So, in follow-up to yesterday’s Wallowing and Wishing post, I thought I’d let all of you kind people who have been reading and supportive along our IVF journey through secondary infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss know what’s been happening and that I’ve sort of maybe resolved some of my inner conflict splattered across that last post.
After writing that post, I got the faintest of faint lines on the old-standby home pregnancy test (First Response Early Result or FRER). I wanted to be excited. And for a few hours, I was. Then I was busy with work and didn’t have time to think about. Then I took another FRER with the recommended FMU (first morning urine – too much information for those of you not on this IF journey, I know, sorry) today. Freakin’ negative again!
So, that’s it for me. No more home tests. I will go get one last jab on Friday morning and wait for that deflating call from the fertility clinic confirming what I already know. The IVF didn’t work.
As I lay in bed grieving all of this (and steadfastly refusing to do any more annoying IVF meditations, with a brief apology to Francine if she’s still paying any mind), I thought about recent events and came to some realizations.
Some days ago, I began having what for me are typical early pregnancy symptoms . Not the stuff induced by the progesterone supplements (which had been happening since my first couple of days on them – and I’ve been on those before so I know that drill), but things that changed after I’d already been on that stuff for over a week. With reflection, I’m pretty confident that Francine implanted. Then, it seems, she didn’t make it and those symptoms have now vanished. It looks like we have undergone what our RE calls a “biochemical pregnancy”. The engines roared but the plane’s wheels never left the ground.
God, this sucks.
Then I thought about how for the last few months as we geared up and went through the IVF process, I told myself (and believed) that if it didn’t work, we would go back to trying on our own again because the LP is still really opposed to donor eggs and if he’s not in, we aren’t going there (how can we?). But now that I’m facing the prospect of trying, I must face reality and consider if this is the right thing to do. I don’t feel afraid to try. I don’t even feel afraid to have another miscarriage, though I’d rather carve out my belly button and stitch it back in without anaesthetic, given the alternative (if doing so meant not suffering any more miscarriages). But I see the writing on the wall.
I am of advanced maternal age. I have diminished ovarian reserve. I was busy with life and healing, education and a new career path after my second degree, married the wrong guy, divorced him and married the right one. All to say that I didn’t get started on this baby-making journey until late in life. As much as I may have moments of regret about pieces of that puzzle, on the whole I am at peace with it. If I had met the LP earlier in life, I would not have been ready. And neither would he, I suspect. I accept all of that.
What is harder to swallow is the reality that I may never be able to have another child. The LP has nixed donor eggs. And I see no point in any more IVFs given how this cycle went and the fact we’re paying out-of-pocket and just do not have the money to throw away while we try to raise and save for our one success story, the Miracle Baby. I’ve nixed adoption as a real option for us for a variety of reasons I may one day write about, as well as other thoughts on adoption processes in the Western world generally. Yet, in all of that, I reminded myself, we have our Miracle Baby.
We are so blessed to have our Miracle Baby with us, every day. I want to be the best mom I can to our little Miracle. Doing so may be the only chance I get to shine in that role. And grieving, worrying, holding my breath, biting my lip, shaping every aspect of my life around trying to conceive – all that infertility and trying to overcome it has entailed since 2009 when we first considered and readied ourselves for the journey – impacts my parenting and my being present, in the moment, with myself and the Miracle Baby.
As I was entertaining all of these thoughts, the Miracle came trotting silently out of the Miracle’s room and into mine. Wordlessly, I stretched out my arm in the darkness. Without a peep, the Miracle’s body folded into my outstretched arm. I hoisted the Miracle into bed with me and held on tight.
As the LP recently said, we are so fortunate. Notwithstanding all of our heartache and our lost little babies, we are blessed. For this, I am so grateful.
Today, I am trying on for size the reality that I am a mother to many babies, but may only ever have the opportunity to parent one of them. I may never meet, hold and cherish a baby in whom Azulito, our little Spirit Baby, takes up residence. Our dream of a second child may never come true. And I need to be at peace with that. If I am not, I am not wholly available for the here-and-now. I am not who I want to be for me, for the Miracle Baby, for the LP, for my friends and family, clients and colleagues.
I must make peace with this reality and the possible worlds to which it may give rise. I don’t need to know what comes next, but I do want to accept that infertility may beat me this time around. There may be no more miracles. And that is okay. And even if it isn’t okay, it is something I cannot change. I accept that, too.
To the Python: You see? We can be friends. I know you want the best for me but only know how to scare me in an effort to keep me safe. And I am safe, even if Francine didn’t make it. Even if Azulito never joins our family in physical form. It will be as it will be. And I am going to roll with that – or do my best to roll with it – one minute, hour, day at a time.
What else can I do?