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Archive for June, 2010

Vacation time!

This is what I read in my Bible study this morning.  Isn’t it beautiful?  It’s certainly something that I have to work on everyday – Joyce Meyer calls it the “love walk”.  This is what a Christian life is supposed to be like, unfortunately we are all human and nobody is perfect, but we must try…

1 Corinthians 13 (NIV):   1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. 

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  8 Love never fails.

But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 

11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.  12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

*

We are going away for a week or so, to the seaside – Natal South Coast.   DH and I decided that we need a bit of a break and get away from the stress here at home.  I hope the weather will be a bit warmer than it is here in Gauteng, but I must say I cannot complain.  We are very fortunate to have such sunny mild winters compared to other countries.  My sister and her two daughters are coming with – her husband is still working in the UK and I’m sure it’s not fun being alone at home being a temporary single parent, so hopefully they will have some fun.  We cannot replace their Daddy, but maybe we can help so that they don’t miss him so much…

We will be taking our laptop with, but I don’t know whether we will have internet connection there, so I cannot promise that I will post in the next week!

We have an appointment with our FS on 14 July (I know it’s so long!) but the sister said its best this way, as it takes 4-6 weeks for the genetic testing to be done. (Yes, I was impatient and phoned to see if they could give it to me over the phone, but it’s not there yet.)  Then we will have a better picture of what might have happened and then hopefully we can discuss another IVF again.  She said they normally wait 2 full cycles before I’m allowed to do another IVF.  The catch is that I don’t have any idea what’s going on in this body of mine, as my boobs are still huge – they have not even started to shrink yet (I’m not complaining here, just worried that it going to take a long time before my hormones return to normal).  From what she said it will probably take about 6 weeks before I get my period with a big probability of spotting and bleeding in between.  So I think all in all it will take about three months before I can do IVF again, which is what most of the sites on the internet recommend.

In the mean time I’m on a mission to improve my egg quality (if that is possible!) and DH’s sperm quality – I’m researching what we can do to improve those so that we can hopefully increase our chances of having a healthy baby!

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Last night in bed I was thinking that I’m supposed to be 12 weeks now, but I’m not because we’ve lost our baby.  Then I thought that the sister at the hospital said that 2 samples were sent away for genetic testing and I remembered that originally my pregnancy started out as a twin pregnancy… Suddenly I felt sad, because up to now I’ve been mourning one baby, but we actually lost two.  We were so grateful for the one embryo with a heartbeat that we completely forgot that there was an empty sac, or blighted ovum as well, that did not make it to 7 weeks.  I feel it’s not right to dismiss that one, because we did not see a heartbeat there, it was still a potential baby that did not make it.  I think I must acknowledge that it was a twin pregnancy and that we lost twins here, even though we didn’t lose them at the same time… 

I paged back in my diary this morning and I came upon an entry I wrote on 28 February this year.  It was the night before I tested after we did the FET.  I had a strong suspicion that it would be negative again, because I knew the quality of our embryo’s were not good at all. I thought back to something that Joyce Meyer often says:  “we must do what is right and not how we feel”.  I’ve heard her say that during numerous sermons, and that’s what I made my mind up to do then and what I’ve been trying to do lately.

I decided that:  “I will be friendly and not sad when I’m around other people.  I will smile and ask other people how they are doing.  I will help others and not feel sorry for myself.  I will go on with my life, make the best of it and be thankful for all the blessings I receive from God.   I will not allow my emotions to control me.  I will not be angry with God, and I will not throw a temper tantrum because I cannot get my way.”

It was not too difficult to act that way then, because it was the 3rd failed IVF, but also like I said I expected it – I could see on the sister’s face on day of ET that the embryo’s were not good at all.  She had a look of pity in her eyes and she could not make eye contact with me when I asked about the embryos.  She and the doctor talked about the number of cells (3), but avoided the discussion of quality; the doctor only talked about fragmentation and said the one had very little fragmentation.  I believe they wanted me to protect me and not tell me the bad news straight out and that they did not want me to be without hope.  I phoned later and asked the other sister what grade they were and she said grade 5 – the worst grade my clinic gives. 

Now it’s way more difficult to act that way, but I’m trying my best.  Sometimes I force myself to do something that I really don’t want to do, because I know it’s what God wants from me, and I must say I haven’t regretted any of it at all so far.  He knows what’s best for us…

This morning I got a strong feeling that I must trust God’s timing.  I thought back over our infertility history and I remembered that we actually wanted to do our first IVF in Aug 2001, we made a plan to get the money for the IVF then, but when we got to our FS he said that maybe we should try a IUI one more time.  We hastily accepted as we were not ready for IVF yet.  I think God stopped us from doing IVF at that stage, and when the IUI failed we were not even tempted to try IVF.  Later in 2007 we did do our first IVF and it failed, but we were both so traumatized by the negative result, that we didn’t see another FS for 18 months.  Again I think that God organized it so that we would wait for further IVF’s. 

By the time I was ready again I started to read about Intralipid drips and found that it helped for some people with multiple failed IVF’s.  I just knew that I had to get that with my IVF’s, but it took some convincing to get my FS to give it to me (I tried from my first appointment with them) – You see it’s a very controversial treatment, and not all FS’s believes it works.  Eventually I convinced my FS and I got the first one with my FET, but like I said earlier the quality was very poor, and nothing can improve poor embryo quality, so that one did not work.  But the second cycle with intralipids did work, unfortunately I miscarried. 

From my research I found that intralipids were only first used for IVF’s in 2006 in the USA, but it took quite some time, before others started using it as well.  It’s only since early last year that Vita.lab (one of the biggest and most successful infertility clinics here in South Africa – I’m not with them) has been using it here and where I heard of it for the first time. 

So I’ve been thinking that God has stalled us with our IVF treatments for a specific reason – so that I could get Intralipid treatment with my IVF’s.  I also believe all the failed cycles last year were necessary to convince my FS that I indeed have an implantation problem, so that I could convince him to give me the Intralipid drips.

So now I must just trust God that He knows best and that I will get pregnant again, but this time at the right time, so that I can have my healthy baby.

I’m finding strength in these scriptures today as they have to do with God’s timing:  Isaiah 30:18 (Amp):  18And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!”

Isaiah 40:31 (Amp):  31But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.”

 Habakkuk 2:3 (TLB):  “But these things I plan won’t happen right away.  Slowly steadily surely the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled.   If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass.  Just be patient!  They will not be overdue a single day!”

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I must say God is so faithful – when you are down and seek Him, he answers…  I got some good messages from Him over the weekend, and it was a really tough weekend, because of Father’s day.  I felt so bad that I got to have a joyous Mother’s day, because I was pregnant, and my DH, whom I love so much, had an awful Father’s day, as we’ve lost our precious little baby.  It was just such a stark reminder of what we’ve lost and I could not stop thinking about it…

On Saturday we watched a TV program from Angus Buchan, he is a well known South African preacher, but he was also a farmer for most of his life.  So a lot of his messages have to do with agricultural themes.  He started his message by talking to those who are feeling down, those who got bad news, those who were depressed or ill, and I certainly thought that he was talking to us… He said that it was going to rain soon, while they were making the program, and that rain represents life to a farmer. He said that the good news for those who are hurting is that there are always dark clouds before the rain, there is always night before day, and so although we might despair now, things will get better.  He also mentioned that the bad times forces us down on our knees, but you cannot go any lower than that, the only way we can go is up.  When we are on our knees and praying God will help to lift us up again…

On Sunday I really did not want to go to church because of Father’s day, but we had a visiting preacher from a different church, and I know his messages are always good, so we went and I was not disappointed.  His message was about the potter and the clay, and he also started out by talking to those who are going through tough times, and have questions about why they are going through it:

Genesis 2:6-7 (NIV): 6 but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground— 7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

He asked us what you get when you mix water and dust together – clay, so as you look at the above verses you can surmise that we are made from clay – we are the clay that is mentioned in the upcoming verses.

Isaiah 45:9 (NIV): 9Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter,’What are you making?’ Does your work say,’He has no hands’?”

God is sovereign (the definition of sovereign according to Webster’s dictionary is:  above or superior to all others; chief; greatest; supreme, supreme in power, rank, or authority, of or holding the position of ruler; royal; reigning, independent of all others: a sovereign state, excellent; outstanding) and just like the clay cannot question the potter so we dare not question God.  The potter can do what he wants with the clay, so God can do what He wants with our lives.  That sounds scary, but if you know God personally then you know that God is a loving God, and that He wants only the best for us.  Unfortunately we can only see one puzzle piece, but God can see the whole picture and how everything fits together.  We must just trust in God, instead of questioning Him.  (I felt quite convicted here – as I was certainly asking why I had to have a miscarriage after waiting so long for our pregnancy.)

Jeremiah 18:1-6 (NIV): 1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD:  2 Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.  3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel.  4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.  5 Then the word of the LORD came to me:  6 O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does? declares the LORD. Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.”

The Lord sent Jeremiah to the potter’s house so that he can get a special message from the Lord.  I’m adding a video for those that would like to see how a bowl is made on the potter’s wheel:

When Jeremiah got to the potter’s house, the potter had made a mistake, so he took the same clay and started over, and made a perfect pot.  Just like the potter, God wants to make something useful of his children.  God is patient, and He does not want to destroy, He would rather start over and still try to make something useful from your life.  It’s in His power to make a success out of something that was originally a failure.  Isn’t it comforting to know that God can use the same clay over and over and over until He can make that perfect item?

If you look at the video you can see that the potter uses gentle hands to shape the clay – he has to otherwise the item he makes will be misshapen, God uses gentle hands in our lives too.  The potter can also control the speed of the wheel with his foot, and in the same way God can control the speed that things happen in our life. Just like the potter is in control of the clay, so is God in control of our lives…

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Its ICLW again!

I cannot believe how time has flown!  It seems like a few weeks ago that it was ICLW and it’s that time already again! 

If you want some more info on me you can read more here, or from my previous ICLW posts here and here.  A lot has changed in the three months I have been participating in ICLW.  The first month I was in my 2WW and found out on the 28th that I was pregnant.  The second month I was just getting used to being pregnant and very happy about our miracle.  Since then I started spotting and the doctor found that our baby’s heartbeat was slow.  3 agonizing days later we found out that the heartbeat had stopped.   I had a D & C a week ago and physically I’m well again.  It’s the emotional healing that is going to take time…

I do not know what went wrong yet, I must still make an appointment with my FS and we will probably discuss another POA for a future IVF then as well.  One thing I know now is that I want a baby even more now, much more than before this pregnancy, because now I know how it feels to be pregnant and we were so happy about it!

Today I have to take my other “child”, Shumi, to the vet – he is not feeling too well, he’s had a snot nose for a couple of days now, and it does not seem to get better… It’s not too bad during the day, but at night it’s bad – he has trouble breathing through his nose and that’s what’s worrying me the most.  So for the first time ever I can now also say that I have a snot nosed kid!

Here is a picture of him with his snot nose – you can see he does not look very happy!  Please excuse the quality of the pictures – I took it last night with my phone and Shumi did not like it at all!  I could not get a second chance, to try and get a better one!

And this is how he gets rid of the problem!

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I decided that I need to share some other miracles that happened to us with you.  I need to concentrate on the positive and all the great things that happened in our lives, I need to be thankful for the good things and to share the miracles is one way of doing that.

Remember I had a post about our dogs a while ago, you can read all about it here.  I didn’t go into much detail and there is a bit more that I can tell you about when Simbi and Shumi were bitten by the cobra.  Simbi was already dead when we got home that day, but Shumi looked fine at first.  A little while later his head started to swell up and DH went to a friend, who had a dairy farm close by.  He always helped us with injections when the dogs were bitten by snakes, an antibiotic to prevent infection and something that calmed them to get the blood to flow slower through their bodies.  So we gave those injections to Shumi, and I was incredibly distraught by Simbi’s death.  It happened 3 weeks before we moved from the farm – it was sold already, we were waiting for the registration to go through and I was starting a new job in the city 3 weeks from then.  I was incredibly thankful though that Shumi was still alive, but also fearful that he might still die.  So I decided that I needed to fast – for several reasons – but one of them was that Shumi would survive.  I did not eat anything for 3 days starting that night and I only drank water, nothing else.

The next morning we took Shumi to the vet which was in the same town where I worked (40 kilometers away from our farm), but they were so busy with other emergencies that DH decided to drive another 35 kilometers to the next town to get him to the vet there.   The vet gave him an anti-venom injection and said we could come and collect him that afternoon.  That night when we got home we saw that there was blood on the tiles where Shumi was lying.  So we inspected him thoroughly and found that he had an open wound in his neck – the place where he was bitten by the cobra.  So the next morning it was back to the same vet again – the vet was very embarrassed that he never saw the open wound and took Shumi in again.  It was a Friday and we were going to the city to look for a house to rent so we fetched Shumi from the vet in the afternoon and took him with us.  The vet did not even attempt to close the wound he just gave us some kind of antiseptic spray to spray on the wound.  We decided that we were going to leave Shumi with my MIL and FIL as we were too scared that something else would happen to Shumi on the farm.  We asked them to take Shumi to a vet we used a lot before we moved to the farm as we trusted him more than anybody else with our dog’s life.

When we actually moved a few weeks later my MIL gave me a news paper article about the vet where Shumi was kept.  (Shumi had been through a few operations by then to try and close the wound in his neck – but the flesh kept rotting away around the stitches.  That’s what the venom of cobra’s do to you).  My heart almost stopped – While Shumi was at the vet’s they had a bee attack at the practice.  Three dogs died and another was in a critical condition.  I don’t know until today if Shumi was stung or not, but I’m so grateful that he was not one of those that died that day.  I would not have been able to cope with that so shortly after Simbi’s death, along with the moving and starting a new job.  Here is a copy of that article; sorry it does not look too good anymore, I hope you can still read it!  I’ve been carrying it in our Bible since I got it.  I believe that God knew that I could not cope with Shumi’s death, so he saved Shumi for us.  It’s a true miracle to me!  Thank you God for saving Shumi that day!

The other miracles I want to talk about are the 5 motor vehicle accidents we have been saved from.  The 5 instances were incredibly similar each time, although it happened over a period of almost 10 years.  Each time a car, or a truck or a cow, suddenly appeared in front of our car while we were driving rather fast.  Each time DH had to swerve to avoid a collision and every time almost lost control of the car we were driving.  Thank God that DH was a policeman once and had experience driving in difficult situations, because if I was driving I’m sure we would have had an accident for sure.  Each of the times could have been fatal accidents, but not once did we have any injuries, nor any damage to our car. Three times we had other family members with us in the car with others following behind us and we were on our way to go on holiday.  Each time we were shaken and shocked afterwards and aware of the fact that it could have been a horrific accident.  I have this habit of praying before we drive long distances, to ask God to protect us and guard us from accidents, and I’m sure that’s just what He did on all of those occasions.  It is sure a miracle to me that God saved us each of those 5 times, because it all happened so fast – one moment all was fine and the next we were already swerving to avoid an accident.  Once my MIL and FIL were driving behind us and saw it all happen and especially my MIL was almost hysterical.  She was sure that we were going to die that day – My husband’s sister and her boyfriend (later her husband, but now her ex-husband)  were with us in the car and my MIL said she was sure she was seeing 4 of her children die that day…

So you see I have a lot to be thankful for, and God has done some amazing things in our life, not only these miracles I’ve mentioned but other good things too, and when times are hard like now, it’s best to think back to those good things, so that I don’t feel abandoned by God.  I know He loves me, I know He is crying with me, and I know He will carry me through these hard times, because He has done that so many times before…

Hallelujah!  God is great!

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I have a lot of blogs that I follow, all different, not all about infertility and I must say I have found some comfort in the last week from some of them.  I thought I’d share it with you, as I’m sure a lot of you also need some form of comfort:

Lisa frequently comments on my blog and I’ve been reading hers (While I’m waiting…) for a few months now.  Her blog has been a real inspiration to me, and her support has been invaluable.  She has written quite a few inspirational posts but the one that stood out for me recently was the one titled: Rambling thoughts…

One blog that I only recently discovered but that has given me a lot of comfort has been Susan’s blog Pregnant with Hope.  From that blog there are two messages I want to share with you, but I can recommend that you read it all.  The one that gave me comfort was:  Infertility: Surrender to Success and the next one made me realized how blessed we still are: Infertility?  You are blessed.

Last but not least another new blog I’m following is Room to Think and I only discovered this one last month during ICLW.  Incredibly Jos has already been such a big support to me in such a short time and I want to share a message from her as well: “So you think you can ush”.  The two points that stood out for me was number 2 and number 4.

One more point I want to share is this:  We went to church on Sunday morning, but I was incredibly sad.  I just felt like bursting out in tears through the whole service.  It took all my self control not to start crying.  Our minister was preaching from several different scriptures but he started with Deuteronomy 6 – Love the Lord your God.  It took quite some time since he announced the scripture to look up in the Bible before he started speaking so I started reading parts by myself and my eyes fell on Deuteronomy 7:12-14 (NIV): “12 If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the LORD your God will keep his covenant of love with you, as he swore to your forefathers.  13 He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. He will bless the fruit of your womb, the crops of your land— your grain, new wine and oil— the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks in the land that he swore to your forefathers to give you.  14 You will be blessed more than any other people; none of your men or women will be childless, nor any of your livestock without young.” 

This is not a new scripture to me – it’s one of those that I’ve been confessing since I got the book Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize.  I am going to see this as a promise from God – I’ve learnt that infertility and miscarriages are not God’s will for his children and I’m going to believe that it’s also not God’s will for us. I’m realizing that we will survive this and that we will be able to go on with our lives.  I am believing that God will give us our child/children that we long for, I must just keep on trusting in Him, and not try to control everything myself…

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I haven’t blogged much lately because I don’t really have the words to express how I’m feeling.  I can say I’m very sad, terribly disappointed, depressed and incredibly tired, but it does not convey my actual feelings.  It’s so much more than that, and I don’t have the words…

I must say that I’ve had such an overwhelming response from all over and I am incredibly grateful for that.  I feel so loved and supported by everyone, and I must thank you all, but there are a few I must mention:  My very dear friend (let’s call her R, because I seem to speak of her a lot) has been a rock in these difficult few days, as she exactly knows what I’m going through, and what kind of support I need.  (She’s had 2 miscarriages before she had her baby).  My dear MIL has also been very supportive and she sent us decent home cooked food over on the days when eating was the last thing on our minds, my mom has visited often, my sister has been there for me over the phone and my dear cousin J (who is more like a sister) sent me the most incredible SMS (text) messages of support.  I want to share one specific message from my cousin J with you:

“Lord Jesus, I don’t know of all the challenges Marion has, but YOU know EVERYTHING:  I hear her silence, YOU hear her pleas, I see her laughing, YOU see her tears, I see when she gives, YOU see what has been taken from her, I see her beautiful appearance, YOU see the scars in her soul, I experience her faith, YOU know her doubts.  My prayer for her LORD is that YOU give her everything she may need & bless her abundantly & deal with her pain.  Amen Love J”

The most surprising of all has been the incredible messages of support I’ve received from all my internet friends – from all over the world and not only on my blog, but from Facebook (no, I did not announce my pregnancy or miscarriage on Facebook) and Fertilicare.  All this support has carried me through these difficult days.  I never realised how much such a support system helps in times of crisis.  Thank you all – you will never know how much it all means to me…

Yesterday I had my D & C, and was it a stressful day!  It seemed to me like just about everything went wrong.  First I realised that the hospital was not booked and that there was no authorisation from my medical aid.  Stuff I assumed was all done by my doctor’s secretary, as that was what I was told would happen last week.  I guess it’s because we wanted to go to a different hospital than usual.  By 10 to 10 I finally got hold of my FS himself to get someone to organise it for me.  I was panicking by then, as I had to take 2 Cytotec pills vaginally to open up my cervix for the procedure by 10h00, and I didn’t know whether it would be possible to have it all done yesterday. 

Then when I got ready to go to the hospital at 13h00 I realised there was still no authorisation from my medical aid, and this time I asked DH to phone as I was sure I would start crying over the phone.  When DH spoke to the lady that had to organise it, she admitted that she thought that the D & C had to be done for today, not yesterday, so nothing was done about it all.  I decided that I’m going to the hospital whether they are ready for me or not, as I started to bleed more and I also started to get cramps from the Cytotec.  When we got to the hospital at 14h00 the hospital and theatre was booked and the medical aid did give authorisation for the procedure. 

When I got to my room the nurse could not find a vein to draw blood from and to insert the drip.  They had poked me full of holes but eventually after about 30 minutes and three people later they had their blood and the drip was inserted.  I was taken to theatre immediately as they said that the doctor was on his way and they were waiting for me already.  It did not take too long for the doctor to arrive, and they took me through into the theatre.  All was ready and then they found out that the anaesthetist was not there.  Apparently he had a difficult procedure before me with a premature baby and forgot about me and went home.  When my doctor phoned him he turned around immediately, but he got stuck in traffic.  So they took me back to the waiting area as it was too cold in the theatre.

After the procedure I remember waking up, and just saying “throat” and “pain”, and they gave me an injection for the pain immediately.  But when I said “pain” I remembered what happened and that I’m not pregnant anymore, so I started crying.  I guess that you lose your inhibitions when you are drugged, because beforehand I tried to control myself, but after the operation I did not care about it at all.  They later asked me if I had a bad reaction to the anaesthetic, but it was not that at all, I was crying for my lost baby. 

I got an anti-D injection because my blood group is A- and DH’s is A+, to prevent me forming anti-bodies for a next pregnancy.  I recovered quite quickly after the operation and I was released from Hospital at around 19h00.  

I’ll make another appointment with my FS to find out what he thinks went wrong.  He sent 2 specimens away to be tested, so hopefully we will know what went wrong, but my doctor said I must not count on it, as they don’t always find a problem.  We will discuss a new POA with the next consultation, as I now know how desperately I want to have a baby of my own…

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