Saturday, October 23, 2004

infertility considerations ...

... a couple years past ...

as most of you know, i speak with only limited authority on infertility subjects, but something jody said (responding to julie's fantastic post) seriously caught my attention.

my own re's office publishes statistics for all their multiple births, on the web page back to 2001 (though apparently they haven't updated the 2004 cycles yet; some of those babies will have been born by now no doubt). they list trip and quad homs (high order multiples), and since the quads are all 0 i'd presume that they haven't gotten any octs either.

when we went through all our infertility stuff, the general agreement between us and the facility staff was that the potential benefit of implanting more than two embryos wasn't worth the risks of a potential hom pregnancy. very occasionally, if all three embryos looked "really bad" at best, they'd do three; otherwise the clinic's limit is two. their success rate appears to be good enough that they can justify it, and heaven knows they've got a by-the-numbers system down. great service, responsive doctors and staff, knowlegeable professionals, i'd recommend them to anyone anywhere needing art, but there's also a certain cattle-chute feel to the place. it's strange.

jody's suggestion is that there's ptsd in the infertile population, unreported and unstudied; it's known that there's lots of ptsd in the hom parent population. i'm curious to know how that stacks up against parents of not-spaced-singles or twins, like ours. ian is just a year and four months older than the twins, so all three of our kids are well within two years of one another.

what kind of stress does that situation put on a family? my wife and i haven't been to dinner together without our children in ... uh ... so long we don't know how long it's been. we haven't been to dinner out of the house even with our children in ... uh ... and there's all the other usual nonsense going on -- school, work, car, money money money. if that's not its own kind of combat, i guess i dunno what is. i don't have trips in my family, but i'm as close as you can get with infertility.

i wonder this, and i wonder why nobody's studied it, and why nobody seems to give a shit with, shall we say, low-number high orders or not-spaced ("catholic twin") children, compared to, say, quits or octs, which get the media coverage.

julie's right. it's all bullshit. you fight all this time and your friends disappear on you. and jody's right -- they disappear and you feel like you're in a fucking warzone.

our babies came with manuals -- the hospital gave us some. and we get great help from our professional helpers -- the doctor, the dentist, the speech therapists for ian, the whole bit. but the family and friends are too wrapped up in their own lives. even the nearby grandma will only take one at a time. what the fuck do we do with the other two, if we want to go out to dinner or -- like it would ever happen anyway -- have sex?

if i had it to do over again, i wouldn't do multiples. not ever. i wouldn't even do two as close as ian is to the twins. we felt like we had to, both because of her age (39 at the time of the second delivery -- advanced maternal age is a risk factor for a number of problems, including ivf failure), and because we didn't know how long the insurance would continue to cover ivf (and sure as shit, the year after we did it, they dropped the coverage).

don't get me wrong, i love my kids and will certainly keep em. but it's no wonder parents of homs are shell shocked. there's no support system in place to help them care for their families, their relationships with their spouses, and most of all, themselves.

will it take another dozen andrea yates cases to get the medical profession to look into this? the yates case is extreme, obviously. but melt-downs in families like ours happen all the time; even to me, in august 03, when i spent a week in the hospital needing a fucking siesta.

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