2014: A year of endings

Today I submitted the final version of my dissertation.

My university no longer requires hard copies, so it was a relatively simple matter of uploading the PDF and filling out a few extra details. It was made a little more interesting by the fact I realized late on Sunday night that today was the very LAST day on which I could submit the dissertation without having to wait until January and register for another term (even though the university doesn’t shut for Christmas until the 24th). So that led to rather a lot of e-mails between myself, my supervisor and the chair of the examination committee, and then a lot more e-mails between myself and the graduate program assistant. But it all worked out in the end- the link came through this morning as promised and it took me less than ten minutes after I’d started the process (including a couple of minutes spent waiting for my computer to load the 398 page PDF so I could just double check it was the right version).

Anyway, I am, for all intents and purposes, done my PhD. Convocation still lies ahead, and I may well have to dress up in robes and prance across a stage (even though I would rather take the degree in absentia) because it would be good for my program to have tangible proof that PhDs are finishing. We’ll see. But the PhD was finished in 2014. That’s how it will be counted.

Two other things ended in 2014.

My second, and last, pregnancy.

And my hopes for a second child.

We had our follow up appointment with our fertility specialist last week. Q. was able to go as well because my sister was in town (not the one who lives in the same city- she was overseas- but the other one) and kindly agreed to look after E.

It was uninspiring.

I wasn’t surprised by this.

I had taken the time to type up all of the details of our two IVF cycles (culled from this blog): # eggs retrieved, # mature, # fertilized, maturation rate, attrition rate, etc. It made things much easier when it became obvious that he hadn’t reviewed our chart in any way before meeting with us.

He was 90 minutes late. This was apparently due to a crisis in the OR, but the man always runs 90 minutes late so I can’t see why they bothered to give us an explanation. It meant we had to endure a very long and awkward conversation with my favourite ultrasound tech who must now hold a managerial position in the clinic. She spent much of it trying to convince us to change our minds.

Both she and Dr. L. told us that it will be difficult when E. gets older and starts asking why everyone around him has a brother or sister. They told us that we won’t be around one day and it will be better for E. not to be alone.

This was, frankly, insulting. I can’t believe that anyone would come to that clinic having decided to end treatments and yet somehow have failed to consider the repercussions of such a decision.

Dr. L. really, really didn’t want to let us go. He started making suggestions: a short-protocol IVF. Putting back three embryos.

I don’t want to have to selectively reduce.

When I got home I did a bunch of Googling and discovered my gut feeling was right- short-protocol IVFs are NOT good protocol for PCOS patients. We need long and slow to get good eggs.

I think he just suggested it because it would be ‘easier’ on us- less time at the clinic. I don’t think he really thought about whether it would be the right thing for my particular set of issues.

He danced around the subject whenever Q. tried to ask him a question about success rates and numbers. I wish my sister could have come with us as she is better at hard questions and would probably have been able to better pin him down.

I came out of the appointment conflicted, but I wasn’t once the dust had settled and I had some time to think.

I just don’t trust my f/s enough to do another cycle. I’m tired of the chaos of my clinic. I’m tired of his perpetual lateness. IF we went back, I would ask to transfer to another doctor, who is always on time and who always remembers me when he sees me. But we’re not even likely to do that.

I know what we will not do, under any circumstances, in building our family.

We will not move to another clinic and start over again. That ship has sailed.

We will not adopt.

We will not use donor eggs.

We will not use a surrogate.

We would probably do another IVF cycle, with the other doctor, if E. were still two, or if our insurance covered procedures and not just medications, or if our province actually funded IVF like they have been suggesting they will, eventually.

There are circumstances under which I can see us trying again.

But those circumstances don’t reflect our lives as they exist today.

And so 2014 is likely to be embedded in my memory as the year in which things ended.

Some good.

Some bad.

But all of them over.

I hope it lets 2015 be a fresh start.


Filed under 2.0 Pregnancy, Grief, Life after the PhD, Lonely Onlies?, Loss, PhD, Second Thoughts, Siblings, Three's Company

8 responses to “2014: A year of endings

  1. j

    What a crazy doctor you have! I can’t believe they even said those things to you and I’m so sorry you had to endure them. I hope 2015 is a fresh start as well.

  2. I cannot believe the office said those things to you. That gives me a very bad feeling about them. Not ok at all.

    Ugh isn’t it frustrating to be so sure you’re done, except, maybe, if this happens, or that happens, or………

  3. I am gobsmacked, absolutely stunned, that ANYONE would try and guilt you into doing more cycles they way they did. As if you don’t feel fucking heartbroken already about not being able to give your son a sibling. WTF? I am so angry on your behalf. That’s wrong. Period.

    I will say this: for me, anyway, The End of Trying gave a sense of relief in never having to deal with the hassle of going to a clinic. I didn’t have to keep putting myself through the fail, the blood draws, the commute to the clinic, the scheduling issues so that we could cover childcare… all of it. It wasn’t what I wanted – I wanted a baby and a sibling for O. But there *was* relief in being done with the whole rigamarole of cycling.

    I hope that’s the case with you, too. xoxo

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  5. I am frankly enraged with that doctor and tech. It’s completely inappropriate to intentionally make patients feel terrible about a very reasonable (if in this instance sad) decision to stop at one child. It’s emotionally manipulative and nasty. It’s also hogwash. Yes, I am glad to have been able to have two, but my wife and I are both only children, AND WE ARE FINE. Yes, there are times I’ve wished for a sibling, but I’m cognizant that I’ve experienced advantages of being an only,too. Family size is what it is: there are good and bad aspects of any arrangement. It’s also something children and parents experience very differently: for kids it just IS.

    I wish you peace in the coming year.

  6. Turia

    Thanks, everyone, for your righteous anger on my behalf. I appreciate it.

    Bionic- thank you so much. I think a big part of the issue is a lack of imagination- I have two sisters and Q. has two sisters and it is just impossible for me to imagine what life is like for an only. But you are right- MY feelings about E. being an only will not be his feelings. Being an only will just be who he is.

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