Life interrupted: Our infertility strikes again
I've been quiet here, trying to figure out how to break the ice these past two weeks.
Here are some blog topics I was pondering to help with the awkward silence:
*best fall activities for the family
*our favorite fall recipes
*the ultimate California road trip
*10 things to do in Sonoma
*day in the life of mom/digital editor/small business founder
*an advanced guide to surviving Black Friday
*fall fashion tips (though it's a balmy 80 degrees here in Southern California today)
So, how about them Red Sox?!
(Congratulations, Boston fans. We were sad to see our Yankees crumble so badly, but I digress.)
All of my ideas felt kind of disingenuous, when all I wanted to do was write about our latest KO in our (in)fertility match.
Our family has been struggling for two weeks following the devastating news that the last of our four frozen embryos from a 2015 IVF round did not take. I'd barely recovered from our previous failed transfer in June.
We got the call two weeks ago on Tuesday. Right in the parking lot of LG's Montessori school before pick-up.
"We do not detect a pregnancy at this time. We are very sorry, but the doctor would like to book a follow-up consultation with you --"
"Um, yeah, we're not ready for that right now, but thanks," I said as I hung up the phone, fighting back tears. I was having deja-vu. We've gotten calls like this four times in the past.
I looked over at my husband. "It's what I already knew," I said. I had taken two at-home pregnancy tests. Both were negative. While I'd pretty much given up, a very small part of me was hoping for a miracle.
My husband nodded at me, grabbed my hand and we ran in to rescue our kiddo from school where we squeezed him till he popped.
So this puts us at 0-2 with our fertility clinic in Redondo Beach. And I'll probably question everything they did/I did these past several months, possibly for forever. Like having a new crush might help someone get over a bad breakup, you don't really recover from these failed transfers/fertility treatments until you're blessed (some will never be) with a healthy pregnancy.
We started this whole process back in South Carolina in 2014 and I wrote about it here in the Guardian and here in The Huffington Post. I've gotten so many lovely emails and messages from women -- both friends and strangers -- who have been through similar infertility battles that if I ever debate writing about this the answer is yes, Monica, write the thing. If it reaches one person in need, that's enough.
Our infertility story ended, or so I thought, when we got a BFP (or "big fat positive" in the social world of TTC or "trying to conceive") back in December 2015. Our beautiful son was born the following August. It took us until this spring to feel ready to start thinking about transferring our third embryo (we transferred one at a time and the first one didn't take before the embryo that became LG did). Moving forward was going to involve a big cross-country move for our two remaining embabies who were on ice at the fertility lab in Charleston.
After a horrendous ordeal of 2,984 notaries, 239 documents and scans, and $2,000 in shipping bills, we got our embabies to our new clinic in Redondo. We transferred our third embaby back in June. It did not take. This gutted me in ways I didn't expect to be gutted. I thought for sure with a child that the pain of a failed transfer would be dulled. It was not. Here's the reaction I posted on Facebook.
We waited a couple of months. It feels necessary every time you get a BFN. We did what's called a "mock transfer," where they take a biopsy of your uterus to make sure the prescribed hormones are doing their job and that the timing is right, and after that we went for it. We transferred our very last embryo. We had no idea what the sex was, but we wanted it to be ours.
And once again, we failed it.
I went from wanting a big family, of 3 or 4 kids, and feeling confident this would happen despite the challenges we've had conceiving, to being fearful we may not even have two children.
One of my best friends sent me this card in the mail and it is so perfect.
There may be many more meltdowns in my future. Looking back it took a miscarriage, a chemical pregnancy and a BFN before we had LG. And while I wish a slightly less painful path to our second child, I told my mom I'd take five more failures if it meant we'd get a LG 2.0.
I've written a longer essay that I've pitched to some media outlets, with the hopes it gets picked up titled "Grappling with 'secondary infertility' when trying to conceive baby no. 2." Consider this the G-rated version. Secondary infertility is the "inability to become pregnant or to carry a baby to term after previously giving birth to a baby." I'm not wild about this phrase because it implies we're only having problems getting pregnant this time around and this is not the case. Nothing is secondary about what we've been through.
People often feel the need to remind me how lucky we are to have LG. I like to think of us as lucky unlucky ones. We have one amazing kiddo, and yes, that makes us extremely beyond lucky. His smile could melt a steel safe and his giggles could warm the heart of the coldest brute in Siberia. I love him with all my heart and all the energy my soul emits.
I don’t feel lucky, however, to reside in this messy world of infertility. I didn’t feel lucky when I went in for an ultrasound a few weeks after a BFP from an IUI and the doctor found NOTHING. I didn’t feel lucky when I was keeled over the toilet in agony in the throws of a miscarriage. I didn’t feel lucky the times I could barely sit down because my ass was so sore from the 2-inch long needles I was taking every night. And I didn’t feel lucky when I got two calls this year from a nurse telling me the final embryos we had in our arsenal, our last hopes for a baby this round, did not implant.
I'm trying to keep my head up. And I feel hopeful for the future, though I wish it didn't have to be this way. I wish I was pregnant. I wish I didn't have to go through all of this all over again. The thought of more appointments, more BFNs, more needles and more hormones, not to mention the money. It's so much. But LG will be my constant reminder. That it is/was worth it. And we will try again, and possibly in the hands of new doctors to get a totally fresh start. I just need a little time to get ready.