At the age of 33, I got the news I cannot have children (the chances are incredibly slim, even when IVF is employed). I may not be capable of giving my husband a baby. Such news hits hard. Accepting the fact that you may never be capable of getting pregnant, even when IVF is used, is an incredibly difficult task. Still, I had to go through the process after the failure of IVF number three.
Here’s how it all went down – we changed clinics because my stimulations were messed up both times. They were so messed up that we never even made it to a transfer.
This time, I was stimulated with much lower doses of Gonal-F. Due to my polycystic ovaries, we retrieved 23 eggs. Of them, 19 were fertilized. Eventually, we found out that most of them had slowed down. By day five, we had two medium quality embryos that got frozen. After all, we had hope this time.
The embryotransfer occurred a few months later due to the fact I had to have a hysteroscopy beforehand. Both embies survived the thaw. We were given about a 30 percent chance of pregnancy because the quality wasn’t optimal. As the title of this post suggests, I didn’t get pregnant after the transfer of the two thawed embies.
Doctors at the clinic confirmed the fact that poor embryo quality was to blame. We were told that we could try again (the situation isn’t hopeless due to my young age) but that we should be prepared for a similar outcome.
This means that it may be impossible to have my own biological child because of poor egg quality. Realizing I cannot have children is somewhat surreal. While I do appreciate the honesty, it’s a massive shock to know at the age of 33 that I may never have a kid that’s genetically mine. Obviously, IVF with a donated egg and adoption are still adoption. But we’re not ready to give up hope yet. We plan to have one more final IVF, after which we’ll move on to one of the other possibilities.
Coping with the news that the dream may never come true is incredibly difficult. Still, I’d like to share my experience in hopes of helping someone who’s going through the same. If you’re such a woman, know that you’re not alone. If you’re dealing with the loss and the grief, here are some words of encouragement from someone who has been through the same.
Cry it Out and Give Yourself Time to Grieve
It’s very important to cry it out in the beginning.
I was shattered. I knew we had a problem but I didn’t expect it was that serious. That’s why I disconnected from the world for a few days. I needed the time to stay home in my PJs and weep. Friends were worried and kept on calling. I didn’t answer the phone – I simply couldn’t.
Getting the news is a loss of a sort. A loss of hope. Crying, being angry, breaking things and questioning the entire universe is obviously not insane in such a situation.
After the initial shock, I eventually felt empty. This is the moment when I knew that I was going to start healing.
Trust in Your Partner
Knowing that I may never have kids was terrible but one positive thing did come out of it – realizing that I have the most amazing partner on the face of the planet.
As the person who is dealing with infertility, you will probably feel guilt. It’s irrational and it’s stupid. Yet, subconsciously, you feel that you’re holding somebody that you love back.
My husband gave me the reassurance that we’re in it forever. Even if IVF number four fails, we will move on to trying an alternative. Splitting up has never been a part of the equation for him (neither has it been for me if we were to find out that he had a fertility problem).
The love of my life is by my side through thick and thin. That’s impressive and definitely the silver lining we all need when we go through the hardest moments of life.
Have a Plan B
The hopelessness of knowing you may never have kids is the thing that can kill you. The finality of it all. The fact that medicine may never be capable of helping you. In such a situation, you’re left thinking that there’s nothing more to do.
The one thing that we focused on after recovering a bit was coming up with plan B.
For me, being pregnant isn’t that much of a big deal. I want to be a mom. I can do it via adoption and I can do it via donated eggs. Since my partner is a bit hesitant about adoption at the time being, our plan B would be to use donated eggs.
So we now have a plan for the future. A plan for the future gives hope – something we all need when struggling with infertility or another health issue. Knowing that we will eventually have our kid gives us the strength to keep on going.
Don’t Listen to What People Have to Say and Don’t Try to Meet Expectations
Even when tips and ideas from friends are good-willed, they can still cut you like a knife and hurt. Unless they’ve dealt with infertility, people don’t really know what you’re going through.
This is why it’s ok to ignore tips and suggestions. It’s ok to let relatives who tell you it’s about time to have a kid to let it go and move on to something else. Such behavior is only going to get you additionally stressed. You don’t need that in your life. I’ve lost touch with some friends. I’ve turned down ridiculous advice (fortune tellers? Going to monasteries and praying for it? eating blessed fruits that will improve the condition of my womb? You name it, it’s been suggested).
The only people that have a say in what’s going on are you and your partner. It’s your decision to never have a child. It’s your decision to adopt. It’s up to you to go through IVF 10 times. Listening to others politely is the most you should do. Everything else depends entirely on your hopes, your dreams and on what you’re willing to go through.
Give Yourself a Break
The final thing and probably the most important one is to give yourself a break.
2017 was marked by our fertility struggle. We started prepping for IVF in March and we had our embryotransfer in November. Obviously, this is exhausting. Obviously, we’re stressed out and we need a break.
Give yourself a few months off from trying to conceive. Both you and your partner deserve that. A bit of romance and a bit of pampering yourself can do wonders for your recovery.
Once you’ve grieved the loss and you’ve moved on, it’s time to give yourself some pleasure. Go on a vacation. Meet with the people you love. Start dating your partner once again. The normal and pleasant things in life will make it easier to decide about the future and to come up with an action plan (complete with deadlines).
We are now relaxing and prepping for IVF number four in the spring of 2018. I don’t really have a lot of hope but who knows, the fourth try could be our lucky one. If not, we know what to do and how to move forward.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you are going through the same. I know where you are right now and I know what you’re going through. This is why I’d love to offer you a bit of reassurance and support. Virtual hugs and know that you’re not alone!