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back from hibernation

an update and a check in

long time no see, my loves!

it might sound odd to think of summer as a time of hibernation, but for me, that's absolutely what it's been. i've taken time away from midwifery, time away from the hearth chaplain page, and time away from just about everything else to work on a big project. those of you who know me personally know that my partner stephen and i had a YUGE adventure over the summer with fertility treatment. specifically, after a decade of infertility and two losses, we decided to bite the bullet and give in vitro fertilization (ivf) a try.

the story is long and winding (and hopefully the subject of a book in the coming years) but basically my summer looked like this:

all of june: take loads of weird drugs to make loads of eggs. have ALL the ultrasounds and bloodwork.

june 30th: surgical procedure for egg retrieval, eggs fertilized.

early july: wait to see how many of the fertilized eggs make it to blastocyst stage in a lab (2!), send samples of those two off for genetic testing and freeze them, find out one is PERFECT!

rest of july: take more weird drugs.

august 1: transfer perfect embryo and wait.

august 4: positive pregnancy test (woohoo!)

august 10: postive blood test (woohoo!)

august 26: heartbeat on ultrasound (woohoooooo!)

ever since: sick as a dog but happy as a clam. as of today, i'm in my 13th week of pregnancy.

people who manage to do all of this while also holding down a full time job have my deepest respect (or warmest sympathies, perhaps), because it was all so much that i had to make it my one and only project. i'm a person who has never been great at self care and i over-focus on other-care, so this was an interesting and important new adventure for me. the last few months have been the first time in 22 years that i've taken time away from work for rest and recovery (though it was certainly not all restful).

and the ability to do that has been a massive privilege.

i'm unendingly indebted to the 105 people who supported our project through a gofundme campaign. without these amazing humans, some friends, some family, some people i'd never met before, we would not have been able to try ivf, an "elective" procedure from an insurance standpoint that cost us just under $20,000 (i think around $50,000 was billed to our insurance when all was said and done).

these amazing humans facilitated the one last try at family building that we had available to us, and they came back for more when stephen abruptly lost his job and therefore my insurance coverage in the face of expensive and necessary pregnancy-sustaining medications.

as of now, we're totally in the clear. we've missed the biggest window of risk of loss (the first trimester), and i've finished taking medication. our little bean, as we call them, is sustaining the pregnancy now all on their own.

oddly, magically, heartbreakingly, auspiciously, and joyfully, bean is due around beltane, which would have been the birthday of both of our previous pregnancies.

good medicine.

as the colder months roll around (for those of us in the northern hemisphere anyway), i'll be gearing back up with writing and engagement. i'll also be crafting a wing of my practice geared entirely towards support for people undergoing fertility treatment. as with so many uterus-adjacent things, its a lonely and unsupported road, and i feel like i have an opportunity to do service here.

lots of things that bean (who my app tell me has eyebrows this week) and i will be cooking up over the winter. i hope that you'll stay connected.

as i'm feeling better, i'll be bringing on more private chaplaincy clients, so if you'd like to book a time to talk about anything big going on in your life--any transitions, dilemmas, crises, or joys--please connect with me. i'd love to be a companion on your team.

be well, keep growing, keep going.

abby hall luca

the hearth chaplain

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