Lately I have been finding myself asking the question, over and over, "How the hell did we get here?" When we started our infertility journey nearly 3 years ago, it didn't seem like it was going to be quite so...neverending. It took us a year to get to IVF even though we were advised to go straight to it, but then we were supposed to be awesome IVFers. And then we weren't, for no apparent reason that makes any kind of sense at all. And now we are staring down the barrel of our 6th cycle, looking to transfer embryos #14, 15, and 16, and feeling like, "If this doesn't work, then what???" What will we do? How can I not put so much pressure on this frozen cycle, on our three little frosty miracles, to succeed? I have heard so many well-intended thoughts (this has to be your time, you're due, it's time for you to get what you deserve, etc. etc. etc.) but that's all they are--thoughts. There are no guarantees. As much as I want to believe it, these next three embryos do not HAVE to be the ones that become our babies. I want that, and I hope for that, and I can see that in my mind, but all of those positive-thinking tactics do not make it actually so. If that was the case I'd be trying for #2 right now.
I can deal with this for now. I am heading into a cycle over the summer, so I can live in a place of hope and positivity to a point. Every negative or loss takes away some of my capacity to have a full store of hope, but I've still got plenty enough to Pollyanna my way through this cycle. It's the summer, so I'll be relaxed. We are well-practiced at this and have beautiful B4 blasts waiting to come home. It is possible that this will be it. But part of me is preparing myself for the possibility that it might not be it. That we will get the "I'm so sorry" call again. That we will be numb, then angry (and drunk), then just unbelievably sad. Because if this frozen cycle does not work we are looking at a break of at least a year. We need to recuperate financially. We need to recuperate spiritually and be "normal" for a little bit. We need to figure out what the next steps are and where those will be--because as much as we love where we are, I don't think there's a sane person on this earth who wouldn't seek a fresh point of view, a second opinion, after 6 cycles. (Most people I know would have jumped ship at 3 cycles, but we are super loyal and really love our team. Genuinely LOVE our team and everything they've done for us.) I would love to close it out with our current team, and there is still a chance for that. I would be really sad NOT to be able to go to the annual IVF party for successful patients next year. I have lived for the possibility of going to that stupid IVF party for two years. I want to go!
So, here we are, at a crossroads. Or just before a crossroads, since we don't actually have to make a scary decision until we get bad news, which I sincerely hope we don't get. I hope all this is hypothetical and we don't have to worry about it because our frosty babylings will make our dreams come true. I hope that this is my last summer spent giving myself injections, my last school year where I have no idea what to expect for the following year (will I go out on maternity leave sometime during the year? Or will I have to once again use up a crazy amount of sick days for treatment?), the last year where we have to have the total turmoil of trying to have a baby before we enter into the chaos of actually having that baby. I want to stop crying over Mo.dern Fam.ily because a) they do such a good job of showing warts-and-all families and what you look forward to in your own family, and b) they do a pretty good job of showing the heartbreak and exhaustion that comes with the adoption process. Last week's episode left me a puddle on the floor. I want to stop feeling completely overwhelmed and upset by the Parent Day card shopping. This year I was actually able to pick out the Mother's Day cards myself -- it took two trial runs (walk through the section, pick up a couple cards, see the "New Mommy" cards and the "To Mommy From Baby" cards and walk swiftly away before I turn sad sap crazypants in Target/Hallmark/Wegmans), but then I bought the cards in a BarnesandN.oble. Far less intimidating display. But, this year, it was the Father's Day cards that had me barely keeping it together in Hall.mark. I hate Father's Day card shopping in general, because it is insanely difficult to find a good card for my dad. I love my dad very much, but finding a card for "Dad who moved to L.A. when I was in my early teens and missed things like Proms and meeting my first dates and all the sappy crap they put on "you've always been there for everything" Father's Day cards, and who lives 3000 miles away and I see every few years or so" is a little hard. I can't help but feel a little gypped when I read all the Daddy's Little Girl cards out there. And then there's the "Now that I have a family of my own" genre of Father's Day card, which I can't relate to either and get pissy about as well. But this year the sadness didn't come from finding a card for my dad or stepfather. It came from all the other cards out there. The "First Father's Day" cards. The "Expectant Dad" cards. The cards from loving and appreciative wives that I can't bring myself to read because I really, really want to give one of those to Bryce. I want all those cards for Bryce. It's like card people do a great job of creating a display of all the lives you wish you had but don't. And can't, at least not for the time being. The sad thing is that I was in Hall.mark to buy sympathy cards relating to the death of a grandmother figure--I had cried so much about that already and so I was decently ok picking those out. And usually I'm a puddle when I pick out sympathy cards--even when they're not for a person I know! But the Father's Day selection sent me hustling to the parking lot to cry in the semi-privacy of my car.
I want all this to be over. I want to have distant, difficult memories of what it was like to want something so badly but be denied it at every turn. I want to tell my children that they were miracles, hardwon defrosted miracles, and that they were so, so wanted and loved before they were even in my uterus. I want this to be over. I don't want to cross the bridge that's looming on the horizon. I don't want to disappear into the unknown and take our journey to a whole new level of complexity. I just want this all to be over, so that we can settle ourselves into the perfectly normal chaos and anxiety of new parenthood.