August 24, 2012


I will be 35 in six weeks.  35 is a dreaded number in the fertility world.

A few weeks ago, I was re-reading the book How We Know What Isn't So and discovered that I have fallen for the clustering illusion. Consider the following passage:

We showed basketball fans sequences of X's and O's that we told them represented a player's hits and misses in a basketball game. [...] One of the sequences was OXXXOXXXOXXOOOXOOXXOO, a sequence in which the order of hits and misses is perfectly random. Nevertheless, 62% of our subjects thought that it constituted streak shooting.
Note that although these judgments are wrong, it is easy to see why they were made. The sequence above does look like streak shooting. Six of the first eight shots were hits, as were eight of the first eleven! Thus, players and fans are not mistaken in what they see: Basketball players do shoot in streaks. But the length and frequency of such streaks do not exceed the laws of chance and this do not warrant an explanation involving factors like confidence and relaxation that comprise the mythical concept of the hot hand. Chance works in strange ways, and the mistake made by players and fans lies in how they interpret what they see.

Replace basketball with dead babies and I have a newfound sense of peace about the whole thing. I am terribly unlucky, but not unpredictably so.  I just really haven't had a large enough sample size yet to make statistical predictions...though Lord knows that a sample size of seven is plenty big when it comes to first trimesters.

And I thought reading that passage had given me the peace I needed to take chance out of the equation and use science to help get some better odds.  So I started researching IVF options.

Unfortunately, I am an all-or-nothing person.

I have long marveled at people who could "not try to get pregnant but just not prevent it."  The day after I had this conversation, I was all in.  Basal temps and charting and the whole shebang.  And I have lived this way, in building-a-family mode, for 5 1/2 years.  It's been exhausting...but I really don't know any other way to do it.  I yam who I yam.

I told people I was going to get the IVF ball rolling, just in case I needed it.  But the truth is, once I had considered it as a serious option, I was all in.  Again.

After researching options and having a local consultation, I discovered that the best option -- both financially and success-rate-wise -- for us is to apply to the ART Institute of Washington, the IVF program associated with Walter Reed.  (Heh, there's a reason their website URL is  So I have an application in and am hoping I get accepted into the cycle that starts in January.


This is torture for me.

The couple of people I've told about this already have all asked me if going forward has brought me a sense of peace.  Now I can stop babymaking at home and just relax until January, when science will take over.

Not even close.

I hope it gets better with passing months, but this month has been agony, to skip the babymaking days on purpose.  I am consumed with wondering if this egg might be a good one and I am intentionally passing it by.  I cannot stop thinking about the potential-$15,000 egg traversing my body right now.  And we are just letting it go.  So we can PAY to make a baby.  In January.

Can you tell I'm a little hung up on the money?

I keep trying to tell myself that this money that we have saved up, we have it for our future...and our future is a lot less bright if we don't try to have another child.  So it's an investment in our future, made today, that will hopefully bring happy returns.

But I am not a gambler.  (Our favorite vacation destination is Las Vegas and we never gamble there.)  It kills me to think that we will fork over $15,000 just for the chance to get a 30% success rate.

January will be the most expensive and most stressful month of my life.

That is, if I make it to January without the stress of waiting until January killing me.

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