On some level, I think the majority of people only think about IVF treatments in terms of the big moments… Retrieval day. Transfer day. Results Day. But what is impossible to grasp, unless you’ve lived it, is all the work behind the scenes to achieve those milestones. The oral medications. The daily (sometimes twice) injections. The trips for bloodwork every-other day. The countless ultrasounds. Diet restrictions. Workout restrictions. Scheduling all of this around work, weekends, travel, holidays, everyday life. Imagine, juggling all of this before you’ve even sniffed actually being pregnant. For those who are lucky enough to have success and become parents, absolutely worth it. But what about those who aren’t?
We are a seemingly healthy couple that should have no issues conceiving. After 4 years of trying to build a family without success, we ‘took the next step.’ In the subsequent 3 years we’ve been through four rounds of IUI, three surgeries, one ‘very successful’ retrieval, three failed embryo transfers, and two natural pregnancies; one ectopic that we caught in time to save my tube and one real glimmer of hope, the baby we lost at 11 weeks on my 36th birthday.
I debated about sharing all of this. But ultimately, I think it provides important context. In the childbearing race, I’ve been lapped countless times by my friends, cousins, and complete strangers alike. And as much love and joy as I have for those babies and people, it still hurts plenty. So to those of you who are still in my shoes yearning for that moment, I get it. I truly do.
But as much as we’ve struggled, we’ve also become stronger as a team and gained a great deal. Perspective for one. Compassion for others in our situation. Gratitude for each other, our time together and the life we currently have. Hope for what the future still holds.
No matter where you’re at on your infertility journey, just remember there are no guarantees. Everyone has a different capacity - emotionally, physically, financially – for what they can endure. There is no right or wrong. My advice to anyone is control the things you can. Do your research, trust in the decisions you make, surround yourself with people that fill your cup, take time to sit with your emotions, and love yourself no matter the outcome. There are so many avenues to becoming a parent, and if that is your ultimate calling it will happen. Be gentle with yourself along the way.