Before beginning treatment, you should sit down with your partner and talk about how far you are willing to go: what treatments you will consider and how much money you are willing to spend.
That's probably good advice in theory. However, in reality it is difficult to do. The truth is that sometimes you don't really know how far- or not- you'll be willing to go to achieve your dream. Actually when I read that piece of advice last summer I talked to John about it and we both agreed that it was nearly impossible to make that decision ahead of time. There are so many variables: medical, financial, emotional, moral. We took a "one step at a time" approach.
"One step at a time" is a good way to do life, in my estimation. Especially the hard stuff. Sometimes the steps forward in fertility treatments are easy. The treatment I'm on now, for example, was easy to walk into: 10 little pills taken over 5 days. They cost $7. If this treatment works: hallelujah! If it doesn't, it was worth a try.
Others are very, very difficult. We talked with our fertility clinic about the cost of IVF. $12,000 per cycle. Most women are recommended to do up to three cycles. Then there's the emotional cost of spending your savings- or going into debt- and worrying about what you might regret if you're $30,000+ poorer and you've got nothing to show for it.
I'm not going to expand on the moral/ethical questions of fertility treatments, but there are those considerations too.
And then from a religious perspective, there's the question of what you feel God is calling you to do. I do not think God curses couples with infertility in order to make them adopt, however I do believe there is a holy wisdom couples need when they are considering how they should grow their family. When you are paying out of pocket like we are, you want to be wise in how you use your finances.
Each couple or person has to come to peace with their journey on their own. I've heard many women say that they got to the point where they realized what they really wanted was a baby and the pregnancy and biology didn't matter. Because I've heard that sentiment expressed over and over, I've spent a lot of time considering it and come to the hard realization that I can't say it. I wish I could. But I can't. I have- and love- motherhood. Adopting a toddler has been an incredible experience and I do find myself wondering if having a baby is really that important to me. I don't know the answer to that yet.
What I do know, however, is that the pregnancy is important to me. I ache so deeply to have a baby grow inside. It's not even the genetic link- we've even talked about embryo adoption for this reason- it's the biological tie. The tummy expansion. The kicks. The labor. The delivery. Breastfeeding. Nurturing and growing a child from the inside. That's what I want.
Yesterday a woman from our church gave her testimony, which included a long struggle with infertility. She talked about what it means to accept something even while you're still sad about it. She's had two biological children and had to accept that she'll never have another. She's sad about it, but accepting it has allowed her- and her husband- to start the process of adoption to grow their family.
That's the thing I'm praying about these days: asking God when do I accept infertility? How long do I keep fighting for my dream?
I know we're not there yet. I have so much hope for our treatment right now and peace about the journey we're on.
But I'm also watching my little boy get bigger and bigger without a sibling. I'm thinking about kindergarten in a year and a half and wondering what God has for me. I thought I'd be home with a couple little ones by then. Now I'm wondering what happens if we're still walking through this infertility journey. What will I do with myself? It seems impossible that I won't have a baby in my arms by then, but four years ago I didn't think we'd only be a family of three in 2014 either.
What do we want for our family?
What does God want for us?
How do we spend the resources we've been given?
How long should we continue with fertility treatments?
When do we make the decision to adopt again?
How do I know what desires God has given me for his purposes?
How do I know which desires I need to let die?
And of course.... always the "why?"
When to say when?
Lots of questions. I don't have answers. I trust that God will provide them at the right time. I'm working hard to seek his will in all these things.
If you said "when" in your fertility journey I'd love to hear your story. How did you decide? When did you decide? Did you find peace? Do you still ache? When did you say when?