My IVF Journey Didn’t End With a Baby

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For three-and-a-half decades, I took amazing care of my body. I ate healthily and exercised regularly, trying out new sports along the way. I got enough sleep, I drank responsibly, I didn’t do drugs, I had protected sex. I didn’t do these things to prepare for pregnancy, but I assumed they would help. 

I went to graduate school young, began my career, saved money, bought a home, married a wonderful man. I was a bit older than my friends who had already started having kids, but I felt I was also readier. By all accounts, I was primed for pregnancy. It should have come easily — as easily as it had seemed to for everyone else. 

But a few years into our marriage, it wasn’t happening. My OBGYN recommended we go to a fertility clinic, where — given my ripe old age of 37 — we were tossed right into IVF. No Clomid, no IUI [intrauterine insemination], no fooling around. Straight to IVF. 

It was not fun. It was actually excruciating. I couldn’t exercise, which was a huge part of my life. I had to go into the clinic for vaginal ultrasounds daily, and I had to give myself injections multiple times a day. I did all the peripheral things: teas, tinctures, supplements, acupuncture, cupping, tapping. If I heard of a remedy to increase the chance of pregnancy, I did it. It took over my life. And my marriage. But it was going to be worth it. 

Several cycles and miscarriages later, it wasn’t worth it. By the time my husband asked me to consider what this process was doing to me, to us, I had already lost myself. We decided together that the effects on my body and the constant disappointment for us both were not viable anymore. It was time to stop, to find ourselves again. But after four years of focusing on doing all that I could to make this one thing happen, all I was left with was anger, confusion, self-hatred, and a broken heart.

The worst part was, I was completely isolated. No one knew what we had gone through. Not friends or family, who had six- and seven-year-olds by this point. Not neighbors, who slowly watched me turn into a shell of myself. Not colleagues, who were leaving work early to attend their children’s games and recitals. All these people with their normal and happy lives had no idea I felt completely abnormal and miserable. 

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