Over the past few weeks, Emily has been chronicling her journey about deciding to become a single mother by choice. Today she talks about making the move from IUI to IVF.
Last year on Yom Kippur, the rabbi at my synagogue offered a sermon that was themed “Recalculate Your Route.” It was a moving sermon, and to emphasize his point, he passed out carabiners with little compasses that said “Recalculate Route.” Very clever!
That fall, I was very pensive, thinking about my life at 36. I was focused on the fact that I was not yet married and so eager not only to find my partner in life, but also to begin my journey of motherhood.
I determined to make some changes to achieve these dreams. The first thing I did was double my dating efforts. I rejoined JDate, treating it not as a charitable donation, as I had done in the past, but as a way to meet men. I also deliberately told people that I was actively looking for my guy. Looking for said man was not a new phenomenon, but I had decided to be less subtle about it. I went on lots of dates and met a good guy, with whom I spent about fourth months before we both realized it wasn’t going to work. But this post is not about dating. It is about deciding to do IVF this month.
The last two months’ IUI attempts didn’t work–and with the 20 percent chance of becoming pregnant through IUI, I can’t say I was totally shocked. I was disappointed, but not for too long. You see, when an IUI attempt doesn’t work, one only has a few minutes, maybe hours, to be sad about not being pregnant before she has to pick herself up, dust herself off, and decide how she wants to try to become pregnant the next month. For me, this meant addressing the question of whether or not to ramp things up–a lot–and move to IVF.
I had heard that IVF was not for the faint of heart; that in addition to involving at home injections, bloating, potential mood swings, and abdominal discomfort, it also came with two in-office medical procedures to be done under general anesthesia and a really, really big price tag. Still, I explored the option very seriously. It seemed that the success rates for IVF were much higher than IUI, and with some additional technological advances, including a special genetic test they can do on embryos prior to transfer–this is what they call it when they put the embryo back in the woman and hope it implants–the prospect for success going forward was well worth the pain and financial impact.
After intense soul searching, hours of discussion with my parents, long consultations with my doctor, and phone conversations with a dear family friend who has been an infertility doctor since these procedures were very new, I decided that IVF was right for me.
For a little while, I worried about what people would think. I even wondered if I would share this decision on this blog. I was concerned that people would think I was being too aggressive–or that because on paper, I’m fertile, it was a misuse of this special technology. Then a friend of mine said a very wise thing. She told me that there would be opportunities for others to judge me all the way through my experience as a mother. That people would think they were entitled to an opinion about personal decisions I would make about my child and our lives. She suggested that I toughen up right away, decide what was right for me, and go forward and make the baby I’ve been dreaming about. Well, ladies and gentlemen, that is exactly what I decided to do!
I have entered the world of IVF with all pistons firing. I took my second dose of injections tonight, and, although nobody likes sticking herself with needles, so far, so good. I know the discomfort is supposed to increase over the next 10 days, but my hope is that I’ll be so excited about how close I’m getting to the next step of this process, that I won’t even mind the bloating and cramping so much. After all, if someone told you that you could increase your odds of having your dream come true if you stuck yourself with needles and suffered a little discomfort–or maybe even a lot–for a couple of weeks or even nine months, wouldn’t you do it?
So, I’ve recalculated my route. Again. L’shana tova!