Two Years and Counting


Super Long Recap
December 12, 2007, 10:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

So far, I feel pretty calm about the appointment we had this yesterday with the specialist. I’m happy to say I did like her a lot. I made the comment a couple of weeks ago that I may not want to stick with a doctor who I didn’t feel like I clicked with. Matt said he didn’t really need to click with the doctor, but I guess since I’m the one who will be having a majority of stuff done to me, I want to like the doctors and staff. One of my main desires was that the doctor and nurses wouldn’t make me feel like just another infertility case who needs a standard shot of Clomid and a box of OPKs, and that our consultation wouldn’t be a quick, five minute run through our history and that’s it. Thankfully, that’s not what we got.

Our morning started in the waiting area of the doctor’s office. When we arrived 30 minutes prior to our appointment time, there were only two other women in the waiting room. After 15 minutes or so, the place was hopping with couples coming in and going out. It was a little strange knowing we were all there for the same reason (most likely) yet still feeling kind of embarrassed to be there. When I had to get up to give my urine sample, I felt like all eyes were on me as I left the room, then as I walked back in three minutes later.

When we were called back, the nurse directed Matt to Dr. H’s office, and me to another area to be weighed and to have my blood pressure taken. After that, I joined him in the office. Dr. H came in a few minutes later, and started talking to us about the area of town we live in, and told us she used to live just up the street from us. She started telling us this story of the house she lived in and its history. As she was talking, I was thinking that it was kind of strange that we’re here for our first RE appt and we’re talking about houses, but I guess that was a way for her to break the ice and/or make us relax a bit. I didn’t think I’d be nervous, but due to how cold and fidgety I was, I think I was nervous.

Then she got in to our history. This is where the 20 pages of paperwork come in! She went through it all, asking us questions here and there, pointing out things that she thought might be problem-causing. She was very thorough and friendly, not at all intimidating. The first thing she suggested is a Sperm Penetration Assay for M. That’s where they see if the sperm have the ability to actually penetrate an egg. He’s having this test done on Monday. The results from that will tell us a lot. If the results aren’t great, she said we’d be candidates for IVF (yikes, jump right in, shall we?) If the results are fine, we’ll be looking at things like sperm antibodies in me, and a few other things on my end, with possible IUI.

A couple of other things she mentioned for me. First, she said I need to cut down my exercising! That was a shocker. I’d estimated in my history that I exercise 4-5 hours a week. She immediately said, “Cut that down to three hours.” She said anything more than that can interfere with fertility. Everything I’ve read says exercise is great when you’re having fertility issues—both for the health benefits and for the de-stressing. I guess this may be specific to me because of my low weight. And that’s another thing she honed in on. I’ve always been naturally thin. I’m actually well under the “healthy weight range” for people of my height (I’m 5’3” and weigh about 103—the healthy range is something like 115-140). But I eat well, exercise, and don’t obsess, and my period has always been regular (although she said weight can still sometimes affect ovulation, even if your periods are regular.) My weight has hardly fluctuated in about 10 years, so I’ve just accepted that this is the weight my body wants to be. Dr. H. said it’s ok if you’re within 10% below your “healthy” range. 10% below 115 is right at about 103, so technically I’m ok, but she said not to go down any. I’m going to actually going to try yet again to put on few pounds. It can’t hurt—plus the idea of all the ice cream sounds great!

So, our plan is for the S.P.A. test for M on Monday, then natural cycle monitoring for my next cycle, since I’m already half way through this one. That means that on CD9 (cycle day 9), I’ll start with the OPKs. As soon as I see any color at all on the test line (doesn’t have to be as dark as the control line like the directions say), I’m to call the office and tell them I’ve had a surge. Then I’ll come in the next morning and they’ll see what my follicles look like. At that point, if we’ve timed it right, we can either wait and see if I get pregnant naturally, or they can do the insemination (IUI). This all depends on the results of that S.P.A. test. They’ll also do a post coital test—if we can BD (Oh, I detest that abbreviation for sex, but I guess I’ll use it to be PC in the infertility world) that morning before the early appointment (I have to be in the office by 8:30.)

Then (nope, not over yet), I had an exam. Now, I know I originally said this was going to be a consult only with no lab work or anything, but once I got in there, I figured we were already there, why waste sick time and almost a whole morning just to talk? I was due for my annual check up this month anyway, so they did that. I also said I was ok with some blood work to test for HIV and a host of STD’s. After the exam, I met with a nurse who went over our plan of action with me.

Then came the financial person who went over my insurance coverage. Turns out, I have just about the best insurance in the world. The nurse kept saying, “Wow, they cover this too?” This is interesting to me, because I don’t really like my job, and I haven’t for a long time. I’ve tried many times to get another job, but nothing has worked out for me. Basically, it’s a great company, but a bad department. I’ve had to tell myself MANY times over the years, Lauren, if the doors to other jobs aren’t opening, then you’re here for a reason. Now, years later, I think I’m seeing the reason why I’ve been stuck here. If we have to go the IVF route, or even if we don’t and do other procedures instead, we’ll hardly be paying out of pocket at all. And believe me, I understand what a blessing this is. I’ve heard many stories of expenses racked up while trying to get pregnant. So, this blessing is not going unnoticed.

After all that, it had been about 2 hours and it was time for me to have blood taken and get out of there. It had been about 3 hours since I’d eaten anything, and I was already getting twinges of that “I need to eat” feeling. When I sat down, I saw the nurse pull out 5 vials. Now, I don’t particularly have a problem with needles, but I’ve always been a little nervous about having my blood taken, mainly because I know I’m under the weight requirement for donating blood, and I knew that requirement was there for a reason. Anyway, as she was filling the little vials, it was like I could immediately feel all the blood rushing out of my head and body! Such a strange sensation. I told the nurse I was feeling a little woozy, but that I’d be ok and just needed to sit a minute. She watched me like a hawk, and after just a couple of minutes I said I was ok to leave. I paid my copay and left.

Now, 24 hours after the appt, I’m still sort of digesting everything. Last night, M and I were both exhausted—both from the hectic-ness of the day, from having to be “on” from 9am until 9pm, and I think from the mental and emotional strain of facing these issues with Dr. H. We were pretty excited about the appt prior to yesterday, looking forward to figuring some things out, but now that the appt is over, we still don’t know much more than we did when we went in. I know we have to be patient, and we both knew just going to the doctor wouldn’t magically make the problems go away, but I think we both were sort of disappointed that we don’t have a complete game plan: Step 1, do this, Step 2, get pregnant—even though we knew it wouldn’t work like that.

I think we’re both anticipating M’s test on Monday to see what the results are (which will come a week or so later.) Those results will help us know the next step. The good thing is that Christmas falls at a time when we’ll just be waiting for either a period or no period—we won’t be in the middle of having to time things just right in my cycle while we’re at my parents house for several days before Christmas. I may be getting my period on Christmas day, but honestly, I’d rather have that than the frustration of feeling like we’re “missing our chance” if we don’t have sex TONIGHT! when we’re in a bed 15 feet from my parents’ bed! (We’ve tried that once before and it’s not fun!) Plus, it’s never a huge surprise when my period comes because the week before, I start getting cramps and other period signals. It’s definitely disappointing when it comes, but also sort of a relief to just be out of the waiting time and to just know one way or another.

I have a long vacation coming up soon, time with my parents and brother and other family at home, Christmas morning with Matt in our own house eating Christmas Breakfast Casserole, and did I mention TWELVE days off work!? Things are good, regardless of what the tests show and what happens down the road. I know Matt and I will have babies one day, and when that time comes, it’ll be even sweeter because we’re having to work a little harder to get them.

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8 Comments so far
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Great news about the insurance coverage! We wouldn’t have been able to pursue the treatments we have without it. I hope all the testing in the next few weeks helps to point you in the right direction.

Comment by andrea_jennine

P.S. I hate the acronym “BD” too – I never, ever use it.

Comment by andrea_jennine

Hi there, I’m glad your appointment went well! It’s exciting that you at least know the next few steps of your game plan. The extra ice cream sounds fun! (I don’t think I qualify for that one, though).

I also HATE “BD”. I never use that one. TTC, yes. DH, yes..although that one took getting used to. But yuck on the term “BD”. Actually, before I figured out that it stood for “Baby Dance,” I had figured out the meaning (sex, obviously), but didn’t know what the letters stood for. In my mind, it somehow became “Bed Down.” Double yuck…that one’s even worse. So I can’t stand using it. On the ovusoft forums (http://forums.ovusoft.com) they have this heart symbol that I like to use. I think that’s a nice way of getting across the meaning without having to use a silly abbreviation.

Comment by sarah23

Lauren,

Well, I think (from what I gather through your post) that you are handling all of this really well. You’re on a journey for sure, and you seem to be taking it one deep breath at a time.

I hear you on the weight thing – and even though it’s frustrating to hear someone tell you to put on the pounds when you’ve had trouble with it your whole life, it sounds like your doctor is on to something here (and the exercise makes sense given your height/weight). Even though ice cream sounds tempting, think through ways you can add weight to your frame with foods that give you the nutrients you need. What does your body tell you it needs to add weight?

Glad to hear about your insurance (and the ‘ah-hah’ moment you had with your job – I love when God does things like that!).

Comment by Heather

Good point, Heather. The article did mention that eating the full-fat foods and milk obviously isn’t good in the long run (if you do it for a long period of time) for your heart or blood pressure, which is a good thing to remember.

Comment by Lauren

Hi there. this is my first time visiting your site. That’s interesting about the S.P.A. test. After a full round of tests, surgery and 3 IUI’s, my RE never mentioned that test.
I’m a tall, very thin girl and run three times a week and have never had the RE say anything about my weight being a factor. He didn’t want me to do a biathlon if I was pregnant (got the results of an IUI right before the race). But I wasn’t, so he said, go for it!

sorry this is getting long. I hope that this RE will be able to help you and that’s awesome about your insurance! Merry Christmas 🙂

Comment by Amber

Hi Amber–I think in the fertility game, weight is a factor for some women, but not for others. That’s great that it’s not a concern for you. And really, I doubt my weight is the sole reason I’m not pregnant yet…but it may be a contributing factor, who knows? If your RE hasn’t mentioned it at all, you could ask him and just see if he has an opinion about it.

And I think my dr wanted to do the SPA test on M because he’s already had the regular SA (semen analysis) and those results were ok–but since he does run a lot, they wanted to see if his training hours are affecting his sperm’s ability to penetrate (even if the numbers are ok.) I don’t really know how that works, but she said vigorous exercise can affect some men’s fertility, but not others, just like our weight.

Comment by Lauren

ahh, i see about the SPA test. we had morph problems with the initial test, so their probably wasn’t the need to do more testing.
and I just read your ivf post and am basically on the same page as you. We were able to get to a place where we were not concerned about a moral dilemma with the IUI, but were not able to justify ivf. We are hoping that the Lord will provide us with a pregnancy or provide us with a child through adoption. we know several people who have gone through ivf and that worked for them, but neither of us were gung-ho about ivf. I hope that you will be able to come to a place together where you can be okay with whatever decision you make!

Comment by Amber




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