I never meant to follow the science project so far down the rabbit hole. We were fortunate enough to have very generous insurance coverage for IVF, and we used that to set our limits: we would try as many times as insurance would fund, and we drew the line at adoption. At every step, we discussed and weighed and endeavored to make decisions systematically from a rational place, but there was nothing rational about the outcomes, which is where the whole thing went haywire. You’re young, the doctors exclaimed; your FSH is normal and your response to Clomid is encouraging, they beamed in the early days; there’s no reason you can’t get pregnant, they promised, but I kept landing on the wrong side of chance and there was no reason why. Really, I was ‘done’ after the 4th failed IVF, and everything that followed at CCRM was a really quest for answers so we could at least make an informed choice between gestational carrier and egg donor. We never expected to get embryos from CCS; we expected to get closure, but even that sense of clarity proved elusive. The boon of euploid blastocysts effectively plunged us headlong into Alice’s hall of doors, where we’re seemingly too short to reach the key we left on the table, and we’re peaking through the keyhole at the idyllic garden with no clue how to gain entrance. In the meantime, Alice is drowning in her sea of tears.
I sent this message to Cousin (the maternity nurse) yesterday.Truly, the irony is as thick as the murky slop in my head. In trying to have a baby, I have subjected myself to multiple risk factors. Namely:
- As a person with a prior history of depression/anxiety, I am at elevated risk of depression as a result of infertility.
- As a person with a prior history of depression/anxiety, I am at elevated risk of depression as a result of recurrent miscarriage.
- As a person with a prior history of depression/anxiety, I am at elevated risk of postpartum depression after my 23-week loss.
And we can stop calling it “elevated risk” at this point because I am raising the white flag, Hello, my name is A. and I am depressed. I’m being double-teamed by stillbirth and recurrent IVF failure, and I still have embryos that need to be dealt with, which means this isn’t even over yet (!!!) so, you know, since SSRIs have been shown to diminish IVF outcomes and pose multiple risk factors for pregnancy, I sort of feel like I’m drowning inside a locked box. I have done all the other things (therapy, meditation, exercise) and they were effective for enabling me to manage my emotions…until now. What’s a girl to do?