I Have Never Felt More Alone Than When I Started IVF
BY JORDANA HANDLER
Photo © Antonio Guillem/123 RF
Apr 23, 2018
No one ever says you might not get pregnant. In fact, most people tell you how easy making a baby is.
When my husband and I decided to start trying for a baby, I was worried that I would get pregnant right away and wouldn’t be totally ready. Two years later this seemed ironic as I sat in a fertility clinic waiting for an IVF treatment following many failed attempts to conceive.
Silence surrounds those of us that have trouble and the harder it is, the quieter it becomes.
There is an inexplicable sadness when you’re unable to conceive. You feel like your body has failed at its only basic function and words can’t make it better. Many of us take having a family for granted because it’s a "natural" thing. But when it’s what you want and you can’t have it, it’s hard.
Four years and two children later, the silence is what I remember most about the entire journey through infertility. Silence surrounded me through the trouble and the harder it got, the quieter it became.
Of course, I remember the clinic with its huge waiting room, zero privacy and all the technicians, doctors and staff who were sometimes amazing, and sometimes not so much.
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I still recall the daily cycle monitoring — which is a nice term for having blood drawn — and vaginal ultrasound that is just about as glamorous as it sounds. There were additional tests to make sure my fallopian tube function was in order. And of course, the actual IVF procedure.
There was quite an impressive cocktail of drugs involved in the process: the hormones that made me crazy (or crazier); stimulants that had to be injected daily into my stomach (leaving it battered and bruised); and other injections that left lumps in my rear. I was an emotional mess and found myself crying at the drop of a hat. Every day was a bit of a roller coaster.
But all of the things — the clinic, the doctors, the procedures and the drugs — the thing I remember with alarming clarity is the silence and loneliness of going through infertility.
What made the journey bearable were those few people who helped give infertility a name and a voice. They let me cry, asked hard questions and turned a surreal and shitty experience into something more normal, more palatable.
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I have never shared my story until now, but for Infertility Awareness week, it feels appropriate.
If you, or someone you know is going through infertility issues, don’t let them suffer in silence. I encourage you to build a support circle and use that circle often — even if it’s just to talk about your fears, or the treatment itself. There are days when you may not feel like you can do it, or maybe you feel like there’s no one who will understand. But you are not the only one, even if you feel like you are.
I’ve gone through this, and so many other women have, too. And I am here and you can be in touch. I am always happy to commiserate, share and support. Because the silence is deafening, and no one deserves to go through it alone.