When to call it quits.

I didn’t anticipate how different or challenging trying to conceive a second child would be. And as the name of this post suggests, we’re now at a point where we don’t know whether to call it a day and move on or continue this heartbreaking process. At the very minimum, we will be taking a break.

For some reason, this time around, I didn’t have much desire to document all the steps to getting pregnant like I did when we were trying for Oscar. Partly because I simply didn’t really have the time but also because it didn’t seem necessary. I honestly thought it would be a very similar story to conceiving our son. Of course, I was wrong.

At the start of the year when I first stepped foot back inside the fertility clinic, I was hit with the familiar smell, exact furniture and many of the same faces, that I was years earlier. All the memories came rushing back. I was excited and confident because I knew the process, I knew what to expect.

But as time went on, the butterflies and excitement left me. They were replaced instead with a feeling of numbness. I would pass women in the corridors of the fertility blood clinic, some looking nervous, some excited but most of them looking just like me. Forlorn and sad, feeling a bit like cattle in some sort of processing line. Getting in and out as fast as we could, hiding our anxiety and trying not to show any emotion. The nerves I had on each drive to the hospital felt crippling and the tears I’d shed throughout embryo transfers were humiliating. Always desperately hoping that this would be the one that would bring us a positive pregnancy test.

Well, as I sit here, I am currently just over 6 weeks pregnant. Though, it’s not something I can celebrate as I’ve been told it won’t be for much longer. I’ve had bleeding, cramping, lower back pain and although my HCG continues to rise, it’s not doubling in the correct timeframe. My OB frightened me by saying that she strongly suspected an ectopic pregnancy so I was sent for an early ultrasoundat the beginning of the week. The scan was able to rule out ectopic pregnancy, which has been a huge relief but something is still very wrong. The sonographer said that the gestational sac IS in my uterus but it is measuring out of range and is appears ‘irregular’ for how many weeks I am. It was too small at that stage to see anything inside so we left with no real answer.

Of course I went home and consulted Dr Google while I waited for the actual doctor to call with her interpretation of the scan results. I found in my search that the term ‘irregular’  when speaking of gestational sacs if often used when it is likely that the sac is close to collapsing in on itself. When the OB finally called, she basically said that it is very unlikely that this pregnancy will be ongoing for much longer but until the HCG starts to decrease, I am to keep going with the oestrogen and progesterone meds and continue blood tests every few days. Unless of course I have a massive bleed, at which point I am meant to go to the early pregnancy unit at the Mater Hospital to confirm miscarriage. If I make it to next Thursday, another scan will be done but it is extremely unlikely that it will be positive. The OB thinks the end is near and when you combine the bleeding, cramping and low rising HCG, I have to completely agree.

I’m feeling really frustrated. There’s nothing I can do but wait. I can’t explain how much it aches to be stuck in this limbo phase of not even being able to start the healing process and move on. Physically, I can’t do anything too strenuous as my lower back and abdominal area are so sore, cramping on and off constantly.

We don’t have any frozen embryos left. So if we do decide to continue after having a break, we will be starting from the very beginning which scares me. I’m currently 4 years older than I was at my last egg collection, nearing my mid thirties now. A huge part of me worries that waiting and taking this break is risky but an even bigger part simply can’t continue with it all right now. I’m so drained – mentally, physically, emotionally, financially – you name it, I’m drained of it. I’m not ready to risk more heartache and pain right now so for the foreseeable future I’m going to try my best to focus purely on what I already have – my wife and the beautiful little boy that made me a Mummy.

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Photo by LJM Photography

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