Little Acorn

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Monday, March 12, 2012

introducing the players

"introducing the players" posting - August 20, 2012

I am finally daring to step out of my comforting and private little blog called The Cobbled Road and start up a very visible blog of our sweet family life called The Shaded Acorn. I debated for a long while where to begin this so very publicly available chronicling of our lives because I had closed down my heart and thoughts to so many for so long. A little background information for you... My husband and I have battled with infertility for almost four years (since the fall of 2008) and have struggled with this private and heartbreaking experience ever since. We finally broke through and, by the grace of God, got pregnant on our last fertility treatment and I have been in intoxicating bliss ever since. Too brief? Let me explain.

To start off, we began our battle with infertility in the fall of 2008 and started a series of intense fertility treatments (i.e., in vitro fertilization [IVF]) in the fall of 2010. That's when I began chronicling our journey down the bumpy road of infertility in The Cobbled Road, trying to find our way past the downed limbs and cobbles, those setbacks and trials that we continuously endured. To sum up, in total we had two failed Clomid cycles, two failed intrauterine insemination (IUI) cycles, two failed  IVF cycles, two cancelled frozen embryo transfer (FET) cycles, and one successful FET cycle with the only embryo that we knew of to be genetically healthy. We have not experienced as much pain as other couples that I hear have battled infertility, but it was certainly a traumatic experience of epic proportions for us.

No, our infertility was not particularly unique, but it certainly was isolated. Among my dear friends and family, I knew no one going through this and that was perhaps the hardest thing to endure...alone. While they were more than willing to be supportive, I couldn't bare sharing our sadness. The hurt and guilt and rage seemed to be boiling over the brim and I needed a small place in this world to capture the mess, to vent my pain and frustration privately without worrying over hurt feelings. Because, to be honest, part of the problem was our friends and family, that they were living their own lives while we were stagnating, blocked on our own road. While it's not fair to say or even hear, it's honest and a very real symptom of the hushed reality of infertility.

The Cobbled Road was such a comfort to me in the darkest years of my life. I leaned on it, came back to it again and again, wrote about rage and frustration, about our pain and sadness, about the utter isolation we felt. I would go back and walk down this path over and over again, retrace my steps, recall the sacrifice and tears, witness my slow progression towards healing, and feel the cobbled road slowly start to open up and the burden start to lift. By the beginning of 2012, I was feeling better, starting to heal from the pain we endured over the last three and a half years. I was ready to move forward with whatever our next step would be. I was done with fertility treatments, over the needles, the patience, the constant monitoring, the doctors, the calls, the forced smiles, the sideways glances, the worry, the stress, and the sheer invasion of my privacy, my intimacy, my mind, body, and spirit. I was ready to move forward with the next step (i.e., egg donation or adoption), and was resigned to the tragic fate of my genetic future.

Of course, that's when God graces us with an unbelievable baby! Life is truly ironic. And so we are humbly expecting a strong, courageous, and beautiful baby girl on December 10, 2012. Just like that. Our only embryo of out 19 to survive. This seems to always be my M.O. too, that when I finally let go of what I wanted so desperately, I get the very thing that I have made peace with not obtaining. It's not the same as "just relax and it will happen" (BTW, never say that to an infertile couple). I mean, we have worked very hard to get where we are today, but in principle, I guess the theory could apply. Once I finally let go, once I stepped over the edge, God carried me to the other side.

So now on to introducing the players. The star of this performance is lil' acorn. We nicknamed her this because when I used to think of the growing families that surrounded us, I would refer to them as healthy trees in a forest, vibrantly shading their growing little acorns. My heart ached for this succession and I am so thrilled to be shading my own growing little acorn! I am a wildlife biologist and have found that I use the natural world to explain my thoughts, moods, and emotions, so you'll see a lot of it. My engineer husband, Ryan, also loved the blog name because one of his favorite quotes is, "A tree is a wonderful living organism which gives shelter, food, warmth and ... it even gives shade to those who wield an axe to cut it down." He says its about turning the other cheek and supporting the very thing that's killing you, about being unabashedly happy for those who walk your path. It's perfect for what we've been through and where we are meant to go.

Since we learned Acorn survived six months of cryopreservation, thawing, implantation, and thrives to this very day, I have been writing a sort of foreign, joyous language, one of awe and humbled gratitude in The Cobbled Road. Ryan and I talked about this new type of chronicling and we agreed that it's time, that our friends and family may want to keep up with our news as we have loved keeping up with theirs. So where to begin this little blog? I decided I would start at the beginning of the third FET cycle so anyone reading this will get a small taste of our fertility treatments, while understanding how unbelievably humbled and gracious we are to have little Acorn in our lives. FYI, the FET treatment involves preparing my uterus, thawing the only frozen embryo that survived out of our second IVF cycle in October 2011, implanting the embryo, and monitoring my hormone levels. These posts (up through August 7, 2012) have been copied from The Cobbled Road. I hope you enjoy our journey. It has been a long road to get to this point and there are still many miles to go.

"as the bell tolls" posting - March 12, 2012

Alright. We're in ROUND THREE of our Frozen Embryo Transfer cycle, this time using hormone injections.  I'm trying to remain calm and healthy. Well, healthier. I'm not worried so much about weight right now as I am about remaining sane and calm and clear and focused. I have a lot to do at work this month, so hopefully that will remain a nice distraction.

I have been so strong lately, so calm and undeterred from what I know my fate is. I have enjoyed this new found strength, this wisdom that only comes from pain, this holding-it-all-at-bay attitude that has made the last few months more bearable. But then something always spirals me out when I least expect it. Ryan and I went to see a movie, Friends with Kids, on Saturday night. After coming home, Ryan got pretty down. He actually teared up because he wanted a child so badly (and he never does this). I hope I was strong for him. I told him that with each tear, with each good hard cry, you release the sadness from you and heal a little more. Those tears are your sadness and they are wiped me. I felt strong and honored to help him. But in the twilight hours of yesterday while I was happily distracted making jewelry, his sadness began to resonate in my soul, reverberating the memory of his pain over and over again, volleying it back and forth in the recesses my mind.

I got to thinking. I realized that a dear friend had just given birth and I succumbed to it again. I started remembering how many people were nowhere near ready in their lives to have a child when we  started down this path in 2008. And now people have fallen in love, gotten married, since gotten pregnant, and even given birth, sometimes twice! All in the time it has taken us move in perfect stillness, run in place, stand rigid on our tiny plateaued island of sadness and grief. We are surrounded by a sea of fertile couples on this island. We are isolated with no movement forward, no progression, no growth, no real connection. Just standing there, frozen and high above the rest, looking out over the sea of families, an ocean teeming with life and growth, surrounded by something we can't drink or touch or even reach for, their happiness lapping at our shores and eroding our hearts.

I try not to dwell on it too much these days. It's a black hole of sadness and pain, that rabbit hole that I am oh too familiar with, the one of inky blackness and clouded despair that I can so easily trip into again. So instead, I laugh. I realize that there has been forward movement. It's been time. And I have patience. Oh, yeah! Actually, there has been a little progression too! Of my wrinkles!

I also keep telling myself you'll appreciate your baby that much more when you finally do get to hold him or her. I don't know if that's really true, but it certainly helps. I tell myself to know your fate. Know that it may not be in the cards for you and that's okay. Know that with perseverance and patience, you can accomplish anything you want, and that shockingly does include even a baby.

So I await my fate. I wait for what is to be my future, to what will cross my cobbled road when we can finally move forward. Ah, to start walking again, to stretch out our legs out would feel so good! And so I await for the tolling of the bell. The bell that starts and ends this round of fertility treatments. I can almost hear it in my ears, hear the wide white roar. If you drop it down the stairs, hear it fall forevermore.

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