Dave was in the process of finishing up his residency program…finally! He was looking for a job and had been on several interviews. Although he had multiple job offers, nothing felt like the right fit. He had one more job possibility that sounded promising in Indiana. It was now December, and since we had been going through IVF non-stop since August we decided that we needed a vacation. An inexpensive vacation was the only thing that would fit our infertility sabotaged budget so we decided on Chicago (Yes, Chicago in December…we really are mid-westerners). Infertility treatments had actually bought us a free hotel room for the week. We had put all of our IVF cycles on our credit cards which racked up our Hilton Honor Points in no time. Over 30 grand has a tendency to do that. We decided to take a detour to Indiana on the way to Chicago for Dave to have the job interview. That way at least some of our travel costs would be covered.
I didn’t want to take the chance of flying. We had already done some flying while I had been going through the IVF cycles, and I wanted to minimize any potential factor that may have led to a lack of success. Dave’s interview went very well. It was also very promising because if this cycle didn’t work, we had zero dollars to proceed with any additional cycles. This job offered a sizeable signing bonus that would allow us to continue with our infertility journey.
Unfortunately, it ended up that we were going to need the additional money. Once again, I started to spot, got moody, and knew that I wasn’t pregnant. The infertility nurse call now almost felt like a recording programmed into my phone, scheduled to recite after each cycle. That was the worst vacation. I felt sick. Sick from my period…sick from my infertility…sick from my increasing despair. I didn’t care about anything else. I just wanted a baby. Doubled over while sitting on the toilet, I cried tears of pain and tears of loss. Each failed cycle felt like miscarriages. Maybe they were. Maybe the embryos had only been present for the day they were transferred. I will never know.
My journey felt like it was coming to an end. I decided that we needed to explore other options. Maybe adoption was the right choice. This had been suggested by people all along the way. Some people didn’t fully understand my desire to have a baby that was “made” from Dave and me. Some didn’t understand my desire to be pregnant. People would throw out the comment, “Well, you could always adopt.” As though the idea had never occurred to us. Yes, we could, but I wanted a baby from my own flesh and blood. I wanted to feel a baby moving in my belly.
Would I consider adoption if I had exhausted all efforts to get pregnant? Of course. What I wanted most was to be a mother, but, if I could have my own biological child, that was what I wanted. I wanted to look at his or her face and see something from me. I wanted to laugh at the characteristics that were from Dave. There is nothing wrong with adopting a baby. Actually, I am a huge advocate of adoption. I had often thought about adopting a child from an underdeveloped country. I still have that desire, but I also wanted to have the experience of giving birth to my own flesh and blood. I wouldn’t love my own flesh and blood more than an adopted child, but I just wanted a baby in my belly.
People judge when you say these things, or they don’t understand. Some who have adopted feel that you are minimizing their love for their children or are undermining the choice that they made. I’ve heard people say that if adoption is good enough for them, then why isn’t it good enough for me? I feel that this is just a personal choice. We are all entitled to our opinion, and we all have different needs, wants, and desires. None of them are wrong. No one should be made to feel guilty that they want their own biological children, just like no one should be made to feel that their children are less valuable or loved because they are adopted.
I started to look at adoption organizations. Maybe that would be our only option. We discussed what it would be like to have a multiracial family. How would our families respond? How would our friends and neighbors interact with a baby that we adopted. We had been assured by all of them that they would love an adopted child just as much no matter what their race was or who their parents were. My coworker who struggled with infertility had decided that she also wanted to get pregnant. She had successfully gone through IVF several years before, but this time after two unsuccessful cycles she was ready to consider other options. She wanted to know that what she was investing in would actually result in a baby. Adoption seemed like the best option for them. Things were falling into place quickly for her. Could adoption be the best option for us too?
While focusing on our infertility, we also needed to focus on our future as physicians. Dave decided to take the job in Indiana. The signing bonus would mean that we could start from scratch with a new IVF cycle. Although at the beginning of my story numerous blogs ago, I mentioned that I was in this for the long haul, I was now starting to get very tired and weary. I had gained more than a few pounds from the hormones, steroids, bloating and from my overindulgence in comfort foods. I was used to the shots but was tired of being such a regular in the clinic. I hated having to rearrange my work schedule. I hated having to pick up extra shifts to make up for coming in late so many mornings. I hated having to take days off last-minute in order to have a procedure done. I was starting to wonder if this would ever work for us. I continued to pray. I also started to come to terms. Maybe it wasn’t in God’s plan for us to have our own biological children. Maybe he had a greater plan that I just didn’t understand.