Tuesday, December 9, 2014

IVF and Other Reasons You Shouldn't Ask 'When Are You Having Kids?'

I write this post with a little trepidation.  I really like posting recipes, healthy tips, and inspiration.  This one's a little different, but my hope is that it will leave you with some things to consider.

First off, I want to say that I write this with my husband's permission.  We both agreed that 'hiding' this, or just picking certain people to talk about it with, when it truly is a huge blessing in our lives, would be unfair.  We want people to know that this is an option that is not to be ashamed of, but absolutely celebrated!

My husband and I have been married for 7 years, which, in our circle, and in most it seems, is a long time to be married without having kids.  To be honest with you, the first 4 years I had no desire to have kids.  I knew I wanted to be a mom 'someday', but it seemed like such a big job to me....caring for a PERSON?  Making sure they are taught the ins and outs of life...it seemed so overwhelming to me.  So, for the first four years, kids was not something we gave too much thought to.

About three years ago now, we started thinking about it.  More and more of my friends were having babies, and I saw that being a mom changed them, but it seemed to me, it was in all the good ways.  They were still their own person, but now they were caring for this child that they loved so much!  I was still really nervous about it, but I knew myself well enough that I would never feel fully 'ready' to be a mom, so, we started trying.

Keep in mind that my husband is in the military, and his training keeps him away about 75% of the time, so, we didn't think that it was a big deal that it had been a year and still no baby.  We weren't stressed about it, but we figured we should get checked out, just in case.  I went to my doctor, completed a few tests, and my reviews were glowing, nothing at all was wrong.  Again, due to my husband's training, it was really hard for him to have time to see a doctor, so it took him awhile.  Finally, shortly before he deployed, he went in for a simple test.  The result of that sent us to where we are now.

At that particular test, we just needed a simple sperm sample.  However, we received a shock.  There was no sperm.  At all.  We thought, 'how could that be?!'  We had to wait six months to find out, because he was deploying, and the urologist scheduled him for the day AFTER he deployed.  Not exactly helpful.  So, the only other conclusion, was to wait.

Fast forward six months.  My husband came home safe and sound, and we quickly scheduled a test with the urologist.  After my husband's examination we found that he is missing a very important tube called the Vas Deferens, we later found out that he's also missing about two-thirds of his Epididymis.  This was something that he was born with, and can often times means that the person is a carrier for cystic fibrosis.  He has since been tested, and thankfully, he's negative.  They aren't sure why it happens, but in layman's terms, because he is missing that tube, there is absolutely no way for sperm to get out, hence, why we weren't getting pregnant.  The good news was that there was sperm in there, the bad news is that we would never be able to have kids 'on our own'.

My feelings were mixed.  I was incredibly sad that we couldn't have children naturally.  It was such a blow to hear those words.  However, the more I thought about it, and the more my husband and I talked about it, we felt lucky.  That's right, lucky.

Why?  Because if we had been a couple JUST 30 years ago, we wouldn't be able to have kids at all.  Adoption would be our only choice.  IVF initially started in 1981, and at that time it was VERY experimental, in the '90s it was getting better, but still such a young science.  Even now, the oldest IVF baby is just 35 years old.

So, yes, this COULD be viewed as terrible news.  But gosh, what a blessing too!

Now, we are officially moving forward with IVF.  My husband had to have a small procedure done, and they were able to extract the sperm, had it tested, and we can officially have our own children, which we are just so excited for!  January will be the start date for the IVF procedure.  It's about a two week process, but it is one that we are ready to undertake.

So, why am I posting about sperm in a very public blog?  To help give some insight.  And also, to comfort those that are going through the same thing, and might feel as though they can't tell anyone.  When you ask the question 'When are you having kids?', you'd better be ready for a hefty answer or an awkward pause depending on the person.  Chances are, if a couple has not had kids, and they are past the 5 year mark, something is going on, or, they've made the decision not to have kids.  Prior to all of this we'd been asked countless times...at one point we even had people imply that we were selfish for not having kids.  It irritated me.  A lot.  And now that we know what we know, I ask the question, 'are we selfish now?'

My point is this: It appears to be a seemingly innocent question, but what you're asking is actually very personal.  So think about it before you ask it.

 Let me be the first to say, please don't feel sorry for us, or sad.  We are so happy that we can do this.  We know that with IVF there is still a risk.  It may not work.  But, we have a chance, and that's what we're hanging onto.  We have loved our life up to this point, my husband and I have had countless movie nights, dates, we've gone on so many fun vacations, and we've truly been able to enjoy and be present with one another.  And I wouldn't give any of that time back.  And now that we are pursuing all of this, we are ready for a new chapter.  A chapter that will give us some curly-haired, precious little baby (I always picture my kids with curly hair, ha!).

Thanks for listening, and if you are currently going through IVF, or have gone through it, please, comment below, send me an e-mail, we are always stronger when we have the support of those around us!


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