Our Road to In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

Atala and I started TTC (trying to conceive) around October 2009. By April the following year, we notched it up and I started checking my temperature to monitor ovulation. We had then been married just over a year and moved into the new house we bought. The new place had more room, and I considered the spare room will turn to the baby's in due course. In the meantime, we called it the arctic room as we joked and cuddled under the duvet in the warm embrace of each other.

We looked forward to more loving and all that goes into baby making. One part of my mind worried when each month my period came, but I was also busy with promoting A Heart to Mend, writing my second novel, and setting up Naija Stories, so I didn't bother too much. By my birthday in October, we were becoming a bit concerned, we had officially been trying for over 6 months.

We had a discussion and decided it was time to consult the doctors. Finding one wasn't hard, in fact the one we settled for was barely 10 minutes away from our house. And so the questions and tests began. All the preliminaries checked out, Atala was OK and so was I - both our plumbings were in order and my hormones and ovaries were working as they should. We both breathed a sigh of relief, but that was not the end of it.

The doctor gave his diagnosis as unexplained infertility and based on how long we had been trying, he did not recommend that we continue just 'keep trying'. He gave us a run down of the options, and we started from the easiest and started working up the list. First was Clomid alone. This is a drug that works with the woman's hormones to increase the quality and quantity of eggs released from the ovaries. We used clomid for 3 cycles staggered over about six months. None of the cycles was successful.

At that point, we kept our assisted reproduction to ourselves. I didn't consider it a secret, it was just private. Personally, maybe I would have shared with close family, but in marriage, it stops being all about one person. Atala and I believe in being on the same page in everything. Also, the doctor had said it was unexplained, so who knew? Maybe one of those months we weren't even trying something would happen. So yeah, we passed as any other married couple trying to conceive.

Around the end of 2010, we moved to the next option - Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). This is where the sperm is extracted from a semen sample and injected directly into the uterus. Over the next six months, we had 2 of those with no success. It was beginning to get to me. But hey, life continued.

By the day, the expectations were rising. In 2011, we had been married two years and as far as everyone knew, we were trying. Even on this blog. My broken hand last year got pregnancy comments, and some other posts too. And those closer to us were speculating in almost every conversation the month and day of our new baby.

I knew they all meant well, but sometimes I was irritated and wished they would mind their business. The ones that got me more were those that assumed they knew the magic formula to get me pregnant. They would put forth their advise and sometimes it came out as an order. Pray more, relax, be more serious, have less sex, have more sex, etc. Confusing much, eh? LOL...

Even more confusing were the online forums. Almost each one I tried to read had some funny code language. In addition to the IUI and similar terms I had picked from the doctors info package, I learnt the meaning of TTC (trying to concieve), emby (embryo), u/s (ultrasound), and more. Everything seemed to be in abbreviations, and there were just too many for me to keep track of. On the nairaland thread, the women were having prayer rings and sprinkling baby dust on each other. But no matter the confusion, I did want to have children.

So more tests were scheduled. I had a hysterosalpingogram (to check my tubes), then a laparoscopy (to check that the lining of my womb was OK, and to have some polyp tissue removed). In addition to those, the doctor wanted still more tests, mostly blood work and some cultures. The results of the further tests came out and the doctor gave me the all clear.

And that was when he brought out the big guns. He wanted us to move to IVF.

To be continued.

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