baby steps

Last night as I was frantically searching infertility forums for answers I once again found myself frustrated at the relative silence around infertility – and apparently, the inability of doctors EVERYWHERE to really explain to women what’s going on through these treatments and in general. I just switched to a small independent medical group, but with only one appointment before jumping right into treatment, I walked out still pretty confused. From success rates (low) to multiple baby rates (not too high but still worrying) to how to properly give yourself an injection (I have no idea), the clinical steps through infertility treatments are bundled in a whirl of emotions that make it hard to ask the right questions or really be prepared for what’s happening.

If anyone is considering heading into treatments, do some Googling and get a list of questions ready for your first appointment, take notes, and ask for detailed photocopies of instructions and information.

The last week has been hormones and hellfire. I’m not sure why I didn’t expect hormone treatments to mimic pregnancy, but they do. I remember being horrified at my inability to focus when pregnant; grasping for basic words and feeling like I was swimming through marshmellow fluff to get to my own thoughts. Some of the treatments for infertility do the same things. Intense.

I saw a post on one of the forums, and after a long, clinical comment about dosages and process, one woman said “Infertility has changed me in ways I never expected and can’t even begin to explain.”

Yes. Please send some good thoughts my way this week.


  1. I want this for you so much, as much as I want it for myself. Sending you luck and good thoughts. Thank you for continuing to be brave enough to have this conversation here.

  2. Dude. Just went through it. I can answer anything if I can. They should have more than one appointment before treatment as many as you need to feel comfortable and answer questions. Also there are many tests they should run first if they haven’t already. Sending you many many good thoughts. Can share my story if your interested. Had an odd turn of events (for the good)

    Sending you major mojo

  3. Oh and google village fertility pharmacy. They have the most amazing videos with each type of injection and a hotline to call even if not their customer.

  4. sending so so many good thoughts your way and glad you’ve been able to get started. but yes, hormones and hellfire is such a good description. it’s like going to war – only other veterans can truly understand and most don’t want to talk about it…would rather forget. i’m here for you if you want to talk. i’d love to hear more about how it is going for you. i’m waiting to start ivf #1, which i hear will only be 100x worse. but i will tell you any single thing you want to know about what the iui process was like for me. i did it 4 times. i am a veteran and i’m willing to talk.


  5. Love. Lots of it. And DAMN why is this stuff so hard. Even the stuff everyone tells you is easy is hard. Anyway, lots of love from my place to yours.

  6. I’m sending you good thoughts, and I’m going to share in some of yours. I have an IUI scheduled for Friday. I have PCOS and tried a number of cycles with oral medications but they didn’t do anything but give me nasty side effects. This cycle isn’t going too well either, but I have an appointment tomorrow that will hopefully bring better news. This might be our only chance to try for the foreseeable future because we’re moving rather unexpectedly in a few weeks. Anyway, blah, blah, blah. But, yeah, infertility treatments feel a bit like …. hmmm …. trying to catch bubbles while blindfolded.

    1. Good luck!! I’m trying to get a friend who recently gave birth to write up a little bit about getting pregnant with PCOS, but yeah, new baby! I know she had luck with a no-carb diet, but I don’t know more than that, so that’s probably not helpful…

  7. So many good thoughts. When I was trying to get pregnant I was taking this medicine that made me basically get morning sickness during the last few days of my cycle. It also made my cycle longer so I always thought I was pregnant and then having a really early miscarriage – my doctor gave me no warning about either of these effects and only told me when I called her freaking out. ugh. Fortunately we only had to go through it a few times. I’m very much hoping the same fo you.

  8. massive huge good luck to you. we’re doing a natural cycle IUI this month (with donor) and then on to hormones next, I’m already pretty freaked out about how it’s going to be mentally… anyhow, fingers and toes and all crossed that it goes okay for you.

  9. You’re so BRAVE for following your heart and dreams on this one, and especially for sharing the story. I believe in the power of rallying prayers and support, and adding my good ju-ju on in. Be so gentle with yourself, think well of yourself, don’t let anyone tell you you’re broken! Good feelings. xoxo

    1. The frustrating thing is that I’m NOT broken! No one knows why this is happening. Stress maybe – the move, the new job, buying a house, my brother’s nightmare of a divorce, general settling into a new place…

      1. Yes… I understand you. They did all the tests on both of us (including a laparoscopical surgery and a hysterosalpingography) and everything seems fine, we are supposedly “healthy”. Hugs.

  10. Ok, I am going out of the closet here. I have been reading your blog for a while. We are also dealing with the dreaded infertility word that I dare not mention, though I have written about it.
    I am hoping hard for you, and wishing you all the best.
    We put ourselves a limit and will start treatment (IUI) in a month or two. Ever since the beginning (being a biologist and a vet, and, we basically do the same thing to cows) I have been scared as hell from the hormone injections and the effect they might have on me.
    But I guess at some point we just have to hold hands and jump. We gave each other another 2 months to try “naturally”, but basically it gets harder and harder to hope every month, and I get angry at my body, the universe… etc and then try to just turn the negative into positive and keep believing.
    Know that you are not alone. Hugs and hope and wishes and support.

    1. Thank you for commenting & sending support. Sometimes I say “fertility issues” instead of infertility because it helps my brain feel less final about it.

      I would recommend the Letrozole over the Clomid – I hear the side effects are MUCH better on the Letrozole. I don’t know if it was a success yet, but everything looked good, follicle wise. Obviously your doctor will know best but I would ask about options and explain the side effect concern. They can also cause cysts, so I’m worried about that, too.

      The weirdest thing really is that the hormones mimic being pregnant. So, it’s basically the hardest 2 week wait ever. I know exactly what you mean about getting angry at your body & the universe. I’ve been relaxing more about it, not sure why. Just settling into it, I guess. Doing what I can.

      1. Thanks for the tips… I will make sure to ask a million questions. Still crossing my fingers for you. It helps so much to know we are not isolated in this.

  11. Compelled to share advice I felt very lucky to have received early on in my efforts to become pregnant. From a blunt doctor friend who’d struggled with IF. This got long, sorry. The baby we ended up with enabled me to bury it. Excavation demanded explication (I think that’s the right word). If I don’t reply until I can be succinct, I won’t reply. So, I’ll just submit all this with my sincere wish for luck to you, and anyone similarly struggling.

    First, (I don’t think this applies to you, but putting it out there because it is a big one for many) while there are non-medical changes that can increase a person’s chances of becoming pregnant, there are a lot of very healthy people who cannot conceive on their own. Unless you’re certain you won’t avail yourself of medical assistance, it rarely makes sense to wait on treatment.

    Too many women struggle with diet, size, fitness level, ability to manage stress, etc…. My friend said that women who try to fix themselves first, can end up facing medical intervention older, demoralized and surprised by their diminished odds of success. She was pretty blunt. “You are not young. [I’d turned 36] Waiting on treatment until you do X, Y or Z is denial. Or, it about your worthiness issues. If you want a baby, put that stuff aside and take care of business.”

    Second, sometimes a dx of unexplained IF is because tests and technology aren’t able to determine why a given couple can’t conceive. But too often, again, at least doc friend opinion it’s the clinic or its lab that’s missed something. A blockage can be missed, or blood tests are not correct.

    So, check SART for info on success rates. Success varies *widely* among REs. The reporting system is not perfect, but the data is not meaningless. The charge that clinics with better success rates don’t take tougher patients is, I think, bogus. They have a cohort of patients who’ve been unable to conceive elsewhere. The quality of the labs–tightness of their procedures and whatnot–is reportedly a major factor in outcomes.

    If you are getting medical treatment, it’s almost always worthwhile to get a second opinion. Do not let disappointment/depression about being in the situation, anxiety about being disloyal to a doc, or the genuine like-ability of your RE, keep you from exploring all options. Absent a very good reason, if you didn’t get pregnant on the first try, do at least a phone consult with a top clinic.

    I found Fred Licciardi’s blog an outstanding resource. I didn’t go to NYU, but it is one of the top clinics in the US. Though I am sure his blog is good for business, I imagine the practice has as many patients as it can handle. It’s been a while, but I remember appreciating his candor.

    I don’t know if it’s still up and running but the women on the ivfconnections site–there are posts/forums on all issues and treatments–really informed and inoculated me as far as IF treatment. Having an idea of what we were in for–we did end up travelling for an eval and then treatment. Our local clinic drew blood, which I then froze and shipped, and did monitoring. It was tough, but what women shared on the ivfconnections site made the process a lot less confusing, frustrating, dehumanizing.

    Again, best of luck.

    1. Well, that’s what’s frustrating me- I started going to doctors in Jan 2011, right after I turned 35- was told I’d have no problems at all. 4 doctors later and even INSISTING on more tests, no one wants to run additional tests for blockages, which is the main thing I’m worried about, so I keep trudging on (more IUIs soon) with ALL OF THE DOCTORS telling me I’m fine. It’s just ridiculous at this point.

      Thank you for the tips. Unfortunately IUI is our stopping point, IVF is financially out of the question. I have a deadline with the current clinic, if no luck in the next few months, I’ll try elsewhere.

      1. I am pulling hard for you. If you’re at all up for it, consider doing some preliminary checking into locations of best clinics. You don’t sound fragile, but, if you do decide you need to look elsewhere, it’ll be easier if you’ve an idea of options. The clinics can explain the process–traveling and local monitoring–for out of town patients.

        A short phone consult with CCRM in Denver–you fill out a questionnaire, give them bloodwork results– may be free. I was prepared to pay for it, but turned out that, from my state, the consult was free. I don’t know if that’s at all an option for treatment (Southwest & hampton inn points made it one for us) but it might be helpful to hear what they say.

        Cornell/CRMI in NYC is a top clinic that treats a lot of people from out of the area. As is NYU. There may be others–I’m not up to date–in places you’d be inclined to visit anyway, or are a reasonable distance from friends/family.

        again, GL

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