Saturday, 3 August 2013

In the beginning...

My Story

So much for adolescent egocentrism, call it adult egocentrism, I never thought it would happen to me. I make jokes about dusty old wombs and stale eggs, but at the ripe old age of 37 my doctor delivered the blow - rush referral to IVF. When I was younger, naive, I always said that wouldn't be me. I wouldn't wait to have kids until I was too old and needed IVF, I said. No kids after 40, I said. If the choice was between IVF and adoption I'd adopt, I said. Little did I know that IVF after 40 solves nothing, it's the stale eggs, not the dusty womb that's to blame. My eggs are just fine and dandy, and I'm not quite 40 anyway, no, the problem is my tubes. I never considered that somewhere between my first child and trying for a second that my tubes would get completely and utterly blocked.

I started to suspect something was wrong at about the sixth month of trying. The first three months were passive - not trying not preventing. I gave it three months au natural. Then I pulled out the big guns. I started charting basal body temperature again - I'd tried it before using pencil and paper so I knew the basic ideas, but now there are apps for charting that make it even easier! I used Fertility Friend, a site and app I absolutely love. I set my alarm faithfully every morning, even on weekends. I even impulsively bought a digital ovulation prediction kit (on sale). I joined online forums and learned all the ins and outs of using the kits, buying bulk test strips online, and thought I'd finally take control and it would happen! No. That first month of charting I ended up in the emergency room with a hemorragic corpus luteum cyst rupture. Let me tell you, you walk into the ER and tell them it feels like labour but you're not pregnant (yet), they don't leave you in the waiting room very long. I was an occupant of the ER for 18 hours. Then suddenly, around midnight, a doctor walks into my room (that's when you know it's serious, they put you in a room with a door and private bathroom rather than a bed behind a curtain, or maybe that's just because it was clearly gyno), tells me the diagnosis and says I can go home. Still groggy from the morphine, no questions answered (like why did it take 3 ultrasounds and a CT to diagnose it?), I get a cab home, sleep it off, and was fine in the morning.

So the six month mark coincided with a doctor's appointment to follow-up on the cyst rupture. I had a basic work-up, ultrasound, and pelvic exam. My doctor seemed pretty confident I'd be pregnant within the next 3 months because all my tests were fine. Off I went with the well-meaning but incredibly condescending, annoying, irritating, etc advice to have lots of sex and be patient. If you're reading this and you've ever said that to someone, know that in their head they gave you a mental smack. Yes, those were daggers in her eyes.

Four months later, I was back in the doctor's office, this time with a reluctant partner who really didn't want to have his man juices questioned, who really didn't want to have to produce a sample, bring it to a lab, and wait for results. No wonder he dragged his heals to do it, but it had to be done. I requested more tests for me, a hormone panel, and an x-ray of my tubes. The hormone panel was fine. The man juice was plenty manly. The referral was put in for the x-ray, an HSG, that first required a specialist referral, was a long depressing wait. It took 5 months to get the appointment. Five months of experimenting with vitamins and old wives tales (what better cure for a dusty old womb than an old wives tale, right?) all the while still charting basal temperature, peeing on sticks, and mastering the art of cervical position. I even had high hopes for the "stop trying and go on vacation" trick, but no. It was great to get away and have a vacation though!

The day came for the specialist appointment. I was full of hope again. We went together. She ordered up an even more comprehensive hormone panel for me, another man juice analysis, and the HSG. The HSG is a pain in the butt to schedule. It took 6 more weeks to get that scheduled. I'd read many accounts of it, some painful, some not. I wasn't anxious, I was eager. It's not fun, I won't lie, but I'm a trooper. My goal is childbirth, after all, I can handle getting poked at with a catheter. The test works like this. A dye is pushed into your uterus, and it should flow back out through the fallopian tubes (referred to as spillage). It was pretty clear that one side had proximal blockage, nothing was going in. The other side was unclear, and I was told to wait until the radiology report. A week later, in her office, is when I got the news. All the hormones look good. Everything else is good. Except the tubes. The radiology report said no spillage. Both sides blocked. Recommendation - IVF. And now I wait. First I need an ultrasound, to check for fibroids and polyps because the uterus also didn't look right during the HSG. Another two weeks.

So I wait. Maybe putting it out of my mind would help, that's my other half's strategy for life. Drives me crazy. I want to plan. I want to be prepared for every possibility. Maybe I'm ruminating. I hope this is therapeutic instead.

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