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You’re Not Alone

IVF Journey

a blog by Amy Klein, February 17, 2014

Last week I discussed issues that fertility clinics need to work on to improve services for patients. This week, I wanted to explore some things that patients (that’s right, the patient and her partner) need to know when beginning their fertility journey.

The most important lesson I’ve learned is that most people’s fertility journeys are similar: first you have trouble getting pregnant, then consult with a doctor/doctors, then you start IUIs, then meds , then IVF. (For a succinct account of the entire journey, read Michelle Shephard’s recent article, Fertility: “The Hardest Border I’ve Ever Tried to Cross.”)

My starting point was different, in some ways, but the trajectory was more or less the same. I’d gotten pregnant on my own twice, and the second time they couldn’t find the fetal heartbeat at six weeks (which I later learned was early, anyway). I was freaking out to a friend who was going through IVF and she gave me this look. It was a look of sadness, but not surprise. It said, “Oh, you poor dear, you’re in for a long journey…” For her, it was all old hat: the waiting, the hoping, the disappointments, the breakthroughs (these days she’s up all night with a beautiful little girl).

I knew that look – it reminded me of when I was dating. At first, when a guy I had an amazing time with didn’t call me back, I was outraged. How could this happen? I thought. How could I have believed I had a good time while he was counting the minutes till it was over? But over the years, I learned that that – and other indignities – sometimes happened. And it was painful, but not surprising. And when I’d hear a girlfriend complain, “How could he not call?” I knew she was new to dating and would soon learn the ropes.

My main point here is that every part of the journey seems difficult – from simply trying to conceive without medical intervention to making that first doctor’s appointment. It’s all unfair, overwhelming, distressing, aggravating, and yes, unfair. (Especially the way other people seem to be breeding with apparent ease.) But it could be a teesnie-weensie less difficult if you realize that so, so many people go through this.

Your feelings are unique (although didn’t I just name most of them?), but your situation isn’t. So many people – if not in person, then online – know what to do at every stage of the baby-making game. I wish I had consulted them from the start, but that’s a different story.

My question for this week is: What do you wish you had known about fertility/IVF when you started? What advice would you give to others just beginning? Tweet @amydklein #invitro.


Comments (3)

Hi Sarah, so sorry to hear about your journey. Sucks. But I believe that PGD is the future of all IVF. Hopefully it will work for both of us!!

Hi Sarah, so sorry to hear about your journey. Sucks. But I believe that PGD is the future of all IVF. Hopefully it will work for both of us!!

Hi Amy, I have followed your journey from the Motherlode column and am so happy to see you continue to share and encourage discussion about this process. I am a bit younger than you (33) but I too have had miscarriages (4 to be exact) and had the same jarring transition from..."This will be fine. I can get pregnant." to "I'm in this for the long haul." After 2 miscarriages on our own and 2 miscarriages following cycle monitoring, IUI and injectables, after literally 100 vials of blood and testing and an HSG showed no issues, we are preparing to do IVF with PGD. The process is terrifying, soul crushing, enraging, at times thrilling, and mostly lonely. At the very lest when I hear others have similar experiences, the loneliness is abated a bit. Sarah

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