I am so scared about writing this post. I need to do it, as a way of organising my thoughts, but I'm scared about putting these thoughts into words. Scared that once they are written down I will have to adhere to them. I know I'm close, but still not entirely sure if I can live with the decision.
Here are the stats:
3 failed GIFT procedures
4 failed IVF procedures
2 failed FETs
1 early miscarriage
= 10 attempts
We started this journey in 2003, although I knew long before then that the battle was looming. All this time I have had a couple of self-imposed limitations set in my head. Funnily enough they are coming together at the same time and the sirens in my head are starting to go off.
1. 12 cycles is enough. If I wasn't pregnant by then, I should accept that it wasn't going to happen. That perhaps there was some dreadful underlying reason I should not have children that my body knew but my brain didn't. I thought that after 12 attempts I could walk away knowing that I really tried, that I gave it my best shot.
2. 40 is old enough. I will be 40 next year. Some of my friends from Uni have kids turning 21 next year! They may be grandmothers soon! I feel so old!
3. All mine or nothing. I know that for so many people there is no difference in their hearts whether a child is biological or not, but for me it is important. I already have three children in my life that are not biologically mine. I love them and lie awake at night worrying about them as if they were my own, but their link with me seems tenuous at best.
All of these things are coming to a head at once. If I stick to these ideals, I have only 2 cycles and 12 months in which to fall pregnant. Even if I go beyond my own limitations, I will soon be up against the clinics limitations, which doesn't encourage women over 40 to use their own eggs. Which just brings me full circle back to point 3, which is probably the one I am least likely to waver on.
DH says he's flexible and would continue if I wanted to, but I know that he is already concerned about having the energy to cope with a 5 year old when he's 50. How would he feel if I raised the bar to 55?
I suggested to an ivf friend that maybe I should just stop now, but she was horrified. She says you can enter a cycle saying this is the last one, but you can't retrospectively say that was it. For emotional moving on purposes apparently.
And there's the kicker right there. Emotionally moving on. Thats the bit that worries me the most. At the moment I could probably jump off this roller coaster and never look back, elated to be rid of the drugs and pain and uncertainty. But in a year... 2 years… 5 years…. How will I feel?
The issues surrounding when to stop trying to conceive are huge and complex, and have been tackled by bloggers much more eloquent than I. But this is something I am going to have to battle through on my own over the next year.