Stages of Grief? By Kristine Collins

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Unexplained Infertility is our diagnosis; which is translated to “the medical community has no idea” why I never got pregnant. We had completed four rounds of intrauterine insemination (IUI) with all the hormones used for IVF. Our fifth IUI resulted in 15 eggs! (way too many = overstimulation) and we had to put it off until the following month. Waiting for the next cycle to begin we started to talk about adoption, nothing specific just asking each other questions to get a feel for how we both felt. One topic we both felt real strong about was that we would finish our infertility treatments before we would ever consider adoption. Going through the adoption process while going though infertility treatments seemed impossible to us as they are both incredibly difficult emotionally, physically, possibly even spiritually, financially and doing both would put too much strain on both of us, our relationship and mental state.

For as long as we can remember we both had a vision of what our child would look like; blue eyes, brown curly hair (but bald a bit too long from birth) and fair skin (that will freckle way too easily), what their voices would sound like or the mannerisms (my eye-roll, his stride (which is one of a kind if you ask me)) that they would get from each of us. We saw grieving the loss of the children we envisioned most, if not all, of our lives, the loss of being pregnant with a child that we made together, feeling the kicks, heartburn, hemorrhoids, of giving birth to or looking like us as the first step to the adoption process. I personally went through all of the phases of grief, some more than once;

Denial – This cannot be happening to us. I know I haven’t treated my body the best over the years during adolescence and my 20’s…ok and my 30’s. My older sister suffers from infertility, too, and is not able to make babies; there is no way God would do this to us and my mother; or would He? My birth father’s (terminated his rights when I was about 8) genes will die with me. My fraternal grandparents had three sons, one of which has three children, none of which produced biological children. Wow, that’s a heavy load to bear…I need a minute after that one…………..Ok, my mom has six siblings who all have children; all of those who have children “old” enough to be parents had children making them grandparents. Their grandchildren look like them; my mom will never see her genes in her grandchildren. She says it doesn’t matter but I wonder if it ever occurred or occurs to her. If it does, is there a twinge, even for a millisecond, in her heart? If that doesn’t make me feel like a failure, I don’t know what will.

Anger – I don’t deserve this. What kind of wife am I that I can’t give my husband a child? What good are doctors if they can’t even tell us why? I know its “practicing medicine” but this is ridiculous! Why the heck is building a family so expensive? The infertility drugs and hormones, certificate to adopt, agency fees, attorney fees…It really pisses me off to see what seems like everyone else is able to get pregnant and give birth to healthy children. Why is building a family so damn HARD??? Why would He end a family bloodline? What did one, some or all of us do that would warrant that?

Bargaining – God, if I just eat clean, take all of these vitamins, hormone pills and injections can I get pregnant? If I don’t eat the sugar I crave or drink the wine that makes the tears not burn as much, can I get pregnant? I know the drugs and hormones we bought from overseas are the same that are sold here but MAYBE there is something in there that the FDA doesn’t allow here that will get me pregnant? I know you will allow us to be parents and you have a timeframe and plan that we are not privy to, but if you could just move this along a bit faster, we would really appreciate it.  I will do anything you ask, God.

Depression – I will never know what it feels like to see a plus sign in the tiny screen of a pregnancy test. I will never look at my children and see my curly hair or my husband’s vibrant blue eyes. I will never feel a kick on the inside. What did I ever do to deserve this? I am a woman that can’t make a baby, what does that make me, exactly? I can’t give my husband a child. What kind of wife doesn’t give her husband that child he always dreamed of? I picked him in part because I knew he would be an amazing dad to our children. He deserves someone better than me that can provide him his dream of being a dad.

Acceptance – I am more than a baby maker. My husband and I have a solid foundation that infertility will not break. We are deeply in love and have been nothing but supportive and understanding of one another through this process. Infertility is quite a mountain to overcome but it’s the first of many we will face over the years.

My husband and I had the “the talk” while we waited for our fifth cycle to begin. “The talk” was the moment that changed our path to build our family. This is where we said what we had both been thinking out loud to each other. Who we were really doing all of this for? What did we really want? What we really wanted; to be parents to a child. I truly didn’t have to be pregnant and our children didn’t have to look like us. My husband truly felt the same way. A huge weight had been lifted from our home. We were happier but still took the time to process the decision we had made. This included tears, deep conversations and more tears. I don’t feel I completed the grieving process until we were approved to adopt. I can’t say when a person/family should start the adoption process after infertility treatments but I truly felt doing both at the same time was not a good idea for us. The hormones had to work their way out of my body. We had to go through all these stages to have a clear mind to go through the adoption process, to truly focus on the new path we would take to build our family.

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