Friday, September 12, 2008

The Break and the Reason

The place: Stratford, Ontario, for an offsite work meeting.

The background: The fall of 2003. About a week after finding out that our fifth IUI (intrauterine insemination), did not take.

The straw: A colleague of mine at this training program admitted that she was indeed expecting.

The camel's back: I excused myself, went to the ladies' room, made sure no one else was there, got into a stall. And broke down. I could not take it any longer.


How did it come to this?

The stress of the scheduling was a huge factor. With the travel and meetings in our work schedules getting in the way, it took close to a year to complete the five cycles. The frustration was bringing us down as well. We were exhausted, emotionally and physically drained. And we still had a very active preschooler to deal with. How fair was this all to him?

The running around each cycle, dealing with the traffic, getting to the lab for daily bloodwork, ultrasounds and the waiting and waiting. The drugs weren't helping my temperament much either. Feeling bloated and cranky 24/7 had actually become the norm.

An open concept office. That was wonderful. At least when we were trying for baby number one, I had a real door. But with the company move, management decided that everyone under VP status did not need a door. In the spirit of working together, better apparently, we all became Les Nessman noobs.

There's nothing like having to track down a small conference room or shut yourself into a filing room to find the privacy to make these "results of the month" calls. I'd whisper quietly into the receiver, keeping my fingers crossed that no one would come in or need the room at the last minute. Then I would anxiously wait for the results of the blood tests taken earlier in the day.

Sometimes the response was compassionate: "So sorry, sweetheart. Maybe next time."

Other times, not so sweet: "Nope. Negative. Bye."

I don't know which I preferred. The news was the same, so in the end what did it matter?

Five times too many. Five times of having to clench my teeth, wipe away my tears, pray that my face wasn't too red, and compose myself before walking back into the office with an efficient clip. As if nothing had happened. As if my womb, still-empty of baby, didn't hold the weight of my heavy, sunken heart. We knew the chances of IUI being successful after more than three times were very small. The law of diminishing returns was in full force.

During the period of the IUIs, we had started looking into adoption. That information package was still sitting there for us to look at again.

Ian was as supportive as ever. He always maintained that he was happy with the status quo. The urge for baby #2 was mostly mine, an inexplicable obsession. But he would welcome a second baby, and had very positive thoughts about adoption. In fact, as we were looking at adoption in China, it might have been a way to fulfill a dream of his own ... to have a 100% Asian baby. We used to joke about that when we were first married; he's always maintained that Asian babies are just the cutest...but I'd respond that if that was indeed what he wanted with our kids, well, his procreative involvement would be problematic.

But I had to be honest with myself. Was this IT for us? The end of the roller coaster? Was I not willing to go the next step? Did I not have enough in me to make that huge leap into IVF land? Did we have enough in u$ to start down the slippery slope of hope?

So we were at a crossroads.

We decided we needed a break. After two years and five IUI's, the next cycle - it came and went. No poking, testing, ultrasounds, shots, stirrups, samples, tubes - nothing. We took the time to gather our thoughts, digest everything and decide what made sense for us, for our family.

In November, we came to an agreement. We would proceed with one IVF cycle. And take it one cycle at a time. How could we not? I never in a million years thought we would have to go this far. But we had to at least try.

So over Christmas, instead of another frantic month, we took it easy. Enjoyed our time with our boy. But we did attend an IVF orientation. We signed the papers, brought the information, including all of the presciptions necessary, home with us. I made another appointment for the new year to learn how to self-inject.

Taking a look at our calendars, the earliest we could schedule our first IVF cycle was in April.


Something to look forward to in the spring.


My musical memory: this was 3.5 year old L's fave tune at the time...
(okay, I'll admit it, it was me trying to train my kid to become the next hot Eurasian lead singer of a hot band ;)

And yes, in case you've noticed, I decided to group all of my infertility posts in one spot - check the sidebar for "My Infertility Chronicles" blog. So if you're new, you can follow my journey from the very beginning, or what I remember of it anyway. Or rehash it with me if you've already been following. Hope it saves your fingers all that clicking and linking, and linking and clicking.


Xbox4NappyRash said...


Just excellent.

Must say, it's quite hard to read, I'm so glad I know the eventual outcome.

Keep it up.

gmcountrymama said...

I am so glad you had a happy ending.
I like that song too.

Kathryn said...

I just can't imagine all the ups and downs, and appointments, and scheduling, and dollar$, and hormones, and emotions. It must have been so hard.
Knowing that it all ended so well for you makes it much easier for me to read. Otherwise, I don't know. ;)

Kami said...

Oh what heartbreak. I was there, with you, in the bathroom. I have no words but if what I feel for you is a tiny bit what you You are so strong!

And how wanted little G was :-)

Cherry said...

Your stories give me hope (and a good reality check)! Thank you for sharing.

airingdirtylaundry said...

Thanks. I look forward to each of your infertility posts. That sounds rude, doesn't it? You know what I mean, though, right? Other peoples struggles give my own some perspective. I can't believe all that you've gone through, but I'm so happy it all worked out in the end :)

Immoral Matriarch said...

I love reading these - it really lets me into the experience and the struggle. Very informative.

Karen said...

I love how honest and open you are about all this. It cannot be easy to talk about.

Beck said...

This is so intense to read. My path to motherhood was so dippily straightforward (sex = babies, instantly), but my pregnancies were AWFUL, so it wasn't all beer and skittles. But there wasn't that long drawn out torture of being not pregnant and wanting to be so badly...

C said...

I love reading these posts of yours, Karen. With the wonderful prize of two beautiful children, it makes all of the craziness and effort (and ups and downs) worth it, yes?

You had me crying with the part about you going to the bathroom and breaking down.

Keep on writing these amazing posts! Love ya! TTYS! xo

April said...

Every time I read these, I'm reminded of how lucky I am. I totally don't blame you for needing a good cry after that news. I'm so glad, as well, that I know it has a happy ending.

Miss said...

Wow. It seems like such a trial. Thank God you were strong enough to get through it all. *hug*

J at said...

The cruelty of the open office can be harsh. I had a coworker years ago who had been trying for a baby for quite awhile. Every month, when his wife got her period, she would call, crying softly, and he would quietly try to comfort her, and there I was, on the other side of the cubicle, trying not to hear his soft words. Usually I went to the bathroom or the break room for a few minutes, to give them at least a tiny bit of privacy.

All's well that ends well for them, too. They have two healthy children. But boy, that was a hard time for them.

Audrey said...

I am so happy that you were able to have a HAPPY ENDING!!!! What a roller coaster ride!!!!!
Hope you are well!!!


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