IVF Unicorn

It has been forever. There is so much that I had meant and still intend to do with this blog: I want to add resources and information about fertility treatments in Israel, share some more our story and allow it grow as source of support for women and couples dealing with infertility. If only my day had I few extra hours, sigh….

Despite all the various things demanding my time and attention I felt that this story was one that needed to be shared. I need to take you back to November 2014, I was starting my tenth week of pregnancy after 2 1/2 years in treatment. We were meeting with the doctor and he was writing up our release papers from the clinic- I could hardly believe that we were saying goodbye. Peace out IVF, we were graduating.
“We’ll see you in a couple of years,” I said.
“Maybe, you won’t need me,” he replied.

I didn’t think much of it at the time, probably shrugged and guessed it was possible. I was so thrilled that we were finally in a pregnancy that seemed to be sticking I almost forgot how hard the process had been. As walked out, I felt certain that getting there was worth every part of the difficult journey and that I would repeat it in a second. This certainty accompanied me throughout the pregnancy and well into my first weeks of motherhood. I was elated to be  holding my daughter and I knew that I wanted another one. The sooner the better. Now, right now.

As is often case with things like emotions, and oh hormones, everything soon changed. With every milestone she hit, there was a slight pull at my heart, a sinking fear, that if I did indeed want to have another child it would mean returning to the clinic and once again subjecting myself to all that was involved in those treatments. That’s when I started to think twice. As my daughter grew to be a toddler, started walking and demanded way more attention, I could not imagine carving out the emotional or physical strength that IVF would demand. Obviously, people do it, but I could not figure out  how to make it work. On the other hand, I am 38 years old.

All this came with people making comments like, “maybe this time you won’t need IVF,”  or “maybe it will just happen.” Yeah, maybe. For the most part I had to ignore these comments, because they were more than unhelpful. I felt anxious,  and stressed. I yearned for a different situation that was entirely out of my control.  We did a few ultrasounds after the pregnancy and not much had changed: ovarian cysts, fibroids and all.

In a not too surprising turn of events, my doctor’s attitude had changed since our last encounter. When I met with him this past July and expressed my ambivalence about returning to treatments, he cautioned me not to wait to long making a decision. “One day you’ll want another one, a sibling for your daughter,” he predicted, “the chances were not high that you would get pregnant in your fourth round of IVF, you got lucky. It gets much harder as you grow older.”  Hey, what happened to “maybe you won’t need me next time?”

Turns out, he should  have stuck with his initial assessment, because about a month after leaving his office I was “spontaneously pregnant”- that’s what they call it when there is no medical intervention.

When I told a friend who had gone through IVF and was pregnant with her first, she referred to me as an “IVF unicorn,” you hear about them, but nobody actually knows one. Who knows how or why it worked this time? I have my theories and the internet will confirm all of them. It’s a miracle.

I’m sharing this story for a few reasons. Some people may be comforted by this story; doctors don’t have all the answers. Sometimes things just happen because they do. I always want to offer people a glimpse into my feelings as we dealt with the questions of how or if we would have another child. For those facing infertility at any stage- 1st, 2nd or 5th child- it is always a mix of emotions and an incomprehensible challenge. There is not one way that works for every person, nor any guarantee, but you didn’t need me to tell you that. If  you know someone going through this process, think before you speak, you never know how you will be heard. If you are in it now, I’m telling you that you are not alone, I know because I’m right there with you.

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