PLEASE NOTE: If you are struggling with infertility or are trying to conceive and you DON'T want to readabout my pregnancy (which I totally understand), I recommend starting at thebeginning of the blog (March2010) and reading from there. I find out I'm pregnant in June 2011 so thereis a lot of trying to conceive posts in between that you might find funny,helpful or especially relatable. Wishing you all the luck in theworld!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fried Eggs And Scrambled Brain

I hesitate to even write today’s blog post as I’ve been in a mood lately. I pride myself on always taking a humorous view to life’s little problems but these days, I feel like I’m terminally PMS. I’m not sure what the hell is going on with me. I would describe myself as stressed, tired, overwhelmed, jealous, resentful, frustrated with occasional swings of deep appreciation.

Dear god… I sound bipolar.

I’m going to be 40 later this year and although I sincerely don’t have any emotions or strong feelings about it on the surface, the fertility implications are getting to me. I already have bad eggs but now that 40 is looming, I see in my mind the fertility chart that doctors show you where you see your fertility plunging in a big, fat, dramatic green line.

Infertility + Age = A clusterfuck. 

It’s hitting me hard that my dream of having a big family is pretty much over and that is no doubt at the heart of my very poopy mood.

As you know, I work at the Patient Care Manager of FertilityAuthority. Part of my role is to play “infertility matchmaker” between those seeking help and fertility doctors that might be able to assist. I answer tons of calls and online forms all day long… and quite often… into the evening as well. I love my job but its entails long hours and can be high pressure. It’s also an odd place to be when still trying to reconcile my own infertility while advising others on theirs. To tell people several times a day, “There is sharp decline in your fertility after the age of 42…” while I’m on the cusp of turning 40 kind of sucks.

Anyway, recently, someone contacted me about writing for our site. Every week (and this is one of my favorite parts of my job), I pick an infertility related blog to feature. I LOVE seeing other people’s blogs, reading their stories, seeing their writing style, checking out the comments and the overall message the blog gives (hope, humor, honestly, etc.). This person wanted me to feature their blog. She said, “I’ve been to hell and back…

As she shared her journey, I found out that it consisted of trying to get pregnant for four months, getting a positive pregnancy test, then going to the doctors to find out that she wasn’t pregnant, getting very depressed about it but then she went on to get pregnant two months later. She now has a daughter from that pregnancy.

Now here’s the thing: We always talk about not playing the, “Whose Pain is Worse Game” so let me be clear when I say that this woman felt true sadness and disappointment about that pregnancy test not working out. I don’t mean to take away from that. However, if you’re like me and have connected with others who have gone through infertility, you know there are real horror stories of recurrent miscarriages, still born babies, difficult diagnosis’s, life altering decisions about terminating pregnancies and those who have gone through as many as ten in vitros only to have no success and so on.

I’m continually shocked at people’s lack of empathy. It’s empathy that kept me from saying to this woman in particular, “Trust me – you should consider yourself lucky.” I can appreciate that this woman’s pain is real and who am I to say differently. I’m just surprised she doesn’t seem aware that for many, what she went through wasn’t exactly hell. There are countless that are not only in hell right not now but who feel like it’s a one way ticket. Again, that’s empathy: To know you’ve had your struggles, but to be aware that there are others who still continue to struggle.

Even when I see some of my fellow infertiles who have gone on to have children through one way or another that post, tweet or blog all about being a mom, I can’t help but feel torn about it. OF COURSE, I’m exceedingly happy for them and it’s their space to express whatever they want but my empathetic self can’t help but feel like, “Ummmm guys? People still struggling may be reading this. Don’t forget about them.

Ultimately, it’s really not their problem. Truly. They should be happy and live their lives and post whatever they want. It’s up to the reader to decide, “Yeah, I’m out of here.” But that just isn’t me. If you look at this blog, I think it’s clear I’m very mindful there are people who visit who are still in the trenches. Up top, I include where the pregnancy posts are should you want to avoid them and if you read my posts, although I do mention I have a son, my blog isn’t a “mommy blog” where I post endless pictures or discuss his every milestone. It’s not that I never discuss it at all or I don’t have joy in it – I just don’t share those thoughts here. If anything, this blog still is very much about infertility or at the very least, what my life is like being a mom after going through treatment.

My story, respectfully, is more extensive then the woman who contacted me about featuring her blog. NOTHING was getting me pregnant, years were flying by, my savings account was empty, my husband and I were on the verge of killing each other and I was a terrible responder to treatment. I can produce eggs (yaaay!) but what good is it when most of them are shit?

As I often mention, on my last cycle, my third IVF, they retrieved thirteen eggs and I only had ONE embryo. It's a fucking miracle that after three years, five timed cycles, Clomid, a uterine polyp, several IUI’s and two previously failed IVF’s, that lone embryo stuck. I could not be more grateful. There seriously isn’t a second of any day where I’m not profoundly humbled and deeply appreciative.

So the fact that I’m currently depressed over never having more children is making me want to punch myself in the face. I know the odds were against me having what I do have and I know through and through that it could have been much, much worse. Not only do I have friends who continue to struggle but again, because of my job, I hear absolutely heartbreaking tales of loss and sadness.

I am also noticing that many of the people who cycled around the time that I did, who “started out with me” (if you will) are already having their second kids (either unexpectedly naturally or through treatment). What gets me even angrier at myself about that is I take this happy news for them and use it to make myself feel like a failure. I find myself thinking, “I can never get pregnant naturally, I’m going to be 40, my eggs suck and I can’t afford treatment again. I’m such a loser.

Through my job and the generosity of others, I have been offered discounted treatment. However, I can’t afford even that. Well, truth be told, I guess I could if we saved a bit and stretched but it would be irresponsible. We rent and I would love a house one day plus I have a son at home who we want to give all that we can to. To spend money on a cycle that even my Reproductive Endocrinologist doesn’t think will work just seems wrong. I have a choice: I can spend money on a cycle that will most likely not work or I can keep the money and spend it on the child I have at home.

So, I guess I’m confused. One side of me is very angry at myself for not seeing the glass half full and being satisfied with what I do have while the other half is sad that I don’t have the choice or resources to have another child. It’s like I’m realizing one dream while putting the other one to rest all at the same time.

I often encourage people to pursue what they feel is best and what will make them happy. If I called me at work, I would tell me that if this is something I feel strongly about, I should pursue treatment. However, it’s not that easy. I do feel that my brain is making a smart choice: Spend the money on concrete things like your son and owning a home.

It’s just my heart that hasn’t really accepted it yet.

39 comments:

  1. I still encounter many people, including those in the Infertility community, that approach me because we're in the "same situation." Inevitably, they get pregnant. I'm happy for most of them, but I feel left behind since my eggs are such crap that more IVF's won't help, and we unfortunately drained our finances pursuing my crap eggs, so no hope for a DE cycle. I can't even imagine spending the money on another cycle that may not work - it's paramount to flushing it down the toilet. I know have a hard time sympathizing with secondary infertility. I know intellectually that it is just as hard, maybe even harder, than primary infertility, but a part of me still wants to scream "YOU HAVE YOUR BABY!" because I don't and I may never. I'm still connected to the Infertility community, but I do feel like many forget what it was like when they move on, and I'm tired of finding people in like situations because I will likely be left behind again in a year or so. But, as a good friend of mine once said, "Nobody wins in the Pain Olympics" so we just need to respect the disappointments and struggles we each have. Everybody has a cross to bear, just some of us hide it better.

    That being said, you are a better woman than I, because no way would I have been able to empathize with the woman who went through hell and back. I didn't realize "hell" was such a nice place!

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  2. Infertility is never easy and although like you I now have a little one the years,money and countless procedures and heartache leave a toll on you, your relationship and your view of the world. You will never forget what you went through and it is only natural to think about the "what if's"....dont beat yourself up. You are making the smart decision for you and your family. Just beacuse you want that chocolate bar doesnt mean that you should have it, a ridiculous comparison but you get my meaning. I love your blog and it was one of the things that got me through when we were wondering if after 8 failed rounds we would ever have a baby in our arms.

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  3. I don't really have any wise words of wisdom to help you, but I just want to say thank you for sharing your story. I think that it takes a really wise and strong woman to recognize all the feelings that she is feeling and try to reconcile them. I am very sorry that you feel like you cannot try for another child, but I respect you a lot for being financially responsible for your son.

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  4. Oh Jay... I so get it! It all sucks so much! I'm glad you write about it You make me feel 'an accompanied bipolar' Every time a friend announces yet another natural pregnancy I'm HONESTLY thrilled for them and, at the same time, SO deeply dissapointed it's not happening for me too. I do have my miracle baby, and I'm thankful to death, but isn't it human to desire more? Or at least that it were easier, or that it were MY choice... Susy_Sama

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  5. Wrote to you about this post, but also want to comment here. The truth is that everyone will resolve infertility/RPL differently. For some, simply carrying one successful pregnancy/one success adoption process is enough. For others, expanding their family means siblings, which means going through all of this all over again. Though I don't like to separate people, secondary infertility is its own beast as there's the added guilt of already having a child. Yet it does not mean the pain is any less. Far from it.

    At the end of the day, I really think you need to do what is best for you and your family. If that means being "irresponsible" and trying treatments again, go for it. If it means resolving, then go that route. And any option in between. Forget what the outside world has to say because the reality is they are not living your life. Just do what's best for you.

    Finally, I hate to say this, but does the woman who contacted you even qualify as an ALIer??? Seriously, 6 months of trying with a faulty pee-stick incident does not make for infertility in my book. If nothing else, I think her story is a great example of why anyone who has lived with this disease needs to raise their voice.

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  6. My eggs are so crappy I moved on to donor and those failed too.

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  7. Oh I'm right there with you. Yes, after two IVF cycles and some FETs I got pregnant and have a son who lights up my life daily. But I wanted more than one and six more cycles have gotten me nothing more than two miscarriages after seeing a heartbeat(although one was a freak natural pregnancy). And every blog I read has a second child or is pregnant. So yeah, that sucks for me. (I'm 43. Imagine. Really out of time here.) So coming to terms with that is hard and I'm not there yet. I totally get where you are and appreciate you articulating what I feel.

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  8. Ugh, this just totally makes sense. I've actually been coming to terms with our infertility issues lately and have some amazing things coming up (grad school, new work opportunities) but some days I'm just so pissy over the fact that I'm not pregnant yet.

    And that women would have pissed me off. I've been trying to get pregnant for over 3 years and have had three rounds of unsuccessful fertility treatments yet I still understand that many people have it WAY harder than me. I try not to complain or say things like, "we've had it so hard" because you just never know what the other person has been through.

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  9. Don't beat yourself up for wanting more than one kid!! It doesn't mean you are ungrateful it means that your kid is such a joy that you'd like a second helping-- this doesn't make you greedy just human.

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  10. I remember when I was in the "trenches" and my co-worker told a story over coffee about how they were going to give up trying to get pregnant because they were so disappointed to not be pregnant after three whole months. I just have to chalk it up to the fact that they are very lucky to not understand the real heartache and longing for a child that infertility can bring you.

    I am in the same spot as you right now. I love my daughter but I would also love another. I always wanted to have 4! Yes, that is crazy considering the years it took me to have just one. But with 40 looming next winter, I don't know if I can go down that road again with no real hope of a child at the end. It is so incredibly unfair, but it is also the life that I have been given. I am trying to accept. And as always grateful for the child I have.

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  11. Oh J, I hope that my blog is not one of the ones that has been hard for you to see lately--though I understand completely if it has.

    You can be grateful and happy and sad and disappointed at the same time because you're a complicated person with deep emotions. And you're right that there isn't a "wrong" decision here--just a better or worse decision for you and your family. You know the facts and statistics and you also know your heart. I hope that a little time and reflection will bring you to the decision that feels right deep down, whatever it is. Meanwhile, I love seeing what a great mom you are to that adorable boy. And you'll keep on being a great mom, whether you decide to take a risk on having another baby or whether you decide to focus your resources and attention differently

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  12. I am 40 now and suddenly after years of clockwork-like regularity, my periods are becoming irregular and I missed one for the second time in my life. Could this be menopause? Although I have my two (adopted) children, and most days, I really don't think I want to have more kids, I feel a profound sadness at the thought that soon there really will be NO possibility of ever giving birth to my own biological child. I wonder if at some point we will ever fully heal from what we have been through. I talk to women in their mid-40s who tried to conceive, struggled, left it "in God's hands," never conceived, and eventually decided they were okay with being a family with no kids. They seem so matter of fact about it. "I guess it wasn't meant to be. I enjoy being an aunt. We have our two dogs and that's more than we can handle." etc, etc. Are they just repressing the pain? Or maybe they never really wanted kids that badly to begin with? Or perhaps they have truly healed from the pain of infertility. If it is possible, I wish that for myself, and for you, Jay, and for all our fellow infertiles.

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  13. Although I am not nearing 40 I too have some of the same feelings you have described. I am 32 with DOR. I have been ttc #1 for five years. After 2 failed iui's, three failed IVFs, in addition to a canceled IVF we are not any closer to having a child then we were five years ago. In fact I feel further away than five years ago considering my most recent AFC was 2!

    That being said, from what I have seen from other women who do find success with IVF, even though you have a child it is still difficult to see women lap you with #2, #3 and so on. The pain of infertility will always be there. One person's journey is not the same as the next.

    The feelings you are experiencing are normal. I wish you the very best!

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  14. I understand what you're feeling. I'm just a few months shy of 40 and expecting my first child any day now. It took me nearly two years to achieve this pregnancy, which I know is a drop in the bucket to many in the ALI community, and it wouldn't have happened without medical intervention. I know that I can't go through more treatments (for a variety of reasons) and I know my chances of conceiving on my own are nil. I'm very grateful for the baby I'm carrying now but I can't help but feel sad that this is it for me - this is my only baby. And then the guilt sets in.

    Also, I have to applaud you for being empathetic toward the woman who went through "hell" with four months of trying. You're a far better person than I am!

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  15. First, I adore you.

    Second, OMG with that woman... I mean that barely constitutes a getting pregnant story much less a getting pregnant with any sort of challenge story. I won't even comment on her use of the word 'hell'.

    Third, though I may be bias I think you're a badass. Knock it off with the feeling guilty about feeling bad. Sure you have a kid, but it doesn't erase how difficult it was to get there or how painful the heavy editing of a lifelong dream is. Feel bad when you feel bad, feel okay with it when you feel okay with it. You are my 'how to be after this works' hero.

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  16. I've admired your writing for more than two years now. This post is beautifully written and hits so many points right on the head. As someone who struggled for 4 years to get my baby and was lucky enough to have a few left over embryos to try again, I am now pregnant with my second. I have always struggled with people who complain about trying for a few months and it being forever. But I also know how I felt those first few months of unsuccessful trying. It was hell. Of course at the time I didn't know how much worse it could get. But that is what I hold on to when I hear of women who say they went through hell to have a baby. I got lucky, twice. I'm a beginning as far as some of the ALI stories I've read. Only 1 miscarriage (confirmed) and getting pregnant on my first round of IVF with my take home baby, and only 2 FET's to get to 21 weeks pregnant with #2. There are ladies I'm friends with and support who got lucky on their first IUI, one who got lucky in her 13th month of trying.

    I'm 38 and my husband is going to be 43. We have 2 more embryos on ice which we hope to try for next fall, but if not we're done. No more treatments. Like you, I'd rather spend my $$ on the child(ren) I have. Resolving my ALI journey hasn't been easy....but I will get there in my own way. Just like every survivor of the ALI journey does.

    Thank you again for a fabulous wonderful post....

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  17. You wrote a great post. I am entering into my first IVF cycle after 4 years of trying. I have never been pregnant, but it's been a hell. So many emotions. I am so happy for you for getting your little miracle, and I very much understand the grief of wanting more. I hope whatever decision you make, you are happy. <3 Happy ICLW!

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  18. Oh Jay, I completely understand where you are coming from. I am in the same boat. Yes, I still have a few 'fertile-ish' years left, but I can't afford to do IVF again. Probably ever. I am in debt and I want to give whatever I have left to my son. It took me so much to get him and I want more kids, but I don't want to risk less for my son or myself by doing It all over again. I know exactly how you feel. It's a horrible feeling.

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  19. Wow some people like the girl you wrote about make me laugh. If they only knew! I did struggle for almost 2 years to have my first son, although not having to do IVF, (was only a cycle or 2 away from it though), once he was born I instantly wanted to try again. For fear it would be a long difficult road again, and that I wanted more children. I wondered if I was being greedy because after infertility you "should count your blessings" but if we never experienced infertility in the first place we would have never second guessed it! I did go back to the clinic and now have my second son. I can understand all of your points not to try again. But then I wonder if you would always look back and wonder. You can be grateful for your son and still feel incomplete without a second, and wanting it is not selfish! There will always be more time to earn more money, to own a home, etc. There will not always be time to go for #2. I know it is such a hard decision, and the fact that mother nature puts a time limit on it is just bs! Just know whichever you choose is the right option, and don't get upset with yourself for not knowing now! You get great things out of both doors. I'm sorry I wish I had better words!

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  20. Hi Jay, here from ICLW. I can totally relate to the feeling of reading someone's blog and feeling like I can't relate to their "struggle." Hell, there are probably people who read my blog and feel that I have had it "easy" - no IVF, currently pregnant with my first.

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  21. I love your honesty thank you for sharing. Happy ICLW

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  22. Hi Jay,

    Though I hopped on from ICLW, I have passed you by here and there.

    I appreciate your honesty. Why should we have to swallow everything without a wince? You are so allowed to feel bad. What will be, will be but we have a right to 'feel'.

    #17

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  23. Hi from ICLW...I totally get where you are coming from...after 2 TI cycles, 6 IUI's, 1 fresh IVF and got pregnant on my FET I thought I was done to then lose my daughter...its hard to compare journeys but I know when someone says they have had it hard I think to myself how hard have you REALLY had it

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  24. I can relate to your emotions to some degree. I believe that there is a point in life when you start looking at a calendar and doing some math. We have been struggling with some of these things as well and it is really hard. Best of luck to you.


    http://online-phd-uk.co.uk/

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  25. I'm just starting out in IF (we've been trying for a year) but whenever I write I try to be very conscious of people who may read. I know that I am a baby IF-er and that I barely know what struggle is.. I'm amazed someone couldn't put herself in someone else's shoes for a moment.

    Sending hope that whatever decision you make, you are at peace with it and everything works out.

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  26. You're not the only one who wants a second baby and about to turn 40. So I'm with you. However my blog is pretty much a Mommy blog now, although I do an IF post now and then, my son is now my focus. Onestepatatime.co.za

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  27. Here from ICLW... So sorry you are feeling down. The realities of IF are so hard to swallow some days. My 40th is this year too, but my eggs are approaching their 50th. ;) We bailed on our pregnancy dream 6.5 years in and turned to domestic adoption. I've (mostly) come to terms with not ever being pregnant, but very much understand the desire for a second child and not knowing if it will happen. Sending hugs your way.

    ps I blogged at Fertility Authority way back when. I was one of their first bloggers, but bailed out when we stopped treatment and I slumped into a sinkhole of depression. Still love that place though!

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  28. I was a glass-half-empty girl for a very very long time when we were going through infertility treatments. And then it seems that overnight I became the glass-half-full. I can totally relate about being confused and angry by that woman. It sounds like she didn't even experience the technical term of infertility, which is trying for more than a year to get pregnant.

    ICLW #52

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  29. Hi from ICLW... I am not feeling as empathetic to others as I could be at the moment. I just had my 6th miscarriage, this one at 16 weeks, after two rounds of IVF. I actually had a friend compare it to how she felt when she 'thought she had a chemical pregnancy once and it sucked so bad'. Um, I get not playing the 'my pain is worse than your pain' but seriously? There's a fine line there and it is very frustrating and minimizing when people ignore it.

    I am very fortunate to have my daughter, but I can relate to feeling like all my friends are on their 2nd baby(or more), it just seems to happen that way. I wish I could be 100% content with just having 1 child, so I understand your dilemma. /MMB

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  30. So Sorry, Jay.

    I am not 40 yet, but I feel fed up already. I have a kid after a few years of dealing with frustration and incessant timely periods, a neonatal loss and all that, and though I want another, I can't wait endlessly, and I can't not want another child, and our expenses are not reducing by the month.

    Such a sticky spot.

    iclw #6

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  31. P.S. If having a false positive rings in infertility, I would please love a false negative.

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    1. Oh, so would I!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  32. Here form ICLW! Yup, infertility bites. Hurts. Even IF we've had the joy and miracle of success. I turn 44 in August and am in the 2ww with our last frozen embies...and that will be the end of my journey. [Note IVF#6 got us a beautiful son!!] I had envisioned a family of 4 children; my husband agreed to two...if only it were that easy!! I hear you on the sadness of not having the family you hoped for.

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  33. I've not been able to get to my miracle and I feel very sad about that but even if I had been able to have one lovely child I probably would have wanted more. I think if you want to be a mother, you want to be a mother no matter what you've gone through...and there's nothing wrong with that or wanting another.

    I would guess that women who had an easy time with pregnancy also feel sad when they get to a point where they think they can't have anymore.

    The "hell" story, ...she has no idea what hell is.. :) but I guess it's all relative.

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  34. Hi, I am here from ICLW. We struggled so many years that in the end I no longer found comfort in others' success. Thus also my blog was (in Finnish) and is (in English) a room for sadness. If ever I'll blog on happier things, it will be in another place, another room.

    Thank you for posting your thoughts. I hope you are feeling better already <3

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  35. You don't sound bipolar, you sound determined and firm on your own terms.

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  36. I know this is an old post, but I'm stopping by from ICLW, and just had to say that I could have written this myself! Well, much of it, anyway. I, too, am 40. I didn't have to do IVF, but my daughter was conceived via IUI, and I have suffered nothing but loss since. I will likely never have another child, and as I watch everyone around me having their second with relative ease, I feel like a loser who just doesn't fit in anymore. And my job entails attending deliveries for a living. You can just imagine what I get to see- the drug addicts and so on- having their fifth or sixth child. It's unfair. As for comparing sad stories- well, it's hard not to. I won't deny that I struggle with people who clearly don't have any idea what really goes on out there. Hugs to you, my friend- you have every right to feel the way you do. I hope as time passes, we are both able to find peace.

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  37. Hi, found your blog from ICLW. I appreciate you being so aware of us still in the trenches so to speak. I started blogging in May and when I started trying to connect with people as soon as I saw they were pregnant or had a new baby, basically post TTC, I immediately bi passed their blog and moved on...I just couldn't read about their joyous success stories when I was in my own personal hell. I don't think you should punch yourself in the face for wanting a larger family...it's impossible to not feel sad about unrealized dreams.

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  38. Here for ICWL. I hear you on the dream of a big family ending. While I didn't struggle with IF like you (we did use fertility drugs for my oldest, but had a relatively easy road) my dream is still fading. Between debilitating HG and the loss of our sonNoah at 20w, it isn't going to happen. We are going to try for a second living child, but that is probably it. A far cry from the large family of 4+ I always envisioned. Like you, being able to give my living child what I can is a factor. How is it fair for him to have a miserable mom unable to even get out of bed for 4-5 months at a time with every pregnancy? And stressed out Dad trying to be nurse, dad, cook, cleaner and work full time? I know it is the right decision for us, but it still sucks so much.

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