Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Friend's Sadness

I heard from a friend of mine today that her second round of IVF was not successful. My heart just broke for her when I heard the news. She and her husband have been trying to have a baby for about six years now with no success. News like this is difficult for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I feel awful for my friend. I know how important this was for her, and I can't imagine the heartbreak she must be feeling to know that even after all these years and all this effort, she still isn't pregnant. My friend is almost 40 years old, so she feels that time is running out for her. Yet, at the same time, she has a good attitude. She hasn't let her infertility make her hopeless. She still has every hope that someday she will be a mother. Her faith is inspirational.

The second reason her news is difficult to hear is that I know I'm about to embark on my first round of IVF in a few months. It's a completely selfish to be thinking of myself when it's her disappointment, but I also need to be honest about how I'm feeling.

After my initial heartbreak for her, I realized that her difficulty also made me feel very scared about my upcoming IVF. I know this isn't our only shot at getting pregnant, but it's definitely a huge investment. Financially AND Emotionally. For so long, IVF has seemed to be a last resort tactic. I always thought it was the final chance before having to look at options like surrogacy and/or adoption. I want so badly to be able to carry my own baby, and the thought of being at the end of that road - so to speak - is terrifying.

So even though it might sound selfish, hearing that someone else's IVF cycle failed brings up those natural feelings of fear within myself. Some part of me screams, "What if my cycle fails too? What if I can never carry a child and be a mother?" It's definitely a scary thought. I know that we can try more than once, but the unknown of it is what scares me the most. I've read stories of people's cycles having to be canceled because of overstimulation or some other complication. Also, sometimes the embryos don't survive long enough to be transferred. There are so many things that can go wrong.

How do you live through this experience and still keep hope alive? How do you hear about other people's failure and still believe in your heart that there's something different in store for you? I don't know the answer to that. The only thing I can say is that I'm going to try to separate her experience from mine. Yes, it's heart-breaking, and yes, I will mourn with her and give her all of my support. On the other hand, I have to understand that her journey is not my journey. There is no way to know how my IVF cycle will turn out. My doctor gives me a 60% chance of success, and right now, that's all that matters for me. In my heart, I have to still believe that IVF will work for us. My journey. My outcome. An outcome I can't control. Allowing fear and doubt to creep in and control my attitude is only going to hurt me. I need to wake up every day and find a way to foster faith and love and most of all, HOPE.

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