Thursday, March 24, 2011

World's Most Expensive Lottery Game

Just 12 days later, on September 29, 2010, we visited my husband's specialist to find out why his samples came back with zero sperm in it.  I must admit that his specialist looking nothing like I expected.  I had, of course, looked him up with the help of Dr. Google and found out that he had done a lot of mission work and study in Mexico.  When we got to his office, the decor was very desert-looking with lots of cacti (that's the plural, right?).  I expected something very different than the brawny, Mr-Clean-Looking, could-have-ridden-a-Harley-to-work man that walked in to talk to my hubby.  We'll call him Dr. Mr-Clean.

He went through the entire spectrum of questions with him and a physical exam.  I felt a little funny being in the room during the exam, but figured that I'd already seen everything Dr. Mr-Clean was looking at...  Within the first minute of the physical exam, the doctor mumbled, "It's not there," and proceeded to go to the other side of the table and continue the exam.  While shaking his head and taking off his gloves, he informed us that my dear hubby was missing the vas deferens - the tubes that carry the sperm up and out from where they're made.  Dr. Mr-Clean said that, basically, Mother Nature had given hubby a vasectomy.  Darn her!  He said that this is not a common problem.

Dr. Mr-Clean went on to state that we had 3 options:
Behind Door #1 was adoption.  He said that there are multiple ways to go about adoption, but that the costs would be somewhere around $15,000 - $20,000 and there is no guarantee that we'd actually have a child at the end of it all.  Was that supposed to be reassuring?

Behind Door #2 was In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) - a newer, special form of IVF called Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).  This would require a great deal of difficult steps including lots of genetic testing, a surgery to retrieve his sperm, egg retrieval surgery for me, injecting sperm into the eggs to make embryos, and then transferring them back into me.  Whoa!  Can you repeat that list so I can write it down and look on Dr. Google later?  This ICSI procedure, developed in Belgium in the 1990s, was required because hubby's sperm don't learn to swim like normal ones do when they mature and make their way up and out of the tubes in a typical male.  If his sperm were put into a dish with my eggs, nothing would happen.  Slackers!  They actually have to take an egg and inject a single sperm into it.  Again, the costs would be someplace around $20,000 - $22,000 per try and there was no guarantee that we'd have a child after this either.  However, this is the only way we would be able to have a biological child of our own.  (This is assuming that hubby actually has sperm to deal with.  We wouldn't know that for sure until retrieval surgery, even though his bloodwork and hormones came back normal.)  That was even less assuring than the previous option!

Door #3 involved going home and dealing with living a life with just the two of us.  Forget that.

Well, we knew what was causing the zero sperm count.  We knew our options.  What if we didn't like them?  I've got a better one - the stork brings a baby of our own - let's say tomorrow.

When we left Dr. Mr-Clean's office that day, my hubby and I were in two different places.  I was overwhelmed.  It sounded like so much effort and money to hope to maybe have a baby - like the world's worst, most expensive lottery game.  Hubby, on the other hand, was happy.  This was really the first time he'd been happy leaving a doctor's office since we started this mess.  He told me that he had hope - that there was a way to have a child of our own.  He was right, as usual, but I wasn't going to admit that.  It was just too much for me to handle at once.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Family Name

There has been a lot about this entire story that hurts to talk about and I'm sorry that my posts for the last week have been a bit on the somber side.  I promise that there will be humor in the future-we haven't even gotten to the the really good parts yet that involve being naked, more conversations that no person should ever have with another human being, and of course the "sounding" procedure that just leaves me hanging out there.  However, we are at the point in the story that breaks my heart the most about the whole flippin' situation.  It was the one thing that hit me in the stomach, took my breath away, and made me feel like tears weren't even a good enough response.

In order to understand the gravity of the following story, I need to give you a little background.  My hubby is a 4th.  His great grandfather, grandfather, father, and he all have the same name.  Names are a very big deal to my hubby.  He is very much a person that believes in old school names that come from previous family members or the Bible.  I am a girl with a rather boyish first name, so it doesn't bother me as much, but it's HUGE deal to him.  I can remember talking about children more than a decade ago before we were married and he said that he definitely wanted a 5th.  So a little boy with V behind his name was on the agenda for us.  Every now and then I harass him stating that I don't think that I want a 5th or that the mother gets to decide what goes on the birth certificate, so he better be nice to me.  But, that is all in jest.  I know that the whole name thing is very important to him. 

You also need to know that my hubby's younger (by 2 years) and his wife were also expecting their 3rd child.  Yes, I cried when we found out.  Please don't hear that I was jealous.  I was not.  I am very happy for them.  They are a good, solid, Christian couple and are great parents to their 2 little girls and now the 3rd - a little boy was on the way very soon.  I was just sad for myself - sad that we didn't have good news like that to share with the family - sad that it was not our turn.  My sadness was not in any response to them.  It is about me and us.

Now that you have all the background:  After our phone call to my hubby's parents on Sept. 19th, we sat and just held each other and were sad together.  Saying the words aloud made them real.  After some discussion and trying to talk about things, hubby looked at me through tears and said, "Maybe I should call my brother and tell him to go ahead and use the family name. It doesn't look like I'm going to get to use it."

Sad is not a big enough word to describe what I felt.  Tears were not enough to express my feelings.  That was the point in this process that, if I forget everything, I will never forget that.  That was the lowest point.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Familiar Story

My hubby is pretty close to his parents, so we decided that we needed to call them and tell them what was going on with us.  They live pretty far away and we hadn't really told them anything up to this point.

Hubby asked his parents to put us on speaker phone so we could talk to both of them at once.  He started off by telling them that we'd been trying for several years to have a child.  He said that we'd gone to the doctor to try to find out if there was a problem and had gotten some results that were very saddening to both of us because there were such problems on both ends.  I was crying, as I had been on and off for days, and he had to do most of the talking. 

He let them know that both of his samples had come back with zero sperm and he was going to see a specialist about it.  He explained that I was diagnosed with PCOS and what that entailed and that I was also going to a fertility specialist.  His Mom and Dad were so saddened to hear our news and shared that it had taken them 7 years before having their first child because of complications of their own.  They were unusually quiet and I could tell that we dropped the bombshell on them just as the doctors had done to us.  They were sorry that we had to suffer similar complications and offered words of love, sympathy, and understanding.  I could tell that they were reliving a painful past of their own when we shared our story with them.

Monday, March 21, 2011

More Joyful Sarcasm Font

On September 17, 2010, (3.5 weeks after that phone call at work), we went back to my OB/GYN to get  our results.  I even took my beautiful temp charts with me to turn in to her.  My Doc started off with stating that my husband's sample had come back, again, with zero sperm and so she was sending him to a male fertility specialist out of town.  I had been hoping it was some sort of accident, but apparently it was not.

Then my Doc turned to me and my temp charts for the last several months.  She concluded that I had not ovulated 2 of the 3 months, and the 3rd was "iffy."  Then she filed them away.  All that hard work just shoved in a folder.  She pulled out my bloodwork results and stated that my hormones and insulin were messed up causing a cyst to develop each month instead of an egg.  That's not helpful.  This was also contributing to the weight gain I had experienced.  That's also not helpful.  My husband chimed in and informed my Doc that I exercised and ate very healthy.  God bless him.  He knew that I was very frustrated with the situation.  My Doc suggested putting me on a drug called Metformin for PCOS. She stated that I needed to work my way up to taking 3 pills per day, if I could.  She said that this medicine was generally prescribed for patients with diabetes but made it very clear that I am not diabetic - that my body is just confused and acting like it.  She was going to make an appointment for me to see a different fertility specialist out of town, as well.  I wonder how many years it'll take to get in there.  I mentioned that I was disappointed that my prior doctors had only prescribed birth control pills for me to mask the symptoms instead of finding out the cause for my problems.  She stated that I shouldn't be too upset with them because that would have been the treatment anyhow, as long as I wasn't trying to have a baby. Fair enough.

So that was it - meds for me and specialist appointments for the both of us.   More can probably guess that I was joyful about that....and yes, that should be in sarcasm font.  The positive outcome?  I no longer had to get up at 6am to take my temperature!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Connecting the Dots

In the weeks since the phone call, I had talked a lot to Dr. Google - just as I was told not to.  (Did she really think she could drop those bombs on the phone to me and I'd really wait 3 1/2 weeks till my next appointment to learn anything about what she said?!  She obviously didn't know me and my Type A personality very well!)  I  learned a lot about Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and Metabolic Syndrome.  My hormones were messed up, causing my body to make too much insulin and not uptake enough.  My own body was working against me!  (My luck!  Of course it was!

Looking back, things started to make sense.  My periods had been irregular from the start and later in high school they became extremely painful.  My doctor had prescribed birth control pills for me as a freshman in college so I could endure the pain long enough to leave my dorm and go to class.  I had continually put on weight, too.  Over the years, I'd eventually gone from a size 4 to a size 14 while having a very active lifestyle.  Because of the weight gain, my previous doctor had even tested me for diabetes and thyroid problems, but found no major problems.  I had been able to lose a little weight, in the past, for a short time, but it had to be an all-consuming process including obsessive exercising and calorie counting almost to the point of starvation.  It never stayed off and I felt terrible about it.  The summer of 2010, I had been running - up to 4 miles per day for months - and had not lost a single pound.  I ate a very healthy diet and only ate when I was hungry, but the scales didn't show it.  I felt like I wasn't working hard enough or wasn't disciplined enough.  Was I just fat and lazy and making excuses?  It was exhausting to even try to lose just a few pounds and I had often told my husband that I wasn't sure why this one thing had to be so difficult for me. 

Things were starting to make sense, finally, and I was able to connect the dots for myself.  I wasn't lazy!  I was happy to have some answers, but I was also sad to learn that this would be a life-long problem for me.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Desperate Times Call for Drinks with the Preacher

I went home from work as soon as I could that day.  My husband still wasn't available, so I called my Mom.  At first, I tried to have a normal conversation with her.  I just hate upsetting her and if I cry, she's upset.  But, my voice was quivering and soon I was crying.  She came over and sat with me on my back patio while I tried to explain what the doctor had said.  I had looked up a few things on the internet before leaving work and understood that my ovaries produced a cyst instead of an egg each month, which contributed to difficulties in conceiving.  I also saw that Metabolic Syndrome contributed to weight gain, high blood pressure, and even heart attacks.  It was just overwhelming and I could do nothing but cry.  Would I ever be able to conceive?

My husband came home and I told him all the news.  He was as shaken as I was.  He couldn't understand why his results came back the way they did.  We both felt bad for ourselves and for each other.  We cried.  We asked questions that had no answers. We wondered if the future would ever hold a little one for us.  We were a wreck.

Later that evening,  I had texted our preacher telling her that we had not gotten good news from the doctor.  She called me, of course while I was in the middle of sobbing, and suggested that we go for a drink.  We all met for a beer while we talked about the information and processed it all together.

For the next week I was a mess.  I worried and cried all the time.  My world had been shaken.  I had always assumed I'd be a mother someday.  Every major decision we had made in life - careers, where we lived, the layout of our house, our vehicles - were all made with the assumption that we'd have little ones someday.  Would I never get the chance to feel a kick inside of me?  Would I never rock a child of my own to sleep?  What would I be if I were not a Mom someday?  My entire definition of "me" was up in the air.  That was scary and confusing.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The One-Two Punch

It was Tuesday, August 24, 2010.  I had 2 beautifully charted months of morning temps.  I had bloodwork drawn and an ultrasound performed  My husband had done his horribly embarrassing part by providing a semen sample.  There was progress!

I was in the middle of a Finance Committee Meeting at work.  We took a break to go out to look at a possible new vehicle.  On the way out the door, a volunteer grabbed me and said that my doctor was on the phone.  Of course I wanted to take the call - I'd normally take any excuse to get out of those long Finance meetings anyway.  I was sure it was just going to be a quick conversation about receiving my bloodwork, and since my office is in the other part of the building, I slipped into my boss's vacant office for privacy.

My OB/GYN identified herself on the phone and asked if I had a minute to chat.  This can't be a good sign, can it?  She quickly sped through the information and I had to ask her to to repeat it - partly because I didn't medically understand what she was saying and partly because I was in shock.

She said that she didn't really want to go into all the details over the phone, but my tests had come back and I had some problems - I definitely have Metabolic Syndrome (Right hook) and Poly Cystic Ovaries (Left uppercut).   But the real reason for her call was that my husband's sample had zero sperm (Knock Out) and she needed him to give another sample to make sure that was not a mistake.  When I asked her to repeat the information so I could write it down, she told me to not look up anything on Google (yeah, right!) because there's a lot of scary info on the internet.  She asked for my husband to give another sample as soon as possible so she could have it back by my scheduled appointment next month.  She said we would talk about all of this then.

I didn't know what it all meant, but I realized that there were problems - big problems - on both ends.  I tearfully left my boss's office and headed upstairs to mine so I could call my husband.  I couldn't get him on the phone, so I sat in my office and cried.  I realized that I was still in a meeting, so I went to the bathroom to pull myself together.  After a few minutes I went back downstairs to have the keys to the new vehicle handed to me and was told to take it for a test drive.  Did they see the tear stains making my face puffy?  I asked my staff members to go with me on the test drive - I wanted to make sure that someone was paying attention while I was driving because my mind was not with me.  For the record, I do not endorse driving a new vehicle in this condition...

We took off with me at the wheel of a new 15-passenger van while my mind was reeling.  Find the drive gear....Cysts....Red light means hit the brakes...Poly cystic, that means many cysts....These new brakes are touchy....Metabolic....What does that mean?....Push the gas pedal....Zero sperm....Stay on the right side of the road.....That has to be a mistake....What is the speed limit?....Can it be fixed?.....What does it all even mean?

I was rattled.  Someone was wrong.  Something was wrong with me.  Something was wrong with my husband.  Something was terribly wrong - so wrong that my doctor had to call me at work.   Where do we even go from here?

Monday, March 14, 2011

"A" For Effort

On my day off several days later, I had my bloodwork done.  My doc was testing hormones, insulin, and lots of other things I didn't even know I had.  In all, about 3 tubes of blood had to be taken out of me.  This would not be the last time I'd visit the vampires.

The next part of my homework involved getting a high definition ultrasound.  My doctor had said that this was necessary to make sure that I had all of my organs and to also to take a look at my ovaries to see if there were any major problems.

I scheduled the ultrasound a couple days later and got the directions to drink a lot of water to get my bladder full in order to get the best results from the images.  I arrived at the medical center and did the I-Gotta-Pee-Dance through the entire experience.  (Remember, I mentioned in an earlier post that I have a small bladder?)  The lady called me into the room and set to work examining my insides shown on the screen.  She even showed me where she could see my bladder filling.  I could feel it - I didn't really need to see that part.  I craned my neck to view all that she was doing.  I think there was a part of me that hoped she would exclaim, "Oh, there's a baby!" 

Is that crazy? 

I even held my breath a little.  In my mind, we had timed everything correctly that month and it was possible that there might be a little blob on the screen.  But no.  No blobs.  No exclamations.  Just a filling of the bladder.  A disappointment before I even got my period that month.  Should I be relieved or upset that I got the disappointment early?

We got to talking about what I do for a living and why I was there.  She told me that it was so unfair that I was having difficulty having a child and wished me the best of luck.  She finally let me down off the table and immediately showed me to the bathroom so I could relieve myself. 

My poor husband did his part, too, and gave a sample for analysis.  Homework was done - on time and completely.  That should earn us an A, right?  We deserved good results, at least I thought.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

OCD Much?

Let's begin this post by just stating that I might be a bit of an overachiever when it comes to academics.  I was definitely in my "element" when the doctor gave me homework.  My doc says to chart my temperature?  I would have the best dang chart she'd ever seen!  So the next day, I started charting my Basal Body Temperature.  My doctor had said that this would help determine if there were problems with my ovulation.  She made it very clear to me that my temp had to be taken at the same time each day and had to be taken before I did anything in the morning.  Also, I had to make sure that I had at least 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep before taking it.  This was important enough that I was given an entire sheet devoted to the directions of this process.  How difficult could it be to take your own temperature?  I was more than willing to follow my doctor's orders if this is going to help us have a little one, but just let the record show that this little task (which we will find out later didn't matter at all) created several problems for me...

Since I run an afterschool youth center, I wake up later and go into work later than most people.  I, however, had just joined a local service club that met once per week at 7am for breakfast and a meeting.  I got up at 6am one day per week to go to this meeting.  Due this whole consistency thing, I had to now set my alarm for 6am every day to take my temperature.  But I was determined to do this charting thing correctly, so 6am it was.

My other problem is that my bladder is not very big.  In turn, I often get up sometime between 3am and 4am to relieve this small bladder.  If you're doing your math, you will see that this meant that I did not get a full 4 hours of uninterrupted snoozing prior to the temp taking.  I tried to not wake myself up too much on these nightly trips to the bathroom in the hopes it wouldn't completely ruin what my temp-taking a few hours later.  (But then I'd worry about it, which made my heart beat faster, which I'm sure made my temp go up even further than it needed....)

By the end of this experiment, I had gotten so used to taking my temp each morning that my alarm would sound, I'd stick the thermometer in my mouth, wait until it beeped, and write the temp down without even really waking up.  I even was so anal about my charts that I printed off 3 blank ones the night before my follow up appointment and copied them neatly onto the new charts.  Hey, I wanted the homework I was going to turn in to be neat, so give me a break!  I didn't have OCD or control issues when I went to the doctor almost a year ago.  This process has created them for me. (WINK WINK)  At least that's the story I'm going with.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

As I mentioned in my last post about my first trip to the OB/GYN, I was a bit apprehensive when I ran into a nurse whom I knew as a child.  There was good reason for my anxiety.  We live in a small town.  There are many positives to living in a small town.  The traffic is not bad.  The line at the grocery store is never too long.  People are friendly.  My father was an elected official for quite some time and my mother has been in the real estate business for 30+ years.  I have a lot of friends and connections, which boded well for me when I sought a job after college and now fundraising in my current non-profit position.  However, when you want to have any secrets, a small town is not ideal.

I learned this lesson several years ago when I went to a local pharmacy to purchase a pregnancy test.  The lady at the check out counter went to church with my family.  On Sunday, she cornered my Mom and asked her when I was due.  Mom told the lady she had no idea what she was talking about.  The woman backtracked and made some excuse that she thought maybe I was going to have a baby, but maybe she heard wrong or was thinking of the wrong person.  At any rate, Mom asked me about it and I had some 'splainin to do. It wasn't that I didn't want my Mom to know - I just wanted to be the one to tell her if it ever did happen.

Since that time, rather than deal with similar aftermath, I've taken to stalking pharmacies to figure out when strangers worked.  I've gone to great lengths to try to maintain some dignity in the process. Once, I had the test in my hand in the check out line when there must've been a shift change and the Wonderful-Stranger-Check-Out-Girl left and the previously mentioned I-Can't-Keep-My-Mouth-Shut-Lady took over.  I stashed that pregnancy test right in with the M&M's at the checkout lane and promptly left. Now that's what I call maintaining dignity....

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Game Plan

In July 2010, I had my first appointment with my OB/GYN.  I had heard many good things about her and felt comfortable with her because she is a female with children.  On my first appointment, I didn't know what to expect.  I arrived at her office and filled out the necessary paperwork, which, at this point, I wish I would have photocopied so I could just hand it to every other doctor in the process.

As I sat in the waiting room, I noticed that there weren't many people there and I was glad for that.  Up to this point, I didn't really want very many people to know what was going on.  I don't know why.  Was I ashamed?  I guess I feared someone would see me there and assume I was pregnant.  (Stay tuned for an upcoming post about that...)  It didn't look like, however, I was going to have to go in cognito in the waiting room at this point.  Celebrate small miracles, right?

Once called into the back, the nurse asked some basic questions about the date of my last period and how long we had been trying to have a baby.  At this point, a woman behind some door down the hallway let out a moan.  The nurse rolled her eyes, looked at me, and said, "She might as well quit that because she's not even in pain yet..."  Uh, I hoped that my visit was not going to be painful, in her opinion. From where I was sitting, I could also see a sign on the wall that read, "Put your big girl panties on and deal with it."  I was beginning to see that this visit was going to be all business.  I was OK with that.  I had been introduced to this line of thinking at my family doctor's office with her nurse.

After the rest of the preliminary questioning, the nurse asked me to follow her.  She led me to the doctor's actual office - not an exam room - and I sat and waited on her.  When I was seated in the office, a 2nd nurse poked her head into the office to re-introduce herself to me.  I had known her years ago from childhood and had not recognized her.  She wanted to know how I was doing and what I'd done since college. I brought her up to speed and then I told her that I was there because we weren't having luck having a baby.  She was very sweet, offered some words of encouragement, and left.  I had managed to avoid anyone I knew in the waiting room, but of course I knew someone on staff.  I had hoped it would not be sky-written over the entire town that I was there before I even left the office that day.

I waited in the doctor's office a long time and managed to read just about everything in the room - magazines, newsletters from medical associations, the annual report for our local hospital, and all of her diplomas.  I perused her pictures of her family - looks like she has a set of twins herself - and even went through an Anne Geddes book in great detail, all to the tune of the moaning of the woman down the hallway.  Her cadence was off, but it was the only music playing at the moment.

Finally, the doctor came in, introduced herself, and began the questioning.  And boy was there questioning!  She wanted to know everything - detailed health history of me and my entire family, onset of 1st period, what they've been like ever since, sexual history, and how long and how often we had been "trying."  We talked about how my periods had been painful and irregular from the onset and how I had gone on birth control when in college in order to just be able to leave my dorm room and attend classes.  I told her that I'd been told that our lives are not examples of what people should do in order to help conception.  I know that sometimes we don't get enough sleep, that we own a business, which causes lots of stress, and that I was not the skinniest person in the world (although I was running close to 4 miles per day). She said that while that matters, it should not have affected our odds for 3 years.  At some point it should have happened by now.  She also went on to say not to listen to people who tell us to "just relax" because that was the dumbest thing anyone had ever said.  I didn't even have to tell her that people had said that to us....At this point, I knew I liked her!  She took me into another room and performed my annual exam and then we formed a game plan.  (Did she know I was an obsessive planner? Did she know how many points she had just scored with me?)  She explained that the first step was to get some baseline bloodwork done on me, have my husband provide a sperm sample, and to have me chart my morning temperature to identify if/when I was ovulating.  We were to do all of this and come back to see her in 3 months.  I had a game plan - or at least the start of one.  I had steps and we were now getting somewhere.  She shook my hand and sent me on my way with my homework and I was happy about having it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Step D: Poke Out Your Eyeballs

I scheduled an appointment with my general practitioner right after Mother's Day 2010.  I figured this is where the process should start.  It took only a couple weeks to get in to see her.  I've seen this general practitioner for 12 years and have a great relationship with her.  A nurse took me through the door, took my weight (ugh), height, my blood pressure (which I'm sure was high given the reason I was there and having my weight just recorded) and led me to the examining room.  The nurse asked me why I was there.  I looked at her, took a deep breath, and said, "We've not been able to conceive after 3 years of trying."  She sort of nodded, typed it into the computer, and breezed right out of the room saying that the doctor would be right in.  That was it.  I was sure I had said something remarkably profound there, but I didn't even get as much as a 2nd glance from her.  I had explained what had plagued my mind for almost 3 years.  I had said it aloud to another person other than my husband and my mother.  I got no shock, no awe, no gasp, no pity, not even really eye contact acknowledging I'd said it.  I felt like I had just poured my heart out to this woman with that single sentence and she had the nerve to just stroll out.  I was dumbfounded.

Pretty soon, my doctor came in and asked what I was there for before even looking at the computer.  (I didn't even need to tell that unfeeling nurse, did I?)  I told her that despite having gone off birth control almost 3 years ago, my husband and I had not been able to have a baby.  I told her that I had decided to bring this to her in order to find out if there was some reason we were having trouble.  She told me that she usually informs couples to see a doctor anytime after a year has gone by.  A year?  You mean I should have been here, sitting on this white paper, two years ago?  Why didn't someone tell me this?  If I had known the year mark was a big benchmark, I'd have found my way to this office and talked to unfeeling nurses years ago.  Little did I know that several months later the fertility clinic would, in no uncertain terms, point out that I was in my 30s and therefore close to death, and I should have gone to the doctor years ago - but we'll get to that later.

So my general practitioner said that it was time to visit more of a specialist to see if there was something to be done to help us out.  She gave me the option of several OB/GYN's in town to choose from that she would recommend.  I had heard very good things about one particular OB/GYN - another female - and asked to have a referral to her.  They would make the call, get the appointment for me, and then let me know.  She handed me the check-out slip and led me to the door.  I got a call later that week that I had an appointment 2 months later with the OB/GYN.

That was it.  That was it?  All that worry and turmoil to leave with just another appointment several months later with another doctor?  Little did I know that this was the beginning of the world's longest waiting game - and patience is not a virtue of mine.  Not even a little.  I had decided I wanted answers.  I was finally ready - why wasn't the rest of the world? 

Much like the rest of this process, I'm discovering that I have to find out every step of the process for myself.  There is no guide book.  There is no, "What to Expect While Trying to Get Expecting" book.  There should be, or at least be a pamphlet, right?  Out of courtesy, I think the world owes us something to read that would give us a map as to where we're headed.  Step A: Try for a year.  Step B: Go to general practitioner who will refer you to an OB/GYN.  Step C: Wait months to be able to get into the OB/GYN.  Step D: Poke out your eyeballs.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Those first few months, and even year, I handled it all pretty well.  I didn't let it bother me too much that I'd failed to get pregnant.  After the year mark, I started to have some questions about what was going on.  Why was it not happening?  I'd immediately dismiss these questions and not dwell on it.  It just hadn't happened.  That's all.  Just don't question it.  We'd try again next month...

As time went on, I started to have more questions.  Were my necessary, daily allergy pills interfering?  Were birth control pills somehow still in my system?  Had I done damage to myself from taking them for so many years?  Even my Mom was concerned that all those years of dancing and running cross country had internally scarred me somehow.  Or was there something bigger that was wrong with me?  Was I missing some vital organ or hormone?  Or the worst thoughts - Would I not make a good mother?  Is there some reason God wouldn't give me a child?  Would I mistreat my child or not love a child the way he/she should be?  Was I being punished for something I'd done?  Was I, deep down, a bad person?

Questioning is normal.  While I know that all those questions probably didn't do my psyche any good, it was to be expected.  I was trying to understand why I was having so much trouble.  We have to question in order to understand.  I've certainly learned that it's OK to question things.  I continued over the next several years to wander into this sad questioning and then immediately change the subject in my mind.  I don't know if I was just optimistic and thought it'd just happen the next month or if I was really afraid of the answer to the question.  Probably the latter is the truth.  I didn't really want to think about the negative.  I'm not sure I could have handled hearing that there was something wrong with me.  My brain couldn't even handle the thought that I might not have children.  I had based my entire life upon what I thought was a sure thing - a given.  I wasn't ready to handle the ramifications if that were not  true.

One day though, this questioning just wasn't so scary to me.  This questioning led to my decision that it was better for me to go find out the answers than torment myself month after month.  I think I was tired of the agonizing and playing the "what if" game with myself.  Instead of endless questions, I decided it was time for answers.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

999 Reasons to Laugh at Infertility

I found this site last night and have laughed hysterically since.  It's funny, cause it's true. It's good to have a sense of humor about it, when I can.

999 Reasons to Laugh at Infertility

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Good, Bad, & Ugly Advice

I began to tell my friends that I had decided to go to the doctor.  They knew the sadness that went along with not being able to conceive.  I know they were being helpful in giving advice - even advice that was crazy - but I still tried most of these "helpful" tips.  I mean, wouldn't you if you were desperate?  So, here is a list of tips I got from every caring soul in the process:
  • Eat oysters (I actually like seafood, so this is OK with me)
  • Consume lots of raw fruit
  • Eat things with lots of seeds (Do chocolate covered strawberries count?)
  • Cut out all sugar (See chocolate covered strawberry comment above.)
  • Eat asparagus, bananas and other phallic-shaped things (I'm trying to make a baby, not a porn...)
  • Drink caffeine (I drink tea everyday)
  • Don't drink caffeine (How can I drink caffeine and avoid it at the same time?)
  • Get drunk (Obviously before trying)
  • Eat lots of veggies
  • Eat lots of protein
  • Lose weight (How was I supposed to do that with the consumption list I was given?  Running 4 miles per day didn't help either.  We'll get to this later.)
  • Don't do anything terribly strenuous (Wasn't that the point of exercising?)
  • Just don't worry about it (Easy for you to say)
  • Just relax (Really?!)
  • Get a massage or relax in a hot bath often
  • Don't take hot baths
  • Hurry up because you're in your 30s (Oh yeah, that helps me relax!)
  • Rest with my legs up for at 30 minutes afterward (Told it was fool-proof. It's not.)
  • Do a head-stand after sex (This just makes you dizzy)
  • Get lots of sleep (How can I do that if I'm doing head stands?)
  • Try on Day 14
  • Try every other day between Days 12 and 20 (Math & sex should NOT go together)
  • Try EVERY day between Days 10 and 21 (Tired just thinking about that)
  • Only missionary position (Now where's the fun in that?)
  • Take a multi-vitamin (One piece of advice that's helped just for health sake.)
  • Get lots of folic acid (In the vitamin.)
  • Get acupuncture (Uh, no.)
  • Make sure our bedroom is Feng Shui friendly (WHAT?!)
  • Try it someplace other than the bedroom (How does this help?)
  • Wear fertility jewelry (I work with kids.  Not sure I could explain that one.)
  • Pray more (I'm a Christian & pray all the time. Apparently, I wasn't asking God hard enough?)
I am guilty of trying most of the things on this list.  Afterall, it'd been 3 years and if there was one thing I could do to help the situation, I was willing to try. Some were healthy choices.  Some made sense, in theory.  Some are just plain goofy.  Now I just look back and chuckle.  How are you supposed to eat all that, lose weight, time everything correctly, and NOT be stressed?  It's a wonder that women become pregnant at all.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

It Was Time

It was Mother's Day in 2010.  I took my Mom out to lunch after church and looked around in the restaurant.  Everyone was out with their families.  I called friends who were mothers and wished them happiness on their special day.  I came home to take a lazy Sunday afternoon nap and sitting on the edge of my bed, I decided that it was time.  For whatever reason, I was ready to find out why we'd not been able to have a child after three years of trying.  There had to be something going on and rather than avoiding it and continuing to put myself through the monthly disappointment, I was ready to figure out what the problem was and fix it.  I don't think I was prepared for the news that would eventually come, but I acknowledged that there was likely a problem.  I had come to terms with that much. The next morning, I made an appointment with the doctor.  I'd go to see her in April and start this process.  I had no idea it would be such a long process.

I also told my Mom, who, up to this point had been optimistic about the prospects of being a grandma.  She wasn't sure I needed to go to the doctor about it, but was supportive nonetheless.  I told her that I was sad that I was not able to have a child while my father had been alive.  (He passed away in 2006.)  My parents had been a little older in life when they had me and their parents had been older when they had them.  As a result, I never met one set of my grandparents and the other set had passed away by the time I was in 2nd grade.  I grew up not knowing what it was like to have grandparents and I didn't like it.  I swore that I'd not do the same thing to my children.  But here I was, 31 years old (at the time) with no children.  My Dad was already gone and my Mom was close to 70.  That part of this whole process hurts quite a bit.  I mentioned that to Mom and she said that just the week before Dad had passed away, he asked her if I was ever going to have any little babies.  I tried, Dad.  Doesn't that count for something?