What Happened to the Nine?
I will be honest, the idea of having ten children, remember I had one living child prior to IVF, was frightening to me. My first child was, well, strong-willed to put it bluntly. So the idea of having nine more children with similar dispositions scared the wits out of me. I wondered what God was thinking, and yet I also knew it was quite unlikely that all, much less most would survive. I was conflicted to say the least. I had friends tease me about having a basketball team of my own. That was a true incentive for me since I LOVE basketball, but honestly I was hopeful and scared. I didn’t know how many I could handle. I cried often over what God would do with those precious babes.
My first transfer resulted in a pregnancy. I was elated and yet there was loss even in the pregnancy. You see both embryos implanted in my uterus. However at about 8 weeks, I lost one. I felt devastated. I felt blessed. Again, I felt conflicted. I wondered if I could separate the loss and grief from the joy of being pregnant. Grief and joy went hand-in-hand so often through this journey. Joy that I didn’t die when my tubes ruptured, grief that I lost my babies. Joy to have eggs harvested and embryos created, grief to lose some to stunted growth and others that did not implant.
I now see God’s sovereign hand all throughout the process. When I didn’t understand, when I felt conflicted, He knew, He had a plan. So now Dan and I have seven embryos left in a freezer two and half hours away. It is actually surreal to wrap my brain around that. I had babies, who were essentially in suspended animation for four years. Periodically, when it was “time,” we would have them defrosted to transfer them to my womb. You don’t need the sci-fi channel when you are doing IVF, you are living it.
So God blessed us with a beautiful baby. Yes, her delivery was missing someone, her twin. However her delivery was a God ordained miracle as well. More about that later, first the other 7 babies…
My doctors agreed that waiting at least a year from delivery to another embryo transfer was best to allow my body to get back to normal. You see, artificial hormones and I don’t get along. If I thought I had morning sickness with my first natural pregnancy, then I had all day and all pregnancy sickness with my IVF pregnancies. Regardless, it was time for another transfer. My heart was heavy. I wanted to get pregnant, yes. I wanted to give each embryo a chance at live on the outside of a dish, yes. I didn’t want to do shots, multiple doctors visits (two and a half hours away), and discuss what was going on with mommy to a precocious four-year old. However, this was the journey God had me on, and this was the road I had to walk.
The first transfer was unsuccessful and full of grief. My bad attitude seemed to have seeped into my uterus and no baby would want to implant in there. However God brought hope again, the following month after the unsuccessful cycle, we tried again. My four-year-old was in school at the time, and thus I had to warn her teacher about potential comments. Comments like, “The babies in my mommy’s tummy died.” The day I mentioned this to her teacher, she came home with a painting titled, “Mommy with babies in her tummy.” Praise God, I listened to him and warned her teacher or she may have been calling DHS (Department of Human Services) on us. This cycle was successful, but only one embryo implanted. There was still grief. Grief that there were only three more embryos waiting. Grief that only one embryo implanted. Grief that the previous cycle saw a loss of two precious babes. However there was joy and the joy was a handsome boy. Then there were three embryos. That is another story.
It amazes me that God often uses joy and grief together. One only has to look at the cross to see it. Oh the grief and shame of my sin that caused my Savior so much pain. However, joy comes in the morning when he rose victorious over the grave. Jesus knew the pain he was to endure, He said, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42 Jesus knew the ending, the resurrection, the victory over sin and death. However He also knew the grief and the pain. He knew that God could take the grief, but if God removed the grief, the victory would not come either. In great grief there is often great joy. I am not saying I have some great astounding victory at the middle of this journey. I don’t have it all figured out, but I do know that I am closer to God. I know Him more fully. I have more compassion than I ever dreamed I lacked. God has brought great joy through the grief. He has brought triumph through the tears. Psalm 30:5b “…Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.”
For those of you in the night, I am praying for a quick return of the morning.