Wednesday, January 30, 2008

:: Explanation ::

I don't know if I'm ready to get in to all of this, but I feel like it's time to give you a real update on our appointment last week. Every time I have thought about writing it out, I have chickened out because I know it will take a while to sort out my thoughts, to say only what is necessary, to say enough without saying too much.

Let me see if I can do this in bullet form. That may be easier to read.

  • Before going into our appointment, we sat in the car and prayed that God would give us clear direction about our options. We prayed that there would be an option that we would pursue, but if there wasn't, that we'd know what to do. It was good to go into that appointment knowing that we had set boundaries and that one way or another, we'd soon know what our next step would be in growing our family.
  • After reviewing our medical records from our past doctors and tests, Dr. W. felt that our only option for conceiving was through ICSI. Click here for a short definition of this procedure. After he explained his reasoning, we knew he was probably right on his prognosis. "Can you get pregnant?" he asked. "Yes, with ICSI. Can you get pregnant without ICSI? You have probably one shot of pregnancy in 15-20 years of trying." I promise those were his words. It was really hard to hear that, to hear someone tell us that it is unlikely that we conceive without ART. From this point on, I listened with what I hope was a neutral look on my face all the while telling myself "Don't cry, don't cry, don't cry." When we were safely outside of the clinic, I immediately burst into tears. I just knew that ICSI wasn't for us, although we weren't going to make any decisions right off the bat. I could tell, though, that William was feeling the same way.
  • We drove around St. Louis and talked. (I cried a lot.)
  • We ate dinner at St. Louis Bread Co. (I tried hard not to cry a lot.)
  • We drove home hand in hand, in a silence only interrupted by my sniffling. (I cried A LOT.)
  • When we arrived home, we embraced and both wept. It was a hard night. We didn't have to say much to know what was coming. The unrest in both of our hearts was enough to know that we didn't want to pursue ICSI.
  • Now that a week as gone by, we have spent many hours talking about our options--both of them: ICSI or adoption. After praying and talking, talking and praying, we have decided to pursue adoption.
  • I know that there are many ethical ways of handling ICSI. Please don't think that I would criticize any of you who have utilized or are considering ICSI. We just decided that with all of the drugs I would have to take, with the actual science of it that we're a bit uncertain about, and the $10,000 price tag that it just wasn't the best decision for us. This is not to say that we wouldn't consider it in the future. Who knows what advances may be made in the next couple of years? We have many child-bearing years left, so there are still options in the future for us, Lord willing. But, for now, we are laying that to rest.
  • There is something so freeing in ceasing our pursuit of infertility treatment. Though we will still pray for natural children--because we serve Christ, who can raise the dead! With Him all things are possible!--it is such a release to let go of charts and temperatures, obsessing about timing and symptoms, and living my life in two week increments. Though I grieve the death of a dream in many ways, I can't tell you what a relief it is to move on. I didn't think I would be reacting this way, so I know that this peace is a gift of God.
  • After all of this happened, we received news of Amber's death (see previous post). Amber was a friend who had encouraged me greatly in my sadness and grief of infertility. She too had walked this road. Knowing that adoption was in my heart, Amber encouraged me in that area, as well. I have looked back over her emails from last year and can see how God is using her even now to nudge me down the road of adoption. Her death gave both William and me a sense of urgency. Not even knowing how many days she had with her sweet children (both of whom are adopted), she was a wonderful wife and mother. I know she loved her children immensely. That has given me courage to walk the road of adoption. I can't explain it, but I am thankful for the passion to pursue adoption. I know that the Father of Lights has put that in our hearts for a purpose.
  • Speaking of our Lord, I am so very thankful for the peace that is ruling my heart. I expected to be a disaster after all of this. I expected to wallow in grief at the prospect of being told we'll probably never conceive. And, don't get me wrong--I did grieve. I still do. I will continue to do so at times. BUT--He is FAITHFUL! Christ has given me hope in HIM, not in children or pregnancy. He is using infertility for GOOD in my life. I cannot explain it--it can only be a miracle--He has given me the ability to praise Him for His "no" to our prayers for natural conception. He has given and He has taken away, and He is blessed! My heart simply overflows with love and affection for our Savior who has carried my sorrows and my grief. I do now know how I would walk this road without Him. His grace astounds me.
  • So, what's next? Well, we are trying to decide on which agency we will use. We have narrowed down our options and are making our final decision soon. We decided on the domestic infant program, which means that Lord willing, we will be adopting an infant with the U.S. We love the idea of international adoption, but we feel for our first adoption that we will pursue domestic.
  • What happens to this blog? Nothing. I will keep on writing because this is my infertility blog, and I am still infertile! :) The venue may change as adoption becomes less an idea and more of a reality, but I will still keep up this site and write. I have had too many people email and comment about how they need a kindred spirit inside of the infertility world. I know infertility can be a lonely place. For now, I will not go away. :)

Thank you for commenting and praying. While it may seem that our journey towards growing our family biologically is over, it's not. We do know that God can do anything. We will still pray for that. But, we also believe that He has adoption in His plans for us. We pray that by His grace and mercy He will bless us with the child that we so desire and yearn to love--the child who needs us to be his or her parents.

Any questions? I'd be glad to address them. If they are more personal (in regards to our appt.) please email me at glennadmarshallAThotmailDOTcom.

Blessings. The Lord is good--trust in Him!!


O Love that will not let me go,

I rest my weary soul in Thee.

I give Thee back the life I owe,

That in Thine ocean depths its flow

May richer, fuller be!!

Friday, January 25, 2008


In another post I will address the specifics of our doctor's appointment. The death of a friend has largely overshadowed our grief. And yet....has also spurred us on to live the time that we have for the glory of God. Strangely, two unrelated events: Amber's death and the grief of possibly never conceiving...these two things coupled together have put our hearts in a place of peace and grace even though we grieve. Can these things be possible at the same time? Grief and joy? Suffering and rejoicing? I believe so.

As Amber said to me in an email a couple of months ago:
I believe He will make your path clear to you in His time. I know you believe that too. Isn't it solid rest to trust in a living God who loves His children so perfectly?

Just a short post to let you know that we are okay. I know from your emails and calls that our friends and family have worried for us. We have wept and mourned, and...praised the Lord. He gives and takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

We step out in faith. We entrust ourselves to You--You who hold the stars in place and sing over Your children. You, who hurt when we hurt, who catch our tears and bottle them. We trust that Your "no" is Your most excellent way. Thank You for encircling us in Your love.
Your grace is still enough.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I'm ready for this day to be over.

I can't really go into it now, but our appointment did not produce good results or options.

We are extremely discouraged.

More to come later.

God is still God, and He does ALL things well.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Is it really tomorrow?

The past two months have sped by at an alarming rate.

Tomorrow is the day of our appointment with Dr. W. I can't tell if I'm nervous or excited or what. I feel a little numb, actually. When I stop and think about it, I'm shocked that we are going to an infertility specialist. Someone who specializes in people who can't get pregnant. We aren't that infertile, are we? The past four years beg to differ.
Before getting ready to leave this afternoon to run some errands, I took one last glimpse of myself in the mirror to tame down my hair and I had the thought, "I don't look infertile." As if looks have anything to do with it. I laughed at my silly thought. "I look like someone who wants to be a mom," I concluded.

Maybe one day I will be.

We ask for prayer for much wisdom tomorrow. Safe travels, too. Distance is not the thing I'm most happy about. Pray that whatever the outcome of our visit, whatever options are presented, whatever the next step seems to be, pray that Christ will be glorified in our lives. And that our hearts would be content with that alone.

I will update later this week.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Empty Arms

One of my readers posted the link to this beautiful video in my last post's comment section. I think it aptly portrays those who have been through multiple years of infertility. I have posted it in the past, but it has been a while, and I find it to be worth re-posting. It might be a good link to send to friends or family who might be having a hard time understanding your struggles. Think of it as a way to share your burden with others who might not understand but who want to support you.

There is once section I really struggle with in the video. It is the part about not attending events that are hard reminders of our infertility, things like baby showers, dedications, etc. I have turned down invitations to these events in the past because it was just too painful to attend. I would definitely understand someone doing that because I have done it a few times. But, where the video (and many others, myself included) called it "self-preseveration," not to be confused with selfishness, I wonder if self-preservation is the godly response of believers who are infertile. I mean, what is the right response? I feel that God has used the past 4 years to teach me to truly rejoice with others instead of withdrawing as I would like to do when I see them living out my dream of parenthood. I lived for FAR too long in selfishness but justified it by calling it "self-preservation". It threatened my relationship with Christ, my marriage, my friendships. It was something I had to be rescued from because I was drowning in it. Praise God for He pulled from a depth of selfish despair I do not care to revisit ever again.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this, especially those of you who are professing Christians who are also dealing with infertility. What has been your experience? What do you feel God expects of us?

(Eleven days until my appointment at the Infertiliy & IVF Clinic.)


Friday, January 4, 2008

Where is the Line?

Where is the line between too much hope and not enough?

We did something stupid. It was about 2 weeks before Christmas, and it was about that time of the month where hope insiduously creeps in whether you want it there or not. You begin to question every twinge, every jumpy feeling in your stomach while praying with all of your heart that it is beginning of the coveted morning sickness. (Yes, IF women desire to throw up. I can't explain it.) You lay awake at night wondering if, after all this time, this is IT. Back and forth you go, hoping and doubting. Hoping against hope, doubting because history has made it seem so impossible. We wondered, we hoped. And, unwisely, we let ourselves go there.

You know the where that I'm referring to, fellow IF readers. The happy land of "What Will it Be Like?". We talked about how perfect it would be to tell our families over Christmas if we found out in the next day or two that we were pregnant. We considered with glee the stomach upsets I'd had all week. Then we did the unthinkable:

We strolled through the baby department at Target.

Wow, that was dumb. Really, really dumb. You'd think after nearly four years of infertility we'd know better. I reserve that action solely for the absolutely-can't-skip-it-because-I'm-the-pastor's-wife-and-must-be-at-this-baby-shower-shopping. But, we were dreaming, flying high on the slim possibility that my week-long nausea was due to a miracle.

We really enjoyed dreaming, I have to admit. Really enjoyed it. But, inevitably, reality came crashing in...despair waltzed in and sat down where hope had formally been trying to taking root. It was SO hard. I wept endlessly. Of course it hurt more because we had hoped more. It was nearly too much to take. I remember saying something to my husband about having "stupid hope" and "I'll never do that again." He wisely told me to keep on hoping. We hope because it IS possible because we serve a God who is not bound by crappy statistics. He is so ABLE. I know this, of course. I needed to be reminded again.

But where, I wonder, do I draw the line between hoping just enough to get by, not losing hope altogether and then hoping so much that the devastation each month is too much to take? I think I learned from last month that hoping that much was too much for me. Hoping so much that I feel free to touch and feel the softness of the baby blankets at Target is apparently too much for me to handle. But, no hope at all makes my heart feel dried up and numb. No hope at all makes me feel like I don't believe in the power of a sovereign God anymore.

Too much? Too little? All I know is that "hope deferred makes the heart sick." That is certainly the truth.

Christmas came on the heels of our deep disappointment. It helped to be distracted. Sort of. There was a moment where we were gathered with extended family. Sitting on the floor in front of me was a gaggle of little girls, age 2 and under, playing with their dolls. I watched them play until tears stung my eyes and that familiar knot clogged my throat. I felt the eyes of a relative on me and I thought, she feels sorry for me. I looked away and had to ignore the little girls for the rest of the day. The empty ache in my heart felt like a canyon, echoing deep and wide.

Infertility is such a time game. Give myself a couple of weeks and hope claws its way back up the steep walls of that deep canyon. Whether I want it there or not. A couple of weeks after that and despair will come rolling in right on schedule. I am tired of living my life in 2-3 week increments. Sometimes I think, I am ready to move past this. No more hoping for children for me. It's just too hard. And yet, even as I type that, my heart cries out against it. For me, infertility truly is hope and despair mingled together. For even when one tries to push the other out, they are always there, co-mingling, existing together. I can't imagine my life any other way.

But, oh how I long for it. Lord, please hear my cry.