Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful for the Valleys?

I should warn you that this is going to be one long post, but I promise it does have a happy ending!

Last night in our home fellowship group our pastor posed the question of why we ought to be thankful.  Being Thanksgiving and all, my mind automatically went to the “blessings” side of my brain and counted off all of the awesome things that God has done this year. 

The pastor then added, what about being thankful when we are in the midst of a trial, suffering or other unwelcome event which takes place in our lives.

Huh…well…um…that took some serious thought!

It is so easy to be thankful on the mountaintops, but it’s when God has us in the valleys that we lean into Him and grow the most. 

In thinking about what I am most thankful for this year, my heart doesn’t immediately thank God for dry valleys…the infertility, Tall man’s genetic disease, the chemical pregnancy and loss of our donated embryos earlier this year, or the fact that I spend 40+ hours a week away from my 2 year old while I’m at work.  Those things naturally don’t rise to the top of my praise report list…but they should. 

With some deeper conversations with the Lord, he has shown me that…

It was our journey of infertility that led us to finally discovering the truth about hubby’s genetic disease.  Praise God for His mercy that He did not allow us to conceive naturally and pass on the defective gene.  Praise God for His grace through the people and technology of PGD IVF (that He has gifted and equipped) that our miracle son was born. 

Praise God for infertility that led us to embryo adoption this year.  My heart grieves that loss, but we praise God that the embryos are no longer in that forever frozen state and have now gone on to heaven to be with our Creator.  I must also praise God for it was through the witness of that loss that my dear friend who saw my heartache first-hand and response to that situation, ultimately led her to give her life to Christ.

God’s word tells us to…count it all joy when you fall into various trials (James 1:2).  I have to constantly remind myself that it doesn’t say “some” or “when I feel like it.”  It says count ALL.  Really? 

And just to be certain that I get the point, it also says, In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:18).  Yep…pretty sure God means everything…including the desolate valley I’ve been walking.

Because…on the other side of this valley, lies a blessing…God’s perfect plan and purpose for my life. 

If you read some of my previous posts, you know that we’ve been waiting for quite some time for our embryo adoption/donation contract to be finalized.  It was taking a long time to hear anything from the donor family.  There was nothing else I could physically do to make the process go any faster. 

All I could do was pray.

The funny thing is…that’s what God wanted all along.  For me to pray…He simply wanted me to spend time with Him…alone, in His word.

So, for the past few weeks, I’ve been getting up at Oh-dark-thirty, grabbing my Bible and my blanket, heading out to my patio, and spending some amazing alone time with my Creator, my Friend and my Savior.  He is with me as the sun comes up and gives me thoughts to carry for the rest of the day.  I look forward to these moments as He breathes life into me.

What has been amazing was that as I spent more time with Him, the focus of my prayers shifted from me, the embryos, me, our family, me, me, me…to Him, His power, His might and His will and direction for our lives. 

And low and behold when I wasn’t expecting it, I got a call from our attorney.  The precious embryos we had been waiting for have now joined our family.  Poof, just like that --- the contract was finished.  Signed, sealed and delivered!

The twinkle babies are ours!

What a reminder that my perspective is so small, so tiny and shallow.  God’s word and His promises are true, but it’s because of this trial I can finally see that His hand is on me, has been on me and takes care of the entire span of the universe! 

So, am I thankful for valleys?  This is most certainly not a "bring-it-on" invitation for more trials to enter my life, but I will say that whatever the Lord is doing through our trials, I have faith that it is all because He loves me.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12

Monday, November 15, 2010

Biopsy results are in...

After red tape with my insurance, the x-ray machine breaking and my original biopsy postponed...I finally had a stereotactic biopsy last Friday to check to see if the cluster of cells in my breasts was cancer. 

I slipped into a stylish turquoise (open-to-the-front) hospital gown, entered a room that quite honestly could have kept popsicles frozen, and hopped up onto a gigantic table for the procedure.

Picture this...

Picture a massage or chiropractor table (sound nice and relaxing, right?). was an examination table...except the hole wasn't up here for my face, it was lower and to the right a little.  Yep, a booby-hole...very strange.

So, there I laid, horizontal on the table, face down (bb through the strange opening) while the table was lifted up to the ceiling by a hydraulic lift.  I am seriously not making this stuff up!  It wasn't jiffy lube it was jiffy-boob.  That was where I stayed for the next hour!

The equipment and uncomfortable position allowed for the doctor, the tech and the assistant to pierce needles into my breast via ultra-fancy, high-tech machines, and retrieve samples for pathology.  Did I mention that they had me place my arm and shoulder through that same hole, too?  I am still bruised from those contorted poses!

While they were in there, they shot a titanium marker into "me" to mark the spot.  It is to help the doctor/surgeon locate the cells in the future.  The titanium maker stays a part of me no matter the outcome.  They assured me I won't be setting off any metal detectors at the airport. 

But now to the best news ever...

After waiting all weekend and most of Monday, the doctor called with the biopsy results...

...It was negative!  Hallelujah and praise God!  He is faithful and merciful. 

I used to be worried that road blocks were sending us off our path and self-imposed timeline to our frozen transfer (which if you'll remember we originally planned for late-October, early-November).  Well, everything happens for a reason and I am now thanking God for my life instead of worrying when the transfer will be.

Taking one day at a time.

I'm also concerned about our lack of a contract...still.  But that, my friends, is a topic for a different post.

Thank you for your prayers.  I definitely felt them!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

EA contract closer, but FET postponed til New Year

Today, we are one step closer to bringing our twinkle babies home.

I received a call from our attorney about our Embryo Adoption process. Contract is being finalized and coming to us for signatures!

Bear in mind that the process doesn't usually take this long for most people, but we had a few obstacles to overcome before moving forward. 

1) My biopsy - Part of the testing to prepare for a FET involved a mammogram since I am now 40 years old.  Results came back abnormal. The biopsy has been rescheduled twice; the appointment is tomorrow.

2) Slow going communication - Since the world of EA is so new, attorneys that do legal work for EA don't only do reproductive law.  Between our attorney (who is amazing), the donor attorney and the donor family, everything just takes longer to communicate back and forth.  We chose these twinkle babies back in August.

3) Additional testing for Donor dad - The list of infectious diseases that donors are tested for has expanded over the past few years.  Which is why our donor had to go back for additional testing even though the twinkle babies were created in 2007.

The good news is that we are closer.  Praise God for that.  He holds these babies in His hand whether they will be ours right now, in two months, or ever.  We are trusting in the Lord that He has a plan for their lives (and ours).  We do know that the babies becoming part of our family is only the beginning. 

When we met with Dr. K and the nurse in August, we (our plans) were to do a FET in October.  Well, October has come and gone and we are still a family of three without a signed contract for our twinkle babies.  God's plan is obviously outside of our teeny view and we wait on Him for our next steps.

Hubby and I have both been feeling like God has been asking us to WAIT to do this FET which is one of the most difficult things we've been faced with lately.  My heart so desperately wanted to do this NOW, which is why I couldn't understand why God put on my heart to "wait".  After all, we have waited years for this moment.

So, we have prayerfully decided to postpone our FET until the beginning of the year (2011) for the following reasons:

  • Hubby just got a new job in law enforcement and will be in academy/training for the next three months.
  • Biopsy and health holdups - biopsy is finally tomorrow
  • Holidays - I really want my two-year old (and us) to enjoy every moment together this Thanksgiving and Christmas.  We have alot to be thankful for.
  • Save more money for FET and legal costs.
  • New Flexible Spending Account begins again on January 1, 2011 (tax free dollars for FET replenished)
  • Little Mister's 3rd birthday in early February.
I've felt God confirm our decision by giving me peace in my heart.  I would normally get hung up on the "what ifs" and "if onlys" in life, but this time it's very different.  God has given me this "extra" time to prepare so that I can get deeper into His word, spent time with Him, rely on Him to provide my counsel and guidance and spend quality loving moments with hubby and little mister without the stress of treatments.

The Lord is my strength and my shield.  My heart trusted in Him and I am helped.  Psalm 28:7