To Break or Not to Break?

This is a question rolling around in my already-saturated mind lately.  Do we take a break before our next natural frozen embryo transfer cycle or do we press on in either July or August and hope whatever experimental protocol we and the RE ultimately settle on works? 

In case you’re wondering, I don’t count June as a break so much as my recovery and re-grounding month.

An online friend yesterday said she thinks I could use time to grieve and heal from the 6 pregnancy losses we have had in the past 16 months and suggested I consider waiting – up to a year – before doing another transfer.  My response was “it’s either game on or game over”, in large part because I have been waiting since 2009, when we first started planning our trying-to-conceive journey, and although we had one blessed success story in early 2012 after our first two losses, I waited a year to try again after our living child’s birth and it’s now been almost 18 months of more waiting… and grieving… and waiting… and grieving.

Recently, my first acupuncturist, who is also a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCMD), announced she was returning to practice after an extended medical/maternity leave.  I immediately signed up for an appointment on her first day back and emailed her my history, some of which she knew as she referred me to my current acupuncturist (who is not a TCMD but has been amazingly supportive, kind and giving) and has gotten occasional updates on my “progress.”  Yesterday she (the TCMD) emailed asking me how much time I would be willing to give myself before undertaking another transfer. 

Semantics matter.  The question was not how long would I wait, but how much time would I give myself.  My honest answer was “I do not know”, but I did say that if there was (in her professional opinion) a significantly greater likelihood of success if I waited beyond July or August as we originally intended, I would seriously consider it.  I have not stopped thinking about her question.  How much time will I give me?  I don’t know.  I would wait until this Fall.  I would be unhappy about it, at least at first, but I would do it if she could convince me that it would give us a much better chance.  I see her on June 14th, so we will see what happens.

Maybe the friend and TCMD are onto something?  Not about the year – I won’t wait that long, it’s just not in my make up and I won’t consider it not because I think it’s bad advice per se but because I cannot live in limbo another 2 years (one to wait, one to gear up, cycle, possibly succeed, possibly have to try a second time, carry to term hopefully, and birth a second living child).  But what about giving myself some time to restabilize and rebalance body, mind and spirit? 

Part of my difficulty in waiting into 2015 to try again is that I have already turned down an opportunity to advance my career significantly this year expressly to jump on the IVF and then the DE IVF rollercoaster. There are big advantages for me and my family (more money, more freedom and fewer hours at work required with the promotion, for instance) and for this reason alone I don’t really want to keep putting it off.  I also need to rely on others (some of whom already went out of their way earlier this year to support me in getting that promotion at the end of 2014).  Then of course I spent so much time away from work since January, it is no longer a possiblity for this calendar year.  I try not to think I’ve let any of my champions or sponsors down.  None of them know why I’ve been away and my work performance has been far under any I’ve ever had in my career and I don’t work in a profession in which sharing what’s going on will do anything but damage my present and future career prospects.  So mum’s the word.  So to speak. (Ouch.) 

Of course, the job is only one piece of it.  There are so many other sacrifices, which many of you know well so I won’t dwell on them.  The job is simply conspicuous, a tangible reminder that significant portions of my life are on hold and have been for the past 18 months (really the past 4 years because building our family became my number one priority in 2010 and the ranking of that priority has never changed, the energy and money required to keep pursuing the objective has simply continued to increase incrementally and sometimes exponentially).  I cannot keep holding open my heart indefinately.  I need to know there is an end to all of this so I can take my life back.  Or make a new one.  Whichever.  I need to know I will have a whole life again within some foreseeable period of time, not an elusive “someday”. 

For my own peace of mind, I need to know that there is an end to this rollercoaster ride.  There must be a finish line and whether we cross as winners or losers in our attempts to have a second living child, I have a need to know that I will cross that line, this journey will then be over, I can find peace in and make peace with whatever outcome awaits on the other side of that line.  I want and need this for me, for the LP, for our Miracle Toddler.  In short, I need this for me and my family. 

Today, I know this.  I do not know how much time I will give myself yet.  But the question is on my mind.


20 thoughts on “To Break or Not to Break?

  1. I’ve been thinking about you so much hon. This sounds like good advice, but I know so well how hard it can be to take more time when you’ve already been waiting so long. Sending you strength as you decide how much time is the right amount of time. Hugs hon.

    • Thank you so much for thinking about me. I am going to sit with making a decision for the coming week and not fret about it. I’m beginning to think that waiting until August or September would not be awful, as hard as it is to wait. If my TCMD can help settle my immune system, that can only help and if the next time worked, it would have been worth it. And if not, I may be in a better emotional place to handle another disaster. Then again, I just want to be pregnant with a sticky baby RIGHT NOW, darn it. I feel like a boomerang!

  2. I’m pretty clear on this one, we are either trying or we are done. I have no desire to wait, I simply don’t. If the doctors say we can proceed, then we proceed.
    Although, I guess our situations are slightly different in that your next attempt is scheduled, where as mine will take up to a few months just based on random luck. But still, regardless of the process, I simply don’t see the point on waiting. My mental health, our desire for a child will not change based on waiting another month or two. And for that matter, the only thing that can get worse the longer we wait, is that we will get older and therefore potentially increase the problems facing us. And, that doesn’t make any sense to me.

    Anyways, I wish you luck in making your decision. And obviously what you choose will be what is best for you, and that’s all that matters. 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing your perspective – that sums up how I usually feel about all of this and the approach I’ve taken most of the time.

      In my current situation, I know my immune system has been agitated by everything I’ve put my body through TTC for the past 16 months. So when my trusted TCM doc says “we need to settle the immune system down” and suggests we need a couple of months to do that, it would be foolish of me not to give that some thought. To be honest, I can’t see myself going against her advice to wait until at least August and possibly September. Right now I can’t see myself agreeing to stay in limbo beyond then. Of course, I could change my mind a dozen times between now and next week, hence the rollercoaster analogy!

  3. Oh I feel you. The grieving (even thought we have never experienced an actual loss, just never been pregnant), the uncertainty, the feeling of stuckness in both life and career. (In)fertility land limbo is the worst. I just keep reminding myself that my mind and body deserve a healthy break. The timeframe of the break is entirely up to you. Find some peace and move forward – either way. 🙂

    • That’s sound advice. And for the record, although I’ve only had one BFN in the last 16 months (we had break cycles and of course a pregnancy that spanned 10 weeks and then spent another 6 crashing and burning), the BFN stung but was a relief in some ways. That was not how I experienced the many BFNs we had in the year before we got pregnant the first time (lost that baby at 8 weeks). I grieved every one of those BFNs deeply and felt wracked by that grief every freakin’ time. I have posted about this before – I don’t know what’s worse, having losses or never getting a BFP. I don’t know that worse or better even make sense. They are both awful and shake our confidence, break our hearts, kick us in the gonads (literally and figuratively).

      Having encouraged you to take a break, I’m not adverse to doing so myself. It’s not the break, in some ways I think, that troubles me. What’s a few months, really? It’s the fear that I’m just postponing the inevitable failure. I need to work on that before I will find peace, I think.

        • Yeah. Considering the odds are <50% in many cases (yours may be higher since you're so young), it is tough to find peace. You can't look at it that way. This last time, I ignored the stats and just believed – with every cell of my being, I believed I was pregnant before the transfer, after, and even as I knew everything was falling apart, some (delusional) piece of me refused to believe it. In 4ish years trying whether on our own or with "help", I'd never felt that before. I hit the peace and confidence jackpot. And now my fear is I will never be able to do that again. Every loss of innocence on this journey just sucks so much out of us.
          I really do believe IVF will be your answer, though, especially if you go with that clinic you're considering. Wishing you so much luck, love and success in your finding-peace journey!

        • Thank you! I was sharing your story with a friend at lunch and I feel very much the same way about having everything drained when you try to remain 100% hopeful. I just keep reminding myself that this journey is meant to happen. I will become a better person in the end.

        • That’s a great attitude. You will be a better parent, I can assure you of that. If not better as in less likely to mess up (because we all mess up – heaps!), better in that you will be so much more connected to and in love with your children when they do decide to make their appearances. I can say that about myself even knowing that the struggle to conceive and carry #2 has impacted my parenting in negative ways at times, too. On the whole I am a better person and parent for all we’ve gone through. It seems like a crappy, unfair and sometimes cruel way to achieve that outcome, though.

  4. Hey lady, this is always a tough decision for me–I hate taking breaks because I just want to be DONE with ttc. I dunno what else to say (I’m trying to re-group after this last brutal cycle so I’m not at my best) but I support you. *hugs* XOXO

    • Thank you, your friendship and support always means so much to me. We don’t always need to know what to say or even have to say anything. Sometimes it’s good to commiserate, helps knowing others hate the waiting as much as I do. The TCMD is certain my immune system is on hyperdrive so I’m trusting her. She told us we should get pregnant and be able to sustain it 3-4 months after my first big loss and I’d given up, booked IVF when BAM, she was right. So far she’s just saying let’s try to settle my immune system and then check again in August where we are at. I can live with that. Today at least. 😉

      Sorry you’re having such a crappy run of it, too. This last cycle knocked us both for a lousy loop. Thanks for the hugs – back atchya!

  5. I’m chiming in so late that I hesitated to post but I think you and your TCM Dr. are making SO MUCH sense when discussing how to calm your immune system in preparation for your next embie. It’s frustrating that you’re finally being listened to precisely because you’ve removed the “it’s your old eggs” trump card that W medicine plays with women our age. Now they you’re using DE, they have to consider other factors that might be going on with your babies — ones that you’ve been asking about since last year. Ultimately, every bit of this effort will work its way into that perfect pitch and balance that your body needs to bring another baby into this world. Good luck and be kind and gentle to yourself and your dear LP – can’t imagine how tough this must be on both of you.

  6. Hi sweety, this is the million dollar question. If you were doing an IVF with your OE I would say don’t wait another minute as time is essential. However, since you are doing FET with DE I say take time to heal internally, spiritually, and mentally. I say take at least a couple of cycles off and work with your TCMD. In addition to this I say do some things that you won’t be able to do once pregnant. This could be something you already love or always wanted to try, things like horseback riding, sky diving, zip lining, get a tattoo, ride on a roller coaster, big glass of wine! The list is endless but in the end do something that you have been putting off during this never ending journey. So I will end this post with, take the time you need to reconnect with your body and get to a point where you want to do your next FET not need to do it.


    • Thank you, dear friend. That is excellent advice. I can’t imagine me skydiving but now I can go to the dentist to have an old filling replaced ;-). I still feel a little restless and I have moments of just plain sad but on the whole I’m glad to have these coming two or three cycles to care for my body, mind and spirit. I have moments of wishing I’d done this before and some sadness that I wasn’t listening to my body but no good will come of that so I am trying to be gentle and patient with me and this body of mine and maybe we will have some fun while we can, too!

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