I’ve Got a Blank Space, Baby…Initial Here.

img_4629If both Scott and I die suddenly, but there’s a little embryo out there just waiting to be transferred into my uterus, then that embryo can be donated to another couple trying to have a child. Soooo, if Scott and I both die suddenly with a viable embryo on deck, then it’s possible another couple could have our biological child, but we’d still be dead.  That’s a crazy thought, right? That’s just ONE of the choices you have to make on the road to IVF. But, before we get into the paperwork associated with having a scientific baby, let’s talk about FEEEEEEEELINGS. (That’s your warning…lots o’ feelings coming your way!) I’m going to express all these feelings because I know other women feel this way too, but then…THEN, I’m compartmentalizing them away until the end of this adventure. Until I learn otherwise, IVF is going to work for us, and we are heading down this road with a positive outlook.

Outside of having a religious rant against IVF land in your Facebook Messenger while you’re enjoying some holiday travel, there are A LOT of feelings once you get the final word that you are IVF-bound. Here’s a super silly, real feeling I had…I started this blog thinking that if I wrote about all of this fertility stuff then, undoubtedly, I’d get pregnant “naturally” (that word…grrr) so it would seem like I was being *super* dramatic by writing about it when everything worked out in the end anyway. In the first few weeks after posting for all of you to read about our adventure, I kept saying to Scott that everyone was going to roll their eyes at me if we got pregnant on our own. What a silly thought, I was silly to even worry about that. I still want to put that out in the universe to happen…get pregnant without medical intervention while all this IVF is going on, but we are a bit past that point, at least right now.  Other feelings in my head were feeling like less of a woman or that I had failed Scott. Obviously, Scott doesn’t feel that way and has never remotely voiced any such thing to me, but I keep joking that he married a dud (he doesn’t enjoy this joke, but coping mechanisms, y’all!). I mean, he DID marry a reproductive dud. I’m awesome in all other ways though especially when it comes to Windex…not musical taste though unless it’s old school or movie soundtracks/scores. Ha.

Scott Martin Appreciation Moment: There is NO ONE I’d rather go through this fertility adventure, or life overall, with than Scott. He is the most amazing husband and, no matter what we are facing, he makes me laugh multiple times on a daily basis.  He’s super funny, y’all!  I have to thank his mom and sister for helping shape a man who is so completely sensitive, understanding, and just amazing when it comes to all things being married to a woman entails!  Those aren’t even the right words for it, but he’s just a really great husband.  He’s also going to be a really great dad.  Plus, he has brought out the adventurous side of me and it feels like we can tackle anything as long as we are together. OK, mushiness over! Whew! I broke a sweat.

Overall, I think both Scott and I can agree that the significant feeling post-IVF realization is……..you always *think* having a biological child or children is an option until someone tells you it might not be an option for you and then trying to not let that crush your soul completely. Dr. TT did not word it that way at all but realizing we may go through all things IVF, and there’s no guarantee of a baby on the other end, well…that’s just a lot to wrap your brain around as a couple. Yes, there’s adoption and that’s definitely still on the table should IVF not work. We wouldn’t even be on this IVF adventure without NBCU’s insurance, but still…a biological child might not be in our cards, and that’s something we’ll continue to process if it comes down to that. For me, another feeling I’ve had is realizing I *am* a woman who needs IVF. Naively in my mind, IVF was for women or couples who’d known for a long time that they had fertility problems. Not me! We’ve only been focused on this fertility thing for five’ish months total in my entire life. I don’t need IVF. Well…yep, I am a woman who needs IVF. Oh, then there’s the guilt. The guilt of not taking having a child more seriously and finding out if everything was good to go with me earlier than when I was 38-years-old. I should have frozen some eggs back in my 20s/early 30s.  Realistically though, what 20-something has the $$ to freeze eggs?!  If you do have the $$, then I vote to start freezing by the dozen or, at least, the baker’s dozen immediately. Now, I’m geriatric ovary-wise and producing fewer eggs than I would have a few years ago because I’m in my magical 10-year menopause window and I’m lessening our odds of having a child significantly.  Oh, let’s not forget…WHY IN THE WORLD DID I START A BLOG ABOUT THIS TERRIBLY INTIMATE PART OF OUR LIFE?!?! I was looking for a connection because I felt very alone in everything I was going through fertility-wise, but now…NOW, I don’t want to let anyone in, and I want to create a protective bubble around me and Scott…and Stout. (I’m obviously over this last feeling. I wouldn’t write anymore if I weren’t…I mean, I love you all, but I don’t owe you anything! Haha! Writing this blog has been amazing and given me so much unexpected support and connection to other women and couples going through similar experiences. It has been the Sushi With Spicy Mayo and a Coke for my Soul.)

Those are all the feelings I left with to go home for the holidays. Those feelings and estrogen pills. I’ll talk more about all the drugs and side effects in an upcoming post, but mixing all those feelings PLUS the holidays PLUS all the family in town PLUS my grandma’s rapidly declining health PLUS being hopped up on extra estrogen…well, I didn’t even feel like a person during the holidays. I was a walking, talking zombie consuming plates of food handed to me while being trapped in the dark thoughts in my head while also having some pretty severe hot flashes and headaches. I mean, I was there…sorta, but also not there. My brain was a million places as I snapped holiday pics of my nieces, nephews, and my family’s holiday activities. It’s not that my social media was fake during Christmas.  I enjoyed being home, but I could have enjoyed it more if I wasn’t so in my head about IVF.  Scott and I also spent most of the holidays apart.  I wanted to stay in Jacksonville to be with my grandma and my family, just in case it’s her last Christmas with us, and I didn’t want to keep Scott away from his family and brand new baby niece, so I convinced him to go to Daytona without me.  Oh, and thoughts of my grandma potentially never meeting Baby Martin?  Yep, estrogen-fueled meltdowns in my brain.  It probably did work out better that Scott wasn’t around me much, in the end, considering I couldn’t have anything or anyone touching me while I was trying to sleep because of the hot flashes…not even Stout.  Talk about even more guilt? Try pushing away an adorable little dog who just wants to snuggle up to go to sleep by you while you’re freezing her out with the A/C and ceiling fan in your childhood bedroom despite it being chilly even in Florida. Stout also hung out in a Daytona a lot during our trip. Thank goodness our niece, Jillian, got a new phone for Christmas and asked to take a pic of Scott and me on our last day before heading to the airport because that’s the ONLY pic of us together for Christmas 2018….antlers and all.  Obviously, filters are a big hit with the six-year-old to nine-year-old crowd. 🙂

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I’m sure there will be more feelings along the way, but for now, I’ve processed what’s happening and am moving forward with a positive attitude. I wish I could redo Christmas having processed everything a bit more, but I can’t so I’ll just consider it My Lost Christmas of 2018. Like, I didn’t even watch Christmas Vacation all the way through once, I didn’t even click on Love Actually, and I never listened to All I Want For Christmas Is You. So maybe, don’t find out about needing IVF around the holidays?  I dunno…or have a therapist on hand…or lots of wine.

Paperwork. Right now, the only tangible evidence of a potential Baby Martin is a pile of Explanation of Benefits forms, cost breakdowns, medication instructions, a genetic testing bill that I need to call about but they put you on hold for an ETERNITY, and scary WHAT-HAPPENS-TO-THE-EMBRYOS-IF-YOU-DIE paperwork.  Scott and I sat down one weekend before Christmas and went over the IVF consent forms. Talk about existential overload?  What will we do if we have some frozen embryos, but we get divorced? Can one of us still use the embryos? Do we donate the embryos to another couple? Do we donate them to science? If we both die with frozen embryos out there, then do we want to donate them to other couples? If I die, does Scott get to present our frozen embryos to a future replacement mate as an option? (Let’s be honest. There’s no replacing me! Haha jk. I hope she’s nice, but sorry, she can’t have our embryos.  Get your own embryos, new Mrs. Martin…well, that’s presumptuous of me.  Maybe if I die, Scott will go all Kurt and Goldie and never get married. Whatever he’d like to do, live your life, dude! Just not with my 50% DNA-filled embryos.) It was weird to make all these big decisions on our couch on a Sunday morning while Stout was trying to play fetch with us. The fate of our future potential embryos, should we die or divorce, was decided by “initialing here” on a bunch of lines in a packet of paper. It was like signing an apartment lease. The final signatures did have to be witnessed by someone in Dr. TT’s office or a notary, but it was all just very surreal and unofficial feeling.  I’m not going to go through all the choices we made because…well, I don’t want any angry rants in my inbox. But! If Scott and I are both dead and, in the future, you see a kid on a hoverboard that looks like the perfect mixture of Scott and me then give that kid a high-five from us, please!

Hot flashes, night sweats, and itchy rashes…oh my! Fertility drugs are a smorgasbord of fun side effects so get your compression socks ready to sit down to read the next post!

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