Navigating the Fertility Treatment Path
Fertility treatment is often a process that changes midstream. Often, fertility treatment is compared to a roller coaster or a stream that meanders down, lazily moving around rocks in the way. Or a road with detours. Or a path with many bends. There are many metaphors out there that fit. Simply put, it all just doesn't always go as expected. And that's not simple at all.
In over 25 years of being a patient and educator, I rarely hear someone say that infertility feels like the path that they were meant to be on. In the larger picture, it's not a path we would embrace or even choose. In the day to day of fertility treatment, delays and changes are equally unwelcome. Even when necessary, we feel disappointment and frustration when treatment changes direction, especially abruptly.
When a cycle gets cancelled, it can feel devestatingly disappointing. It does not feel like a postponement, it feels like a pregnancy will never happen. It feels, deep inside, in our cells, that this is the sign that a baby will never come. Or a healthy, growing pregnancy will occur instead of a loss.
It's hard, even almost impossible to put it into perspective.
The only news in fertility treatment that is welcome is good news. Very good news. That everything is going perfectly. That everything is on schedule, that our clinical response is just what our doctors want to see.
Even that is not always reassuring when we have had "perfect" cycles before that have been unsuccessful.
What to do?
The cycle, embryo, fertility treatment plan will not always go perfectly and still we get pregnant. Sometimes, in a cycle, almost nothing goes well and we get pregnant.
IVF Cycle Journeys
Just last month, I spoke with a friend who was in her fifth round of IVF who wanted to go out and drown her sorrows with a margerita or four. Because she was sure that her cycle hadn't worked.
Her pregnancy test was the next day. I encouraged her to wait until the following evening as the pregnancy test could be positive. After so long in treatment, she knew it wasn't.
I assured her that she could not actually know that.
She told me all the symptoms and reasons why this was so. Everything she felt and didn't feel physically. How the cycle itself had gone badly.
Still, she decided she could wait one more night for a fabulous drink.
And yes, she was pregnant.
And yes, just this past week, she heard a heartbeat.
When she least expected it.
When it shouldn't, couldn't have happened.
The delays and starts and stops are heartbreaking.
They may be those detours on your way to parenthood.
I wish they weren't there. I wish this was a smoother trip for you.
My bigger hope and dream is that baby in your arms.
And I'll keep you company while you travel this path.
Lisa Rosenthal's Google+