Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Baby Pictures

These are pictures of my IVF Babies.  I don't think I've actually shared these pictures with anyone, but here they are.  I'll tell you a little bit about each one.

These two are my first IVF embryos from Boston IVF and the study we did there.  These two were the only ones from the study that developed as far as they did, which really wasn't all that far.  I knew, and I think the doctors and nurses knew as well, that these wouldn't take.  The failure of this IVF hurt.  But I knew going in that this process was experimental.  Although it didn't really make the hurt that much better.

These two embryos were from the shared IVF cycle we did in New Jersey.  These two were pretty much perfect.  One was nine cells and one was ten, it doesn't get much better than that, and I foolishly had my hopes sky high for this attempt to work.  It didn't.  It took a very long time to recover from this blow.  I was a mess for a while.  Perhaps the scariest point in my life so far.  The only little piece of hope that kept me from completely losing my mind was that I had four frozen embryos.

These were the only two embryos of the four frozen ones to develop.  I went down for the transfer with an open mind, but a lot of skepticism.  If fresh embryos didn't take, I had my doubts that frozen ones would.  And when we went in and were told that these embryos were actually smaller than the ones transferred in the previous cycle, I knew better than to get my hopes way up.  But I'm happy to say that one of these embryos was actually Ben.  Feel free to make a guess as to which one he was....I haven't a clue!

It's hard to deal with IVF failures.  I was never pregnant.  I never miscarried.  These were only embryos.  No fetus.  No baby.  So how do you qualify this loss?  It wasn't a miscarriage.  It wasn't a "death."  And yet it was a pretty profound loss.  Because all of these embryos had the potential to become my babies, and they didn't.  They lived in me for a while.  But saying I was pregnant was not medically correct.

It's a lot easier to reflect on this now that I have Ben in my life, but it's still a confusing experience to describe, losing someone that never existed.  For me, I guess, when I think of Infertility Awareness, I think about all the emotions that I felt and how hard it was to explain them.  In my opinion, awareness of the absolutely devastating pain and frustration is as important, or more important, than just raising awareness of the number of couples suffering from infertility, or the causes and treatments for infertility.  Emotions, pain and frustration are often kept hidden because it is so hard to cope with and finding someone to understand is often difficult.  By raising awareness, we should all hope that couples dealing with infertility can find a way to deal with these emotions in an accepting and understanding way.  Only time can ease the pain, but maybe support from understanding friends and family can lessen it in the mean time. 

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