Wednesday, June 18, 2014

IUI or IVF?

Previous fertility post: Prepping for IUI #1

So, we've had a couple months to really think about what we want to do.

Zay has always been accepting of our infertility as a sign from God. That if He wanted us to get pregnant, we would have been pregnant a long time ago. I wholeheartedly disagree with him on that one, because I believe God has given us intelligence and scientific advances have come through that blessing of intelligence... and if there is a way to get pregnant using that science and we don't do it, it's our own dang fault, not God's.

That makes it hard when I wish he thought the exact same way that I do (of course, don't we all wish that about our spouses??)... and it makes him hesitate a lot longer on decisions than I would. But he slows me down (in a good way) when I'm ready to jump head-first into something. When it's the right thing to do, he eventually recognizes it and comes around. When it's not the right thing, he recognizes it far quicker than I do and has to pull on the reigns and slow me down until I realize it.

Right now, I think I'm right (ha ha) and we should continue fertility treatment until it works. He is being supportive, but he's also warning me that it may not work and we'll have to be okay with that if it doesn't. Which I get.

But it's gonna work. I told you - it has to! :)

After going to the fertility specialist a few times, I felt pressured to do in vitro immediately. Especially since our insurance will cover $5,000 of it the first cycle (and then it doesn't cover anything after that). That is huge, that is helpful, the fertility clinic was pushing it, and I had dreams of sugar plums (babies) dancing in my head. The chances of it working are great. Any fertility clinic would recommend IVF with ICSI based on our diagnoses. Let's do this thing and knock it out!

Enter Zay, reeling me back in: It's still expensive - even with $5,000 off, we don't want to go into debt to do it so we'd have to save for a little while first, and it's still possible that it won't work. And what then? Where's the line? How far would we go and how much debt would we go into before we quit? And by then, maybe we'll be exhausted and hurt and angry and bitter, and why would we do that to ourselves? And what happened to those qualms about IVF you had? Oh, yeah.

I prayed many, many times and felt like I was hitting stumbling block after stumbling block. Something wasn't right but I couldn't put my finger on it. Maybe the thought that Zay was right? Ha ha. No, that couldn't possibly be it.

My biggest fear when it comes to fertility treatments is that we'll try whatever (IVF or IUI) and we'll do it over and over and over again. And the doctor won't know why I'm not getting pregnant. Or, that I'll manage to get pregnant and then miscarry over and over and over again without any known reason. It happens. I know people with so-called "unexplained infertility" and that terrifies me. I want answers.

I confessed this to the fertility specialist and as soon as I said my fears out loud, I started crying. I can handle the past - that I haven't gotten pregnant in 10 years. I can handle the present - that we have 1 child through adoption and we're getting as healthy as we can before we decide whether to do IUI or IVF. But what I can't handle is the FUTURE and the UNKNOWN. And the possibility that it won't work, ever... and that I don't know that beforehand. And the doctors won't know why. And they'll tell me it's "unexplained."

She reassured me that our infertility isn't unexplained. The explanation is perfectly laid out for us. And that there's no indication that we won't be able to get pregnant. My PCOS would actually be a good thing as far as IUI/IVF goes, because I have a lot of follicles ready to go! She said if we wanted to get pregnant and we wanted to get pregnant soon, IVF with ICSI is our best bet... and why wait?

Notice the pressuring??

I had qualms about in vitro before. The idea of freezing leftover embryos bothered me, I think. And how they all don't always survive the thawing process. I guess... just hypothetically, the idea of creating a bunch of embryos that may or may not live while in the process of trying to create life - is that wrong? If the end product could be life? Do the means justify that end? Do intentions count at all in this? Are we meddling with things too sacred to touch in the way that IVF does?

The semen analysis results also had me wondering about donor sperm. Is that okay? Would that be something we would be open to? I saw in a lot of fertility forums that many, many people "just used donor sperm" like it was no big deal. That felt weird to me too. I couldn't imagine picking a random sperm donor... so the only thing that seemed slightly acceptable was getting a very close family member of Zay's to donate... like one of his brothers. But, omg - I can't even imagine broaching that subject!!! Lol. I asked Zay (mostly jokingly) and he said, "You wanna have my brother's baby?" Ha ha. I think he was slightly insulted, but mostly found it amusing that I would even mention something like that. I shook all those thoughts from my head and knew that we would never use donor sperm.

When I was the RS Secretary, I learned a lot about Church policies. I wondered what the Church leadership handbook had in it about fertility treatments. I consulted it about so many other things, so I thought if it had any guidance for me, I should find out... this is what I found that stood out to me:
  • "Members should not use medical or health practices that are ethically or legally questionable."
  • "The Church strongly discourages artificial insemination using semen from anyone but the husband. However, this is a personal matter that ultimately must be left to the judgement of the husband and wife."
  • "It is the privilege of married couples who are able to bear children to provide mortal bodies for the spirit children of God, whom they are then responsible to nurture and rear. The decision as to how many children to have and when to have them is extremely intimate and private and should be left between the couple and the Lord. Church members should not judge one another in this matter." 
  • "Married couples should also understand that sexual relations within marriage are divinely approved not only for the purpose of procreation, but also as a way of expressing love and strengthening emotional and spiritual bonds between husband and wife."
  • "The Church strongly discourages in vitro fertilization using semen from anyone but the husband or an egg from anyone but the wife. However, this is a personal matter that ultimately must be left to the judgment of the husband and wife."
  • "The Church strongly discourages the donation of sperm."
  • "The Church strongly discourages surrogate motherhood."
That kind of settled things for me in my mind - no sperm donation, no surrogacy, but no problem with IVF.

I went back and forth about IUI and IVF. One day I'd think for sure that we should try IUI's first like we planned to and then the next day I'd think for sure that we should just do the IVF now and I just needed to convince Zay to do it.

I'm usually much better about making decisions, but neither path felt right. Dangit! I really, really wanted to do this. I'm impatient. I want it my way. And I want it now. But that's not the way to go about it.

Many long talks with Zay... many long, heartfelt prayers... an intense study of the story of Abraham & Sarah in the Old Testament... all led to us deciding the answer to "IUI or IVF?" right now is neither. We're rushing into it (so, Zay's right). Fertility treatment is what we're supposed to pursue (I'm right too!), but not in this way. Not now, anyway. We have to slow down... WAY THE HECK DOWN. And back up and start over. The stress of adoption and intense fertility treatments back-to-back like that wouldn't be healthy. In any way at all.

Failed adoptions felt like being cheated on by a spouse... that's the analogy I've been using in my head. And now I'm trying to rebound from that "unhealthy relationship" by jumping right into having my own dang baby right now no matter how stressful or expensive. That is not good. I need to learn patience and this is how I'm gonna learn it.

SLOW THE EFF DOWN, ALICE ANNE! We need to take a new approach to this.

Slow down, take a deep breath, take our time, focus on enjoying the present without the distraction of hypothetical future babies. They will come. I know it. But we're going about it all the wrong way in the wrong time. As much as I didn't want a huge age gap between my children, I'm just gonna have to get over it and not try to force something. Do it the right way - starting with going back to my plan of relaxing, de-stressing, and getting healthy - really healthy, including treating my PCOS rather than letting it rule my life.

Okay, now that I got all that out... I promise my life isn't as horrible as I make it seem sometimes, ha ha. This fertility mess isn't what I think about ALL the time, believe me. Not anymore. But I need to document the craziness of this journey and these thoughts and decisions are part of the story. For the most part though, this has been a really fun time in our lives and I wish I documented that better than I do! Maybe I'll make that a goal. I like goals, ha ha. :)

How beautiful is this view that greeted me when I left the house this morning?? Snow on the mountains in June!!

Next fertility post: Starting From Scratch





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