in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
You return man to dust
and say, "Return, O children of man!"
For a thousand years in your sight
are but as yesterday when it is past,
or as a watch in the night.
So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.
God, you are so much vaster than me. Let me have an eternal perspective on this trial. This week of waiting to take a pregnancy test seems especially long, but I know it is fleeting in your eyes. You are God everlasting, unchanging even as the circumstances of my life come and go. Give me wisdom that recognizes how grand and merciful you are.
Return, O Lord! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for an many days as you have afflicted us,
and for as many years as we have seen evil.
I keep wondering how much longer this trial of infertility will go on. Will it end this weekend? Or is there still more you want me to endure? Please have pity on me and bring this long season of waiting to a close. Please let this weekend yield a positive pregnancy test. Let this weekend be the beginning of days of gladness after many days of affliction. Let us experience the blessing of children after becoming so intimate with the pain of the affect of this fallen world on our ability to conceive. Let me rejoice in a pregnancy, because I am satisfied in your steadfast love. But if I am not pregnant, let me still rejoice in your steadfast love.
Let your work be shown to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands upon us;
yes, establish the work of our hands!
Please establish the work of our hands, the efforts we have made to conceive with the medical treatments for our infertility. You alone can grant life; we want to see your miraculous work! I want to tell my children of all that you have done to bring them into existence, of the great power you have displayed in my body and in my soul.
I know that no matter what comes this week, your favor rests on me because of the cross.
let me never be put to shame!
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
incline your ear to me, and save me!
Be to me a rock of refuge,
to which I may continually come;
you have given the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
Lord, you have saved me from my sin and given me your righteousness. Now I ask you to deliver me from this trial of infertility. Please let this weekend yield a positive result! But no matter what, you are my refuge. Keep me continually coming to you this week with all my hopes and anxieties and prayers.
For you, O Lord, are my hope,
my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
Upon you I have leaned from before my birth;
you are he who took me from my mother's womb.
My praise is continually of you.
You are my hope, my trust, my praise. Please even now be forming a new life in my womb, a new life that will lean on you in trusting dependence.
I have been as a portent to many,
but you are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with your praise,
and with your glory all the day.
Do not cast me off in the time of old age;
forsake me not when my strength is spent.
O God, be not far from me;
O my God, make haste to help me!
Let me remember this week that you are near. You are my help. You will not forsake me if I find out this weekend that I am not pregnant.
But I will hope continually
and will praise you yet more and more.
My mouth will tell of your righteous acts,
of your deeds of salvation all the day,
for their number is past my knowledge.
With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come;
I will remind them of your righteousness, your alone.
Let me hope continually in you, not in the results of fertility treatment. Let me praise you more and more, blessing your name both when you give and when you take away. Let me speak to others of your goodness, no matter my circumstances.
O God, from my youth you have taught me,
and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
So even to old age and gray hairs,
O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation,
your power to all those to come.
Let me have children whom I can tell of your wondrous deeds, your might and power. Let me have children to whom I can pass on what you are teaching me about yourself.
Your righteousness, O God,
reaches the high heavens.
You who have done great things,
O God, who is like you?
You who have made me see many troubles and calamities
will revive me again;
from the depths of the earth
you will bring me up again.
You will increase my greatness
and comfort me again.
It is your sovereign hand that has brought the trouble and calamity of infertility into my life. I don't understand why, but I trust you. Now I am asking you to revive me, to comfort me, to bring me up out of this suffering. I am asking you to bless me with a child; I am asking to see a positive result this weekend. You know my desire; I know you are working out your perfect plan.
I will also praise you with the harp
for your faithfulness, O my God;
I will sing praises to you with the lyre,
O Holy One of Israel.
My lips will shout for joy,
when I sing praises to you;
my soul also, which you have redeemed.
Whether this weekend brings exclamations of excitement or tears of disappointment, prepare my heart to remember your faithfulness and praise you. No matter what, let me remember how you have redeemed me and say, "It is well with my soul."
I'm giddy! 10 wupmL is the "normal" number, 15 wupmL is the number doctors like to see on a medicated cycle. Since my baseline progesterone level is 4.5 wupmL, I was feeling pretty pessimistic that the lowest dosage of Clomid would manage to more than triple my progesterone. Boy, was I wrong - 50 mg of Clomid multiplied my progesterone almost 8 times!
Caveat - this does NOT mean I am pregnant. It just means Clomid seems to do the trick in correcting my luteal phase defect. We all still have to wait on pins and needles (except my right arm, which is boycotting needles) for another week or so to find out if Clomid+IUI=miracle baby.
I, your right arm, hereby resign from being poked with needles. I tried to warn you last week, when I made it difficult for the nurse to find my veins. Unfortunately, you chose to disregard this notice, forcing me to outright rebellion this morning. Yes, I purposely denied giving any blood today, even though the nurse was sure she had the needle in the vein. (And yes, it was out of spite that I bled after she removed the needle; I felt the need to assert my choice of when to release blood.) I am raising my hand in defense of my rights as an appendage not to be a pincushion. Have you counted the number of times I have been stabbed in the last 3 months? I have - 8. And that's not even going back to when this barrage started back in November. I will not take any more. I may consider renegotiating my contract with you next month, but I am taking a leave of absence for the rest of July.
The Right Arm
Well! Needless to say, I was shocked and disappointed at Right Arm's behavior. Thankfully, Left Arm was willing to be called out of retirement and performed admirably. I just hope Right Arm doesn't form a union against needles with Left Arm and Belly; then what will I do?
P.S. I'll update later this afternoon once I have results of the progesterone test that was the purpose of all this hullaballoo.
I want you to know how God is working as I wait for you. It feels like I've been waiting for a very long time. I want you so much! - to snuggle you, to sing and talk to you, to nurture you, to see your daddy make you giggle. Mostly, though, I want to see you grow up to know Jesus.
Years ago, I wanted you so badly and though God would give you to me right away. But God, who is good and wise, had a better plan. He wanted your mommy to wait, so that I would learn to trust Him and love Him more. He wanted to show me how sinful I could be, how jealous and scared and sad I could be. He wanted me to see better how wonderful Jesus is. Jesus hurt on the cross for me to pay for my sins. Jesus understands when I cry. And Jesus promises to use hard things for good, to make me more like Him. So even though mommy has been waiting for you for a long time, I'm glad that God is loving me and teaching me. I'm glad that I'll get to tell you the story of how I waited for you.
I pray for you daily. I ask God to give you to me soon. I ask Him for a heart to love Him, so that I can love you in a way that pleases Him. I ask Him to call you before your birth, before you even begin to grow in mommy's tummy. I pray that you will understand the gospel and trust in your Savior at a young age. I pray that you will serve Jesus and His church. I pray that you will grow up to be an example of godliness to your friends and family. I can't wait to tell you stories of how great God is and to see you praising Him!
I know that I won't ever deserve you. You are a reward, not for anything I've done, but a free gift from God. I don't know how or when you will come to me, but I'm eager for that day. It is so hard for me to wait for you, but God is helping me. He is changing my heart to love you for His sake, and not for my own sake. I know He will knit you together and give you to me at just the right time. In the meantime, I'll keep praying for you every day.
Love, your mommy-to-be.
After a rushed early morning at home (I won't say more, to maintain a PG-rating), we were on the road to the clinic by 7:15 a.m. The office we normally visit doesn't have weekend hours, so we had to go to a sister clinic 45 minutes away. On the highway ramp, I realized that I forgot my purse (containing sunglasses, cell phone, insurance card, and ID). About a mile further, Aaron noticed that he forgot to put his wedding ring on after washing dishes. We also forgot the label for the sperm sample. Can you tell we were in a hurry and a little flustered? Here's a sample of our conversation on the drive:
"If we get pulled over, do you think the policeman would let us go if we explained our infertility and that we needed to get this sample into the lab within an hour and a half?"
"I don't know. I hope so."
"How late do you think we'll be for church?"
"Maybe we'll be early, if we get to the clinic and they tell us we don't have enough sperm and we have to leave."
We did not get pulled over, and we got to the clinic in plenty of time. They provided a label, did not need my insurance card, and only wanted to see Aaron's ID. After dropping the sample at the lab, we were told that we could go out and get coffee and come back in an hour after they had time to "wash" the sperm. When we came back, the waiting room was full of other couples. We sat down, and I started studying the art on the wall - 3 large, very abstract-looking, pastel needle-works. After a few moments, I realized that the one on the right was not actually abstract - it was sperm swimming up to an egg! Giggling, I pointed this out to Aaron in a whisper. He looked and said, "You're right! And I think the middle one is a bunch of fetuses (feti?)!" We never did figure out what the third one was supposed to be. Who on earth makes fertility the subject of the needle-craft?! Were they a gift from a grateful patient that the clinic couldn't politely refuse? Does one of the nurses also sew and decided to let her work inspire her hobby? Bizarre... Anyway, we were called back after a few minutes. I'll spare you the details of the procedure for the IUI, but it went quickly, Aaron held my hand the whole time, and I only experienced medium cramping from the catheter. The doctor/nurse (I never found out exactly who she was) instructed me to lay still for 10 minutes, then left the room. It was nice to have some privacy at that point. Aaron and I talked, and he commented that he was kind of nervous about the fact that we could actually be having a child. Um, hello, that's kind of been a possibility for the past year and a half! But I knew what he meant; for so long pregnancy has seemed so unlikely, and now we actually expect it might happen. After 10 minutes, we left (no co-pay; I love our insurance!) and drove to church. I had mild achiness in my lower abdomen the rest of the day, but I have felt fine ever since. I'll have a progesterone test on Friday, and after that we just have to wait until we find out if we have conceived or not.
Thank you for all your prayers. We have certainly been praying hard for a baby, and it means so much to know that you are joining us. We know that God is good and faithful, even if we get a negative result in two weeks. In the meantime, please pray that our minds would be fixed on Christ, on what is true and lovely, rather than anxiously wondering whether I am pregnant or not.
P.S. Giving myself a shot last Friday was not too bad. I would do it again without any nervousness.
O fearful saints, new courage take
The clouds that you now dread
Are big with mercy and will break
With blessings on your head
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense
But trust Him for His grace
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face
So God we trust in You
So God we trust in You
When tears are great
And comforts few
We hope in mercies ever new
We trust in You
Good news - 3 large and 2 medium follicles, which means I responded very well to Clomid and we have a good chance for a strong ovulation.
Loopy news - I am apparently one of the 20% of women whose cervical fluid is dried out by Clomid. This means that making a baby "au natural" has a really slim chance of working for us. It was recommended that we do IUI (intrauterine insemination). After some tears, talk, and prayer, Aaron and I have decided to go ahead with that option. This is a pretty big step of trust for us, but we know that our God is in control even though IUI wasn't in our plan.
So here's the plan: Friday night I give myself a trigger shot (yipes!) to induce ovulation. Sunday morning at 8 a.m. we bring a cup o' swimmers to a clinic in the northern suburbs. Using a catheter, the doctor will insert the washed sperm into my uterus. From there, it's up to the sperm to travel the rest of the way and make friends with an egg or two. Next Thursday, I'll have blood-work to check my progesterone levels. If those are low, I start using progesterone suppositories. After that, it's just a waiting game to see if Clomid and IUI worked for us.
After hearing the news that we would need to do IUI, I kept thinking, "I don't want to do something so drastic yet!" It comforts me to know that the Lord was willing to take the drastic step of sacrificing His Son for me, that though the cross seemed like the worst, it really is the best.
Please pray that we will keep trusting God, even with this sudden change in our plans for this cycle. Pray that we would not be anxious, but that our minds and hearts will be guarded by peace. Pray that I would rest in the fact that God knows exactly how He has knit my body together and He knows exactly when and how He will bless us with children. Pray that I will see God's goodness in this, even though I am tempted to feel like everything just keeps getting harder and harder.
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
This passage gives us two absolute, no exceptions allowed, commands: rejoice always and do not be anxious about anything. In the middle of a trial, these commands seem impossible. But because of the gospel, they are not. I can have joy and peace in the midst of my struggles with infertility.
The gospel calls us to joy. As Tab pointed out, we often overlook three words in verse 4: "in the Lord." It is possible to rejoice always, because our joy is in the Lord, in His gospel and its benefits to us. (As an aside, I always thought the idea of sustaining any spiritual mindset - joy, prayer, etc. - "always" was hyperbole; I now realize that I am very capable of thinking about infertility "always," so with the Spirit's help, I should also be able to be Godward-focused "always!") My circumstances will fluctuate; infertility is harder some days than others, and Lord willing I will someday have children and will face new temptations. But God has always and will always love me, He has called me to be His own, Christ has sacrificed himself for me, the Spirit always dwells in me, I am eternally justified and freed from the power of sin - these unchanging truths are ample reason to rejoice! If I am looking to the end of the trial of infertility to give me joy, my joy will be fleeting. If I am looking to pregnancy and motherhood to give me joy, my joy will be fleeting. But if I am satisfied in the steadfast love of the Lord, I will rejoice and be glad all my days (Ps. 90:14).
The gospel calls us to peace. I am not meant to be anxious about anything, and that includes infertility. It seems so acceptable to worry, to have stress, but God does not find anxiety acceptable because it denies who He is. When I worry about whether we will conceive or not, when I fear how long this trial will endure (will my friends have thier babies before I even conceive? will they have their second babies before I conceive? will we have to move from Clomid to more intensive treatments?) - when I think this way, I am denying God's character and abilities. When I give into anxiety, I become a functional atheist. Instead, I need to acknowledge God's sovereignty by praying to Him. Even though the answer to my prayer for children continues to be, "Not yet," I need to keep asking like the persistent widow, because the God who created the universe is the only one capable of creating new life in my womb. I also need to acknowledge God's goodness with thanksgiving. In the middle of infertility, it often doesn't feel like God is good. But He has proved His goodness on the cross, and He promises that He is working good for me even when my experience says otherwise. And apart from infertility, there are many other things in my life to be thankful for - my husband, my church, my home, etc. I need to tell myself the truth of God's goodness over and over and over again. And as I trust Him, He will protect my heart with peace.
Peace and joy don't deny that my infertility is real and incredibly difficult. But peace and joy say that the Lord is at hand, near to me when I am broken-hearted, and a very present help in my time of trouble. The gospel makes joy and peace possible even in a dark valley.
We may know so much about the intricacies of conception, we may be able to medically intervene in the minutest details, but we still must trust our great God of mysteries to breathe spirit into a fertilized egg and to create new life.
Dad on the luge
Mark & Aaron at Jardin Botanique in Montreal, in front of the incline tower at Olympic Park
Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City
poppies in Parc Jean d'Arc at the Plains of Abraham (Quebec city)
While we explored Quebec City, we stumbled upon this little museum; the doors were open, but not a single soul was inside. We romped through all the displays and encountered instructions to try on the clothes of French soliders once quartered here; we did!
a statue on the streets of Quebec
my parents at a waterfall outside of Quebec city
I am very excited and a little nervous about the boost that we hope Clomid will give to our attempts to conceive. I read these words from Psalm 75:6-7 this morning: "For not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up, but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another." I asked God to help me see that not from doctors or Clomid or trying our hardest to conceive comes the gift of life, but it is He who determines which cycle will result in conception, He who knows when and how He will lift me up out of the valley of infertility.
Next appointment at the fertility center: July 13