November 09, 2015

...and away we go

So this is happening:

That is the delivery of meds for one (1) round of IVF. Tomatoes and garlic optional, for seasoning.

I had a hard time deciding whether or not I was going to post about this, despite assuming for weeks that if we went for it, I absolutely would. On the one hand, I am resolutely refusing to feel any sort of shame around opting for IVF, despite my brain occasionally trying to persuade me differently. But feeling unashamed about the choice and publicly announcing it are two pretty different things.

For one thing, going public adds a(nother) layer of expectation to the process. Publicly sharing a goal - whether it be a weight loss target, or one's intent to join NaBloPoMo - adds a level of accountability that is usually intentional, to help spur you and guilt you into completion of that goal. Let me be the first to assure you, I require no additional guilt around this process. But publicly announcing that I'm starting IVF puts an awful lot of expectation on my future pregnant state, and IVF is far from a sure thing. There are a LOT of places to fail along the IVF route, between the stims not producing enough eggs or eggs of high enough quality, to fertilized eggs not maturing enough to be transferred, to me plain old not being able to keep the pregnancy even if the best possible embryos are put back in - but I think to some degree, there is the expectation that IVF is such a highly controlled, highly scientific process, that it's practically a done deal. So there are some obvious potential pitfalls to having an ever-increasing circle of people who I will possibly need to announce a failure to.

Plus there's the fact that this blog is neither private nor anonymous. I was going to post that picture of the meds on Instagram, but realized that there's a guy I know in a professional capacity who follows me there. While I don't have any inherent problem with him knowing, can you imagine the awkwardness if he casually brought it up with my coworkers present, making the (not altogether unreasonable) assumption that if I were posting about this online, I was being up front about it globally? It's not fair, but the fact of the matter is that letting people at my place of business know I'm trying to get pregnant or early along in a pregnancy can materially impact my career. (I am quite certain that is not the case for my male coworkers, but life is what it is.)

Ultimately, though, I decided a few things:

  1. I've been googling like a madwoman throughout this process, and reading blogs by other women going through it has been a hugely helpful and calming resource. If I can ever serve that purpose for someone else, I want to. 
  2. My default state is one of oversharing. Plus, I'm not a highly emotional person, so I apparently never really learned how process complicated emotions. But I *have* figured out that talking about emotional stuff, in person or online, helps me a ton. 
  3. Ironically, posting about it publicly is a way to force myself NOT to feel guilty about it, even though posting publicly also fell into the "this might make me feel guilty" bucket. But as much as putting a goal out there makes me feel somehow accountable, publicly stating "I am putting this out here because I refuse to feel guilty about going this route" works (hopefully) the same way. 

So! About that guilt. Each time I tell someone we're going forward with IVF, I feel the need to justify the decision, even though so far not a single person has had the reaction I keep anticipating, which is confusion / skepticism. Each time, I'm expecting to hear "...but you haven't been trying that long / long enough!" or "...but you've already been pregnant once, so you know it's possible!" But the overwhelming reaction so far (uh... from a sample size of like 4) has been delight and excitement. However! If you are feeling skeptical or surprised or like I'm jumping the gun, rest assured that I have a long explanation and justification allllll ready for you!

There is also a hefty level of guilt around the cost. This shit is NOT CHEAP, and 0% covered by our insurance. The two might be tied, come to think of it - if this were seen more as a covered medical procedure, as opposed to a pricey elective choice, I probably wouldn't feel the need to explain why we made that pricey choice. But it's not, and knowing that we are waaaaaay on the privileged side of life to have the ability to make this pricey elective choice carries its own set of guilt. On the upside, I'm getting in a lot of good practice for the ongoing guilt of motherhood, eh?

Anyway. Here we are, complicated feelings notwithstanding, starting Cycle 1. And man oh MAN have I learned a lot about this process, both through my own new & limited experience, and that of a close friend who went through this all a few months ago herself. And dudes, this stuff is FASCINATING. So I'm going to put it all out there: for posterity, for other women who might search for it, and because it's actually kind of super-neat. Worst case, if this cycle fails, I'll have a few more shoulders to cry on when I need the support.

In the meantime though, if you have any questions, ask away! Now that it's out there, I'm happy to talk about nearly any aspect of the process, from our specific protocol to general what/why/how questions that I incessantly asked my friend when she was going through it. Stay tuned for IVF lesson 1: training to become a junkie learning how to give myself injections!


  1. Ahhh the infamous "lots of drugs" photo. Looks very familiar. You are probably going to need a bigger sharps container. :-)

    Sending you all of the good thoughts. Your blog is not anonymous like mine is so I'm sure that it was a bit of a struggle to put this up, but for me, reading blogs of other people going through IVF was so helpful!

    Oh and the first needle is always the hardest one. I would suggest NOT doing the Menopur as your first injection as it has a tendency to burn (nothing too painful). The Gonal f pen is easy and doesn't hurt. Make sure to read the directions and there are plenty of videos online. You can do this!

  2. I didn't even know you were trying! But yay! Good luck!

  3. Good luck with everything! I know it will be hard but the random people of the internet have their fingers crossed for you. I have never been through this, but having been the egg donor in someone else's infertility treatment process, I've done my fair share of injections, too. And had some of the weird conversations. One of the ones I thought was the weirdest was, "But why don't they just adopt? Isn't doing IVF selfish?" As if having your own biological kids isn't selfish if you don't need IVF... reproduction is selfish, people. Just ask Richard Dawkins. That doesn't mean it's morally wrong. As for how expensive it is... that sucks, but until people stop buying snowmobiles, I think you can pretty much ignore the guilt factor on that.

  4. I am SO GLAD you're posting about it! I'm very interested. I loved seeing all the boxes of supplies. I had no idea, so I am already hanging on your every word. And I know what you mean about posting goals, so I'm extra grateful. And especially with babies, so: extra grateful.

  5. No guilt allowed! I think it's fantastic that you're going ahead with IVF right now and I wish you luck and send so much love!!!

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  7. You feel GUILT?! Are you kidding me woman?! DO NOT IN ANYWAY SHAPE OR FORM FEEL GUILTY. You are PERFECT and I can attest to this because you are my friend ;and my friends are perfect).

    I'm so glad you are writing about this because as you said there are likely many other women out there going through the same thing.

    And of course I'm always here for you! Whatever you need! I'm crossing my fingers, toes, and basically anything else for you!

  8. Wishing you an easy time of it! Here for you, for internet hand-holding and cheerleading and otherwise!

  9. Good luck! :) And thanks for sharing!!

  10. I will be watching along with you, hoping for good things, and totally not judging because even if I felt judge-y (which I don't), why would it be okay to let you know that? I wish more people would keep their judgments inside their heads. if you can't stop judging others, then hush, people! We don't have to share every random thought that crosses our minds.

  11. The thing about the expectations of future pregnancy was actually the reason why I chose not to announce pregnancies until the second trimester. I wasn't sure if I would want to discuss a miscarriage publicly if I had one--but I didn't want to set myself up in a situation where if something did happen, I would feel like there was an expectation that we would try again and I'd be announcing another pregnancy on some kind of timeline, you know?

    Anyway, your feelings all make total sense and I am glad that you decided to share. Fingers crossed that this cycle is successful. Xoxo.

  12. Hugs to you. I don't have any real response other than lots of love and good luck vibes sent your way.


  13. I am happy you're sharing because I am curious about this! And I really think people should use whatever means they need to get pregnant. When I saw this picture the first thing I felt was excitement for you! (I totally get the hesitation on sharing BIG things, though. Sometimes all the questions can be overwhelming.)