++++++++Days to Baby++++++++

Monday, March 3, 2008

Embryo Culture Book Tour

My experience with ART as been short compared to others I know face-to-face and through the blogosphere/board world. As I began the book, I was in the first IVF treatment cycle which has now resulted in a small being developing within me. Reading this book at this particular time seemed to be very meaningful. Since I had already decided and began the IVF cycle, it was not at all an influence on my decision, which I also believe was not at all the reason for Beth to write it. However, it was a way of rethinking and reflective on my recent decisions and experiences as well as questions sure to be wavered in the near future. It was very interesting to finish an IVF cycle while reading this spirited and humorous yet tearful account of Beth's journey. I definitely feel that the reading provided me a way of better sorting out my own feelings of my own journey.

The author researched different religious views on ART while she was in the decision process. How did you make your decision to pursue ART, adoption, childfree living, etc? Did your religious views play a big part in that decision?

  • Once it was apparent that my OBGYN was no longer able to help us and referred us to a few different REs, it was just a matter of call and see who has the first available appointment and good office hours. In addition, I was able to talk with a family member who was seeing an RE and her's was one that my OBGYN had recommended. So we just made the appointment!!! Not too much thinking went into it. We knew we wanted children so childfree was out of the question and we knew we needed more help, unfortunately more than we realized, which you can read more about in About Me above. Although the options were all scary being that they were unfamiliar, our thinking was we will take the RE recommendations all the way provided the costs were realizable. And adoption was not really considered until the first IUI did not work and DH's count was getting worse.
  • We are not very religious so these types of thoughts did not concern us at all. We both believe in God but not so much in the "rules" of religion. We knew we were good people and that a child is a child regardless of how it is created. One of my arguments regarding people's hestitation to ART is that abortion is also not an option in some religions and if a woman was raped, she would be expected in some people's standards to gave birth to the child. So why could it be in God's vision to allow a child to created by such a violent act and not by two loving people unable to conceive naturally. Some may be able to bring stronger arguments against me because I am not well versed in any religion and the "rules" that apply. However, I believe with limits and minimizing risks God has no problem with a loving couple using available technology to build a family within the bloodlines. I don't mean to offend anyone's beliefs but these are truly my own without the involvment of organized religion but just a general belief in God and faith that what will be will be.
  • However, I was very thankful for Beth's research because it better informed me of where other people may be coming from when considering ART. It actually helped me to better understand why a "friend" would have probably not gone any further than the one IUI that lead to the birth of her beautiful daughter.

Did your religion shape the decisions you made about treatment? And in turn, did your infertility change the way you looked at your religion?

  • As stated in the response to the question above, religion did not shape our decisions about treatment. However, I choose to answer this question because our infertility journey has had an effect on how we think of religion. We are both in theory the same religion but we do not practice and in fact we got married in a non-secular church. But I have friends of many religions but mostly some form of Catholism. One friend specifically gave me catholic prayers to help me through the journey. And I used them, not as often as she recommended but when I needed to speak to God in the most of dire times. This was the first time I ever used a formal prayer of any religion. She often said she was praying for us as well, not just for our infertility but also for other troubles we were having. Many other people were doing the same and people we did not even know personally. Then I started including board members and bloggers in my prayers and speaking/writing of praying more often. The times I recited the prayers I felt comforted and at peace with whatever was going on. So yes I definitely think a bit differently about religion but must say I still do not feel as though I practice or am of any particular religion but rather have my own set of beliefs that I feel make me a good person in the eyes of God.

In Chapter 5 ("Professionals"), Beth writes about her clinic experiences. I got a chuckle out of her observation that "my early-morning posse and I seemed to be codelinquents doing time in juvie hall," as well as her description of George, the (male!) u/s tech. How was/is your clinic experience similiar to or different than Beth's? Did you meet/Have you met any particurlarly memorable people (either fellow patients or clinic staff)?

  • First, I find this chapter to be of a comical nature as well. The way Beth described her experiences in such a comical way seemed to soften my views on this clinic versus how I may have evaluated it if written in a more straight forward manner. I believe Beth's approach was very professional as to cast a more funny light than to just state the facts, which could have been construded as negativity towards her clinic, which I am sure was not her intention.
  • As I read this chapter, I found myself reflecting on my clinic experience and the people we encountered. I must admit I am a people watcher and I tried my hardest not to do this while in the waiting room but I just could not help it sometimes. At first I hated when parents brought their children in. I felt like it was a sort of pragging but then realized that it was just like if they went anywhere and some parents were even bringing the child so the staff could see what all their time and effort resulted in. As for the four different REs at my clinic and the vary nurses, I often examined their personalities. As we left the office, I would always start a discussion with my DH about the new nurse we saw or the RE we saw for the first time. He would not say much but was more fond of the one RE. The thing is he judged them more on their humor, which is typical of my DH because it is a quality he is strong in and looks at first in others. But with doctors?!? I thought a bit strange at first but then realized it lightened the mood because when things were just level and serious I was more tense. The humor relaxed me and later I realized it gave me more confidence in their skills. Not just the REs but the nurses and rest of the staff. My favorite nurse were those opposite of me. The nurse who were more talkative and outgoing give me more confidence in their knowledge, skill and caring-of-us-and-our-infertility. There was one nurse in particular that was like me, quieter and low key. The funny thing was I did not think of it as just her personality but I questioned her knowledge, skill and confidence in her rule as an infertility nurse. It was not until my DH pointed out that she was like me when I meet new people that I realized I was being really really judgmental, which was not like me, especially when I did not know them well.
  • Overall, I love my clinic and just like the other gal I know who went there - I don't want to leave and go back to my OBGYN, who I have always loved too but it is not the same. I know REs need to focus on the infertility aspects, but I think it would be nice if they and their staff could be a part of the whole pregnancy and delivery of those they have helped. At the same, I would feel more comfortable because I believe they would take more care with us because they know of all the struggles.

Intrigued by the idea of a book tour and want to read more about Embryo Culture? Hop along to more stops on the Barren Bitches Book Brigade by visiting the master list at http://stirrup-queens.blogspot.com/. Want to come along for the next tour? Sign up begins today for tour #11 (The Mistress's Daughter by AM Homes with author participation!) and all are welcome to join along . All you need is a book and blog.gles and were right there was us the whole way.

All is well after a scare

Our ultrasound on Thursday went well. We saw our BABY and beautiful pics!!!! Just a grain of rice but so much more in our minds at 5weeks and 3days. But on Friday afternoon in the middle of a mini breakdown from stress over finances, I felt a leak after standing up from curling up on the floor. (Now I know what some of you are thinking - I am an emotionally unstable person if I can not hold it together knowing I am pregnant. And while I would say you have every right to think that way, it really is not who I am. I really think the horomones were finally getting the best of me - and now I know better.) Good thing I was on the phone with my mother and was able to quickly calm down and call RE's office. The nurse assured me that it was not due to my stress, crying, or curling up on the floor but rather a result of the ultrasound and the sensitivity of the cervix at this time. But to be safe, even though I knew what she said to be true based on others' experiences, I scheduled an earlier 2nd ultrasound for this morning versus waiting until this Friday.

And I am relieved to say that everything is a-ok!!! In fact, we got to see the heartbeat today at 5weeks and 6days. And measurements are right where they need to be. Bloodwork is all good - Beta over 7,000 from Thursday's tests. Expected delivery date has been confirmed as 10/28/08!!! RE said it looks as if I have some sort of small blood clot, which could be from the second embryo transfered or some other issue of no concern, may have been the reason for the bleeding if not just the cervix response to the ultrasound. So the scare has been put to rest at this point. The focus now is to be sure I eat well but most importantly well hydrated.

The issue of eating well and staying hydrated, as strange as it may sound I believe will be a lot easier as I return to work because the office environment seems to always be food and drink-filled and the woman in-charge of the jobs I am on is very health-conscious and water coolers are pleniful at all clients and the main office. And the financial woes are being solved by me going back to my previous career rather than waiting what may be years to become a full-time elementary school teacher. I am lucky enough to have wonderful people at my former (or current as of tomorrow morning) employer. But I have to put myself in the frame of mind of not becoming stressed by my job.

So all is going well and hopes are higher than ever!!!! Prayers will continue in order to keep this little one on a successful journey to his/her birth!!!!!