I've had this post ruminating around in my head for months now, mostly because I keep hearing dumb comments in regards to IVF.
Lots of people seem to think, well, my friend so&so did IVF and they have a baby, why don't you just do that? Here are some things you may not know about IVF, that may make you a little less inclined to suggested it to an infertile person (who I assure you has already considered it in some way, shape, or form, you did NOT bring the thought to their mind!).
1. It costs thousands of dollars, and no not like two of those thousands, try 10 of those thousands and upwards. One friend I have it cost her $30,000. Yes, THIRTY THOUSAND dollars, that is a years salary!!!!!
2. It is HARD on a woman's body. You are basically chemically controlling things that should happen naturally, like turning off their cycle, then revving it back up turbo charged to "get the most eggs" and then slamming it back to a halt again.
3. Needles, do any of you have needle phobia? Try overcoming that to give yourself (or you husbands giving your trembling wife) up to 3 shots per day. I pulled out my paperwork, so I wouldn't under or over estimate the number of shots that are given during a cycle. Mind you, I was on the lowest dose of meds they give (and I'm forever grateful and think women who do the mega doses and do this over and over without having a baby are stronger than any of these women who have a drug free birth). In my low dose cycle I gave (or Foxy gave) me a total of 56 shots, either in my stomach or my hips. I should've been on the progesterone shots for another 2-3 weeks, but they were breaking my hips out so badly that I couldn't sit in a chair or lay on either hip (which is relatively impossible). Since I had to stop those I got some extra suppositories to make sure my levels stayed up, because the meds for IVF stop your production of progesterone which is ABSOLUTELY necessary for pregnancy!
4. Steroids, anyone have to take those for an illness? Yep, and you revel in the fact that for 24 hours you get a LOT done because they make you wired!!! Well, when you take them for 63 days, they make you hungry--ALL THE TIME--hence a 15.5lb weight gain prior to even getting pregnant. They make you retain water and swell, so no clothes fit you. They give you insomnia, for which there is NO medicine that will help. And for those who the IVF doesn't work for that first time, you still look like you might be pregnant and your clothes don't fit, with nothing to show for it, but a few thousand dollars down the drain and another broken heart.
I say all of this to say that women who have done this over and over again are my heros. They know the true cost of being a parent, as none of it is about you. It's not about your pain, your discomfort, your time being taken away, your sleepless nights, your drained bank account, none of that matters for a mommy. These women demonstrate the sacrificial heart of a true mother long before (and if ever) a baby comes into their homes. When you say things like "you'll understand when you have a child" this is one of the MOST insulting things you could tell one of these women. For they've given up their vacation time for doctors appointments, they have to schedule each day around giving their shots at the same time, some days multiple times. I had a friend last week tell me she showed cheek in her husband's work parking lot, because she needed a shot and he wasn't done with work, that's the kind of things that an IVF mom does to have a baby. They test their marriages to the limits, and many do not survive, so a big shout out to those who do and are stronger for it, I can name quite a few couples that I admire for the strains their marriages have survived and the effort and love that is there (what a testament to their children one day!). And while you complain about pregnancy hormones making you crazy, I double dog dare you to take these hormones and have any resemblance to your former self (and I can say that as I've been on both sides, promise you without a doubt the drugs are worse than pregnancy hormones). While you complain about being pregnant in hot summer months, they deal with hot flashes just like menopause without a promise of a cute cuddly one to love at the end! So your face and your back and your chest are broken out while you're pregnant, it is gross and uncomfortable, but you're pregnant and you will (most likely) have a baby at the end, while many women have these effects from the hormones and come home empty handed with a pee stick that has "not pregnant" in bold to taunt them for their efforts. Another friend had a failed IVF and received the bill monthly for the loan they took out to cover their costs, how would you like that? A bill for no baby. (Please don't compare this to your hospital bill you still receive after your baby is born--your baby is there smiling up at you!).
I consider myself one of the MOST blessed people in the world honestly, because I haven't gone through this over and over with poor results and I am certainly not complaining, but I would like others to know how hard it is for an infertile who is trying desperately to have a baby, to hear you complain about an epidural, or the heat, or your bad skin, or your heartburn, or your vomiting, or your constipation. I know the list of ailments goes on and on and on for a pregnant woman, rough stuff that truly makes the fact that pregnancy is categorized as a "Disease" in medical texts all too true! But before you complain, before you regale your list of what you won't do (like be big pregnant in the heat of the summer, or go 40 full weeks in pregnancy), please consider who you are talking to, and maybe take it to someone else!
I continue to pray for all of my infertile sisters out there who continue to walk this path and try with all their might to achieve what comes so easily for so many others! Concurrently, I will continue to help educate people on this rough road, and learn from the things that I have experienced!
I did IVF, I had the best outcome possible, but someone slap me if I ever utter the phrase "Why don't you JUST do IVF??".
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