Oct 30, 2017

When IVF Fails: The End of the Journey

She Has Good Genes: A Journey to Motherhood Through Science, is coming to a close.
This will be my last post with this blog name.

At this point, I'm not sure I will blog again in the future, but if I do, it will be re-vamped to match my new life.

You see, IVF failed us.
Or rather, we failed it...however you want to look at it, we are ending the journey to make a baby through science.

Secret to most people we knew in real life, we ventured into another round of IVF this year.
Four days after my miscarriage with our miracle baby, I re-filled all of my IVF medications and consulted with the RE.

He thought that another attempt with an adjusted protocol would yield a better outcome, given all of our issues.

Armed with renewed hope, a therapist, a cabinet full of supplements, a book on egg quality, a whole lot of love, and a paid off credit card....we were ready.

Five months later, in May, we began.
I did another retrieval, which produced 11 eggs. 3 ended up making it to biopsy for testing, and out of those three, we again we left with one, perfect embryo.

Instead of hopping straight into a transfer, we let summer happen, along with all the fun and joy that goes along with it.

Our final transfer was scheduled for Friday, October 13th, a date I chose, hoping it would bring us luck, our rainbow baby, and our new future.

And boy, I was really, really sure it worked for about a week following transfer. I really felt pregnant again....and then it sort of...tapered off.  My instincts were confirmed when we found out I was, indeed, pregnant, but my beta numbers were so low the nurse was concerned, as was I.
Two days later, my numbers plummeted, and a week after my positive pregnancy test, I started miscarrying.

Again.

I opened the little letter the nurse wrote to us, when we asked to not know the gender, assuming we could have one of those fun little reveal parties in the coming months.


Another boy.
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We had another follow-up consult with Dr. Jacobs, where he nervously beat around the bush at the reality that we already knew. Not once did he suggest we try again, unless those options included some sort of donor. Be it sperm, egg, or complete embryo.....our only chance for success at this point was to eliminate one of us.

But that has never, and will never, be in our hearts.
It was us, together, or nothing.

And perhaps that is selfish to some, but I can assure you I don't care.
If it's selfish to dedicate five solid years to trying to make one baby, then selfish we are.

What began as a question to why getting pregnant seemed difficult to us, quickly revealed an enormous list of hurdles to overcome.

Prior to starting IVF, I learned I had a luteal phase defect and low progesterone.
Mark learned he had sub-par swimmers, a result of genetics and lifestyle.
As we approached our first (cancelled) IUI, it was revealed we were a rare match for MCAD, leaving our hands tied to have a baby free from disease, by pursuing IVF.

During IVF I learned I had low AMH, high FSH, low antral follicle count and overall poor egg quality. Fragmentation and embryo abnormalities run rampant with this combination off issues.
Add to that our genetic match issues, and we were left with very few embryos to transfer.

Finally, we were on deck to pursue additional testing to confirm whether or not, should a pregnancy work, that my body was rejecting the baby. I already tested this once and it came back negative, but there are further, more invasive options, should we want to pursue them.

So, at this point, I am sure outsiders may be thinking...."well, it did work...it could work again! Just keep going with the testing and rule out everything and get back on that saddle and try, try, try again!"

And that is true. We can keep testing. Keep seeking answers. Keep digging.
Keep at this Pandora's box of endless technology and science until finally, FINALLY, I get and stay pregnant, have my miracle baby, and live the life I have dreamed about for five years.

Right?

But when this third transfer failed, and we were left staring at, well, nothing....the urge to keep going faded abruptly. I have always been the warrior to keep fighting the good fight, but this time, it was overwhelming.

To realize, that IVF has become this insane addiction for me. That immediately following the low of lows with a failed transfer, I want nothing more than to gain back that high of hope and happiness of all the possibilities that IVF could potentially bring to us.

IVF, infertility, and pregnancy have consumed my every thought, every dream, every-everything for five. solid. years. My life...every article I read, or blog, or magazine, or conversation with friends and family, or pill I swallow, or food I eat, or exercise, or lifestyle change....has all been for this phantom baby.

I don't even recognize myself some days. I have become this efficient IVF machine. I know exactly what to do to buy insurance, negotiate issues, seek out alternatives, and research. I can plan an entire cycle. I know the fertility clinics entire yearly retrieval and transfer calendar by heart.  I know exactly how I will respond to every medication, every poisonous injection. I know exactly how many days it takes to get to retrieval, to get the results, and to get to through transfer. I always knew my baby's due dates, and all the milestones along the way.

This is not the life I want to live anymore.

Mark and I had a very different conversation over the weekend. It was one where we take the leap to say no to future treatments. No to a future with any babies. No to this life I thought I was meant to live.

And it's the scariest thing I think I have ever said Yes to.

Not really getting pregnant and fighting in this struggle has been all I have known for five years. As fucked up as it is, it was comforting knowing exactly what I should expect, even when those expectations were dismal at best.

Sure, I found true joy in the in-between this year. I vowed not to let IVF consume my life, and on the outside, I succeeded. But I can guarantee you there wasn't a day that went by that I didn't think about it.

Sunday afternoon, I finally left the house to go to the grocery store. As I perused the aisles for nothing in particular (except wine, obviously) I realized how freeing it felt to just be able to go and buy whatever I wanted. That I didn't need to focus on fertility-friendly foods and drinks like every other trip entailed. As simple as that was....it felt like this huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

In my haze of grief, I had written a novel to the doctor a couple days prior, outlining what I thought would work best for my body, should we try another round....damn well knowing it was all in vain.

Sunday evening, the doctor actually wrote back...and his words, although kind and understanding and agreeing with everything I asked for....broke me. I cried for another couple of hours because I just knew how silly it was to keep doing the same thing over and over, praying for different results.

Our lives will never move forward until we cut ties.

We are officially done with pursuing to grow our family with the addition of humans.

Please do not offer unsolicited advice about adoption, donors, second opinions, or anything else of that nature. Be a good friend and reach out to us or hang with us and let's talk about something else. That's what we are interested in. We are a united front in our decisions.

We are set on getting our life and our marriage back on track.
I have no idea what my purpose is at the moment. I thought it was to be a mom, but with the help of my husband, my therapist and family and friends, I will slowly come out of this fog of desperation and find a new purpose. One that is attainable and fulfilling.

Life must move on.
We have put a lot of things on hold while we tried for a baby, and it will be interesting and exciting to finally get the option to pursue some of those options, now that we have given ourselves permission to move away from this cycle of grief.

Will I have regrets?

No.

I have surrendered my body and my mind to being the ultimate science experiment for five years. I have prodded myself with no less than 600 needles and spent countless hours in waiting rooms and doctor's offices, while they told me they found another hurdle, another issue, and I gladly obliged to do whatever it took to overcome it. I found strength with every shitty diagnosis, every failure, every negative, to keep going.  I know in my heart I can't keep going anymore.

We turned our lives upside down to bring a baby into this world, and enough is enough.

Regarding this blog, I don't know if I will ever write another post. I started this blog five years ago as a creative outlet, while waiting to conceive. And that time is over now, so the blog, in its current state, will be as well.

Those that follow me on Instagram. Most of you are avid TTC-ers, in the midst of your own journey's to motherhood. I understand if you un-follow me because my life will no longer revolve around baby-related stuff. Please understand if I un-follow you for the same reason.

Just because I am done with this portion of my life, does not mean that I am cold as ice. Seeing commercials and posts and milestones about a phantom baby that will never be mine will sting for a while. My healing will not be linear and I most certainly will curse the Heavens in the future for making this so difficult and making my heart hurt so much.

But life will go on. I will get better and find a renewed sense of self.
I am vowing to reconnect with those family and friends that I have pushed aside in recent years. I am vowing to get back to being the wife my husband married. I know the future will include many home renovations, travel, a lot of animals, and possibly early retirement.

And I am excited to watch it all unfold.

Thank you for following all these years. XO

10 comments:

  1. I am so sorry friend. I’ve been at that crossroads before and although we took a different path than you have, that’s THE HARDEST place to be on this journey. You have to do whatever works best for you guys, and only you know what that is. We are all here for you & will continue to be even as your pursue a life without babies. Love and strength to you!

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  2. I hope you continue to blog as I have enjoyed reading your posts for so many years now. You have to do what is best for you and your husband and I wish you only the best!

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  3. You have amazing courage. Good luck and peace on your journey to discover your purpose.
    I, too, hope you continue to blog. If you do, will you add a post to this blog with your new spot?

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  4. I'm a few months ahead of you on the same decision. I almost feel guilty that it's such a relief to know that we are finally off this rollercoaster and a decision has been made. It is the biggest and deepest grief I have ever known, knowing that I will never bring a child that is mine and my husband's into this world. But I know I can survive it -- I may not ever get over it, and that's okay -- but I can still live a full and wonderful life, and you can too. I really hear you on trying to figure out what your purpose is supposed to be and what I should be doing with this time. If you need someone to talk to who's on the same path, please reach out. It's hard to find others in this community who have made this decision.

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  5. Selfish is the last word I would use to describe what you and Mark have been through. I have been so hopeful for you since day one and I am so sad it has ended this way for you. I am here for you to cry with or to dance underneath the disco ball or anything in between. You and Mark are one of my favorite couples and I am so happy that he has you and that you have him. Lots of love!

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  6. Beautifully out. It's been a pleasure following you for these last few months watching your journey. I've appreciate your sarcastic personality and you saw but real humor. I admire your strength in moving past trying to conceive, this is something many women including myself are faced with and this harsh reality called infertility. Many good vibes your way lady!

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  7. Dear Tia and Mark, I'm saddened and angered that you have tried so very hard to bring a life into this world and are unable. It's unfair. It's not right. And I'm so sorry. There's nothing I can do other than offer you both my love, thoughts and prayers to get on that road toward true happiness and may that happiness embrace you both and never let go. Love, Tara

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  8. I am so very sorry that your journey did not end the way you had hoped, wished, & dreamed for. My thoughts are with you both as you as navigate your new journey. I truly hope you have more love and laughter in your life and that you grow closer and more bonded in your marriage. Love on your furbabies each chance you get and know that their unconditional love is a blessing, also. Hugs to you!!

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  9. Thank you for sharing all of this. I have truly enjoyed reading it and getting to know you through your journey. I am excited for you and the next part of your story. I hope you stick around in some capacity... I will miss you if you go completely!!! Much Love Tia!!!

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  10. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this decision. Deep gratitude for sharing your ups and downs, and big wishes for peace, happiness and joy in the years to come.

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