Purgatory, that’s kind of how my life has felt, not knowing from one day to the next where the next hit will come from, how optimistic or pessimistic I should be, if I’ve got good things just behind the next bend or I’m about to see more kaka hitting the fan, et cetera. So I stand here, behind the curtain, inhaling and exhaling, remembering where I came from and where I want to go next, yet simultaneously feeling like I need to make a decision.
There's only so much you can learn in one place The more that I wait, the more time that I waste I haven't got much time to waste It's time to make my way I'm not afraid of what I'll face But I'm afraid to stay
I don’t know when we’ll be chosen by a birth mother for domestic adoption, and feel so haunted by what’s happened with us with the many failures of DEIVF and international adoption that I actually refer to it as “if” we are chosen rather than the “when” I just wrote. I rarely even notice the children’s books on the shelf or the changing tray on the credenza that my husband made which now has our phone and laptop chargers.
My body is telling me to stop, heal, nurture. My body is telling me I can take a licking and keep on ticking. My body is telling me that if I do it again I am risking something even more severe – more severe than a herniated disc or detached retina. My body is telling me that it’d be worth the fucking pain. My body is telling me it would not be worth the fucking pain. My body reminded me of what it felt to lose the baby last summer and asked me, do you really think you could live if another baby died inside of you, after 8 embryos didn’t even implant and the one that did couldn’t even make it even after we saw the heartbeat? My instincts have been for shit on this one. I know I said #6 would be the last time, but like an addict to the cycle, I kept thinking about those B embryos, those last four in the freezer from the thirteen blastocysts that my uterus gave the middle finger to 9 of them, with a particular nasty dream dashed in the summer of 2016 that involved seeing my little one’s beating heart flashing on the monitor and, 2 weeks later, went silent.
I don’t ever read about anyone saying no to more cycles when they still technically have 4 embryos in the freezer. I can hear the world telling me I should be grateful for this many chances. I can hear my RE telling me I should “give these a chance and not give up”. And definitely not hearing from anyone who’s had multiple failed DE cycles. As far as I could tell from multiple online searches over the years, there was no one who I could truly identify with.
So after another day of Big Ugly Crying in front of my husband, and then apologizing to him for my misery (seems to be something I’ve done a lot, as he with the healthy motile sperm has not been part of the failures while my body seems to want to bitch-slap any embryo that gets near my uterus), I ran across this amazing blog and it began shouting at me. I put down my laptop and this post shouts to me again. These words leap from the page. Michaela and Ladybug, they shout at me to listen to them…
The only way this ends is if I end it…
Because it appears that my uterus is the place that embryos go to die…
~ from So this is how it ends??
She, too, had 4 embryos left.
She, too, had simultaneously been waiting for an adoption referral.
She, too, needed to end the pain.
She, too, needed to focus her energies in a new direction.
And when she announced her decision on that post to stop cycling, to not use those last 4 embryos, it turns out Ladybug had recently formed in her birth mother’s belly, and in less than 7 months would become Michaela’s daughter. For real.
The most beautiful thing in the whole wide world.
And this spring, three years after her Ladybug arrived into the world, she wrote the following about those years of infertility treatments:
I was alone on the other side of the Rainbow. The side where dreams don’t come true. The terrifying, dark and lonely side…I met with great and powerful Oz who somehow could work his magic for others, but for me a successful pregnancy was somewhere over the rainbow…Yes, you can claw and scratch and fight your way to the top of the rainbow BUT whether or not you get to fly to the other side…it’s out of our hands…it was out of my hands…no matter how many cycles I did, I couldn’t get over the rainbow.
My heart hurt. My big ugly cry came up again, but in an entirely different way, just three hours or so after my husband left for work, comforting me with buttermilk biscuits and homemade jam. He told me as he always does, it’s going to be alright. I know he wants to stop, I’ve known that since the fifth fail. But he wants to be a dad as much as I want to be a mama. And I can’t give him what he wants from my own belly, much less my ovaries.
Michaela went on to say, “I don’t know if I’ll ever know what it feels like to be that angel to another person. To pull them from the dark side of the rainbow and show them how to fly where happy little bluebirds fly…at the expense of my own rainbow.”
It was important that I tell her that she is MY angel. That her blog has helped me turn a corner. I have had the form to donate our embryos to research, and now I am ready to sign it, to end the journey inside my faulty reproductive system and learn how to accept it. For real.
No really, for real.
And with that…we are ready to wholly focus on our little one who we cannot wait to meet when he or she is ready to enter our world. It doesn’t turn apples to oranges, that’s not what adoption is all about. I will never be cured, but I can look my infertility in the face and say, you will not own me anymore. You will not define me anymore. Now let’s get our shit together and open the door, because our little one will be here soon.
And as I thought, get ready to jump, in my head, it reminded me of one of the first posts I wrote in my blog after my father died nearly nine years ago. This song by Madonna was coursing through my veins as I drove through the Cascade Mountains after holding his hand and kissing his brow before he took his final breaths that night. She said…
Life's gonna drop you down like a limb from a tree It sways and it swings and it bends until it makes you see
Thank you, Michaela, for helping me see.