IVF Is Great…But Going Through It Isn’t

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“So, the doctor said we should try IVF? Oya, when can we start?”

The eagerness in SK’s voice was so convincing, it didn’t leave any room for doubt. It wasn’t what his wife, Idayat, expected to hear but it was pure soul music to her ears. Her husband, who hadn’t wanted to try anything, was now eager to try IVF…hmm, prayers did get answered indeed, she thought.

She had a fair idea of what might have prompted it; his brothers and their growing families. Just a few weeks before their hospital appointment, there had been a family occasion, where all the brothers had converged at their parents’ house, along with their pregnant spouses and their children. Idayat and SK were the obvious misfits.

They had been married longer, yet they were neither expecting nor already parents. They were still waiting. It was at moments like this that TTC got keenly painful. Her mother-in-law went all out, trying to make up for the obvious gap, but only made it more obvious. Even though they were family, there were still boundaries, so they left as soon as they finished with the business of the day.

And bless the children, they kept on coming to tell their uncle and aunt about the babies who were growing in the wombs of their respective mamas, and one even wondered when her uncle was going to bring his baby, so they could play with it. SK had told his nieces, “Very soon!” So, Idayat guessed he was trying to fulfil his promise to the girls, hence this new found haste and interest in IVF.

“Are you sure you want us to do this? We don’t need to hurry into it. It’s a long process. I just want you to be really sure, and that we are doing this for the right reasons.” Idayat said, trying to convince herself she had heard her husband correctly.

“Don’t you want to do this? Or why are we talking about ‘if’ I’m really sure? I said when can we start, and you are talking about my being sure. I’m sure. I want to do this…unless, you would rather not do IVF…? His voice trailed off.

Quickly, Idayat made it known that she was sure she wanted to try it, after three years of dealing with unexplained infertility, and two failed IUIs. At that point, she was eager to try alternative suggestions that made sense, and IVF made a lot of sense. Besides, she was not going to be looking a gift horse in the mouth, especially with her husband being so cooperative, all of a sudden. She was seizing the opportunity.

Both went into their IVF cycle pumped full of enthusiasm, ready to face down the vials of hormones handed them, alongside the injections. SK, even though a strong and well-built man, had a very bad relationship with injections, so they came to a compromise; she would administer her hormones by herself and he would come in and make it better afterwards. That way, they were still doing it together.

The scans took their toll, but they stayed strong. There were times SK needed to talk to his brothers, who also happened to be his best buddies, and he literally could see the horror in their eyes as he described the needles and the processes they had to go through.

Beneath their horror, he could see they also wished he didn’t have to deal with all of these issues, just to have a baby, and beneath even that was their love and unshaking support for him that, regardless of how they felt, they were going to stick with him, whether they knew what to do or not. They were in for the whole hog.

Having that security blanket was great on the one hand, but it also wasn’t the most ideal, as it meant they asked him questions he didn’t have answers to, or didn’t want to answer.

Idayat, for her part, as an only child had only her mother as a support system and her mother was already in a bad shape, courtesy of her daughter TTC’s efforts, so telling her about her feelings might have just made things worse, so she kept quiet.

As the days turn into weeks, their enthusiasm went down a notch, but giving up was far from their minds. I guess, they started to operate in the reality of the statistics their doctor had been passing along, rather than solely on their optimism.

Idayat and SK had a successful cycle, followed by months of fright and anxiety, when they thought they were going to lose the baby. Idayat is in her second trimester now, and eating so much, it’s scary. When I mentioned making healthier choices, she said the healthy choices are not as filling as the…well…less healthy options. Lol!!

I guess some pregnant mamas will concur with that assertion.

For another IVF mama, Vivian, the less than stellar part of IVF was OHSS, and she experienced it twice. That literally scared her for life.

The first time it happened was during her IUI cycle. At first, she didn’t know what was going on, but as she started to feel more uncomfortable, Vivian rushed to her clinic. The cycle was nearly cancelled, but just as her body over stimulated, it also responded to medications fast, so she went on to be inseminated.

Well, it failed, and she felt the pain keenly. After months of waiting and trying naturally, Vivian and her husband opted for IVF, and one question she asked was, “Will I experience OHSS again?”

The doctors told her it was a possibility, but they were going to monitor her closely. Like they expected, Vivian had OHSS again, worse this time around, but they were also prepared. Even at that, the embryo transfer couldn’t be done as scheduled; they had to wait for the fluid gathered in her body to drain, before talking of a transfer.

She did FET, and the lines fell onto her in pleasant places.  Vivian was on bed rest physically, during her two week wait, but her mind wasn’t resting.  She said she was on a social media hiatus, but Dr. Google was on 24-hour attendance, as it answered questions about the presence, or absence, of symptoms.

Vivian’s daughter is two years old now.  She has rescheduled another FET twice, out of fear, even when the doctor told her there would be no stimulation.

Will she ever give it a try? Maybe…maybe not. Not even the fact that she had a daughter from her last IVF cycle is enough motivator. But then, I guess, when you see your life flashing in front of you, a lot of things cease to matter.

No doubt, IVF is great. It’s an innovation still unrivalled as I write, but is going through the procedure a walk in the park? Far from it! Ask IVF mamas, they have loads to talk about.

As they say, when life gets tough, the tough gets going.

Keep going mama, you are more than a match for life.

 

 

Join the conversation with any of our TTC and Pregnancy Groups here

 

Photo credits:

1. http://i.huffpost.com

2. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/

3. https://a.dilcdn.com/

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