Thursday, August 30, 2012

How Do You Grow A Family?

This is a question that has been on my mind for awhile now. Families come in all shapes and sizes. Most families grow from two to three when they've had some intimate time together at the right time of the month. Many times new life happens unplanned. Sometimes it is waited for and hoped for, planned and charted. But what happens when your family doesn't grow that way? How do you go from two to three when all of your best laid plans don't happen?

I guess I am not too surprised that my "plans" for parenthood haven't worked out the way I thought they would. I mean, I thought that I would get married in my early 20's, pop out a few babies and live happily ever after. The man of my dreams didn't show up for quite some time. Late 20's replaced early 20's. Getting out of debt put the longing for children in the background. When we got around to being ready for children the road has been long and winding. Growing our family is taking time and dedication, with lots of obstacles along the way!

It's hard to watch your friends families grow when you want yours to be growing with them. It is hard to  answer the question, " Do you have any kids?", when you so desperately want them and know that your age says that you should have them already. Do you tell your story of trying for years to have children to every person who asks? Of course not. But it is difficult to not become calloused and put up walls.

Back to my question. How do you grow a family, especially in our circumstances? My mind has swirled with these thoughts for weeks, maybe even months. Do you adopt? Do you go through IVF? Do you foster children? Do you remain just the two of you and enjoy life together? I have gone back and forth, up and down. It is a difficult decision no matter which one you choose.

I guess I should explain our circumstances. I have Stage III Endometriosis. There are four stages. Basically it is in a lot of places, attaches one ovary to my uterus, caused cysts on my other ovary that were removed during surgery, and could grow anywhere in my body but especially in my abdominal cavity. It circulates in your blood stream and causes inflammation and many other responses that can't really be tested. At this stage is causes infertility quite often. Our chances of becoming pregnant on our own are very very small.

I was disheartened to find out this news. I was sad, scared, felt broken and wondered about our future- our family. I started doing research on endometriosis, especially stage III or IV. I read online. I read in books. I read and read. I found out that with IVF- In Vitro Fertilization- women like me have a really good chance of becoming pregnant. I never thought that I would consider IVF. NEVER. But I wasn't where I am today. It wasn't my only hope of conceiving and carrying our baby. It was scary and sciency. That was before I learned so much about it.

IVF has come a long way since its inception. Rates are quite good. Doctors control medications well and aren't trying to get you to freeze football teams worth of embryos. The research so far shows no difference between children conceived conventionally and conceived via IVF. No major illnessess. No major deformities. People conceived through IVF are now having children of their own. And for women with endometriosis it works well.

After much soul searching, interviewing doctors, prayers and research we have decided to move forward with IVF. I have always wanted to experience pregnancy and childbirth. Call me a weirdo, I know- at least for the childbirth part. This may be my only chance to experience these. I have never been opposed to adoption and still open to it, but IVF depends heavily on age and egg reserve. Right now those are in our favor. So, now is the time to move forward in it.

IVF isn't talked about a whole lot. Heck. Infertility isn't talked about very much. I want to talk about it. I hope to share my journey here, give you a little glimpse behind the scenes. I will go into some detail, but not too much detail. There may be talk of shots or cycles, hopes, fears, hormones and surely highs and lows. There may be sleepless nights, hot flashes, and swollen ovaries. There will be a journey. For that you can be sure.

You ready? Here we go......

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