Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Infertility Urban Legends

OK, OK, enough about my bodily functions. I'm feeling much better this week and can now focus on much more interesting topics.

I got a call over the weekend from my childhood best friend ("S"), as we've been plotting over her plans to fly in for my baby shower at the end of the month. As a bit of background, S and her husband started trying to have a baby soon after they got married in 2003, went through 5 (or maybe 6?) rounds of IVF, suffered multiple miscarriages (including an ectopic pregancy that cost S one of her tubes), and were never able to get an explanation from any of their three specialists as to why she wasn't able to carry a pregnancy past 8 weeks. About two and a half years ago, they decided to find a surrogate, and last October they were blessed with two beautiful, healthy twin girls.

After the expense of going the surrogate route and the heartbreaks of the preceding years, S and her husband decided they were done. All three of their specialists agreed that since she was not able to get pregnant without IVF, there was no need to have her remaining tube tied or worry about birth control.

You know where I'm going with this, right?

S is pregnant. The old-fashioned way. No timed intercourse, no drugs, no nothing. She's not even sure how many weeks along she is, because her cycle's been so irregular with the one tube and the multiple IVFs -- a total change for those of us used to knowing and obsessing over every cycle day! They are totally in shock.

At the end of our conversation, S said: "You know what's the weirdest part? I hate that we're the infertility urban legend....you know, the couple who tried and tried and ended up using a surrogate and then just RELAXED and got pregnant. Because it was so devastating to hear that particular piece of advice from countless people during our struggles."

Personally, I'm thrilled for them, and am happy to be friends with an urban legend. It gives me hope that the next time around, maybe a good sperm will find its way to a good egg and we can make a baby just like "normal" people do. Maybe not, but maybe. What can I say, I'm a hope junkie.

What do you all think? Are you personally acquainted with an infertility urban legend? Does hearing their stories give you hope or drive you crazy?

19 comments:

Michele said...

One of the godmothers has a sister-in-law and brother that are a legend. She was a "you cant get pregnant". They had 2 IVFs and 2 lovely girls then, when she went to the doctor because after 4 months postpartum she still had no period, she was pregnant with baby 3.

I worry too. Especially because with my cervix, we need to KNOW RIGHT NOW. I wonder if I ever will get "knocked up" on my own... Wouldnt that be something. Although I think I'd have S's response and be a little annoyed that we were part of the legend.

Mo and Will said...

some of both, perhaps? A little bit hopeful but then also pretty crazy-making? Is that fair?

Mo

Reproductively Challenged said...

Yep, I know one too. One of our very good friends, took them 7 years, numerous IUI's and 3 IVF's to get pg for the first time, they had healthy b/g twins....five months later after they were born - Surprise!!! Pg again all on their own. They were shocked, surprised and elated. I also personally know two people who after years of IF adopted and a couple years later....they were blessed with a child of their own.

Here's hoping we're all that lucky one day!

The Patterson's said...

I have to say that it would be pretty nice for it to happen that way, but I would hate to be part of the legend, too. I don't think I would ever hear the end of it from my parents and sister who still do not understand IF.

Sue said...

I love this! I want all of my IF friends to be infertility urban legends...even if it gives fodder for those annoying "just relax and you'll get pregnant" people. Those people are going to say that whether there is evidence of it or not. So....That is so exciting!!! What incredible news. She gets to have the children and not mourn the loss of the pregnancy experience. Makes me smile.

K said...

It's almost a bit like a fairy tale...at least I hope your friend looks at it that way. That is great for them. It's like giving IF the middle finger.

My verification word is fingerks, BTW. :)

zengirl said...

I hear this all the time-infertile women who can't get pregnant do so after they've given up, or had their babies through adoption! I personally know 2 couples myself - one who got pregnant naturally after having their IVF twins, and the other after adopting a 5 year old boy.

Let me share another type of legend - You can't get pregnant when you are breastfeeding.

Apparently not so! An "infertile" friend of mine got pregnant naturally while she was breastfeeding her baby! The odds was really against her especially because she was suffering from PCOS and had to have her first baby with the help of Clomid. On top of that, her husband was away much of the time, usually weeks at a stretch because of the nature of his job. She was shocked beyond belief! So now she has two kids-a boy and a girl, 6 months apart! She definitely classifies as a legend to me!

My conclusion-Good things don't always happen when you want them too, but they can happen when you least expect it to!

kdactyl said...

OH Yes...I think we all know a "legend"...I have a work friend who struggled through several m/c to have #1, a healthy girl (through this she lost a tube on one side and an ovary on the other...so technically...a problem for future babies)....so...they wanted another child and turned to fertility and several failed attempts. She finally took a leave of absense from work and went to some special program and got pregnant with her son. Sadly, he was born with very debilitating genetic disorder and is a quadrapalegic, blind and almost deaf. At one point they "sent him home to die"....he is now 6 years old and healthy...BUT..I digress....during the stress of her son's illness (while he was still an infant...maybe near 1 yr old)....she and her husband really only had the chance to "be together" 1 or 2 very untimed, unplanned times....YuP...you guessed it...suprise natural pregnancy on a woman with a missing right tube and a missing left ovary? How does this happen you ask? Well....I asked my Dr. the same question and he says that pregnancy rates in women with this issue are actually quite normal as the ovary releases the egg and it can really be swept up by either tube as they are not fixed arms like you see in all the pictures...they are actually free floating and act like little vacuumes in there. But...anyhoo....her 2nd son is perfect and wonderful in every way and they are a happy family of 5 and coping well with thier special needs child.

As for me...I have my 1 ivf baby and have prayed that I will be that urban legend to get #2...but alas...another 14 months of timed intercourse, extra vitimins, and all the home remedies have done nothing. Looks like adoption or embryo adoption for us.....I will probably be the legend that gets the totally unexpected menopause baby in 3 years (I am 42 already)....Yikes!!!!!

kd

Allison said...

Thats awesome! So happy for her!

SS said...

me. took over 2 years, 5 IUIs, 2 IVFs to get pregnant with my son. Decided to stop taking BCPs when my son was 9 months- to basically go through the 6 months of trying naturally before we signed up for our FET. The first cycle after I got my period after getting off BCP I got pregnant. I get SO ANNOYED when people tell me it was because "the pressure was off" and I was more relaxed. But mostly I'm so grateful!!

babyinterrupted said...

Hmmm...yeah, the 'legends' make me hopeful and frustrated. I know a few, but then again, I suppose we know the legends because the non-legend people - the ones who never did get pregnant - don't exactly go around bragging about that.

Valerie said...

My first thought is... those beautiful twin girls wouldn't have come any other way except through that surrogate and S and her husband were MEANT in God's great plan to have them as their own. Now he is blessing them with another. Isn't our Lord the greatest! In response to your question...at first those kind of stories annoyed me because usually it came from people who had NO IDEA what we infertiles go through. EVERYONE one told us again and again "JUST RELAX." I'm sure glad it worked in this case..

Carrie said...

Oh the legends! I don't actually know any, although I know a lot of people who had one child easily and without help, and then needed fertility treatments to get pregnant with their later child or children.

I have NO tubes, so am pretty much sterile. My grandma said, "you never know!" to me the other day and I kind of wanted to vomit.

Great post!

Carrie

Serendipity said...

Not quite as spectacular as your friend but I'm definately one of those stories that would make me squirm not that long ago - 6 years of cycling and we're told by our doctors that my husband would never get me pregnant naturally, that clomid was a waste of time, IUI's would not work and that we would go straight to IVF with ICSI... two months later while on the IVF waiting list I ovulate and we laugh at what a waste of time sex would be but figure people win the lottery on worse odds - I'm almost 25 weeks along.

I hate telling people that, I feel like we got a gift that so many others deserve, I hate to think that it happened because we "relaxed" but truth be told it was the first time in years we'd had sex knowing (or so we thought) there was no way there would be an outcome, how much more relaxed can you get?

It drives me bonkers that I'm the story that used to make me roll my eyes not that long ago - when we were cycling hearing stuff like this drove me up the wall.

Brooke said...

I am also acquainted with a IF urban legend. A couple at our church adopted a little girl after years of many losses. 3 months later they were pregnant with their son who is now 4 months old. I think its great. I just don't like it when people use those story to try and comfort people going through IF. It doesn't help in that situation to hear of others success. Mainly because you only want your own success. Dont get me wrong. When I was still trying I was so happy for people who had been trying forever when they finally got pg but it only reminded me that I was not one of them. Anywhoo. That is so wonderful for your friend. What a great surprise blessing for them.

Kate said...

Gah, the legends make me frustrated. And I don't know any of them, thankfully. I mean, of course it makes me feel better to know that there are others who struggled as I am struggling and they turned out to be pregnant, but really? It frustrates me.

That said, if I ever become one, I may eat my words :)

Emily said...

My SIL is one - multiple failed IUIs, unexplained diagnosis, got pregnant with my niece on IVF #1, decided to do an FET for #2 - BFN, got pg naturally with her second little girl. Decided to try one more FET for a 3rd - BFN. They were done - 2 beautiful girls - both miracles in their own right and then BAM pregnant again at 40 with their 3rd daughter! You just never know!
Hoping we are all a part of that legend someday! Enjoy your visit with her!!

Ashley said...

I do know a legend and I love to hear these stories for myself, hoping that it happens to us. Congrats to your friend. But I hate when the public in general knows these stories! It lets them assume that truly everyone who can't get pregnant should just relax, and that's not good for us to have to hear all the time. It's annoying in fact. I am pregnant from IVF and I am only 25, so most people assume I just needed to relax but I turned to IVF for lack of patience.

iamstacey said...

I'm so, so, so happy for S, and she totally deserves every happiness, both her surrogate twins and her natural baby on the way. And I hate her just a little, tiny bit. Maybe not hate. Just jealous. Just a little bit.