Sunday, September 29, 2013

IVF #8: Life After Failed IVF


I wrote all of these posts on the dates listed before each entry, but we weren't ready to post them until now.  In case you missed them, here are links to the previous posts: "IVF #1: The Beginning", "IVF #2: Starting Meds", "IVF #3: Baseline Ultrasound and Stims", "IVF #4: Follicle Monitoring", "IVF #5: Retrieval and Recovery", "IVF #6: Transfer, Bed Rest and the Wait", "IVF #7: The Results are IN!".

Thursday, August 8
I woke up around 5 am this morning and felt disoriented.  I honestly couldn't remember if the events of yesterday really happened or if it was just a bad dream.  As soon as I realized just how real they were I cried for an hour or so before finally being able to fall back to sleep.  I guess the only way past this is through it.

August 21, 2013
I'm not sure when I'll have the courage to actually post all of these posts I've been working on.  I received that heartbreaking news just two weeks ago, but it already feels like that was in a different lifetime.

Just three days after we received the negative results from IVF, Matt was taking me to the Salt Lake airport to fly back to South Bend...by myself.  (If you remember, Matt spent the summer working for a law firm in Utah while I spent most of the summer in Indiana by myself).  I broke down on the way there.  I didn't feel ready yet.  I still needed him so much.  I couldn't fathom still feeling so broken and going back to Indiana, to our empty apartment, where I had thought I would only return with a growing baby (or two) in my belly.  We had planned on this working.  I knew it would work.  We already loved those little embryos so much.  They looked like chocolate chip cookies and I kept their picture on my phone.  They were ours and I let myself get attached.  It made my heart sore to think that one, or maybe even both of them could be OUR babies!  It hurt not only because we still weren't pregnant, but also because of the loss of those little potential lives.  It felt like an early miscarriage.

When we got to the airport I couldn't even get out of the car and it took me several minutes to compose myself.  We had a very teary goodbye.  Matt has always been such a strength to me and it was hard to think about not having that strength for a couple weeks.  I checked into my flight and cried all the way through security.  Yep.  Tears streaming down my face and all.  I was a wreck.  If you had seen me you probably would have thought someone very dear to me had passed away.  It felt that way.  I'm sure people thought I was a crazy person.  When I finally reached my gate I found out that I would be stuck in Denver if I took that flight because it was late and I would miss my connection.  Tender mercy?  Definitely.  I was able to spend one more day with my best friend.  When Matt took me to the airport the next day I was much more emotionally prepared.

Coming home was hard.  It seemed everything reminded me of what I had planned.  I had to move the bumbo Matt bought me into the back room because it felt like it would never be filled.  I thought about how different I'd feel if I were coming home pregnant.  I thought about how I always thought we'd bring a baby home to this apartment, just like every other place we've lived.  The realization that that hope would, again, go unrealized hurt more than I can even explain.  This was really testing my faith

I couple days later I realized that I had a decision to make.  I could either let this trial test my faith in a good way and make it stronger, or I could let it diminish my faith.  I know that Satan is powerful and that he was doing everything within his power to convince me to choose that second option.  I thought of all the times in my life when things haven't made sense in the moment.  I realized that all of these things make sense now, in retrospect, and I am able to see the hand of the Lord every step of the way.  Then I turned to Him.  I read my patriarchal blessing and found comfort in the promises there as well as the foretelling of the many hardships I would face in my life.  It was a good reminder that this trial is not random, but that it's a part of the Lord's plan for me.  His plan for us.  Then I watched different conference talks about trials, afflictions, hope, and faith.  It felt like I was spiritually starving.  And I was.  I discovered that when we face a difficult trial in our lives we should feast even more upon the words of the Lord to sustain us.

These three conference talks stood out to me, in particular:
Adversity - President Henry B. Eyring
Trial of Your Faith - Elder Neil L. Anderson
The Infinite Power of Hope - President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Here are a few quotes from each that have had an enormous impact on me during this time.

Adversity:
"With all the differences in our lives, we have at least one challenge in common.  We all must deal with adversity... Particularly when the comfortable times have gone on for a while, the arrival of suffering or the loss of material security can bring fear and sometimes even anger...  Such doubt can grow and spread until some may turn away from God, whom they charge with being indifferent or cruel.  And if unchecked, those feelings can lead to loss of faith that there is a God at all.  My purpose today is to assure you that our Heavenly Father and the Savior live and that They love all humanity.  The very opportunity for us to face adversity and affliction is part of the evidence of Their infinite love.  God gave us the gift of living in mortality so that we could be prepared to receive the greatest of all the gifts of God, which is eternal life."

Trial of Your Faith:
"These fiery trials are designed to make you stronger, but they have the potential to diminish or even destroy your trust in the Son of God and to weaken your resolve to keep your promises to Him.  These trials are often camouflaged, making them difficult to identify.  They take root in our weaknesses, our vulnerabilities, our sensitivities, or in those things that matter most to us.  A real but manageable test for one can be a fiery trial for another.  (emphasis added)

How do you remain “steadfast and immovable” during a trial of faith?  You immerse yourself in the very things that helped build your core of faith: you exercise faith in Christ, you pray, you ponder the scriptures, you repent, you keep the commandments, and you serve others.
When faced with a trial of faith—whatever you do, you don’t step away from the Church!  Distancing yourself from the kingdom of God during a trial of faith is like leaving the safety of a secure storm cellar just as the tornado comes into view."

"Elder D. Todd Christofferson explained what he learned from a personal trial: “Though I suffered then, as I look back now, I am grateful that there was not a quick solution to my problem.  The fact that I was forced to turn to God for help almost daily over an extended period of years taught me truly how to pray and get answers to prayer and taught me in a very practical way to have faith in God.  I came to know my Savior and my Heavenly Father in a way and to a degree that might not have happened otherwise or that might have taken me much longer to achieve. … I learned to trust in the Lord with all my heart. I learned to walk with Him day by day.”"

The Infinite Power of Hope:
"Hope is not knowledge, but rather the abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promise to us.  It is confidence that if we live according to God’s laws and the words of His prophets now, we will receive desired blessings in the future.  It is believing and expecting that our prayers will be answered.  It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance."

"And to all who suffer—to all who feel discouraged, worried, or lonely—I say with love and deep concern for you, never give in.  Never surrender.  Never allow despair to overcome your spirit.  Embrace and rely upon the Hope of Israel, for the love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart."

12 comments:

Liz Johnson said...

That Uchtdorf talk is one of my all-time favorites.

Hugs.

Bailey and Zack said...

I love you. I love your honest in this whole journey. I, too, have broken down when I realize that where I am living I will not be bringing home a baby. It is heart breaking. But so wonderful to hear that I am not alone in my feelings. You are not alone either. I love you girl and thank you for sharing your story

-Bailey

Jackie Norris said...

Stephanie,

I've been following your posts and so anxiously awaiting the results. I am heartbroken IVF didn't work. That sucks. I am so, so sorry. You're in my prayers.

Bryan and Sarah said...

Thank you so much for the quotes. I needed to read them.

Cambria said...

Love you and Matt! You guys will be the best parents!
I'm sorry that you have to go through this hard trial. You are a rockstar and can do this! Loves.

Marie said...

I have been waiting for this post most of all. I think of you often. I hope you find continued strength in the upcoming General Conference. You really are amazing! I couldn't have done what I did without you!

The Martin Family said...

Love you!

Captivating Eyes said...

I don't know you, but a friend of mine shared your post. I haven't had an IVF failure, but we have been dealing with infertility for the last year. I know about breaking down. It is hard for me to fathom what you are going through though. I don't know what our future holds for us, but I read my patriarchal blessing often and it says I'll be a mother some day. I hold onto that knowledge knowing that everything I do is by the Lord's will. Thank you for sharing your story and for the quotes. I have needed them lately. Please feel free to read through ours. I hope for so many happy things for you and your husband! Especially babies. You're in our prayers. :)

Melissa said...

Trials are the living worst. I'm so sorry.

My boy and I said...

I just wanted to let you know that you and Matt and are nothing but amazing. You are such a good writer and are so good at expressing your feelings. You really did good at giving us all a little glimpse of what you guys have been and are still going through. I know I don't know you very well but i just wanted to let you know that I love you and pray for you both. You for sure have some very special babies waiting to join your family and I can hardly wait for you guys to meet them!

Rachael Stephens said...

I have loved reading about your journey through IVF and appreciate you sharing so much! I cried when I read the results but felt so peacful about your future still. It has all been so inspiring and has honestly helped me so much with my own struggles. You are so brave and I will continue to think and pray about you and your future little family too.

Christal said...

I am so sorry for this terribly hard time you are going through. I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for you, and I love that you have relied on Him through your struggles. You are a great example to all of us.