This isn't the blog I wanted to write.

I have had visions of resurrecting this blog for a few months now. Back in November, my husband and I finally decided to embark on an IVF journey to try to build our family after many years of silently struggling with infertility.

I documented the steps in photos, from the seemingly endless hormone shots to hormone patches on top of hormone patches. I thought through the insane financial burden and tips for how we might have done things differently in that regard. All of the things I wish I had known before diving in were swirling around my head.

Look, I know the struggle of seeing pregnancy announcements and happy families on my social media feeds and simultaneously celebrating for friends while mourning my own unfulfilled dreams. I had envisioned a gentle announcement via this blog that gave encouragement to others who are facing the same hurdles. I wanted to encourage them not to give up hope--that help is available and they aren't alone in the struggle. I wanted to share tips and tricks for making the roller coaster infertility and IVF process go more smoothly. I wanted to tell the things the doctors don't tell. I wanted to use my story to help others fighting the battle.

As you've probably already guessed, that's not where this post is going.

Throughout early January, I did my stims (Menopur injections to stimulate my ovaries to lay about a dozen eggs) and after about a blue million monitoring appointments, I finally had my retrieval. They got 10 eggs, seven fertilized and only four made it the week. All four were biopsied and frozen. Biopsies were sent off to a specialized lab for a type of genetic testing called Preimplantation Genetic Screening, or PGS. When the results came in, we were left with three embryos that were considered genetically normal. On March 3, we transferred the two our doctor deemed best.

The Nightmare Begins
The 10-day wait for results was pretty brutal. The entire week of March 13th was full of hour-long commutes to the doc's office, blood draws and anxiously awaiting beta results. By Friday of that week, we had an answer: We were expecting. It was finally our turn.

Enter March 27 and our 6w1d ultrasound. We laughed on the way down to the doctor's office, covering all of the scenarios. We had transferred two embryos, so we wondered: Would there be one? Two? More? Embryos can split, you know. When would I get to stop the hormones? When would they release me back to my normal doctor? Would our due date actually end up being Nov. 19 or would it change based on the ultrasound? Normal excited banter.

But none of it was to be.

I'll never forget my doctor turning the ultrasound screen around and instantly realizing what he was about to tell us wasn't good. My heart sank. There was no heartbeat, no fetal pole, no nothing--just an empty gestational sac where our baby should have been.

Because it was still early, the doctor went ahead and did another blood draw to check my beta numbers again. They were perfect, so he asked me to stay on the hormones and come back a few days later for another ultrasound in case the first had been too soon to see anything.

March 30 would confirm a heartbreak I've absolutely never known before. It hadn't been too soon. Then, the dreaded words: blighted ovum due to genetic abnormality. But how could this happen? We had our embryos genetically screened before the transfer. They were normal. Nothing made sense. And to be honest, nothing about it ever will.

The doctor expressed his condolences and sent me home to stop the injections. Terms like "miscarriage" and "D&C" were suddenly swirling about. It was like I was on the outside looking in on someone else's horrible nightmare.

My doctor didn't thoroughly explain anything to me about what was to come. He didn't gently try to talk to me about my options. He just sent me home and told me that if things hadn't taken care of themselves within two weeks, I'd need surgery. That's it. Little compassion. No warning about the ungodly pain that was ahead. Nothing.

After suffering with extreme pain for days on end, I found myself on an operating room table. My doctor was away that day, so his practice partner ended up being my Earth angel in my greatest time of need. She offered me the most kind, gentle, honest, dignified care that I have ever received (needless to say, she is now my doctor).

God's Timing
The decision to pursue IVF isn't one we took lightly. It was a decision several years in the making. We looked at our options. We saw specialist after specialist. We researched adoption. We did our homework. I prayed countless prayers about our situation. I really believed that God was steering us to IVF. Now that we've suffered such a gut-wrenching loss, I'm not so sure.

Throughout the journey, God has been faithful to surround me with the right people to pray me through this. My husband, my family, my friends, my coworkers (who, for the most part, haven't even known what was happening), my medical team the day of surgery--all of them have contributed to the fact that I'm still standing in the aftermath.

So even though this isn't what I envisioned for my life, I can still see glimpses of God's faithfulness and I am working hard to cling to His word and promises. Regardless of whether He one day grants me the title of "Mom" that I so long for, I have to remember that He is God and I am not. His ways and plans are not my own and I'm only hurting myself by not willingly relinquishing control.

This isn't the blog I wanted to write. But I'm praying that God is going to create beauty from the scattered ashes.

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