I feel like I have spent the last few years waiting for something…a positive result, the infamous ‘two week wait’, another day 10, another referral, another appointment… To say “patience is a virtue” is an understatement when faced with infertility.
Right now, I am stuck in the period of waiting before the start of drugs and self-injected needles. This is my first experience with IVF (in Canada) and all I can see in front of me is more and more waiting. The way I understand it, the whole process resembles something like this:
- Waiting for the doctor appointment to get the official “Yes, you should do IVF.”
- Waiting for our minds to be made up “Yes, I will do IVF”
- Waiting for the phone call to say “You are on the waiting list.”
- Waiting for the call that says “It’s your turn”
- Waiting for the consent forms/paperwork
- Waiting for the pharmacy and needle tutorial appointment
- Waiting for our periods so we can start our drugs
- Waiting for our next ultrasound and blood work (and repeat 5+ times)
- Waiting for the good news that “Yes, we can proceed with this cycle”
- Waiting for the egg retrieval
- Waiting for the phone call with the results of the fertilization
- Waiting for the embryo transfer
- Waiting through the dreaded ‘two week wait’
- Waiting for the ‘Big Fat Positive’ or ‘Big Fat No’
- Waiting for baby or waiting to do this all over again
For those unfamiliar with the process, I am sure I haven’t even captured it all. And, this is just IVF – a small piece of the infertility iceberg. Month after month – waiting – negative after negative…it’s no wonder that we all become some form of fertility-crazy project managers. With all this waiting, we have time to rethink every moment. It’s like a scar of ‘what if scenarios’ and we can’t help but pick at the scab with a series of thoughts – “what if I hadn’t had that drink” or “what if I hadn’t had gone for that massage” or “what if I hadn’t had that bath” or “what if my husband didn’t ride his bike.” I truly believe this infertility experience is a small form of mental torture that as much as I try to ignore it only gets crazier.
There are times when I can act like a normal person – busy at work, working out, a date night with my husband – but eventually life gets quiet again and the waiting begins, and the minds starts to run. To respond “keep busy and get out more” doesn’t provide comfort as no one knows the anxiety that can come with “keeping busy.” I can do activities by myself or with my husband but expanding beyond that could mean I am entering a dreaded unsafe social situation zone where any question could hit me between the eyes. What is that? It could be anything but typically it’s a social gathering – Christmas parties, casual lunches, girls night out, weddings, birthday parties, a family reunion – they are all situations with emotional landmines. Sometimes I navigate the occasion with ease avoiding any type of family style question/comments, but occasionally these innocent questions sneek into the conversation “do you have kids?”; “when are you starting a family?”; or even the simple “how are you? what’s new?”
Needless to say..over the next month as we jump into the deep end of the IVF waiting pool…I will likely be extremely selective with social situations. Waiting will be hard enough, so no need for me to step on a landmine too!
I am excited, but scared, it feels like I am standing at a base of a mountain and I know I want to climb it. I am tired and it’s just me and my husband with our Sherpas. I know that it is going to be the most gruelling physical and emotional journey we have ever experienced….and believe it or not…I can’t wait.