Sometimes the desert of waiting for a child leads you to forks in the road that you so didn’t foresee. IVF is often one of those forks.
The Mayo Clinic defines In vitro fertilization (IVF) as a complex series of procedures used to treat fertility or genetic problems and assist with the conception of a child. During IVF, mature eggs are collected (retrieved) from your ovaries and fertilized by sperm in a lab. Then the fertilized egg (embryo) or eggs are implanted in your uterus. One cycle of IVF takes about two weeks.
“IVF is the most effective form of assisted reproductive technology. The procedure can be done using your own eggs and your partner’s sperm. Or IVF may involve eggs, sperm or embryos from a known or anonymous donor. In some cases, a gestational carrier — a woman who has an embryo implanted in her uterus — might be used.”
It’s extremely invasive, expensive, and emotionally challenging. So how do you know whether it’s something you should pursue?
There are no clear cut answers, unfortunately. I always, always advise people to listen to their bodies. What are you feeling led toward? Seek to be in agreement with your spouse, too, as hard as that can be. Counseling can be a really good place to talk out some of the hard stuff.
Is pursuing IVF a definite no? Honor that. Own your decision and don’t worry what other people think. Try not to dwell on the “what-if’s.” You are brave and God is in control.
Are you going through or about to undergo IVF? Be all there, what an adventure! Try to remember that all the eggs (pun intended) are in God’s hands. Will there be days you’re pumped full of hormones and scared? Yes. You are brave and God is in control.
Is IVF a maybe in your future? Cool! Keep learning, searching, and finding out all that you can. Talk to people who have been through it. Ask your hundreds of questions. Don’t be afraid to pause if you need a minute to breathe. You don’t have to decide today. You are brave and God is in control.
Today you get the pleasure of meeting my friend, Lynn. She’s a beautiful wife and mom of four kids on earth. Her full hope story will be featured in the book, Bearing Hope, that comes out on July 25th, 2016. She and I did a little interview so you could get some “behind the scenes” about the IVF process and all it entails.
Liv: Most people don’t know about your pre-adoption story, but before adoption your beautiful sibling set of three and then getting surprised by a pregnancy, you went on quite the fertility adventure.
How long did you try to get pregnant before you decided to see a specialist?
Lynn: About a month into our marriage my husband and I started to seriously talk about trying to have kids. We both wanted a big family, but were naive to the fact that you just make the decision to be parents and then children come. This is not the reality for many couples, as we soon figured out. It was about a year into our journey of TTC when I spoke with my OBGYN wondering if there might be a problem.
Liv: When you started seeing the specialist, what were his/her recommendations?
Lynn: Two years after trying with no success and 12 months on Clomid, we were sent to see a specialist. After many tests and procedures, we were informed we had male and female infertility and had options.
Liv: Which course you decide which to pursue? How did you come to that decision?
Lynn: Ultimately after much discussion and prayer between my husband and I, we decided on IVF. IVF had a greater success rate for us and greater possibility of actually conceiving. We were financially stable enough to choose IVF. It was not a decision we made lightly.
Liv: How did your faith play into that decision?
Lynn: My husband and I prayed continually and became stronger as a couple throughout our infertility. We clung to each other for comfort and shared so many joys and tears. We saw our doctors as tools for God to work miracles for us to become parents.
Liv: What came next?
Lynn: 2 years on an emotional rollercoaster. We went through 3 IVF procedures with a BFP (big fat positive) after each procedure. We had figured out how to finally get pregnant, to only find out now I am not able to carry a baby through the first trimester. Right before our third and final IVF attempt we signed papers to start adoption.”
Liv: Who did you open up to about your journey at the time?
Lynn: Going through the IVF process, we decided to tell very few people. We told some close friends (friends that saw us regularly and it would be hard to hide from) but our immediate family was kept in the dark. This was done for many reasons. We lived 9 hours away from our family, and we did not want them to worry (any more than they did) about us or bombard us with all of their “expert” advice. We got enough of that unsolicited as it was. We also didn’t want all the questions when we had no answers. Of course keeping them in the dark of our struggles, had them teasing us about “when we are going to have a little one running around” even more. They meant no harm, they did not know the battle we were fighting behind closed doors.
Liv: Do you wish you had done anything differently?
Lynn: The only thing I regret is not confiding in our parents. At times is was so isolating going through infertility. My husband was my best friend and confidante. He helped me keep a positive attitude and always reminded me about “Us”, but I wish I would have had my mom in on our battles. There is nothing like a mother’s comfort.
Liv: What would you say to a mom who is going through the scary decision making process and just wants God to write in the sky what she should do next?
Lynn: God has a plan. He really does. I went through a time when I was angry. I thought, this is not what we planned for us. The thing was that God has such a better plan for us than we could ever imagine.
Trust in God even when it is hard. God has your story written. It may be that you grow strong through infertility so you can be an even stronger parent to three adopted kids who need a mom and a dad. That was us. He may be strengthening you to handle something as crazy as a miracle bio baby when you’re still getting to know your brand new 5, 4, and 3 year olds. Yep, we went from zero to four kids in a year. God is always good. Stay strong and trust in Him.
To read Lynn’s full story, get Liv’s book when it launches in July, Bearing Hope: Navigating the Desert of Waiting for a Child. Sign up for Liv’s mailing list so you don’t miss out on the pre-sale coming up next month!