A Christmas Miracle under the microscope
Monday morning, I saw life before it was even formed. I had prayed for days before heading into the clinic for answers. I had this peace and hope settling over me all while feeling anxious. The kind of anxious like waiting to start a race or waiting to hear test results. I wanted to hear the black and white answer. Instead, I saw a glimpse of a miracle.
Unexplained infertility continues to be a mystery for most. I’m going to stop right here and apologize for TMI (too much information) on this post. But, for my husband and I, all the parts are squeaky clean…except for, well…the sperm to meet the egg, or conception to follow through, or for an embryo to stick to the walls. I know every couple that face fertility challenges have a roller coaster of emotions, but for me, I wanted someone to tell me that I can or can’t have kids. Wouldn’t it be nice (or rather a relief) if we knew the answer? That would save us time, money, trauma, emotional exhaustion! That’s too easy and it wouldn’t allow us to grow in our faith. In case this is your first post on this blog, my husband and I were just about to start Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) on a Monday when we decided on a Friday to get a second opinion (see the post series: It All Started with Infertility). Mainly because we wanted answers before gambling on fertility treatments that may or may not work. At that time, the plan was for me to take a new drug which would’ve cost $100, then it’s an extra $400-500 per round of IUI (all out of pocket expenses). If no success, then we would proceed with rounds of IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). I don’t even know the out of pocket expense of IVF, but at that time we both agreed to draw the line there and apply those costs toward other options.
Two years later, I’m in awe of the journey God has lead us on. It’s a LONG process of ruling out various underlying issues: PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), endometriosis, antisperm antibodies, etc. All this time, I kept thinking, “how do the sperm even make it?” Even though I have a science and medical background, I had plenty of questions regarding the science and function of human physiology. We have learned so much about our bodies along the way yet I still struggled to understand the idea of the sperm making it to the egg. In this long process, we also got new insurance from one of my new jobs. Now our insurance partially covers infertility and even hearing aids! What are the chances of coverage on both?! Insurance on either medical issues alone are unheard of! The drug I previously mentioned I was supposed to take 2 years ago for $100 now costs me $0.60! In fact, the first time I visited the pharmacist, I had my credit card ready to charge and choked when they asked for the change. I had to ask to see the numbers, I didn’t trust what I was hearing. For anyone with either medical need searching for new insurance, Blue Cross Blue Shield may be one to check out. It’s been important to my husband and I that we try as naturally as possible unless someone says, “it’s impossible for you to have kids.”
Lately, we have been looking into other options: adoption, foster, and even surrogacy. Recently, my doctor asked if we have considered IVF after a few rounds of endometrial scratches (super painful sending my body into a vasovagal reaction again) which is thought to increase the chances of the embryo to attach to the uterine wall based on some studies. IVF is the option where my husband and I felt this wouldn’t be a part of our plan for several reasons. At this point, I’m getting mentally exhausted and a lot of minor procedures are painful enough. Every couple facing infertility have a process and I can’t even imagine the journey that most endure emotionally, financially, and physically. When it’s successful, it’s all worth it but when it’s unsuccessful…that’s the risk we take.
My doctor offered another avenue to rule out whether it’s naturally possible for us to conceive. An antisperm antibody test. There are rare cases of infertility that can be explained by the response of the immune system where antibodies can kill sperm. I’ll spare the details and leave it to Google or WebMD for additional information. However, I immediately said, “Yes! Let’s do that!” I felt at peace and walked out of the clinic excited to know that this could give me an answer! He mentioned if the sperm are dead, then we would proceed with additional blood tests to confirm and it would determine if our only option is IVF, or any other options we’ve been researching. I prayed.
As I walked into the clinic that morning, I prayed again. It was a quick and painless scrape, then a peek under the microscope. The doctor called me back to the lab and said, “take a look.” My eyes saw something…live. A glimpse of a miracle, God’s handiwork. The doctor said, “look around.” I saw more and said in amazement, “WOW, this is incredible.” He said “this is what it should look like.” And what I mean by it, the sperm swimming. This sounds so detailed or maybe TMI, but viewing this part of life was powerful and beautiful (weird, I know). It wasn’t just seeing hope, but seeing part of the process of life that God created.
After my last procedure, my doctor said he was praying for a Christmas miracle. There’s just something peaceful about taking this long journey that lead me to view life under the microscope. I went in to this visit wanting to hear our infertility explained. Instead, God showed me that He is here. That alone brings me peace, love, and joy that I’d like to share with each of you. Merry Christmas and hope each of you see a little Christmas miracle that remind you of God’s love.
Bible verse of the day: He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. ~ Deuteronomy 10:21Quote of the day: There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. ~ Albert Einstein