Monday, June 30, 2008

Infertility is a bear

Well today it is officially over.  I know it's been over and I have been trying to cope.  But now it really is.  JD contacted Shady Grove to refund our Shared Risk money.

It has been a roller coaster the last few weeks.  Despair, obviously.  Followed by a sudden determination to throw myself into adoption mode, ordering birth and marriage certificates and agency information packets.  I started drinking caffeinated beverages and non-virgin cocktails.  I stopped all supplements and anything remotely good for me ("You think you got me, broken down body?  I'll show you how it feels to break down!").  Then I started thinking of traveling, taking up running, anything I could think of that I couldn't do while doing IVF or being pregnant.

My mantra was "Fake it until you make it."  So I worked, socialized, smiled, and basically did everything I could not to implode.

I must say I was doing pretty well until we had our exit interview with our RE, whom I love.  I had a dream the night before that was strange.  In it I had a pet bear, full-grown.  It was sleeping in our bed, annoying my husband but cuddling with me.  OK, it was laying on me and was very heavy but still it was warm and soft and I dug it.  All was okay until the bear threw up in our bed.  JD was not amused and I decided I'd better put the bear in it's kennel in the basement.  As I got a treat to lure him downstairs JD got up and opened the front door.  I knew it would happen just before it did - the bear ran outside.  I ran after it.  Just as I got to him on a street corner a kid came by bouncing a ball, attracting the bear's attention.  I had a leash on the bear by this point (a Haltie for you dog-owners) but clearly it was NOT to going to stop a determined bear.  I remember thinking "Christ, whose bright idea was a Haltie?  The bear doesn't have enough of a nose to put it over."  Followed shortly by "Jesus, he's a full grown bear WTF was I thinking?"

Interpretations?  Anyone?  Beuller??  Let's take an informal poll:

Option One:
I take it to mean Bear=Stopping IVF.  I thought I had come to terms with it, the weight of it.  But, with the exit interview pending, my subconscious was letting me know this beast was about to rear it's ugly head.  And I'd realize this thing could cream me.

Option Two:
JD had a different interpretation.  He said the bear was infertility.  That I had gotten cozy with it, learned to manage the weight of it.  The dream revealed it was too much for us.

OK, so back to our story...

The RE went over the cycle like always.  Great embryos he said, best chance of getting pregnant yet (better than the time I got pregnant!).  He went on to say "I know you guys are making the decision to stop for a variety of reasons (emotional, financial, etc) but I don't think, medically, that you should stop.  I think we can get you pregnant.  You are only 37.  If you stop trying now it could be a different ballgame in a year.  Certainly you won't qualify for shared risk again.  And we'll get you all the sample meds we can."

Wow.  It took my breath away (not my tears unfortunately).  I mean, at this point we are costing them money (especially if they give us some meds).  It would seem if they didn't think we'd get pregnant, or thought probably not, it would be in their best interests to give us the heave-ho.  So "wow".

And so I want to keep trying. And I want to be a fair and loving partner to my husband who is done done done with this.  I know JD was upfront with me when he reached the end.  I know he has a 50% say in this.  I know we did the last last-ditch cycle.  I know that I could probably do this for 3 or 4 more years because I can't imagine (still) givcing up on having a baby.  And I know we could do 7 more and be right here, just the 2 of us. But good God I want to keep trying. 

And, paradoxically, I am a little teeny bit relieved it is over. I don't even like to admit that.  But it is true, just a tiny part of the truth.

In the end I left it to him.  I never asked him to change his mind (although I asked him to wait a few days).  I keep reminding myself that the marriage is more important that children.  I think this because I don't want to be a single parent, I don't want to bear anyone else's kids.  I see this child, the child that is slipping away, as an expression of our love and commitment to one another, of our marriage.  Can I damage the marriage in order to have the child?  Yes, if I knew we'd have a baby.  He'd forgive me, mostly, if that happened.  But I can't guarantee that.  And I shouldn't betray his trust, I gave him my word.  I don't want him feeling resentful and angry that I didn't keep it.

But I am feeling resentful and a little angry.  Maybe this is the second stage of grief, or maybe the question becomes can I forgive him?


Carrie said...

I'm so sorry you are facing these choices right now. I know my husband's patience ran out way back, it is difficult to 'make' them understand the need to keep going. I think he wants our lives back for my sake. He sees what this journey had done to me but he doesn't understand the equal pressure of facing the end of treatment.
I hope you can come to a compromise that will suit you both. No matter what though, I'm really sorry this cycle hasn't worked. I'm sure your dreams are a way of trying to process.

Melbagirl said...

Goodness you sound remarkably logical right now.

I'm really sorry for you.

You said you would be able to try for another three or four years. What if he committed to just one more go? If he does agree to trying one more time it sounds like it would be the very last time, yet you'd be wanting to try yet again.

I'm guessing that this would be even worse than the situation you are currently in (for your marriage).

How would you behave whilst on the next cycle? Would you be able to behave differently? Could you try your hardest to eliminate (or at least substantially reduce) his involvement? Thereby reducing the impact on him?

The reason I ask this is that if he thinks it's getting easier for the two of you, as opposed to harder, and if it doesn't work, he may be more relaxed about trying yet again in the future. Nasty words, sorry.

I can completely agree with your last observation ... would you be able to forgive him? Wow, biggy. My husband can't make me pregnant. I forgave him for that long ago. OK, so I've got to have someone else's baby. But. It does make it easier for me when the bills come around - because he sees it as his 'fault'. I don't see it as a fault but I hope you get my gist. you are in a difficult, difficult spot. And you are also very rare. A woman who can keep going with this IVF stuff; year after year. You are tuff.

I also reckon women simply have a stonger desire to have children. Generally speaking of course, men want to sew the seeds and women want to bear the children.

Sorry for the essay but your thoughts help me to think as well.

I truly wish you all the best for sorting this out.

Oh, and the dream? I'm not into dreams really because I never remember mine. But I'd go with your husband's opinion.