Try, and try again.
Then give up and don’t look back.
I have been meaning to revisit the IVF story for some time, since that was this blog’s main theme, back in the day. But as you know, I am a bit slack on the old blog posts these days.
It’s been just over 12 months since my last attempt at IVF. More than 12 months since I last stuck a needle in myself. 12 months since I lay, legs splayed, with a doctor inserting fertilised embryos – that were half made of me and half of a stranger – into my uterus. Squirted hormone cream up my lady bits, wondered what every twinge in my belly and boobs was, and agonisingly waited in the limbo that is the two-week wait.
So how does it feel to get to the other side of three rounds of IVF without the prize at the end?
It feels ok. I feel ok. Most of the time (oh, except for now, when I start to write a blog post about it). Sometimes I’m grateful it didn’t succeed. Sometimes not.
Does it seem ungrateful to feel grateful I didn’t succeed? Something I put so much emotion, time, heart ache, longing into? So much wishing and hoping and thinking and praying. Planning and dreaming (thanks Dusty). Not to mention money.
But sometimes I do feel grateful, and perhaps that’s some kind of survival instinct, or self-preservation instinct, or that it just gets exhausting after a while to feel sad. I’m generally a half-glass-full kinda gal.
It helps to think of all the hardships success would have brought. Doing it all by myself. Being really, really poor for quite a while. Being housebound. Being exhausted, all the time. Being lonely. It might have been really hard on my body, given my age (have I mentioned I hate that word?). And it would have wrecked my boobs, which I’m quite fond of, despite the major cyst/minor cancer scare incident.
But then, I missed out on so much as well. Of course. Being pregnant, which would have been amazing. Birth, which would have been, probably really fucking awful actually, but incredible for it. Being a mother.
I went to a friend’s annual Christmas gathering in December. The place was over-run with small children. There were, as far as I could tell, four childless women there – me, two lesbians and another friend.
I have to admit that sometimes I shuddered at all those children, and thought – phew. Lucky escape. And there was that part of me who couldn’t be bothered moving out of the circle of childless lesbians to talk to the others gathered there, because what did I have in common with them?
I couldn’t be bothered with the expectation from strangers that my child would be somewhere in that garden, playing with the others. Then me having to say, oh no, no child. And them looking quizzically at me, wondering.
Sometimes it’s difficult, and sometimes I’m sad.
But generally I’m ok with it.
The pic is of some butterflies that fluttered around my head for ages a while back, on the pathway just down the road from my house. Such a magical thing to happen. We’ve got to be grateful for what we’re given, don’t we?
Oh, isn’t this lovely:
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.
- Mary Oliver