The Long and Winding Road

When I was a child, one of our yearly family vacations was to my grandparents’ cabin in northern Minnesota off a dirt road.  We’d take walks here, kicking up dirt, eating raspberries right off the bush, and picking wildflowers.  We hardly ever saw cars pass by.  I didn’t appreciate it for what it was when I was younger.  That seemingly endless road that eventually came to T, forcing you to go left or right and on to oblivion.

Hey, I was five.  All I knew was when we hit the T, I’d wave to the turkeys that seemed to always frequent the land there, cry when my dad said I couldn’t bring one home, and we’d walk back the way we came.  I’ve been thinking about those walks lately.  The winding road with the wild raspberries.

It didn’t work.

I ate pineapple core.  I walked a lot to bring blood flow to my uterus.  I (kind of) gave up coffee.  I felt positive about this cycle.  I felt twinges in my pelvic area that I was confident, along with others, was the result of a pregnancy.  Four was behind, but I had done plenty of internet reading that said four-celled embryos on a 3-day transfer worked.

But it seems to be over.

Saturday morning, when we were in Iowa visiting family, I took a home pregnancy test.  I had woken up remembering two separate dreams that I had a positive pregnancy test.  That had to be telling me something. 

But the pee stick was negative.  Very, completely, whole-heartedly negative.  And then Monday came, and the call came while we were outside planting the garden.  Chris left to go get us lunch, and I saw I had a voicemail.  The beta was negative.

Chris came back and we started eating, talking about the work we had to finish outside.

“They called already,” I said, taking a bite of macaroni, “It was like we thought.”

“Oh… really.” He sat back, staring out the window.

And then we started talking about yard work again.  Because what else is there to talk about?

Back when timed sex and pills weren’t cutting it, we thought, Well there’s always IUIs.

Back when IUIs weren’t cutting it, we thought, Shit, well I guess we’re doing IVF.

And with each failed IVF, we knew we’d try again.

But it’s the end of the road.  I have had the past 6 months to come to terms with the fact that if this last IVF didn’t work, then it meant my eggs weren’t good enough, that I will not have a child who will share my genes.  I won’t have a child with my traits.  I have had 6 months to come to terms with that.

And now that moment is here.  The most well-intentioned people have told me it doesn’t matter.  That a baby, any baby, will be mine.  I get that.  I accept that.

But it doesn’t make it any easier to face.  It doesn’t make the grief go away.

We always had another plan to fall back on.  There was always a next step in mind.  And now there isn’t.  There are options.  Egg donation, embryo donation, embryo adoption, foster-to-adopt, domestic adoption, international adoption.  It makes my head spin.

We have a decision to make.  Not right away.  But eventually we will need to research, decide on the next steps.  Because the scariest thing of all, the thing that I fear most, is that if we do nothing, there will be no baby.  Maybe I will be one of those and magically get pregnant when I am not even thinking about it . But realistically, if we do nothing, if we don’t move forward with a decision, there will be no child.  And I can’t even believe I am writing this.  A year ago, when I thought science was a damn near guarantee, I never thought I would see myself in this situation.

How did I get here?  What the hell happened, that m–f– IVF, state of the art technology, literally injecting sperm into my eggs, couldn’t bring me a baby?  How could I be one of those women that IVF didn’t work for? 

But that’s what I am.  12 rounds of Clomid, 3 back-to-back IUIs, 3 IVFs… None of it worked for me.  I can’t even believe that.

So before you ask, we don’t know what we’re going to do.  I have no idea.  There are no next steps right now.

Right now I am just feeling bitter.  And to combat that, I am trying not to feel anything. 

Please promise you will still love me.

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I am so, so sorry.

It seems like IVF and all the awful stuff we go through should work simply because it is so exhausting and draining and terrible. It's so unfair that it doesn't. I've got tears in my eyes reading this.

Thinking of you and holding you in my heart.


And wishing you peace and healing through all the time and decisions to come.


Sending you so much love! I'm so sorry. I really have no great words to offer, but please know that I'm sending you love, hugs and support for whatever comes next.


Oh Risa, uncontrollable tears are simply spilling from my eyes this morning as I read this (but ruined makeup is becoming a regular thing for me. people will most likely not even notice). I'm SO SORRY, ughhh, I'm just so sorry. I wish there was someone to blame, but you can't blame yourself… you did everything you could; and you can't blame Four… he was such a fighter. It simply doesn't make sense. It breaks my heart that your dirt road has run out. Crappy eggs is a REALLY crappy card to be dealt, I know. It sucks. A lot.… Read more »

Jenni Moore

Risa, I am absolutely heartbroken for you and Chris! I remember so well that feeling when we realized we were one of those people that IVF didn't work for. I believe I even wrote the same words…with timed cycles there was IUI, with IUI there was IVF, but when IVF failed, there was no next step. We took time, lots of time before we even began thinking about where this journey would lead us. We had a lot to grieve before we could begin to make any decisions. Eventually, we knew what the right path was for us. I pray,… Read more »

~ Megz ~

I am so so sorry- I am not in the exact same boat but after 4 years TTC and many invasive interventions and meds, we have NO more options left, and it is a hard place to come to when there are "no more next steps" no "next plan" at least not one you ever wanted to face and that makes it hard to digest and move on…I just wish like HELL I could give you a HUGE hug and big glass of wine…thinking of you today…

Amanda Eisenberg

Risa I am so sorry you are going thru this. We got that phone call last week after our third IVF went the way of our second with no viable blasts to test/transfer. So much of out journey has matched up but I was praying this part wouldn't and that Four would be your one. We are currently researching egg donor programs, and debating what to do with our untested blast on ice, but as of now no decision has been made. If you ever want to talk feel free to shoot me an email. Again I'm so sorry you… Read more »


I'm so sorry, friend. 🙁 I pray you'll find peace as you figure out what comes next.


Oh this is such a hard place to be. You get through it and you make peace with whatever you decide is the next step, but right here, right now, this is awful. And I'm so, so sorry.


I am so sorry. I can't imagine what it must be like to come to this point. I don't think any length of time coming to terms with not having a biological child can truly prepare you for the harsh reality. Whatever happens next, whenever it happens, I'll continue to follow along and cheer for your take home child. ((hugs))

Sarah J

Risa, I'm so sorry to hear the news. I know you had a troop of supporters fighting for Four to stick and grow and hang in there and make your dream come true. Crap. I know the bitterness won't fade,very quickly or at all, but I do hope that there is some peace to be found, and that perhaps this means a most amazing child is coming your way in some other way you never expected. Hugs to you and your husband.

Katie Jeanne

Oh, Risa… my heart just breaks for you. I am so so so sorry you have to go through this! My eyes are filled with tears knowing all that you have gone through and I know you won't stop fighting. I pray that some type of peace can surround you and you know that you have done everything possible! Whichever route you go with, you will continue to have a team of warriors on your sides. I am so sorry. Many hugs to you and Chris!

Kandie Walker

I am so sorry. I am so sad for you and Chris. This post is gut wrenching and the tears are flowing. I prayed and hoped that your next post would not be this post. 🙁 Praying that when you are ready God gives you all the strength and hope you need for the next step. Thinking of you both.


Oh Risa, I'm so, so sorry. We all wanted this so badly for you. I know you and Chris will figure this out – you are wonderful, loving people. I have no doubt you will find peace with your decision. I also hope you are able to make a trip north this summer. I've found beautiful Up North Minnesota is often the only place where everything makes sense. Thinking of you.


I'm so sorry that you're at this place Risa. It truly sucks. I wish you so much luck as you decide those next steps. You and Chris are just too awesome not to be parents. I'm hoping the next route you chose brings you to your babies.


So sorry it didn't work for you. I hope that with time you'll make the decision that will work well for you. After our last IVF failed we moved onto a round of donor eggs and it failed. Next round was donor eggs where one made it a 5 day blast of which we transferred along with a donor embryo we also transferred. Thankfully one of them made it. I'll find out with a blood test which one made it but in my heart it doesn't really matter because even though she isn't mine genetically I loved her before we… Read more »

Mrs. Lost

I'm so sorry.. Take every minute that you need to be pissed off at the universe because you deserve it. I will be thinking about you guys..


I'm utter heartbroken to hear this news. I'm so very sorry Risa. Please don't worry about next steps or trying to figure out which path at the crossroads to take. You and Chris have been through so much and you need to take the time to grieve. You'll know when you're ready. For now, please know that you are so loved. And though the future seems scary and uncertain, you will not be making this journey alone. Thinking of you and wrapping you and Chris in love.


I will forever love you! I am sorry this was the news your faced with. I am thinking of you always! ~Teresa


I'm so sorry, Risa. I know there's no comfort to be found right now. Sending you lots of love. *hugs*

Nina S

I'm so sorry. This just absolutely shitty.


Hugs for you Risa! Hugs and prayers!


I am so, so sorry Risa. I know to well how the the grief of walking away from a child with your genes can take time. Even though my embryos have no genetic connection to me, and without a doubt I love them more than anything in the world…I still grieve that loss. Maybe I always will? Maybe it will just be until that baby is placed in my arms. Just know that I'm thinking of you and have had many of your same emotions with the failures and setbacks. Hang in there, friend. xoxoxo


I'm so sorry. It's so terribly unfair. And yes, you do get to grieve your biological child. Whatever choice you make, I support you and I'll still love reading your words.


Hugs for you. 🙁 This is so so tough… After 4 IVFs and I also have nothing to show for, it's dizzying to think about the next option. A break from all of this will do your soul some good. I am so sorry for this day.

Baby On Mind

I am so so sorry. It is just heartbreaking and there really are no words that can make things better. I can relate. I just found out on Tuesday that our last embryo adoption transfer didn't work. Negative. Undetectable. Not even a chemical pregnancy. It really does suck. Take time to get mad, grieve and get mad again.

If you ever want to get together to chat, or have a rant/bitch fest, shoot me an email at babyonmind@gmail.com. We can meet up over happy hour or something.

Melissa Long

Aw Risa, I'm so heartbroken for you…So many hugs 🙁

Non Sequitur Chica

I'm so sorry. 🙁


This stings. We have had 8 IUIS and 3 IVFs too and I'm still currently empty handed. It feels cruel, unfair, bitter, frustrating. You my sweet friend have fought SO hard. I know you are choosing to close this door but I know that your fight to hold your children is far from over. Sending love to you <3


Risa, I've been in this exact situation and the best (and really only) thing I can tell you right now is to give yourself time. Maybe a lot of it. More than you think you need. For me, I thought I was prepared for this eventuality too, and that I would be ready to move on to donor eggs immediately. And then I just…wasn't. I didn't want to do anything, and I found myself beating myself up for it. Thinking that I should know what I want to do and I should get moving on it. I'm so sorry that… Read more »

Sindi Barker

Ugh, Risa, I hate this so much and I am hurting for both of you. I'm so sorry it didn't work. I'm a Christian and believe that God has a plan for us all…but sometimes, even I, have a hard time believing it. I don't know why God makes us suffer this way, but whatever the reason, I do believe that he is preparing us for something big. I am praying that whatever you and your husband decide to do will be the right decision. I'm on my 2nd iui cycle and the first cycle, I was just so sure… Read more »


Risa, my heart breaks for you. There's not much to say, other than that it's so damn unfair, and it truly makes no sense. Don't feel pressured to make any big decisions right now… let your heart grieve, and know that the the right choice will reveal itself to you over time. Sending you so much love and tons of prayers, my friend.

Jennifer T

I love the pic/quote at the end. I am so so sorry you are in this position. After having 5 failed IVF/FET's, I know how difficult it is to be in this position. I know there is nothing I can say to make it better and I hate that. You have every right to feel whatever feelings you are feeling right now. This is not fair and it is so hard to believe!I hope you know you are not alone. I hope that you receive divine guidance and direction in what you decide to do next whatever that may be.… Read more »


I don't know what to say. My heart just really goes out to you and Chris as you grieve.


I'm thinking about you friend.

Not Pregnant And Pissed!

Shit. This is so unfair. I wish there was something I could say to make it better but there is nothing. I am thinking about you and Chris and and wishing a different outcome for you two.


Oh Risa, I still love you my friend. I am soooo sorry that this didn't work out for you. There just isn't any explanation. I am here for you if you ever need to talk. If you have questions about using an egg donor, I'd be happy to answer any that I can. Like you said though, don't rush into any decisions. Take time to grieve. My heart goes out to you. Hugs!

Sweet C

I am so sorry to hear this. I have so much empathy, as we had a similar result (3 IVFs, two miscarriages, one didn't work at all). No matter what route you choose, do take the time to grieve the loss of a biological child (and potentially a pregnancy if you choose adoption). IT TAKES TIME. Lots of time. Remember that every time you feel like you are regressing…but you do find peace, I can promise you that. We did decide to go with domestic adoption, and I'm watching my beautiful awesome almost 8-week old daughter sleep on the monitor… Read more »


Risa, I am so sorry. I wish there was something to say to make you feel better. It's just so fucking shitty. It makes me mad for you, that it didn't work. It was supposed to work. It's so unfair. I'm so sorry. Please know I'll be thinking of you.


I read this last week and couldn't find the right words to say to you. I still don't have them, but I want you to know that I am thinking about you guys and praying that you are able to find peace with the situation. *HUGS* to you!

Carly Phipps

Dear Risa, I have followed your page for some time now. I was so sad to hear this news. How ever you get that baby you will be it's protector, teacher and mother. You and your husband will be amazing parents. Go ahead with those plans. Your amazing strength will provide a child with so much love. Keep positive and take care.


I am so, so very sorry it didn't work. I'm sorry you are in this position. It is something you have to grieve, it is a loss, and I don't think fertiles can ever understand that. It's so incredibly unfair. Take all the time you need to heal and you will know when you are ready to move forward with your next step.

ICSI treatment in India

So sorry to hear about this. Keep your fingers cross. Infertility journey is always filled with complicated path.