Killingmesoftly-One woman's quest to survive infertility

Killingmesoftly-One woman's quest to survive infertility

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Still on the bench



I was never an athletic child.  More of the nerdy braniac in fact.  I'm also a child of the 80's, which means I grew up in a time before everyone got a ribbon at soccer tournaments and before their was a collective national concern for our self-esteems.   So I have distinct and somewhat painful memories of middle school gym class.  Maybe some of you who are old enough remember it.  Two teams are created and team captains elected.  Then everyone stands in the middle of the room, and the captains pick who they want on their team.  Harmless enough in theory.  Unless you're one of the last people picked.  I remember the feeling of panic as the desirable athletes were invited to join each team and the crowd got smaller and smaller.  I remember the shame of feeling unworthy to be chosen, of be unwanted, of being left behind.

Fast forward 30 years, and although so much distance has been put between myself and those days, that feeling of being "different",  "defective", "unworthy" has resurfaced as a result of this fertility journey.   Each and every time someone announces a pregnancy, I am brought back to that place, to middle school gym class.  I am twelve again,  awkward and hopeful, waiting to be picked,  trying not to show everyone how much I want it, scared that I will never be chosen.  

Pregnancy announcements are always tough for me, and each one stirs up different emotions.  When a dear friend announces a first or second pregnancy, I am filled with joy for them but it is a joy intertwined with envy, disappointment, panic, and grief.  Visions of being pregnant with them, of  being on maternity leave together, and of celebrating our children's milestones together fade away.    The joy I feel for their miracle stands in sharp contrast to the pain being left behind on the journey.  If it is someone who has multiple children already I find myself resentful of their good fortune, and then of course, embarrassed by that resentment.   Seeing how effortless getting pregnant seems to be for them when it it clearly out of reach for me taps into my feelings of being defective.   If it is a friend who has been struggling with infertility it is the easiest for me to celebrate.  I understand the trauma they have been through and I rejoice with them.  It also hits me the hardest, because it's lonely on Infertility Island, and it's hard to lose the people standing there by your side.  They still love and support me of course, but it's different.  Their focus shifts to their babies as it should, and I am left shouldering the burden of chronic infertility on my own.  

So, how do I handle this so that I can feel gracious, joyful, and present around my pregnant friends and coworkers?  By honoring and respecting where I'm at, and by giving myself the grace and space I need.  I am working on acceptance- of myself, my situation, and my emotions- and I have been using affirmations to help myself with this.  I say things like, "I accept and respect all of my emotions",  "I accept the space I need to heal", and "I accept myself completely in every moment." That may mean that I need to give myself permission to cry, to take Facebook holidays, to miss a baby shower, or to skip out of baby focused conversations in the hallways.  I take my time to process my feelings and lick my wounds so that when I am around pregnant women, I can give them the best of me. 

I am still on the bench, and it's not easy, so I just let myself feel the muddy mix of happiness, pain, gratitude, and longing.  That complexity, that depth of feeling, that capacity for love in the face of pain- that's what makes us human, and that is the richness of spirit we will impart on our children.




Monday, July 29, 2019

The Space In Between



The act of labor is a powerful act of creation.  The effort it takes both body and mind to bring a new soul into this world is unparalleled.  It is not for the faint of heart.  It is difficult, but it has a wisdom all it's own, and I realized through conversation with a friend recently that it is rich with lessons that can guide us through this infertility journey we are all on.

As you may know from my last post, none of the embryos we created from our donor in the Ukraine this June made it to blastocyst stage due to sperm issues, which was a crushing blow.  Right after I received the news,  I jumped into "doing" mode to fix it.  I researched new clinics, had skype interviews several times a week with doctors, and contacted my local ivf doctor about ways to improve sperm quality.  I got lab orders for tests we needed, got medical records sent to the new clinic, and arranged all the travel for my husband to head overseas for our next attempt. This was all incredibly time consuming and each task felt so urgent.   So what have I been doing since I sent my husband off to do his part?   Well, I've done.... drumroll....nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  I haven't contacted the doctor to see how things went.  I haven't done any research about fertility topics.  I haven't created any new fitness/health routines to prepare me for transfer.  I haven't looked at any fertility forums.  I haven't obsessed about this round of ivf or worried about the outcome.Some days I've actually forgotten about it most of the day.  I've literally done nothing.

Anyone who knows me will tell you this is a huge departure from how I've handled my fertility cycles in the past.  Waiting periods felt endless, and I filled the time with mental and emotional busyness.  I was constantly on fertility forums.  I was always coming up with plans to improve my fertility and health to be ready for treatment.  I was always, always stressed, worried, or sad, and I never stopped thinking about my fertility.   I think I felt somehow that putting anything less than 110% of my effort and heart into every minute of every day was in some way giving up on my child, or communicating to the universe that I wasn't completely committed to him/her.   That somehow my level of emotional pain and stress proved my dedication and worthiness to having this baby; as if I could just will him/her into existence through the sheer act of wanting.   Maybe that makes sense to you as you read this, maybe I sound crazy, but in a process that has often felt so out of my control, all the planning, and researching, lifestyle modifications, thinking, obsessing, and worrying made me feel like I was DOING something to bring my child here.   As my conversation with my friend turned to childbirth though, I gained some insights and realized that my approach needed modifying.  I know childbirth can be a touchy subject for an infertility blog, but let me explain.

I am blessed to have a son via IUI who is three, but bringing him into this world wasn't easy.  I went into labor on a Wednesday night, and he didn't arrive here until Friday morning after 42 hours and considerable effort.   I discovered though that contrary to the movie version of labor, giving birth is not as chaotic as it seems, and actually has a predictable rhythm to it.   Periods of intense effort, pain, and discomfort are followed by periods of rest, relaxation, and yes.. even sleep! This cycle repeats itself over and over until at long last one final push brings the baby into our arms.   And that is how it has to be, because to exist in a constant state of effort during a long, drawn out labor wouldn't be possible.  The body would tire, the mind would fatigue and rebel, and we would hinder our own efforts.  As much as I wanted to meet my son, I had to flow with the rhythm of effort-rest-effort-rest in order to bring him safely into this world.

We are all working to bring our children into this world right now.  We are in labor here on our fertility journey.  For many of us, it has been a long hard labor, with no end in sight.  We understand the effort involved in our labor-we push, we cry, we hurt, we give our all.  We are so good at working hard,  but most of us don't recognize or embrace the part of labor that is rest, restoration, and renewal so that we have the courage and strength to carry on.  Every act of guiding a new soul into this world  us to honor birth's rhythm.  There will be plenty of periods of pushing and heavy work- picking clinics, rushing to appointments, administering injections, going through egg retrievals, having transfers, surviving miscarriages- but there should also be the spaces in between  where we allow ourselves a break.  These periods are the two week wait, where we can actually... wait.  Those times between cycles where we are grounded by a cyst, or a delayed period and all we can do is wait.   Those times when we are recovering from a loss and need to give our bodies time to recover before we can start again.  Those are the times in between contractions, where we can quiet our minds, rest our bodies, refill our souls with those things that bring us light and joy so that we can move into our next cycle prepared to push again. 

So right now I rest here, in the space in between, secure in the understanding that rest is as deep and meaningful a way to prove my love and dedication to my baby as the effort is.  Rest tells my baby that I have faith she is on her way.  I am building my strength because I am certain of her arrival.  I am preparing myself to receive her.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Learning to Lean In



Have you ever had a week that caught you off guard, knocked you off your feet, and sucker punched you in the stomach?? That, in a nutshell, has been my week:( 

When I last wrote you my lovely readers, my husband was on his way to Europe to create the little life that was meant to be with us, and I was preparing for a June transfer.  I knew that the first transfer doesn't always take, but I was sure that with a batch of healthy young eggs, eventually we'd hit the jackpot and one would stick. Such an exciting plan!  I started to show pictures of my donor to my friends, and imagine what my little one would look like.  Everything was lining up perfectly, and then- the unthinkable. All of my embryos degenerated.  No blastocysts.  No frozen babies waiting to be chosen.  No transfers.  No chances.    The clinic suggested donor sperm.  It was a bitter loss that I never saw coming.

In the face of this newest loss, this latest closed door, my first instinct was to push back.  I wanted to fight the clinic who offered a guarantee but didn't follow through when it didn't work out.  I went into fixing mode for my husband, looking for ways to improve sperm quality, ordering supplements, emailing past IVF doctors.  I looked up new donors, new clinics, sperm shipping companies, sperm testing companies.  I was in a frenzy trying to push away from this reality, and push into a new one.  But it was exhausting. 

And what if I'm missing the point?  Perhaps there is something I need to learn from this- some way I need to grow from this.  What if the lessons I need to learn are at the heart of this, and instead of pushing away, I just need to lean in and go deep? What does it mean to lean into our struggles?  For me, it means to acknowledge my emotions, to really FEEL them- all the scary,wounded and disappointed parts.  It means to move away from the busyness of doing and fixing and strategizing, and to sit with those parts in silence, with my journal, with friends, and to give those feelings a compassionate space to be.   It means to create a more flexible version of myself who is open to a wider range of possibilities than I thought were available.   

One of my greatest challenges in this process is to release control.  To learn to wait and move with the rhythm of the universe- in a calm and trusting space instead of in a panicked and worried space.  I have seen those parts of myself unfolding already(while my eggs were developing I didn't call the clinic once to check on progress!), but I want to cultivate them further.    In the past I worked so hard to control things.  To create the perfect conditions for success.  To do everything in my power to ensure the outcome I wanted.    I always believed that if I worked hard enough, I could achieve anything I wanted and bend the universe to my will.  But roadblock after roadblock is showing me that I can't control the outcome, and that I only exhaust myself trying. 

I am still taking steps to bring our baby to us, but I am trying to remember to lean into the experience rather than to fight it.  To tread lightly, to act with faith in the goodness of the universe, and to find peace in the middle of the storm.  Namaste.
.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Emergence



Hello my lovely readers- it's been a long time since I've written.  I haven't been gone, I've just been becoming.  Preparing to emerge.

My last IUI cycle failed, and with it, the last hope for a second genetic child.  I was emotionally exhausted, and I knew was time to move on to donor egg, but my heart just needed time to embrace this path wholeheartedly, and in order to do that, I needed to re-invent my worldview, to expand my consciousness and to deepen and broaden my understanding of love.  This is what I've been doing in my absence from you.

Last month three long years of yearning and striving ended for me.  Three long years of heartbreaks and grief so deep I felt that it would swallow me whole.  I knew that to climb out of that place of sadness, that I would need to dive deep into the heart of my pain.  So I cried.  And journaled.  And cried some more.  And meditated.  And meditated.  And meditated.   The deeper I went, the closer I came to connecting with the heart of life.  I started to understand that we are all part of the same beautiful ocean of love and energy coursing through the universe. I recognized that my baby was as much a part of the ocean as I was, and that because of this she was already, and had always been, deeply connected to my energy and my heart.  Its true that my baby won't arrive in the way I imagined, but whatever vessel brings her to me, I am already hers, and she is already mine. She is on her way.

This realization allowed me to finally emerge from that place that I inhabited for so long- a place of fear, of worry, of panic, of failure, of sadness, of shame, and of self- judgement.  Day by day I continue to step out of that shell, and step into the skin of a more powerful, a more whole, and a more peaceful woman strengthened by her struggle.   I brush off the dust.  I look in the mirror.  I am not the same.  My face is weathered but strong.  My heart is bruised, but wide open now.  I have learned to walk through the fire.  I have fought sorrow tooth and nail and now I find joy and gratitude in the simplest moments.  I had to pass through that dark night of the soul to see my true worth and realize that it isn't dependent on my fertility.

So I will seek out my baby this June overseas through the gift of life granted to us by an unknown angel.   I hope it will work on the first try, but if not, I know  on a gut level that the right baby is waiting for me and will come at just the right time.  That baby will be a child of it's donor, of it's father, and of me, but most importantly this baby will be a child of the universe and will be loved with a love as infinite as the universe itself.

We will never be the same, all of us travelers on this long road of infertility.  There is no return to the time "before", to our former lives and our former selves.  We can't go back to that moment before our diagnoses, before the needles, before the losses, before the grief.  We are fundamentally changed at our core, but there is so much beauty that arises out of that process.  Transformation can be hard, but metamorphosis is the process by which we learn to spread our wings and let our soul soar.

I send love and support out to every woman walking this painful path and undergoing her own  transformation. You are brave and you are strong.  You are heard.   Your tears matter.   Your sadness matters. Your struggles matter.  I know this isn't the path any of us hoped for or imagined walking, but I hope that it is leading us, and transforming us into the beautiful mothers we are all destined to be:).   Trust.  Love.  Hope.  Namaste. 


Monday, April 1, 2019

Waiting to Exhale




It's been seven days since my most recent, and final, IUI and I'm hardly breathing.  I'm not filled with the gut-wrenching anxiety that I usually have during the two-week wait.  Hours don't feel like days this time around.  I'm not combing fertility threads analyzing my symptoms which usually turns into my full-time job during the two-week wait.  I'm relatively calm this time around, which is a new and foreign feeling for me.  Maybe it's because after a year and a half of losses and failures I've finally accepted the option of donor egg, and have begun to see it as a gift.  Maybe it's because my heart and soul  are exhausted and I don't have the energy or strength for the hoping and longing.  Regardless of why, I still imagined that this last two-week wait would be filled with more angst and grief.   Instead, I feel frozen -unable to move.   I am waiting to breathe, waiting for the answer that is on the other side of this pregnancy test so that I can know how to move forward.

This two-week wait is always a place of limbo, but this one has been even more intense because the door with my own egg baby behind it may shut for good this time around.   In one version of this story my test is positive.  I am overjoyed, but worried.  Will this baby be ok?  Will I lose anrtother pregnancy to my translocation?  In this world I am fearful of loss, but filled with hope and possibility that this pregnancy could be a miracle.   I make plans to travel to see my family a during the summer since I won't be doing donor egg treatments.  I sign up for a wellness retreat with my best friend that we have been talking about. We buy the car we have been holding off on since we no longer have to pay for more IVF.  I dream of how my child will look, what parts of my genes he or she will inherit.  I am lost in reverie imagining it all.    In the other version of my story I am heartbroken.  I ride the wave of grief that was unexpected knowing this would probably fail.  I select a donor and pay the deposit to begin this process.  I plan a trip to the clinic overseas.  I tell family and friends that I am busy, but I don't say why (I don't want to talk about it with anyone who hasn't been through it- it's exhausting to explain, and devastating to answer questions if it fails).   I book my flights. This version of my story is much harder to imagine than the first since I have never lived through it before.  I don't know how my heart will respond or what joys and challenges will await me on my donor egg journey.

Right now though, I don't know how the story ends, and I am caught in the middle.  I can't process.  I can't grieve.  I can't plan.  I can't move forward.   In the middle, I am cautious.  I tiptoe around my feelings.  I avoid talking to friends.  I am afraid that my longing will be obvious.  I am afraid that people will ask about my fertility journey,  but I don't know where I stand right now, and talking about the two endings to this story would make them feel too real.  The middle is such a frustrating place, but it's also a magical place where anything is possible.  Life hasn't said "yes" yet, but it hasn't said "no" either and I want to hold on to that as long as I can. I take so much comfort in those slightly cracked open doors.  I am not ready to think or talk about them shutting right now.  Just a few more days to hope.  So I put off my mother when she asks about my summer plans.  I avoid my sister's phone calls.   I talk vaguely with friends about meeting up for a vacation, but I don't offer any real dates or places.    I check out car loan rates, but I never visit a dealership.    I drink one glass of wine, but not too much.  Everything is on hold.  I am waiting for the news, good or bad.  I am waiting to exhale.


Sunday, March 17, 2019

The Last Good Egg

“At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.” – Lao Tzu


It's March 2019, and I'm on day 6 of my cycle.  I'll be doing an IUI cycle this month, and I've just started medication.  Every new cycle is filled with stress- the hoping, the hormones, the appointments, the waiting- but this cycle is especially heavy for me.  That's because it's the last one for me.  It's the end of the road with my own eggs.   The last encore from a long concert.   Roll the credits.   It's done.   The finality of it echoes through my heart.   My search for the last good egg is coming to a close.


How did I get to this point you ask?  Well, after 3 miscarriages, 3 IVF cycles, 2 IUI cycles, 4 attempted IUI cycles, and a diagnosis of chromosomal translocation in the past 2 1/2 years I'm just exhausted body, mind, and soul.  Even after my diagnosis, I kept hoping that if I just tried hard enough and gave it a shot every single cycle that I'd eventually hit jackpot.  That's how it was supposed to go, but it didn't.  Instead, life threw me every possible roadblock, and in the past 8 months I've only had two viable cycles.   Life threw me a stomach virus, a yeast infection, and a bladder infection- all at moments in my cycle key for conception.  It threw me months without any follicles, and months where my hormones didn't rise at all in response to medication.  Month after month obstacles rose up and I kept fighting and hoping, but now I'm weary.  I'm tired of having my life on pause.  I'm tired of the crying, of the losses, of the endless waiting. I'm tired of the ups and downs my body, my mind, my life, and marriage goes through each month.  I feel like all these obstacles are the universe's way of shouting at me that it's time to seek my baby elsewhere.  My body simply is refusing to come along for another ride on the fertility roller coaster, and I'm tired of trying to drag it along.

I'm an avid reader of fertility forums.  I love the idea of a community of women lifting each other up and carrying each other through the hard times.  One of the questions I often see from women is about the decision to move on to donor egg.    "I know it's the best decision, but I just don't feel ready.  How will I know when I should move on?" they ask.    I'm sure it's different for every woman, but for me, it was my last failed cycle.  Something in me broke, and I just knew.  I felt at peace.  I even started to feel excited!  Things moved pretty quickly then.  I found a clinic overseas.  Connected with the clinic director.  Had a Skype appointment with the doctor.  Got a list of donors.  Sent over all my paperwork and test results.  Made appointments for additional tests they required but didn't have  Picked a transfer day at the end of June.   Looked at day tours for the city I would be in.  Imagined my baby in my arms.

Still- there is this last IUI.  I had one more cycle of medication in my house.  I didn't want to waste it, and I felt like I needed this one last cycle for some final closure.  Maybe my last good egg is waiting for me this cycle, but if it's not, I'm honestly ready for what's next.  I want my child so deeply, and I'm ready to come for him/her now, even if I have to cross oceans to do it.     I've had nine months since my last miscarriage to grieve my own eggs, to go through a healing process, to cry, to let go, and finally, to dream of the baby waiting for me.  Nine months is long enough to create a baby, and it seems like it was just what I needed to grow myself into a woman who could view motherhood and family through a different lens.  Nine months was what I needed to let go of what was "supposed to" happen, and embrace the beautiful reality of creating a child through egg donation.

So to all the women who are asking how they will know if they're ready for donor egg, or surrogacy, or adoption, or any other less traditional path to motherhood- I think the answer is in your heart.   We feel pressured to listen to doctors.  To listen to statistics.  To listen to "logic".    But love, and longing and the creation of new life are not logical- they are soulful, and so it only makes sense to listen to our souls.  When you tune out all the other voices, and listen only to your own, you will know when you are ready.   And who knows- maybe on that journey to acceptance you might bump into your last good egg, but whatever the outcome, when you listen to your heart and honor your own voice you can't go wrong.






Sunday, March 3, 2019

Heart of Life


I cry a lot these days.  
Sometimes over things that are clearly sad- a friend’s struggle, a negative pregnancy test.  Other times over things that simply evoke a powerful emotion-a mournful song, a tender memory, a poignant movie, the sound of my son breathing as he drifts into sleep.  Case in point- right now listening to a soulful song and crying in Starbucks as I type this.  
This is odd and new for me.  In college I was known for being the girl who never cried at even the saddest movie.  I’ve always prided myself on being tough and logical.  Crying in public was not something I ever imagined myself doing.   So when the wave of tears sneaks up on me, I’m always taken aback.   Have I changed?  Has infertility made me into a weepy woman tearing up in coffee shops and grocery store lines?  I don’t think so.  
I think that infertility has actually uncovered the parts of my heart capable of the deepest and most meaningful feelings and experiences.   I didn’t realize how deeply I had  buried that part of me as I worked so hard to protect myself from the bumps and bruises of life until month after month of failure and loss started chipped away at my exterior.  My layers of protection were peeled back each time my heart broke, and I haven’t had the time or strength to build them up again before the next wounding happens.  My heart pulses right below the surface now.   I used to think this would be the scariest place to be, and it is, but it has also given me such a rich appreciation for everything life has given me.  That deep soulful tender place that cries and mourns and yearns is also the birthplace of joy.  My challenge is to find a way to hold space for my grief instead of trying to push it so far beneath the surface and ignore my voice.   I like how close the joys are now.  I like how much more authentic I feel, and I don’t want to lose that.   I don’t want to return my heart and soul to it’s secluded fortress. I want to let my heart live closer to life, with all messiness, joy and sorrow that comes with that.

                                       " Pain throws your heart to the ground
                                                Love turns the whole thing around
                                                No, it won't all go the way, it should
                                                But I know the heart of life is good”-
  John Mayer

Saturday, February 23, 2019

At the Intersection of Joy and Sorrow



This weekend I attended the baby shower of a dear friend of mine.  After struggling with infertility for many years she had been through it all- own egg IVF, donor egg IVF, multiple miscarriages, and finally donor embryo.   This baby represented years of hoping and striving, so I was determined to be there, even though it was 85 miles away.  It was a long journey that took me far from home but when I finally arrived, I realized that I had ended up right back in a familiar and frequently visited place.  The intersection between joy and sorrow. 

Deep emotions tend to inhabit the same spaces in our hearts and this is true for joy and sorrow.  I'm surprised at how often it catches me off guard though.  I was truly and sincerely happy for my friend.  My heart had ached for her during her struggles and loss, and this baby was a hard won blessing- a true and miraculous gift!!  Her baby was not only a wondrous gift for her, also a beacon of hope for me in the darkness of infertility.  But that same baby who stirred up feelings of joy and excitement in me also triggered feelings of pain and loss.  Watching my friend open baby clothes reminded me of the newborn clothes sitting untouched in my home- clothes I had lovingly purchased when I heard my second baby's heartbeat.   Seeing those clothes reminded me of that baby I had lost, and the ones after.  Seeing her round belly made me painfully aware of my empty one.  I went to the bathroom.  I cried.  In the midst of all that excitement and beauty, pain had snuck up on me and made it's voice heard.

The unexpected intersection of these two seemingly opposite feelings- joy and sorrow- often happens for me now   The joy of a positive pregnancy test is immediately followed by the pain of knowing it will likely be unsuccessful given my age and chromosomal condition.  My son's birthday fills me with delight which is followed quickly by sorrow of knowing that he is getting older and I haven't given him a sibling yet.   The joy I feel as I imagine giving birth to a donor egg child is met with the grief of my lost biology and all my years of failure.   

In these moments I find myself at a crossroads, and I know need to make a choice.   This odd intersection where my emotions collide is just a place to pass through, not a place to stay.  In one direction I  see joy stretched out before me.  In the other direction I see the path of pain, sorrow, loss, and grief.  I know that I can't move in both directions at once.   I have to choose, and for the sake of my future child, I know that I need to move towards joy.   So I take the time I need at the crossroads to fully feel my pain, and to honor it in my life.  Then I pick my head up wipe my tears, take a step in the direction of joy, and start walking.  

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Collateral Damage- Part 2


It was a beautiful wedding.  A warm perfect summer evening in June.  A small group of beloved family and friends.  A heartfelt exchange of vows framed by rolling hills and a small lake.  A hopeful start to a wonderful life.   Happily ever after. 

Fast forward 3 1/2 years, and we're fighting again.   This time about a new car he wants us to buy.   I want to hold off for a few months. Donor egg is on the horizon-a huge cost.  The car would eventually become my main car, so I want to be involved in picking it out, but I’m overwhelmed at the thought of making several big decisions at once.  We have to pick a clinic, a program, and a donor.  I have to process through the pain of letting go of my own egg.  There is no bandwidth in my mind for anything else right now.  I want to wait until summer when the big decisions will have already been made, and we'll be moving forward with DE treatment.  Our original argument about the car eventually and predictably circles back to the real cause of our discord.   He’s upset that we‘re always stuck in a holding pattern.  That we can’t make plans or big decisions.    That we spend all available cash on treatments that never work.   He feels that we are trapped by this quest of ours.  He questions if we should stop.  I don't disagree with anything he says, but every cell in my body knows that I can't stop until my baby is in my arms.  We are at a stalemate.

This is just one of the many many fights we find ourselves in with fertility at its core.   We have fought about everything from how undesirable sex has started to feel, to work time that he has to miss for our many appointments.  We have fought about family visits that we haven’t been able to make because we need to stay near our clinic, about opportunities we have had to pass up to continue treatments, about general restrictions on our time, money, and we even argue about the stress than a new baby would bring since we have no family here and would have no money left to hire help.

It didn't start out this way.  At the beginning I was sad, he was supportive, and we were hopeful.  But this is a long journey, and we didn't train for a marathon.  We have been on the fertility roller coaster since one month after our wedding in 2015.  We started right away with the appointments, tests, grim news, stress, treatments.  Not exactly the lighthearted romantic kickoff to married life I would have liked.  Our son was conceived via IUI, and just when we were starting to find our stride as parents and reconnect as a couple we started treatments again.  What followed has been two years or living by my cycle, spending our cash on treatments, timed fertility sex, and lots and lots of changes to plans.  This fertility journey never goes the way we thought it would, so we’re always readjusting plans and expectations.  We handle the stress in different ways and have different supports.   Our feelings of loss are different.  Our moments of crisis don’t align. Sometimes it is hard to connect, even as we are both hurting.  Perhaps the worst part is that there's no end it sight, so we don't even know how long we have to hold on for and when we can hope for relief.  It’s eating away at us day by day, month by month, year by year- a slow corrosion of what we brought to the alter on our wedding day. 

My husband is a wonderful man, and I hope we’ll be ok, but I’ve seen the statistics on divorce and infertility, and they scare me. I don’t know what his breaking point it, what mine is, or what ours is as a couple.  We are in uncharted territory here, and as hard as it is to navigate survival individually, it’s seems even harder to navigate survival as a couple.  These were supposed to be our first blissful years of marriage-our honeymoon period.  Infertility took that from us, but I am hopeful that walking through the fire like this will forge an even deeper and more loving lifetime bond.  I dream of how it will be in the other side of this.  I will never be the same person I was before, and I know we can never be the same couple we were before, but hopefully we can transform into something better, richer, and deeper than we ever imagined.