I have a secret. I am currently in the middle of an IVF cycle. (Wow it feels good to say it.) A little slip-under-the-radar IVF before our one-year sojourn in Toronto for Y's fellowship and the end of our amazing Israeli fertility coverage until we return in summer 2013. We aren't telling our families or anyone, really (except for the internet, apparently) about this cycle. It feels quite liberating, in fact - this covert IVF business. It suits me and I think we should keep our reproductive pursuits under wraps more often, as far as family is concerned. Or at least be much more vague.
In the off-chance that all the stars align and I win the reproductive lottery, both by becoming pregnant and then remaining pregnant long enough that the baby is viable before my body sabotages the pregnancy, it would be my ultimate fantasy to tell no one at all of the pregnancy; rather, I would just show up one day with a robust, squeaking, living baby safe in my arms.
Everything about this IVF is actually pretty liberating. It is so vastly different from my previous cycles in that I really don't care. I know I will be truly, honestly sad and disappointed if it doesn't work, but in the past I was really short-sighted, and that made the consequences of a failed cycle seem much worse. What I mean by that is that it felt really high-stakes when I viewed the worst possible outcome as either a failed cycle or an early miscarriage. Now my deepest fears lie elsewhere.
In the past, I was obsessed with having complete control and doing everything just right - the IVF meditation CDs, acupuncture, reciting tehillim (psalms), eating well, nutrition supplements, knowing the size of my follicles and E2 off by heart at any given moment, actually handling dangerous chemicals in lab with caution. I believed that no one was more invested in the outcome of my cycle than myself so the weight was on my shoulders to do everything in my control to get everything just right.
My control freakery has at least temporarily been replaced largely by indifference. It is too early to say whether my newfound zen is the real deal or just a temporary manifestation of apathy that is part of my mourning. For now, I am just injecting whatever medications in whatever quantities my doctor recommends and trying not to think about it much beyond that.
The decision to cycle this month was actually extremely impulsive and last minute - as in, we had a vague and general conversation with Dr. T. about cycling again before the retained placenta disaster and then I woke up bleeding one morning last week, shocked myself, and asked Dr. T. whether he would support me in doing something really nuts and allow me to cycle right now. The next morning I went in for a baseline and got my prescriptions and that evening I started my injections.
I knew Y was secretly delighted when I called him at work to say I had my period and was thinking of calling Dr. T, though he had done a really good job not explicitly pressuring me to cycle when I didn't feel ready, which I really appreciate.
I also know it is a little radical what I did - leaping off a cliff with my eyes closed and deciding to cycle last-minute when I had already started bleeding - but for me, it is what worked. I was really incapable of knowing I was ready until that moment arrived, and if I had a lot of time to think about it, it would have just made me very anxious and agitated.
I also have the unusual luxury of an extremely accommodating and understanding RE who could make things work on very short notice. (I suspect he is also happy to have the opportunity to try to get me pregnant again before we leave for Toronto because I know our loss was the loss of a victory for him, too, and he is a really swell guy who certainly makes me feel like he has an investment in our outcome.)
Since losing Aminadav and Naava, I have had many days when I feel like never trying to get pregnant again, but underneath those doubts and dark feelings, is my belief that while nothing will ever fix what happened or my incredibly strong desire for them specifically, Y and I need a happier focus to our lives in the form of a living child.
I did think maybe it was a little bit overly eager to be returning to IVF and attempting to get pregnant again so soon after the twins died. I think that sometimes, still - that it is somehow disrespectful towards them to move forward with cycling so quickly. But mostly I see that a living child will connect me back to the twins - that the love I have for a living child and the mothering I have the opportunity to do for him or her will also allow me to mother the twins in the way I never got to and allow my love & appreciation for them to deepen even more.
It is incredibly scary and unnerving, as always, never knowing exactly what still lies ahead in our pursuit of a living child - the same, familiar wondering as before - whether we are very far or closer than we think. Except this time, it is tinged with the awful first-hand knowledge that you can get very very close and come back up with empty arms, having lost and gained so much. (It is always important to remember & acknowledge how much we gained.)