First, let me be clear: "Difficult" does NOT mean bad.
Let me explain.
I got used to being in the midst of the struggle. Every day, every night, every waking moment. I got used to the ebb and flow of the process of cd1, baseline scan, follicle counts, cysts or stimulation drugs, ultrasounds, injections, prayers while watching those little voids tucked into clusters in the midst of my innards, praying for them to grow, not too fast! please, all at once, same pace, same size. I got used to seeing a big one and worrying. Seeing too few and worrying. Living from ultrasound to ultrasound, blood work to blood work. When when luck would have it, I even got used to egg retrieval. When luck would have it, waiting for counts. When luck would have it, fertilization reports. When luck would have it, transfer. Interminable 2 week waits. Progesterone. Pee sticks. Negatives. Failures.
I also got used to a life that revolved around early morning appointments, injections of refrigerated equivalent of liquid gold. Liquid hope.
I got used to the struggle.
I got used to the regimented and intensely private lifestyle of IF and IVFfing.
And on some level, I got used to the failure.
When I read of someone else's cycle resulting in a negative, or heartbreaking miscarriage, I never EVER think of them as having FAILED. And yet, with every one of mine, I felt like it was me who was failing. I remember apologizing, as if I had made it not work. I was the old one, afterall. I was the one who waited too long. I was the one whose body did not respond like so many other people's. I was the one whose ovaries kicked out tiny follicle counts, often just over the limit to stay on the IVF path. And it was my body, mine, that somehow could not get pregnant. I felt, somehow, that I was responsible.
I confess, I'm slightly shamed by my own hypocrisy. My own double standard.
My first pregnancy, I was stunned. It was from a conversion from an IVF cycle to IUI, a lead follicle messing things up. I had no hope of it working. Cried my way through the insemination.
And then, suddenly and miraculously pregnant.
And then, numbers of weeks later, belly already rounding and hard, just as suddenly, not.
As soon as I could, I was back in-- cycling however they would let us.
Cycling and failing. Cycling and failing.
Failing, in fact, enough, that our old clinic would not cycle with us any more.
With Della, it was our hail mary.
It was a new clinic.
It was going to be Our Last Cycle (or so I say, who knows what I would have done to try again, or again, or again).
New places to drive to.
New phlebotomists to get to know.
New ultrasound protocols.
New new new.
But at the heart of it, it was the same old dance of injections, blood work, ultrasounds, numbers...
The first pee stick read was negative.
That was familiar too.
Then, it was not the same old dance.
Hours and hours after I peed on that stick, the faintest of faint lines had emerged:I was pregnant.
Bucking all odds, moon shot, crazy lucky, statistically LOTTO-winning, lightning striking.
And now, I have this perfect little person in my life who calls me Momma.
I have not yet learned to trust this, the way I trusted that.
That process, IVFfing, was something I could not believe I was doing (over and over and over and over), but it became so familiar to me.
Me as Momma? Not so much. Each day I wake amazed. I know I have said this, but I really mean it.
I wake and worry some day I will wake up and I will discover to my horror (but perhaps not to my surprise) that I have dreamed this whole thing. This is too good to be true (knock wood, salt over shoulder, run around under a ladder backwards carrying a black cat).
So, some part of me wants to write to Mo and say: hey sweet and lovely lady, for some of us, not all of us, the transition from TRYING (and failing and trying and failing and trying...) to HAVING is as surreal as if we woke up next to a unicorn.
Be gentle with yourself as you try to learn this new way of being.
The new way of NOT struggling.
This new way of holding something miraculous and precious and singular and magnificent, in the crazy light of the wee hours with no sleep and no desire to close your eyes, because you don't dare close them, just in case you wake up and find it was all a dream.
And don't be surprised if, two years down the line, you find yourself in the crazy light of the wee hours, with no where near enough sleep, staring at this miraculous and precious and singular and magnificent being, stretched out long across the bed, and feeling you don't dare close your eyes, because you don't want to wake up and find it was all a dream.