Thursday, 23 June 2011

My Infertile Life So Far - Part 1

I thought I would start this blog, although I've been TTC for a while, mainly as an outlet of the stressful experience that anyone who has dealt with infertility is well aware of.  I find it interesting to follow others' blogs, so I thought I would give it a try.  One problem is that I've never done a blog of any kind before, so I really don't know what I'm doing.  Blogging isn't something I normally do, so we'll see how this experiment goes!  I'm sorry if it's boring!

One major obstacle to getting started with my "blogging" is the daunting task of reviewing my TTC history, which stretches back 7 years.  I'm not sure that I remember it all, nor do I want to.  I am now 39 years old (my birthday was last month, boo!).  I got married in 2004 and have been TTC #1 since then.

The first year I stopped taking the pill, and, like every fertile idiot, I thought that would be enough for it to "happen".  Well, that works for some people, but not me, since I'm not fertile.  I still didn't know that back then, though, so I researched a bit and found out about charting temperatures, checking for EWCM & using OPKs.  I got a little beepy thermometer to take my BBT.  (I hate that thing!)  I also used "Fetilityfriend.com" to chart and analysed other people's charts.  I found it interesting that some people had reallllllly long cycles.  That would drive me nuts!  I read up on a ton of fertility issues.  After I made a great pile of charts, still nothing, though I did find that I seemed to be ovulating regularly and my cycles were quite regular.  So I went to my GP and she referred me to an RE.  It took about 4 months to actually see the RE, so by that time 2 years had passed since I had started trying.

The RE didn't even look at my charts, but did a whole battery of tests.  Blood tests, HSG, SA, etc.  The results were not very conclusive, which actually gave me hope.  I thought I must be fine, and just not lucky.  She thought maybe I had endometriosis since there was nothing else really going on, and she suggested surgery.  At that point I thought that sounded pretty crazy, since there was no real evidence of endometriosis.  She said there is no way of knowing until "getting in there" and then she could vaporise it if she found any.  I thought "no thanks, not right now!"  The sperm analysis showed that my husband D's sperm was ok but low motility.  She said we could try a "sperm wash" (we didn't really understand that either, for all my reading up it seemed very weird) after the surgery.  She seemed very stuck on doing the surgery, which I didn't want to do, and basically she wouldn't do anything else except to monitor "natural cycles" until after the surgery.  The fertility clinic was really big and busy, and they were always running late.  They opened at 7a.m. and basically if you aren't there before it opens, like 6:30, you are screwed.  The doctor doesn't even come in until 8:30, so there is a guaranteed wait time of 2 hours every visit.  (...and that's if you are #1 on the list!  If you end up number #23 or something like that, forget it, you're waiting there for the whole morning.)  I thought this was very abnormal back then, to wait around for 2 hours for the doctor to just say: "Looks great! See you tomorrow!".  I look around the waiting room and wonder how everyone else can stand it?  I did about 3 monitored cycles (no meds or IUI's- I didn't know any better to insist on more action for all the time I was spending).  I got very stressed out about being late for work, and having to take unexplained days off to see the doctor.  There were many pointless visits, when the doctor didn't have anything to tell me at all, except to come back again.  I didn't understand why I was even there and it was messing up my job with the chronic lateness.  That and the surgery plan just basically freaked me right out, so we dropped out and went on our own for what turned out to be a few more years.  (Initially planning to take a few months off)  The honest truth was that I didn't like the doctor or the clinic.  We wanted help, but it felt like a huge relief to not go there anymore! 

I eventually went back to my GP and asked for a different referral.  She referred me back to the exact same doctor, for some reason.  So I went back (after another 4 month wait, even though I tried to tell the secretary that I was a previous patient) and we redid all the tests.  They turned out pretty much the same.  Tubes are clear, Ok ovarian reserve, suspected Endo, low sperm motility.  We did an IUI right away (Thank God, after all that wasted time!) which resulted in a BFN.

We did nome more IUI's with meds:  IUI #2 was with Clomid - BFN. 

IUI #3 was with Femara and Puregon - BFN.

Then I went for the dreaded surgery.  I survived!  It was a laporoscopy for my Endometriosis that I may or may not have.  She found 4 spots of "Stage I" Endo and removed it.  It took a few weeks to recover from that.  I only had to take 3 days off work, though, since there was a long weekend attached, and I was OK after that.  My scars are small and not yet faded (I have bad Irish skin that gets irritated by everything) and look like 2 small red marks on my bikini line and in my belly button.  The worst part of the surgery was the anaesthetic and I was also worried about the breathing tube (it was OK).   Afterwards I was nauseous and crampy.  I took a lot of pain meds and stayed on the couch for several days.  Also, I was in pain from the remaining gas that did not escape after the surgery (they puff you up with CO2 gas so they can see what they are doing with their instruments when they are in there zapping things, then remove most of it at the end).  The gas goes up and then can't get out so I creates stabbing pains in your shoulders.  It felt better to lay down and then the gas was more spread out and not concentrating into these painful shoulder stabs.  It took a few days for the gas to dissipate, then I felt a lot better. 

Well, that brings me up to February 2011.  Stay tuned for part 2!

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