I do not know what to make of the constant second guessing that goes on in my head. I want to believe that it is part of the ebb and flow of the adoption process, but I also wonder if there is some other reason that I continue to worry if this is the right path for me, my husband, and our family.
There was no question that we wanted to have children. And, when I continued getting pregnant naturally and continued miscarrying, there was no question that we would use ART to conceive. And, when we had success on our second fresh cycle, there was no question that we would turn to IVF to have our second child. I said I would do two fresh cycles in our attempt for #2 and if we were not successful, we’d “move on” and I assumed that meant to adoption. And when the first fresh cycle was BFN, there was no question that we’d do the next cycle as soon as possible. That cycle was a BFP that turned out to be a chemical pregnancy. But, that pregnancy, that taste that I could get pregnant again, was enough for there to be no question that we’d sign on for what would turn out to be three more own egg cycles that resulted in one more chemical and one ectopic pregnancy.
It is very hard to get off the train when one is actually getting pregnant through IVF. Because, with each pregnancy, there is the promise, however fleeting, of a live birth. There is the hope that you can actually get that which you’ve tried so hard to achieve if you just keep trying. We just needed to get to that other last good egg. But, the losses took a collective emotional (not to mention financial) toll and since I’d been a lurking member of the donor egg community for some time and because those women were having so much success, there was no question that we’d attempt a half biological sibling by doing a donor egg cycle. I mean, of course, at 42, the issue was with my eggs (right?) and with a 71% live birth rate from donor egg cycles at my clinic, I had every reason, especially because I’d successfully given birth once before, to believe I would fall on the right side of those odds. When I fell on the wrong side of the odds and when the subsequent DEFET was a dismal failure, we took a break.
I thought that the break would be a couple to a few months. I thought I’d work through the tangle of emotions and be ready to move forward. I thought my husband, who had been my partner, giving me every single injection over all those cycles, would gently prod us along toward adoption, something we always said we were open to doing (but clearly so much easier said in the vacuum of still trying to conceive). I thought there would be no question that we would use the momentum of cycling to propel us to adopt.
And when those months turned into a year, a year where we barely spoke of having another child, it took a lot to get back on the train. Even after my husband lovingly told me he was supportive of our moving ahead, it still took me months to decide to do it. Yet, when I did and now that I have, I am not as resolute as I was in all the time I was cycling with my own eggs or even donor eggs. Why is there “no question” that we are going to adopt? Is it that I’m older now and worry about handling a newborn and 4+ year old? Is it that I’m beleaguered from raising a spirited, strong-willed child? Is it the worry of upsetting our glorious triad? Is it that this seems so completely out of our hands? Is it some lurking feeling that I’m not a good enough mother? Is it a worry that we won’t successfully be able to parent a child not from our gene pool? Is it the worry that some tragedy is going to be-fall me or my family? Why all the self-doubt all the time surrounding this?
I obviously don’t have an answer. Yet, when I think of the alternative, of not mothering a newborn again, of not completing our family with another child, of our son being an only child, of finding another career calling or some philanthropic venture to fill the void, it is unfathomable to me that this is it.
I am left trying to find some self confidence that I have made a long and thoughtful decision. I am left believing that this is part of the toll that IF takes. I am left believing that we are meant to proceed. I am left believing that when our child is finally placed with us that I will have the sense of contentment and family completeness that I have been longing for. I am left believing that what is supposed to happen will and I just need to let it. And, I am left believing in the dream and I am scared.