I’ve been really good about not peeing on sticks. Unfortunately, it’s because I’m certain of my BFN. This cycle has been so different from last year’s. First, I’m only working with half of the number of antral follicles. Second, my meds were quadrupled this year, leaving me with migraines and moodiness but didn’t really end in great results. I definitely had more side effects this time. Today, all our hopes rest on one precious embryo. Last year, I thought I felt no symptoms… I can’t remember exactly when I started feeling tenderness in my breasts, the overwhelming fatigue and the hunger… maybe they started before my beta, maybe after, I really can’t recall. This year, I did start off with tenderness, but that’s gone now. I guess this is too similar to my miscarriage. One day, I simply noticed it was no longer painful to put on a bra, and that I wasn’t constantly tired or hungry. A few days later, I began spotting and it was all over. It’s so hard to stay positive… it’s too painful to hold onto hope and then have it dashed so quickly.

As I face my beta, I have to learn how to stop defining myself by my infertility. Brave words, I know, but this time, I have to mean it. I can’t keep living like this. We’ve been TTC since Dec. 2005. That’s roughly 41 disappointments each time my period arrived (based on my 28 day average cycle, and not including the months I was on the BCP, pre-IVF, or the 2.5 months I was pregnant). When we began this journey, I never entertained the possibility that I might ever try IVF… the cost, the low success rates. But until you’ve been on the interminable roller coaster of hope and despair and reached the breaking point, you don’t know what you’re capable of. Injecting myself with daily needles? No problem! Dropping $15K into IVF, where my odds are, at best, 30-40% of ending up with a baby? Will do! Risk another devastation after recovering emotionally from the miscarriage by doing one more IVF with an increased likelihood of failure? Sign me up!

I needed to know I gave it my all. At the risk of our jobs, our savings, and definitely, my sanity, I needed to know.

I’ve withdrawn a lot from life over the last 3+ years, as I began avoiding friends who were pregnant, social occasions involving kids, the traumatizing baby showers… I find I’ve also withdrawn generally, in an attempt to avoid any conversations about pregnancies and babies. It’s hard when you live in a village where the birth rate is 3-times the national average. I’m not joking. Many women have had two children in the time I’ve tried to have one. It’s painful and disappointing and sucks. It’s hard not to feel like a failure when you’re surrounded by so many successes. I guess that’s why I decided to start a blog. There are so few people who understand, especially in the village.

So, this is not the happiest post but I think I’m just trying to figure out how to best prepare and protect myself from another disappointment. I would love to be pleasantly surprised, but I can’t even entertain that glimmer of hope. You do what you need to do to get by, right?