Why We Did a 180 With Our Fertility PlanAela Mass
It’s been two months and 11 days since my last negative pregnancy test. It was my final attempt at pregnancy with the fertility center I’d been with for nearly two years, because I was moving the week after I got my results. It was also our last chance to conceive with the donor sperm that got me pregnant with our twins — whom we lost during my 2nd-trimester miscarriage.
I came to love this fertility center and the amazing staff. And I know they did everything they possibly could. To say I was disappointed when I learned that I — once again — was not pregnant, is an understatement.
But my disappointment was quickly replaced with a huge sense of being overwhelmed.
We were back to Square One.
After almost two years of trying, after numerous IVF cycles, FET cycles, an IUI, countless injections, bruises, pills, vaginal suppositories, hormone side effects that included hot flashes, weight gain, headaches, dizziness, cramping, outrageous mood swings, fatigue, loss of appetite, increase in appetite and sleeplessness, too many transvaginal ultrasounds to recall, five — maybe six (who can remember?) — negative pregnancy tests, a miscarriage at 17 weeks pregnant and the horror that came with that, and a medical bill of nearly $40,000, I was walking away without a baby. Without sperm. And without a plan.
It’s been almost two and a half months since that last pregnancy test — since our plan was forced to change. At first, I thought we’d find a doctor in Boston. We’d buy more donor sperm from a cryobank there. I’d settle in to my new job, and begin again with the appointments, the blood work, the transvaginal ultrasounds, the injections, hormones, blah. Blah. Blah.
But that’s not what we’re going to do.
It’s been close to two years of near-constant doctor appointments and filling my body with one hormone or another — though usually multiple. It’s been close to two years of near-constant injections, of playing mixologist in my bathroom.
I want to have a family more than anything. But I don’t know if — no, scratch that, I do know — I can’t do that anymore.
Trying to conceive through the help of assisted reproductive technology (ART) is like a drug. It makes you feel active, like you’re doing something, like you’re working toward your goal. With each injection, you tell yourself, “This is for the baby.” With every vial of blood taken, you tell yourself, “This is for the baby.” When you go under for your egg retrieval — when they suck your eggs from your ovaries — you tell yourself, “This is for the baby.”
And it is.
All of it.
For the baby.
That’s all any of us who go through this want. Hope for. Pray for.
It’s been over two months since I “gave up” fertility treatments, albeit through little choice of my own. But, nonetheless, I feel good — and clear. We’ve talked a lot about where we go from here, and we both agree that we want to try at-home insemination. And that we don’t want to use a donor from a cryobank. We currently have a few donor options that we’re very seriously weighing, and we hope our first try will be very soon.
I know we might be naive in thinking that this will work when IVF didn’t. I know this option isn’t possible for so many of the IVF moms and the TTC mom-hopefuls who follow my story. And part of me feels guilty for having this option. For seemingly breaking some sort of bond with my fellow IVFers.
But we all have to do what we have to do.
I know this might not work. I know I might end up in a fertility center at some point down the road.
But I have to try. And, for now, this feels right.