"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born." Isaiah 66:9

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Infertility is Forever

I'm sorry I've been so quiet I have tons to say still, but know that I will mention my child and never want to hurt anyone. That being said, I still have to write, so sometimes she will fall in here, but not regularly. 

I'd like to poll the number of people who have suffered infertility and been told one of these things...

1. Adopt, then you'll have a baby.
2. Oh now you've done IVF you'll get pregnant on your own soon!
3. Why don't you just do IVF? 

For some of us infertility is forever for one reason or another, OR a new reason to add to the old ones! 

Yes, some people get pregnant on their own after adopting or using ART. These people are in the vast minority, I'd love to give a stat, but I don't know one! I can only think of one adoptive mom off the top of my head who "just got pregnant" and she says how rare that is, in fact! It also discounts the truths of how hard and taxing and emotional and EXPENSIVE adoption is, that actually suggests that an adoptive parent is "settling", which isn't the case. Adoption is a calling, a choice, and certainly not one for the faint of heart!!! It's not a solution to infertility. 

More often you learn of IF women who do multiple cycles of IVF or FET (frozen embryo transfer, from a previous IVF cycle) with no baby to show for it. You hear of moms who previously had a baby with no problems via ART then losing a subsequent baby. 

The truth is, in some cases like mine, I may be able to get pregnant again on my own, but the likelihood is that without my Killer Bee medicine (what I prefer to call the Intralipids used to treat my Natural Killer Cell hyperactivity) any pregnancy I had on my own would end in miscarriage. For me (I'm not speaking for anyone else) that is not something I can chance! 

And why not "just do IVF?"? This is an ignorant statement, not stupid, but a statement made out of lack of knowledge (no blame here, I prefer you not know any better). I'll tell you why though, just to give some education. 

IVF costs at minimum $12,000. Sometimes up into $40,000. The vast majority of insurances do NOT cover it, mine included. It is HARD on your body. Have you ever given yourself a shot in the stomach? How about in your butt muscle? Did you know you can hit a nerve and cause permanent damage? Many of the shots cause hives, whelps, bruises, etc. 

During a typical IVF cycle a woman gives herself (or someone else does it) something like 80 shots throughout a cycle. **The picture on this post is the meds for an FET, which we IFers say is waaaaay easier! It's still approx 45-55 shots during a cycle.**

When I did IVF (and different clinics do it differently) I was on a low dose steroid for 63 days. I gained 15 pounds in those 63 days, almost half a pound a day. Yes, it came off during my pregnancy, but just consider that in 63 days I gained 15 pounds, then I lost that over the next 10 weeks, then gained 23.5 pounds over the rest of my pregnancy. That's a lot of weight gain/loss in less than a year. Not to mention you're pumping your body full of hormones. Some people do ok with this, some (like me) do NOT. I had OHSS (Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome). That is where since you've been pumped with hormones to make your body produce more follicles (they become eggs) your body gets confused and just keeps doing it and keeps doing it. It basically feels like someone stuck a water hose in your belly and turned it on and forgot to turn it off. It was more painful than contractions I had for 7.5hrs without epidural. To treat it the doctor sticks a catheter/needle up you and drains out the fluid, no sedation, no pain meds. It feels like someone is stabbing you from the inside, because that's EXACTLY what they do. 

All of this happens and if all the stars align and all the meds work correctly and all the doctor's judgements are right, you get lucky and get pregnant. That does not mean that you will not miscarry. Plenty of IVF patients miscarry, just like a typical pregnancy. 

I've told Foxy that the hormones alone make me feel not like myself, which is so hard. It's something that most people don't understand and it's a choice. Is it worth it? Absolutely!!! If it works, and I've not been on the side where it doesn't (so anyone feel free to comment), but I've been told it does make you feel like you tried everything. 

So, that's Why. Is that helpful?!? I don't mean to sound condescending or rude. I honestly want to educate and help people understand what it's like to deal with infertility. How those comments that you say with a genuine heart are like a nail in a coffin and usually quite painful. 

I'll try to post soon on things that are helpful to say. 


  1. I truly believe that with all things in life, honesty is the best policy! I think most often regarding any circumstance in life, people make uneducated comments when they should have just kept their mouth shut. I appreciate your blunt honesty! I

  2. I appreciated this blog. Though I didn't personally struggle with this, I know a lot of friends (sadly in this loss community) who have (and do). I like what you wrote about adoption too. I have a friend who did suffer from infertility. They were going to adopt though regardless of having their own biological child or not.

  3. Great post Deni! As you know. . . I'm one of those that "just" got pregnant after failed ART. Daily, I hear stories about someone, who knows someone, who knows someone that this happened to, and so many people "just" get pregnant after adopting. I used to try to throw stats in their faces, cause it IS rare. . . but now, I just smile and nod, cause frankly, I'm exhausted from trying to teach people! Ha!

    And just do IVF. Oh my goodness! I'll say this, I don't think I could ever EVER do it again. It really wreaked havoc on my life, my health, and my relationships. Nothing easy about it.

  4. Thank you for this post! I've been following your blog from another blog, just happened to read today...and it was right on! I finished a FET in July, which failed. No baby. All the shots, all the emotions, made my family nuts, gained weight, countless shots (and it IS easier than a fresh cycle, as I also hyper stimulated) and no pregnancy. And even well-intentioned family told me "well, it just wasn't meant to be." Ugh! Your post was just what I was/am feeling. Infertility is awful! Thanks for making a stranger feel less alone today! :) Best to you and your family!

  5. Sometimes there are those of us who ask just trying to let you know we are interested and care but do not have a firm grasp on the total reality of it. We say things that may sound , um wrong or too inquiring from your perspective. Having never had this issue, it is not that we are stupid er se, just ignorant in this area. So forgive us and know we mean well and care deeply. Also,this kind of indepth information helps bridge some of our ignorance