When we decided to start a family I thought it would go pretty smoothly. I anticipated it would take some time and wasn’t going to pressure myself since it can take an average, healthy couple up to a year. But a year came and went, then another year…and now it’s been a little over 3 years, and we’ve had 3 losses. Before getting to the point of where we are now, I never knew what I truly thought about IVF. I always thought all the other attempts and procedures in between would be it for us, and I would consider IVF when and if we came to it. The one thing I knew is that I always thought it sounded so complicated. I figured, hey we’re young we’ll never have to go through IVF.
Never say never.
When we first decided we were going to begin IVF I was excited and ready, but there was another emotion I couldn’t quite pin point. I’m still not quite sure there is a specific emotion that describes it. It was the realization that conceiving wasn’t going to happen naturally for us. I had to just “let it go”. Although we have conceived naturally in the past, and we may conceive again in the future, the chances are unlikely that it would ever be a successful pregnancy because of my NK cells. I’m so grateful and blessed that I can even say I have been pregnant naturally even though they weren’t successful pregnancies. I know what it’s like to see negative tests month after month. I know how much it hurts and how badly every woman wants to see that positive test. I am blessed that 3 times I have got a positive test naturally, because my heart breaks for all the women out there who never have. I know what it is to cry because you get your period, or you see a baby announcement on Facebook, be told to “just relax and it will happen” (oh is that all, why didn’t I think to do that?). I know how it hurts to be invited to a baby shower and while you want to be supportive you just want to avoid it all together, or to walk past the baby section of a store and feel like someone is kicking you in the stomach as a reminder of what you don’t have yet, even the sting of standing behind a pregnant woman in line at the store. There are reminders everywhere for every woman suffering from infertility or a loss, reminders that may seem insignificant to others but are so painful to us. It took me a while, but I eventually asked myself, “How can I do a better job of reacting to every reminder I see rather than feeling bitter and sad?” And it hit me, I began praying for these women. Praying for them, the health of their unborn child, that God would protect their pregnancy, and asking God that they wouldn’t have to know what a loss is. Or maybe they already do? And in that case I just remind myself I don’t know their story. I don’t know what it took for them to get to this point. They might know the pain of loss, infertility, meds, appointments, tears, joys, and sorrows. So, I just ask God to protect them. Doing this gives me a sense of peace rather than letting it ruin my day.
Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to do IVF and know that our diagnosis has a favorable outcome, but I am also having to let go of the fact that something that should happen so natural, now isn’t for us. The closer we get to the retrieval and transfer the more and more excited I get, and the less I think about “how” it’s happening. God has brought us this far and He will continue leading us through. We know that the eggs retrieved, fertilized, transferred (and even the ones that don’t get fertilized, don’t make it to transfer, or don’t make it to freeze) are all determined and picked by God and we are excited to see what He has planned. We have been through so much to get here, and now we are just a week away from retrieval/ transfer. It might not be “the good ole fashioned way”, but I’m okay with that! I’m more than okay with it.
I’m also not trying to paint the picture that IVF is “bad”, I’m just being honest about my initial reaction to accepting this as our “baby making” plan. So far, the process has been relatively easy and I’m proud to be an IVF’er because I’ve learned, and grown so much. I can explain to others what IVF is, how it works, and clear up any misconceptions they might have. It’s a pretty neat process to be able to actually learn what the body does and how much goes into the “natural” process of conception. I’m amazed and thankful that such a complex process is still within reach for us, just with a tad more intervention 😉
So, there you have it. For me IVF meant letting go of everything happening naturally. Now I’m excited and anxious to see what is to come!
For those of you who think IVF might be in your future or you have been through it yourself, I’d love to hear how you handled the IVF process. No judgement, just honest feelings. Infertility is hard enough and no one should feel alone. Hugs to each of you.