Thursday, September 29, 2005

Hope Restored

Oh how marvelously we have been blessed! We got a postive pregnancy test today! We're still in shock, but it is slowly beginning to sink in. The Lord is so very great. He knew exactly what He was doing when He gave me infertility. I'd like to tell you a story...

When I was still in college, the local library was selling some books for a quarter. I spotted a copy of What to Expect When You're Expecting and pounced on it, since I knew I'd want it someday. Hey, when the price is right... Then came the surgeries and the scar tissue and physical impossibility of conception and the moral impossibility of IVF. So I gave away my book because I was tired of seeing its mocking face on my shelf. It was the physical acknowledgement of the death of a well-cherished hope.

While I was going through all the pain of barrenness, the Lord led me to the book of Isaiah with its bitter condemnation and beautifully sweet redemption. There are so many scriptures that are precious to me in that book. They were water in the wilderness to this desolate soul. My blog title was taken from one of those verses. Isaiah 35:1 was also a precious verse because it reminded me of the marvelous spiritual restoration that God has given and is giving me: The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.

Well, today was a day of restoration. Hopes long dead sprang back to life. And can you imagine what God sent me today? 15 minutes after coming in to work, Dr. Beisner brings me a copy of What to Expect When You're Expecting! Then Kilby walked in and gave me roses! The Lord used that to remind me of Isaiah 35:1 and how amazingly and graciously He has fulfilled that for me, both spirtually and physically. God took my hopes of children away from me and has given them back, more precious than ever. How kind He is to His children!

PS: A most heart-felt thanks to Mrs. Beisner-- the means of God's sweet gifts to me today!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Our first baby photos!

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Day 30--transfer complete!

This is Brian writing on Jordan's behalf. She's on bedrest yesterday and today after the transfer, but we wanted to get the word out about what happened.

We arrived at the doctor's office at 9:30am yesterday. They took blood and began prepping Jordan for the transfer. The doctor came in and told us that two of the three embryos had survived the thaw. We could tell just looking at each other that our feelings about that were very mixed. On the one hand, it was wonderful news for the two that survived, but on the other hand, it saddened us that one of our babies was already gone.

Only about two minutes later, however, the lab tech came in and the doctor asked, "Two survived, right?" The tech replied, "No, all three." It turns out the doctor had us confused with another couple who was there for a transfer--all three of our embryos had survived the thaw and were ready to be implanted! What a feeling of joy we had knowing that God's hand was already with us and that all three of our babies would have the opportunity to live! The typical nationwide rate of survival for frozen embryos is about 50%, meaning the probability of three embryos surviving a thaw is 12.5%. Our doctor said her group has a survival rate of up to 75%, which would mean the probability of three embryos successfully thawing is just over 42%. So although the odds were against us, God was gracious. As we've said all along, our God doesn't care about the odds.

So they transferred all three embryos (we could actually see them briefly on the sonogram!), had Jordan rest for a half hour, reviewed her medicine schedule with her (she's still on most everything she was before the transfer), and sent her home. We'll go back next Thursday for a blood pregnancy test. If the test is positive, they'll do several blood tests at two-day intervals after that to make sure everything is going well, and at some point not too far away we'll actually be able to tell via sonogram how many babies we'll be having. It's hard to wait--we'd really like to know if this was successful.

We feel very blessed that Rita stayed away long enough for the transfer. She was a threatening tropical storm and has now become a hurricane. Much of South Florida is closed down today because of her, so we're just happy that she didn't come to visit yesterday. God has been so gracious to us.

We are so very grateful for everyone's prayers. We both noted after the transfer was over that the prayers of the saints were almost tangible while we were at the doctor's office. Thank you so much for the love and care (and flowers!) you have given us. Please keep praying--the doctor repeatedly emphasized how they have never had twins from frozen embryos, so again the odds are against all three surviving. But as I wrote before, our God cares nothing about the odds. And I felt like telling the doctor, "You've also never had a couple in here before who were as prayed for as we are!" We're going to continue to pray for triplets--it'll be fun to see what the doctor thinks about that!

I'll stop now since, after all, it's Jordan's blog. We love you all very much.


Sunday, September 18, 2005

Day 28-- Anticipation

1 cc progestrone
micronized progestrone am & pm
baby asprin
prenatal vitamins
vivelle patches
doxyclycline am & pm
estrace am & pm

Well, here we are. It is hard to believe that three babies (Lord willing) will be inside me tomorrow. Oh my. Of course we won't know until the 29th whether or not any of them were sucessfully implanted.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank you so much that you have an eternal plan for your glory and my good. Thank you for loving me so very much and redeeming my life from the pit. Thank you for giving us these three babies for whatever amount of time we'll have them. Precious Savior, I trust you to do what is best. I know my babies couldn't possibly be any safer because they are in your hands and you love them more than I ever possibly could. Please love them with your everlasting redemptive love. Please help Brian and I to love you and trust you more everyday no matter what our physical circumstances may be. We know you love us for it is in your precious name that we pray. Amen.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Day 24- Mixed bag

1cc Progestrone
Vivelle patches
2mg Estrace am and pm
Baby asprin
Pre-natal vitamins

I should have blogged long before now. I have too much too say and it won't all fit nicely into one post. The doctor was pleased with the lining and estrogen levels on Monday's visit and we now have a firm transfer date set. Monday, September 19 at 10 am is the big day after all. So all that fuss and worry on my part was for nothing, as usual. I had a beautiful day yesterday-- such peace and a deep sense of the presence and power of God. What a beautiful gift. Brian read from Psalm 107:

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary,
And gathered from the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south.
They wandered in the wilderness in a desert region;
They did not find a way to an inhabited city.
They were hungry and thirsty;
Their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble;
He delivered them out of their distresses.
He led them also by a straight way,
To go to an inhabited city.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness,
And for His wonders to the sons of men!
For He has satisfied the thirsty soul,
And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.
There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death,
Prisoners in misery and chains,
Because they had rebelled against the words of God,
And spurned the counsel of the Most High.
Therefore He humbled their heart with labor;
They stumbled and there was none to help.
Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble;
He saved them out of their distresses.
He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
And broke their bands apart.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness,
And for His wonders to the sons of men!
For He has shattered gates of bronze,
And cut bars of iron asunder.
Fools, because of their rebellious way,
And because of their iniquities, were afflicted.
Their soul abhorred all kinds of food;
And they drew near to the gates of death.
Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble;
He saved them out of their distresses.
He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered them from their destructions.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness,
And for His wonders to the sons of men!
Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
And tell of His works with joyful singing.
Those who ago down to the sea in ships,
Who do business on great waters;
They have seen the works of the LORD,
And His wonders in the deep.
For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind,
Which lifted up the waves of the sea.
They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths;
Their soul melted away in their misery.
They reeled and staggered like a drunken man,
And 1were at their wits' end.
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
And He brought them out of their distresses.
He caused the storm to be still,
So that the waves of the sea were hushed.
Then they were glad because they were quiet;
So He guided them to their desired haven.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness,
And for His wonders to the sons of men!
Let them extol Him also in the congregation of the people,
And praise Him at the seat of the elders.
He changes rivers into a wilderness,
And springs of water into a thirsty ground;
A fruitful land into a salt waste,
Because of the wickedness of those who dwell in it.
He changes a wilderness into a pool of water,
And a dry land into springs of water;
And there He makes the hungry to dwell,
So that they may establish an inhabited city,
And sow fields, and plant vineyards,
And gather a fruitful harvest.
Also He blesses them and they multiply greatly;
And He does not let their cattle decrease.
When they are diminished and bowed down
Through oppression, misery, and sorrow,
He pours contempt upon princes,
And makes them wander in a pathless waste.
But He sets the needy securely on high away from affliction,
And makes his families like a flock.
The upright see it, and are glad;
But all unrighteousness shuts its mouth.
Who is wise? Let him give heed to these things;
And consider the lovingkindnesses of the LORD.

But today was a hard day. First, I had a conversation with a very beloved professor that hurt me very deeply. I couldn't easily dismiss him because he was speaking in love and he is a very wise man.

He looked at me and said "Are you sure you want to do this?"

When I said yes, he asked "And you want me to pray that all three will live?"

Again, yes.

"You do realize that if that happens, your husband will have to postpone his PhD studies?"

I told him that I didn't think that was necesarily so.

"Get real."

Ouch. I went off to lick my wounds and feel stupid and selfish and sulky. Was I a moron? Was I wrecking my husband's big chance to pursue his vocational goals and calling? I shot off a quick e-mail to my precious husband, and here was his response:

Don’t worry about Dr. X. He’s wise and I respect him more than I can express, but I really think he’s wrong on this one. I believe that family comes first and vocation comes second. That means I believe it is our first priority as a married Christian couple to raise up a Christian seed, and whatever I do for a career is subject to that. In light of that, if this embryo adoption somehow prevents me from studying further, then that is a trade I am willing to make. A few more considerations:

- While I do earnestly hope that all three embryos implant and go through pregnancy, it is a low probability. If this works, probably only one or two babies will make it to birth. If we had had a child naturally, would that have forced me to postpone my studies? What if God had given us twins naturally—would that have also forced me to postpone my studies? I don’t think so, and if it’s OK naturally then it’s OK with embryo adoption, too.

- It’s not as though the scenario we were preparing for was me working to directly provide for our family, and now I’m going to have to work harder to the preclusion of study. We’ve all along been instead relying on the Lord to provide the support we’ll need if this whole PhD idea is going to work out anyway. So if we’re asking God to provide for two or three people, why can’t we ask him to provide for five?

- Dr. Beisner studied in Scotland with way more kids than we would have, and they were older (and consequently required more money for food, etc., but they weren’t old enough to look after themselves or help terribly much). And although I joke about it, I’m serious about taking someone like Kilby with us to help out if we do actually have triplets. (Twins or lower, you’re on your own!) I think it’s a fair trade: room and board and the opportunity to live abroad for a year or two in exchange for helping out. So if we had triplets we wouldn’t necessarily be doing it alone. And if God can provide for two or three people, he can provide for six.

- Dr. Beisner also is an example of my family first, vocation second principle. When he was working as a journalist and writer in rural Arkansas, or a college professor in Chattanooga, he didn’t sit and think, with our current income, can we afford another child? No, he said, what God gives, God provides for. Sure, Dr. Beisner and others didn’t go into a doctor’s office, do a treatment cycle, and do an embryo transfer. But they did have sex, knowing that the outcome might be pregnancy, and they placed all these things in the hands of God. Even though we’re transferring embryos instead of having sex, the process is the same—we know that the outcome might be pregnancy, and we are placing all these things in the hands of God.

- It’s not as though I’m a high school graduate who’s trying to learn a trade or get a better education to provide for his family. When I’m done at Knox, I’ll have an MDiv., so even if further study doesn’t work out for whatever reason, I’m confident I’ll be able to work in the service of the Lord and for the provision of my family.

- Why would God open both doors to us (simultaneously, it seems!) if the two things were mutually exclusive? If God calls us to one thing (parenthood) and to another (study), then doing both must be possible, even if it’s difficult.

I love you, sweetie. If you’re a selfish moron, then I am too, because I choose Monday over Sussex.

See you soon.

Your Brian

I am so very thankful for my husband. He is the sweetest of God's many gifts in my life.

Then the doctor's office called. Way back before we had embryos to adopt, the doctor recommended a special immunology blood test for me. It was expensive and optional, but the doctor thought it was a good idea, so we did it. I'm glad we did. It appears that I have an antibody that may try to attack an implanted embryo and cause a miscarriage. They have a medication (Heparin-- a blood thinner) that can substantially improve your chances of carrying a baby, but this is hard news. My very own body is going to try to rid itself of these little lives? It seems perverse after all we've gone through and how much our heart's desire is to nurture and protect these babies. My philosophy is ok, but my biology is trying to subvert me! I know of one dear lady who had this exact same problem and was treated with the same medication, only to lose 3 pregnancies at around the 6 week mark. This is so hard. I just found out today. If I had known, I never would have pursued embryo adoption.

My husband, my children, and I are all in God's hands. Hallelujah! May He make that real to me and help me to trust Him.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Day 17-- Hooray!

5 units Lupron
Vivelle patches
2 mg Estace am and pm
Baby asprin
Pre-natal vitamins

I just got back from the doctor's (28 miles one way in incredibly snarled traffic-- If I had to do that everyday I'd be a wreck!) office and my sonogram looks really good. My endometrium is 13 mm thick, and according to the assistant, "gorgeous". Well, my mama always told beauty is on the inside. I guess she was right. :) The lining only needs to be 10 mm thick to do the transfer, but the thicker the better. So that is very good news. It depends on where my estrogen level is (I'll get those results tonight) , but it is looking like the transfer date won't be delayed after all. Yay!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Comforting Thoughts

"The Lord trieth the righteous" Psalm 6:5

All events take place under the watchful eye of Almighty God. Consequently, no trials come to us without His knowledge. All blessings are potential doors to trial. Men may be drowned in seas of prosperity as well as in rivers of affliction. Temptations and trials lurk on all roads. Because this world is under the dominion of Satan, we are surrounded with dangers. Yet, no shower falls unpermitted from the threatening cloud; every drop has its order before it descends to the earth. The trials which come allow us to prove and stregthen our faith. By them, we may illustrate the power of divine grace, test the geniuneness of our virtues, and increase our spiritual energy. Our Lord, in His infinite wisdom and superabundant love, sets such a high value upon His people's faith that He permits them to experience trials strengthen their faith. You would never have possessed the precious faith which now supports you if the trial of your faith had not been like a fire. You are a tree that never would have rooted so well if the wind had not shaken you and made you take firm hold upon the precious truths of the covenant of grace. Worldly ease is a great enemy to faith. It loosens the joints of holy valor and snaps the sinews of sacred courage. The balloon never rises until the cords are cut. Testing accomplishes this sharp service for believing souls. While the wheat sleeps comfortably in the husks, it is useless to man. It must be threshed out of its resting place before its value can be known. It is good that the righteous are tried for it causes them to grow rich toward God.

--Morning and Evening, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, September 3 Evening

Day 16- Moody

5 units Lupron
2 mg Estrace (am & pm)
2 Vivelle patches
Prenatal vitamins
baby asprin

Can I blame it on the hormones?? I'm really wishing I could. Every little thing seemed to irritate me today. I went to worship class with Brian tonight and that was nice. I have such a sweet husband. He talked me into going, so instead of sulking at home alone I got to sit with his arm around me listening to lectures about the worship of God. What a blessing.

Speaking of irritation, I removed my old patches and replaced them with new ones. I have to do that every three days. No big deal, right? I've been sticking myself with a needle every day for the past two weeks, so what's two little stickers on my tummy? Stickers made to withstand sweat and water and rubbing that has been on for three days and the skin underneath is less them happy. So I pulled them off.

Mother of Pearl. THAT REALLY HURT.

The package said to pull them off slowly. It must have been written by the inquisition! Let's drag out the torture. :) Seriously, it's not that bad, so don't post any sympathy comments. But I have to amuse myself somehow, so I whine. But it is like the stickest nastiest bandaid ever. THAT'LL wake you up!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Day 14-- Back in the saddle

2 Vivelle patches
2mg Estrace morning and evening
5 units Lupron
Prenatal vitamins
Baby asprin

I went to the doctor's yesterday for my sonogram and blood test. My estrogen was down to 32 from 95 and they said I could start taking the estrace and patches again. I'm not sure if this will affect the transfer date or not-- they said it would depend on how well my body responds to the hormones. My endometrium is still very thin. I think it was 4cm thick, but I don't remember for sure. I need to ask how thick they want it to be next time I go. I'm going again Wednesday morning at 7:30.

I had a really rough night last night. I stayed home from church to catch up on some rest. I just woke up and am feeling much better, thank God.

Last night we had dinner at Dr. and Mrs. Reymond's house. It is a rare treat to get an invitation to visit them, and we had such a nice time. We are so blessed to go to a school where the professors really care about their students and try to nurture and mature them.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Day 11-- Not sure how many days left

Well, I did make to the doctor's office yesterday. It was quite an ordeal because I had to get someone to cover me at work and then I had car trouble. The doctor's office is a 30 minute drive away and just as I was exiting the highway my car started dinging. The heat gauge was pointing to H! I was only two blocks away so I kept going and kept my appointment. Anyway to make a long story short, I have a leak in my radiator system somewhere and it won't hold any water! So I had to drive back to work at 35 miles an hour on regular streets in a rainstorm! I took my car to the shop and arrived back at work 3 hours after I left. Oy!

Turns out that it was a good thing that I got the doctor's office, cuz they didn't like the look of my bloodwork and had me stop taking estrogen. I have to go back Saturday for another test. So this may delay the transfer. :( I'll keep you posted, of course.