Hey there late 20’s to mid 30’s married person with no children. You look a bit confused and stressed. Your eyes are red (have you been crying?). Are you ILL? No, I know you feel fine. Are you ILL, like me? An Infertility Language Learner? You don’t have to be infertile to be an ILL, though. The fact that you’re reading this means that you are either aboard the USS Fruitless or you care about someone who was conscripted into her service.
If you are in the field of education you have no doubt heard the term English Language Learner (or ELL) used with students for whom English is not their first language. When C and I began this journey we, like so many others, were just innocent recently-weds who wanted to wait until “the time was right” to have kids. We went from Not Trying, to Not NOT Trying (what does that even mean?), to Trying…and trying…and trying….to INFERTILITY! Suddenly we were cruelly tossed into a restless sea of acronyms and abbreviations, mucus and morphology, hormones and heartbreak, analyses and…alliteration, apparently.
As with any medical condition, the universe presented us with a new vocabulary to quickly absorb and allow to dominate our lives; we became Infertility Language Learners. In short order we mastered terms like endometriosis, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), sperm counts, motility & morphology…and these were just the infertility issues with which we were both diagnosed! We hadn’t even started talking about ART yet…oh, sorry…Assisted Reproductive Technology. So we were referred to an RE (reproductive endocrinologist) who quickly ruled out IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) and drugs like clomid and we were sent down the merry road of IVF (in vitro fertilization) which has its own set of terms and procedures; IMI (intramuscular injections), ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection), egg retrievals, embryo transfers, and all the medications to keep straight; how much of which medication? When? Injection? Oral? Other?! Without a doubt it can be overwhelming for any couple.
As for C and me…we’re just here waiting. After months and months of studying we just had our final exams. I hope they post the results soon!
Another call from the amazing biologists in Indianapolis; our baby embryos are still growing “like rock stars” as a blogger friend put it! Two of these little guys are already five cell embryos, and the third is already six cells! This is good progress and they should be up to eight or so by Wednesday when we have the transfer. Time flies by so quickly! I’m sure every mother says the same thing…”One day I was being sedated for my egg retrieval after stimulating my ovaries with hormone injections, and in no time at all they were eight cell embryos being transplanted into my uterus with a flexible needle! Next thing you know they’ll be implanting in my endometrium! They grow up so fast.” I know, I know…it’s pretty cliché .
In another phone call I found out that Dr. J isn’t going to be able to do the procedure on Wednesday. He will be out of town so the other RE (reproductive endocrinologist, for those of you who don’t speak infertility) Dr. B will perform the transfer. I have to admit that I freaked out just a little, but I have accepted this fact and I know in my heart that either one of these genius men and their team of incredible biologists will work their magic (well, science) to get us pregnant.
Sending lots of love and positive thoughts to my almost-grown-up little guys in Indy…we’ll be together soon!
Today is cycle day 5, which means that I gave myself my third injection today. This is one of the aspects of IVF that I most feared. I don’t care at all about needles (they’re pretty small anyway), and I wasn’t afraid of the pain (today’s hurt a little), but I was just terrified of messing it up. Here I am, just a high school teacher with no medical experience (unless you count being a lifeguard in high school). I’m expected to reconstitute and mix these incredibly expensive medications into a sterile syringe and self-administer the injections into my belly! It’s quite an intimidating responsibility.
Those of you who have gotten up the balls to jam that first shot right in the gut know what I’m talking about. You’ve had hope. You’ve waited. You’ve felt the failure and pain every month when you get out that box of tampons…again. You’ve been to the doctor, had blood drawn, had everyone and their intern poking around between your legs. You’ve made more appointments, handed over your credit card, and waited some more. When finally you get to what you think could be the beginning of the end (and the beginning) there’s so much riding on your ability to not royally eff up this one little thing that you are almost paralyzed with the anxiety.
But then you take a deep breath and you do it. You grasp that little syringe full of liquid hope in your shaky hand and stab it right into your tummy. Whew. That wasn’t so bad. In fact, the first one didn’t hurt at all. Out of sheer disbelief hat I had done it, I even forgot to take the needle out until C said “Um, that’s probably good. You can take it out now.” I did and promptly burst into tears of relief!
After the third day of this new morning routine I’m much more comfortable with the whole process. I’m feeling pretty well, too. My nurse said that the Bravelle and Menopur (both follicle stimulating hormones) shouldn’t have too many side effects other than a little bloating and a sense of being full. Well, I hope that I’m full; full of lots of follicles that will give me and C (and Dr. J) some healthy, beautiful eggs with which to work.
Hi. Welcome to my very first blog. Ever. I’m Kate and I’m 28 and my husband C (30) and I have been married just over four years. We have (unsuccessfully) been trying to conceive for over two years and have just started our very first in vitro fertilization cycle with Dr. J in a city about three hours away from our Midwestern town.
I wanted to start this blog as a way to talk about my experience with the process of IVF and possibly talk to others who are going through the same thing. I also would like to give other women experiencing the heartbreak of infertility (you?) a tool so they can see what they might be able to expect before starting their own IVF cycle.
If you read this, I promise to try to stay positive throughout the process, which will be a challenge for me but will help keep me focused. I promise to be honest; show you the good and the bad, share the details without exaggeration…Drama isn’t going to help anyone through this!
I can’t promise that it won’t be scary or heartbreaking, but I wish I could. I read so many of these blogs and cried and cried, sure that I would never be able to hold my own baby in my arms. I truly hope that this will be a story with a happy ending that will inspire others to be strong on their own IVF journey.