This morning I took my last stim shot ever. I will never again give myself a shot to stimulate my ovaries to make loads of eggs. It’s a strange feeling since IVF has pretty much been my life over the past year. Now we’re at the end of that road, and it’s been interesting for me to look back over the past year and see exactly where we came from and where we’ve been since.

About a year ago we started having serious discussions regarding next steps should our final IUI’s not be successful. I was surprised how quickly Mark was willing to jump on the IVF bandwagon, in fact, he was the one who convinced me that we should do it. I was hemming and hawing over the costs and how we couldn’t afford it and he’s the one who said “Screw it, let’s just do it. It’s only money and we can always make more. Having a family is more important.” His steadfast commitment to the process made it all that much easier for me to say yes to the whole thing. Had he not felt so passionately about going forward with IVF, I’m not sure where we would be now.

To be certain, I never expected us to be where we are now. There are so many women out there who can honestly say that they knew they would have issues trying to conceive, but I’m not one of them. Not once did I ever envision us having problems as I’ve always had regular cycles and I’m still “young.” Even after we started seeing an RE, I really thought it was just a matter of time before we were successful. A bit too optimistic perhaps, but I felt like if we kept trying, eventually it would be our turn. Surely IUI would be as far as we would have to go down the ART road. Maybe in my subconscious I knew it wouldn’t work for us because even as I was certain we would get pregnant from IUI, I was still busy researching IVF, just in case.

When our last IUI wasn’t successful, the transition to IVF was surprisingly easy, given the huge emotional, physical, time and financial commitment that IVF actually is. Mentally I was completely prepared for IVF and to be honest, the physical aspects of IVF have been so much less intensive for me than I ever thought they would be.

So it wasn’t until last week that I realized what a big deal IVF actually is. I was fantasizing about how great it would be to get to tell people if I’m fortunate enough to become pregnant from this cycle. I’m sure that some people will ask if the pregnancy was planned. It’s my initial reaction to want to tell people everything that we had to go through, if for nothing else than to be a resource for someone else who may be going through the same thing. I imagined myself saying “yes, this pregnancy is the result of two and a half years of trying with three rounds of IVF” and as soon as I imagined saying those words, the enormity of everything that we’ve been through hit me.

I think I’ve become so entrenched in the world of infertility and ART that IVF has somehow become normal and unremarkable to me. I talk about IVF as if it’s no big deal, because for the most part it is no big deal to me. It’s my current normal. It’s what we have to deal with in an attempt to get what we want. And I’ve managed to make that so OK inside my head that I don’t even realize what a HUGE deal it actually is. THREE IVF cycles. That’s what we’ll have been through by the time this is all over and done with. And I know that there are loads of women out there who go through so much more and our history is nothing in comparison to many others, but it’s still so very much more than I ever thought we’d have to deal with. And it IS a big deal, no matter what I’ve convinced myself over time. We’ve somehow managed to make it through without too much damage to our marriage and overall well-being and for that I’m very thankful.

As I rode my bike to work this morning with every single bump in the road making me acutely aware of the swollen condition of my ovaries, I realized that this is indeed the end of an era for us. No matter the outcome of this cycle, we are definitely closing a very specific chapter in our lives. It’s been quite a ride for us, with lots of heartache, bad news and pain, but at the same time filled with so many good memories and bonding between us. I have no idea how this chapter will close, but I have great hope for our future regardless. You could even say I’m optimistically hopeful.

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