Two Sides of the Same Coin

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Leading up to our appointment with Dr. M this past Monday, I had been feeling anxious, but sort of looking forward to it. Not in a “yay I’m excited to go to the fertility clinic” sort of way, but ready to move on and have a plan. I had a lot of my own ideas and research floating around in my head, but needed to have it validated to help me make peace with the decision to do IVF.

After hearing everything Dr. M had to say, and discussing it with him, I do feel a lot better. My general anxiety has reduced (though the closer we get to August, I’m sure I’ll get all worked up again). I just take comfort in knowing the direction that we are headed (even though we have two possible scenarios), or rather that we have some sort of direction. I can sort of start to make plans for the future. When I have order, all is well with the world.

On the flip side of things, I think J is having a harder time, now that we’ve had our follow up. All along, after our failed IUIs I had it in my head that we would have to do IVF, and J and I vaguely discussed this. I think in his mind it was still a far off and foreign concept. Now that we’ve met with Dr. M, and have the protocols in place it has become much more real.

He was quite upset the day after our appointment, and I asked him to talk about it but he said he’s not even sure how he’s feeling (been there). He just wants to fix it, and he wants to know why. How did this happen? Why us? And although I’ve wondered that myself, there is no good answer and at this point it doesn’t matter, to me at least. Even if we knew why his swimmers are subpar, or why the IUIs didn’t work, it wouldn’t really make a difference. I don’t know how to help him, and it makes me sad.

I am normally the type of person who wants answers, but an answer of why or how isn’t going to make me feel any better at this point. I want answers in what to do now, and we have those, to some extent. I do want to know what I can do to better our chances, and I have some of those answers, but the closer we get to IVF I’m sure the more I will want to know. The answers we have, and the direction we are headed doesn’t necessarily offer resolution (is there ever really resolution for IF?), but they offer comfort, hope and strength.

I’ve also been able to physically know the failure every month, I read the blogs of the failed IVF, and I understand the processes of ART. I am a pessimist by nature so I have come to expect failure. Even then, it still hurts, and that sneaky hope creeps in to plant those seeds of doubt in my mind. I almost feel better to lower my expectations, as a way to protect myself, a depressing form of self preservation.

J mostly understands the basics of IUI and IVF, he has come to every appointment with me, and he tries to know what’s going on, but it is still different for me. I physically feel the process, I understand it better because it is happening to my body and I feel as though I am ahead of him in the greiving process. I’ve moved into the determined phase. I am ready to go, while he is still trying to wrap his head around everything. It’s like an out of body experience, looking in on our lives and wondering how we got to this place.

He understands the basic principles of what happens in IVF and but not necessarily the exact process, or what the difference is between ICSI and IVF. I’ve explained it to him and Dr. M showed us a really good power point on it, plus gave us a lot of take home material to read over that gives specific stats, and details about the process as a whole. But it’s just a pretty foreign concept, and a rather new one to J. I can see how the whole thing is a struggle for him to grasp.

He is always very quiet when we meet with Dr. M, it is usually me fielding questions and having an involved discussion while J listens and tries to absorb it all. Dr. M always asks if we have any questions, which by the end of our discussions, I generally don’t. He is very thorough, and always gives us lots of take away information as well. I always turn to J to see if he has anything he wants to ask, but he just shrugs his shoulders and gives me a look, to say he doesn’t even know what to ask at this point.

It is sometimes difficult to reconcile that we are both experiencing the same thing, when we feel it and handle it so differently. In the big picture we feel the same in that we are upset, lost and grieving that we have to endure this process. But in the small details we view things differently, and have different ways of coping. And because of this we not only endure our own pain, by share eachothers pain by being at different places, mentally, with our journey. I wish I could help him, but I don’t know how.

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3 thoughts on “Two Sides of the Same Coin

  1. Appendicitis Rex

    This post both broke my heart and completely resonated with me at the same time. Your comments about J are endearing and show that he’s sweet and concerned and invested, despite his frustration and pain. (I have my own “J,” too, and he’s very similar — quiet in the RE’s office, subdued, and we’ve had repeated conversations about how we NEVER saw ourselves here in a million years).

    And I am like you, in that I tend “to lower my expectations, as a way to protect myself, a depressing form of self preservation.” You hit the nail right on the head! Even when things in outlr IF battle are looking up, I still have a way of painting a gray wash over the entire picture. Granted, we’ve faced lots and LOTS of disappointing and even emotionally crushing setbacks, but our IVF attempt has been successful this far. (See, I even hesitate to write this, in fear of jinxing it and dooming myself in the process)!

    Here’s my typical mindset. I have good response to the meds? …I worry that I’m not producing enough follicles (or as many as other people). I have a successful transfer of two blasts? …I tell myself that it hasn’t worked because I am experiencing no symptoms. I start noticing some mild symptoms? …I convince myself it’s just a function of the progesterone. I finally get my positive beta? …I’m happy for a day and then prepare myself for the fact that it may just be a chemical pregnancy.

    You get the picture? Finally, after a solid 3rd beta, I’m FINALLY allowing myself to experience some unguarded hope. And damn, is that ever hard! So much can go wrong — at EVERY stage of this process, and even when things are going RIGHT!

    What I’m trying to say is that I hear you, sister, and I wish you luck and hope and confident resolve in this new plan. Stay strong & I will anxiously keep following your journey. At least I can be optimistic for YOU, even if that’s not something we can fully feel for ourselves. 🙂

    Hugs!

  2. It’s someone’s difficult to know the man’s perspective in this whole process. My hubs also coped differently and little by little he became more involved. Just give him time.

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