In a few days I head back to my reproductive endocrinologist’s (RE) office for a consult. That’s where the baby magic happens. Where hopes and dreams come true. It’s also where hopes and dreams crash down into a pool of tears. It’s been 3 years since I’ve been there. I’ll climb the steps, wait in the really beautiful waiting room (a reminder of just how lucrative this business is), and then when my name is called I’ll walk past the Wall of Babies. That’s where they post the photos that their patients send in of all the bouncing babies conceived through science and tears. While I know that the Wall is hard for some to look at while deep in the darkness of infertility, I always found it oddly reassuring. I wanted to see that my RE had so much success. That is, after all, why I went there.
It will be strange to be back. Much has changed and I’m now the mother to a fiery toddler. I know a lot more about infertility and what this process entails. I’m excited and nervous for the appointment. I’m nervous about the prospect of doing this all again. I’m scared because we have high expectations. My family has high expectations. It’s easy to think that because it worked last time, it will work again this time. It will work on the first try. But I’m intimately aware of what the statistics say. The statistics stink, especially for women who are older. And apparently being almost 40 is definitely “older” when it comes to IVF. It’s actually pretty frightening when you look online at success rates. They actually have sites that predict your chance for success when you enter a few bits of data. But I’m ignoring those. Yep, totally ignoring those.
The thing about those statistics is that they are based on averages. So unless you are a completely average women (does she even exist?), they really say little to nothing about your chance for success. To really make a prediction that has any hope of being accurate, you need to take into account several factors, both about your unique circumstances and your clinic.
My RE is actually pretty good about taking the time to look at my chart, my labs, my history, along with my husband’s history, and giving me a prediction tailored to me. And I guess right now, that’s the scary part. In a few days I will hear the news. Good or bad. Probably somewhere in between. What are my chances of success? Should we go through with it? What number, exactly, do I need to hear to make me want to take the gamble? Is there a number that would make me want to give up before we even try? Is there a number that I can’t find a way to justify? To justify all the needles, all the time off work, all the hormones wrecking havoc on my system, the procedures, possibly another surgery? A few months ago I would have said YES! I would have said that there needs to be a really good chance of this working for me to go through with it.
But somehow that changed.
When I made this consultation appointment my intention was to see where we sit right now and make a decision on if we want to proceed with infertility treatment again. But now I already know I’m going through with it. When did that change? So I guess what’s really scary now is admitting that I want this. I want to try to have another baby. And I’m willing to go through it all again knowing that there are no guarantees in infertility treatment.