Thursday, September 12, 2013

Frozen in Fear

I have started and left unfinished about a dozen different blog posts in the past month. I have simultaneously had so much on mind to work out and been working so hard to not think about what was coming, that I could never find the resolve to finish anything I started. Besides, once I write something down and hit "publish", its out there in the world and that makes it more real and infinitely more scary. 

But now that the deed is officially done, I think it's time to break out of my hidey hole. I am currently, and for the third time in my life, officially PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise). And I am terrified more than I probably have a right to be. Earlier today, I met with my embryologist and my amazing RE to have one perfect blastocyst thawed and transferred. This being my second ever FET (frozen embryo transfer) I felt simultaneously prepared and uncertain of what to expect. I remember the FET that brought us our precious Snow Pea so well, but that transfer came on the heels of a D&C following the failed pregnancy of my fresh IVF. I saw my RE and nurses constantly for months during that time. My life was consumed by nothing but trying to become a mom. Everything else came second. Everything. 

This time around I could barely get up the guts to actually call my RE for the first consultation. I don't understand why, but I think the fabled "Infertility PTSD" hit me harder than I had realized. I have watched and cheered for so many of my fellow Infertile Parents as they have expanded their families with additional treatments or adoptions in the past two years. I never stop being thrilled for those friends who are fortunate enough to see their dreams come true and it is still thrilling to see it happen the second time. With each pal that embarked on treatment though, I became more nervous, more afraid. Originally, Chad and I had solid plans to start another FET nearly a year ago. But as that date drew near, we found reasons to move it back. Then the new planned time would come closer and we'd push it back again. There were always "reasons"- the sale of Chad's company, travel plans to visit family, wanting to sort out our finances. But the truth is I kept delaying because I was scared, too scared to move forward. Three years ago, we didn't let any of that get in our way. We were bright eyed, hopeful and desperate to be parents. Fear existed but our hope and our need to do everything we could in our quest for parenthood, outweighed any trepidation. We threw ourselves full force into every aspect of making our dream a reality. 

Now that the dream has been realized, I kind of assumed that trying again one day would be a piece of cake. We have frozen embryos so that creates less strain both physically and financially. We knew what to expect and what our odds of success would be. And most important of all, we have the amazing little girl that made our dream of parenthood come true. If a second child isn't in our future, we are still parents. Our family of three is full of joy and happiness and if that is all we ever have, we will have more than enough. So when I realized how truly scared I was to try again, despite all of these things, I was surprised at myself. Every time I watched another friend on Twitter talk about starting treatments for baby #2, I marveled at her bravery and strength. I just didn't have it in me to even consider it yet. Strangely, knowing what to expect made me more nervous instead of less. I resented that I had to go through injections and medications and invasive ultrasounds and bloodwork and horrifically emotional waits all over again, just in the name of trying to have more of something I already feel beyond lucky to have at all. I mean, my dream was parenthood and I have that. Why should I have to go through that emotional hell again?

I have been absurdly low key about so much of this for a multitude of reasons. It feels incredibly selfish to think about baby #2 and to talk about how afraid I am to try again, when so many of those I love dearly are still fighting for baby #1. I know that my friends love and support me, no matter what mine or their circumstances may be, but I know it can still sting to be on that other side. Before my successful pregnancy, I had to avoid reading tweets and blogs from just about anyone that had moved forward to the next steps. I still loved & supported them and felt incredibly happy that their dream came true, but it hurt too much to expose myself directly to it. It may sound silly, but I felt like a jerk even considering making anyone listen to me whine about why I was afraid to do another FET. (you may have caught a vague tweet or two about this). 

My crazy pessimism & fear has also made me very wary of having much conversation about the whole thing with anyone I know "in real life". The thought of giving updates to my friends and family throughout the whole process, answering questions, and putting on a optimistic, hopeful front just seemed so daunting and I wanted to do everything I could to avoid that. With that said, if we know each other in real life, please don't think I didn't want to talk to you personally. I'm just very guarded emotionally right now and it has no reflection on our relationship or how much I love you, because I promise I do. I just needed to protect myself. (also please keep what you are reading here to yourself, as I am still not sharing this widely). 

The scariest thing of all of course, is realizing that in spite of my pessimism and bitterness about this whole process, hope has found it's way in. I can't help but envision our family of three becoming a family of four. I can't not see what an amazing big sister Eliana would be. How much she would love and care for a new baby. It really doesn't help my hopeful/fearful heart that she is now actually old enough to express these desires. "Mommy, may I have a baby brother, please?" is a popular request from her recently. She says it so sweetly, so sincerely, how can I not try to deliver? 

The concept of family is one she is just beginning to learn and she is very excited to announce that Mommy and Daddy and Eliana are a family every chance she gets. I want to let go of the fear and be open to the hope that a new name will be added to her list soon, but if that doesn't happen for us, I know I will still be always happy, grateful and in love with the family I have. And that is stronger than any fear, guilt or stress I could ever face.


Sarah said...

Holly! I am so excited for you! You definitely deserve this! Congratulations!

SLESE1014 said...

This definitely brings treatment for #2 into a new light for me. Going in for my fresh IVF transfer, the RE's and nurses joked about seeing me when this child was 1 year. I laughed and said, I'm old. If this kid takes, I'll be back at 6 months. I had 5 frozen embryos and I knew I had to give each of them a chance. It meant 3 more treatment cycles, but FET's are SO much easier than a fresh cycle. I never thought of it as brave. I knew that's what we had to do if we wanted more children. I also knew I had to give those babies a chance.

The first FET didn't work and I was heart broken. How could it have not worked? We had to take a break for the holidays and for our daughter's first birthday. I didn't expect the second to work because the cycle was wonky. But it did.

We still have one more chance out there for a possible 3rd child. And I like you feel bad for wanting more of what I'm already super lucky to have. But I also know I need to give those babies just as much of a chance as the others. Our last chance will be it. We'll have 3 children or 2, but we are overly lucky to have what we do and I'm so very grateful for the gift we have been given.

Good luck and I'll be hoping and praying for a positive beta soon! Congrats on PUPO!!!

PS sorry for the novel. This just really gave me a new perspective on things!! Thanks!

Jess said...

Good luck to you! I can imagine the infertility PTSD... I don't think I've ever heard it called that! Congrats on your beautiful frozen blast--may this be a quick trip through the fertility clinic for you. Best wishes for a fruitful cycle!

Anonymous said...

I have the same feeling, my no1 was thru FET too. The fearless warrior in me to do first IVF was gone. I am struggling to overcome fear to (to not to)try for baby no2, need to start a fresh IVF cycle