This is the roller coaster ride that I originally experienced when we were trying to conceive. Years ago. This was the monthly thing that started to happen when I realized things might be difficult, but didn’t yet have medical support. This is what people think of when I say that fertility treatment is a bumpy journey.
But there is a much bumpier journey, to me. The treatment itself is something that most people just have no idea about. There is a media expectation that you decide to do IVF, go to a clinic for some tests, take a bunch of injections at home and are really cranky, and then get a baby. Or not, as per the above chart. But it is rarely that straightforward.
We are really only at the beginning of trying again, but already… well, I just thought I might give you a bit of an idea:
09Oct2014: Have surgery to clear tubes. Great news – it worked. Maybe we can hope for the best, here. We consult with our awesome doctor and agree that the best case scenario is that we can go for an IUI (intrauterine insemination… relatively cheap and easy). Celebrate!
23Nov2014: Start some oral medications for pre-IUI. Hooray!
30Nov2014: IUI day! Go to clinic. No go… The Mr. didn’t react well enough to HIS medications. What? They worked two years ago. “Oh yeah. We have a 4th infertility factor. Yeah, that makes sense.” IUI canceled. Cried a lot.
21Jan2015: The Mr. goes in for some further testing. Nope, this IUI thing isn’t going to be an option. Well, shit.
22Jan2015: Start to prepare myself for the idea that we will go ahead and transfer our last frozen embryo. Anytime. Anytime now. Terrified. Decide I need a solid decision on what we will do if it fails, BEFORE we go for it. Lay awake all night long.
23Jan2015: Talk. Talk a lot. Research a bunch. Run budgets, call nurses. Decide to do the frozen and transfer, and that we will bite the bullet and do whatever it is that we need to go ahead with another full IVF cycle if our little frozen snowflake decides not to stick. Worry.
25Jan2015: Amazingly, now that we’ve made the decision, the financial concerns seem to fall away. Gratitude.
26Jan2015: Realize, with some shock, that if the above is going to be true, we need to ahead and do this rightthisminute. Call the clinic. Hurry hurry. Scramble. Make appointments. Too busy to feel much of anything.
27Jan2015 am: Take my daughter with me to the fertility clinic for a very early morning blood test. Now we’re getting real. She snoozes in her jammies and shark slippers on the waiting room couch, curled up beside me and I feel guilty. She gets up and drinks her milk, and she beams at some of you. She doesn’t understand why it’s quiet, why people aren’t being social. If you happen to look up, she gives a small wave and says hi, tries to show you her companion, Grover. Some smile back. Some stare harder into their iPhone screens. I wish I could tell you this girl here is an ICSI baby, who came about with help from the very doctor you’re about to see. I can’t, but I hope you know anyway. And I’m so sorry.
27Jan2015 pm: I get the blood results back. Doc says it’s a go. Start to tell family, friends, people I run into, anybody who wants to know what’s new. I’m over being quiet about this stuff – I’ve done that before, it didn’t work for me. I’m feeling certain, and awesome. Calm.
28Jan2015, am: Another long drive to the clinic. This is orientation day. This is where we mark a little paper calendar with all sorts of colour coding, and get a refresher on how to mix up the little vials of medication that might as well contain gold. Build camaraderie with the nurse who is going to walk us through this entire process. Speak to the financial lady… not that fun, but not terrible, because everything is looking rosy.
28Jan2015, pm: Look, I know. I know that these things never go without bumps. Do I think we’re going to get a February cycle? No, I do not. I do not think my body is going to cooperate with that. There are decisions that are just made. Not by me and my husband, or my doctor, or even my bank account. If my cycle doesn’t agree with that colour-coded calendar, we just don’t proceed.
Do I know for sure? Not yet. I’m okay, though. If we have to do an early spring cycle, I think we can make that work, and I’ll be happy with it. I now expect the ups and downs, and that makes them a whole lot easier for me to cope with. It’s just part of this game. It’s okay now.
It’s okay for me because my ICSI baby is downstairs, cuddled up with Grover and a plastic tea dish (yup, weird), sleeping soundly, and unaware that her family might (hopefully!) change. I am privileged that the roller coaster is feeling safe this time… it didn’t always.