Sunday, 9 February 2014

Jumbled thoughts

A week ago today, I got my first BFP.  Then, just as quickly, it was gone.  And with it, any chance I had of a biological child.

It's easy to see why they say not to make any major life decisions while you're in a state of emotional distress.  My mind is all over the place.  While I previously thought that we'd move on to donor eggs if this cycle failed, now I'm not so sure.  The thought of doing any of this ever again fills me with dread and fear.  While I know the odds of success are much higher with donor eggs, they're still not even close to 100%.  Something many of you already know all too well.  The idea of draining what's left of our savings, only to fail again, is unbearable.

If we did go the donor route, where would we go?  Which country?  Which clinic?  Should we pay more for a guaranteed program so that we would get our money back (to possibly pursue adoption) if we fail, or gamble by paying less for just one cycle in the hopes that we'd get lucky on our first try?  What about donor anonymity?  It doesn't bother me, and in some countries it's mandated by law, but would that be fair to a child?  If you want to read a whole lot of stories from donor children who are plenty pissed off that they don't know their anonymous bio parents, go here.  To hear some of them tell it, they'd rather not even exist than be the product of a third party anonymous donor.  M thinks most of the stories are written by angsty teenagers who are in the "I hate my parents / searching for my identity" phase, but I'm not so sure.  There's so much to think about.  It's overwhelming.

On the other hand, would we find peace if we just decided that we were done and walked away from it all?  If we resigned ourselves to a childless life, and resolved to make the absolute best of it with just the two of us?  In the past few days we've talked a lot about how much sadness this struggle to have children has brought to us.  How we've spent basically the first (soon to be) three years of our marriage in a semi-constant state of anticipation, disappointment and heartache.  Sure, we're not constantly sad on a day to day basis (well, not usually).  We've had fun and good times.  But I think we both feel like we've weathered more than our fair share of troubled waters for such a short marriage, and that we deserve some happiness for a change.  Would we find that by stopping treatment?  Or would it just make things worse, knowing that we're giving up forever on the idea of being parents?

I guess I feel like if I knew what path to take, everything would feel better.  But I know that's kidding myself.  I just feel so unbearably sad, all the time, and I want it to go away.  I don't want to have to go to work or see friends and smile and lie and say "good, thanks" when people ask me how I am.  I don't want to have to avert my eyes from the cute baby in line ahead of me at the grocery store because I might lose it and start crying.  I don't want to have to hide my face when my thoughts get the better of me and I start weeping on the subway, big fat silent tears dropping onto my parka as everyone sneaks glances and wonders what's wrong with me.  I don't want any of this.

I just want to feel normal again.  But I don't know how to do that either.

36 comments:

  1. Oh Aramis. Envision me wrapping my arms around you for a great big hug and shoulderto cry on. I've been there, having to give up on the idea of my own genetic child and then choosing to go the donor egg route. We ended up using my sister as our donor, but that wasn't without some pretty heavy thought and seriously considering an anonymous donor. We questioned whether it was worth the expense or not. My husband thought we were spending an awful lot just for peace of mind that we tried everything at least, never expecting it to work. I can't tell you what choice is best for you, but I do offer an ear and a virtual shoulder to cry on.

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  2. Oh hon. I'm so very sorry you're at the crossroads. It sucks in a way I can't explain and I wish I knew what to tell you to help you chose which road to take. Honestly, the only correct answer is the one you and M decide is best for you. Hence I won't even dare to suggest a route.

    But I will say this: give yourself some time. I get how terrifying it is to go through treatment again following loss. It's fucking terrifying. But with time, you may feel different (still scared but willing to try again). Then again, you may not. But you need to heal first. So take the time you need to grief this loss. Know we're here to support you as you do. You'll know when you're ready to explore this and we'll be here to support you

    Sending love

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  3. I can't say anything to help or make you feel better. I just went to send a big, fat virtual hug. Nothing is fair about any of this and I hope you find peace in whatever road you take.

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  4. I know what you mean, I've alienated myself from almost everyone. I have no interest in seeing friends or family. I only want to be around my husband or the internet support system I have constructed. I'm sorry you're hurting so badly right now. I hope it eases up soon.

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  5. Hi Aramis--
    I know 2 women who now have babies due to donor egg, and they're so happy that they chose that route. But for myself--I'm waiting for my FET next month after 3 retrievals. If it doesn't work, then I"m going child-free. It's harder to adopt than to continue treatment, and my husband & I had already agreed to stop after 3. You don't have to make the decision now; give yourself some time. Also, I"m not sure if you read this post from A Blog About Love, but it might help:

    http://www.ablogaboutlove.com/2014/01/adoption-stamina-desire.html

    Take care!
    --Violetta

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  7. First of all, I'm really sorry you have to go through all this. I know that doesn't change anything, but still....I'm really sorry. It's OK to grief your pregnancy before making any decisions about donor gametes. It's all well and good to plan, but nobody really knows if they are ready to take that step until it is upon them (fyi, I'm finding reasons to procrastinate, too) :-D Sending you lots of hugs as you work your way through this.

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  8. *sigh* I know the feelings all too well. I know the feelings, but I have no words that can provide comfort. I'm so sorry that you have to go through this.

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  9. Oh, Aramis. I hate this for you, that you even have to consider these decisions. You and M have been through so much in such a short time. Take all the time you need to figure out what you want to do next. Heal first, then decide. Big, big hugs to you in the meantime.

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  10. I took a look at that link, while it was a bit compelling, I also can't help to think about the time when children yell at their biological parents "I never asked to be born!" or when the third or forth child asks if he or she was a "mistake". My feelings were especially hurt when my parents both revealed that they wished they had a second child. I think these moments of conflict are present regardless of the lineage that links parents to their children. Peace to you and M as you work through this process.

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  11. Oh Aramis, I want this to stop so badly for you, too, I hate this so much, everything about it is so unfair. Please know I'm thinking of you and am praying for peace in whatever decision it is that you decide to make. xoxo

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  12. I am so sorry. None of this is fair. Big hugs and wishes for peace.

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  13. I'm so sorry you're going through this. What to do next is such a difficult and personal decision. Definitely take some time to grieve this loss before pressuring yourself to make another move. I'm hoping for peace for you & that the right solution comes your way.

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  14. I have cried my eyes out on a public bus. I have so been there, feeling like it will never get better and that that pain is just too much. I'm so sorry you have to go through this. The pain does eventually subside though frankly it sneaks up on me now and again. It takes so much time and patience. Just surround yourself with the people that make you feel loved and normal. For me this was my husband and a couple that we are very close with who don't have kids - they made me feel that I wasn't deficient in some way.
    The woman who used to run my Resolve group has a child through donor egg. It was the best decision for her. No need to make those decisions now. Take care of yourself and know that we're all thinking of you, sending our love.

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  15. I can't imagine how hard this is. Praying for you to be filled with peace. Give yourself time to heal before making any decisions. Thinking of you.

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  16. The absolute worst part about infertility is the "what ifs", the "unknowns". To bad we can't all go into this knowing that one way or the other how things will turn out. I think you need to just take some time back and think about all of your options at hand. Also take some time for yourself.

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  17. My heart is hurting for you. The unknowns are so hard. You are right that now may not be the best time to make decisions, but that is hard because I think we all feel better when we have a "plan." You guys will figure out what is right for you. Until then I hope you can take a little break - these cycles are stressful - especially the one you just went through - and you probably need some R and R. Thinking of you!

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  18. Oh Aramis, I'm so sorry. My heart is hurting for you. I think as much as we try to protect ourselves with the blithely stated, I'll just move on to donor eggs, there's really no way to move quickly through the grief. Any choice you make--trying again with your OE, DE, adoption, living child free will be completely understandable, but the grief is undeniable. But like you, I constantly wish that I could fast forward to my happy ending. I don't even really care what it is--I know it won't be what I dreamed of, but I just want to get there. I've had it with the small, everyday moments that we're constantly living with and then the really big heart wrenching grief that you're going through now. You'll find peace, but I just hope the process doesn't wear you down too much. Take care of yourself in the meantime.

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  19. Aramis, I'm so sorry. I know this is a horrible decision to have to make, now or ever. I hope you are able to find peace, and I know you will make the best choice for you and your family. Thinking of you!

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  20. I am so sorry to hear the news. So very very sorry. One nice thing about donor eggs is that it does somewhat take age out of the equation. So you can try living child-free for awhile or just generally take time off from making any decision and then see how you feel. I wish you peace and healing...

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  21. Hey Aramis -- just creeping back online and decided to check in with you, and shit am I ever sorry to see this news. What a horrible blow, and in the worst way, with a fucking teaser second line... ugh. My first thought is, are you able to take any time off work right now? Mental health days? The very least you deserve is a bit of time to process this and think about next steps and frankly just eat a bunch of Kraft Dinner and red wine and cry it out big time. Nothing will make this better, I suppose, but deep down you are strong enough to survive this, especially with your loving husband by your side. If you ever want to meet up or call or if I can support you in any way possible, please please let me know: greenasathistle (at) gmail (dot) com...

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  22. Ugh, this blows. I'm sorry that you're going through this. But I think you said it best yourself - no decisions should be made at this very moment, while the grief is still so fresh. Take some time, as long as you need, and you will come to the decision that makes sense for you. There's no "right" or "wrong" here. I will say that children in this day and age come from all kinds of families, and the important thing isn't the origin, it's the love they feel on a daily basis. Biological parents can be shitty a-holes, and parents who adopt via traditional adoption or embryo adoption or donor eggs can be absolutely amazing. Yeah, teenagers going through hormonal hell may not realize that, but give them a few years and they'll be singing a different tune. No doubt you'd make an amazing mother no matter what the method, or even if you decide to take the child-free route, you'd make that work, too. Just take your time. Nothing needs to be decided right this minute.

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  23. Sorry girl. This truly sucks to be at a cross road not knowing what should be the right thing to do. What's need right now is probably a lot of rest to clear your mind before you start thinking about what to do next. Here is this big huge hug that I want to give you in real person. *HUG* Take good care of yourself.

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  24. I'm so sorry. I wish I could give you a big hug. Sometimes it just sucks that there is no way out but through this, no fast forward, no pause. When people ask how I'm doing I usually just say "okay". In these moments, surviving is all we can do.
    Hang in there, and take your time. I tend to agree with M and Jane that equivalent comments could come from biological children (we have some rather unpretty parent-(grown)child relationships in the family....) but of course I have never been in this situation. If there's anything we can do to support you, please share. Hugs.

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  25. I am so sorry, about this journey and the sheer pain of all you both have went through. It is so much, almost too much, for any marriage to have to try to survive the first years with all of this horrible IF challenges. But I am with all the ladies above in saying before any decisions are made, surviving the grief you both are dealing with is the most important thing at this moment. I hope you are both able to take all the time you need to rebuild each other and support your relationship. I will be praying and thinking of you both.

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  26. I am so sorry you are feeling this way. It's not fair that you have to go through this. I know that in time your heart will tell you which direction to go in. After our second failed IVF I had no idea which direction to take. My heart was leading me to adoption, but there are so many horror stories on the internet that are enough to place doubt in the mind of anyone! Plus the financial burden... it was a lot. I also read about donor conceived babies and had my doubts if I was willing to take those challenges on. In the end, I decided that I had to move forward with the cards I'd been dealt. Having a baby who was genetically linked to Andino and I was not an option, so I was forced to choose between adoption and donor. We pursued both at once because it made it easier not having to really make a decision. That may not be an option in your case...

    Whatever you choose, just know that there is no guarantee what kind of personality or challenges your child will have. That's the biggest thing I took away from all the adoption preparation. Even biological kids can be angsty and challenging, just as adopted and donor conceived kids can be. You just have to be willing to take on whatever challenges are placed in your way and know that you will do the best you can.

    I hope time helps make your decisions more clear. If you ever want info on going to Mexico for their donor program, just email me!

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  27. Gosh. I so feel you on this. This reminds me of where hubby and I were at the end of last summer. And where we have been many days since. It is such a painful and unexpected place to be. I am so sorry that your journey with trying your own eggs has ended with your hopes being raised up so high, only to be shattered.

    If I can help you with any of the donor egg stuff, I'd be happy to. As a Canadian that's traveled to the states for treatment, I might have a perspective that is helpful to you. (And, hint: I'm not sure I would do it this way if I had it do do all over again).

    Hugs to you. xoxo

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  28. The pain is just too much to bear sometimes. I'm so sorry. I've been that woman on the subway and have wanted so badly to not be her. Just holding your hand as you navigate through these next decisions. I'm here as a resource and to answer any questions you might have about DE. XO!!

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  29. By the way, I've created a google profile (t ut) so it is not so difficult to comment on blogger blogs (This is The Unexpected Trip). xo

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  30. Hello Aramis,
    I'm here via Conceptionally Challenged. She thought you and I might have a few things in common.
    I'm so sorry to read that you have reached the proverbial "end of the line" with your OE. What an absolutely heartbreaking place to be. I got to visit that place myself, and it was cold, and dark, and I cried all the time, and never felt happy. It's just so hard.
    I am also Canadian and have done DE in Canada and in the US, so if you ever want to chat, you can email me at augusta_aiob@yahoo.ca
    DE may or may not be where you go next, and I think you are very wise to take some time to regroup and defer any decision until things settle down. After such a devastating loss (the loss of having a child with your own biology), it's really helpful to let things settle.
    Take excellent care of yourself.

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  31. Oh my sweet friend. My heart hurts so much for you. I know exactly where you are because I'm there too. Unfortunately, I have no wisdom or advice to offer since I'm still in a bad place myself but know that you are not alone. Please feel free to read out if you need someone who understands what you're going through right now.

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  32. I'm so sorry that you even have to think about moving on to other options. All of this is so, so very difficult. As other people said, you don't have to make any decisions tomorrow. Hugs.

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  33. Hello old friend. It has been a long time- and I'm sorry I missed so much. I'm also so sorry to hear about your loss.

    I recently decided that I have healed enough to dip my toes back into the waters of fertility. I'm currently in the process of finding a new RE here on the east coast. I've decided to go the route of donor sperm (due to my divorce) and my biggest, paralyzing issue has been donor anonymity. I don't care about race, height, or celebrity look-alikes, but deciding on anonymity stopped me dead in my tracks. Thank you so much for the link... I think it might be the resource I've been looking for.

    On that note- I've missed you. I know things have been tough- but know you are not alone. Not at all.

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    1. I've been terribly bad at responding to all of the wonderful comments I've gotten, and yet I couldn't let this one go. Is it weird to say that I'm so glad you're back? Not in the sense that you're back on the infertility treatment roller coaster, but just because I've missed you too. I hope you're going to blog again, but either way it's wonderful to hear from you!

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    2. It's not bad to say at all- sometimes things just go deeper. I'll be back at some point- just not sure when. But you know, how to reach me if you need to. I'm always here.

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  34. I'm a couple months late to the party, but I just wanted to offer my support. First, I wholly support your decision to explore DEIVF. I have an AMH of 0.17 too, and a shitty AFC of 6. I'm currently pregnant via donor eggs--best decision I made. When you transfer 2 embryos, DEIVF has a ~70% success rate the first time; overall, DEIVF has a 90% success rate with 2 cycles. I encourage you to explore pved.org if you haven't already.

    I will also share with you that most donor-conceived people who are filled with angst tend to be donor sperm-conceived. With donor egg-conceived people, the fact that their mother carried them tends to mitigate such feelings. PVED is very clear about this.

    And finally, although with donor eggs you won't be the genetic mother, you *will* be the biological mother. Although your donor will supply the DNA, it will be your body that influences how those genes are expressed. Kind of like, your partner and the donor provide the building materials, but it's your body that builds the house and decides how big it will be, how many doors and windows it will have. As an example: when pony embryos are transplanted into a horse's uterus, the resulting ponies are larger than regular ponies because the horse's uterine environment have a direct effect on the pony genes. If you're curious to learn more, the branch of science that explores environmental influence on genetic expression is called epigenetics.

    I wish you the best of luck and please reach out if you want to talk about this.

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I'm needy and your comments validate me. Help a sister out!