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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What My Heart Feels

20080329 - Oranjello, the new kitten - 152-528...

Image by Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL) via Flickr

Nostalgia slips in on tiny kitten paws at the strangest places and the most unexpected of times. Today I went out with my 16-year-old daughter to her annual physical. She got her learner’s permit less than a month ago and drove slowly but easily and with confidence, into the crowded parking lot. As soon as she put the car in Park, the lump in my throat thickened and I was unable to speak.

I started babbling and told her how proud I was of her. That from a shy, timid little girl she had grown into the most amazing, strong, confident and beautiful young woman. She looked at me, as only a teenage daughter can, with a bit of confusion, disgust and annoyance. Frankly, I can’t blame her.

For me,  this week has consisted of writing an essay about my son who is now a senior in high school and writing checks for my daughter’s PSAT test and driver’s education course. Years have slipped into minutes as I felt the twisting and turning, and actual jabbing pain in my heart. We were still right there in the parking lot when my daughter, without a sound, casually handed me back my keys.

The pediatrician’s office was filled with little children, a girl named Maddie, age 3, reminded me of my daughter when she was that age. Inquisitve, bright, lovely with straight blond hair, she danced around the waiting room, talking to the bright yellow and blue fish that swam in the fish tank. We were called in moments later and after the initial hello to the doctor, the pediatrician who has known my daughter since she was about 5, I left the room. The doctor asked my daughter if she wanted me to come back when she had the shots, a yearly tradition, she shrugged her shoulders up and down and said “I don’t care.”  It took me a minute to get up and leave; it was the first time my daughter hadn’t wanted to dig her fingernails, into my skin when she got the shot. I now missed the indentations her polished, blue fingernails would make in my hand.

It is hard to believe that next year my son will be in college and my daughter will be a senior. I feel like singing “Sunrise, Sunset” every day. Life passes by us, without reminders or stop signs. We have taught our children to be independent and strong, birds flying on their own. Times moves on and so must we. I’ve looked at old childhood photographs of when they were young but quickly replaced them with more up to date photos. I need to remind myself that they are young adults now. Once they leave for college it’s all very different. They don’t need us in the same way, we will see them less often but we will be here, quietly, patiently, with love, warmth and excitement whenever they want to come home. We will be waiting here, in their childhood home, with open arms.

My Prophetic Dream

baby kai

My husband and I had been trying to have a baby for over two years. I had taken fertility drugs, had daily shots administered by my husband on my then-firm butt. Early every morning, before the sun reached the sky, I drove to the fertility clinic like a robot to get my blood drawn. My veins looked like pieces of bruised, rotten fruit, like a once delicate peach or apricot. I was depressed and cried easily and often. One night I had a dream that G-d told me everything would be okay and that I would get pregnant and I would have a son. I clung to that message and told no one about it until now. That single dream and memory kept me going. Weeks later I found out I was pregnant. Nine months later, I gave birth to my newborn son.

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