Friday, December 2, 2011

It's been too damn long...

Yes... it's December... I know, I'm a wretched slug (more so to try and bring back the Tombstone quotes).  Anyway, a lot has happened and yet nothing has happened.  If that makes no sense, fear not! I shall explain.

I lived in a post-HSG haze for three cycles before seeing a reproductive endocrinologist (RE).  I told myself I'd give it six but I've waited long enough, I think.  Finding a decent RE is one of the most important decisions you can make if you're infertile.  You want someone who has a great track-record and high success rate but also someone that will take your ideas into consideration without copping an I-am-God-and-you-know-nothing 'tude either.  Pricing is also very important if you're paying out of pocket for all this business.  Go over all the costs with them.  Clomid v/s injectables, IUI, IVF, ultrasounds, office visits, everything.  Ask if they have itemized breakdowns of major treatments (IUI and IVF) so you'll know what you're up against ahead of time.  I actually got lucky here.  A BBC friend of mine went to this RE so I piggy-backed her research and have so far been happy with the result.  (Thanks Nic!)

The first cycle was a bust, but I knew it would be, as it was filled with testing; not only fertility testing but also I was back to the cardiologist, rheumatologist and pulmonologist to get the green-light for treatment.  They also made me see a perinatologist, as if I need another fucking 'ologist.  Anyway, I got the "all clear" from the Sarc docs and the fertility tests came back within normal ranges.  In case you're not aware, you'll get an ultrasound to evaluate uterine lining and ovarian health.  They're looking for follicle production, cysts, fibroids and other things that might pose a problem.  You'll also have CD3 blood-work done to determine ovarian reserve and quality and possibly a progesterone test to figure out whether or not you have a deficiency.

Other than a fibroid that they're not terribly concerned with, all things are normal.  All things except for the fact that I still can't get pregnant.  Anyway, I'm officially lumped into the "unexplained infertility" group and they scheduled my IUI for last cycle.  We're doing a medicated IUI cycle with clomid to amp up ovarian production and estradiol to make sure that the uterine lining doesn't thin from the clomid.  They picked a time based on my previous cycles that I might be likely to ovulate and scheduled an ultrasound for a few days before.  They wanted to make sure that the lining didn't thin too badly but also that my ovaries didn't overstimulate and produce too many follicles (which would mean a wasted cycle because they won't proceed with the possibility of too many multiples) but that they produced more than they normally do.  Unfortunately, I did not produce more follicles than usual.  I had one at 17 mm and another at 11 mm.  These were both in my left ovary, as my right was shriveled and useless.  It seems that I only have the use of the one though the doctor still won't fully confirm that after only one cycle.  Regardless, my follicles weren't large enough to trigger me so they sent me home to use OPKs until O day.  When I finally got my +OPK, I called them back and we scheduled the IUI for the next day.

Adam's appointment was scheduled for an hour before mine in order to give them time to wash the sample.  Washing is when they take your significant other's sperm sample and remove the dead sperm and the seminal fluid.  After regular intercourse, the sperm shed the fluid before entering the cervix anyway and getting any of it into the uterus would cause severe infection.  So, about an hour after Adam made his deposit, we got to business.  The room was set up like a normal exam, sans all the normal equipment.  I'm not sure why I hoped for some candles, maybe a nice water feature, but for something so intimate, it was certainly clinical.  Once you get to this point, I highly suggest that you take all delusions of romance and "the natural order of things" and throw them out the window.  I promise it will make your life easier.

So... feet in the stirrups, the nurse practitioner came in and had me verify the sample.  I thought this was odd at first but I'm fairly happy they did it.  She told me that his count was around 193 million, which is apparently awesome-sauce, and then she showed me the catheter and made sure I was cool with what was about to happen.  Long and short of it is, they insert the catheter through your cervix and into your uterus so they can deposit your man's swimmers right next to the tubes.  This bypasses the vagina and cervix, which is where most of the sperm are killed enroute.  She set up like any other exam and like a Pap, it was a smidge uncomfortable but nothing too painful.  I bled a bit more than I expected but she said that happened sometimes.  They had me lay there for ten minutes or so and then I paid the bill and showed myself out.  The whole thing was pretty impersonal considering I was making a baby but we do what we have to do.

This two week wait was in-fucking-sane!  Despite my better judgement, I could not contain my new-found excitement.  I was researching, and googling and pinning baby shit left and right!  I started thinking like I did when I was 19 and newly married... thinking like it might actually happen.  Thinking like a fucking idiot.

Then, it happened.  I was 11 DPO, typically the day before AF would show, and my temp jumps through the roof.  I was giddy!  Laughing and crying a bit at 6 AM, trying to contain myself so as not to wake Adam that early on a weekend.  I wasn't supposed to test until the next day and managed to wait a few hours until I lost all willpower and tested with a cheap pregnancy test from Amazon.  Much to my dismay, like it always has been, the test was negative.  I thought maybe it was too early and the test wasn't sensitive enough.  I continued to think this for a few more days, even after several more BFN's, because AF hadn't started yet.  I was around 3 days "late" before my temp tanked.  It was another two days until I'd get my period.  You see, for me at least, one of the dirty little secrets of clomid is that it can lengthen your LP.  This is information that would have been fantastic while I was thinking "I'm not out till she shows" so I'm letting you know now.  Before starting a medicated cycle, take everything you know about your body and forget it.  You can ovulate later (or not) and you can have a longer LP (or not), you never know how it will affect you until you're on it.

So, after all that, the end of this story is that my first IUI failed.  I'm supposed to accept this, do exactly what my doctor says and move forward knowing that most IUI's fail the first time.  I realize this.  However, what I've been doing is losing any ounce of hope I might have gained with the IUI and all of what I had before that.  At this point, I'm fairly positive that I will never get pregnant.  Don't get me wrong, I haven't given up, but I have no hope left.  No delusions.  No fantasies.  I'll go ahead with this IUI (I'm on CD4) and I'll run through the motions but I do not think it will work.  After AF arrives this cycle, I'll go ahead with the next IUI but I doubt I'll think that one will work either.  Once both IUI's fail, we will take a deep breath and toss in the towel.  IVF is an option if we finance but I don't care.  Kudo's to all the women who have the energy to go through all this shit and more, only to do an IVF round and a few transfers as well but I don't.  I waited too long.  I should have seen a RE more than a year ago.  I'm glad I didn't have a child with my first husband but that time didn't help either.  I've always known I wouldn't be able to have kids.  I've always known I'd never know what it felt like to bring life to something other than myself.  It's been a long decade and have no fight left in me.  Childlessness can't be too bad right?  I have a feeling I'll be finding out.

2 comments:

  1. ((hugs)) Misty. I can understand why you might feel this way, but I am holding out hope for you still!!

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