My journey thru infertility

Infertility

He Drank the Kool-Aid June 15, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sydnyt @ 7:33 pm

It took me a minute to return to discussing our experience with the first fertility clinic we visited, Poma Fertility in Kirkland. It was awful and traumatic, and subsequently delayed our progress because Pete and I were just too disgusted to even consider trying another clinic for over two years.

Our naturopath had worked with this doctor previously. He was with one of the major fertility clinics, then left and opened his own clinic. It was supposed to be more personal, less intimidating, and our naturopath thought we would be less likely to be pressured into anything. We were going there to discuss next steps and to have some test conducted that could only be done at a fertility clinic. I spent at least 2 hours filling out paperwork online prior to our appointment, sent in medical records, etc. My impression was that our initial appointment would cover every aspect of our medical history, and that we would have an long and detailed discussion with the doctor. All my other providers up to this point had said not to even consider IVF. We were merely looking into other options. Pete had sperm (albeit slow moving ones) and despite all the rigorous testing I had up to that point, it didn’t seem like we would be heading in that direction.

Our doctor was 30 minutes late, and when he came out to get us there was no apology or acknowledgement of being late. Ok, I thought….no biggie. He is a big important fertility doctor in high demand…shake it off.

In his office, he asked how he could help us. We stated we were referred by our naturopath, and had hoped to look into further fertility testing, but were not considering IVF.

“Oh, you’re not?” he said.

“Hmmm, well I really don’t think you have another option.”

BOOM.

“Peter’s sperm analysis indicates that likely they will never be able to to properly fertilize your eggs. Speaking of which, you are 36 yrs old. So your ovarian reserve, AMH, etc are all rapidly decreasing.”

BOOOOOOM.

“We could try IUI, but it is likely to fail. I would recommend IVF, and that we get going on this immediately.”

Pete and I sat there in shock. Our eyes welling up with tears.

“Can’t these number stay where they are at? Or improve?” I said.

“No.” He said.

“And because Peter has a vasectomy reversal, IVF is necessary. I have never seen some get pregnant naturally after a reversal.”

Well I had.

“I recommend we do another sperm analysis and that you come in at the beginning of your cycle so we can do an egg count and see where you are at. Any other questions?”

Pete and I shook our heads no. I wanted to go hide in a corner and just sob.

This appointment took all of 20 minutes, with him quickly flipping through the mountain of paperwork. No empathy at the shock of us hearing this news, no kindness, just matter-of-fact “here you go, and let’s move on this quickly.”

I suppose some women would appreciate this approach, and be impressed with the urgency. But to Pete and I, it felt very suspicious.

We were then led into the finance office. Think of when you buy a car…yep. It was exactly like that. Pete and I could barely concentrate on the info. Thousands of dollars, all up front, package deals. It felt gross.

Then, a nurse came in and said she needed to schedule our tests. She said “You know, we don’t sugar coat anything here..and let me just say that with your reversal, IVF is your only option.”

Gee, thanks nurse we had never even met previously.

It felt set up, impersonal and soooo fake.

I knew we were in the wrong place. I knew this doctor had drank the kool-aid, and was simply fast tracking women to IVF because hey, it is a HUGE money maker and women DO see results more quickly. But at the time, we were not in a financial position to go there. I felt trapped.

Pete and I left and cried in the car together. It was not the experience we hoped for, and to receive that crushing news in the manner it was delivered was terrible. I immediately called our naturopath, and she was crying…absolutely devastated that we had that experience. Ironically, a few other patients of hers had reported similar experiences. As a result, she quit referringĀ  people there.

I also want to point out that he did redo my bloodwork….and what do ya know, but all my numbers regarding my ovarian reserve and hormone levels had either INCREASED or stayed the same as the previously bloodwork from over a year prior. That was enough for me to not trust him, and know that while he was a doctor, he was not being truthful or giving me correct info at all.

In the end, this doctor was correct. IVF was what we needed and what was successful. BUT, the way his office conducted business was so horrendous. It took Pete and I two+ years to reconsider going to a clinic again. We figured, if a smaller fertility clinic like Poma was this awful, how bad were the bigwig fertility clinics going to be???

Turns out we were so wrong on that point. But our fear of that had us holding onto hope for another few years that somehow we would conceive naturally. Another few years of that awful monthly rollercoaster.

Believe me, there are more details I could add to this, but quite frankly it is STILL to icky to discuss and recall.

If you are going thru infertility and are looking at clinics, do your research. If it doesn’t feel right at the very first appointment, LOOK AT OTHER OPTIONS. Trust your gut.

 

“Just Relax” May 3, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sydnyt @ 7:58 pm

I have been lucky to have an amazing Naturopathic doctor (Janci Karp-Institute of Complementary Medicine) who has walked alongside me during our struggle with infertility.

Very early on, Janci and I worked on improving my overall health. We worked on regulating my thyroid levels (which had been sub-acute for years), getting my cycles consistent, healthy blood flow, normal progesterone levels, etc. I HIGHLY recommend that anyone going thru infertility consider seeing a naturopath. She is thorough, and really looks at all the particulars, which I appreciate.

I started using ovulation testing strips to track my cycle, taking my basal temperature…the works. Peter had to do several sperm analysis (and I was implored by him to “help”). Our first time doing that was like a dirty episode of Everybody Loves Raymond…sooooo not sexy, clumsy and (now) HILARIOUS. I will say that by the 5th year of doing these, we had it down to a science…definitely sperm collection EXPERTS now.

Well meaning folks frequently said to me:

“I know so many women who, once they relaxed and let it go, got pregnant!”

“Try not to worry.”

“Don’t forget the romance.”

“Try to take your mind off of it.”

“Give it to God.”

Infertility is ALL consuming, regardless of how mindful and zen you may think you are. It requires tracking, peeing on a stick daily, timed sex, 2 weeks of hope (and psychosomatic pregnancy symptoms), taking the herbs, vitamins, meds. Acupuncture, massage…followed by a week of sadness, resolve to try again, wondering what went wrong, what IS wrong? Is it me? Him? My providers say it will happen…WHEN?! I’m being punished…I know it. Anger creeps in, envy…the works.

EVERY.SINGLE.FUCKING.MONTH…FOR FIVE YEARS.

The pressure to just “LET IT ALL GO” on top of all these things seems so unfair. There was never a heightened amount of anxiety for me when we were doing all of this, and studies have shown that stress and anxiety bear no impact on ones ability to conceive. So much internal pressure to begin with…but now I am expected to JUST RELAX?! Pfffffft. Yeah.

Try “not thinking about it” when all these things are in play. I didn’t want to think about this all the time…neither did Pete. We wanted it to be a spontaneous miracle, conceived out of romance and love…but it became at time a mechanical, timed oddity…hardly romantic and not all that intimate.

The first few years, our relationship took an emotional hit for sure. It was hard. We struggled big time and at times, I wasn’t sure we would make it. It is a heavy burden to bear, along with the other natural challenges of marriage.

It was difficult for me to talk about it with him, and for him to understand how emotionally and hormonally devastating it was to me, every time I got my period. It brought out the worst in me and he struggled to understand why.

We have both come a long way though. Pete is so incredibly supportive and empathetic now. With the help of therapy, of removing toxic individuals from our lives, and by nurturing our connection to each other (which is a LOT of work!), we are stronger than ever.

We tried to conceive for about 2 years utilizing all the above methods. At some point, Janci gently suggested to us that perhaps it was time to visit a fertility clinic, just to get more specialized testing.

“You guys are no where near considering IVF. Just go in there and speak to the doctor, and have the necessary tests done.” she said.

It was a nervewracking step, but also a hopeful one. Maybe we will find out what is wrong! Maybe nothing is wrong! Maybe EVERYTHING is wrong.

So we made the appointment…

 

The Beginning April 28, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sydnyt @ 7:33 pm
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When I first started dating my husband (Pete) 8 years ago, I knew that we would not likely be able to have children together. Pete had a vasectomy after the birth of his second child, and although they can be reversed, we didn’t think we would ever have the financial means to do it. I had accepted this, and had hoped that we could possibly grow our family by other means at a later date.

In December 2012, Pete selflessly donated one of his kidneys to a friend of ours. I wish I could say that it was a beautiful experience. Pete developed complications which resulted in a huge bleed in his abdomen and as a result, had to have major surgery twice in less than a 24hr period. It was awful. The 5 days spent in ICU, another 5 days in the hospital, and a few years recovery from the emotional wounds of the entire experience was traumatizing for us both. The positives are that Pete is now a case study at the UW, and as a result, the surgical protocol for living donors has now been changed. Ultimately, it changed our relationship for the better, and Pete’s friend has not had a rejection of the kidney.

Pete received a financial gift from a family friend of the recipient, to thank him for the gift he gave. I was surprised and touched that Pete wanted to look at a vasectomy reversal! Six months after his horrific experience, he went under the knife again and doctors were able to successfully reverse the vasectomy. Tests confirmed that viable sperm were present, and that the chances of us naturally conceiving were fairly decent. We were so excited it worked!

Needless to say, I have a very wonderful partner who was willing to go thru the trauma of surgery again, just to give us a chance at having our own children. Whenever I am pissed at him for whatever petty reason, I try to practice some gratitude about what he did for us…for me. Hard to stay mad at a guy who had his balls operated on…voluntarily.

And so, after we married in June 2014, we began the conscious effort to conceive.

I had known others who had successfully conceived after a reversal, so I was hopeful.

I had no idea what we would go through over the next five years.

This blog is meant to document our journey, all the extreme lows and the amazing moments of hope. I hope someone can read this, and feel some comfort in knowing they are not alone. If I have learned one thing in this journey, it has been how isolating it can feel at times.

More to come…