Sunday, 20 December 2009

A different book

It turns out I was right - DH and I weren't just not on the same page about what to do next. I don't think we were even in the same book.

We're still snowed in - I watched two cars get stuck in our road yesterday and have to be towed out, and we've had more snow overnight, so we now have fresh snow on top of packed ice, all on a reasonably steep hill - so nobody was going anywhere yesterday. In fact, I never even got out of my pyjamas, until I had a bath in the evening and changed into a fresh pair.

This gave us plenty of time to talk, and because I was crying through most of the conversation, I found talking difficult. This meant there were often long silences, which DH would eventually fill - he isn't much of a talker usually about this sort of thing.

Before we were married, we agreed that we wanted children. Somehow, I already suspected that it would be a struggle, and we talked about what might happen if we couldn't have our own children and (I thought) agreed that in that case, we would seriously consider adoption.

Then when we were told we couldn't have children on our own, we discussed all the options and ended up (I thought) agreeing on a plan of action - Plan B, which we would try first, was IVF with our own eggs and sperm. Plan C was embryo adoption, Plan D normal adoption, and Plan E, which we hoped never to reach, was to live child-free.

As it's become clearer that Plan B might not work, I've been researching Plans C and D. I've told DH about my research, and he's been very dismissive and hasn't wanted to discuss it. The things he was saying yesterday morning suggested that he didn't even want to consider raising a child that wasn't genetically his.

In my already devastated and hormonal mind, he was pulling the rug out from under my feet, going back on our previous agreement and taking away any chance that I might ever have of being a mother. I don't think I've ever felt so hurt by another person.

We talked, and I cried, then I cried and we talked, then we went off and did other things around the house, then we talked and I cried again. And I think this is where we are now.

When we decided to try IVF, he put all his hope into that and immediately dismissed all other options, because he was so sure that the IVF would work. For him, there was no need to explore other options, because this was the option we had chosen and we would keep going until we succeeded.

He is now devastated that our second attempt didn't work, and beginning to realise that it might never work. He wouldn't say it in so many words, but he's desperate for us to go for our third attempt, because he's not willing to let go of his dream of having a baby using our own eggs and sperm. He's not ready to accept that we've reached the end of the road, and until he has accepted that he doesn't want to consider any other options.

For him, although we've discussed it many many times before, this is the first time he's seriously considered the possibility of bringing up children that he's not genetically related to - and on first consideration, he doesn't like the idea.

We talked about how low the chances of success are, how hard we've both found it emotionally this time round, and how hard the whole business is on me physically (not just the actual procedures and side effects of the drugs, but the logistics of juggling treatments with work and fitting everything in), and agreed that if we're given no more hope than we were offered last time, it's probably not worth trying again with our own eggs and sperm.

We've pretty much agreed that if Mr No Nonsense just offers us exactly the same protocol with no changes to dosage, drugs or anything, we're not going to put ourselves through this again. We also don't think we want to go to another clinic, as we like and trust the staff at our current clinic and the logistics of going to one further away would just make everything harder.

So we'll be spending Christmas grieving for the probable loss of any chance of having our own biological children. I'm actually hoping we stay snowed in, because the grieving process would be a lot easier for me if we weren't in a house full of his parents (who don't know anything about our IF struggles), his sister and BIL and their three children, his BIL's mother, two boisterous dogs and who knows who else. You see how selfish IF makes you - I'm willing for a large swathe of southern England to be dreadfully inconvenienced and have their Christmas plans ruined just so I can sit at home in my dressing-gown and feel sorry for myself...

But during his time off over Christmas, DH has also promised to do some reading about both embryo donation and adoption and to start trying to get his head round it. I told him I don't want to make him do anything he's not comfortable with, so unless he brings it up the subject is now off limits for the next few days.

So the Christmas gift I'm hoping for now is that DH will decide that bringing up children that aren't genetically ours is preferable to living without children.


  1. You both are faced with some very difficult decisions, and I don't envy you ... my one piece of advice (IVF-wise) is if you choose to try again with your own eggs and sperm I think I'd switch clinics and go with someone/something radically different. If you choose to go with one of your other plans, I pray fervently that your DH will come around and see the good/joy in both of these options. Would embryo adoption be more comfortable for him since he would take part in the child's upbringing from the moment of implantation?

    Just some thoughts. Of course you both have to take time to pray and think about it and also grieve fully this last cycle. I am constantly thinking of you.

  2. Well at least being snowed in provided you with the perfect opportunity to discuss these things without interuptions. I'm sure your DH just needs time to process everything, its absolutely life changing so it makes sense that its not something that can be decided quickly as we've lived our whole lives thinking things would go by a different plan.
    As for contemplating IVF#3, I think it is a perfect time to get a second opinion. It doesn't mean that you are ditching your current clinic, or that you don't trust them, it just makes sense. If the second opinion comes up with the exact same plan as your current clinic, then great you know where you stand, but if they offer or suggest something different would that not be a good thing? Hmm, well this is where I am at anyway so I figured there is no harm in sharing with you. I absolutely love my current clinic and the staff there and have no reason to distrust them. But at the same time we've been suffering from this illness (yes, IF is an illness) for 4 years and if it were any other disease I would have got a second opinion long before now. Good Drs should encourage this kind of practice and shouldn't feel threatened by it, but I must admit i'm not looking forward to having that conversation with my fertility specialist...... Thinking of you as always, just do the best you can and try to be kind to yourself. xx