Thursday, July 30, 2015

Moving on.....

I wrote this blog and it's been sitting for about a month.  I would read it and cry and change pieces here and there and let it sit but I'm ready to share it now......

These last four months have probably been the hardest James and I have ever gone through.  We went through our final IVF cycle.  I so wished I could say it was successful but it wasn't.  We started the process back in April and were nervous but hopeful. James and I decided we wanted to keep this VERY private.  Our parents, family and very few friends knew that we were doing IVF.   I had the greatest doctor in Dallas and came highly recommended.  After doing a lot of research and finding that he was a top 10 fertility doctor in the US, we felt he would give us an opportunity to expand our family.

The last IVF cycle I went through, Dr C had to cut my cycle short because I didn't respond the way I needed to.  This cycle Dr. C changed my medication and we were praying my body would respond better.  After four shots a day and blood work and sonograms every other day my body had indeed reacted very well to the new medication therapy.  Thankfully I was able to have most of my blood work and sonograms done here and not have to be in Dallas every other day. I was a little stressed about the shots!  If we messed up on the shots or missed a shot then the whole cycle was ruined.  After 56 shots in my stomach and thighs I was ready for a retrieval.

This cycle was the best cycle I had ever had with all the years of fertility treatments!  I had six follicles that looked healthy and ready.  In order to go retrieval, I had to have a minimum of three follicles.  Dr. C told us he was hoping that I would have 10-12.  The more follicles the better your chances are.

The day of the surgery I woke up super nervous and very emotional.  We have been trying for 15 years for a baby and it all came down to this.  IVF is VERY expensive and all the treatments leading up to IVF for 15 years was expensive too.  Just a lot of pressure and I didn't want to think about the what ifs.  We got up very early and headed to surgery.  I remember on the drive to the clinic James nor I said anything to each other.  Funny thing about infertility is the roller coaster ride.  One minute your sky high and loving life and the very next minute your rock bottom and feel very alone.

We checked in that morning.  Dr. C came to see us and he was very hopeful.  He explained the procedure and what to expect.  He told us about what laid ahead of us the next six days.  After the surgery, James was pretty nervous when Dr. C came in.  I was still pretty drugged, but I will never forget the look on Dr. C's face when he walked in.  The look of utter defeat and disappointment.  Dr. C got emotional and told us out of the six follicles only four had eggs.  Out of the four eggs, three were viable for fertilization.  Dr. C explained to us that we had to wait six days to see if the eggs would mature into embryo's.  The laboratory would call us on day two, four and day six to give us an update.

I remember after Dr. C left the room I just burst into tears.  I felt defeated.  I felt broke.  I felt like a failure.  It is so frustrating to sit there and not understand why your body won't do what it's made to do.  So may questions went through my mind but the question I asked most was "Where are you God?"  I had never felt so alone or so hurt in all my life.  I felt like God turned his back on me and I didn't understand why.  James and I had been so faithful for so many years. We never lost hope and we had faith!  After so many encouraging words and prayers we continued to trust God in all our fertility issues.

After the surgery we went back to the hotel to sleep and let me recover.  After some much needed rest we just laid in bed and cried out hearts out.  I told James all my feelings and fears but in the end I still had hope.  We still had three eggs and for the next 24 hours I prayed and begged God to make this work.  I got the call the next day and only one egg took to being fertilized.  Again I hit bottom.  Now we were left with the decision to freeze and bank this one embryo (if it made it that far) and do another IVF cycle or to send it for the genetic testing that had to be done before we could implant it.  The hard part was that if we sent it for genetic testing our chances of it being a normal embryo was slim to none.  Dr. C made it very clear that we needed to send off as many as we could for genetic testing to have better odds.  If we sent ten embryo's then three-four embryo's might be usable and out of those three-four embryo's hopefully one embryo might take and become a successful pregnancy.

After the call that one egg was fertilized we had to wait until day four for another phone call from the lab.  Waiting was so hard!  Trying to "act" normal when your life is on hold and your future is in a petri dish was something I wish I wasn't having to go through.  James and I stayed in Dallas a few more days just to rest and be with each other.  James and I had so many conversations on what we should do next.  Should we freeze the embryo and try again?  Should we just gamble and implant the embryo without the genetic testing?  Should we go ahead and send this one embryo for testing?  After a lot of questions and sleepless nights we still had no idea.

What I'm about to say is very confusing and I hope you understand what I'm saying and I will speak for myself and not James.  I was trying so hard not to get my hopes up because we only had one embryo but in the back of my mind it was my one one chance.  I remember thinking I serve a God of miracles and God can make this work with just one embryo!  James made a comment that I will never forget.  He said "I never knew I would feel so much responsibility for something so small."  It was true!

The next four days were a blur.  We stayed busy with Farrah and Brooks and that helped but James and I were both on edge.  We had decided that we were going to freeze the embryo if it made it that far.  If the embryo didn't make it then we felt it was God's way of saying to be done and move on.  We got the call on day four and the embryo was growing and made it to the next phase.  Now we just need the embryo to make it to day six and become an "official" embryo.

I was at work and I had my phoned glued to my hip.  The call came and I just remember "This was it!"  I didn't want to answer the phone because I was so scared of the answer I didn't want to hear.  The lady told me that as of that morning our one embryo was no longer.  It didn't survive to day six.  Yesterday on day five the embryo looked great but today when she checked it the embryo was no longer.  I called James immediately and just started crying.  All our hopes and dreams and prayers were gone!  For trying so hard not to get our hopes up for this one embryo, we had all our hopes up.  We had our answer....we were done.

I left the school in the middle of the day.  I just had to leave and be alone for a while.  I prayed and cried and prayed and cried.  I know I wasn't pregnant but it felt exactly the same way it felt with all of our miscarriages.  I was so mad and confused.  I can honestly say this was the one time I questioned if God was really real.  I wasn't sure anymore.  How can God who's word says He loves me so much let me go through all of this?  Have I wasted fifteen years believing in a God who really didn't love me?  After weeks of crying and refusing to pray and basically refusing to go to church, Farrah came to me and said "Mom, I sure miss church."

After some grieving and feeling like no one cared about me I looked at my children and knew the answer.  I knew God loved me.  He loved me so much that he sent me two beautiful children in a way that seemed impossible.  To tell you the truth I'm still coming to terms of not ever having children of my own.  I'm still very hurt and raw.  I have good days and some really hard days.  How does one move on from a life long dream and trying for 15 YEARS to have children of my own?  I look at my husband and wonder what our babies are..boy or girl.  I wonder what our children would have looked like.  Would they have James' brown eyes like all the other Fortner's have or would they have my green eyes?  One of the hardest things was telling Farrah that mom would never have a baby in her tummy and trying to answer her questions of why.  All I can say is I don't know but how incredibly blessed we are that God brought us you and Brooks!

I want to close with this one thing.  Infertility has been a part of us for so long that I'm not real sure how to move on.  We took a break from church just to rest and heal.  We are coming back but just needed some time away.  Please just know, we know all the prayers that have been prayed over us the last 15 years were precious.  We are heartbroken but not defeated.  I think for me personally the hardest part for me is I've lost some great friends in the process.  I know I haven't been easy to get along with but please understand if you had gone through what I've been through, you might not be either.  We have some incredible family and friends that love us and encourage us daily and I couldn't have survived this season without them.  I know this is a new season for our family and right now I just feel lost and confused.  I'm unsure what the next chapter holds but I do know one thing is I am blessed with a precious family!  When women go through infertility and when your friends or family become pregnant they start to avoid you.  Please, please don't do this!  This is the last thing we need.  Yes, we are happy for you and sad for ourselves but that's no reason to avoid us.

Farrah you will never know how much I love you and thank you for making me a mommy.  Brooks, you are our families answer to much are our joy!  James, I seriously wouldn't be here without you.  You make me a better person and challenge me everyday to be better and do better.  You truly are my best friend!