Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Closing a Chapter

Well, I was going to do a picture post about all the places I've been the last few months, but I forgot the thing that moves my pictures from my camera to my computer. I'm gonna try to get one tomorrow. So for tonight, I thought I'd share some news. It comes with no pictures. ;)

Remember this post, where I shared with you how my fertility meds make me feel crazy. Okay, well, after my 3 rounds of Femara, I took a month off. Then, because I'm nuts and really want a baby, I committed, loosely, to 3 months on Clomid. I say "loosely" because what I really committed to was to take it a month at a time. If month 1 went okay, then I'd go to month 2...and so on.

Month 1 went great, and by great I mean that I pretty much felt like myself the whole month, but did not get pregnant, so...great-ish, really.

Month 2 was a little less greatish than month 1. I felt my temper getting shorter, my moods getting swingier, and my sadness getting deeper, and of course...it was unsuccessful to boot.

At the end of Clomid-Month 2, Casey and I went to Vail, Colorado for the Acts29 Pators' Retreat. We had a fantastic time. It was great to get away. It was great to be with friends (details still to come in the picture post), and it was great to have a little time to clear our heads. Mark Driscoll taught a session on marriage, and afterward all the couples were sent with box lunches to their rooms to talk about what they had just heard. So, Casey and I happily obliged and had a lovely picnic on our balcony. All of a sudden, in that perfect Colorado weather my heart got so heavy. All I could think about was that in a few short days I would take my 3rd round of Clomid and it promised to be harder than the 2nd.

And the panicked debate in my heart began:
Don't take another round! You're so tired.
But...you might get pregnant!
Probably not.
But you might!...There's a chance. More of a chance than if you don't take it.
But I hate feeling this way!
If you don't take it, then you're giving up.

And on and on.

So Casey and I talked it through.
We prayed.
We decided to be done.
We're done trying so hard.
We're giving our hearts and minds (and my body) some rest.

So, what does that mean? For one, no more meds! The decision was brutal, but once it was made I was so relieved. In no time at all, I started feeling like my old self again, and I've just felt better and better. A weight has been lifted and the pressure and urgency to become pregnant is gone. Ok, well, gone-ish.

When we got home from Vail, I started doing some research online about PCOS, and I found some women who had reported reversing some of their symptoms with diet and exercise. I figured, while this is certainly no magic cure for me, it can't hurt me. So, for the past few weeks I have been making some life changes. My diet... I've cut out refined sugars, I'm trying to stick to whole grains, eat more fruits, veggies, nuts, drink more water...you know...all the stuff we know to do, but try to get around. (Unfortunately, the one thing I haven't quite kicked is my diet Dr. Pepper habit. :( I have cut back, but honestly, if I can't have sugar, then that basically leaves water! What?! Only water?...come on! Shoot me!)

Also, I've been getting my rear in the gym. My brilliant friend, Brandi told me about the iPhone app C25K (Couch to 5K) and I LOVE IT! Have I ever mentioned that I HATE running! Loathe it! But, this program has you alternate walking and running and gradually gets you to running the full 5k. To my complete surprise, I am really enjoying it.

So...I've cut out my meds, started eating healthy, started exercising and I feel fantastic! I have more energy, I'm more productive, I'm more content and I'm more able to enjoy the blessings the Lord has given me. We're not not trying to get pregnant, but we're not going to disrupt the family we do have in hope of a family we don't have. Without the meds, I'm freer to see and appreciate the story that God has for us, whatever that means.

When I see big families having fun together or siblings snuggling or newborn babies...do I cry? Um...sometimes. A lil' bit. Not gonna lie. The hope is still there. The desire is still there. But, it's not burdensome. No, in fact, it takes me to Jesus. Every time I feel that sting, my soul searches for Jesus. It's involuntary. Before, it wasn't. I just realized that. Man!...The Lord has been training my heart without my knowledge. He is so clever! I guess that's why we have to go through things like this, 'cause we are just too dumb and self-reliant to turn to Him otherwise.


So that's the deal with that. One chapter closed. Another one just beginning. God is a fantastic writer, is He not?! Is there a more beautiful story out there than the story of God? No, there isn't. So, it behooves me to turn the page with hope and joy and great anticipation at what He will do.

P.S. To those struggling with infertility, let me just say that I am not suggesting that you should stop taking your meds. I have just reached the end of that journey, but it was a journey I had to take. In the past 3 years I have taken a total of 8 rounds of fertility drugs. Eight. I became pregnant on only one of those rounds and it ended in miscarriage. We came to the conclusion that the medicine, for us, seems to hurt more than help. For other women I know, it hasn't been so disruptive and has helped them to become pregnant and have children. So please know, I'm not making a judgment on the medicine itself, just sharing that my time with it is over.


Brad and Carrie said...

Hey friend, it's Carrie. I'm sure you've considered it, but I wanted to throw out adoption as an incredible blessing of an option. There's a book by Russell Moore called "Adopted for Life" that really gives a good framework for what adoption means as a believer. Adoption rocked our world in the most amazing way, so just wanted to throw that in the mix. :)

Ashley M said...

Steph, thanks for your honesty. Even more, thanks for being an example and following the Lord's will for you - even when it's hard and not how you would have wanted it. What an encouragement.

I have PCOS and tried so many meds before Clomid. It (ok. all of them) made me crazy, too. In fact, so much so that Patrick says I'm never taking it again :) Anyways! Getting my body healthy was a huge deal. And getting pregnant with Andrew (even though we still had to take Clomid + trigger shots) was so much easier. I believe it was because I surrendered myself to the Lord - in so many ways. And one was certainly caring for my body. Not saying that's why I got pregnant, but I know it helped. With all of that said, it's incredible what a heart surrendered to God can yield. A new perspective. A softened heart. A deeper love. That was my most significant reward in my struggles with infertility. Sure, I love my babies to pieces and am thankful for those gifts. But getting more of Jesus was far better a prize when it's all said and done. And I am thankful that God knows our lives, our stories, better than us. He is indeed a beautiful Author.

I'm proud of you and I think you're great. Sorry this turned into a mini-novel. Maybe I should have emailed you. Oh well :)

And on a very random, take it as you will, side note: Starbucks Via iced coffee packets = not as bad as I thought they would be! :)

Steph said...

Carrie, hey girl! Yes, yes! Adoption has been on our heart for quite some time and I am delighted to very soon begin the process. We are hoping and praying to be in a house by November, and then to run head first into adoption. Although, I want to talk to our agency at the end of the summer to see what I can be doing in the meantime. So yes, adoption is on the horizon!
And! Um...you wrote me a super sweet email a while ago and I never got back to you cause I'm uncool like that. thanks for still being my friend even though I've been so rude!!!! :)

Ashley, girl, thanks for your encouragement. I've thought about you a lot and wish you were closer so we could discuss some of these things! Congratulations to you on your new beautiful baby!

mandi said...

Wow Steph! So much here. So much heart ache and goodness. Please let me know if I can do anything to help on the nutrition end. Refined sugars can be so tempting! Especially now when ice cream beckons! But I know that I do so much better hormonally when I cut out sugar.
I can also encourage you in kicking that DP habit! Letting go of soda was the hardest thing for me to do. But it's been eight years now and I never even think about missing it. Also- have you thought about herbal tea? I love the passion tea at starbucks. So delicious!
I'm excited for you. I think making a decision to medicate or not is so hard. But once you make the decision it's almost like you can finally move on and get to the business of living. Living abundantly.

Jen Patterson said...

Sweet Stephanie! Your transparency is beautiful! You make loving Jesus so attractive! It is so encouraging to see the ways that you trust in his GOODNESS. Treasuring Jesus more today because of you : )

Jen P.

PS - Let's get together soon!

Sara said...

Wow, Steph. Thanks for such a raw blog post. Your honesty inspires me. I love you and your wonderful family.

Caryn said...

Thanks for sharing your heart & your trust in the Lord's will over your womb.