I have always been an eternal optimist. People called me Pollyanna in HS (Although, I don’t think they all meant it nicely- I think my peppy attitude annoyed the heck out of the alternative and goth girls). I rarely am in a bad mood and I pride myself on letting bad news just roll off me or finding a positive spin.
You have to get pretty creative in IF land to find a positive spin. My first failed IVF cycle was the first time in my life I couldn’t. I fell to the floor sobbing with nothing positive coming to my mind. I flashed back to the nurse calling me after my first blood test for IF and telling me ‘ you cannot get pregnant with your own eggs’. Sidenote: she told me this over the phone while I was standing in a grocery store, she is not actually a certified nurse and that diagnosis is not entirely accurate ( yes I have very low AMH but see my best evidence to the contrary of her diagnosis- my son). She was actually fired because it turns out she has made these ‘diagnostic’ calls to other women. Horrible. Anyway- back to being on the floor sobbing. I called my Mom whose own sobbing sent me into further despair. I called my husband whose calm assurance it would be ok and he loves me could not cut through the pain. The only person who could reach me was my twin sister.
I called her barely able to talk with the news and her response shocked me out of my pain. She basically told me to stop lying there feeling sorry for myself. She demanded I pick myself up, get it together and stop sobbing. I have a battle ahead of me and I am going to have to learn to be resilient and keep going until I am a Mom. Now if you know my twin sis and I, her response is super out of character. If one of us has even a hint of a tear, the other one will break down sobbing. Our emotions are so tied together, it is almost like we are one person. She also happens to have low ovarian reserve and was starting her first IVF cycle ( four cycles later brought her miracle twins).
This advice was exactly what I needed to hear. Some people need to mourn in order to move on, others to talk about the unfairness or to wallow a little. I didn’t or couldn’t. I had to move on quickly before I had a major breakdown. So I pulled myself off the floor, went for a long run and took my bewildered husband on a surprise getaway where we drank a ton of wine and talked about our next step and I didn’t shed one tear.
For the following three cycles until I had my son, I was on auto-pilot. I worked hard, cut out coffee and wine ( except for the week after a failed cycle) and hardly have any memories from that time. I simply woke up and went to battle each day. Calmly and with determination. I read about other ladies learning to really live and try to enjoy life through IF and I admired their strength and wisdom but could not relate. I simply existed and went through the motions. I am amazed by anyone who has the strength to do more than that.
As I put another recent failed IVF cycle in my quest for another child behind me, I have a different and much easier coping mechanism- my son. I truly know how lucky I am. I know anymore children is simply icing on an already perfect and delicious cake. I know so many are still struggling to hold a baby in their arms and become a Mom- truly the largest hurdle in IF.
I hope that any of you reading this still in the battle to simply be called Mom know that I realize I am already so lucky. I can assure you that is not lost on me for a second. I wish for miracles for all of you everyday.