Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The winding road

We have spent a lot of time driving over the last few months. Our IVF doctor, and our pharmacy for the IVF drugs, are a little over an hour away, one way. We've had consultations, ultrasounds, needed to pick up extra medications, and seemingly a million other drives.

At some point I decided to start thinking about our path to a family as a road. We had started with just two roads to choose from - adoption or my vasectomy reversal. We chose the reversal, and eventually arrived at a sign that it wasn't going to work. It was a signpost, sort of.

It wasn't necessarily final, but it was enough to make us choose a different path, one that might have better success getting us to our final goal - a family of our own. So we chose a new path, starting our IVF journey with hope seasoned with a healthy dose of skepticism. We knew the statistics, we knew our age, and so we liked to think we had a chance, albeit a small one, to still have children naturally.

At some point I got it into my head that it was all going to work. I couldn't have told you why, as it made no rational sense, but I just knew it was going to work. I think it first hit me when we were doing injections, right after Christmas. I could see the future, and it had twins of our own. The days went by with 2 and then 3 injections a day. R stood tall through all the pain and discomfort, and we made it through. Then there was the waiting, the interminable waiting, for each step in the process. First the blood test. Of course it was positive, I knew it would be. Over 500 hcg - must be twins, I thought. Sure, nothing I found online would make the positive correlation, but I knew. I'm not religious in the slightest, but I had faith like I've never had before. Then the ultrasound. Twins. When I first saw the two sacs on the screen, I just smiled to myself - it was exactly what I knew it would be. For all the time that I had spent trying to convince R that it was all going to work out, I felt like I had vindication. Sure, there were problems, as R was bleeding, but the doctor didn't seem concerned, and said to expect more bleeding. So nothing to worry about - it was all going to be exactly as I envisioned it.

When R called out to me from the bathroom this weekend, there was something extra in her voice. She was worried, I could tell. She'd been worried through much of the past week, of course, but this sounded different. There was the call to the nurse, then more driving to get to the hospital. Even during that drive, I thought to myself that it was all going to work out, it was just clots coming out as the doctor had said. Nothing to worry about. I still had faith.

And then it all came to a crashing stop. I will never, as long as I live, forget the sight of one of our babies of only a little over 7 weeks in R's hands. Her pain, the agony she must have felt as only a mother can feel, I can't even imagine. She's the toughest person I've ever met, and she confirmed it twice that day as she held our two hopes in her hands. I've never felt so empty as that evening. Nothing in the house had changed, it was the same as it was when we left that morning, but everything had changed. My vision was gone, and all I could see was darkness.

We're fortunate, though, and I have to keep reminding myself of that. First, we have each other and our family and friends to get us through. We know it's possible for us to get pregnant together, which is no small thing. We have enough money to try one more time to head down a new road, to put ourselves through the process, to have the hope to create children of our own.

I thought to myself over the last few days that maybe as we head down this next road I won't have the same conviction, that I won't be able to stay positive, that I'll expect the worst. At the end of the day, though, it's just who I am. This time I'll know to take each day as it comes, because there are no guarantees. I'll be thankful for every good thing that happens to us, and even if it doesn't work out the way I foresaw, the way I dreamed and hoped it would, we'll still have each other and we'll still have other roads that we can travel to get to our family.

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