Forty years ago the first IVF Baby was born, her name is Louise Brown. The ground-breaking historic event has lead to many advances with the science, and many more to come. For women like myself, this gives us hope of creating a family. It’s easy to connect with other women who have fertility issues whenever I read their blog articles or see their comments in the infertility forums. They are saying exactly what I’m feeling or damn near close to it. But when I read articles relating to the science of IVF itself I feel a greater sense of unity with humankind. There is a whole science devoted to helping others achieve their dream of having a child of their own, and that’s pretty amazing. You feel less alone in this when you know there are so many people involved in your journey including doctors, nurses, nurse assistants, embryologists, anesthesiologists, geneticists, radiologists, medical receptionists, IVF grant foundations, miscarriage support group members, family, friends, co-workers, and members in the online infertility community. When you step out of yourself and look at the bigger picture there is a huge number of people who are cheering you on and wish for the future where you can hold your precious baby in your arms one day.
For almost one and half years I kept my struggle to myself. I only told a few people in my family. But having four miscarriages while working and missing a lot of work because of it, led to people wondering what was up. Other family and friends would wonder why I wasn’t showing up to holiday events or even a simple evening of a dinner out with friends. Being around other women who could easily get pregnant and complained about their children created a bitterness in me that was very hard to get over. In my job I work with at-risk youth, including pregnant teens who smoke and use other drugs including meth. Here I was surrounded by the many women who took for granted the process of pregnancy, including my own friends and family who openly complained about parenthood often on social media. It took time to seperate myself from that bitterness. But time itself wasn’t the only method of healing, it also took action on my part. I began to speak about what I was going through, a little at a time, one person at a time.
I started with close family, then extended family, friends, and then co-workers. The more I talked about it the more people shared their own stories too. I was surprised to learn that most of the people in my life had experienced infertility or miscarriages at some point in their life. I also learned a few had even underwent IVF. Sometimes I think the idea of infertility being a stigma is too simplistic an explanation for why women are not more open about infertility. I think it’s probably more about protecting our hearts from more pain. But what if that pain could be alleviated the more we share our stories and learn from those who have walked the same path as us? For me, I felt incredibly ill keeping quiet about my struggle. Speaking up helped to unburden myself and to seek solutions instead of wallowing in the pain. It cleared my head and made me determined to push forward and stop wasting time. There were of course a handful of people who did not understand or who gave me poor advice. Even if what they were saying was incorrect medically speaking you have to consider the fact that they are trying to be helpful. Sometimes it’s better to look at the bigger picture of people’s intentions to be helpful rather than dissecting whether what they are saying is medically sound. Honestly I expected way too much from people who did not understand my situation. You will save yourself a lot of time and pain by deciding your treatment plan with your doctor, as opposed to seeking medical advice from friends and family who don’t know the nitty gritty of your specific and unique medical circumstances. This does not mean that I don’t talk about my treatment plan, it just means I don’t seek medical advice from those who are not qualified. I switched from saying with friends/family, “I don’t know what to do now” to instead, “I’m excited to be starting X treatment, because it will improve my chances of pregnancy.” By doing this you can still get the support you seek rather than than a plethora of advice, which ranges from possibly helpful, occasionally superstitious, to downright unhealthy and absurd. Save yourself the head-spinning trouble and speak with your medical team about a treatment plan.
If my suppression check goes well I will be starting my first injections for IVF in less than two weeks! I’ve been telling everyone this flight out of state to receive IVF treatment is like Disney World times ten. I am elated and filled with anticipation for our future. There are many things that are out of my control, but the one thing I can control is what I do today to move one step closer to our goal of having a child. History was made 40 years ago with the first IVF baby, maybe we can be parents to the growing number of millions of babies born through IVF. Wouldn’t that be something?
Source: “At least 8 million IVF babies born in 40 years since historic first from” CNN.com
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