Monday, July 19, 2010

bouncing back

I try my best here at Dr. Blondie to keep things real. After all, I write a life blog. And life is not always about ice cream and puppies and rainbows and flowers--well, fortunately, my life does include loads of flowers-- and anyone who presents his or her life as pure sunshine all the time is probably hiding something. The longer you live in this world, the more you will know suffering. And although my pain looks and feels different from yours, we both will experience it, and possibly lots of it. But, Lord willing, we will also know the grace that accompanies suffering. Let me tell you about examples of both in my life right now.

This past January Brad and I found out that we have less than a one percent chance of conceiving a child on our own. The nature of our complications caused us to leapfrog over the basic infertility treatments that most people start with, leaving us two options: IUI and IVF. Although IUI has a much lower rate of success than IVF, most people start with an IUI because it's less invasive, time consuming, and expensive than the alternative. Our first IUI in March was not successful. Almost every aspect of our second IUI in May seemed to go wrong, so we fully expected it to fail. But it worked and we found out we were pregnant in early June. What science deemed impossible God made possible. Although God has granted man the wisdom to make amazing scientific breakthroughs in reproductive technology, the final result still rests in God's hands: life is a miracle. This pregnancy was such a wonderful reminder of God's sovereignty.

You can probably guess where this story is headed. The pregnancy progressed normally at first. My hormone levels multiplied as expected; the weekly ultrasounds documented the baby's growth; I experienced pregnancy symptoms; my fertility doctor noted the flicker of a heartbeat on the ultrasound at six weeks and three days, and promptly released me to my regular OB. But two weeks later, at my first OB appointment, everything fell apart. It was a first OB appointment of nightmares.

The doctor couldn't detect heartbeats on the ultrasound. And yes, I say heartbeats (plural) because there were twins, which was a huge surprise to us. Our hearts had selfishly desired twins. And even though we didn't know it initially, God answered that prayer, too! But it also added to our pain and disappointment to lose them both.

The last week and a half have been difficult. Although miscarriage is very common, especially in the first trimester, and Brad and I tried really hard to stay grounded when we first found out we were pregnant, our hearts and minds still ran away with dreams and plans and hopes for the future. We mostly feel sad and disappointed. The thought of starting all over again with infertility treatments (down the road) is overwhelming--it took so much to get pregnant in the first place that it's easy to slip into the "I've already paid my dues" mentality and expect things to unfold perfectly once you achieve that positive result. It's hard not to feel like a failure when conceiving and bearing children seems to come so easy to most people. Even Fern is reproducing! (Do I sound like Charlotte York yet?)

But even in our lowest moments, it's impossible to ignore God's grace. Despite the challenges, he made us pregnant--with twins, even--in the first place. He's provided me a job I love with insurance that includes both rare and generous coverage for infertility treatments. He's blessed us with good doctors and scientific advancements that offer more options than were available to previous generations. The Lord has blessed me with a compassionate husband who loves and supports me, and God's strengthened our marriage beyond what I ever would have expected. Brad and I are comforted by the kind words, prayers, and practical advice and help from sweet friends. A very practical blessing is that I had already planned to take last week off work as my annual "staycation", and although I didn't spend it as I expected to, I was thankful to have the week at home to relax and deal with the bad news. Please pray we will continue to find our strength and hope in the Lord and will set our sights on eternal life in Heaven and not on the fleeting desires of this world. Please also pray that our hearts long for and accept God's will, rather than our own desires. We haven't given up hope that someday we'll be parents. But, we also realize that God may have different plans for us.

Rest assured that I do not intend to turn Dr. Blondie into an infertility blog. While I may weigh in on the subject occasionally, and of course I'll provide updates as Brad and I feel appropriate, I will not document every step of our journey to become parents. Besides praying for us, there are a couple practical ways you can help. First, don't feel awkward expressing your concern or asking us how we're doing. We're happy to talk about this with others, and especially if you are struggling with the same issues, please be in touch. But don't ask for or expect updates of when, where, and how we're proceeding, and what the outcomes are. We get impatient enough waiting for the next step. Feeling like an audience is waiting with us only adds pressure. Second, don't feel awkward telling us you are pregnant. We are happy for you and want to share in your joy. We only ask you to refrain from sharing with us how quickly and easily you got pregnant.:) Don't be a "squeaky wheel", as our fertility doctor would say.

The drama isn't quite over yet. I knew nothing about miscarriages before having one, so I've been amazed to learn how the body can take its own sweet time or even resist expelling the pregnancy on its own. This part, psychologically, has been tough for me. You find out bad news, process it and mourn, and then want to move on, but your body isn't necessarily on the same schedule as your mind and heart. Please pray that I have patience while waiting for a resolution.

Thank you, as always, for reading my blog and sharing in my joys and sorrows. I couldn't ask for better readers! Regularly scheduled programming will resume later this week.

11 comments:

diana onorio funk said...

my heart is with you, and you and brad are in my thoughts and prayers, dear friend.

Organized Living by Amy said...

I'm so sorry Rebecca. I'll continue to keep you all in my prayers and wish you only the best in the coming months- healthy body and hopeful spirit. Please please call or reach out if you ever need anything.

Katie said...

"Trust in the slow work of God" is a prayer I have said to myself many times. You and Brad are so patient and loving and keep your trust in God and are an example to us all. I'm so sorry that you have this challenge and sorrow.

wee said...

my thoughts and prayers will be with you and brad as you continue your journey to become parents.

Esther O said...

thanks for the vulnerable and heartfelt post. we are praying for you guys.

Amy said...

So sorry to hear this, Rebecca. What a terrible loss. We will be praying for you both and hope that another little miracle (or two) is coming your way.

KtownP said...

Beautifully written Rebecca. Thank you for sharing your journey. I so admire your faith and know you will be blessed by God. Love and prayers to you and Brad.

rebecca.d.winnett said...

Rebecca-
I just read this and my heart sank. I am so sorry, but I have faith that the Lord knows your heart and your suffering. I'm here if you need anything at all. I'll be praying for you and Brad to have peace, trust the Lord, and have faith.

Sorry Sarah said...

i understand the devastation of a miscarriage...thinking of you and praying for your healing as you continue on this journey.

Momma Fid said...

Rebecca,
Your story is so touching. I will pray for you and Brad throughout this difficult time. MIscarriages, even if they are early on in the pregnancy, are devastating. It is a loss of a life and deserves compassion. Don't ever feel like you need to say, "I know it was early but..." It doesn't take away the pain. I suffered 3 miscarriages and wanted to strangle well meaning people who would say, "at least it was early on" . Hang in there and trust in God's grace.

SD Dad said...

Kathy and I want you to know that you and Brad will be in our thoughts and our prayers as your journey through life continues...