Are we parents yet?

The Clements’ IVF Journey

I just need to blow off some steam August 16, 2008

Filed under: Frustrations — Aria @ 2:12 pm

I hope this makes sense by the time I’m through. I have a lot going through my head I need to get out and probably won’t re-read right after finishing. Just need to get it our of my brain. Just a word of caution, there will likely be some swearing.

Just adopt!/There’s always adoption!
I’m tired of people telling me I’m selfish for wanting to do IVF instead of “just adopt.” Have they ANY idea of the process and the expenses and MAJOR risks? Invasive interviews, medical histories, income verifications, home interviews…fees after more fees on top of more fees, all out of pocket. People who say “just save up for it” have no idea how expensive it is and don’t believe me when I tell them it can easily be $50,000 or more by the time you’re done. “Well, a friend of mine did it through foster care and the fees were $X.” Too bad $X doesn’t cover the legal expenses that YOU, and the adopter, have to pay for all sides. And too bad a lot of the children in foster care shouldn’t have been taken away in the first place (an ex’s daughter was taken away without cause and returned a year later after he and the mom both had attorneys fighting against the court trying to adopt their daughter out the very day she was taken away, the cute little blue-eyed blond that fetches a higher price).

And of course there’s the argument that international adoption costs less. This is true and not true. The fees to the overseas agency is usually less than in the US, but when you add in travel, time off work, usually multiple trips there, residency requirements that often result in having to “live” there at least a few weeks, fees to the US government for passports and all else that comes with bringing a child into the US…one woman I met said the cost of her third adoption, from Ethiopia, ended up costing more than her first two (US) adoptions combined. More on her in a moment.

And I tried adopting once and was turned down for medical problems after being hit by a car as a pedestrian when I was 19. “Medical problems can reoccur,” they said, like biological parents never get sick.

And no one seems to know that federal law gives biological parents who place their children for adoption a full six months afterward to decide they want the child back, and they get the child back, no questions asked, but you don’t get any money back. And after six months, they can petition and are often successful. An ex-friend of mine petitioned after six years and got her on back. It’s like an adopted child is only yours as long as the bio-parents never want to take the child back. That woman a couple paragraphs up with the child from Ethiopia? Her first two adoptions ended with the bio-parents taking the children back, both near the six-month mark. And she said she couldn’t do an US adoption again, didn’t have the heart left for it. (Fortunately she had the funds available to adopt three times, and she realized she was fortunate.)

Being told I am selfish for wanting a baby post-eating-disorder
Yes, I’ve battled one. I’m sick and tired of hearing how I’ll just end up starving a baby in-utero. Having had one and recovering from one are different. No one tells someone who used to smoke cigarettes or used to drink heavily or used to do drugs that she’s going to smoke/drink/drug her baby to death. So why is it okay for people to say women with EDs have no rights to have children and are selfish if they want them? That we are going to do IVF is a big motivation for me to stop. I want to have a healthy baby more than I want to hit 100 pounds. Yes, people who’ve dealt with EDs CAN have things more important to them that being super-skinny! I’ve been called a liar for this though.

Being told I’m a woman-hater.
I’m sick and tired of being told I’m a woman-hater because I decided that I am going to give Cody as much say over my body and what I eat as I have. As I see it, if I’m carrying OUR child, why should all the decisions for OUR child’s development and nutritional needs be left up to ME? As far as I see it, if I begin to eat too little by old habit, he’ll be the one to notice and tell me I need to eat more. What’s wrong with him watching out for me, or acknowledging that the baby we will be working so hard to have is as much his as mine? Apparently I set the feminist movement back a century because I believe the father of my child has as much right to make sure his child is properly cared for before birth. Or is he supposed to just not care because it’s happening in my body, therefore it’s all my responsibility? Yet men who don’t care are insulted as well.

“My body, my choice,” they say (I’m pro-life, fwiw, have been my entire life, and it’s not religiously-motivated – most agnostics are pro-choice). So why do they only say that should be in certain circumstances? What harm is it to them is I CHOOSE to let our future-child’s father have as much say? He’s the one most likely to notice if my eating is out of whack.

“Maybe it’s for the best”/”Maybe it’s Nature’s way of telling you something.”
These are the people I want to punch sometimes. Okay, so diabetes is “Nature’s” way of telling someone they’re better off dead because they’re defective? OR “maybe it’s for the best” that a child with cancer dies? At least by the thought that if it takes medical intervention, it’s not “natural.” Diabetes, colitis, crohns, cancer, heart bypasses, and many other disorders, defects, diseases, and conditions that would kill without medical intervention are treated every day and no one says it’s wrong. So why is it wrong and against “Nature” to seek help and treatment for infertility? And how is it “Nature’s” way of telling me anything if my infertility right now is the result of being hit by a car? “Nature” had nothing to do with that!

I hear very VERY often how the inability to have children is “Nature’s” way of keeping defective genes from passing on. Okay. So why do people with diabetes or a history of cancer or seizures or whatever – why can a lot of them still have kids? Clearly “Nature” sucks at weeding out “imperfect” people. Saying “it’s for the best” is a throwback to “Nature” telling us all something.

“If you miscarried already, it must means you aren’t meant to have kids.”
To those idiots who said this, FUCK OFF! Seriously, just fuck off. What a way to stab someone with words. A double-whammy. Almost half of all women have a miscarriage at some point, and that hurts enough, but to say something like that to someone so desperately wanting a baby? I am unable to put into words how horrific this is. And all I can think of to say to the freaks who say this to me are those two words in caps a few lines above, even though I’m thinking MUCH worse thoughts that would probably make anyone here lose all respect for me, so I will keep them to myself.

It’s “irresponsible” to have babies if you have ever had a medical problem and are infertile now
Hello, Eugenics! Know who else thought that anyone with any medical problem shouldn’t have children? HITLER. Have any illness in your history? A slightly deformed hand? Wear glasses? Say hello to the incinerator along with the Jews, “Perverts” (gays), and anyone else deemed unfit to pass on their genes. Yes, Hitler did this!

Yes, I had a medical problem when I was younger that got really severe and nearly killed me. It’s also believed that exactly what I had is a spontaneous genetic mutation as the evidence toward it being hereditary is too weak. If my world-class surgeon told me the chances of a child having the same problem is so minute as to not need to be a concern, I’m going to trust her over all the arm-chair-doctors out there who think they know different because they saw something similar on [insert whatever TV show here]. And the medical problems since then, aside from the care, were direct results of some of the treatments necessary to keep me alive. No one else in my entire known family history has ever had these problems.

A lot of people are suddenly pro-eugenics when it comes to people seeking infertility treatments. Very little discouragement against those who want children after completing chemo and being in remission as long as conception can happen by unprotected sex. But there is discouragement galore against infertile people! And suddenly the medical problem that wouldn’t have otherwise been an issue is THE big factor against having children. I don’t get it. I really don’t understand it. It’s illogical “logic.” And there’s no logical way to argue against something that already lacks logic.

Being told that if we can’t afford IVF out of pocket, we can’t afford a baby since children cost a lot more than IVF to raise
Can we file “children cost a lot more than IVF to raise” under “No shit!”? Yes, over 18 years (or more, depending on how you look at it) children are going to cost more than the $10,000-$30,000 than it typically costs to have IVF. But the cost of raising a child is spread out over a child’s childhood and teen years, a couple decades! I know very few parents who could have afforded this much money all out of pocket and up-front before having kids. I know very few who could scrape together that money right now! But does it mean they can’t afford the children they have? No. Because they aren’t having to come up with tens of thousands in a short time! Hundreds of thousands of poor people work their asses off to raise their children and will be lucky to see $1,000 to “spare” at one time in their lives, yet are doing just fine at raising good kids and making sure they have what they need. Should there be some rule that whoever can’t prove they can afford IVF should have their kids taken away because they can’t afford them if they can’t afford IVF? This is just STUPID.

Being told I’m not really TTC unless we are having eggs harvested tomorrow
This one I don’t hear as often as the rest, but hurts me because we wish we could do it tomorrow. We aren’t for a few reasons. Among them are that we just got insurance, and there are several steps. When we first started seeing a doctor, it was all out of pocket, VERY difficult for a 27yo and 25yo in expensive Silicon Valley to do. We came up against a road block when trying to come up with the money for Essure, and then more for the actual harvest/first transfer.

We finally JUST got insurance that covers most of a single cyce, and we are so blessed it actually saddens me knowing our fortune when so many are priced out from the start. Until just a month ago, we were priced out of a baby too. Does this mean we aren’t actively TTC? As I see it, no.

TTC is a longer process than just getting shots, sucking out eggs, saying hi to sperm, and in the embroys go. The planning process and seeing the doctors, getting what else needs to get done, working out timelines…it’s all part of the process.

True, we likely will not be doing the actual shots/harvesting until December or January, but for good cause. We are also moving this fall, and the less stress my body is under, the higher the chance of everything going well quickly. It’s emotionally painful and is taking a lot of willpower to not jump in and do it right this second. We actually have the $1,500 out-of-pocket we have to pay, but it wouldn’t be the responsible thing for us to do to bypass the Essure and the test-run and all else to try to harvest/transfer before a move, and then have the hormones produced by the stress of a move affect a baby trying to grow. Taking our time to TTC is a steady and safe manner is the responsible thing, yet I have heard how we’re “not really TTC” or are just “making believe”, and will only be actually TTC when we have a bunch of hypodermic needles in here.

Heh, does this mean fertile people are only actually TTC when they’re having sex, but not really TTC during the day when they’re out and about?

“Well, you can always find some other way to find fulfillment, like volunteering or fostering, or get a dog!”
Without fail this one comes either from someone who already has children or someone who doesn’t want them at all. I personally feel it’s selfish, and dare I say?, a bit “entitlist”, for a parent to say something like this. Like I’m not good enough to have what they have, so go find another way to patch the hole in my life? Like volunteering or fostering (for which you undergo the same invasive procedure as adopting, only you get some money for it) is the same as raising your own child, seeing first steps, first words, even first time-outs? Like it’s the same as passing on your morals and raising a child to be the best person she or he can be? How are they in any way comparable?

And how is having a dog in any way comparable? I love animals. I have animals. Two dogs (2yrs and 6mo) and two cats (23yrs and 4yrs). They’re my babies, and I’d do anything for them, but they are not the same as children. They’re family, but they are not the same as children! Sometimes they help lessen the sting, but they can not fill the hole, no matter how much I love the four of them.

Some of the things people have said to me
Going through infertility treatments are hard enough without being made to feel ashamed for not being able to conceive naturally. So I am outspoken about what I’m going through. I’m not going to back down and hang my head in shame because some total fuckwads out there think I should.

I’ve been told I’m abusing a baby that hasn’t been conceived because of a history of ED. I’ve been told that the baby is better off being miscarried than raised by a mom too selfish to adopt. I’ve been told my baby will be born full of hate for me because I was so terrible for…my dog having a litter of puppies (purebred goldens). I don’t think many people can stomach the worst of it, so I’ll leave that out.

I’m frustrated, and I want to cry. Am I the only one who sometimes closes my eyes and try to feel a baby in my arms? What do they say, envision what you want and the chance of it happening increase? I’m just so frustrated. All my life I wanted to be June Clever, a stay-at-home mother to a couple children, and never did I think the part I’d have trouble with would be having those children. So many people take their fertility for granted. After a medical-nightmare of the past, and now this, it just feels sometimes like I keep “winning” that one-in-a-million chance of things happening.

Anyway, I doubt anyone read all this, but I just needed to get it off my chest.