It’s over. Even with the ERA, even with the perfect thyroid, even with two supposedly perfect embryos, it’s over. After two IUIs, six donor egg IVFs, and a devastating miscarriage during cycle four as we approached 9 weeks, we are taking the summer off to determine if and when there will be next steps towards family building.
“If I kept going, it would be sort of like gambling–the odds were stacked against me. I had the profound sense that I would be really hurting myself if I continued, and to no good end.”
I saw this quote in different interviews and while intellectually this is where we are, emotionally there is a depth of grief I never thought possible.
All day yesterday when I knew deep down that it was over, I kept thinking of my father. He’s been dead 8 1/2 years now, but for some reason I kept thinking of him. I thought of the others in my DNA family who have treated my struggle like it’s nothing, from my 75 year old mother who chose her new boyfriend (3 months after her husband of 35 years passed) over being by my side as I bled from miscarriage. I thought of my older brother who texted a “thoughts and prayers” message after our miscarriage and, after emailing him about preparing for our 6th and final cycle and our difficulties with losing the baby last summer, how he said nothing, just the dates he’d be in town next. I thought of my cousin who got pregnant after a miscarriage but said nothing about my struggles, or the other cousin who had nothing to say about what we’ve been going through but would continue to ask for career advice. I thought of this very blog, where yesterday I wrote about the devastation of the suspension of the Ethiopia adoption, which was just as painful as our IVF failures if not worse, and how not a single person commented on that, but rather focused on the results of this last transfer. And how others in our personal circle also avoided saying anything about the adoption and focused as well on hoping we were pregnant. As if becoming a parent through adoption hasn’t been equally excruciating in its own way.
And even with all that, I thought about two people who have shown incredible kindness and empathy and support.
One is my friend K who I’ve bonded with through not only our unique but shared infertility struggles (and even a shared RE for a time) but also through our mutual obsessions with the natural world, homesteading, snarky humor and a definite penchant for cursing and telling it like it is. I am grateful for your friendship in words that I cannot quite express today, and I thank you so much for the difference you’ve made.
The other – of course – is my husband. Today he took the day off work so we could be together. We got a crate out and filled it with the stuffed animals, baby clothes, and other things that overtly scream PREGNANCY in our dining room/office that had turned into a nursery last summer. It’s not tossed, just put out of view. Not time to think about this. After the blood test we picked up some croissants from Petite Provence and came home and drank hot chocolate and didn’t think. Then we got up, went to the plant nursery, picked out a bunch of new beauties for the garden, played around at the woodworking store to grab supplies for the kitchen table he’s building us, then ended up at the Bye and Bye for noneother than Scotch. Two glasses of Glenmorangie scotch, neat, and I was happily three sheets to the wind. Relaxed, no back pain, and happy to have the love of my life next to my side, holding my hand, kissing me, and telling me the greatest thing a woman could hear – “you’re the best woman I’ve ever known”. We came home, enjoyed the buzz while watching the ducks and planting the new poppies and columbines and such, and will spend the rest of the night chilling out, he rubbing my feet and us snuggled up on the sofa, letting what happened happen and dealing with it…later.
The loss of nine embryos to my body, and the loss of the adoption of a little girl we’d dreamed so long about meeting? They are too much to even comprehend.
So we’ll deal with it later. I’ll write later. But in the meantime? I’m unfollowing all of the IVF blogs as I don’t want to read about it for a while. It doesn’t mean I won’t occasionally check in, but for the summer, I don’t want to think about broken reproductive systems and fertility clinics. I want to get my back healed so that I can get back on my bike, drop the weight these struggles have brought on, and just BE with the man I love so very, very much. I want to feel the sun on my face and not write every week or even every day about the attempts to build a family that since 2015 have crashed and burned over and over. And over.
I’ll write about other things. Wonderful things like the ciabatta that is rising on the counter in a bed of olive oil as my fingers type this, or the daikon radish that have come up from last fall’s seeds to give us these lovely small white flowers, or the discussion of how we discovered today that the last scene in Point Break, that they pretended was in my husband’s native land of Australia, was actually filmed right here on the Oregon Coast near Cannon Beach.
Right now, I’m gonna just be. I’m just gonna be all the rest of me that is not defined by my ovaries and my fucked up uterus. Today is Earth Day, and I’m going to feel the fertile soil in my hands and embrace the amazing life that I’ve been given that I’ve at times taken for granted. Tomorrow I will think about everything else.
Tonight? I will just be.