Monthly Archives: May 2012

It hurts today

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What hurts most today is that I now have a hard and fast concrete number assigned to my infertility.  Previously it has always been what the doctor “says” he sees, or reports from labs that “show” something.  Like, the docs have seen that I have endometriosis (but no level was ever given to me, thankfully!) and the docs confirmed that I have a bicornuate uterus, etc.  This is the first time in my journey where I have been given a number (0.29 AMH level) that shows just how bad the situation is.  A number that I can compare to what should be normal.  This is hard to swallow.  I know God is working here and can and will do amazing things and that this is all to His glory, I know that this is not the end but the beginning, but still, it hurts. 

What also hurts today is the knowledge that my eggs are running out and once they are gone, that is that!  There are many ways to get around all the other infertility matters like blocked tubes (surgery and IVF can help), a bad uterus (surrogacy can supply an alternative) but once you have run out of eggs, that means tickets to having a child of your genetic make up.  Sure you can go for egg donors but that is someone else’s genes that will mix with my dear hubby’s and I’m not cool with that.  This hurts! 

Again, I must assure you that I am not heading for a breakdown, nor depression. I am fine, I am good even, but the hurt is natural and part of the journey.  I must just keep thinking on fun tag lines like “Smile and wave, just smile and wave” (animated movie “Madagascar”) or “Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming, swimming” (another animation “Finding Nemo”). Still…it sucks!

Word from the eggspert

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So today the good Doctor telephoned to give us our blood and other results – from samples taken a couple of weeks back.  All good news for Gary (hoorah!) but not great news for me (no surprise). 

It appears my AMH levels confirm the Doc’s suspicions about my dwindling egg supply. For those in the know of all things fertility related – AMH is like the old FSH test, only more advanced.  Basically, this test pics up hormones that indicate what is happening with my follicles and egg supplies.  A normal reading should range anywhere from a level 2 to a level 6 and anything below 1.1 is considered very low / undetectable.  My level was read as 0.29 – what?!?!?!  Shocker.  The Doc is concerned which immediately gets me freaked out.

It confirms that we are in dangerous territory when it comes to my egg supply and that we need to move swiftly, time is running out.  Another concern with this is that the lower the AMH level, the less my body is likely to react to the stimulatory drugs which will produce more eggs for harvesting.  In other words I don’t have many eggs left and am not likely to even produce enough when it comes time to harvest – we may not be able to harvest enough to freeze for future use never mind enough for one shot at implanting.

It’s all rather complicated – but at the end of the day this is just another reason to move quickly.  We now pray for enough eggs for implanting and (please Lord) enough to freeze for another shot (should the first attempt fail) or for future use (should we have success and want another child in a couple of years time). 

This is devastating news … but we trust and obey.  Perhaps this is simply our Lord’s way of saying “Watch what I can do with so little”

Words of encouragment from a friend

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The shalom peace of Jesus is on your side to make you a success in life. Even if you are caught in the midst of a storm right now, you are safe, forever secure in His arms of love. Just imagine an eagle chick nestled under the wings of its provider, sleeping soundly in spite of the howling winds. Beloved, whatever challenges may be raging around you today, I pray that the shalom peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your heart and mind through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).

Go in this peace and rest upon His shalom!

Anyone looking for a surrogate???….ha ha (Caryl)

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It certainly was a curveball.  There we sat in the doctor’s waiting room for almost an hour, both of us feeling a little apprehensive for very different reasons.  I knew that Sian was nervous that this doctor was going to see her as a “new challenge”, that he would be the one who would get her pregnant.  I was nervous because I was concerned that after offering my “services as a surrogate”, my first scan would reveal a defunct uterus.  I was dreading what that would mean to Sian and Gary if that was the case.

And then of course, the doctor’s appointment was very tense.  It didnt take 5 minutes before both of us knew that this doctor was going to make sure that he got HER pregnant.  I could see that Sian was getting more and more uncomfortable with every question he kept firing at her.  He eventually took her into the little examination room and gave her a scan.  Just a few minutes later, he came out with a long line of scan photographs, had a deep frown on his brow and kept mumbling “it’s 8.5, it’s 8.5!!”

When Sian returned to the table, he gave it to her straight.  He told her that he was not prepared to tell the court that she was unable to carry a child – he was that certain that she would.  Poor Sian couldnt hold back any longer, and the tears began to flow.  There is no way to understand the level of pain that a person has to deal with on a road of “battling to have a baby”.  I sat there listening to the doctor trying to reassure her that she would be able to have this baby, and if she really couldnt, that her surrogate was always there, although if he did use the surrogate, the chances that he would implant the surrogate AND Sian would be pretty high.  This was all too much for Sian I think.  For me, my spirit flew.  Not because I had now been “let off the hook”, but because I knew that Sian would now be able to experience the joy of carrying her own baby to full term.  It was hard not to look too excited however, because Sian was devastated.

One would ask “Well why is Sian so upset to be told that she will now have a chance of being pregnant herself?  Isnt that what she ultimately wants?”  The answer to the question is “absolutely, she wants to be pregnant herself”, but as mentioned before, until you have experienced the prolonged pain, disappointment and frustration of not being able to fall pregnant, you cannot just expect a “normal reaction” from anyone.  Sian was hoping for “the next step” and not, in essence, to take another step back.

But, we serve a compassionate and caring God who knows Sian better than she knows herself.  I am so in awe of the miracle that has taken place in her womb.  Her uterus is going to be able to sustain and maintain a pregnancy, and I know that Molly will be born of her own mother’s womb.

And honestly, it wasnt the outcome I was expecting that day.  Was there any disappointment that I couldnt carry her child after all – not in the slightest – because as much as I loved being pregnant (which is why I would have been so happy to carry Sian’s child for her), I knew that it would be so devastating for Sian not to experience the joy of the first kick and the incredible bonding that does take place during that 10 month period when your child grows within you.  A miracle I could never take from anyone.

The journey takes a detour (Sian)

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Hello – Sian here, the commissioning Mom.  Our dear surrogate, Caryl, accompanied me to the new fertility doc the other day and boy were we thrown a huge curveball.  Our plans for surrogacy cannot be put to the High Court (as yet) – whaaat?! 

You see, our fertility treatments thus far have been a mix of traditional and alternative treatments and apparently the courts are still made up of men in stiff shirts starched in the traditional way – in other words our alternative treatments aren’t recognised in court.  We had also not tried IVF for ourselves as yet because the lining of my uterus was too thin to maintain a pregnancy – so why waste +R30 thousand on a treatment that would simply lead to more heartache?!   Anyhoo, things have changed and it appears my lining is now a viable thickness – I hear angels singing – and the doc is happy to proceed with IVF on me first 🙂 (should this fail, surrogacy is back on the table). 

I must warn you – it was not all smiles when the doc first pronounced the good news.  Why?  Well, anyone who has been down this rocky road of infertility before knows the frustrations of starting over with ANOTHER doctor who feels HE can “fix” you.  You grow tired of trying treatment after treatment and just when you decide one route is the way to go (I felt surrogacy was IT) this too get’s taken from you.  But after much ranting and raving and venting and sighing and releasing it all to the Lord I had to chuckle at our Lord’s clever plan for getting me to this point.  I would probably NEVER have gone to another doc for another treatment, and would most probably NEVER have considered IVF a viable option for myself.  How was our Lord ever going to get me there?  Caryl, my dear surrogate. 

So the IVF plan is down and booked.  Right down to the date they will harvest my eggs and implant the embryos…when???  I’ll save that for another post (gotta love cliff-hangers). 

Please hold our dear surrogate in prayers and thanks.  This marvelous lady has brought us to this point of hope – the hope of carrying our own child!  Thanks my friend and God bless you for your generosity and kindness shown to this couple who are simply fumbling their way through the emotional journey of infertility.

The journey for David begins…. (Caryl)

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David is my husband.  When I first told him that I wanted to do this for Sian and Gary, I think he thought I wasnt being serious.  His first question – “Why?”.  I told him.  He said he would have to think about it.  I’m not sure if he did or didnt – I personally think he tried hard NOT to think about it.  I think he thought that if he didnt think about it long enough, then maybe I’d forget about it too.  For once, it didnt “take it personally” – as a personal affront to my personal wishes – as I knew of other men who had been told of the news of my intentions and they were nothing short of horrified – so I wasnt suprised by David’s reaction (or lack of it) at all.

To be honest, communication has always been a major issue in my marriage, and that’s why I am even more convinced of the “bigger picture” that this surrogacy will unveil.  It is God who has orchestrated this from the very beginning.  No, I don’t believe God orchestrated a war on poor Sian’s body so that she would be unable to conceive – I totally believe that she has been the victim of a planned attack to rob her of the joy of meeting Molly by the ruler of this world (I won’t even honour him one iota by saying his name).  You see, Sian and Gary have been made promises by God, and He NEVER breaks his promises.  (2 Peter 1:4; Jeremiah 29:11)

And so, my marriage has also suffered the same attack and to a large degree, there have been some major losses.  But because of the victory that I know is already mine, I am certain that this child that I will bear will also bring fruit of new life into my own life as my marriage is healed and restored into wholeness. (Philipians 4:19)

So I eventually went back to David and asked him if I can do this.  He reluctantly agreed but I knew that there was still much conflict within him.  I now know why.

David and I were married 10 years ago.  I married REALLY late – I was 35.  When we married, David had two children from previous marriages, a daughter of 12 and a baby son.  Five years ago, David lost his 15 year old daughter in a tragic motor bike accident in Port Elizabeth.  There is no way for me to totally understand his loss and pain because she wasnt my biological child.  Eighteen months before Lauren died, we had had our own daughter, Rebecca.  A few months after Rebecca was born, we made the decision for David to have a vasectomy based on the fact that we believed that we had enough children (I was personally so overwhelmed by this baby that I had always wanted, but never fully understood the toll that it would take on me personally).  So when Lauren died, David was considering having the vasectomy reversed so that we could have another baby.  There were two reasons I knew we couldnt do that – firstly, we did not have the finances for the reversal and secondly, I believed at the time that David was, like most parents who lose a child, doing anything to ease the pain of losing his child.  When I explained to David that we would never be able to “replace” Lauren in his heart with another baby, he allowed himself to go through the grieving process.  But I think there is always place in his heart to hope for another child.

I believe that he possibly feels cheated  that I would carry another child that would not be his.  He cannot comprehend that it is not physically possible for us to conceive (other than the huge expense of a reversal with a then almost zero chance of him producing viable sperm, I have multi-cystic ovaries which mean that I too am unable to produce viable eggs).  He cannot comprehend that I do not share the desire or dream of having another child and so he’s  battling with the idea that I would want to be pregnant for 9 months as a gift to someone else.  I don’t want to call him “selfish” because he is basically trying to work things out in his own time.  I have to give him that.  He hasnt said “NO – forget about it”.  He’s said “do it” and wondering “what the heck!!”

Notice, I have always said “I think” when it comes to what David is feeling, because it is a product of poor communication.  But once again, I believe that that too will be a wonderful new fruit, a new season for us in our marriage, of never again holding back our thoughts, feelings and emotions – because that’s what best friends do with each other.

In the meantime, there have been moments when I have thought “oh no, does this mean I will get no support”.  Or “does this mean that God actually HASNT been speaking to me”.  But those moments have been shortlived, and just because God is such an incredible DAD, he has been faithful to give me the most incredible signs that we are on the right path.  For instance, last night I’m watching an episode of  “Chuck”.  It’s filled with its usual suspense and drama, but somewhere along the line, Chuck’s wife has to save a baby.  She realises that the baby is in danger and she gives it to her own mother to look after.  Chuck’s wife (I’ve forgotten her name) realises, however, that if she gives the baby to her mother, because she’s a spy, she will never be able to see her mother again.  So she leaves a tearful mom with this little baby.  However, the baddies really want this child (because of the huge inheritance that is attached to it), so they eventually find out that the spy who took the baby, gave it to her mom, and they go and look for the child with every intention of killing the spy’s mom.  But of course, Chuck and his wife get there first and after the usual “skop, skiet and donner”, they kill all the baddies and there is a now a very tearful and touching reunion between Chuck’s wife and her mom.  The mom then brings out this beautiful little girl and says to her “I would like to introduce you to your big sister, and this is….” and I”m sorry, this is where I was just blown away – “….and this is MOLLY!!”  Well I almost burst into tears because for me, it was such a confirmation of a story of a little girl that needed saving, and that God was going to use me to introduce Molly to her Mom and Dad who had been waiting for her for a long time……

Yes, God will even use Chuck to get his message through…..