Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Breaking the Silence

I've seen this article linked a lot recently but it's deserves to be linked again. With IF there's a lot of 'suffering in silence' some people don't have good family support or support from friends. It's also incredibly difficult for others to understand what you're going through.

Breaking the Silence on Infertility

Monday, July 26, 2010

In the Beginning....

Okay so this is my second blog, my other blog is my happy little place where I drone on about knitting, traveling, baking and other fun things. This blog is going to be where all the unpleasant, graphic, ridiculous tales of woe are housed.

Infertility has been a part of my life for 5 years. I can remember hitting a point in my teens when I thought I never wanted to have children. And then years later when I started dating my future husband I couldn’t stop thinking about having children. From the moment I met Doug I knew we would have fertility issues – because he told me. Doug is a two-time cancer survivor and the same chemotherapy and radiation that helped save his life also took away his fertility. Luckily, his then girlfriend raised the question of banking sperm for the future before the chemo/radiation and we have a few vials to work with. We had our first visit with the Reproductive Endocrinologist in November of 2004. At this point I was only 23 and didn’t have the slightest indication that we would have to do anything beyond say IUI. Oh how na├»ve I was. The next spring we attempted IUI with Clomid, which is commonly referred to as the ‘gateway’ fertility drug, kind of the pot of fertility drugs. The IUI failed and I was pretty upset. This was obviously not going to be as easy as I thought it was. The RE suggested we move straight on to IVF. We waited a year and once we had the financial means we started our IVF cycle. I was 24, a few months before my 25 birthday, what should have been my peak of fertility right?

Going through IVF is this incredibly emotional and physical and financial process. It drains all three. You go through every emotion possible and then there are the shots and the ultrasounds and the blood work (and I have really crappy veins). And by week three pretty much everyone in the RE’s office, sans the receptionist, has seen your ovaries and your cervix. In the early morning I would drive over to the RE’s office for an ultrasound and blood work and then my afternoons were spent at work, trying to focus while waiting on the nurse to call me back and tell me what dosages of meds to take that night. At night my sweet husband had the pleasure of stabbing me with needles of meds that would stop me from ovulating and those that would help my ovaries grow more follicles. My abdomen got tighter and I was bloated and felt gross because my ovaries were popping out follicles everywhere. I had to limit my physical activity towards the end because you can contort your ovaries if you aren’t careful (how painful does that sound?!!). In the end the IVF w/ICSI and Assisted Hatching did not work, too few eggs were retrieved and we only had two embryos make it to Day 3, when the embryo transfer was. Having IVF not work completely devastated me. I was an emotional wreck for months and every little thing set me off. Stories about unplanned pregnancies, people abusing babies, everything made me so upset, there were days I could barely function without breaking into tears. The whole thing was “how can God let these people get pregnant and not me!” It has been hard to be around people who were pregnant/having babies but I had to get to the point where I realized ‘so-and-so being pregnant has nothing to do with me not being pregnant’. I felt awful for Doug because he had to put up with me being a total basketcase most of the time. Helping me manage all that just proves what a perfectly fantastic partner he is. We did another IUI, which also failed, and then we took a really long break.

Over the last two years, I’ve had a catharsis, something in my head finally clicked and I realized that it will all work out the way it’s supposed it, baby or not. One day we will be parents. There’s a plan and I have to be patient and not put everything else in my life on hold waiting to have a child. I had been so focused on that one small part of my life I ignored other things. So I started submerging myself into other things I had been putting on hold. I met and joined up with a group of some of the most amazing, supportive and loyal woman in the universe, I joined an online baking group, I took a lot of trips, started an organic vegetable garden, became an extremely dependable volunteer - all of these things I had been putting aside. I am so much happier now than I was the first IVF go-round. Which is maybe why I’m more optimistic this time.

Am I 100% positive this is going to work? Hell no. But this time I have a great support group and since I’ve been around the block I know what to expect now, good and bad.