Saturday, 22 February 2014

A New Chapter Begins

Flashback: October 29th, 2013. I had recently finished another IVF cycle. Our third.

My husband, let’s call him RH, and I were sitting in the office of Dr. Taylor, our fertility doctor. It was a sunny but cool day. It was warm inside Dr. Taylor’s office, though. Too warm. I hadn’t taken my winter jacket off, though I opened the front zipper. The sun was streaming through the glass wall. The warmth reminded me of siesta time when I was a little girl in the Philippines. The warmth felt very familiar and so was the disappointment.

Two weeks before our visit with Dr. Taylor, the verdict was in. The pregnancy test was negative. Again. I should say this was not a surprise. Based on our experience in the first and second IVF cycles, my ovaries were not responding well. A higher dosage was prescribed in the third IVF cycle but the number of ova or egg cells was still quite measly. This confirmed my suspicion that I have very low ovarian reserve. It’s not rocket science really. I was 40 then and I just turned 41 January of this year. What did I expect?

RH and I have always liked Dr. Taylor. An intelligent woman with a gift in making complex concepts easy to understand, she has always been honest and open with us. Whenever we asked a question that she didn’t know the answer to, she told us. Like the other doctors, nurses, and staff in that fertility clinic, Dr. Taylor has shown us great compassion and empathy throughout our whole journey. Most of all she has always been very patient with us. My husband and I are probably some of the geekiest patients Dr. Taylor has ever encountered. We would ask her about the veracity of the information we have researched on our own. We sought her opinion and respected her insights. I think that she might have enjoyed our geekiness a little! She wrote a blog (aptly entitled "Stats 101") that included RH’s probability computation.

Dr. Taylor’s recommendation was for us to seriously consider an egg donor program. Essentially, this means using another woman’s (a younger woman’s) eggs. Using RH’s sperm, an embryo will be later transferred to my uterus. In some circumstances, a family member or a close friend could potentially donate eggs to an infertile woman. R and I don’t know anyone who could do that for us. I mean, I have friends and relatives in the Philippines who would probably offer us their ova. Or at least, consider it. But they are on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. It’s just not logistically possible. Since buying and selling ova is not allowed in Canada, our best option was to go to a fertility clinic in Seattle.

As Dr. Taylor was handing us the brochures of possible clinics in Seattle, I burst into tears! RH held my left hand and squeezed it tight.

“It’s okay,” he assured me. “We’ll try again, Sweetie,” 

“I know,” I replied while wiping my nose. “That’s not why I’m crying.”  

Dr. Taylor and RH looked at me kindly but with perplexed looks on their faces. They probably thought I was devastated by the failure of yet another IVF cycle. I had accepted that fact. I was ready to move on to the next chapter. I was crying because I was going to miss the people at the clinic!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Humor and Infertility

In infertility, negative feelings is often part of the territory. Humor makes difficult feelings easier to deal with. In an older post, I wrote about some things Filipinos say to their Fertility-challenged friends and family to express my anger in a safe way. I don't support violence, if I can help it. ;)

Many well-meaning friends and family members, in an effort to make me feel better, say hurtful and insensitive things that reflect their lack of awareness of infertility. The worse thing is that I was starting to get really angry at myself for not correcting these misconceptions and for not speaking up. I decided to write the post I mentioned above to prepare and empower myself to deal with situations like these.

What started out as an expression of anger turned out to be an enjoyable exercise! I crafted responses that were in turn tongue in cheek, bitchy, and outright silly.

Yesterday, I re-discovered this funny video (below) by fenneladasgupta. I first saw this about a year ago and I fell on my chair laughing!

Nothing beats humor. Enjoy!

Full disclosure: I have to say that before I experienced infertility, I probably said (or at least thought) some of these remarks and assumptions.