I have just read an article in today's Guardian entitled "When IVF fails".
I realise when I described our journey to adoption I glossed over our decision to abandon IVF/ICSI and thought I would revisit it.
On May 5th 2005, we made our way through the hospital past the maternity wing, the balloons proclaiming "It's a girl" and the new parents with their precious car-seated cargo, into the office of the registrar to receive the results of our many and varied tests. As I was sat closest to the desk and staring pleadingly at the doctor in front of me, she in turn addressed all the findings to me. In a nutshell, we were told we had a 5% chance of a natural conception. ICSI was recommended and a 2 year waiting list for one cycle was offered, in desperation I asked how much the treatment would cost privately (we could never afford it anyway) and took away a breakdown of costs. We agreed in the office to go on the list, and we agreed in principle then and there to consider donor sperm as the best chance of conception. Then for the first time during the consultation she turned to my husband and said:
"If you wish to consider ICSI you need to go downstairs and give blood now, so that we can rule out chromasonal abnormailities." We thanked her politely and left the office, walking in silence to the clinic to have a blood test. As I sat and waited on the plastic chairs outside the clinic, I wept, I wept bitterly. A passing nurse asked "What have they done to you down there?" in a jokey fashion and I didn't respond, I had no words.
The one cycle was in front of us, if we could bear the wait and the weight. The wait for a cycle and the weight of expectation - would this be our pregnancy, our baby? We cried and talked and debated, we expressed hope in our 5% chance at least it wasn't 0%. Finally we decided that we couldn't go ahead.
The experience would be too draining, too clinical. We worried for our infant marriage and our states of mind. The chance of failure were high even with ICSI and donor sperm we would still only have a 25% chance of success. I decided my need for a pregnancy was not more important than my husband's desire to be a father - we didn't want to use donor sperm. Eventually the need in me became less for a pregnancy and a baby and more about never having a family and watching it grow and blossom as a unit.
For all the pain and heartache we once endured, I have never once regreted our outcome. Thankfully God's grace was our guide and as long as I trust in him it all (in the words of a family friend) "comes alright eventually".
Now is confession time. This month this all became pertinent again. My normally clockwork cycle was no longer clockwork and along with other symptoms, I had cause to stop and think. What would Little Bear do? How would he feel? He do I feel? Of course it was all my body playing tricks on me, and of course because I never really believed it, there was no great crushing disappointment like there had been all those years ago. It's funny though as I look back on this paragraph there is a word that is absent, and that is because it is a word that despite all that has passed under the bridge, I do not, cannot and will never associate with myself. Thanks be to God that this realisation does not bring with it tears but a sense of closure.