So, we’re stiiiiiiill waiting.
Since learning about our male factor issues, we’ve kind of been on hold. The preliminary moves in the urology department have basically just included a repeat of all the tests that were required from the original visits to the fertility center. The fertility center can’t move forward until we have clear answers from urology on the issues they determine, and the urologist can’t move forward until our insurance approves everything. There is a lot of back and forth, (and copays), between primary care doctors, specialists, and test centers.
And I’m annoyed. For a few reasons.
An Ass Out of U & ME
I’m irked that we fell for the okey doke and relied soo heavily on the issues we knew I had, rather than looking into the male factor issues sooner. The sheer intensity of my PCOS and thyroid complications led us all, (doctors included), to assume that it just had to be only me at the root of this crap. I’m annoyed at myself for not “going wit my first mind”, and being thorough.
My Timeline is Askew
I’m irritated that there really is nothing I can do right now but wait. Again. I’m non-essential personnel at the urologist. If I want to know what step we’re on, I have to pry the information out of the spouse’s one-word answers. LOL Not that he’s being a jerk about anything, but I’ve been the captain of this ship for oh, about six, seven years now…so to not know our itinerary, is eating me alive. Like for real, can I at LEAST be in charge of the drinks on the lido deck or something?
No, Really. My Timeline is Jacked Up.
It’s March, people. MARCH. aka Third month of the year. aka, even if I do get pregnant this year, I still might don’t have a kid until 2015. So in my mind, it’s March, and I’ve lost yet another year. Go me. Cue the band.
It is extremely tiring to go to work every day, or do assignments, or just “be”, when you really want to wrap yourself up in a warm blanket, grab a trashy novel and a glass of wine, and just stop being an adult for like 45 minutes. I’m kind of over adulthood lately. It is NOT keeping up its end of the bargain. Or at least not from what I saw when I was watching television and reading books as a young girl. I mean, we should be living in a hip urban brownstone, working freelance jobs at swanky companies, hosting dinner parties, and on our second “accidental” pregnancy right now, right? I mean, at least that’s what Thursday night lineups of years gone by said. It’s literally exhausting trying to keep the thoughts of your real mind, from seeping out. I don’t want people to know how much of my day is in this mental place, but should the opportunity to speak my truth come about in everyday conversation, I can’t really lie and say I’d know how to stop myself.
So as usual, I’ve just decided to stay busy, busy, busy. All this noise and thought running rampant in my head, has to come out sometime, and hopefully it may benefit you. Stay tuned for more info, including some very special events/blog posts for National Infertility Awareness Week 2014!
In the meantime, check out this month’s Sister2Sister Magazine for an article on Egg Freezing, The Egg has a brief mention. Thank you Shahida Muhammad for thinking of me!
Featured image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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
Apologies for the delay, but even a year later, this post seems to be RIGHT on time.
The final installment of BrokenBrownBelle’s journey to her daughter, Buttercup. (more…)
On the way home from one of our Thanksgiving visits, my husband asked me a seemingly innocent question about whether or not I’d be free to do something on a particular date next week. I paused for a moment, tried to think on it, and then had to tell him that without my calendar in front of me, I really didn’t know. I laughed about that and then told him that it was kind of strange that I couldn’t really remember what life was like back when I knew my schedule off the top of my head. I literally could not remember a time where I had fewer things to do, and didn’t feel as burned out.
I know what some of you are thinking. “So what? I never know my schedule either. It comes with being a busy adult.” True. You’re absolutely right. I am a busy person and it only makes sense that my days have to be outlined and scheduled. That wasn’t what unnerved me. What unnerved me, was the revelation about how I’d gotten so busy all of a sudden, and where my motivations were in the things I now do. While I love my job, and I love my service activities, and I love all these little projects I’ve signed myself up for, it became very clear to me that I started them after my life didn’t go the direction I wanted it to, in the time-frame that I’d expected it to. (more…)
Ladies, (and the ever-elusive gentlemen), we have a verdict.
The jury was out for a good, long while, but within 45 minutes, the final decision was finally made.
BOTH of my tubes are completely blocked.
There is a weight on that sentence that has been rolling around on my tongue for a while. But before I get into that, let me break down how I got this long-awaited answer. Things started with an HSG test.
My appointment was at 9am, and I was actually taken back sometime around 9:30. After undressing from the waist down, I was led to the x-ray room by a very nice nurse named Tammy. Prior to getting things started, Tammy had me sit down so that we could discuss each thing that was going to take place.
First, she asked if I’d taken any pain relievers prior to coming to the appointment, which I hadn’t. She then double-checked to make sure that they had been recommended by my doctor. They had. I have a pretty high pain threshold in my opinion, and couldn’t see how two tylenol an hour beforehand were going to make much difference, so I didn’t take any. After those preliminaries, it was time to break down the procedure itself.
My doctor, Doctor C., would be called down to the room to insert a catheter, Tammy would remain at my head to keep me calm and explain what was happening, and a radiologist would be called in to perform the x-ray itself. Through the catheter, my doctor would use a syringe to push dye directly into my uterus, while the radiologist simultaneously photographed the process with the x-ray machine. Done correctly and without complication, we all would be able to see the dye travel through my uterus and tubes by way of the monitor placed beside the exam table. She asked if I had any questions. I didn’t. Then it was time to sit on the table and wait for the doc.
My doctor came down, as explained, asked me if I was comfortable, and went over the details again. Then it was time for the catheter. Okay, now I have a pretty high pain threshold, like I said, but this was very uncomfortable for me. It didn’t “hurt”, but it was extremely jolting. There is a precise feeling of someone pushing or pulling on a tender part of your skin, but it feels somewhat worse because it’s internal. I was pretty cool I think, but according to Tammy, I was definitely tensing up, so she sat beside me and talked me through a few calming breaths. I stared up at the arm of the x-ray machine, where there was a sticker that read: “7/2”. I focused on that sticker because it is actually my wedding anniversary. I found this, combined with the “breathing exercises” to be maddeningly ironic, considering the situation, but I shook it off.
Once the catheter was fully in, I couldn’t feel any other discomfort. I forgot it was there actually. In about three minutes, the radiologist was there and turning on the machine. Tammy moved the monitor closer so that I could see. Lights, cameras, action!
Only, there was no action. LOL
I watched the screen, I felt Doctor C. push the syringe harder, and none of us saw a damn thing. My lady bits basically flipped us all the bird. I remember vividly that there was one moment when Doctor C. said, “I really can’t push any more. I think they’re both blocked.”
And that’s when shit got real.
I don’t know. The picture in my head was of the dye showing up brightly on that monitor, and of my leaving there with a new script for Clomid. I fully intended on beating this thing with the most minimally invasive procedures as possible.
Instead, she walked to the head of the bed and told me flat-out that I would need to call the RE, and that the most viable option for me would have to be IVF. She put a hand on my shoulder and said, “You did what you said that you wanted to do. You went as far as WE could. This test, was that last thing that WE could do. Now, you go further. Call the doctor I told you about. She’s a great person, who is very honest and personable. This is fixable.”
And I don’t really remember much after that. I mean, it isn’t that this wasn’t frustrating or painful before. It was. But somehow this felt more devastating. There’s something very definitive about the moment you’re told that this thing you didn’t want to do, this path you were avoiding, is the ONLY way to your goal.
Bring me the slippers of the Wicked Witch of The West!
I do remember some things.
I remember getting dressed.
I remember telling my mom, who was in the waiting room.
I remember her taking me to breakfast, and asking gentle questions about what to do next, and sitting there for almost two hours.
I remember her taking me shopping.
I remember holding on to my facade for hours.
I remember watching every mother I encountered, even when I told myself not to.
Mostly, I remember feeling really confused and shitty.
I also remember feeling like I “had” to be positive.
I remember thinking to myself that I didn’t want anyone “worried”, “concerned”, “feeling sorry for”, or “uncomfortable about” me.
So I just shut it off.
I was about to think of the finances. But I shut that off.
I was about to think of the frustration. But I shut that off too.
I just, completed the day.
Fill in the bubbles completely on this standardized test. If you don’t know the answer, after using your study and test-taking skills, make your very best educated guess.
And that’s what I did.
And that’s what I’m still doing.
There’s a plan in here. I always have one. But at the moment, it’s tightly buried beneath my anger and frustration. I’ll pull it out in a bit. But at the moment, I’m frantically filling in these blank test bubbles.
There were more appointments then ever. And instead of reading about people talking about beating PCOS and drifting into motherhood, the talk had turned to talk to exclusively the word miscarriage. That word could strike fear in my heart like no needle ever could and it was suddenly everywhere.
Oh my God, could I have come this far only to spend every set aside dime and then lose my baby?!? This never was a thought to me until we started with the injections. The second I was asked to spend a lump sum, and get down to penniless for this “project”, it occurred to me that women lose babies everyday. I wanted to think of the worst case scenario and ask myself if I could handle whatever that was. Could I deal with the bills I was getting from the infertility clinic, the money I’d spent trying to get pregnant, the surgeries I’d had and then the possible threat of miscarriage?
I had never asked myself that question before, I was afraid to. I never brought the word up. I thought if I didn’t, it would definitely decrease my chances of it and at least preserve my sanity. But, suddenly people were coming forward bringing that word to me and I could not escape the thought. (more…)