Saturday, March 31, 2012

Soul Searching

Not sure even how to begin this post... maybe that's the reason behind my unplanned hiatus from blogging - I can't put more than one thought into some coherent order.

The last few weeks rocked us more than I dreamed they would. Of course, we all know heading into treatment that this may not work. However, I feel that you have to get to the best place you can mentally prior to beginning a cycle. Everyone's "best place mentally" may be different than someone elses yet it doesn't make one right and the other wrong - this whole path is so personal.

Looking back I feel that we did everything we could to ensure that this cycle could work. That it WOULD work. Last summer I joined a gym to do my part and get my body ready for IVF in January, and I was dedicated three times a week. No caffeine, started prenatals again - all months before our cycle even started. They were things that I could control. We see arguably the best RE in our area, great success rates, wonderful staff, etc. Again more things we could control.

However, when it comes down to it, I realize that there is very little about this process that we have ANY control over. The best diet, workout routine, protocol or RE can't give us any guarantee for the outcome that lies ahead of us. Don't get me wrong, I still feel these things are important, but small pieces of an ever complex puzzle.

I've spent the last few weeks digging for answers, for support. I've had dinner with friends, went back to HEAL (the support group we became a part of after our miscarriage), e-mailed an acquaintance about her IVF journey, researched online and anything else I could think of to try and clear my head of all these questions. While I haven't uncovered a miraculous nugget of truth, yet, I have gained support and direction.

At the prompting of some friends and our own thoughts, we've decided to get a second opionion from another RE. We don't have plans to switch doctors, just simply to see if he finds something we've missed. The nagging question over the last few weeks is have we been so focused on the known MFI issue that we've missed something else? According to my RE and what I can find medically, the miscarriage and the chemical pregnancy are "unrelated". But after two textbook IVF cycles, good fertilization rates with ICSI, quality embryos and smooth transfers, we're still falling on the wrong side of the statistics. I need to really know that these two things are "unrelated" before moving into an FET with our precious two embabies. We've got an appointment this coming Wednesday for a consultation with the new doctor. He also does acupuncture in his practice so maybe that's something to look into as well.

I've taken time recently to exchange e-mails with a family acquaintance who now lives in another state about their IVF journey - 6 IUI rounds, 1st IVF/ICSI transferred 2 (pregnant with twins, miscarried at 8 weeks) followed by a FET with early miscarriage/chem pregnancy. The e-mail I received back was one of the most beautiful things I've EVER read and was an amazing view of this journey. I cried reading it, and cried as I re-read it for the second and third times. There were parts of it that were hard to read. Let me share a few things that she wrote:

"During the process, I tried to be “open” to the message that this was giving me—I wondered whether it was supposed to mean that we should adopt and even discussed special needs kids given my professional background…and eventually what came to me was that I needed to learn patience and give up control over everything, trust others, have faith, accept help from others.  I think the journey can teach us each the lesson WE need.  Maybe your lesson is knowing when to give up or maybe it is when to persist in the face of defeat…you and Jeff can only answer that—and you may each have different answers.  That doesn’t mean one is right—you’ll just have to find a way to work through it."

Wow. I don't know that I've been very open to any lessons along the way. But sometimes we can't see those lessons while we're in them, we only see them when looking back on them. Something I realized when I read this part of her e-mail:

 "I can’t even name the ways in which the process changed me—it made me more appreciative of my friends, smiling strangers, it gave me a perspective on what grief and hopelessness really feels like, it makes me think twice when someone is snappy with me because I realize they might be in personal pain.  I love my kids a little deeper, I know what it feels like to love a doctor for the life they have given you and even the small moments of compassion they provided when we needed it.  It taught me to be an advocate for my health and my children’s health, it taught me what I really wanted in life and what I was willing to sacrifice to get it.  It brought people into my life that otherwise wouldn’t have.  It made me truly believe that small moments change your life—deciding for M to take a job in Cincinnati where we had IVF coverage (at a time when it was unusual and didn’t even consider it) and to Dr. A and ultimately to a world renowned high risk OB unit that allowed the trips to be born healthy…When a new acquaintance mentioned she had struggled with infertility and ultimately she directed me towards Dr. A… my best friend from HS offering to be a surrogate—something that makes me cry even now as I type it because it’s one of the most selfless gestures I have ever received.  It’s not that I am glad I went through the process because it was soooooooo hard and terrifying and sad—but besides having a healthy and loving family, I also received so much more from it.  Know that you are growing and stretching in a way that is necessary and good, even when it feels like you are making no forward progress.  It will be years or decades maybe before you can see it with perspective, but try to appreciate the little moments of grace as they are presented to you."

I don't know if those words affected you like they did me but this whole journey is taking on a new perspective for me lately. No, I don't like it and wouldn't have chosen it. Nor do I enjoy the strain it's put on my marriage and other relationships. But I can look back and see those special people that have come into my life and heart as a result of this path.

A friend I had known for years introduced me to a friend of hers also struggling through IF. That girl, H, has since become my closest friend and confidant. She and her husband had a failed IVF #1 right before Jeff and I did our first IVF and we've shared the ups and downs of this journey side-by-side. After the miscarriage we were introduced to a group here locally called HEAL that is a parent support group for families who've experienced miscarriage, neonatal death, infant loss, etc. I never saw myself going to something like that but it has been priceless for us. S, the lady who started the group is a nurse and had a son who was still born in 1988 and has since devoted her life to supporting and educating parents and also research to prevent these losses. Through her devastation, she has reached hundreds of families to help them through their darkest days - she has truly been an angel for us, very possibly one of the best people I've ever met. Through that group, we've met several other couples that we're becoming good friends with. I think once you've shared the darkest or hardest parts of your life with someone, everything else comes so easily. Another girl I've recently met through my sister and now they are scheduled for a consultation with Dr. S (at the clinic we go to) in the next few weeks about surrogacy. I also would never have "met" such wonderful people through blogging, and I count you guys in that group of special people as well.

I'm not sure that any of this flows together the way I would like it to, but I wanted to get some of those thoughts out and share them with you. Of course I'm not saying that everything is wonderful for us right now - we still have alot of rough moments and rough days. We're not out of the woods yet. But I wanted to share what was on my mind and heart.

I've got alot of catching up to do on everyone's blogs - I feel like an awful friend for being on hiatus for so long. I'm sure I've missed alot. Stick with me as I get back into the swing of things. I'll try not to fall off the planet again.


  1. Your friend's words were very touching--thanks for sharing them. I have started to think more and more about how IF has changed me for the better.

    Don't apologize for being away from blogging. We all need a break now and then. I think a 2nd opinion is a great idea, because it can at least give you peace of mind that your main doc isn't missing anything. I'm sorry things have been so rough for you lately!

  2. Yes, do not apologize for staying away. I took a 6 month break from the blogging world after my first failed IVF. It's so hard to deal with what you have been through, knowing the cycle couldn't have been more perfect. We too have MFI and although I had some issues as well mine were fixed. I always felt once we got to IVF it had to work because we would be by passing the MFI with ICSI.

  3. Your friends letter had me in tears. It's a powerful reminder that, though there are days that this process hurts beyond compare, that there is something to be gained from being on this journey. Thank you for that reminder. I needed it today.

    And thank you also for your note. I've been very worried about you since the news. You've been in my thoughts daily and I hope this next appointment brings some answers or gives you a direction. In the meantime, I'm sending you love and peace.

  4. What beautiful and inspiration words from your friend... so true but so hard to see lessons sometimes when going through the pain. Her and your words are lovely reminders to help keep perspective and compassion along this journey. Sorry that you've been going through such a rough time... we're all here for you and completely understand having taken a break xoxo

  5. Welcome back :-) It sounds like you've been doing a lot of much needed soul searching. I hope that you find the peace you are looking for. This journey is possibly the most difficult thing we will encounter in our lives, but it can work so much good in us even as we are in our darkest moments. I'll be praying for you.

  6. A very beautiful post. I totally identify with everything you've written (including taking a break from blogging) as well as your friend's message. My hubby has said to me over and over how much we can and should be grateful for despite this painful journey we are on - at times I get annoyed with him, but deep down, I know that there is so much that we have been able to gain from going down this path, most especially those truly special relationships with friends (old and new) that we have made and also, the amazaing bond we have developed (and are still developing) with each other. Well done on a beautifully written post.

  7. There were many wonderful thoughts in those e-mails and I think you really lucked out in the support group you have. I wish you were experiencing pregnancy instead of trying to find the positives in failure, but when there is so little to control, we take what we can get.

    I think of you often and thank you for all your comments and unending support. You are a truly lovely person.

  8. What a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing.

  9. Thanks for sharing the beautiful words from your friend. You need to take care of you first and if that means taking a break then do it. We will be here waiting for you and loving you no matter what.

  10. First, I think it is an excellent idea to get a second opinion. Maybe that is the change to help make this work.

    Second, it is crazy to think as horrible as this journey is how much you can learn in the process. Your friend really hit the nail on the head with her words and times I have felt these things too. And still am. Even after your pregnant you still think about it and have perspective on how many good things can/have been brought from this journey too (other than being pregnant).

    Thank you for sharing.

  11. I ask myself many times (knowing of course that it isn't even over yet), would I do this again? It's such a hard question to answer. I agree that I would miss out on meeting so many people I wouldn't have met. Truthfully, I go back and forth. I'm grateful for all the things I've learned, but still find myself wishing I was magically no longer infertile.
    Keep us updated on what the new doc says - I would do the same thing.
    Glad you're back

  12. Thanks for stopping by my blog! Your friend sounds amazing, thanks for sharing her words with us. I can relate-- while I would'nt have chosen one whit of what I went through,my short slog through this process (2 tries, 2 late first trimester miscarriages and 1 BFN so far), has taught me the most valuable life lessons I've learned so far. I feel like a different person, and a better one for that.

    I highly doubt I'd continue feeling this positive, if, say, takes me 10 years to have a child, or I'm left childless--- to be able to come to peace with something like that, is the most difficult thing I can conceive of doing.

    Lets pray all of our lessons are short and not that difficult, welcome back to the blogsphere!

  13. Your friend's email is really lovely. I have gained so much through this experience, and while I wish we didn't have to go through this, I truly believe I am a better person because of it. I have met some amazing people, virtually and in real life, and the friendships I had before this are stronger. It's really an amazing, awful and wonderful journey. I'm glad I found your blog.

  14. Hey Lora--thinking of you and hope you're doing ok.

  15. Thinking of you and have nominated you for a One Lovely Blog Award...
    ... sorry that it's taken me a few days to let you know... I'm a little behind on reading.commenting :(
    Love to you always xoxo

  16. Just wanted to let you know I am thinking of you often. I miss you and hope you are doing well. I also gave you a blog award. Come check it out. Big tight squeeze Hugz!

  17. Thinking of you, you said you weren't going to fall off the edge of the cliff again, but you did! :-( Hope all is well!

  18. Still thinking of you Lora!! hope all is well. <3

  19. Hoping everything is well with you - been a while! I think of you often and keep you in my prayers :-)

  20. Missing you. Hoping you are well. Hugz!

  21. Hey Lora, Just wanted to stop by and tell you that I think about you often and hope you are doing well. I miss you and hope to hear from you soon.

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  23. Hey it has been a year since hearing from you. Hope life is treating you well. Miss hearing from you dear!