We started our first attempt at IVF in the spring of 2006. We went all the way up to egg retrieval, only to hear that my follicles and eggs weren’t doing their thing properly. Cancelled cycle. Waiting waiting waiting for a full natural cycle to swing through, then in the summer, back on that horse…or more accurately, back on the needle.
Halfway through August, hopped up on copious amounts of mood altering drugs, I decided to start a journal filled with all the things for which I was thankful. It was burnt orange, my favorite color, and I started it with an incredibly spiritual line: “grace from the Father through Jesus, and the Holy Spirit as Helper indwelling me.” Give me a cookie and call me Sunday school champ. By the end of the first page, I was already getting into my actual brain, with “flip flops, carpet that doesn’t show dirt, Calder’s mobiles, non-shedding Yorkies.” Later on, “swashbuckling butt-kicking fantasy adventure stories of super-heroicism, weird words…ceiling fans…punk…my neti snot pot…weird humor, well-developed characters with lots of quirks.”
Looking back over my long list, I see that apparently I was very thankful for my neti pot and anything weird, because I wrote about them several times. At the end of August, the doctors took out my eggs and combined them with Alex’s sperm, and every day we’d get a call with an update about our offspring in the little tube.
It’s strange. What happened in that tube is similar to what happens in uteruses all over the world, but we got to hear about every step. What we wanted was a Day 5 blastocyst. (People I was a THEATRE major so if you don’t know what a blastocyst is, you are not alone!) Those are the strongest embryos and our chances of a pregnancy would be 50% with one of those. Each day they’d give us the update. We started with 20 eggs, 15 of them getting jiggy with sperm. Wow. Okay, yes, since we had committed that any embryos we made we’d come back for, even if it took us a decade, we were like WOW! We’re going to have a giNORmous family! One of the women who shared her wisdom and experience with me had told me that they ended up with 7 healthy embryos. Seventh Heaven here we come!
But then each day, the report would come in, and there would be fewer and fewer thriving embryos. This happens in the body naturally and most women never know that they have tiny 2-day-old pregnancies that don’t thrive. Hearing about it with a blow-by-blow every day was weird.
On day 5, I woke up excited for the call to tell me READY! Come in and get test tube LAID! The call came. None of our remaining little guys were ready. In that moment, our statistics dropped to a 30% chance. Lying in bed with Alex that night, I started praying out loud. I sobbed to the Lord, wretched, exhausted woman. Alex held me, didn’t say a word, and just let me cover my pillow in tears.
And when I was done, God spoke back. Not audibly, but very, very clearly. My child, when did this become about numbers? This is about Me. Do you trust me? He seared Judges 7 into me and I opened up my Bible. Gideon. The story of Gideon’s army.
‘The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’”‘ Gideon started with 32,000 men. Unbeatable. Again and again God whittled down his army until he was left with 300. And God won that battle His way and for His glory. I’m getting chills again just thinking about it.
In my thankfulness journal, I wrote the following entry on September 5, 2006:
Judges 7. Today God reminded me in a big way that He’s in control. Not just saying it, thinking it. Knowing it. Humbled by it. I thought in vitro was in His hands. I thought I trusted Him. I did. But when my safety net of frozen embryos and plenty of healthy ones just waiting to be babies was ripped out from under me, I got scared. And I realized that I shouldn’t have a net. I didn’t know I did until it was gone. I still had 22,000+ battle-ready soldiers with weapons to fight my Mideonites, and today God reminded me that I just need Him. Three hundred exhausted soldiers wielding torches and trumpets. And the God of the universe calling the shots. Truly, “an army of One.” I’m glad my safety net got yanked. Rip it to shreds; throw it away. Tomorrow I go into battle with God. My enemies don’t stand a chance.
Not by might
Not by power
But by My Spirit, says the Lord.
I’m so grateful for a Day 6 blastocyst transfer. That God knew I needed to remember that I didn’t trust in statistics. I trust in Him.
And after the transfer of 2 little embryos, as I laid there still NOT being allowed to pee after they pushed and pushed on my extremely full bladder, we signed a form and halfway down the page, it said that we had 2 embryos to freeze. A surprise. We didn’t think we had any. But that’s another post.
In my thankfulness journal, several pages over from my Judges 7 entry, after “chocolate brownies, good coffee,” but before “being by myself so I can fart,” I entered this: “9/18: I’M PREGNANT :) ahhhhh!!!!!”
God had chosen to defeat my Mideonites.
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