Today wraps up this year's National Infertility Awareness Week.
We said a little over a year ago that we had used our last embryo (Grace's sister - we knew both were girls before trying to implant either one thanks to genetic testing that was performed in the hopes of assuring a positive outcome and avoiding a miscarriage or issue like Grace had). Unfortunately Grace's sister didn't result in a pregnancy.
We grieved. We stalled out. We confronted our fears that we might have another situation like Grace's happen, and all the while, more and more restrictive abortion laws are being proposed and passed all over the country and certainly in Missouri. None of these laws take situations like Grace's into consideration. The only thought that made the thought of facing what we did with Grace all over again WORSE was the idea that we'd no longer have the option to pursue a peaceful experience for her. We stalled some more. We inquired each other, friends, family, trusted advisers, multiple doctors and our spirituality. We grieved some more too.
We looked into adoption with renewed interest but not renewed energy. We realized again there are many, many hurdles that people don't often talk about. Age limits (our combined age is above what many places will allow) and long time periods for biological parents to change minds, and the idea that if we're pursuing infertility treatments we can't concurrently try to adopt. And most of all we observed our exhaustion. We've already been through so much. We want to be parents to a living child, but we weren't sure we had it in us to go through a whole new type of roller coaster. Infertility and loss, for better or for worse, is the ride we already know. That's certainly not to say it can't take my breath away with it's sharp surprises, like crushing ultrasounds proving life we were excited about was now gone or non-viable, or something reminding me of being pregnant and prompting a funk. But I've come to at least feel familiar with all of that. Adoption presents scary scenarios that I'm not sure I'd recover emotionally from.
We decided to give IVF one more shot. One more round of to be able to say we'd given it our all, which is such an odd thing to say because we already had for four years when we decided that. I already am a mom, just not to a living child. No one would blame us for giving up and moving on, and many gently suggested just that. Just about everyone suggested we not put ourselves through IVF again, whether suggesting adoption, living childless, or in one spectacular offer of generosity that will bring gratitude and love to my heart until the day I die, the offer of donor embryos that would link our family to another through shared siblings. But we felt like we wanted to try one more time. The idea made me feel like vomiting, but I also felt restless with moving forward in any other direction.
In November of 2017, we tried to do another egg retrieval. It was a hard time as that was Grace's loss anniversary. It was canceled because my body didn't respond as expected, and I found my laugh over how this area of life, which I know so well and find so sadly comforting, could still find ways to surprise me. Having a cycle canceled was a first.
We tried again in this winter. We were luckier this time, and were able to do egg retrieval. 15 eggs resulted in multiple embryos, which stunned and delighted us. It was our best egg retrieval yet, at clearly my oldest age.
And we tried to get pregnant again later in the winter with one of these embryos. It failed again. There is only a 12% chance of this. Yet again, we're hitting terribly low odds. I've been pregnant twice before. Why can't I get pregnant now?
My doctors (and we have three now, including one out of state) are scratching their heads. Over the past few months I have done painful tests. I have had my Fallopian Tubes removed as they are a suspected culprit. We have looked high and low for the reason and found next to nothing. We are running out of ideas. I have laughed when telling people that have told me 'it'll happen!' that no, no it won't. Not without Fallopian tubes. But who can blame people for their cheerful optimism, especially when they don't know all of the nuances of our story?
And now we're not sure what to do. Again.
This is yet another example of what infertility looks like. We're not there yet, but we may not get to be parents. Ever. Sometimes that's what happens, because it's difficult, and stunningly expensive (only 15 states require infertility coverage), and sometimes our bodies just won't allow it.
I hope we can get some answers and make the dream of being parents to a living child a reality, but there's just not telling right now. I hope you'll stick with us as we try to figure this out.