Sunday, September 23, 2007

Don't box life in

"Don't box life in" is an often repeated phrase by my therapist. There is some value in that statement. If I decide that I can't be happy unless my life fits within the lines that I have drawn, and life stubbornly fails to turn up that way, then there is no place to go except despair. It is something I struggle with. I find when life fails to show up the way I want it, I spend a good deal of time kicking and screaming, "It's not fair! It can't be true! Someone needs to fix it!!" I'm getting better though. I have had 5 years of infertility to practice the skill of not expecting things to turn out a certain way.

Here is where I get into trouble. I find that one of the ways I cope with life not turning out the way I want it is to embrace the way it is. When I moved to IVF after stubbornly declaring that I would absolutely not do it, I started to look for ways to embrace it. I told myself I loved the every-other-day appointments because I love those little connections with other infertiles and the staff. When I was tired of the roller coaster, I shouted, "Life is an adventure! It wouldn't be any fun if we knew how it turned out!"

When we were told we should move on to donor eggs, I spent some time screaming, "It's not fair! Why me?! How could it come to this? We have male factor infertility, not female factor!" And yet, slowly, slowly, I have been moving on. I learned to come to peace with the fact that it was male factor that brought us to infertility treatments, and yet it is the age of my eggs we couldn't overcome. I embraced the DE process in the best way I could. I found a known donor when I wanted more control. I counted us lucky when we found Belinda who is like me in so many ways. I told myself that I was "trading up" when it came to family medical history. I decided that if we had to have a donor, it was better to have a known donor than unknown and finding a known male donor is highly unlikely (I just don't think the dynamics would work out as well.) I looked at the picture and called it good. I smiled happily. I patted myself on the back for being so flexible and able to embrace our next best option. Then I drew lines around it. I decided how an egg donor cycle ought to look.

I was ill prepared for the news today. An egg donor cycle ought to have lots of good embryos on day 3. We have 4-5. That is less than 3 out of 4 of my cycles. The RE said, "We may have some embryo degradation due to sperm issues." He went on to say that if this doesn't work, we need to move right to a donor / donor cycle (using both donor egg and sperm). Now I am again railing against life for not showing how I expect it. It's not fair! I have adjusted enough times! Why do I have to keep changing my mind about reality? Why can't reality be the way I want it to for a change?!


That is the word that comes to mind when I think about this cycle. Sometimes it even comes to my lips.

I know what you are thinking - and you are right. This cycle isn't over yet. We should still have some embryos to transfer and it might even work. I am doing my best to let go of how I thought it should be (transfer two perfect embryos, freeze 1/2 dozen for siblings) and accept it the way it is. Things may still work out. It is just hard to be hopeful sometimes. I think KarenO said it best in a comment from a previous post:

You know, when you're struggling with Infertility, and every single little egg or sperm counts, we start suffering from the squirrel syndrome: hoarding as many as we possibly can for "in case" we might need just one more. I recognize it in myself sometimes that what might be enough to others seems totally inadequate to me. We need to be so very well prepared that we want to have lots and lots of reserves, so when we're getting less than we expected, we're out of sorts and disappointed, and even though we don't want to be, it just happens, understandably so!

Thanks for this comment Karen. It is nice to read again tonight. Thank you to everyone who have left such wonderful, supporting comments in the last few days. I don't know what I would do without you. I will keep trying to be hopeful and keep you posted.


Fertilize Me said...

sending you lots of hugs

Taina said...

Your strength and introspection are an inspiration.

Pamela Jeanne said...

I completely understand the disappointment you're feeling. When we do things by the book and follow all of the rules, it's inevitable that we expect the results to follow.

This statement in particular resonated for me: "I have had 5 years of infertility to practice the skill of not expecting things to turn out a certain way."

We're alike in many ways, Kami. I struggle with boxing life in, too. Thanks for this post. It's given me a lot to think about. In the meantime, I hope your effort and determination pay off.

Lori said...

I think one of the hardest things to give up (besides one's dreams), when dealing with IF is control.

All our lives, when presented with challenges, we could study our way through, work our way through, research our way through, make it happen somehow. If we were just smart enough and worked hard enough.

Not with IF. It's a shock to not be able to control or influence ANYTHING.

Amanda said...

I am sorry. This just plain sucks. But I'm holding onto hope for this cycle and for what it still holds!!

Foreverhopeful said...

OH Kami... I so get how you are feeling. I've been there so many times and its sad how much of an expert we have gotten at receiving bad news. I'm so sorry that you didn't get better news. But like I said.. you still have 4 or 5 great embies and I hope at least one of those is going to lead to your miracle. I'm thinking of you and I'm here of you need someone to vent or just talk to. Hugs to you.

Meg said...

I'm sorry there arent as many as you were hoping for. But, like you said there is still hope. I hope the transfer goes smoothly. Good luck. XOXO