Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fertility Chronicles: Part 1- The History

When Jeff and I got married back in 2001, I wasn't ready for children. I was 24 and still trying to find my path in life. In 2003, I went off of birth control and we tried the method of just not preventing pregnancy. It didn't work, so about a year later I tried going on Clomid. Only 50mg at first..and was told to have "relations" any time in the 5 days surrounding my ovulation day. After no success in the first few months, I was upped to 100 mg. I had an HSG done to determine if my tubes were blocked and everything was found to be normal. Jeff had a sperm count and he was normal. No luck.

After a year of Clomid, I stopped and in September of 2005, we saw a fertility specialist at NCCRM in Cary, NC. I was expecting him to suggest an IUI..which is the next step. He jumped straight to IVF and freaked me out. He had a good point though. The lab work isn't covered by insurance, so our out of pocket expense would have been the same but our chances of conception would be tripled. 15-20 % vs. 50-60% for the same price. He explained the whole process and what they do and how long it takes...and at that time, I just didn't know if I wanted children badly enough to put my body through something like that..but we switched me over to Jeff's insurance because they cover 2 cycles of IVF. Then..everything just stopped. No more drugs, no more Dr's, no more trying. We even stopped really talking about it except for the occasional mention of when we were having children. I guess we'd lost hope.

Now, after a recent long discussion about children and where they would fit in to our lives and why Jeff wanted them so badly, we've decided to give the IVF idea another try. We're meeting a doctor at Duke Fertility in Durham on February 4th to discuss the plan best for me, costs, etc. We'll schedule some blood work and tests for both of us and try to get the ball rolling. Funny, we've been able to do this for several years but now that Jeff loses his insurance in April, we're now under the gun to get it done. Sigh. I feel bad for waiting, but I wasn't ready. The process scared me. I always had this hope that it would happen on it's own when the time was right...and that if it was God's will, it would just happen.

This past October or November, I had a bit of a spiritual reawakening and after a lot of prayer for guidance, I've come to some realizations. In a way, I thought IVF was intervening in God's plan and playing God..and that's wrong. Now, I think doing this is part of God's plan for me. I just wasn't meant to conceive naturally. I think of it as God using the doctors to help perform some of his miracles. Whether a child is conceived naturally or with the help of some doctors, it's still a miracle and still a child. I almost think IVF is better in a way. Going through the process of in-vitro is a testament to how much that child is loved and wanted. Most children are conceived by accident and were never planned. That doesn't mean they weren't loved, but they weren't necessarily wanted, you know? Plus, with IVF, they put the strongest embryos back in..those that will have a better chance of survival. I think that says a lot.

I'm sure people will disagree and say that IVF is playing God a bit..but I've also realized the following, thanks to Jeff. We eat seedless grapes, buy hybrid flowers, use mules to farm, and buy "teacup" dogs. All of those things were created by man, not God..and no one has any complaints about them. Granted..the breeding of horses and donkeys happen in nature on a regular basis..but man also breeds them on purpose. Same with teacup dogs. Breeding them over and over until you create the exact size or color you wanted...and people snatch them up left and right.

Now, I also realize there's a clinic in California and in England that will genetically engineer the sex of an embryo. The purpose is to weed out gender based genetic defects, should they exist. Say all the men in your family have had webbed feet. They can make sure the baby is a female. Or if all the women in your family have had PCOS, they can make sure the child is a male. To go even further, for the right amount of money, they can make sure your child has a certain hair color, eye color, intelligence level, height, weight, etc. can order your ideal child who is the best of both of you. While I agree that most people would want to give their child the greatest advantage in life right from the get go, I do feel this is taking it a bit too far. Just my personal opinion though.

Anyhow, I hope to be able to keep you posted on our progress through the coming months. I'm still scared to death of the process and have a ton of worrisome questions. Will it hurt? Will I miss a lot of work? Will I have severe mood swings? What if the stress of the procedure causes the embryo not to attach? What if we lose our insurance before we can complete the process? What if I have a complicated pregnancy? Will I be a good mother? What will I do about daycare? Can I afford daycare? Can I afford to work only part time? What if the child has a defect? What if the child has mine and Jeff's worst traits? What if I have twins? Triplets?? Sigh...just a lot of worry. I'm still praying on a lot of this and hope I can just let it all go and be at peace about it. Anywho...I'll update in a few weeks!