Sunday, 4 October 2015

"A Sock Won't Protect My Heart!"

A little over a month ago, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, aired a brilliant segment about Sex Education in the United States. Most notable, the only consistent feature in the currcula from state to state is the slut shaming of any young woman who engages in any sexual intercourse (oral counts) before marriage. The "educators" (interestingly all female) describe a non virginal woman as a piece of tape that no longer adheres, and as a dried up piece of chewed gum. (Also interesting, there was no character assassination of the young men who are sharing the tape's adhesiveness, or chewing the gum...) In a more creative presentation, one Sex-Ed program shows a video of a young couple on their wedding night, where the bride, who is supposed to be giving her new husband that unique gift you can only give once, gives him a box with an old shoe. "It looks like an entire football team wore these!" exclaims the groom, just to make the point that she's not merely a slut, she's a mega-slut! "I made them all wear socks..." The deflowered bride tries to defend herself. "But Michelle, a sock won't protect my heart!" the groom proclaims, before he adds; "You can still get foot fungus from a sock!"

Okay, I love how they worked the foot fungus reference, as it almost prevents the analogy from seeming completely ridiculous. I encourage everyone to watch the clip, as it also contains a LWT produced sex education video, that is actually very relevant and informative with accurate information. It's also brilliantly cast with Will and Grace's Megan Mullally "Some people make make fun of you because of your choices. Those people are assholes." 30 Rock's Jack McBrayer aka Kenneth the Page "Here is a list of birth control methods. Google them!" and Laverne Cox "Lube is your friend. Believe me."

Oh my point, and I do have one... I'm back on birth control. Almost four years after I stopped contracepting. Had I conceived right away, I could be ready for my second Nex.planon device, rather than my first; but whose keeping track of details like that? After three years of passionately pursuing a pregnancy, I'm now back to avoiding one. I'm all too familiar with the spontaneous conception after infertility, and while it would be a wonderful blessing, it would also be a game changer. We would have to move to a larger house in a less expensive area. Maybe even consider going back east to be closer to my parents. We would have to revisit day care arrangements and my commute to work could increase. We've just begun figuring out how to balance our lives with one child, and we're not ready to complicate things by adding a second. I am in awe of all you moms of multiples and more than one kid. I cannot image taking care of a baby if I also had a toddler running around. You are heroes in my book!

When we announced my pregnancy to my parents and disclosed our infertility issues, my mother said, "I'm sure you'll conceive on your own after this baby is born..." Her comment annoyed me, as it sounded like my infertility was just some sort of phase that we were going through. "Actually," I informed her. "If we wanted a second child, I would rather use our remaining embryos than conceive spontaneously." Just as I said those words, my mind flashed back to the time when I proclaimed that I would never do IVF, which turned into a reluctant acceptance that IVF was needed to bring us a baby. Now I saw it superior to a natural conception. I would rather use my known euploid embryos conceived with my just turned 38 year old eggs than get a BFP at age forty-something, which has a high chance of a chromosomal abnormality.

On the subject of our frozen embies, just weeks before Jate was born, we received a letter from XYZ Embryology lab notifying us that we were due to renew our embryo storage if we wanted to keep our embryos available for future use. We really didn't give it any discussion and just paid the $600 fee to maintain our embryos for another year. As baby Jate wasn't born yet, it would have been another opportuntity to tempt fate. We didn't have much of a follow up conversation; if we did have a delivery of a healthy and thriving baby, what decision would we make next year? I think it will be likely that we'll feel our family is complete with Jate (and the whole not getting any younger thing, plus the expense of raising a child) but will we be ready to let go of our embryos in a year?

I know embryo donation is an amazing gift that has allowed many couples to become parents, but for various reasons, it isn't something we feel that we could do. One of my reasons is that it took us 6 embryos to achieve a successful pregnancy. I don't think our embryos would come highly recommended, and I would hate for another couple to invest so many financial and emotional resources to wind up with a BFN. Our intention is to donate our embies for scientific research. Maybe we can help another couple by gaining insight that will avoid multiple failed transfers. I know this is the right decision for us. I also feel strongly about our decision to only have one child. Yet, it doesn't make it any easier to say goodbye to the embryos we fought so hard to produce. It will be a tough day when we do notify XYZ that we've reached our decision. And a sock won't protect my heart...

In other related news, I saw on that my college roommate is expecting her third baby in April. As I keep track of these stats, she was five minutes pregnant with her first when I had my IUD removed and she was five minutes pregnant with her third when Jate was born. I sent her a text to congratulate her, as I half wondered if this was an 'Oops baby'. We met up last year, just before my transfer. I was in Boston watching Husband umpire some field hockey matches and she was in the city visiting her parents. I filled her in on all the details of our infertility journey, including the fact that my RE was two years younger than me. "Everyone is younger than us, Jane. We're old." She revealed that they most likely were done after two children, but weren't ready to officially close down the shop with a vasectomy. She replied that it was a planned pregnancy. "We decided that our family did not feel quite complete, so we rolled the dice." I figured she breastfeed until her second daughter was at least a year, which was at the end of May and she likely conceived in July. Also she has only one ovary and will be hitting the big 4-0 next month. Why is the process to complete her family easier than it is for us?


  1. Ugh, sex ed in the States does not sound very effective. Not that I can speak with any authority about Canada as I really only know what kind of sex ed I've provided my students with and what I experienced as a youth (none of which at all resembled what you describe). On one hand I respect the right of people to have different views on the matter, but on the other hand shaming and withholding information isn't the way to encourage people to make good decisions (and I say this as someone whose behaviour, if not necessarily outlook is very very socially conservative :-)

    You come across as very comfortable with how you have created your family and your reproductive choices for the future. Your perspective makes a lot of sense although I don't share it. I like reading your thought process just because it is different in a lot of ways. It makes me realize how much I'm affected by emotion and the sense that fate has knocked me sideways. (Fate has been good to me, but it's still disorienting.) The decisions you discuss are very hard ones, but there is happiness on both sides of them.

  2. It's so sad that John had to do a segment on our sex ed here because it's SO embarrassing. But the LWT video is amazing.

    I agree about the embryo donation. First off, I would always wonder if Izzy & my hypothetical second child had a sibling out there (we wouldn't donate any embryos if we didn't have two kids) until I died which would be weird. Second, now that I am getting up there in maternal age, I'm not sure anyone would WANT any eggs I produce anyway.

    My neighbor still has frozen embryos at her clinic even though she has three kids (two are twins) and the youngest is 4. Although she is 99% sure she will never use them she just can't bring herself to get rid of them quite yet.

  3. Don't even get me started on the sex ed issue. Here in Ontario the government introduced the first update to sex ed in about a decade, so it includes things like awareness of LGBT orientations as well as talk stuff currently facing teens like sexting. A bunch of conservative religious types (from a variety of religions) have actually kept their kids out of school in protest, and have started a publicity campaign that totally misrepresents what the curriculum is trying to teach (i.e. "they're trying to teach our kids how to have anal sex!" vs. teens will be told that it exists, as if they don't already know). Fine, let's just all stick our heads in the sand instead.

  4. If we had ended up with extra embryos, our decision would have been the same as yours to donate to research. We never even came close to having any extra though.

  5. First of all--I love John Oliver. The bit about Syrian refugees was also excellent (and a bit of a tear jerker). And what to do with the extra embryos. Given that my 7(!) frozens are likely very healthy, I'm not sure what we'll do when we're done. We're definitely planning on one more, and I kind of want a third but there's strong opposition to #3, but what to do with the extras. We'll probably donate to research, but there doesn't seem to be any ideal options. Oh, and happy 3 months to Jate!!