As I look back on the hell that is infertility I often feel as if I am watching the life of someone else - a stranger - this certainly can't be the picture of my life, can it? My life was not supposed to look anything like this. This is so far from the plan - how did Blythe Adams end up here?
I was born and raised to be a mother. I grew up in the rural south and from early on I learned that women had two expectations and two electives in life. The expectations: Wife and Motherhood. The electives: Teaching or Nursing.
The electives never appealed to me and I always felt slightly deficient because of this. It confounds me, now, how a child in modern times simply could not know all that existed in the world outside of the rural south. The expectations, however, were all I focused on. I wanted the white knight to come and sweep me away from the country-side into his city of lights and noises and everything foreign to me. Motherhood was the pinnacle. I began preparing myself for this role as a teenager. After all - this was the most important call I would answer in life - I should be ready to be great.
The white knight showed up and did sweep me off to his city of lights and everything foreign and we eventually married at age 26. Just a few months after we were married is when the nightmare began. We learned of my infertility by accident. I was having an abdominal catscan performed and the technician moved me down too far. Thank goodness he did. What he saw was a pelvis full of cysts.
Several surgeries, lots of drugs, hundreds of dollars in ovulation tests and 4 years later I finally gave into the notion that IVF was my only option. We found the doctor and then got notice that my employer was going to be covering infertility treatments in 2 months. We were so excited and so sure this was a sign from God that we were doing the right thing.
We changed doctors and immediately began our first IVF cycle in January. My husband and I were almost giddy at this process. We were going to get pregnant! Finally! We started the drugs - 6 shots a day - and did everything perfectly but I simply wasn't progressing. With every ultrasound we prayed for more follicles but all I was growing were more cysts. We cancelled the cycle.
We immediately had the cysts drained and started a new cycle. This time things were looking better. My FSH levels and Estrogen were cooperating - though slowly. Finally - we had follicles! Not many but enough to move forward with retrieval.
The day of retrieval was nerve wracking. I cried the entire time they prepped me. I was so scarred they would retrieve nothing from my few follicles. After the procedure I got the great news! 6 eggs! That was truly amazing given the limited number of follicles and the small endometrioma that was in the way. On Day 3 we transferred. Two perfect Grade A embryos. This was it. I got in the car holding fast to the picture of my two perfect little embryos.
In my mind I was there. Of course, I knew I wasn't yet pregnant but God was pulling through. I talked to them and prayed every minute - "Please let them attach". The next two weeks was absolute torture. I was so nauseous from the progesterone - everyone kept telling me I was pregnant and I kept saying - "Let's not get ahead of ourselves - it's just the progesterone".
The day before my pregnancy test I went shopping. As I walked back to my car I noticed I parked in a spot with a sign. Panicked I had parked in a handicapped spot by accident I ran to the sign to find it was marked for Expectant Mothers. This could be nothing other than a sign from God!
This day changed me. I can honestly look back at my journey, so far, and point to this day as the day that I lost a part of myself.
Sunday morning we drove across town for the pregnancy test. My doctor said he would call with the results. My husband and I held hands and prayed. This is what we had been waiting for. We didn't expect to get the results for awhile so we stopped at an Electronics super-store. He went to the restroom and I waited for him among the blenders and food processors. My phone rang. I answered - it was my doctor. "I'm so sorry - I really thought I would have good news for you. The test was negative." My phone lost reception and cut-off. Everything stopped. Time stood still. My life fell apart and my world shattered in the blender Aisle of Electronics hell while my husband sat on a toilet.
I don't really remember getting to the car but I remember sobbing. Sobbing like I never had before - in the parking lot. My poor husband looked as if someone had knocked the wind out of him. I remember one of first coherent thoughts being "How could this happen to my husband? He wanted this so badly and he had so much faith - how could God disappoint him like this?"
The rest of that day and much of that week is just a blur. I cried until there were no more tears and then I just sobbed with dry eyes. I got angry and screamed at God. I cried for my husband and the pain I knew he was in. Then - I couldn't talk to God anymore and the deep anger set in.
I eventually came back to half-life and started preparing for the next round. I cut out every ounce of caffeine - took more vitamins than I ever had and spent my mortgage in acupuncture treatment each month leading up to the new cycle. We tried a new protocol this time that is ideal for low responders. This time - 0 follicles. Nothing. Not a poor response - no response. Another cycle cancelled. My endometriosis had it's way. Diminished Ovarian Reserve. My doctor said our only real option was Donor Egg. We could start immediately. Just write the check for $25,000 and we can go ahead and move forward.
And here we are - deciding what to do next. Adoption? Donor Egg? Donor embryo? None of these are the options I want. I want a baby that is made from my husband and me. A baby that reflects the best of who each of us is. A baby that has my genes - possibly my love for the written word or my musical ability. But that will not happen for me. And now we face the biggest dilemma I could imagine at 32.
Will my life ever be what I dreamed? What do we do now? I'm not sure what the future looks like. What I know is it's not what I imagined. And I grieve the life that I will not have. The baby that I will not have. The dream that can never be - and the me that I lost along the way.