Monday, June 20, 2011

Critical Thinking: When Is Enough Enough?

This is a question I think every infertile faces at some point in time: when is enough enough? When have you truly done all the fertility treatment you can face? When do you decide IF treatment is a waste of your money and what you're really meant to do is parent a child through adoption, so you're moving on? When is it just easier on the heart to move on to living child-free?

These are the questions facing The Hubs and I at the moment. For us, what the question boils down to is this: what counts more towards our limit, the time spent trying or the actual treatment accomplished in that time?

You see, we're unique to a lot of couples who've been TTC for a while because, while we've been trying for 7 1/2 years, we've really only done a minimal amount of treatment. Due to one circumstance or another, the only treatment we've undergone has been four Clomid cycles. Not a real overflux of treatment, I think you'd agree. However, if you look at the time we've spent on TTC, I think you'll find that this is a significantly greater time than a lot of others in our position spend attempting to create a family. I will say not a greater amount of time than everyone - I can, as I type this, think of at least 3 people who've spent at least this long or longer in their own TTC game - but certainly a greater length of time than your average infertile.

What has held us up, you ask? Well, initially it was because we were living in the UK and were planning to move back to the US. We thought it made better sense to wait to seek out help discovering what was wrong until we were settled in the US. And, at the time, it did make more sense. Now, looking back, I wish we'd chosen differently, but you can't change the past, so on we move.

Once we were actually in the US, there always seemed to be something else holding us back from seeking help: my dad's illness, money, The Hubs being out of work. When we finally did seek treatment through my OB/GYN, she wanted us to try Clomid before getting a referral to an RE. We did that. Four clomid cycles, all a bust. Finally we got our RE referral and it looked like we might be getting somewhere, then my body decides it's not happening.

Stop. Go directly to jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. No, instead we were lost in the land of treating hyperplasia. And Type II Diabetes. And Hypothyroidism. And Sleep Apnea. And the revelation of a missing right fallopian tube. And any other mundane illness that could creep up to prevent our dreams from coming true. But finally - FINALLY! - we got that all sorted and it looked as though we might actually be on our way towards our goal. But, alas, we were once again stopped and told we would have to wait. This time, I needed to lose weight. 30 lbs minimum.

That brings us to where we are today. I'm working on losing that weight - and I'm doing a pretty good job of it - but I don't know when we'll actually move on to any treatment. Our RE won't even do an HSG to see if the one remaining tube I have is clear until the weight comes off. He says "I can get you pregnant at your current weight (at that time it was 273 lbs, it is now down to 263.6 lbs), but I can't keep you pregnant. And, any pregnancy would be much too difficult for anyone your size."

That's where we're left. 7 1/2 years of hoping and longing and wishing. 7 1/2 years of heartache and disappointment. 7 1/2 years of not knowing what to plan for or when, or even if, we would ever be parents. And still, we're no further than we were before. We haven't even progressed one centimeter from where we were 7 1/2 years ago (or at least that's how it feels).

That brings me back to our question: when is enough enough? Should we keep on moving towards trying an IUI or IVF? Should we give up on trying to reproduce biologically and focus our time, energy and finances on adoption? Should we try to come to terms with living child-free?

Honestly, I'm not so sure our finances would sustain IVF AND adoption. I'm pretty sure we could manage an IUI or two, but, after reading so many of the stories in the IF world, I'm hyper-aware of the fact that IVF does not always work. I want to be a mother. I've never wanted something so bad in my life. Living child-free just does not seem an option for me. The Hubs feels similarly. How we become parents is not really that important, but the fact that we do become parents is hugely important.

I've done without a lot of things in my life that are deemed "rights of passage". I never had a big 16th birthday party - my dad was sick and it wasn't an option for us. My marriage proposal wasn't a big production - The Hubs just kind of asked and I said yes, we just wanted to be together forever without anyone being able to separate us. I never had a bridal shower - we were living in England, only came to the States a week before our wedding and couldn't really take much back with us. Wedding showers aren't a huge deal in England (at least not with The Hubs' family and friends) so we had no shower there either. I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

I don't mean to whine, but I have sacrificed a lot of the time-honoured, traditional experiences in life. Being a mother is not one of those experiences I'm willing to forego. I just won't do it. I will stamp my foot, scream and cry like a petulant child if I have to, but I simply will not accept that I will never be a mother! The maternal instinct is too ingrained in me.

So, what to do? Where does that leave us? Waiting to try an IUI? Moving on to adoption? Praying for one of those "miracles" everyone who has never experienced infertility tells me about?

Or simply continuing to ask myself: when is enough enough?

11 comments:

junebug said...

We have been at it for 9 years in Oct. While I am not giving up on getting pregnant, we are moving forward with adoption. The way our decision fell is this. I need to work on my body being better before I even think of trying some more treatments. However, me getting pregnant will never be a guarantee but adoption is. So we are taking a break from treatment to work on our health and adopt. But I will then head back to treatment next year. As far as I am concerned enough is enough when my body gives out. I will never give up trying/hoping/praying to get pregnant. It is all a personal decision. I think I was stuck for a long time on adoption meaning I was giving up on getting pregnant. Now, I'm changing the way I look at it. I'm just going to have to have a new perspective. Good luck. It is not a fun decision or easy situation.

Alana said...

Hugs to you and the hubs as you work out where you will venture next with your IF journey!

fuzzandfuzzlet said...

DH and I adopted after TTC for 6 years. It was after a failed IVF that we started exploring adoption. In our case exploring rapidly led us to the agency we felt in our hearts was the path to our baby. This made it an easy decision.

One of the many reason we started moving to adoption was that getting pregnant started to seem like a 1st step. I just knew so many people that got PG after years of trying only to miscarry. A live birth seemed to be more and more of a long shot. I wanted to be a mommy, child free was NOT an option.

Esperanza said...

What a thought provoking question. I think the answer is different for everyone and the reasons are very diverse. I think you'll know in your heart when enough is enough. Good luck.

Becky said...

This is such an important question, and the answer is so different for everyone, for every couple. great post! (and we have the same template - love it!)

Kahla said...

Having been down the path of infertility and through five fresh IVFS, losing a twin and a set of twins, a chemical pregnancy, and giving birth to two sweet babies, I'm going to say that this is a question that only you and your husband will be able to answer. IF is a tough road for sure. Perhaps make a list of pros and cons for each? Sit down and discuss your lists. I'll be honest, your RE sounds like a jerk. Women that are much larger than you get and stay pregnant every day. Is there an option to see another RE? Good luck in finding the best path for ya'll, no doubt it will be the right one.

Sandy said...

I'm asking myself the same questions right now. Hugs to you!

St Elsewhere said...

Counting by years, it was 2004 that we began trying...

The question you put forth is one I have mulled on, on and off in this TTC jungle...and since I never found reasons strong enough to stop, I didn't.

Hoping for a successful transition to parenthood for you and Hubs in 2012.

Here from CDLC

Sarah said...

This is a question we had to ask ourselves and had to decide to stop last year. We do have one child, but the push for another kept our fight with infertility going. Finally we had to say enough was enough. It was the hardest decision we have made.

dspence said...

Here from Creme. I hope you have found your answer and that 2012 brings you the longings of your heart.

JustHeather said...

I was recently thinking of this exact same topic. I don't think adoption is for the hubby and I, and we'd gone through 2 failed IVFs and were nearing the end of the 3rd and I felt horrible. I logically knew that I should start thinking and trying to accept that I might not ever be a mom, but the emotional side of me wasn't there yet. I can say though, we've been lucky and this last time around worked. We're by no means out of the woods, but it's a step in the right direction.

I know this is a deep and tough question to answer. Unfortunately, it is one that only you and your husband can truly answer for yourselves. I hope you have found peace with your decision!

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