Yesterday was a day.
Yesterday was rough.
Two weeks ago I was put on birth control for an upcoming exploratory surgery that we hoped would provide us with some answers. Something to fix. Something that would end our wandering down this unknown, confusing path we've been traveling. Can I also elaborate for a second how weird infertility and treatments can be sometimes? I have been on so many hormones and drugs to increase my fertility, all to no avail and then I get put on birth control, "just in case." I mean I get it, it is a liability and a precaution, but like, really? It felt like adding insult to injury.
I am not going to lie to you, I was nervous. What if they find cancer? I seriously called my friend and told her:
"Have you seen The Art Of Racing in the Rain??, remember when the dog can smell that his owner is sick and he can't do anything about it but watch her decline? What if that is whats going on? What if they find cancer?" Our dog, Gia, had been acting weird. She wasn't her normal energetic, playful self and I allowed myself to spiral, only for a minute. My friend assured me, I do not have cancer and not to even let myself go there. I pulled myself together. I told myself we will get through this and this will at least hopefully give us an answer.
The top two possible outcomes that worried me the most were:
1. It's cancer.
2. We learn nothing new, no answers.
We had a rough couple days leading up to the surgery; I craved relaxation, calm, clarity, comfort. Then we were presented with sudden big decisions with pressing deadlines (unrelated to our health/fertility journey, just life stuff). Boundaries I set very clearly and intentionally to protect myself were being trampled over, despite my effort to protect and reinforce them. I was not in a good head space going into this surgery, and it didn't help that I had to go at it alone (thank you, COVID). I actually don't mind doing things on my own. I usually wouldn't mind being by myself, and surprisingly enough, when it came down to it - sitting on the hospital bed in my gown, socks and cap - I felt relaxed. I let go. I told myself, when I wake up from this medicated nap - we will have an answer, an answer that will hopefully lead to a solution, a solution that will hopefully finally give us our baby.
I walked into the operating room - climbed onto the table, said goodnight and slipped into a sweet, sweet drug induced sleep.
I woke up in stabbing, twisting pain. Had it been 3 weeks? What year is it? I asked the nurse how long have I been sleeping - she told me about 45 minutes. Oh okay, it's still Tuesday. Weird. They gave me some medication for the pain, and some apple juice - which let me tell you, after zero food/drink for 18 hours was like holy water. Ya girl likes to eat, fasting is always a doozie.
In came my doctor, my sweet doctor. She let me know everything looked normal, everything looked healthy and she took a few biopsies just in case, but there was nothing really to report. We briefly discussed a plan going forward, but I am still half asleep at this point and didn't retain a ton of the information. The more I woke, the harder this all came down on me, like a ton of bricks. No news, no new information, nothing is fixed, we didn't find anything to fix, we are still right where we were before this surgery, still no reason or idea for what is causing our "problems." And please do not misunderstand me, I am so grateful for my health and that we did not find anything seriously wrong. We were just really hoping for an answer.
Queue my uncontrollable sobbing. I managed to hold myself together long enough for the doctor to leave - I am sure she has had a long day at this point and the last thing she was needing to do (although I am sure she happily would have) was offer me emotional support. I took off my hospital gown, pulled on my clothes and a nurse walked me outside to meet my husband. I got in the car, clicked my seatbelt in and, again, incorrigible weeping.
Where do we go from here? What makes sense anymore? More of the same? Pivot? What is within reach for us financially? What more can we handle emotionally? I don't know. We don't know.
It is a common belief that fertility treatment and IVF specifically are quick, easy fixes for people who want to grow their family. Sometimes they are quick, but rarely are they ever easy. What isn't talked about is the financial and emotional burden of these treatments. IVF can cost upwards of $25,000, for one "round" not including medications, extra scans, ultrasounds, testing, etc. And contrary to popular belief: IVF does not guarantee you a baby, or even viable embryos for that matter. Fertility treatments can become a bottomless pit to drop your hard earned dollars, for little in return, but heartbreak and grief.
One foot in front of the other, one day at a time. We will get through this, we will grow our family, it will happen for us, I just don't know when or how.
Thank you for seeing me and holding this space for me.
Sending you love, light + appreciation.