Friday, April 30, 2010

We've Come a Long Way Baby?

A couple of days ago I wrote about my infertility. Yesterday on Facebook I linked to an article from the New York times about new restrictions in Oklahoma (my home state) on abortion. I won't go into the particulars again because it'll just rile me and and apparently isn't not good to be stressed when you're 38 weeks pregnant. But I can't imagine not being riled up. In this day and age to have people who are telling women what they can and can't do with their bodies, well...like I said, I don't want to get too riled up.

This morning on NPR I heard a story about EMILY'S list, a "community of progressive Americans dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women to every level of office." The story started out how in 1985 there were only two women senators and just 23 women in the House of Representatives. Now there are 17 women in the Senate, 73 women in the House. Sure, we've come a long way baby, but seriously? 17 women in the Senate. Out of 100? And 73 women in the House. Hardly equal representation. And that's not to say that I don't think men can't represent women. And I know not all women are pro choice and for fertility treatment any more than all men are anti choice and against fertility treatment.

But I just think maybe a little more equality would be nice. And maybe, just maybe, if we had more congresspeople who actually could have babies, they'd have a better understanding of reproductive rights (both for getting pregnant and ending a pregnancy).

Monday, April 26, 2010

What if I didn’t live in a time and place where ART was an option

It's National Infertility Awareness week and this post was brought about by Stirrup Queens "what if" post.

I never thought much about infertility of course until it happened to me. And once it did happen to me, I was lucky enough to (a) work in a state that mandates infertility treatments to be covered by insurance and (b) work at a company that doesn't somehow get around those laws and provides quite extensive infertility treatment coverage.

The year-and-a -half-long journey of trying to conceive (after having tried the natural way for a year) could have cost me tens of thousands of dollars. The doctor's visits, tests, procedures, injections etc. could have drained my savings account in addition to taking a toll on my sanity. But I was one of the lucky ones. Not only, after five cycles of Clomid, two IUI's and three IVF cycles (each of which yielded only enough fertilized eggs for one transfer), was I lucky enough to finally conceive a child, but I did so by spending only about $5,000 in co-pays and uncovered tests. Not even enough to qualify for the health tax deduction from the IRS.

As it was, having done two unsuccessful IVF cycles involving daily shots, sometimes multiple shots a day, regular intra-vaginal ultrasounds and blood tests, all ending in a "procedure" to remove eggs and then fertilize them and hopefully another (less painful) procedure to put them back again, I was looking at the third time possibly being the last time. If it wasn't successful, I just wasn't sure I could go through the emotional roller coaster that I knew now would follow. How I could have made the decision to go on after having paid out of pocket for something like that, well, I probably would have given up after the first try.

If I didn't live in a time and place where Assisted Reproductive Technology wasn't available to me because I couldn't afford it, or because there were laws against it, or for any other numerous reasons...well, I probably wouldn't be expecting my baby any day now. My mother, father and mother-in-law, wouldn't know the joy of being grandparents to our child. My sister might never be an Aunt. I would have had to learn how to deal with not having a child of my own. Maybe I would have looked into adoption more seriously. Maybe I would have decided this was fates way of telling me that I was too old to have children, or that I wouldn't make a good mother. Maybe the depression that I worked so hard to get through years ago would come back and rear its ugly head.

There are so many maybes out there...that even as I enter my 39th week of pregnancy, and complain about not being able to sleep, about the heartburn and how I just want to have this baby already...I try (with Mr. H's help) to remember the times before this baby was pretty much a given. I remember the negative pregnancy tests and the tears. I remember the joy of the positive followed quickly by the dread and worry that something would go wrong. I feel the baby move inside me and I remember how lucky I am to live in a time and place that offered me choices and freedom to make those choices.

The links below have more information about infertility:

http://www.resolve.org/infertility101

http://www.resolve.org/takecharge

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