Friday, September 12, 2008

The Break and the Reason

The place: Stratford, Ontario, for an offsite work meeting.

The background: The fall of 2003. About a week after finding out that our fifth IUI (intrauterine insemination), did not take.

The straw: A colleague of mine at this training program admitted that she was indeed expecting.

The camel's back: I excused myself, went to the ladies' room, made sure no one else was there, got into a stall. And broke down. I could not take it any longer.


How did it come to this?

The stress of the scheduling was a huge factor. With the travel and meetings in our work schedules getting in the way, it took close to a year to complete the five cycles. The frustration was bringing us down as well. We were exhausted, emotionally and physically drained. And we still had a very active preschooler to deal with. How fair was this all to him?

The running around each cycle, dealing with the traffic, getting to the lab for daily bloodwork, ultrasounds and the waiting and waiting. The drugs weren't helping my temperament much either. Feeling bloated and cranky 24/7 had actually become the norm.

An open concept office. That was wonderful. At least when we were trying for baby number one, I had a real door. But with the company move, management decided that everyone under VP status did not need a door. In the spirit of working together, better apparently, we all became Les Nessman noobs.

There's nothing like having to track down a small conference room or shut yourself into a filing room to find the privacy to make these "results of the month" calls. I'd whisper quietly into the receiver, keeping my fingers crossed that no one would come in or need the room at the last minute. Then I would anxiously wait for the results of the blood tests taken earlier in the day.

Sometimes the response was compassionate: "So sorry, sweetheart. Maybe next time."

Other times, not so sweet: "Nope. Negative. Bye."

I don't know which I preferred. The news was the same, so in the end what did it matter?

Five times too many. Five times of having to clench my teeth, wipe away my tears, pray that my face wasn't too red, and compose myself before walking back into the office with an efficient clip. As if nothing had happened. As if my womb, still-empty of baby, didn't hold the weight of my heavy, sunken heart. We knew the chances of IUI being successful after more than three times were very small. The law of diminishing returns was in full force.

During the period of the IUIs, we had started looking into adoption. That information package was still sitting there for us to look at again.

Ian was as supportive as ever. He always maintained that he was happy with the status quo. The urge for baby #2 was mostly mine, an inexplicable obsession. But he would welcome a second baby, and had very positive thoughts about adoption. In fact, as we were looking at adoption in China, it might have been a way to fulfill a dream of his own ... to have a 100% Asian baby. We used to joke about that when we were first married; he's always maintained that Asian babies are just the cutest...but I'd respond that if that was indeed what he wanted with our kids, well, his procreative involvement would be problematic.

But I had to be honest with myself. Was this IT for us? The end of the roller coaster? Was I not willing to go the next step? Did I not have enough in me to make that huge leap into IVF land? Did we have enough in u$ to start down the slippery slope of hope?

So we were at a crossroads.

We decided we needed a break. After two years and five IUI's, the next cycle - it came and went. No poking, testing, ultrasounds, shots, stirrups, samples, tubes - nothing. We took the time to gather our thoughts, digest everything and decide what made sense for us, for our family.

In November, we came to an agreement. We would proceed with one IVF cycle. And take it one cycle at a time. How could we not? I never in a million years thought we would have to go this far. But we had to at least try.

So over Christmas, instead of another frantic month, we took it easy. Enjoyed our time with our boy. But we did attend an IVF orientation. We signed the papers, brought the information, including all of the presciptions necessary, home with us. I made another appointment for the new year to learn how to self-inject.

Taking a look at our calendars, the earliest we could schedule our first IVF cycle was in April.


Something to look forward to in the spring.


My musical memory: this was 3.5 year old L's fave tune at the time...
(okay, I'll admit it, it was me trying to train my kid to become the next hot Eurasian lead singer of a hot band ;)