As Arthur and I got into our break from trying to conceive, I realized that while it was nice to not have to schedule doctor’s appointments and inject myself, I was still not quite at ease. In the back of my mind, I was continually counting cycle days even when I tried not to. I found myself abstaining from caffeine and all those other things you’re not supposed to eat when you’re pregnant midway through the cycle almost without thinking about it. I wondered if maybe trying to go natural was going to produce a miracle.
So when my period showed up, I found myself incredibly depressed for a cycle where we supposedly weren’t trying. That provoked a bit of soul-searching, and I finally realized what the problem was: we had a big decision hovering in the background which made me anxious.
I have a number of life goals beyond getting pregnant and having a baby. While I want a baby more than any of those other goals, I realized that for over a year now, getting pregnant has consumed my life and resources. As long as going through infertility treatment and all the emotions/difficulties/resources were invested in that arena, there was no way that we could move forward with other goals and ideas. I could not go back to school for my master’s degree and spend the time in the doctor’s office for infertility treatments. We could not plan a trip without worrying about the money or if we’d need to cancel due to something related to infertility treatment.
IVF – the expense, physical difficulties, and emotional worry – had hung over us like a threat since the day we found out that conceiving wasn’t going to be as easy as we’d hoped. The anxiety over IVF had a lot to do with the expense, not the other aspects. It was always the black cloud on the horizon, the thing I found myself checking the savings each time we even considered spending money, just to make sure we had enough to cover an IVF cycle – just in case. It provoked incredible anxiety. I felt paralyzed. I couldn’t start a new project, new classes or travel; what if we needed that time or money for IVF? What if finally something worked and we got pregnant?
After the beautiful cycle in July that ultimately wound up falling short of the goal, Arthur and I were very, very conflicted. One day, we’d consider going straight to IVF. The next, we would wonder if we should definitely do one more IUI/injectable cycle. The expense of the IUI was less monetarily, but the expense of time and emotion were potentially higher. IUI gave us at best a 20-25% shot at a pregnancy, falling far short of our RE’s office pregnancy rate with IVF at around 60% given my age and conditions. Going IUI gave us a much higher chance of having another heartbreaking negative while I would still have to be at the doctor’s office almost as often as I would for an IVF cycle (ah, the *fun* of having really nutty ovaries that have to be monitored almost constantly and never respond to the drugs the same way twice!).
I couldn’t do it. After considering for some time, I realized I probably have only about one or two more cycles in me before I’d need an extended break. We finally set up a consult with Dr. D, our RE, and outlined our issues. The decision we’d been dancing around since we first found out we were infertile was finally made.
It’s time to move on to IVF.
It’s amazing how once the decision was made, I could finally breathe again. It had happened, we had survived, we had enough resources to go ahead. The anxiety level dropped almost immediately. Finally, we had a plan. There was no specter lurking in the background to frighten, to wonder if we would have to cross a final frontier. Now we will know, even if the IVF doesn’t take, that we have done everything in our power to conceive a baby. I’m finding myself at some sort of peace at last. I pray every day that the IVF works, but I know deep down that if it doesn’t, we’ll come up with a new plan. I don’t know what that plan might look like, but I’m finally confident that we’ll figure it out.
I’m weirdly excited about doing IVF. There is a part of me that I thought had surely died during all the disappointing cycles and cancellations that is suddenly welling over with hope. At least this time, the odds are somewhat in our favor (although we all know what they say about statistics: the order goes lies, damn lies, and then statistics…). That alone is enough to make me hope that maybe this time it will work. That alone is enough to get me to go through the rigorous injection and physical component of IVF. That alone is worth every penny of what we’re spending.
In preparation for the big cycle, scheduled tentatively for early November, my RE has placed me on birth control to get my crazy cycles regulated. Strangely enough, this is another freeing aspect. I know I’m not going to get pregnant for these next couple of months. So I plan to work up my distance running, try to lose about 15 pounds, and enjoy fully leaded coffee. Savor this time with Arthur while it’s just the two of us.
Here’s hoping it works.