Funny because I always thought when we were going to do IVF, we were going to deal with our infertility and that’s it. Well I was wrong, going through IVF has made us deal with so much more. It’s affected my health (mostly in a good way), my kids, my outlook on life, my relationship with my friends and family and most importantly with my husband. Its affected my diet, my exercise routine, my travel plans and my self -care routine. I could go on…basically its affected a lot!
The one thing I wasn’t prepared for were the words divorce or death. Let me be clear, Nick and I are not getting a divorce and in fact this journey, as I’ve shared before, has made us stronger than I ever thought imaginable. We have a connection now like we never had before and for that I’m so thankful. Nevertheless, we’ve had to deal with the what if divorce and the what if death scenarios.
I’m one of those very superstitious people. Like the kind that still can’t step on cracks if told not to. I’m the kind that would eat 4 blue m&m’s if that’s what had worked when my one embryo stuck last year. Which means I’m also the kind that thinks talking about divorce is the worst thing to do to a marriage. But we had to do it, this journey has made us talk about it and I didn’t like it one bit.
See, what no one tells you about IVF are all the little things you will also have to do, have to face and have to decide on. MAJOR life decisions are made in the midst of your egg retrievals and transfers that no one talks about. So here we are, I’m going to talk about it.
A few months ago, as happens after every egg retrieval and before transfer, (once we found out how many embryos we had after PGS testing) we had to come into the clinic to sign some papers. Most were just your normal consent forms, the ones that your signing that protect the doctor of course but then we got a few pages that were different. The nurse let us stay in the room to have some privacy. This was a document in which we had to decide what would happen with our frozen embryos in case either of us died, or, in case we decided to get a divorce.
I couldn’t believe what I was reading. The thing is is that this past cycle we ended up with way more embryos than any other time. We had 3 good PGS normal embryos and 5 mosaics. (a mosaic embryo is one that is missing one or more chromosome, there Is some debate in regards to transferring these and I will be going into that on another page because it’s a much longer discussion and deserves its own post). So, as we signed that we were moving forward with transfer one normal embryo, we also had to decide what would happen to the rest if gd forbid anything happened to us.
We stared at the paper in silence. We never even thought of the fact that something like this was going to be presented to us. In the middle of all these ups and downs, all the losses we had encountered, we needed to discuss these hypothetical scenarios. The three scenarios that I make me squirm the most.
So we started the dialogue. “Well obviously we don’t ever want to get a divorce but…” We decided that the embryos would be given up for testing purposes to the lab. There were other boxes to check, like completely discarding them or giving them up for adoption, or even letting one of us keep them. But neither of us felt comfortable with any other box.
We quickly signed.
We marked the same boxes for the question of “what if death.” We felt pretty numb for a few minutes.
I know we are adults, we’ve made a will and update it often, but this felt different. I can’t explain why other than the fact that it was more real, it was happening and we had to discuss it. These were potentially our children and it felt like we had to decide what would happen to them, as humans, not just as embryos.
I also couldn’t help but think how hard this would actually be if either of us passed away or if we were getting divorced. These are OUR embryos, we created them together. We’ve shed a lot of blood and tears to get them and to even have to think about these depressing scenarios really started to weigh on me.
We walked out of the room. It was over and we could go home. But I’ll never forget that day. I’ll never forget how much life flashed before my eyes and how heavy my heart felt. I know Nick felt the same way.
I’m glad we did it together. I’m happy we could sit there and feel the same way but this journey is no joke. It’s not all rainbows even when you think it is! Even when you’re at the highest high because you have a good number of embryos, as we felt we did, there are still so many decisions that can weigh you down. So many obstacles that you must face whether you’re ready to or not.
But it also made me think about how thankful I am to have nick by my side. To make these decisions together and to ultimately go through one more thing in this process that makes our bond that much stronger. IVF might change a lot in my life, it might take away things I didn’t ask to be taken from me, but it will not take our relationship away, we won’t let it.