When Dan and I were told to our faces that we were candidates for IVF, as you can imagine, once the initial shock wore off, questions began filling my pretty little head from every direction.
When I am out and about talking about my infertility and experiences I have had along the way, one thing I notice is that people feel connected when someone else says out loud the things they feel deep inside. One thing that many women share with me is the questions that come when experiencing IVF.
I have always been an open book since I started my company and talking about the deep, raw emotions of infertility. Today, I want to take a moment to go back in time to that meeting Dan and I were sitting in at the doctor’s office and told we had less than 1% chance to conceive without medical assistance.
These were the first five questions that flashed before me:
1) What is IVF?
In Vitro Fertilization. Egg is retrieved from a female. Sperm is collected from a male. The egg is fertilized by the sperm outside of the body and once a healthy embryo is formed, that embryo is transferred into the woman’s uterus. The goal is a positive pregnancy.
This is my understanding and my definition. Overall, it is very complicated. Which, as I experienced first hand, does not make this process any easer, no matter what your part involved is.
2) Will It Hurt?
Not even going to sugar coat this one. I had surgeries and needles of all different sizes (1 inch was the longest) and pills both orally and vaginally that did all sorts of weird s$%t to me. I bled and I cried. My skin was red, sometimes green, from so many blood tests. I had cramping and pain in my stomach, sides, and butt quite often. I was uncomfortable more than not.
And that was only the physical “hurt” of it. I cannot tell you the emotional side of things, as that would not be appropriate for either of us.
3) Can I afford this?
Here’s the thing…IVF is expensive. Plain and simple. However, insurance helps, but that all depends on what level of insurance you have. For most of us, it won’t cover everything, and it might not cover several rounds of IVF. For me, it helped tremendously. However, there was still a considerable amount of money Dan and I spent out-of-pocket. Medications, surgeries, personal items my body needed me to use, wear and tear on the car, late arrivals to work and early dismissals, days off in general, mental and emotional pain which there is no monetary amount to place on, and again, this is all supposed to be the fun part. The romantic part that did not work for me. The exciting part that I did not get to experience.
4) Will This Make Me a Mama?
There is no guarantee.
For me, you know my story, but I never get tired of telling it, as I feel it honors it the more I speak of things.
I had two chances.
I have an angel baby that Dan and I lost very early on.
My last embryo is Ferris. He originally came back from genetic testing with no result. He is the little embryo that could, and he took to me. He made it 39 weeks and entered the world as a healthy baby boy.
And that is the end of my IVF experience. As a woman of faith, God saved the best for last and comforted me with an angel to guide Ferris for the rest of his life.
5) What Will I Do If This Doesn’t Work Out?
For me, there was one round of IVF that I was willing and able to do. Even when I left the fertility office pregnant with Ferris, I was told, “we hope to see you for the next one!”
Why does there have to be “a next one”? This took me so long to get here, and I am so happy to finally be pregnant. How can I think about another baby when I am just starting to feel “normal” pregnancy vibes? I didn’t want to think about anything other than having this baby, healthy for both baby and myself.
And now that he is here, do I sometimes wonder about the “what-if”?
Sure, I do. I am human.
But, I leave it at that. I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I am not someone who intentionally goes looking for things to stress about. IVF is hard. It will test your sprit, your relationship, and your overall strength.
However, it is the best thing I ever questioned and jumped into. IVF has changed my life in so many significant ways. I have a baby. I am a mama. I have a book series. I am an advocate.
I am a believer that things are possible if we do our part and trust the process. And the result might not be exactly what you wanted.
Because one question you cannot answer, is that the result might be something even better than you ever imagined.