Earlier today, I showed my husband the cutest photo. An acquaintance from high school - a girl I grew up with who has since moved to Charlotte - had posted a series of pictures on her Facebook.
Me: "She's the biggest racing fan I've ever met. I mean, she had everything - the jacket, the limited edition car, the trapper keepers, everything. And now, she works at a company that serves the racing industry. And she lives in Charlotte. And she just had a baby via IVF - IVF that she attained via a grant from Kyle Busch's non-profit, the Bundle of Joy fund."
Stephen: "So...she's living her best life."
Me: "Yeah, well, except for needing IVF because it's so ridiculously expensive."
Making A Baby Can Be Hard
I don't know firsthand how expensive IVF is, as I've never had to use it. But I do know people - intimately, personally - who have undergone multiple rounds of IVF. Seeing them walk this lonely road and helplessly offering support in whatever way I could feels futile. Maybe this article is my way of trying to give honor to that struggle. If it helps prepare anyone's heart for potential hardship, all the better.
Part of what can make conception so difficult is that fertility is such a multi-faceted health issue. Especially female fertility - it's so complex that OB-GYNs will admit that they don't fully understand *why* the female reproductive systems acts the way that it does. Sometimes - quite often - it doesn't behave as one might predict, for reasons that can be hard to pin down. When you're trying to isolate causes of a symptom, and you have hundreds of variables to choose from...it's hard to know where to begin. Or do you go for the shotgun-effect, and throw everything you have at it in the hopes that it will blitz the issue to death?
It's not just as easy as saying women are having their first babies later in life today than they did in the past (true), or that women are typically more overweight or obese when they conceive or carry babies. Things like hormonal influence of undiagnosed metabolic disorders, or even workplace stressors, can seriously disrupt the process.
Cost is a HUGE barrier for families who are struggling to conceive. The average IVF session costs about $12k - not chump change to most folks. And with IVF not even a guarantee of conception (or live birth), it's often a cost that families can't afford to pay time and time again until they succeed.
Some friends have found success using at-home assists when dealing with difficult fertility situations. I know several friends who use Pre-Seed lubricant when TTC, and at least one friend who has tried the "soft cup" method. Basically, that's an at-home IUI - and it's even recommended by doctors as a first intervention!
From an emotional perspective, the struggle to conceive and carry children to term is daunting. Even in ideal circumstances, when conception is easy and pregnancy is carefree, it is still a marathon ordeal. But when you add in the fragility of those delicate feelings wrapped up in fertility, and the longing for biological progeny, and the soul's connection to the physical body...it becomes intricate. Complex.
There is not a wrong way to feel about struggling to conceive. If you have decided you'd like to have a baby, congrats! At any point, if it seems like this pursuit isn't fun anymore and is instead emotionally distressing - please seek counseling. Dealing with those feelings will only help - bottling them up will create stress you don't need - especially if you're trying to have a baby!
Have you ever struggled to have a baby? This is a safe place to share those feelings. Tweet at me - @pi3sugarpi3. I'd love to be a shoulder for you to lean on.