Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Sextuplets, High-Order Multiples and Hypocracy?

I never intended to post about the whole Michigan and Ohio sextuplet issue. So many others have and it's quite a heated topic of discussion. Many seem to have very specific opinions about what they might do in such a situation, and deliver judgement on the doctors and families involved.

I am not offering a commentary on their cases, but one fact that comes up in every single discussion is these couple's religious decision to "trust God with life." Many point out that they think these couples are hypocritical, inconsistent and selectively applying when to "play God." The critics say that because these couples indeed used some form of fertility treatment, that surely must be playing God. Basically it boils down to people communicating that if you're choosing to "help" God by trying to get pregnant un-naturally, then for consistency sake you must be willing to "help" God kill life to stay pregnant and keep the maximum number of babies alive and healthy.

Am I wrong? If I am, I welcome comments right now, but that's the gist of everyone's argument as I see it.

Now, here is what I want to say. These views in fact are NOT in discord with one another. Basically, in manners of bio-ethics, many religious people will hold to general ethical principles. Some might be: beneficence, nonmaleficence, autonomy, and justice (considering if something does good, does no harm, respects the persons involved, and does what is right and equitable). But underlying all these is Respect for the Sanctity of Life (at the one-cell stage). It is the foundation for all decisions.

As many of you know, with drugs, IUI's, and IVF a pregnancy and live baby are not guarantees! Doctors cannot (yet) create and sustain life. That is something that currently is in God's domain. This is why religious couples can seek fertility treatment and not consider themselves to be "playing God" or choosing who gets to live. They are pursuing life, and that's all they can do.

Once life has been created, be it in perfect circumstances, bad ones, doctor's foolishness: It Is Life. And life must be honored/respected. Biblically (not discussing a religion here, just based on the Bible only), there is not any way out of a quadrupet, sextuplet, etc pregnancy. There is not a provision for preemptively trying to save one person's life (the mother, the other babies) by destroying another's.

Couples like the Morrisons, Masches, etc tried to help create life, and life happened. But just because they decide they cannot end it does not argue for hypocracy on their part.

Now, I DO want to say that if there has been any foolishness or lack of thoughtful decision making on the parents' parts, they are responsible in a little way for every little life lost. I don't mean to be cold. But for ANY couple pursuing fertility treatments, if at any time they were given the risks and they proceeded recklessly (perhaps natural intercourse when an IUI with many follciles was canceled) with a "God will protect us" or "God knows what we can handle" or "Each child will be a blessing from God" this is foolish and not to be condoned. And I would categorize it as laziness and lack of maturity on the part of the parents'. Because ART involves creating risks that natural conception would not usually entail, it should be proceed with much thought, wisdom, and sobriety. No life (the mother's, the children in the womb) should be gambled with.

In religious circles, sometimes it is taught that couples can proceed with ART while complying with all the ethical principles if they honor life at the one-cell stage. I think/hope that is what is at the basis of why these couples chose against Selective Reduction.

Now, for all you dear ladies who have read this who actually have walked the sad path of considering SR or even choosing it, I sincerely hope I have not offended you. I am not trying to put forth a judgement or an opinion that ALL must follow. We have different religions! I cannot answer for you or your husband's conscience, as you cannot for mine. I live by the ethics and principles I believe, but my beliefs are my own. I do not look down on any woman who has had to face such a heart-wrenching decision. I do not believe you will be punished for your conscience's choice.

I really wanted to write this because I believe no one out there could get a grasp on why these famlies are perhaps not as hypocritical as many think. Now, flame me. :)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Nuthin Big Goin On Here

So... I got the call and it looks like my baseline apointment will be the last week in August.
The first week in September I'll need to be in San Antonio, because I'll start my stims & be in 2-3 times for ultrasounds and blood work. Personally, I enjoy the monitoring because it gives me a feeling of control as well as an early start on the day!
Then the 3rd week of September I'll have ER & possibly ET.
What didn't make sense to me was, what do I do the 2nd week of September? I guess I'm assuming there's a possibility the end of that week could be ER, I guess it just depends on WHEN in the 1st week of Sept I actually start stims.

All you IVF pros out there: What day did you start stims (CD1? CD3?) and what day was ER? I know it's different for everyone, but I'd like a general idea! :)

For what it's worth, I ovulated last night. I never cease to think perhaps this could be our lucky month. But there's a lot less pressure for it to be, knowing IVF is just 2 cycles away. I have to send our check in early next week, and once they have it if we cancel there's a $350 administrative fee if we have to cancel the cycle (like because of pregnancy). I could live with that if it happened.

On a totally non-IF related topic, we just received the claim back from our move. We claimed damage costs of $2065.49 and we received $1200.46. It was horrendous, with items stolen and broken all over the place. 60% of our major furniture was broken in some way. It was hard not to be angry about the poor payment received. One item they denied replacing was the front of my brand-new Titanium LG Freezer. The doors got dented (1 pretty bad) and they just gave $50 in cosmetic damage. To replace just one door was $250. So I don't have warm feelings toward them at the moment. Our first move was SO GOOD I had no idea you could have such a bad one. *sigh*

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Shocked, Totally Shocked!!!

Um.... I got a call today from WH.... They offered me a lot in the August 2007 IVF program!!! I somehow never heard their call and then checked my voicemail. I figured they were telling me I got bumped into the Jan cycle... I almost fell out of my chair! I quickly told her YES!!!! The first thing to attend to is $2900 by the 4th week of June. All my 12 month tests are still good, but the 6 month ones have to be repeated. So for my I have to get blood drawn to test RPR, HIV, Hep B, Hep A, Hep C. J has to get tested for all that, plus do another SA. Poor him, and I don't even know where we'll do that. I'll get it figured out when I get my big packet of info, hopefully within a week.

So I'm extremely excited and at the same time timidly scared! I mean, I figured we'd at least get in 2 more IUI's before then! IVF seems so.... invasive. So serious. At times when I've lamented being "unexplained" I've thought I'd at least know more about my eggs/body/system and it's interaction with J's sperm if we could just do IVF! But now that it's on the horizon, I feel like I kinda didn't want to be here this fast. And yet, when the choices are August 07 or April 08, I'd choose August any day. But it at least gives me a small bit of hesitancy in my joy. Plus, let's all be real with ourselves here: IVF does not guarantee a baby. So there really isn't a reason for unabandoned excitement, with every treatment cautious optimism is a good frame of mind to be in. So that's where I am. I did not want to have to attempt to conceive a baby with lots of drugs, minor surgery, anesthesia (which I'm scared of), and a petri dish. I wanted babies conceived within my body. But I haven't been given that blessing, and so I seek after what's open to me: Medical Intervetion.

I created a tag called IVF. I never saw myself getting to that point....

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Month 23 of TTC Starts

So wow, here is month 23. I'm ahead of some of you, and behind a good many too. But we're all in the exact same spot - a position we little dreamed we'd be in, praying and hoping desperately to be out of.

Anyway, can I say I love my doctor in San Antonio? I do. I got in touch with him on my worries about my rising FSH. I actually felt bad about calling, so I got his email. I emailed him and I think it was 45 seconds later he called me! I was actually scared to pick up the phone, because I guess I sensed deep down that if it really were a problem, they would have caught it and told me. He basically.... well, honestly he laughed at me. Which I didn't appreciate but it was ok. He did tell me levels will fluctuate (I insisted, "But mine are only fluctutating up!"), and that mine weren't moving enough to be concerned. That just because they moved 1.3 in 8 months wouldn't mean they'd do that the next 8 months. And then he says (as he looks at my file - he had me wait as he went and got it), "You're so young!" It made me laugh. I mean, I guess if I were 21 and married a few years and TTC for 2 years without success, I could at least understand him saying that. But I'm closer to 30 that I am 20. 26. That's more than halfway. Anyway, you may wonder why I like him so much when it doesn't sound like he took me serious. But I feel like he's always listened and has a good track record with me. Plus, WH has really good results on how good their doctors/residents, IVF success rates, etc are. The doctor did his residency at a very prestigous clinic for pete's sake! So, though I didn't appreciate that he didn't at least seem concerned, I do believe he has the medical knowledge and I don't. When I was all worried about the radiologists report on my HSG (which he & another RE disagreed with), they still let me do a hysteroscopy to make sure it was ok. So I feel they do listen when there's room for doubt.

Plus, we started talking about my next visit doing another Clomid/Gonal-f combined treatment just like last time. I asked about going straight to just Gonal-f and he explained reasons they'd want another combined cycle or 2. Then he went on to tell me that IF I did an only Gonal-f cycle, I should at least try do it in when the clinic is doing IVF because then there'd be a possibility of converting to an IVF if I had too many follicles, rather than just canceling me, since that IVF cycle would be only bumping me up one cycle. then he suggested since all my tests expire in August, I need to go ahead if I come in July/Aug to get them repeated when I'm already in town so that when my IVF time comes around, I'll have it all done. That probably saved me a whole trip to San Antonio! His forethought is so apprecaited! Anyway, he's really what's made me not hate WH. I definitely used to.

I did call Womack this Thursday to check on the referral, since my MTF just kept telling me they'd sent it and not to expect news this soon. Sure enough, Womack never received it! The nurse kindly told me to give my MTF the exact fax and try again, but that she'd talk to the doctor anyway about if/when I could do treatments there. I'd welcome a sooner IVF date or a few IUI's, it'd be much closer than WH. We could theoretically do one this month, if Womack said so. It's a 6 hour drive, or for J just a few hour flight (he'd fly himself). I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but I'd LOVE an IUI this month. Plus I just love Gonal-f shots! It actually feels like I'm doing something helpful.

That's all my news. We'll see what this week holds in store. Because my brother visited here this weekend, I was too busy visiting, cooking, and being happy to even care that my cycle started. :)