One year ago today, we sat in Dr. F’s office going over what I thought would be our last ditch effort to try to have a baby of our own. He told us he thought moving forward with IVF and doing chromosomal embryo screening would be our best chance of conceiving a viable full term pregnancy. We were very hesitant about moving forward with IVF especially since I was able to get pregnant on my own and even more hesitant about doing the embryo screening but felt if this was our best option than I didn’t want to leave any stone unturned.
I remember leaving his office with a sense of hope and also pretty pissed off. I felt hopeful because we at least had this as an option when so many others don’t and that same sense of hope you always have right before you are going to start a new treatment cycle and think maybe this will be “the one”. I also thought that since it was New Year’s Eve and we were his last appointment of 2013 that this was somehow a good sign because when going down this infertility road you always think everything is a sign! The pissed of side of me was angry at the fact that this is what I had to go through to try to have a baby. Pumping myself full of hormones with horrible side effects, going through the egg retrieval (which BTW is a surgical procedure that requires anesthesia) and then the waiting to hear which embryos made it if any and having to make hard decisions such as which embryo gets to be implanted and which ones either get frozen or destroyed. Neither of those scenarios ever sat right with us. And then waiting those god awful 2 weeks to hear whether or not it worked. I was pissed.
Once I moved past my pissed off stage we decided to move forward with IVF and got back to being hopeful…or at least so we thought. Due to insurance reasons we had to do another round with an IUI before we could do IVF…not that I am complaining because I do feel extremely fortunate to even have insurance overage for fertility treatments but again I saw this as “a sign” that maybe this was going to be it…3rd times a charm. Sadly it wasn’t and ended in another miscarriage (If you want to read the full story you can check out my post titled Not Compatible with Life )
So when I think about where we were a year ago, about to embark on a hopeful new journey that ended in one of our hardest losses and where we are now it feels very surreal. 2014 was a year of heartbreak and unexpected joy. I have learned a few things along the way this year.
1. Never give up? I always have mixed feelings about this piece of advice especially when it comes to infertility. Yes I think if there is even an ounce of you that feels you have to keep going than keep going. Keep going as far as you can otherwise you will regret it. I would often find myself wondering if I had reached my limit but the fact that I had to question it was probably a sign that I hadn’t reached it yet. But at the same time, it’s ok to move onto other options if you feel you’ve had enough (see #2)
2. It’s ok to say enough is enough. They say you know when enough is enough and your enough will be different from someone else’s. It’s ok to say it’s time to move on whether it’s adoption, using a surrogate, living childfree, etc. You are not a failure. Part of succeeding and fulfilling your dreams is knowing when you have to take a different approach or new direction.
3. Get support. Infertility is a long, lonely road to travel. Your spouse or significant other can’t be your only source of support…they are on this tough road too and you have to take care of each other. Seeking help from others will help you to support yourself as well as your partner. It helps to talk to others who have been down this road. Find a support group if you can or talk to a professional that can give you an objective perspective.
4. Be honest. Be honest with yourself and your feelings. Often times we feel like we have to pretend everything is ok or feel like we have to say yes to everything our doctors tell us to do because if you don’t then you aren’t really trying. If something doesn’t sit right with you, it’s ok to say no. And be honest with your partner even if it means that you might be on opposite sides of the road for awhile…eventually you will find your way back to the middle again.
5. Don’t compare yourself to others. I would often find myself comparing myself to others or others’ situations. Sometimes I would think that I hadn’t really done everything I could because I didn’t do x, y and z like so and so did. Every situation is unique and what works for some might not be right for you. Only you know what’s best for you.
2014 was a year filled with ups and downs and I am sure 2015 will have it’s share of ups and downs too…hopefully more ups than downs. Wishing you all a Happy New Year and a year full of UPS!