Saturday, 3 August 2013

The big decision

IVF vs adoption

I always said I wouldn't do IVF, that I would adopt if it came down to it. There are so many children in my community, Crown Wards, in need of a Forever Family. It just makes sense to give them a home before going to the huge effort and expense of creating a new life. Hypotheticals are all fine and dandy, but it took no time at all to change my tune. But it wasn't easy. After the diagnosis, I told my partner and we waited until later in the evening to talk about it. He wanted to know what it entailed. I'd already read everything about it on my hospital's website, and I was unsure but tempted. The more we talked, the more adoption seemed like the "right" choice.

But the next day, all I could think about was what I was giving up. My first birth was not what I wanted. I went into preterm labour at 31 weeks, and while they stopped the labour and stabilized me for a few days, my water broke, the baby was breech, and an urgent c-section was necessary. I remember one of the nurses commented that I was surprisingly calm. My response was that there was nothing I could do, it's happening. Call me crazy, but I want to experience childbirth, natural childbirth. So I spent much of the past year worried about whether or not I would qualify for a vbac - a vaginal birth after cesarian. I found the vbac rates for my hospital (encouraging). I found a website that calculates risk (less encouraging). I held on to hope and knew that in the end it would depend on factors that can't be known yet. I held on to hope that a full-term vbac would also give me a second chance at breastfeeding. When I had my preemie, I spent a lot of time researching factors related to milk production and breastfeeding success with preemies. I didn't come up with much other than a basic belief that preemies are one of the reasons formula exists.

I wanted a second chance at both. This is what I was giving up by passing on the IVF opportunity. But I grappled with this decision. I knew that this was ultimately a selfish choice. I would have to come to terms with that, and explain it to my partner. This is selfish for me, not for him, it's entirely my physical experience that I want, he doesn't get to experience it. He's concerned about my health, the risks of IVF to me. I'm apprehensive about the process, giving myself needles, and the ethical questions of what to do if there are any "leftover" embryos. The options are freeze and use in the future, donate to another couple, or donate for medical research (stem cells, precious stem cells - I support that research in theory, but will I support it personally, physically, directly). I think I'd be getting ahead of myself to make that decision now, I don't even know if IVF is an option, I have to wait for the consult. And if I go through with it, there might only be a small number of embryos. And the more I think about it, the more I want to try.

It's no longer IVF versus adoption in my mind, it's "and". I can do both. I want to do both. I've already contacted a social worker with the Children's Aid Society, and because of certain situational factors we need to wait another 3-5 months to get started. I'm waiting for the IVF consult. I hate waiting, but I know ultimately the time will pass, it always does. Meanwhile, number one daughter has gone from wanting 3 sisters to 5! I think the adoption intake worker will like the sound of that, but we will need a much bigger house!

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