What “never give up” should mean: learning to rejoice in success and let go of loss after spending my 30s undergoing fertility treatments.
I’m 37. I’ve spent almost my entire 30s doing fertility treatments.
This is not a message to give up. It’s also not a message to keep going, because I can tell you – I’ve been in both places with different outcomes. This is a message of doing what’s right for your body and this moment in time of your life.
At age 29, we decided to try for kids. Not an old age, but right away I knew something was wrong.
“Why is this not working?” said every fertility warrior everywhere.
We did the typical things, talked to the doctors, and ended up doing a round of IVF and – a miracle later! – got pregnant with our awesome baby boy. I get it. We’re lucky. Even with all the trauma, I’m omitting, we’re still lucky.
But… flash forward to kid number two. It should go the same way, right? Wrong. That first round of IVF did not work, which was devastating. I don’t know that I’ve cried harder. It was a glimpse into what many know: IVF is NOT a guarantee. It was a hard lesson to learn. I’ve had to refer back to a post-it note I wrote about these experiences because my brain constantly forgets what I’ve been through.
So here we go with a post-it in hand. Two rounds of IVF and no luck. One hysteroscopy, but nothing was found. Another FET, ERA, FET. No dice. A new retrieval which was miserable (OHSS and 6 liters of fluid removed from around my ovaries) and a vow to never do a retrieval again. Two more FETs with two normal “embabies.” Nothing. And then…Covid.
During that pause period, I felt terrible. I experienced body aches, nausea, etc. It was not fun, but no discernible cause was found. Finally, I did a laparoscopy. They found a massive amount of scar tissue; a huge amount of endo.
The world was on fire. I had to have a second laparoscopy with my fertility doctor and when she woke me up, she declared it the worst of her career (and she’s been doing this for 30 years). In my heart, I said, “Why wasn’t this found sooner?!” In my head, I said, “Thank God you advocated for yourself when no one did.” We did one more FET round with two low mosaics. That was it. No more second chances. I had been through enough. In the end…it didn’t work. I don’t know why. I’ll never know why.
But my body said enough and this time, I listened.
I’ve been a warrior, pushed forward, and persevered with success. I’ve also been a warrior, pushed forward, persevered, and failed. There is no shame in either. No right or wrong.
I’m here to tell you:
YOU are ENOUGH.
YOU’VE done ENOUGH.
YOU are OK.
Whatever that means to you, I want you to know: YOUR choice is the right one. With all the love I can give.
Michelle K., WI
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