Posts Tagged ‘IVF’

Mommy, Where Did I Come From?

Monday, June 30th, 2008


Thirteen years ago, when I found out I was pregnant with my first
child, my thoughts hopscotched from thankfulness to relief to my
friends’ less-than-comforting episiotomy tales — finally resting, one
night at 2 a.m., on the prospect of a little boy coming home from
school with a superhero lunch box and a question: “Where do babies come
from?”
 
Today that little boy, Matthew, who was conceived through in vitro
fertilization, is a seventh grader and taller than me. He knows where
babies come from. He even knows the basics of IVF and acknowledges the
fact that his very existence is a miracle of modern medicine with the
same less-than-gee-whiz attitude he has about the fact that he can
search Google to access the world. To a 12-year-old living in 2008, all
this amazing (to his parents, anyway) technology isn’t that, well,
amazing.

So it might be time to share more than just “the facts” of my son’s
conception with him. Because even though thousands of IVF babies are
now born in the U.S. every year, for each family, it’s a different
story, each one filled with hope, fear, faith and even (believe me,
it’s necessary!) a sense of the ridiculous.

I could describe to Matthew how, upon seeing the blue dot on the
cardboard ovulation-prediction card, I danced around the bathroom,
surrounded by little cups of urine and bottles of “activator,”
celebrating that first tiny step toward motherhood.
 
How, when I told my pharmacist (who had assisted us in our “science
project,” ordering ovulation-predictor kits, ovulation-suppression
drugs to control my cycle, ovulation-stimulation drugs and more
syringes that I care to remember), “I’m pregnant. Thanks for your
help!” the other customers in the store snickered just a bit.
 
I could tell him how, even though I appreciated having the option of
IVF, a part of me yearned to create a baby the way my parents,
grandparents and every other generation in my family had always made
babies: the old-fashioned way.
 
How his daddy practiced sticking needles into an orange — said to
resemble the flesh on my backside, thank you very much — to learn how
to give me hormone injections that would stimulate egg production.
 
I could describe how his father mapped out, ahead of time, our entire
route home from the medical center, noting every bump and pot hole. And
how Randy filled our car’s passenger seat with pillows so that we could
gingerly make our way home after the embryo transfer without disturbing
what we hoped was a miracle happening inside of me.
 
And I could explain how, through the process of making a baby with the
help of strangers, his daddy and I developed a sense of humor that got
us through experiences such as Randy’s trip to the “donation room” and
my hour spent on the “tilt table,” my feet higher than my head, after
the fertilized eggs were placed in my uterus.
 
What I most want Matthew to know is that he was wanted as much as any
child has ever been wanted. That while his conception was far from a
private act, it was filled with great reverence and love. I want to
tell him that lying in bed at home and holding hands with his daddy the
night after my eggs were retrieved — while praying that a strong,
healthy embryo was forming eight miles away in that petri dish — was
one of the most moving experiences of my life.
 
I want him to be able to picture his father experiencing something that
most dads will never get to do: Standing in a quiet, darkened room
while looking through a microscope and seeing the six fat cells that
would become his son, just before the doctor placed those cells inside
me.
 
And I want him to know that my heart nearly burst as I watched him sing
“One Small Child, One Tiny Child” with the children’s choir at
Christmas when he was only five years old. Because I couldn’t help but
remember that bringing our own small child home from the hospital, on
Christmas Day 1995, was the most incredible gift his daddy and I will
ever receive.
 
Yes, Matthew has outgrown superhero lunch boxes. And he’s got even the
high-tech birds-and-bees stuff figured out. But his dad and I want him
to know more than just “the facts.” We want him to understand his
family’s own special story of how he came into our lives — everything
from his mom doin’ the happy dance in the bathroom to his dad lovingly
placing all those pillows just so. Most of all, we want Matthew to know
that while he came to us with more than a little help from modern
medicine — he also came straight from our hearts. And that’s something
he just won’t find on Google.

Knock Yourself Up (No Man? No Problem!)

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

As a book reviewer, I’ve had fun carrying this hot (shocking pink!) little number around town with me this week, reading a few pages during my son’s piano lesson, taking it along for a solo lunch at a favorite little Mexican restaurant — and never knowing who might see the cover and wonder…

Of course, like the just-too-funny promos for the new movie "Baby Mama" (about a woman who enlists the help of a surrogate), which opens today, the title Knock Yourself Up (Avery), by Louise Sloan, is meant to be an attention grabber.

But once I cracked the cover, I found solid information and lots of real stories about single women over 30 who are trying to make the right decision on this life-altering issue by doing a lot of research, doing a lot of soul searching and enlisting the support of family and friends. Sloan shares her (touching and often really funny) experiences and those of many others who’ve decided not to let being single stand in the way of becoming a mom. 

Got questions? The book answers these and a lot more: When do I decide it’s time to go it alone? How do I choose the right sperm? Is this fair to the kid? Can I afford to do it? How do I tell my parents? How do I tell my dates? Have I gone totally crazy? Will I ever have sex — or a life — again?

For those who want to discuss these juicy questions with their book club, there’s a guide with discussion questions. For even more info, stop by knockyourselfup.com.

While I had a man involved when I got pregnant, I can’t say Randy and I exactly did it the old-fashioned way. Having gone through in vitro fertilization, I could relate quite a bit to the tales of hormone injections, blood tests and waaay too many doctor appointments involving transvaginal ultrasound and stirrups. Trust me, nobody goes through all this stuff on a lark.


As "Baby Mama," Knock Yourself Up and my own IFV experience will attest, there are lots of ways to bring a baby into the world these days. But one thing remains, and you can surely can see it in this melt-your-heart picture of Sloan and her son, Scott: Women are making these decisions based primarily on something that mothers have had in common through the ages: love.