More Books

Here are a few more books that I’ve read since my first book list post:


  • Silent Sorority: A (barren) Woman Gets Busy, Angry, Lost and Found; Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos
    This memoir was fantastic. She writes about her infertility, treatment, considering adoption, and coming to terms with her childlessness. For anyone wanting to know what infertility feels like, I highly recommend this book — she is so honest, and so many times times I felt like I was reading things on the page that I had been thinking myself. And for anyone experiencing infertility, I still highly recommend this book — it’s very validating, and gives me hope that we will survive this and be okay whether we have children or not.


  • The Art of Waiting: On Fertility, Medicine, and Motherhood; Belle Boggs
    In addition to being a memoir, this book is also a study on fertility, treatment, and family building options. She shares her experience with infertility and her success with IVF, but she spends much of the book discussing research, data, literature and cultural observations that surround pregnancy, families, and parenthood. It was very interesting. It’s also very up to date — it was published in 2016, so the research she presents is current.


  • Infertility Sucks! Keeping It Together When Sperm and Egg Stubbornly Remain Apart; Beverly Barna
    This one is funny and sarcastic, and does a pretty good job of bringing some humor to the experience of infertility, but I definitely had to be in the right mindset to read it — some days I couldn’t even pick it up. When I was in the mood for a laugh, some parts of the book were really funny and made me laugh out loud; other parts weren’t as funny to me, and even made me cringe a little… but I think that’s to be expected in a dark humored book about infertility.



Pregnancy & Baby Loss and Trying to Conceive After Loss

  • Empty Cradle, Broken Heart: Surviving the Death of Your Baby; Deborah L. Davis
    I have some mixed feelings on this book. Some parts were really good. It had some really good chapters on grief, recovery, resolution, and trying again, as well as a good chapter specifically targeted at men. However, it also had a big emphasis on healing through having subsequent children, which was hard for me to get behind… It’s not always so easy or possible to just go get pregnant again; for some of us, it’s most important to find healing outside of another baby, whether or not we try again.


  • Trying Again: A Guide to Pregnancy After Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss; Ann Douglas and John S. Sussman, M.D.
    Trying Again covers a lot of ground… It begins by discussing many reasons why a pregnancy might be lost, why a baby might die before it’s born, or why an infant might die after birth. It then addresses fears and anxieties, and provides coping tips for couples who are trying again after having experienced a loss. Although reading about these things might terrify a lot of people, to me it felt right to learn more about the things that can go wrong, to prepare myself with coping tips moving forward, and to share in the understanding of others who know what it’s like to try again. I thought this book was very informative and helpful.



In Vitro Fertilization (IVF):

  • The Couple’s Guide to In Vitro Fertilization; Liza Charlesworth
    This was a very helpful guide for preparing for IVF. It was published in 2004, so some of the statistics are out of date, but for the most part the process is still the same. I’ve done a lot of research for IVF already, but I thought this book would be worth reading too, and it was. It was very thorough and informative, answers a lot of questions, and shares a lot of advice and anecdotes from the author and couples she interviewed.


  • The IVF Journal; Stephanie Fry
    To be honest, I’m still working my way through this one, but I still wanted to include it. This one is kind of like an IVF workbook, and I’m not finished with it because we’re not finished with IVF yet! It includes some helpful information at each step of the way through IVF and has many, many pages of charts and notes ready to be filled in by the IVF patient. There are so many medications, dosages, times, appointments, and other things to keep track of during IVF, and this journal provides an organized space for everything to be recorded. I’m finding it quite useful so far, although I am wishing it had better binding (perhaps a spiral)!
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Mixed Emotions

As we prepare to begin the stimulation phase of IVF in a few weeks, I have been thinking hard about all of the things I’m feeling… and it’s certainly a mix. Many people assume that I’m feeling very excited and optimistic, and while I certainly do feel those things right now, I also have some darker feelings that I need to acknowledge. It’s most important for me to acknowledge them to myself, but I figured it can’t hurt too much to share some of them here for anyone seeking validation on their IVF feelings or anyone wanting to know how I am really feeling.

So I won’t lie. I’ll be honest. I’ll admit my feelings — the good and the bad.

I’m feeling scared about IVF. Scared of the numerous needles, injections, and blood draws. Scared of surgery. Scared of all of the side effects that might occur. I had to sign 44 pages of consent forms, and while not all of those were related to the medications and procedures, many of them were. I’m scared of how I’ll feel when I know the final mature egg count, the fertilization count, and healthy embryo count. Mostly I’m scared of what we’re going to do if IVF doesn’t work.

I’m feeling disappointed. There was a little hope inside me that a miracle would occur between October (when we signed up for IVF) and now and I’d get pregnant naturally. I was hoping I’d be one of those people who’d sign up for IVF and my lucky pregnancy would happen and there’d be no need for IVF. I’ve known for months and months that our chances of natural conception are ridiculously small, but it’s hard to silence the little internal voice that hopefully whispers to me, “what if this is the month?”

I’m feeling a little surprised that we’re going to do IVF. The surprise feeling is two fold. First: I’ve written about how I never thought I’d do IVF, but here we are. Second: we fully expected IUIs to work. My ectopic pregnancy was the result our first IUI after all, but in the three IUIs following my pregnancy, our male factor infertility problem was confirmed and there’s some concern about how much damage my ectopic pregnancy might have actually caused. Therefore, even though I’ve come to terms with our decision to pursue IVF, it’s still a little surprising to me that we’re actually going to do it — we thought we’d already found a successful treatment.

I’m feeling a little angry. And before anyone judges me and thinks that I shouldn’t be angry — bear with me, because infertility truly sucks. How could it *not* cause some anger? How could my pregnancy loss *not* cause some anger? These experiences are horrible. They are heartbreaking and difficult. They are unfair. They happen to good people who don’t deserve it. So yes, I’m feeling a little angry that we’re at the point where the challenging process of IVF is our best option. Natural conception aside, we were *so hopeful* that the other treatments we’ve tried would work, but they didn’t. After nearly two years of treatments, we’re very frustrated, and a little angry, to still be without a living child in our arms.

Luckily I also have some good feelings about IVF — I’m starting to feel excited about the possibility of success. I am starting to feel optimistic. Right now IVF looks like our best chance for bringing a baby into our family. Dr. Two believes that our odds for success are good, and that is exciting.

I’m also feeling grateful that we’re good candidates for IVF and that we’re able to move forward and give it a try. Not everyone who experiences infertility is eligible for or able to do IVF and I’m thankful that we are. I’m glad for the opportunity and so grateful for the support we have as we pursue it.

All of that said, the emotion that’s really ruling the day right now is feeling ready for IVF. At least as ready as I can be. How can one truly prepare for this anyway? I believe I’ve done as much as I can to prepare for what’s ahead. I have read and read and read; I have showered my medical team with questions; I have asked previous IVF patients about their experiences. And I am ready to give this treatment all we’ve got. I’m ready for needles, blood draws, and injections. I’m ready to keep track of hormone levels and dosage amounts. I’m ready to handle the bruises and manage side effects. I’m ready for ultrasounds. I’m ready for surgery and transfer.

We’ve been waiting and waiting for some good news and we’re ready for it. I’m ready to become pregnant and bring home a healthy baby in the end. And if the outcome of our IVF cycle is bad, I’m not sure that any amount of preparation would have been adequate… so we’ll take it one day at a time, and survive together — good news or bad. I am scared and disappointed and surprised and even a little angry. I am excited and optimistic and full of gratitude. But I’m also ready, and at this point, I think that’s what matters the most.

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