Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Today's Ultrasound, and Post Mother's Day Recap

Today's ultrasound went fine. This is a standard-procedure ultrasound wherein they were to determine if my uterine lining was of the correct thickness to proceed with the transfer next week, or if they needed to do something to thin or thicken it, or cancel the cycle all together. The lining has to be just right to accept the embryo-too thin and it can't support this new life, and too thick and the baby just can't burrow to where it needs to go. My doctor did say that things looked a little thicker than he would like, but the progesterone I'm starting this week should get it right to where it needs to go. (Shots start on Wednesday--dislike!) So, we are still on track for a Monday transfer.

I'm feeling better about this transfer. My friend Heather, a fellow Snowflake Mommy, encouraged me that just as each embryo is unique, each transfer is unique, and God's plan for each of these babies is unique, so I need to go in without the fear of the past crowding my expectations. I think I remember encouraging her with similar thoughts after her first transfer failed, but somehow, it's always easier to say it to someone else, and much harder to remember when it's about you. So, thank you, sweet friend, for the reminder. I've been praying for God to grow me in faith and expectation and trust for this transfer. It's so much different than last time(s). I do pray for it to "work" but that's not the primary focus of my prayer life for this transfer, and I'm grateful to God for growing my heart and understanding.

I have pretty incredible friends. For the first time in I can't remember how long, Mother's Day wasn't unbearable.

But before I explain why, here is the back story. One of the hardest things about being the mommy to children no one can know is their invisibility, and mine that comes with it. I often find myself frustrated with the hypocrisy that pro-life people will picket the abortion clinic and/or oppose embryonic stem cell research and/or tout the line "life begins at conception" but when these little lives are actually created, or worse, lost, they're not treated like children and we're not treated like their mothers.

I was their mommy the moment we adopted them, and I'm still their mother, even though several of them have already met Jesus.  And yet good, Christian, pro-life people will still refer to me (and the general class of women like me) as a "future mother" or "not yet a mother" or someone who "hopes to be a mother." It's positively maddening! If you're going to say these are human lives, then refer to them as such! These are real human lives in frozen storage who are our living children and who need our protection and care, these are real human lives going into my body, and the ones we lost were real human lives who died!

I know there is little-to-no malice in a lot of these kind of comments. But if we're going to be consistently pro-life, we have to rid ourselves of that kind of thinking. Each and every life is precious, regardless of whether or not we get to see and hold that life.

This sort of inconsistency is honestly, one of the reasons I resigned from the pro-life non-profit I worked for. They can't get on board with embryo adoption. And I can't wrap my head around that.

So anyway, that's one of the big reasons I struggle with Mother's Day. Before, it was just a reminder that I didn't have what I desperately wanted. Then, it became this awful message that I'm just not mother-enough for me to warrant mention or inclusion in such a holiday. Don't get me wrong. It's not about the gifts or cards. It's really, truly not. It's about the acknowledgment that my babies mattered;: by affirming that I am a mother, you affirm to me that their lives exist and matter. By remembering me, you remember them. And when all you have of your babies is love and hope and dreams and other invisibles, someone else acknowledging their existence means more than I can ever possibly explain.

But, the world just doesn't think that way.  People will often say that they're the parents or grandparents (or whatever) of ___ children, and only count the born-living ones. "Happy Mother's Day" is often only said only to those whose children they have held in their arms. Innumerable babies die before birth with no name, ceremony, or remembrance of their life.  Countless women whose only children are in heaven are afraid other people will think they're weird if they stand when the pastor asks all moms to stand up. I think it's just something unintentionally ingrained in us, that we often only acknowledge what we can see. I think it's not coincidence that we (well, I!) have the same struggles with faith!

Back to why Mother's Day was wonderful. From Friday all the way through yesterday, I received flowers, cards, emails, facebook posts and text messages from too many friends to possibly mention. And I just weep with gratitude. While the tangibles of the cards and flowers are nice and I cherish them, to each one of you who acknowledged my motherhood this weekend, thank you for that, and more importantly, thank you for remembering my children.  Thank you for claiming their lives and dignities and existence and personhood with me.  Thank you for investing in me and in them, with your prayers and your petitions and your encouragement. It means more than I could ever possibly tell you. I so incredibly grateful for you and I love you all, more than words can say.


  1. Sending lots of "perfect uterine lining" thoughts and prayers your way Jen! You're an amazing woman and a great mom to all of your babies, those in heaven and those waiting to be born. You're blessed to have such wise women supporting you, I think you should listen to everything they say! And no, I don't know them, and they didn't pay me to say that. :-)

  2. Glad your transfer is still on for next week!

    And I SO AGREE with you about pro-life people needing to acknowledge mothers who have lost children to miscarriage, stillbirths, & embryo transfers. A mother cares for her children on earth for as long as God allows her to...she lovingly cares for them in her womb, just as she cares for them outside the womb. She is no less of a mother for losing her children in the womb, than those who have children that have been born but die as a young child. We need to acknowledge these women as mothers and their babies as children. This has really been on my heart lately too and I thank you for posting this.

    Praying for your FET #3! :)

  3. Hi there,

    So glad to hear your lining scan went well.

    I've been following you since your first transfer and appreciate your blog so much.

    Having also miscarried after a EA transfer and having had transfers that were negative, I can only agree. Sadly, not even my hubby thinks of me as a mother.

    Those Mother's Day blessings are the worst! Really, particularly at church, there aren't a whole lot of people there who are intentionally avoiding children so they can buy a fancier car - a lot of the women there who don't have children don't have them because they either have a medical problem or haven't been blessed with a husband - it's just rubbing salt in the wound and I dread it.

    And honestly, I can't wrap my head around the uncertainty that a lot of people have surrounding EA. There are plenty of things that are sub-optimal about the situation, but those that don't see similar issues with standard adoptions or wet nursing have a rather odd view of it all.

    praying for you this week!

  4. Oh sweetie, I could have written your post so many times. Praying for your heart and for the faith that God is growing you in through this transfer. I spent much of Mother's Day thanking God for the life He is growing inside of me, but also missing my two girls so very badly. It is so hard for the exact reason you mentioned - the invisibles. I wondered if I wasn't carrying this life if anyone would have recognized me as a mother. I am so happy that your weekend was filled with affirmations and encouragements for you as a mother. Hugs and prayers, sweetie. It's almost time!!! :)

  5. Amen, amen, and amen. I just don't get it - how even the conservative, pro-life Christian community only counts "born" children as children. I saw at least two Christian friends of mine who had babies last year say something like "It's my first Mother's Day!" on Facebook, and I wrote "No, your second!" on both - motherhood does not begin with birth!!! Stuff like "We're having a shower for the mother-to-be" or "Yesterday we became grandparents" is common within the church, and it really shouldn't be like that. Birth means that a mother births her baby, not that a woman becomes a mother or that a baby comes into being. I think Protestants have some real work ahead of them as a movement to put our pro-life beliefs into real-life thought and practice.

    A very, very happy mother's day to you, Jen! We're praying for you guys this week!!

  6. I hope the shots you started today are bearable. I pray all goes smoothly on Monday and I love what you wrote about Motherhood--touching and humbling. It should be published. I think a lot of Christians just aren't 'thinking' when they say things lake that. You are a mother. I have 4 children here and 6 in heaven. It is hard when the children we never held (or held yet) are 'not counted'. A well-written post. I will be watching for updates as they come!!