A Proud Realization

I still recall as clear as day when we terminated our third pregnancy to potentially save my life.  I still remember how going into that abortion clinic, not once, but twice, basically changed my life.  At the time, I know that was my turning point.  Looking back, I still know that was my turning point.  My husband’s turning point came after our fourth loss which dragged out for nearly a month with almost daily monitoring as my body simply would not expel the products of conception on it’s own and a third D&C procedure was not medically recommended.  Yet, we tried a fifth time, after I quit my job to reduce stress in hopes that would make the difference.  Thankfully, that fifth loss was a simple chemical pregnancy which did not last long (I realize to many it’s sad that I’d call that a simple loss, but it is what it is).

We wanted children, since we could get pregnant so easily and our Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) recommended it, we just kept trying.  Hoping, eventually it would work.  Eventually we started to realize this “keep trying” approach wasn’t working for us.  And eventually, after lots of thought, research and even expensive out of country medical advice, we turned to open-adoption to grow our family.

Standing here today, I can honestly say one of the things I am most proud of in my life is knowing when to say enough is enough when it came to trying the “old fashioned” way to have a child.  We have been a bit slow in both admitting we were done, but we did get there in our own way.  Knowing when to walk away from fertility treatments is never easy, and I am beyond thankful we reach our end of the line and we accepted that fact with our marriage intact.  I’ve heard people who after surviving some sort of infertility and then having a living child state that others should never give-up because the reward is worth it when it does work.  Truthfully, it’s a statement when taken at face value that I just do not agree with.  I just don’t believe that we should all keep trying until one day we are successful because for some of us, that successful day may never come and/or that route might simply be too emotionally costly, too financially costly and too time consuming to continue to pursue at.

We didn’t stop when I knew I was done, and we didn’t stop when my husband knew he was done.  We kept trying, because trying was all we could do at the time.

Knowing when to stop takes courage. And, I’m glad we reached that point together.

For us, “giving up” was the best thing we could have ever done.  From a mental health perspective, continuing to experience miscarriages was not leading us down a good road.  But also from a basic building our family perspective, experiencing loss was rather counter productive to the end goal of having a living healthy child.  And so for us, stopping our attempts to get pregnant was the smartest thing we’ve ever done because here we are today with the most amazing little boy and hearts full of love. I am definitely not trying to imply that this is the same for everyone, I know it’s not.  But, what I am saying is that for us, stopping was a pinnacle moment of our lives thus far.  And something I am proud to be able to say we did because it’s never easy to take the path less travelled.  And even more, having the courage to stop and pursue growing our family through other means was one of the best things we could have ever done for ourselves and for our marriage.

And, I have to admit as two very risk adverse people, I am also very proud of ourselves for pursuing open adoption given the amount of unknowns that we faced.

I guess, what I’m saying, is that I’m proud that we were able to make a hard decision to stop and then we were able to make another hard decision to choose a non-traditional route to our family.

While our road to our family has been far from perfect, I truly am proud of myself for knowing myself and my marriage well enough to be able to make these challenging decisions.  And, I’m truly proud of anyone else who has also faced and made these types of tough decisions.

And, honestly, more then anything, I count myself among the most fortunate in the world to be able to know the true love of a child.  And, I have to say I’m just so thankful we made the decisions we made, because for us, they resulted in our little family coming together.

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15 Comments on “A Proud Realization

  1. You have every right to be proud of yourself : ) You made an incredibly hard and brave decision and ultimately it was clearly the right one because it led you to your son. After our 4th loss we decided to try one more time and then reevaluate if that pregnancy ended in loss. Thankfully it brought us our son but I know that had it not we would be faced with the same tough decision of how much to continue putting ourselves through. It is so amazing that you had the courage to know when to say “let’s pursue another option”.

    We recently had our 5th loss after a surprise pregnancy (even the term “surprise pregnancy” in the world IF/RPL makes me cringe) and we have no idea why it happened. I think that if maybe I knew the reasons for them all (we know with 2 out of the 5) I might have the tools to be able to make a decision. As you know so well adoption isn’t the “easy way” to have a family and you should be incredibly proud for successfully navigating that path to your family.

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  2. I agree that you have the right to be proud about your decision. Infertility is so hard and everyone encourages you to do one more cycle or try to get pregnant one more time. All these stories of people with miscarriages in the double digits until they finally had biological kids of their own. It is hard to admit “defeat” but there is more than one way to have a family. And even though a lot of the alternatives are hard, you came through it all with a ton of grace and strength. 🙂

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  3. I agree with you about ‘never give up’ type comments. I know we were on the brink of ‘giving up’, and honestly if we had another loss it would have definitely been the end of pursuing pregnancy for me. I truly am in awe of you (and sadly countless others I have followed on WordPress) who continue on beyond that. One loss is tough, more than two is simply heart wrenching. I’m not sure where your strength ever came from to keep going. And also your strength to not give up on your family by pursuing adoption. I started following you as you were in the thick of adoption, but even then you were immediately someone who inspired me to be open to all possibilities for growing my family. So thank you for that – I hope you also realise to be proud not just for yourself but also the positive effect you have had on others struggling to grow their families in making tough decisions like you had to.

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  4. I totally agree. At some point people have to decide that enough is enough. I hate when someone who has a child after X amounts of IUI/IVF etc and then says to everyone still struggling “never give up! It’s worth it”. Just because it worked for them in the end doesn’t mean it would for everyone and like you say you need to also think about other factors such as your mental health, financial, relationship, future health etc.. Deciding to stop is a really brave decision.

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  5. I don’t think anyone can say “Never give up” to someone else. It actually probably takes more gumption to be able to decide to give up I think, because it’s really hard to make a conscious decision about stuff that others just let happen or take for granted. I know I have a limit of what I can take emotionally and it’s not good for anyone to push their limits. I am glad you were able to make the decision that was right for you.

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    • I think you nailed my thoughts perfectly with this comment. We all have our limits and knowing our limits is beyond critical. Honestly, I think this is part of why we ultimately even turned down the donor embryos. Right now, we know our limits. That might change one day, but for now, it just is what it is. And, I think people should be applauded for acknowledging and accepting their own limits.

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  6. I 100% agree with you…I came to believe that it is critical to know when to stop and very unwise, verging on reckless, to encourage people to just keep trying. For myself I decided this last transfer was the last. I wasn’t sure what would happen next but I knew I couldn’t carry on doing what I was doing. Sometimes the most loving thing you can do for yourself ans your marriage is recognise your own limits. You have every reason to be proud for the brave and loving decisions that you madexxx

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  7. You are so right! Deciding when to change your plan of action takes such courage. You should be very proud of your decision and the strength you have shown on your journey. Your determination to expand your family paid off and I only wish the journey came with less stress and frustration.

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  8. My goodness I am proud of you too. For enduring what you did, keeping your marriage and knowing when to change paths. You are so brave and sharing your story has helped so many- me included.

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  9. Very true….it is a big, big thing to be honest with yourself andknow when to say ” it was enough”. Fortunately, in my case,when i felt that i had had more than enough,my ivf worked,but i am also aware this isnt always a case. I have a friend who has been trying with the ivf only for 7-8years now. I dont know for how long more she is planning,but i dont know where she finds her strength.

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  10. You should be proud of yourself. I think knowing your limits is difficult for people and it takes a lot of courage to say “enough is enough”. I am also bothered by the “never give up” comments. Everybody’s story is different, as is tolerance of terrible, gut-wrenching events. Unless you have walked in that person’s shoes, you have no idea what they went thought to come to their decisions.

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  11. Thank you so much for writing this- you’ve been following my struggles trying to decide to stop treatment and it’s probably one of the hardest decisions to make. Now that we have decided and coming out the other side, I now understand the feeling of relief to be done. The stress and disappointment of treatment, or trying in general, does take a toll. I’m so sorry you had to experience so many losses; I know that would have destroyed me if I had to go thru that.
    You are one tough cookie and are an inspiration. You have one lucky boy to have two parents who will love him unconditionally.
    I do know one thing, infertility really does make you appreciate the life you’ve been blessed with, and for me, that’s an amazing gift in itself ❤️

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  12. I have people all the time say that, now that I have Adrian, it must all be worth it. I always explain that it was luck that we had him as we had all but stopped trying – and I would never tell someone to just keep trying because I didn’t know if I could even try one more month. As you know, we gave up for most of a year after our fourth loss. Even though I have a bio instead of an adopted first/only child, I completely agree and think people should listen to their gut on when enough is enough. Just because someone (even multiple doctors) think you might be able to still have a bio child one day, that doesn’t negate the emotional and physical toll the trying and losses take on someone. I honor my losses, as you do, and know that it’s okay to say we’ve lost enough already and move on to a new plan. Big hugs! And now we also are wrapping our heads around maybe being a family with an only child…and realizing that may be fantastic even though it was never our plan. (I need to post to my blog again!) Thinking of you!

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