Yesterday I made a decision.
No more hormones while I wait for ERA results. I don’t care if I can’t test my thyroid right away, I don’t fucking care at this point about anything beyond feeling sane again. I’ve stopped the progesterone and estrogen that have been making me crazy and having, as I told my husband, serious heart-strangling moments of dread Every.Single.Day. Moments that have kept my fuse at under a millimeter, moments that have made me wonder why I’m here, moments that leave me without hope. That is what these hormones do to me, and I’m not going to subject my body to this abuse anymore until I know what’s what with the ERA results.
Right now, my mental health comes first.
(Isn’t it funny how that’s not always the case?)
In a week I should hear back from Igenomix, and know if I’ll have to do a second ERA mock cycle or if by some miracle it’ll say I’m receptive and I can relax for the rest of January and February and start my body to prepare for our sixth and final cycle of DEIVF in March/April.
But here’s the deal. No matter what, by the end of April I will know if it’s time to end the 2+ year exhaustive battle of infertility treatments that have wrecked my heart and battered my soul…or if there really is a chance for my husband and I to bring a child into the world from my belly who at least has one set of our genes contributing.
And I admit, I’m waffling a bit on – if DEIVF finishes out in the shitter – if I want to run headfirst into domestic adoption. I want a break. Dammit I just want a fucking break from this all. I want to get a check from a client and not have it immediately funneled right into the struggle that so far has seen around $50,000 get us…nowhere.
And yeah, I’m feeling fucking old. And I know Janet Jackson just had a baby at 50 (my husband turns 50 this summer) and I know that I don’t have to do anything now and I could technically even hold off on doing DEIVF for a while (hell, I just paid the $500 rent for 2017 for the remaining 6 embryos) and I know I could do this one and technically try again in a year and I know blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah…
But y’all, I’m just so tired. Weepy tired. Dizzy tired. Crazy tired. Forgetting-myself tired. My body is just staying afloat, with a back that won’t allow me to do as much as a forward bend, much less sit on a bike or in a yoga class or even just cross legged in meditation.
Yesterday I fell – hard – on the snow-packed icy sidewalk and, as I’m still deep in recuperation from my November back injury, I just laid there, lying on my back, top half of me on the sidewalk, lower half on the street (this particular house hadn’t bothered shoveling, fuckwads). No one was around and so I just had to stop, stare up at the sky and breathe deeply before attempting to get up – very, very slowly. You see, I don’t get down on the ground yet beyond a slow squat in this stage of my recovery. Fortunately I didn’t hurt my back further, just badly bruised my ass, but it just pounded it into me that I’ve had enough of hurting.
I want it to be done.
It’s not that I don’t still want to be a mother. It’s got nothing to do with that whatsoever. It’s still deeply in my heart to build a family with my husband.
There just comes a point where your EXISTING life has got to take priority, where your entire schedule, budget, plans, et cetera cannot wholly revolve around that struggle. You have to live your life and not keep putting everything on hold. You have to allow yourself to be happy and to do whatever it takes to get back to happiness – or at least, more moments that make you smile than you’ve had during the battles you’ve endured.
Or at least I do.
I can still test my thyroid at the end of the month, even if it’s not while on estrogen. I can still choose to do a transfer when the receptivity results arrive. But right now? I need me, unencumbered by mock cycle hormones just being taken to keep my body in a lab environment.
And I feel fine about it. You know what I don’t feel fine about? Resentment.
Resentment that my husband and I have all these amazing dreams about the things we want to do and the places we want to go together…Things the money we’ve spent for zero results has kept us from doing. And even simpler things like, oh, saving for retirement, have been on hold. You see, we’re paying for this out of pocket, so beyond my husband’s pension from Australia, we have very little in the bank because of fucking DEIVF and an international adoption that has me in my mid-40s at best due to the wait times (that is, if the program doesn’t close in the meantime like many are in Ethiopia).
I’m not 25 years old. Not even close. My husband is double that. So for us, “taking a break” its not even viable. Of course technically we could wait, but here’s the thing: we don’t want to. When you get into your forties, your perspective changes in so many ways. It’s a wonderful thing, because you know what you want, and you don’t take any crap anymore ( or you’re at least a lot better at calling people out on instead of sitting there in silence). And at the same time you know that life is short (not saying nobody else does, it’s just much more amplified when you hit your forties), and you start realizing you’re going to have to make some hard choices when it comes to having a family. It makes you look back as well as look forward.
I was married in my twenties to someone who I had been sweet on since I was 16. I asked him to leave when I was 30, spurred by a question someone that asked me. The question was, “would you be okay if you got pregnant by this man?” And the answer was… absolutely not. Even though we weren’t trying, I knew I could never have a child with a man who couldn’t even step up to the plate as a husband.
It took a couple of years to fully extricate him from my life, as part of me loved him deeply while simultaneously watching his narcissism and deepening alcoholism play center stage.
But I did and I’m forever thankful for the lessons I learned. I bought a house with no help from anybody but myself. I started my own successful business. I paid off my student loans and my credit card. I stood at my father’s side as he left this world. Over 6 years my father, my last three grandparents, and two friends died. The last who passed away well before their time. One was the same age as I am now.
I learned about love in a whole new way after I left my first husband. And while the next man wasn’t perfect, he showed me that was possible to find someone who was my intellectual match and didn’t need addiction. He showed me that it was possible to find love again, and while he did some other things that were unforgivable, as he was broken in other ways, as the first person after my divorce, I am grateful to have known him.
I looked at life differently after that. I played around when I was in my twenties before I married my first husband, and I’m glad I did as I had a lot of fun. After my divorce though, I made a list of what characteristics I was looking for in a life partner.
Who knew at the time he was in Australia, 17 time zones away. As I prepared for the loss of my father, I started this blog. And a couple of years into it, the man who would become my husband left a comment.
Three years later we were married, and he immigrated here to the United States.
During the first year, all of our efforts and money was spent on combating a life-threatening disease he had. The medications worked, and he is now considered cured. When that wonderful verdict came in, we cheered. To know he was going to be ok was life changing for both of us.
By the time our first anniversary hit we had begun our infertility treatments. The first one was a round of Femara by a doctor who refused to do an ultrasound to see if I’d even made any eggs, and whose staff ignored my questions as to why. Suddenly she wasn’t available on the date of the IUI either, so I was referred to another clinic who lost my appointment (and was extra rude telling me I could ” just try again next month”… did I mention this is the clinic who I later got that second opinion from – Dr. Evil – this year?). I had to have my naturopath do the actual insemination with a catheter that didn’t fit all the way in. When the actual doctor finally got back to me she told me I should go somewhere else because I was being difficult. That’s when I found the man who is my current fertility doctor. We did one final round of IUI with Bravelle ( which was later recalled), then started with donor egg IVF. Five rounds and one horrific miscarriage at 9 weeks, and we’re still without a child.
At the same time we started infertility treatments we had our first appointment at an adoption agency and had our first meeting with Social Services about foster/adopt. We were going head-first into building a family in any way we could. We got our 4 letters of non family references, we had our interviews, got our physicals, and compiled our financial data. DHS began to worry us as they told us we were a red flag because we still wanted to get pregnant, mixed with the fact that they were riddled with fraud and were coming up in the news for abusive situations they were putting kids in and not protecting them, so we pulled out and put 100% of our efforts into the international adoption, who at the time had 12 month waits for a referral. It seemed like forever but we just considered it a very long pregnancy in our minds.
Our greatest worry was that we would get a referral at the same time we found out we were pregnant… not that two years later we’d still have nothing. Not that two years later I would be devastated and permanently emotionally scarred from the loss of our baby and that we would be told by the adoption agency that it would be another two to four years’ wait, because Ethiopia is going through massive political changes, violent protests against their ” dictatorial democracy” ( as the agency director referred to the country), and a social services department in Addis Ababa that was now reorganized with the new leadership highly against international adoption, and therefore dragging their feet.
It is in these situations you start asking the question about fate, about destiny, about if you’re even meant to be parents. And you get really really mad. Mad at your body for its refusal to ovulate, mad at your body for its hypothyroidism, mad that you have friends who easily had babies at forty ( and one in their late thirties “accidentally” get pregnant who wasn’t even on planning on having kids), mad at the system that makes it infuriatingly expensive to adopt domestically, mad at the system that makes it so incredibly hard anymore to adopt internationally if you are over the age of 40, if you haven’t married long enough, if you’re not the right religion, and/or if you’ve been divorced.
And along with mad, you also get really really really sad. You get sad that the few who you considered like sisters treated your infertility like it was no big deal, one from someone who had 3 kids and compared adoption to your love of recycling and told your husband that you should consider hypnosis to help you get pregnant – as if that had anything to do with my failing ovaries (but would only make time for you if it it was an hour, as anything longer than that she regularly cancelled last minute if one of her teenagers had something come up) ; and another who you discovered late in the game had suffered 6 miscarriages and was on the waitlist for an adoption, yet outright told you you didn’t share anything in common because she CAN get pregnant and therefore wasn’t infertile, then continually canceled everything we planned; and the person you considered a very close friend who conducted your marriage ceremony then when it was time for her to relocate didn’t even want to make time, not even 5 minutes, to see you before she left, and then cancelled at the last minute during her one visit to town because she was too busy ( while simultaneously telling you she – the writer, the English major- didn’t like emails, even though our schedules rarely coincided for phone calls). The three women who are photographed smiling next to you on your wedding day in 2014 have disappeared, and you wonder if you just misunderstood their friendship over the years. And you stop trusting anyone.
Yet when your gun toting racist stepfather passes away, the man your mother (who you hadn’t spoken to in 7 years because the last thing she said to you was that they never really liked you) had been married to for 35 years, your heart attempts to reopen and you reach out to her (as you know you would want someone to reach out to you if you lost your beloved).
And for a very short time she is nice to you, because she is all alone, because her other 2 kids aren’t reaching out to her, because she gets to be the center of attention. And you get your positive pregnancy test, and you call her up on the phone and she is happy. Yet two weeks later when you send her the photo of the first ultrasound where you saw the baby’s heart beating, she doesn’t respond for 3 days. When she finally does it’s one word. She asks you nothing about IVF or infertility or pregnancy, even though she only has one grandchild born 29 years ago to an “oops” ony brother’s part. The only thing she wants to do is, after mentioning my husband’s step-mom who I am becoming close to, insisted that she be the one to buy the expensive stroller/carseat. And when I miscarry at 9 weeks beg for her to be by my side while I go through it since my husband is at work, she declines and doesn’t even bother picking up the phone. During the entire time she never picked up the phone, only sent text messages even though she lives 40 minutes from here. It’s as if she is a 14 year old girl. And then I find out the truth- that just three months after the death of her husband she has taken up with somebody new, not just dating someone but actually calling it a relationship… and she was spending the night at his house while I was going through the worst night of my life. She picked her new boyfriend over her daughter going through a miscarriage.
And a month or so later when we went over to see her because she still hadn’t come to see me, she didn’t even mention the miscarriage or our 5th attempt at IVF that was coming up. This from a woman who had lost a son. I couldn’t do it anymore, and told her why I was upset and hurt. And just as she’s done her whole life, she accuses me of not accepting her for who she is, doesn’t even try to apologize or promise to do better, and makes it all about her… even doing a whole “poor me” thing about her losing her husband, even though she’s clearly moved on and going on vacations with her new man. I wanted to throw up at the fact that I even gave this person another chance in my life. But now I know, and I’m not ever going to make that mistake again.
Because one thing I’ve learned in this journey? You find out who your friends are and aren’t. You find out who your real family is.
For me, I have a Mum now and she’s flying from Australia to visit us in June. I’ve never even met her in real life but she’s been more of a mother to me then my biological ever has.
And most importantly I have a partner who loves and adores me, who never gives up on me and who fights for me. He is kind and he is intelligent and he is funny and he is imperfectly perfect. He is my best friend and he is my beloved.
So if we never do get our dream of a child, I can at least say I have the love of a man I always dreamed of. I have a home and a garden and a dog and places I’ve been all over the world and places still left to explore.
And I will, most importantly, have myself.