I am sorry I haven't been so good at writing the past few weeks. My FET cycle has been really uneventful and I've been trying to heal emotionally from our failed IVF and somehow recenter myself. In truth, I've been pretty down and I am having a hard time feeling positive or hopeful, especially since our frosties are of pretty iffy quality. The good news is that assuming they survive thaw, I am on track for a Sunday embryo transfer - that's really soon!
Tonight was my mikveh night (it was actually a little late in my cycle to go to the mikveh, but I spotted a lot this month). The mikveh is a ritual bath that observant Jewish women go to a week after they stop bleeding and it demarcates the separation between menstruation and the time during which a woman is considered ritually pure. The largest practical implication of this practice is that observant Jewish women don't have sex from the time their period starts until their mikveh night.
Many infertile women notoriously find mikveh night difficult because each month serves as another reminder that they are in a new cycle and still not pregnant. Honestly, even as time wore on, I never had a big problem with it. I saw mikveh night as an opportunity for self-renewal and a symbol of new hope and another chance at creating a new life.
By the time mikveh night rolled around each month, the memory of the pain and disappointment of the previous cycle ending had dulled and I could always muster up new hope and some positive energy for a new chance. I would read tehillim (psalms), I would pray...mikveh night was actually a positive spiritual experience for me. I never felt a direct conflict or contradiction between my faith and my hopes and the reality of my situation.
This was the case for the first 21 cycles we tried to conceive, anyway. Not so much anymore. Last month, mikveh night fell a few days before egg retrieval. Luckily, there was no one in front of me and I was in and out in ten minutes, so I really had no opportunity to get all angry and emo about things.
Tonight, there were 7 women in front of me and then 6 who came after. I knew it was going to be a long wait, and then in classic Israeli fashion, two women sort of passively cut in front of me. I just couldn't bring myself to say anything which is absolutely the worst, it just makes me feel like such a sucker and so angry at myself when I can't stand up for myself. That was apparently the beginning of my derailment. And then I had to wait 25 more minutes to finally get called into a room.
By this point, I was doing the whole silent sobbing thing. I knew that if I started talking, I would instantaneously burst into the whole not-so silently sobbing thing. The cleaning woman who was mopping the floor kept trying to make small talk. I just stared at her blankly and silently so she kept repeating herself. Apparently, she was really trying to put me to the test and my solemn face and red-rimmed eyes weren't sending a clear enough message of FOR THE LOVE OF G-D LEAVE ME ALONE WOMAN.
As soon as I got into my changing room I started sobbing. Those big fat ugly uncontrollable tears and of course lots of snot, too. Then I realized that there was no Kleenex or toilet paper in my room for me to clean my face up with. Finally, I gathered myself together the best I could and pressed the buzzer to enter into the mikveh. I immersed, got back into my changing room and proceeded to lose it again. And unlike "a good cry", I didn't feel any better letting it all out, I just felt more deflated.
In truth, I was more angry than sad, angry at the chicks who cut me in line and made me wait 25 more minutes, angry at myself for not speaking up, and more than anything else, I was angry because the mikveh is a reminder that I subscribe to a belief in something larger and in some force that you can reason with and reckon with and yet month after month nothing has changed for me.
It is much easier for me at this point to take a strictly medical, detached view of my infertility - that we are doing a series of medical interventions that cumulatively over a long period of time have some chance of eventually being successful. Emotionally, that's pretty easy to reconcile, but if you place your faith in something else, if you believe in something larger, and yet you fail again and again, how is it possible to keep a positive connection with that faith? Eventually, how do you not become consumed by anger or not take it personally? How do you keep finding solace or a measure of comfort in G-d or belief in any larger force when things just stay the same? After a certain point, isn't it just much more comforting to believe in Bad Luck?
Where do I go from here? Is it going to get easier, in the same way seeing friends and family members and acquaintances get pregnant and have children became easier with time? How will I have the strength to keep going if I reach mikveh trip #44 with no live baby?