Tag Archives: IVF

Disgusted

May I please draft a venting post? If you are not interested in hearing a pregnant infertile rant, then by all means navigate away from this page…because here it comes.

I am semi-obsessed with the website BabyCenter. It is an informative and interesting site, with articles and tool and surveys…and discussion boards. I (stupidly, I will admit) am a member of several of these boards and regularly read and comment on other pregnant women’s posts. These posts range from announcements, funny stories, “What should I do?” posts, and inquiries on all aspects of pregnancy. One post I stumbled upon today, innocently enough, was entitled “Blood Test to tell Sex?” and mentioned an elective blood test (not currently available in the U.S.) that can accurately reveal your baby’s gender as early as seven weeks into pregnancy. (There is an article here if you are interested. I personally did not read it.)

So, as always happens on these boards, a mini-debate was sparked on where the test is done, whether one would do it if it was available, and so on until it reaches the point of whether one should perform this test.  One person eventually brings up “designer babies” and how reproductive technology has started down a dangerous path and that they fear for the future, blah, blah, blah. I’m just casually reading the comments up to this point…that is until another poster agrees with the “designer baby” lady and says, and I quote:

“Hopefully I instill enough morals in my children that they ALWAYS choose the natural normal way to have children.”

After reading those words I was so angry I almost vomited. How dare that woman suggest that there is something abnormal and nefarious in the manner in which we conceived these babies. Will my offspring have bionic limbs, or plastic organs, or not feel, or love? Will they not be “natural” children? Will you be able to tell your baby and my babies apart in the nursery because yours is normal and mine are not? Simply due to the way that C and I were made by nature, IVF was the only possible way that we could have gotten pregnant!

Does the “choice” (I use the term loosely…and bitterly) to conceive through Assistive Reproductive Technology make me and my husband immoral degenerates? NO! It makes us a couple who cared, and tried, and loved, and hoped, and failed, and tried and failed again and again but would NEVER STOP until they brought life into this world, no matter the cost. Would we have preferred the “natural normal way to have children?” Of course! But that wasn’t meant to be for us, nor for the thousands of other couples that struggle with infertility.

Infertiles do what we can with what we have, and screw you if we don’t conform to your morals and fit into your nice little “natural normal” box. My babies are going to be more wanted, more loved, more anticipated and more appreciated than your “natural normal” kid EVER will be, so piss off you ignorant bigot.

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Reflection

Gah! I have gotten so terrible at this blog thing. School doesn’t start until Monday, so I’m just enjoying the simple, summer life at the moment. Life is just so much calmer and freer from drama than it was this spring that it makes for less riveting blog-fodder…not that I’m complaining!

Was it really less than four months ago that we were fighting to not be consumed by the doubt and fear surrounding the inauguration of our first IVF cycle? That time of anxiety, stress, shots, and tests was all we could think about. We could barely hope for success; it had been so long since we had any good news that we almost forgot what getting good news was like. Then suddenly, one afternoon in late May, everything changed for the better.

Since then life has been happier and less dramatic. Not to say that these past 15 weeks have been worry-free. Pregnancy brings with it a new bundle of fears and worries, this time neatly packed into ultrasounds and FDA warnings instead of syringes. We can handle pregnancy…that’s the easy part! It’s the before and after that are the most challenging!

The twins are doing very well. They are very active and are as big as lemons now! I keep grabbing two lemons out of the fridge and holding them up to my growing belly…for scale, you see. I have felt them, very faintly, but I am looking forward to really be able to feel them moving. Perhaps it will make all of this seem more real! Our next appointment is on Tuesday morning, and if everyone cooperates we should be able to tell the genders! I am extremely excited, because knowing the genders will mean I can really begin planning for these babies.

I am feeling that Baby A is a boy…I dreamt about it. Baby B I don’t really have a “feeling” about, but my doctor seems to think that B is a girl. What do you think? Any dreams? Intuitions? Let me know what you think!

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All Human Wisdom

“All human wisdom is summed up in two words- wait and hope”~Alexandre Dumas Père

I think I just found the new slogan for infertile couples everywhere. Could there be a more appropriate quote for those who are counting every day, hour, and minute until they find out their results? When the injections have finished, when the blood tests and ultrasounds have been analyzed, when the eggs have been retrieved, fertilized and monitored, and once those precious embryos have been delicately transferred into an eager womb, there is literally nothing left to do.

Just wait. And hope.

C and I are right in the middle of The Two Week Wait (capitals intended). This is not just an infertility term, but actually is used for all women trying to conceive. The Two Week Wait is the time (in an ideal cycle 14 days) between ovulation and menses, but that’s not what really makes the phrase earn its capitalization. This is the time that couples wait, fertile and infertile alike, for a positive pregnancy test.

The Two Week Wait is probably the most dreaded step in the entire IVF process (yes, even more than the needles!). The strong, inspiring women that I’ve met through this process are women of action; we got tired of waiting for Nature do Her job, so we decided to do something about it. We chose to have our babies created by scientists in a laboratory through IVF, because that’s all we could do.  There is so much preparation and pressure and build-up to…nothing. This sudden inaction brings with it the greatest doubts, uncertainty, worry that I’ve ever felt, and yeah, maybe I can squeeze a little bit of hope in there too.

C and I are doing our best to be hopeful (can I even say be positive?), stay busy, and keep me from drinking bottles of wine out of nervousness and anticipation. So are we being wise as Monsieur Alexandre Dumas Père suggests? No. We’re just doing all we can.

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Fit to Burst

We are home, freshly implanted,  after another long drive from Indianapolis and the expert administrations of the incredible staff of the hospital and Dr. J’s office. I knew I need not have worried; Dr. B was friendly, personable, and knowledgeable, as well as a good joke-teller. That last one could have been slightly exaggerated due to my being drugged with Valium, however.

The transfer went incredible smoothly, even though we had to wait slightly longer today than we did for the retrieval. The only real downside of the entire experience was the Gatorade that I mentioned in this morning’s post. You see, in order for the doctor to clearly see one’s uterus on an ultrasound screen they must have a landmark to guide them. The obvious most easily manipulated of all the organs in that general vicinity is the bladder, therefore one’s bladder must be full for the procedure. I, not wanting to mess anything up, decided to chug an entire 32 ounce bottle of “Frost Riptide Rush” sports drink in the parking lot of the hospital and then take the prescribed Valium tablet I had been given. It was not a comfortable feeling. Even less comfortable was about 50 minutes later when we were waiting for Dr. B to come take us back to the transfer room.

This was bad. Very bad. I don’t think I have EVER needed to pee more urgently than I did this morning in that hospital room. It was all I could think about. C kept laughing and saying “Just think of your meditations…keep your mind off it.” Needless to say I didn’t appreciate the advice; deep relaxation is probably not a good thing when you’re trying to hold it in. When Dr. B came to talk to us and explain the procedure he, of course, asked if we had any questions. One would think that when undergoing an emotionally exhausting and complicated scientific process such as IVF couples would have an entire list of well thought-out questions to ask their doctor. Nope. Not us. I ask, “Has anyone ever peed on you during this procedure?” Sigh. He told me no, never, even though the nurse later told me that was a lie, that it happened quite frequently.

Ten agonizing, pee-free minutes later, I was on a bed in a little room (hoping I wouldn’t pee on Dr. B), holding C’s hand and watching our three little embryos being transferred to my uterus. Amazing. Here they are, our little guys.

Pretty cool, huh? Do you know how big they are?    .  <—That right there. A period in 12 point font. The one on the top/far right is the best; it’s an early blastocyst. The one to the far left is not as big as they’d like, but still really healthy so he’s got a good chance, too. The one in the middle has been at 5 cells since Monday, so we don’t have much hope for him, but who knows? We’ll see.

Now it’s time for rest and for waiting. Oh, and you know what? After witnessing our embryos being transferred through that incredible, touching act of science…I didn’t even have to pee that badly. :)

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The “P” Word

Deliberate, well-timed, and perfect. That is my mantra for these few days. After yesterday’s blood work and ultrasound my follicles are still not growing as quickly as Dr. J would like, and my retrieval has been pushed back (again) to Friday. Sunday I allowed myself to wallow in self-pity for a while (sorry for the depressing post), but today it’s not going to be like that.

The word “positive” is bandied about a lot in the infertility world, and sometimes it can really develop its own terrible persona that twists itself around and makes you absolutely loathe it. People tell you to stay positive, be positive, think positive, use positive visualization, hope for positive pregnancy tests (yeah right!), will you positively SHUT UP and let me feel the way I want to feel about this whole thing?  However, positivity doesn’t have to be a four letter word. I just truly have to keep reminding myself over and over that the “what if’s” and “but maybe’s” are far more detrimental than only allowing positive thoughts to dwell in your heart and mind. This is much easier said than done, especially for a worrying, control freak like myself.

Therefore, I’ve decided that instead of positivity these next few days I’m going to focus on gratitude. What am I grateful for during these tough times? Well, I’m grateful for my wonderful husband, whom I love dearly, and for our ridiculous dog who has driven me crazy and kept me sane at the same time. I’m grateful for my family, my job and amazing co-workers, and my imperfect little house. I’m grateful for the warm spring weather and sunshine. I’m grateful for Dr. J and health insurance! I’m grateful for that little bit of belly fat (that I’ve been cursing for so long) that’s actually making it less painful to give myself injections. I’m grateful for all the people blogging and talking about infertility to make it seem not so secretive or something to be ashamed of. I’m also grateful for the two awesome women that I met last night at a RESOLVE support group meeting. It’s so reassuring to know that I’m not alone through all of this. For all these things, and many, many more…I’m positively grateful.

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Right in the gut

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.

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Just getting started…

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.

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