When I think back on our IVF “journey” there are a few things that pop into my head right away:
- the $$
- the needles
- the denial, anger, and fear
When were were still living in Pennsylvania, we did our first 2 IUIs and 1 failed IVF cycle. Our doctor reminded us of one of our friends so we called her Megan. I remember sitting up on the exam table after having a saline HSG done, which was clear and perfect BTW, she opened up our file on her computer and pulled up Brian’s sperm count results that we were waiting for. She very sweetly said, “I think I know where your problem with getting pregnant may lie,” and she said something about sperm count not being enough, that 20 million was normal and we were way way below that. I remember not even being upset because I figured whatever number she said to us still sounded like a lot to me. Because everyone always says, “It only takes one!” I remember during our two pathetic IUIs, crying before the procedure because of Brian’s post-washed sperm count. It was even lower than usual because the washing procedure removes the dead/non-viable sperm leaving only the strongest ones. The amounts were so low that an IUI wasn’t even recommended but our doc gave us the choice anyway, which I appreciated because miracles happen right? And we already paid. But we might as well have thrown those thousands of dollars straight down the toilet. Of course, neither took. Not even a faint positive. Nada.
I remember so clearly sitting in her office after our first 2 IUI’s failed when she so casually mentioned that we would be perfect candidates for IVF. This is what she does everyday, it’s no big deal, it’s science. Crushing people’s dreams on making a baby on their own. She even froze her own eggs years ago because she KNEW TOO MUCH about what can happen. But she didn’t need to use them because she got pregnant on her own, and was currently pregnant and about to go on maternity leave in a month.
I’ll let that sink in.
She showed us a PowerPoint slideshow on how it works, held one of those anatomical figurines of a uterus talking about drugs and egg retrieval. It was all so medical and scary but yet she spoke so soft and smoothly like it was no big deal. I IMMEDIATELY thought no no no no that will not be me. NO FUCKING WAY. Take this stupid IVF information folder and shove it. I could hardly stand the thought of possibly doing one measly little shot during our IUI’s to “trigger” my ovulation (though I never needed it because I ovulate early on my own, and no one believed me so we damn near missed our very small window). How the hell was I going to get through DAILY shots for MONTHS let alone a fucking surgery with anesthesia to retrieve my eggs? I’ve never been knocked out before. I can’t freakin do this. No. We will not be doing IVF.
I was so in denial, angry as hell she would even suggest this to us, this stuff doesn’t happen to healthy people, and so fearful that maybe she was right.
Soooooo as it turned out, my desire to have a baby was more than my fear of the IVF process, so in what felt like a split second decision while I was sitting outside on my lunch break at work, I was in.
Like I mentioned before, our IVF cycle with that clinic failed. And now that I know so much more from working with a superior and way better clinic here in Colorado, I’m mad that the doctor and embryologist let us go through with our embryo transfer with two shitty embryos. It gave me a positive pregnancy test. It gave us false hope. I had to go through an early miscarriage. It was awful. But hindsight is 20/20. I know I’d be furious if they told us, “Sorry but these day 3 embryos aren’t viable because they look like they are still stuck in day 2 so no transfer will happen today, ” but no, they said “they’ll do better in their ‘natural environment’ of your womb,”….blah blah blah. I swear, looking back, I could see it in their eyes, how they didn’t have the heart to tell me the truth.
So when we were at our new clinic in CO, and we found out they only do day 5 embryo transfers, we were terrified because last time our embryos hardly made it to day 3. How in the hell would any make it to day 5? Well now I know why they do that. Because it allows the strongest ones to show themselves. That’s why their success rates are high.
So here’s my IVF formula:
$$,$$$ + the right clinic + 30% hope + 70% luck = Baby
I suppose the point of my post is to say this: Looking back, the PHYSICAL process of IVF really wasn’t as scary and complicated as I made it out to be in my head. That probably has something to do with getting over my fear of needles real quick out of necessity. But of course something medical and unknown to you is going to scare the shit out of you. But if I could’ve just been okay with giving up all control, going into those daily monitoring appointments, blood tests, and giving myself the shots with the amount of drugs the told me to and not even think a second thought about it, it would’ve been much easier on me. It was the mental part of everything that was the hardest. The what-ifs, the unknown, the surprise results, the set backs, the financial burden, the constant hoops that needed to be jumped through, the pregnancy announcements on Facebook, the reminders that you may never become a mom to a biological child with the man you love, the comments like, “just adopt” or “you’re still young,” lobbed at you from well meaning folks. It’s those things that were the hardest.
But damn, there are many positives that came out of all this fertility stuff too. I got over my fear of needles. Like seriously, I don’t care anymore. Brian is a pro at giving shots too. I learned to be okay with giving up control which takes a huge weight off my shoulders in all aspects of my life. I learned that I am a carrier of cystic fibrosis which is kinda good to know! I learned that Brian is not a carrier of cystic fibrosis so Lachlan is guaranteed not to have cystic fibrosis, but he has a chance at being a carrier too. I learned my blood type which is something that never needed to come up before but is good to know. I learned just how complicated and amazing it is to make a baby naturally because if it takes a village to create one little embryo in a lab, imagine what goes on in a woman’s body every month. And it removed any doubt I may of had about whether I was ready to have a baby or not. If I was unsure even in the slightest, I wouldn’t have gone through with all this stuff. You know, how people are like, “Ehhh we’re on the fence about kids, we just don’t know!” Well, this helped me know like, right away.
Being a mom is hard, but so is trying to become one.
And if you happen to be here reading this because you’re having problems trying to conceive and your doctors are waving your concerns off (which unfortunately happens way more often than it should), time to find a new one! Start asking questions, gather your health records, don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re making a fuss over nothing. Trust your instincts. I did and found out I was right in the end. Also, check out SART.org.