Tuesday, January 14, 2014

How pregnancy cures infertility....or NOT!...

It's astounding to me how people tend to forget your infertility history...even people who have been there through each painstaking step of the journey and KNOW what an against-the-odds miracle your child is.

Recent case in point: my mom (sorry, mom, I love you!)

We were talking and she brought up the idea of Will and me having a sibling for Magpie.

Sort of normal back and forth, with me saying that while it would be lovely for Magpie to have a younger sibling, we aren't sure what kinds of lengths we would go to (certainly not the five years of insane lengths we went to before!) to have a sib. And that while it would be nice, we aren't really expecting a sib for her. That a sibling likely isn't in the cards. That we are just grateful to have her.

And then my mom went there. (Ugh). You know, THERE. To infertility-myth land....

She went straight for the "once you have a child, all infertility issues are magically cured" myth. The myth where people say pregnancy primes your body for another baby and that now that you've had a baby, it will probably be "easy" to conceive. (I must be SO PRIMED after 7 pregnancies, you'd think I'd get pregnant just standing here!)

I reminded my mom that I am now 42.

But she persisted.

I reminded my mom that Magpie is the result of SEVEN pregnancies across five years. And SEVEN IVF cycles.

But she persisted. (She's tenacious once she latches on to an idea, my mom.)

I finally told her the truth - that we have been trying monthly to conceive a sibling since Magpie turned 3 months old. So that would make a year of trying on our own now.

With nary a second pink line in sight the entire time.

"Oh," she said, finally defeated. "You never told me that."

Oh, mom. That is the detail that lets you in on our ongoing infertility secret? Because otherwise, the situation was hard to interpret?

I found the conversation both sweet and slightly chagrining. I know my mom comes from a place of love. She just wants us to be able to have all of our dreams come true, and for Magpie to have a little sister or brother to share life with. But at the same time, wow. The power of hope - it's amazing, isn't it?. Nearly delusional sometimes.

On our end (or mine at least), I figure of course we'll try each month and just see what happens. You never know, right? (we could also win the lottery.) But our monthly trying doesn't cause me suffering because I don't expect to get anywhere with it. I don't really expect to be pregnant again, unless we decided to use a donor egg...with perhaps even the dreaded IVIG on top of that. I really, really know - all the way down in to my bones - that we beat the odds having Magpie. Throughout my whole being I know this and am suffused with gratitude. And so I am not pining for another baby, even though, would we love one? Of course we would. Of course.

Later this month I'm seeing my OB for my (late) annual exam. Let's see if she brings up birth (ha! ha!) control.

Surely not, right? Stay tuned and find out...


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  1. Crazy...isn't it!!! My mom (and half the people I know) have had or tried to have the same conversation with me. I've gotten better at jumping in early on with "I have no eggs; my ovaries look like raisins; I'm essentially in menopause" (I have POF) - my bluntness usually turns the conversation uncomfortable enough to end the inquiry.

    You sweet girl truly is a miracle!!!

  2. I love that. We are one of those couples that won the lottery after 4 years of insanity, we had our boy and then low and behold four month later I was prego the old fashioned way and it was uneventful and now we have two. Alas, even know however, all figure I am cured and could just do it over and over and have 6 babies. I am lucky. That is all, not cured.

  3. Oh the OB/Gyn. Aren't they fun? I remember the one in the hospital after I had E (the result of IVF #7 which was excellent luck since it took 6 IVFs for her big sister). She kept pushing birth control and I told her I wasn't going to use any and she used the "you never know line" to which I answered "you mean you think I could have a baby for FREE without injections, painful procedures and a team of MDs and PhDs? Wow that would be a F*&^ing tragedy!" I think she backed away slowly at this point.

    Best of luck at your appointment. :)

  4. Oi. I'm glad you're not pining away for another child, though of course I dearly hope that your mother's fond wishes might be proved true. But yeah. I can't tell you all the people--people who KNOW--who've said things like "so when are you going to have another?" Like it was just a matter of putting one's mind to it or 'relaxing' or some such shit...


    Hug your little Magpie for me. Hope to get down there in February sometime. If the weather's good you want to take the kiddos to the park? Hen still talks about that visit with you & her!

  5. I feel you. Lexi is almost 5 now and we always get the "when are you going to give her a sister" thing. It's like once you have a baby...everyone else forgets the IVF's, the miscarriages, the emotional turmoil that went on to have said baby.

    ((HUGS)) to you and Will...and Magpie!

  6. Ha, isn't it funny how the people closest to you can hope soooo much for another miracle that they buy into this? Pretty much everybody I know has said this to me. I told them flat out that it wouldn't happen with my crappy eggs. We went the donor embryo route and, we were successful on our third transfer. Now expecting #2 and #3 if we make it to the end. It was way easier this time going through treatment since we had already won the lottery with #1. These kiddos are icing on the cake. I can understand how your mama would want more icing and cake though with your sweet girl as an example!

  7. We tried on our own for a solid year after our IVF twins were born. We eventually decided to implant two frozen eggs that we had remaining from IVF and one stuck around. Because our kids will be 22 months apart, it amazes me how many people tell me that our infertility was cured by getting pregnant the first time. I've also been told we need get a hobby and a tv and also asked if we know what birth control was... if only people knew the struggles behind conceiving these three miracles.

  8. Don't worry I also have a mom like yours. She trotted out the "just relax" matra until I sent her info from Resolve. You have to love them anyway.
    I also really want a sibling for Nicky, and I do believe in miracles. So you never know, it might happen. But I can't bank on it.

  9. If we have a baby after (almost) 15 years of infertility, I know "when are you having another one" and "now that you're not trying you'll have a second" are going to come up. No, just no. Though I still haven't reached 35, my husband is 40 and by the time we finally get to try IUI for the first time, he will be 41. I'm so emotionally damaged by our long-term infertility that I can't imagine coming out on the other side of this and really wanting another badly enough to try. I will be sad that we have only one child (if we get it). It would feel like tempting fate. Will we prevent ever? Probably not, unless we have twins, or get the unlikely surprise second child. I think you are so brave for trying again, I really do. I hope that you do beat the odds again as well.

  10. I thought you had some leftover normals to try...

  11. Yes, anonymous, we have three. But although they are chromosomally normal, they are not good quality embryos. We transferred 6 high quality embryos to get Ms. Magpie, so we are not holding out much hope for these three. We WILL transfer them...I just have to be able to stomach going back on three months of depot lupron, prednisone, and IVIG again. Hard to motivate for this when we don't think they have much chance of implanting, but one day we will do it...

  12. I just wanted to let you know that you were my only source of information regarding a first hand account of receiving IVIG. My baby was diagnosed with Neonatale Alloimmune Thrombocytopenia at 27 weeks and I received weekly IVIG until 38 weeks. If I go through another pregnancy it will most likely begin at 12 weeks, weekly.

    I, thankfully, did not have any side effects-do you think a slower drip would have helped ease the symptoms?

    My OB was told that I would have to be admitted weekly to receive my infusion-thankfully we avoided that too!

    I thoroughly enjoy reading your journey!

  13. Oy. :p Gotta love our moms, but really...!!

  14. Ah, Mo. Yes, the power of delusion.

    Just wishing you could have everything you want.

    Would you consider transferring without doing all the lupron, etc? Just a "natural" FET?

  15. Oh, oof. Yeah, it didn't have much to recommend it, but my DH's 100% MF from a failed vasectomy reversal did at least eliminate the "maybe you'll get lucky" conversations (and hopes, a more mixed blessing). We did 2 additional -- unsuccessful -- cycles after DS and then had no more of the frozen stuff that had been stashed when DH had the reversal (me to urologist, at pre-reversal consult: "So, while you're in there...") and we were done. And I'm 99.1% at peace with that (and hope I'll stay that way).

    You have indeed been blessed (and done much work to get there), and it would be lovely to see it happen again by whatever means you pursue, but I know that "again" is unlikely.

  16. Hope's power to persist is amazing, isn't it? I've run into the "oh, now it'll just happen for you" comment a few times, but my reply of "That really would be a surprise, since my tubes were tied when Miss A was born!" pretty much stops that conversation in its tracks.

    I know your remaining embryos aren't the quality you would hope for, but outside of the chromosomal testing of normal/abnormal, isn't the rest of the "quality" grading based on how the embryo looks? We have had nothing but perfect-looking embryos (even the ones that tested abnormal), and yet at least 3 IRL friends of mine who had embryos with low grades (and only 1 to 3 embryos in each case), all wound up with babies years before we did. In two of the cases, they wound up with 2 babies. So I don't necessarily count out low-quality embryos.

    And, I totally hear you about working up to facing all of the medications again. Definitely not fun. I didn't realize how much I was enjoying my injection-free time until the 3-shots-a-day routine started again. (Lovenox and PIO, in my case.)

  17. This is one infertility post-baby thing I haven't experienced. In fact we get the total opposite due to the quads ... "oh well you're done!" In fact if we could choose we'd really love to have another one (you know, minus the stressful pregnancy, hospitalizations, bed rest, NICU stay, anguish and worry and all the other intensity) but of course it has never happened.

    It's funny how people project things onto you! But you're right of course, that your mother really just wants your every dream to come true and for you to have an easy path. Her heart is in the right place. :)

    Glad to see you posting more! I have missed it!

  18. Gah! You're peeing on sticks again! At least it sounds like your outlook is okay. My cousin (who has a clomid child) actually brought up the relaxing thing with me AND KATHY at my baby shower! You know, with 2 women with crappy eggs who needed the help of a college girl to have our kids.

    Due to my single status, very advanced maternal age, and finances, no friends or family have brought up the subject of a sibling for Sunshine. Strangers do! I used to give all sort of reasons why I wasn't having another, but now I just say I always wanted one. Which is the truth anyway.

    Please update about whether your OB brings up birth control. And tell us if you fall off the table laughing! :-)

  19. I hear you Mo, it sounds ludicrous to imply that now you could just get pregnant and I'm going to say that it is still possible, remotely yes, but possible and I am saying this because I have personally see it happen. I've seen it with people with multiple IVF failures on hand and then naturally just boom! It happened... But of course if someone suggests that to me I'd laugh, but crazy stuff happens so keep trying... you just never know...

  20. Oh how I can relate. We are 100% male factor and yet my MIL insisted after having Chase we would magically get pregnant on our own and not need IVF. Four IVFs and a miscarriage later, we have Emery. Guess the magic didn't work for us. Big hugs

  21. Funny, I also had more than one person tell me that if I adopted, I might get pregnant naturally ;-) I think those people were just trying to be helpful. Luckily, I didn't need to test their incredibly scientific theories.
    I always felt that you have the first child for yourself, and the second one for your first child. While I knew in my heart that adoption was not for me (though, perhaps if circumstances had been different?) perhaps adopting a child could provide Magpie with the love and companionship of a sibling.
    I still feel that adoption is not a cure for infertility and, for many, could not possibly fill the void and yearning for a biological child.
    I hope that, whatever you decide, your home is filled with love and happiness, without regret.

  22. I love you Mo I really feel you on the "when are you going to have another?" Question. I used to politely say "ones enough" but now I tell people honestly how I would love another but it's not going to happen. I think it makes them feel bad but it's the truth

  23. I can hear my mother saying the same thing. I love hope and how it makes people delusional at times! I loves the stories about someone who had a baby, adopted, or "gave up" TTC and magically fell pregnant. "It could happen."

    Well no matter what you will always be Magpie's mommy. What a little miracle she is!

  24. Yeah, when you're going for #1 you just think having a baby, if it ever happens, will be your happy ending (and it is). I swore if I could just win the lottery and have one that would be it. But then I had the one, and fell in love. And although I knew it would probably be difficult, I didn't think infertility should prevent me from trying for another, as if I were being greedy, when everyone else on the planet does.

    It's been a harder slog than I ever thought, so I think you're right to have a realistic idea of what you're willing to do (or not do) for #2. I'm so happy that with beautiful little Magpie by your side, no matter what happens next you'll never have to wonder what it would be like to have the family you want.

    And yes..."helpful" advice. Gotta love it. Sometimes I wonder if they taught science in school before our generation came along.

  25. I agree that your Mom comes from a place of love, and is, perhaps projecting her desires onto you. I'm sorry that more than likely you'd need to do IVIG and the devil drug Lupron to have another pregnancy, but I'm with previous posters on not counting out those 3 less than perfect embryos... Of course, on having the strength/fortitude/patience/space in your life to add that to the mix on top of your very busy work schedule, travel and having a toddler? Well, I can see why it hasn't happened yet!

    In whatever case, I am so glad that Ms. Magpie is growing and thriving and that while life sounds full, life is good. Thanks for the updates, it's always good to 'hear' your voice.

  26. I get that same comment all the time too, while all my coworkers and friends and family know what we went through to have K. And we've been TTCing (low tech) since she was 1y old, so that's 2 3/4y of trying monthly with no luck. I don't think it's going to happen now...
    Glad I checked in and saw an update from you!

  27. ps LOVE the new picture. Well, not sure how new it is but *I* just noticed it. Utterly charming!

  28. OMG...I totally get this. Happens to me all the time. SO frustrating!!!

  29. Ah yes, the birth control talk. My OB was very concerned and wanted me to use both the sponge and condoms after my triplets were born. I was thinking, "Dude, I have three newborns at home. If there is free time I'm taking a NAP, not having sex!"


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