Monday, September 27, 2010

Life After IF

Or life with IF. What if there is no "after"? What if there is just IF?

I've been doing a lot of thinking the last week about the future. Being benched really takes the focus away from "this cycle" and redirects it towards "what next". Obviously, the immediate future holds another injectibles cycle. But after that?

I'm considering getting a second opinion. My yearly midwife visit is coming up. The visit that got me a referral to the RE last year. I'm going to discuss a second opinion with my midwife and see what she thinks about the fertility center my acupuncturist has been suggesting I check out. Then I'll need to check with my insurance to see if they'll pay for it.

Realistically, I'm 38 years old, my FSH is OK but not great, treatment has not been successful and I don't really know how long I can continue to push forward. Don't get me wrong - I'm not giving up, but I do feel like time is running out and I don't really know yet how far I am willing to go. I don't know where my breaking point is. If the RE suggests IVF, I will likely be fine moving to that step. But what additional issues might IVF uncover? Will we be encouraged to consider donor eggs/sperm or even surrogacy? We haven't discussed these possibilities, but somehow I don't see us going down any of those roads.

What I am considering is what comes next when I eventually do reach the point where I just can't continue with treatments. Professor and I have discussed adoption and we are in agreement that it is not the right path for us. This actually makes me feel a little sad and a little ashamed, but I have to be honest. It just isn't right for us.

And that leaves just us. Child free. I don't think there will ever come a time, as long as I live, when that thought doesn't hurt at least a little bit, but I am beginning to accept that as a possible outcome. I do worry about what (if anything) we will tell friends and family. I feel like we would need to tell them at least the basics. I don't think I could live that big a lie for the rest of my life. I still worry about becoming an object of pity, you know "that poor woman who couldn't have children". I dread year after year having to witness the disappointment and longing on Professor's face as he watches other people living life with their children and eventually grandchildren.

I am facing these fears, and I am beginning to approach a sort of peace with the idea.


  1. It's tough to face those fears. I'm in the midst of the same sort of crossroads. It pains me to think about living the rest of my life without children, but I've gradually accepted that it might be my fate. I don't see acceptance as giving up; just as understanding that certain things may not be in the cards. I hope that this isn't the case for either of us, but I am glad you are facing your fears. It sucks, but it's part of the grieving process, I think.

    Hugs to you.

  2. First, I'm sending you a big virtual hug. Being on an unwanted "break" led me many times to think about the next steps. I say definitely go in for a second opinion. You know my views on that. Email me if you want to discuss. You are not at the donor options, plus if/when that time comes, you can consider those options more realistically.

    I didn't think we could do adoption either. DH was open to it, I wasn't. But on my last cycle, I was in an emotional place where I felt that it could actually be a very fulfilling path. That's not to say that it will be for you. My point it, you accept or reject various paths at different stages of your infertility journey. Something that feels scary now can feel hopeful tomorrow.

    For now, keep an open mind and heart. And definitely get a second opinion.

  3. I am glad I found your blog. This post is one I can relate to 99%! (as I am ten years behind you)

    But I was force off a cycle this month. And the husband and I have been left with what's next. This would have been my first cycle of follistim. While my RE is leaning towards another try... We are at the same place... What next.

    We are a fairly financially stable couple. IVF would mean taking out loans. And we just aren't willing to pull ourselves under the debt bus on something that isn't a 100% proceedure. And we feel the same way as you do about adoption.

    The longer time goes on, I too am finding the childfree idea to be far easier to deal with. Though seeing everyone else succeed in the world of having children will never not hurt me.

  4. These are very heavy thoughts and would make me scared and sad, too. I know that you can find peace and joy whatever path you choose (especially with an amazing partner like the Professor), but I too worry about being the "poor childless crone." So not what we imagined our future selves to be.

    If adoption is out, have you/would you ever consider donor eggs, or would that equally not work for you?

    Truly, though, I hope you don't have to worry about any of this for much longer and get that mythical bfp soon.

  5. i have no intention of living child free. it's amazing how you will change your mind regarding what you are willing to do, whether it be donor eggs or even donor embryos when you start exhausting all other avenues.

  6. Ugh - the infertile crossroads. My only advice is do whatever you can live with 10 or 20 years from now. We tried and tried - six different treatments and a gestational carrier. None of those worked, and I'm glad we tried it all because now I have peace that we did everything we could.

  7. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I wish I had some comforting words, but I wish you the best as you find peace with where you are.

  8. I am sorry that you are struggling with such tough emotions and doubts. I have no advice to give, just an ear to listen (or rather an eye to read). I think the only thing that I can say is to second what one of the previous posters wrote - there is no need to close doors before you are even in front of them. There is still time and there are still options for you. Try and keep the spirits up, although I know it's a tough task in these off months.

  9. Thanks for sharing. These are such difficult questions. I've found myself before them recently as well, but so far I only look at them from a distance. As the others said, you don't have to decide now. But I understand the need to look ahead, to what might be, even if we hope we won't get there.

  10. I don't think it would hurt to get a second opinion. Extra help is never a bad thing. I'm sorry your facing these things. I am too and it is scary. I hope that something happens for the both of us.

  11. I think a second opinion is a great idea. I also think you're incredibly amazing for facing these fears head on and being so honest with it. It's not easy.

    And, oh God, pity girl. Yeah, I fear her too, especially since I've gotten to the point where I openly stare at people and their kids. Pathetic. I guess I'll just buy a lot of shoes so at least I will still look fabulous. We've also decided adoption is not for us so I totally understand where you're coming from. It's nothing to be ashamed of. This is not a situation "where beggars can't be choosers." It's all about personal choice and what's right for the couple.

    As you've pointed out, though, you're not there yet and there's still a lot of hope ahead, so onward and upward.

  12. I hear ya...I have been thinking about the what if's and next steps lately. It's scary...

  13. You shouldn't feel guilty about not wanting to adopt. The important thing is that you and the Professor are comfortably on the same page so that one of you holding back doesn't cause resentment, and it sounds like you are both in agreement. I'm sad that you have to make these difficult decisions <3

  14. Peace. It's something I've been working on this new year...and it's so difficult when you want so badly to hope.

    Now following you from Creme de la Creme and I think that this a very beautiful post. Thank you.

  15. it is really scary to think of living childless the rest of forever. as scary as it is, though, i was beginning to actually try to embrace it. (yah right, like that could ever really happen. we have sort of done an about-face and are now considering embryo adoption, but i still dont expect to be anything more than a family of two in december 2011... what is the saying, high hopes and low expectations? ;-)

  16. You're brave to put this all out there. I hope that your worst fears aren't realized, but I think you're smart to think at least a little beyond the next step. Just keep in mind that sometimes your perspective shifts a bit when you take that step, and things look a bit different.

    Best of luck

    (here from creme)

  17. Thank you for this honest, heart felt post. I can't imagine coming up against these incredibly intense decisions, but I think it's good to have be thinking about things, just so you know where you're head and heart are at. I don't think you should be ashamed about your thoughts on adoption - it is not for many people and you shouldn't feel ashamed because it's not for you. I hope you can find a peace with whatever your life has in store for you. You are in my thoughts and in my heart.

    Creme de la Creme #125
    Creme de la Creme 2010 Iron Commenter Attempt

  18. I'm here from the Creme.
    I appreciate your post because it deals with a lot of the things that I've thought about myself recently regarding living child-free. I especially connected with this part, "Child free. I don't think there will ever come a time, as long as I live, when that thought doesn't hurt at least a little bit"