Something More

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plan to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Great is HIS faithfulness for great things HE has done!

As I shared not too long ago, God opened our hearts to adoption back in December. Still in the thick of infertility treatments, I honestly believed that God was going to give us at least one biological child and then eventually we would adopt to extend our family.

Turns out God had something more planned.

If you have been following my blog you know that in March we did an IVF cycle that failed miserably because of a poor response to the fertility medications.

Now looking back on a month that was the darkest time of this infertility journey, I know now that God used that IVF cycle to set the stage for the something more He had planned from the very beginning of time.

After that IVF failed God asked me to do something that cut me to the core of who I am.

He asked me to surrender my desire for pregnancy and childbirth to Him.

I’ll be honest and tell you my immediate reaction to this request was, “Are you sure about that, God? After all, You did create me with the desire to experience the miracle of pregnancy and childbirth since I was a kid. So, why don’t you think that one over again!”

The response I got was: TRUST ME.

It was quite possibly the most scariest and exciting decision I’ve ever made in my life.

I knew I had to just trust Him.

Over the past two years of struggling with infertility, God has taught me something that has totally changed the way I look at being infertile.

God’s plans for my life are far better and far bigger than anything I could ever plan for myself.

And so I knew if God was asking me to surrender this deep desire to experience the miracle of pregnancy and childbirth, I had only one choice.

Surrender.

Towards the end of March, I really started to feel an urgency to get the paperwork and family profile ready to turn in to the adoption agency. I diligently worked on filling out paperwork and my mom and I spent many hours doing the family profile.

On Friday, April 3rd, my friend from church who adopted a baby from this same agency told me to call her because she had a lot of information for me.

That night I learned there are four birth mothers due this summer. All of the babies had been placed however there was one adoption that may fall through.

Not one to get my hopes up for unrealistic reasons, I didn’t think much of it.

Instead I focused on my goal to get all the paperwork and family profile turned into the agency on April 7th, 8th or 9th.

On Thursday, April 9th, I had everything ready and drove to the agency.

If I had gotten to the agency five minutes later, I would have missed the lawyer as she was exiting and locking the building as I arrived!

I jumped out of the car, told her I was there to drop off my paperwork and family profile and she opened the door and took me inside.

She knew who I was because my friend from church had told her about me.

We went into the office and as long as I live I will never forget the words I heard next:

“We had an adoption fall through so if you want a baby in June you can have one!”

Immediately I knew I was living a miracle …

Sometime between Saturday and Thursday that adoption had fallen through.

This was why I had felt the urgent need to get our paperwork turned in as quickly as possible.

And, this was why God needed me to surrender my desire for His perfect plan.

I left the lawyer’s office that day in complete awe of our faithful God.

There is absolutely no way I, or anyone on this earth, could have orchestrated all that!

Only a God who had something more planned could do … a miracle!

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It’s a GIRL!!!

TO GOD BE THE GLORY,

GREAT THINGS HE HAS DONE!

Surrender

There has been no greater desire in my life than to experience pregnancy and the birth of a child who is half me and half my husband, yet still a unique individual unlike any other person on this earth.

My worst fear is never conceiving and giving birth to this baby I have dreamed about since childhood.

There was never any doubt in my mind of what I wanted to be when I grew up.

A wife and a mother.

I knew God had given me talents to be a successful teacher, but as each school year came and went, I knew that I was only getting closer and closer to the time when I would take on the role of wife and, eventually, mother and I couldn’t wait until that time!

The events of the past month literally rocked my world and turned everything upside down.

To be told at the age of 27 that no matter how much IVF medication you inject yourself with, at most, there will probably only be two, maybe three mature eggs for retrieval, is devastating.

As I now reflect on the events of this past month I know that on March 8th, the very day we heard this devastating news, God spoke to me sitting on that examination table before I even had the chance to dress.

However, what God told me was the last thing on earth I wanted to hear. I knew that if God lead in the direction I clearly did not want to go, I would have to surrender my desires for God’s perfect plan.

I cannot adequately describe in words what happened in that very moment but I had this sinking feeling that God was telling me He was closing the door to infertility treatments for now.

We are finished with treatments?

We are still not pregnant!

At the time, I really could not understand why God would create me to be so fascinated with pregnancy and childbirth, with this deep burning desire to experience pregnancy and the birth of my baby, and then not allow it to happen.

I still do not understand why, but I believe with all my heart that one day I will understand. But that is not the point here.

Somewhere between that moment on the examination table and Sunday night I knew God was telling me, “Elaine, I am asking you to surrender this desire to me. Give it up fully to me and proceed in faith towards adoption.Your time with treatments is complete for now.”

My reply, at first, went something like this, “But, God, I never dreamed it would all come to this. I’ve never thought for a minute that You wouldn’t allow conception to happen, eventually.”

And He just said, “Trust me.”

And I knew.

This is a matter of choosing to cling to my desires and my hopes or it is an opportunity of a lifetime to lay my desires at the feet of Jesus and continue to obey His lead – even though where He is asking me to go and what He is asking me to do is going to require me to put aside my desire for pregnancy and childbirth and follow Him.

I will not run from God and miss out on this marvelous plan I’ve been talking about now for, it seems like, years!

I cannot pin point the exact moment in time when I chose to surrender but I can tell you where I expected turmoil in my heart, there is complete and utter peace.

It really is the strangest thing because never in a million years did I ever expect to feel peace in my heart about the possibility of never being pregnant.

News flash: I am human and I fully expect there will be moments to come where peace, for a moment, is replaced by sadness and anger.

But since making this decision there has been excitement and continued anticipation in discovering just how God is going to weave all the events of the past almost two years into the most incredible masterpiece of work only a Heavenly Father, who unconditionally loves His child, could create.

I am sitting on pins and needles in anticipation of knowing what God’s plans are for us!

If I’ve lived my life for the past almost 28 years thinking marriage and having babies soon after is the best possible scenario for the outcome of my life, I know discovering God’s master plan is simply going to blow my mind away.

I’ve lived thinking there couldn’t possibly be anything better than all that and now here I am about to discover that since before I took my first breath God has had something more planned for me.

The only way I will discover this “something more” is to live a life of complete surrender and obedience to Jesus Christ.

And so we’ve now begun our journey to adoption!

You better believe I’ve got lots rolling around in my mind concerning adoption and stopping treatments. Expect to see the contents continuously poured out here on my blog soon.

IVF Antagonist Cycle

I will not lie and tell you that I am all chipper, excited and ready to get started with this IVF cycle.

Today I am overwhelmed with the finality of it all. This is it. Before doing IVF, there was always IVF as a last resort. Well, now we are here. At IVF. At our last ditch effort to actually see two lines on a pregnancy test.

I know I am overwhelmed today because my focus all day long has been on that very moment. Finding out at the end if I’m pregnant or not.

I cannot allow myself to think that way or the next four weeks of my life will be pure misery.

The important thing about running a marathon is not winning the entire race and coming in first. It’s instead all about how you run the race.

No matter how many times I tell myself this or write it in my blog, it is still extremely hard to keep my mind focused on that.

We are going on 18 months of this. I know some people go through infertility way longer than that. We are reaching the end of our possibilities. There is no IVF Cycle 2 (unless by some miracle of God we have frozen embryos at the end). This is it. The weight of that truth as been heavy on my heart yesterday and today.

This only proves to me that I cannot do this unless my eyes are fixated on Jesus and everything He has taught me in the past 18 months.

I wrote the following in my IVF journal last night:

I feel so weak right now. Honestly, I feel like I want to run to the side line and quit. I’m scared and nervous. I want everything to go perfectly and at the end of the month I want to finally see two pink lines and one word: PREGNANT. But I may run this race at full speed and not end up with that result.

It’s all about focus and keeping my eyes on the Lord. I can’t take my eyes off for a moment or I will stumble.

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. I can do whatever is coming my way in God’s strength. Whatever God is going to ask of me next I know He will equip me with the strength and power – HIS STRENGTH AND POWER – to do it.

God, I want a baby at the end of this marathon!! But not my will, Lord. Not my will. May Your will be done.

On this very night I surrender this cycle to you, God. When something “doesn’t go right” I can know I’m not the one in control. You are.

God, give me strength to run this race in a way that only serves to point people to You. I pray this IVF cycle will be used for your glory.

The time has come. It is time to do IVF. I’m at the starting line just about to take off.

*****

Here is my tentative schedule/Antagonist Protocol:

March 1 – 4: Ovarian Stimulation – 10 tabs of Letrozole (only on March 1) plus daily injections of Follistim and Menopur

March 5: Ultrasound at 8:30am to monitor and evaluate ovarian response to fertility drugs

March 6 – 9: After ultrasound evaluation I will be told how much more Follistim and Menopur I will need to take to continue the ovarian stimulation process of IVF.

During this time I will return to the doctor’s office for more ultrasounds and blood work to again monitor and evaluate ovarian response to fertility drugs.

March 9: Estimated date for hCG injection (to finish maturing eggs before retrieval)

March 11: Estimated Retrieval Day

The day after retrieval, I’ll be on Methylprednisolone (steroid) twice, daily for five days. I will also start Doxycycline (antibiotic) twice, daily for seven days. I will be on Prometrium (vaginally) three times a day.

March 14: 3-day transfer

(or)

March 16: 5-day transfer

Not sure when the Blood Pregnancy Test will be, but probably sometime towards the end of March.

Great Faith = Surrender

I woke up this morning with the thought, “God wants us to have great faith!” He wants me to believe that He can and will do more than I can imagine.

We don’t have great faith when we let fear and doubt crowd our hearts and minds.

The truth is, no matter how bleak your situation may be, if you are a Child of God, He has a beautiful ending to your story!

What is required of us is surrender.

I remember when God brought me to that place of surrender. It was like freedom I had never experienced before.

It is so easy to start feeling trapped. To feel like YOU have to find the keys that will unlock the trap of infertility.

But when you surrender and really truly honestly let go of the fear, the trying to control things and the mindset of, “I have to get myself out of here!” you can experience true freedom in Jesus Christ.

You can literally sit down and say, “Okay, I’m going to trust You, God, to get me out of here.” And you can start taking one day at a time, knowing each day is one step further towards seeing the beautiful ending God has for you.

***

Forty-eight hours.

Can you tell I’m counting down until the appointment??

***

PRAY FOR ABBY.

Riggs Family Blog

As the stories of Baby Ethan, Audrey Caroline and Stellan flooded the blogosphere, it it time to once again, put out a plea for prayers for a little girl named Abby.

To find out more about her story, click here. There is a 3-minute YouTube video about the battle she is facing.

Faith and Surrender … they go hand in hand

A few posts ago, I wrote about this infertility journey being a “Faith Walk”.

It is a “Faith Walk” on the road of surrender and faith in Jesus Christ.

And as I’ve learned over the past 16 months, even though at times it is scary and frustrating, it is a very good place to be.

Long ago, I had to come to the point of surrendering my will for God’s Will. And through the part of my “Faith Walk” where I went through month after month of negative pregnancy tests and then three failed IUIs, I can now look back on that time and see the purpose.

God was teaching me the invaluable lesson of surrender. He brought me to the place where I was able to say, with confidence in Him, “Not my will, but Yours.”

If I was still thinking things should have worked out my way, I would be stuck in mourning. I would be mourning the pregnancy I should have experience in August 2007 and the baby I should have given birth to in May of 2008, of which would have now made me the mother of a 7-month-old baby.

But no, God had so much more planned! And I praise Him for that!

My faith is in Jesus Christ because as Scripture tells us in Hebrews 11:6, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

As I’ve said many times before on this blog, God has lovingly taught me that my infertility goes beyond just an issue of egg and sperm having a hard time joining together.

That is the surface issue.

The deeper issue is there is a God who created mankind for the purpose of receiving glory through them and having a close personal relationship with them.

Scripture clearly tells us that God has ordained for us every day we would live before we ever were born! Which means, even before He knit me together in my mother’s womb, He knew endometriosis was going to be a part of my design.

But that certainly does not mean gloom and doom for me for the rest of my days!

God has taken my endometriosis, my infertility, and used it to draw me closer to Him, which allowed God to teach me to forsake my will for His perfect plan for my life.

Putting my faith in Jesus Christ is the only reason I have HOPE.

I believe with all my heart that if God wills, this time next month, I will be pregnant … that’s the faith part of this “Faith Walk”.

And as I’ve said from the beginning of this blog, I desire, above all, God’s will, for His ultimate glory … that’s the surrender part of this “Faith Walk”.

Faith and surrender … they go hand in hand.

A New Beginning & Prayer Requests # 13

On the very day I found out for sure I wasn’t pregnant, I met with Dr. L to discuss the next cycle. I do not feel God is asking me to wait a month before starting the next cycle this time. Instead, I hear Him saying, “Move forward now!”

So here we are 3 days into Cycle 4.

This was my prayer this morning:

God, I give this cycle to you. You know everything that needs to come together. You know how many sperm and You know how many eggs. And this time I am going to come before you daily and pray my heart’s desire… that You would choose to let it happen this cycle. Because of everything You have taught me since August 4th, I can rest assured, knowing if You do not choose to let it happen, it is ok. You just have something better planned. Since August of 2007, this journey has been nothing but amazing. I stand waiting with great expectation of what You will do next. To God be the glory. Amen!

Prayer Requests #13

  1. Pray that I will continue to surrender my Will for God’s Will because His is a whole lot better than mine!
  2. Pray for Cycle 4, especially in the next week or so as follicles are growing and developing.
  3. Pray the Femara and Menopur will do their job and get four healthy follicles ready to ovulate. **God says one or two is enough.
  4. Pray for it to happen this cycle!

Praying expectantly

A blogger friend asked a question in one of the comments she left on my blog. Her question was in reference to the blog I posted titled “Putting my Hope where it belongs”.

The question is, “I know God tells us to pray expectantly, but isn’t that just setting us up for disappointment?”

I think an initial response to this question would be to answer with a yes.

All I’ve ever wanted in life is to be a wife and mother. I imagined giving birth to our first child around the time we celebrated our first year anniversary of marriage. Instead, at our one year anniversary we were just beginning infertility treatments. And now I am hoping we will atleast be parents by our second wedding anniversary.

As we go through cycle three, do you think I will pray and plead with my Heavenly Father on insemination day to please allow sperm to meet egg? Absolutely. And I know my family and friends will be doing the same.

Now we need to establish what praying expectantly means. I believe Mark 11:24 sums it up: Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

This would mean I can pray expectantly and say, “God, you know my heart and how much I long for a child. You know the struggles Dave and I have faced. You know the countless nights of crying, frustration and tears. Please God, allow conception to happen this month and bless us with a baby (or two!).”

I believe what I have explained so far is praying expectantly on a surface level. But you have to dive deeper than this and consider God’s Will.

One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn through this ordeal is truly surrendering my will for God’s Will. This means I can pray the prayer above knowing God may have other plans. Yes, my desire is to conceive my next IUI cycle. But I must surrender to the fact that God’s Will may be different.

There is still good news here. God’s Will is always best. This is not a deal where God’s Will is best 99% of the time and my will is best 1%. Nope. God’s Will is always best. Always.

Which means something incredibly awesome! If I can just stand out of God’s way and let Him work His will in my life, something amazing will happen. That’s God’s guarantee. Just remember Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”

So does praying expectantly set us up for disappointment? I believe the answer is no.

Just look at Jess’s story. God gave her the family she desired in ways she never dreamed of. Would she change anything for the world? No way! Would she say God’s Will for her life far outweighed her own desires? I think the answer to that question is a definite yes.

The fact of the matter is God does not disappoint! Do we go through seasons in life where we wonder where in the world God is? Yes, we do. Oh how easy it is to think that way when we are in the middle of an infertility battle, with one thing on our mind, and over and over and over again we are denied that one thing.

But take heart! God is able to do far more than we can even ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20)! Isn’t that wonderful news?

I love to read. I like to think of this time in my life as a book. I’m in the middle of reading the story, not knowing how it is going to end. But I know the story will end well. There will be no sad ending. And it is just a matter of time before God allows me to “read” what He has planned. I don’t have any idea what the ending will look like. I just know it will be good.

Far better than anything I can pray for today.

Aren’t you glad God is willing to give us more than we even ask instead of just giving us what we ask for? Now that is an amazing God!

I believe we both can expect an amazing ending to our infertility journeys.

Far better than anything we can pray for today.