My Musings

The Ostrich

Decision (noun): The action or process of deciding something or of resolving a question

They say that people have either a “fight or flight” response to events that are perceived as stressful or frightening, but I’ve always had a third response: freeze.

I’ll be crossing a road (often at an unmarked crossing, because I’m an adult and *should* in theory, be able to cross a road), yet, if a car approaches out of the blue, instead of progressing to the other side, or taking a step backwards, I just freeze on the spot. My amygdala response is all wrong – and it frustrates James, no end.

On Wednesday it happened again and I’ve been frozen, burying my head in the sand, ever since.

After all the medical treatment to my womb last year, my follow-up appointment was scheduled for early December, it was however cancelled at the last minute and I heard no more. But then on Wednesday, I received a call – the hospital had a cancellation and an appointment in an hour, would I be free?

Hospital appointments in the gynaecology department make me anxious, just in general. But with zero notice and even less thinking time, I was on my way. It was all going ok, but then the consultant suggested next steps and said I should start considering IVF, due to my age and how long this is all taking. I’ve always known it could be an option (serves me right for bemoaning my 43 day cycles), but it was a huge shock. I thought I would be the one to eventually suggest it, and now that someone else has, it took all that I had, not to cry. The realisation that it’s come to this: I thought my challenge was staying pregnant, now you’re highlighting that it’s also in getting pregnant.

And that’s what’s left me frozen, head in sand, stuck.

After that, I didn’t take much in. I can only describe it, as a grey haze descending. I function perfectly in other walks of life, in my challenging day job etc, but get me in front of a fertility doctor now, and my brain can’t deal with it. I’d find it fascinating, if it weren’t so irritating. Thinking about it now – writing it out loud, as it were – I think I froze. No more in, no more out. No moving forwards, or backwards. Freeze.

To me (and I told the consultant this), IVF is not a guarantee or the great panacea, everyone thinks it is. I don’t see it as the happily ever after. I see it as a huge physical, emotional, mental and even spiritual (what do you do with any leftover embryos, if you get to that stage?) challenge. And if I were coming at this cold, with no history of pregnancy, I could perhaps deal with it better. I would have some resilience or tolerance, but now, would every failed implantation (if we even get that far) emotionally feel like a miscarriage? Worse still, what if I go through IVF – which is no walk in the park, remember – only to have yet another actual miscarriage? Worse yet, what if it just doesn’t work, at all? I know of so many unsuccessful cycles.

And let’s not forget, I’m fortunate in that I am able to get pregnant. Sure, it’s been a while, but I have gotten pregnant naturally three times before. I thought that was my saving grace, but perhaps time is against me now. It was ok to think like that when I was 31, but I’m 36 now.

The problem? Everyone has an opinion and I don’t know which to take.

The bigger problem however, is the pre-guilt.

“Do not fear failure, fear regret”

All I have is regret. And I already feel guilty for making the wrong decision, about something I’ve not made a decision on. I have the pre-guilt of robbing us of the future we want. Of wasting time, if I don’t act on his suggestion now.

But I chickened out. I decided to take tentative steps. Yes, I will do the initial IVF blood investigations. Yes, we can test my tubes. But no, I’m not letting myself think about actual IVF as an option, just yet. Not when there’s still hope that I can still get pregnant naturally.

Alternatively, I can take metformin, due to my polycystic ovaries. It’s possible it will reduce my cycle length – and apparently, there’s a slight chance I could even get that much coveted 28 day cycle?! But what if it doesn’t? And what if I just waste yet more time and have yet another childless year and end up eventually getting medical assistance (IVF, IUI or otherwise) anyway?

It’s hard to make decisions. I don’t know how this ends or what’s for the best. So for now, I’m being a full-on head-in-sand ostrich. This can be a challenge for another day.

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