Friday, June 01, 2007

Are you comfortable with IVF?

I was talking to a good friend of mine, A, last night. She knows all about what we’re going through, and while she can’t directly relate, I don’t find talking to her about it maddening. In fact, I’ve always found it oddly comforting. You see, she and her husband got married three months after us, and she and I talked a lot about when (or if) we’d have kids. She was fairly certain, though not positive, that she’d want them eventually. But her husband wasn’t sure he’d ever want them. And we’ve always talked openly with each other about it in the most non-judgmental way, which I think we both found really refreshing. (For her, I’m sure the struggle of opening up to people about it was that she’d always get the “how could you MARRY a man without working this out??” I never asked—there are some things that defy explanation and some instances where you just need to follow your heart where it leads and deal with the fall-out afterwards. And I think she always appreciated not having to justify her decision.)

Recently, they agreed to start “officially” trying. I put officially in quotes because, while they haven’t been trying since they got married, they haven’t really used any kind of reliable contraception either—for three years. So, while she can’t be certain, she has a suspicion that it’s not going to be breezy for them. And the complicating factor for her is that, since her husband wasn’t sure he ever wanted kids, the chances of him being up for going through what we all go through to have one are slim. And I’m sure that puts additional pressure on her in a way that I can’t completely understand, since hubby has always been open to doing just about whatever it takes to build our family.

Anyhow, while we were chatting last night, I told her that hubby and I were going to start our first IVF cycle next month. She wasn’t surprised, but she asked, “are you comfortable with that decision?”

My reaction probably sounded funny to her. I said, “well, not particularly, but it some ways, isn’t that beside the point.”

I suppose to someone who hasn’t gone through what we’ve all gone through, that would sound like a hasty decision. “How could you do something so invasive without being ‘comfortable’ with it?” But really, at this point it’s not about being comfortable so much as it is about being out of options.

And, the idea of trying to get “comfortable” with IVF made me think of Laura’s (The Reluctant Baroness) recent letter to her fertile friend. The whole post is beautiful and definitely worth reading, but the part that struck me the most was this:

“There is a beauty in being able to make love to the man of your dreams, and now a child can/will come from it. It seems that will never be for me. I will need injections, speculum, and plastic catheters and to be touched by a person who means nothing to me, while my husband can only watch and try to support his wife.”

I mean, how can I ever be truly comfortable with that? It’s not how it’s supposed to happen. When we began dreaming of having children, it didn’t involve a cold speculum and stirrups. It didn’t involve hubby producing a “specimen” in a cup. It didn’t involve something as sci-fi as growing embryos in Petri dishes. It didn’t involve selecting which of our embryos—our children—would be suitable for transfer. And waiting and hoping that at least one of them stuck.

So, no, A. Sadly, I’m not comfortable with this decision. But I’m not comfortable with the alternative either. And so we move forward and we follow our hearts and we hope for the best.

12 comments:

Baby Blues said...

It's sad. We didn't choose this, but it's just what we have to go through to get to our dream.

Kate said...

It isn't the way any of us would like to do this, but maybe going through it brings us closer to our spouses in another way. (At least, that's what I'm telling myself).

Ms. Planner said...

I, too, was so moved by Laura's eloquent letter to her friend.

I am glad you have your friend to talk to. She sounds pretty cool. If having a child is important to her, and her husband loves her, I am certain he will come around to support whatever it is they have to do to make it happen.

Sometimes it is just about getting ok with the discomfort. We don't have to like it, we just have to bear it gracefully - just like you are doing.

I'm going to be late to the 28-day challenge. I am in the 2WW so am backing off of running (sigh). But I'll do yoga and meditate instead.

xoxo, Ms. Planner

Sarah said...

its weird (and a little scary) what i've managed to become comfortable with over the years of trying. i can't even imagine it any other way now. seriously, there are people who make babies from sex? BIZARRE!

Belly Laughs said...

I will never be comfortable with IVF -- it is scary, it is complicated, it is highly personal (both emotionally and physically), you lose your dignity and there are no guarantees. But will I do it reluctantly? Yes, because IVF give us HOPE for a biological child. And I am comfortable with HOPE and the decisions I am making. But, no I will NEVER be comfortable with IVF.

LIW (Lady In Waiting) said...

It is all relative. And sometimes the best we can do is to choose the least-worst option.

I feel for your friend. The fact that she hasn't gotten pregnant after three years of not using reliable birth control does not sound promising. At least once every-other day I am grateful that Mr. LIW is ready to do anything and everything to be parents.

You are a fantastic friend!

Reproductive Jeans said...

Beautiful post...hard for anyone to say YES this is WHAT I want to do...at least we are all in this together!

Ann said...

I agree with you--what are the alternatives? Living child-free? Adoption? We're open to adoption, but it comes with its own set of potential heartaches, too. I think that the more desperate we become, the more comfortable we are with just about anything under the sun.

tipsymarie said...

That is exactly how I feel -- and it completely sucks, but you have to do what you have to do, I guess.

CAM said...

Such a great post. I believe that the only ones who truly understand what this means are all of us. Yes, it is evasive and not what we planned...but the most romantic thing for me is going to be that day when I recognize my husband's smile or his eyes in the face of my "someday" child. That is what makes us comfortable with our decisions...the hope of raising our child with our very patient and supportive husbands.
:)

Erin said...

I completely agree. How does one get comfortable with the idea of pumping their body full of drugs via multiple daily self-injections? And having multiple people in the room was never my idea of how conception would go. I'm not into that shit, man.

I don't think I blogged about this, but when I agreed to transfer 3 back, my RE gave me a little punch on the shoulder and said "Way to go" or something as if we were on a softball team together and I'd just scored the winning run. It was borderline creepy and there's no WAY that was supposed to be part of the plan.

Hang in there Stick. Given the unwelcome situation, I think you have the right attitude.

hopeful to hateful in 28 days said...

well said. This situation is far from ideal and very close to Sci-fi, but what choice do we have?