The Next Chapter

Yesterday I wrote about the idea of Infertility Manuals and how everyone’s is different and that while we might read and take notes from one person’s manual we always have to write our own instructions on how to build our family. Today I want to explore what we’ve tentatively agreed upon as the outline for our personal Infertility Manual.

If there has been one obvious theme to our family building experience so far it would be “divided.” Mi.Vida and I generally come to the table with contrary ideas of how to proceed. In the very beginning–before we had committed to each other–Mi.Vida wasn’t sure he wanted kids. At that time I was sure of only thing in my life: I would, somehow, be a mother. With the help of an unbiased third party (thank god for couples counseling) we decided that we would have children and when we would start trying (timing was another decision that originally divided us). After the arrival of our first child, we struggled again to agree on if and when we should have another. We have rarely, if ever, organically been on the same page about family building.

That has been hard. Really hard.

And yet, there has been another, less apparent theme to our family building experience. In the end, we have been happy with the choices we have made. Sure there were challenging moments. Heck, there were difficult months. Some years weren’t even that great. But now we are so grateful to have our daughter. She was always our little miracle, but now we’ve come to learn that her being here is a miracle in its own right and we are so thankful to have her in our lives.

I’m not saying that I was right. I’m just saying that I wasn’t necessarily wrong, and that I KNOW if we could do it all over again, we’d make the same choices.

One of the most difficult parts of our recent diagnoses has been the knowledge that we’re still not on the same page when it comes to building our family, especially considering the difficulties we now face. I am sure that I will always be willing to do more in my quest for another child. I’m also sure that my partner will be ready to walk away long before I am. Sometimes this difference is a good thing; Mi.Vida is able to be my rock when I feel hopeless and dissolve into a useless, sobbing mess. Most of the time, though, this division causes more stress and resentment, both articulated and swallowed silently behind closed doors. Knowing that you may want to pursue avenues that your partner might find impossible is a difficult place to be. (And I’m sure it’s just as difficult to know your partner will probably want to do something you’re not comfortable doing.)

Luckily we do agree on one of the biggest decisions facing us; neither of us feels comfortable throwing most of our savings (money that we should keep to protect us from losing our house if one of us were to face unexpected unemployment) on a one-time-20% chance at getting pregnant, especially when we know how easily pregnancies are lost. If we could afford 2-3 IVF treatments, I’d definitely consider ART, but as it stands, I’m not comfortable throwing $15K at one measly attempt, especially when my diminished ovarian reserve means we may not even get an embryo to transfer.

I’m thankful we are on the same page about this, and that we agree on omitting the IVF chapter from our Infertility Manual. Right now our first chapters involve nothing but natural attempts at increasing our fertility through diet, supplements and acupuncture. And while we agree on the headings and subheadings of this particular chapter, we may not agree on the actual details. Right now, that is okay. We are writing our manual as we go along, hoping we won’t have to tackle the later chapters at all and refusing to discuss what future chapters we might be willing to include until circumstances require it. And I believe that is for the best, because what we’re willing to do might change in the time it takes us to get there.

We’ve tentatively agreed that future chapters might include Clomid or IUI, if our RE thinks those avenues are available to us, but with Mi.Vida’s low sperm counts, I doubt they will be worth the time or money involved.

The one possible chapter I am privately researching is adoption. I know it is cliche to say that I’ve always been interested in adoption, but it’s true. As soon as I decided to build my family with Mi.Vida, I buried that interest deep down because I knew it was a financial (and emotional) improbability. Now that we may not be able to have a second biological child, I’m starting to research possible adoption paths. I can already tell that there are many adoption scenarios that I would be comfortable with that won’t feel right for my partner. And that is okay. I do hope that barring the chance to build our family biologically, we can agree on a possible adoption path. I also recognize that might not be possible for us. Adoption would require many years of saving and even more years of waiting to be matched with a child. It would also require a lot of paper work and stressful intrusions into our home. I’m sure I can’t even fathom how difficult adoption is and I don’t know if my partner will be willing to subject our family to all of that.

Right now our infertility manual is only a few meager chapters long. And I admit that one of my biggest fears is that it will remain that way, not because we become miraculously pregnant but because our dwindling resources force us to abandon our family building attempts all together. I also don’t know how many months I can draw out the chapter on TTCing when there is so little chance of achieving pregnancy. It’s hard to endure BBT charts and timed sex when you think you have a chance of conceiving, I can’t imagine the endurance required to keep it up when you know you have less than a 3% chance.

I will admit to frequently resenting our meager infertility manual. I wish we could attempt more. But this is what we can do and I have to learn to accept it. I can’t compare our manual to others’. Everyone is different, but I will admit it’s hard when I see people achieve success with methods we can never employ.

I guess I just have to hold out hope that we won’t need them, or that our manual with have a surprise chapter with a feasible plan B at the end.

7 responses

  1. It is such an individual choice. I am here reading with you as you continue to follow your heart.

    I did want to share something that was an option for us. Our clinic offered a shared risk program. It offered three fresh cycles and three frozen cycles for what it would’ve cost us to do two cycles? (our insurance covered little or no ART)

    My husband’s mother helped us financially with that … Something I am forever grateful for but have conflicted feelings about of course.

    I’m sure you probably already know of this option but I just wanted to share with you our decision.

    We also looked seriously into adoption. All of this to say that I remember being in that place. I am here reading, holding you in my heart. If you have any questions for me regarding our journey or the decisions we made feel free to email me.



    • I was just looking online yesterday to see if any nearby clinics had shares risk IVF programs like that. I’m not sure if mine does. I’m also not sure if we would qualify with our double dose of issues but it’s definitely something we’ll look into.

  2. I don’t know what your state’s foster/adoption programs look like but it’s worth a look too. My husband and I are doing foster/adoption for way less than we would for regular domestic adoption. There are more risks involved and the chances of adopting a newborn are low, but we still have a very high chance of getting a child in the 0-3 year range. We specifically requested not to be considered for children older than that and we also requested children who are already in a pre-adoption status. That means that parental rights have been terminated or will be terminated shortly. Our agency was happy to work with us with those conditions! Just something else to think about. Sending hugs your way!

  3. When I was diagnosed, we were given a 1% chance of a successful pregnancy without intervention, and similar odds to yours with treatments. We decided not to pursue treatments at all and shifted our focus to adoption. It is SO individual to each family, and I’m not saying that our choice would be right for anyone else, but it was definitely right for us. I’m happy to share more about our experiences (there’s some on my blog, but not a lot–my previous blog was much more extensive, but I’ve taking it private) if you want to email me at fittoparent at gmail dot com.

    This is such a difficult thing to deal with, and I wish you as smooth a journey as possible from this point forward. xoxox

  4. I am so glad to read that you are happy with the choices you’ve made thus far. That implies good things for your future choices!

    This is so hard, and you are right that your manual could easily change as you go down this road. I was absolutely opposed to IVF (for us, not for everyone) when we weren’t infertile. I always said that I would adopt before doing IVF because biology wasn’t important to me. Then, we were found to be infertile and I felt like it would be cheating to not try IVF – like I would be stealing a baby from someone more deserving who had tried more than me to have a biological child. I am a rule-follower and “cutting in line” has never been something I could do! B was not really into trying too hard until he was told he couldn’t make babies on his own. All of a sudden, he helped me modify our IF manual by agreeing to treatments (and more treatments than I was willing to go through when we started). As we went along, we modified various parts and headings of chapters to end up where we did.

    I am fairly confident that your manual is not completely written right now. I say that because MiVida is still at the beginning of this and hasn’t processed it entirely. AND – you’re both still pretty young and there’s plenty of time for him to realize that he really does want to try super hard to have another baby. Maybe this won’t happen, but I would bet money that your manual is shouldn’t be published just yet 😉

    (I privately looked into adoption too, and actually had an agency selected (and contacted) and an attorney ready to help us. Best to plan ahead, just in case!)

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