Tales From A Twin Mom:
Why I’m Grateful For IVF
About 5 years ago, I went through In Vitro Fertilization, otherwise known as IVF. Although Latinas are stereotyped as being very fertile (a stereotype I’ve come to despise), I was not. I endured months of injections, testings, crying fits and guilt. When I decided to undergo IVF, I had no idea what I was signing up for.
This might sound ironic, but IVF clinics are not typically warm and fuzzy centers of peace and comfort; everyone there is going through their own trials and tribulations. Some of the women you see next to you have gone through the process a few times, and don’t feel like smiling at you in the waiting area. Others are there for the first time with their partners/husbands just giddy; thinking that this is immediately going to produce the big family that they so longed for. Everyone is quiet, except for whispers with their partner/companion, so you are forced to wonder what everyone’s background is. It is very cold. It’s not cold because women make it that way; it’s cold because many are here dealing with their failures. As a woman, having to be there getting assistance for what should be a very natural thing is very disheartening. There are no Barry White songs playing in the background or caresses from a partner. What you get is a team of doctors telling you what your odds are.
Yes, they give you exact percentages. They explain to you why you are not able to “perform,” why they won’t “stick,” why you don’t ovulate, etc. I remember sitting in that cold room wondering exactly where I went wrong. I had my first child very early in life. I took for granted the whole getting pregnant thing because my first attempt happened immediately. My second child was conceived naturally as well. It also does not feel any better when they tell you, “At least you have two healthy children.” Don’t get me wrong; I love my children and I understand that some people have never had the opportunity to have their own, but I wanted more. Am I greedy? Selfish? Maybe. Keep in mind that it was very hard for me to feel this way when I knew I had more than others and yet I still wasn’t satisfied. Was there something wrong with me? Why couldn’t I just accept that this was it? Four was my family number. Heck, in the United States that’s larger than most families!
My first cycle was an eye opener. I found myself in many public bathrooms pinching my belly and injecting the hormones. I was an emotional mess. I loved and hated my husband. I loved him for being so supportive and loving and I hated him for being able to produce. We both knew I was the one with “issues.” We both knew that he could have a child with any other woman without having to fork over thousands of dollars for a shot that had a 20% possibility of becoming a reality. He had to deal with my hormones as well. He dealt with my crying fits at night and the bitterness in my voice. I wasn’t bitter with him. I was mad because I knew that had the tables been turned I would not have reacted the same way. This was something that I had to both live with AND keep to myself. He was a better person than me (at least in this situation).
There were weeks of shots and ultrasound visits that told us how many eggs I had produced. The extraction process seemed a little like something out of a sci fi movie. They inseminated, gave them grades, and five days later we transferred two healthy embryos. Thinking this was it, I announced to my family that this whole ordeal was over. In two weeks time I would be announcing I was pregnant. Having been pregnant before and knowing that my tubes were my only problem, I was very confident that having bypassed that one obstacle would result in a big, fat positive.
They have you wait two weeks to find out if you’re pregnant and that wait was horrible. They tell you not to test yourself, but I had a hard time staying away from the pharmacy. Two days before the end of my two week wait, I tested myself; it was negative. Of course, I did what any woman would do-I went to every, single infertility forum searching for someone who had tested at the same time and got a false negative. After I researched and found a couple of success stories, I was able to sleep that night. I was certain this had worked.
I was wrong.
Dead wrong. I will never forget getting that call from the nurse. The test came back negative. I could do another cycle or wait a couple of months if I wanted to try again.
This call was not taken lightly. I fell to my knees in disbelief.
To make the story short, I became pregnant on my second cycle of IVF, which I began right after the first, failed cycle. The second time around we kept it to ourselves, and had two beautiful girls. I would not change a thing in the world.
Is it overwhelming? Yes. Is it a lot of work? Yes, but boy am I thankful this and every day for having the family that I have. Experiencing this made me a stronger person. It helped me not take a single thing for granted. It helped me understand that being human is OK and that failure is a part of life. I now smile when I hear couples plan out their pregnancies thinking it will just happen. I am a much more grateful person. I am a better person.
Were your twins conceived via IVF? What was the hardest part of your struggle? What are you most grateful for?
Julixa Newman, is a published writer/author, and the president of Stuff4Multiples.com. Born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York City, Julixa founded Stuff 4 Multiples in 2009, shortly after giving birth to twin girls. Her articles about parenting multiples are featured on several parenting websites, as well as in such magazines as Twins and Sixty Second Parent. She is also an entrepreneur who has designed several products geared at making parenting twins easier, including the TwinTrexx twin baby carrier. Her most recent endeavor is Forest Friends: Book About Me, which is the first baby book for LGBT families.