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One Item Checked Off the Wait List

NO nine-month wait added to that list. The nurse just called with negative results for the IUI cycle. I had such low expectations that I'm really not disappointed at all. We're going to take July off, because hopefully (please, Lord?) we'll be moving. And I probably have cysts anyway, but we won't bother to check this time. On the bright side, now I don't have to worry about a pesky due date interfering with a trip to Hawaii that my family has planned for March 2009. That's a nice shiny silver lining, huh?


Quick Update

This has been a week of waiting. Waiting to get results for the IUI next week. Waiting to hear back from the seller of the house. This morning, we finally got official approval from the seller to bring in a professional mold mitigator to give an estimate about how extensive the mold is (the inspector only saw a little bit in the corner of the basement bathroom) and how much it would cost to take care of it. So we called our inspector to ask for a recommendation for a mold remediator; he wasn't in, so I left a message, and now we're... waiting.

I'm trying to remember that I'm waiting on the Lord, even though it feels like I'm waiting on people.


Meditation on Psalm 31

I wrote this reflection on Psalm 31 in my journal on Wednesday morning, after all of Tuesday's challenges. (It will have more context if you read the Psalm first.)

Lord, rescue me! Under the weight of all of yesterday's disappointments - the low counts for the IUI, the refusal of the seller to do any repairs on the house - help me to take refuge in you. I know you have already delivered me from my sin; now please deliver me from these trials! Hear my pleas! Remove the shame of having all my desires squelched. Help me to trust that you lead and guide me through infertility and home-buying for your name's sake. Help me to hate the sin in my heart that makes children and houses into idols. Remind me that you are not indifferent to my affliction and distress, but you are gracious. When my eyes are tired of crying, when my soul and body are weary of difficulty, when I feel like all I have are sighs and sorrows, remind me that you are a strength for the weak. You are a sympathetic high priest. You have taken the burden of my iniquities; you made this enemy your friend. You are kind, even when I have a hard time seeing it. Help me to rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love.

God, give me confidence that you have goodness stored up for me. Right now, in my unbelief, I expect abundant hardship from your hand. I believe the reverse of the Savior's words about your Fatherly love - I feel like I am asking for bread and you give me stones, for fish and you give me a snake... Or rather, for a child and you give me infertility, for a house and you give me a moldy basement and a rusty furnace. Conquer my unbelief! Cause me to fear you and take shelter in you and to expect good from you.



Tuesday was challenging.

The IUI went okay. Everything about the procedure itself happened as usual. However, Aaron's numbers were below the preferable range for IUI (motility 31% instead of 50% or greater, a count of 9 million - I think - instead of 10 million or greater). The nurse said the numbers weren't bad enough to cancel the IUI, but... momentary silence implying that we shouldn't get our hopes up... So we'll see. I have an ultrasound tomorrow to check if my ovary size indicates adequate progesterone production, and then we wait until the end of June to test for pregnancy. I know our God is bigger than any statistics, but if the conditions of this IUI are less favorable than our previous five - well, less favorable than a whole batch of negatives equals a pretty poor prognosis of success.

Then, we had bad news on the house front. You may remember we've been waiting to hear back in negotiations with the seller to take care of some relatively major issues (water damage, ancient furnace, etc.). Late Tuesday afternoon, the seller (or rather, her lawyer) sent a two-sentence letter "respectfully" declining to do any of the repairs we requested. I was bitterly disappointed. I've been trying to prepare my heart for a potential negative outcome and trying not to idolize this particular house, but the groundwork I laid crumbled almost immediately. The door hasn't completely closed on that home; we did hear a new development from the seller's lawyer today, and we're going to get some professional estimates on the work that needs to be done before we make any final decisions. But it's certainly not turning out to be a straightforward process.

So I've been weary. I'm battling unbelief, and I'm disappointed to see how my heart is growing to expect difficulty from the hand of God rather than blessing. (Honestly, my first thought upon getting the IUI and house news in the same day was, "What next, Lord? Are you going to cause one of our cars to explode? What else will you make go wrong?") I know that he will work this all for my good, and I know that all these things that feel like Plan B to me are part of his best purposes. But right now, I'd like to trade in my Person Who Grows Through Hardship badge for a membership in the People Who May Not Learn A Lot But At Least Life Is Easy club.


No Menopausal Nuns Were Hurt in the Making of this IUI ::updated::

When the nurse called with the results on Friday afternoon (E2=285, follicles measuring 15, 13, 10, and 9 mm), she told me to come into the clinic again on Saturday morning for more bloodwork and another ultrasound. At that appointment (to which I rode my bike), C-Pug declared, "Your lining is gorgeous!" My follicles measured 18, 15, 11, and 9 mm, and my E2 had gone up to 495. The doctor instructed me to take one more dose of Follistim on Saturday night, and then I took the HCG trigger shot last night. The IUI is scheduled for 10 a.m. tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. Please pray!

(For those who don't spend all their time immersed in the world of infertility terminology: E2 is a specific estrogen which should reach levels of 200-600 for every mature follicle; a mature follicle (the sac in which the egg grows) is 18mm or larger; HCG is human chorionic gonadotropin, a pregnancy hormone (the medical form is derived from the urine of pregnant women and menopausal nuns) that mimics the effect of another hormone (luteinizing hormone, or LH) which induces ovulation; IUI is intra-uterine insemination.)

(As I mulled over this post later while I drove around on some errands - what? doesn't everybody do that? - I realized that I gave inaccurate information in my parenthetical note at the end. It's actually follicle stimulating hormone, or FSH, I think, that comes from the urine of menopausal nuns. Which makes more sense. How would menopausal nuns secrete HCG? Anyway, the title of the post still holds.)


Cycling... and Cycling

I had my second ultrasound and bloodwork appointment for the current IUI cycle this morning; I'll get all the numbers (follicle measurements and estradiol levels) this afternoon, but the ultrasound tech said everything looks "gorgeous" - apparently, her favorite adjective, since she uses it every time I see her - and that things are really growing. This particular ultrasound tech is really darling, so I hereby decree that I will nickname her Cutie-Patooty-Ultrasound-Girl, or C-Pug for short. By the way, my protocol, for any who are curious, is 75 IU of Follistim per day (a lower dose than my last cycle, and I think this will work much better for my production-happy ovaries).

So I have two weekend assignments for you:

1) Both Monday and today, I rode my bike to the clinic. It's only a 20-25 minute ride each way (as opposed to a 10-15 minute drive) on a nice route between our apartment and the hospital. The nurses had instructed me not to add any new excercises during the IUI cycle, so technically biking isn't forbidden for me, but I'm starting to wonder if it's too much. What do you think? I'm popping up a poll in the right side bar, so go ahead and vote.

2) Legal wheels are still turning on the house stuff post-inspection. But that doesn't stop my mental wheels from spinning with decorating ideas. (I figure, hey, whether we end up buying this home another one, I'll still be decorating something.) So tell me in the comments, what are your favorite decorating and design resources - websites, magazines, books, stores, etc.?

Happy Friday!


Any Way

During the New Attitude conference, my mind filled with memories of how we realized the failure of our first IVF at last year's conference. It was tempting to moan, "Another year past, and nothing has changed!" But that's not true. Yes, my infertility hasn't gone away. I still don't have a baby or even the whisper of a pregnancy. But my heart has changed. God has been at work to make me content and to make his Son more precious to me. And at the conference, primarily through the worship times at Na, another change happened in my heart.

For much of the past three years, I have sought to remind myself that this trial of infertility is not primarily about me but about God's purposes. I have thought, "What glory the Lord will receive when I have children!" I've expected that if I just wait long enough, the end result will be a splashy display of God's kindness when he gives me a baby and everyone around me rejoices in finally, beautifully answered prayers. But now I am starting to think, "What glory the Lord will receive even if I don't ever have children." He doesn't have to give me a baby to glorify himself, to show himself good and beautiful and true. And I'm beginning to see that I will be okay whichever way he chooses to work, whether he shows his mercy and love by fulfilling my desires for children or by enabling me to walk in grace for an entire lifetime of childlessness. Increasingly, I want the title of my life-story to be not Barren Woman Finally Blessed by God with Babies after Years of Patient Endurance but What a Savior. As we sang over and over again at New Attitude:

O Father, use my ransomed life
In any way you choose
And let my song forever be
My only boast is you.

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ.
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life.


Home, Inspected

Here is our layman's interpretation of the home inspector's report: the house has a robustly healthy body, but it's balding and has stinky feet.

The home inspector said that the structure is in excellent shape; it was built really well, and the original footprint and floorplan have not been altered. However, since the house is 80 years old, it does have some problematic issues. The basement has had some flooding and needs waterproofing and mold mitigation, the furnace is 30 years old, and the roof is about 15 years old (though not leaking anywhere). The inspector gave us very rough estimates about how much it would cost to do the necessary work, and it was all less than we would have expected. They're three big jobs, but they're doable. So now we move into negotiations with the seller. We're hoping that the seller will take care of the flood damage and the furnace (our realtor thinks the current owner might have a home warranty, which would cover some of that); we'll ask about the roof, too, but we're willing to save up to do that ourselves if need be. We still really like the home, and we want to make it work, but we're holding it very lightly. Lord willing, we'll come to a good agreement with the seller and will still be able to make this home our own soon. Please pray with us to that end!


Six One, Half Dozen the Other

Today marks the start of my sixth IUI cycle. I have mixed feelings about that. On one hand: Yay! Cysts are gone! Another chance to get pregnant! On the other: Hmph. Six IUIs; really? How did I get to be that person, the barren woman with a litter of failed infertility treatments in her wake? Counting our two IVF attempts in with all these IUIs, and it won't be long before my medicated cycle counts number in the double-digits. When do we just say, "Enough," and move on? I've started to have thoughts like, "If we had started to pursue adoption when we realized we were infertile, we might have a child or even two by now." But here I take comfort in God's sovereignty; we've sought his will, he's led us down this path of medical intervention, and he will build our family in his way and time. All those "what if" questions are fruitless; I only need to trust that God is good and he is in control.

So, IUI #6, here we come. I start the Follistim injections today (I think; I need to get a call from the nurse to confirm my instructions), and the actual IUI will probably fall mid-June.

Please, Lord, let this one work.