Saturday, May 12, 2007

Is it just me?

Lately, I've been finding myself rather at a loss about what I should and shouldn't post. Do I really think that it's necessary to mention being tired again? Will anybody really want to read about the fact that I can now (just barely) feel my uterus in my lower belly? Is it beyond unnecessary to celebrate the fact that I am now officially entering the second trimester? Well, the answer to the last one at least is a resounding NO, I think. For some reason, the end of the first trimester was a big deal to me. With every passing day, I start to become more optimistic that maybe, just maybe, there will actually be a baby at the end of this all.

In general, though, I actually feel more comfortable blogging about my neuroses, psychoses, and dilemmas than about the happy moments that have resulted from my first-ever (apparent) victory in my long-running war with infertility. It's not that I'm not grateful. I'm beyond grateful. Almost 14 weeks into this pregnancy, I still feel like kissing my RE every day to express my gratitude for my incredible luck in making it so far. Infertility is still far to fresh in my mind to take a second of this for granted. Rather, I am (like every other former infertile, probably) coping with the survivor's guilt in part by trying to shut up when I don't have something to say that I'm not embarrassed to say in front of people who are still in the battle.

What I'm about to say, though, is not only embarrassing to say to people who are still in the battle. It's embarrassing to admit to anyone at all. Nonetheless, I thought I'd throw it out there, just to see if I'm the only freak in the world, or if other people actually think about these things. Are you ready? Here goes... Sometimes I worry that they put the wrong embryos back in my IVF cycle, and that this is actually somebody else's baby. Am I completely deranged? Should I run, not walk to the nearest psychiatric emergency clinic?

I should clarify that when I say "worry", I don't mean "lying awake at nights fretting", I mean more like wondering, but in a slightly apprehensive way. And when I say "somebody else's baby", I don't mean a baby that I won't (or don't already) love with every fiber of my being. I mean a baby that someone else might also have a legitimate claim on. That's the part that takes me from wondering into apprehensive wondering. Given that every other customer at my clinic was Korean at the time that I was going there, if they DID put the wrong embryos back in, then it will be obvious to everyone involved on the child's birthday. What would this mean for us? Would we be in danger of having the child taken away? In the US it wouldn't, but in Korea, who knows?

I think that some of this anxiety results from the differences between the procedures at my clinic here in Korea versus my clinic in the USA. In the USA, with every IUI, we had to sign a document when we dropped the semen off to be washed stating that the semen came from my husband's body, and that it had been in our custody since it had been produced. Then when we picked up the washed sperm to take it in for the IUI (it was in an office across the street from the RE), the technician signed a document basically stating that the sperm hadn't been out of her sight, and I signed a document stating that I had verified that the name on the label was my husband's name. Then at the RE's office, Mystery Man had to sign something saying that he agreed that I could be inseminated with his sperm, and I had to sign something stating that I had verified the identity of the sperm with the technician. They were serious about chain of custody issues. Here in Korea, though, we just brought in a vial in a paper bag (carefully kept at boob temperature on the subway ride), wrote his name on the vial, and handed it over to the receptionist, not to hear from it again until the day of embryo transfer.

When I think about this realistically, I realize that they probably relaxed a lot of that legalese here partly because Koreans are less litigious by nature than Americans, and partly because having me sign legal documents in Korean is not only an exercise in futility, as far as communication of risks and responsibilities is concerned, but also requires that they provide a translator, which would be an enormous hassle. I can't believe that they really fling embryos about randomly in the back room. Furthermore, even if they do normally fling embryos about, I would think they'd be a bit more careful with mine, given that it would be really obvious in my case if they made a mistake. So, rationally, I realize that I just need to turn off the TV and my imagination and stop thinking about things like this. Still, I keep finding myself wondering.

Honestly, if they did make a mistake, I'll still be grateful for this amazing gift. However, I've got to say that I really really hope that they didn't.


Watson said...

Hi Sara!

First of all, you should keep blogging about whatever you want to! I'm a big believer that our blog should be our own personal journeys, so don't worry about what's on your mind or what you feel like writing...people will either read or they won't, but you'll end up with a true perspective on this whole crazy deal one day!

And speaking of crazy, you are so not crazy for worrying (or thinking) about a possible mix-up, even though I'm sure it didn't happen.

I have my own VERY neurotic worry that although the RE told us the sex of the embryos (because we did PGD) that somehow he was wrong and we'll end up with something different from what we were expecting.

Which is certainly not the end of the world, but I think it's normal to be worried in general and sometimes our minds just glom on to something, even if it sounds strange to others, because there is a lot of anxiety around all of this.

So if you decide you need a good shrink I probably do, too!!

And congrats on reaching the 2nd trimester, that's awesome news!!

Rachel said...

I don't think you're crazy for thinking that. Even though it probably didn't happen, I totally understand your paranoia. I think a consequence of infertility is thinking that, no matter what, not everything works out as it should. But I am happy that thinks look like they are working out for you. I hope you continue to feel your symptoms and things continue to move forward smoothly.

Lut C. said...

I want to hear that you can just barely feel your uterus as you go into the second trimester. It reassures me, as I'm wondering whether I shouldn't be showing some more already. Of course, my fluff is making it hard to tell. So thanks for posting about that.

I have only fleetingly thought about whether we really got back our embryos.
The paper trail is a very typical US thing. It has law suit prevention written all over it.
In my clinic, my husband hands over the vial to the lab. The vial is labeled beforehand and we're asked to check the name on it. At transfer, the embryologist handed the nurse a syringe, labeled with our name, en we were again asked to check our names. We weren't asked to sign papers.

Samantha said...

I think reaching the second trimester is definitely something to be proud of!

There do seem to a number of ways in which things could go wrong when doing IVF, so I completely understand your fears, although I would doubt there's a real problem. I agree with others that Americans are a litigious society and that's probably why you had to sign all of this paperwork in the US, but you don't in Korea. I will say that at my clinic, for my embryo transfers, all they ask is for us to verify my name. So maybe your US clinic had had some bad experiences!

The Town Criers said...

Here is the chardonnay--you're definitely not neurotic. But it's highly unlikely. Just with all of the safeguards they have in place.

I am so sorry about your friend. There's nothing you can do except be there for her. Let her cry. Let her know you're thinking about her tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

I had the same thoughts, even with the IUI that gave us our first child. My husband went to a clinic in the same building but across the hall from the RE to do his part. For the IUI I was required to verify my husband's name on the little vial of washed swimmers before it was used, but for IVF, we only had our names read off of the petri dish from the adjoining embryology lab.

Having said that, our two-year-old is the spitting image of his dad, so there's no question they got that one right. As for the IVF, when the embryos can be seen on the screen in the transfer room, my RE jokes 'they look just like you'. I hope he means it.

Marie-Baguette said...

Oh Sara, I am so with you on this one, but too superstitious to blog about it, because my RE was involved recently in a very sad case (details here:

I think it is a worry for all of us, whether it makes sense or not. Just like some people are paranoid about their baby being switched at birth.

I am really happy to hear you are doing well. The 2nd trimester is so much easier than the first!

Bumble said...

Hi Sara, thanks for the nice comment over at my place. And don't worry, I'm sure there wasn't a mistake but its natural to think about it. Its crossed my own mind once or twice. At my first transfer the doc joked about it in fact, and I actually said, "Well, I don't really care at this stage, as long as it sticks." Ooops, desperation huh? So glad your pregnancy is going so well!

Sara said...

Oh Marie-Baguette, that's horrible! It's just so sad for everyone involved.

Thanks everyone for reassuring me that I'm not crazy. I'm sorry to hear that everybody has these thoughts, though. Hopefully we'll all feel a million times better when we actually meet our little ones.

Ladybug Ann said...

Wow, we didn't have to sign anything with IUIs here. Perhaps you are right, it has to do with the litigous nature in the US. I don't think it's neurotic to wonder about the wrong embryo. After all, we see the occasional news about it. I think the likelihood is very very small.

Keep blogging.

megan said...

entering the second trimester is definitely a huge deal! congratulations! i also don't think that your worries are anything to be embarrassed about -- you certainly don't sound crazy to me, but know that this is from a woman who is doing a lot of crazy worrying herself these days!

offsprung said...

well being a golf buddy of my embryologist, I'm always a little concerned that he's making little half clones of himself instead of using the "collected" goods. So don't be ashamed about what's going through your head - I don't even trust my pal!

jv said...

It hasn't worked for me (yet), but I worry about that too... I'm sure it's extremely unlikely but, like everybody else said, it's an understandable worry.

Baby Blues said...

That actually crossed my mind too. What if there's semen switching? Hubby and I would even wonder what if the baby doesn't look like us and turn out to look like our Doctor! Who we secretly call Dr. Pringle, because he looks like the character in the Prin.gles canister. Yikes.

A friend who got pregnant with IVF has a few more frozen embryos in the bank. They were even offering it to us. Hmm... nah. One of reasons I want a baby is to have a baby image of my hubby!

AshPash said...

Hi Sara! Long time no comment!

Aren't those two of the most beautiful words ever..."second trimester"? :)

Don't apologize for sharing any thoughts that come to mind. It's your blog and we are here enjoying this journey with you. I posted at my blog "where we are". Hope to be back on the dance floor soon.