I started this blog because my new therapist gave me a homework assignment. She says I need an outlet to let out all of the feelings I have associated with my battle with infertility. I have never been a journaler so I figure everyone else is blogging, why not me?
So just to give anyone who may be reading this a bit of background info...R and I got married in November of 2007. We decided to start trying to conceive that following summer. I would have happily started trying on our wedding night but R wanted to get used to the idea of being married first. He was still grieving his bachelorhood. Anyway, I...being the control freak that I am...I immediately signed up for the Fertility Friend charting website. I dutifully took my temperature every morning and recorded it in the hopes of narrowing down that fertile window. There really is only a small window...it's amazing to me that anyone ever gets pregnant at all with all of the stars that have to be aligned in order for this miracle to take place. So after six months of seing one lonely line on the pee sticks, I made an appt to see a fertility specialist...just to rule out any "issues." That's when my nightmare began.
One of the first things they do since it is the easiest, cheapest and least invasive test is the sperm analysis. Ours came back with ZERO. Yes, that's right folks...no sperm...none...nada...zip...zero. This was in March of 2008 and I can still hear my doctor's voice with his Indian accent in my head, telling me possibly the worst news I may ever hear. My head immediately started spinning. How could this be? Surely, it's some sort of horrible mistake? The lab had to have screwed up? So after a day or two, I regrouped and marched on. We made an appt. with a Urologist and was told that a biopsy was in order to confirm that R at least manufactures sperm. This would tell us if he has obstructive azoopspermia or unobstructive azoospermia. Unobstructive would be the one we don't want...that would mean he does not even make sperm. The biopsy was scheduled for May 27, 2008. Good news! They found sperm. We had 15 vials of testicular tissue frozen for future IVF.
Next step: Decide which clinic to give our money to and oh yeah, where we were going to get the money! So after lots of research, spreadsheets and a fight or two, we decided to take out a loan at 15% interest (yuck) and chose a clinic in Los Angeles. They weren't my first choice, but their success rates were decent and I could stay with R's parents. My first choice was CCRM, which chances are...if you are still reading, you know they are the best, but their prices, along with the travel expenses was just too much. Mind you...we were out of pocket at the time. I also looked at a clinic in OR, the Czech Republic and NYC. But the real draw was being able to stay with family. So LA it was.
Fast forward to Thanksgiving 2008, I had just completed my 2nd IVF cycle and was getting ready to start the POAS marathon. My first cycle (Long Lupron) was cancelled because I only had one follie...and well...I can do that all by myself thank you very much. Did I mention my FSH was 14.3? On my 2nd cycle (Antagonist), I had 3 follies, one stopped developing and one ovulated before they could get in there so we got one egg. That egg fertilized (thank you ICSI) and we had a beautiful 8 cell embryo. So the peeing started...BFN. Beta was 1. Mother trucker.
At this point, I would have probably switched doctors, but we purchased the two cycle plan so I was kind of stuck. And then, as it turned out, I was unexpectedly eligible for my company's sister company's health plan, out of Rhode Island! RI has mandated IVF coverage! So my clinic converted my two cycle plan to a single cycle plan and would allow us to use the excess funds toward copays for the next IVF. Finally, some welcome news! So February 2010 was the start of my third try (Stop Lupron). We got 3 eggs, and wouldn't you know it...couldn't find any viable sperm in the remaining 6 vials of tissue we had. Mother trucker.
The next step was to get some more sperm. Our Urologist suggested trying to clear the obstruction and at the same time collect more sperm. So surgery was scheduled for May 19th 2010. We also signed R up for my healthplan to have secondary coverage. That turned out to be more trouble than that it was *almost* worth. I could write a-whole-nother blog about navigating health insurance. Anyway, the surgery didn't go quite as well as hoped. We did get more testicular tissue for another IVF. And they did repair the obstruction, but the surgeon didn't see any sperm in the epidydimus so the prognosis is not that good. We have our first semen analysis the first week of July. In meantime, I got the ball rolling with CCRM. We are in this so far for over $35k...might as well keep going.
I went for my one day work up and was pretty amazed at how well they have their system down. I was in and out of the there in 7 hours. Dr. Schoolcraft didn't say that I was a lost cause so I thought that was a good sign! After that everything moved along quite nicely...I shipped R's blood to them for communicables testing in order for them to accept his sperm, I got a mammogram (that was fun), got some documents notarized, shipped them my CD3 blood, and that's when my momentum came to screeching halt. The clueless lab here that drew my blood put it in the wrong tube so it could not be tested. I really don't want to know what my FSH is anyway, but still annoying. So we are going to try again next month, but instead of just CD3, I am actually going to do the Clomid Challenge. They said they probably would have made me do it anyway, so might as well do it next month to save time. Now I'm just waiting for AF to start.
So that's the background. This process has been nothing less than gut-wrenching at times, borderline hopeful at times...but mostly just very frustrating. I decided to seek therapy because I realized that I was having more bad days than good ones and really starting to focus and dwell on the what ifs. So I'm hoping that seeing her will help me remain positive and stay in the present. If you have read this far, chances are you are either a friend and I thank you for boring yourself to tears...OR...you are having your own standoff. If it's the latter...I'm truly sorry...no one deserves this. It's so difficult to see my friends get pregnant and have children...moving on with their lives without me. I find myself wondering why I was singled out. I was telling my therapist last week that I can't process the fact that I, who have always tried to live by good morals, am dealing with this, while other people who cheat on their husbands multiple times and are really not nice people, go on to have perfect babies. It's grossly unfair and I'm really angry about it. But this is the hand I was dealt so I have no choice but to ante up. The bet? One cycle at CCRM. Stay tuned.