In addition to the crazy number of things that are unbelievably difficult about dealing with infertility – financial stress, physical stress, emotional stress, relationship stress – the thing that’s getting to me at the moment is a disconnection from my core. I’m accustomed to having a good sense of what I want and then going after it, and I’m accustomed to knowing what I feel is true and right. I’ve lived my life following my true north, so to speak, and checking in with myself from time to time to make sure I know where I am. But at the moment I feel completely off balance and like I’m spinning, with no sense of what is real anymore or what I should do. Checking in my my core is about as useful as using a Magic 8 Ball, because my core seems to have packed up and gone on vacation. Like, fuck this infertility shit, man, I’m off to the Bahamas.
We just went through our 5th cycle of IVF. 5th fucking cycle. I can’t even believe this shit. Anyway, the goal was to increase my dosage of meds so as to produce as many eggs as possible, and then transfer a higher number of embryos. We all agreed this would be the last cycle. Given that I’ve normally produced roughly 10 eggs a cycle, I was assuming we would certainly get more than that, particularly because my doctor nearly doubled my dosage of meds.
But when we retrieved the eggs on Sunday there were only 5 eggs. And only 1 was mature.
That one measly egg fertilized and they immediately froze it to transfer on a natural cycle, which is yet another new step being introduced. But anyone who knows anything about IVF knows that 1 fertilized egg is basically nothing. There’s no guarantee it will even keep growing when they thaw it, not to mention the fact that freezing can sometimes damage the fertilized eggs. And even if it does grow there’s no guarantee it will implant, particularly given our history and my egg quality issues.
So now our doctor is suggesting a 6th – and apparently final – round of stimulation to get more eggs to freeze and then transfer with the currently frozen one.Sure, a 6th round. Right, no big deal. Just another $15,000+ dollars. Pocket change, really. She says this 5th cycle was an off cycle – which apparently happens? – and isn’t an indicator of anything, and that she still wants to proceed with our original goal of transferring a higher number of embryos. But honestly, I don’t know what to believe anymore.
I keep telling myself that it’s Cornell, one of the best places for reproductive care in the country and perhaps world. I keep telling myself to trust the doctors, because they’ve seen this thousands of times before and know what they’re doing.
But my experience is that we try and try and try, and I put myself through fucking hell, and nothing pays off. My experience is that this feels like a losing battle. It feels like I need to give up. Sometimes I think that we’ve wanted too much, that we’ve asked for too much, that we’ve gone to the universe again and again saying “please?” only to have the universe smack us down and yet we somehow can’t get the message. Sometimes I think we just we need to settle for what we have and stop striving for what we don’t have. The very nature of infertility treatments is to strive for what you don’t have, and it leaves me feeling empty and lost and uncentered and exhausted and disconnected from the joys that actually do exist in my life.
I want to believe, Scully. I’m just not sure I do anymore.