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With Infertility Comes Decisions
a blog by Fran Meadows, April 8, 2013
With infertility comes decisions; not just one but many. You think once you make that important decision to start with treatments, it is one of the most important ones you will make until the months turn into years. Or maybe you're one of the lucky ones; a quick decision and that's it. Infertility is unpredictable like life and filled with many important decisions that can change your path or family building journey or turn your life upside down. It might even consume you and the way you think on an everyday basis. It can be emotionally exhausting but take some of that energy into positive decision making.
All couples experience their own unique journey filled with similar or very different decisions to make as a couple. I thought that after each failed cycle the decision to go forward with the next cycle was important not realizing that the other decisions involved could change you entire path or future cycles. It was no question for us when we were asked on the day of an egg retrieval to cryopreserve embryos or sperm - but maybe it should have been. Sometimes going into the unpredictable journey of infertility, you don't really think things through or you look for answers but still know what your decision is deep down inside. Some couples get to the point of having to make the biggest decision of their lives when it comes to the financial woes of infertility. Most couples can't go forward or take long period of breaks to raise funds for treatment. I cannot say I understand that because I was one of the lucky couples with insurance that covered all my treatments excluding certain out of pocket costs, but minimal compared to others. Sometimes we don't even know what the next decision will be until it hits us square in the face.
Life is filled with decisions and with infertility comes many more. The best advice I can give is to go with your gut, seek out the thoughts of others to ease your final decision but in the end go with what you think, don't be swayed because others have a strong opinion or that's what they would do. When you hear others say "that is what I would do", that is just an opinion not the decision that they might have had to make. I have been in that position of listening and giving but only to help ease the stress of not having anyone to talk to about it.
I look back and wonder what others thought after finally finding out about our journey - did they have their own opinion or did they look at me in a judgmental manner for our decisions? Yes, probably but I took that and tried to ignore or think that maybe we did something wrong. Go in with no regret, it will set you FREE. After trying to conceive for many years, finally a pregnancy announcement and of course now the cat was out of the bag on our struggles. With so many drilling questions came the questions to me "Did we do the right thing not telling anyone?" Yes, that was our decision. After six months of all about my pregnancy, the unimaginable happened - a pregnancy loss! Now, I know that it was best to keep my journey silent, losing a child was so hard to deal with but now everyone knew. It wasn't like it was an early loss, which is painful enough, it was a loss where your fat belly was the topic of conversation. Right there was a turn in what to do now, yet came another decision. I had to deliver a stillborn and we decided that a city burial was best without a memorial service. We honor that lost angel in our own way. Where people looking at us, saying "WHY?"
To pick up all the pieces a couple of months after our loss was difficult, there was still that sense of sadness and loss, but with that came continued HOPE. I was able to get pregnant and carry a child to six months. It was a thought that helped us reflect and move forward to yet again a silent struggle of dealing and still healing from a loss to move forward with another in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment. Once again another hard decision to go into more disappointment with a canceled cycle. To start out fresh; to hear that once again we were pregnant. It was only six months after our loss and I felt the eyes and heard the comments of, "Isn't it too soon?" Why is it when we make decisions in this journey others feel that they have to make a comment?
The next nine months were the happiest yet the scariest to experience infertility, a loss, and a scary pregnancy. The birth of our son gave us joy and filled what we had lost. It will never take away where we've been, all that we lost, or our story. Our infertility story is ours and so are the decisions that go with it. Take all that is thrown at you and move forward knowing that you went with your gut - It's your decision!
This post was influenced by following Our Last Embryo Blog and their story of struggling with infertility and Endometriosis. Melanie asked my opinion on a decision she is in the process of making. I did express my opinion and what I would do because she asked me. It's what we all need those thoughts from others but the gut action always kicks in. I hope my thoughts helped her but the best advice I was able to end with was "Only you and your husband can make this decision - Talk it all out!"
With Infertility comes big decisions so talk it out as a couple and embrace your decisions with HOPE for the future!