Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Here We Go...

This past weekend, my husband and I decided we are going to wait until December for IVF. I have to admit, I had a little bit of a meltdown about the whole thing, finally coming to the realization that we were one of "those" couples (or, more accurately, that I am one of "those" women -- it's my tubes that are completely f*cked up -- I should probably change the name of the blog to "My F*cked Up Tubes," but it doesn't quite have the same ring... but I digress...). I think the main issue for me was that, after hearing how there are about three months of increased fertility after an HSG, I really wanted to try at least another cycle on our own even though it was less of a blockage issue and more of a "one-tube-is-tied-up-in-knots-and-the-other-points-due-north-so-we-don't-even-know-where-the-egg's-gonna-go" issue. The earliest we could have gone in was October, due to the necessary month lead-in time (my RE requires that I go on the pill for a month prior to the procedure to get me on their schedule). That leaves November and December. November was out because my family is coming to visit for Thanksgiving (and having to be on stress-free bedrest while my family is visiting is pretty much an impossibility), leaving only December. My mother offered to cancel their trip to allow us to go forward in November, but I told her not to worry about it. I wouldn't have accrued enough leave time until December anyway (which really is true, so it does work out better).

Today being the first day of this cycle, I called my RE and reported to them (it's a very strange thing -- they told me if I remembered nothing else, to just remember to call them on Day 1). I told them how we wanted to go forward in December. I actually spoke to the nurse (the nicest nurse I've ever met -- we'll just call her Nurse Nice for now) who performed my first ultrasound there. She also happens to be the IVF coordinator, and I have a feeling we're going to become pretty intimate over the next several months. She welcomed me to the IVF program and gave me the schedule. On or about December 7 will be my egg retrieval. The week of December 9 will be the week I will have to take off work following the transfer. Between mid-November and my first Beta, I will have to do all sorts of unseemly things, like repeated vaginal ultrasounds, allowing my husband to give me hormone injections, etc. I was instructed to call at the first day of my next cycle just so they can keep tabs on me. It was that easy...

So, I requested time off work from my supervisor for "surgery." I felt really bad (and still do) about being less than honest with him, but it was so much easier than trying to explain my endeavor, especially not knowing how he would react. I'm thinking of just telling people I'm having plastic surgery. If they ask where, I will tell them they can figure it out on their own upon my return. That should keep everyone entertained for at least a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, my husband (who really is my favorite person), has decided we will go away next weekend. We will focus on nothing but making the most of this cycle on our own -- our plan is to get a hotel room, and do nothing but stay in bed and order room service (among other things). At least we won't be able to say we didn't try...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

There Should Be a Support Group

Just a little background…

I was adopted at birth and finally found my birthmother online. I am going to meet her in person for the first time in September. In fact, at one point (before all this infertility crap), I had toyed with the idea of creating a blog to memorialize my search. It’s a little strange to me that I ultimately decided to trash that idea, but now I’m contemplating putting a blog out there relating to my infertility (I still choke on that word!) – it’s so much more personal. Maybe it’s because I was such an open advocate for adoptees’ rights and in the adoption community. Infertility is such a private issue, and so difficult to talk about. In any case, the irony to me is that my birthmother was so fertile she had sex once, as a young teenager , and became pregnant at the drop of the hat (which, lucky for me, resulted in my adoption). I have not been so lucky.

I have always wanted to be a mother. I think part of it is the adoption thing – Freud would have a field day with this, but the idea of having a child of my own flesh and blood to raise and to love – well (and I’m not exaggerating here), it’s what I want more than anything in the world.

In the interests of time, here’s how I got here…

My husband and I actually talked about kids and a family on our first date. In fact, he brought it up. My mother admonished that those conversations are much better for a third or fourth, or ninth or tenth date and that he would probably never call me again. He did, and I married him.

Flash forward to June 2006, which is when we were married. I stopped using birth control right before the wedding and the plan was not to actively try to get pregnant, but not to actively prevent, either. I was secretly hoping for a honeymoon baby.

After about 3 months, we decided it was time to actively try. I joined, learned how to take and record my temperature every morning and have “well-timed” intercourse. Romantic, huh? I soon discovered the OPK test, and became addicted to peeing on a stick. Then I started buying early pregnancy tests. Then I started buying them in bulk. From Canada. I have a serious problem.

I make an appointment with an OB/GYN after about six months of trying. Since I am only 33 years old at the time (and not over 35) she says that they really can’t do anything until we’ve been trying for a year. I bring my charts for her to look at and she mumbles something and sets them aside – I don’t even think she knew how to read the charts. BUT, because I am having some mystery spotting between periods, she sent me for some blood work and requested an endometrial biopsy (which I backed out of at the last second – none of my online friends at fertilityfriend were going – why should I?).

My wonderful husband, in the meanwhile, after convincing him that yes, there was something definitely wrong – we couldn’t be more meticulous about recording temperatures, peeing on a stick and having well-timed intercourse, agreed to go for a sperm analysis. He got the same story I did – there was nothing that could be done until we’d been trying for at least a year. He told them that we’d been trying for a year. Have I told you how much I love my husband? In any case, his tests came back completely normal.

Flash forward (again) to a little over a year after we’d been trying. I was finally ready to see someone who would be aggressive about treatment. I had a new job and new insurance and it was time. I marched into my doctor’s office on the pretense of “establishing new service” and demanded a referral to a reproductive endocrinologist. Asshole that he was, he came through. I had my first consultation with my new (and somewhat famous) RE on my birthday – that had to be a sign, no?

First of all, I’ve never been to an office where the staff was so, well, nice. I don’t know if it was the nature of the work they do, or the fact that most of their patients are self-pay, but…wow. I had an ultrasound (normal except for a small fibroid and a retroverted uterus, both of which I new about) and we immediately set out for starting what is known as “Level 1” testing. I had CD3 bloodwork done (funny – turns out my OB/GYN didn’t know the blood tests were supposed to be performed on a specific date) as well as an extremely painful test known as a hysterosalpingogram (HSG).

When I dropped off my films at the RE, the receptionist said, “The doctor will call you in a few days and let you know the next step, or he will call you in for another consultation.” My husband agreed that the latter would probably mean that this whole process was about to get really expensive.

We got the call a few days after that. We needed to come in for another consultation to review my films. The good news is that we were able to rule out problems with my hormones (meaning I have good eggs) and with my husband’s sperm. The bad news is that I have one fallopian tube that looks like a twisted bird’s nest, and another that points due north. The doctor attributes it to possible scar tissue formed from laparoscopic surgery I had for acute appendicitis when I was in college. He gave us three options: 1) Do nothing and continue trying on our own; 2) have another laparoscopic surgery to see what’s going on down there and try to repair the tubes; or 3) bypass the tubes completely and go directly to IVF.

We knew what our decision was going to be before we got in there – it’s not like we were just having random sex and taking the wait and see approach until now. I also didn’t want to have possibly unnecessary surgery to repair something that might not even be the problem. Looks like we’re doing IVF…