March 2, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Posted in FET #6: Another Chance, Infertility, Mythical #2 | 15 Comments

I know this “break” cycle represents a chance that we might get pregnant.

But I have to admit I’m not really putting much stock in it.

As a result, I’m always searching for an answer to the question that keeps me up at night.

What do we do next?

The answer SHOULD be simple.

Treatment-wise, the answer is another fresh cycle. That, at least, IS a fairly simple answer. The (lack of) quality of our remaining blastocysts means that, likely, we’ll be wasting our time with more FETs.

Yes, yes, I know there IS a chance that one of our ugly remaining embryos will stick around and turn into a real live sibling for O. But it’s not a GOOD chance.

A fresh cycle with a much less aggressive protocol is a much better option.

The thing is.

I am currently in a space where I am VERY ambivalent about the idea of more treatments.

I loathe the idea of doing this all over again. Not because I’m angry that we need to do IVF in the first place. And not because I think I’m a failure, either.

I loathe the idea of doing this all over again because I really, really, REALLY want to be DONE.

I’m not a good enough writer to really convey the depth and strength of this feeling. But the idea of not having a definitive end date to the madness really makes me want to run away and never come back.

It’s that bad.

The problem?

I also really, really, REALLY want O to have a sibling. I want to be pregnant again. I want to birth another child, watch him or her grow up, and love his/her older brother.

I have always dreamed that our family would be a family of four. I want to LIVE that dream.

(It’s my folly that I thought trying the second time around would be easier. The first transfer after my septum resection worked. And I suppose I truly thought we had overcome a medical problem and it would be easy for us to replicate it.)

Right now, the desire for a sibling for O is about as equal as the loathing of what we need to do to MAKE a sibling for O.


Lately I have been looking for reasons to stop.

I been telling people that a four year age difference between O and his potential sibling is already too much, anything more is a dealbreaker.

I’ve looked into signing up for a marathon this fall.

I’ve looked into getting myself a part time position in my industry, which I can do relatively easily.

I really, really, really, REALLY want to be done.

But then.

What DOES keep me up at night is the worry. What if the NEXT cycle was the one that worked? Why didn’t we do just one more?

What if O KEEPS asking for a sister… or longs for a sibling for the rest of his life?

What if my selfish impatience, my desire to be done NOW, is the WRONG choice?

This is why it’s so fucking hard to DECIDE.

Because we essentially are making the decision for O either way.

I mean, honestly.

We decided that he actually WANTS a sibling in the first place. There are plenty of families where siblings don’t actually get along, and family isn’t nearly as cohesive of a unit as they might have been otherwise.

No, really, it’s our own selfish desire to want two kids, to spread the wealth of our love, which drives us to grow our family.

But then. Stopping? Is also selfish.

Because, really, it’s all about ME. I want to get ON with my life. I want to run, and play, and vacation, and live without the spectre of the next cycle looming. I want to stop seeing doctors, and getting wanded, and taking medication.

I want to move on, move forward, close the door on what feels like our neverending saga of infertility.

I honestly have no idea where I’m going to land on this. I have always heard that you just KNOW when you’re done.

Because the desire to be done is stronger than the desire for a baby.

The problem is that, with me, both desires keep growing.

And I have no idea which one will win out.



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  1. Man, I am right there with you. I want to be done, but I also want a child.

    An alternative: “why don’t you just adopt?” (she says tongue in cheek).

    It is an option. You could just keep living your lives while this adoption search goes on. You could run. You could make plans. You could not have to do any more injections and you could have a baby. It’s something I think about sometimes. But, there are definitely issues with adoption that need to be worked out as well.

    I wish I had an answer for you. But, I guess you just have to sit with it and figure out which would SUCK less. And take it day by day.

  2. Oh, you are so me about 6 years ago. I spent so much time worrying and adjusting myself this way and that that I think it took us another 2-3 years to get into fertility treatments. I kept saying the same things about the age gap getting longer, my need to just MOVE ON, etc. I think having a plan worked well for me. I made a plan for our “down-turn” from sibling making. I had decided on three IVF/ICSIS cycles and then a possible adoption. When I looked into adoption, and we had our first failed IVF…that was when the plan became 2 more cycles and then M will be only child. Just taking the time to make the plan and sticking to it made me feel like we were being responsible, that I was not just being selfish, etc. A plan made me feel more in control, which is what I think I needed at the time.

    I hope that whatever you do, you are gentle on yourself for the decisions you make. You have hard choices to make and either way is going to suck. [[Hugs]]

  3. I don’t know what to tell you, except that I hope this time works. Like Delenn, though, I think making a plan helps. When I was trying to get pregnant with J, we sat down and had a conversation about exactly how far we were willing to go with this. In the end, we didn’t need to do it all, but I felt so much better having the whole plan laid out. I thnink you’ve already done that, though, and revised it a few times. So I don’t know.

  4. well you WILL know when you’re done and for me, I’m really glad that you are writing all this stuff out, getting it out of your heart and into the world. If for no other reason than you can deal with it better.
    I don’t think you’re being selfish or silly, I think you are afraid of the unknown and you want to just KNOW. That’s what IF does to us, it makes us want the ending NOW.
    I really feel for you…I do. And not because you’re my friend and I love you..but because I can sense that lately you just feel LOST and unable to really get to a decision and that hurts my heart for you.
    You know i hope that you get PG again…but I hope you also know that I’m always here for you , no matter what.

  5. I think the intuition of knowing when you’re done is maybe more likely for TTC #1 than trying for a second baby — barring financial or health concerns. You know what is possible, and you want it again. That’s not greedy or even selfish. Wanting a second child is human nature for the rest of the world, but supposedly unnatural for us, the infertile minority.

  6. I’m so with you. I, too, thought having #2 would come easier in that we figured out the winning protocol to finally have #1 and I started IVF again when he was 5 months, so why wouldn’t things work similarly? Only, they didn’t. And, I said I’d only do two more fresh cycles and then we’d move on to adoption. Only, when those two cycles failed, I wasn’t ready to adopt. I just kept thinking that of course it would work and I didn’t want to stop one cycle shy of success. So, just one more cycle turned into three more. And, I still wasn’t ready to adopt, so we threw in a donor egg cycle for good measure to no avail.

    It wrung me out, the rigors of cycling and hoping and revising our plans. But, as others have said and I’ve said to you before, when you are done, you are done and you will know. I finally was done (which doesn’t mean I don’t have feelings of what might have been from time to time).

    And, Serenity, I say the same thing about adoption. My son will be four on Sunday and this is an already bigger age difference than I wanted. I say that if we don’t get matched and have a take home baby by his 5th birthday, we’ll be done with adoption, too, and will stay a family of three.

    There are no easy answers in this. You just have to work through it and do so with your husband. The heart wants what it wants and wanting to mother another is no exception to that.

    Cheering you on…

  7. Not that you asked for assvice, but here is some….

    Set the limit for how many retrievals/transfers you’re willing to do. Is insurance/cost a factor? If not, set a number that you feel comfortable with and put the rest in the hands of fate (or whatever spiritual believe you hold).

    I set a limit of 4 fresh IVF’s to conceive our first. The 3rd fresh (5th total) worked. I was only going to do 2 fresh transfers for a sibling. If we had not been successful we would have been done. It’s easy to say in retrospect, but I am sure that would have been a much debated decision. But I had to have those figures in place, or I knew I couldn’t go through it. Perhaps we would have moved on to adoption if we had not conceived Bo, but after Bo, that wasn’t really on the table for us for a sibling.

    What are J’s thoughts?

  8. I could write this exact post every single day. I’m done, I’m not done, I want another shot, a sibling, a family of four – all of it. But I don’t want to do another injection, another u/s, have another miscarriage, spend another dime. I want to plan life, not fertility treatments. (((hugs)))

  9. I’m right there with you. Wanting a sibling for A so badly, but so ready to be DONE. I don’t know what the right answer is. We have a fairly obvious stopping point after these three embryos. Even though it would make me sad for A to be an “only”, my heart is not pulling me toward adoption at all. And I’m about 98% sure I don’t want to try another donor. I think that leaves us being done. I feel at peace with that possibility right now, but we’ll see how I feel if it becomes a reality. There are pros and cons to every outcome. I just keep hoping that whatever happens will be what’s right for our family.

    I wish we both had more answers, but I’ll be searching right along with you.

  10. I don’t have anything to add but just know I am listening and thinking of you.

  11. All of you except for Vee can kiss my ass. You keep whining and moaning about not being able to have a second child. Well, guess what! You don’t know what pure hell is until you’ve tried 10 years to have a baby and nothing ever happened. I was a fun, happy, full of life person when my now ex-husband and I first started trying. The only thing I wanted in life was to have a child, and the whole process ended up ripping my life apart. So, instead of getting all blubbery about not being able to have a second child (poor, poor you), maybe you should spend a little more energy being thankful about the family you do have. It’s a blessing that not everyone gets to take part in.

    • I’m sorry for your struggle, C. I truly am. My parents tried for 10 years to have me — in an era without fertility treatments — and I cannot imagine their heartache, but I have always been absolutely certain about how much they wanted me, and I’ve never taken that for granted.

      That being said, um OUCH. It is this kind of attitude that fills secondary IFers with guilt and shame and makes them keep quiet about that particular struggle, often making it harder to deal with, never giving it a voice. Secondary IFers never seem to have a rightful place within the general IF community because of the pissing contest of who has it worse (and it’s certainly not secondary IFers, according to those who judge), which is sad because that equates to virtually no outside support at a time when it would be nice to have. Experts estimate that secondary IF is actually MORE common than primary, but they can’t know for sure as society has this prevailing attitude of “you should be grateful for what you have, and you should stop being so damn selfish” that many secondary IFers don’t ever seek treatment.

      Having experienced secondary IF myself, I can say with 100% certainty that just because I long for my second child — to complete my family as I’ve always imagined — I have never, not ONCE, not been thankful for the family I do have. In fact, the secondary IF battle has made me even MORE appreciative of my daughter (and I was grateful before, believe me), as every passing cycle has shown me what a miracle she is and reminds me of all the things I am missing with all those cycles that didn’t work.

      They cannot be compared; they are different struggles, each with their own unique challenges. This is what Serenity is experiencing right now — on top of primary IF previously — and her feelings are valid. Blogging gives her the outlet she needs to deal with these issues. It doesn’t equate to being ungrateful for what she has.

      The great thing about the Internet? If you don’t like it, then don’t read it. Easy.

  12. I think you have every right to express your feelings about mourning the family you want to have. This is, after all, your blog. I don’t think competitive infertility (i.e. my pain is worse than your pain) helps anyone. I know I will be devastated if this pregnancy turns out to be our only child. I have always, always, always wanted two. Even when I didn’t want kids I knew that if I changed my mind I would want more than one.

    I wonder in your situation, Serenity, whether having the insurance coverage is actually a mixed blessing. It’s wonderful because you can do multiple cycles of IVF without remortgaging the house, etc., but at the same time, it takes away one clear external factor that sometimes helps couples make a decision to stop (even though that is a terrible, heartbreaking reason to have to stop).

    I don’t know if you can set a cold target of “x many more cycles and then we’re done”, because it is hard to know how you will feel at any point. You may want to move the goal posts.

    My only thoughts are these: whether O wants a sibling or not, the family he ends up with will be the family that is his. He’s not going to blame you for the rest of his life if he ends up as an only child. And I know people whose children are five, six, seven years apart, and there is still a close sibling bond (especially once both move into adulthood). You will be a better mother to him if you are whole and healed and present. So wanting to be done is not selfish and all about you and your marathon and what-not. It is also making the choice to give O back his mother who can concentrate on him. And only you and J can make the decision when it is time to do that.


  13. Just catching up. First of all, good luck to J on the job front. Sounds like you are making progress towards the lifestyle you want. Unfortunately, some hard decisions to make before you get there. You have summed up what’s so hard about the decision to move forward – especially that it could always be the next cycle. I don’t have much to add to that, except good luck finding the right decision for you all.


  14. Hoping you find some clarity — in either direction — soon.

    As always, hoping for that BFP.


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