Learning to raise the white flag

Thank you to everyone who has commented on my last couple of posts. The support of this community means the world to me.

One of the comments exhorted me not to give up.

But that’s exactly what this is about.

I believe there could be a different outcome if we just kept trying and trying and trying and trying. Eventually, at some point, there would be another good embryo and a cycle that worked.

If we had unlimited financial resources and bottomless emotional reserves and endless time and an unceasing willingness to put our lives on hold, we could probably get there.

But we don’t.

One of the most insidious things about infertility treatments is there is nothing to tell you to stop.

If you succeed in building the family you want, whether that’s one child, or two, or more, then it’s easy. You write thank you letters to your doctor and the rest of staff at the clinic and skip away into the sunset.

But when you don’t end up where you wanted to be, the finishing line is much murkier.

I have a follow up appointment booked with my doctor for early December. I would love for him to tell me that we are making the right decision. I would love for him to look at my history and agree with me that thirteen embryos transferred resulting in one live birth and one miscarriage and a 70% attrition rate for the embryos during IVF cycles and a total failure to get pregnant during FETs suggests that maybe there is something else going on that we don’t know about and can’t (yet) test for. I would love for him to acknowledge that we got lucky, really really lucky, with the cycle that produced E., but that maybe he was a fluke and we should count our blessings and walk away.

I don’t think he’s going to do that. I think he’s going to tell me it’s all been a run of bad luck. I think he will be highly optimistic (because this man is ALWAYS highly optimistic) about our chances of success if we try again.

He’s not going to help us to walk away.

The onus is on us.

And here is the problem.

This is the first time in my life where working really really hard and doing everything right has not led to success.

I have not learned how to fail.

I have not learned how to give up.

I have not learned how to accept defeat.

Right now all I want to do is figure out a way to rationalize trying again.  And I can’t yet tell whether this is an indication of just how deep-rooted my desire for a second child is, or if it is a defense mechanism (because as long as I am planning another cycle that means I don’t have to actually deal with the grief), or if it is my stubborn perfectionist nature refusing point blank to accept that something I’ve done in my life might not turn out well.

I’m sure at some point in my life I would have had to learn this lesson.

I just wish it hadn’t been this.

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6 Comments

Filed under Cycle Madness, Grief, Lonely Onlies?, Loss, Medical issues, Money Matters, Second Thoughts

6 responses to “Learning to raise the white flag

  1. Exactly. You totally got inside of my mind. I feel like we did beat infertility, won the jackpot, came home a millionaire. Except we never, ever wanted to have only one child. Of course that’s a billion times better than the possibility of a life without C, and we are so lucky to have had her.

    But still infertility did win, it limited and shaped what my family is. And that’s not right.

    Ugh I always end up emotionally unpacking on your blog, hope you don’t mind…your posts always strike a chord with me

    Thinking of you. Xo

  2. Yup. This is hard. Because working hard and being dedicated does not guarantee success. You have to trust your gut. I am bit looking forward to being done, unless it is the result of using our last embryo for a take home baby. Wishing you peace.

  3. Seriously, you are writing everything I felt – and sometimes still feel! It’s like you are in my head from last year.

    All I can tell you is this: if you sit with these feelings – the desire to try again AND the knowledge that yeah, maybe another 13 cycles in you might win the lottery again – they’ll settle, and you can see a little more clearly.

    I had to plan for and run TWO marathons to make myself sit with the failure. And when I came out of the overtraining and OCD it brought up, it was much clearer to me. I do not want to try again, I never want to do another cycle again.

    And recently, I’ve started to realize that maybe I don’t even want a baby now, either. I do and I don’t.

    It takes time, and patience, and working through ALL the feelings; the relief of not having to go back and cycle again, the grief over not having being able to be pregnant and nurture a baby again, the grief over not providing your son with a sibling, the relief of being able to sleep through the night and plan for the future without having to worry about babies and pregnancies and whatever. There’s so much to work though. It’s going to take time.

    Lots of love and hugs, sweetie. Been thinking about you nonstop and wishing that you didn’t have to go through this. xoxo

  4. I’m so sorry for your loss – your loss of a dream. I know how hard that it, I really do. I tried IVF 3 times, didn’t hit the jackpot, and I had never felt so empty in my whole life. There was a relief in stopping even though I oddly was addicted to that feeling of hope that cycling brought.. Yet you have to honour what you are feeling right now. There’s going to be a lot to work through. Treat yourself to some massage or reiki.

  5. This is beautifully written. I know that’s cold comfort. You see all of it so clearly that I don’t have anything to add, except that I’m sorry. It’s hard and I’m sorry.

  6. charliesbird

    I too, wave the white flag reluctantly. My heart aches for what my daughter, as an only child, will never know. Thank you for putting what I was feeling into words.

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