As many folks who read here know, the current IVF cycle has ended with a negative result. I haven’t written anything about it until now as the last thing I thought about doing was blogging about it, hence the lack of any posts on the blog from the time Kim emailed me the news on Friday and yesterday’s meaningless posts.
I had high hopes for this cycle, even though Kim was trying to downplay everything as time progressed through the cycle. I’ve come a long way from the days of never wanting children (old friends like Ken and Rob will recall those days) to finally finding myself in a relationship where it seemed to be the natural progression. Believe me when I say it was a long, strange trip from a violence-filled childhood that had me never wanting children, to a warm and loving relationship with someone I love dearly and with whom I want to raise a family.
I called her as soon as I could on Friday, sharing in the pain of loss, wishing all along that I could be there to comfort her instead of at work. Alas, life intrudes at the worst possible times.
My own emotions were largely in check for the next hour or so until I swung by Kim’s blog and read the above-linked post — five minutes before I was scheduled to teach a webinar to fifteen people. Tears filled my eyes and I found I couldn’t speak for a few minutes without wanting to break down in sobs. The pain and sorrow in her post — written with such hope — wracked my soul. It still does, as I came to tears again just now upon re-reading it.
When I got home that night, it was the beginning of a long weekend of mourning and loss, combined with moments of happiness and excitement as we decided to say fuck it and plan a trip to the Isle of Skye later this year. We’ve always wanted to travel to either Ireland and Scotland, and Kim’s thought about Skye hit me at exactly the right moment. Originally when I got home on Friday, she wanted to fly to London on Saturday. She needed to get out of Dodge, and had she broached the idea earlier in the day on Friday, we could have gotten tickets for a redeye from JFK to Heathrow for Friday night, returning overnight on Sunday so I could make it to work yesterday. Ah well. I’m much happier with our planned trip, however, as we’ll be walking in the footsteps of myth and legend, which appeals to us both immensely.
But I digress. There’s no easy way to deal with the failure of a cycle, both for yourself and for your partner. I’ve tried — and succeeded at times — at easing Kim’s comfort, but there’s really no definitive guide that can be written about how to comfort your partner. Everyone has different ways of dealing with loss — and believe me, this is loss — and you need to be in synch with your partner. You need to know what they’re thinking and feeling. Remember, though, it hurts, plain and simple, for both of you.
Acknowledge your own emotions and deal with them. Talk about it. I know this sounds like Psych 101, and honestly, it probably is. The thing is, as the failed cycles begin to climb in number (we’re at two full cycles now that haven’t worked), the wounds go deeper and leave both of you more raw and exposed than before. As Eddie Izzard would say, “That’s fun.”
When you first started this particular phase of life, you likely had already dealt with some aspects of loss, pain and sorrow. After all, unless you already knew about issues of infertility, you expected to be able to start a family at the drop of a hat and when that didn’t happen, the emotional rollercoaster likely started. For some people, this can extend for years, as it did with us due to detours caused by cancer. That rollercoaster was for both of you, too, not just her, by the way. It’s not an easy thing to go through infertility for any length of time, I can assure you, and odds are, you’re not alone in having had to deal with the large array of emotions. I know I sound like a broken record, but you need to acknowledge everything on your end and be completely open about it with your partner. I’d say it’s likely most husbands in relationships like mine have been there, done that, on some level.
I don’t know what the future looks like just yet in regards to IVF — we’ve discussed some things and will make more decisions in the coming days and weeks, but I do know that one way or another, we will have children in our lives.
First though, it’s dealing with the loss of this cycle. That, and showing Kim my love for her.