17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

"Your eggs are bad!" - A brief journey through infertility

It took 3 years for DH and me to have our son. I was diagnosed with endometriosis when I was 14 so we knew it was going to be a battle and it was. After a year of trying on our own, we called in the "experts". I was in pain, extremely vulnerable and desperate to have a baby - the ideal infertility candidate. After many drugs, painful tests, IUI cycles, one IVF cycle and follow up laparoscopy we gave up and threw in the towel for a little while. I interviewed two adoption agencies and decided we would go find our child in Russia.

Then I got pregnant. For real.

And 9 months later we had DS. With no intervention, nothing. I was 4 1/2 months pregnant when I FINALLY accepted that I was actually going to have a baby. I was so used to nothing but negative tests and sad looks on doctors faces that I couldn't fathom I was one of the lucky ones who got to have a baby. I felt like I'd won a huge contest - really, the joy is unexplainable.

But I digress. When I was "in pain, extremely vulnerable and desperate to have a baby" I could have used some good advice. I didn't know anyone my age in NYC who was going through IVF or any significant infertility issues so I had no one to talk to. I once made the mistake of visiting a "coping with infertility" blog and it just filled me with despair. Books were pretty worthless - every single one I read (and I read ALOT) seemed outdated or missed the mark with ME. Most of my family and friends treaded gingerly around the issue. It's like when someone dies and you don't really know what to say? That's how most people are with infertility. There were countless baby showers I couldn't attend because I knew I would start sobbing, women I just couldn't be around because they had babies and I didn't, the list goes on and on. I really could have used some advice.

So here are a few things I learned during my 3 year journey through infertility. If you've been through it, please feel free to add - the more information the better.

1) Get 2nd and 3rd opininons. Maybe even 4th. Interview clinics! Infertility clinics/practices are a BUSINESS. Got it? A BUSINESS. Yes, they want to help you get pregnant, but they are still a BUSINESS. The biggest mistake I made was signing on with the first infertility clinic I visited. Again, I was vulnerable and all I wanted was to have a baby so I didn't do my homework and interview several clinics. I should have; it would have saved me all the second guessing. Halfway through my IVF cycle my doctor told me that my eggs were bad and I would need donor eggs. I cried and never questioned - I should have. Interview and get multiple opinons.

2) Treatments are typically based on your monthly cycle, so its usually a full 30 days before everyone realizes something didn't work. You're going to be spending ALOT of time at an infertility clinic especially if you dive into IVF - make sure that you LIKE your doctor. Mine had a horrible bedside manner (another post altogether and one I don't feel like writing), and when you're getting an internal ultrasound on your ovaries every day for 2 weeks, ya want someone ya kinda like, know what I mean? Find a doctor/practice that you like.

3) Make sure that you and your insurance company know EXACTLY what is going on before you start any procedures. This takes time and patience but will save you headaches and heartache in the end. Infertility is extremely expensive and you want to make sure your insurance is paying every penny they are supposed to - be on top of this.

4) Tell a couple of close friends what is going on. For awhile, I kept it all a big secret. Finally I caved and told Marian and a few others what was going on and that really saved my sanity. You need your friends and your DH needs you to have an outlet other than him. Allow a few people to help you.

5) Try to stay away from those "coping with infertility" blogs - they'll bring you down. You need positive energy to go through this stuff and staying up late at night commiserating online with other women who are going through it, lost pregnancies, are depressed, etc. isn't going to elevate your soul.

6) Try to take care of yourself spiritually. Visit the temple if and when you are able. Ask for a blessing. Read your patriarchal blessing. These may sound like standard mormon answers but when you are battling infertility you'll probably forget about this stuff. You need to keep yourself in tune spiritually, so do what is necessary to get in tune.

And finally, do not attempt infertility treatment AND adoption at the same time. I know, people do it but it is SO emotionally and financially draining that I can't recommend it. Decide where your energy and time is best spent and then dedicate yourself to that cause 100%. Stop and reevaluate when you need to but don't try both of these processes at the same time.


  • "do not attempt infertility treatment AND adoption at the same time"

    We have been TTC for about 4 years now. We are going to do infertility treatmens and adoption at the same time. Yes, this may mean that we are crazy, but we feel that is what we shoud do... I know, different for everyone. We also don't know how the Lord is going to bless us with children, so we want to leave all the options open and not give up on one to further the other. We see nothing negitive in doing both at the same time...I HATE the blanket statement that if couples adopt "then maybe you'll get pergnant". I do know that is the case for some but that is not the case for so many others. I agree with you to find a DR. that you like, and to stay positive, a very VERY hard thing to do at times, but a good thing. My husbands grandfather use to say "the hard is the good" I think that can be said for tons of things.
    posted by Anonymous Beanie at 4/02/2006 08:10:00 AM  

  • I'm going to print this off for Sarah. She has PCOD and the doctor said she would need Clomid or a reasonable facsimile to conceive.
    posted by Blogger annegb at 4/02/2006 09:24:00 AM  

  • Chloe,

    Thanks for the post...I know it will help a lot of women dealing with infertility right now.

    Question: What are the right and wrong things to say to a friend dealing with this issue? I'm always afraid of saying the wrong thing....
    posted by Blogger Jen at 4/02/2006 02:15:00 PM  

  • Jen, very good question and thanks for asking it. When our friends are suffering we just want to make them feel better. The natural inclination may be to say "Don't worry, you'll get pregnant" or "It'll happen for you guys" or "Just relax, take a break". None of of these phrases are actually helpful to the person going through infertility. The reality is they may NOT get pregnant and just relaxing unfortunately may not solve the issue.

    What helped me was that my friends just listened. None of them had dealt with infertility at that point so they couldn't fully appreciate what we were going through. But they listened and allowed me to vent. Telling a friend that you're ready to listen and offering a shoulder to cry on if needs be is probably the most helpful thing.
    posted by Blogger chloe at 4/02/2006 03:39:00 PM  

  • Chloe,

    Did people at church assume you just didn't want (or maybe, didn't like) children? Did people actually say things about it?

    It's been really hard for RT and me, and I'm never sure how to handle it when I'm talking to folks at the ward... I don't want to make them uncomfortable with personal medical stories, but we're kind of stigmatized, being childless for so long.
    posted by Anonymous Serenity Valley at 4/02/2006 05:09:00 PM  

  • sorry to hear you have endo, i do too. here is the only advice i can give anyone... let it be OK not to have a baby.

    i know that goes against the grain, but it is OK to be childless. there is still a lot you can do (maybe even more!).

    it's sad because our church is so focused there really isn't a place for those who can't have children for whatever reason. i think if we could just each be more comfortable with our lives, as is, life would be much better for everyone.
    posted by Blogger Aimee "Roo" at 4/02/2006 06:37:00 PM  

  • I know a girl that would say to inquiring minds: "I'm barren" that might stop the "When are ya gonna have kids" folk.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 4/02/2006 07:45:00 PM  

  • It took us 4 years to finally have our daughter - although even the pregnancy was full of pre-term labor, bed rest and a lot of stress. We never got as far as IVF in the infertility cycle but did Clomid for 5 cycles (unsuccessfully) and had two miscarriages before Clomid. Finally, we got pregnant by some miracle (which, I know doesn't happen for all couples going through infertility - Chloe and I were lucky).

    So what advice can I give? I did a lot of research and asked a lot of questions (write your questions down before you go to the doctor so you don't get side-tracked and you make sure all your questions are answered that way). I also pushed to get every blood test (antibodies, hormones, etc) and test (even a MRI) possible to make sure nothing was amiss - interesting, my HMO never gave me any pushback, either. Get hooked up with a competent Reproductive Endocrinologist that you mesh with and is on your side - you might not get pregnant but at least you know that the doctor did everything. Check your insurance to see what is covered - mine (HMO) covered Clomid and other forms of infertility drugs but not IVF (they even covered DH, who was not on the same insurance as me, while we were doing our treatments). Like Chloe, you need someone to talk to. I had a friend that was also going through infertility at the same time as me so it was great to commisserate but also great to celebrate our successes.

    For those people that assumed we were being selfish because we didn't have children (mostly church members), I was honest and vocal about our situation. I thought the more people that knew, the less assumptions being made and the less baby showers I would have to deal with. Most people are very understanding once they know but at church, a lot of people assumed us as selfish until they knew the truth (some even vocal about our selfishness). Also, I think being open about it, helped those that got pregnant easily to understand our trial and perhaps be more sensitive to our feelings (ie not talking excessively about how easy it is for them to get pregnant, etc).

    beanie - I have friends who did both (IVF and adoption) at the same time. IVF didn't work for them but they found out they were picked for adoption the same month. I don't think they regret anything they did and they are so happy now with their son. Good luck with both.
    posted by Blogger Elise at 4/02/2006 09:22:00 PM  

  • I really do not know what it would be like to be infertile, and I am sure it would be heartbreaking on so many levels. But I must say that I have always thought that if I couldn't get pregnant (which I have- 3 times so far, 1 miscarriage and 2 babes), I would really enjoy having a "real life"...I guess the worldly side of me thinks about all the freedom in being able to just work, have a great career, and have a happy productive fulfilling life. Don't ge me wrong, have children is truly a great thing, but if God wanted me for whatever reason to not get pregnant, I always felt lke it wouldn't be that bad. Is that really evil? Anyway, it's a great interesting post for everyone.
    posted by Blogger Rachel H at 4/02/2006 11:56:00 PM  

  • Rachel H,

    I don't think it's evil. For years, I was happy without kids, too--I wanted them, but our solitude gave RT and I a long time to really get to know each other. The wait also gave me time to excorsize some personal demons which could really have hurt our future children. But I have to say, at this point I'd rather be home with kids than sitting in an office. I'm not very career-oriented, but I have an increasingly unbearable maternal urge. Biological clock and all that. It just ticks louder and louder with age...
    posted by Anonymous Serenity Valley at 4/03/2006 09:33:00 AM  

  • Chloe, thanks for sharing your experience with infertility. I think it's great you've been able to have TWO babies against these obstacles! Too many people assume getting pregnant is easy. (Well, if you're an unmarried teen, it seems easy.) Many women won't get that blessing, as hard as they try. And it has NOTHING to do with personal worthiness, etc, or how much the Lord loves you. I think it's a matter of coming to terms with the Lord's plan for you, which is often hard.
    posted by Blogger Squiddy at 4/03/2006 10:35:00 AM  

  • When I had trouble conceiving my second it was almost impossible to get doctors to listen. It had worked once, it'd work again. Only after a year and a miscarriage did anyone really care.
    Do NOT say "maybe the Lord just knows you're not ready". I actually yelled at my best friend for that one. A close friend who was great strength to me and who finally had a child after 5 years of trying told me that the best thing to say about anything is "I'm so sorry to hear that. If you ever feel ready to talk or ask for anything, I hope you'll consider me" Give them a little hug if you feel so inclined, and don't drown them with pity.
    posted by Blogger Mo Mommy at 4/03/2006 11:44:00 PM  

  • Thanks! This publish contains very considerable thoughts and information that every audience should be followed. Strategy indeed.
    posted by Anonymous Infertility Clinics at 1/02/2012 10:43:00 PM  

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