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I'm a partner at Greylock, former CEO of Mozilla, founder of Reactivity, dad, husband & nerd, among other things.

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    IVF

    N.B.: this post might be in the “too much information” category for some of you. If so, just click on to the next thing.

    I’ve been meaning to write this post for months, but haven’t been able to get it done. Partly because it’s been such a busy year, but partly too because I’m not really sure what to say.

    Nonetheless, I think it’s important to write, so here goes.

    Kathy & I are expecting our second child in June — we’re so, so excited about it. We had our first child nearly 7 years ago — and he’s the sun and the moon for both of us — he’s everything, really. Despite the fact that Kathy & I have known each other since high school in 1985 (no joke!) and have been married since 2000, we waited relatively late to start our family, having SPL when we were each 35. Lots of reasons for that, but I think ultimately we wanted to be “just us” as a married couple for a while, get that sorta figured out a little bit.

    It didn’t happen right away for us — it took a couple of years of trying for it to happen. At some level, that was the first really clear indication in our lives that there are some things that you just can’t schedule, you can’t control, don’t always happen the way you draw them up.

    Nonetheless, we waited a couple of years to start thinking about our second child — and it was a considerably harder path than the first time around. We went through several surgeries, IUI cycles, and several cycles of IVF. We never really figured out exactly what the problems were, just factors that might have made things less likely.

    We started at Stanford, and after a bunch of research and talking with friends we could find, we ended up going to a clinic in Denver. We went through a bunch of invasive & emotional & tiring procedures in Denver that required Kathy to be away from SPL & me for a week or two at a time. My mom came out several times to help — not sure what we would have done without her.

    And then, in the cycle that we had decided would be our last time, everything worked. That was about 7 months ago now, and our second child appears to be healthy & heading towards coming into the world in June. We’ll both be 41, and SPL will be nearly 7. So we’re excited, and a little terrified, too (but in mostly a good way).

    But here’s why I wanted to write this: as we went on our own path, we would often tentatively mention a word or a phrase related to IVF and when we saw the person we were with nod or respond, then we would discuss a little more actively. We’re so grateful for our friends along the way who had gone before us — they were all incredibly supportive and helpful.

    I figure there must be many, many more people going through this than we know. Especially here in California I think people are waiting longer and longer to have kids — so you’d expect more problems along the way.

    But there’s a reluctance, or embarrassment, or something that keeps people from talking about it much. I hope that that goes away over time as it becomes more common and better understood.

    That’s why I wanted to write this, ultimately — not because I have a ton to add to the conversation — I have some modest insight from our own experience, but mostly it’s been a very personal journey for Kathy & me. But I hope by writing that more people will start to feel that it’s okay to talk about, to write about.

    Like so many other areas, sunshine and knowledge are hugely powerful. We’ve been lucky to have so many friends in this along the way, and I hope others going through it do also.

    Looking forward to June. :-)

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