Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Fear Factor

We're thinking of doing IVF. I even made a consultation appointment that's gonna cost us $275 whether we decide to go through with it or not. Which reminds me, I need to play the lottery tomorrow......

So why this change of heart? A year ago, even two months ago, if you had asked me if we were going to do fertility treatments again, I would have said HELL NO. Too expensive, too stressful and scary, not likely to work, no thank you. But now I'm feeling like we should give it a shot. Why? I mean, this is a major change in my thinking. Am I crazy? Am I going to change my mind again in a month? I am not PMSing so it can't be blamed on that.

Here's some of my thinking:

1) I think the hubs wants to try for another biological child. We've been talking about adoption and I just don't think he is ready for that. He has not pushed me in ANY way to do fertility again. And I love him so much for that. He has said from the beginning that I am the one that has to go through the most physical discomfort and stress and if I don't want to do it, that is okay. He totally gets what it means to go down that road - it will be a lot for me to deal with, physically and mentally. Not that he gets through it scott free, but its different and he really knows that. Thank God. But I think that if I am willing to do it, that would make him happy. I think he'd be happiest if we just had lots of sex and got pregnant the old-fashioned way, but that doesn't seem likely....

2) Turns out my fertility may not be as bad as I was thinking. For some reason, I thought that when I first went through all the fertility testing, that my FSH was 14. I went back and looked at my info and saw that it was 6.9. Quite a big difference. I recently went to a new OB/GYN and she tested my FSH mid-cycle and it was 20. She started to think that maybe I was in early menopause based on my previous FSH of 14 (which I now know wasn't REALLY 14 and now I am so embarrassed to tell her I was wrong, it was actually half that), my shorter menstrual cycles and the FSH of 20. Apparently 20 can be normal-ish or really high - it depends on the stage of your cycle I have only been keeping track of when I started my period, not ovulation so its hard to know exactly what that number meant. So before I resigned myself to shriveling up at the ripe ole age of 38, I asked her if we could do a day 3 test. That test came back at 11.3. High but not astronomical. My doctor said it indicates "decreased ovarian reserve but not infertility" and she said we should consult a fertility doctor if we want to get pregnant again.

Also, she finally explained to me in a clear and concise way what the hell is wrong with me. I won't get into that now, but let's just say that getting pregnant again and having another c-section where they can get in there and clean up some things MAY be the best option for fixing my problem.

3) When I think about trying again, I don't feel as scared. And I think when I am really honest with myself, the biggest thing that was holding me back was my fear. I would have told you it was the cost. I mean cost is a HUGE consideration because the cost is HUGE. But I think when I would say before "The cost combined with the thought of the physical toll and the stress makes it not worth it" what I really meant was "I cannot stomach spending all that money to go through the pain again." And I don't mean the speculums or the ultrasound wands or the needles, I mean the pain of disappointment and loss. Why spend all that money when it probably won't work and even if a miracle occurs and I actually get pregnant, something bad will probably happen. I was just assuming it would be all disappointment and hurt. Because if that's what you tell yourself and that's what you prepare yourself for, it won't hurt as much right? Yeah right.

But here's the thing: I don't want to base my decision on fear. The fear is understandable. Practical even. And it IS a consideration. Everyone has a point at which they can't do it anymore. Can't do it emotionally. Can't do it financially. But I don't want fear to hold me back from doing something I want to do and can, in fact, handle. I think I have lived a good portion of my life that way - basing choices, from small day to day things to big life-changing decisions, on the fear of getting hurt. Doing whatever it took to avoid being hurt.

At the end of the IVF road, there may not be a baby. And this may be naive but, I feel like at the end of the adoption road, there will be a baby. Which isn't to say that it would be easy, but I feel like if that was really what we both wanted to do and we were willing to put in the time and open our hearts and find the right birth mother, it would happen. And I think that's why I was ready to move on to adoption. It feels less risky. Less scary. There are things about it that scare me of course - Would anyone ever choose us? Would the birth mother change her mind? Would our adopted child feel strange or second best because we have a biological child? But these are fears I don't really KNOW because I haven't personally experienced them. They are abstract, theoretical fears and that makes them seems easier to face.

The things that scare me about IVF and trying to get pregnant again are fears I KNOW all too well. I know the disappointment of not being pregnant after trying and trying and hoping and hoping and spending thousands of dollars and making endless long trips to the doctor. I know the pain of losing a baby. I know the pain of having a miscarriage. I know and vividly remember the fear I tried so hard to keep at bay when I was pregnant with Finn. The fear that was always right under the surface, that made me look at the toilet paper every time I wiped, that made my heart stop for a moment at every ultrasound while they looked for the heartbeat, that made me wonder at my baby shower what I would do with all the gifts if something happened to the baby, that made me start to LOSE IT during labor when his heart rate dropped and I felt like I had made it all that way and yet I would still lose him. I could go on and on.

After we lost the baby, my journey trying to get pregnant was filled with pain and fear. And when we started to talk about another baby,my knee-jerk reaction was, I am not going through all that again. The thought of continuing that journey, of getting back on that road was not an option for me. Because I was afraid. I had made it through my pregnancy, I was feeling happy and whole again and I did not want to risk going back.

But here's how I feel right now, today. I do not have to get back on that road. The road that was ruled by pain and fear. And the truth is, I literally CAN'T get back on that road. It CAN'T be the same road. Because things are not the same. I am not the same person. I am not in the same place. My marriage is not the same. Our family is now made up of three. Things are different. Better in so many ways. And not better in others. So it just simply will not be the same. It will be a different road.

Is it possible, even likely, that there will be stress and disappointment? Yes. Is it possible that I will get hurt and feel pain? Yes. And does that scare me? Yes.

But not enough to not do it.

Because here's the thing. I accept all the disappointment and pain and hurt and loss that we experienced. Its a part of my story and our experience together. It is a part of me. It shaped who I am today. It brought me to my son. It showed me over and over again that I married a wonderful man. And those years weren't ONLY filled with pain and hurt. They were also filled with love and supportive family and friends and hope and growth.

Wow, this sounds a little too.......I don't know, hippie-dippie. So why don't I switch gears.

Fuck fear.

I can do this. Or not do this. But I cannot let fear be the deciding factor.

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