Infertility, part 3/3: The aftermath.

After I had emergency surgery, I was on sick leave for a week. I ate all the iron-rich food I could think of as well as iron supplements. I saw my own doctor who took blood tests to make sure the pregnancy hormone level was fading, which it did. Gradually, I grew stronger physically. About a month after the surgery I got a letter from the doctor who performed the surgery. She'd been in touch with the fertility clinic that performs IVF for patients in the area where I live, and they had decided that I would need to have my ovarian tubes removed before I could proceed with IVF. Some studies suggest that a salpingectomy can increase the success rate of IVF for patients who have had repeated ectopic pregnancies. Moreover, it would prevent me from having another life-threatening ectopic pregnancy in the future.

I already knew it was a possibility that the doctors would come to this conclusion and I understood their reasoning, but knowing for a fact that this would need to happen was still the most devastating blow. While I knew IVF was the natural next step on my TTC journey, this surgery meant the end to any hope I still had to conceive naturally at some point in the future. I now knew that I would never be one of the lucky women who get pregnant "when they least expect it to". I would never again take a pregnancy test wondering what if.

Five months after the emergency surgery I had the salpingectomy. For various reasons, I've been unable to proceed with IVF at this time in my life. Since the surgery, I have practically stopped tracking my cycle. I don't mentally keep track of what cycle day it is, because it just doesn't matter anymore. It just comes and goes.

I will not become a mother at 30 nor in the forseeable future. I might never be. While I was TTC I used to buy baby clothes to cheer myself up, especially when my pregnancies ended. I kept the first little onesie I bought hidden in my desk drawer at work, looking at it every so often. It's been over a year since I bought anything. In the past year I have gradually handed out the baby clothes I had acquired to friends and relatives who have been blessed with little bundles of joy.

Infertility is always there in the back of my mind. Even when I feel happy with my life at present, it's there in the background. I love my freedom, being able to sleep in when I want to and do whatever I want, but I know I would give it all up in a heartbeat for a family of my own.

I don't know what the future holds. I know this is not how my story will end and I will give IVF my all when the time comes. Meanwhile, I am learning each new day to make the most of a life so different from what I had hoped for. And I am grateful. Not for my infertility, but for being alive in this day and age, where I have the privilege to still feel hope. If I had been going through this not that many decades ago, my TTC journey would have been over for good at this point. Moreover, I am grateful that I was born in a part of the world where I have access to free, public healthcare. There are many parts of the world where my second ectopic pregnancy most likely would have cost me my life. As it is, I am still alive. There is still hope.

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