Friday, March 14, 2008

IVF Cycle 1: Preparations

I start IVF on Monday. When my period started, I had this moment of excitment - almost euphoria. But now that the treatment is imminent, a lot about the process is coming back to me, and I can't say that I am looking forward to it.

For the last few weeks, I have been concentrating on enjoying myself. We had a great holiday. I've been swimming and enjoying spas afterwards. I've relaxed the pace at work. I've lain around reading books and taken up meditation. What I've been trying to do is enjoy being me, enjoy being in my body, as much as I can, before it all starts.

Because the truth is that, while an IVF cycle is on, it's hard to feel like your life, your body are your own.

IVF is really an amazing technology. Essentially, they shut your own natural system down. Then they rev it up with fertility drugs so that your body, which normally produces only one egg, produces many more. Then they take the eggs out through a minor surgery called "egg pickup", fertilise them in a dish, and produce embryos that they they put back into your womb. Then, basically, you all just hope like hell that one of them sticks. A decent explanation, with some cool pictures, can be found here.

But the explanations and the pictures don't show what it's like. This week, when they start shutting my system down with a drug called Lucrin, I will experience a teeth-gritting exposure tour of an intensified menopause, complete with mood swings, hot flushes and depression. What I really remember of the last time I was on it is that absence of joy and pleasure. You can have a great day, truly good things can happen to you, and all you feel is that terrible, flat, joylessness. It's so horrible that the fertility drugs flooding into your system come as an incredible relief.

They also don't tell you what it's like to pay for IVF. Have I mentioned that, this week, I will also be handing over a very large cheque? We are still paying off the debt from having our Little Dude. If I get pregnant this cycle (chances are about 25-30% each cycle for a woman my age), we will be in debt for another four years. If not, well, we are pretty much talking indentured servitude to pay for more cycles.

I looked at my Little Dude this morning: His clear, intelligent gaze, the little freckles on his nose, his sturdy little body which wriggles with joy and excitement. He is the best thing I have ever done, my life's work, and I don't regret him for a second.

But it's hard to face up to doing it again. IVF can make beautiful children. But it doesn't make for a beautiful life.

Cross your fingers for us.

9 Comments:

Blogger Fusion said...

Crossing, and hoping it takes on the very first try. Good Luck Emily!

10:44 PM  
Blogger Tajalude said...

I'm sending you the best of luck and well wishes!! I hope you and your family have awesome success.

1:06 PM  
Blogger C-Marie said...

Crossing my fingers here for ya!!

Good Luck!
xxoo

4:10 AM  
Blogger Drama said...

You're in my thoughts...my son is an IVF baby and I know too well the roller coaster that is an IVF cycle. Hang in there.

1:33 PM  
Blogger Fiona said...

My fingers and toes are crossed Emily - my bestest friend has just started another IVF and I'm hoping you both have much success.

6:00 PM  
Blogger Sailor said...

Crossing fingers, holding you all in thoughts and prayers for excellent harvesting and speedy attaching

7:18 PM  
Blogger Trueself said...

Crossing my fingers for you. Best of luck to you!

7:04 PM  
Blogger Desmond Jones said...

My brother and his wife got (I really have no idea what the appropriate verb is here) their first daughter thru IVF. I really didn't know exactly what-all it entailed.

Interesting. . .

9:18 AM  
Blogger freebird said...

More crossed fingers here for you Emily. Good luck - you deserve it.

6:43 AM  

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