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Things That Shaped Me: Infertility--Part 3: IVF

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Things That Shaped Me: Infertility--Part 3: IVF

I called and they gave me a list of tests I needed to have done before I could start. I did them all, hating my body the entire time. I mean...hating it so much, I don't think I looked, really looked in a mirror that whole time that I was cycling. I was so unhappy with everything that I didn't even recognize myself anymore. I was consumed with sadness, anger and envy. I hated who I had become. Someone that was completely obsessed with having another baby. Had Leo and I not had a strong relationship going into it, I don't know how our marriage would have survived. I was completely unlovable and I credit him with keeping it together. I put a smile on my face for Nico but inside my heart was breaking at how hard it was to do the most basic thing. It's hard to explain and I admit feeling jealousy and envy when I would hear that someone else I knew had gotten pregnant effortlessly, but it wasn't really directed at them. It was more of a reminder of what my body was failing to do. I was still happy for was just tainted with sadness for me. I absolutely hated that part of what I was going selfish I felt. I tried very hard to not let one feeling get in the way of the other. I hope that I never made anyone feel bad because of what I was going through because it was all consuming and foreign to deal with needles and blood tests and doctors to do what everyone else could just jump in bed and do. I just could not make sense of it. Women were having babies forever. Crack whores were having babies. Teenagers were having babies. People were having one night stands and getting pregnant all the time. Everywhere I looked, women were having babies and I was so envious. I remember being at the grocery store in line behind a women that had six or seven kids (they might not all have been hers but at the time, that is all I saw) and was paying for her groceries with food stamps. I lost it right there in that line. Why couldn't Leo and I, a happily married, financially stable couple get pregnant?

Before we had to learn how to inject me with the hormones, I will share with you something that few know. I had to go to therapy to get over my fear of needles and my hang-ups about IVF. It was then that I found the website, and I credit the women on there with keeping me sane and helping me get through some of my darkest times. If you are reading this and you are having trouble, I strongly recommend visiting that site. It isn't just for infertility. It has adoption, parenting and loss sections, too. While in therapy, I figured out that the only way I was going to get through the IVF cycle was by praying and becoming an emotionless robot that just follows directions to get it done. That's not actually what the therapist said...just what I got out of it. I wanted no memory of what I was doing because I hated every second of having to do it.

I will tell you everything I remember, though it might not be much because I really did block out most of it. I remember I didn't want Leo to be a part of any of it. I felt like a failure with a body that completely betrayed me and I was afraid that if he had to give me shots, it would make me less attractive. The first time I had to give myself a shot in my stomach, I remember sitting there sweating and crying for two hours. Leo heard me and came in and I told him my fears. He made me feel better and I let him do it. It was one of the most humbling times for me but inevitably brought us closer. I hated the situation but it was a great feeling to know he loved me unconditionally. Every day I had to have a blood test and an ultrasound. In other words, each day I got to find out if my body was succeeding or failing in the whole fertilization process. Most days, I was failing. It's hard to describe my mental state at that time because I don't know if it was the hormones or the anger at having to do it at all (and not being good at it) but I was impossible to live with. I was angry one minute, crying the next, puttig on a brave face for Nico and trying to hide it from everyone. I don't remember laughing once that whole time and I still resent that I have no memory of that time with Nico and pray that he doesn't either. Because of the surge of hormones I was getting shot up with, I developed a cyst that I had to have aspirated in the office. WITH NO ANESTHESIA! I put that in all caps so that you could feel how painful that was. My body wouldn't respond to the medicine so at one point they threatened to cancel the cycle. Just when I thought I was done, they called and told me when to go in for them to retrieve my eggs. I made arrangements for Nico and Leo and I went in. The retrieval is a minor surgery with a twilight anesthesia. The only thing I remember about the actual retrieval was that they told me I had more eggs than they actually retrieved so I was very nervous that I wouldn't have much to work with.

Nico was at Leo's mom's house for the day and my dad came to stay with me while Leo went to work. I was feeling really tired and got up to go to the bathroom before falling asleep. The next thing I remember was being on the bathroom floor face down. I remember thinking it was odd that I fell asleep with my glasses on face down when I realized that I was staring at blood. I started yelling for my dad who, to this day I feel awful, should never have had to see his daughter face down in a pool of blood. He drove me to the hospital where it was decided that I had passed out from the anesthesia. They took x-rays and found that I broke my nose. I broke my freaking nose!

The next day they called and said that they had fertilization. I was thrilled that finally, we received a positive phone call. The following day, I went in and they transferred 3 embryos. I secretly prayed for twins because I NEVER wanted to go through any of what I just did ever again. I went home and was on bed rest for three days. Nico came home after being gone for way too long and the obsession began of whether or not it worked. Everything felt like a sign and I feared it was all in my head. What is worse is that the medicine I was taking mimicked pregnancy symptoms. I had to wait 10 days to find out. I tried not to leave my house because I had two black eyes and tape over my nose and I got tired of telling people I was not being abused by my husband.

The morning I went in for the blood test to see if it worked was just like any other morning. I went through every scenario so I would know how to feel but nothing really prepares you for that phone call in the afternoon. When the nurse called and said, "Congratulations! You are pregnant!", I fell to my knees crying. They weren't tears of happiness...they were tears of relief. I felt incredibly lucky that it worked the first time and remember repeating over and over again, "Thank You, God, that it worked the first time. Thank You, God!" They told me my number which was 386(funny that I remember that) and anything over 5 is pregnant (that early). I quickly peed on a stick because I needed to see it turn positive. I had waited 2 years to see it be positive and I remember even with a number that high, it was only a faint positive. I put it on a paper towel with a sign that said, "IT WORKED!" Amazing that at the time I didn't think it was gross to put something I peed on, on display.


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