I have had so many thoughts about ‘hope’ wondering around my head for the last few days and it seems only appropriate today, the day before test day to capture some of them. I’m really not sure I’m going to be able to do it any justice as these thoughts are jumbled in my head, but try bear with me and see if any of this rings true.
There are so many words we use about how we feel about a cycle, positive, optimistic, negative, despondent, neutral. We go in with hope and sometimes faith, sometimes we do a cycle because we know that without it there is NO chance of ever being a parent and we may as well give it a shot.
In my mind, faith is about blind belief when there is no evidence to support the belief. Faith is about believing despite the evidence to the contrary. I am not necessarily talking about God here, but faith that it WILL work. You see, to me hope is different, you can have hope but not believe, does that make sense? Starting this cycle I had a lot of hope that it COULD work, but that doesn’t mean I believed it WOULD work. Hope is what gets us back on this horse, but faith or blind belief is what would drive me crazy, it just doesn’t sit with my logic.
You see despite my recent departure from sanity really I am pragmatic and logical in my thinking. I try to use my rational head as much as possible. It is the use of the rational head that finally made me ready to tackle IVF#3 after IVF#2 was cancelled. You see my irrational thoughts and fears were that IVF#3 would be the same, that my body would not produce good eggs, that if we had fertilisation at all we would end up with embryos that didn’t develop and weren’t viable and we would never be parents. By putting my rational head into the mix I could see that we had had 2 cycles, one which went according to the text books, not a lot of eggs, but good quality embryos, just got a BFN. And on the basis of that experience we went into cycle 2 expecting the same. Obviously the second cycle was not at all the same. Which made cycle three tricky. When your rational head tries to kick in, it has two sources of information to base the thinking on, one which is positive and one which is very negative. But I was able to use that rational thought to see that just because things went wrong once didn’t mean it would happen again. I could look at my FSH and AMH levels and know that there is no reason cycle two should ever happen again.
But IVF#4 started with swayed experience. Suddenly while I had conquered my fear of another cancelled cycle (well at least put it in perspective), I now had the experience of three cycles which did not result in a baby. Three cycles which were failures. Three cycles of baggage. And there I sit with the weight of evidence telling my logical brain that the chances are that we can have the same happen again, another BFN is possible. And in fact probable. You see average IVF success rates are 40%, and I am over 35, so rates for me are lower, I only produced 4 eggs, so rates are lower still. Having said that early evidence on IMSI suggests that it can increase success rates by as much as 50% (I like that!). And while I don’t know the exact success rate for my circumstances I do know that there is a bigger chance of the cycle not working than there is of it working. In light of the facts, it is hard for the rational brain to stay positive or optimistic, but that is NOT the same as not having HOPE that this time it will be different.
If you can see the difference then you will understand this, I’m not sure I believe that this worked, there are no signs or symptoms to lead my logical brain to believe it has worked and the logic suggests it probably hasn’t. But I still have HOPE. Hope is that beautiful thing that keeps us going, keeps us strong and outweighs all those nagging doubts.
Last night I had an awesome session with my psychologist and we talked a lot about my fears and my rational and irrational thoughts and my hope. I cried a bit, but I felt such release from it and afterwards I could breathe deep into my lungs again. My therapist suggested that I take a ‘Mental Health Day’ today and I loved the idea. Nothing at work would fall apart without me, but if I didn’t take a deep breath I might fall apart. And so today has been lovely. I have read, I have watched Greys Anatomy on my PVR, I made yummy lunch, I did a bit of shopping, I made yummy dessert for dinner tonight, I thought and pondered what tomorrow will bring and the nature of hope. I am feeling strong and ready for tomorrow and holding hope that intangible thing with both hands, clasped into tight fists, holding onto hope as though my life depends on it.