Babe- 42 years old and aging.
I can't live life without a child. Better yet, I cannot imagine never being a mother. And right now, I am childless- Without a child and without a guaranteed baby in our future.
Babe and I have made some huge decisions in the past few weeks. Decisions I never thought I would be forced to make or discuss in my lifetime, if nothing more than hypothetically.
My insurance coverage is phenomenal for infertility, leaving us to pay maybe 20% of all procedures and medications, a true blessing. For this alone, I cannot abandon ART/infertility treatments knowing God provided this amazing job and coverage for me when only two years ago I prayed God would provide a way for Babe and I to financially afford whatever infertility treatments the future held. So, here I sit with multiple failed cycles: Clomid, injections and IUIs, IVF, FET, and another FET in the works. Childless. Wondering if I will ever be a mother. I cannot quit my dream. I cannot quit my future. I cannot quit my opportunity. I cannot quit myself and my dreams. I cannot quit the doubt and the uncertainty that eats my flesh, punctures my hope, and stills my beating heart.
And while I realize I am fairly young, Babe is not. We originally decided we would stop trying to have kids when Babe was 42. But 42 is here for him, and I am not yet ready to quit trying. I realize men can have babies physically much older than women. However, I do not want Babe to be an "old" dad. Nor do I feel like it is fair for me to ask my husband to parent when he should/could be enjoying retirement. I am not ready to give up my dream of being a mother, either.
Since there are no guarantees with infertility, we have decided to pursue adoption while continuing our infertility treatments. I know many agencies have an age limit of 45 and most will cancel your adoption paperwork if you get pregnant during the adoption process, but I have to try. I have to find an agency that will work with us. I have to find someone that will help me fulfill my dream. I have to know that at the end of this road- somewhere- there is a child for us. It doesn't matter to Babe or I if our little one is biological or not. How can we not pursue both?
Adoption is essentially a guarantee, much more so, in my opinion, than Assisted Reproductive Technology. As for my insurance, I surely can't forsake what God has given me. Not yet.
And here is where my guilt comes in to play. I want to try this FET in September. If it doesn't work, I want to give Doctor B (the one that has better IVF statistics than Doctor A, my current RE) a shot at a fresh IVF cycle, but I feel guilty. Guilt at leaving the doctor I have been with for more than a year and a half. Guilt because I still have three frozen blastocycts. Guilt because I am pursuing adoption and fertility treatments to ensure we will have a child. Guilt for being selfish in my desires to build a family. Guilt for having insurance coverage that will allow me to do another fresh IVF cycle before using all my frozen blastocysts when others struggle to pay for Clomid. Through my guilt, I just know I have to give Doctor B a shot or I will always wonder...
Babe has been so supportive. I thought he would throw a fit about the money needed for adoption and the obvious debt we will be forced into if we choose to adopt. I thought he would think I was losing my mind. I thought he would stop loving me for not being able to pursue treatment after treatment with no end in sight. I thought he would leave me because I wasn't strong enough. I thought he would laugh at me.
But he hasn't. And he won't. He loves me. He loves me for me. He loves me even when my body doesn't work properly. He loves me, even after I discuss option after option after option with him. He loves me and he has never not loved me.
So, for those of you that can undergo three, four, and five plus IVF cycles, I salute you. You are strong, strong women. You have amazing determination and persistence. You are honorable and worthy of ten babies! For me, my last shot will probably be either this FET in September or a fresh cycle with Doctor B (whenever that may be). I just don't have "it" in me to continue, whatever "it" may be.
For those of you that have survived adoption, I'd like to know how you chose your agency. We are researching both Domestic and International adoption, but after looking at many of the wait times for International adoption, are leaning more toward Domestic, although we are not yet ruling out International adoption. Do you have a certain agency you would recommend that does Interstate or International adoptions? Or do you have an agency you would never use because of your own personal experience or a friend's horror stories? I'd love to hear from anyone on this topic!
I almost feel a sense of relief making some of these decisions and having these candid discussions with Babe. Not to say that our decisions can't change, but I always feel better having a plan. I'm amazed at the energy and motivation I have since we have decided to pursue adoption and find an agency that fits our needs. It is like a heavy weight has been lifted off me, minus the guilt. And through all this, Babe still loves me. He loves me and he has never not loved me.
"Before you begin a thing remind yourself that difficulties and delays quite impossible to foresee are ahead.... You can only see one thing clearly, and that is your goal. Form a mental vision of that and cling to it through thick and thin." (Kathleen Norris)