of us). I also must say that the new blog look is great!

More Than Anything said...

That retreat sounds amazing. What a blessing!

LifeHopes said...

Wow. This is SOO beautiful and also just what I needed to hear too so thanks for sharing this.

I still need to know what was sprinkled on the bed ha ha ha ha !!!

E said...

Wow, I am so glad you were able to take away some healing AND hope from the retreat.

I am hopeful for you.

doctorgianna said...

Today at mass, the deacon preached on hope. He said that hope is a necessary part of the Catholic faith. Having hope doesn't mean that we will not fall (always get what we want), but it does mean that when we have hope God will not put something in the way to trip us up. It really resonated with me in regards for hoping for new life. There's no harm that can come with hope. It strengthens your faith no matter the outcome in the end. Thanks for you post!

Praying for Hope said...

Hope's hard to hold on to after a trying for so long. It's a very good thing to be reminded that it's okay to continue hoping even when you're afraid of getting hurt again. Hope is actually a good thing.

Percolating Petals said...

Oops, I meant to insert HOLY WATER. He sprinkles their bedroom with Holy Water every night! Good grief, I must have been in la-la land and forgot that important part of information. :)

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Anonymous said...

I am also so struck by the power of the Holy Spirit in the man who prayed for you! It is so amazing when people have that gift. wow.

Shannon said...

You're on my mind, lady jane.