I can't even begin to tell you how many blog posts I have written in my head the past 6 weeks but never gotten around to actually writing. The biggest reason of which is that I have been too afraid. We have been so secretive about our FETs this past year, and I have opened this blog up to so many people in my life- I guess I just wasn't ready to share yet. But now it's becoming too much and I am finding myself feeling more lost than I did the first time around, and I realize how desperately I need to stop trying to keep it all in.
Infertility 2.0 was supposed to be easier, less painful and traumatic somehow. We have already endured the years of trying on our own, the tedium of temping, the anxiety of testing & diagnosis, the marathon of IVF, the hell of miscarriage and finally the joy of successful FET. We knew what to expect. We knew the problems and how to treat them. There was no reason this shouldn't work. No reason this time shouldn't have been smoother, simpler than than the first. Oh how very wrong we were.
In 2013, we had 3 failed FET cycles. With the 5 embryos lost to these failures added to the 3 that didn't make it the first time around, that puts the viability of my embryos so far at 1 in 9- far below the 1 in 3 my RE predicted based on my age, hormone levels and our combined egg/sperm quality. 5 transfers, 9 embryos, one child- I am beating the odds in a terrible way. And I was not at all prepared for this or for how it would affect me.
When we started infertility treatment 2.0 this past summer, I not only felt fairly confident we would have an easier time achieving success, but that if for some reason we didn't I would be more ok with everything than I was the first time. I think I even said so on my blog. After all, I wasn't a mom last time and now I am. Who cares if I have one baby or two? I'm a mom when I wasn't before and the headcount of my household doesn't change that fact. Which is still true, of course. In so many ways it is not as painful, it doesn't cut the same way the fight for motherhood did. But it still hurts and cuts in new ways I never saw coming.
My body has now failed me more than it had in 2010 when we were going through IVF/FET. Then, I just couldn't get pregnant without help but after the hormones and the procedures, my body did a pretty good job of behaving as it should. I felt damaged for sure, but I didn't feel quite as broken as I do now. Today, I met with my RE and discussed the possibility that fluid in my fallopian tubes may be creating a toxic womb environment and destroying what would otherwise be healthy, viable embryos. The thought that my own body is responsible for literally killing my embryos is soul crushing.
How do I maintain a healthy self-esteem when my own body is so broken and dysfunctional? How do I stave off the despair, self-blame and depression that comes from infertility when I think about my own body actually poisoning my attempts to further build my family? How do I control my anger when I realize that we have spent thousands of dollars, I have forced myself through hundreds of injections, and we have tolerated months of anxiety, false hopes and heartbreak all with absolutely nothing to show for it? How do I hold back the flood of tears when my daughter comes running into the room to show me that she has been practicing her sign language so she can teach it to the baby brother or sister she keeps begging me for? How do I manage the guilt and shame at letting all of this hurt so much when I know I am lucky to have such an amazing child, even if she is my only one? Infertility as once again made me feel like a failure, this time as a woman, a wife, an advocate and a mother. I just wasn't prepared for all the new ways my heart would break when we set back out on this road.