Wednesday, February 28, 2007

IVF - how do I feel?

While in my public life I try very hard to be non judgemental, to live and let live, and to not cast a shadow on the life choices of others, in my private life I firmly believe that there is a clear cut right and wrong on most issues. I won't go into what they are (that's part of the first part), but they're there in my head (that's the second part). I don't honestly believe that some decisions are right for some people, but wrong for others - not from a moral standpoint. Obviously the same choices aren't right for everyone all the time, but on certain issues, I don't really buy too much into the gray areas.

But when I come to IVF, I can honestly say that I do not believe that there is a right or a wrong. And so I'm writing this post to try and figure out how I feel about it for me. Because, as an issue, I can't see how I have any right to say "This is immoral," or "There's nothing wrong with it, go for it." In my mind, it really and truly is an issue that has to be decided on a very personal level.

And I know that my world view will play heavily into my decision. But I believe that, for the people who decide it is the right choice, it is right. And for those who decide it's the wrong choice, it is wrong. And when I look at the issue for myself, only I (and DH) can decide what is right or wrong. For us.

I have a bit of a problem with it. I don't know if I could do it. I believe that life begins at conception. I've given it a lot of thought, listened to both sides, and come to the decision on my own. I'm sure I've been influenced by my conservative Christian upbringing, but I have made my own decision about it, and I believe that life begins when conception occurs.

So, is it conception when it takes place in a dish? Or is it conception when the embryo actually implants into my uterine lining? If I hold to the belief that it's conception when the sperm and the egg meet up, and the cells start to divide, then implantation has nothing to do with it. If I hold to the belief that life begins at implantation, then it's not an issue.

What happens if we decide to go for IVF, we're convinced it's our best option? I take the shots, grow a bunch of follicles, and they get a good number of eggs out of me. It could be a dozen or more, it could be six or less. But I'm talking about more than they'll implant at once, more than, say, three. If they can harvest a bunch of eggs, and get them fertilized, and only implant three, what happens to the rest?

We could freeze them, in case it didn't work the first time and we need to try again. Or we could let them "die" (for lack of a better word). Whether we freeze them now and let them go later, or let them go right off the bat, those fertilized eggs are gone. If it works, and I end up with triplets, and we decide we're never ever going to use the frozen ones, did I just destroy life?

That's where I get hung up. Because, logically, if I think that life begins once that egg is fertilized, then yes, I just killed a bunch of life. But if life begins at implantation, or even later, then no. They're just potential life, and there's nothing wrong with letting them go.

And my heart is telling me that it's okay. If this is my only shot at having a baby (or three), then it's okay. If we freeze the "leftovers" and let them "die" later, it's okay because they're not little babies. I'm not really killing anything.

See why I can't draw a line here? I deeply, honestly, truly believe that this is one of those things that a couple has to decide for themselves. I believe in seeking medical help for IF. I trust technology and medicine, right alongside my trust in God. I believe that God will bring this about when it's right, but that does not stop me from seeking every solution I can find, taking every action I can think of, to bring it about as well.


I think that I'm becoming okay with the thought of IVF. I didn't really expect that. I had no idea where I was going with this when I started writing it. I guess that's why I started writing it.

I have a lot more thinking to do about it. DH and I have to decide if it's right for us. The risk of multiples is much higher, and that would mean some serious life changes - more so than having a single child would mean.

But at least now I can start to see it as an option.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Time for whining.

I hurt. My tummy has stopped cramping for the most part, but the cramps have moved lower. Much lower. Yesterday it felt like someone was stabbing me with knives, today it feels like they've moved on to punching me instead.

I'm peeing several times a day. Usually I have a bladder of steel, and can go through the day with three trips to the bathroom. I've gone three times today alone, and it's only lunch time! And every time I pee it hurts. My muscles feel all torn and strained, and protest at the simple act of releasing. Which means I hold off going to the bathroom as long as I can, which means I have a lot when I finally do go, and it just hurts even more.

I'm exhausted. I had to break down today and have caffeine. Yesterday too, or I would have fallen asleep at my desk. But when I get home, and sit on the couch after dinner, I don't have the energy to get up and get ready for bed. I sleep like a champ when I do go to bed - usually I wake up several times a night, but this week I've woken up in the morning in the same position I fell asleep in.

I'm dizzy. I'm often dizzy, but this is worse. I can just be sitting still, not moving, and the room will start spinning. It's worse if I stand up suddenly, or if I sit up in bed too quickly.

I am trying not to read too much into any of this. I've had all these symptoms before, at different times. Never all at once, and this particular type of cramping is new to me. But I don't want to get my hopes all up, only to have them dashed next week. It's scary to hope, so I'm just trying not to think about it at all.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

IUI#2 done

Well IUI#2 went MUCH better. I took some Tylenol before we went, and it wasn't nearly so painful. Some pinching and tugging, and a scratching sensation. But the doctor was much friendlier, kept asking me what I was feeling as she did the procedure, took the time to answer questions, and gave me more information.

And, this time there was no backflow at all. She said not even a drop, not even an air bubble. Everything went it, and stayed in, and did what it was supposed to do. She said she was very hopeful, very encouraged, and very excited for us. I described my OPK results to her, and she said it sounds like I really did O yesterday, which puts Monday's and today's IUIs at the perfect timing. She still won't do an u/s to see if I've O'd or not, so we don't know for sure. But even if I O today, it's good timing.

So I'm feeling much better about all of this. We went from "Uh oh, there's a problem, you need to consider IVF" to "Wow, today went great, I think this could very well work for you guys." Quite a turnaround.

And now we wait. My LP is usually 12 days, so I'm usually spared those tense last two days of the 2WW. Un/fortunately, AF is due to arrive on DH's birthday. Unfortunate if AF arrives, fortunate if AF is late, as that will indicate that something wonderful is happening. I'm very rarely late - only once in the past two years. Of course, on a medicated cycle, anything can happen.

Monday, February 12, 2007

not so good

Well that sucked. The IUI was not comfortable, but not painful. Except for a few pinches, it was mostly just pressure. DH came with me and held my hand.

But the doctor said that my cervix is wide open, and everything that she put into it just leaked right out. She said that's probably why I'm not getting pregnant (on top of the not ovulating bit).

I just feel so damn broken. My body doesn't O on its own, so we get it going and now it's working in that department. But then, my cervix isn't doing what it's supposed to, and there's nothing we can do about that.

She wants to do the second one Wednesday as planned. She says it's not impossible, but not highly likely. She wants to do three cycles of this.

I'm wondering what the point is. If this isn't going to work for us, then why keep doing it? I'm cramping and bleeding and crying and feeling like I'm completely broken. My girly parts might as well not exist, for all the good they do me.

I'm so discouraged. Where do we go from here? Do we go ahead and plan for IVF? Do we consider surragacy? Adoption? GIFT? All I know is we don't give up.

Even though I'm feeling very defeated right now.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Big Day, #1

Tomorrow's the Big Day. Everything seems to be on track for a Tuesday ovulation, which means IUI tomorrow and Wednesday.

The baseline u/s went okay. Not great, not bad. There is only one follicle, which is the "not great" part. But it's a good one, already measuring at 26mm on Thursday, so that's the "not bad" part. Doc says I have a good chance, and should have a big healthy viable egg.

So here's the schedule. We get up at the ungodly hour of 7am. Sorry, but I am NOT a morning person! I'm groggy until about 10 regardless of how much coffee or sleep I've had. But, I'll do anything for a baby. So we get up tomorrow at 7. Shower and get ready, and then help DH get his "sample" for the IUI. The doctor wants us to do it at home and bring it with us, to arrive at the office at 8:30. I'm hoping we can leave the house between 8 and 8:10, and that the office is actually open on time so that we can drop off the sample.

We'll have about a half hour to kill, so I'm thinking we might score ourselves some breakfast. Back to the office at 9 so that I can be inseminated. Lay on the table for half an hour, talking with DH and trying to make the experience seem more personal and less clinical.

Then, off to work. Where everyone knows what I've been doing all morning, but hopefully the buzz will be all about my coworker, who got married on Saturday. Somewhat unexpectedly, I might add. A sort of planned elopment - though why it was unexpected, when she just had her fiance's baby, I don't quite know.

Tomorrow night I start a week of cooking, to keep me busy. I am also getting my hair done.

Tuesday, somehow I make it through the day without worrying or obsessing too much. Hopefully, Ovulation will occur.

Wednesday, we do the whole thing all over again.

And then I have about a week and a half until AF is supposed to show. There's no such thing as a 2WW for me, as my LP is usually 12 days. If AF hasn't arrived by the 26th, when she's due, I'll probably test even though I know it's still too early. It's also DH's birthday, so I want to find a way to make the day special and all about him. I might wait until the next day to test, just so I'm not all despondent if I get a BFN.

So that's the plan.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

baseline u/s

Tomorrow. 10am, I go for my baseline u/s. We'll find out if we're good to go, or if there are problems.

I'm a bit nervous, as my doc hasn't monitored me on the Clomid at all and I don't know what to expect. Are there any mature follicles? Too few? Too many?

Will we be able to go ahead with the IUI?

Will it work?

Gah, I just want some answers, and I hate waiting for them.

Monday, February 05, 2007

focus on the good

As I enter my 20th cycle of IF and TTC, and prepare for my first IUI, I want to take time to think of all the good things in my life. My boss made a comment to me the other day, saying that I "have a pretty good life" in response to a comment I made about how hard life was right now. At first, it rubbed me the wrong way. Mentally, I responded, "Look buddy, life is tough right now, you have no idea what it's like to deal with IF, so back off!" I didn't say it out loud, of course, and upon reflection I've decided that I do, indeed, have a pretty good life.

I read some of the stories on my message boards, and my heart breaks for some of the other women.

I have a very supportive husband. He doesn't even think twice when he reassures me that we're taking this as far as we can, and we'll figure out how to pay for it when we have to. We're not stopping until we have kids, whether "naturally" or through adoption.

I am in fairly good health, as is DH. I have some issues, but nothing I can't deal with. Migraines, anxiety, high blood pressure - these things can be appeased by dietary and lifestyle changes. DH and I don't need major surgery, and we don't have any chronic illnesses. So far my cysts have been behaving, no fibroids or endo that I'm aware of, and my PCOS is manageable through diet, lifestyle, and medication.

We are both employed. I love my job, and it gives me the flexibility I need for doctor's appts and, eventually, maternity leave. They know what's going on with me, and are nothing but supportive. DH works for a company that offers health insurance that actually covers IF. We get up to 6 IUIs, paid. No co-pay, no meds or anything, totally and 100% covered. His job also covers his grad school, from which he graduates in August. He also has the flexibility to go to doctor's appts with me, and will be able to spend time with the baby at home once we have one. He doesn't travel for work that much, maybe two or three days every few months or so. He's safe, he's home, and his job isn't too stressful.

My family is supportive. They love me, they love DH. They can't wait for grandkids, and our children will want for nothing. There was a bit of pressure for a while, but since I told them that we're TTC and having trouble with it, they've been nothing but understanding and supportive. No insensitive comments, no pressure, and when I told my mom we were going to try IUI she was so excited, you'd think I'd told her we were already pg.

My friends understand and are supportive. Of all the people I hang out with IRL, all but one has dealt with years of IF. And that one? She had a baby way before she was expecting to, and had her own period of adjustment. They all understand that baby-making isn't all fun and rainbows. They understand the pain and heartache of IF. They are supportive of my decisions, even if they may be different from ones they may have made themselves. None of them tells me "It will happen when it's time," or "God has a plan for you," or "Just relax, it'll happen." They all know better.

I am married, I have a house, we have the means to provide for a child.

So, yes. IF sucks, and there are no two ways about it. But if I have to deal with IF, at least I have these other blessings in my life. I have never had a miscarriage (knock on wood), I don't have any skeletons in my closet (rocky past relationships, abortions, etc).

I really do have a good life, IF notwithstanding. I can choose to focus on the pain that IF causes, the changes it wreaks in the very fiber of my being. Or I can choose to remember that I'm fully equipped to deal with this, that I have support both online and IRL, that my husband is probably the most wonderful man in the world, and things could be a lot worse.

Friday, February 02, 2007

back in the game

I've been "taking a break," so to speak. Which means, in reality, that I've been trying to fill my life with ideas, thoughts, interaction, and activities not TTC based.

But today is CD5 of a new cycle. Cycle 20 to be exact. It makes me sad. 20 is not so far from 24, and 24 is two years, and in my head, instead of saying "We've been trying for a year and a half," I now say "We've been trying for almost two years."


This cycle is our first IUI. Tonight I take my first of five dosages of Clomid, for the fourth time. That takes me through next Tuesday. Thursday of next week, we have our baseline ultrasound. I'm not sure what to expect. I'm a bit anxious, as dear ol' doc hasn't monitored me at all since I started the Clomid. I got a definite temperature shift and a +OPK last cycle, so I know I'm ovulating. But I don't know how many follicles are growing.

Assuming the u/s goes well, we'll have two IUIs done this cycle. The first one the day before I ovulate, the second one the day after. I'm "supposed" to O on Valentine's Day, if I O on the same day I have for most of my cycles. If I O early, like last cycle, it will be the day before. Either way, I'll have my IUI either on or around Valentine's Day.

AF is "supposed" to arrive on or around DH's birthday, though it's not 14 days past O. I only have a 12 day LP, so if AF is here I'll know it before DH's birthday (or that morning), and if AF is taking a 40-week haitus, I'll know that as well.

This could be a very exciting month for us. Or it could be a very disappointing one. Only time will tell.