February marks the anniversary of my first IVF experience….way back in 2015, I was riding the “CRA- CRA” train with obsessive thoughts. Valentine’s Day and the Family Day Long Weekend marked the days that I did my trigger shot and retrieval. At that time, I thought it was a good omen to be going through all that on the weekend that celebrated love and family. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite work out the way we had hoped and here I am a year later with 2 failed IVF’s under my belt and a long adoption journey ahead (sigh).
For those reading who might be new to my blog, to summarize quickly, last year my infertility struggle came to a conclusion after two rounds of IVF…both ending with 3 Day Transfers, nothing to freeze and a negative result. In October I was told that IVF was not the treatment for me (bum eggs). It was sad. I was depressed. I cried….AND I was broke (financially and emotionally). It wasn’t fair…I had taken a giant leap of faith into the universe and had been rewarded by falling flat on my face and then finished off with a beating to my soul.
After each failure, there was a period of depression…the little rain cloud followed me around and I felt glum 24/7; getting out of bed was often a chore. When I looked in the mirror, I saw the sadness in my eyes and I felt like there was no coming back from that dark place. After the doctor said no more IVF’s, we needed something to help us move forward so as to not get stuck in this dark spot. We took a few small steps toward adoption. It was our little bright light at end the dark tunnel. Adoption was a path that offered a “sure thing” for us…but not without its own hurdles to jump over, such as: a long waiting list (3 years), more money ($$), and a new idea of what a family looks like with birth parents in the mix.
This morning as I drove to work, I was listening to a podcast and the guy speaking was reflecting that the best teachings in his life came from his adversities. He said that in those moments of the hard stuff, he acknowledges they are horrible…but when you get through them, you can see the richness of teaching this horrible experience brought to you. Of course, the hard part is remembering in the middle of “the horrible” that there will be teachings. It’s a mature thought I would have struggled with a year ago, but today his words rang true to me.
A year ago, I was in the midst of “the horrible.” The toughest crisis I had ever faced; every hour of every day was consumed with the thought of babies, drugs or symptom spotting. My mind was a three ring circus. I was emotionally fragile and a mess of emotions due to being swaddled by drugs and hormones; bouts of crying were a given several times a week. I felt like I would never know the “old carefree me” again. But here I am, a year later, and I can breathe. My mind is quieter these days…occasionally thoughts creep in regarding infertility…but it doesn’t consume every waking thought. I even see shades of my old self emerging, I am a little more carefree and no longer shackled to the days of the month and next treatment dates. The biggest change (relief) is I don’t crumble at the sight of pregnant women or hearing a pregnancy announcement. I am happy to say that the girl who looks back at me in the mirror doesn’t have the sadness in her eyes like she used to, instead I see depth of wisdom, compassion and hope.
Was it fair for me to go through all that? Hell No! Is it fair for any of us to go through this? Hell No! If I got a do-over, would I skip “the horrible” experience? Hell No! This struggle/disease, as ugly as it is, has given me something in return. Not a baby (yet!)…but I have a stronger marriage and a deeper connection to my husband. I know myself better today than I did. I know I can be taken to the darkest spaces in my heart and soul and I am capable of crawling back out and seeing the silver lining of life again. There is hope, there will always be more choices…we just have to open ourselves to them.
So, I conclude, that somehow, I got through it. I wish I had taken notes…so I could tell you all exactly what to do, but I lost my pen and now I can’t remember the steps. What I can share, and what I want everyone to know, is that we’re all going to be alright. This infertility journey sucks…it feels never ending and at times feels all consuming…but you will find yourself again. Not exactly as you left her, but a version of her…whom I believe is a better person for it.