Monday, April 20, 2009

It's gonna take a miracle...

It is going to take a miracle for me to get pregnant and carry a healthy baby to term.

I must start out with a disclaimer. I am going to discuss the information I found out, giving enough information for everyone to understand what we are up against, but not giving any specifics that would reveal our diagnosis. If I had kept this blog anonymous from the beginning and not given it out to anyone I know in real life, I would get into the specifics. However, John and I made a decision to be open about our struggle with IF, but decided we didn't think everyone needed to know whether it was one, and if so which one of us, or both of us. I know not everyone would agree with this decision, but it is what's best for us.

Okay, so I got some information this past Thursday from the embryologist that works with my RE. It is not good news at all. Last cycle the 3 embryos that weren't transferred did not survive until day 5. Day 5 is when my doctor freezes. I had been feeling like I should talk to them about what happened to see if they learned anything that might help us this time around. She looked back over my records and said she was surprised we didn't get a pregnancy based on our embryo quality (I guess she doesn't get any of the information after she does her part of the process). I told her we did get a pregnancy, but at 10 weeks we found out there was no heartbeat and then I miscarried. So she says to me, "I really don't want to scare you, but....." It is never good when someone starts off a sentence that way. She then proceeded to tell me that they saw _______ (name of abnormality) and that there were none without this abnormality. She said that my miscarriage was probably a result of these abnormalities. Well, I guess I would have been scared if I knew what they were and what effect they had on pregnancy outcomes. I didn't even know enough to know what to ask her. So of course I googled them when I got home. All I could find were journal articles which tells me they don't know a lot about them yet. In one of the articles, I came across an alarming study comparing pregnancy rates and miscarriage rates for a group with these abnormalities with a group without these abnormalities. The results were terrible. For those with these abnormalities only 5 of the 28 study participants (18%) got pregnant and 4 of those (80%) miscarried. That leaves just ONE pregnancy which was ongoing at the time of the study and NO deliveries. In the group without the abnormalities, 14 of the 28 participants got pregnant (50%) and only 1 miscarried (7%). In this group there were 10 deliveries and 3 ongoing pregnancies. The 4 miscarriages in the group with the abnormality were all what are called missed abortions. This is basically when the heartbeat stops and/or the baby stops growing, but your body does not miscarry the baby. Sound familiar? Another one of the interesting results from this study was that there were no differences in fertilization rate, percentage of good embryos, or implantation rate between the two groups. So basically this means the embryo develops normally in the beginning, but this abnormality affects embryo survival in the later stages resulting in lower pregnancy rates and much higher miscarriage rates. I found another study which looked at blastocyst formation (this is the stage the embryo reaches at day5) in groups with different degrees of this abnormality. The two groups with a high degree of the abnormality had little to no blastocyst formation, which may explain why none of our other 3 made it to day 5. I hope this isn't too technical, but I wanted to give every one a picture of what we are up against.

It might sound strange, but when I read these numbers peace came over me (admittedly there has been crying since). I realized that we are facing a situation that only God can overcome. We need Him to intervene. I have always believed that it was God who was in control and not my doctor. However, I believe God gives doctors the knowledge and skills they possess, and therefore I believe we should go to them when we have a medical issue (which infertility is). But there is nothing the doctors can do in this situation. There is nothing they can do to fix it. We can only go to the One who is not bound by diagnoses, circumstances, or statistics, the One for whom nothing is impossible. It is definitely going to take a miracle for me to get pregnant and carry a healthy baby to term. But I know that if the Lord wills it, He can bring it to pass.

If He does bring it to pass, it will be known that is was God who has done this great thing. Recently, I had been wondering about whether others would know it was God if I got pregnant through IVF. Would people give God all the praise and glory or would my doctor get the credit? This had really been bothering me. I believe our lives are meant to glorify God and I want Him to get all the glory. I want to be able to say as my friend Elaine did here, "To God be the glory, great things HE has done!" This was confirmed for me in an email sent to me by one of my closest friends. She said,

"God enjoys getting all and every credit and glory for His doings... which is as it should be.

And when and if this pregnancy happens, it's for sure now that it won't be a result of any medical technology or doctor skills... but only by God's grace and sovereignty. What a testament that would be!"

Jesus said with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). And so I am going to be asking God for a miracle. And if He wills it, all the glory will be His. If He does not will it, I will trust in the "something more" God has planned (see Elaine's post above). Either way I want God to receive all glory, honor, and praise.

10 comments:

Monika said...

Regarding IVF and whether or not people would give God the glory, or give it all to the doctors...

DH and I haven't shared details about our IF, but most people know we were trying and seeing an RE. Since people don't know many details, sometimes they assume we did IVF and next comes the comments about "the wonders of technology" and "amazing what doctors can do".

It's tricky... I've been bothered a lot by this, too, and really want to find a way to give God that glory WITHOUT lessening, in any way, the work He does through IVF (if that makes sense?). Because yeah, even though doctors helped out and such, God has to keep the pregnancy going - and so many times, that is against a lot of "odds"!

I'm so sorry to hear about what you just found out. For some reason, I GET that peace you had... but I totally can't explain why I get it. My little sister had a very bleak cancer diagnosis when she was 2 years old (there'd only been 3 cases like hers, and none in a child so young - the others had all died). A terribly hopeless situation led my parents to lean more and more on God, and gave them peace. Maybe that's why what you're saying doesn't sound so strange? (((hugs))) (oh btw, my sis is now 30 yrs old and cancer-free)

Sorry to ramble!!

I'm continuing to pray for you and John. <3

Courtney said...

I just wanted to give you some big hugs. You are right that God is in control! And remember....every single precious life that is created is a miracle! God creates miracles every day.
I'm a little concerned about why this issue wasn't brought to your attention sooner. I think it would be best for you to make an appt with your RE to discuss what exactly this means and why you weren't told about it after your previous cycle. I know that the study was very scary but remember that there were only 28 participants so it might not give a complete picture of what the abnormality means. I'm so sorry you are having to go through this!

Flakymn said...

Recently, I had been wondering about whether others would know it was God if I got pregnant through IVF. Would people give God all the praise and glory or would my doctor get the credit? This had really been bothering me.

... I'm with you on this Becky. I struggled with the same thing. God is in control. I look forward to watching HIM work ...

Alicia said...

Really good post. I LOVE your faith and your heart felt desire to give our Great God all the glory! I struggled with this with my IF treatments too, I never got prego. But I wondered if I did would everyone just give glory to the doctors and not to God? I was so encouraged when you said, "It is definitely going to take a miracle for me to get pregnant and carry a healthy baby to term. But I know that if the Lord wills it, He can bring it to pass." Amen!
Praying for you

Jackie said...

I am so sorry to hear about that. As someone also going through Infertility (and someone who does not have black and white answers at this time) I know it can be really hard. Especially when people offer you unsolicited comments about what should be tried and not tried...

I am praying for you! (HUGS)

Joia said...

I'm sorry to hear that you have received more tough news... We continue to bring the two of you before His throne...

I just want to say again what an amazing woman of faith you are, and the testimony that you have been to Me through all of this. Even so soon after hard news, you are already so at peace in His ways and ability to do or not to do what is best for you. Thank you.

A said...

Hi, I'm also sorry to read of this news, but I can understand how it is peaceful knowing what the problem is and that God can overcome even this problem if it is His will. I will be praying for you, that God will use you and this circumstance to show others His glory!!

Becky said...

Thank you all so much for your encouraging words and prayers!

Monika, thank you for sharing with me your own struggle with how to handle this issue and for sharing about your sister. I am very encouraged by how God worked in her situation.

Courtney, I so agree with you that every precious life is a miracle. I hope nothing I said implied that I think otherwise. What I was trying to say is that my situation is now beyond anything doctors currently have the skills to deal with. I am wondering the exact same thing about my RE. I will probably have an entire post about my frustration with him very soon.

Also, I meant to say that there were a total 56 participants in the study, 28 in each group. But Courtney is right, it is only one study. Unfortunately, there are not many studies out there on this subject. They are still in the investigation stage. The study I mentioned was the only one I could find that looked at pregnancy outcomes, which is really what I care most about. What I did learn from the recommendations of these studies is that if we can have some with out the abnormality this cycle we have a much better chance. Last cycle we did not have any without the abnormality.

Anonymous said...

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" - John 16:33.

Stacey said...

Becky,
Just want you to know you are on my mind and in my prayers today! I imagine this is a tough thing to face, but I know you are rooted in your faith and ready to give God the glory no matter what the outcome.
Love ya.