Over the weekend, someone asked me how I have found the courage to try for another baby, when I had such a terrifying delivery. It was a great question, because it really made me think.
I concluded that for the person who never experienced pregnancy loss, infertility, or a high-risk pregnancy, but who haemorrhaged during delivery, that is the point at which her innocence is lost; whereas for me, I lost my innocence a long time ago. I know how much can go so wrong.
And yet, I never thought I would be here.
When we chose egg donation to build our family, I thought a second child was a given. By removing my wonky DNA from the equation, why wouldn’t it work? “All we have to do is pick a date…” I wrote over a year ago. Oh, innocence.
We’ve been trying to get pregnant since September. There are women who did DEIVF cycles just ahead of me last year, and their babies are starting to arrive. I’ve climbed back on the horse, again and again, but I’m still trying to get out of the gate. We’ve spent so much money. We’ve gone through half of our embryos.
“When you transfer a euploid [“chromosomally normal”] embryo into a woman who has not had problems getting pregnant, and she doesn’t get pregnant, twice… then we have to consider two possibilities: either there’s a problem with her uterus, or there’s a problem with the embryos.”
Two RE’s said this. And it’s hit me, full force. Metaphorically, I don’t know whether it’s around the face or in the gut, but I’m feeling winded. I was stupid to think all we had to do was pick a date for transfer. How fucking naïve. You’d think after everything I’d been through, I’d know better. Accepting hysterectomy as a real and likely outcome of a second delivery was never the final trade-off.
Here I am, at the beginning of a third FET cycle. I am the freak whose hormone levels weren’t suppressed by two weeks of birth control overlapping with 10 days of Lupron: at last week’s baseline ultrasound, a black circle flashed across the screen and I knew I had a cyst. A walnut-sized cyst that has pushed back our original transfer date.
The delay I can handle. I can use the ‘extra time’ to get that much more in shape, to ‘detox’ (I stopped coffee and alcohol two weeks ago), to be on Lupron which is a treatment for endometriosis.
The hardest part is not knowing how this ends. I think how I weaned my girl because I was advised to, and I agreed because I thought I’d be pregnant a few weeks later. I think about all the shit I’m putting my body through—the Lupron makes me feel sluggish and anxious, and I have brief palpitations every day—and wonder if it will be worth it. Sure, if there’s a kid at the end of all of this, of course all of this will have been worth it. But what if there’s not?
If this next cycle doesn’t work, I’m going to feel very disheartened. Because then it will suggest the problem really isn’t with my body, it’s with the embryos. I wonder what the chances are that all of them have been damaged. I wonder if they’re not damaged, what variable there is that could improve our chances. I’m already doing everything I can think of.
So, here I am. Hovering between hope and devastation. I still have some fight left in me. But I wonder at what point I’ll just be grimly going through the motions.
Miracles happen, right?