Our IF History

14 Aug

I really need to stop looking at Facebook. Ever. First it was the pregnancy and birth announcements of people I don’t really know that well, now it’s election season which means a lot of inanities from all sides. Today I saw someone attacking IVF, saying “there are plenty of other ways to treat fertility.”

I felt compelled to respond, but didn’t want to clog up a friend’s page with a long and involved story. So I’ll do it here.

I had Danny in November of 2005. He was breech (completely sideways – his head was stuck in my ribs), and about 3 weeks early, but no one said anything about any problems. Well, maybe they did say something, and I just didn’t realize it, because man those c-section drugs are powerful.

In March of 2009, I was having severe abdominal pains and ended up in the ER a few times for pain control. Ultrasounds revealed several ovarian cysts. One in particular was pretty large, and so my ob/gyne scheduled a laprascopy to remove it. The laprascopy showed, not only several cysts, but severe endometriosis that had spread throughout my abdominal region. The doctor sat down with Ken and me – we were still only dating at that point – and said that if we wanted kids, we better get cracking.

In August of 2009, we got engaged. We figured we would move the wedding back or forward, depending on how successful we were at, ah, cracking. We charted daily temperatures, took vitamins, and did everything we were supposed to.

By March of 2011, we still had never gotten pregnant. We were then referred to an RE – reproductive endocrinologist. A fertility doctor. We sat down and met with him a few times, went over the medical history. We found out pretty quickly that Ken had issues as well, though not nearly as bad as mine were.

In July of 2011, I went in for an HSG – hysterosalpingogram. (I probably misspelled that.) It’s a minor surgical procedure where dye is injected into you, to see if the ovaries and fallopian tubes are connected and working properly.

During the procedure, the doctor looked up and said, “Did your mother do any drugs while she was pregnant with you?”

When I was done laughing, I said, “No, why?”

I have a unicornate uterus. (Initially, I thought the doctor said “unicorn uterus” and I was all, “Oh, it’s unique and magical!”) What that means, is, instead of shaped like a triangle, it’s shaped more like an oval. My right side fallopian tube and ovary do not meet up with my uterus, so I’m only fertile every other month. If I do get pregnant, I risk having breech presentation and early delivery (Gee, that sounds familiar…)

Given all the other problems – the cysts, the endometrial tissue, the unicorn uterus (I prefer to think of it that way) – the doctor said our only option for a pregnancy was IVF.

We’ve now gone through three rounds of it. Three rounds of twice daily injections (sometimes even three a day), blood tests, ultrasounds, surgical retrievals. Three rounds of going crazy from hormones. Three rounds of getting our hopes up, only to be devastated by bad news every time.

Some people have said some really insensitive and strange things throughout this process.

“Why don’t you just adopt?” Well, first of all, I’d like to be pregnant again. The first time around, I didn’t have the luxury of a husband or supportive partner. And I’d like to experience that. Plus, I think my husband would like a biological child of his own too. But, aside from all that, it’s expensive. Ken adopted Daniel shortly after we were married. The attorney and court fees alone – and this was an uncontested adoption – ran us a few thousand dollars. From my preliminary research, a domestic infant adoption starts at 20,000. We just don’t have that kind of cash lying around. If we did, we’d say, “Cash! Stop being lazy and go buy us a baby!” But even then, we wouldn’t be guaranteed that a birth mother would pick our family to raise her child.

“Why can’t you be happy with just Daniel?” Believe me, I am happy with Daniel! He’s fantastic!! In fact, I love him so much, that I’d like to give him the best gift of all – a sibling. Plus, it’s really hard to have your child cry and tell you all he wants is a baby brother or sister, and to know you can’t do anything about it.

“Just relax and you’ll get pregnant!” Really? Okay, I’ll relax myself into growing a normal uterus, relax away the endometriosis, the ovarian cysts, etc… Now what? Still not pregnant.

“IVF is a sin.” Well, so is judging people. At least my “sin” will hopefully result in a new life.

So that’s why I get upset when people try to politicize IVF. Until you’ve gone through it, and all the heartbreak that comes with it, you really don’t understand. And I’m not exaggerating when I say heartbreak. My heart has been broken several times now, with each negative result, with each setback, and with the uncertainty of what comes next. I don’t know what our next step is going to be, but whatever it is, I don’t think you should judge me on Facebook over it.

6 Responses to “Our IF History”

  1. Vicki August 14, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

    **Disclaimer: Some of the things I express and feel are legitimately irrational and stem from the pain of IF. It’s not necessarily how I am all the time, and I certainly don’t hate my friends who have children, or their children. Even if I do sometimes want to punch them a little.

    1.) “Why don’t you just adopt?” I’ve heard this too, with the addendum “You’d think YOU of all people would want to, since you were adopted.” No, crap-for-brains. I want a child of my own that much more. Besides, while that may be an option down the road, this is still my fight, and I’m not ready to stop fighting it yet! This statement is meant well, but it’s really backhanded and insensitive. It makes me extra mad when people with babies say it. Oh, really nice, coming from you. Jerk.

    2.) “Why can’t you be happy with [what you have]?” Again, nice in theory, but no. It’s hard to describe to someone on the outside how it feels like “settling”. How it feels to be left out in the cold. How hard it is to want to support your friends, and at the same time hide from baby showers, girls (+babies) lunches, and all the general things where you’re inundated with glowing pregnant girls and cute scrunchy babies and you’re reminded in technicolor stereo what you’re missing out on. It’s enough to make a person want to scream.

    3.) “Just relax and you’ll get pregnant!” It’s a good thing people stopped saying this to me when they did, or there would be a lot of people with broken noses. Relaxation has nothing to do with anything. My RE said it best: “If stress caused infertility, then how do people in the war-torn areas of the world, like Afghanistan and Sudan, still manage to have children at a healthy rate? Do we really think our lives are more stressful than theirs?” Relaxation can help when the feelings get too bad. But they do jack squat for improving fertility. This is a very flippant statement, and comes across as incredibly calloused.

    4.) “IVF is a sin.” Wow, really? Just…you know, I can’t even begin to open a theological can of worms here, because if I did, it would be a maelstrom of negativity, and I don’t want to go there. I believe this: God does not give us a desire idly. I also believe that God’s works are evident through science, and they are tools we can use to understand and appreciate his world better. And, sometimes, when you keep hitting a brick wall, it feels like God is sometimes a bastard. He probably actually isn’t, but it does feel that way when you pray, and pray, and pray and do everything in your power to fulfill what is one of the most primal and beautiful of desires and still life gives you the middle finger. It doesn’t make sense. It’s a sin for two good, honest, decent people, who would do a world of wonders, to do whatever it takes to have a child, and yet it’s okay for horrible people to have kids like they’re changing underwear and treat them like garbage? They are more blessed by God, even though they lock their kids in closets, ignore them, beat them? I call BS on that one. That’s not the God I’ve come to know. But it doesn’t make sense. And it makes even less sense why good people have to continue suffering so. It’s not a sin to want to share your love with a child. It’s not a sin to use what God has made available to us to help. Jesus did say it was a sin to cast stones, however.

    I know it doesn’t make anything better, but you’re not alone. I am still picking up the pieces of my own heart. I hope this blog, and just better communication in general, helps people to be more compassionate and supportive for you.

  2. Melissa August 14, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    Sheilah (and Vicki),

    I just want to say how sorry I am that you both are struggling. Maybe it sounds trite or dumb because of Waverly, but I mean it. I’d really like to know the right thing to say. I mean, I’m aghast at the “IVF is a sin.” and “Just adopt.” comments; I’d never say anything like that.
    You are not my only friends struggling. I’d like to offer support without sounding…irritating? Stupid? Hurtful?

    I sincerely hope everything works out. Much peace to you.

  3. sohobbes August 14, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    It doesn’t sound trite or dumb. Just saying that you are offering your support is enough. Love you.

  4. Melissa August 14, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

    ❤ to you as well.

  5. Vicki August 15, 2012 at 9:16 am #

    I guess this situation is no different than any other form of grieving…the only thing to say is “I’m sorry” and “I’m here if you need anything”, even though they seem so cliched. I know my friends are super caring and supportive. Like all grief, it’s just hard.

  6. calmbabyblog September 5, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    Hi, we are in very similar position. All I know is people who have not been through this will never fully understand all the emotions you are going through. I have found some fellow fertility friends who are more understanding and know what to say. I hope you are successful very soon. Lots of love. x

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