I graduated from my IVF clinic today! Everything looked great on the ultrasound, with a strong heartbeat of 163 beats per minute. Baby J is measuring 19.57 mm. As I checked out and settled the $30 balance, Dr. Jane Fredrick met me for a picture and handed me baby's first article of clothing: A onesie with Proud to be an HRC baby printed across the front.
|A thank you seems too small. Without Dr. Frederick, |
we would not be expecting our second child.
Excited, I responded "Thank you! I will definitely send you a picture of our baby in this!"
"Please do - it will be our first." the woman taking the picture said.This surprised me, until I remembered that not only are most people not as open as I am about the process, some are even ashamed or embarrassed that they need the help.
On my drive back to work, I thought about all my experiences with our three IVF procedures, and sharing what we were going through every step of the way. I would not do anything differently, including wearing my heart on my sleeve. The support I garnered by sharing our story has helped me tremendously. I am proud to be pregnant through IVF. Neither one of these amazing babies would be possible had we not sought treatment, and they are both miracles. Overall, the response from others has been overwhelmingly positive. Only once in a great while have we fielded silly questions such as "Did you try naturally? Did you try counting the days?" But questions like this are an opportunity to educate, rather than get defensive.
For the record, of course everyone tries multiple other ways of getting pregnant before emotionally and financially committing to undergo IVF. Spending $15,000+ is never something to be taken lightly. Who would choose this over getting pregnant for free!?
Of course we did more than count days, a lot more.
In almost a year and a half of trying since our first child, we had upwards of 8 IUI procedures. Beyond just counting days, this procedure makes sure everything is timed precisely. We were also equipped with the knowledge that I had an extremely low AMH of .2, and that only one in 7 of my eggs were normal. This meant that only once every 7 months did we have a shot, and even then, so many other stars would need to align before that test would be positive.
Had we been reluctant or embarrassed to seek treatment, precious time would have been wasted and we would have run this risk of never giving Baby A a sibling. Many couples are in this situation and just because you are blessed to have one child (or, two!) it does not always lessen your desire to have another.
Secondary infertility is the inability to have another child following the birth of one or more biological children. It is something that more than 1 million couples face each year, and it accounts for as much as 60% of all infertility cases. While that is not our case, (since we had primary and secondary infertility) many people find themselves in this situation, afraid to seek help because "it worked one time."
Sharing along the way definitely helped me. But my hope is that it has helped others. I like to think I may have contributed to removing that stigma for some women. Not me alone, of course, but by joining the larger discourse. The more of us that share, the more acceptable it may be seen. Only after I started sharing did I realize how common it is. And it was in sharing that Dr. Frederick, who I can not speak highly enough about, was recommended by a co-worker.
If you or anyone you know is unsure about their fertility do one thing: Ask your OBGYN to test your AMH level. It is covered by insurance, and a simple blood test. There are other diagnostic tests that can be run, and covered, by your OBGYN. Start here. You'll feel better knowing it is not low, and that you have time. Be informed, and don't wait.