Saturday, August 25, 2007

on overthinking

I started this post over a week ago, and was too tired to finish it. I know I have been the worst blogger ever, but when you aren't cycling or doing anything at all in that area, life just takes over and I stop thinking about IT. But not really, of course.
I really, really hesitated to post this blog. It cuts to a lot of issues about IVF we rarely discuss. I never see them written about in other blogs or message boards, which always makes me wonder if it's just me that thinks these things or that many of us do but don't talk about them. If you choose to read, know that I am only looking for guidance and nothing more. I am truly and utterly confused by my own thoughts and need some advice.


I have many bad thinking habits, and probably the one of the worst is a tendency to overthink and overanalyze things. It's strange, because that requires a great deal of concentration - but my other thinking bad habit would have to be my AD.D. I never took R,italin, and it seems silly to start that now. I've figured out ways to make my absentmindedness cooky and charming rather than irritating (at least, I would like to think so). It seems to bewilder others so much they stop trying to figure out why someone could forget to shave one leg or get lost on the way to the grocery store (yes. I really did that. That story is for another day.) that they just give up and laugh right along with me.

I've never applied my overanalyzation to IVF, at least not consciously. But I'm fairly certain I've been doing it all along. We were told over a year ago that it was really our only option for a healthy child. But something has been nagging at me this entire time - hence the constant procrastination.

When I think of IVF, I think of sharpness, cold, pain. Really, it makes me think of a large collection of cold steel needles - if IVF could manifest itself, that's what it would be to me. It's such a harsh sounding acronym. I am in no hurry to take the plunge. I feel like it's something we must do to say we've done everything possible to have our own biological children. For a very long time, this was as important to me as it was to my husband.

Then one day, it became less important than" just" being a mom. The more and more I thought about IVF, the less and less I want to actually go through with it. It's incredibly confusing really - some days, I am just so SURE it will work, so SURE it's the right thing to do, and then others I feel the exact and total opposite. And I start to wonder if it's really even worth the money, time, emotional stress. Is it really worth it?

I just don't know.

I feel like I have to do it, to give D a shot at having his biological children. Something I should probably discuss is the fact our new doctor wants me to do a C.lomid C.hallenge Test. He's concerned that my previous poor response to injectibles and the two chromosomally abnormal miscarriages might be due to an even bigger problem. I knew that was coming, the writing was on the wall. A 28 yr old PCOS patient in otherwise good health doesn't have a poor response to meds unless something else is very wrong. And that was two years ago. But I don't KNOW this yet because I haven't actually DONE the test. And no medical professional has mentioned a donor, so it's really nothing I can stress over right now - and even if we use a donor, the big questions are still there.

At this point, it is what it is, and I would rather know before going ahead with IVF.

And then there is the whole issue on which we completely, utterly, totally disagree.

First let me say I wasn't raised in church, and even after all of this difficulty, I am pro-choice. I am not a particularly religious person by any means, and that is why this whole train of thought has thrown me completely off balance. I am fairly liberal in every area of my life, which let me say is quite a feat as I was raised in a small town in the South.
And then these completely foreign thoughts started creeping in. I mean, isn't this complicated enough as it is? I certainly think so, but my brain thinks otherwise.
Whew. Ok, let's get down to the issue.
I can't shake the feeling that something just isn't right about our possible children getting their first starts at life in a lab, floating in a culture medium. And that some of them will arrest in development and die. And if they make it far enough, they could die in my womb. What if we have some left over and they aren't deemed suitable for freezing? By standards that can vary widely from clinic to clinic? What happens to them? Do they go out with the lab waste? I know they do, and I don't think I could bear the thought. What if we do freeze some, and they don't make it though the thaw? Did we inadvertently kill them? What if we decide we don't want any more children (I know, ha ha that I'm even thinking this), and we do have some on ice, if you will - what do we do with them? D says donate them to science, or donate them to another couple. I cannot donate to science, even though it might mean being part of a cure for my mother's cancer - and to another couple? I can't wrap my head around complete strangers raising my child. Just can't.


How do I reconcile creating many lives, some that may die, in the hopes of creating some so we can have our children? D says he doesn't think of it like this, but I can't think of it any other way.

What in the fucking fuck do I do now?

And WHERE is my A.DD when I need it?


Melissa said...

I've had these thoughts as well. I feel the same way about freezing, donating to science, to another couple, and so on. I could have written this entire post.

I don't know if these thoughts will eventually stop me from pursuing IVF, b/c for me...experiencing pregnancy and our OWN biological children is SO VERY important. But then again, it's not to say that I would never consider adoption. I suppose I'm only confusing you more...but I just wanted you to know that you're not the only one with these thoughts. It takes a lot to confront these feelings and I admire your honesty. I guess at the end of the day, one choice or another isn't going to jump out in an "ah hah!" least for me...I think it's a matter of weighing the pros and cons. Whatever you decide, you'll make a great mother.

I'm really hoping that at this point, I didn't confuse you more!

niobe said...

I don't know if this would work for you, but here's what some people who have similar thoughts and feelings have done. They choose not to create more embryos than they actually plan to use, either in that IVF cycle or in later cycles. So, for example, if a couple decided that they would try two IVF cycles, using 2 embryos each time, they would have the doctor fertilize only 4 eggs, two to use now and two to freeze. There wouldn't be any leftover embryos to worry about and every embryo created would be given a chance to grow into a baby.

Now this obviously doesn't deal with all the issues you've presented, like what if the embryos don't develop or aren't good enough to freeze and it reduces your chances of getting pregnant, but it's one way that some couples have tried to handle this dilemma.

My Reality said...

Overthinking things is one of my specialities.

It doesn't make things like this any easier, that is for sure.

When I went in for my transfer and found out an embryo had arrested, I was crushed. I don't even know how to explain the feelings. I can understand your feelings about the what ifs. I don't know what I would do with frozen embryos. I just don't know. I don't know how I feel about creating embryos that we can't use. Or creating embryos that will die before we can transfer them. It is all such tough stuff to work through.

I do like Niobes suggestion of only fertilizing the number you can actually use. If IVF wasn't so expensive, I would try a few natural cycles or with very little stimulation in attempts to do just that.

I guess my whole point to thie rambling comment is that I understand your feelings, completely.

Erin said...

This is one of the biggest cruelties of IF, I think. On the one hand, it's weird and horrible to create all these maybe babies and then just watch them perish, and on the other, you're spending thousands of dollars, and making swiss cheese of your belly and god only knows what the hormones do to you long term, so you want to give yourself the best chance of success possible! UGH. I definitely feel your pain. (About the ADD, too. It's so interesting that IF is the one thing I can concentrate on for HOURS. I guess I'm glad I'm not alone...)

Amy R said...

Your questions are so very valid. For one of them: 'Is IVF worth it'. I'm in the middle of my 2ww so perhaps my answer will change but so far it has been worth it for me. I'm still surprised how easy the shots have been but I had a pretty yucky week health wise before and after ER. Despite the blah week, I just know for myself that if I didn't try this at least once, I would always wonder. Thats just me though. Everyone is different and the answer to that for you will come when the time is right. Also, this whole process has really made me think about 'what is life'. Before, I would have never thought anything about an embryo. Its just a bunch of cells, blah blah blah. But now, oh my goodness. The potential of life just hits me when I think about it. I look at the picture of my embies and get so emotional. My pro-choice views are still the same BUT it has changed my outlook. So answering the questions on our release forms about what we want to do with the extra embies was a tough one for me but since we have nothing to freeze, I guess the subject is moot. Anyways, best of luck :)

The Oneliner (Christina) said...

you're right we don't talk about it and i think we should.
1. is it worth it?
so far for IS. the shots are no biggie, and to me...i think knowing whether or not we can have our bio children, is worth the $15,000. Even if we find out via PGD that our eggs are all crap...while i'll be upset, at least i'll know and we could move on.

2. all the detruction for one life

you're right...IVf is cold and dark and a place where embryos are potentially turned into something unspeakable.
for me it's an easier question, we're all pretty sure that i get a little pregnant every month and that i m/c. so, my body is doing to them something even worse than what IVF could potentially do.
I'm pro-choice too, but that doesn't make it any better.
My mental justification is that most of the embryos we make will not be viable in the end anyway. And any left for freezing we'll use or donate to science or even another couple. (which i am 100% okay with...but not k...yet).

you specifically...
Based on your history...while you might make thirty eggs..and i of course hope you do....your history suggests that you may only make a that will take care of itself.
as to the not liking how babies are created with a buddy ..i HUMBLY offer that...are you idealizing so-called natural conception? where a man's sperm is ejaculated into you then hangs out in cervical mucous waiting for an egg to pop out of an enlarged cyst? And of course if this doesn't work for the month then the egg ends up flushed down the toliet?
Fertilization in a petri dish allows the embryo a bit more honor, no?
I'm glad you brought it up and i wish you peace and wisdom is making your decision.

K said...

Really great post. I'm happy to have found your blog! I don't have any advice for you, I'm not at IVF yet. But I know about feeling like ART is cold and dark. I always imagined children were to be conceived on lazy vacation days spent in front of a fire and drinking bottles of wine together. This clinical approach to it, this cold and scientific analysis every month is all so dark.

Ms. Planner said...

The part of your post where you discuss to do or not do IVF could have come from my own head. One day I think I could do it and the next I am not so sure. You are not alone in your misgivings about it.

As for the other very important topics you bring up, you gave me some great topics to ruminate over!

Good luck with the Clomid Challenge! It is scary to get the call with the numbers but it is better to know what you are dealing with...Thinking of you.

Sticky Bun said...

You are so not alone with these fears and apprehensions. I struggled with some of the same what ifs and questions. There is no easy answer, and I wish none of us had to deal with any of this.

Best of luck with the upcoming test, and with the decisions that may lie ahead.

thinking of you...

Sarah said...

there would be something really wrong if we didn't have these questions. i mean this is big time stuff, what kind of person wouldn't care about these issues? it just shows that you understand the weight of what you're considering undertaking and are giving it due consideration.

i had some similar issues with feeling like IVF just didn't feel right. i never wanted to do it to begin with, i had wanted to adopt since before we even knew it wouldn't happen easily. but husband was NOT on board, and after a LONG road (4+ years) i also felt like i had to give it a shot.

ultimately IVF was a major turning point for me. and i'm not talking about when it actually worked, but before that. finally taking control instead of feeling so controlled by our infertility made it all so much more bearable. for that reason, i found the IVF stage a million times easier than the years of charting and DIY and IUI, etc.

we definitely all have to come to our own answers and i think (hope) that eventually we know when something feels right. i'm hoping you find that soon, whatever path it may be.

Geohde said...

Crap, I wish I had an easy answer. But let's face it. If there *was* one you wouldn't be asking.



peep said...

Those are some heavy questions. I think fertility treatment is a process and with each step comes acceptance and then hope. I never thought I would be one of "those " women who have trouble conceiving. Then I thought I would never be one of "those" women who have to go through IVF. And now here I am using DE, I think you get the picture.

As far as the fertilized embryos...this is a very personal issue. I come from a medical background and I don't have any problem, emotionally and intellectually speaking, separating an embryo in a lab from a baby. I know how incredibly important stem cell research is to disease study and maybe some day someone I love will benefit from it. If I have left over embryos and I am sure I don't want any more children then we (husband and I) will gladly donate them to research.

I hope it helps to hear someone else's opinion, even if different from others.

lori said...

i think you're right...more of us on this road should talk openly about these issues. but, they're so's difficult to do that. my feelings about IVF really changed after i went through a live cycle. i lost that first pregnancy, and i was crushed. i looked at the pictures of my 8-cell babies, and i mourned them. we had one embie out of 19 make it to blast and get preserved. she survived her freeze, she survived her thaw, and she survived living in my womb. she's now a 1.5yo miracle. i, too, REALLY struggle with the concept of doing this all again...what to do if many embies make it to freeze, how to feel about embies that fertilize, but die. this whole thing sucks. it sucks big green donkey...well you know. thanks for raising the questions. know that you're not alone in your stance or your feelings.

wishing you peace and love,
-lori, IF mama to the bug

decemberbaby said...

Wow. Really amazing post.

All through our time with the RE, I kept telling Mr. December that I just wanted to be a mom, and could we please just foster or adopt? It's probably easy for me to say now that I'm pregnant, but this is a very unique and special experience... maybe even a totally separate one from actually being a parent. It's probably important for you to clarify how much you want the experience of pregnancy and birth versus the experience of raising a child.

As far as the embryos... Plenty of times in the body the sperm and egg meet but never even make it to implantation. Embryos die all the time, even under "natural" circumstances. And let's not forget all the eggs we drop into the toilet every month. For me, that puts it into perspective... but it may be different for you. I hope you're able to sort things out.

(interstingly, I'd rather donate unused embryos to science than know that I have a biological child out there that someone else is raising)

Good luck. Either way, you'll be a great mom... even if you overthink that too!

Isabel said...

I'm sorry you're having these thoughts. They are troubling and confusing. My DH and I had many of the same thoughts, and you raise some new concerns we hadn't thought of ourselves.

In the end, we made a decision that worked for us.
I hope that you can make a decision that works for you both: it's really tough.