It was slightly surreal walking back into the Oregon Fertility Institute office a few weeks ago for our first follow-up appointment with my doctor since losing the baby. We were starting from scratch, but not entirely.
It saddens me to say – but it’s nonetheless the truth – I did not feel the same excitement this second time around. The first time I entered OFI, my eyes were set on the goal of getting pregnant. I was determined and full of a fire to get results. I could not comprehend the latent tragedy that conception holds and the sheer weight of the miracle of life. Even when I was warned my chances of miscarriage were higher because of PCOS, I thought it could never happen to me. The cynical side of me said it wouldn’t happen because I would never get pregnant in the first place. But the deep down, underneath me secretly – desperately – hoped and believed I would get pregnant. And that side of me was right, regardless of how things turned out.
So often, women experiencing infertility only focus on the getting pregnant part – it’s what has eluded and frustrated us for so long. We will sacrifice everything in pursuit of this – our finances, our bodies, our time, and, ultimately, our big-picture reality. We can’t see – can’t comprehend – anything beyond finally seeing those two lines on a pregnancy test, or hearing the magic number confirming that hCG level climbing above the negative. I know I was not prepared for the possibilities.
For those of you still following along…The Plan. My doctor wants to take the exact same approach as before – same timeline, same dosages. The bottom line: I got pregnant very quickly and very easily (relatively) with the hormone injections. Everything internally developed normally in support of the pregnancy. It just wasn’t an embryo that was meant to be. So we’ll trudge along as before, with a little closer monitoring of hormone and sugar levels for good measure. It’s a sound plan – one I can’t argue with. And at the same time, I continue with my shiny, new diet and weekly acupuncture sessions. The difference this time? My goal is not just pregnancy, but a healthy miracle to fill up my arms and my heart. A challenge that is much more daunting knowing the true difficulty.
Going back to OFI the second time, after all was said and done, my worldview was – is – tremendously changed. I am wary (and weary) now. Older and wiser? Well, maybe not. Afraid? Perhaps – mostly apprehensive. A thousand and two “what ifs” now linger in my mind, all leading to the ultimate: What if it happens again?
I am resilient, but I am not immune to an erosion of hope over time. And I don’t know if my heart can take that blow again. I don’t think I have enough tears left. Yes, I know I need to stay positive, but I also know a harsh reality I did not before.
But here is the crazy, completely human, thing about hope that I have learned through all of this – it persists in spite of everything. And after all, my resolve to press on outweighs my fears and doubts. I know an even stronger “what if” would be the unknown of what might have been if we don’t try one more time. Still the deep down, underneath me sees our child at the end of this long, dark tunnel. And that is the only thing that matters. Our journey may take us to places we aren’t prepared to go, but it will continue to shape our perspective.
So with these thoughts as one giant caveat, we will soon be starting our treatment again. We’re moving forward, mind, heart, body and savings account. And truly knowing now we are not in control, we are committing to something much bigger than we can even understand. The greatest investment in our lives, if for no more reason than we are putting ourselves entirely into the process. And the end result? Stay tuned…