Thursday, June 23, 2016

One Chapter Ends, Another Begins

Six and a half years, a fundraiser, an anonymous financial donation, two surrogates, two legal contracts, two rounds of IVF, countless doctor appointments, three transfers, one miscarriage, tons of hope, love, support, questions, and soul searching. This just scratches the surface of what we have been through on our quest for parenthood.
Our final transfer was in May. We had had enough time to prepare ourselves as best we could for whatever the outcome would be. It is impossible, though, to prepare yourself for the reality of something like this. 
The transfer failed. We knew that could happen. We knew it was likely to happen but, of course, we didn’t want that to be our reality. It is our reality. To be honest, I don’t really have much else to say about it. Of course it’s devastating, heartbreaking, and horrible. We have been through this before. I guess the one good thing about going through multiple heartbreaks is that we have learned how we grieve, how each other grieves, and how to support each other through it.
We are okay. We are tough and strong and have been through enough to know that no matter how we feel, no matter what we do, no matter what happens, this day will turn into night, and then the sun will rise tomorrow, and again the next day. Ryan and I refuse to let our lives be defined by heartache. Life will continue. We know we cannot give in to defeat until our last breath. We also refuse to lose any more of our life to this.
Please don’t get me wrong, we are grieving, and are allowing ourselves to grieve. It’s just that this time we were anticipating it. We had a lot of time to soul search while waiting for the news. 
We are hopeful that maybe one day in the future, as long as my health stays as it is, that we may be able to afford another cycle and try one more time for our biological child. Tomorrow is not promised and there are no guarantees in life, but we are hopeful that the stars will align for us to be able to try again one day. 
We don’t have words to describe our gratitude for Heather, who has literally put her own life on hold for an entire year, just to give us a shot at having a biological baby. She was incredible every step of the way, being positive for us, cheering us on, grieving our losses with us, and being there as a friend and sister. There is still nothing we could give her, or say to her that would adequately let her know how much we love and appreciate her and everything she has done for us.
We are also so incredibly thankful for the rest of our family and extended family who have supported us every step of the way. We have been so blessed with love and support from our friends, and from complete strangers. The messages of encouragement and thoughts of love that have come our way have been from people I would never have expected, and from places in the world I could never have imagined. This journey has been more than unbelievable and we are so thankful for it all. 
One thing Ryan and I have been saying, as we try to pick up the pieces and move on with our life, is that we have a very good life. We have one major thing that is awful and heavy and filled with pain, but it is just one thing. The rest of our life is pretty wonderful, so we are trying to focus on that, to remember that, and to let that be our source of strength.
There is more to the story, though… more than the news that our last embryo didn’t make it. Life is ironic and either doesn’t make any sense, or makes complete sense, which one I am not yet sure. When our embryos died in 2014 we thought that was the end of our path to having a biological child. We were beside ourselves with devastation and grief. So when I say we have been at this place before, we truly have, which gives us a frame of reference as we go through this experience now. And though it took a very long time, we got to a point of acceptance back then too, and we became okay again. So now we know we will be okay this time too.
We applied for adoption the last time. Of course we wanted a biological child, but we want more than one child, and we want to be parents most of all. We completed all of the steps in the adoption journey then except for our home-study, for which we have been waiting a year and a half. As irony would have it, the day we got the go-ahead for the final transfer, we also heard we would soon finally get to start our home-study. Then, the day before our blood work, the same day we decided to do a home-pregnancy test to prepare ourselves for the blood work the next day, we got the email saying we could book our first home-study meeting.
I don’t know if things happen for a reason. I don’t like to think that’s the case because I don’t want to believe we lost our babies for a reason, or that I have a heart condition for a reason, or that anything else unfair and shitty happens for some secret reason. But it’s also hard for me to believe that it doesn’t all happen for a reason. The timing of everything that has happened has been unbelievable and I couldn’t have predicted any of it. 
So, while we have been dealing with the reality that we have no embryos left, and that our path to having a biological child is, for now, over, we have also been trying to prepare ourselves to move on as a childless couple, and also trying to prepare ourselves to do a home-study and enter the world of waiting for a child through adoption. We have decided to move on with our life as though we will be childless. This is not what either of us really wants but, for the sake of living life now and making memories, we have to.
At the same time, we are also incredibly hopeful that our home-study will go smoothly, that we will be approved, and one day, sooner than later, we will be getting a call that there is a child, or two, that will be the perfect match for us, and us for them. We are about to get the house ready and will begin the home-study very soon.
The theme of our book of life and our marriage seems to be one of love, gratitude and unpredictability. Another chapter has closed but the story is far from over. I have no idea what will happen next, but I know it will be interesting!