Start all over again….
This was my first IVF cycle and I’m still in a bit of shock after receiving a BFN (big fat negative) beta/blood test result yesterday. There are three things that I know to be true:
1. I am definitely infertile. The diagnosis is correct. It doesn’t mean that I won’t be a mom, but it does mean that I’ve accepted my diagnosis. I wonder if people diagnosed with cancer go through this identity crisis. You are the person you are, you do chemo and this is because you were diagnosed with cancer. I am Jenna, I did IUI and IVF, and this was because I was diagnosed with infertility. In both cases, I believe that the treatments test your strength, your resilience and alter who you are to some degree. The diagnosis however, did not get real until yesterday. You might be thinking “you’ve never been pregnant and have been doing treatments for the better part of the last year, did that not clue you in to the infertility thing?” I simply did not think that was me. I thought I’d be the one that it would work out for quickly and that I’d put it behind me and be a complaining pregnant woman in no time. I thought I needed a nudge – that was clomid. Clomid is the Windex of the fertility world. (think my big fat greek wedding) My OB threw it at me as a fix-all and then 3 months of no results, weight gain and wasted time, I finally went to the RE who told me it wouldn’t have done anything for me anyway. Is there an other word for frustration? I need one right about now. After progressing to IVF and seeing 2 perfect 8 cell embryos transferred back inside me, I prematurely started to mourn my time as an infertile. Like it was simply a stage of life – I thought I was done. I was thinking next steps – I would miss my support groups? Would we still get together? Getting that call and hearing the negative results felt as if the “cancer” had come back aggressively.
*Please know that it is not my intention to downplay anyone’s cancer diagnosis. My mother is a cancer survivor and thus, I take my analogies from that experience. She has affirmed the similarity between the two diagnoses.
2. I have learned gratitude. How could I be grateful at a time like this? Yet I am. I am grateful for my husband. He is my best friend and partner and he has been an absolute saint through it all. I know how much this news hurt him as well. Each piece of bad news brings us closer and affirms that we do want to be parents. I am grateful for that as I can see clearly how the stress could rip a couple apart. I am grateful for the strength of my relationship with my mother. Like every mother and daughter, we’ve had our rough patches. As I’ve gotten older, we’ve become closer but this journey has deepened our relationship in ways I didn’t know possible. She is not only my mother, she is my best girlfriend. Speaking of friends, I have found a community, both locally and nationally of women who I support and who support me. I feel as if I’ve been gifted a whole additional group of friends who are there for me without judgement throughout this process. I am also grateful for getting this far in the process. I did not have a high egg count before retrieval – only 4. They suggested an IUI and I fought for IVF. Only 2 eggs fertilized, but THEY FERTILIZED! I also have never gotten to the pregnancy test before this. I am grateful for hearing the news via phone – so much nicer than finding out the “natural” way (AF.) I am grateful that our insurance covers these procedures. I give so much credit to those who are self-pay – it’s just not fair. I am also grateful for the things I am learning about myself. I am strong – stronger than I thought. I am an advocate for myself. I am passionate about finding ways of educating people about this medical condition that is not a choice. I am also grateful for my last cycle which sent me on a downward spiral so deep that it was hard to climb out of. That cycle showed me the lowest point possible and allowed me to make a decision not to let this IVF cycle break me. I’m shocked, I’m very sad, I’m tired, I’m a little down, I’m a lot angry, but I’m not broken.
3. I will be a mother. Somehow, someway, I will become a mother. That has not changed for me. I think that the best thing to come out of all of the negativity (pun intended) has been the continued affirmation that I want to become a mother. I don’t know how that will happen exactly, I’m hoping it will happen via the next round of IVF. For now, I’m going to practice by mothering myself this week. Taking good care, keeping a routine, settling in for the month before we start again.
So that’s it. I’m sure it all reads positively and that’s ok. I know how I feel inside and would not quite describe it as positive, but I’m also not in a danger zone. We’ll see what happens when I re-enter the general population tomorrow. Just please if god/buddha/whoever is listening, I know you will not give me anything I cannot handle and I am receiving the lessons of this struggle. If you could throw me a bone here and just keep people from offering advice tomorrow? I had a few glasses of wine, felt like crap today, cried, ate, worked out, hugged my dog and my husband and I’m doing a great great job of handling myself. I just need people (non-infertiles) to say “sorry – i’m here” or nothing at all. Please hear me on this one?
To all of you waiting to start cycles, stimming, in the 2ww or in another part of your journey, I hope that you are able to find some of some of the glimmers that help us to know that we are still here and growing. I t’s so hard to find the light when there is darkness all around us through this process but it’s there – it has to be. xoxo