Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The power of the test line.

One emotion I have felt this go around that is new is surprised.

As in, surprised at how incredibly awful I feel right now.

Most people would wonder how someone who has failed miserably at four IVFs could be surprised at the feelings of another failure...after all, we've been here before.

But it's like seeing that test line come up positive stripped away all my previous armour that I had built up from surviving other negatives. I was suddenly reduced to my bare, raw self, fully exposed. It was like the past four years just faded into oblivion--suddenly they didn't matter. All that mattered was seeing a positive.

We spent the day running errands. We kept grabbing onto each others hands and looking at each other and just smiling. Mr. LC said he was finally, finally feeling content.

So yeah, I wasn't prepared for this. I am surprised. I thought it would either be an epic fail or a resounding success. And whether this makes me a fool or not, I deep down honestly thought, despite our low chance of success, that we would beat it.

For a short while I was a hospice nurse. I remember one time giving this woman a shot and as I reached down to put the bandaid on, she reached up and grabbed my hand in a panic. She was emaciated, cancer having destroyed her body, but her grip was surprisingly strong. She had thin wisps of hair, no eyebrows, no eyelashes, because she had fought with chemo up until the bitter end. Her skin was like paper. When her hand grabbed my arm she said "Wait! I'm allergic to latex! Those aren't latex are they?"

Because even while dying in a hospice, she was fighting to live.

I think if I had asked her, she still thought she was going to surprise everyone and beat her disease.

Because even while knowing the odds were against us, we were fighting to succeed.

And yeah, if you asked me, I thought we were going to beat infertility.

But we didn't. We lost. And I still wake up in the night and can't quite wrap my brain around that. I don't know what that says about me. Am I stupid? A fighter? In complete and total denial?

We feel completely and totally lost about where to go next. When I've previously mentioned Plan A, well, suddenly that just isn't as black and white either.

Does anyone have a map they can loan me?

And PS: Happy Thanksgiving. It breaks my heart all over again when I think about the news I am not going to be giving.


  1. Mrs. LC: This loss sucks balls and the chances for a 'normal' family seem quite remote. Having said that, you should lean on those 2 and 4-legged family members you DO have and let them carry you until you're feeling strong again. No decisions need be made right now. Just know we're here for you.
    -Mr. LCbot

  2. How sweet is Mr. LCbot? The best!

    And you're not stupid or a fool. You want to be a mother and you were determined to be one. You ARE a fighter. If you weren't you would have never even started on this endeavor, but instead you took the harder road, the one with all the heartache and FOUGHT. We all thought it would work because we saw how much you wanted it, how hard you worked, you are deserving, and we wanted it for you too!

    Don't worry about answers or a plan, those can only come from you and Mr. LC...and they will in time. No one is going anywhere.

  3. DAVs, This is a beautiful post. I totally get where you're coming from in being surprised, despite the past difficulties, and then the increased pain of getting yet another sucker punch.

    I don't have a map, unfortunately, and I don't think you should set off on a new course just yet anyway. First there is a lot of grief and anger and sadness to wade through.

    Will and I have been exploring all sorts of options because we don't expect our last IVF try to be successful, everything from using a known egg donor to an anonymous egg donor to international adoption, to domestic adoption (both agency and private) to embryo adoption. Just talking to people, going to conferences, surfing the web and reading donor databases, calling egg donor agencies and adoption agencies, all in the hope that exposing ourselves to enough options will allow one or two of them to click. To feel right. Because nothing feels right at all about not being able to produce our own children the way we thought we would.

    Hang on. It won't always feel as bad as it does today. Count on that.


  4. I am feeling all the same emotions right there with you. I haven't done this 5 times, just once, but seeing those two fucking lines and having it ripped away...there are just no words to describe that feeling. Nothing does it justice. And to now have to "celebrate" Thanksgiving and soon Christmas. Well, that is just rubbing a little salt in the wound. Please take care. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  5. A while back I read a quote (on your old blog actually) which said something like "It will all be ok in the end. If it's not ok, then it's not the end." I was just reeling from yet another negative HPT but I found some comfort in this sentiment. It make me think that someday I would (god willing) move beyond this pain and be happy, someday I would be a mother.

    This is not the end for you if you don't want it to be. However it happens, I strongly believe that you and Mr. LC are going to make the most loving, amazing parents someday. Mo's right - it's probably way too soon to start agonizing over the possible pathways right now. But maybe just knowing that they're out there will bring you a small amount of peace and comfort during this time. Someday it will all be ok in the end. And you'll be happy. You'll be a mother.

  6. When I read the last line of the last comment, it was like a rustling in the wind the sensation which I experienced for you; it just felt right. You'll be a mother. In many ways you already are. But F**K ME (sorry), I am beyond sorry at the sadness you are experiencing and wish that those two lines were getting stronger and more a source of comfort to every day rather than the torture they have brought you. It's not right. It's not on. And I am also so sorry at that hard hearted nurse; I really do think that with some honourable exceptions they have no idea as to what we go through and view us all as neurotic. Maybe we should arranged a presentation for them, at the clinic's cost (hollow laugh). Hang in there, we are so here for you xxx PS: what a lovely husband you have

  7. I really, really thought that this was going to work. You are not stupid for thinking that. And you are not in denial when you wake up at night and can't wrap your arms around it. On the contrary, you are right here in the middle of this and dealing with it, even though you think you're not. To write your words here to process your pain and emotions..that's being a fighter. When you feel like you can't breathe, and you do, that's dealing with it. When you cry because it hurts so much, that's dealing with this...that's being a fighter. You still have that and no test strip can take that a way. This is not a pep talk at all... this is just my way of saying that you're not the one who is lost but rather the world around you is foreign. How can it not be? Do what you need to to protect your heart.

  8. I can imagine that getting a +HPT and then a -beta would be a special kind of he!! that you can not prepare for. I'm so far from having a map... I'm so far from even having anything useful or comforting to say. I'm just so sorry.

  9. My heart just hurts for you. I know the feeling of having the last chance cycle fail, but I can't even fathom the heartbreak of it working only to have it ripped away. It is just all so beyond fucked up. I'm so so sorry.

    I also thought we were going to beat this beast. Even with one RE giving us the boot and another not giving us much hope at all, I thought I would still get that 4th and goal-game-tied-touchdown kind of win...and it would be amazing. You are not stupid!! You are a woman with hope and a dream. You are more than a are a warrior. I honestly think some denial in this game is healthy and necessary.

    As far as Plan A goes, let it go for now. Grieve your losses. Cling to Mr. LC. Keep processing things here. Know that you are not alone.

    It is different when Plan A goes from a possibility to a reality. Give yourself as much time as you need to adjust (says the woman who has been sitting on her own Plan A since February). These are not easy decisions especially in the midst of so much grief and heartache.

    I'm so so sorry sweetie that you have lost that Thanksgiving surprise announcement too. One more loss...

  10. It just sucks, and no matter how resolutely you may have decided on any plan going through this kind of reeling smackdown has got to affect your feelings about those decisions. And all of that is okay, because you aren't in any way held to following any kind of plan until it feels like the right one - and I can't imagine anything feeling right to you now.

    You had a glimmer of hope, not just wishful thinking but evidence-based hope, and that is a powerful force. I think that letting yourself be as honest as you are is actually a big part of getting to whatever is next. I wish I had a map, like a pirate's with secret directions to the treasure. Instead I can only say that I'm here for you, and will be.


  11. I see what you are as grieving. Having experienced grief and blogged about it, it makes no sense, but I know it's something I had to go through and you will go through too. You were very courageous to give this another go round. You did things you never did before. I saw you find your power through this process. You questioned your doctors, you took charge. You were up against some very tough odds. Try not to beat yourself up as a way to make sense of this, because you did everything right. I know if feels like such a betrayal. All I can say is that nothing turned out the way I expected it. I was seriously lost, but somehow, I found my way through. You will too. You've got a gem of a husband there to help you through this. I'd bake you some cookies if I thought it would help, but I don't think my gluten and dairy free ones would be very satisfying.

  12. It's evident that you're really going through the emotional wringer, so I've thought for some time whether or not to write this.

    I want to offer you comfort, tell you everything will turn out all right, give you hope. But hope is a dangerous thing with IVF, and hope peddlars are the worst kind of people.

    We've all met them: there's always someone, somewhere who'll tell you a story about a friend of a friend who'd all but given up, it was their last go, and everything was stacked against them when *boom!* the woman got pregnant.

    These people think they're doing you a favour, when in fact they sow seeds of self-persecution, because you can't help but think "Just one last go..."

    It sounds like you're reaching the point we reached when you've decided that the universe is against you - mother nature's even against you - and you're seriously thinking about jacking it in. We reached the same point. I was genuinely worried about my wife's mental wellbeing, so crippling was each failure.

    The difference between us is that we had a 'Plan B'. We were fed up with our clinic not offering us insight into the 'why?' question of it not working. We wanted to try new things, new treatments, anything different. We found a new clinic, took our frozen embryos there and tried a frozen cycle. It didn't work. Then we entrusted the new clinic's embryology team with our 'stuff' and tried an unproven, untested, possibly even clinically dangerous treatment - IVIG.

    Unlike you, we'd never seen the twin lines. We'd only ever had the dreaded telephone call. Everything felt like it went wrong throughout. But my wife got pregnant. And we now have 9-month old twins.

    I'm so sorry - I feel like an interloper in your blog as a success story, and I'm most definitely sorry if this seems cruel at this time. But the point I want to make is that there is always something else with IVF nowadays - something new to try, some other hugely expensive treatment to add into the mix. For us it was IVIG - 3 in total, and involved spending more pounds than I care to remember for each. But it was our 'Plan B'. We couldn't just plod from treatment to treatment without feeling like we were getting somewhere, getting some answers, closing in on our goal.

    You've had a positive HPT. It's a start - it's a tiny, almost interstitial step forward, but it's a start. Would IVIG help? Is it a magic solution? I have absolutely no idea. Was it the answer for us? Possibly, though it may just have been beating the odds. The important thing is that we took on the challenge one last time and threw everything we could at it. If we were going to be beaten, we were going to go down fighting mother nature, the universe, the whole caboodle.

    I'm sorry if I'm giving you 'hope'. I hate hope - it's really dangerous in IVF. If you do really decide that enough is enough I think that's incredibly brave. I've often said (and blogged) that the greatest strength with IVF doesn't show itself when you decide to embark on each round, it's when you decide to stop. My brother and his wife did so after 12 attempts, and I am in awe that they are so strong and well adjusted after everything they've been through together.

    But if you decide for 'Plan B', I would seriously recommend that you find out about everything that might help - IVIG, PGS, anything and everything. And if you go again, my sincerest wish is that you see those two lines again, and this time they stay.

    My very best wishes to you and Mr LC...


  13. There is just nothing good to have come of this hurt. And no matter how much you know it's a long shot, it's just in our instinct to believe we'll beat the odds - you're so right about that. It's heartbreaking that sometimes we fall on the ugly side of the stats. I really thought my eggs would be plentiful at 41 and I had to make a Plan B overnight. Not fun.

    Try and find peace and warmth with your lovely family tomorrow - and have an extra big helping of pumpkin pie!

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  15. Every time I think of sitting down to offer you some condolences, something, anything...the magic words to make it better, all of the phrases that bounce around inside my head just seem so woefully inadequate. I've been where you are, truly I have because you never forget how awful that feeling of desolation be at a complete loss with no direction. To have a lifelong dream shattered and taken away. How does one go about picking up the pieces? I didn't know what to do and just stayed frozen with inaction for the longest time. You talked about how you sat in your kitchen the other day and cried for an hour and I remember doing that many, many times. It seemed like some days I was never going to stop crying after my chemical and my m/c...but I believe that it is what you need to do right now. In the grieving, the path forward became clear. I got tears in my eyes when I read Mr. LCbot's comments...lean on him as much as you need right now. You're in my thoughts all the time.

  16. Hey There, We were "friends" from DS way back when....just wanted to tell you that you are in my thoughts. I had been following your updates with tons of hope. I am so so very broken hearted for you right now. I truly hope that time will heal, as your sister said, because I know there is certainly nothing else that will. It is just so not fair...

  17. I hope you made it through Thanksgiving. We think about you guys all the time. I wish things could be different. xoxo

  18. I've been thinking of you so much, yesterday, today... I just wanted you to know that. Keep hugging Mr. LC. I wish I could be there to give you a hug, too.