Monday, March 31, 2008

IVF Cycle 1: Rolling the Dice

I told my sister the other day that I am terrified of doing IVF again. She seemed puzzled. After all, I got one child from it - one more would be a bonus but, if it doesn't work, I still have the one I've got, right?

There is so much that can fail to go according to plan even if a pregnancy is achieved. I watched a truly excellent movie this weekend: The Black Balloon. It's about a 16 year old guy whose brother is autistic and his struggles to accept his brother as he is. It's clever, it's funny, it's tragic and it's inspiring. But I kept looking at the mother. She was warm and loving and patient. I don't know if I could be like her in that situation. Looking after one person with illnesses and disabilities is hard enough. Trying to look after two as well as my Little Dude would be tough, tough, tough.

I look at my friend Pat, and how hard her struggle has been to deal with becoming a mother. What if I have another bad birth myself and get PTSD and post-natal depression? How would we manage?

I think about my friend Tara and the physical health issues she has had since she had her son. She's a doctor with two other degrees and she hasn't been able to work for the last five years. What will happen to my family if I can't work?

To tell you the truth, this all worries me, and that's assuming I actually get pregnant.

I drop in from time to time on an IVF bulletin board. There is a lot of trading of ideas to increase chances. Lots of talk about quitting all coffee, eating organic food, staying positive, etc. It all assumes that this whole process is somewhat rational and somewhat fair. That doing all the right things is rewarded.

I can't seem to bring myself to ruin the vibe by saying that in my experience, doing IVF is more like gambling. We all put down our money, but who wins and who loses seems pretty arbitrary, really. Forty-somethings who keep drinking and smoking and making cynical wisecracks through the treatment can get pregnant, while twenty-somethings who eat all their organic vegetables and think totally positive at all times miss out. An awful lot is down to luck.

It really is like gambling. The odds are against you. You have to know that when you turn up to the tables. But you can't win if you don't play.

I am nervous because, with my Little Dude now two and a half, I feel like I have achieved a kind of tenuous well-being. I was over the fertility treatment/pregnancy/early motherhood phase of my life. My body was recovered. My mind was recovered. My finances were improving. I had a little time and space to myself again.

Now, I'm taking that tenuous little bit of well-being back to the tables, gritting my teeth and rolling the dice again...


Blogger Sailor said...

Some of these chances are the same ones we all take, when we decide to have a child- or two, or three, etc.

The PTSD, Post-natal depression; that happens to many, who haven't had to go through what you do, in order to conceive.

I see people like you, like the niece of ours that have struggled so to have babies- and can only admire the love and degree of commitment you have.

I know a lot of people see it differently, that you should adopt, just love one another, yadayada...

But, all I have is admiration and respect for you and Big Dude, and all who care enough and love enough to go through it on the chance it may work.

Hugs and crossing of fingers, etc

6:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emily, I have a long way to go before I could ever say I know what it's like to walk in your shoes, but just getting started on this fertility thing, I just wanted to say I am hoping for the best for you and your little family. The stress, the cost (emotionally, physically, financially) is sometimes frightening, and it's all so uncertain. I don't know you well, but I find you to be a strong woman and I know you'll do what you feel is best for you and your "men". I have my fingers and toes and legs (and sometimes eyes!) crossed for you!

6:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one is forcing you to go through it. Stop it if you really don't think you can handle it.

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