How are you feeling?
It’s a question I’ve gotten dozens of times in the last couple weeks. And to be fair, it’s a good question, because our first frozen embryo transfer with our adopted embryos is next week.
Two years ago, we were about to head to England for a vacation, and we were anxious to start trying for babies when we got back.
A year ago, I was on my 5th cycle of Letrozole, wondering why I still hadn’t gotten pregnant yet.
And today, I am days away from our first frozen embryo transfer. From being pregnant until proven otherwise.
It’s surreal. And as this leg of the long journey to the first transfer comes to a close, I know—no matter what the outcome—it’s really just the start of the next leg of the journey.
I was struggling with figuring out what to write about next for this blog. I have lots of content ideas, but I was wrestling with what I should put out next. WHAT DO THE PEOPLE WANT TO READ? Do the people want an update on our specific embryo adoption journey like my FAQ post? Do the people want another theologically-heavy post like this one I did on pain and suffering? (lolz, I’m kidding about “the people” thing. I know I don’t have that kind of following… yet 😉).
But as I tossed around ideas, Brian suggested that I write about my feelings as we head into our first transfer. At first, I brushed it off, not wanting to turn this website into a journal (I’m looking at you, middle school Xanga…which I’m sure is still out there somewhere to haunt me).
But then, the idea settled in and I realized he was right: I need to remember this. I need to honor this time. This time of tension between cautious optimism and believing boldly for big things. This time where the first part of the experience seems to stretch on even as the minutes dwindle down, and yet somehow it also seems to crash forward toward the next part, ready or not.
Almost like the top of a roller coaster.
As you wait with eager anticipation, the car slowly takes you higher and higher, all the while the clicking chain reminds you that the top is coming. You can’t see it. You don’t know what the drop looks like. You don’t know how much further you have to go. But you can look to the left and to the right, and you can tell you’re getting there. You can see how much space is behind you—where you came from.
And of course you’re excited—I mean this is what you wanted. You got on the ride. But you’re also scared. With each click, your heart races a little more, because—seriously—the top is coming. There’s no going back. There’s only going forward.
You reach that apex, and time stands still for just a moment. You see the mountain of ride behind you that you just climbed, and you finally see the drop before you. And not only do you see the drop, but you also get a better glimpse of the ride ahead—even if just for a split second—and you know that there are other loops and climbs and drops coming. But for now, you’re here, just suspended at the top—this in-between—and you’re preparing yourself to plunge forward in freefall at any millisecond.
That’s where I’m at.
In an earlier post, I shared a word that I received from a church elder a few months ago. His word was that I was about to be “on the ride of my life.” I don’t know the whole of what this word might mean, but I’m sure this was part of it.
And man, was he right.
So I’m writing to remember, but I’m also writing because someone else who is feeling this needs to know they’re not alone.
Because even though my story of embryo adoption may be unique, trudging through a long season of pressing and planting and tilling as you look toward the harvest season, even without knowing what the harvest will be…that is not unique to me.
We’re always waiting for something. We’re always looking forward to something. And we’re always going through something. So, let’s soak in these moments before the harvest together.
I’m grateful. I’m grateful for this season of pressing. I didn’t want it, but I needed it.
And yet, as I say it, I’m also scared. Mainly, I’m scared that it’s not over.
See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.James 5:7 ESV
I’ve done all I can do, and now it’s up to God to do the rest. Only He can bring the rains. Only He can bring the harvest. And because I don’t know what His plans are for this transfer—when the rains will come or what the harvest will look like—that’s scary.
It’s a bit like Schrodinger’s cat. Ya know, the thought experiment with the cat in the box and the radioactive substance that has a 50% chance of exploding within the next few minutes? The cat either lives or it doesn’t, because the substance either explodes or it doesn’t. And you don’t know which it is until you look. (To be fair, the purpose of that thought paradox was to show the problem with misinterpretations of quantum theory, but you get my point.)
For so long, we’ve thought of embryo adoption as the way to expand our family. And all along, we’ve known the statistics: approximately 50% chance of success per transfer attempt. But now, it’s not just this idea off in the distance anymore.
We’re about to open the box. And we’ll either be pregnant or we won’t be.
I’ve talked a lot about praising God—baby or no baby. Wanting Him more than a baby. Seeing His beautiful kindnesses in a season of pain. Knowing that He works all things together for the good of those who love Him (Rom. 8:28), and that in this season He’s changing me from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18), and that’s the ultimate good.
But now, I have to walk the walk. Regardless of the outcome, I have to practice what I’ve been preaching to myself. And that’s scary.
So you know what? I’m going to preach to myself again. Because I know that God did not give me a spirit of fear (2 Tim. 1:7).
And I know that He’s held me this far. And I know that there is no good thing that He withholds from those who walk uprightly (Ps. 84:11). And so I walk forward into what He has for me, with hands out and palms up, surrendering to His ways, His timing, and His good. It’s better His way (Is. 55:8-9), my soul knows it full well.
See, there’s this part of me—the flesh part—that still desperately wants to “make sense” of all this infertility hurt. I’m about to be super real and really vulnerable here:
My flesh says things like, “When this first transfer results in a beautiful, healthy baby (or babies), then it will all make sense! See? It was all for this! It’s over now, and you’ve made it! And if it doesn’t result in that beautiful, healthy baby… I mean really, don’t even go there, because surely God knows you’ve suffered enough! You’ve paid your dues, and now you’re entitled to this tidy, wrapped-up-in-a-bow, happy ending. And, don’t forget to pat yourself on the back for sharing Jesus along the way.”
Lysa TerKeurst writes about this thought pattern so beautifully in It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way:
Humans are very attached to outcomes. We say we trust God but behind the scenes we work our fingers to the bone and our emotions into a tangled fray trying to control our outcomes. We praise God when our normal looks like what we thought it would. We question God when it doesn’t.Lysa TerKeurst, It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way
…We motivate ourselves to get through the bad of today by playing a mental movie of the good that will surely come tomorrow. And if not tomorrow, soon. Very soon.
And this good that comes will be such a glorious outcome that we will exhale all the anxiety and finally say, ‘Whew, I can honestly say it was worth it.’ … The good outcome will look like we dreamed. It will come as fast as we hoped it would. And it will make all the wrongs right, right, right.
Basically, my flesh is saying, “Girl, what you want is coming and you.deserve.it.”
But the Spirit whispers gently to my flesh, “You deserve nothing...”
Wow Jenna—I don’t know—that doesn’t sound like the loving, compassionate, merciful God that gives us the desires of our heart.
Yes, it does. Because He doesn’t stop there.
The Spirit continues, “And even so, I love you. I have given my very life for you. You deserve nothing, you have earned nothing, but I have given you everything.”
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.John 15:5 ESV
…since all have sinned and continually fall short of the glory of God, and are being justified [declared free of the guilt of sin, made acceptable to God, and granted eternal life] as a gift by His [precious, undeserved] grace, through the redemption [the payment for our sin] which is [provided] in Christ Jesus…Romans 3:23-24 AMP
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world … But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved…Ephesians 2:1-2a, 4-5 ESV
Because He who did not spare His own Son is the One who holds me now, I know He won’t fail me. He has promised to give me all things (Rom. 8:32).
That doesn’t mean everything will go how I hope and pray it will go. But it means He’ll be faithful to me however it goes.
Lysa continues in her book,
We cannot control our outcomes. We cannot formulate how the promises of God will actually take shape. And we will never be able to demand any of the healing from all the hurt to hurry up.Lysa TerKeurst, It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way
… Though we can’t predict or control or demand the outcome of our circumstances, we can know with great certainty we will be okay. Better than okay. Better than normal. We will be victorious because Jesus is victorious (1 Corinthians 15:57). And victorious people were never meant to settle for normal.
So I am praying with double-fisted faith, knowing He absolutely can and He will bring these embryos to life in my womb. But even if He doesn’t, yet I will praise Him.
So gracious Father God, not my will, but yours. For my good, and for your glory. Amen.