Back when we were starting IF treatments I talked about it to my family and other people who had gone through infertility, but hardly anyone else. We did our first IUI on our 8th married cycle...a little soon to be rushing into IF treatments, right? Part of me thought that maybe I was being too dramatic, but another part of me just knew that my instinct was right on. MBL's counts were low, with the lowest being only 9 million. I knew that with those numbers, the odds were not on our side and that we could end up spending years trying on our own to no avail or we could jump into fertility treatments head first. Obviously we chose the latter. We told only a few people that we were doing IUIs and even fewer people that we were doing IVF. In the beginning I hid our IF because it didn't feel real. I felt like I was cheating because technically you're not considered infertile until you've been trying for over a year and part of me kept thinking it would happen within that time frame. Once I came to terms with the fact that despite the formal definition, we definitely had fertility problems, I didn't vocalize our issues because I didn't want people asking me how it was going when all they really want to know is if I am pregnant yet. I felt so disappointed with each failed cycle that I didn't want to have to also deal with letting other people know that we had gotten (another) negative result.
When it came time for IVF #2 I realized that there were some people with whom I needed to let "in" on what was going on...partly because I needed their support and partly because we were staying with my parents during the retrieval/transfer. My mom even came with me to one of my pre-IVF tests and got to witness first hand just how many people I have had the pleasure of showing off my "goods" to in order to have a shot at getting pregnant. It felt good having my family surround us with their love and support during that time. I also enjoyed educating them on what actually happens during IVF, although my mom still says that they "implant" the embryos despite the fact that I have corrected her with "transfer" about a gazillion times. The only thing we did keep a secret was our beta date. I told my parents that no matter what happened, we would let them know, but if it was negative I would need time to heal before sharing that news with them.
Since I have been pregnant, I have been very vocal about what it took to get here. The truth is that I want everyone to know what infertility looks like. I want them to see that it happens to people of all different ages and backgrounds. I was 23 when we started trying and, statistically, I should have been pregnant after about 3-4 months of trying. Instead it took us 21 months...roughly seven times longer than the average. I think the numbers also say only 2% of people my age experience IF. LUCKY ME!! There is such stigma out there about infertility and so many of the articles featured in popular newspapers/magazines paint IVF as something only people who have waited too long have to go through (and that is not what I think at all)...they almost make it sound like those who need IVF deserve it in some way. Ticks me right off. And while I could comment on those articles and rant about how uneducated and inaccurate the authors are, I have instead chose a grassroots approach. I think I can make a greater impact by informing people I meet/know about infertility and IVF. So, I pretty much tell everyone who asks about my pregnancy what it took to get here. MBL was already pretty good at doing that, but I'm getting better. When we went for our anomaly ultrasound Monday evening I made a point to tell the tech that we needed two IVFs to get the bouncing baby in my belly. And you know what? She was SOOO sweet to us and I'm thinking that knowing our background may have influenced her attitude. She kept telling us how healthy the baby looked and how cute she is. She pointed out all the details and answered our every question. It was actually amusing how much she gushed about our baby. I mean I haven't ever seen anything more precious, but I'm not a 50 something ultrasound tech who has probably done a thousand OB scans during my career. On our way out she even made a point of saying again just how good everything looked. Lately I have felt like I want to tell everyone about our IF history and anyone who asks about the pregnancy gets told about the two IVFs it took to get here. Like I said, by sharing what it took to get here, it is my hope that some of the stigma of IF will start to be removed and people will be able to put a face to the disease instead of just making assumptions about it.
Oh, and our baby is still a girl!! That's three ultrasounds now that have said that, so I'm thinking there is no way she'll end up coming out with a penis. Now it's on to naming her and getting her room all set up!