Such a personal question and one I have pondered on and off since we learned we were infertile back in 2010. Where do we draw the line emotionally, financially, physically? When will we feel like we’ve “done enough”? Will we ever feel done?
Obviously the answer is different for everyone.
We want a sibling for our daughter, but it hasn’t happened. I’m writing about our experience in the hopes of shedding some light on the complexity of fertility treatments and how it is all constantly evolving. Fertility treatments literally bring out every emotion in the book!
Back in 2017, I told L that regardless of the outcome of IVF #3, I wanted to be done with IVF. I wanted to close the chapter on trying to conceive and embrace all the amazing aspects of life without the stresses of fertility treatments. He agreed and felt strongly that after Cycle #3, we would be done.
Well, it was a good plan in theory, but my heart felt very differently. After I found out we were losing the pregnancy, I immediately felt this strong desire to try again. I didn’t feel “done”. I felt empty. I wanted to fill myself up with the joy and hope I felt just a few days prior when I got the positive pregnancy test.
L was confused and couldn’t understand where I was coming from. He was the more rational voice between the two of us reminding me that we couldn’t financially afford another cycle. Also, he said he was tired of infertility and IVF. He wanted to move on with life and was sick of living for these treatments.
I resented him for it. In hind sight, we were a mess and we really needed to step back and reassess.
IVF became a subject we would abandon and come back to for YEARS.
For the next few years, I spent time in therapy and we spent time in couples therapy. We both felt that years of infertility had driven a wedge between us. We needed to find common ground and trust each other again. We needed to remember our “why” and seriously consider if IVF was even in our future.
I didn’t allow my desire for another child to blind me to what was going on in my marriage. I knew at my core that trying again was off the table, because we weren’t ready. We might never be ready again. That was a harsh truth that was tough to accept. But I knew that I didn’t want to bring an innocent child into a family that’s broken from the start. It’s not fair to that child. It wasn’t fair to the child we already had.
We had so much work to do. Somewhere along the line, we got word that our insurance had changed their infertility coverage and would cover an IVF cycle. We were excited that financially options were opening up to us. But, we still weren’t running to the fertility clinic to book an appointment. Time had healed some wounds, but there was still some fear that treatments could tear us apart again. Ultimately, we found ourselves back on track in our relationship. We were on the same page again. We both wanted another baby, and we were willing to take a chance and try.
I was approaching thirty nine, and one of our fertility doctors had told us that after thirty eight/thirty nine is when the majority of women experience a steep decline in the number of viable eggs. It was now or never.
So here we are. I am nearly forty and we are back at the fertility clinic. Did I ever think we would be in this position? No. I envisioned being completely at peace with our family by now and onto other things. But, life has a way of surprising you.
L and I don’t talk in black and white scenarios anymore. We aren’t drawing lines in the sand and saying “this is the last time we will do this” because we are well aware that we don’t know.
We reserve the right to change our minds. I think that’s important to remember when you’re in the trenches of fertility treatments. You don’t know how you will feel. You might change your mind. Circumstances change. Finances change. People change. Give yourself time and grace. These are tough decisions to make and so multi-layered.
We are ten years (on and off, of course) into life with fertility treatments and still going. I think we are in a much better, healthier place than we were years ago. We know that the treatments won’t break us. But, we are still grappling with when will we put an end to it all?
We’ll see how this cycle goes and then go from there. Our hearts are filled with love and gratitude and this latest cycle has been a positive experience for our family. We are closer than ever, and, to me, that’s what matters most.