Thursday, October 18, 2012

{Just Enough}

I thought I'd feel it by now.

The butterflies are taking flight in my abdomen, my palms are getting a little clammy and my mind is going a mile a minute.  I'm excited, a little nervous, a tiny bit anxious and no where near ready.

But there is an absence of sleepless, earth shattering fear.

Last Wednesday I had an ultra sound done, and I didn't ask the tech how many follicles I had over 1mm.  I didn't ask how thick my lining was, and I my heart didn't drop when she said my uterus was still retroverted (I hoped my pregnancy with Scarlett would correct it, even though all doctors say it really isn't a problem). I just laid there on the table, hoping to be back here soon looking at something a little more substantial on the screen.

Something with beating heart.

Then I headed across the street to get my blood drawn.  And as I sat in that sterile room, surrounded by sharp needles, soft cotton balls and the stench of rubbing alcohol, I was no longer concerned about how much this would cost me, how I would hide the bruise I would likely get from it, or even what my blood hormone levels would be.

This was good.  

But later that day, as I waited for the nurse in New York to call me with the results and let me know what dose of meds to start on that evening, I started to get a little nervous.  The OCD part of me began drumming my fingertips on top my desk at work, wondering why they still hadn't called, knowing that with a three hour time difference, their office would be closing soon and I would be left without instructions, helpless and out of control of a situation. 

My worst nightmare.

Just to be sure, I gave them a call.  Not a panic induced, short tempered, irrationally induced phone call, just a call to see how things were going.  And when the nurse answered on the first ring and let me know they still hadn't received the ultra sound results yet, I wasn't angry.  I didn't get upset, didn't place blame.  I simply called the office that did my ultra sound and asked them to please make sure they send the results-which they said were complete but had not yet been signed off on my a doctor-over to New York as soon as possible.

Then I waited.

I wanted to call the ultra sound office several times over the next hour, making sure they faxed over the results.  I also wanted to call the office in New York, just to see if they'd received and reviewed them.  I wasn't as anxious as I would normally be, but there was definitely a  part of me that felt like I was drowning, being held under water with no where to go, no air to breathe.  And just when I was about to give in and take matters into my own hands, something would stop me.

Be still, and know that I am God.

And as quickly as the urge to take control came on, it disintegrated just as fast when I was reminded that I'll never really be in control anyway.

A perfectly timed text from a friend asked things were progressing, and I shared with her that I was fighting a bit to stay out of God's way.  She assured me that He would take care of it-as He always does-but that she would pray that the matter would be resolved quickly.  And as I put my phone down, started the car to head home and turned off the radio to have a talk with God, my phone rang. 

I pulled over on the side of the road-less than a mile from my work-so the nurse could give me the instructions for the start of my medication.

I know it seems small.  I know it wasn't the end of the world.  But to me, it was just more affirmation that when I step back from my desires to control the outcome of this cycle, I make more room for the Lord to work in ways that are more visible to me and those around me.  Had I called the office in a panic, I would have reached the same end.  They would assured me that they received the information and they would have given me the instructions needed to start my medicine.  But I would have ended that conversation with a pat on my own back, proud of myself for cleaning up a situation that would have been a complete disaster had I not stepped in and saved the day.

It's happening slowly, a change that's been a long time coming, but I'm finally starting to see that there simply is no day that needs my saving.  Loosing control may be the very best thing that's ever happened to me so far.

I never even asked what the results of the ultra sound and blood work were.  I still don't know what my E2 level was, how thick my lining was, or how many follicles I have growing.  And despite my curiosity about what will come of the follicles that I may have growing since I'm not on any sort of medicine to stop my ovulation, I haven't felt the urge to call the nurse to ask.  Instead, I keep hearing the same verse over and over in my head.

Be still, and know that I am God.

If my lining looked horrible, I would panic; google a million different ways to thicken it up and spend too much money on store bought and home made potions.  And if it looked amazing, I'd find something else to worry about.  So for a drastic change from my previous cycles, I'm opting not to ask.

Because I can't do anything about it anyway.

Why did it take me so long to get here?  How long have I thought that I was giving up control, blind to the fact that I was still holding on tight, clinging with white knuckles to whatever I could reach, whatever I could still manipulate?

I'm still learning, and I'm far from finished with this battle.  The real test will come as we creep closer and closer to the transfer of these precious frozen babies.  There is a giant list of hurdles that stand between myself and the end of this road, a thousand things to over analyze, a million possibilities.  What happens if they don't survive the thaw?  What if they do thaw successfully but they are poor quality? 

What if it doesn't work?

For now, I'm asking for God to give me enough grace to just make it one day at a time.  And with that simple prayer, peace is coming in waves that roll right over the top of the fear and worry and my natural tendencies to control, the strong current pulling them back into the vast ocean where they belong. 

I'm finally attempting to truly be still.

I'm thinking twice about making that phone call.  I'm fighting back the urges to know more. I'm becoming more aware of the triggers that lead to fear-fear of the unknown, fear of loosing control-so that I'm ready when it strikes.  And I'm doing my best to instead fill my heart and my mind with Words from The One who is in control.

Promises of peace.  Promises of understanding, contentment, love, joy, long suffering, gentleness, meekness, and all things good.  Promises that come only if I trust, only if I think on these things, only if I walk in the Spirit.

Promises that come true if I spend more time filling my mind with hope than with fear.

It sounds simple, really; but for me, this doesn't come natural.  It's not second nature to let go and let God, it's extremely difficult.  I want to fix it, I want to change it, I want to make it work.  I want so badly to squish that square peg into that round hole, even though I know it doesn't belong.

But God is good, and He's been faithful to answer my prayers, giving me the Grace I need to keep fighting even when I would rather just give up, calming my heart with His Words; dancing in my head, spinning, turning and skipping like a broken record.

Be still, and know that I am God.

And as I and listen, alert and in tune, I hear more. 

Hold still.  Calm down. Don't worry about it. Let Me take care of it. You don't have to fix it, I'll fix it for you. I have it all worked out, I know what I'm doing.  Just come talk to Me, I'll help you.  Share what your thinking with me, I can give you what you need. You don't have to hold it together, I'll hold it and you. Just hand it to me. Trust Me.  

And another wave of Grace rolls, pulling me up out of the water and filling my lungs with air.

Just enough.

But He giveth more Grace. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you...and He shall lift you up.
James 4:6,8,10 (KJV)

Friday, October 5, 2012

{Where I Am}

I'm no longer allowed to make promises of pictures, upcoming Etsy shops and more frequent posting, because I have serious issues with following through.

It's embarrassing, really.

I was speaking with a close friend yesterday, sharing how I wanted so badly to write an entry that would cover everything that's been going on lately, but I can't find the right pace to start. I'm really disappointed in myself for falling so far behind, failing miserably to update the friends that have been so faithful to offer prayer and support during the most crucial times of this journey. 

She simply told me to start with where I am, because that's the most important place. 

And that, I can do.

Today, I am in my third week of taking birth control pills.  I'll never get used to the fact that it's part of any treatment cycle to begin with these tiny-yet-powerful little hormone pills, especially since they are the arch-enemy of everything I've spent almost six years trying to make happen.  But I'm told they not only play a huge part in regulating the cycle, but that they also calm down all internal hormones so that once the medication is stopped, my body will be ready for some serious action; in the form of a tiny human or two in utero.

Plus they've done wonders for my skin, so I've been able to look past the slightly excessive hunger and occasional raging hormonal episodes.

And in less than a week, I have an appointment for a baseline ultrasound and some STAT blood tests that I just found out really can't actually be ran STAT because I live in a fairly large city that for some reason is incapable of running anything STAT.  So although I have strict and impossible instructions to somehow get the results from northern California to the clinic in New York in a four hour time period-because New York is three hours ahead of us and cuts into our already impossible STAT timeline-we'll just have to wait and see what happens. 

That's been our first bump in the road.  Well that, and the fact that I was misinformed of a few costs along the way and didn't figure any out of town-and out of pocket-monitoring into our already tight budget, but it's not the end of the world.

Had this been happening during our last IVF cycle, I would be loosing my mind right now.  I'd be overwhelmed and frustrated with the system, feeling lost and out of control while dealing with a clinic that is in a completely different time zone, seemingly worlds away.  And while I have to be honest and admit that I was most definitely flustered by these recent findings of added costs and lack of STAT testing available, none of it comes close to the life-altering desperation I felt over simple detours that were faced in previous cycles.

This time, it's different.

I haven't changed; I'm still very much OCD. But I committed to give these frozen babies and this cycle to God back when Scarlett was first born.  I acknowledged to Him that I really wanted to bring these babies home someday to join our family, but that I now understand that His timing is perfect, His way is prefect, and His will is perfect. That doesn't mean I haven't quickly picked the burden back up and carried it around for a while before handing it back to Him again, or that I won't experience sadness and disappointment if I don't achieve a pregnancy from this FET; it just means that this time around, I have a better understanding of how God works. 

I can't will this to work.  The doctors can't make this work.  No one here on earth has any control over any aspect of this cycle; not over the timing of STAT testing, not over the unexpected costs of monitoring, not over the ability of these two miracle embryos to thaw successfully, and not over the outcome.  I have no control, the doctor's have  no control, we have no control.

Realizing this-truly understanding my helplessness in this matter-actually soothes me. 

God knows what will happen, knows how everything will play out.  He alone is in control, and though it's a constant battle to remind myself of this truth as the enemy throws darts in our path, I refuse to fall hard.  All I can do is pray that God's will is done, that I am given the grace to sustain me through whatever happens, and that no matter the result, the honor and glory would be brought to God for everything He's done.

God is good.  If this cycle works, He is good.  If this cycle doesn't work, He is still good. 

I want these babies so bad; both of them.  My thoughts are already consumed with names, one for a boy, one for a girl.  And though I don't let myself wonder there to often, I have thought about the future if this doesn't work.  The possibility of having only one child instead of the four that I've always dreamed of.  The very real probability that the odds are more than against us in this matter, and that tiny voice in the back of my mind whispers that I shouldn't even get my hopes up. But when my thoughts wonder to that place too far in the future, out of reach and too dim to see, I pull them back. 

And that's where I am now. 

I'm humbled and so very grateful for the outreach I've already received during the short time that I've had our FET schedule posted on this blog.  Knowing that there are so many already praying for these babies, for our trip, our family, and our cycle is almost overwhelming.  I know that God is listening and He hears every single one of those prayers, and I'm convinced that they have the power to guide His decisions because He is merciful. 

I'm also thankful that I serve a God that once lived on this earth in human flesh so that He could understand the fear, lack of control and anxiousness that consumes me at times; though I know that He longs for me to fully trust what He is about to do. And of course I also know that no matter what happens, He's never far away; promising to always be ready and willing to meet me, anywhere, anytime.

Right where I am.

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
 Isaiah 26:3 (KJV)