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when there’s no manual.

May 13, 2014


In honor of my first official Mother’s Day this past Sunday, I figured it’s time to share some of my experiences leading up to becoming a mom.  Here goes.

Recently I was talking to a friend about how there isn’t a manual that gives you all the answers on this road to and through parenthood.  There is a lot that goes unsaid, a lot of crying at home alone or with your spouse.  There is excitement and shame, fear and regret – but I think it’s safe to say we all have been on this roller coaster of emotions in one way or another.  I am writing about my experience in hopes of supporting others and uplifting them in this journey.

There was no chapter in What to Expect about the perils of wanting to get pregnant or the journey that subsequently follows.  You get married, settle into that life and then the questions start rolling in…. so, when are you going to start a family/give us grandkids/have a baby/insert any prying pregnancy question you will here.  My husband and I wanted kids and tried right away, to no avail.  It was followed by a trip to the OBGYN where they said, wait and see.  I was getting older – in the standards of modern medicine (by that point probably almost 33) so I felt some urgency to get things rolling.  We were giving it six months and then my father passed away.  It took me another six months to even bring myself to thinking about going back to the doctor.  So a full year had gone by and we were left with nothing.

Then the testing started.  There was blood work and cultures, a trip to the hospital for a ‘procedure/test’ and every still came back as, you should be able to have a baby.  We tried IUI (intrauterine insemination) as a first stab in the dark and it didn’t work.  My doc had suggested it because I wouldn’t have to take any drugs or hormones.  I was devastated and disappointed; I was ashamed.  My friends and family all around me were just getting pregnant! which made it even harder to keep my head up.  I didn’t want to seem desperate and go to one of those fertility places, in fact, I didn’t really want to go through the process of drugs and hormones at all.  The thing was, we wanted a baby, we wanted a family.  I read the books and did all the weird crap that they suggest and still was coming up with nothing.

So in a fit of I can’t believe yet another friend got fucking pregnant!, I scheduled my appointment.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been very happy for all my friends and family that have gotten pregnant in the past years, but no matter how happy I am for them, there was a deep sadness that stabbed at me inside – it was dark and personal, something I meditated about and constantly try to let burn away.  I was trying to trust that it would happen in time, but I also knew from my yoga practice that you can’t just sit around and hope for stuff to happen, that sometimes you have to roll up your sleeves and really do the work to get shit done, so I gave in and called the “Infertility” doctor.

I don’t like that term, infertility.  It’s defeatist and negative, like you’ve already given up before you walked through the door.   Really, shouldn’t their goal be finding and fostering fertility in patients – so why not be a little positive about it?  Maybe they should change their name.  Looking at the government data was kind of confusing, basically it states that about 12% of women or 1 in 8 couples in the US have fertility problems.  The number seems low to me – since we started the process, I’ve been very candid and open so people know that we are doing this.  I found that a lot more couples had to do fertility treatments than I would have expected.  Here’s a link to some interesting fertility facts.

So we had our appointment and more testing followed.  I think they took half of my blood supply, did about 100 ultrasounds (internal and external) and even tested my husbands blood and sperm.  Note to men: if all you have to do is give some blood and, ahem, a deposit into a cup, count yourself among the lucky and suck it up.  After a month or so of tests and follow up, they may or may not have determined the cause of why we weren’t getting pregnant.  The prognosis was that it was very, very unlikely that without intervention we would get pregnant.  They suggested IVF with what is called the ICSI method that basically takes the sperm and injects it into the egg.  I believe this is part of what they call ‘assisted hatching’ where they then watch the eggs and see if they grow.  The downside – it was something like a 30% chance that it would work AND we  (by we I mean me) had to do all the drugs.

I really didn’t want to do it, but as a last ditch effort we opted for one round.  The process was explained to us in really clinical and clean terms, like it was going to be an easy, emotion-less process (WRONG!).  The important part (to them) was the insurance and money crap, which was sort of astronomical.  They had that part down though – this could be a whole long blog in itself, maybe later.  We signed our lives away and hoped that this would work.

I kept a journal of the process so I could remember and share with others.  I will put that in the next post.

One Comment leave one →
  1. AlphaTheGreat permalink
    May 13, 2014 6:39 pm

    What a journey! Can’t wait to read part II

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