IVF cycle #3: What I need

Tomorrow I will go for my scan.

I began this new cycle on 29th April, and have been studiously taking the drugs since then to switch off my hormones and let the medicine take charge.

I feel like I’m in a constant battle with my own body.

Tomorrow’s scan will tell us if my womb lining is growing thick enough for implantation to occur next week. Last time it was, so I don’t anticipate any complications. That said, disappointment is my new specialism, so let’s be prepared for anything.

People around us are more subdued this time around, having stood beside us with such joy and felt such pain as I miscarried our last embryo. I suppose it’s hard to know how to react around me now. But this subduedness is actually how I’d like it during this cycle. I’d like those around us to pray, and hope, and celebrate and get excited in the privacy of their own homes, but please, in love, rein it in around me.

I am not excited. I am terrified. This is the beginning of what I know to be an incredibly stressful, painful, and upsetting time, and if I get a positive test result at the end of it, then these emotions are only likely to get worse. So this time around I’m going to be even more guarded about what I let into my heart. I want you to hope for me, to care. But as positive as you want to be for us, the reality is that it stands more chance of not working than of working, and I have to live in the reality of our situation.

I recently read an amazing book by author Kate Bowler called “Everything Happens For A Reason, and other lies I’ve loved”. Kate is in her mid thirties, with a young son, and has cancer. Bad cancer. She talks about humanity’s desire to “skip straight to Easter” and miss out the suffering and bleakness of the cross and the waiting in between. The waiting is hard. Pain is hard. We try to make sense of things, it’s in our nature. The world should be fair, and when it isn’t, when the absurd happens, when it just doesn’t make a lick of sense and the reality is pain and suffering and sadness, out of desperation we scrabble to find reason and an end that is glorious and fulfilling, justifing it all in retrospect.

But in our situation we are living in the unknown. In the time before Easter. The hope we have for another child is not promised to us. And the outcome may not be as Eastery as we’d like. Life may not triumph over death. And no amount of positive thinking or penance will change that.

So please just sit with us in the unknown. Be kind. Ask if we want to talk about it. Read the blog or ask someone who has to get yourself updated, to prevent my having to repeat it over and over. Take me to a spa. Buy me presents. Tell me nice things about me. If you want to know how I am doing, then ask in such a way that allows room for a positive, noncommittal answer – “How are you? ­čśü” rather than “How are you? ­čś»” *sympathetic head tilt and arm stroke*.

We often tell Toby that being brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared. Brave means feeling scared, and doing it anyway.

I am brave.

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