Saturday, June 29, 2013

Infertility on TV and Movies

Infertility is hardly ever treated delicately and with necessary understanding by the media. Instead, it usually perpetuates the stereotypes that the infertility advocates try so hard to bust.
**Possible TV and movie spoilers ahead**

I originally began this post as a rant in response to an episode of Modern Family I had watched last season. Yes, it was a long time ago. Yes, I'm still miffed about it. This episode started with Phil and Claire talking about some friends of theirs. They said that these friends couldn't have children, and that they were so lucky because they could travel, have nice things, have more money, and go out whenever they wanted. Phil and Claire then wished that they were in their friends' situation. The rest of the episode showed how awful kids are, and how much it sucks to be parents. The writers then attempted to make it somewhat "happy" in the last 30 seconds when the parents said, "Even though everything about this sucks, it's worth it."

I was so angry by the end of this episode that I resolved to never watch the show again (which, admittedly, wasn't a hard decision, seeing how it was a pretty dumb show to begin with). It wasn't just that the parents were complaining about having kids. All parents do that and can relate, so I understand when shows do that sometimes, even if I grumble through the whole episode. I was angry because they wished they had the "glamorous and luxurious" life of an infertile couple. Being infertile is in no way glamorous or luxurious, and it definitely should not be envied. This stereotype is one of the most damaging and hurtful.

Another example of poor representation of infertility is in the show How I Met Your Mother. Robin, one of the characters, went in to see her doctor one day, had one test done, and left with the news that she will never be able to ever have children ever. Diagnosing infertility is never that easy, and certainly can't be decided on one test alone. I admit that there is usually only one test for a male to see how things look on his end. But for females, there are endless amounts of tests to determine everything about her fertility. Unless Robin was completely lacking in ovaries or a uterus, she would not know she was completely, truly infertile after one test in one day. It's a grueling, expensive process that is emotionally taxing.

Further is an example from Grey's Anatomy. The main character, Meredith, finds out after trying for a baby that she's infertile. I do give it partial cookie points for showing the difficulty with taking fertility medication and possible side effects. However, after adopting and not trying to get pregnant, one day *poof!* she's pregnant. And has no complications, carries to full term, and delivers a baby. While this situation does happen in a very small portion of infertile couples, it's not a common one by any means. One of the biggest misunderstandings that people believe all the time is, "Just adopt, and then you'll get pregnant!"

A similar one happens in multiple shows and movies. A character can't get pregnant. She stops trying. Magically, she immediately gets pregnant without help despite all of her problems. The best example I can think of with this is the movie Baby Mama. Tina Fey's character wants to have a baby, but is infertile. She hires a surrogate, and hilarity ensues. By the end of the film, Tina Fey magically overcame all of her problems without treatment or even trying at all, and got pregnant by having sex one time.

While I appreciate that the topic of infertility is brought up for audiences little by little, there are a lot of problems with how it's portrayed. So in the end, you have to ask, "Is it better for media to bring up the topic, flaws and all, or is it more damaging to the overall cause of the advocacy efforts?"

Friday, June 28, 2013

IUI Failed

My third IUI has failed. That's it, folks. The doc wants to meet up on Tuesday to talk about the next steps. I'm sure that will include some testing, which will most likely those expensive tests that we didn't do five months ago.

Since IUI didn't work in three shots, it's highly likely that IUI will not work for me, since we do not have a male factor problem. So all that's left is IVF...

I'm trying not to worry myself, but trying to be prepared for what the doctor may say on Tuesday. If we need IVF, I don't even know what we'll do. We'll have to put everything on hold indefinitely because we can't afford it.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Number Three

I realize that I haven't updated about my own treatment in a while. To be honest, last month was pretty devastating, and I have taken a step back from all infertility related things lately.

But, we went ahead and completed the third IUI last week. I'm now 5 days past the IUI, 6 days past my trigger shot.

My drugs this time were a bit different. I stuck with the 100 mg of Clomid, but we started my FSH earlier. I did Clomid cycle days 4-8, an FSH shot day 9 and another one day 11. And, on our ultrasound on cycle day 14, we saw not one, but TWO follicles!!! One on the right and one on the left. Since the HSG showed that my left tube is blocked we don't know if we could have success from it, but it's also an outdated test result. I did have it about a year ago, and my blockage could be better now, especially since I have had two miscarriages since the test. We are just excited at the prospect of possible twins.

If this one doesn't work, our doctor wants to meet with us again to discuss where to go from here. He said he was confident, since we don't have sperm issues, that three times should have done it. Especially since I had two medicated cycles before the three IUIs, too.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Un-due Date

Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. 
But not knowing which to do is the worse kind of suffering.
-Paulo Coelho

I saw the word "un-due date" on another infertility blog to describe the date that she was due with her baby before her miscarriage. I had always struggled to find a simple word to call it, which is why I thought un-due date was perfect.

June 4th is my un-due date. This one has been really hard because I have three friends who all are due within a week or two of this date. So every time I would see them, or hear an update or milestone about them, I'd think, That was supposed to be me, too. I know it's not good to play the jealousy game, but sometimes it's just going to happen. And there isn't much you can do to stop it. It's just hard to sit here and remember, I would have been a mom today.

I was hoping to offset this bad news with some good news, but I have no good news to share. My recent cycle was a bust. I thought I had succeeded this time for a few reasons, but the blood test came back negative. Perhaps it was another really early loss, or perhaps there were a bunch of really weird coincidences. We'll never know. The only thing we do know for sure is that a viable pregnancy did not result from last cycle.

Today seems to be a day of threes. We've been trying for three years, three months, and three weeks, this is my third un-due date (and hopefully last), and it will be my third IUI. Yes, we are doing one more! I had a very, very generous donation from a family member to pay for the whole cost of this cycle! We're excited and nervous to do this once more. My nurse told me yesterday that most success from IUI happens between the third and the sixth one. So I'm right in that window! We're hoping it works because I don't think there will be a fourth one. At least, not anytime soon.