Monday, April 30, 2012

Battle for a Turtle

This was stirred up in my thoughts this morning thanks to a new IG follower of mine, Tonya.  After getting the notification that I had a new follower I looked her up and saw that she had a blog site (and a son also named Lucas!)  Of course I checked it out, added it to my Google Reader and came across a recent post which of course brings me to write this now.  If you choose not to click the link and view her post first (or at all) I'll give you the gist of it.  It's about Infertility, the struggles and emotions as a result, and a support group for women.

As I may have mentioned previously {in my PREGNANT post}, it took us five years to get pregnant.  We struggled with infertility.  We had made the decision six months into our marriage that we wanted to try to have kids.  (Buh bye birth control.)  We had no success.  This is about my lengthy struggle with infertility, and lengthy it is so bare with me.

Now, at the time we were both getting started with our careers and had moved to a new place (Wisconsin) far away from our families.  After months of failure I was very disappointed but knew it could take quite some time, especially after getting off of birth control.  Then three years went by.  And by that time I was distraught and blamed myself for our infertility.  

Even though we struggled so many years we still didn't seek out professional help aside from my regular GYN visits.  I was eventually diagnosed with PCOS and since that is a popular cause of infertility I placed all the blame on myself.  Needless to say it put a strain on my marriage and Hubby and I went through a rough patch.

After reconciling we moved back home to North Carolina - a fresh start.  Re-establishing ourselves and careers yet again became our focal point.  After our fourth year of marriage we just tried not to think so hard about conceiving, even though the disappointment was still running in the background.  But we finally talked about it again and decided to get serious, meaning seeing and talking to the professionals.  I saw my GYN and got a referral to an Infertility Specialist.  

But before my referral appointment my GYN scheduled me for a Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) at a local lab.  They insert a dye and x-ray your uterus and surrounding areas, checking for any abnormalities in your uterus, ovaries and tubes.  I went to the lab and had the procedure done.  It was PAINFUL.  And the results were not good.  It showed that only half of my uterus was "lit up" and thus only one tube.  The technician thought I had an abnormal uterus.  Of course, this upset me greatly.  If I had been able to conceive then my chances of carrying a fetus to term are not high.  This had me doing a lot of research online and getting me even further and further depressed.

Finally I go see the specialist.  The result of that visit was another diagnosis for me, Hypothyroidism.  Another factor in my infertility.  Another strike against my ego.  She pulled the test results from the HSG and was confused.  She said it told her nothing and questioned the test validity.  So I had to have it redone, this time at their lab with her performing it.  I was unhappy about having to go through it again since it was extremely painful.

This time around Hubby was there with me, holding my hand, and they actually gave me a sedative before the procedure, something the previous lab neglected to do!  They inserted the dye and we watched the screen as it flowed through my body.  Hubby actually said I gasped once we saw it spread throughout my uterus AND into my ovaries.  I had a perfect uterus and neither of my tubes were blocked!!  You just can't imagine the RELIEF of this.  It was one less strike for me and very good news to hear that if we did succeed in conceiving that I shouldn't have any difficulties carrying a child.  {Not to mention this time around the procedure barely hurt at all, this lab did it right.  Whereas the other lab must have inserted the balloon instrument too far, blocking off so the dye couldn't spread throughout.}

But we aren't out of the clear yet.  Hubby still needed to be tested, and he was.  It was unexpected to learn that he actually had a problem too.  No, it wasn't his sperm count.  Ha, that could have been fixed more easily from the research I found.  It was actually his mobility that was slow, or Low Motility.  As I recall it, it means the sperm are abnormally shaped.  So basically the tail is curved instead of straight, causing them to swim in circles.  So they never make it to the egg because they can't get very far moving in circles, now can they?  Here's a brief explanation about Low Motility.

So now it's not just me, it's the both of us.  Double Whammy.  I can actually spread out some of the blame for our infertility.  But that's not gonna help us any.  But I have to admit it did take some of the pressure off of me.  Unfortunately, there aren't many treatments for men's infertility like women have.  And my issues can be treated with the medications I began taking.  So our doctors kept telling us to "hurry up and wait".  About a year later we went back to the specialist.  What do you know but she was out on maternity leave.  (Bruise my ego again.)  So we saw her counterpart and he reviewed our case.

After a few months of trying without any medical help other than my prescriptions of Synthroid we still hadn't conceived (apparently doctors want to see you fail before they actually prescribe you anything).  Finally, they got around to giving me Clomid.  I had actually tried it once while in Wisconsin but didn't take it more than the first dose.  You need to take it at least three months straight to see if it will even work for you.  I had only taken one dose.

This doctor I believe gave me a double dose along with the monthly refills.  Well folks, I got lucky with that first double dose.  We finally we're pregnant.  We finally got our "turtle".  End struggle here.

Now to discuss the other side to this struggle, the actual emotions.  I was never the type to broadcast my emotions so clearly to all.  I tended (perhaps still do) to keep things bottled up.  Throughout those five years of trying to get pregnant we never told our friends and families that we were trying to do so (there were a rare few that I did confide in of course).  Plain and simple: I just couldn't bare to broadcast our failure.  In fact, we tried to do the exact opposite.  I tried to play it off as us waiting to start our family and that we just weren't interested yet.  I was even uninterested in other people's babies, pretending to some extent to not want anything to do with them.  The truth was, it just hurt too much.

Eventually though, roughly when we finally got serious about trying, is when I revealed everything to my parents.  I had even discussed with them about IVF and how costly it would be for us, another reason we just kept trying naturally.  And shortly before we actually succeeded did we reveal it to Hubby's mom.  

Looking back I don't think I would have changed too much.  I still would have preferred to keep it to myself, mainly because I didn't want to hear everyone's advice.  Now that I've succeeded though I feel like I can share this.  What I would have changed however was our laziness. I would have gotten serious earlier on and pushed myself and Hubby to seek the professional help we needed.  We could have been on our second or third child by now.  But I'm not complaining.  I love my turtle, Lucas.  

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