IVF Consult

Two weeks ago my husband and I went to our IVF consult with our RE. I have intentionally not blogged about it for a few reasons, but mostly because when we left DH and I had some differences of opinion on a few things that we really needed to talk through. The good news is that we both agree IVF is for us so that is a step in the right direction.

Most of the appointment itself was exactly what I expected. Dr. M. went through the science in Lehman’s terms for us. Most of this information was not news to me, however DH refuses to do any research on his own, and does not want to hear it from me. He only wants to hear it from the doctor, so it was necessary for him to really break it down for him. I thought Dr. M did a good job of explaining things.

What I did not realize was the first time I came in to the RE’s office and had an ultrasound he did an antral follicle count. I likely didn’t know because I knew so very little about ART and infertility at the time, and I was in complete shock about the cyst and the impending surgery. They also never posted the “results” of the ultrasound on my patient portal. He said in our meeting that my count just over a year ago was 16 follicles. He decided to do another ultrasound during the appointment to recount, and he also found 16. From what I have researched online this is literally the lowest possible count to be considered “normal”, which is sort of concerning because the high end is like 30. I did not realize that your count is basically the highest number of eggs they would be able to retrieve in a given cycle.

He went on the explain that out of 16 possible eggs, after ICSI fertilization on day 5 he would expect that we would have 4-5 good ones just based on statistics of some not being mature enough, some not fertilizing and some not growing properly. I am not sure what I expected, but this was a little shocking to me.

He then went on to say that roughly at my age (32) I would have about a 50/50 shot of getting pregnant with a single embryo transfer, and around 70% if I were to transfer 2. He then said that if I did choose to transfer 2 that I would have a 45% chance (or maybe more) of having twins. At this point my husband pretty much hit the floor. I mean it was visibly noticeable how uncomfortable he was by the thought of twins.

Dr. M. then went into the chromosome testing (PGS 24). He did a good job of explaining the benefits of the testing, and told us that our odds of getting pregnant with a single embryo that had been tested were greater than with 2 untested. He also told us that we could choose the sex of the baby (if we wanted) if we did the testing. My husband was totally sold. I am not so sure.

We have an appointment with the financial coordinator and the nurse coordinator next week to go over the dirty details of it all (and when I say dirty I mostly mean allllll the freaking money this is going to cost).

I know my husband really well, and how his head works, so I have him a few days to really think about things before I approached him again. I also needed to think about how I felt and talk it over with a few very close friends. So a few days later we had another conversation. As I already knew he is extremely freaked out by the idea of twins. A lot of this feeling comes from the financial side of things which I do understand as usually I am the one who is way more controlling over our money than he. He also is hesitant because when his son was an infant it was not the greatest experience for him. His ex-wife had post-partum depression which caused a lot of extra stress for both of them. I think he may feel a little scarred from that experience and is nervous about having even one infant. I do understand this completely and I am sensitive to it.

Our other difference in opinion is over how many kids we actually want. We have always said (before our IF issues) that we would have one and then decide about another, but for sure not more than two. As we have gone through all of this I decided I really want two, and he apparently is good having just one. If possible I would also like to have them fairly close together if nature allows. We are not getting any younger, especially my husband who is going to be 41 very soon. Part of his desire to do this extra testing is because he could almost guarantee a girl and he thinks that if I have a girl I will be just fine not having another child. I have told him that I really do not think that is going to be the case.

I would never want to bring my husband into the role of parenting a child, or two, if he is not 100% in it. I also am trying to balance that with what I want. It is not like I am bringing the second child into the mix out of the blue. We have talked about it since way before we were even married.

I am also not really good with choosing the sex of the baby. In fact, I am not sure I even want to know at all. Honestly is more of a shocking conclusion to me more than anyone else. It feels like with this whole process so many things are taken away, most of all the surprise and the secret. And what I mean is that I will probably never have the surprise of getting to take a pregnancy test after an unexpected missed period and see those double pink lines, and then get to hold the secret in from friends and family until I am ready. DH does not see it that way. He is adamant about knowing the sex, and if he can make sure it’s a girl all the better.

The final issue, that I think we have resolved, is the timing. He was literally ready to go and take out a loan the day we had the appointment. The smart thing for us to do is to WAIT until tax return and bonus time and hopefully start the process in April or May. He definitely does not seem to understand how long this is going to take, and that adding the testing lengthens the process even more. He for sure does not get that you cannot plan anything big during all of this and I can already tell you when the time comes he will be impatient. He travels for work EVERY month, sometimes on multiple trips. The logistics are going to be more challenging that he thinks. I like Dr. M, but he really has a way of making everything sound super easy. My husband love this and buys everything he is selling. At the end of the day DH does agree with me on timing and we will be waiting until next spring, which also leaves time to sort out some of these other issues. I am sure we will find compromise eventually.

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Accuracy in Infertility Reporting

A story of a couple in North Carolina was picked up Nationally in the last two days or so and today one of my local news channels posted it on their Facebook page.  If the story has not reached you, it is about a couple who was trying for their third child and according to the article had been trying for 9 months and she had been diagnosed with PCOS.   The article says that the couple had taken fertility drugs and was considering adoption when they got the “surprise” that she was pregnant.  And all of that is completely fine, but then most of the versions of this article I have found (Except for USA today) specifically say “Although there was just ONE egg, at the six week ultra sound the doctors told her she might be carrying six babies.”  As it turns out there were actually 7, which was discovered a few weeks later.  From everything I know about reproductive science, the only way this would be possible is if the ONE egg split 7 times making IDENTICAL septuplets.  I cannot even imagine what the statistics of this would be, but the article goes on to say that one baby was miscarried, a boy.  Shortly after the couple discovered that the remaining six babies were all girls, therefore there is absolutely no way that there could have been only one egg because identical multiples cannot be of the opposite sex.

By all means if I am missing something here please let me know what it is, but its more likely that this is just inaccurately reported.  I hope, with all my heart, that they did not lie about the single egg.

So why am I so up in arms about this most likely very inaccurate reporting?  Because this is the type of article that people like to read and pass judgement….people I know.   This is the kind of thing that puts false ideas in the heads of the uneducated fertile population about infertility.  We will probably never know what really transpired to impregnate her with seven babies.  Maybe it was mismanagement of treatment, or maybe it wasn’t.  I am not going to judge.  Things happen.  But I do wish that the article was up front about what happened.  If I was in the public spotlight and wanted to advocate for the infertility community I would sure as hell be honest and make sure that whoever was reporting the story was honest as well.  The last thing I need during all of this stress is a misguided friend or family member telling me that I can get pregnant with septuplets with ONE egg.

I am probably way more worked up about this than I should be, but I had to get it off my chest.

S

I Just Wanted You To Know

I have been thinking a lot lately about what I would want my friends and family to know about this journey. I spent some time just writing from the heart, and this is what I came up with in the moment. I am not yet ready to share it with them, but someday I might be. 

I just wanted you to know that I am struggling. No matter how okay I might seem, I am really not. This doesn’t seem like it could really be happening to me. It’s not fair. I am doing my best to cope, but sometimes I just can’t. Please understand. Please be gentle.

I just wanted you to know that I am jealous of you. How could I not be? You have everything I am trying so hard to get. I am not mad at you. I do not blame you for my situation. I am happy for you and I love every baby you bring into this world. But I am also heartbroken over my own situation. I am thrilled to hear you are expecting, but it still stings. Please understand. Please be gentle.

I just wanted you to know that pretending my infertility issues don’t exist is hurtful. I really just want to know that you care, that you are there for me, and that you are praying for me. I know it is an uncomfortable subject, but it’s one of the most prominent aspects of my life right now. I do not ignore that you are pregnant, so please do not dismiss what a struggle this is for me. Please understand. Please be gentle.

I just wanted you to know that it’s ok to ask questions. I want to be open and talk about this with you. I want your support. There is probably a lot that you don’t know about this whole process. There is a lot I don’t know. We do not have to go into the details. I really great starter question is “How are you doing?” Please understand. Please be gentle.

I just wanted you to know that right now we are not considering adoption, so please do not ask. I think adoption is wonderful, but it is also not simple, fast, or cheap. It does not guarantee you anything. I know that there are lots of kinds in foster care that need good homes. I have very sound reasons for not taking that path (or any adoption path) right now. This may change in the future, but for now, this is where we are. Please understand. Please be gentle.

I just wanted you to know that making jokes about infertility is insensitive. You might be trying to make light of the situation, but I do not think that Octomom is funny. Chances are you do not know much about IVF or any other fertility treatment and telling me I will end up carrying “a litter” does not amuse me. I have done copious research on the risks I am taking, and I plan to be very responsible in my decision making, but sometimes God intervenes. Just ask the couple in Utah that is carrying two sets of identical twins (A one in 70 million chance). There is nothing about this process that I find funny. Please understand. Please be gentle.

I just wanted you to know that you are not an expert on baby-making. I want your support, but I do not want your advice. It might be coming from a good well-intentioned place, but I promise I have heard it all before. If you think I haven’t done my fair share of research on this you are absolutely nuts. Telling me to take up yoga, go on vacation, stop eating dairy, eat more dairy, or relax is not helpful. You may not realize it, but you are actually sending the message that “I’m doing it wrong”. I promise I paid attention in Sex Ed and I know where babies come from. There are bigger medical issues in play here (that they do not teach you about in Sex Ed) and I am paying some very good doctors a lot of money to help me overcome them. I appreciate that you want to help, but please don’t. Please understand. Please be gentle.

I just wanted you to know that sometimes this completely consumes my life. This is especially true when I am undergoing a treatment. Going through a fertility treatment is stressful. I take pills, give myself shots, go to the doctor a million times…..it’s just a lot. It’s a lot to do, and a lot for me to wrap my own head around. I do not feel like myself. I am full of hormones that have some serious physical and emotional side effects. I am not trying to be self-centered during these times, but I really can’t help it. I do not expect you to know what I am feeling, but I hope that you can sympathize. I love when you check up on me. You have no idea how much it means to me. I will get back to normal eventually. Please understand. Please be gentle.

I just wanted you to know that I am sorry. I am sorry if I did not tell you congratulations on your pregnancy announcement right away. I am sorry if I had to walk away or change the subject when you were talking about your pregnancy. I promise, I am happy for you. Maybe it came after some disappointing news on my own journey. Maybe it was just a bad day. I am sorry. Please understand. Please be gentle.

I just wanted you to know (again) that you should not tell me to relax. If you can spend 10k, 20k, 30k (or more) with absolutely no guarantee of any return on your investment without feeling even the slightest ping of stress good for you. I can’t. Unfortunately I do not have the blessing of unlimited financial resources and this shit gets pricey quickly. If you know someone who wants to bankroll all of this for us, I might be able to relax a little, otherwise I promise I am doing the best I can to just make it through. Please understand. Please be gentle.

I just wanted you to know that age is linked to fertility and time is of the essence. In the scheme of life 32 is young. Hopefully I am only 1/3 through my life but I have a documented issue which affects my fertility. There is no way to know for sure, but I may have had problems conceiving at 25 or 22 because this condition has always been present in my body. Please do not tell me I am “still young”. I have no idea how many more years will go by before I am finally a mother. Sure there are women who get pregnant at 40, but I am 32 and my already challenged fertility is declining every day. Please understand. Please be gentle.

I just wanted you to know that I do believe in miracles. There is always a chance that I could get knocked up the old-fashioned way. I think it’s great if your cousin’s husband’s brother’s neighbor got pregnant after adopting, or after ten years when they “stopped trying” or when they went to Maui.   Amazing things happen all the time and I have all the hope in the world that it will happen to me, but it may not. I am at the point in my life that I am ready to have a child. I was also ready three years ago when I started trying. I am not sure what God’s plan is yet, but I do know that I feel like pursuing IVF is the right thing for us right now. Please understand. Please be gentle.

I just wanted you to know that I never thought I would be doing IVF. It’s extremely difficult to fully realize that this is my circumstance. I wanted you to know all of this because I need you. I need a shoulder to cry on sometimes and sometimes I just need you to listen. I have dreamed of being a mother since I was a little girl. I have perspective. I know that my life is blessed in so many ways. But it is impossible for me to see a future without a child to call me mother. Please understand. Please be gentle.

I just wanted you to know that this is just the next step in a three year journey. There may be complications, disappointment, and heartbreak. This is not going to be an easy road and I have no idea what the future holds.  Things just might not turn out like I had hoped.  Infertility touches almost every part of my life; my job, my marriage, my bank account, my friendships. It consumes everything. It has probably changed me, some for the better, and some for the worse. I really need lots of hugs, and sometimes I need grace when the hormones get the best of me. Sometimes I am going to be selfish. I don’t mean to be, but I am trying to protect myself. Please understand. Please be gentle.

I just wanted you to know that I don’t expect you to actually understand. I didn’t understand until I was in the thick of it. I always had a fear in the back of my mind that I would have fertility issues, but I think that is normal for women who want children. The reality is a nightmare come true. I do need you to be gentle. And most of all I ask for your prayers. No matter what road we take it is all in God’s hands.

Finally, I just wanted you to know that I am thankful for you. Thankful that you are reading this.   Thankful for your support. Thankful for your love. Thankful for your prayers. I am thankful for all of the parenting advice you will be able to give me some day when my time has finally come. I am thankful to have you here you here during this extremely difficult time. I am so thankful that you are trying to understand. And of course, that you are gentle with my broken heart.