I'll tell you when. When after 27 months of trying to get pregnant, you finally decide enough is enough.
Our IUIs busted again this month. That's 4 IUIs, one of them back-to-back. Next stop is IVF-ville. And I can't do it. I can't hurtle my body into menopause with drugs so that I can then throw it back into overdrive to make my ovaries spit out a dozen eggs. I can't feel the pain of those follicles exploding and filling with fluid for days after the procedure, sending me from a size 10 to a size 14 within the span of a few hours. I can't walk around looking 6 months pregnant for 2 weeks, knowing in my heart that that's likely as close as I'll ever get to really being 6 months pregnant ever again. I can't keep taking progesterone that mimics the symptoms of pregnancy so that every month I allow myself to hope, just to keep looking at one pink line on a pregnancy test over and over again and calling the clinic to report my cycle-day-1. I wish I could do it. But right now I just can't.
I'm so tired. To my bones. In my heart. Just exhausted. I remember saying to Husband when it didn't happen the first month, "Don't worry; just because it happened right away with Ethan, it might take us a couple of months this time." What I would give for my 2010-self to have been able to whisper in my 2007-self's ear then. To let me know it wouldn't happen. Not in a few months, not after a few diagnostic tests, not after a year, not after rounds of treatments. Not after two years. I'm exhausted.
Someone said to me today "The miracle you pray for isn't always the miracle you get." And while this moment in my life feels like the universe cracking inside my chest, I know to some extent that is true. I was so elated when I found out I was pregnant with Ethan. And after only one month of trying! I was so relieved to find out how fertile I (thought I) was. I realize now that Ethan himself was the miracle, perhaps the one egg in my body that would work and that found it's way into life, and has turned into the most wonderful, amazing little man I could ever hope to be the mother of.
So yes, I guess tonight (and every night) in my gratitude journal, "Ethan's existence" is my number one item. Because his laugh and his hugs are getting me through this.
I am trying to find the positives in not having any more children. No fear of miscarriage, no invasive cerclage to deal with, no bed rest or hospitalization. No "Advanced Maternal Age" testing or test results to worry about. No NICU. No chance of colic or reflux, or a baby who won't nurse. No sleep deprivation. I can start to think about going back to work sometime in the next year or two. We can save more easily for college. We will only need a three-bedroom house. No sibling rivalry.
All of these things make me feel better about closing the door on this particular part of my life. But I will still be the woman who can't look at a pregnant belly walking by me without crying a little on the inside. And I worry that, as happy as I know I will be for friends who share pregnancy news with me in the future, I will cry a little inside then, too. I've discovered recently how many break-up songs on the radio can be applied to the loss and grief of infertility--it's pretty embarrassing to be sobbing at the traffic light over a Rob freaking Thomas song, but there it is.
Husband wants us to keep the door open to IVF in the future. And I won't deny him that; this is his future, too, obviously, and I want him to have as much of a say in it as I do. But that's hard when it's my body going through the treatments and my body that is deficient. When it's me who is failing month after month to fulfill our hopes. I'm trying to keep an open mind. I know myself well enough to know that bad memories fade from my mind quickly--perhaps in a few months time I will be willing to go through with a round of IVF. But not now. Now I want to forget all of this, and focus on the miracle I do have.