Therapy. And Stopping the Madness.

February 3, 2011 at 9:24 am | Posted in Crazy Talk (aka: Therapy), IVF #4: I'm STILL doing this? | 9 Comments

I had my first REAL appointment with my therapist last night.

(Despite the fact that we were snowed in enough that I wasn’t about to drive to my clinic for my beta, I was most DEFINITELY going to see my therapist. Luckily the roads were okay by 4pm or so and it wasn’t an issue getting there.)

Last week she had me sit in a chair, facing her. Seriously, it was the same chair I have in my office AT WORK. I mean, it was a consult, and free, and I figured out I didn’t like it because when I came out of the meeting I felt like I had just failed a job interview for “talking too much.”

So this week, I used the couch. Looked at the wall. And she sat behind me so I didn’t actually SEE her.

Such a freaking stereotype.

(Funnily enough, she told me that I was fine to keep my shoes on when I was on the couch. I told her I wouldn’t really be comfortable with that, since I really cannot abide by shoes on our couch at home. So I took off my shoes, which made me a LOT more comfortable. I know there’s a note in my file about that.)

But man, it was EASIER to talk this time. Without feeling like I was talking too much.

We did, however, talk too much about IF. I really didn’t WANT to, but I had to explain some things to her, and since I was having such an issue with my sister, which has to do with her picture-perfect IVF cycle, I suppose it makes sense that we talked about it a lot.

But you know, I think she gets it. Sort of. Because at one point, when we were talking about cycling, she said: It seems like so much. Draining, but seductive, too.

Totally true. Because if THIS cycle doesn’t work? Maybe the next one will.

And you end up in the rathole of 4 IVF cycles and 5 FETs, with only one live birth to show for it.

(Yep, I counted.)

(But hey! It’s a live birth, right?)

She did ask me why I was so strong on being done. And last night, I couldn’t really fully verbalize it.

But it really has to do with the fact that J and I are realizing something.

We’re one of those couples that, statistically speaking, are a couple standard deviations from the mean in fertility treatments.

Whereas there are couples where, once you get their eggs to fertilize, pregnancy is relatively easy.

(I am BETTING you that’s the case with my sister. First IVF, unbelievable fertilization rates, nearly 100% survival rate from day 3 to day 5, transferred two gorgeous blastocysts at day 5. I can nearly guarantee you that her cycle will end up with a twin pregnancy.)

That’s not the case with us.

I will confess that I THOUGHT maybe it WOULD be. I mean, the first transfer after we fixed my uterus resulted in O.

I just assumed that, well, since we apparently FIXED the problem which prevented us from getting pregnant, of course we’d have a successful pregnancy again with no issue.

But that’s not the case, apparently.

Whatever the real underlying issue is, I need to stop the madness soon.

Because, yeah, I’m an overachiever. Type A. I take great pleasure in learning something new and actually progressing in skill. I like seeing that if I work hard at something, I can get GOOD at it.

The problem with how I approach life is that when I have no control over something and DON’T see progression?

Well, I feel like a failure.

And that’s the issue right now – that my feelings of failure are spilling into every other facet of my life right now. And that’s what I was trying to tell my therapist – that this is the first time where I’ve felt like a failure in EVERYTHING for so long.

I’m not sure why it didn’t happen to this degree when we were first trying for O. Maybe it was because I had more time to devote to actively coping. Maybe it was because I didn’t have to deal with grief of losing my aunt, too.

(Which I don’t know that I can even really talk about, either.)

But that’s why I can’t keep doing this forever.

In my opinion, the biggest problem is that because of my fucked up uterus, it’s IRRESPONSIBLE for us to transfer more than one blastocyst. We just know too much. O was little, and early (though term), and breech. And my uterus is unreliable.

It’s not worth to risk losing babies because I wanted to maximize our chances of getting pregnant.

Similarly, I’m not certain I could make the decision to selectively reduce, either.

So that requires us to do water torture one-at-a-time transfers.

I want to be done because I’m tired of feeling like I’ve failed.

I want to be done because I know we’ll be okay, the three of us, if that’s what our family ends up being.

I want to be done because we’ve been thinking about getting pregnant, in one form or another, since before our wedding, which was nearly SEVEN YEARS ago.

I want to be done because I want to see the positive in my life, to get back to running, and living, and travelling, and watching O grow and learn.

I want to be done because I’m tired of sitting in an office with my doctor, analyzing our failure – when we have no real control over the outcome.

I’m tired of infertility and the emotional and physical abuse of cycling. I’m tired of living my life in limbo. I’m tired of the dagger cuts whenever I hear someone I know is pregnant or I see a pregnant woman or a new baby in an infant carrier.

I want to be done to just move on.

It’s hard to know where to draw the line. A failure in one cycle doesn’t mean that another might not work. And I have no idea if, down the road, I’ll feel guilt that I didn’t do MORE to get pregnant again.

(Probably I will. Because that’s how I roll.)

So where I am at right now is that we will be done after one more cycle.

That’s about as far as I can look.



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  1. I hate this for you both. What a nightmare. Yes, SEVEN years is too damn long. I wish I could somehow shield you from this-for a day. Or a time. To wave a wand so that for one blink in your life you wouldn’t have to think about IF. That you could be at peace.
    You’re not a failure-but of course I can’t make you feel that. I hope your therapist can.
    (in infidelity land (()) are hugs : )

  2. Serenity, I am so sorry that you are dealing with these issues and that this cycle couldn’t just give you what you so deserve. I think it is one of the biggest problems with ART- there is no real natural way to know when to stop if you haven’t ended up with all the kids you actually want. There is always that siren call of seduction- one more cycle, one more new protocol, one more shift of medications- maybe this time will be the one that works.

    It is so hard to navigate through that, and I’m glad you and J. are taking it one step at a time. I’m so glad you’ve got someone to talk to. You are NOT a failure. You’re just in a very deep, dark place right now, and having trouble seeing the way out. I hope your therapist can help. Seven years is too long to have this weighing on you.


  3. I’ve been reading and wanted to get a chance to comment on everything…..

    First, I am there too with the “way way not a normal IVFer.” That part hurts a lot. I mean, it’s totally sad when I look at other infertile people doing IVF and feel jealous when they get 15 embryos. But I do, because that was supposed to be us way back when, and it’s clearly not. I forget my current count right now, but it’s similar to yours in fresh cycles, frozen, embryos, and live births. It’s so freakin crappy.

    I’m so sorry that this cycle didn’t work out. It sucks to go back into that space. I’m really glad you have a therapist to help you work through it.

  4. There’s nothing more I can say. The process reminds me of gambling – just one more round, and maybe I’ll win this one. Okay, just one more. One more.

    You are SO hard on yourself, though. I’m glad you know it’s not right to be that way, and I’m hoping the therapist can help so you don’t beat yourself up so much.

  5. In speaking to the seductive nature of ART for those who know they are not likely to conceive naturally, is that as much of a physical, emotional, and financial drain IVF is, and as much as the repeated failure is demoralizing, at the end of the day we want a child (or another child) MORE than we need to be done. And, since no reputable RE will likely ever tell a couple that there is 0 chance of success, we take 1% – 20% odds as being odds in our favor some how. And, if you throw in a chemical (or even ectopic, shudder) pregnancy into the mix, we allow ourselves to believe that it CAN happen and so we try again.

    I can tell you this from my own experience (of an additional 5 OE IVFS, 1 DE cycle and 1 DEFET with no success), done is done. Until you actually are done (and by that, I mean with any attempt to try to become pregnant), you are not done.

    I think what may be helpful is to acknowledge that you are not done. That way you will not be at odds with yourself in wishing/wanting to be done and proceeding. It’s ok not to be done.

  6. You summed up my own feelings of wanting to be “done already” perfectly.

  7. Definitely, that feeling of failure that spills over into everything else. It kills! So hard to let go of. And the other stuff, too.
    Even if you couldn’t verbalise it well in the session, it sounds as if that session did you a lot of good.


  8. I think everything you are verbalizing makes 1000% sense. Sometimes you just want to be done, even if you aren’t quite ready to make that choice. I got nothing more than a whole heap of virtual hugs.

  9. The “water torture” aspect of infertility is awful. You have no control. And, unlike other facets of your life, hard work does not equal success. It’s merely life’s f’ing sh*tiness: the unfair distribution of pain and crappy life circumstances. For surely we are all a bit egoistic (your word:>) and think that we can impact everything in our world and that everything that happens to us is linked to our action or inaction. You have to take YOU out of the equation. This is a great big science experiment and, as much as possible, we need to take our emotions out and pretend that we are just continuing living our lives while undergoing these. Because I do think that if you do this enough when you are YOUNG (and you are! still two years to 38! with normal FSH and egg #s). Plus, I really believe that so-called “bad eggs” are just a bad protocol or a sh*tty lab. I’m going to write a post about this, but several doctors I talked to (that had seen my embryos) said that we should consider donor eggs since there was likely little chance of success. The embryologist up at my new clinic looked at my old picture and said that my embryos were basically all “sick” or DEAD at transfer. She said that some clinics just aren’t as experienced at day 5 transfers. And, look at me now, only 6 eggs (4ish mature) and 3 beautiful embryos. From the girl that should consider donor eggs. Maybe you are seeing the best clinic in your area (as I was…one of the top 3 in our area), but a better clinic at the NATIONAL level might make a difference. Of course, I know this comes with the additional costs, travel, etc., but just something to consider.

    In the end, you get to decide when you need to stop to keep feeling like you…before you lose yourself. That is something you DO have control over. But, just be d@mn sure you won’t have regrets. (Maybe that’s the problem…who knows what you will regret in 20 years.)

    Big hug (and I’m not a hugger:>).

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