Bust An Infertility Myth “You Have Really Old Eggs…”

Venus

Image by Daquella manera via Flickr

Twenty years ago my husband and I battled infertility for over two and a half years. Infertility back then was shameful, shrouded in secrecy. Never have I fought for something so hard in my life, not before then and not after. This had been my dream since I was five years old, I was not going to give up easily.

I woke up at 5am, every day, to have blood drawn and an ultra-sound. Often, I was there again at night. We had tried IUI twice with no success. I was on a lot of medication and nightly shots that my husband administered into my sore buttocks. It is a draining process both physically and emotionally and it was not working. Eventually, I was told it was time to try IVF and we did.

The day for the IVF preparation was here and I was ready. I went in for one last ultrasound  and an unfriendly nurse started shaking her head, clucking and frowning. “Bad news” she said:  “you started ovulating on your own, the IVF is canceled, get dressed.”

She stopped me in the reception area as I tried to leave. In front of other patients she said loudly “You have really old eggs, at your age they just shrivel up.”  I was 33, not very young but definitely not old. I was crushed and left the clinic weeping. It didn’t even occur to me how unprofessional and rude the nurse was, I was too upset and depressed. The next morning I was scheduled to have an IUI .” My husband sat with me and stroked my hair.  We both needed a break and decided to have a date thinking only about the two of us. We went out to a small Italian restaurant, came home and did what we had not done in a long time, we made love.

I was scheduled to go in for a blood test the next week and I didn’t even tell my husband.  After my blood test I got the usual “call us tomorrow for the results.” I knew that routine by heart but I felt calm, peaceful. Later that day, I got a call from a nice nurse who asked me how my day was going. I said “fine.” She said “well, I’m calling to tell you that your day is going to get a whole lot better! Congratulations, you’re pregnant!” I remember saying “no way.” She replied with “way” and had to convince me that it was  true. I shut the door to my office, sank down to my knees and wept with gratitude. Later, I opened the door and in a dream-like state walked out slowly, one hand already cradling my stomach.

After all we went through I didn’t want to tell my husband on the phone. I knew he was supposed to play racquetball after work, across the street from my office so I surprised him there. I asked our friend if I could borrow my husband for a few minutes and he smiled and left us alone. I leaned against my husband and whispered in his ear: “I love you very much and we’re going to have a baby, I’m pregnant.”  He stared at me blankly for a few seconds in shock. “I’m pregnant” I repeated and his warm brown eyes bulged out of his head. “Are you sure?” he asked softly and I said “yes” beaming.  He was so excited that he canceled the game  after ten minutes and arrived home shortly after I did. Apparently, my decrepit old eggs were still viable. We had a baby boy nine months later.

Addendum:

On our son’s first birthday I got out the number for the clinic. I tried to see the date of my last period but I had forgotten to keep track. I felt peaceful, calm and happy. “Oh my G-d” I whispered to my son, “I know this feeling.” I went out and bought a pregnancy test and it was positive. Our daughter arrived without any medical intervention, nine months later.  My eggs rocked.

http://www.resolve.org/infertility101  National Infertility Awareness Weekhttp://www.resolve.org/takecharge.*A wonderful organization to raise awareness for infertility with compassion.

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