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Grief, the gift that keeps on giving

December 1, 2010

It’s been a year since the ill fated IVF. As the anniversary of the poorly timed trigger date came just before Thanksgiving, I began to grieve all over again. We spent Thanksgiving with relatives, and I was sensitive to every reference to families, whether in movies or in real life. The best part of Thanksgiving was something my youngest step-son said. We were all saying what we were thankful for around the table at Thankgiving dinner. When it got to him, he started out ominously with this, “I just have this to say…” Wait for it…”Blood doesn’t make you family.” Then he went on to say something wonderful about family, blood related or not. He just turned 17. I love this kid!

The Sunday after Thanksgiving, my brother called. We don’t usually talk on the phone, so at first, I thought he called to ask me something. We chatted for awhile, and I stopped wondering why he called. Maybe he just called to chat? Until he said, “we have news”. I knew what it was immediately. I did a pretty good job of not losing it on the phone. But ever since then, I’ve been a mess.

My brother got married for the second time this past July. In his starter marriage, his ex-wife was adamently opposed to having children. My brother went along with her party line. This wife is the exact opposite. I did warn him when they got engaged that they shouldn’t wait to have kids, knowing her age, which was 37 at the time. At the same time they were getting pregnant after their marriage, I was seeing my first RE after I got married, and the infertility nightmare began.

Some of you may read into this that I’m bitter. I know I have lost some readers because I have been viewed as the bitter IVF failure at BigShotClinic. I was pretty pissed off at that one and still am. I’m happy for my brother. I could have taken the anniversary grief, the inevitable grief when being around family at holidays, but this was the straw that broke my heart. I relived and still am reliving all the losses I have had since that first RE visit over five years ago. I’m grieving the loss of being able to get pregnant quickly after getting married. I’m grieving the loss of being able to get pregnant naturally, period! I’m grieving all the injustices and insensitivities that have been done to me and my body from medical intervention. I’m grieving loss after loss after loss. I could have lived through it all if there was the consolation prize of having a baby at the end of it. If all that weren’t bad enough, I’m feeling hopeless about still having no plan, and no money to pursue IVF with donor eggs.

I appreciated the comments from those of you who have husbands who refuse to adopt. I don’t feel so alone.

I thought about the donor embryo suggestions. I seem to be getting a lot of those lately, not just from this blog. At first, I felt some hope about it, but did not think I could convince my husband to agree. Then, I really focused on how I felt about it. You see, I’m terrified of getting pregnant again. Terrified. I would be much happier with someone else going through pregnancy for me. I’m not saying that to be selfish. I think pregnancy is very hard on my body, particularly my brain. I’ve been learning more about that in preparation for pregnancy again, if we ever have the chance to try again. I’ve got a lot more to say about that, but it will have to wait for a future post. I wish I knew then what I know now, but you know what they say about hindsight. I’d much rather adopt after the child is born than before. The only way I would agree to donor embryos is if my husband was gung-ho about it, which he isn’t. He always dangles some carrot in front of my face about these types of possibilites, but I know him better. In the end, he said no. It probably didn’t help that I told him I didn’t want to be pregnant again. I think I’d rather stick hot pokers in my eyes.

 I went so far as to call BigShotClinic to check on the cost of donor IVF with a known donor. For those of you who think that having a relative donate their eggs is “a lot” cheaper, let me dispel that myth right now. You save about $7,000 from an already enormously expensive procedure, but I’m sure we would spend at least 5 grand of that in our own lawyer fees to draw up an agreement, not to mention the airline tickets to fly my relative here at least twice. When I added everything up, it was even more expensive than I initially thought, which was still more than we could borrow now and for the near/maybe far future.

I’m in a place of feeling completely hopeless and sad about this predicament. I’m grieving hard, and I’m longing for a baby. No, it’s not fair. The only consolation is that I’m not alone. Maybe no one in my family will ever understand, but I know my peeps out there will.

Will I wallow in front of the TV after work? Will I resort to chocolate as self-medication while all my teeth rot out of my mouth (literally). I’m so bah-humbug about this x-mas season, it isn’t even funny. I seriously need some therapy.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. December 1, 2010 7:51 pm

    Oh Phoebe.
    I saw your post pop up and have been reading with a heavy heart for you. You’re right, the grief never ends some times. Even though we’re trying hard to move on to the adoption option (which isn’t going nearly the way we thought), another pregnancy announcement from a friend sent me backwards about five years to a dark place. So yes, as your peep I totally get it.
    I only wish one of your options was possible. I wish Magic was open to the other options. Mostly I wish I was there in person to indulge in a little chocolate wiith you,go on a nice mountain hike, and give you a big hug.

    PS Your stepson’s words were beautiful and amazing and so, so true.

    PPS I’m sorry–if you’re viewed as the bitter BigShotIVFClinic failure then I’m right there with you. It sucks to fail at the best, there are no two ways around it. They do make mistakes. They’re not perfect. They can’t help everyone. And if I read the words “Another BigShotFertilityClinic Miracle” one more time….well…I don’t know what I’ll do.

  2. Dean permalink
    December 1, 2010 8:09 pm

    It’s me,still here. My husband also refused to consider adoption.

    I just wanted to say that I don’t see you as “that bitter infertile”. I see you as a good person who’s got a shitty deal and who’s working hard at surviving, I see you as strong.

  3. December 1, 2010 9:27 pm

    So sorry. You are so lovely and deserve so much better. Wish I could give you a hug!!!

  4. December 1, 2010 9:51 pm

    Hey, Phoebe.

    I’m glad your (step)son provided a ray of sunshine for you over the holiday week.

    You’re dealing with so much. Are you still seeing a counselor? Are you still running? Is there anything that you think might help the grief dislodge and flow?

  5. December 2, 2010 7:03 am

    Phoebe, I don’t really know what to say. I’m sorry you’re still dealing with this and kind of just stuck in this spot. As to donor eggs, would you consider going outside of the US for it? I know it’s much more inexpensive in places like South Africa and the Czech Republic. Also, there aren’t the same legal wranglings that have to be done there.

    BTW, I think your youngest step-son sounds like an amazing kid.

  6. December 2, 2010 8:26 pm


    I’m so sorry. I wish I could pull you out of this but I can’t, no one can. You will get there at some point, of course.

    Even at eight months pregnant, I still feel that tap on the shoulder that reminds me this baby and I have no DNA in common. I do worry that s/he’ll have so much trouble with that and that I won’t be able to make it better. As if that’s not enough, I wonder how single parenthood will affect this baby.

    Basically, I wish we all had the chance to marry a wonderful man and create a beautiful, genetically-related baby on our own, sans injections, petri dishes and enormous sums of money.

    So many women have exactly that chance and I don’t begrudge it of them – just wish I’d had some of that too. Wish you the same.

    For me, my next choice was adoption but that, too, was very difficult with my single status. The ONLY realistic path was the one I took (donor embryo) or to accept that I wouldn’t have children. Ultimately, I obviously chose the former. But it’s never been smooth sailing or with carefree abandon.

    And maybe that’s just life in general, eh?

    Big hugs my friend.

  7. liketobeelliej, Ireland permalink
    December 3, 2010 4:34 am

    Hi Phoebe, Like Mrs LC I I wish I could give you a big, big hug IRL. Please accept a really rwally big one from me now: (((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((Phoebe)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))). I’m so sorry you’re in this place. It blows. Although our journey at the clinic has not ended yet, I am experiencing a strong sense of impatience from the BigSHotCLinic particularly Dr Wiz – please move on and stop screwing up our stats. Our regroups are PAINFUL – if it was a work conversation I would ask him what his problem was, they are that bad. Yuck. I have a friend who went to SA and got wonderful results with DE at extremely good cost. I can give you details if you like. She was also a CCRM vet. Oh the pain in that sentence! Please know you are not alone. And what a wonderful job you have done parenting your stepson. Please please be proud of yourself for that; it is a mighty achievement Love xxx

  8. December 6, 2010 10:29 pm

    My dear. I so want to put you on a plane to come to SoCal so we can sit and grieve and bitch and cry and laugh together. There is no doubt that this shit is hard. Each level in this journey gets a little more sticky and complicated and expensive. I have recently joined the ranks of having a husband who does not want to adopt. What a nice side road to nowhere the last couple years of trying to figure this out have been.

    Be gentle with yourself and know that you are most definitely not alone. I was hesitant to even post again because I wasn’t sure where I even fit anymore. Not many of us out there, but we are out there and right beside you.

    I have more questions than answers at this point, but I’m here anytime to work through this stuff with. We really should chat soon… Love you!

  9. geeksinrome permalink
    December 16, 2010 1:48 pm

    Holidays are so dreadful when there is a hole inside, that missing something… and I’m so sorry you now get to deal with impending birth for your bro. It’s so hard when you know you should be happy for them, but it just causes so much pain, too.

    So much stinks here, the lack of options, the endless need for cash for anything and not having a full set of choices because of taking into account Magic’s desires (or fears/reservations?) . tis an all-round suck-fest, my dear.

    Therapy sounds good to me. You shouldn’t have to deal with this alone especially since you and your love are not in agreement on some major issues. It’s one thing if it were only a question of money, but there is more to it and that has to be adding to the weight and sense of helplessness.

    What you said about having to go through so much crap is doable and bearable when you have a baby in the end. It’s so true. I still to this day don’t know how I ever would have gone forward, what I would have endured, put up with if I hadn’t gotten so lucky with my docs. You are justified for still being in pain and resentful. I wish I could tell you which is the right door to open to get out of this really bad place!!

    But keep thinking about those wonderful step-sons and the amazing gift you are giving them. It’s not the same, but you are making a difference in their lives, you are giving them a new life!

    love you!

  10. December 22, 2010 10:17 pm

    It’s just not fair. There isn’t anything else to say because nothing can ever explain or make up for the pain of infertility. I just wish you an end to this grief – whatever form it takes. I know that there is a solution for you, but finding it is the trick. I don’t see you as bitter at all – just frustrated, and why wouldn’t you be?

    As for husband issues, you have my sympathies. Mine was very wishy washy about pursuing anything, and it was only when I more or less made all the decisions and told him what we were going to do that he sort of gave up and agreed. Now, of course, he remembers it as one of his dearest wishes to have another child, that he was just protecting me from disappointment by putting on a show of blase disregard. Hah!

    I think therapy would have helped me get to that point faster. The thing that scared me away from therapy was not wanting somebody to show me that things would be okay, that I had so much to be grateful for, that I should appreciate what I had, blah blah blah. No doubt all of those things were true, but I didn’t want to be massaged into accepting things. But in retrospect, a good therapist probably would have shown me how to figure out what I wanted and what to do about it without me wasting years just hoping things would work out. Good old retrospect…

    I hope you find your answer soon.

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