Monday, September 7, 2009

You can run, but you can never hide

It’s been a long time since my last post. I’ve been in a fuddled, confused state of mind, not feeling very communicative, not having much clarity of thought and word. Broken, tired and hopeless.

You can run but you can never hide from the reality of your life, can you? It always comes back to bite you in the rear. And reality could be in any form. You could take a firm decision to enjoy your long weekend and not think about life and IF, and you could get asked the “So when are you having kids” question right in the beginning of the weekend, when you’re happy and just slightly buzzed on nice strong mojitos. Or it could be in the form of the sight of an obviously newborn baby wailing loudly, and being rocked to silence by an obviously inexperienced dad in the park on a sunny afternoon. You walk silently by, and all you can do is reach out for your DH’s hand and squeeze it.

It’s been over a month since our BFN and it hasn’t been easy. On the outside, life has gone back to being routine. But the emptiness comes back to haunt us and taunt us every day. I feel disillusioned from most things in life – from my job to household chores to working out to even just relaxing. No fun in anything.

I guess my heart and mind needs an anchor or a goal to look forward to, and there is none right now. Of late I have been feeling like a balloon floating away into the sky. No destination, no goal, no plan, no “next steps”.

DH is a little bit in the “ostrich mode” – ie, dig your head in the sand and ignore the problem, hopefully it will go away. I realize he is tired of IF, and wants to lead a normal – hormone free, treatment free life for a while. I find myself closing off from him a little bit because I find him avoiding any discussions of next steps. At the same time, I don’t want to push him, because I don’t want him helping me with our next steps out of force from me. I want it to come from him. I don’t know when that will be.

And I alone don’t have the motivation to do anything on my own. There’s so much that needs attention, and I’m just not up to giving attention. My list grows daily:
1) Find a new job. I took this one because I needed a job at that time. I don’t like it, and clearly I don’t fit into the work environment. But I’m not motivated enough to do anything about it. I’m not even confident enough to do anything about it.
2) Get back to working out and living healthy. Obviously I need to. I need to be able to fit into my regular clothes. One can wear tents only for that long! But do I have the motivation to go to a gym? No points for guessing the answer to that one.
3) Get the house in order. I’m not even motivated enough to cook food any more. I’m happy canned soup and bread. The house needs cleaning and care. I’m not giving it any attention.
4) Feel worthy again. I don’t even know where to begin on this one.

I’m trying to figure out what to do next with my life, as far as IF is concerned. And I need your inputs. I know some of you have been in the situation I am in, and I’m hoping someone can give me some advice / suggestions on how to navigate the maze inside my head. But PLEASE don’t tell me to “just adopt” or something like that. There’s no “just” anymore – it doesn’t work that way.

I’m also listing my options down, because, who knows – just writing them out could bring me the clarity that I need.

So here are my options, and my thoughts / analysis:

I have 2 remaining frozen blasts. Not the best quality, but still, at least they’re there. And they are normal after PGD.

Option 1: Prep for FET again, and attempt another transfer?
Analysis/ Thoughts: I don’t trust my uterus. And I don’t feel confident to try another FET right now. I don’t know if I may feel differently after some time has elapsed. But for now, I feel “safer” knowing the blastocysts are frozen.

Option 2: Use a surrogate?
Analysis / Thoughts: We can’t afford a gestational carrier through an agency. It will take us a long time before we can gather that kind of money. Also, I’m scared because surrogacy is not guaranteed either. What if the surrogate gets a BFN or has a miscarriage or something? Would we be able to deal with that?
But on this topic, I do have some “hope”. I have a cousin who has offered to carry a baby for us. We are not jumping at the offer just yet, because I feel like she is offering herself to me out of extreme emotion. And while this decision is emotional, it also has to be thought through practically. For one, my cousin doesn’t even live in the same country as I do. She has two young children. And a job. And a life. There’s a lot to consider. But it does give me some hope to know that she has offered, and when the time is right, it will be a matter of working things out on the logistics front. This is an option that I don’t want to exercise any time soon. I guess because this is the only option right now that has any “hope” – and I want to have hope for as long as I can.

Option 3: Adopt?
Analysis / Thoughts: We started exploring the idea, and started talking to agencies, until DH decided he didn’t want to proceed just yet. Our finances need to be in order first, according to him. And while we get them in order, even researching adoption is not an option for him. I don’t agree with him on this, but I don’t want to take on the research on adoption on my own. For 2 reasons – 1) He obviously needs to be part of it, and if he’s not part of it, there’s no point me researching it at all. 2) I want him to take the lead on this research. I’m tired, and bitter, and seeing negative in everything I do. I need him to hold my hand and lead me forward. So I’m stuck on this one.

Option 4: Do another fresh IVF?
Analysis / Thoughts: We had decided that the CCRM IVF would be our last one. But now that we’re done with that, I find myself wondering if I should go back to my regular RE here who did get me BFPs 3 times, one for each IVF I did with him. I wonder if I should just rest my body a bit and try one more time locally here. I don’t have an answer to this one. Of course it would be out of pocket, and there’s the money situation again!

Option 5: Live Child “free”?
Analysis/ Thoughts: I have found myself questioning my intent several times recently. There was a time when I would see DH with friends’ babies, and my eyes would tear up thinking what a great dad he would make, and wishing I could have given him a baby. Of late, I see DH with friends’ kids, and I ask myself “Do I see him doing this on a sustained basis”? And the answer is always “No”. Perhaps it’s self - preservation, that I’ve been protecting my heart for so long that now it believes I don’t want a baby any more. Or perhaps it’s something deeper than that. So I ended up asking DH what he thought. My question was “Do we even want to parent anymore?”
At first his answer resonated with my doubts. He said he wasn’t sure. He said he had been thinking the same thing, and he too could no longer see himself running after kids.
Two days later we talked about it again. And we realized that we should parent. If we already feel like there’s no value in our lives today, how would we cope for the rest of our lives? How will I cope when my brother and his wife get pregnant, or when my sister gets pregnant? It’s one thing to cope with friends’ announcements, and a totally different thing to cope with your siblings’ announcements. So this option is almost wiped out. But I leave it on the slate because doubt comes back to me every now and then.

So there you have it – the whole 9 yards. Sorry the post is so long, and if you have come so far down the post to read till here, Thank You!

What would you do?


Sarang said...

Hi Nikki, thank you for taking us through your thought process. It's very personal and as I read through all I could think is that you've done a very good job of keeping in touch with your feelings and outlining some options.

My only suggestion is that meeting with the infertility therapist I continue to see since I did IVF (even 1-2 times/month) has been helpful to me. Even covered by insurance!

I don't know if therapy is right for you or joint therapy is right for you and hubby, but I've found it a good thing. Recommended infertility therapists are listed on Open Path and RESOLVE websites.


Lauren said...

Oh, Nikki....
I hear every bit of what you're saying (and I certainly identify with many of your feelings). I understand that feeling of going through each day without a plan -- ANY plan -- that can keep you going. I'm kind of there right now myself.
I don't want to give you some lame pep talk, but I will say honestly that you do have options, which you've so thoughtfully presented. That is a big plus.
It's got to be good to know you've got those embies waiting for you, but I understand your distrust of your body. I think the cousin/surrogate idea sounds very appealing. That might be something to talk through and nurture for a while. If your cousin really wants to do that for you, I think that's a wonderful option. You can always get the ball rolling with adoption in the meantime. Since the adoption process can take time, perhaps you can have that in the works just in case. You can always stop the process later if you want to, but if you start now at least you're making headway and making the most of your current "down time." Plus, it might occupy your mind and get you back to having a plan in place.
A fresh IVF is always nice, but I understand about being at the mercy of finances....
The last option is a tough one. For the time I've gotten to know you, you're someone I absolutely see as being a parent -- however it pans out. I know how much you want that, and I'm sure the feelings and doubt in your heart are more moved by just wanting the emptiness to be filled -- not really wanting to give up your dream.
I still have so much hope for you both. I don't know if anything I've said has helped, but I wanted you to know I'm here for you and pulling for you every step of the way.


Anonymous said...

I will post more later but I wanted to just make sure you know that I am thinking of you ((HUGS)).

We went down all of those routes in our minds - it was not an easy decision to use DS.

Finally, the feelings you describe - I still have them - IF, loss, depression - it takes a long, hard toll on us and I think that it will take a long time to work through it. Thinking of you.

Sue said...

Argh. I wrote a whole thing and it got deleted somehow! Anyway, it is totally normal to be questioning your needs and desires at this point. I think, after all you/we 've been through, we have a tendency to second guess our motives. I know this winter I was in a similar place- questioning whether or not we really wanted kids (and after 6 IVF's you'd think I would have answered that). I think it is our psyches trying to give us an "out". Totally normal...but very confusing.

You will get through this. You have some really good options. The most important thing right now seems to be getting to the same place with your DH. Make sure he knows where you are now too. My DH and I had to have a conversation the other day b/c we were both feeling strangely uneasy and couldn't figure out why...we got what we wanted and are excited...but we were unsettled. It turns out that we've been doing IF treatments for so long and always searching out the next option or looking to the next cycle that we were both feeling a little lost. Like we forgot to do something or we didn't know how to be normal anymore. I'm guessing you guys are in a similar place but reacting to the same thing in a different way from each other. Just a thought. Talk it out.

No matter what option you do, it will be a good one.

Anonymous said...

Option 5...

having been through a pretty painful roller coaster myself,I feel option 5 seems so nice.

AT least I will have the money to take care of many kids.. educate or feed..It will not be a painful reminder of one's failure..but will make one feel so useful as a human being..

I have asked this question a million times and I am always greeted by silence or words that do not really console me.. long can one go on punishing oneself for no fault of anyone's ?


Anonymous said...

maybe another option, too? is it even possible for you and your cousin to prep for the FET at the same time? see who produces the best "environment" and go with that?

nikki, this is such a hard decision, and i'm so sorry that you have to deal with this whole process. :( it's definitely not fair. you totally would make a fantastic parent.

you continue to be an inspiration to me!

Misty Dawn said...

I don't even know where to start Nikki. Part of me knows what you are going through b/c of my own personal experience but the other part of me (never experiencing IVF) leaves me bewildered. I was forced to quit TTC due to finances. Plus we had exhausted the amount of IUI C's my RE was willing to do, he was pushing us towards IVF, which is against what we believe in. I can say that stepping away from TTC was the best thing for me at the moment, but how long is the moment where I feel satisfied with clearing my mind and becoming me again going to last? In the end I'm still struggling with the ~Norm~ that I can't achieve, ie family. DH is against adoption so we are at the end of our journey. Sometimes I hope that a BFP will happen "accidentally", other times I struggle with the same thoughts "do I really want to be a parent 24/7?" Maybe its our coping mechanism. Who knows. At the end of the day there is no right or wrong answer, its what you feel is best together as a couple. I think stepping away for a while and regrouping doesn't sound like a bad idea. Right now, I'm attempting to focus all my energy in losing the lbs that my body gained from all my self induced "baby weight" from my IF treatment. Through some irl friends I found Isagenix cleansing program, so I can try to detox and feel better about myself first, which is most important. Sorry for the rambling..... ((((HUGS)))))

Jill M. said...

Dear Nikki, my heart breaks for you that you are having to go through all this. I was realizing that if my last embryo doesn't take in my upcoming FET, I will be wearing very similiar shoes and I believe I would be having the same exact thoughts. Having a next plan always helps me, but coming up with that plan is always a difficult one. Seems no path in this journey is easy or without significant cost.

My best advice is to seek some counseling from someone who specializes in infertility and grief. What you are going through is way too heavy for you to carry on your own. While going through the sessions, I recommend taking some time away from the IF world and enjoying some fun time with your dh and friends as much as possible while blocking out anything to do with babies or pg bellies. Then eventually, start working through your next plan. Weigh all the pros and cons of each one.

While it is very hard to see right now and maybe not even comforting, try to keep in mind that there are many options available to you, it is not over and you will be a mom one way or another. Hugs!

DAVs said...

I'm going to send you a message on IVFC.
I'm thinking of you.

Phoebe said...

I've had the same feelings as you lately, not feeling any joy in the things I normally love to do. The grief of IF is huge. Hugs to you as you go through the grieving process.

If I were in your shoes, I'd figure out a way to transfer those remaining normal embryos. Maybe I would do a ton of research to figure out how to make my uterus work, if that was the choice I had. Talk to your RE at CCRM about how to get your uterus working! There is all kinds of stuff out there, and you just never know what's going to work. Sometimes, half the battle is getting your RE to agree to something.

I've also thought about adoption after hearing a co-worker rave about it. He went through IF treatments too, and didn't want to adopt at first. His wife is adopted, so he finally agreed to it, and had a good experience. My husband is against adoption, but I think there is a lot of misconceptions he has about it. I've learned so much about adoption from other bloggers who have chosen this path.

No easy answers, for sure. My only advice is not to push yourself to do anything until you are ready. This IF stuff is exhausting! When I get down, my husband makes me workout, and it helps. Focusing on you right now and healing from your last cycle sounds like a priority.

apieceofwood said...

I'm practically in the same situation and it could have been me writing this post. We are also starting to consider the 'what if, it never works' scenario...

Meg. said...

Nikki *hugs*

I know we talked a lot about various options during dinner, but I just wanted to stop by to tell you that I'm thinking about you!

I'm sorry that your weekend was touched by reminders of your pain (that damn IF always has to find a way to remind us of its presence!).

Like we talked about, take a little time to try and find yourself again. Regain your mental and physical strength. Life still has so many possibilities for you in its pocket.

Looking forward to seeing you again in the (hopefully) not-too-distant future!

Lorraine said...

Decisions within decisions...

Since you asked, I will say that I would pursue the surrogacy. For me, it the sort of thing that I know in my heart I would always think back and wonder "what if" and wish that I had tried it.

See? Not even trying to be vague and open-ended. I think counseling would be great to help clarify your decision, though - sometimes the answer is right there but you just can't see it yourself.

Anonymous said...

Dear Nikki,
I'm glad that you posted your thoughts. It helps writing them down. Personally while I was going through our 6 years of IVFs and facing heartbreak time after time, it became almost an obsession for me; all I was focusing on was having a bio baby and nothing else mattered. This wasn't such a good state of mind for me. Having our DD helped me get through it, she's the only positive thing that came out of all those years of IVF failure.
Now I look back and wonder what would I have done differently, and frankly, nothing. Everything we did was right... Many would have quit long before getting to the point we did. We went through 5 fresh IVFs and 4 FET, 1 loss at 20 wks and many early m/cs. What I'm trying to say is that there is always hope even when it doesn't look like it. The only problem DH and I have is that my tubes are blocked. IVF should have come easy for us and the RE's couldn't explain why we kept failing.
Not wanting to accept the fact of never having a bio baby wasn't an option, I refused to give up and my persistance paid off in the end.
Take a break, let your body and heart heal but when you're ready, get back on that horse and go again. I would try another fresh IVF with PGD and just pull out all the stops. Keep the embryos you have frozen for now as insurance incase the fresh IVF doesn't work. Also I would recommend going to the local RE's office. I went to another RE too after seeing my usual RE for years and the results from the new RE were worse than before so for our last try we went back to our usual RE and did PGD.
I often check in on you, don't let go!
gentle hugs,

Lost in Space said...

Hi Nikki. I'm new to your blog, but I think we run in some of the same circles. (-;

I wish I knew that magic answer. Our last failed cycle ended in February and we are just starting to figure out what our next steps will be. We started working with a therapist who specializes in IF and she has been helping us work through our options one at a time to figure out what is holding us back with each one (aside from the cost).

This process is not an easy one and these crossroads are huge. I can't say I have any great assvice, but just want you to know that we are in a similar spot and I know how much it sucks.


banditgirl said...

Nikki, I am thinking of you lots. Can't seem to be able to write something useful regarding options, just that I would like to be a support for you and Sarang and that in 3 weeks after my guests are gone, maybe we can see each other and I can give you both big hugs and kisses.

Clio said...

dear Nikki, it's so good to hear your voice.
The thought of living child-free is always appealing to me because it would end the most direct suffering. At least there's one option I have control over... so I guess that's the easiest one to go back to. Not the easiest one to choose, of course.
I guess you should keep your options open for now and hold off on any decisions. From everything you described on your post, you sound clinically depressed, and your relationship with DH is also suffering from the exhaustion of all this grieving. There's only so much we can take. I would suggest that you take a break now and work on healing yourself, finding your way back to life, back to some joy together, Something clearly outside of having babies. I understand that you say that outside of that things have no meaning. But one, you are depleted, and it's hard to try to carry a baby, a pregnancy, without any energy reserves; second, if you do get a baby, think of the amount of expectation you are throwing on that child. S/he would be the whole significant for your lives. that is very sad. I strongly feel we have to be able to stand on our own first, to be able to parent, and a child is an addition, not the only hope for happiness. That is too much for anyone to bear on their shoulders, to be the sole hope of anybody is a horrible feeling to carry for your entire existence.
Think of relationships. When one person is absolutely needy and expects the world from the partner, it's not ever a happy relationship. it's clingy and heavy for the one who has the "responsibility" for the other person's happiness. I believe that with children it's the same way. (and this problem mountain of expectation happens to fertile couples as well. especially when someone gets pregnant to "hold" a marriage together)
So, put some energy into getting well, feeling better towards life, and reconnecting as a couple first. If you feel horrible towards life, if you believe it's just emptiness, then why would you want to bring someone else into this? And, it's not true. Life is a great blessing, our planet is beautiful. You know love in your life, you found love and wonderful partnership. And this is why you want a child. To share that love that is greater than the two of you, to share a life that is rich in joy and wonder, to share the experience of walking on this planet together and the blessings of existence. Hold on to that.

Lisa said...

Oh Nikki, my heart just sank when I read this post. I have been there before. Making lists, over and over, weighing options. It all seems so much, so overwhelming to be back in the same spot having to make such important decisions and not knowing what to do. I remember the feeling well and for me, it was the worst part of infertility. So much indecision. So much pain. I know the decision will have to come from your heart -- that is always the best way to make them. But if it were me, I would do 2 things. I would get in an adoption program right away. I know it seems like so much money, but so much time to research everything. But just jump in. Honestly. Researching agencies and programs is important, yes, but more important is the time it takes to wait and wait and wait. In the end it won't matter what program you choose. It really won't. You will love a child from anywhere, and in the end, every program has it's pros and cons anyway, you won't find the perfect one. So I would ask the agency what programs have the shortest wait times and choose from those two. It does seem like so much work to do and it is, so the sooner you get started filling out the paper work, the better. As for the money, it's really not that much on the front end. The big bucks on due upon placement, so it's enough time to get your finances sorted out. And if you should get pregnant in the meantime, they will probably make you drop off the waiting list anyway. And if they don't, you could always opt out at any point along the way.
Then for the second thing I would do. I would definetly use those embryos. You have 2 frozen and a cousin that offered. It seems the cheapest and most hopeful choice on your list and it really could work! Your cousin offered you a wonderful gift and she knows what that offer means and I'm sure she's prepared for it. All the rest will work itself out... the distance, the guilt, etc. this is a great choice Nikki. I would go for it. I know it's hard, but the risk has a really good chance of working. Or, if you just can't take her up on her offer, and you really really think you have one more cycle in you, then I would do this... do one more fresh cycle to get the best embryos you can. And hire the best surrogate, youngest, best uterus you can find, and put those embies in her. Because that really is going the whole distance. That is really really doing everything you ever could. If that fails, it's just not meant to be, and then you are on the adoption list, waiting, and your child will be in your arms soon, either way. I know the last option is so much money it's probably not even possible, especially given the risk of a no. But, if it doesn't work with your cousin, the option is still there, and at this point... you've spent so much time and money and heartache, I know I'd be tempted to just say screw the money, take out a loan, and go the full distance. But who knows, the 2 embryos you have now with your cousin might really work and you won't even need to consider this option.

All in all, I don't envy your decision. I know how agonizing these things are and I only wish you much strenght and love as you go through the decision process. You will make the right decision in the end. Your heart will tell you what to do.

I'm thinking of you.

Lisa said...

But whatever you do, I don't know that a break or therapy or focusing on getting well is going to help (well it would, but you know what I mean, the IF problem will always be hanging out there until you get closure). Just powering through so that you can get to the end and move on is the most important thing for you I think. Time flies so fast, I wouldn't waste anymore time. I would jump in with both feet. And QUICK!