After Little Man was born, we asked Mommy’s OB when it would be safe for her to get pregnant again. We had assumed she would carry all of our children, and we knew that age wasn’t on our side. The OB recommended starting trying again in 9 months. As we began to approach that 9 month mark (early 2012), something started gnawing at me, and so this twist in our plans began…
Deciding to carry a child was not easy for me. There were a lot of reasons I felt like I shouldn’t – that I should just be happy to be a mother and not complicate things. The problem with that was this feeling I couldn’t shake that I would regret that decision some day when it was too late if I didn’t at least try. I don’t have a need for biological relation to my child, but I do have the “need” to gestate, to grow and nurture a child inside my womb. So, when I finally admitted to myself and then to Mommy that this was something so important to me, we started to look into all those things I felt should/would/could keep me from becoming pregnant.
I had always worried that I inherited my mom’s fertility issues long before we were actually planning for children. This was before I knew that I’d been conceived using donor sperm. When my mom told me that her doctor during the time she was trying to get pregnant had attributed much of the struggle to my father’s issues stemming from Agent Orange exposure, that worry became less intense. I felt like maybe I wasn’t doomed to a decade of struggling and multiple miscarriages before I could carry a baby to term. That was my mom’s reality, but maybe, I wasn’t doomed to repeat it.
One thing always at the front of my mind is my Fibromyalgia. I was afraid to put any more “burden” on my body. I also knew that I was not comfortable taking any of the daily medications I had been prescribed just to help me function, while pregnant or even while trying to conceive (TTC). Lastly but certainly a big one for me, I didn’t want to pass this on to my child. My mom has it, I have it, and I didn’t want our child to have it. That is the worry that led us to speak to the RE about reciprocal IVF (in vitro fertilization).
For those of you less versed in reproductive assistance, reciprocal IVF is when one partner’s eggs are retrieved and fertilized with the intent to place the embryos into the other partner’s uterus. We wanted to use Mommy’s eggs to make embryos that I would carry. We had a long meeting with the RE about this. I honestly wasn’t even sure he would go for it since Mommy is already considered to be advanced maternal age (AMA). He did though. He said that he would do that if we wanted to, but these were his concerns. There’s no data on how likely it is that our child born using my eggs would have Fibromyalgia, but there is plenty of data that shows how much age affects egg quality and the possibility of fetal abnormalities. We would be taking eggs seven years older than my own to make embryos. He said that he would be more concerned about that than the chance that a child may inherit Fibro. That discussion along with some other information led us to start looking into regular IUI (intra-uterine insemination) using my eggs and donor sperm.
So, after many long discussions and lots of reading, we decided that we would move ahead along the path of considering IUI with me carrying. Now, it was time to address the rest of my concerns. My other concerns about Fibro and pregnancy were greatly reduced by a visit with my rheumatologist. She said that in her experience, women with Fibro who get pregnant do really well. Something about the pregnancy hormones helps alleviate the symptoms of Fibromyalgia in the majority of cases she’d seen. I also have anecdotal evidence of this from e-friends I’ve made over the past few years. (This makes me wonder why they aren’t researching some sort of hormone therapy to treat Fibro, but I digress) The rheumatologist and I made a plan to wean me off several medications, and I set up an appointment with my general practitioner to discuss the others. All of my care providers were very supportive of our decision which certainly helped me to feel more secure in it.
By the time I was finished with my GP, we had a plan and a timeline. We were moving forward and started to look at donors. This was the same month as Little Man’s first birthday.
…to be continued