It’s been 7 months now since my husband and I made the decision to stop trying to get pregnant. Seven long months since we talked and decided that we were done. Done with fertility treatments, done with trying on our own, just done with the whole crazy emotional roller coaster. This decision was in the works for a while and I had been slowly coming to terms with it over the months leading up to the “final straw”. The “final straw” was, of course, our fourth miscarriage. It was my breaking point and I knew it. I had to stop, for my own mental stability.
Let me give you some background information on our fertility story, since that will help put things into perspective. My husband Dan and I were married in 2008 and started trying to get pregnant in 2010. We thought it would be easy, since we were young and healthy and everyone else seemed to make it look simple. Well lo and behold, it appeared to be easy for us too, seeing as we got pregnant our first month trying. But then at 9 weeks, we found out we had lost twins. Cue total heartbreak. We were told it was bad luck, that it happened to a lot of people, and to try again. So we did. And we got pregnant quickly again, only to lose another baby at 9 weeks. We waited longer this time, before trying again, for our own peace of mind and because I was dealing with some health issues. After 18 months of not trying, we decided we were ready to start again. Only this time it didn’t happen quickly. Month after month we were unsuccessful and we began to lose hope. If before we couldn’t stay pregnant and now we couldn’t get pregnant, surely this wasn’t a good sign. But just as we were hitting the year mark and starting some fertility testing, we found out we were pregnant for the third time. Want to take a guess at what happened? We suffered another miscarriage at 9 weeks. Nine weeks is not a good number for us it seems.
We decided that something must be wrong and there was no way we would try again on our own before getting some testing done. So that was our next step, seeing a fertility clinic to find out what the heck was wrong with us. We were told I have polycystic ovaries, but not PCOS. I have no idea what it all means, but it was explained that my ovaries release premature eggs, which can lead to infertility or early pregnancy loss. So now we at least had some sort of diagnosis, which meant they would hopefully be able to help us. We did five treatment cycles with our clinic, all were medicated but only three were IUI’s. The last cycle, our third IUI, worked. Sort of. We found out we were pregnant on a Thursday and told we weren’t by the Monday. We had a very early loss this time and that is when we knew. This was the end.
But here’s the thing of it, being ready to stop and making the decision to do so is just the beginning. Actually dealing with all the emotions in the months that follow was and is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Letting go is hard and it is a journey.
We made the decision the beginning of November and I felt good about it at first. Well, as good as one can feel about such a huge life decision. But with each passing week, the feelings kept coming and pretty soon I was down in the dumps. You know the place, I’m sure. The bottom of the pit where you just sit and cry and wonder what you ever did to deserve this. When you question everything and everyone and you feel guilty and broken and useless. If I wasn’t going to have kids, then what? What was I working towards and what was my goal in life? Ever since I was a little girl, my goal was to be a mom, to have four kids and stay at home raising them. It was supposed to be easy and yet here I was, in a pit of despair. I spent basically all of the winter there, crying and whining and wondering what I was going to do with my life. Was I just going to sit at home forever doing nothing? Should I go back to school? Should I go back to work? What should I do? I felt worthless, I felt like a failure, I felt completely and utterly broken.
Fortunately, there is usually an end to this misery. Well, not an end exactly, more like a hiatus. I’ve been in a similar place before and I know that eventually there is a reprise, even if it is brief. For me this break came in March, when the weather started warming up and I started to rise out of the fog a bit. I wasn’t good, but I wasn’t as bad as I had been. Day by day, I felt a little better and a little stronger, like maybe I could actually get through this, that my life was still good, despite my inability to have a child.
I’m 99.9% sure that letting go of having a biological child is something that I will deal with for the rest of my life, that I will have good days and I will have bad days. I know that I will enter back into that pit at some point, because I am human and I break sometimes. So this process of letting go is something that I will always have to work on, but I hold onto the hope that one day it will be a little easier.
Because if there is one thing I have learned along the last 6 years of my infertility journey, it is that I can only take it one day at a time. So I will take a deep breath and face today, which is all I can do.
Jennie Vanier, The Canadian Housewife