Infertility Roller Coaster

by Iris Waichler

This summer I took my daughter to an amusement park. We went with a friend who also has a daughter as a result of infertility treatment. We ended up taking a ride on one of those chute roller coasters that ends up splashing in water. Kids my daughter's age and size were allowed to ride it.

I hate roller coasters and haven't ridden one in over twenty years. We slowly inched our way up and I thought this isn't so bad. Suddenly we were at the top of a forty foot drop. Our car began falling down the tracks. My heart raced, my anxiety level shot up, and my head throbbed. I had my daughter in a death grip.

We made it to the bottom of the ride and hit with a big splash, before gently floating into the stopping point. My friend and I staggered out of the chute car. We were shaken. Our girls jumped up and screamed, "Let's do it again and again."

I thought: let's try another ride (not a roller coaster). There was a giant pirate ship that moved back and forth like a pendulum. We climbed on that, and as it began to rock back and forth, I lost my stomach on the second swing. I closed my eyes praying it would end soon, and hoping that keeping my eyes shut would ease my suffering. It didn't! My friend and I got off that ride and I looked at her and said, "The things we do for our kids.

I'm sure that's not the last time we'll do something for them we would never do otherwise." She nodded and smiled knowingly. It was also somehow comforting to have my friend there with me going through it. She totally understood what I was thinking and feeling without me saying much of anything.

I thought about that day as I began to write this last chapter. There is the obvious parallel of the roller coaster, which I use as a metaphor throughout this book. I thought those rides that day really did mirror infertility treatment for me and many others.

I would do something that terrified me, that wreaked havoc on my body and my mind for my child. I would take what I perceived as a personal risk for her. When I knew I couldn't handle the roller coaster anymore I chose another ride, hoping that different ride would work, and it would please her and end successfully for both of us.

Those of you reading this book will be in many stages along your infertility journey. There will be days when things will go well, when test results are promising, or when you actually learn that you are pregnant. The day may finally come when it is time to leave and go bring home your newly adopted child and start your family. You may get word from your clinic that they have found a donor match for you or that a surrogate has been identified who will help make your dream of becoming a parent come true.

There will also be days where your test results will show that you are not pregnant. And days when you learn the medication you have been taking is not working, and you will have to try something new. Perhaps, you will continue to be unsuccessful at getting pregnant, and your physician won't be able to identify the reason for your infertility.

Maybe you will get to the point where you feel that if you have to undergo one more needle prick you will scream. You may ask yourself what is wrong with you or your partner -- or what "bad thing" you did -- that you are unable to create a child, no matter how many treatment options you use.

There may also come a day when you and your partner decide to stop infertility treatment and begin your post-treatment life, choosing to live childfree. It may be hard to imagine this day coming, depending on who you are, and where you are in your infertility journey. Not everyone succeeds, but life can have many fruitful outcomes.

All of these scenarios are emotionally charged. Whatever happens to you and your partner as you continue along the path of your infertility treatment, you can be certain you will be forever changed by your infertility experiences. Your relationships with your partner, your family, and your friends will also be impacted by your infertility experience. Your infertility will challenge and perhaps change these boundaries.