How to Tell Your Infertile Friend That You’re Pregnant

I don’t know if there will ever be a day where a pregnancy announcement isn’t like sucker punch right in the gut. I’m not sure when the time will come that I don’t cry big, fat, snotty and unattractive tears in response to someone else’s joy. At the end of the day, there is no good way for someone who is infertile to hear the news that you are procreating. But there are a bunch of things that you can do to ensure you make it the best experience it can be, to let your friend know that you’ve considered her pain and to make her feel loved and supported as your life moves on in a way that hers cannot. So here are my top tips for announcing your pregnancy news to your infertile friends.

1. Just do it. If you’re reading this, you obviously know it’s a delicate issue and it’s human nature to shy away from difficult things. But remember that it will be much harder for them that for you. You will have a short period of awkwardness or guilt to contend with. But you have your pregnancy to focus on. Your friend will continue to be reminded forever of the joy that she cannot share in. It won’t get easier for either of you if you put it off, so just do it.

2. Consider telling early. By which I mean before you tell the rest of the world, and maybe even before the first scan if you’re intending to wait that long to make a general announcement. This gives them space to get their head around the issue sooner and means they may be ready to share in genuine joy once the wider announcement is out. Being one of the first to know is a small thing, but also may mean a lot to your friend and make them feel valued and considered. And if the worst should happen in your pregnancy, you may well also find your infertile friend is an excellent source of support. Infertile people are experts in the heartache associated with trying to create new life and can be counted upon not to say “Oh well. it wasn’t meant to be” or “You can just try again.”

I would especially urge you to consider telling early if your friend is going through or about to start an assisted reproduction cycle (IUI/IVF/ICSI etc). They will likely find it much easier to cope if they find out whilst they still have their own hope that the cycle is going to be a success for them than if you show them a scan picture just a few weeks after the failure of treatment. Trust me, I’ve been in that exact position, and I really wish I’d known before the negative result, rather than a couple of weeks later.

3. How you tell will depend a bit on your friend. Personally I think a phone call is the best. It’s more personal and caring than a text or email (which suggests you are hiding from something you find hard). But a phone call is easier for your friend to end than a meeting in person should they wish to cry, shout, scream or react in any other way. We don’t really want to cry in front of you, because we don’t want you to think we’re sad about your news. We’re just incredibly sad for ourselves. Understand too that we may not want you to be the one to comfort us.

Do remember that telling one half of a couple does not constitute telling the whole couple. It’s not the same as for your normally fertile friends, where it does not matter if one finds out on Facebook. If you tell one half of the couple – particularly if you tell the male half – be respectful enough to give them time to break it to the other half before putting on social media. I did not appreciate fining out about a close pregnancy via Facebook because Ian had had the news broken to him whilst we were both at work and, rightly, wanted to tell me when we were both home so he could give me a hug. Two hours was all that we needed.

4. Try to stick to facts. Be honest and hold off the platitudes. It’s fine to say “I appreciate that this might be difficult for you, but I really wanted you to know that I’m pregnant. Please take all the time you need to deal with my news.” Don’t tell us that you’re sorry. Of course you’re not – you wanted a baby. So do we. I’d be more upset if I thought you were sorry it had happened. Don’t say that you wish we could be pregnant too so that we could share it. We wish that with all of our hearts and don’t need a reminder that it isn’t happening. A text about something completely unrelated to babies a few days later could also be a good idea, to help your friend realise that you’re not going to go completely baby mad on her and help her find a way back in to her previous relationship with you.

5. Don’t, whatever you do, discuss the details of the conception. Don’t tell them how quickly it happened. Absolutely do not offer advice on how to conceive – infertiles are experts on the theory and will doubtless know much more than you can imagine. Do not tell them that you struggled if this really isn’t the case. For the record “struggling” would mean taking over a year, or needing some kind of medical intervention to get pregnant. Feeling as though “it will never happen” after three cycles is not struggling. If you were actively trying for less than a year, and didn’t have outside help, please just don’t talk about it.

Especially don’t tell us that it was an accident. Or that you’re not sure if you even want a child. Don’t make jokes about super-sperm, your husband only having to look at you to get you pregnant, or that you can be a surrogate/sperm donor once your pregnancy is completed. Those things are really not funny, nor helpful.

6. Understand that your friend is not angry at you. They are simply deeply, overwhelmingly sad for themselves. We do feel joy at other people’s pregnancies, but it takes time. Try to let your friend know that you understand and give them space or time. Allow them to raise the pregnancy as a topic of discussion, if they want to, rather than raising it yourself. You need to accept that they may not want to talk about it. I’m sure you have plenty of other friends to get excited with so it will not hurt you to focus on things which are not baby related with your infertile friend.

When the baby arrives, ask if they would like to come for cuddles (sometimes it’s what we thrive on) but don’t be offended of the answer is no. It’s not personal. Take our lead on how much we want to be involved. For some people it might mean the world to be allowed to change a nappy, but it might just be too hard for others. Automatically being pushed out because we’re infertile is just as bad as being expected to coo over every picture, however, and our reactions will be very individual, so please take our lead.

7. If you are more of an acquaintance through social media, then please don’t be offended if we don’t rush to join the congratulatory tweets and Facebook comments. I don’t tend to congratulate many (any) pregnancy announcements in these circumstances these days, because I simply find it too hard. Sorry, but again, it’s not personal. You don’t need one extra “Like” or comment to make your news any better than it already is, so please just enjoy it without worrying how many are also enjoying it wit you.

In regards to social media – and even in person announcements with groups of people you don’t know intimately, such as work colleagues – be aware that you don’t necessarily know who amongst your friends is struggling with fertility issues. Never comment on the fact that someone doesn’t seem happy about your pregnancy news, or didn’t bother to comment on it. Again, just bloody enjoy your fantastic good fortune. And be sensitive in what you say. Comments about your “struggle” to conceive – as above – could offend more people than you realise. Just think about whether it’s really necessary before you say it.

I’m not suggesting that you need to smother you joy, censor your happiness or make every picture private. I’m just suggesting that the expectation that everyone else will feel only joy for you is unrealistic. Friends will always feel joy for you, but it may be mixed up in a heap of other emotions you can only guess at.

And always remember that the tables could easily be turned. Just because you are pregnant now doesn’t me that you won’t – like us – experience secondary infertility in future. A little bit of compassion, sensitivity and understanding goes a long way. You’re having a baby. You are so, so blessed. That’s all that really matters.

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“Just Relax”

Since we reached the definite end of our fertility journey, I’ve found myself opening up about it more. I don’t mean that I’m telling everyone I meet or walking around with a sign attached to my back, but I am talking more about it as and when the subject comes up. I’m talking about it because, in an odd way, it’s therapeutic for me to share, but also because infertility still remains such a taboo despite affecting so many people. If my tiny voice can make a tiny change in awareness, then that has to be a good thing.

There is one place that the subject comes up more than any other. You can’t get a group of mothers with similarly aged children together without certain topics arising. You know the ones – food choices, schools and… the subject of “more children”. Of course, my closest mum friends have known all along about our struggle to conceive another child. But there are plenty more mums that I class as “good acquaintances”. The ones that I see week in and week out at the same groups or activities, or at pre-school drop off and pick up time, but never outside of those arenas. They’re not friends, yet we know a fair amount about each others lives through our children. They’re exactly the people I’m opening up more to about our experience of secondary infertility.

And for the most part, the reception has been great. Warm and supportive. Others have confided their own, hitherto unknown, difficult journeys. People have told me how sorry they are with sincerity, and validated my desire to have another child when I’ve still been wondering myself whether all of this isn’t just selfish indulgence. Not everyone has known what to say, of course. Some people can’t help but offer practical solutions, or supposedly helpful anecdotes of their sister’s-best-friend’s-cousin’s miracle conception. Sometimes I’m in the mood to try some gentle attempts to alter perceptions. Sometimes I’ll patiently explain things like why the adoption road is fraught with difficulties for a couple in our circumstances and it isn’t necessarily the simple solution they present it as. More often I’ll just let it roll over. I’ve been doing this just long enough now to have become good at self preservation.

There is one thing, however, that people say that is guaranteed to generate entirely the opposite reaction to the one that they are promoting.

It’s that old chestnut “Just relax, and it’ll happen.”

Sometimes it’s dressed up in one of those miracle stories. You’ve all heard the one about the couple who “stopped trying” after countless years and many rounds of assisted reproductive techniques only to conceive a healthy baby the very next month, simply because they’d “relaxed” and “stopped trying”?

That’s the one that raises my blood pressure and pushes the anger buttons that lie right at the bottom of my heartache.

So let me tell you, right here, why this seemingly innocuous little statement is so offensive to people struggling with infertility of any sort.

For starters, it’s not even accurate. Even leaving aside the fact that relaxation is not going to magically alter the number and quality of my available eggs or Ian’s sperm, there is not a single well-designed scientific study that shows any positive correlation between relaxation and successful conception, whether naturally or by IVF or other techniques. Furthermore, there’s not really all that much anecdotal evidence either. The tales of long-lost family members, or distant friends, conceiving simply because they relaxed are far outweighed by the number of women who conceive in, for example, war zones. The women who conceive as a result of rape, under unimaginable stress. The huge number of babies conceived in deprivation to which our middle-class, developed-world problems not only pale in comparison, but simply cease to exist as problems in comparison. Life prevails. Women have proved this over and over again and conception can happen in the most horrific of circumstances. The vital ingredients are eggs and sperm, not a zen state of mind.

That aside, however, suggesting that relaxing is all we need to do in order to conceive is completely ignoring the fact that we did not wake up one morning, decide we wanted to have a child, and then have a complete meltdown at the stress of the situation. I can assure you, if I’ve ever seemed stressed about our infertility (clearly, I have) the stress is a product of the situation, not its cause. Hell, IVF is bloody stressful, especially when you are juggling a demanding professional career and a toddler to boot. But when we started trying to conceive a second child, it was fun. Imagine that! Sex at the start was not about timing. I wasn’t taking my temperature the moment I woke, examining my cervical mucus or peeing on sticks to confirm a hormone surge back then. We were just making love.

A whole lotta love.

Yeah, it was a lot of fun. Especially as we were coming to the end of our first year of parenthood when physical intimacy hadn’t been the highest thing on the agenda for months. It took a long while for the stress to set in, as it does for every other infertile couple that I’ve spoken to. If relaxation were the missing ingredient, we’d have  had a much better chance of hitting the jackpot right back at the start.

The biggest reason, though, that I cannot stand to hear the relax line is this: When you utter those words, it implies that you think this is our fault.

Think about it for a moment.

When you tell us to relax what you’re really saying is “If only you stopped worrying about it so much, you’d have your baby by now. This is all in your control if only you could manage your emotions.”

And you know, I’d give up work tomorrow if I thought it would help. I’d give up every possession we have to live on a remote island in the sun, to do nothing but sip cocktails, practice mediatation and have heavenly massages if that would give me what I long for.

I’d move heaven and earth to have another baby.

Trust me. Even if I relax to the point of melting away, neither heaven nor earth are for moving.

Drugs! (Or, Here We Go Again!)

So this week I took delivery of two giant boxes of drugs. The drugs for our third, and final, round of IVF.

Drugs

I’ve been a bit hesitant, over the past couple of months, about sharing the exact details of this round of treatment. I wasn’t sure if blogging it “live” in previously cycles had been more of a help, or an extra source of stress – particularly when things went so badly in cycle two. Certainly I wanted the option to keep it all under wraps until the fat lady (hopefully me, with a big pregnant belly!) sang. But gradually, as the weeks have gone by, I’ve found myself letting information slip out, and actually, I’m comfortable with that. I value the support it brings. (So if you feel able to cheer me on, then please, please do!)

So here we are. Two huge boxes of drugs and tomorrow is a date with the dildo-cam for my baseline scan. After six weeks on the pill, in order to precisely time this cycle to coincide with time off work for me and the availability of our consultant to personally perform all my scans, and assuming that all is well with the scan, tomorrow the cycle kicks off properly.

People keep asking if I’m excited. I’m not sure excited is the word. Of course I’d still much rather be falling pregnant in the way nature intended. I don’t want to have to be doing this at all. Injecting all the drugs and dealing with the side effects, having a painful egg collection procedure and an undignified transfer of the resulting embryos back in to their natural home. And after two failures I’m nervous and apprehensive. Especially knowing that this really is the final roll of the dice. But then, in a month’s time, I COULD BE PREGNANT. This is a chance. Yes, it’s our final one, but no matter how small it’s still a chance. And yeah, that bit is exciting.

It’s fair to say that we’re throwing everything we can at this round. The drugs bill this time started out considerably more than for previous rounds, although with some successful shopping around I managed to shave over £700 off. It’s still a huge chunk of money, and even I was a bit shocked at the sheer amount of stuff. In addition to higher doses, we’ve also added two new drugs, and for most of the cycle I’ll taking three injections a day. I’ll be mixing human (natural) and recombinant (engineered) goandotrophins to stimulate my ovaries, and I’ll be using a mixture of natural hCG and a drug to force my body to release natural lutenising hormone – the ovulation hormone – as my trigger shot. This contrasts sharply against the recombinant hCG I’ve used in the last two cycles and that I strongly suspect may be behind my high numbers of immature eggs.

Our consultant has also agreed to do the entire cycle personally, from baseline to transfer (assuming we get there!). It’s normal for scans to be performed by different nurses, but obviously this introduces inter-operator error. The consistency of having one person who now knows me really well for the whole cycle was the deciding factor in staying with the same clinic. I’ll admit after two failures we did look elsewhere, but none of the other clinics could offer us much different and had the massive disadvantages of being further from home (more difficult and stressful to get to) and of not knowing, or understanding our case, or me as a person.

My consultant, on the other hand, gets me. He fully accepts that my insomnia cure of choice is searching Medline and attempting to learn to do his job. He and I work well together, and far from being offended by me making suggestions, or responding with the arrogant air of one who believes the professional always knows best, he seems to like the fact that I question, and challenge him. Many of the changes we’ve made this cycle have been as a direct result of studies I’ve read and suggested we adapt to our circumstances.

I’m feeling positive about the changes we’ve made, and the fact that we’re not simply trying the same thing again and hoping for a different outcome.

But only time will tell. The next four weeks of time, to be specific.

The roller coaster starts here. Wish us luck.

Two Years of Trying

This month marks two years of trying for our second child.

The child who could have been fifteen months old now. All chubby cheeks, wobbly legs and new adventures. The child who could have been around a year old now. Just getting on the move and exploring everything by stuffing it in their mouth. The child who could have been six months old now. Just beginning to explore solid foods, but loving lots of milky cuddles too. The child who could still have been nestled warm and safe inside my swollen belly now, but soon to make their entrance in to the world.

The child who could have been any age in between, but instead does not yet even exist.

There are still moments where I find it hard to believe that we’re here, in this situation, but in almost every other moment of every day I’m faced by reminders of what we don’t yet have.

I spent one sunny afternoon this week at a playdate with NCT friends. Amongst our number, the newest addition was just ten days old – a tiny, scrunched up and utterly adorable newborn baby girl. I love newborns as much as I ever did, but I find it a challenge to cuddle them, to inhale their newborn scent, without letting a fat tear plop on to their tiny heads. As the afternoon passed, as I sat on the floor helping with jigsaw puzzles, it hit me that I was the only one unencumbered in that activity by a second small person. That, despite being the first to begin “trying again”, I’m the only one to have not yet achieved it. My son does not have a little brother or sister in common with his friends. Whilst he may not yet care, I do. Desperately.

The nursery pick up has become fraught with danger for me, as it seems each day another of Thomas’s classmates’ mums has given birth. I bump into them in the doorway, with their infant carriers swinging from one arm, their toddler clasping their other hand. Everyone, children included, coos over the baby, whilst I slip in to retrieve my son, trying hard not to cry until we’re safely around the corner on our way home. “Are you sad Mummy?” Thomas asks, and my heart breaks more thinking about what I might have allowed him to miss out on in the last two years. Not by not having a sibling, but by the extent to which infertility has infiltrated my life, and how that may have affected the kind of person – and kind of parent – that I’ve been.

At work, I’m faced with patients who sometimes forget that I’m not their friend, and that perhaps I don’t wish to discuss personal details of my life outside work with them. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve been asked about baby number two. Or even told “You can’t just have one!” or “You’d better hurry up and have another” with an undertone of something terrible to happen if we don’t. I’ve written before about the awful presumption of these questions and statements, and how rude they truly are. Even if we weren’t infertile, one child could well be plenty for us and it wouldn’t make us somehow inferior people or parents. But when you can’t actually create that baby, it’s hard not to take these comments that way at times. It’s hard to keep brushing them off, over and over and over again.

Two years seems like an awfully long time to wait for something that you really, really want, especially when patience has never been your strong point and when there is very little in your control that you can do to help you get it sooner. The old saying “good things come to those who wait” is hard to accept when wonderful things are coming to so many people around us with so much less waiting on their parts. I can’t help the flash of anger and frustration I feel towards “accidental” pregnancies, or towards those families who’ve managed to give birth to a couple of children in the time we’ve been trying to make just one. Please don’t think badly of me for that. WaiTing is wearing.

Time is supposed to be a healer. To help you cope. Accept. Move forwards. But if it weren’t for Thomas, it would have felt very much like time had stood still in the last two years. And far from healing me, the passing of time has just made it harder and harder to accept that this still hasn’t happened. The longer it goes on, the angrier I feel myself becoming. The more people I find to resent for their fertility.

The more I am edging towards self destruction.

I won’t do that, of course. And in no small part I have Thomas to thank for that. I’m so glad that I have this wonderful little guy in my life and so thankful for every last inch of him, and every tiny quirk of his enormous personality. In the time I’ve been trying to give him a sibling, he’s learned so much. How to walk. How to talk. How to count. And now, he’s beginning to teach himself to read, astounding me with the number of letters he recognises and sounds he can associate with them.

It just reminds me, though, of what a really long time two years is. It’s not just the passing of each season twice. It’s enough time for a baby to grow in to a child.

I almost can’t stand it any more. But there is still nothing else to do but go on trying. Go on hoping. Go on waiting.

If At First You Don’t Succeed…

…Should you try again?

Ever since the failure of our disastrous second IVF cycle, we’ve know that at some point we’ll probably have to make a decision about trying again. Or not, as the case may be.

Much like the first time, in the immediate aftermath, it seemed almost impossible to put myself through that pain again. But quite quickly, this time, I began to reconsider. To think about whether I could end things on such a poor outcome. I thought about how, if we tried again and had a similar poor result, I could feel confident that that was how things were meant to be. Things having gone so much better the first time made me think, however, that we could also have a chance at another good cycle.

It could still all end in a negative though. After two failures, there is no escaping that fact. And would I feel any better in that situation for having gone through the process all over again? I’m not sure.

I still long desperately for another child. I long to experience pregnancy – even morning sickness – but definitely the kicks and rolls of a growing child whose heart beats inside me, alongside my own. I long to feel at first hand the joy of welcoming another baby in to the world. I’d love to breastfeed again, nurturing and providing for my child. I dream of snuggling a tiny, totally dependent little bundle close to me, inhaling that newborn smell. And then watching them learn, explore and grow in to a person to be (hopefully) proud of. I want all of those precious moments to happen to me all over again.

At the same time, however, I am also strangely at peace with the idea that it might not happen. Gone are the random bursts of crying that punctuated the early weeks of summer. For the most part I’m able to smile, and to laugh, without my thoughts continually returning to what I don’t, and maybe can’t, have.

What I don’t know, though, is whether this acceptance has emerged from the fact that I know we can try again. Right now, the option is there. We haven’t closed the door on anything, so there is still a chance that one day we will be parents again.

And in a way that makes me frightened to try again.

If we try again, it will be the last time. Best of three. It might go well, but still result in no baby. It might go badly again. Either way, the odds aren’t going to improve if we keep going. We can’t simply keep throwing money at the problem in the hopes of solving it. And my emotional rope will run out eventually. We have to be realistic.

But if we try again and fail again, being realistic means accepting, finally, that there will be no more babies for me.

For now, I still have hope. In much the same way that I didn’t want to pee on a stick back during the long two week wait of our first cycle – because it had the potential to pop my bubble of hope – now I’m afraid to commit myself to the final round. Some days I think that I’d rather have hope than face the almost certainty of not being a parent again.

But there my logic falls apart. Because without trying at all, I’m facing that very certainty anyway. As the saying goes, you’ve got to be in it to win it. I’ve got to do the final cycle to have a chance.

It all boils down to comfortable, non-committal hope versus a the risk of a chance that could be the one.

Today, I think I might be brave enough to take the chance.

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Following Up

Last week, we attended our fertility clinic for a follow-up to our disappointing IVF cycle.

I had absolutely no clue what to expect from this appointment, and a quick trip around the infertility message boards revealed this to be a common thing with lots and lots of posts asking what exactly would be covered. It seemed to me that we knew exactly what happened, and I couldn’t imagine what we’d get out of the appointment that we couldn’t perhaps get out of a phone conversation.

But I was put in to a bit of a spin by a phone call a few weeks back, in the immediate aftermath of our early miscarriage. The lovely nurse on the end of the phone (after enquiring how I was doing – which prompted the response “how do you think I’m doing?”) told me that our case had been discussed in a clinical review meeting. She stated the conclusion (“early miscarriage” – well, duh!) and the said it was advised that we attend a follow-up appointment. That would all have been fine had an earlier phone call from a different lovely nurse not informed us that the clinical review meeting was happening, and said that they would suggest a follow-up if they felt there were things that needed to be discussed. She implied that if everything was straightforward, there might be little point.

Given that I knew, to my mind,exactly what had happened, I couldn’t imagine there was much more to say and so the invitation to this consultation immediately made me think they’d discovered some other over-looked issue, or that they really thought another cycle wasn’t a good idea.

I’ll be honest: this latter thought may well have contributed to my resolve that we were not attempting IVF again. I think a part of me wanted that to be my decision, not something we were “advised”.

Of course, when we got there on a bright spring afternoon, with the sun streaming through the windows and landing right in to our laps, our lovely consultant said nothing of the sort. Once he began to go through things, it made perfect sense to me why we were there.

The opportunity to actually discuss everything – not just clinical aspects such as the medications and how and why the embryos developed as they did, but also aspects like the organisation of the cycle and how we’d felt – was invaluable. We had the last appointment of the day, but over ran by a not inconsiderable margin.

In the course of the appointment my practical concerns about trying again (Can we get more sperm? Will we have the same outcome?) were addressed with some reality (possibly not, and maybe) but also some concrete plans of things we could do differently. Things that would potentially increase our chances based on what was learned from this first cycle.

We learned more about some is the subtler aspects of male factor infertility, and how they may have influenced the outcome,which made things clearer in my head and made it feel much less like a failure, and much more like the hand that fate dealt us.

It was a useful and productive hour of our lives, but one that seemed to add fuel to the “try-again” fire already beginning to burn inside me.

All we stand to lose is yet more money.

And what we stand to gain is priceless.

To Try (Again) or Not to Try (Again)?

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

So said Yoda.

But Yoda clearly never went through infertility treatment. Which is about trying as hard as you possibly can to get something you desperately want, but so often ends in nothing but heartache. “Trying” in a very different sense. You can’t always just “do” baby-making. And sadly, we don’t have the force. We can’t be sure of an outcome and all we can do is try everything that medical science has made available to us to create another life. Another child, to nuture and then set free in the world.

When our last round of IVF ended the way it did, through all the pain and hurt, there was just no space to consider that I might do it all again. I literally couldn’t contemplate it. At that time, the idea of going through the whole process, only to experience the same crushing outcome was so unthinkable that I simply did not think about it. We didn’t talk about it. It seemed a given that we were done.

Denial can, occasionally, be a useful, protective state, that gives you some time and space until you are able to process things properly.

As the immediate sadness wore off a little, to be replaced by a numbness and the first semblance of something approaching acceptance, I allowed the question of trying again to rise to the surface. But instantly, my thoughts turned to the practicalities. The fact that we may not be able to get any more sperm. That there is probably nothing specific we can do to guard against a repeat of the same experience.

It seemed simpler not to open up my heart to the possibility of more disappointment and pain. So if you’d asked me then, I would most definitely have said that we weren’t doing it again. As a couple, we talked about it. Ian, who really wants another child but doesn’t feel quite the same fierce emotional pull towards repeat parenthood that I do, was willing to accept what I wanted to do. But he clearly wasn’t convinced that I’d truly made the final decision.

He probably knows me better than I know myself.

Meanwhile, however, I was taking steps along the road of accepting what we have – and how very much we do have – and planning our future as a family of three.

When a friend asked me if were thinking of going through it again, I was forcefully adamant. And they were full of understanding and respect for my decision. But they also mentioned the money.

And of all the things it wasn’t about, money was right there at the top. Although I can’t deny that the financial implications are significant, it really isn’t about the money. You can’t put a price on children. And nor can you put a price on chance, opportunity or hope. And when I started to think about hope, something inside me began to change.

Because those first tentative steps along our new road had unveiled a tremendous disappointment that, whilst I obviously knew existed, I hadn’t truly allowed myself to feel, or to consider too deeply during the time that I was full of hope it would not come to pass.

In a matter of moments, it hit me like a ton of bricks that not doing IVF again meant abandoning all hope of a different outcome. I was sealing my own destiny. And facing that realisation, and actually trying to accept it, turned out to be almost as painful as losing the pregnancy that resulted from our previous efforts. Far from protecting myself from pain by not considering trying again, I could be plunging myself headlong in to it.

All of a sudden, it seems that whichever way I turn lies heartache and sadness. Could another IVF failure, or another miscarriage, realistically make me feel much more terrible than this one has? Or much more terrible than knowing for sure that there will be no more children? If we try again, aren’t we buying ourselves another round of hope? Another chance that it might all turn out differently?

Looked at that way, it just seems as though not trying again seals me in to my current state and leaves me forever vulnerable to wondering “what if?”

I need to decide whether to place hope above heartbreak, and give it a try. Or accept what some may see as the inevitable, and accept it right now, rather than months, and another round of treatment, down the line. Both could end in the pits of depression. Only one offers the possibility of something else.

“No chance” vs “small chance”.

Isn’t it a no-brainer?