Monday, June 29, 2009

Round 2

With only two days left before going back to the doctor to find out if we were pregnant I woke up with very bad stomach pains and realized I had started my cycle.  Although I was very sad, my heart still continued to rest in the promise that God is sovereign and has a perfect plan.  Josh and I were able to spend much of the morning in the Word and delight in the many blessing that we have despite not being pregnant.

I went to the doctor on Tuesday and they were able to verify that I had no ovarian cysts and I could begin the injections again that night.  (Ovarian Cysts are a common result from women undergoing fertility treatments because they are products of failed or disordered ovulation. An ovarian cyst is formed when the follicle does not release its egg and the follicle continues to grow or if the follicle releases the egg but the hole where the egg was does not close up like it should.) So, that night we were able to begin injections of Brevelle. During the first series of shots we had used Gonal-f which seemed to work just fine, but we had won the Brevelle injections in the raffle so we thought now was the best time to use that medication.  We had to be re-trained on how to prep and administer this new kind of injection because it was very different from the Gonal-f.  It took a lot longer to prepare each night and it was much more of a painful. Over the next few days I tried to fight back the emotional mood swings this new medicine caused.  I was not sad, or depressed about anything, but I would cry off and on all day, for no reason at all.  Friday night was the worst.  Because the shots had been hurting so bad and leaving such horrible bruises on my stomach I actually fainted as Josh was trying to give me the shot.  As I pulled myself off the kitchen floor I knew it was not worth it, we needed to switch back to the Gonal-f even if we had to pay more for it.  I had a doctor’s appointment that Saturday and they gave the go ahead to switch back so I placed an online order so would arrive first thing the next business day.

On Monday, when I went back to the doctor, they checked my estrogen levels and they were at a 35 pmol/lt.  Estrogen levels in women rise as follicles are maturing and mine was still rather low.  However, by Thursday’s appointment it had rose to a level of 600 pmol/lt.  A normal estrogen level at the time of ovulation is around 500 pmol/lt.  When the doctors recognized this, they told me to continue taking my Gonal-f shots because I had one or two follicles that were maturing but were not yet 18 mm (the measurement they need to be at for ovulation).  The doctors also asked me to take a second shot each night called Ganirelix Acetate, which prevents the egg from releasing prematurely.  Fortunately, the actual Ganirelix shot did not hurt, but for about an hour afterwards it felt like I had a Charlie Horse in my stomach (not very pleasant to say the least).

Saturday morning, I went back to the doctor in hopes they would tell me that I was ready to take my last shot (of Ovidrell).  Ovidrell is the shot I take to induce ovulation.  However, after an unusually long ultrasound with the nurse, the doctor approached me and said, “We’re going to have to end your cycle for this month.”  Bummer!  My heart sank.  What they had seen on the ultrasound was not that the medicine didn’t work….but that it worked too well!  In two days I had developed 7-8 follicles that could potentially be released when I ovulated. Had the doctors not seen this, I could have been the next Octo-mom.  Yikes!!!   He actually explained to me that this was exactly how Jon and Kate Gosselin ended up with sextuplets. He said that he had never seen anyone with this many mature follicles have less than four children.  He said that because of the health risk to me and the potential babies, if Josh and I did decide to continue trying to get pregnant during this cycle, their office would refuse to see me as a patient.  They also took my estrogen levels again and it had skyrocketed to 1700!  So, after an important lesson in abstinence, I made an appointment for the middle of July so we could talk about how to balance out the medications I am on.  Although I was really sad that we were again postponed one more month, I am thankful to know that the injections I am taking are actually working.  Now we are praying that the Lord will provide us (and of course the doctor’s) with the wisdom to know what is the proper dosage of medicine I need to get my body working just right.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Patient Endurance

I have been reading a book entitled Passion and Purity written by Elizabeth Elliot, missionary to the Quichua Indians in the 1950s and wife to Jim Elliot, who was killed by the spears of the Auca Indians.  Although her book is written mainly for singles that desire to be married, the underlying theme is contentment in all circumstances in which God has placed you.  I wanted to share several passages from the book that have really encouraged me over the past two weeks.

First, I am discovering how to be happy and joyful in circumstance that I would not choose for myself. 

“The problem starts when we make up our own minds what will give us happiness and then decide, if we don’t get exactly that, that God doesn’t love us.”

“I wished that my wishes were what God wished, and if my wishes were not what God wished, I wished that I could wish that my wishes would go away, but the wishes were still there.”

“I wait. Dear Lord, Thy ways are past finding out, Thy love too high. O hold me still beneath Thy shadow. It is enough that Thou lift up the light of Thy countenance. I wait because I am commanded so to do. My mind is filled with my wonderings. My soul asks ”Why?” But then the quiet word, “Wait thou only upon God.” And so, not even for the light to show a step ahead, But for thee, dear Lord, I wait.”

I also learned that I must not wish away the time I have with my husband right now.  There are so many things that he and I can do with one another and for others right now that we will not be able to do once the Lord does bless us with biological or adopted children.  Elizabeth explains this same underlying principle in her book.

“The important thing is to receive this moment’s experience with both hands.  Don’t waste it.  “Wherever you are, be all there,” Jim once wrote.  “Live to the hilt of every situation you believe to be the will of God.” A lovely moonlit night, but I am alone.  Shall I resent the very moonlight itself because my lover is somewhere else? A cozy candlelit supper with friends- couples except for me.  Shall I be miserable all evening because they are together and I am single?  Have I been “cheated”?  Who cheated me? The phone rings.  Oh!  Maybe it will be he! It is somebody selling light bulbs.  Shall I be rude because he ought to have been somebody else? A letter in the mailbox that (for once) doesn’t look like junk mail or a bill.  I snatch it eagerly.  It’s from Aunt Susie.  Do I throw it aside in disgust?

I know all about this kind of response.  I’ve been there many times. Something I wrote to Jim once must have revealed my resentment, for he wrote, “Let not our longings slay the appetite for our living.”  That was exactly what I had let it do.

There were times, I’m sure, when if anyone had tried to talk to me of the happiness of heaven I would have turned away in a huff.  The painful thing was that the other folks had not only heaven to look forward to, but they had “all this and heave too,”  “this” being engagement or marriage.  I was covetous.  When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Roman Christians about the happy certainty of heaven, he went on to say, “This doesn’t mean, of course, that we have only a hope of future joys- we can be full of joy here and now even in our trials and troubles.”

Even when I’m feeling most alone- on that moonlit night, in the middle of a candlelit supper, when the phone call and the letter don’t come- can I be “full of joy, here and now”?  Yes.  That is what the Bible says.  That means it must not be true, but possible, and possible for me.”

And finally, how I respond to my current situation will either glorify God or destroy my witness.  I pray that God is magnified in how I respond to any situation.

“The effect of my trouble depends not on the nature of the troubles themselves but on how I receive them.”

“What matters is making the right use of it [suffering], taking advantage of the sense of helplessness it brings to turn one’s thoughts to God.  Trust is the lesson.”

“The deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by his letting us have our own way in the end, but by making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are honestly able to pray what he taught his disciples to pray:  Thy will be done.  Acceptance of whatever that means is the great victory of faith that overcomes the world.”

“If the yearnings went away, what would we have to offer to the Lord?  Aren’t they given to us to offer?  It is control of passion, not its eradication, that is needed.  How would we learn to submit to the authority of Christ if we had nothing to submit?”

I hope in some way these passages from Elizabeth Elliot’s book has been an encouragement to you too in whatever circumstance the Lord has you in.