We are back from the mountains of McCall, Idaho where we spent three nights in a beautiful home with my immediate family. This meant that for three days/nights we had fun! Our time included meals out, great coffees, games, puzzles, shaving my Dad’s beard as a family and much more. I am so thankful for the trip to McCall. It got our minds off of what lay ahead in this journey. It was relaxing and we were able to reconnect with my side of the family. One of my favourite memories of the trip though has to be sitting around the table working on a puzzle with Bryan. Our nieces and nephews gathered around the table as well and chatted flat out for at least 2 1/2 hours. One of our nephews was also renamed the ‘Man of a million voices’ by his big sister because of how much he talked that night. We laughed so hard and it felt so good! Lighthearted moments all together reminding me of the simple beauty that my family possesses. We are so thankful for each one of them!
Since the last blog post we have been into the clinic numerous times. Our first appointment included my baseline ultrasound, my uterine wash, my blood draw and Bryan’s first sample. Everything on my end looked healthy and good. Even though we have been through this before there are still things that catch you off guard. For example, my ultrasound was quite uncomfortable. I know this is true of any internal exam but the reality of how many more exams I will have before all is said and done is not a fun thought. The most difficult obstacle however has been Bryan’s samples. The first sample produced only 1 sperm that was worth freezing. Since then he has given two more samples and is now scheduled to see a eurologist as it looks like he may have to have another biopsy or possibly a more invasive procedure. Of course we knew this was always a possibility but we were strongly hoping for a different experience this time.
I have also started my injections which is the picture posted above. The first time I was quite nervous and was shaking. Bryan is a bit squeamish with the shots and he kept having to look away while capturing this in photos. I am in again tomorrow morning for an ultrasound that will show how my ovaries are responding to the treatment thus far. To be completely honest, I am not even thinking about that. I am thinking about Bryan’s evaluation on Monday with the other doctor to determine what they can do to help us continue with our treatment plan. From here on out the next few weeks will most likely be a blur of doctor’s appointments, procedures and I am sure a roller coast of emotions.
As we have processed the past few days and bad news regarding Bryan’s sample, our hearts have been heavy. I will not lie and say that we have not felt the impact of this. We have been sad, felt deflated and defeated. We have questioned God asking if not one part of this could be remotely easy? Yet our faith is not shaken; we hope in God not the treatment. The other morning I found myself once again singing Matt Redman’s song ‘Never Once’. The words ring true:
Never once have we ever walked alone,
never once did You leave us on our own.
You are faithful, God you are faithful.
Right now this where we are at. We are living life in the midst of our stormy hearts. We are enjoying the times with my family as they are rare and precious. We had our annual Carpenter gyoza making session on the 1st January and it was a blast! We ate till we felt ill and played games that made us laugh till we almost cried. We have moments of grief, frustration and emptiness mingled with moments of feeling full to overflowing. This is life. One of my favourite authors puts it this way…life is bittersweet. Yes it is.
Please keep praying for us and with us. Pray that we do not lose hope. Pray for the doctors and their ability to help us. Pray that we can move forward with our treatment. Thank you for your prayers already and long may they continue.
Christmas has come and gone, special memories were made in Alaska with the Chuds which I am sure will last a lifetime. They include incredible food, sledding down the family hills, releasing lit lanterns into the night sky, praying, singing and a lot of laughing. We cannot begin to express the deep gratitude in our hearts for every stage of this time back in the states. Each place, each family member and each friend have helped to create an album of moments that we will treasure. As Alaska came to a close we said our goodbyes and yes, there were tears. A sweet mental picture that we have is our nephew and niece sitting up in their beds as we exited to the garage to leave, both of their faces beaming with smiles, priceless!
We flew all through the night to land in Boise, Idaho this morning at 10am. We were greeted by my Papa at the airport. Thank you God that he came through his open-heart surgery so well and is on the road to recovery. He is getting stronger each day and is even sporting a very Mumford-esque beard right now! After a bit of sleep we celebrated Christmas with my parents which was very sweet and reminiscient of my growing up years. We will be heading up to McCall tomorrow afternoon for a few days in the mountains with the Carpenter clan and we are looking forward to seeing everyone again.
Tomorrow is our first in-house meeting at the clinic. Up until this point we have been doing everything by phone. I must admit, I am relieved that we will be seeing these helpful and kind people face to face. I think both of us are at the point of actually feeling excited to get the treatment underway. Much of the reason we are even able to feel excited is this: We have reached our financial target for the treatment cost!!!!!! We can’t fully express how overwhelmed, thankful and humbled we are. Bryan and I are stunned at your generosity. Although there are unforeseen costs that may occur, the stress of the financial burden has been lifted. That fact combined with the amount of prayer coming our way has prepared our hearts, minds and hopefully bodies to begin the treatment once again. So thank you!!!
We have started taking antibiotics but tomorrow begins procedures and injection instructions. Bryan gives his sample, I have an ultrasound, we sign the rest of the papers and then… let it begin. Oh man, that is a scary/exciting thought. Our appointment is at 8:30am so if you are up, have read this by then please pray for the following:
Everything to go smoothly
Once again, thank you for your extreme generosity towards us both by prayer and financial support! I wish I could hold each of your faces in my hands, look you in the eyes and say thank you in person. Although I am pretty sure it would take me years to do that and I would cry my way through most of it.
Abba, thank You for bringing us to this point. Thank You for Your provision through Your children. We are humbled, astonished and overjoyed at the many miraculous ways in which You move on behalf of Your children. We once again lay this dream at Your feet, our lives are Yours. Walk with us tomorrow and in the coming weeks. Amen.
Recently the Chud side of our family had a photo-shoot. This has become a bit of a tradition for both sides of our families when we come back to the states since everyone gathers together in one place for a brief window of time. This picture is one of my favourites even though it is probably not the one we will have printed on canvas or framed. I love this picture because it is just normal life. Not a posed moment but one that plays out daily in our marriage. Bryan is the funniest person I know and can make me laugh so hard it hurts. I have been incredibly thankful over the years for this trait in him because he has kept me from crying by making me laugh. When I was growing up my Mom would ask me what I was looking for in my husband, I always said I wanted someone who could make me laugh. I got exactly what I prayed for and I am glad I stuck to my guns because life is more fun with Bryan!
In the process of moving forward with our fertility treatment, the normal life I mentioned earlier occurs. We get up, have coffee, spend time with our families, read, exercise, make dinners, play cards, etc. Most recently though my Dad underwent a very successful open-heart surgery. In no way do I think his operation is normal life but it helps keep things in perspective that there are very real issues, very big problems that surround us. We are not the only drama taking place on the stage of life. So I am thankful for the normal day to day stuff that keeps me present and not running 10 years down the road. This journey of starting treatment again can put you on a fast track down the future lane if you let it. Yet normal life seems to be what keeps my feet firmly planted in thanking God for my daily bread. He has given enough for today and I will thank Him for today. I ask Him to help me handle whatever happens today and I will do the same tomorrow. Today I am thankful for my Dad being so strong and courageous and braving his operation with optimism and determination. Now maybe he can get back to a bit of the normal life that he craves.
For those of you who want to know how things are progressing, this is where we are at: I am still taking birth control. We should be finding out this coming Wednesday if we qualify for the Discount Program the clinic offers which would knock a chunk off the cost of the procedures. We also hope to find out an exact date of when we have to pay for all the treatment as it has to be paid in full on our first day of treatment which has yet to be determined. We have a phone consultation on Monday 16th December to set up my Plan of Care (this will be my schedule of treatment, ie. stimulation drugs,collection dates, implantation dates-much of which will be determined as we go and how my body responds). Right now we also have it in the calendar for Bryan to give his sample on the 27th December that will be used once my eggs are ready to be collected later in January. So that is where we are at right now.
We have felt loved and supported by so many as we have started this cycle of treatment. We have a committed amount of around $5400 right now and have received about $3900. This amount has been made up by the generosity of many and we constantly feel overwhelmed when we pause to think of how many people have invested into us both prayerfully and financially. We won’t stop saying it, THANK YOU!!!
Since last Saturday I have been taking birth control pills again. The fertility doctor says this is to keep me in a holding pattern that allows them to better calculate my treatment and dates of when egg collection and embryo implantation will be. It seems slightly strange though to once again, after an 8 year gap, be taking birth control. A few years into this journey I remember chatting on the phone with my good friend Kelly. We were talking about the irony of taking birth control pills when it didn’t appear that I could get pregnant. She said ‘Just think of all the money you could have saved if you would have known that!’ At the time I remember saying it was too soon to be laughing about just yet, but now I can see the humour in it. So back to the pill I go!
Today is Thanksgiving and it is the first time I have celebrated this holiday in years. The festivities began last night with the whole Chud clan staying under one roof. We woke up this morning to warm cinnamon rolls (Grandma Mary’s recipe, passed on to each of us girls by Lynda and made by Carla). Right now my first attempt at a proper apple pie is in the oven and we are all running around trying to get ready to leave for our Thanksgiving dinner at the Fray’s. This year I am thankful to be with family for such an extended period of time. I am thankful that God hears each of my breath-prayers. I am thankful for good food. I am thankful for the snow that transforms Alaska into a winter wonderland. I am thankful that I still have a good chunk of time with the Carpenter clan to look forward too. But most of all I am thankful for each family member and friend who is partnering with us through both prayer and finances. We feel strong right now and it comes from each of your prayers. Right now we are at $3500, and we know that more is coming. Each time a person responds to our letter with encouraging words and the desire to partner with us I am overwhelmed by God’s larger body. So thank you. Thank you for being generous. Thank you for loving us. Just thank you.