How do you handle life’s unexpected “curve balls”’ and challenges? I must say I have not been handling things as well as I would have hoped these last few weeks. Infertility makes us stronger than we ever thought possible and shows us that we can handle so much more physically, mentally and emotionally than we ever thought we could. But it’s also incredibly draining and sometimes feels like one failure after another that you wonder how much longer you can keep this up and how you will keep the hope alive.
Last month my husband and I decided to go for a second opinion after two failed IVF cycles, leaving us with only one embryo that developed to day five and none to be frozen. We were devastated that each attempt at IVF seemed to end the same…with no pregnancy after our only transfer and no embryos to freeze to try again. The first time IVF failed, I could swallow that because I understood that IVF cannot possibly work for everyone on the first attempt (even though I prayed and pleaded that it would).
We all hope that it will and for some, this is reality, but it can’t realistically work for everyone and I understand that. But after the second round when it ended in sadness and heartache again while also leaving us in debt, we thought this can’t be it.
This can’t be how our story ends.
How will we afford to pay for a third round of IVF? What if the doctor feels that there is no more hope? What would our next steps be and can we accept the options given to us? I am only 31 years old. Why is this happening to me and my husband? Is it me or could it be science that is failing us?
I could not get these thoughts and questions out of my mind which led me to wonder if it was time for a fresh set of eyes and a second opinion. Not that I was unhappy with the clinic we are at or our doctor, I just wanted to make sure that we were exploring every single avenue that could lead us to our miracle baby. I think this is fair and my gut told me it was what was needed.
At this point, we were ready to try again but needed reassurance this could work as we were honestly starting to worry and doubt that it would. I am sure many of you have felt like this along your journey and if you haven’t, I commend you for your unwavering faith and commitment as I wish I could be that strong and believe without doubt that we will get the child we long for so badly.
I was able to get into the new clinic fairly quickly and met with the physician.
She was young, smart, to the point, and clearly well educated in her practice. She was patient, kind and explained things very well. I liked her right away but then she dropped a huge bomb on me that I was not expecting—the fact that she believes the reason our IVF hasn’t worked out to date is NOT just because I have low ovarian reserve and poor egg quality.
She believes that there could be a genetic factor causing my eggs to fertilize but not be able to develop properly past day three of growth or implant. She stated that if this is the case that a biological child using my own eggs would no longer be feasible. You can work with poor egg quality but cannot fix a genetic chromosomal issue.
My heart sank so far into my chest that I was sure I would find it on the floor beneath my chair. How could this be true? Why had no one mentioned or thought of this before now, almost a year into our IVF journey? She must be wrong…she will be wrong…but what if she’s right? Everything she said after that was a blur. She ordered genetic testing on both my husband and myself and insisted we not move along with IVF at any clinic until getting the results as if they come back positive it would not work anyways. I left feeling more confused than ever and deeply sad.
I went into that appointment hopeful for a new protocol and ready to start IVF #3 and left with an eight-week wait to find out if our dream of biological children was just that…a dream. Now I know this may sound like I am complaining about possibly not being able to have a child with my own egg and my husband’s sperm, but I am complaining!
I want that so badly.
I want a mini ‘us‘. I know there is still the option for adoption, donor egg or embryo adoption and we will consider all of those if the time comes; but those aren’t the ways my hubby and I want to start our family. It is not the way we have envisioned our family. There is nothing wrong with any of those options, but it is a huge decision and both of us need to feel that the decision is right for our family.
And right now I just do not know what we will do when faced with those options. In all honesty, we would prefer to start our family in the bedroom but I am perfectly okay with getting some help from science. I am grateful to have the option for IVF and remain hopeful it will be the answer to our issue.
So now we are in our eight-week wait to find out the results of the genetic testing with about just over four weeks to go and it has been agonizing.
I’ve been trying to find ways to keep my mind occupied and have filled my spare time with activities and socializing and planning an upcoming trip in November. But I have to admit, it is always there in the back of my mind. I feel like we are in the longest countdown of our lives to see if the future we have been working so hard for and hoping for is still a possibility, or if we are about to have to accept a new future that may or may not include a genetic child of our own.
Only time will tell, but for the first time in the four years that I have been on this journey of infertility, I am hoping and praying for a negative test result. Go figure eh.
By Fairen Balogh, ababyforthebaloghs.wordpress.com