Six months ago we hatched a plan. It seemed like a sensible, well thought out plan. We diligently followed all the steps towards our expected result...but then science and nature intervened!!
After three years trying to conceive (TTC) you would think we would have learnt about best laid plans and TTC by now....!
Our 'plan' was to split our IVF cycles into two to minimise the stress on my body at the time of transfer. My immune issues - Natural Killer Cells and DQ Alpha - make the transfer cycles quite intense!
So the last six months as been dedicated purely to making babies - science style!
The DQ Alpha treatment - LIT - lasts for 6 months so our intent was to create a nice stockpile of embryos for that duration.
Going in we weren't concerned. Of all the problems we have had with fertility making good quality embryos has never been one of them.
Today, three stim rounds later, exhausted and financially a lot lighter than when we started, we have a total haul of 2 (Day Three) embryos frozen.
So what went wrong??
- Round One - the ICSI disaster. Embryo Tally = 0!!
- Round Two - we didn't want ICSI again but were assured it was the way to go - so we did a mixture. ICSI Tally = 0 for 6, Natural Tally = 3 out of 4 (resulting in our two beautiful frozen embies!)
ICSI experiment O-V-E-R - clearly natural was the way to go right??
- Round three - natural - this time no sperm binding!! Total = 0!!
When I got the call the about the outcome of the third round I felt like someone had sucker-punched me in the stomach. It took the wind right out of me.
Infertility has a way of doing that to you at times. Just when you think you've got something working or under control it throws a curve ball.
Your plans might be for what you want to happen with your fertility journey....or they might be for what you want to fit in around it (hello, planning for a holiday or event? What's that!!?)...either way it can be a process where you feel completely stuck or blindsided.
It used to be easy for me to find resentment building - just another thing in life that TTC has taken the drivers seat on! This was driving me crazy so I decided to take back the wheel...
So what are my tips for bouncing back when TTC derails your best-laid plans?
Release your emotions (in a constructive way!)
When I had this recent news a tidal wave of emotions rushed over me. Anger, frustration, exhaustion, sadness, disbelief, shock. So I did the only thing I could think of to release it all - I cried.
I'm talking that huge, intense gut cry where you lock yourself away for 20 minutes and just howl it out.
Its not about drama. Its not about attention. Its not about self-pity. Its a release. An opportunity to off-load. To take the emotion down a notch so you can work out what it all really means to you and how you really want to feel about it!
Your release might not be crying. It might be anything - eg an intense exercise session or dancing it out to some loud music! Whatever works for you in that moment to get it out rather than hold it in!
Decide on a meaning that helps you rather than hurts you.
We all always have the choice to decide what to make things mean. In this circumstance I could choose to go to the negative - this means that we are not meant to have a baby, its all too hard, its not going to work. Or I could (and do) choose to make it mean something more positive:
It is what it is - we did all we could with what was available to us - and as a result we have our two beautiful embryos, and that must be all we need!!
AKA as the 'Plan B'; AKA - 'well that didn't work, what next??' I'm a big believer that there is no such thing as failure, only feedback. We didn't get the results we wanted, what did we learn from it, what are our choices going forward?
If your plan is the be all and end all you will collapse with it when it doesn't work and in life - not just TTC! - the best laid plans do go astray!! Flexibility is the key to sanity when it comes to any plan!
What are your tips for coping with things not going to plan, or not being able to plan around TTC?