IF is for Infertility.  What a terrible word.  It’s so…final.

I have fought this finality for several years now.

First several months of hope and no knowledge of the science, but no pregnancy.

Then several months of doctors telling me to chart my temps and time our sex.  Not much fun, but not too onerous, and other than a few bucks for a thermometer, quite cheap.

You want me to go and have a pap smear-like test after having sex?  Really?  I’m glad that’s not MY job…

Clomid – higher hopes, higher costs, more technology, including ovulation predictor kits.  Still nothing.

Move on to the Fertility Doctor.  Lots more tests.  And more stress.  After the tests, add in shots.  Lots of shots. Injectables + IUI (Intra-Uterine Insemination)

Finally, a BFP (Big Fat Positive)! So Happy!

Then, the crushing learning that positive pregnancy test does not mean a baby.  Miscarriage. So, so Sad.

Long time to get back to normal cycles.  All this waiting, time ticking away….

Several more attempts on the same protocol, always negative.

Several more injectable + IUI cycles on different protocols.  Still negative.

Decide to move to IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization). Lots and lots more shots.

Negative test.  Sad.  Period extremely light (but present).  A few days later boobs are hurting again.  What is up? Temps are back up too.

Pregnancy test says positive, doctor says “ectopic”, blood tests look lousy.  This drags on for days, then weeks.  Never looks dangerous but never resolves.  Finally pain & bleeding, an emergency room, and methotrexate.  This sucks.

Months again to get back to normal.

Frozen embryo transfer.  Nothing.

Decide we need to move on to the Big Leagues & travel to a top-rated fertility clinic.  At the consultation I am told to have a D&C because of thickening in the uterus.  I can do this back home, and I do.

On the day I am to start shots for the Big League IVF I see my local Fertility Doctor who sees the test result from the D&C & informs me that it looks like cancer.  What the h$ll???  I am annoyed, then angry, and mostly terrified.  The days feel like months as I go through several tests to see if tumors are visible, spreading, invading my body.  Those come out okay, but repeat D&C confirms : uterus must come out.

There is a lot of terrible emotion for me, for my husband in all this.  Second opinions conflict with the first.  Third opinions conflict with both.  Confusing, and Scary.

Finally decide to have the hysterectomy & not take too much more risk.  Heartbreaking, but clearly the smartest choice.

The facts : Babies are made by an egg, a sperm & growth in a womb.  I need to give up my womb, but can still use my eggs.

We find a wonderful woman who wants to be a gestational carrier (surrogate).  She is friend of my sister & works as a midwife.  We trust her.

We do IVF and freeze all embryos before the hysterectomy.  For an old broad it goes pretty well (12 eggs, 9 embryos frozen on Day 3).

Hysterectomy takes place and is pretty uneventful.  All traces of disease removed, no further treatment needed, I keep my ovaries.  It is clear from the pathology that this was the right course of action.

Big League Fertility center says for absolute best chance of ever having 2 kids I should do another IVF retrieval & a fresh transfer to the gestational carrier.  I’m 41 1/2, if we’re going to do it again, it’s now or never…

We do it.  Lots of shots again, lots of time and money invested again.  Great response, they get 16 eggs, 14 fertilize, 9 make it to day 5 or 6 blastocytes.  7 frozen, 2 are transferred.

The transfer is so strange.  Awe-inspiring to see the technology and the quick glimpse of the embryos.  Discussions and contracts and coffee and meals do not prepare you for the emotions of seeing this woman willing to use her body to nurture our baby.

We wait.

The day before the official blood test we ask her to pee on a stick.  She sends an MMS that my ancient phone can’t read, but I assume an MMS means there is something worth taking a picture of — there is, it’s positive!

First beta looks good.  So does the second.

Now we wait some more, until the ultrasound. (UPDATE May 14th : One heartbeat! All looks good!)

…Then we’ll wait some more while he or she stays nestled into a generous woman’s womb, until our baby can be in our arms.

UPDATE May 25th : No more heartbeat.  Another miscarriage.

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If you have questions or need a shoulder to discuss any aspect of infertility (including surrogacy / gestational carriers ) please contact me, either through comments or directly.  Although this blog is mainly about my weight, infertility has been the biggest issue in my life for the past few years, and I know how hard it can be.

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This is a slightly-late post for National Infertility Awareness Week & Project IF run by the blog Stirrup Queens.

To learn more about infertility: www.resolve.org/infertility101