Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The 6 month update

I thought for a period of time that I was going to leave this blog behind. Our journey is three years in the making at this point, but the past six months have without a doubt been the wildest. As everything has unfolded, I've found it too difficult to write...like I was so lost in the midst of everything that was happening that I couldn't get it all down on paper.

Year One was all about working through the anger. I had become a person I didn't like to see when I looked in the mirror. I had horrible, unrighteous thoughts. I was so busy looking at others that I neglected to look at myself. Year One was ugly.

Year Two was all about sadness. Grief. Lots of tears. Why me?

Year Three was when I evolved and rose above our circumstances...I thought, anyway.

The events of the past six months have done everything possible to attempt to thrust me back into the mindset of Year One. It all began on December 22, 2009.

Jamie and I had a doctor's appointment to follow up on our last injectable cycle from the previous month. We hadn't gotten pregnant, and I braced myself for the news that would follow. But as it turns out, it's impossible to prepare yourself to hear that nothing more can be done. We had reached the end of our treatment possibilities. Basically, we were told the only thing we could do is give it time and just see what happens. Our odds of achieving pregnancy, even with treatment, were estimated to be "maybe 1%". My body never did respond well to the drugs, and 2 years of hardcore fertility treatments had really done a number on us - both mentally and for me, physically. We were done.

As we left the office, the doctor mentioned to us that if we really wanted to get serious about having a child, we should consider gestational surrogacy.

We left the office under the impression that surrogacy was never an option for us. It costs at least $65,000, and that is on the lower end. It wasn't even on our radar as a possibility. So we went home, grieved, tried to enjoy our Christmas, and started the difficult process of accepting our family as complete and moving on.

I began plotting a formal dining room in the area that is currently a playroom. And I made plans to clear out our "nursery" to move Elise's toys upstairs. I tried to embrace the idea as best I could. And I think I was making some progress in that regard.

But then it was as if the stars had aligned, and our world turned upside down for the next three months. A friend came forward and offered to be our surrogate for a low fee, and the money made itself available. Before we knew it, we were meeting with attorneys, doctors, psychologists...and things were moving in a positive direction. We had all the preliminary testing/contract/psychological evaluations completed and were literally within a few weeks of beginning the medications that would eventually lead to the creation of embryos and a transfer of our baby into the surrogate.

But then it happened. One of those totally bizarre, totally unexpected, horrible events that blindsides you on a random Wednesday afternoon. Literally overnight by no fault of anyone involved, the circumstances changed, and the surrogacy was canceled. And so it was April, and we found ourselves back on December 22nd again. With our surrogate no longer available and our emotions more fragile than ever, we were at a loss as to what our next move should be. I asked myself, "Why did God lead us this far, only to abandon us yet again?" I spent so much time praying over the surrogacy. I had felt so certain it was what He wanted us to do. And so when it failed, it very quickly gave way to self doubt.

The planning phase of the surrogacy had been extremely stressful for me, as I attempted to coordinate all the many appointments and tests long distance. I had researched everything well into the evening hours on many nights, trying to become an expert as I navigated this very tricky arrangement without the benefit of an agency. My nerves were absolutely shot. I did not want to do it again. But Jamie did, and our attorney encouraged us to keep looking. As a matter of fact, everyone seemed to want us to keep looking. But I just didn't feel like I could do it. The previous three years had taken a toll, and I felt somehow I was receiving some big, cosmic sign from the universe that I was never meant to have anymore children. But it wasn't a decision I could make alone, and I was committed to trying again if Jamie still felt he wanted to do so after a period of time (what period of time, we really hadn't decided yet).

As we were in the midst of this huge dilemma over whether to continue a search for a surrogate, we were blindsided again...

And for the next two weeks, everything made sense. The surrogacy fell through, because *I* was going to carry our baby! It was a medical miracle, as far as we were concerned. Our bloodwork all came back perfectly. My hcg was 1250 at 19dpo. At 21dpo it had risen to 2994. My progesterone was 29. It felt too good to be true. And it was. We went to our six week ultrasound to discover the baby measuring several days behind. It doesn't sound like much, but in the early stages of pregnancy, a lot can happen in several days. So we were sent home with instructions to come back in five days for another ultrasound.

"Maybe we are just off on our dates," I told myself. But I knew better. After tracking cycles and ovulation for three years, I knew I wasn't off. I knew to the exact day when we had conceived. And so it was long five days spent obsessively googling ultrasound photos and reading everything I could find that might lend some encouragement to the situation. When we returned, the baby had fallen a full week behind, and there was no heartbeat. We were told miscarriage was imminent.

So here we are now. Waiting for the inevitable. I've done a great deal of waiting over the last three years, but this wait is by far the worst of my life. I am determined to avoid another uterine surgery that would surely only leave me with additional scar tissue. So I wait. It's the strangest feeling, knowing you are carrying a child that isn't growing...dreading the moment when you are no longer carrying the baby. Wondering when it will happen. Hoping it won't happen at work. Praying it won't happen at work. Wondering if it does begin at work, if you will be able to make the hour drive home before it's too late. Contemplating how to properly honor your baby's body, because flushing him or her down the toilet is just not an option. And meanwhile, passing coworkers in the hall as they ask, "Hi, how are you today?" And just smiling and saying, "Fine." Maybe if you say you are fine, you will be fine?

And the big elephant in the room...my beef with God. We dealt with this loss back in December. I can accept Him telling me no. But it feels we are the victims of some cruel game at this point. Dangle it in front of us, and yank it away. Twice in just a few months. Gear us up to be excited at the prospects - even bring us to a point where we are discussing baby names - then yank it away.

When this all began, I found great purpose in the journey. I needed to learn things about myself, and I needed to change. I needed to learn to give others grace. I needed to do less judging and more changing of myself. I needed to get right with God. And I feel like I have done all those things. At this point, I wonder, "God, what else do I need to change before I am worthy of having my prayers answered??? What else do you want from me??? Why am I not good enough??? I was willing to accept my situation, but you have brought me so close to what I desire twice now. What are you trying to tell me? Is all of this extra pain really necessary? Why?"

And so I wait and listen for the answers as I try not to slide back into anger that I thought was left behind in Year One. Meanwhile, Year Four is now underway. Quite frankly, I am afraid to see what it holds.


Jamie said...

Whatever year four might hold my love, I am here to make the walk together. I love you more than words and we will make it through these trials.

Anonymous said...

Melanie I am so sorry to hear of all that has happened since March, and especially of the loss of your miracle baby. There are many things that I could say, but none of them ever came close to making me feel better with each of my miscarriages. Most of the "thoughtful" comments made my pain even worse, I wish I could just hug you and tell you I'm sorry in person.
I wanted to share with you a place I found to give my babies a place in the world, written in word, I came came across The Church of Holy Innocents after my third miscarriage. They write the name of your baby in the "Book of Life" where a candle is always lit in their honor. It's not much but for me it gave me peace to know somewhere my children were being honored.

The website is http://www.innocents.com/shrine.asp if you are interested.

Kim Scott said...

Melanie, you are a wonderful person. I have no doubt that you and Jamie will get your miracle someday. I am so sorry that you have had to endure so much. You know I'm here if you need anything. :(

Biffy said...

I have to say that I am so very sorry.

But I am so happy that you have a man like Jamie, you just don't know how lucky you are to have a man like him, he is so great. Elise is lucky too.

The Workman Family said...

Melanie - you two have been through so much. I am so sorry that things just haven't turned out as we all hoped they would for you.
It might not be much, but please know you have a lot of us out here praying for you and Jamie and Elise.

Laurie said...

I am so sorry, Melanie! All of you are in my thoughts.

Karina said...

Melanie- I am so sorry. Will be keeping you and your family in my thoughts. Huge hugs!!

ツ αngie said...

I'm struggling right along with ya... much love & many hugs