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At this point we had been working on growing our family for 15 months. Not a super long time, as some people go through years and years struggling with infertility.

When you have repeat failure to conceive there are lots of weird things that start to become triggers – and now that I’ve been through it, rightfully so. Here are a few things to never say to someone struggling with infertility or loss:

⁃ “But at least…” – sure, there are silver linings. It’s easy to want to look for them when talking to someone about infertility, but nothing fills the void in your heart that not having a wanted child of your own does.

⁃ “Just relax…” – followed by anecdotes about how xyz person got pregnant only when they stopped trying. (Here’s a secret, you never truly stop trying, or thinking about it every time you await your period). If relaxing was the cure for this medical condition, doctors would be out of work.

⁃ “Try to enjoy the process…” – especially during trying to conceive the old fashioned way. Nothing kills your libido and the mood more than timed intercourse and the pressure that comes with that. It’s the last thing you want to do when you’ve been timing it for 15 months+.

⁃ “Your time will come” – I sure frickin hope so! But it’s not guaranteed whatsoever.

⁃ “Congrats on doing IVF!” – the number of people who have congratulated me on my infertility journey and the need to spend tens of thousands of dollars on treatment is astounding.

⁃ Following miscarriage, “at least you know you can get pregnant!”… sure, but it’s not working. Something is clearly not working and I might never carry a baby to live birth.

I’ve had a close friend tell me that they really don’t know what the proper thing TO say to me is, as I experience the ups and downs over and over again. And to be honest, there isn’t really anything right to say. It’s a crapshoot that I wouldn’t wish on my worse enemy.

What helps me, is knowing I still have people in my corner. Still being invited to things, despite sometimes having to bail due to IVF commitments or a medication schedule. Having people simply ask how I’m doing and being open to a potential not so great response. Hearing me out when I need someone to talk to about how much the process sucks or hurts or is unfair. Just don’t stop checking in with your people. Don’t leave them to suffer through it alone. I’ve had a number of friends disappear through this journey and it’s hard. People stopped inviting us out, asking how life is going, shooting the shit. But I have also had people I never expected come out of the woodwork to pick me up and help me keep going when it feels like the universe is not on my side. A big thank you to all of you. We don’t feel like ourselves when we go through the rollercoaster of infertility. It’s not easy to be our support. But we will remember your kindness for a lifetime.

This third transfer preparation was aided by some gracious humans who offered to transport donated meds and who drove miles and miles to make it happen, who offered a place to stay or a ride to and from the ferry if we needed it. My heart felt full going into the FET prep.

Transfers after a miscarriage are a bit of a pain. You have to wait for your cycle to come and go, so it’s about a month waiting from your loss until your next cycle day 1. From March 10 until April 16. Then, priming began. More Estradiol, more visits with Wanda. More progesterone up the hooha.

Lots of things can happen in a frozen transfer to delay your cycle. From ovulating through the meds to thin endometrial lining issues. I suffer from the latter, and every time I try to grow my lining using medication, it takes its sweet time. More delays. Woohoo.

The first baseline ultrasound happens generally 2-3 weeks following priming beginning. Mine was May 5 on CD20. Too thin. I went a few more times around 2-3 days apart, and then finally on May 12, cycle day 27, I was finally ready.

They ask for a minimum lining thickness of 7-8mm before proceeding. Sometimes, you don’t get there and the cycle gets cancelled. But I got there. My frozen transfer would be scheduled a week later on May 19. We would finally get to meet our last normal embryo.

May long weekend was chaos for travelling from our island to our clinic – they had recently stopped offering transfers at our local clinic, so now we’d have to travel for any procedure larger than monitoring. Booking a ferry was nearly impossible and I had to work the following day, but we somehow managed to get on it that very morning at 7am. We anxiously anticipated our last shot from this retrieval.

The transfer went as expected, short and sweet. A new doctor we hadn’t met did the procedure (no meds this time whatsoever but no pain), and we were sent off again to suffer through the two week wait (9 days for us technically). That very day I had mild cramps, and in the days to follow they continued. My fingers and toes were crossed. The symptom spotting ramped up. Nausea, headache, back ache, fatigue, twinges, tender breasts. The whole gamut. I was 95% sure this was it for us. I had a feeling in my gut, again.

Earlier that month we decided to take a vacation – it had been about a year since we got the chance to relax and explore. Yolo. Especially during fertility treatment when so much gets pushed to the back burner – both time wise, mentally and financially. We booked a 9 day trip to NYC and we couldn’t be more excited.

Our significant transfer delays due to my lining were unexpected, so my beta tests fell on the days I’d be out of the country. Because of this I decided to test on May 26. 7 days post transfer, or 12dpo. This would give us a fairly definitive result. We left for the ferry and drive to the city where we’d overnight until our morning flight the next day. So I could test that day and the morning before we departed (8dpt by then). I packed all my injection meds, suppositories and supplies just in case. Then I took the pregnancy test.

It was negative.

I tested the next morning in a frenzy. It had to be wrong. Too early. Something. Stark white.

Our last normal embryo failed to implant. My body failed me. My symptoms failed me (I read into this further and apparently the high doses of progesterone I was on can mimic pregnancy symptoms 100%, great to know). I was angry, and I’d be stuck on a plane for 6 hours to stew in my thoughts. The idea of a relaxing vacation was out the window. Now WTF were we going to do? By this point, 30k in the hole with nothing but pain and suffering to show for it. A failed egg retrieval cycle, 3 failed transfers of 2 normal embryos. 7 total embryos gone.

I heard those phrases I knew all too well echoing in my mind. “Try to relax”, “At least…”, “your time will come…”. All I wanted to do was cry on that plane.

Lost was an understatement – but damn was I glad I had 8000 distractions in NY to take my mind off of it. At least to an extent.

We had the trip of our lives. I connected with family randomly in NYC that I hadn’t seen in many years (they just happened to be there the same week as us from the UAE). We ate at a 3 Michelin star restaurant, we saw Ray Ramano perform at the comedy cellar, we went to two wonderful broadway shows.

All I can say is book the damn vacation. Nothing is guaranteed. Life is too short. We can always make more money, but time is finite. Living our lives, finally, was the best medicine for the loss we felt deep in our hearts. It brought back our connection we felt got buried during all the trauma and all the loss. It healed us just enough to keep moving forward.

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