We arrived at the fertility clinic on the shores of Lake Union in Seattle. A number of friends and family had turned up for the big event, to pray over us and support us in this exciting step in our story. We took the elevator up and entered the surgery office. The embryo had started thawing just 2 hours previously, and we still didn’t know whether the thaw had been successful.
I was obviously praying that the entire transfer would be successful, but what I really had hoped for was that the thaw would be successful, that Jane would have the opportunity to carry this precious life even if it was to be just for a few days. We approached the reception desk still not sure what the news was and were shown to Transfer Room 1, which gave us hope that the embryo had survived! A few minutes later the nurse came in and started prepping Jane for the transfer, she offered to pose for a fun photograph which helped lighten the mood. Then the embryologists entered and confirmed the embryo thaw had been successful! “YES” I thought to myself! My prayer had been answered. This precious life was going to have an opportunity to come home and be loved and prayed for.
The doctor came in soon after and presented us with an incredible gift. A picture of our precious snowflake. Our baby at just 5 days old, approximately 20-30 cells. The TV flashed on, a quick ultrasound of Jane’s uterus confirmed this was the perfect go time for the transfer. The screen flickered over to a live image of the laboratory in the adjacent room through the sliding doors. We were now seeing our embryo through a microscope in a petri dish. The details were confirmed, and the embryo was brought into the catheter. With quick movements by the medical staff, the transfer was complete in just a matter of seconds. Jane was now pregnant. Wow! Once the medical team left the room, they gave us time to just relax, and we had our first opportunity to pray over this amazing life.
We headed home shortly afterwards and turned the TV on at home for some comedy shows. Having read dozens and dozens of websites and recommendations, I had confirmed all the things to do, and not to do while in the days after a transfer. The freezer was stocked with the best of Trader Joe’s frozen meals, all of Jane’s favorite snacks bedside and days of comedy TV on Netflix ready to keep Jane as happy as possible!
The 9 day wait commenced. We tried not to think about it, we tried to focus on other things, yet it was impossible to ignore that a huge life changing moment was in the works, all inside of Jane – unbelievable! We waited, and waited. Dozens of people had been praying for us throughout the transfer, and while we waited we had the opportunity to read through all of their encouraging emails, text messages and Facebook posts. This was really happening.
After a few days of waiting, it started. Jane was eating like a horse. Waking up in the middle of the night, with a huge desire to eat. Eating three breakfasts. Eating more dinner than me. This along with numerous other signs was fueling our hope! It seemed as though Jane’s body was reacting to this embryo and displaying all the relevant signs.
Thursday, May 26th. Jane’s blood test – 8am. I had taken the day off work, it was going to be too much to try and work while knowing Jane was home waiting for the phone call. We had heard we would find out around lunchtime if the embryo transfer had worked. Lunchtime came and went. The afternoon dragged by. And at 3pm we decided to call them. The lady at the other end of the phone asked for our name, looked at her list, and with a sudden burst of joy, said “Oh yes! You will be getting a phone call very soon!” We both noticed the change in her voice when she found us on the list, and the hope grew even more.
A few minutes later, the phone rang. I turned the camera on to record. This was it.
“Is this Jane?”
“I’m very sorry to let you know, the blood test showed you aren’t pregnant.”
What?! Are you serious? But this was it. All of Jane’s ultrasounds had been way beyond perfect. She’d meticulously taken her daily injections, tablets, patches. Everything had been done exactly right. She’d rested. Watched funny shows. Eaten pineapple core. Exercised lightly. She’d even been eating like crazy, and what about the lady on the phone who sounded so happy when she saw us on the call list? This doesn’t make any sense!
But it was the fact. “The blood test showed you aren’t pregnant.” We were shattered again. We finished the phone call, and broke down. We thought we’d hit our quota for failed attempts. We thought this was it. We were convinced. But no. We were as far along now as we had been on day 1.
Through the pain, we held onto this: God had given us this precious life to give it an opportunity to live, and we did wholeheartedly. Jane did it with every ounce of precision, beating her fear of needles even to self administer injections to prepare her uterus. This embryo was cared for, and given it’s best chance at life, but it wasn’t to be.
What an honour it had been. God’s best plan for this baby wasn’t for it to live 90 years, not even 10 years. God’s best plan was that this embryo had a chance to join our family, and oh, was it one of the most prayed for embryos ever. God’s best plan is not that we get our way, but that He who is seeing the bigger picture can layout each and every step according to His best purposes. And He did just that. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. It certainly does. But it’s an incredible privilege to have been entrusted with the most valuable thing on earth – a human life in its earliest of stages.
While we were hurting, confused, disheartened and disappointed, we were inundated with love. Friends, family, flowers, chocolate, prayers and hugs. What made it all the harder was that we had to forgo visiting England for my family vacation because of the medical costs involved for what had just fallen apart, and the family vacation started the day after this heartbreak. I fell asleep that night with Jane saying to me, “Babes, you need to go to England, you can’t miss your family vacation.” Sometimes she comes up with crazy ideas. I would never leave her and told her not to think too much about that idea, I wasn’t letting her have a week off from me. 😉
I woke up the following morning to a text from my brother and family. They were buying us both tickets on that evening’s flight to London Heathrow. We were to join them on the family vacation! Oh my word. We were both amazed. The packing commenced, and off to the airport we went. And because God loves us, we were able to go in business class flat beds.
In the midst of the storms, in the midst of the heartbreak and craziness of life…it’s great to just stop. Get away. Sit and be peaceful. And that is what God amazingly allowed us to do this week. So here we are, sitting in the midst of the Lake Districts in northwestern England. There’s nothing but rocky outcropped mountains, rolling green hills and swallows darting between the slate walled cottages, and the orange sun setting on the water, glistening off the rowing boats rowlocks.
This part of our story was ending, but the next has already started. We’ll write again soon, but for this week we are living the real life Psalm 23:
“God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure. You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies.You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing. Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.”