I Need Feedback

I believe in God.

I believe in prayer.

I believe God speaks.

I believe God speaks through His Word.

But I believe He also speaks clearly and boldly and almost audibly sometimes.

I know some of my blog readers don’t believe in God.  Or they do, but they don’t believe these things.  Or they believe in faith but not my faith.  Or they believe in fate or destiny or karma.  I hesitated to write this post because of that.  I’m comfortable writing about my faith, but usually when I do, I just write.  This time I’m looking for feedback.  And I don’t want to alienate anybody.  If you have a different perspective from me, I imagine this post will sound weird to you.  Cooky, in fact.  Maybe bordering on nuts.  If that’s your feedback, that’s okay with me.  Comment away.  I just want to be clear from the get-go that I’ll accept any and all sorts of feedback because I think I need a lot of feedback.  So if you’re a lurker, I would appreciate any momentary delurking to give me your perspective.

Pretty much, I’m begging for comments.  I am so not cool!

It’s common knowledge that I’ve been conflicted about if we should do a second round of ivf.  Several weeks ago we decided to go ahead with it, and I called the clinic, paid the (nonrefundable) deposit, and got the plan letter.  We were ready to go.  I can’t say I felt great about it, but I haven’t been second guessing my decision.  I generally don’t regret a lot.  What happened in the past is what happened.  There’s no use stressing out over what could have been different or if other options could have been better because it’s impractical.  (I do have a penchant of regreting things I’ve said – or rather, things I haven’t said.  I don’t think well on my feet.  But as for actions?  I don’t usually regret them.)

After scheduling the cycle, I definitely fell into an abyss.  I’ve been depressed and overwhelmed, crying frequently and snapping from one mood to the other at rapid speeds.  Over the last week or two I’ve been working on clawing my way out.  I don’t want to spend this holiday season missing the excitement and wonderment because I’m wallowing and panicking.

Thursday evening, a friend emailed me.  I haven’t seen this friend in several months and miss her dreadfully.  She asked how I was, and in my response I told her that we were gearing up for a second ivf and I was struggling with anxiety and depression and needed reassurance.

Earlier this year, my friend – while struggling with her own demons – took a beach trip.  While on the beach, she was praying about our situations.  Although they are entirely different at face value, there are some similar underlying themes, and she was enjoying the sand and sun while praying through these issue.  When she returned from her trip, she told me she felt God had spoken to her on the beach, affirming to her that we would both be granted these desires of our heart.  It was this story I was hoping to hear again when I asked her for reassurance.

What she told me this week was so much more.  She told me carefully and confidently, but also tentatively – much like I would have chosen to share had the roles been reversed.  She repeated the story of what she had experienced on the beach but said there had been more.  That she hadn’t felt free to share it with me earlier, but that she felt urged to do so now.

I won’t get into the specifics of what she shared.  I’m not quite ready to bare it all.  But the basics are that we should not spend our money on ivf.  That Gabe will have a sibling.  That there is a specific reason we are not conceiving now.  And that there will be a specific time when we will conceive.

My friend is not arrogant.  She is not prone to sensationalism.  She doesn’t exaggerate.  I trust her.  If you knew her, you would like her.  She is a regular person, very kind, sensitive to the needs and struggles of others, and is passionate about life.

I don’t know what to do with this information, however.  Is it real?  Is it for now?  Was everything heard correctly?  And applied correctly?  I wonder some of these things because last summer I experienced a very distinct moment where I thought God told me that we would conceive soon.  A friend had been walking with me through our infertility struggles and I shared this with her – that I thought maybe we were on the precipice of a breakthrough.  What happened was entirely opposite – she conceived soon, and I didn’t.  I still believe I heard God tell me something specific.  I just believe I misapplied it.  My friend had also been trying to get pregnant – not quite as long as we had, but a fair amount of time nonetheless.  Finding out she was pregnant was happy on one hand, but brought with it a tremendous number of complications – and not just because of my experience with infertility.  I think I received a “heads-up” that I sort of missed.

Also, I don’t understand why God would speak so late.  For months Tahd and I had been seeking to make the right decision about whether or not to proceed.  Neither of us felt good about going forward.  But we felt equally bad about waiting.  Eventually after several highly emotional and highly logic-driven conversations, we decided to go forward.  And paid the deposit.  The nonrefundable deposit.  The deposit isn’t huge ($400), but it’s still several hundred dollars.  I don’t want to waste several hundred dollars!  If this is really a message for us at this time, why did He show up late?  We do not have a plentiful supply of money.  We have brakes that need to be looked at.  A car that is on its last leg.  Debt that needs to be repaid.  Children we sponsor in India.  And things we’d like – either things or experiences.  Some of it is absolutely selfish and unnecessary.  Some of it is necessary and/or altruistic.  But we certainly would never choose to throw away $400.

Also, although my friend spoke with assurance, there was a small amount of hesitation.  What if she shared and it doesn’t turn out that way?  I have begun to come to terms with that question in my own life.  But in spite of her confidence, she has some hesitation.  How does that reflect – not on her, but on the situation?  On our decision?

Finally, I had begun to have a quiet assurance.  For a long time I was certain ivf wouldn’t work for us.  The very bones in my body were united in their agreement.  My certainty was on a visceral level more than a logical or emotional level.  Friends told me this was a defense mechanism – I was protecting myself from potential pain by living in denial.  As we’ve gotten closer, I’ve ventured into the scary territory of hope several times, my mind flirting with what-ifs.  And as I’ve done so, I’ve felt very peaceful and assured in our decision to move forward.

It’s the same sense I felt when we moved from Maine to Wisconsin.  During our years in Maine, both Tahd and I had been working through a challenging time. I hated my job and had already quit, with plans to do several little projects while I got my masters.   Tahd also hated his job but stayed on because someone had to support the family.  It dawned on us one day that neither of us liked it there.  In addition to hating our job situations, we were thousands of miles and many hours from our families, something that ate at my heart every day.  What was holding us there, we asked?  Nothing.  Nothing more than habit.  So we made a decision.  We were moving.  On a certain day.  We had nothing – no jobs, no place to stay, and no money to move.  (Moving is expensive, yo!)

Eventually I secured a part-time job.  We decided to stay with my parents.  The truck rental – which had been around $1000 – was discounted to $200 one evening while I was up late and the company agreed to honor the new price even though we had made our reservation at the higher price.  Things were lining up.  We knew it was the right decision.

Sometime during the process of preparing to move, Tahd found out about a potential position at a large multi-national corporation near where my parents lived.  The position sounded perfect for him – an interesting dovetailing of several skills he acquired while working at the jobs in Maine he disliked.  I knew this was his job.  At a surface level I worried about how we’d provide for ourselves.  We also wanted to have a family but certainly weren’t going to voluntarily get pregnant with no home, minimal insurance and minimal income.  We found out about this position in July, and Tahd sent his cover letter and resume.  In September, we moved to Wisconsin.  In November, he interviewed for the job.  And then we heard nothing.  But deep down I still knew it was his job.  It just was.  I never doubted it for a moment.

Eventually he got an offer.  In February.  Seven months after the job became available.  Tahd later found out – as we had suspected – that he wasn’t their first choice.  They kept bringing in new people to interview, looking for the perfect candidate.  And now, five and a half years since he started, they’re more than thrilled with their choice.  He has built a substantial reputation as one of the go-to experts in his field, and his reputation precedes him across multiple branches of the company into other countries.  The best part?  He loves his job.  He thinks about it, plans for it, believes in it, and looks forward to going to work (most) every day.  The quiet assurance I had all along was there for a reason, and looking back I can see that although the path seemed convoluted at the time it had purpose all along.

I don’t take that feeling of assurance lightly.  It’s too deep and too certain to be ignored.  And the fact that I’d been having it when I thought about ivf meant something to me, although I didn’t entirely know what it meant.  It’s like knowing something is important but not knowing why it’s important.  Am I feeling it in relationship to the ivf itself?  Am I feeling it because it is a reaffirmation that we’re going to have another baby without any reflection on the method?  Am I entirely misinterpreting it?  I don’t know.  I just don’t know.

I’m begging for feedback not because I’m desperate (although I am) but because I have an unshakable certainty that there is more to the message.  I believe this because when my friend originally shared part of the message with me, it didn’t totally make sense to me and I knew there was more.  I knew it wasn’t time for me to hear the rest.  When I responded to her email on Thursday and asked for reassurance, I asked in part because I thought maybe she’d share the rest with me.  She did share the rest, but with the extra she has shared, I’m more convinced that it’s not all I need to know.  I don’t have all the information I need to make this decision.  And since God doesn’t seem to be forthcoming in telling me directly, I assume He must have made it clearer to someone else.

Hence the begging.  😉  If you read this and have a thought, please respond.  Even if you think it’s just your thought and not on that’s divinely inspired.  If you don’t believe in divine inspiration but still have a reaction, please share that anyway.  I have no preconceived ideas about who knows the best or right thing to say.  I’m continuing to seek clarity on my own, but I tend to believe that this time clarity is going to come from outside myself and myexperience.

If I’ve learned one thing during our infertility experience, I’ve learned that I get myself into trouble when I try to live the important parts of my life alone.  Being open in this way doesn’t come naturally to me.  But I’m committed to trying.

I believe in God.

I believe in prayer.

I believe God speaks.

I believe God speaks through His Word.

I believe He also speaks clearly and boldly and almost audibly sometimes.

I just have no clue what He’s saying.

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  1. This is hard. I think, if it were me, that I would still do the IVF. Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t. Maybe you’re supposed to do it either way. Good luck with your decision!

    • Thanks! That’s what I wonder – maybe I’m supposed to do it either way. I struggled with that a lot before we paid the deposit – I only wanted to do it if it was going to work. I felt conflicted because I was waiting to be certain. I’ve moved (mostly) beyond that now, but this presents a new wrinkle in my thoughts.

  2. I think I have to agree with Devan. I would still go ahead with the IVF. God is in control either way and if it’s supposed to work, it will.

    I know it’s hard though. Especially when thinking of the money involved and what you could do with it if you didn’t spend it on the IVF.

    But I think the “what ifs” would do me in if I didn’t do it. If you do it and it doesn’t work again, then you know you tried and did all YOU can do.

    I’m praying God will meet you at his timing will coincide with yours 😉
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..Quick Mountain Getaway 🙂 =-.

    • Thanks, Michelle! That is a perfect prayer… exactly what I need!

      I think the what-ifs are actually more likely to do me in if I go the other direction. If we choose to stop/be a family of 3, I think that’ll just be life and we love Gabe and we’ll love our family. If I do it and it doesn’t work, I think I stand a greater chance of having lots of what-ifs and potentially having to deal with fighting off bitterness years down the road. But every time I have a “baby dream” I wake up and feel sadness and regret. So maybe I’m wrong and I will wonder what-if no matter what.

  3. I believe in God. I believe that nothing we do can sway God’s plan for us as long as we walk with Him. However, I also believe that you should do the IVF. I think you need to rid yourself of the What Ifs. If it doesn’t work, then that was God’s plan, too. But you’ll never know for certain if you toss in the towel now.

    • But if it doesn’t work, will I be left with lots of “what ifs” there? Because statistically speaking, the odds are probably about 50% either direction. But you said a phrase that resonated – throwing in the towel. I don’t want to throw in the towel too soon. I don’t want to throw in the towel at all. I want to do what we need to do to the end and not quit, regardless of if it’s going to work or not.

  4. Here is the thought that came to me Heidi: what if this is not so much God speaking to you as the devil. I know that sounds harsh, but I had an overwhelming image in my head of the apple and the serpent scenario in Genesis when I was reading about your friend telling you that God told her you were not to do IVF. What if this is temptation? The temptation is to not risk it all and jump. And IVF is a big leap of faith, both in God and in medicine. The temptation is to go back to waiting and wondering. And you have a big blank on the other side of the IVF, right? Not doing it means not having to open your eyes to that blank side, be it a pregnancy or otherwise.

    I don’t know what you should do, but I am not sure I would assume that message is from God. It could just as well be temptation.

    Since you’ve had peace with this decision, and you and Thad have made it together with great deliberation, I say go forward with the IVF.

    If it works we will all jump up and down with you. If it doesn’t work, we will all come together and hold you up until you don’t need it anymore. Either way, that’s what friends do.

    I like to believe that it will work. And yes, just like your move, this has all lined up. Since that worked, you have to at least wonder if this will too!


    • I don’t really believe God tempts people. I do believe He tests them and I do think this could be a test. I also believe people can experience things of darker forces that seem divine or positive in nature. And then there are some people who don’t believe in this sort of “prophecy.” I tend to, but not as quickly or as fully as other people. I do want to give careful consideration to how this fits in. I know it takes incredible courage to say something like this to another person, and I trust my friend’s heart implicitly. But I don’t think that lets me off the hook from figuring out how God wants me to apply this message to my life.

  5. My non-divinely inspired thought:
    I think your friend is speaking your own hesitations about ivf. I think there is a part of you who also believes ivf is not for you, and also believes Gabe will have a sibling one day. Believes that you have not conceived on your time frame for some unknown, but specific reason – and that you will indeed conceive again.

    It is OK to believe IVF isn’t going to work – but decide to do it anyway because that’s all there is left to do.

    I think you should do it anyway!

    • Oh Maren – that’s very interesting. I hadn’t thought of that at all. And you’re right about the beliefs – I do believe all of those things. And yet they all seem so incompatible. There is also a huge desire to “forget” that I’m infertile – that there’s just some anomaly but I’m not really going through all of this… that I’m not *actually* broken – I only appear broken. I suppose that exposes both the hope and shame that comes along with infertility.

  6. Asides from the school of “everything happens for a reason” since I still have trouble coming to terms with that saying myself, I think you should go for the IVF.

    If you do decide to go foreward you won’t be left with the “what ifs” that you might come across later. You will know that you gave that last little bit to bring a new life into this world. I’ve even seen a few ladies on FF who were gearing up for their IVF cycle and got the BFP! And a lady on my EDD board was TTC for 9 years and just before they were ready to start IVF, BFP!

    Miracles happen <3 Unfortunately not in the time frames we hope for but eventually. And when they do, our eyes open up as to the true reason for the long wait. It happened for me (different situation with RPL and Secondary IF) and after looking back, I was able to see the answer loud and clear.

    Good luck!

    • Those stories give me so much encouragement! I can hardly imagine being at this for 9 years! But then again, several years ago I could hardly imagine doing this for 4 years. I agree that answers are often much clearer on the flip side. I feel like I’m halfway on the flip side and can start to see what things might look like. But it’s hard to not have certainty.

      Glad you got your miracle!

  7. I think you do know what he’s saying, what he wants. You may be on the fence as what to believe but deep down you know you do. If he’s now taking the time to pull your friend into it and speak through her…you need to listen. He’s pulling out all the tricks, you just need to stop looking behind the curtain to figure them out.

    Just do.

    • “He’s pulling out all the tricks…”

      That made me smile. You’re right – I do want to have it all figured out before making a move. And what kind of life is that, really? Can I really ever expect the unimaginable if I’m insistent on figuring out how it works?

  8. I just wanted to comment on the “temptation” theory. I believe temptation from Satan is to sin. It wouldn’t be sinful to NOT do the IVF unless you knew 100% it was exactly what God wanted you to do. I just don’t think there’s anything Biblical about saying what your friend told you could be from Satan or is temptation.

    And yes….maybe you’d have the “what if’s” if you don’t do IVF. But if you feel it might not be what God wants you to do, you might have the “what if’s” if you do it.

    • I agree that temptation is of Satan. I do think God tests us, and I have felt an overarching part of this journey has had a purpose of growing my faith. Is this a test of my faith? A test that will eventually deepen my faith? I think what you said about the 100% thing is important, too. My sister was saying something about this tonight – right now I feel like I don’t know anything at 100%. It would make sense, then, to keep pushing to see if things start firming up in one direction or the other.

  9. I am not religious but I would not do IVF at this time. It does not sound as though you are 100% ready. Do I believe in IVF? Absolutely, when the time is right.

    • I agree that I’m not 100% ready. Totally agree! We decided to do it now because we felt like we wanted to do it again at some point but it is financially far more beneficial to do it in 2009 than to do it in 2010. It’s a long, convoluted financial explanation, but the effective cost of doing it this year ends up being around $9000 less than if we did it next year. We’re doing the last possible week in 2009 schedule-wise. Where I still have these hesitations, it definitely makes me wonder.

  10. I would do it. Because even if you are meant to conceive naturally later on, the time between now and then will be filled with “WHAT IF??”. If you DO the IVF and it is successful, you know you did the right thing. If you do the IVF and it fails, you’ve done everything you can do and now you wait.

    Best of luck, Heidi!

    • Missy – you would know probably better than some since I know you’re dealing with a similar situation. Do you think if you invested substantial resources into fertility treatment right now and that it left you a financial burden for several more years that you’d be okay with that? I just worry so much about how much of Gabe’s life-with-us I’m going to be spending under this infertility burden. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of looking back at a certain milestone of his and remembering the infertility emotions I felt along with it. In many senses, I really want a clean break. That probably doesn’t exist.

  11. Hi Heidi. I’m a lurker, by way of Emily.

    What you’re talking about – discerning the voice of God – is the greatest struggle of my faith. How do we filter out the voices of our desires to hear God’s plan?

    I have no answer for that yet.

    However, what I do know is that every, truly EVERY situation where I thought all was lost has actually resulted in a better life for me. From not getting jobs I wanted to losing jobs that I had to family crises – all directly resulted in everything from saving me from what would have been an even worse situation to even something that I wouldn’t have even known to ask for: saving my career, meeting my wife, profoundly strengthening our marriage beyond what I could have even hoped for.

    In all, I don’t know what God’s plans are and never have. In the past I have responded with abject anger, frustration and hopelessness, only to find that there was something far better around the corner.

    Emily and I have our own struggles right now, and similar decisions to make. I don’t know what the future holds, but the only place that I find peace is knowing that whatever it is the future does in fact hold, it’s better than I could ask for.

    • I totally agree. I knew that from several events that took place earlier in my life. It took me years in this situation – probably 3.5 of them – to embrace that truth here, too. And I’m not sure I’ve fully embraced it. But I’ve started. I think about you and Emily a lot and hope you get your baby soon, and without too many more ups and downs!

  12. Hi Heidi,

    I wish I had an answer, but all I have for you are my own experiences. Here are two.

    1. My freshman year in college, I dated a horrible guy. The worst.

    I went to church between classes and sat in a pew and prayed.

    While I was praying, I heard so clearly, it could have been from a person sitting next to me: “leave him.”

    It startled me to attention and I looked around the mostly empty church, almost expecting to see someone speaking to me.

    I didn’t break up with him right then because my own fears and hopes clouded my judgment. Instead I broke up with him two weeks later, when the relationship finally got too scary to ignore.

    2. My sister is prophetic in a lot of ways. She has been working on this gift for a while and is a lot more skilled at discerning what is from God and what is from her imagination.

    Years ago, she had a dream about Frank and I and she shared it with me. The description of the dream is vivid in my mind and I think about it often, but I have to be careful that I am pursuing God and not a prophesy. Recently a friend told me that she heard in prayer that God would provide us with direction on having children. I thought I got that direction the next day, but I got so caught up in trying to figure out when/if/what/how/where this message would be, that I lost focus. Did I hear from God or was I just plugging in my hopes/desires into the scenario?

    So I guess, what I am sort of saying in a convoluted way is this: it’s a lot easier for me to hear from God when I put aside my feelings and desires and pursue Him.

    I also have to say: I suck at it. And if you figure out a way to do the above effectively, please let me know. I have a hard time staying objective. ::sigh::

    So here’s my opinion: If you look at your situation in its entirety and you determine that your feelings, reactions, etc are indicating that God is not calling you to do IVF, then $400 seems like a small price to pay in order to be obedient to what God is calling you to do or to not do. And if you look at the situation and believe that God is silent on the matter, then I’d say go for it. In my opinion (which is not scholarly by any stretch of the imagination), when God is silent on something then I think He would be glorified either way and either path will have similar results.

    This is rough. I struggle daily with figuring out what God wants us to do or not to do on this matter. And to be quite honest, I don’t think He’s given us clear direction yet. My history with God has been that when He’s ready to move, He moves. And when He wants me to be still, He demonstrates that for me.

    I just wish I was a better student.

    I wish you all the best in this. I will continue praying for you.

    Lots of hugs!
    .-= Emily K´s last blog ..oh-dear-emily-what-were-you-thinking moments =-.

    • YES! God sort of “hollered” at me about a year ago. He told me I was seeking the promise more than I was actually seeking Him. Ouch. But it was true. I need to print that out on an index card – “it’s a lot easier for me to hear from God when I put aside my feelings and desires and pursue Him.”

      Your last paragraph stuck out to me, too. It’s what happened earlier this year when we finally went through with the first cycle. It was like God wanted us to move and we were spinning our wheels. When we finally got on board and moved, it was exhilarating. This doesn’t feel like that at all. Maybe it shouldn’t. Maybe it’s a totally different experience. But it does feel a lot more like we’re moving while God’s trying to stay still. Hmm… something to think about more…

  13. I would just like to say that Frank and I did not discuss our responses – I didn’t even know he was reading your blog!
    .-= Emily K´s last blog ..oh-dear-emily-what-were-you-thinking moments =-.

  14. YES.

    If it doesn’t work, there will most certainly still be “what ifs.”

    The medical field isn’t going to give up on you after 2 failed IVFs. You are a healthy young woman with unexplained infertility. There will always be another option — a different doctor, different protocol, another IVF, donor eggs, donor embies, go back to IUIs, Clomid, etc. etc. etc.

    The HARDEST part of infertility is knowing when to stop.

    I certainly haven’t come close to knowing the answer there….

  15. You mentioned you were searching…
    I guess approach most problems from a logical “weigh & measure” standpoint, generally trying to collect all the information, exhausting as it may be, before taking the leap and making my decision. This makes complete sense, except that in a world where we love, believe, and put our faith in a sovereign God…this isn’t always how He works & speaks.

    So I guess I feel two thoughts for you…
    One, I already told you in person—I’ve always believed you have to push through the doors set before you until they no longer open. So I believe you may need to keep going on the option you can actually move on versus the one that has you wait until you believe you cannot anymore. I don’t always believe that in “pushing the doors” that God actually stops them from opening or cuts off you options (although that’s sometimes the case). For me, sometimes He seems to strengthen the message He’s placed on my heart, and that’s been the door closing kind of affirmation I need.

    The second piece I have is what I’ve reflected on the conversation we had this past weekend…and I guess what I heard you saying the most (or maybe I felt you sharing the strongest) was the burden you believe you will feel moving forward with IVF…whether it works or not. I can identify with that strongly as well and I agree you may have what if’s either way…

    That got me thinking about what someone once shared with me about the concept of God’s will being like a “fenced in pasture”…that as long as you remain within the pasture and seek to obey Him, you can not make a wrong decision.

    So those things together, I guess I am wondering if the timing could be His will and how you get there, IVF or not the pasture? And if this is the case, would IVF have a bearing or not?

    I really don’t know…I’ll keep pondering and share what comes…I’m so grateful we had the chance to really talk about it!

  16. Heidi, I would do it.
    After three chemical pregnancies, one twin miscarriage and a failed adoption that cost us eleven thousand dollars (none of which was refundable), I can say that I wouldn’t have my sweet baby girl if it wasn’t for all of that. I have wondered several times if I was completely going against what I was supposed to do at the time, but I think I’ve realized I HAD to do all of that to end up here. I wouldn’t want to live it again, but I wouldn’t change a thing, since it brought me my sweet girl.

    Even if it doesn’t work, maybe it is what you have to do to get you to the point where you will be.

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