Sometimes I get caught up in my life. It’s a fast-paced life: career, daycare, bath and bedtimes, stolen moments with my husband, rare conversations with friends. Full days or weeks can pass without catching a breath. But this weekend, I had two moments that caused me to slow down, look around, and truly appreciate my life, and especially my daughter.
Saturday I had coffee with a woman who found this blog by searching for MTHFR on the internet. Like me, she has been diagnosed with compound heterozygous MTHFR. Also like me, she has gone through a fresh IVF, and a frozen transfer, and she lost a baby at eight weeks. She also goes to the same RE as me, and has had the same frustrations. The only difference is she has PCOS and she’s 10 years younger. But after you’ve gone through multiple years of infertility, multiple cycles of treatments, losses, etc., it doesn’t matter how old you are – it just plain sucks. And hurts! She found my blog through searching for her diagnosis, and then discovered that I lived in Houston, and she suspected and later confirmed that we even go to the same doctor. It’s amazing, really, to think that she was able to find me through the internet, and that we have so much in common.
We met for a couple hours on Saturday, and she talked about her history and her plan for the future. She’s exploring the world of reproductive immunology, which I was surprised to hear was recommended by our doctor, considering the struggles I had with him in this regard. The pathology on her miscarriage showed a chromosomally normal baby, which is why he recommended immunology testing, and we talked about all this. I was struck by how we have very different personal histories, and yet we are in many respects the same person. I sat across the table, and saw all the frustration, the confusion, and the pain that comes with battling infertility and loss. I wish I could take this pain away from her, and that I could guarantee her a baby. I wish I could tell her that if she keeps going, keeps getting tested and spending money and going through treatments, that one day she would get her baby. But I can’t. That’s the worst part of infertility. We battle this, every day, and there is no guarantee.
Last night I also received heartbreaking news about my best friend IRL. I’ve talked about her on my blog before, she started TTC after I did, and when she finally met with a doctor, she used me as an IF mentor. Due to her age (she’s now 42) she quickly went to IVF, and we started the IVF process at the same time, the two of us fantasizing about raising our IVF babies together. Since then she has had 2 fresh IVF cycles, which resulted into two early miscarriages. After the 2nd IVF, her husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer, so this derailed their TTC plans for awhile. But he went through chemo (after freezing a bunch of sperm prior to treatment), and he is now declared cancer-free, so they started their 3rd IVF cycle, using some of his frozen sperm. This time, however, they did PGS. They got 16 eggs, 12 were mature, and 6 fertilized. All 6 were tested with PGS, and none of the embryos were considered normal enough for transfer. This is the official end of their attempts at having a baby made with her genetic material. They are exploring their options, and will meet with the doctor in June to discuss donor eggs, but my heart goes out to her. I know this is a huge loss, and I wish I could take away her pain.
I am so very lucky. Every day, I go online, fingers crossed, and hope that the women whose blogs I follow get that elusive BFP, but more importantly bring home their baby. I’ve been online for awhile now, so I’ve seen many of us start to parent, but there are so many who are still trying for that first baby, even some that started their infertility journeys prior to me. I wish that it wasn’t so hard – I don’t understand why some people get their babies and some don’t. The pain from women online is so hard to see, but sitting across the table from it, and then hearing about it from my best friend, I feel so helpless, like there’s nothing I can do. (…well actually there is one thing – I could donate my embryos to my friend, but it may be a bit early for that, I can’t even wrap my head around this one…) All I can really do now is be there for my best friend, and for my new friend, and be grateful for my daughter. Last night, after I gave her the last bottle of the day, and rocked and sang to her, I squeezed her a little tighter than normal, and gave her a couple extra kisses. I can’t put into words how grateful I am to have her in my life.