Tuesday, 26 November 2013

IVF #1 is on

Today The Fertility Clinic called and offered to do a cycle with us. Dates are still tentative, depending on when next period comes,  but we are on.

I didn't expect to be offered a cycle before mid-December. I suppose my perception was affected by my  short menstrual cycles (averaging 25 days). I didn't quite realize  how much "wind up" there is to a Flare IVF cycle. With the proposed timeline, embryo transfer (should we be so lucky) will happen the last week of January.

For the moment nothing much happens. They send paperwork, we review, we pay a bunch of money, etc.

Next cycle, birth control pills. Followed by more drugs and monitoring. The week of January 20th is when things get "busy" with monitoring appointments leading up to the egg retrieval.

Still, the timeline is what I had in my mind: I hoped we would be doing IVF in January. So when she gave me the timeline, I said "yes" right away. No need to discuss further; no need to ruminate.  We've done all of that.

If you asked  me last week, or even yesterday, if I was excited about IVF, the answer would be a definite No. That doesn't mean I don't want to do IVF. IVF is within the range of what we consider reasonable to do to have a baby. I have no moral objections to it.  The only valid ethical objection  to IVF in my mind is the issue of what to do with unused embryos, and seeing as I have POF, that is extremely unlikely to be an issue for us. Any  eggs we get, we'll be fertilizing, and any embryos we get, we'll be putting back.

Reason number one for my lack of enthusiasm, if not quite dread: fear that we won't get any/enough eggs or embryos. I know from Dr. Cotter's warnings and the experiences of other POFfers that this is a distinct possibility. We made the decision to go ahead with a fresh IVF cycle anyway, and I'm OK with that decision. But I'm very aware that disappointment, not celebration, may be the result of this cycle.

Reason number two: My ambivalent feelings about the degree of medication and medical intervention involved in IVF. Again, it's not a moral or ethical thing. I fully intend to take all the drugs and endure all the discomforts. It's just....I am going to be more medicated than I have ever been in my life. I could count the number of times I've taken prescription drugs of any description on the fingers of one hand. I have never had a serious health problem. I've never been on the goddamn birth control  pill. I've always had a pragmatic attitutude to my health and body. If it isn't broken, keep it healthy and don't mess with it. I'm happy with my looks and my overall fitness. (OK, I have some skin issues, but nothing that I lose sleep over.) Not trying to come across as a virtue-crat, but I have never had the slightest interest in substances that alter my body/mind chemistry. Never been the slightest bit tempted to try smoking/illegal drugs. I drink alcohol occasionally (especially during periods, lol), but I could give it up any day and not feel it much of a sacrifice.

Why does all this matter? Well, part of me wants to say "It doesn't matter." And it doesn't really, because I believe the chance of having  a baby is worth some (a lot of?) physical and emotional discomfort. But at the same time I have a perception of myself as someone who is healthy and whole and doesn't need a lot of medical intervention.  Now, any number of things could have (and might still) happen to me to challenge this perception. I could develop a serious disease, or have an accident. I guess, to state the obvious, what has happened to challenge my perceptions is infertility and IVF. I can accept intellectually that I need drugs and other interventions; accepting it emotionally is a  little bit harder. I still have a voice in my head that insists we should be able to just get pregnant. Natter on, little voice.

I've been dealing with these emotions on some level for almost a year, ever since our family doctor told us that we would not conceive unassisted. I've alternated between feeling grateful for the possibility of ART and feeling ambivalent about actually using it. Still, today when IVF became a plan instead of a possibility, a plan with a timeline, I felt a little excited. Maybe it's just that initial feeling of hope that comes from trying anything new and different. But...any step toward a goal gets us somewhere. Even if the goal is far away or changes  along the way, it's still a step forward.

12 comments:

  1. Our IVF's should be right around the same time! I know what you mean about the feelings of excitement and then the feelings of lack of enthusiasm for the entire thing. There is so much more to it. Praying for you guys!

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    1. Thank you Kasey! It's kind of cool that our cycles will happen at the same time...wishing the best for you too!

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  2. I hope you can hold on to that excitement! I know it's a strange road ahead but I am hoping for you so hard!

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    1. Thank you! It's so nice to read all the hope and good wishes - it helps keep me positive, too.

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  3. I did a modified flare cycle the last time, and you're right, there's a lot of lead up to it. I was surprised how long it seemed to take. But they're taking the right approach with POF, using that protocol as opposed to something more suppressive. I can't wish you enough luck, I really hope it works for you and you're pleasantly surprised at how your body responds.

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    1. Thanks! We've waited so long for everything so far that I don't imagine a bit more waiting will make much difference....especially since there's now a goal at the end of the wait. Thank you for the good luck wishes...it means a lot.

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  4. You described very similar to how I felt for a while before we started IVF. It's sad to say but things have become a new normal and routine for us. I hope that this is it for you and it won't have to become a routine for you. Rooting very hard for you. :)

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    1. Sometimes I feel like I've entirely accepted infertility as my normal. I perceive and understand how it has altered my perceptions and understands, and I am OK with that. Other times.....I just can't believe it; I cannot fathom how we are in this position. I imagine that it's similar with using ART. Thank you for rooting for us....every good wish means so much to me, and makes this all just a bit less scary. I'm rooting for you too!

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  5. My heart actually skipped a beat when I read that you're starting IVF. It is a big step to take, and I understand your fears and reservations regarding the medication and the outcome. There are so many "what ifs", it makes sense to feel guardedly excited. I find that what worked for me was to have zero expectations of everything (from egg yield to fertilization outcome to transfer outcome). I also understand your feelings about medical intervention - I used to feel the same way, but it doesn't bother me anymore, because I realize there is so much more to being a mother than this (whether one conceives naturally or artificially). And having medical help to conceive doesn't make you any less "whole". Come to think of it, it's impossible to avoid some kind of medical intervention in our lives - most of us have been vaccinated since birth! Any step towards your goal is an achievement. I am, of course, rooting for you and will be looking out for your updates.

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    1. Thanks Ariel. I really appreciate your thoughts. I am impressed that you managed to not have expectations - that's so hard to do! The key is to somehow have hope without having a lot of expectations. I'm trying to walk that line. I don't want to be negative about the IVF either, because then the process might just feel like even more of a trial. Right now I feel calm about the whole thing, which is good enough I guess. You make a very good point about vaccinations. Vaccinations have a huge impact on our health! It is silly of me to have this picture of myself as some kind of untouched miracle of health. :-) Not even sure where that mental image came from in the first place. And I appreciate your saying that there is much more to being a mother than how you conceive. Thank you for the good wishes - every one of those is a gift.

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  6. I am so excited for you to start this journey, though of course I understand your reservations. I'll be eagerly awaiting your updates! Thinking of you and wishing you all the luck in the world :)

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    1. Thanks. I'm a bit worried about our IVF plans at the moment, actually...but I'm hoping it will work out somehow and we'll get our chance. Updates later. Thank you for the good wishes - it means a lot to me!

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