Adding support

I’ve found a friend!  Through a mutual friend on Facebook I now have another piece to my support circle.  My new friend T is someone who has gone through IVF 4 times and is finally pregnant with a little girl.  It’s very heartwarming and calming to have someone who has actually been there and who can truly understand what I will be going through and can offer real advice and support based on personal experience.

In other news, I’ve been taking Lupron for 4 days now and the injection part really isn’t that scary.  I was really nervous for the first shot and then it was over with and done with and it was nothing!  I’m sure I will get tired and sore when I have 3 different injections a day.

It’s my fault. Biologically, anyway.

Hi, I’m the husband. Nick’s the name. Infertility, apparently, is my game.

The long and short of it (nice term given the context) is that my sperm count is way low thanks to a prolactinoma. But now I’m starting to wonder. You see, the prolactinoma is under control. It’s still there, and it hasn’t shrunk, but my hormones are all at normal levels now. That is supposed to mean my sperm count should return to normal. Instead, my count is dropping, and at a rather fast pace. So the question is ‘why’? Someone on facebook today posted an article (a rather one-sided article that pandered to that one site’s audience…) about cell phone and wifi radiation. That had me wondering to myself if it was indeed possible that keeping me phone in my pocket was causing the problem. Well, if it’s true it kinda sucks. But I can’t do much about it now.

So on another note, IVF is expensive. SONOFABITCH.

The moment it hit me

Yesterday it finally hit me that we are actually doing this.  I felt nervous and scared and then emotional.  I almost started to blubber in the injection teaching class!  It was a very brief moment of reality.  Seeing all of the needles and medication practicing…  Wow.  It finally hit me that yes, we are going to do this!  Omg…

It wasn’t really at that moment, but it was when the nurse was giving a brief overview of the actual procedure that made me feel very nervous and then excited and then emotional.  Especially when she was talking about the transfer and when she said “embryos”.  It felt very real to me then that those 2 embryos that they will transfer have the potential to be our babies.  Human.  Real people.  Offspring.  Our children.  So far nothing in this treatment has felt “real” to me yet, except at that moment it finally did 🙂

Luckily I regained my composure a few minutes later because we still had to pay (for everything – that was a big cheque) and also pick up some medication.  I start the Lupron on Saturday.  I was competent at filling the syringe and injecting the hockey puck in teaching, but actually grabbing my belly and jabbing myself – well I’m not looking forward to that.  I’ll definitely be taking the advice of the nurse and icing the area beforehand.

On another note, my husband Nick added himself to this blog so you might see some posts by him from time to time.

The official start….

Well today is the actual start to our IVF process.  The first appointment.  It feels kind of surreal still… Mostly because I think we are still in shock that this is the only option.  It’s definitely not how I planned on starting a family.  I always imagined I would wake up and feel ill and be running to the toilet.  I would always be waiting for that symptom because I have this fear of throwing up and wanted to just get it over with.  However, it never came.

My other concern is that everything might end up feeling “fake”.  The fake conception and possibly if we have twins, a fake birth (c-section).

Whenever I have mentioned how this was not the way I expected on having a family to close friends and family, they have all said the same thing: that you will still have a real pregnancy and a real baby at the end of it.  My SIL had a c-section and she had told me that it took her quite awhile after the birth of her son to sort through her feelings about the birth.  She had friends who have had children before but naturally, so it didn’t really help because there were certain things she couldn’t relate to and vice versa.  However, she made it clear that the end result is the same and that it doesn’t matter how it happens, what matters is that the end “product” is very real and to be proud of it and your body for growing it.

It’s definitely a difficult process emotionally to go through.  Most of the time I don’t know what to think – except to stay in a positive frame of mind.  I’ve always been an optimist, but now I’m leaning towards the realistic side of optimist.

Note: I wanted to add a bit of clarity to this post.  I had a friend read it and she and I had a discussion about how some people might think that I actually think that c-sections are not a real birth (especially those who have had them).  I don’t think that at all – so please don’t send me hate mail!

What I meant in this post is this:

Finding out that the chances of becoming spontaneously pregnant (naturally) were basically zero was devastating.  It’s not something you ever, EVER dream of.  You think, “Nope, not going to happen to me!  Someone else, but definitely not me.”  And then to find out that the only way you CAN have a biological family is through a scientific procedure, well you kind of feel cheated in life.  If that isn’t bad enough, well what if you can’t even deliver naturally due to multiples or complications during labour?  Just knowing that a spontaneous pregnancy won’t occur is like being punched in the ovaries.  To have so much scheduling done just for life to being, and then to have your once chance at bringing that life into the world possibly taken away – you feel cheated out of something so “natural”.  Hence the “fake” part.

Of course, I don’t mean that a c-section is a fake birth.  I know many women who have delivered via c-section and I have never once thought the birth of their children was fake.  I would be a monster if I thought that!  It’s the same as saying that conception through IVF isn’t real – it is, it’s just different.  I’m sure that if and when we get to birthing stage and I have to end up having a c-section then I will just deal with it and realize that it’s not the end of the world – especially since it will help bring a future baby into the world.

The important thing about this post when I wrote it was how I was learning to process the emotional aspect of IVF.  It’s not easy to let go of “normal” and accept “different”, and it’s even harder to verbalize those thoughts.  I don’t expect everyone who reads this to understand, but I wanted to add a bit of clarity to what I wrote.  So please, no hate mail 🙂

 

SHG

I got the confirmation call for my SHG appointment next week.  I’m not looking forward to that.  Anything that has to do with a catheter is not something that I want to do.

Anyways, I have the entire long weekend to not think about it 😛

Fear

While in the back and forth with the clinic about how much everything is to cost in the end, they confirmed with us that we will have to do ICSI. I’ve provided a link to what ICSI is so I don’t have to paraphrase it.

Anyways… basically we will be bypassing natural selection.  While the entire procedure is a risk in itself for not only me but for any children, the process of ICSI leads to potentially higher risks of everything as they will be really interfering with cells.  I’m a bit bothered by this because there is the risk of birth defects potentially caused by ICSI.  I know that thousands of babies have been produced and born healthy with the help of ICSI but it’s one more thing to worry about.

Also, it costs $1500 more for ICSI.  Yay us.

I’m also scared of the drugs.  The side-effects and the long-term effects on me and possible children.  I’m also not looking forward to a catheter fitting.  Ouch.

—————-

The whole idea of IVF in the beginning when we didn’t know anything about what was going on was very scary for me.  The thought of not having a spontaneous pregnancy devastated me.  It still saddens me, but not to the weeping uncontrollably state.  It’s hard to push those ideas of how “it is supposed to happen” out of my mind.  I remember holding back the most persistent tears as myself and N would talk about the worst case scenario.  I hoped that it would never be true, but I think in the back of my mind I knew it was our fate.  I’m not a religious person, but I remember asking rhetorically, “Why? Why us?  Are we horrible people?”.  Of course, we aren’t horrible people, and we also knew that N’s condition wasn’t caused by anything that we did or didn’t do.  It was just the way our cards were dealt.  Very shitty, but that’s life.

N would push me to talk about the options.  He knew it would take awhile for me to be able to discuss it without falling apart.  His reasoning is this:  If you get to the worst case scenario and you have already discussed it, then it’s not really a worst case scenario.  It’s just a scenario that you have already talked about and you know what you are going to do about it.

He’s a very logical kind of guy 🙂

 

The first post

So this is the first post of many for our IVF blog.  I hope to journal this journey out – to both be memorable and to be cathartic as I’m sure there will be many ups and downs.  My reason for blogging besides the above statements is to be a resource for other couples going through the same process, procedure, struggle and emotions.

Today is day 5 into my first IVF cycle.  It’s surreal.  It hasn’t “hit” me yet as to what I’m actually doing.  I don’t want to count any chickens before they hatch but I still want to remain positive and hopeful that this first cycle will be successful.

My story is this.  I’m 32 and my husband (“N”) is 33.  We’ve been married for almost 10 years and have been trying to start a family for the past 7.  We only finally decided to get things checked out a little more in depth January of 2012.  My cycles are textbook and my charting showed no problems.  After some blood work, they discovered a prolactinoma on N’s pituitary gland which was suppressing testosterone and making his prolactin levels skyrocket.  After some treatment they discovered that his sperm count levels were dropping instead of increasing.  They still don’t know why or what is causing this.  The fall of 2012 we made the decision to have a sample of his frozen.  That was a tough day for us.  The realization of the chances of a spontaneous pregnancy were basically zero. Our only option is IVF and since I am still young enough we wanted to start the first cycle of it quickly.

We are hopeful that since I don’t have any fertility issues that this first cycle will work, however we both are realistic about it failing.  I feel like I’m in a daze about this because I know it’s not a sure thing.  People around me are very excited and positive about it but it’s hard for me to feel like this will work the first time around.  I am taking each day one at a time and not looking too far into the future.