Thursday, August 03, 2006

I Said Not to Talk About It

My mom initially had a wonderful, supportive reaction to my situation, in which she simply listened, asked little to no questions, and kept her mouth shut about all the pregnant people/friends with babies we know. I got a slight hint of “maybe I waited too long to try” from her, but when she found out about H’s problem she was quick to avoid going down that road. She was 29 herself when she had me, so it’s not like I did anything differently than her.

Well, the good behavior has slowly started to deteriorate. First she told my relative, the doctor. I decided to excuse her for this, since he could give her info that I didn’t feel like discussing. And she did resist the urge to tell my sister, so I know that took some real control on her part. (Now that my sister knows though, I’m betting they are talking about it all the time. I can just tell.) Next she started asking in a very serious voice during our phone conversations, “And how are you??” in such a way that I knew she meant the IF and wanted to know what stage I was in for my cycle. At first when I would blow it off and say something like, “Oh, I’m fine. Just tired from work,” she would ask again, “But how ARE you?” So then I’d change the subject entirely. But last night she just comes right out and asks “When do your stims start? When is retrieval?” I felt violated. I had told her not to ask. I don’t want to know where she learned the words stims and retrieval. She doesn’t use the Internet, so I’m sure she’s been talking to people.

My answer to her was that I would be going through the process within the next month. I wished I had told her that I didn’t want to talk specifics and please don’t ask again, but I didn’t. I just wanted to change the subject. So I talked about a business trip I’m going to have in June, and about how I’ll be able to combine it with a trip with H to a really great resort for our anniversary. She immediately tells me—“you won’t be able to go anywhere in June! In fact, your father and I aren’t going to travel anywhere in June either.” She actually said it with some glee. My first thought was—why the hell not? Then the sickening realization washed over me that she believes this cycle is going to work, no questions asked. If it does, I will be due in June. Sure, in the back of my mind I knew that, but I hadn’t even verbalized that fact to H.

I immediately told her that there is no guarantee that things will work, and for my own sake, I need to keep on living and making plans. Any travel plans I make now can be cancelled, and I will do so happily, but I can’t sit here and think that in June everything will be alright. I’m a planner, and it is normal for me to have trips planned a year in advance. She sort of paused, then said “Yes, well, your father and I won’t make any plans for June OR July then.” Argh. I felt like saying a second attempt would mean an August or September baby, not a July one, but I didn’t.

So now that my parents know, they want all the details, and I’m just not willing to share. (My dad sent an e-mail asking when my shots started. I ignored it.). Honestly, my mom seems excited about the treatment. I keep emphasizing that this is a horrible emotional experience and there are no guarantees, but that doesn’t seem to stop her. I just don’t want to have to deal with her disappointment along with mine and H’s if this doesn’t work.

When this doesn’t work, I should say. I’ve pretty well convinced myself that the first one won’t work. I haven’t heard of anybody’s that did on the first try. I’m looking at the first try as a test to see how my body reacts and to see if H will be able to provide his end of the deal. I am scared we won’t have any fertilization, especially since H still hasn’t agreed to ICSI. He’s already told me that he probably won’t agree to doing ICSI on our first try. He seemed to be giving in to it, but when I wanted to sign the consent forms the other night he balked, saying he wasn’t ready. I argued with him, saying it wasn’t fair to put me through the egg retrieval if he wasn’t go to give us the best chance of having the eggs fertilize. He asked me to give him some time and I haven't brought it up since.

Any advice, ladies, on getting H to come around on ICSI? I’ve been doing way more research than him, so I feel comfortable with it, but I can’t tell him to take my word for it (he won’t) and I can’t tell him to ignore his own feelings about it. He does not like the fact that ICSI takes away any chance of natural selection.

Sorry this is so long.


GLouise said...

Hey Emmie! I can really relate to what you've mentioned about your parents.

My mom was SO excited when I told her we were going to pursue IVF (back in Jan. of this year).

I was glad to have her support, but she didn't understand about the risks involved. I think the general public thinks it works 100% of the time.

And she didn't understand how draining it was for me to call her with every negative thing that happened, or even just the daily reports once I got into shots.

I had to laugh at your mom asking about "stims!" Sounds like she checked a book out of the library or something.

About ICSI---my husband did not want to do it either at first, esp. when his internet research showed a very small percentage of birth defects on IVF babies who had ICSI done.

Our deal with the docs was that we we would try regular IVF on half the eggs and ICSI on the other half.

And of course, I only ended up producing one viable egg in the end, so it was a bit of a moot point.

Best wishes to you!

Motel Manager said...

I am so with you on this entire post. Many times, I have gotten the "How ARE you?" from my mother and changed the subject or said, "Oh, fine, just working a lot."

As far as working the first time, I'd say that while, yes, you don't want to get your hopes up, statistically speaking, IVF does work on the first try for more people than on later tries. I am keeping my fingers crossed for you. But I think you're wise to keep planning as if it won't work - I've done way too much of putting little things on hold, and it's silly since I've had no payoff.

As far as ICSI...hmm. I'm not sure how to argue the point to H. My husband and I just kind of said, "Okay!" when they told us they wanted to do it. We were probably like deer in headlights. I guess one argument would be to think about how you both would feel if you did a round of IVF without ICSI and few or no eggs fertilized (and the day-2 or "rescue" ICSI tends not to work well at all, from what I've seen). You could have no problem with fertilization, or you could end up with nothing to transfer, or something in between. I think that having nothing to transfer would be more crushing than getting a BFN or having to delay transfer because of OHSS.

That having been said, of course, I sympathize with his feeling that this whole process gets pretty far away from the "natural." I guess I have just gotten used to it over time, and now I am more astonished when people get pregnant by having sex - and for free! :)

Hope548 said...

First off, you should really set some boundaries with your parents. They don't understand how difficult it is on you when they bug you about it. Do it for yourself! Tell them as much as you want and not to ask you about it! They need to know how you feel or it will keep happening and drive you insane!

I don't know much about ICSI, but I've heard of rescue ICSI where with your consent they make the last minute decision to use it, if the semen sample is low. I had a friend who did that.

Not to give you false hope, but I also know two different people who had success on their very first IVF!

Winnifred said...

About your parents... I can relate too... I didn't tell them NOT to tell people because in my 26 yrs of KNOWING my parents I never thought they'd share. I thought they would keep it to themselves - I SERIOUSLY did. My inlaws - we were very specific to tell them NOT to share (which of course my MIL did with her close friends, but i was ok with that in the end cause i knew they wouldn't bring it up to me)

My parents told my grandmother as soon as I told them (same day i'm sure) my sister (who knew) realized this and said to my mom "um... she didn't want you to share with ANYBODY??" oops. Well - my grandmother can't shut up so EVERYBODY in my family knows. That's 50+ people. Great!!!

About working on the first time - head on over to my blog - i'm a success story... i'm 25 weeks pregnant with twins - if you read my feb. & march posts you can read all about it...

About ICSI - I guess to me so little of this at this point is "natural" that I wouldn't see the big deal - but that's ME. We didn't have a choice in the matter AT ALL - IVF/ICSI was our ONLY option of conception. Can't you do some IVF and some IVF/ICSI? I thought that was an option (to those who can use that option)? Have you thought of that? I guess it would depend on how many eggs are retrieved as well...

Anyways - those are my thoughts!

thinking of you...

Winnifred said...

oh - me again... my family doesn't understand how difficult IF is at all... My sister litterally told me after I said it was emotional hell that she didn't understand how that was and that for her it seemed quite matter of fact.... You can't conceive, you get help, you get pregnant (right away) and you move on with your life. It keeps making me wonder if ANYBODY goes through the process like that... I know most of us are emotional wrecks - but maybe some aren't? I doubt it.

Jamie said...

Hi Emmie-

Thanks for your comments on my blog. I totally agree with you -- we are each given different cards in life and how we deal with them definitely defines who we are.

I can totally understand where you are coming from with your mom. My mom has done the exact same thing. I told her not to tell anyone and right before my first cycle the neighbor girl and one of my fellow teachers told me good luck. The cause?? Dear old mom.

I am pretty open about our IVF stuff and have told lots of people but I want it to be MY choice to tell them and MY choice as to when I talk about it. Not my moms.

She was also convinced throughout the entire first cycle I was pregnant. When I called to tell her on the drive home she even said "I just knew you were pregnant". Well give me a break. You "just knew" wrong.

I think your only real choice in dealing with your mom is to sit down, face to face, and tell her how you feel. Try to explain to her that it may not work and that you don't want to be disappointed and you don't want her to be either. Try to explain to her how this is something very personal for you and you don't want her telling the world about it. If after that things like this continue you will have no choice but to simply tell her it is not something you will discuss since she did not respect your privacy --sad as that may seem.

We did ICSI and there are no male factor problems. My RE does it to everyone because it increases the chance of having more embryos. I don't know what to tell you to convince your husband except what you have already told him. If you are willing to go through this then he should be willing to agree to give you the best chance.


StellaNova said...

Does he think IVF is natural selection??! Men have such strange views on all of this sometimes.

Your experiences with your mother have just 100% confirmed for me why I am not going to tell any family member about what we are going through - especially my mother! I just couldn't bear having to deal with their curiosity when I didn't want to talk about it and their disappointment when it didn't work. It's hard enough doing those things for ourselves.

I'm sorry this is happening for you. They are only trying to care and think this is how they should be supportive, but I'm sure it feels more invasive. And now you can't take it back.

And I also know 2 people who had success first time, so it's not impossible.

Take care.

Emmie said...

I'm kinda sorry to confirm your fears about telling your family. You might still want to take the risk of telling, because I think not telling can be just as painful. I felt like I was going to explode from the burden of keeping the secret since it was having such a huge impact on my life. Yes, it sucks that I'm going to have to lay down the law with them and further explain why they should not pry or gossip, but not telling them hurt too. At least now I have more people praying for me, and I don't have to worry about the questions of "when are you going to get pregnant?" I guess it's a tradeoff. Both scenarious can be difficult, and I guess you have to decide which one you will be able to tolerate better. I'm learning that absolutely nothing about IF is easy, and now I even totally agree with people that the emotional part is worse than giving blood.

Hopeful Mother said...

I'm sorry that your family has not reacted quite like you were hoping, but I agree that it's bad whether you do or don't tell them...

I've been reading along and just wanted to give you some info/ammo on ICSI. This is directly from my RE's mouth (though I have also read this elsewhere):

The reason there is a *slightly* higher incidence of birth defects with ICSI children is not because of the process. It is because of the patients who require ICSI (exact diagnosis of MF). If you have a severe MF your RE should require 3 blood tests in hubbie before moving forward:

1 cystic fibrosis
2 Y chromosome microdeletion analysis
3 chromosomal abnormality analysis (karyotype)

These are the 3 known issues right now that they can test for. So, any increase in ICSI related birth defects is due to the MF diagnosis and lack of testing by REs before using ICSI.

Ask your RE about these tests and ICSI when you go in next. I'm not sure how bad your dh's SA numbers are, but in our case they were severely low (700,000 and 1 mil) and poor morph and motility.

My husband was the same way - he wouldn't believe my opinions until he heard the exact same thing from the RE. That somehow made it real for him.

Little by little, he will get there. Maybe not as fast as you, but he will.

Emmie said...

Thanks everyone--this is very helpful. We were told about the CF test, but not the other two. Now I am extemely annoyed that our nurse had me do the CF screen and not H. Shouldn't he have done it? Maybe it doesn't matter if we both have to have the gene for it to appear in a baby. I will definitely ask about all three tests at our next appointment.

Our RE said H's results weren't good, but he specifically said they were not severe. I think he is pushing ICSI just to maximize our fertilization chances. I kinda think his philosophy is to go after this thing with both guns loaded, you know what I mean? I just hope it doesn't destroy us in the process!

I really don't know why H would accept IVF but then not ICSI. He knows there's nothing natural about IVF. He just clings to the hope that the "right" sperm will meet the "right" embryo in the dish, so there is still some natural selection at play. He is sad that he has this condition and feels that maybe he is not meant to have kids. He does not want to force life into existence, which is how he sees ICSI. It breaks my heart.