Wednesday, November 23, 2016

When I Knew It Was Time to Stop

Going through fertility treatments felt like a full time job. So many appointments. So many procedures. It took up so much time. It was the main thing that was going on in my life and I didn't want to talk about it with anyone. (Later, when nothing worked, I would be thankful that I didn't tell everyone because that meant I didn't have to go back and tell a bunch of people I wasn't pregnant.)

It was so expensive and so stressful and I was so sad and mad and scared. It really sucked. And I think I had the rare positive experience with my RE.

I remember going in for one of my IUIs. I was waiting for the elevator and when the door opened, my doctor walked out. No one else was in the hallway and she happily exclaimed, "Good luck!" (The nurse was going to do the procedure, not my doctor.) I remember being so surprised that she remembered me. I said, "You know who I am?" And she seemed surprised. She said, "Of course I know who you are," and she addressed me by name. "You are my patient and I was just looking at your chart and everything looks good!!" I'll be forever grateful. I always felt like a person at that clinic; I never felt like a number.

But even with all of the positives lined up: great clinic, friendly doctor, nice nurses, gifted phlebotomists, beautiful waiting room, free parking... The whole thing still took its toll.

I was dying on the inside. I was taking my hormone injections, eating healthy, downing vitamins and supplements by the handful, trying to do the most natural thing in the world... And I was losing myself. I became a shell of a person.

After the first IUI didn't work, I thought, well, that's okay- it often takes several tries. I knew an acquaintance that got pregnant on her 4th IUI. I didn't make it that far. While it was always my choice what to do, my doctor encouraged me not to do more than 3 IUIs. She explained that, after that, the odds just weren't in my favor.

So after 3 IUIs, I tried IVF. I've mentioned it before, but IVF changed me. I can now get my blood drawn like a champ. Things that used to scare me before don't phase me now. And nothing seems very important or stressful (i.e. grad school) because, after you lose your children, not much else matters by comparison.

I did it. I went through IVF. Twice. Injections. Ultrasounds. Blood draws. Egg retrieval. Waiting for updates. Embryo transfer. Waiting for two long weeks. Hoping, hoping, hoping, while also trying to protect myself from the worst somehow...

And that first phone call after my first IVF destroyed me. It didn't work. I wasn't pregnant.

Somehow I powered through, took a cycle off from treatment, and then immediately went into my second round of IVF. I knew in the back of my mind that if I stopped, I would never try again...

It didn't work.
I wasn't pregnant.

I was empty and had nothing left to give to the process.

Just like with IUIs, I wanted to try 3 IVFs. Or maybe even 4. But I couldn't do it. I was done. It was like there was no decision to be made. I just knew I couldn't do it anymore.

My doctor was always realistic about my chances. With each treatment, my chance for success dropped significantly. She said I could try a third or even a fourth IVF, but she wasn't hopeful that it would work. She talked to me about donor eggs. And adoption. Said if I wanted to try another clinic, she was more than happy to discuss my case with another doctor. But I didn't want to go anywhere else. I tried my best. Everyone did. I felt there was nothing else I could do. Thankful for the opportunity to try and walking away without regrets, I was done with medical intervention.

I knew it was going to take me a long time, but I had to figure out how to start living again.


  1. Yes, we did our best. Mine was just one IVF (and a catastrophic quarter). When the odds drop lower with each one, as mine did, no one can blame you for stopping. I also didn't want to talk about it with anyone when I was undergoing it, and after. I knew it probably wouldn't work. A family member didn't respect this and told some people; six years later I still cringe about that.
    Thanks. I always find something in your posts that I can totally relate to.

    1. You know what's weird? I didn't think my treatments were going to work either. Of course, I was hoping I was wrong but... I wasn't.

  2. This all sounds very familiar to me. You just KNOW when you've had enough. At least, I did. Of course, everyone's limits are different.

    1. I wondered how/when I would know. And then, when I couldn't do it anymore, that's when I knew. I even tried to kind of talk myself into one more time, but I just couldn't do it. I was so completely done.