Apparently it is infertility week. I was planning my next post on being a general CF update, but I think a lesson on our fertility journey will be better for right now. Especially given what happened to me last night. I was out with a bunch of girl friends…two of whom have beautiful babies! Of course we get talking and the subject of babies comes up. One of the girls knows about my struggles to conceive, but I really don't/didn't want to discuss it with the others. Its a painful discussion and I really don't want sympathy. But of course, the one who doesn't know about our struggles asked if we are trying. I wanted to pour my heart out, but at the same time I didn't. I don't want to cry, i don't want them to feel badly. It was a big struggle going on in my head. I think she asked in an excited way…an "oh a playmate for my baby would be great!" sort of thing. But I just can't come to terms with the discussion. YES I would love to give your daughter a playmate, YES I'd love to join the "mommy club"…but I couldn't face that discussion. Its so difficult to talk to people who don't understand and thats why I started this blog. This is where I can pour my heart out, my deepest thoughts and angers and I can lash out without worrying about what people think…and maybe someday I will share this story with pride (with a baby on my hip). But for right now, we are winging it. Maybe it will happen soon, maybe it will happen in years. There is a reason and time for everything.
My husband and I decided three years ago to stop our birth control and sort of "go with the flow" to get pregnant. We tried off and on for about two years before we decided to seek help. At times during those two years, we tried in earnest…temping, timed intercourse, watching my cycle. Nothing worked. For about a six month period, I was also in a drug study for CF treatment and we did have to stop trying, but I never went back on hormonal birth control. The definition of infertility is typically that you try for one year and if you're not pregnant…you seek help. Or you wait longer and then seek help.
We talked many times over the course of our two years. The subject of seeing a fertility specialist was a daunting and scary one for both of us. I was eager to go after a year of trying, husband not so much. I never pressured him, I would gently ask and if wasn't ready, then I wasn't ready either. It had to be a decision that we made together. So right around the two year mark, he asked nonchalantly "so…do you still want to see the sperm doctor?" Or something around those lines. Typical guy response. Of course I wanted to jump right on that and make an appointment, but again, I didn't want to pressure him. So I waited a few months or weeks, I can't remember and then I asked him again. He still seemed interested so I went for it.
In October of 2014, we had our first consultation. It was mostly a fact getting experience for the doctor. He asked about both of our medical histories, etc. Because of where I was in my cycle at that time (I think like cycle day 8, so at the very beginning)…we had to wait a whole month to start any testing. I was instructed to call on day one of my cycle and they would schedule it all. Everything had to be done on certain days to see if I ovulated, to see if I had the right hormone level and to see if my tubes were intact and clear. In the meantime, husband scheduled a semen analysis. (I swear I would much prefer any of my testing over that particular test!)
A few weeks after all of our testing was done (so about 6-8 weeks after our initial consult), we met with the doctor again. Apparently all of our testing was normal! His swimmers were good quality and quantity. My tubes were clear, hormone levels good and I appeared to ovulate normally.
Because it had been so long trying and NOT conceiving, our doctor told us he could try a few different things. He could try IUI or intrauterine insemination, which is the less invasive procedure. The short of this procedure is that they give the female hormones to "force" ovulation, and then on the anticipated day of ovulation, the male goes in to the office and produces a sample. A short while later, the female goes into the office and the sperm (in a large syringe like apparatus) gets placed directly in the woman's uterus, bypassing certain parts of the female anatomy.
Our other option was to go directly to IVF, in-vitro fertilization. This procedure is much more invasive and requires many more hormones for the female. It works the same in the beginning, they give you medication to ovulate, but in higher quantity so that you release more eggs. Then the doctors go in and retrieve the eggs. The male then produces his sample, and the two are placed together in a petri dish and you hope that some of the eggs fertilize for use later. The fertilized egg(s) are then placed back in the female with the only thing left to happen is to attach to the females uterus.
Two weeks after each of these procedures, the female goes in for a blood pregnancy test. We decided (or insurance did) that we would go with IUI to start. Our insurance covered the majority of this, so thats what pushed our decision. We tried twice and got nothing. After the second one, we had a death in the family so we decided to take the month off. I wanted to be there with my family and not have to rush around for tests and procedures. In a sick twist of irony…I got very sick the day before the funeral…and I couldn't be there for/with my family. It truly broke my heart. But looking back that was a good time to stop our treatments because I wouldn't have been able to do it with being sick.
It has since been a few months and we have not yet been back to the fertility center. We are not financially or emotionally ready to take the step to IVF. We can still try the normal way and see what happens. We know there is nothing holding us back, so maybe that will break our curse. And maybe it won't…we will be patient. And when the time is right it will happen or we will decide to try something else.
Thanks so much for reading all this mumbo jumbo!
If you are looking for more info or stories of infertility, I love this one. I follow this family on Facebook, you've probably read about them. The Gardner Quads. She posted a link to her very first blog post this morning…and with me being new to the blogging world, I hope it is etiquette correct / ok to share her post. She writes wonderful stories about her journey and portrays some of my exact feelings! Please go read it. If you have not struggled with infertility, it may help you understand what someone else is going through…and if you have struggled or are currently struggling it will make you feel less alone.