So, last month, I returned to the hospital for another hysteroscopy. YAY!
I get to the post-op appointment two weeks later…Gyne says there was no polyp that she saw. Just my uterine lining stocking up for the apocalypse again.
So this giant lapse (a month and a half, which feels like eternity), was for nothing. Or at least that’s how I felt instantly. I know it wasn’t really, and that it was good to make sure everything was clear anyhow, but damn if it didn’t feel like a waste of time. A painful waste of time at that.
But whatever, it was what needed to be done.
So the next move was to return to the RE for our IVF consult. This meeting is where we sign all the legal paperwork regarding cryo-preservation, legal intent, and consent forms. This is also the meeting where most people learn of their IVF protocol. Meaning, what medicines their RE has determined will be best for them, and some start dates.
Notice how I said, “most people”.
Because as I told yall before, “if I haven’t learned anything in this infertility battle, I’ve learned that NOTHING on this journey can be simple for me. NOTHING.”
So, after we came in, she got right to it and said, “You’ve got three things working against you right now that we have to fight.”
I took a deep breath, and she continued.
- Your thyroid. We have to get it down because it’s too high. We prefer it to be >2.5, yours was at three.
- Your PCOS. Which is apparently a ROUGH case.
At this, I cringed. I have done my reading. I know that with PCOS and IVF there are risks of hyperstimulation, and even an increased risk of miscarriage. PCOS is a jerk. A hairy, fat, jerk. So I held my breath as she told me that my particular case of PCOS has already acted a complete ass.
The normal range of follicles a woman with normal or average egg quality has, is around twelve. 6 on one ovary, and 6 on the other. But Regina? Regina has Thirty-flippin-one. 13 on one ovary, and 18 on the other.
AMH stands for Anti Mullerian Hormone. This hormone gives doctors an indication of the estimated number of eggs a woman has left. It gives the RE an idea of how many eggs they can expect to retrieve from you. The normal AMH levels of women my age, are between 1.0 and 3.0. In PCOS patients, AMH levels can run high. My doctor has NEVER SEEN A PERSON WITH AS HIGH AMH LEVELS AS ME. My AMH was 21. Not 2.1, TWENTY ONE.
So do I have a great possibility for egg retrieval? On the surface, yes. But having done the research, I knew what that really translated to: I am at high risk for hyperstimulation during IVF.
In other words, my follicles may get a taste of those sweet hormone meds and go “fat kid at the buffet”, and my cycle could be cancelled. She even mentioned that she may have to cut my doses in half just because of my risks. WTF, lady bits? What are you doing?!!
My body’s a damned overachiever in every area except weight loss.
But remember, she said there were three issues.
After all this time, the next blow, is that we now have male factor infertility also! YAY!!! We won!
We have been referred to urology now. To which we won’t get in until next year. Depending on what is required, that pushes the IVF process to at least February.
So, all the craptastic news out of the way, we continued with the other parts of the consult and learned all about the risks of IVF, had the painful discussions about things like selective reduction, and even what to do with our embryos if we divorce or one of us passes away. Then came the great layout of costs for preserving embryos, $1100 up front and $450/year after, and the cost of preserving “backup” sperm for retrieval day, $350.
And then to add insult to emotional injury, I got some yucky news about the little one who we were planning to adopt earlier this year. She’s fine! But the info was yucky nonetheless.
I got in my feelings for a hot second. Mostly angry, not sad. Angry that we’d waited before following up with the male factor information. Angry at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, yet again. Angry to be on hold yet again.
Then I just stopped. I reminded myself to calm down. I reminded myself that now was the time to focus on others and not myself. Prayers for that precious baby girl, and love to my husband who got his own bad news today.
That being said, I’m giving myself permission to be a tad p’d off today. And prescribing my OWN meds for a change. Thanks to my sorority sister for the appropriately named gift.
Featured image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The great Erykah Badu has a song called “Out My Mind, Just In Time”, where she laments, for close to eleven minutes about losing herself in a man she thought she loved, and how she gave more of herself to him, than she even gave to herself. It’s a beautiful song, really, that drifts in and out of changes that reflect the growth and depth of this over-thought and overwrought relationship.
And while she is clearly talking about a man who wasn’t worth the stress, this is a feeling I had about my own damn self recently. That I had been in a relationship with myself and my feelings about infertility for some time now, at the expense of my husband’s feelings. A relationship that it was clearly time to move on from.
There are things that you get to be selfish about in this journey.
You get to be frustrated when the medicines don’t work.
You get to be annoyed when you have to have a painful procedure that no one else could possibly understand.
You get to be angry when you’ve spent six months losing weight to prepare for IVF, only for the hormones to put the weight back on.
You don’t get to be so wrapped up in those feelings, that you forget to think about your actual wellbeing and progress, OR that you forget to think about any person who is on the journey with you.
It is very easy to assume, after going through so very much, that you are the only one who gets this. You and the other women who have had the pleasure of enduring shots, and invasive procedures, are the ONLY ones who can truly understand your particular pain. Your loving, but clueless partner has no idea what you really feel like.
He is not hurting in the way that you are. How could he be? The most he had to do was get friendly with himself.
And can he rattle off the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the doctors, nurses, and phlebotomists?
I didn’t think so.
That means he doesn’t give a damn about it.
Can he quote you the appointment dates for the next three appointments?
I knew it.
He’s practically not even in the game.
But, as we start to think those thoughts, here’s the thing though…
Did we ASK him how he felt about everything?
Have you ever really thought about how it feels to him that he can’t make you know how sufficient you are to him, when you’re basing every piece of your worth on this?
Or how hard it must be for him to not know what to say when you’re gushing the details of how you feel, out of fear that you’ll only tell him he doesn’t understand, or that you won’t listen when he tells his own feelings?
Or how terribly, terribly embarrassing and uncomfortable it is to do something so private and intimate, and know that everyone in that clinic/office knows what you’re doing?
Granted, most of what we do as women in this area, is invasive and humiliating. Just getting through the preliminary workups, our pocketbook, as my grandmother would call it, is known from here to West Leviticus, and has made happy times with many an ultrasound wand or speculum. But to be honest, as women, we are somewhat familiar with the stirrups. For a man, so much of this has to be new and fast, and terrifying.
The more I started to think about that, the worse I felt.
I had made this entire thing, about me. I want this so badly, and I am so very tired of waiting, that I have become incredibly sad but ridiculously headstrong. I will not waiver, because I feel like I cannot, even if it is just to stop and acknowledge that he’s lost his footing. I will drag us both over the finish line before I stop at this point.
And worse still, I’ve been so very tight-lipped about my feelings with everyone else, that he was catching ALL of it. All the frustration, and the angst, and the polarizing aggression. I was pouring everything onto him and leaving absolutely no room for him to feel anything of his own.
And as usual these days, that emotion led right back to anger.
I was angry that this stupid, stupid thing had once again made me a monster. It had made me cold, and irrational, and impatient, and…
I was back in my head, making everything about me. Making every emotion I was feeling, the fault of something or someone else. It was my pity party, and I wanted to just cry and cry.
I couldn’t let myself off that easy. I was wrong. Point blank and the period.
I was wrong for being in my head. I was wrong for internalizing everything to the point of insanity. I was wrong for stealing his voice and swallowing it into my own.
So why am I telling you this? You’re a perfectly respectable infertile, right? You handle your stresses far better than I do, and would never dream of making your partner feel isolated and forgotten. Right?
But just in case you ever find yourself being the raging lunatic I discovered I was capable of being, remember these words I said to myself:
The worst battles we will ever fight, take place in our minds. We play the hero and the villain. We project words and actions and even thoughts onto those around us, based on our own insecurities and fears. We lose sight of reality, and sometimes our partners pay the price.
This path is exhausting, and scary, and rough, and a whole heap of other adjectives I could throw in. I am grateful that I don’t have to move down it by myself. I have to remember to appreciate and acknowledge that, before I ostracize the person who is walking beside me.
Get out of your head. Quickly. See things for what they actually are.
If he honestly isn’t doing everything in his power to really be on the journey with you, then say so. Don’t yell it or accuse it. Address it.
If you discover, however, that you just weren’t seeing the full picture, because you were too busy writing a new script in your head, then address that too. Apologize, and move on.
This is just me. You are perfectly clear-headed, and in control of your thoughts and emotions these days, right? You would absolutely, positively just never, ever, be this person. I know.
We hold names sacred in the infertility community.
They are our little secret smirks at fate.
They symbolize the victory we’re hoping for. They are precursors to rainbows.
A horizon we can barely see, but one we are trying desperately to get a view of. (more…)
Four years has gone by so fast.
I am honored and proud to be considered a voice in the infertility community. When I began The Egg, I was attempting to get my own thoughts out while also making it plain to the world at large that African American couples were in dire need of courage to speak about our reproductive health. As the years have progressed, the individuals and now even families who follow me here on my site, and also on social media, are of all colors, all backgrounds, and all situations.
Straight couples, lesbian couples, single women, divorced women, engaged women and young women have all reached out to me in some form or fashion just to say thanks for being a voice, and I am humbled. I thank YOU. Every single day, for the past four years, I have been able to talk to someone and have my feelings heard. I have been able to speak about what matters to me and where I want to see us grow. (more…)
I’m gonna say a shitload of things.
Now, before I start on them, I want you to remember these four words okay:
I’m Not Going Anywhere
No matter how it sounds.
No matter what you think I’m trying to say.
At the end of this post, I want you to go back and remind yourself that I already told you those four words.
Now, let’s talk. (more…)
Long time no blog.
I know. *slaps own hand* “Bad Blogger!” But come on in, have a seat…
If you hang with me on Facebook and Twitter, then you know I haven’t really left, but that I’ve just been extremely more quiet about what is going on inside my own journey. There’s good reason, I promise. (more…)