I can’t believe I let a year slip away without writing to you all. Honestly, I can’t believe an entire year is gone. It almost feels like it didn’t even happen, like I just jumped through time and space and landed on today July 26, 2017. We have a lot to catch up on, friends.
One year ago I began cycle number two. July 26th. I don’t think I will ever forget July 26, 2016. I don’t even have to look at my calendar to see the giant circled word “cycle two”.
I was excited to try again, I really was, but I also went into cycle two with a little bit of lost hope. Even though I left cycle one looking forward to the next, I was exhausted. From the injections, the back and forth, the appointments, and the failures. I was restless with knowing that cycle two could be just as long and as taxing as the first. I was scared that the end result would be the same. A Big Fat No.
The doctors told me this cycle would be much faster. They said that because they had already spent so much time priming my body by introducing hormones that it had never seen before, that this cycle, my body would recognize them. They were wrong. I have always hated how much of my medical life is a guessing game. They didn’t know because they hadn’t had a patient like me before. I never could figure out why they would choose to answer a question that they clearly don’t have the answer to. Cycle two lasted over 60 days. Going through that again, slowly realizing that it was taking just as long as the first, was torture. I thought it would never end.
The medicine I was taking is extremely finicky. You increase it a little and you might get a wild response; i.e., instead of readying one follicle, multiple start to develop. Multiple follicles means the potential for a multiple pregnancy, which above all things is what couldn’t happen.
I can’t remember how many appointments I had, or how many blood tests or ultrasounds. None of that mattered anymore when during a Friday afternoon appointment after they had upped my medicine for two days, the same doctor that said my uterus had doubled in size several months earlier, told me I had been over-stimulated. I had what appeared to be five follicles that were ready, and several that could potentially be ready after getting injected with the HCG trigger shot. After over 60 days, they told me I had to cancel the cycle because I was at risk for having multiples.
I could usually hold back my tears in front of doctors. In the last year, this was one of two times that I couldn’t. Another failed cycle. After all this, I couldn’t even try. Another lost attempt at being a mom. I was so angry. I couldn’t understand God in this moment. I couldn’t understand why he was taking something from me that I wanted with my whole heart. Or yet, that he was not even giving me the opportunity to try.
Well, God was giving me the opportunity to try in another way. He was giving me a story to help others like me. He was giving me wisdom in dealing with loss. Not exactly the loss of a person or a thing, but the loss of something I should be able to do. The loss of something you've never had is a loss indeed.
But God wasn’t finished with this cycle. He had another ending in mind. An ending I still don’t know is biblical, if I will ever know. But this ending is happy. This ending is everything that I needed.
During that appointment, as I bit back tears, my mind was turning. I knew that Walter Reed's Assisted Reproductive Technology Institute was just finishing up an In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) cycle. I asked the doctor if IVF was a possibility for this round. I was already over-stimulated – not something I wanted, but something that happened. The doctor said she could ask and get back with me, but she was fairly certain they would say no and that it was too late.
So I left. I called my husband as I sobbed, walking mindlessly through Walter Reed's long hallways. I called my mom, crying over how I had just wasted two months. Another two months that my body again failed in some way. Forget the fact that my body was, amazingly, responding to these drugs in the first place. I couldn’t think about what an achievement that was. I could only think of time lost. Of time I couldn’t get back. Of another cycle gone.
I took the metro back to downtown DC. I don’t remember what I thought about. Only that I wasn’t really thinking at all. I was walking down the cement sidewalk lined with trees when my phone rang. It was my doctor. She said, “The IVF team will take you."
I can't wait to share the rest of this story with you, but for now, here is a few photos of our trip to Hawaii in February.