Monthly Archives: April 2009

Why We Are Infertile, part 2

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After our abysmal first IVF, MO2 and I began to look at options. Actually after much discussion, I didn’t even realize we had options, the only thing that was a guarantee was international adoption. After weeks of researching agencies, we decided on a country, Kazakhstan and the “ABC” agency.

Why didn’t we choose domestic adoption? Two reasons; the competition and potential disappointment. It is very hard to adopt a Caucasian infant in the US and the competition seems intense. To be honest, I’m not sure I am ready to put myself out there and compete with other adoptive parents for a birth mom’s attention. I’ve looked at those potential birth mom packets that people make up and it just makes me sad, it feels so desperate to me.  I’ve also been told (even by my home study agency) that since we are older and I work full time AND am Active Duty military, people probably won’t pick us. (Since when is serving your country and full time employment a liability)? The other thing is that I am a clinical social worker and my department covers a lot potential adoptions here at Medical Center,  Ft. Livingroom, a large teaching hospital. We rarely have successful placements here because the birth moms change their minds (not that they shouldn’t be able to, but how devastating for the adoptive family). After the pain of IF, I can’t imagine having someone change their mind and have yet another loss.

So domestic adoption was off the table. After much deliberation, we choose to adopt from Kazakhstan. The orphanages are decent. Most Kazakhs (although not all) are Muslim which means there may be a lesser chance of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)/Fetal Alcohol Effect (FAE). We dive into the international adoption process.

I have nothing bad to say about the ABC agency. They are professional, they get back to me right away, they are friendly, reputable, you name it. Did I mention that it is an extremely expensive process?

Kaz doesn’t let you choose your child’s gender. All you can choose is your child’s ethnicity which is a choice of Caucasian, Eurasian or Asian. You can say something like, “in a perfect world, I’d like a girl.” However, there is no guarantee you will get a girl. When I casually inquired about a girl, ABC acted all put out and let me know that there is a great demand for them and it makes your 15-20 month wait longer IF you get one.

Do people only want girls? Apparently so, as ABC has made the same claim about Russia. (I have my suspicions about why girls aren’t given up for adoption and I suspect it has something to do  with the sex trade-although ABC agency denies this). There are plenty of families out there in the blogosphere who adopt girls, so I don’t know.

Another thing that gives me pause is the number of trips required. Initially, we were told that there are two traveling options; 1 very long trip 6-8 weeks OR 2) two different trips about 2-3 weeks each. The Army is very generous in that we get three free weeks of leave (non-chargeable) BUT that only takes us half way there. Then ABC informs us that Kaz now requires 3 international trips. One  (2-3 weeker) for the 14 days of bonding, then one for court (also two weeks) and then one to retrieve your child once his/her papers are ready. Plus, Kaz only allows 1 child adoption at a time, no siblings or twins (they are never put up for adoption according to ABC agency). This gives me pause.

I think my greatest reluctance with adoption is that I will never get the chance to be pregnant. It has been a very difficult thing for me to stomach and it is important to me (although I wish it wasn’t). It would be so nice if I could just put away this desire to be pregnant in a box and bury it under a tree but it never goes away and I’m not beyond that grief.  I’m not sure if I ever will be.

How We Got Here

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You may wonder how we began our trek through the land of IF. Truly this could be an epic post or it could be short and sweet; BLUF, lots of trying, no kids.

Why We Are Infertile, Part 1.

When MO2 and I met in 1997, there was no hurry for us to have children. We were both in the military, we were both in a third world nation, there was no rush. MO2 was happy with my dear stepson (DSS) who was 5 at the time.

Then in 2003, America invaded Iraq. I was lucky enough to be in one of the first American units on US soil. War changes you and it changes your priorities. At that point, Iraq wasn’t horrifically dangerous (mostly because the Iraqis were organizing and trying to deal with the realization of a post Hussein government). However, it was painful for soldiers because initially we didn’t have food and bathrooms (you know the luxury items). We waited in 2 hour lines for a weekly shower. Anyway, I came home and we decided trying to start a family.

I have to admit I was shocked when I wasn’t immediately pregnant because my Mom said if you have unprotected sex, you get pregnant (a point driven home on a weekly basis after age 5). Seriously, one of my first chapter books was, “Margaret Sanger, Pioneer Birth Control”-which I was given at age 7. No one in my family had difficulties getting pregnant. I didn’t think too much about it. We procreated without looking at the science of conception (e.g. randomly and NOT according to Toni Weschler). MO2 was involved in nursing school and busy with his studies. 2 years slipped by and then 3. I found myself in Iraq again (this time more dangerous although the creature comforts were much better). I think seeing people get blown up and die around me pushed me into conception with renewed vigor. I bought via Amazon, Taking Charge of your Fertility, which I read throughout the deployment all while trying to analyse my cervical mucus and chart my cycles in a war zone. BLUF, I returned home once again and was still not pregnant. Undeterred, I tried to get an GYN appointment at Ft. Mountainous only to find out that I was in line with all the women pregnant with deployment babies. With some intervention, (it’s who you know and what their rank is), I was able to finally get a fertility appointment only AFTER MO2 was headed for his own deployment to Iraq.

Initial tests indicated decent FSH for a 38 year old, clear tubes. MO2 left behind a “little donation” before he boarded the big jet plane to Baghdad. I finally get referred to nice RE who I clicked with because we both went to elite schools that have a rivalry. All indication are a “go” that I shouldn’t have a problem getting pregnant with or without MO2 (have vial-will inseminate) or so we thought. Initial RE  then discovers fibroids. “No problem” he says, “we’ll remove them” So 1 month after I have back surgery, I have fibroids removed (7 I think). I go home the same night with roommate from Iraq who is a nurse and can probably provide better post op care than the hospital.

Two months later, I have my 1st IVF. I will stop and add that the military does NOT cover IVF and I paid for everything out of pocket (about 10 grand). Initial RE has all going well until they look at my eggs, which according to my doctor are, “grainy.” They get 10 egglets, only one fertilizes. My initial egglet was a two celler. Knowing what I know now, they probably only transferred it because they wanted to make me feel better. Naturally, the beta is a whopping BFN although I did get a + pregnancy test on a Clear Blue Easy Digital test about 5 days after my negative beta which I am convinced was one of the few false positives ever recordedby the Clear Blue Easy Digital people despite what they say on their web site (prooving never clear or easy)!

Initial RE starts talking donor eggs. He refers me to DE coordinator. I’ve never met a more negative, bitchy health care provider and I am one so I feel comptent to jusge. She tells me that DE will run me $25,000.00. Lovely friend from Iraq is sympathetic and offers me her eggs but DE coordinator starts babbling about the therapy we will all have to go through, the lawyers fees, the sperm. Lots and lots of work and expense and then they offer to schedule me for DE  in the next few months! I can’t commit to that and won’t ask dear friend to commit to that and so I put the experience away and get a second opinion. To Be Continued…

Many Roads, Many Journeys

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The land is of IF is a place no one wants to visit (unless maybe you’ve got Munchausen’s). It is also a place that is easy to get lost…that is to get turned around and not find your way.  There are no guidelines. For me, mileage is traveled with the backpack of grief.

In this world, I have found that there is one main currency; money. If you have money, you have options.  It is a pace where the most stingy people throw this currency at the wind like a Gambler’s Anonymous member in Vegas. We’re always looking at bleak odds and yet we take our hopes and wage them on procedure after procedure with reckless abandon, in search of that magical, golden egg that will become a physical manifestation of our dreams….

I am one of the most pragmatic people you will ever meet and yet when it comes to IF treatment, my brain goes out the window and my heart takes its place.  Just ask my long suffering husband.

In the past three months, I’ve done a 360 in what I wanted to do with my body, and what risks I was willing to take. I also have to decide if  I want to take my feeble envelope of hopes out of its protected shell and let them try once again to take wings. I’m sure my family thinks I’ve totally lost it but I think IF patients (more than others) deserve absolution for their moments of flakiness , a silver star for their courage and a purple heart for their wounds.