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.