After three years of focusing on fertility treatments, and experiencing loss and disappointment time after time, we recently took the entire year off from pursuing fertility treatments. It was exactly what we didn’t realize we needed.
For three years we tried so hard to add to our family. Our trips, outings and activities were planned around my ovulation and doctor appointments. Any month where we would be out of town and not able to do an IUI, I would feel so depressed and upset.
For three years I was pumped full of hormones, given shots, taking the time to drive across town to our clinic, waiting for emails from nurses and doctors, tracking my ovulation, planning just about anything I did each week around my fertility schedule.
For three years I was an emotional wreck. My hopes were so high and then instantly dashed within moments. It was a cycle that happened every single month.
Our lives revolved around it. But I don’t regret any of it.
Because after three years, and our final round of IVF that ended in a chemical pregnancy my husband and I decided to stop. We needed it. Our bank account needed it, our marriage needed it and our two beautiful daughters needed it.
And it took three years for me to finally admit that I needed it too.
For so long I was constantly looking to the next procedure and option. I couldn’t even imagine not “trying” for a baby. I couldn’t imagine saying “this is it”. But after so many let downs, and feelings of hopelessness, I fianlly felt something else.
I felt the need to change our plans.
We both felt that we needed a break from it all.
After three years of actively pursuing fertility treatments we could look back and know that we literally did everything we could to try and get pregnant. We did it all. And more.
And after all of that- we didn’t have a pregnancy. But it wasn’t for nothing. We gained perspective, empathy, compassion and developed growth in areas we never knew we could.
Once I realized that taking a step back and changing our plans didn’t meant we were giving up- I was able to actually take the break we needed. I never wanted to give up and admit we were done. But changing our plans to better our family was what we needed to do.
In that year off we took our girls to Disneyland (because before I would worry that I might be pregnant if we planned a trip, or what if we had an newborn- we certainly couldn’t plan a trip in case of that), I planned play dates and luncheons with friends not worrying whether I had an appointment that day or not, we agreed to family trips not worrying about missing out on a month to do an IUI.
But more importantly we could breathe a little more. My body finally felt a little happier and a little more back to normal. My hormones readjusted. I didn’t take one shot or pill or medication. And it was amazing.
My heart healed a little, too. It would break a little here and there, but coming back from that was easier. We still continued to pray for a miracle of our own, and we still had (and have) hope that we might be able to get pregnant miraculously on our own. It hasn’t happened yet, but holding on to that faith still is what keeps us going.
I learned how much I love my family of four and how entirely grateful I am for our two daughters. I embraced our little family more than I had before and I truly found I could be content with “just” two kids.
I don’t feel like we were giving up. We simply changed our plans while continuing to have faith in it.
Here we are one year after our break.
We still hope for a baby. We still have a hole in our hearts and grieve for that loss. But we needed to stop and learn who we were again away from the emotional roller-coaster of infertility.
I feel refreshed. I also feel ready to maybe dip our toe back in again and see what happens.
We don’t know what we will do or if we will. But I know whatever we decide will be exactly what we need to do.