The past few days I’ve found myself very sad. Not in a desperate, clawing-at-the-walls kind of way. But I do feel like if I peel back the cover and examine my sadness, that frantic desperation will be lurking underneath.
J and I had a plan. One more cycle with his sperm, then likely one or two cycles with donor sperm, then we are DONE with this INSANITY. (Remember Susan Powter? “Stop the Insanity?” Turned out she was totally ass-backwards on the nutrition thing, but the title was brilliant.) Only three more cycles, max. That’s what I’ve been telling myself. And while the idea of losing J’s genetic input made me grieve, and the idea of going through the adoption process made me grieve and stress, I had been finding some measure of peace in the idea that the end was in sight, less than a year away.
Now I’m faced with the possibility (still just a remote possibility) that the end is not in sight. J went to see the sperm specialist (all the docs at my RE’s office are RE’s, but this guy’s the go-to doc for men) yesterday. The good news is, this doctor doesn’t seem to think that J was sick, because he didn’t seem to think that there had been any change in J’s sperm in the last year and a half. (“What?,” you ask. Didn’t this all come up because the RE thought J had a progressive deterioration? Yeah, I’m confused too.)
This doctor also has a few ideas about what might be wrong with J’s sperm count. One thought is that J’s got some issues with the way his tubes open when he ejaculates, so maybe most of the sperm are getting trapped inside. (“What?,” you ask. If his sperm have been this bad for the last year and a half, and there’s something wrong that they can do something about, why the fuck are we hearing about this NOW, gazillions of dollars and a few miscarriages later?) J’s getting tested for this on Friday. The doc didn’t tell J what could be done about it (J sucks at asking questions), but it seemed he had some ideas. And maybe he had some other ideas, if the problem was something else, on how to improve it. J didn’t ask what the ideas were, or whether they involved expensive and painful ball surgery (he clearly doesn’t read Io’s blog).
And you know what? When J told me all of this my peaceful, floating, restful mood evaporated. I put the phone down and took deep breaths, trying to figure out why this news, which is supposed to be good, just made me want to curl up in a ball and cry.
Part of it is anger. If there was more that could be done about our clearly male-factor infertility, why didn’t our RE send J to the sperm specialist sooner? Why did I have to go through two more miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy? Why did we have to use up all our insurance and take out a second mortgage on our house? And the worst thing is, this RE is one of the very BEST. And I like her and trust her. So I’m confused. Maybe the truth will be that nothing can be done to improve his sperm, and maybe that’s why she didn’t send us to get more tests earlier. Maybe she thought that, as we were getting good-looking (but short-lived) embryos, we were doing as well as could be expected. I just don’t know. And I’m so tired of all this. I can’t even think of trying to ask her.
But mostly I think I’m just exhausted. What happens if they come up with some new (and undoubtedly expensive) thing to help J ejaculate properly? What then? How many cycles do we have to give to this new process before we can go on to Plan B? What happens if the sperm doc wants to medicate J or give him hormone therapy? How long will I have to wait for his sperm to react to that so I can do this last cycle with J’s sperm before we can go on to donor sperm and I can finally get pregnant? I was hoping to do another cycle in a month and a half, get it over with before Christmas. So that we could start the new year with a new plan, one that might actually work. But if we have to wait for new sperm to percolate, we’re looking at January for the next cycle.
I remember when Luna said last spring that her RE had come up with yet another suggestion––I can’t remember if it was a new protocol or another approach to FET––and she said she just felt trapped. Like she’d finally resigned herself to being done with this and now she was getting sucked in again. That’s exactly how I feel—trapped. It’s like I’m a prisoner of my own infertility, a slave to its needs, incapable of climbing out of this pit of despair and failure and sadness.
A big part of me wishes that J had no sperm. Or that I had no eggs. Or that we hadn’t been able to fertilize or that our embryos couldn’t implant. If only things had been truly impossible, we would be DONE with all this. We would have used donor gametes or started the adoption process years ago, and probably would be parents by now. Instead, we wait and wait and wait as I get older and older in my sad, quiet, empty house, as my life ticks away.
I keep telling J I don’t know how much more of this I can take. But I can’t find a way to stop. And I can’t seem to find my balance. I’m so angry, and so scared, and so very very trapped.