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The Fertility Diaries: 3 Friends, 3 Paths to Pregnancy

Another Disappointment continued...

As December arrived and the holidays drew near, Jody would start a round of fertility medications for IVF. She's lucky to have health insurance that covers infertility treatments up to a preset annual limit, and with some of that amount still untouched for the year, the costs of the latest round of drugs were covered. A few days before Christmas, Jody would meet with her reproductive endocrinologist — a physician who specializes in reproductive disorders — and begin her IVF journey.

All of this was racing through Jody's mind on December 13, when she joined a group of Carrie's work friends for a baby shower (which Jenny had to miss for a church event). Instead of buying gifts for Carrie, Jody made them: handcrafted baby announcements, intricately decorated with baby feet, with quotes like "sweet baby," "welcome," "precious," and "new arrival," and a place for Carrie to attach a newborn picture. "I make all my own cards, so I thought this would be special for her," says Jody. Carrie was surprised — and touched — by Jody's thoughtful gift. "The cards are so beautiful, and so personal," she says. "I know how much time she put into making them, and that means a lot."

Jody has been to more than one baby shower since her miscarriage, and these gatherings have often been painful and awkward. "We don't talk about our struggles to have a baby with our whole family, and so at family showers, everyone always wants to know, 'So, when are you going to have kids?'" she says. "I'm so tired of answering that question, or avoiding it."

But Carrie's shower was more of a relief — many of the women there didn't have children yet, and the talk wasn't all about babies. "I didn't know anyone except Carrie, and no one was asking me those kinds of questions," says Jody. "I could just enjoy it and talk to people, watch Carrie open her presents, and be happy for her."

Jody has also kept a strong, positive attitude by being very realistic about her situation.

Jody: Scotty and I have set a deadline for ourselves. If we're not pregnant after two cycles of IVF, we're going to take a break and then talk about adoption. I'm simply not going to let my life be engulfed by this. I don't think that I could keep taking all of these medications and doing this to my body over and over. I can't imagine just trying and trying and trying. There's got to be a point where you stop.

Fertility Treatment: First Steps

After your initial round of diagnostic tests, "90 percent of the time, your doctor will have a good idea why you're not getting pregnant," says reproductive endocrinologist David Adamson, M.D., president-elect of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. If your diagnosis is clear, your doctor will determine which of the following steps are appropriate for you. But if the cause of your infertility remains inconclusive, she may try these treatments one by one, or suggest going straight to in vitro fertilization (IVF) if you're 37 or older.

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