Wednesday, October 6, 2010

IVF questions, answered

It's been awhile since I've posted about IVF, so if you've happened upon my blog recently, you may not know all Greg and I have been through to get pregnant in the first place. Here's a link to my (almost) daily journal of my IVF process.

Recently, I've received some questions via email and would love to answer these for others that might have similar concerns. And, if you have any other questions (there's no dumb question) that you'd like me to answer, feel free to email me at the link to the left or leave a comment in the section below.

How did you tell your families that you were trying to have kids, and going through the IVF procedure?

Both Greg and I definitely didn't want a lot of attention brought into an already stressful situation, but we knew it was in our best interest to tell our parents, friends, and co-workers about the procedure we would be going through. The main reason we needed to tell was because the clinic was an hour away and there would be numerous trips there in a short period of time, not to mention the amount of pharmaceuticals that I would have had to hide. Several of the injectibles had to be refridgerated, so I would have been afraid to ask someone to get the butter if they didn't know I was using hormones! Also, there were a ton of syringes and containers for disposing of them in my bathroom that eventually took over the counter. Had we not told those close to us, they might have thought I was deathly ill with all the trips to the doctor. Better to tell the truth than them worry about me.

To make it easy on both of us, Greg and I each decided we would tell our respective families. I didn't feel the need to tell my parents the ins and outs and the whys and why nots and all the rationale behind our decision. After our second failed IUI, however I talked to my mom about my consult with the doctor. It was at that time Greg and I had debated whether to try a 3rd IUI (10% success rate on a procedure that cost $700) or bite the bullet and go with IVF (55% success rate, but much more expensive at $11k, not including pharmaceuticals). In my discussion with mom, I explained that Greg and I were going to proceed with IVF in order to become pregnant. I told her we didn't know why we weren't able to become pregnant, and through all the testing, everything seemed great in our favor for a successful IVF cycle. I also explained that there would be many doctors visits and drugs to take, but that I didn't know all the details yet. Even though infertility is a very personal issue, this was not a hard subject for me to discuss with her. Matter-of-fact, it opened a door and I knew I had her support. She even had to give me some of the injectibles when Greg was out of town, so it was nice that she knew in advance what was going on.

For Greg, it was easier for him to tell his dad, which he did around the same time. I wasn't listening in on that conversation, but both of us told our family and friends that what we were doing was not a secret. We were fine with other people knowing we would be doing a cycle of IVF and we were open to donations (ha!).

I thought letting that part of my life become public would be difficult, shameful and scary, but in the end, it wasn't any of those things. It was easy to open up because after much research I learned that 1 in 7 experience infertility. I wouldn't hide a diagnosis cancer, I would treat the problem. I viewed it no differently than that, so it wasn't shameful. And, as more and more people found out and I learned more at my clinic and from friends (both online and in real life), the scariness of it all just dissipated. Instead, I was left with throngs of supporters who were all wishing the best for me and praying every step of the way.

How many appointments did you have in a cycle of IVF?

In total, I went to the clinic for either blood work, ultrasound, or a procedure 14 times during the 2 month process. That's a lot of driving since our clinic was an hour away, but keep in mind you can count your mileage as part of your medical expenses on your taxes (hey, every little bit helps!). Those appointments do not include the initial consult, the pretesting or anything else, only the appointments related to our 2nd IVF cycle.

Did your husband go with you to every appointment?

In a word, "no."

I know many women would want their husband or a friend with them for their doctors' appointments, but in reality, it just wasn't feasible for Greg to take off that much work. Nor, was there a real reason to do so.

Many of the appointments were for a blood-draw and ultrasound to check follicle growth. Most of the time, I was in and out within 15 minutes. Other times, it took longer, but in all they were very quick and I'm thankful my clinic worked very efficiently.

Also, had Greg tagged along, I might have caught grief for my KrispyKreme reward that usually followed.


Heather Innusa said...

It's great of you to answer/share these things. I'd imagine it's really helpful for ladies going through the same things!! God bless have a great day!!

Zorina said...

Hooray to IVF treatments!! I sure know both of us are in high spirits about this magical medical off to work harder and save more $$$ for our next one. Baby H needs a playmate coz all her cousins are back in Manila and in the East Coast area.

daphne said...

Thank you for sharing your story April! After many years of trying me and the Hubby are starting down the same path although we haven't gone so far with least just yet....I will be starting with meds tomorrow. I hope in the end we will have a happy ending like yours! :)

Keshet said...

So reassuring to read this, April!