The past few weeks have been strange and uncomfortable. It’s not like I’m in the Pit of Despair—it’s more like I’m standing at the rim of the Pit, thinking how much it’s going to suck when I start the fall.
I’m moody; I’m tense; I’m emotional.
I’m a girl about to go into her 5th IVF cycle.
I’m an analogy girl, so try this one on: it’s like I’ve spent the past 8 months sitting on the edge of a rushing river. I’ve known that, when my time was up, I was going to have to cross that river. It was going to be cold, and scary, and god only knew what I was going to find on the other side, if I ever got there. You see, I’ve been in that river before, and each time I go in I get swept away, only to wash up months later, battered and waterlogged, somewhere downstream on the same side I stared on. I used to be eager to jump in again, get it over with. But this time I was forced to sit on my side of the shore and dry out in the sun and heal my bruises, have a snack. It’s nice on my side of the shore, really.
But when my last period started I knew the break was over. Next period = next IVF cycle. Which means it’s time to start getting ready.
Just thinking about it made me feel panicky, like I couldn’t quite catch my breath. J’s been just as bad. Last week I forced the issue—made him dip his feet in the water, if you will. I told J we had to start looking for a donor. So we spent some time on the website of the cryobank we’d like to use. And it was kind of fun, actually. We made fun of the donors’ stupid cliché answers to certain essay questions. (Most of these guys, when asked where they would “most like to travel,” want to go “everywhere,” because they’re interested in “diverse cultures.” Blech! J and I flagged the guy that said he wanted to travel to the moon. We thought he was awesome.) But when we stopped, I found myself getting really sad. Goddammit, it just isn’t fucking fair. I’ve been willing to accept that I’m going to have to go through a lot more heartache to get a child than other women do. I’ve given up four years to the cause, watching my friends and family raise their children while I stand on the sidelines and try not to grind my teeth down to tiny nubs. I’ve accepted that my dream of having two kids is a fantasy, that I’m probably not going to be able to afford to send the one I do end up with to the college of his/her choice. I’ve given up a LOT. But to give up on having a piece of my husband growing inside of me. To give up on seeing his steady calm take root in a child. To give up on passing on to a child the very traits I fell in love with. And to have it all be about me, about my genes.
But now at least we’ve broken the ice. Oops, mixed metaphor. We’ve waded a bit into the shallows of the stream, felt the cold rocks on our bare feet, numbed our hearts a little bit to what’s to come.
But as our cycle is drawing closer, I am more and more overwhelmed by the rushing waters in front of me. I try to take deep breaths, resolving to handle this cycle better, to stay calm, to not freak over the little stuff, to not let it GET to me the way it always does.
And then I called my RE’s office to get instructions on the next cycle, and suddenly all my resolutions seem like a silly fantasy. Here is what she told me:
1. It sounds like my RE is changing my regimen, adding a Lupron cycle where none was before. I am not happy about this. My cycles have been pretty successful before (except for the outcome, of course), and I can’t imagine why we would add a totally new drug this late in the game. What if it totally fucks up my cycle? J and I are at the end of our rope—if we go straight to donor sperm this cycle (almost certainly, but not yet determined), we’re probably only going to do two more. Because at some point we have got to get OFF this horrible ride. And it adds something like another 3-4 weeks to my cycle! ARRGGHH! Anyway, this is not set in stone. My Favorite Nurse is going to ask my RE about it and we’ll see if she really meant for me to change up. But even thinking about it makes me fret.
2. I need to do another water sonogram (SHG?) and another sounding. I guess because it’s been so long since my last cycle. And neither of these are covered by my shared risk program. Which means I have to get preauthorization from my fucking horrid godawful evil ratshit insurance company. Which means I’m going to have to make sure the request is coded right, because if anyone so much as breathes the word “IVF” in the presence of the preauthorization request, United Healthcare will know and will reject my request. ARRGHHGHH! I THOUGHT I WAS DONE WITH THIS BULLSHIT!!! The one good thing about going into shared risk was NOT having to seek preauthorization from the Evil Overseers. The only good thing about running out of coverage was not having to deal with getting coverage.
I swear to god, when I got into this conversation with Favorite Nurse I started to hear roaring in my ears. And when I hung up the phone and rested my hot forehead on my desk, I felt the water sweep my feet out from under me and wash me away, down into the cold, tense, bitter, angry maelstrom. (That’s right, I just used “maelstrom” in a metaphor. So suck it.)
All I can think is how much I don’t want to do this. I can live with the bloodwork, the sonos, the early mornings. I can take the shots and the heavy swollen ovaries. But the rest of it—the contract with the sperm bank and the preauthorizations and the ordering of the drugs and the timing of the acupuncture with the doctor visits (and don’t forget the chiropractor visits) and having to tell my boss I’m going to be out a lot—but I can’t tell you when—(and oh my god I’m SO scary-busy at work). And then the results. Those fucking results.
Oh, and have I mentioned that I’m pretty freaked out about the end result even if it’s “positive”? I’m finally healing my back, after 10+ years of weakness and pain. What would a pregnancy do to it? What would having to take care of a baby do to it? How will I survive the crying, the sleeplessness, the constant feeling that I’m not doing enough?
Well, I’ve managed to totally depress myself. Cheers, all.