Thursday, January 10, 2008

It's all relative

Yesterday, I wrote about how I feel when subfertiles complain about their issues when they seem pretty good to me. I've seen some complain about a sperm count of 50 million. Yes, I have seen it. Some people would be happy to get to that IUI and have 4 million. Heck, some people are happy just to have the 1-2 million required to proceed with an IUI. For those not in the know, an IUI is Intra-uterine-insemination. It means first of all that conception happens without sex occurring. Yes, people get pregnant all the time these days without sex. Actually, I have a difficult time believing in this myth of conception through sexual means! Anyway, the sperm gets washed and then inserted directly into the uterus through a catheter. It's relatively easy, not necessarily painless, mostly uncomfortable and somewhat humiliating. Sometimes the IUI is done with the help of hormones to stimulate egg production, and sometimes it's done with the natural cycle. We did 10 IUIs all told, at least so far. We did 5 natural (no hope) and 5 medicated (Bob Hope).

Another issue I see a lot is when people get to the IVF stage, they complain about so many things. They complain about the medications. Well, the shots help. Yes, they do burn and bruise and are pretty scary, not to mention tedious. I hate doing them and reserve the right to complain about it from time to time, too. Another complaint is that they don't get the response they desire. Everyone wants tons of eggs to work with when they spend over $10,000 (average of $10-$15 thousand dollars per cycle), but not everyone can make the 18+ eggs we've heard others make. So, I see people complain about 9, 12, or even "only" 15 eggs! Right now I'm struggling to bring up 6 follicles to maturation. I'll be lucky to get the requisite 3 that is needed to even proceed with IVF. I know a few other women with the same problem. I'm sure it's as difficult for them to hear someone else complain about 9 follicles as it is for me. I have a friend who did quite well with 7. I have another friend who didn't do so well with 18. Really, it's all relative.

No matter what the issue, there is always someone worse off than you. Here I am terribly upset about my 6 baby follicles that might not make it. I'm sure that sounds pretty trivial to a woman who has no eggs, who may have suffered premature menopause, or some other issue. The grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence. Actually, in reality, the grass is definitely greener on my side of the fence. My next-door-neighbor has a dead lawn.

My friend, Santino, is one of the Lost Boys of the Sudan. He walked through the desert in search of a safe place. He lived sometimes on mud and morning dew. When I think of his situation, I truly realize that it's all relative. If I go a whole day without eating, I think I'm hungry. But my hunger is nothing, I'm sure, compared with what Santino felt.

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