One of the brave ladies whose blogs I follow had some bad news today. Only 1/3 of the eggs they retrieved during this cycle were mature. She is understandably crushed and feels that she has reached the end of the road. Despite thousands of dollars of drugs and treatments, months of healthy living, and the highest level of medical intervention available she feels like pregnancy isn’t going to happen for her. I feel her pain. My feet are also on that road, and it is a sad, lonely, painful path to walk.
We spend so much time scouring blogs, boards and articles looking for hope – trying to find that one success story, trying to convince ourselves (and often succeeding) that we are the lucky ones, that it will happen for us. People answer your questions and are very supportive – “Keep trying!”, “Don’t give up!”, they say. That support is invaluable, but it’s also misleading.
A few months ago I posted a question on an infertility board and got lots of warm, friendly, supportive, positive replies. I felt good, better, even hopeful. And then a woman sent me a personal message. She told me that she had the same diagnoses as me and was a bit younger. She had basically the same response to meds. And she was going to use donor eggs. She urged me to open myself up to other options, because, as she said “it was very, very unlikely that I’d ever carry a pregnancy to term with my own eggs.” I was angry, hurt and confused. She’d burst my bubble. Where was the support? All those words that I wanted to hear? I didn’t want to hear that it wouldn’t work, I didn’t want to acknowledge that as a possibility.
Months have gone by since she wrote to me. Since then my AMH has dropped. I had a miscarriage and another unsuccessful Clomid cycle to add to my list of failures. My odds, which were never good, are in the toilet. So I wrote her back. I asked her questions. And I now trust her as someone who will tell me the truth. Not in a mean, hurtful or dismissive way (like my RE) but like someone who has been there. Like someone who walked this horrible road before me and understands the pain, frustration, and utter powerlessness that you feel. She found a way out of this terrible place. She recently gave birth to twins – a boy and girl – as a result of her DE cycle. She beat infertility. Not in the straightforward way we all wish for, but in a subterfuge – an undercover coup. She found the courage to accept a work-around, and she has 2 beautiful children and couldn’t care less where they came from. 2 souls now exist that didn’t before. Her arms and heart are full. She won.
Let me be very clear here – donor eggs, surrogacy, adoption – these options are not for everyone. It is an extremely personal choice. The point is that there is a choice. One of the most awful things about infertility is that your choice, the control of your own destiny, the control over your own body is taken away and no amount faith, karma, begging, wishing or believing can change that. But there are options. There are choices.
So, when my blog friend wrote how defeated she was feeling my first instinct was to comfort, reassure and sooth her. But I erased that response and tried to be honest, hoping that eventually she would find some comfort in that honesty and that it would help to make the road she’s on a little less frightening. I wanted her to know that even if her very worst fears come true (which is very possible) life won’t come crashing down. There is hope, but it may look entirely different than you thought it would.