One year later…

One year ago this month, I decided to have my eggs frozen, and last July, I had my first consult with my fertility doctor.  Subsequent testing and genetic screening gave the “all clear” to proceed. But then, life being what it is, those plans were delayed for a time. Now I am finally able to move forward!  My boyfriend and I are actually going to fetilize eggs and freeze embryos, rather than just eggs, due to a 20% greater chance of a successful pregnancy with embryos versus eggs. I may actually do half embryos and half eggs, but that determination will be made once we see how many eggs are successfully retrieved.

But first things first.  Yesterday, I picked up my birth control pills, so I am ready to begin the process on Day 1 of my next cycle! My body being as unpredictable as it is, that could occur anytime in the next two weeks.  I am ridiculously excited over starting this process.  I’ve actually surprised myself by how excited I am, for someone who was previously set on not having children. But we do change as we journey through life, and the right person to journey with can make a huge difference in perspective.

I do not regret my decision to have my tubes tied several years ago, even though it makes getting pregnant a major production now.  Doing so gave me an amount of control over exactly when I get pregnant (very important in my current career), and a corresponding decreased level of stress over my sexual life, that I would not have otherwise.  It also means the opportunity to more easily screen for things such as Down syndrome, that become a greater risk due to my age (40 this year).  And, though it may be a controversial idea to some, it also offers the opportunity for gender selection.  Given my age and the likelihood that I will only go through this process once, this has great appeal to us.

The next four weeks or so shouldn’t be too bad.  Boyfriend is so far handling well the concepts of his part in this process. Hopefully, that will continue as he actually gets into doing what he needs to.  However, he’s only grudgingly agreed to help me with the shots when it’s time for the stim hormones those last couple weeks of the process. He doesn’t like needles!  But he’s willing to at least try to help me with that part.  In the meantime, we’re impatiently awaiting the arrival of Day 1….



3 Weeks!

Three weeks from today, I’ll have my first appointment at the fertility clinic. The journey is about to begin! Happy, nervous, excited!

Dragon Mom

dragon breathing fire

© Complot / Dollar Photo Club

At the airport this morning, I observed a family of four checking in at the counter for first class.  They were a traditional family, with Mom and Dad still married to each other, and their two young daughters, approximately 6 and 8 years old, were well-groomed and well-behaved.  As a bonus, they were apparently fairly well-off, since they were flying the entire family first class for an international trip.  All appeared picture-perfect, as things so often do to outsiders looking in.  Until the youngest asked Mom a simple question, and Mom snapped at her so loudly that she drew the attention of those of us in line.  Mom was an ugly dragon with flames emanating from her nostrils as she struggled to refrain from literally biting the child’s head off.  A brief pause, and then Mom answered the young girl’s question (a relevant question about checking bags, as it turned out) in the most contemptuous, condescending tone, a tone that implied the poor 6-year-old was the most stupid and most worthless human being on the planet.  Mom’s tone made me squirm in discomfort, and I wasn’t even involved.

There was no visible provocation for the mother’s rage. I had the impression she was always simmering just below the surface, ready to explode at any time, as I had just witnessed.  As the disturbing dialogue unfolded, I observed the sad and dejected look on the small girl’s face, the completely blank look on the father’s face, and the faraway look on the older daughter’s face, as she pretended not to notice.  It was painfully apparent this exchange was not an unusual one and not simply due to the stress of traveling.  Mom was a high-strung, short-tempered, family tyrant, and Dad and Big Sister promptly fell into their roles as passive, silent bystanders to this conflict.  Certainly, no one was going stand up for the youngest and risk Mom unleashing her rage on them.  Silly little girl, doesn’t she know by now to just keep quiet and stay out of Mom’s way?  Mom is mean, and she’ll slice through your soul with her razor-sharp words!  From the dejected look on her face, I suspect Little Sister will soon fall in line with the others, existing silently under the fury of Mom until the day she can finally make her escape.

From Child-Free by Choice to IVF: My Journey Through Fertility Choices

I decided at the age of 19 that I did not want to have children. I don’t dislike children, and I have even contemplated adoption, but for a number of reasons (which may or may not be part of a future post), I made the choice not to have any.  A series of life experiences and heart-breaking relationships cemented this decision over the ensuing decade.  Society judged me, and it seemed everyone had an opinion they did not hesitate to express on the subject. Apparently, the common view is that a female who chooses to not have a child is evil and selfish. However, I am of the opinion that having a child just because society says I am supposed to is actually more selfish and horribly unfair to the child.

© / Dollar Photo Club

I was in my early 20s the first time I mustered up the courage to ask my gynecologist about tubal ligation.  She literally laughed at me, assured me I was too young to make that decision, and told me it was not even an option…until I had at least one child.  WTF?!?!  The point is to NOT have a child!  This exact conversation was repeated in subsequent years with other GYNs.  At 29, I finally had a GYN who was willing to at least discuss with me my reasons for wanting my tubes tied, the risks, and the options and potential challenges if I were to change my mind in the future.  Then he, like the others, tried to dissuade me from having the procedure done until I had at least one child.

Finally, I asked that last GYN the question that was at the back of my mind for years:  “So basically, if I get pregnant, I can easily get an abortion to kill the child that I already know I don’t want, but you refuse to let me get the procedure that would prevent that pregnancy from ever occurring?!” At last, I found the winning argument! (Feel free to borrow it if you find yourself in a similar predicament.)  My procedure was scheduled and successfully completed a few weeks later. (As an aside, I don’t believe in abortion in most situations, and I wanted to avoid a situation that might lead me to contemplate that option.) I told very few people at the time, and since, about having the procedure done, as I already had enough of people’s judgment on my choices regarding children. The only thing that mattered was my tremendous happiness with finally having my tubes tied, and there has not been a single day that I have regretted that decision.

© Luk Cox / Dollar Photo Club

My lack of regret may seem odd to most since now, at 38, I have taken my first steps toward IVF. That is to say, I have my first appointment with a fertility specialist scheduled in July 2014, when I return home from an extended business trip. Tubal reversal is not an option for me, in part for the same reasons I had it done in the first place. I do not want to worry about other methods of birth control failing and having an unplanned pregnancy, especially as I approach my 40s. In addition, IVF provides some options that are very important to me, including choosing my own time to try to get pregnant and the ability to do pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS). The latter is a huge factor for me, due to my age and the inherent risks that come with that.

I knew my age might become an issue in childbearing, but it was not until I started researching the details of IVF that I became aware of the full spectrum of risks and limitations. That’s when I was harshly confronted with my biological age (cue the dawn of this unexpected midlife crisis).  It turns out those little eggs age the same regardless of how young I may look or feel or how well I strive to take care of the rest of my body! Apparently 38 is at the far end of the less-than-optimal age range for retrieving viable eggs, and I’m rapidly approaching 39.

It was May 4, 2014, when I decided to look into IVF. By May 5th, my research turned to fertility preservation in the form of freezing my eggs, and by the end of that week, I scheduled my appointment with a highly recommended fertility specialist in my area. I found myself immediately concerned with preserving whatever viable eggs I may have left as soon as possible. This is despite the fact that IVF itself is still a ways off for me, due to career factors and relationship status. I currently travel a ridiculous amount for work, and a significant career decision point is 18 months out. My boyfriend is amazing and very supportive of my recent choices, but he is at this point still “just” my boyfriend (sorry, Love!). We have talked about the future and long-term possibilities, including having a child, but it is certainly too soon in our relationship to actually embark on the emotional roller coaster of IVF! However, retrieving my eggs cannot wait.

© JcJg Photography / Dollar Photo Club

Beginning this journey, I find myself both scared and excited! I also find myself feeling a little bit alone. My boyfriend is supportive, but realistically, the egg retrieval and preservation part of this process has very little to do with him. I don’t think most men really want to think or hear about all the gory details of hormones, ovaries, follicles, and maturing eggs! (For that matter, I was happily oblivious to all of that until I made this decision.)  Aside from one very close friend, there is really no one else I feel comfortable discussing this very delicate subject with – people are just too damn judgmental about things they know little to nothing about. But at least here, I can share with others in similar situations, learn from their experiences, and find ways to deal with what I know will be numerous challenges, highs, and lows on the road ahead.


Under Construction

This blog was just conceived on May 20, 2014! As it evolves in the coming days and weeks, I welcome your suggestions for content topics, particularly if you, like me, find yourself pondering the world through the warped lens of midlife (with or without the crisis).

Thank you for visiting, and check back soon for new content!